- Provides impressive filtration thanks to the 5-stage filter
- Large capacity to meet the needs of medium-sized families
- Pocket-friendly deal and great customer service
Zero Water is a very popular water filter brand and it’s known for its countertop water filters. The company manufactures a wide range of countertop water filters that include water filter pitchers/jugs which come in different sizes, designs, and capacities.
These water filter pitchers provide an inexpensive and easier way to access safe and clean drinking water at home, work, and even in an RV. The Zero Water 10 Cup water filter pitchers are particularly different from those from other brands mainly because they utilize an incredibly thorough filtering process that involves 5 stages of filtration – most gravity water filter pitchers only use the standard 2-stage filtration process.
The other thing that makes them different is the additional features they come with like a free Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter attached to the lid of some of their models and a quick-fill spigot included at the bottom of most of their pitchers which gives you the option to dispense water in your glass if you don’t want to physically lift the pitcher to pour.
As mentioned earlier, the company has different types of water filter pitchers that vary in capacity ranging from 6 to 40 cups. In this post, we are going to look at the Zero Water 10-cup water filter pitcher (also referred to as ZP-010).
It’s one of the company’s most popular models and we are going to analyze it to show you how it performs, what contaminants it gets rid of its overall build quality, and some of the drawbacks that it may have. We’ll tackle everything you need to know, so let’s dig into the matter right away.
The Filtration Process and Performance
The biggest selling point of this Zero Water 10 Cup water filter pitcher is that it offers a 5-stage filtration system which sets it apart from its competitors like PUR and Brita which employ the standard 2 stages of filtration.
It utilizes ion exchange technology, activated carbon, oxidation-reduction alloy, and two mechanical filtration media. Each of these stages provides a different cleansing function but combined they remove a wider range of contaminants than most regular water filter pitchers – over 23 different contaminants are removed from the water including virtually all dissolved solids. Here’s an overview of each of them:
The first stage of filtration is a coarse filter screen. It’s the first entry point and it filters out most of the suspended solids from sediment to fine particles that are too large for the other filter media to handle. It clears out dust, rust, and other visible particles that usually make the water appear cloudy.
Stage two is a foam distributor. It’s a large foam section that distributes the water evenly across the entire width of the filter. It helps prevent the concentration of water only toward the center which is the case with other filters. The water is uniformly dispersed across the whole surface of the filter which in turn facilitates a more effective filtration in all the remaining stages. It’s a step that helps increase the filter’s overall efficiency and its lifespan as well.
In the third stage of filtration, the water passes through a multi-layer activated carbon and an oxidation-reduction alloy. The carbon media here is similar to the one found in nearly all conventional filters and it removes chlorine and a variety of organic chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and VOCs. This is the stage most Brita and PUR pitchers stop.
The additional oxidation-reduction alloy further removes chlorine as well as some heavy metals like mercury, iron, and lead from the water. It also prevents mold and bacteria from forming and growing inside the moistened filter over time.
Both the activated carbon and the oxidation-reduction alloy greatly improve the overall taste of the water as they efficiently remove chlorine (up to 99%) and other chemicals that cause the water to have an unpleasant smell and taste.
The fourth stage features Zero Water’s dual comprehensive Ion Exchange resin and it’s where the magic happens. The resin in this segment acts like a magnet as it effectively strips away nearly all the foreign ions of contaminants from the water molecules.
It removes virtually all TDS (over 99%) from the water including salts, minerals, and metals such as lead (99%), copper (99.9%), chromium 3 & 6 (98%), arsenic +3 & +5 (98%), asbestos (99%), cadmium and much more.
It also reduces fluoride from the water (up to 99%) as well as harmful chemicals like cyanide (99%), nitrate (98%), and nitrite (99%). Generally, the resin adsorbs all the ions of inorganic compounds, only allowing clean water molecules to go through.
The fifth and last stage of the filtration process is an ultra-fine screen combined with non-woven membrane layers. This segment removes extremely fine particles missed by the other previous filtration stages – mainly particles that are too fine to be seen directly by the naked eye. It also holds the resin in place. The combination of these five different filter media definitely makes the Zero Water ZP-010 much thorough in its filtration than the two stages of Brita’s and PUR’s pitchers. Based on customer reviews, many people who have used it reported that it works incredibly well.
It’s especially effective at removing total dissolved solids including fluoride and heavy metals like lead. It’s able to remove up to 99.6% of TDS, more than what typical water filter pitchers can remove – a majority of them remove not more than 70% of the TDS. Most people reported recording zero TDS reading on their filtered water using the provided TDS meter which is almost equivalent to the results you would get on reverse osmosis-processed water or purified bottled water.
The only major/harmful contaminants they fail to remove are microbiological contaminants. The oxidation-reduction alloy is able to prevent the formation of mold or the growth of bacteria inside the filter but other than that, no microorganisms can be removed by any of the five filtration media. For this reason, you can only use it with municipal treated, tap water – we wouldn’t recommend it for use with well water unless it’s treated.
