Best Activated Carbon Water Filter UK

Today we’re getting to grips with the Best Activated Carbon Water Filter UK.

Activated carbon is one of the best technological developments in filters for many years. We’ll look at the best model of each type, to make sure you get the one that’s right for your needs.

The top activated carbon filters are as follows:

The best tap water filter with activated charcoal is the Philips Water – X-Guard. For filter jugs, the winner is the Klar Water Filter. The top under sink/reverse osmosis filtration system is the Frizzlife PX500-A.

top activated carbon tap water filter

Philips Water – X-Guard

Activated Carbon Filter: Yes
Filter Lifespan: 1000L / 1200L (Ultra version)
Flow rate: 2L/min

best water filter jug with activated carbon

Klar Water Filter

Activated Carbon Filter: Yes
Filter Lifespan: 350L
Capacity: 3.5L

under sink filter system with activated charcoal

Frizzlife PX500-A

Activated Carbon Filter: Yes
Filter Lifespan: 1000L / 1200L (Ultra version)
Capacity: 1892L (500 Gallons)/day
Flow rate: 1.5L/min

Healthy, safe water is what we care about, and that’s the key criterion for our decision on the best activated carbon filter.

Everyone has different requirements for a water filter. Maybe you want already filtered drinking water straight from your tap. It could be that you want your whole house’s water supply to be filtered, wherever it comes out -not just drinking water, but also bathroom sinks, showers and bathtubs.

Here’s what we examined to pick the top filter for each category.

  • The type of activated carbon filter
  • The way the carbon was made
  • The quality of the filtration process
  • Ease of using the filter
  • Ease of installation
  • The number of different contaminants removed; and how well they are removed

We also let you know how to decide which type of filter is the one you need.

Water Filters With Activated Carbon: Category Winners

Best Activated Carbon Water Filter

Activated Carbon Water Filter Reviews

Here are our conclusions about each of the top water filters from our testing.

This is what we liked, what we didn’t like and how to decide if it’s the right one for you.

top activated carbon tap water filter

Philips Water X-Guard

Pros and who needs this :

Already filtered water straight from the tap
Out of your activated carbon water filter options, this is the one that provides the most ease of use at a low cost.

Long filter life
The Philips Water X-Guard’s filter lasts 6 months. FYI, there are plenty of water filters out there that last just a month or two. In this way, you save a fair bit of hassle compared to other products and water filter types.

Easy to install
You connect it to the tap, via an adaptor. No messing about with the plumbing – disconnecting and reconnecting pipes and so on. If you want filtered water direct from your tap, this is certainly the easiest, most hassle-free way to get it.

Granular activated carbon is a high quality filter
The filter is the GAC (granular activated carbon). Impurities are trapped by pores in the carbon, and thus are removed from the water. In our testing, it worked really well to improve water quality.

Cons and why this model is not for you:

It’s bulky, not that easy on the eye
It’s probably going to stand out a bit, it’s unlikely to match perfectly and looks like it’s a natural part of your sink and taps system. It’s not a tiny little box, it’s a bulky unit. But if you want a simple filter attached to your tap, it needs to be there. And if you want a proper filter that actually works well, it needs to be this kind of size – this is the case with all other tap filters of this type as well. Can you deal with how it looks and blends in (or doesn’t blend in!)? That’s the question you need to ask yourself.

The occasional person has installation issues
We found it very easy to install, and most people are the same. The included adaptors are really good for fitting pretty much every different type of tap. But some people have found it difficult. If so, we’ve found that a bit of tape can go a long way to fixing any issues with things not fitting perfectly. And if you do have any issues, do you know someone with a little more DIY experience than you? If so, there are a wealth of ad hoc solutions to make it work.

Where can you get it?

You can see the lowest cost seller here, on Amazon.

best water filter jug with activated carbon

Klar Water Filter Jug

Pros and who needs this :

Great quality activated carbon filtration
The activated carbon filter worked really well to remove impurities. It removes chlorine, Fluoride (appearing our list of the top Fluoride filters UK), PFOAS and pharmaceuticals, among many others.

Additional filtration steps are a step up compared to other filters
It has several additional filter media that do a great job, like mineral balls. The filtration process removes harmful metals and microplastics. In fact, it does such an exceptional job of removing harmful chemicals and unwanted metals that it strips some metals a little too much. But that’s no problem because…

Remineralisation step means you pretty much have mineral water
This is not normal in a water filter jug. This ability is above and beyond pretty much any filter jug we’ve ever seen. Adding back healthy minerals is great for your health. It means that this filter isn’t just making your water safe, it’s making it better for your health as well. We just like that feeling – every time you drink the water you know it’s doing your body good, and that it’s much more nourishing and healthy than it was before. And this results in…

The water produced is alkaline
Alkaline water is growing in popularity. We’re not saying non-alkaline water is bad at all, but there are certainly a growing body of evidence that alkaline water is good for your immune system, metabolism and your blood!

No installation required and pretty much no mechanical/plumbing issues can arise
It’s a jug with a filter in it. There’s no plumbing involved, no leakages can happen. There is very unlikely to be mechanical issues over time, as can happen with under sink or tap filters.

Cons and why this model is not for you:

The filter is not as long-lasting as the tap filter option
It’ll last for 60 days, or around 350L, whichever comes first. That’s not bad, and there are plenty of filter jugs that have filters which last only a month before they need replaced. But that’s still a lot more regular than the Philips X-Guard, the winner in the activated carbon tap water filter category (6 months).

