Consumer Reports has done a "water filter" comparison report for the May 27 issue. eSpring rated as "excellent", scoring 5th highest out of 27 filters tested with a score of 87 out of 1, and rating excellent in "lead removal","clogging", and "bad-taste removal" and good in "flow-rate".
Interestingly, the unit they selected as "best buy", a Kenmore carbon filter from Sears, and rated the highest (91 out of 1), only rated "very good" in lead removal. Which I guess means it didn't remove as much lead as the eSpring and 1 other units which rated "excellent" in this area.
I'm not sure what Consumer Reports priorities are, but that seems bizarre to me. Isn't the main reason for a water filter to remove contaminants? 11 of the tested units rated "excellent" on lead removal, yet the one they rated the best only rated "very good". I've searched high and low but I've been unable to find any list of the contaminant removal claims for the Kenmore filter, however, the manual says it's certified to NSF Standard 42: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Aesthetic Effects. From the NSF website –
This standard covers point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) systems designed to reduce specific aesthetic or non-health-related contaminants (chlorine, taste and odor, and particulates) that may be present in public or private drinking water.
Without wanting to sound too critical, this means it makes the water smell and taste better, there are no claims at all about making the water healthier.
In contrast, the eSpring water purifier is certified to three standards – NSF Standard 42: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Aesthetic Effects, as above, plus NSF/ANSI Standard 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Health Effects
Standard 53 addresses point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether), that may be present in public or private drinking water.
and NSF/ANSI Standard 55: Ultraviolet Microbiological Water Treatment Systems –
This standard establishes requirements for point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) ultraviolet systems and includes two optional classifications. Class A systems (4, uwsec/cm2) are designed to disinfect and/or remove microorganisms from contaminated water, including bacteria and viruses, to a safe level. Class B systems (16, uw-sec/cm2) are designed for supplemental bactericidal treatment of public drinking water or other drinking water, which has been deemed acceptable by a local health agency.
No other system tested by Consumer Reports meets all three of these standards. Indeed, no other point-of-use home system I am aware of meets all three of these standards.
So, if you're interested in "aesthetic effects", as was apparently Consumer Reports' focus, then the Kenmore system is an excellent, cost effective solution. However, if you want a system certified to remove health related contaminants, including bacteria and viruses, then, in my opinion, eSpring is the only choice.
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