Zero Water Filter Review

zero water water coolerLike most Americans, I used to have bottled water delivered to my home and bought disposable water bottles to carry.

That was a few years ago.

Of course, I know better now so I don’t buy bottled water anymore but I don’t drink water straight out of the tap either. Why?….because my tap water is contaminated. No, I don’t live in a third world country without clean water. In fact, my water supply is treated so well that it passes all standard guidelines established by the EPA and the State Health Department every year. But according to my Water and Sewer Department – by the way, you can request a report about your water or read it on line – my tap water still contains organic and inorganic particles as well as microbes. In addition, in order to meet those standards, it gets disinfected and treated with chemicals like chlorine and sodium hydroxide. And fluoride is also added for our dental “benefit.” (oohhhh, that’s another post in itself.) Yeah, uh huh….

Well, I don’t need any of those chemicals in my body so I filter my water for drinking and in the shower. If you read my older post, “what’s under your kitchen sink”, you know I have two cartridge filters under my kitchen sink; one for sediments and one for finer particles.

Two filters under the sink. Yuk!

Time to change filters under the sink. Yuk!

And boy, do the filters get clogged very quickly, hence, more evidence that there are stuff in my water that I don’t want. I am satisfied with the filtered tap water for cleaning and cooking but when I drink straight from the tap, I want to make sure that I don’t taste the chlorine, but more importantly, that I don’t ingest any other chemicals. So, my DH (Dear Husband) bought a new filter system from Home Depot for our water cooler (from the bottled water days) called Zero Water. By the way, I have a chlorine eliminating filter attached to my shower head. My thinking is, if I am not happy with drinking chlorine, why would I want my skin, the largest organ in the body, to absorb all that chlorine? Did you read about how swimming can exacerbate asthma and allergies in kids because of chlorine? I digress…Back to Zero Water.

Zero Water

Zero Water (ZW) is a filter system that combines easy and non messy way to replace filter cartridges to produce clean drinkable water. This great filter system fits on top of any water cooler machines. Just add water to the top of the jug and the cooler dispenses clean water. It even comes with a hand held meter that measures Total Dissolved Solids (TDS.) TDS is any detectable dissolved solid particles in the water that you can taste. The electrode on the tip of the TDS meter detects ions in the water and converts the parts per million readings to a number on the meter.

Just to compare, I tested my tap water before I filtered it through ZW and the reading was 47.  Mind you, that tap water already went through TWO filters under the sink! And then, I tested my old brand of bottled water, and the reading was 26 – better than my tap but still not Zero. My unfiltered bathroom faucet’s reading was in the 90’s!

BUT…when I tested the water from the cooler, you guessed it, the reading was 0. Zero!! Hence, the name of the product, Zero Water.

How does it work?

I recommended Zero Water to a friend, John, who is a tropical fish aficionado. He researched high and low to find the easiest method to generate clean water for his fish tank and learned a lot about water filters in the process. Although he doesn’t use ZW for his fish tank because he already had installed a reverse osmosis system before I told him about ZW, he was astonished that it can generate such clean water, in such a compact and efficient way. According to John, these filters work similarly to reverse osmosis. He said that the cartridges are actually a five-stage water filter system, putting the water through sediment, carbon, and De-Ionizing (DI) resin. So the system is like a compact Reverse Osmosis (RO)/DI water filter without all the plumbing and water waste like RO. RO typically generates one drinkable gallon for every four gallons of water it wastes. I did not know that. Not very environmentally cool nor very efficient since the pipes and plumbing that are required are complicated to install. So if this system is good enough drinking water for John, I figured, it’s a pretty amazing system.

I love having Zero chemicals in my water. But I was not sure if “not tasting chlorine” was same thing as “not containing chlorine”. (Blame it on my Type “A” personality…)  And I couldn’t find any information about whether Zero Water filters fluoride so I contacted the company and this is what a customer service representative wrote back.

1. Does your system filter out fluoride?

When it comes to water there are 4 types of contaminants found, organic, inorganic, radiological, and micro biological. Zero Water filters have the technology to reduce organic, inorganic, and radiological elements out of water. The TDS meter included will test for inorganics in water such as salts, metals, minerals, chlorides, fluorides, etc.  Fluoride is an inorganic and is treated with Zero Water.  Zero Water is best compared to distilled water, minus the distilled water taste.

2. When the system was certified for “Chlorine taste and odor”, does that mean it filters out chlorine?

Yes, we filter out chlorine to an undetectable level on a parts per million basis, the water tester test on a parts per million basis, so when you see a reading of 000, you know it’s only H20.

