UnTreeHugger: New Pur Water Filters


With our constant urging to stop buying bottled water and to drink from the faucet, instead, we're loathe to knock a water-filter product. In fact, Pur's faucet mount has served this writer's family well for almost five years. When its outer shell cracked one day, we figured we didn't have much of a choice other than to head over to the store to buy a replacement. That or construct an elaborate system of filters using cheese cloths and a stack of precariously balanced colanders.

Imagine our dismay, however, when we discovered Pur had replaced our model with a new line—one equipped with battery-powered indicators that flashed when it was time to change the inner filter. (The old version had a non-electronic window with a twee little color bar that moved as the filter ran its course.)The battery in each of these new faucet mounts lasts five years, not a problem in and of itself. But here's the kicker: You can't replace the battery. In fact, the company went out of its way to ensure you cannot replace the battery. Obviously, getting its customers to fork out $20 to $35 every couple of months for replacement filters wasn't enough. When your five years is up, you have to ditch your old mount and buy an entirely new one, even if your original hardware is in perfect working order.

We've heard of built-in obsolescence, but this was ridiculous. (Don't even get us started on the new Flavor Options.)

After much indignant sputtering, we ended up bringing our business elsewhere. Although Gaiam's filter was considerably pricier—upfront, anyway; someone less lazy can crunch the actual numbers—it's made in the United States, the water flow is smoother, and we only have to change the filter once a year. Best of all, no pointless batteries to act as a ticking time bomb. We're hoping this baby sticks around for a while. ::Pur