ZeroWater ZD-018 Review
This dispenser's five-stage filtration targets dissolved solids and is touted as an affordable alternative to a reverse osmosis system. It includes a TDS meter.
This 23-cup dispenser features a different type of filtration system than the typical two-stage carbon filters in many cheap pour-through models. ZeroWater ZD-018 reviews confirm to the effectiveness of the five-stage filtration, which is supposed to remove virtually all dissolved solids in your water. This sets up the dispenser as an alternative to a pricey, professionally installed reverse osmosis system. Included in the package is a TDS meter (a $30 value, according to the company) for measuring the level of total dissolved solids, in parts per million. The ZeroWater filter is designed to deliver a "000" reading on the meter. For comparison, the company asserts that most tap water in the U.S. averages between 190 and 200 PPM, other filtered water measures 030 to 500 PPM, and bottled water comes in between 000 and 350 PPM.
Manufacturer Zero Technologies recently got into hot water for implying in an advertising campaign that a TDS reading over zero means the water is unsafe or unhealthy, and that other filter brands don't work as well because they leave more dissolved solids in the water. Higher levels are still perfectly acceptable in many cases. (Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration requires products labeled "mineral water" to include at least 250 PPM.) So, take the claim of zero as the best number with a grain of salt (or, should we say, a grain of a dissolved solid).
The ZeroWater ZD-018 (starting at $36, Amazon) seems to elicit strong reactions in reviews. Most of the hundreds of consumers posting feedback on Amazon either five-star love this product or dismiss the water-testing feature as nonsense and complain about a leaky design. Fans like being able to test TDS levels and see exactly where their water stands. But some have found that the filters have to be replaced more often than they should, based on continually bad TDS ratings. ZeroWater does warn that very high levels will wear out the filter more quickly, but of course there's no way to know how your water ratings will turn out unless you buy the product.
TDS talk aside, the Zero Technologies filter reduces chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, taste and odor, hexavalent and trivalent chromium, lead, and mercury, according to testing and certification by NSF International. Good Housekeeping tested the cheaper 8-cup pitcher and found that the filter removed more than 95 percent of BPA, estrone, fluoxetine, ibuprofen, PFOA, and PFOS and more than 80 percent of atrazine, DEET, TCEP, tonalide, and other drugs.
Although there are some skeptics, and filters may need frequent replacement, in general experts and consumers align behind the ZeroWater dispenser and its visible results.