Expert reviews generally sing the praises of the Clear2O CWS100A (starting at $27, Amazon). This relatively inexpensive pitcher filtering system scores at the top in consumer product testing, particularly for lead and chloroform removal.
Unlike typical pour-through models, which rely on granulated carbon as a primary filtering agent, the Clear2O CWS100A attaches to a faucet when filling and makes use of the water pressure to push water through a solid block carbon filtration system. Particulates tend to adhere to the block, rather than leak through into the water, as they sometimes do with looser-grained carbon filters. The result is a filtering system capable of dramatically reducing the amount of toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium from drinking water, in addition to attacking volatile organic compounds and other chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals).
These contaminant removal capabilities have not been certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association, however. A customer service representative told Cheapism the company opted not to renew its NSF certification, in order to avoid the associated fees and maintain low prices on its products. According to this representative, the products have undergone independent third-party testing and the Clear2O CWS100AW meets NSF/ANSI standards for aesthetics and health effects.
The lack of NSF certification has sparked rumors that the brand is discontinuing products or shutting down. The company representative assured us this is not the case -- not only are there no plans to stop producing the popular Clear2O CWS100AW, but the company has expanded the line to include two additional models.
The Clear2O CWS100AW pitcher is a bit harder to find than our top picks, but it can be purchased on the company’s website in addition to Amazon. User reviews on Amazon laud this product for its fast filtering capabilities and the great taste of the water it produces. Most complaints tend to be directed at the somewhat pesky hose adapter, which many say is too short or cannot be connected to their kitchen faucets; the CWS100AW does not work with sprayer-type taps.
The filter cleans up to 50 gallons of water, and the BPA-free, 9-cup pitcher is equipped with an indicator panel that changes color when it’s time for a new filter. A replacement costs about $11.
With no official third-party certification, we can't offer a full-throated endorsement of this model, but expert testing and user reviews strongly suggest it's worth a look.