There are many reasons why water would taste weird or off and depending on where you are in the world, those reasons will be different. So instead of going over what type of water is typically found in certain locations, I have created a guide below that goes over all the reasons why water would taste weird and what you can do about it.

Reasons Your Water Tastes Weird

What Different Tastes In Water Mean

Water Tastes Fishy, Earthy

Geosmin, a naturally occurring chemical component, is the most likely reason for water tasting like dirt. Bacteria often found in the soil create it. Algae in nearby water sources also create geosmin.

If geosmin is causing your water to taste foul, it is most likely not a regional issue. This problem is more likely to occur during the summer when algal blooms emerge in local water sources. The odds of geosmin contamination are increased if your local water comes from a lake, dam, or river.

Some elements, such as Barium or Cadmium metals, can give off a fishy odor. Chloramine is a chlorine-ammonia chemical used to clean public water supplies. Your local water source will most likely be the long-term remedy to this odor.

Water Tastes Like Chlorine, Bleachy

The smell of bleach in your tap water is most likely due to excessive chlorine levels. Chlorine in little amounts in your water is not dangerous.

If the chlorine taste or odor persists after refrigerating the water, or if it can be detected in hot beverages, the chlorine may be interacting with certain plastic or rubber components of your plumbing. Water can taste metallic, bitter, or bleachy as a result of reactions with these components.

Water Tastes Bitter

The presence of high levels of total dissolved solids in tap water causes it to taste bitter (TDS). Hard water is defined as water with a high concentration of TDS. Corrosion of your home’s old copper pipes might also be causing your water to taste bitter.

Water Tastes Like Gasoline

It’s unusual to find tap water that smells or tastes like petroleum, gasoline, or turpentine, yet it might be dangerous to your health. If your water smells like these, it may be been contaminated by an underground storage tank that’s leaking gasoline, paint, detergent, or ink leftovers.

Water Tastes Metallic

The most prevalent reason for water tasting metallic is that it contains a significant amount of iron. Iron isn’t the only metal that may provide a metallic flavor to tap water. Manganese, lead, zinc, and copper are other typical tap water pollutants that have a metallic flavor.

Water Tastes Salty

A high concentration of chloride ions is the most prevalent source of a salty taste. Sodium, potassium, and calcium chlorides are employed in a variety of industrial operations, and weathering and rainfall-runoff can cause them to leach from rocks into the water. The ions then make their way into your water supply, giving it a salty flavor.

Sulfur, Rotten Eggs

If your water smells like rotten eggs, hydrogen sulfide gas is almost certainly present. This might be caused by a malfunctioning water heater or naturally occurring sulfur bacteria, which is common in well water. Hydrogen sulfide can be produced as a result of these problems, leaving a foul odor wherever it travels.

Pencil Shavings, Woody

Antioxidants present in plastic pipes cause this taste. If your supply pipe is constructed of alkathene, a black plastic substance, this might happen. This material was used to make some of the earliest black plastic pipes. However, it has been shown that chemicals leak from these pipes, resulting in a woody taste and/or odor in the water. The only way to get rid of it is to replace the plumbing.

What are Contaminants that Produce A Bad Taste In Water?

Contaminants That Produce Bad Taste In Water

Bad taste in water comes from many different reasons. But the first one is obviously contamination.

Depending on the contaminant, however, the taste will change enormously. Below, we’ll show you the flavor that different pollutants cause in the water.

Sulfates

If you’re likely to get a slight smell of eggs or sulfur. This is a clear sign of hydrogen sulfide contamination. Also, when the water is filled with chloride ions, it will taste salty. These sulfates come from the soil, and it gets into the water when the liquid runs overground.

Chlorine

Water-treatment companies use chlorine to disinfect tap water that reaches your home. That’s why yours is likely to smell and taste of strong chemicals.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are another chemical contamination that causes a similar but more intense taste to chlorine. These include formaldehyde, isoprene, methanol, and terpenes.

Heavy Metals

A metal tastes like metal. Things like lead, copper, arsenic, mercury, and iron will cause the water to taste metallic.

Minerals

Zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium may cause an earthy and slightly metallic taste. These are usually healthy and don’t change the taste too much. But in significant quantities, they can.

