Under-Sink Filters vs Countertop Filters

Point-of-use water filters like under-sink filters and countertop filters are the most commonly used water filters in residential settings. These filters come with many advantages including easy installation, easy maintenance, good contaminant removal capacity, and affordability.

When it comes to comparing the two in terms of efficiency and usability, under-sink water filters seem to be the filter of choice for many homeowners. Are under-sink water filters better than countertop water filters, or is it the other way around?

Here’s the scoop on which point-of-use filter is best for your home.

Features of Countertop Water Filters

As their name suggests, countertop water filters sit on your kitchen counter. These filters are chosen predominantly by small flat owners, those who live in rentals, college students, or anyone who wants a no-fuss water filter for their kitchen.

The best features of countertop water filters can be summed up as follows:

✓ No plumbing necessary, only attach filter tube to kitchen faucet;

✓ No need for extra tap, keep using your existing tap;

✓ Easy to take with you if you move away;

✓ Affordable & easy to maintain;

✓ Mostly uses activated carbon & ceramic filter media;

✓ Removes common tap water contaminants;

✓ Stand-alone models, which need no connection to water source (e.g. gravity water filters) also available.

These are just some of the features of countertop water filters that make them a top choice in water filtration, however, there are some disadvantages as well when it comes to choosing countertop water filters:

x Fewer filtration system choices;

x Lower contaminant removal capacity (some systems);

x Fewer filtration stages;

x Takes up space on kitchen counter.

Recommended Countertop Water Filters

Here are a few countertop water filters recommended by us that won’t disappoint:

Big Berkey (8.5 L) Portable Gravity Water Filter System

Gravity water filters are not the standard choice when it comes to countertop water filters, but if you don’t want a plumbed-in system, and you also don’t want to compromise on contaminant removal efficiency, a gravity water filter is your best choice.


  • Perfect for outdoor use, use in emergency situations;
  • Easy to carry around;
  • Extremely high contaminant removal capacity;
  • 5 litres storage capacity;
  • Purifies up to 26.5 litres/hour;
  • Removes pathogenic bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and many other contaminants.

H2O PCT Counter-Top Water Purifier

A single filter cartridge with 6 types of filter media for an in-depth filtration. Attaches in seconds to any standard filter tap, suitable for rented properties, boats, caravans, motor homes, etc.


  • Uses KDF filter media, coconut shell activated carbon, and riolite;
  • Removes many undesirable water ingredients;
  • Improves water taste and appearance;
  • Fits any standard kitchen tap, but includes adapters as well;
  • Long service life – replaced every 12 to 18 months.

Features of Under-sink Water Filters

As opposed to countertop water filters that sit next to your kitchen tap, under-sink water filters sit tucked away under your kitchen sink. Under-sink water filters are preferred over countertop filters for the following reasons:

✓ Multiple types of filter media combined within a single system (e.g. reverse osmosis filtration technology & activated carbon);

✓ Multiple filter cartridges with different micron ratings;

✓ Higher filtered water output;

✓ Better contaminant removal capacity.

As for the disadvantages of under-sink water filters compared to countertop filters, the most notable ones include:

x Extra filter tap needed;

x No portability;

x Multi-stage filters have higher maintenance costs.

Recommended Under-sink Water Filters

The following are some of the easiest to use under-sink water filters available at WaterFilterShop.co.uk:

DIY 4 Stage Ultracarb Home Drinking Water Filter System

Providing a genuine sub-micron level filtration, the Ultracarb Home Drinking Water Filter System is a DIY installation filter that combines the Watts Flow-Pro Melt Blown 2.5 x 10 inch Sediment Filter 5 Micron Cartridge with the Doulton® Imperial Ultracarb 2”x10¼” Short Mount thread, O-Ring Ceramic Filter Cartridge.


✓ Ceramic filter with an absolute filtration rating of 0.9 microns;

✓ Filter removes chlorine, lead, herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pathogenic bacteria, and more;

✓ Ceramic filter is impregnated with silver for bacteriostatic properties;

✓ Ceramic filters are cleanable.

PurePro RS4000

This 4-stage under-sink water filter is a favourite among customers. The filter combines a sediment filter, two granular activated carbon filters, and an alkaline filter.


✓ Filter removes up to 99% of chlorine;

✓ Reduces lead, asbestos, and it’s effective against microorganisms like Giardia or Cryptosporidium;

✓ Reduces sediments down to 5 microns;

✓ Quick-change filter technology allows easy and clean replacement of filter cartridges.

Conclusion: Countertop Filters Rank Higher in Portability, Under-Sink Filters Rank Higher in Filtration Efficiency

Even though gravity water filters like the Big Berkey can compete in contaminant removal efficiency with under-sink water filters, these are not the norm when it comes to countertop water filters. Thanks to their complexity, under-sink water filters can deliver a more in-depth filtration, and are often preferred over countertop filters.

Portability, however, is something that countertop water filters are simply better at. Under-sink water filters are plumbed in your water line, while a countertop filter only attaches to your kitchen faucet, and some models don’t even need that, operating independently of water pressure.

Ultimately, the contaminants you need to remove from your tap water and your housing situation will be the two factors that will determine the type of filter you need for your home. Under-sink filters are great for those with permanent housing situations, while countertop filters and gravity water filters are more suitable for those on the go.


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