3. If the system has the patent to filter out microbes, why isn’t it filtering out microbes?

That’s not available for U.S use yet, we look to release it in the near future

So that means, if TDS meter reading is Zero, there are no detectable solids in the water; no chlorine and no fluoride. I love that!…especially since there has been so much news about pharmaceuticals ending up in drinking water. That doesn’t mean we should switch to bottled water; it just means we should filter our drinking water. What’s more, ZW will take back your used cartridges to recycle them. So you don’t have to throw out the used plastic cartridges. Just send them back to the company. How great is that?

TDS meter readings of various types of water

TDS meter readings of various types of water

Pros

  • Pretty simple to use. The cartridges fit in the top water well. Pour water in the top water well and it filters down to the cooler.  You can  dispense water from water cooler.
  • Better for the environment since there’s no waste of water to generate drinkable water, unlike Reverse Osmosis filters.
  • Eliminates complications of changing filters under the sink.
  • The filter system fits any water cooler.
  • Now, there is a portable pitcher model available if you don’t have room for a water cooler.
  • Replacement filters may seem costly but Amazon sells cartridges at $50 for 4 cartridges. It uses 2 cartridges at a time and needs to be replaced at our house about every 3 months – so just under $10/month. Pretty inexpensive, if you ask me. But remember, I put in filtered water as I pre-filter through the under the sink filters before I put it into the Zero Water. Your cost may vary.
  • They will take the filters back to recycle!!! Totally awesome!

Cons

  • Sometimes, leaks can occur when the seal between the cooler and the top water well is not tight.

Overall

I love ZW filters so much that I have recommended it to friends and family. Here is a review about the Zero Water filters by Good Housekeeping. See? I’m not the only one who loves this system!

[Update] GIVEAWAY! Enter a giveaway for a chance to win a 23 Cup Dispenser System! Giveaway ends on March 30, 2012!

The Zero Water website also has more technical information on how their filters work. When water tastes this good, you’ll never want to drink any other filtered water or bottled water or just plain tap water. Ever!

I give this company FIVE green hearts for making my tap water taste so good and recycling used plastic cartridges!

♥♥♥♥♥

Addendum
Since I posted this review, I became curious about their blue plastic bottle and if it contained BPA so I contacted the company. The customer service supervisor reassured me that it does NOT contain BPA and the plastic is made of “food grade styrene”. Phew!

Also, some of you asked if I noticed any smell in the water as some other reviews reported. I am pleased to say that I never noticed any smell in the water. But from reading through the company’s FAQ section, water can smell fishy if filter needs to be changed. My water was always clean and refreshing. The company’s website under FAQ section addresses many questions you might have. Click through all the categories on the left. But, if you have questions about my personal experience with the filter system, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the Contact form. I’ll be glad to answer any questions.

I was not paid to do this review nor do I make any commission from Zero Water if you purchase their products. But I will make a few cents from Amazon if you purchase the Zero Water Pitcher or replacement filters or from the Amazon widget to the right. So if you need to buy filters, you can use the widget and it will take you straight to the Zero Filter page on Amazon. We bought the water filter pitcher for my son who started college and he swears that it makes him drink more water.

NOTE: The information in this post is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Dr. Karen disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information. Opinions and statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. The information is for general consumer understanding and education, and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. I am not your doctor and you should consult with a qualified health care professional on any matter relating to their health and well being on one-on-one basis with thorough physical examination. Dr. Karen encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Products Dr. Karen recommends and their properties have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using the products. For more info, visit the Disclaimer page.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great article and great find, Karen! Sounds like you found an economical and green solution to filtering water at home!!

  2. Marj M says

    I would so love this pitcher. The coupon would help big time. We have well water and use another brand pitcher. Zero Water Filter Pitchers would be the ultimate.
    Thank you for the chance.

  3. Bobcaaat says

    I am also a clean water nut. I drink at least 6 liters of water per day, and as you can guess, my bottled water usage creates way too much recycle/landfill mass. I saw ads for this product on TV, and checked it out on the internet. I decided to buy a pitcher from Target. I have been using a Brita filter for some time now, and it just doesn’t remove enough of the contaminants I find in Houston TX city water even though we have a 2 filter system for our kitchen supply too. I grew up in Wisconsin, and I guess I took the excellent quality of the water supply there for granted. I’m hoping that the Z water pitcher will come close. I am concerned about filter life, and plan to prefilter the water through my Brita pitcher before putting it through the Z water system. I’m interested in your offer for the coupons. Please contact me via e-mail, and I will provide my name and address.

