Our decide is the Aquasana AQ-5200, aka the Aquasana Claryum Twin-Stage. Its most vital function by far is that its filters have the most effective ANSI/NSF certifications amongst our contenders, together with chlorine, chloramine, lead, mercury, VOC, a number of “emerging contaminants,” and PFOA and PFOS. Past that, its faucet and plumbing hardware are manufactured from strong metallic, which is superior to the plastic that another producers use. And this method can also be extraordinarily compact. Lastly, the Aquasana AQ-5200 is among the greatest values we’ve present in under-sink filters, sometimes costing about $140 up entrance for the entire system (filters, housing, faucet, and hardware) and $60 for a set of two substitute filters. That’s lower than many opponents with weaker certifications.
The Aquasana AQ-5200 is ANSI/NSF certified (PDF) for 77 contaminants. Together with the identically licensed Aquasana AQ-5300+ and A.O. Smith AO-US-200, that makes the AQ-5200 essentially the most robustly licensed system amongst our picks. (A.O. Smith purchased Aquasana in 2016 and has adopted a lot of its know-how; A.O. Smith has no plans to section out the Aquasana line.) For comparability, the superb Pur Pitcher Filter with Lead Reduction is licensed for 23.
These certifications embrace chlorine, which is used to kill pathogens in municipal water provides and is the chief explanation for “bad-tasting” faucet water; lead, which might leach out of previous pipes and pipe solder; mercury; dwell cryptosporidium and giardia, two potential pathogens; and chloramine, a persistent chlorine-ammonia disinfectant that’s more and more employed by filtration vegetation within the US South, the place pure chlorine quickly degrades within the heat water. The Aquasana AQ-5200 can also be licensed for 15 “emerging contaminants” which might be more and more present in public water provides, together with BPA, ibuprofen, and estrone (a type of estrogen utilized in contraception); and for PFOA and PFOS—fluorine-based compounds used to make nonstick substances, and which obtained an EPA Health Advisory in February 2019. (On the time of the advisory, solely three producers on this class of filters had been licensed for PFOA/S, making this significantly noteworthy.) Additionally it is licensed for VOC. Meaning it successfully removes greater than 50 totally different natural compounds, together with many pesticides and industrial precursors.
Together with activated carbon and an ion-exchange resin, that are widespread to most if not all under-sink filters, Aquasana makes use of two further filter applied sciences to realize its certifications. For chloramine, it provides catalytic carbon, a extra porous and due to this fact extra reactive type of activated carbon produced by treating the carbon with high-temperature gasoline. For cryptosporidium and giardia, Aquasana manufactures its filters in such a manner that the pore dimension is decreased to zero.5 micron, which is sufficiently small to bodily seize them.
The Aquasana AQ-5200 filter’s distinctive certifications are the primary purpose it’s our decide. However its design and supplies additionally set it aside. The faucet is manufactured from strong metallic and so is the T-shaped fixture that attaches the filter to the plumbing. Some opponents use plastic for one or each, reducing value however rising the chance of cross-threading and mis-installation. The AQ-5200 employs compression fittings to make sure a decent, safe seal between your plumbing and the plastic tubing that sends water to the filters and faucet; some opponents use easy push-in fittings, that are much less safe. And the AQ-5200 faucet is offered in three finishes (brushed nickel, polished chrome, and oiled bronze), whereas some opponents provide you with no selection.
We additionally favored the AQ-5200 system’s compact type. It makes use of a pair of filters which might be every little larger than a soda can; another filters, together with the Aquasana AQ-5300+, beneath, are the dimensions of liter bottles. With the filters put in on the mounting bracket, the AQ-5200 measures 9 inches excessive by 8 inches large by 4 inches deep; the Aquasana AQ-5300+ is 13 by 12 by 4 inches. Meaning the AQ-5200 takes up considerably much less room within the sink cupboard, can slot in cramped areas the place bigger programs wouldn’t, and leaves extra room for under-sink storage. You want about 11 inches of vertical area (measuring downward from the highest of the housing) to allow filter substitute, and about 9 inches of unobstructed horizontal area alongside a cupboard wall to put in the housing.
The AQ-5200 could be very effectively reviewed for a water filter, with 4.5 stars (out of 5) throughout greater than 800 critiques at Aquasana’s web site, and 4.5 stars throughout practically 500 critiques at House Depot.
Lastly, at its present worth of about $140 (and sometimes on sale for nearer to $100) for the entire system and $60 for a set of substitute filters ($120 per 12 months on a six-month substitute cycle), the Aquasana AQ-5200 is among the best values amongst our opponents, costing a whole lot lower than some fashions whose certifications aren’t as intensive. The unit incorporates a timer that begins beeping once you’re due for a filter substitute, however we suggest additionally setting a recurring calendar reminder in your telephone. (You’re much less prone to miss it.)
Flaws however not dealbreakers
The Aquasana AQ-5200 has a decrease most circulate charge relative to some opponents (zero.5 gpm versus zero.72 or extra) and decrease capability (500 gallons versus 750 or extra). That is the direct results of its bodily small filters. On steadiness, we predict these minor drawbacks are outweighed by its compactness. If you understand you need increased circulate and capability, the Aquasana AQ-5300+ is rated to zero.72 gpm and 800 gallons however shares the identical six-month filter-replacement schedule.
The AQ-5200 system’s instruction guide is a bit sloppy, with a couple of components not proven on the components checklist or diagram. It’s nothing that can journey up most house owners; basically, all you’re doing is attaching a few tubes to the water provide and the tap, and the components roughly clarify themselves. (The unlisted, ornamental stainless washer is the exception: it goes onto the tap first, earlier than the skinny rubber washer.) And in equity, sloppiness is an issue with many under-sink filters’ manuals, judging by the feedback we got here throughout in our analysis. However we’d wish to see the guide rectified sooner or later. Within the meantime, right here’s a video from Aquasana of how to install the AQ-5200.
Like all our picks, the Aquasana AQ-5200 comes with its personal separate faucet, which can not match your type. You too can set up a separate faucet of your selection, so long as the tap connection is ⅜ inch. However you’ll wish to match its circulate charge to the Aquasana’s zero.5 gpm, as a result of filter certifications are tied to circulate. And observe that utilizing your personal faucet technically means your system is now not ANSI/NSF licensed.
In the event you suspect your water is sediment-rich (an orange-ish tint, from rust, is one clue; so is previous expertise with filters of any type, together with pitchers, changing into clogged earlier than their projected lifespan), it’s possible you’ll want to have a look at the in any other case related Aquasana AQ-5300, which provides a sediment prefilter.