What is the difference between ZeroWater and Clearly Filtered?

If you are considering either a Clearly Filtered or Zerowater pitcher, you’ve come to the right place. Here we’ll explain everything you need to know about Clearly Filtered versus Zerowater and why you may want to choose one over the other. We will cover everything from filter effectiveness to cost to ease of use, so you can make an informed decision or have an informed discussion.


Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher vs. Zerowater Pitcher. Which one is better?

The answer depends on what you are looking for in a water filter. While both options are much better than your average Brita filter, there are some important differences you should know before making your decision.


The Pitcher

  • Material
    Both pitchers are made from BPA free plastic. However, the Clearly Filtered pitcher is made from a higher-grade material called Tritan®, which is also BPS and phthalate free. Learn more about Tritan here >
  • Capacity
    The amount of water each pitcher holds is about the same. However, the Zerowater pitcher’s top reservoir is relatively small compared to the size of the pitcher, and people have reported having to fill the reservoir multiple times in order to fill the pitcher completely. The Clearly Filtered pitcher has a unique water dam that prevents the unfiltered water from mixing with the clean water while pouring. This allows you to fill up a glass without having to wait for the pitcher to completely finish filtering.


The Filter

  • Number of contaminants removed (232 vs. 23)

This is where Clearly Filtered really excels. The Clearly Filtered pitcher removes over 232 different chemicals, metals, and impurities, while the Zerowater pitcher removes just 23 (here's a link to their website so you can see for yourself). If you’re looking for the filter that can remove the most contaminants, Clearly Filtered removes over ten times more than Zerowater.

  • Filter life span (100 gallons vs. 20 gallons)

The Clearly Filtered pitcher filter has been tested to 100 gallons, while Zerowater’s pitcher performance data only tests to 20 gallons. Zerowater's claim of the filter lasting up to 40 gallons based on the reading of your tap water's TDS is not something we condone as we prefer to use a lab and data to back up our claims of filtration capabilities as well as filter life expectancy.

 Is Clearly Filtered better than ZeroWater


One major advantage of Zerowater is cost. The pitcher and its replacement filters are considerably cheaper than the Clearly Filtered options. However, it is important to consider the shorter life span of the Zerowater filter when calculating overall costs. A shorter life span means having to purchase more filter replacements (5 times more often for Zerowater vs. Clearly Filtered!). This is an important detail not to be overlooked.

And don’t forget the saying, “you get what you pay for.” When it comes to cars, phones, and televisions, it’s no surprise that you are required to pay more for the most sophisticated technology. Clearly Filtered is no different.


  • Zerowater Pitcher: $22
  • Zerowater Replacement Filter: $16
  • Clearly Filtered Pitcher: $75
  • Clearly Filtered Replacement Filter: $50


Understanding “Total Dissolved Solids” (TDS)

Zerowater places a great deal of focus on Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). The product even ships with an at-home TDS meter and they encourage customers to “test” their water so that it shows “000” parts per million (ppm). The goal of having people do this is for them to assume the meter is measuring the level of contaminants in their water. But what if we said that it is the wrong tool for the job? An understanding of TDS and TDS meter limitations is essential to understanding why you could have “000” TDS and still be drinking water that is unsafe.


What are “Total Dissolved Solids” (TDS)?

TDS refers to substances dissolved in water that have an ionic charge. This can include not only a wide variety of contaminants, but also beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium that naturally occur in water. Unlike the name suggests, TDS isn’t necessarily a bunch of bad stuff floating in your water. The name can be quite misleading.

Can TDS be good minerals?

As such, we have come to learn that the number of dissolved solids in your drinking water is not an accurate measure of contamination. Instead, measuring TDS can provide consumers with a false sense of security.


How is TDS measured?

Despite what the name Total Dissolved Solids seems to imply, TDS meters aren’t actually measuring contaminants floating in tap water. Instead, a TDS meter measures electrical conductivity (how quickly an electrical current travels through water) to estimate the number of ionically-charged, non-water particles present. The assumption is that the slower the current travels, the more “contaminants” that are present. But this is not the case. Some contaminants, as well as some minerals and nutrients, do not have an ionic charge and therefore cannot be measured by the meter. You can gain a more in-depth understanding of TDS here


Why is TDS the wrong tool for measuring water quality?