    Thanks, Bobcaaat

  4. Anne says

    Thanks for the info, my hubby is a clean water freak, we have a Hague whole house filtration system plus use a brita pitcher and he still isn’t happy with our well water. Hope this works for us too. Please email me and I’ll send you my address for the coupon. Thanks!

  5. says

    Wow, thanks for the great review! I like Zero Water filters too, especially the tester. The meter gives me a peace of mind as I know I’m drinking decent water. With other filters, it’s a guessing job.

  6. Sheila says

    I am looking into purchasing the zero water pitcher. My husband does not believe that the water from the Brita filter still has a taste. I hope that this works better than what I am using now.

  7. Ben says

    Hello, I am interested in the filter system too. I read about it in an EWG.org email. They tested the water in almost every county and have the results organized on their website. They are also doing great things for water conservation in this country. I have read that the filters eventually leave a “dead fish smell” in the water. What say you, about this? Have you experienced anything like this? Thanks for the heads up.

  8. says

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for stopping by.
    I never experienced the “dead fish smell” since I had this filter system. I did smell something when I had the Brita pitcher though. But I use Zero Water filters for a water cooler system now and I never had any type of odor problem.

    I wonder if the odor is coming from the unfiltered water just sitting in the water well on top while it’s being filtered? Sometimes, if the water is not chilled and is at room temperature for a long time, that can smell too.

    Just as a preventive measure for any bacterial build up or mildew, I do wash the plastic containers in vinegar and warm water when I change the filters. No soap or detergent, just vinegar and warm water.

    Do you want to try the pitcher? I still have three coupons left for the pitcher. Let me know. :)

  9. Kathy V. says

    I’d love to try the pitcher, if you still have coupons available!

  10. Bruce says

    Hi, I have just rchased my 12th ZPWR. Wow, sweet and great taste is not a thing that have to be missed at all. Thank you Zaer Water. This makes my mom seem like you have got to be better. All my friends have too, so let me know and I`ll be happy to assist with maybe a few more. Can I in Orlando, Fl be able to carry those heavy bags of salt, no more, haha! The best of everything in such a compact bottle. Great!
    Thanks for letting me share,
    Bruce

  11. Dr Lindsay Fontana says

    I appreciate your review. I am currently switching from bottled water to a filtration system and you’ve helped me decide on ZeroWater. Are the pitchers as good as the larger units? Do you know when the company will be introducing the bacteria, etc eliminating units?
    Thanks,
    Dr. Fontana
    P.S. Love a coupon if any left. Thanks again.

  12. Brenda Siegel says

    I’ve been purchasing RO Water for drinking, and using a Brita on the Kitchen faucet and have shower filters. I’ve just heard about the Zero Water from a neighbor, I want to try it, it would be so much better for me than buying water and sounds so much healtier, too! If you have any coupons left I’d be most grateful! Thank s for all the good info!

  13. Will says

    Hmmm, if you go to such great lengths for clean water why not get a real RO/DI unit?
    This zero filter is just an inefficiently small and constructed RODI unit. Because of its construction you will not get much more than 20 gallons out of it before a filter change, and lets not mention most of the cost of the unit goes to paying the companies huge advertising bills. You can get units on ebay that can do 100 gallons of water a day, with filters with replacement life measured in years and thousands of gallons for only 80 bucks. Also the filters for those are cheaper than ZW because they are not proprietary.

  14. says

    Hi Will,
    Thanks for your comment. If I had room for a RO/DI unit, I would install it but unfortunately, I don’t have room in my little kitchen. The water cooler I have fits in my kitchen is more practical, for me. For others, yeah, it’d make more sense to install a RO/DI unit for sure.

    But the other issue to consider is how would I collect the wasted water and reuse it. I can’t fathom throwing it out. That would make no sense.

    But you are right. A real RO/DI unit would be much cheaper. Thanks!

  15. Willard says

    I can’t believe that so many people were dissatisfied with this product! I’ve had mine for over two years now and I never had a problem with the system. I love the taste of the water and feel that this water is much safer to drink than from any other water filters. Just ask Dr. Oz – he had a program on how bad our drinking water is out of the faucet and that includes bottled water that we buy from the store. My PPM reads 34 and I live in the Queens, NYC area. The filter lasts for about one and half years. I think the average cost is about 50 cents per gallon. Five of my friends whom I have recommended the system, haven’t had any problems. I have friends that lived in Greece with a PPM of 250 and they also live in PA with a PPM of 150. Because of the higher PPM, the more often you have to change the filter and the cost ends up being higher.
    I also believe that the Zero Water system can be a good survival tool during bad times. By using this filter, your drinking water can come from rain water, lake water, ocean water, toilet water, etc., you can even drink water from a bottle of Clorox. I saw someone filtering Clorox with Zero Water and then drinking it. This is just to illustrate that this filtering system does a great job and I would recommend it to anyone.