Algae & Moss

If the water has a strong earthy flavor and fishy odor, it will likely have algae and moss. This is a widespread taste as moss, algae, and similar contaminants tend to grow in water plumbing.

TDS Or Sediments

Similarly, dissolved solids and other sediments in the water may cause heavy, earthy flavors and odors. This often means the plumbing system is old or not maintained.

Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE)

Turpentine taste and smell are clear signs of MTBE contamination. This includes byproducts of gasoline and detergents, inks, paints, and xylenes.

Types of Filters That Get Rid of Bad Taste

Now that you have a clearer idea of what causes bad smells and tastes in water, it is time to learn about the mechanisms that remove them. Here we present the different filters types that can get rid of this offputting taste:

Tasting Water Filter Pitcher

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

This system is composed of several stages at once. The water goes through and leaves TDS, VOCs, minerals, chlorine, and sediment behind. That’s why RO is one of the best options for giving the water a great taste. Sadly, it is not standard for pitchers, which is a pity.

Ion-Exchange

Another common way to eliminate minerals from water is by using ion-exchange filters. These also remove limescale and some sediments.

This type of filter uses an ion-exchange resin that captures the minerals and sediments in the water that cause salty or earthy flavors.

Activated Carbon Filter (ACF)

Carbon is a typical filter material because it absorbs chemicals, heavy metals, and tiny microorganisms. It is often recommended for people who want to taste their water better.
While carbon works well to remove taste and odor, it may leave its taste behind. Carbon could cause a slightly earthy flavor on the water.

Sediment (TDS)

Also known as the mechanical filter, it is usually made of mesh-like materials that can capture large dissolved solids and sediment. Some of these filters are made of coconut fiber.
By removing TDS and sediments, mechanical filters can reduce earthy and algae flavors from the water.

Ceramic

Hard ceramic mesh or casing is also helpful for removing contaminants from the water. It can tackle sediments, dirt, and debris, as well as some bacteria and viruses.
Ceramic filters are generally helpful for water that tastes fishy or earthy.

Alkaline

An alkaline filter separates acidic components from the alkaline ones by using electrolytes. This is an excellent way to add minerals back into the water and raise the pH.
If the water went through a reverse osmosis system, giving some of the taste back with an alkaline filter is always helpful. These are not common on pitchers, either.

Use A Water Filter Pitcher To Help With Weird & Funny Tasting Water

Filter pitchers are designed to filter water on the go, removing contaminants to make the water drinkable. Sadly, this drinkable water is not always tasty.

This happens because not all pitchers can filter the water well enough to remove bad taste. Luckily, you can fix that with the best-tasting water filter pitcher.

Best Tasting Water Filter Pitcher

The ideal pitcher removes most contaminants, including those that produce a bad smell, color, and, most importantly, taste. But it won’t be easy to pick a pitcher that meets these standards, though.

However, picking a pitcher that cleans the water and makes it more pleasant will be a lot easier with our help. You’ll need to learn how they work and how to choose the right one.

See my comparison on PUR vs. Brita pitchers

ZeroWater ZP-010 Water Filter Pitcher

 ZeroWater ZP-010

A simple design with effective filtering never disappoints. The ZP-010 from ZeroWater offers such an advantage, delivering one of the comfiest pitchers along with a contaminant-free filter experience.

It all starts with the 5-stage filtration. In contrast with other pitchers, this one boasts every type of filter necessary to clean the water away from contaminants and give it a more pleasant taste. This includes an ACF (activated carbon), a TDS, an ion exchange, a standard carbon, and a top mesh.

The filter capacity is adequate to remove 99% of all contaminants. And with such effectiveness, it can clean up to 20 gallons of water in dirty areas. In places with cleaner water, it can last 40 gallons or more.

On top of all that, it is a practical pitcher. You get a comfortable grip for easy handling, a top TDS meter holder, and a push-to-dispense spigot. Getting the most out of this pitcher won’t be hard.

The 10-cup doesn’t stay behind. With heavy-duty plastic construction, the pitcher can handle years of use without a single problem. And it will be light enough to move around with ease.