It’s important to know that TDS isn’t actually measuring water quality. There are many things that show up on a TDS meter that are beneficial, such as minerals that give water its taste and aid in hydration.

Does a TDS meter actually work?

1. TDS meters can’t tell you what they’re measuring.

TDS meters cannot distinguish WHAT is in the water and do not indicate what a TDS reading is detecting. Relying on a TDS meter can be deceptive for customers who may mistake minerals being measured as potential contaminants.


2. TDS meters only measure in PPM (parts per million)—and that’s a problem.

One part per million may sound like a really small amount. However, there are hundreds of dangerous contaminants such as lead, chromium-6, and PFAS that are harmful and toxic at levels so much lower than 1 PPM they would not even show up on a TDS meter. These substances are actually measured in much, much smaller amounts called PPB (parts per billion). As a reminder, there are 1,000 million in a billion, so these contaminants are dangerous at levels up to 1,000 times smaller than what would register “001” PPM on a TDS meter.

For example, the legal limit of lead is 0.015 PPM. A TDS meter could not pick up lead until it reached a concentration of 1 PPM (67 times the legal limit!). This means the meter could read “000” even though 67 times the legal limit of lead was present in the water. (On the other hand, Clearly Filtered products are able to detect and remove contaminants found at levels as low as parts per billion).

A TDS meter would not pick up lead in water (and read 001 PPM) until it reached a concentration that is 67 times the legal limit (0.015 PPM)

3) TDS meters are not scientific devices.

One thing to remember when thinking about TDS and water quality is the quality of the tool you’re relying on for your information. A $2.00 TDS meter that is included with a water pitcher is neither laboratory-grade nor used by any laboratories in the country for the purpose of contaminant water quality analysis.

Instead, water quality performance testing like that performed by Clearly Filtered is done with highly sophisticated laboratory equipment such as masspectrometers and spectrophotometers that cost $25,000-$50,000 and measure down to the parts per billion. Simply put, a TDS meter is not a scientific device, which begs the question: Do you really want to put your faith (and health) in one?

As a result of all of these flaws, there is no feasible way for an inexpensive TDS meter, such as the one included with Zerowater filters, to determine the quality of your water or to guarantee that your water is safe.


Does Clearly Filtered remove TDS?

Yes, Clearly Filtered does remove some dissolved solids. However, Clearly Filtered does not remove the healthy and beneficial minerals and nutrients found naturally in water. This is one of the reasons why you should not expect to see a reading of “000” if you use a TDS meter to test water filtered through a Clearly Filtered pitcher.

This shouldn’t be alarming, as there are no naturally occurring water sources anywhere on the planet with 000 TDS. We are also not trying to remove TDS. As a policy, Clearly Filtered does not use TDS meters as they are nowhere near accurate enough to measure any useful water quality data point. Clearly Filtered’s CEO claims, “We are against TDS testers because they are being marketed to people as a test and are being completely misrepresented as a tool to check your water quality. It’s actually dangerous. People should NOT rely on a TDS meter. If they did, they could very well be drinking water with harmful levels of contaminants like lead that would never show up on a TDS meter that only measures in parts per million.”

"People should NOT rely on a TDS meter. If they did, they could very well be drinking water with harmful levels of contaminants . . ."


Clearly Filtered vs. Zerowater: Technology 

There are major differences in the way each filter removes contaminants. Zerowater claims to use an ion exchange resin, while Clearly Filtered uses a blend of 7 different filtration medias collectively referred to as Affinity Filtration Technology. Using the extent of contaminant removal as a measure of effectiveness (232 for Clearly Filtered vs. 23 for Zerowater), Clearly Filtered technology has the edge, while Zerowater is a cheaper (yet still better than Brita) alternative.

Clearly Filtered’s Affinity Filtration Technology uses both magnet-like chemical adsorption and a unique physical structure to provide superior contaminant removal. Through chemical adsorption, harmful contaminants are drawn to and locked into the proprietary filtration media, removing them from your water. The structure of the filter also enables maximum contact between the water and filtration media, allowing removal of up to 99.9% of contaminants. This dual-approach allows unique targeting and elimination of contaminants at a microscopic scale. In fact, Clearly Filtered is so powerful that it is able to remove contaminants present at levels measured in parts per billion.