The other downside is that even though the foul chlorine and chemical smell and taste are cleared out, some of the healthy minerals are equally removed during the filtration process, and as such the water can taste slightly sour or acidic as a few users reported. It has nearly the same taste as the reverse-osmosis (RO) water, which is not really unpleasant – it just doesn’t have that “sweetness” in natural water, usually brought about by the minerals in it.
The Filtration Speed
This filter is certainly not quick. It takes around 8 to 10 minutes for all the water in the top section to filter through, so you have to wait roughly 30 to 45 minutes for the pitcher to fill with clean water when it’s empty. The 5-stage filtering process is the reason for this since the water needs to go through all the five media which slows its flow rate down a little.
The standard 2-stage water filter pitchers from Brita or PUR can clean out the same top reservoir in 5 minutes or fill the pitcher (same capacity) in around 20 to 30 minutes which is roughly 10 to 15 minutes faster than the Zero Water 10 Cup filter.
Even if the wait is worthwhile given that the Zero Water filter removes more contaminants, if you want to get clean water quickly, then this might not be the ideal filtration system for you – unless though your water source is highly contaminated.
The Zero Water ZP-010 pitcher is capable of holding up to 10 8-ounce cups of filtered water or 2.3 liters of clean water, which is sufficient for a small to medium family or at work.
The drawback is that the upper reservoir that holds the water to be filtered is quite small. It can only hold up to 2 cups of water which is almost a quarter the capacity of the pitcher below it. This is an issue because you have to refill it several times before the pitcher actually fills.
It takes about 4 fillings and given how considerably slow the filtration process is, you can wait up to an hour to have a full pitcher since you have to wait until all the water passes through the filter before refilling again. A larger pre-filter reservoir proportional to the overall capacity of the pitcher could easily make things a bit faster.
The lid of the reservoir doesn’t have a flip-up door/small trap door for filling like Britta pitchers which is quite inconvenient. You must remove the entire lid every time you want to put water in the reservoir which is annoying as it makes the fill-up a real chore considering that you have to do it several times.
The lid itself is a pain to take off and put back on. There’s no handle or anything to hold on to aid the process. The only way is to stick your fingernail right in between the pitcher and the lid so that you can pry the lid off, or lift the flapper that’s over the pour spout to get leverage.
If you grab the lid and try to pull just straight up to take it off, the entire reservoir plus the filter would pull out of the pitcher with it. This is never an issue on a PUR or Brita pitcher because the reservoir lid has a small flap that you just open to put in water – you only get to remove the main lid when changing the filter.
Pouring the Water
The ZP-010 doesn’t pour well. Many people had frequent problems when pouring the clean water from the pitcher. The pour spout is bigger and rounder (rather than compact and pointier) and so instead of keeping a nice stream, you often end up splashing or dribbling the water when pouring to fill either a glass or container. It’s not at all smooth, just messy and no control – you can’t easily direct the water exactly where you want it.
Another annoying thing is the little flap/lid that covers the spout. While it prevents impurities from falling in your filtered water, it does get in the way of the water as your pour hence invariably causing the water to splash in all directions and wind up on the kitchen countertop or the floor instead of inside the glass. You have to lift and hold it open to avoid making such a mess.
The good thing though is that the lid doesn’t come off easily when pouring, which was the case with the old Zero Water 10-cup pitcher. It fits very firmly hence there’s no chance of it coming off even when you pour the water or tilt the pitcher further. In the original 10-cup pitcher you had to hold the lid and also keep the flap on the pour spout open to pour the water without making a mess which was not only inconvenient but very awkward.
The thing you can’t do is to pour the clean water while the unclean water in the top reservoir is still filtering. Zero Water says you can do this but many attested that that’s not the case because the top lid doesn’t make a tight seal – when you pour the filtered water, some of the unfiltered water will start to leak out of the reservoir and end up into your cup or glass and mix with the filtered water thereby contaminating it.
Zero Water also claims that the handle is well made, soft, and comfortable to grip but that’s not the case either. There’s a thin, sharp raised strip of plastic where the seam is (down the middle and right part where the forefinger curls under the handle) which many complained that it’s so painful to grip and makes carrying the pitcher very uncomfortable, especially when full – it’s quite heavy when filled, even halfway.
You have to wrap your fingers with a towel or sand down the sharp edges of the seam to make them smooth and comfortable to hold. Even then, the angle of the handle itself isn’t that ergonomic because your wrist still bends at a very uncomfortable angle when holding the pitcher. The handle design is generally not the most ergonomic out there – kids and people with hand arthritis might find pouring water out quite uncomfortable.
However, Zero Water 10 Cup has included a small tap/spigot on the back of this pitcher positioned just below the handle. It’s a thoughtful little extra feature that provides an alternative to pouring the water.
