Are you heading off to college? If so, you may worry about water quality and if it’s safe to drink. Many people will tell you to bring along a Brita filter if you live in the dorms. That’s because whenever you drink water from a shared source, you want peace of mind. How can you get the best Brita filter for college? Let’s look at how to buy the best Brita water filter for college.
What Kind of Brita Filter Should a College Student Take?
The best Brita water filter for college students will either be a pitcher, water bottle, or a cup. These filter styles are all small enough to fit in the mine-refrigerator you’re likely to have in your dorm.
You want the filter to allow for enough water for the day ahead, but not so much that it limits what else you can put in the refrigerator. Look for a filter with an indicator on it to tell you when it needs replacement.
If you plan to go on hiking adventures with your friends, you can pick up a water filter that will filter and remove bacteria from lakes and rivers. This type of filter would give you an extra benefit while you stay active at college and participate in outdoor activities.
READ MORE: Are All Brita Filters the Same? The Answer Might Surprise You
Brita Filters: Bring Extra
After you buy a Brita pitcher for college, the investment requires ongoing payments to keep it working right. The best Brita filter won’t treat the water if it’s expired or has no remaining filtration capacity.
Most pitchers will tell you when you need to replace the filter but expect to replace it every two months. They usually will last for about 40 gallons.
If you don’t routinely replace the filter, you might as well drink it straight from the tap. Usually, I’d recommend that you keep two backup filters for each semester, but it depends on how much water you drink. Regular filter replacement guarantees water quality and safety.
Across the United States, most tap water is safe to drink, but some people don’t like the flavor, or they would prefer the extra safety that filtration offers.
Even though the water is free of contaminants and safe to drink, the water in some college towns may have a strong chlorine flavor. You can eliminate that flavor with a water filter to make it taste better.
Pay Attention to the Material
Pitchers and bottles — the most common water filter used in college — are very often made of plastic. You don’t see faucet filters as much here because, in many colleges, there’s no sink in the dorm rooms. Before you buy a Brita filter made from plastic, check to see that it contains no BPA. Unfortunately, BPA is pretty common in the plastics of cheap water bottles and pitchers, so you must exercise caution.
BPA can seep into your water as you drink it and hurt your endocrine system. Imagine going through all the trouble of buying a water filter only to harm your health, rather than help it.
Brita Filter: Ease of Use
With every Brita filter that you consider, think about the ease of use before you buy it. For example, if you need to refill the water every day, you want the function to be as simple as possible. Look for pitchers with lids that flop open. You don’t want one where you need to spend five to 10 minutes disassembling every time before you can fill it up.
The fewer the components and the simpler the build, the better. You want to think about how easily you can clean it, too. Some water filters will have hard-to-reach areas where you can’t clean them as well. This becomes a recipe for mold and bacteria inside a filter meant to keep you healthy.
Pick the Best You Can Afford
More expensive Brita water filters will filter out more pollutants, and it will make the water taste better. Getting a cheaper water filter, it may fail to eliminate bad flavor. Buying for quality will make a big difference. How can you spot quality? Besides the price, to get the best water filter, look for some of these characteristics:
- Contaminants that it removes
- Filtration flow rate
- Operating costs
1. Contaminants That It Removes
Most Brita water filters will remove 40 contaminants that include chlorine, nitrates, sodium, heavy metals, dissolved solids and bacteria. The best Brita filters will clean even more pollutants than that to make it safer to drink. Even the safest water in the United States can still pose a problem.
Many times, filters that remove chemicals won’t remove germs as effectively. The same goes for those that kill germs more effectively in that they can’t handle the chemicals as easily.
Check out my article on What Contaminants Brita filters remove.
2. Filtration Flow Rate
You have those who don’t think about the filtration rate, but this will largely determine how well it filters the water. A slower filtration flow rate works best for total purification. Some of the known benefits of it include:
- Kills microorganisms in the water
- Better filtering of smaller bacteria and chemicals
- Maximized amount of toxins trapped
You can decrease the flow rate of any filter. Place a sponge or other pre-filter media to slow the input and output of the filter.
3. Operating Costs
College students often live on tight budgets, and they may struggle to buy expensive water filters. Before you buy a Brita water filter, think about the operating costs and if you can afford to keep buying the filters for it. Brita replacement filters will cost about $7.99 to replace in many cases, so you won’t struggle with this one, but some of them can get more expensive.
Pitchers vs. Water Bottles: Which Should You Buy?