  16. FredericH says

    Hi Will. What are the units you are mentioning? I would love to get a decent unit. I bought zero water and the filter lasts for 9 days. Way too expensive to replace the filters that often. Costs more than gasoline. I am returning it to Target today. Please let me know what the best unit is in your opinion. What you have said lines up with my experience, and I don’t understand how these positive reviews exist, unless maybe on the payroll? Who knows. Anyway, thanks for the help.

  17. FredericH says

    I don’t know what the water is like in NYC, but the filter lasts 9 days in So Cali.

  18. says

    Hi Fredric,
    No, I am not on Zero Water Filter’s payroll. I wish! But no. The ironic thing is, I usually receive free products from companies to review but not for this review. I was using their filters for awhile before I decided to do a review here.

  19. says

    What is your reading on your PPM reader for your unfiltered tap water? Mine reads 38-42. But after it’s filtered, it reads ZERO. And my filters (I have a water cooler type and not the pitcher) last for a very long time……months! And I am from the suburbs of NYC.

  20. Franklin says

    I took the chance to buy this filter before anyone had, whew it works well and i constantly impress friends with a tasting! Set up several glasses of water from various sources Zero wins consistantly! I would like better prices or life on filters but my tap is 380 in the Los angeles area. Even when it goes above 80ppm it still tatses amazingly good.

  21. Franklin says

    Oh I forgot to mention I have several now and travel with a pitcher in the car too!

  22. says

    Thanks for your feedback. I heard that water in LA is bad but I didn’t realize ‘how’ bad. That is one factor that determines how frequently you have to change your filters. In some parts of the country, it will definitely cost more. But I rather spend the money and buy filters than to buy bottled water still. Thanks again!

  23. Margo S. Eisenberg says

    I was wondering two things; The filters that you said you had under your sink as a pre-measure before using the ones on top of your cooler, did it require plumbing to install it? And more importantly, does the zero water filter produce water that is more alkaline than existing tap water which is highly acidic? I am looking for pure drinking water not only free from toxins, but also alkaline. Can you help?

  24. says

    Its hard to find a good filter than takes out fluoride. Fluoride is an extremely toxic neurotoxin that has been banned in several counries by the way. Iv’e been useing zero water for 2 weeks now and am glad I bought it.

  25. mikulakerr says

    Yikes…we started smelling a fish smell, even though our filter still tested out ok (not in need of replacement.  We also realized that this water filter takes out most of the fluoride (a naturally occurring substance found in streams everywhere).  This was an interesting experiment for us, but who needs a water filter that causes problems.

  26. mikulakerr says

    I just noticed there is a great deal of misinformation on this site about fluoride.  It is a naturally-occurring substance found in most ground water.  Like most good things, if you take too much of it…it is bad.  When you take just the right amount…it is a miracle drug.  Most cities in the U.S. put in a modest amount of fluoride, an amount that would never hurt someone no matter how much water they drank!  This amount is proven to mimic what is found in nature…an amount that makes our teeth stronger.  Certain forms of calcium do the same thing, and it is also bad for you to take too much of it.  People who take too much supplemental calcium get hypercalcemia and can go into a coma, but that doesn’t mean calcium is a bad thing.   The company that makes the Zero system, no doubt profits from people who unreasonably fear fluoride…but facts are facts, and science is science.

  27. stevegirard says

    We’ve used the ZW pitcher here in Baltimore, and the filter lasts about 2 weeks before the numbers go back up.  I think Karen’s under-sink filters are helping her ZW last a lot longer. The Mom’s Organic Market in our area offers RO generated water re-fills… very economical for us. We just bring our empty water containers and we’re good to go.

  28. whitetiger0603 says

    Margo, I’m noticing with my ZERO system the big dual tank filters, that the ph of my water goes down from. 7.7 in the tap, to around 5.5 o out of the filter. I’m trying to find out if the Ion Exchange actually causes this drop in ph.

  29. FilmCriticOne says

    stevegirard Id test those “RO” filtered water, they are NOT zero, and may not be close.  Test, test, test. Trust but verify