Survey: water filter owners more likely to trust independently certified filters

Feb. 21, 2024
New consumer data unveils consumers' needs and preferences for third-party certification when shopping for a water filter.

NSF, a leading testing and certification organization in the water industry, released a report analyzing consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding water filtration.

This new survey data comes at a time when the use of water filters is at an all-time high according to a survey conducted by Aquasana. Their data shows that as of 2023, 91% of Americans use a water filter, up 25% since 2020, due to consumer shifts in believing that it is healthier and better for the planet.

The U.S. EPA’s National Public Water Systems Compliance Report shows that 27 percent of public water systems had violated at least one drinking water standard in 2022. With water quality concerns rising, the data sheds light on the growing importance of water filtration systems in ensuring access to safe and clean drinking water in homes nationwide. The findings, derived from extensive consumer surveys, highlight key trends and preferences driving the demand for water filtration solutions.

Key highlights from the report include:

  • Trust Disparity: Only 52% of filtration owners trust the tap water at home, revealing a significant trust gap in water quality perception.
  • Regional Variations: While 67% of people living in urban environments trust their tap water, only 45% of suburban residents and 44% of those in rural environments express similar trust. The Northeast emerges as the region where tap water is most trusted, while mountain states exhibit the lowest trust levels.
  • Importance of Certification: A staggering 92% of filtration buyers express a preference for independently certified filters, willing to pay an average of 17% more for certified products. Furthermore, 79% of parents insist on only giving their kids filtered water that is certified safe and effective.
  • Consumer Preferences: Affordability, ease of installation, effective performance, long lifespan, and positive reviews are cited as top qualities shoppers seek in a water filter, while effectiveness, cost, health impact, lifespan, and maintenance rank as top concerns before making a purchase. Filter owners are nearly 3x more concerned about the effectiveness of a filter than the speed of the filter.
  • Concerns and Contaminants: Filter owners prioritize the removal of lead, pesticides, mercury, chlorine, and micro-organisms from their water, with regional variations in contaminant preferences.
  • Certification Assurance: A seal of independent certification on a filter's package influences 73% of filtration buyers, instilling confidence in safety and effectiveness. Additionally, 81% of buyers feel more confident in certified filters, and 77% would recommend them to a friend.
  • Mandatory Certification: A significant majority (83%) of filtration owners advocate for mandatory independent certification for all water filtration systems sold in stores. Additionally, 53% of buyers are cautious of counterfeit water filters, with 74% looking for a certification mark when purchasing a replacement filter element.

"This data underscores the critical role of water filtration in addressing consumers’ concerns about tap water quality," said Dave Purkiss, vice president at NSF. "It also highlights the pivotal importance of independent certification in instilling trust and confidence in water filtration products. Products that bear the NSF certification mark assure customers that the product meets stringent standard requirements that are accepted throughout the water industry and that the product claims have been independently tested and verified. This helps gives consumers peace of mind knowing that their filter is actually doing what it claims to do."

The independent research was conducted with a random representative sample of respondents in the US. The sample was controlled for water filter owners. A total of N=1003 surveys were conducted. The survey was conducted using online interviews through TrendCandy. Fieldwork: December 2023.

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