Do you drink at least eight glasses of water a day? Water is essential for digestion, circulation, the transportation of nutrients, and the regulation of body temperature. Most tap water in the public water supply contains fluoride, and some bottled water is just tap water in a fancy bottle. Poor water quality has made many U.S. consumers turn to home water filtration systems, and the new kid on the block is the alkaline water filter.
What Is Alkaline Water?
Regular drinking water has a neutral pH level of 7, while alkaline water has a higher pH range of 8 or 9. That's the first distinction.
The second is that, to be truly alkaline, the water must be infused with alkaline minerals and negative oxidation reduction potential, or ORP, which stands for whether the water is pro- or anti-oxidant. If the ORP is negative then you've got yourself some alkaline antioxidant water.
The idea behind drinking alkaline water is that many organs in the body perform better when blood has a neutral pH or one that is slightly alkaline. Some health and wellness gurus claim that drinking alkaline water changes the pH balance throughout the body, but research and conventional physicians don’t agree.
In an interview with Reader’s Digest, Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe MD states that alkaline water contains added minerals that cause the pH level of the water to rise. More minerals in our water doesn’t sound bad, right? Hold on—say many physicians and researchers—don’t jump on the alkaline water bandwagon just yet.
Alkaline Water Filter Benefits
The truth is, there is very little research that supports alkaline water’s health benefits. In a systematic review published in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Open, researchers from the University of Calgary chime in on the debate saying “there is a lack of evidence for or against diet acid load and/or alkaline water…”
The researchers searched for evidence that alkaline water may benefit cancer patients. At the end of the study the researchers concluded “Promotion of alkaline diet and alkaline water to the public for cancer prevention or treatment is not justified.”
On the other side of the argument for an alkaline water filter, researchers put 100 healthy adults in a warm, humid room to exercise. After they completed their exercise, study participants were rehydrated with either electrolyzed alkaline water or standard water. The people who received alkaline water had improved hydration levels.
As the interest in the potential health benefits of alkaline water filters grows, researchers will continue to explore their potential. Currently, multiple clinical trials mentioning alkaline water are listed in the National Institute of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine. Alkaline water is being studied in women with breast cancer, for inflammation management, sports recovery, and other conditions.
Natural Alkaline Water vs. Artificial Alkaline Water
It is important to note the difference between natural alkaline water and artificial or electrolyzed alkaline water when researching alkaline water filters. Water in mountain streams that cascade over river rocks becomes naturally more alkaline than acidic as it gathers minerals along the way. The water bottled and marketed today as alkaline water has likely been created through electrical charges that break apart water molecules, resulting in higher alkaline levels. Many consider electrolyzed alkaline water “artificial.”
Alkaline Water Precautions
Natural alkaline water is generally considered safe for those without kidney disease. However, if you drink too much water with high alkalinity, you may experience:
- Reduced acid in the gut
- Metabolic alkalosis
- Itchy, dry skin
- Muscle twitching
- Hand or leg tremors
- Tingling in the extremities and face
- Mental confusion
What Type of Alkaline Water Filter Is Best?
You can purchase alkaline water filters for home use. Countertop models that attach to the faucet and require replacement filters, alkaline water pitchers, and sports water bottles with replaceable pouches are the most affordable alkaline water filters available. Most companies keep their filter ingredients close to the vest, adding vague descriptions including “stones and rocks.”
Electrolyzed alkaline water filter systems for the home are also available. These water filtration systems range in cost from $750 to over $5,000. Before you make this size of an investment, read the research carefully and determine if alkaline water is something you want to try.
We have some recommendations for the best alkaline water filters below should you choose to pursue, but first, let's discuss the difference between an alkaline water filter and a water ionizer, which is often referred to as an alkaline ionizer.
Water Filters vs. Water Ionizers
After extracting chlorine and other toxins from tap water, an alkaline water filter adds in alkaline mineral hydrates to change the pH of the water to favor alkaline. However, an alkaline water filter is limited as to how many minerals it can add in. If the mineral content of your tap water is already high, then there won't be as much room for mineral hydrates, as the water will already be close to its saturation point. Hard water, for example, has a high mineral content to start.
This is where water ionizers step in. Water ionizers are able to take the existing mineral carbonates, which have lower alkalinity, in drinking water and turn them into mineral hydrates, which have higher alkalinity. These alkaline ionizers are able to increase the pH of tap water using electrolysis (jolts of electricity). Alkaline water filters don't use electricity but instead run the water through mineral filters or magnets.
6 Top Alkaline Water Filters
If you're ready to jump on the alkaline water bandwagon, here are a few recommendations of filters, ionizers, and purifiers for you to explore based on your budget and needs.
At $1895, this popular alkaline water ionizer isn't for everyone's budget, but if it's high-quality ionized water you're after, you're covered on all fronts with the Aqua Ionizer Deluxe. It serves as both a countertop ionizer and an under-the-counter unit with an install kit. With a 400 watt power supply, charcoal filter, and seven settings for your ideal pH balance, this water ionizer delivers antioxidant-rich ionized drinking water almost immediately upon installation. Be sure to monitor the filter life of the charcoal filter so you don't start tasting charcoal-y water.
If the price of the Aqua Ionizer Deluxe has you reeling, then, at a significantly lower $197, this alkaline water machine will help you regain your equilibrium. It's an under-the-counter water filter system that features a reverse osmosis and alkaline remineralization filter to turn mildly acidic water into alkaline water and ensure cleaner water all around. It may just take up all the space under your sink, so plan to store your cleaning products elsewhere!
Your cheapest choice yet at $177, the Express Water Reverse Osmosis System is an easy-to-setup under-the-sink water system that, according to manufacturers, removes up to 99.99% of lead, chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, and bacteria, and infuses your water with calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other electrolytes. You'll want to watch the pressure gauge, however, as reviews note that it tends to malfunction.
As far as countertop units go, we're a fan of AQUASPREE's 7-stage alkaline filter. All you need to do is pour tap water into the unit, where a gravity-filter purifies and alkalizes the water. Place a cup under the spout, push the button, and you've got yourself some alkaline mineral drinking water at your disposal. At less than $100, this purifying system makes it easy to try out the alkaline water craze for yourself.
The first of our on-the-go purifier systems, the Ehm Ultra Premium alkaline water pitcher filters water through a 6-stage filter, removing chlorine, heavy metals, and other contaminants, and alkalizes water with a high pH up to 10. You'll also get added minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as a low negative ORP between -100 and -200 mv, just below $38. Just fill up the pitcher and voila!
If you're ready to trade in the plastic water bottle (we hope you are!), then you can do double duty and help the environment out while alkalizing your water with this water filter in a bottle. It's stainless steel, BPA free, equipped with its own filter packets, and fancies up your water with minerals including zinc, magnesium, selenium, and iron. You can satisfy your pure hydration needs without heavy metals like mercury, copper, and lead in your water. It's just under $50, but you will need to switch out the filter pouch every 300 cups.