I have not done many product reviews on this blog, but in a previous life I was reviewing 2-3 products/week as a journalist/test editor at IDG. I plan to start to review some products I been coming across, in all different categories.
Today I will be looking at the 3M Filtrate Water Station. I have been seeing the ads on TV for a few weeks, and since I already own a Brita water pitcher, I was curious to see if the claims of much shorter filtering time was true, and how that affected the taste.
The Brita pitcher consists of two chambers, a top one which is filled with water, and a lower one where the filtered water ends up. Between the two chambers, there is a cylindrical carbon filter. The end result of the Brita pitcher is nice clean water, and I usually keep it in the fridge to make sure the water is cold. The two main issues with the pitcher is that it requires the top chamber to be filled up twice to fill up the lower chamber (which can hold 64 oz of water), and that the filtration time is fairly lengthy. The MSRP for the model I have is $31.99 and the filters are $7.99 for one, $20.99 for 3. Each filter lasts 40 gallons according the the manufactures website.
What about the new 3M Filtrate Water Station? It filters straight into four 16,9oz (0.5 liter) bottles attached to the station. The bottles are made in hard plastic, with a special lid that can pop on and off. You can fill any number of bottles, there is a valve for each bottle that automatically close when no bottle is attached. The filter is circular and flat. 3M claim that each filter can process 100 gallons before being replaced.
It does filter much faster than the Brita pitcher, and it is convenient to fill straight into bottles. It takes less than a minute to fill all 4 bottles. The top section of the bottle can be unscrewed, to allow for easy cleaning (they are dishwasher safe, but 3M recommend washing by hand).
However, there are a couple of issues with the product. The bottles are somewhat hard to open and close. Could be because they are new, but the mechanism is not perfect. A screw lid attached with a chain would been a much better solution. The time I spend trying to open and close the pop-lid is as long as it would take to screw/unscrew a cap.
3M Filtrate Water Station
Price: $37,44 (unit), $9.99 (100 gal. replacement filter), $14.99 (two extra bottles)
Pros: Fast filtering, water stored directly in bottles, low cost per filtered gallon, dishwasher safe, convenient,saving moneyby buying lessbottled water.
Cons: Expensive extra bottles, hard to open/close bottles, does not filter as good as a thicker/slower filter.
Summary: A good alternative to water pitchers, but need some debugging/tweaking to be a killer product.
I am not fully satisfied with the quality of the water. I can´t put my finger on it, it does taste better than the water straight from the tap, but it is not fully as crisp and clean as bottled water or the water produced by the Brita pitcher. But it is good enough to drink, especially when flavored with Crystal Light, something I blogged about a while back. And I hope to save substantially by cutting down on my purchases of bottled water.
My son consumes large amounts of water, he wants a bottle next to the bed for the night and I often have to throw away half-empty bottles that have been opened for a few days. He want his water "cold and fresh", so he just go and get a new bottle, and never put the partially used ones back in the fridge. So now the waste will be substantially less.
I purchased the 3M Filtrate Water Station for $37.44 (plus tax) at Walmart, and a replacement filter was $9.99 if I remember correctly. I also purchased a 2-pack of extra bottles, for $14.99. The price for extra bottles is way too high, in my opinion. The water station itself is not much more expensive than a pitcher, and store about the same amount of water.
I think 3M need to iron out a few kinks, mainly the mechanism of the lid and improving the filter some, even if that will slow down the filtration speed.
Disclaimer: Obtained by personal purchase.