You need to refill it to get the filtered water
Of course you do, it’s a filter jug. That’s the nature of choosing this option for your filtered water. The other 2 categories in this article have already filtered water coming out of your tap, always ready for you. With no filling up required, and in a constant stream.

FYI, we’ve done a full review of the Klar Water Filter jug.

Where’s the best place to get it?

Here’s where to check it out.

under sink filter system with activated charcoal

Frizzlife PX500-A

Pros and who needs this :

Phenomenally effective filtration – the activated carbon filter is the tip of the iceberg
What do we mean by that? Well, activated carbon is a highly effective filter and works well to filter out many impurities. But in a high quality reverse osmosis water filter, there are 2 further major filtration stages. And one of them is the gold standard of filters, the best there is. It’s the reverse osmosis stage which gives this filter type its name. It removes contaminants like salts, hormones (the only water filter that removes hormones, in fact), chloramine, lead, copper and other TDSs at a level of 99% plus. In fact, more than one thousand types of contaminant are filtered out. And even removes bacteria, pyrogens and organic matter. This is the type of filter used at an industrial level, where the highest possible levels of filtration are required. Fair warning, and we’ll talk more about it later – this filter is not cheap and this is why.

No massive tank required
Other whole house filter options require you to have a large, heavy tank installed. Many people don’t have the space for that, nor the inclination to install it. This Frizzlife PX500-A does not need a tank. How can they do this? Well, it’s able to filter the water fully and fast enough as it passes through the filter unit – there’s no need to keep the water in a separate tank.

The most convenient option
Why? Because this reverse osmosis (and activated carbon) water filter does its job to clean and make the water safer before it even reaches your tap. No need to push a switch every time you want to switch from unfiltered to filtered water, and vice versa. All the water coming from the tap is already filtered for you to use.

Produces super healthy water – alkaline water, and it’s remineralised
The water output has pH above 7.5, that’s alkaline water. And a high quality remineralisation process adds back essential minerals like calcium and magnesium produces the best quality of water possible. As you may expect for such a high quality and expensive unit, this process and the water is superior to the Klar water filter jug, even though that jug’s filter does something similar.

Cons and why this model is not for you:

Installation is not as easy as other activated carbon filters
This filter needs to be connected to the pipes under your sink. Do you need a plumber, then? No, the vast majority of people can do it themselves and many do. We found the process quite simple, but it’s not a 5 minute job either. Give yourself a couple of hours to do it. The instructions provided, importantly, are very clear.

It’s expensive
We mentioned it earlier – this is an expensive unit. It’s the price you pay if you want industrial standard filtration, and the highest possible quality of water. You’ll need to decide if you’re willing to pay that much for high quality water, provided in the most convenient way.

Where can you get it?

Here’s the cheapest available price on the UK market, this seller on Amazon.

Which activated charcoal water filter is right for you?

Let’s get to grips with the best activated carbon water filters and see how to decide.

And let’s talk about what this type of filter even is, and how it works!

Do you want to avoid the hassle of installation?

If you just don’t fancy the effort if installing anything (even if it’s simple!), then your best option is a water filter jug!

The Klar water filter is the best on the UK market. However, the Phox V2 has the best eco credentials.

Do you want to get filtered water direct from your tap?

If so, a tap water filter, like the Philips Water model on this list will provide that. You can press a button on the unit to switch between filtered and unfiltered water.

If you want all the water coming from your tap to be filtered then you’ll need an under sink water filtration system.

By the way, this Philips Water filter also topped our list of the best water filter for taps in the UK.

Other types of under sink filter systems are available.

Is getting the highest quality of water your main concern?

If so, the Frizzlife reverse osmosis system provides the absolute best water quality available (it was No.1 reverse osmosis filter in the UK after all). It has superb filtration abilities, and it adds back health-giving minerals. This water filter produces the water that is the best for your health and safety.

What is activated carbon?

It’s a highly porous material made from carbon, that is very adsorptive.

That makes it extremely useful as a filter medium. Many of the top water filters in the world use activated carbon, at least as one of the materials in their filter media.

It can be made from coconut shells, wood, peat and coal, among other things.

How does it work?

Activated carbon is renowned for its adsorbing and purifying properties.

It has a massive amount of micropores, which are able to effectively remove impurities from the water.

The greater the volume of micropores, the more contaminants it can remove from the water.

The complex network structure of carbon atoms in this form results in many nooks and crannies. These are ideal for capturing contaminant molecules from the water as it passes through the carbon.

What impurities does an activated charcoal water filter remove?

It’s highly effective at removing VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).

It is also very effective at filtering out the following contaminants:

  • Chlorine
  • PFOA/PFAS
  • Microplastics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Chloramine
  • Lead
  • Copper
  • Nitrates
  • Mercury

Are there any other filter types with activated carbon?

Yes, one of the top Alkaline Water Machines in the UK has it.

Update May 2023: An honourable mention for the Big Berkey Water Filter, a superb quality filter with activated carbon.

Best Activated Carbon Water Filter Summary

That’s it; those were the best activated carbon water filters.

We listed the top models in each category.

The winning water filter tap with activated carbon was the Philips Water X-Guard. The best filter jug was the Klar Filter Pitcher. And the top under sink activated carbon filter was the Frizzlife reverse osmosis system.

We discussed what activated carbon is, how it works and what contaminants and impurities it can remove from water.

Good luck with your search!