You just place the pitcher at the edge of the kitchen countertop or fridge shelf and push the button to dispense the filtered water into a glass. It provides an easier way for kids and people with disabilities to use the pitcher, especially when it’s full and heavy – you don’t need to physically lift it or tip it to pour water.
The spigot is too recessed though, so you have to pull the pitcher off the shelf a bit if it’s in the fridge in order to get clear access and prevent spillage, plus you can’t use the spigot if the pitcher is on the bottom shelf.
The flow of water out of the spigot is very slow too. It can take up to 5 minutes just to fill up a cup hence it’s only ideal for dispensing a small amount of water like in a small glass – it can take up to 15 minutes to fill a large glass or container.
Besides that, some found the button for dispensing the water to be very stiff making it difficult to press. You have to press it a little harder to dispense the water, so it can be a bit challenging for kids to use it and it’s even likely to break over time if you frequently use the spigot to get the water from the pitcher.
One of the main complaints about this Zero Water 10 Cup filter pitcher is that the filter has a short lifespan. It’s stated to filter up to around 25 to 40 gallons of water (or last 3 to 5 months) before requiring replacement but several users reported that it never lasts that long, with some claiming that they had to replace theirs after just less than a month.
This was likely due to the quality of their water because if it has more contaminants, then the filter will reach its lifespan faster than expected which means it will have to be replaced more often.
With that said, most people mentioned getting at least 3 months out of their filters, so it’s really down to the quality of the tap water to be filtered. If the contamination level of your tap water is within the national average (055 to 200 TDS), then it’s likely to last 3 or 4 months. If the level falls between 200 to 400 TDS or more, then your results may vary – you may have to replace the filter more often, probably after every 2 months or less.
Design and Build Quality
The design of the ZP-010 is no different from the other water filter pitchers from Zero Water. Both the pitcher and the top reservoir are blue which sets it apart from the other pitchers like Britta which normally have clear designs. However, both containers are still transparent, so you can tell the level of water in them at a glance.
Other than the rough, sharp edges on the seam of the handle, the rest of the pitcher’s exterior surface is pretty smooth making cleaning it easy.
A notable design difference is the TDS water quality meter attached to the top lid. It’s a little detachable gadget that you can use to measure the TDS level in your water before and after filtration to give you an idea of whether or not the filter works properly.
There’s no electronic filter life indicator like in some of Britta’s pitchers, but with the TDS meter, you can closely examine/monitor the water quality and gauge when to change the filter. It’s a more reliable and precise method than water mileage or elapsed calendar time.
In terms of size, the ZP-010 measures 26 x 14 x 28 cm. It’s slightly larger and taller than other similar pitchers (same 10-cup capacity) like Brita Standard Everyday. It takes up a bit more room, hence you may have a hard time fitting it in a small fridge – with a bit of re-arranging of the shelves it could be accommodated. It is light although only when empty (weighs 1 pound).
The overall build quality of the whole unit is decent. It’s made of BPA-free plastic material that’s slightly thick and feels solid. Some parts may not be really durable though.
For instance, as we mentioned earlier, the push button for the spigot is stiff hence requires pressing it a little harder which can cause it to break/pop out over time with frequent use. Moreover, some reported that it sometimes leaks. A few users equally mentioned that they received a faulty unit, which appears to indicate a shipping or quality control issue.
That said, putting the pitcher together was easy for most because it’s only the filter that you have to assemble before using it. All the instructions are provided – you have to ensure you tighten the filter properly to ensure water passes through it and not around it at the ends. This is a problem that a few people reported having and the result is unfiltered water leaking into the compartment below it and contaminating the already filtered water.
The filtration performance of this Zero Water 10-cup water filter pitcher is incredible. It doesn’t remove all the contaminants, but it certainly removes a majority of them and does it better than most other similar-sized filter pitchers – many users were really impressed by its performance, especially since it’s able to remove a wider range of contaminants than the rest.
Its main downside is the slow filtration and the fact that it exhibits several pouring problems. It also seems to have some quality control issues although they’re not really a widespread problem.
Generally, if you are looking for a simple, low-cost water filter pitcher that’s thorough in removing contaminants including chlorine, heavy metals, fluoride, and almost all TDS, then you should definitely check out this unit. It’s a great option too if you want a decent-sized filter pitcher with enough capacity to meet the water needs of a small or medium-sized family.
The filter is NSF certified for standards 42 and 53, plus comes with a 90-day warranty. The package itself includes the pitcher, one filter, and one TDS water quality meter.
Things we like
- Provides impressive filtration thanks to the 5-stage filter
- Large capacity to meet the needs of medium-sized families
- Pocket-friendly deal and great customer service
- Quite safe and durable with BPA-free plastic material
- Tested by NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 standard certification
- Backed by a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty
Things we don't like
- Short filter lifespan
- The filter speed is slightly slow
Historical Price Chart
This is one-year-history price chart of the Zero Water 10 Cup Ready-Pour ZP-010 Water Filter Pitcher.
Note: This price chart is provided for reference purpose only.