How do you find the best water treatment system? First, you should consider performance variables of practicality and contaminant removal. Second, look at the most economical solution for your family.
Has your water been tested? If you have a well, testing should always be conducted. If you are serviced by a public treatment facility, it is sometimes advisable, as facilities do not test for all possible contaminants, only those that are regulated.
The most probable contaminants are liquid chemicals, compounds that are gaseous and sediment or solid particles, like traces of lead. Most liquid chemicals are removed by granular activated carbon, but a carbon block is more affective.
Water can channel around the carbon granules and elude purification. Bacteria can grow in the gaps between the carbon granules. The best water treatment system uses a special carbon block that also traps gases and sediment.
The pores are so small (less than one micron) that it will even trap cryptosporidium and giardia cysts. Those are parasites in an early stage of development that are resistant to chemical disinfectants. Infections can be deadly.
Tiny ions of lead and other metals, smaller than can be seen with the naked eye, are removed through a process called ion exchange. This process also improves the taste and mineral content, as the metallic ions are exchanged for mineral ions.
So, the best water treatment system is one with a submicron carbon block and ion exchange. How do you know which ones have it? If the purifier is certified to reduce cysts, THMs, VOCs and lead more than 99%, then those steps are included.
There is really only one kitchen purifier on the market that can do it, without using a reverse osmosis step. You don't want reverse osmosis because instead of using ion exchange to remove lead, it relies on a semi-permeable membrane that also removes any healthy mineral content.
Anything smaller than the pores in the membrane will pass right through, knowing this, the better units follow up with steps to remove chemical and gaseous contaminants. The thing is, you simply don't need the reverse osmosis step. It's just too expensive for most families.
The best water treatment system with submicron carbon blocks and ion exchange costs $125. The only reverse osmosis unit that can remove the same contaminants costs $650. In other words, you are paying $525 for reverse osmosis, when it is unnecessary.
You should also consider a purification device for your shower, since contaminates can penetrate the skin and the gases are inhaled in the enclosed space of the bathroom. Only two showerhead filters remove gaseous contaminants, along with traces of lead and copper.
There is again an extreme difference in price, but not because of reverse osmosis. This time it's because of the supposed benefits of volcanic stones.
The best water treatment system for the shower costs $67.99. Currently the manufacturer is offering a combo special that includes the kitchen and the showerhead system for $159.99. That's the best deal out there.