There’s nothing better than life in a recreational vehicle (RV). You’ve got the open road ahead, worries behind, and everything you need wherever you are! But you might be surprised at how many camping trips and road journeys can be ruined by unfiltered water. When your RV’s water isn’t properly filtered, your road trips might just be from one hospital to the next!
Purified water can prevent sickness, injury, or worse. Luckily, there are tons of options that will keep your water fresh and safe. Read on to learn how to filter the water in your RV so that you can focus less on filtration and more on fun!
- 1 Why You Need an RV Water Filter
- 2 RV Water Filter Options
- 3 RV Water Filter Installation
- 4 Best RV Water Filters
- 4.1 Watts POE12DSA1KDF Dual Exterior Water Filter Kit
- 4.2 Clearsource Premium RV Water Filter System
- 4.3 Camco 40045 TastePURE Inline Water Filter
- 4.4 Ecosoft 3 Stage Under Sink Water Filter System
- 4.5 Frizzlife Under Sink Water Filter
- 4.6 Woder 10K-Gen3 Ultra High Capacity Direct Connect Water Filtration System
- 4.7 Go Berkey Kit (Stainless Steel Portable Water Filter System with Sport Berkey Water Bottle and Carrying Case)
- 4.8 APEC Water Systems CT-2000 Countertop Water Filter
- 4.9 Apex Countertop Drinking Water Filter
- 4.10 Brita Large 10 Cup Water Filter Pitcher
- 4.11 LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
- 5 Conclusion
Why You Need an RV Water Filter
Purified water is extremely important no matter your living condition. Water sources can be contaminated by sediment, parasites/bacteria, heavy metals, and other microscopic dangers. Drinking non-purified water can lead to health concerns for you and your family. No one wants to spend vacation at a hospital.
Living or traveling in an RV increases risk. You’ll be hooking up to various water sources and you won’t know what the quality of the water might be. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your RV is equipped with a water filter that can handle any job. The truth is: water sources can become contaminated all the time. Campground owners and maintenance crews might do their best to keep their water sources clean, but they can’t catch everything. In 2018, a Minnesota campground found their water sources contaminated twice by E. coli. Yikes.
Here are some common dangers with campground water sources…
Bacteria, Fungi, and Microbial Contamination
It’s scary to hear, but it’s true: water sources can often be contaminated by germs, fungi, and other illness-causing microbes. These contaminants can cause major sicknesses, including but not limited to: Giardia, Norovirus, and even Hepatitis A. No water filter can filter out everything, but setting up a proper filtration system can ensure you’re more protected.
Sediment, Dirt, Silt Contamination
Ground disturbances from geological events (like earthquakes) or man-made events (like construction) can shift the ground around water sources. This can lead to dirt, silt, and other sediments being introduced into your drinking water. Water filters are especially good at filtering out hard contaminants like this. Drinking unfiltered water filled with sediment can lead to sickness.
Heavy Metal Contamination
Some water sources use metal piping that can rust over time. Metal flakes and shavings can enter your water when this happens. Drinking these microscopic metal pieces can cause serious problems! They can cut up your mouth and throat, cause infection, or even lead to poisoning!
All these complications can be mitigated. All you need is a good water filter. And you’re in luck! You’ve got options…
RV Water Filter Options
Getting a water filter for your RV is surprisingly easy. There are tons of online retailers that provide wide selections. Amazon is always a wonderful place to pick up anything you need. But, maybe you aren’t sure what kind of filter to look for? No worries! This article has you covered.
Your biggest consideration should be how much of your water supply you want to purify. Do you want to purify all the water going into your RV or do you just want to filter the drinking water? This determine the type of filter to search for. You should also consider how much space the filter will take up. And, of course, you should figure out a budget.
Water filter types can vary, but here are the basics…
Whole RV Filtration
Water purifiers intended to filter all the water going into your RV are often called “whole RV filters”. These filters can attach directly to the water hookup outside your RV, to your water intake hose, or can be installed within the RV itself. These are generally divided into canisters, with one, two, or three-canister options available. Generally speaking, more canisters means better filtration. More canisters also means the filter takes up more space, too, so watch out for that.
