Americans have a growing taste for water. Many are installing home water filters for a variety of reasons: wanting to improve the taste of their tap water, a desire to reduce consumption of bottled water and health concerns. Although drinking water in the majority of homes meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for quality, some consumers use water filtration systems to help reduce certain contaminants.

Water can pick up chemicals and a bad taste after it leaves a central distribution plant, according to Pauli Undesser, director of regulatory and technical affairs at the Lisle, Ill.-based Water Quality Association.

What’s new?

Design. New products such as the sleek Bobble Jug, designed by Karim Rashid, look good in the refrigerator.

New technologies. More individual water bottles now have carbon filter inserts for on-the-go hydration.

Convenience. Disposable straws with mini-carbon filters inserted in them for one-time use.

Operating tips

Filter care. Some pitcher systems require soaking filters before inserting into the unit.

Change filters on schedule. For best performance, follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully for replacing filters.

Consider outside testing. The best way to choose the correct filter is to have a professional lab test of your tap water so you know what’s in it.

Well water. If you are using your filtering systems with well water, have your water tested frequently.

Low, medium, high

We asked Patricia Matho, a Bed Bath & Beyond district customer service manager, to select three water-filtering systems from those available at the chain store.

Brita filtered water bottles

One filter can replace 150 plastic bottles. The 20-ounce bottle is dishwasher safe. Reduces chlorine taste and odor. $9.99 each; pack of two replacement filters $7.99.

ZeroWater 10-cup pitcher

Five-stage filtering system includes carbon and ion exchange technologies that can remove some “dissolved solids.” Slim-line design saves space in the refrigerator. Includes laboratory-grade water testing meter. $35 each; two replacement filters $30.

Pur horizontal chrome faucet-mount filter

Filters up to 100 gallons with one filter on your tap. Built-in indicator shows when filter needs to be changed. Easy installation and easy to remove. Run filter or unfiltered water with a flip of a switch. $40; set of two replacement filters $35.