Keep In Mind

After a week or two, the filter will stop removing contaminants and leaving a bad taste on the water. This means you will have to replace it. Such a short filter lifespan removes most impurities from the water like no other. You can expect clean water when it is still working.

Water Filters for Better Taste: Buying Guide

The only way to get the best tasting water filter pitcher is to know what you’re getting. If you aren’t sure of what pitcher to go for, the following guide may help you out:

Filter Type

First and foremost: what type of filter does the pitcher offer?

If you want to remove the water’s bad taste, you need to get one of the filters or stages mentioned above.

Your focus should be on getting as many types of filters or stages as possible. This will remove the contaminants that cause bad taste and ultimately give you precisely what you are looking for: pleasant-to-drink water.

Filter Durability

It is not only about the filter effectiveness, though. You also want a filter that can last. And for that, you’ll have to consider how many gallons it can tackle before it needs to be replaced.

We typically recommend 100 to 200 gallons for the best experience. You could get between 3 to 6 months (or more) from one of these filters.

But don’t overlook filters with less lifespan than that. Those low-durability filters are usually pretty effective (sometimes more than long-lasting ones). Just make sure it can last a month, at least.

Pitcher Capacity & Size

How much water do you want to store in the pitcher? Most models offer between 7 and 12 cups of water capacity, that’s about 0.4 to 0.8 gallons of water. You can get anywhere from 5 to 10 glasses of water accordingly.

Be aware that overall pitcher capacity also affects the size of the pitcher. You don’t want a product that eventually feels bulky and difficult to fit inside the fridge.

Ease Of Use & Convenience

Like picking a pitcher that holds enough water, you want one that makes pouring, storing, and filling easy. For that, go for wide-open spouts, secure lids with damps that prevent spillage, and comfortable handles so you can move the pitcher around with no trouble.

Low-profile designs are also worth considering, as they take less space than typical pitchers. And if you want to prevent accidents, go for models with rubber bottoms that increase safety when using.

Construction Quality

Lastly, you should never overlook the overall quality of the pitcher. This includes the type of material (plastic or glass), the thickness, and different parts that could add to durability and resilience.

Don’t forget to consider the operating temperature range, either. Some pitchers can handle below-zero and hundreds of degrees of temperature. These can be pretty helpful for filtering hot water or placing the product in the freezer when necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Andrew-Miles
Ask Drew!

Once you’ve read our reviews, buying guide, and info section, you’re prepared to get a water pitcher. But you may still have a few questions roaming around that we didn’t answer before. The following section may give you the answer you need.

Does filtered water from a pitcher taste better?

As long as the filter on the pitcher removes the contaminants causing the taste, yes. That’s why we often recommend knowing what flavor you want to remove, linking it to the pollutant that causes it, and then picking a pitcher that removes that contaminant.

Are there contaminants that don’t have a taste?

Most viruses and bacteria don’t have smell, taste, or color. They are so small that they go unnoticed. Even water tester sticks are incapable of noticing these contaminants. It is heavily recommended to do a lab test on your tap water to ensure there aren’t undetectable and dangerous contaminants in it.

Is Brita better than Zero Water?

There’s no exact way to respond to this because it depends on your specific needs and desires. Brita is an excellent pitcher brand that removes odor and taste. Zero Water removes taste more effectively than Brita but may leave some smells behind. See my Brita vs. Zero Water breakdown here.

Are faucet filters better than pitchers to fix taste?

Most of the time, yes. Filters connected to faucets and plumbing systems directly often remove more contaminants due to the pressure they’re subjected to. At the same time, these filters tend to be more long-lasting.

However, they don’t offer the portability, convenience, and ease of use of a pitcher. And the installation can be costly as well.

Conclusion

Drinking dirty and unhealthy water is always dangerous. But most importantly, it is often gross and unpleasant. The taste of this type of water will eventually make you drink less water and possibly cause diseases.

With the best-tasting water filter pitcher, you can change that. Follow our advice and recommendations on this article for that. You won’t have to test hundreds of different pitchers to pick a product that works. With this article, you should be able to get precisely what you need.

If you’re tired of drinking untasteful water, then you know the solution. What are you waiting for then?

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