You have pros and cons of pitchers and water bottles. Which one you should buy will depend on your unique circumstances. Let’s start with the water filtration pitcher. First, a water filtration pitcher can hold more water so that you don’t need to constantly refill it. Having a large supply of water on demand stands out as an advantage over the water filtration bottle.
Second, this is the cheapest option available for water filtration. You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50 for a water filtration pitcher.
The disadvantages, especially bad for college students, come from how much space it takes up in the fridge. You already need to work with limited space and this can take up a great deal of it. The replacement cartridges can also start to eat into your monthly budget if you use a more expensive one. Always look at what the replacement cartridges cost before you buy a filter.
Moving on to filtered water bottles, convenience stands out as the biggest reason to buy a filtered water bottle. You can take this anywhere on campus because it fits in your backpack. Especially if you plan to hike with people, you can pull right from a stream or lake in some cases and drink from it. Before you try that, make sure that your filtered water bottle can handle it. Not all of them can do that.
Unfortunately, if you want to share it with a roommate, that can make it more difficult over a pitcher. Along with that, they tend to cost more than a water filtration pitcher. Expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $100 for quality filtered water bottles. Replacing the filter on a water bottle will usually cost $12.
They both last about the same, but this will depend on your usage and model. Generally speaking, water bottle filters will last anywhere up to 150 refills, which adds up to two months on average.
Charcoal Stick Filter: What About That One?
The charcoal stick filter offers several big advantages with it like no plastic pollution. You place what is literally a charcoal stick into the water, and it filters out the impurities. For those who care about the environment, this choice is a great option, but honestly, if you plan to use your water filter for a long time like you would in college, the plastic pollution isn’t that much compared to other things.
You also need to wait between one to two hours before you can drink the water. Along with those disadvantages, you need to boil the charcoal stick for 10 minutes every two to three weeks to clean it.
In many ways, it’s not practical if you plan to use this for your four-year college career. Can you imagine waiting for one to two hours to use it when thirsty? It makes the most sense for cases where you want to make a difference in the environment or you only plan to use it for a brief period, so it would make more sense to use that over adding to the plastic pollution.
They cost about the same as a lower-tier water filter bottle at $20, but they only last for four months, and you’d have to pay the same price again.
How to Get the Best Brita Filter for College: What NOT to Buy
First, beware of the overly cheap water filters because many companies offer water filters for a low price, and they don’t filter water in the way they should. You can tell the difference when you buy a more expensive one. When I say cheap, avoid the unreasonably cheap ones because it is likely a scam.
Look for the certification with the water filter. NSF 53 and NSF 42 are the most common certifications in this field, but they cover different standards. NSF 53 has become known as the “health effects” standard to minimize health-related contaminants. NSF 42 was meant as the “aesthetic effects” standard, which deals with odor and non-health-related contaminants.
If you had to choose one, pick one with the NSF 53 certification, but the best water filter will include both certifications.
How Does Brita Compare to Other Water Filters?
Brita earned a reputation as one of the best water filter brands, which makes it a good choice to buy. Where it fails tends to be with removing unwanted metals. You have other choices that filter metals better, but Brita is one where you can usually trust that it will do its job.
Keep in mind as well the limitations of Brita, such as how the effectiveness of each filter will depend on the model purchased. Each has a different range for how many contaminants it can reduce. Just keep in mind that Brita filters do tend to take up a lot of space in a mini fridge because they were built larger. Going with a water bottle is one way that you can rest assured that it won’t take up too much space.
What size Brita fits in a dorm fridge?
You want to choose a smaller choice between 5 inches in length and 10 inches in height. Think of that as an approximate estimate, but a great choice for this would be the Space Saver because it can hold up to 6 cups of water. This choice fits right in the fridge door.
Are Brita filters good for college?
Brita filters can sometimes be a bit bulkier, so you will want to pick a smaller Brita model to fit in the mini-fridge of your dorm. If you live off campus, then it won’t matter at all.
Will a Brita pitcher fit in a dorm fridge?
How well it fits in a dorm fridge will depend on how they set it up. You can buy a smaller Brita pitcher to make it easier, but you should always check with each fridge before you buy. The other danger is that it takes up so much space that you can’t fit anything else in it.
Hopefully, this shows you how to pick the best Brita filter for college. Keep in mind that as college students, your needs differ from the average household, and in many cases, you may find it more practical to keep a water filtration bottle because it saves on space, and you can take it around with you on campus. Choosing the best Brita filter for college will depend on your unique circumstances.