There are also whole RV filters, called “inline filters”, which are usually a single canister, low-use system. These are the cheaper versions of whole RV filters and work for a shorter period of time. These inline filters are great options for people who use their RVs intermittently. Full-timers should definitely consider larger systems.
Drinking Water Filtration – Under-the-Sink Filters
Under-the-sink water filters attach to the lines running underneath a sink and filter ONLY the water coming into that sink. They come in a range of sizes, just like their whole RV counterparts. Space is a large consideration here because they install under the sink. Keep in mind that not all RVs provide access to the plumbing underneath the sink, so you’ll need to ensure yours does before buying one of these filters.
Drinking Water Filtration – Countertop Filters
Like under-the-sink filters, countertop water filters only filter the water in the sink to which they’re attached. Instead of going under the sink, they attach directly to the tap. This means you won’t have to worry about how much space the filter uses under the sink, but you might need to worry about counter space. In an RV, every inch counts!
RV Water Filter Installation
Installing the various types of portable water filters can be a challenge because there are so many types, so you may need to rely on your specific filter’s manufacturer to provide specific installation information. If you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, don’t worry. Many manufacturers provide professional installation as a service, and general plumbing services can usually assist you with installation as well. If you’d like to give it a shot on your own…
This video provides installation information on a filtration system that connects to your intake hose.
This one describes installing a basic under-the-sink system.
And this one shows you how to install a countertop system.
Again, if you have specific questions, consult either your filter manufacturer’s instructions or a professional plumbing service.
Best RV Water Filters
So, you know what sort of filter you want! Now you need to know which is the best! There are a lot of options out there. Here are a few of the very best options of each filter type.
This Watts exterior filter sits between your intake and the hookup. It can be mounted inside your RV, keeping things nice and clean, but can just as easy be used externally. It’s lightweight and incredibly durable, complete with a two-stage system that will last for a year. The plastic fittings on this system can be a little finnicky, so be sure to install with care and keep lots of Teflon tape around to secure any loose fittings.
This Clearsource system is an external system. It can still be mounted inside the RV, but it already comes pre-built with a stand for outdoor use. It comes with a two-stage system. Because the whole system is so well-packaged, it’s very simple to install and use. The downside: it can be a little pricey!
- AWARD WINNING. Featured In 2018 TrailerLife Magazine's "Essential Equipment For RV Camping" Gear Guide, and extensively reviewed in January, 2019 MotorHome Magazine ("Impressive." "Makes RV water filtering an art form.")
- BULLET PROOF. Premium RV water filter system, engineered from the ground up for the RVer. Powder-coated chassis. Stainless steel fittings, not coated brass. Oversize canisters for maximum water flow.
- PREMIUM, NSF CERTIFIED FILTER ELEMENTS. We build our systems only with NSF certified filter elements. Our 5 micron 2.5 x 10 inch first stage filter removes sediments. Our 0.5 micron coconut shell carbon block 2.5 x 10 inch second stage filter removes chlorine, volatile organic compounds, cysts, giardia, and other contaminants. Our coconut shell carbon block technology creates great tasting water - significantly better than standard carbon filters.
No RV water filter conversation is complete without mentioning this Camco filter. It’s incredibly popular among RV enthusiasts. It’s a single-canister system and it’s guaranteed to keep your water fresh and clean! However, this system is also prone to clogging quickly and therefor has a short lifespan. It isn’t recommended for full-timers or people who regularly use their RV, but it’s great for intermittent users and part-time campers.
- Safe water matters: GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) filtration greatly reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine, and sediment
- Large capacity filtration: Each large capacity in line water filter lasts an average of 3 months for a total of 6 months filtration
- Multiple uses: Can be attached to any standard gardening or water hose to provide healthier drinking water and cleaner water overall. Great for RVs, boats, campers, pets, gardening, and much more
Some enthusiasts consider this under-the-sink system the king of RV drinking water filtration. It comes with a heavy-duty three-stage system that will definitely purify your water! It’s built to last as well. However, the system’s three canisters can take up lots of room underneath the sink, so be sure you’ve got the space to spare! Also, you’re getting what you pay for. This bad boy is more expensive than other, smaller options.
