ZeroWater 10 Cup Water Filter Pitcher with Water Quality Meter

The Reality of Water Filters

There are lots of shapes and sizes of water filter pitchers, but it’s all about the filter. If you don’t have a good filter, the rest is not essential. Let’s breakdown how to evaluate the filters. Most have more than 1 stage. Many are 2 stage up to Zero’s, which has 5. The entire point of filtering your water is to get rid of all the crap stuff lead, aluminum, zinc, pesticides, mercury… and only leave clean, healthy water behind.

What is TDS?

TDS is the number of dissolved solids in your water, basically anything that is not water, in your water, is a dissolved solid. Perfectly pure distilled water has 0 TDS. The goal of filtering, getting rid of the TDS and other contaminants. The city water in San Diego has lots of chemicals (13, you can see it on the cities website) added for different reasons, but do you want to drink all that? The TDS varies day to day from around 350’s up to 556 TDS here. The minerals are what give water its flavor. Water without any TDS tastes flat.

How to measure TDS?

You can pick up a meter for testing for about $20 or so. Zero water filter pitcher has a meter included with some of their products so you can use it to tell when it’s time to change the filter. Once you have a meter, you can test your water to see where your water lands in the spectrum. If you have hard water, you have lots of TDS in your water. See the meter for directions, and you’ll have your starting point. The lower the number, the better, 0 is perfect.

ZeroWater ZP-010 10 Cup Water Filter Pitcher San Diego City Water Test

How often will I have to change the filter?

Think of the filter as full of little tiny holes that fill up when it traps a particle. Once all the holes are full, it will no longer filter the water; it will just pass through without being cleaned. Zero water is designed to filter everything out of the water, and as a result, it can fill those holes up faster than other water filters.

Here’s the critical part, the reason your filtering your water in the first place is to get rid of all that junk. My city water here is at the maximum end of the chart, and a filter lasts about 15 gallons (between 350 and 556 TDS starting). I make a gallon a day, so I change my filter twice a month.

If you have lower TDS in your water, you will have to change yours less often. If your water is in the 2-50 TDS range, your filter might last for several months or 40 gallons or more. The higher the TDS, the more often you will have to change the filter. That’s one reason that many Zero Water products come with a meter. When the meter gets to 6 TDS after filtering, then it’s time to change the filter.

Why are Zero Water filters are more expensive than some other brands?

The large filter has five stages of filter material vs. a 2 or 3 stage filter. The entire concept behind Zero Water is to remove everything that it can from the water, with the goal of 0 TDS. Most of the other filters may appear to be cheaper, but they are removing less, so they also appear to last longer. In reality, what is happening with the other brands is only a partial removal of the contaminants, so it seems to be a better deal.

Filter Time

My Zero Water filter pitcher takes about 7 minutes per fill to filter. With the design of the pitcher, it’s pretty easy to set in the sink, fill and replace it in the refrigerator. I like the little pour spout on the back of the handle. Easy to put the glass under and fill without removing the pitcher from the fridge. There are several square-shaped models from Zero that hold up to 30 cups, great for larger families.

MonkeyHack: If you fill from the tap, the air bubbles in the water stream can create air pockets in the filter, and it will slow down the process. Just move it a bit to the side rather than right over the filter screen. If you get air bubbles and it’s slow, simply tap the top of the pitcher gently several times, which will usually solve the problem.

Zero Water Pitcher How To Fill

Making Distilled Water – Zero Water Filter

I use my Zero Water pitcher as a pretreatment for my home distiller. Trying to distill the San Diego tap water created a mess in my distiller. I started using the pitcher to filter the water before distilling so that I don’t have to clean my distiller after each run. If you are distilling at home and your water doesn’t have a high TDS, you won’t necessarily need to do this. Pretreating my water this way, I only need to clean my distiller every couple of months instead of after each use. How to distill your own water.



If you are going to take the time and expense to filter your water, why not do it right. The Zero Water system can give you safe and clean drinking water almost anywhere. It’s a low cost and easy to use, and it removes more contaminants than any other system. It may be a bit slower, but you want clean water, right? A little extra time is not much to ask when getting better results.

Link to Zero Water Performance Results

MonkeyFAQs from around the web:

I can’t get a zero reading.

Answer: Please try the following troubleshooting steps. Remove and dry off the filters with a clean paper towel and then place each filter over a glass. Run a small amount of water into each filter and test the sample that collects in the glass.  If it reads 000 chances are, you did not have your filter(s) screwed in tightly enough or may have been over-tightened to the point that the Black O-Ring has squeezed out of place.  There is also an O-Ring between the filter coupler and upper chamber of the bottle that must be sealed properly.  In order to get a perfect 000, there must be a complete seal when the filters and coupler are screwed in to prevent any contamination. Because you have water that is in the chamber that is not 000, you will need to flush your cooler to rid it of the non-zero water. If it does not read 000: it is time to change your filters.

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Anyone from the Chicagoland area using this? How long do the filters last?

