Although water quality is crucial for our health, it seems that we tend to pay little attention to it. As a matter of fact, The New York Times recently reported about a country-wide study that found nearly 20% of all the tap water in the US is unsafe to drink.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the top 10 contaminants in tap water include dangerous microbes such as Giardia, Legionella, Salmonella, and Norovirus apart from other pollutants such as heavy metals and pesticides. The situation sure sounds pretty bad, don’t you think?
Well, let me apologize for beginning this article on such a grim note, but there is a bright side to the whole situation after all!
Filtering your drinking water can take care of most contaminants in your tap water.
That said, not all water filters are made equal, and some are far superior to the others. That’s precisely what makes this review so crucial.
In this review, we will take an in-depth look at the Cuisinart CleanWater water-filtration system; the best counter-top water filtration system on the market. Sure, there are several counter-top water filtration systems on the market, but the Cuisinart CleanWater edges them all both in the efficiency and aesthetics.
Cuisinart is a highly respected brand that has been manufacturing kitchen appliances since 1971 and their experience in the appliance industry are on full display with the CleanWater system. It is as elegant as it is functional.
There is a lot to love about this beautiful water filtration system. So, let’s take a closer look and see what makes it stand out.
What is the Cuisinart CleanWater water filtration system?
Cuisinart CleanWater water filtration system is a small water filtration unit that you can set on your counter and has a capacity of about 2 gallons.
The best part of the system is that it does not require a continuous water source unlike many others on the market. As a result, you can install this system almost anywhere in your house- bedroom, dining room or even the basement.
That said, the unit does require a power outlet to work, so you will need to place it within a few feet of a working outlet. But that’s pretty much it; there is no other requirement for operating this nifty little filtration unit.
One of the best features of this unit is that you can control the temperature of the filtered water. It has two outlets one for hot water and one for the cold.
After you set up the unit and add the unfiltered water, the unit is ready with filtered water within 10 minutes. However, it might take up to 30 minutes for the water to chill in the unit.
What are the components of the filtration system?
The Cuisinart CleanWater filtration system can be divided into two parts – the water tank and the main filtration unit.
The water tank can hold about half a gallon of unfiltered water while the main filtration unit holds between 1 to 1.5 gallons of filtered water. Filling water in the water tank is quite easy as well. The tank has a flip lid that is conveniently located to pour unfiltered water into the tank.
The main filtration unit houses the filtration cartridge and two water tanks- one for hot water and one for the cold. The capacity of both the tanks is around half a gallon, which is sufficient for a small family. The water drainage plugs are located at the bottom of the unit to drain the water and clean the system.
The system is really ruggedly built as well. There is no imperfection, and it is aesthetically very pleasing. It is so well designed that you will want to display it on your countertop! The brushed metal finish is lovely, and the transparent water tank is also made from high-quality BPA and Phthalate-free plastic. Overall, there is not much to complain about the design and build.
So, the CleanWater system is pretty, but what about the performance? Well, in a word, the performance is fantastic!
The system can handle almost any quality of tap water you will throw at it. It is quite efficient and gets rid of most major contaminants. The filtered water has no weird odor or taste, which was an issue with some other filtration units we tested. So, it is definitely a good thing.
According to the scientific water quality tests reported on Cuisinart’s website, the system can eliminate 98.7% lead, 97.5% chlorine, 85% copper, 92.5% Tetrachloroethylene (a contaminant) 89.8% Toluene and 92.8% Mercury.
The water filtration performance is at par with some of the more expensive inline water filtration systems.
Apart from the efficient filtration, the CleanWater also has an impressive energy management system in place. The Smart Energy Saver switch located on the side of the unit can reduce the energy requirement by up to 50%.
The system does so by switching off the internal heating mechanism, and you won’t get any heated water. But if you live in warmer areas and you don’t need hot water, this is a great feature to have.
That said, the hot water coming from the unit is really hot! I mean you can use the water to make a cup of tea, it is that hot. So, if you like this feature, you got it with this unit. The hot water tap also features a child-safety lock mechanism so it can’t be accidentally turned on by your kids.