- KETTLE & IRON WITHOUT LIMESCALE! Our water filtration system makes water softer, removes organochlorine & mechanical components, lowers levels of manganese & iron. The house water filter system reduces water-hardening salts, concentration of heavy & non-ferrous metals, preventing limescale formation.
- BPA FREE SAFETY! High quality plastic of water filtration systems provide best everyday experience for you and your family.
- DELICIOUS WATER ANY TIME! This water filter system delivers valuable pure water for both drinking and cooking. Make healthy dishes full of vitamins!
The Frizzlife system is a single-canister, under-the-sink system built specifically for ease-of-use. It’s very easy to install and the canister, which can last up to two years, is designed for quick changes. If you’re looking for easy, you found your option! This system is on the cheaper side and great for RVers that just want to install a system and go. However, the single-canister system won’t provide the highest quality filtration, so consider that before you buy.
- TWO-STAGE ADVANCED WATER PURIFIER WITH 0.5 MICRON: The Frizzlife MP99 Water Filtration System include a TWO-STAGE High precise compound filter, which has a unique technology that removes over 99.99% of contaminants while leaving in all essential minerals. Eliminates LEAD, HEAVY METALS, CHLORINE, CHROMIUM 6, MERCURY, RUST, VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS, CARCINOGENS, AND OTHER CONTAMINANTS, SUCH AS TURBIDITY, ORDORS AND BAD TASTES. Enjoy PURE AND HEALTHY WATER From the tap. NO more bottle water!
- DEDICATED FAUCET & BRASS FEED WATER ADAPTER VALVE INCLUDE: Frizzlife Undersink water filtration system includes a dedicated stailess steel faucet that can installed in most sinks providing cleaner filtered water for cooking or drinking. NO plumbing required, it come with 3/8" compatible brass feed water adapter, brackets and STEP-TO-STEP Installation manual, you can mount the water filter as you wish within 10 minutes.
- BEST AUTO SHUT OFF DESIGN: Utilizing quick change twist-in installation design makes it take less than 3 minutes for you to install the system or doing a filter replacement. Provides for easy, tool-free, no mess filter replacement. The filter cap is designed with BUILT-IN shut off valve. You don't even need to shut off the water supply whenever you work on the filter cartridge replacement.
This water filter is surprisingly heavy-duty considering its one-canister system. It’s easy to use and install. It’s also made to filter just about everything but the sink above it! The Woder system is designed for a whopping 10,000 gallons of purification (or about 3 years with regular, daily use). Be advised that this system is only for use with cold drinking water. Most importantly, it will significantly restrict water flow.
- ULTRA HIGH CAPACITY - LASTS FOR A MINIMUM OF 3 YEARS OR 8,480 GALLONS - Notes: For longest life, use with municipal treated cold water only, not well water. Do not use with salty or softened water. Connects for use only with cold water for drinking.
- USA MADE - NO PLUMBING REQUIRED – Comes with ‘Direct Connect’ hoses that fit standard 3/8” water valves under US kitchen and bathroom sinks. The 3/8” Direct Connect Hose are made to install directly to the existing cold water valve and faucet stem under your sink. Replacement filters ASIN B0144MFN92.
- WQA GOLD SEAL CERTIFIED to NSF/ANSI 42 for Chlorine, taste, odor and NSF/ANSI 372 for lead free compliance as verified and substantiated by test data. Flow rate 2GPM @65 psig
Go Berkey Kit (Stainless Steel Portable Water Filter System with Sport Berkey Water Bottle and Carrying Case)
This is perhaps the most popular portable water filter you can find. It’s designed for use in a range of situations and is capable of connecting to your tap or directly to the water source. This kit comes complete with a water filter, a filter bottle, and even a carrying case for everything! High versatility means you can use this water filter in your RV or out on camping excursions. That versatility will also come with a cost, though, so budget could be a factor on this one.