Answer: The filters are rated for 16 gallons, but the real answer is that their lifetime depends on the quality of the water going into them. If dissolved solids going in is low, they last longer. If dissolved solids going in is high, their lifetime is short. You can’t really depend on the state-by-state chart on the box. Water quality at your tap depends entirely on the diligence of your local water supplier. Some do an outstanding job of removing dissolved minerals from their raw water supplies. Others don’t, and some vary over time. So only experience will answer the question in your individual situation.

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Does it work properly when water is HARD?

Answer: have very hard water here…….its works to me I can tell a big difference in the taste ….but with anything I cannot tell you how much of a different it make since I’m not having it tested….water out of my tap w/ the little meter that came w/ pitcher avg 425-475…filter water 1st test was 0…and then it slowly move up as u filter water…got about 3 months off the first filter……hope this helps

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I live in Brooklyn NY. the tds is 21 ppm. how many gallons will this item filter before i would have to change the filter ?

Answer: I live in the Washington DC area and my water measures 256 ppm on the measuring stick that comes with the filter. I’m the only person using it but I filter at least a gallon per day and a filter will last about 5 weeks. If your water is only 21 ppm a filter should last a lot longer.

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I just bought a zero yesterday. trying to set it up, but can anyone confirm that going through the filter takes a while? I have the larger size.

Answer: Yes it takes longer to go thru 5 filters than it does 2….. but it’s well worth the wait! Better water takes time.

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How are you supposed to care for this unit like washing?

Answer: I wash it by hand with dish detergent once a week.

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Is it OK to let the filter dry out overnight?

Answer: You just fill the filter hopper as you need it. The filter will just go through periods of working and emptying as the water drains into the main reservoir and then the hopper gets filled again. You don’t have to worry about the filter other than when to change it.

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Does this come with the tds meter which gives a numeric value or just a red/green light?

Answer: Yes, it comes with the meter which gives the numeric value. We’ve had it few months now. I’m pleased with it. I think the lid needs to be redesigned to go on easier. You have to line it up just right – seems like something that you wouldn’t have to think twice about. It’s a small inconvenience.

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Can this be used as an actual pour pitcher and if so how heavy is it?

Answer: Yes it can be used as a pour pitcher. We use it this way quite often as it fills the glass faster. It is not too heavy to pick up.

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Does this pitcher filter bacteria like EColi and any other harmful bacteria associated with well water?

Answer: No it does not filter EColi and other harmful bacteria.

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Is this filter system what they call gravity flow? I think so.

Answer: Yes

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Does anyone know how well this pitcher works with well water? Our water is very hard. We also live in a farming community, which means chemicals.

Answer: I used to live on a farm, too, and the water table was really sulfuric-tasting. We installed a house water filter and softener which solved the problem, but was very expensive! It would have been worth the $35.00 to see if the Zero Water worked. I am very happy with the taste of the water I now have with this system. I think you will be, too. What have you got to lose to try it?

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Does it filter calcium?

Answer: The fundamental premise of ion exchange is to reduce TDS, which is significantly comprised of calcium and sodium, for that reason, we would say removal is near 100%.

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Does it remove the chlorine taste or any bad taste from water ?

Answer: It removes all tastes from the tap. It’s fantastic. I wish I knew about this years ago. Well worth it. And it does drip out of the bottom whole slow but it does empty out. Make sure you screw in the filter from the bottom of the water container not just put it in from the top, like I did LOL Hope this helps.

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For how long can water stay in Pitcher or Water dispenser without use ?

Answer: The best way to store the filter is to keep it in water in the refrigerator. It is best to continue the use of the filter until it is exhausted as our filters do not lend themselves well to intermittent use due to the dissolved solids being trapped inside. Intermittent use can shorten the life of your filter.

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What is the difference between the 10-cup and 12-cup water pitcher? They are about the same price.

Answer: Hi – The Ready Pour water filter pitcher has a secure fit lid design that allows you access to filtered water while unfiltered water remains in the reservoir.

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How many pitchers does a filter do?

Answer: It depends entirely on how “bad” your water is. The more gunk that your water contains, the harder the filter has to work, which uses up its filtering capacity more quickly than if your water is pretty good to begin with. This is such an excellent filter that I find it to be well worth the cost, even though my water is pretty bad. I get many, many pitchers of good water out of each filter. Living alone, so I do not use a lot of water, but I will not drink unfiltered water or use it for cooking. (I even have a filter on my shower.) The tester that comes with the pitcher enables you to monitor filter performance. I had fun with the tester testing friend’s water and various bottled waters in addition to my own terrible tap water. Unless you love lugging home gallons of distilled water from the store, this pitcher is the best thing around that doesn’t cost several hundred dollars. Good luck!

8.9 Total Score
Easily the best water filter pitcher available.

Zero provides a test meter with their pitchers. The reason is obvious, you can test your water to see how well it works. Why don't the other companies do the same.

Ease of Use
Good Design
  • Simple to Use
  • Free Test Meter
  • Pour Spout For Easy Filling
  • Filter Easy to Change
  • Best Filtration
  • More Frequent Filter Replacement
  • Higher Cost Filter
User Rating: 5 (1 votes)

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