The refilling process on the system is also quite convenient. All you need to do to refill the system is hold up the lid on the top transparent tank and fill it to the ‘fill-line.’ The system filters water at room temperature and then stores it in the two tanks to either heat it or chill it. Both the tanks are made from the leak-proof and erosion-proof material.
The filters on this unit have a life span of about three months, which is quite respectable. When you purchase the unit, it comes with one filter pre-installed in the unit and another spare one in the box. So, you are looking at about six months of filtered water before you will need to purchase the filters.
Cleaning the CleanWater filtration system is also quite easy. All you do is rinse the tanks with a little soapy water, and that’s pretty much it! It is recommended to clean the system at least once in a couple of months. I prefer to clean it every time I change the filters, but you can do it more often if you want.
Installation and setup
The installation of the CleanWater system is relatively straightforward. You don’t need any special tools or anything like that. The most critical step in the installation process is the filter cartridge installation. Although it is not complicated at all, you must pay attention to get the cartridges in perfectly. If your filter cartridges are not inserted correctly, the unit will not function as designed.
Once the unit is assembled and you have it plugged in the wall outlet, it takes about 15 minutes before water starts coming out of the taps. It takes an additional 15 minutes if you want hot water. However, once the initial prep is over, you get a continuous supply of hot or cold water provided you top-off the top tank regularly.
Using the system
Well, it is quite easy to use the filtration system. There is a single on/off button on the system that powers the CleanWater on. The power button is illuminated in a blue hue with a LED to tell you that the system is turned on.
There are two spouts dispensing hot and cold/room temperature water. There are three LED indicators on the unit as well. The indicator LED for ‘Hot, ‘ and ‘Cold’ come on once the unit is ready to dispense hot or cold water (takes about 30 minutes and 15 minutes respectively, after initial setup). The third LED indicator is for the power saver mode. If you flip the power saver switch located on the side of the unit, the heating is turned off, and the indicator comes on.
There is no leakage or anything like that when the unit is idle. The buttons to dispense water (hot, cold or room temperature) are easy to press, and the hot water switch has a child lock as well.
Overall, the system is quite easy to install and setup.
Pros of the filtration system
The CleanWater system is very well designed and has many things working for it. Some of the most impressive things include the following:
- Excellent build quality- brushed metal finish looks stunning
- Does not require a continuous water supply
- The installation takes less than 30 minutes
- The quality of filtered water is on par with even the more expensive units
- Dispenses both hot and cold water
- Has a power saver mode that can save up to 50% of energy
- Easy to clean
- The filters last three months and the package includes a spare filter
- Operating the unit is easy as well
Cons of the filtration system
I did not have a lot of issues with the CleanWater filtration system. However, there is no perfect filtration system, and even this one has some minor issues. Some of the things that I am not thrilled with include the following:
- The unit makes a bit of noise when the heating or cooling is turned on. The noise is not a lot, but if the room is quiet, you will hear a humming every time the heater or cooler comes on. Again, this is not a big deal for me, personally, but would have been nice if the unit was a bit quieter.
- Another gripe with this unit has to do with the buttons that dispense water. These buttons need to be pushed down quite hard. Now, it might not be a big deal for most people, but if you have someone with arthritis in your family, it can get a bit difficult for them to push these buttons. I would have preferred tactile buttons like the ones you see on soda fountain machines.
The CleanWater water filtration system is an excellent counter-top filtration system that is as efficient as it is beautiful. The two-gallon capacity is ideal for a small family, and the fact that you can get hot and cold filtered water takes the system a notch above the competition. It is easy to set up and use as well.
So, do we recommend the CleanWater counter-top filtration system? You bet we do!
The only problem is that it is not on sale anymore. In fact, it has been discontinued.
The company cuisinart does not manufacture any water filtration systems.
If you’re looking for a dedicated water filtering system, I recommend reading my guide on Reverse Osmosis Systems.