- INCLUDES the Following: A BPA-free Berkey Sport Bottle, which is a light-weight bottle great for long hikes or extended exercise
- A stainless steel Go Berkey, made of high-quality AISI 304 stainless steel polished to a high luster
- A Black Berkey filter, which is the Go Berkey water filter that powerfully purifies contaminated water
APEC is a highly-trusted name in water filtration. And for good reason. Their systems are quality, well-priced, and exceptionally easy to use. You can trust that this countertop system will keep your water delicious and looking great. Perhaps the only drawback to this system is its opaque container shell: you won’t actually be able to see your filter through its cartridge holding.
- 4-in-1 ceramic filter combines ceramic media, silver ion media, activated carbon block and ion exchange media to remove water contaminants
- Multi-Stage Filtration Removes Bac., Chlorine, Lead & More
- > 99. 99% E. Coli, Cryptosporidium & Cyst Removal
Easy to install and use. This Apex system has a clear shell, comes in various colors, and doesn’t take up much space. It’s also pretty affordable. Each filter can purify about 750 gallons of water before it needs replacing. Air pockets can form during installation, though, so keep an eye on any excess moisture accumulation. Also, be prepared for low water pressure.
- REDUCES CONTAMINANTS IN TAP WATER: The APEX Clear Countertop Alkaline Drinking Water Filter System removes contaminants commonly found in tap water, like chlorine, sediment, and radon. It also filters Cryptosporidium, and Giardia cysts, which contribute to water-borne illnesses. APEX water filters remove mercury and harmful pesticides to give you delicious, sparkling, fresh clean drinking water.
- CONNECTS TO STANDARD FAUCETS: APEX’s Clear countertop water filter system has been designed to conveniently sit right on your kitchen counter. It is simple to install, and connects easily to most standard kitchen faucets. All the necessary hardware is included for easy do-it-yourself installation. Simply remove the aerator screen from the faucet and screw on the collar of the APEX diverter valve.
- COST-EFFECTIVE WATER FILTER: By using an APEX countertop alkaline water filter, you can stop wasting money on small disposable bottles of water that just get thrown away when empty. Buying bottled water for daily home consumption gets expensive and tedious. You don’t have to lug heavy water jugs or cases home to enjoy fresh clean drinking water. APEX water filters are the solution.
If money’s tight, you can always buy a water pitcher with a built-in filter. It’ll do fine for filtering your drinking water, but it’s low capacity and will take up room in your fridge. It won’t help you much with washing water, but it’s an affordable solution in a pinch.
- LARGE WATER PITCHER: This large, clear plastic pitcher has a soft-grip handle which makes pouring easy along with the locking lid for convenient refilling. Height 10.16; Width 5.77; Length/Depth 11; Weight 2.48 pounds
- CLEANER AND GREAT TASTING: The BPA free Brita filter reduces chlorine taste and odor, copper, mercury, and cadmium impurities found in tap water. Substances reduced may not be in all users’ water.
- FILTER INDICATOR: For optimum performance, a helpful electronic filter indicator tracks when your water filter needs to be replaced.
You can go to filtered water bottles in serious situations. They can’t hold as much as pitchers and aren’t great for long-term use, but having a couple stored away can be useful if your water filter unexpectedly goes out.
- Reusable LifeStraw Go BPA-free water bottle filters water while drinking; great for travel, backpacking, camping, and emergency kits
- Award-winning LifeStraw hollow fiber membrane water filter removes bacteria and protozoa from lakes, streams to ensure safe, clean drinking water
- 2-stage activated carbon filter reduces odor, chlorine and leaves zero aftertaste
Water filtration is key — especially when living or traveling in an RV. All those different water sources can be potentially hazardous, so investing in proper water filtration is essential. Make sure you’ve done thorough research and you understand what you need before buying or installing any portable water filter. Look for quality filters and use the above list to guide your purchase. Don’t let water purification ruin family vacations or life on the road!
Good luck, safe travels, and happy drinking!