For reference, 1 part per billion is equivalent to 1 drop in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. This is important, as certain contaminants are harmful even at these extremely low levels.

Compare this to Zerowater, which uses a staged ionic exchange filtration process. The goal of this process is to remove TDS rather than actually targeting and removing specific contaminants. The downside of this is that it also removes water’s beneficial nutrients and minerals in order to achieve “000” TDS.


Which filter is right for you?

You’ve done your research, and hopefully, you now feel well informed and ready to make a decision between Clearly Filtered vs. Zerowater. If you are looking for more extensive contaminant removal, longer filter life, premium materials, and superior technology, Clearly Filtered may be the right choice for you. Explore the full line-up of Clearly Filtered products to learn more.

Posted on Jun 29, 2020 by Roger White

An enormous problem reported by Zero Water filer users is that when the filter becomes exhausted it not only stops removing anything from the water, but worse, it begins to release matter it had filtered previously back into the cleaned water reservoir.

This has the telltale side effect of causing a bad smell which overtakes refrigerators and gets absorbed into the other items being stored there. Zero Water filter owners have reported having to have throw out foods and liquids ruined this way.

Apparently, there is no good way to estimate the life of a Zero Water filter and the only way to avoid the disastrous effects of letting the the filter become exhausted is to replace it earlier and more frequently than should be necessary.

Posted on Jun 29, 2020 by Senai

Thanks for the review. I have been using ClearlyFiltered for three years. When I moved the pitcher broke so I thought I would check to see what else was out there. You confirmed what I suspected stick with the best.

Posted on Jun 25, 2020 by Michael S Clark

Once again the results clearly speak for themselves, I have been a long time user of the Clearly Filtered Pitcher and will continue to use it as I do not think there is anything that can come near it.

We use it for for cooking, drinking chilled from the refrigerator, making tea/coffee and even our beloved pooch will drink nothing but Clearly Filtered Water, we call it sweet water.

I recommended the pitcher to a friend who’s faucet water smelled like sewer water and also tasted quite bad, he purchased one of the pitchers and was amazed at how good the water tasted.
My friends daughter was visiting from London where they use nothing but bottled water and her comment was “It tastes like Evian Water”, my reaction to the comment was it was more pure than that.
Without doubt this is one of the best filter systems on the planet that removes the highest number of contaminants and leaves you with sweet palatable water.

Posted on Mar 25, 2020 by Christian Straub

see comparison with Zero Water

Posted on Feb 11, 2020 by BettyLou Frame

Three Clearly Filtered Pitchers have been in constant use for all cooking and beverages for five plus years. Health protection benefits provide security in creating the safest meals possible and Clearly Filtered water is clearly, delicious. Clearly Filtered, travel filter water bottle, accompanies me everywhere.

Posted on Feb 06, 2020 by Gretchen Theodorakis

I have been using Clearly Filtered for over 4 years now and it is the best tasting and I am determined to filter as many contaminants as possible but specifically Fluoride.I take my pitcher with me when I go on vacation,

I will not change unless I find a filter that is better than this and I have not found it yet.

Posted on Feb 06, 2020 by Darrall Salter

I’ve been using Clearly Filter for over five years, nothing on the market can compare to the quality of Clearly Filtered water. Simply the best tasting clear water. Your water bottle is fantastic.

Posted on Feb 06, 2020 by Frank Scola

Contaminant removal effectiveness is 10 times better(232 to 23) for Clearly Filtered over Zero water.I was at my daughter’s home recently and they use Clearly Filtered as my other children also do,all I can say is the water tasted great.I can tell a distinct difference wherever I drink water not treated.Those facts seal it for me now and have for several years.Thank you for producing a quality product.

Posted on Feb 06, 2020 by Jan Bredehoeft

Thank you very for this informative explanation to my previous contact with need for answers! I appreciate your attention to my email/contact. A little beyond my understanding, but very detailed and convincing… KU st hope I can continue to afford filters!

Posted on Feb 06, 2020 by roger.stenseth@gmail.com

well done folks. noticed from the git go the superior taste, and haven’t wavered. God bless America and you.

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