ZeroWater 12 Cup Review
A clever jug that can remove almost all total dissolved solids.
If you want to clean up your tap water and have water that’s on a par with purified water, the ZeroWater 12 Cup jug is a simple way to achieve this goal.
- Comes with a TDS meter
- Filters out practically all TDS
- Spout for bottle filling
- Can’t always pour while filtering
- UKRRP: £44.99
- PurificationUses a multi-stage filter to clean water.
Jugs that filter water are common, but the ZeroWater jugs offer something different: zero total dissolved solids (TDS) in the final product.
That’s akin to having purified water on tap, removing anything bad or foul tasting from the source product.
Neatly designed and simple to use, the ZeroWater system is a great way to get clean water no matter how bad your tap water is.
Design and features
- Wide range of jug sizes available
- Simple operation
- TDS meter provided in the box
I’ve got the 12-cup, 2.8-litre jug on review, although ZeroWater also sells a variety of varied sizes, ranging from 6-cup jugs to 30-cup dispensers. All use the same physical filter, so produce the same results.
As with other jug filters, the ZeroWater system is easy to use. The filter provided simply screws into place in the lid. Make sure that this is done tightly, as it should form a perfect seal so that water only comes out of the bottom of the filter.
Once in place, the lid drops onto the jug, and can be filled. Tap water goes in at the top, and then drips through the filter, giving purified water at the bottom.
It takes a few minutes for a full reservoir to run through, which gives roughly half-a-jug of water; two goes in total brings the jug to its maximum level.
This jug has ZeroWater’s sealed lid, so filtered water can be poured while the reservoir has water in it. I found this true to a degree: when the filtered portion of the jug was mostly empty, I had to lift the jug quite high to pour, which resulted in non-filtered water pouring out of the top.
A neat feature of this jug is the spout at the bottom of the jug. I found this useful for filling up a water bottle without spilling water everywhere.
Rather than having a filter-replacement light, ZeroWater provides a TDS meter in the box, which handily drops into the lid. This meter shows the level of Total Dissolved Solids in your water. When the filter is fresh, the reading should be zero; a reading of six or higher means that the filter should be replaced.
Total dissolved solids include everything that isn’t water, and the composition and concentration varies across the country, which explains why tap water can taste so different across various regions. TDS includes minerals, salts, metals, chemicals and run-off (often chemicals from farming).
The benefit of using a meter is that you can see the exact point when your filter needs changing, maximising its use. If you carry on past the recommended change point, as I did to see what would happen, you’ll notice that the filtered water has a strange smell or taste to it. In my case, the water started to smell fishy. This is a result of the filter no longer being able to remove all particles.
Each filter can handle 18,000 milligrams of dissolved solids. What this means depends on the quality of tap water. If you live in a typical UK area, you should get between 95- and 150-litres of purified water; if you live in an area with high TDS concentrations, expect between 55- and 95-litres of purified water per filter.
A single filter costs £19.99 (although buying packs reduces the cost). At this price, water will cost between 13p and 36p per litre, which is still a lot cheaper than bottled water. When a filter is done, it should be recycled with plastic (check your local area for recycling information).
- Produces a reading of 0 TDS
- Clean tasting water
TDS is measured, by the provided meter, in parts per million (PPM). The important thing to remember is that the TDS count is just about the particles in water, and there’s no distinction between harmful and good content. For example, if you were to test mineral water, you’d find that this has a higher TDS count than purified water.
That said, the truth about tap water is that, while safe to drink, it’s often got some rather unsavoury things in it. Water can contain metals such as copper, mercury and lead; runoff from commercial and urban areas; sewage; and chemicals. It can also contain beneficial minerals, which are also included in the TDS count.
There’s no way for a filter to work out what’s good and what’s bad, so the ZeroWater filter removes everything from water. It has a five-stage Ion Exchange Filter, to remove virtually all TDS.
Testing my tap water, I got a reading of 258ppm (image, left), which puts me in the safe but high category. Running water through the ZeroWater jug, I got a clean reading of 0ppm (image, right).
The filtered water noticeably tasted cleaner and fresher than my tap water, without the metallic tang to it. For those used to mineral water, the water here may taste a little bland and empty, but it’s still a step up from tap water.
And, that’s not just for drinking pure water. Using it in the kettle to brew tea or coffee improved the flavour of both. When I used my SodaStream Art, the resulting drinks tasted better: making Pepsi Max, the end bottle tasted much closer to the original than when using tap water.
Should you buy it?
You want very clean water:
This filter removes virtually all TDS, leaving exceptionally clean water.
You prefer a bit more flavour:
A water filter that can add additional safe minerals may be a better bet.
Straightforward and simple to use, the ZeroWater system produces water with no detectable TDS. This purified water not only tastes better than tap water, but it makes other drinks taste better, too. If you want completely clean water, this system is great value.
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No, once it’s used up, it should be recycled and replaced.
Yes, it can remove 99% of fluoride and other inorganic compounds.
No, it can’t remove these contaminants and the system should only be used with tap water.
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