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Instead of guessing when you need to replace your filter cartridges, the Aquasana AQ-5300+ 3-Stage sends you a notification on your phone.
That’s right, this is a smart under sink water filter. It links up to your phone via Bluetooth, letting you monitor the number of gallons that has been filtered. It also sends you a filter replacement reminder.
The filter’s excellent filtration performance is even more impressive. Unlike most under counter filters, the AQ-5300+ can remove both chlorine and chloramines along with many other contaminants.
Read on for our full review.If you are looking for a budget under sink water filter (this one’s on the pricey side), read our best under sink water filters guide for other top recommendations.
The Aquasana AQ-5300+ is NSF certified to remove 68 contaminants including organic chemicals like pesticides, heavy metals like mercury and lead, microbial cysts that are resistant to chlorine disinfection and sediment (you can see the full list in this PDF).
It is also certified to reduce 97.66% of chlorine and chloramine to enhance the taste and odor of your tap water.
Like most under sink water filters, the 5300+ uses a 3-stage filtration system. But it’s a bit different from others in that it can reduce chloramine, something most filters cannot.
Here are the three stages.
20-micron pre-filter: Filters out sediment, silt and rust. This leaves the other filters to filter out the other contaminants, which improves overall performance and prevents them from clogging too quickly.
Activated carbon: A standard activated carbon filter removes the taste and odor of chlorine. It also reduces herbicides, pesticides and other organic chemicals that may be present in your water.
Catalytic carbon: A more powerful carbon filter that reduces chloramine in water. It also removes heavy metals and chlorine-resistant microbial cysts.
If you live in one of the cities that use chloramine to disinfect water, this is perfect for your needs.
The AQ-5300+ filter does not remove total dissolved solids. These include minerals and salts dissolved in water.
This is both good and bad.
It’s good because it retains healthy minerals in water. It’s bad because it doesn’t prevent scaling from hardness minerals and staining from ferrous iron.
This is why we don’t recommend it for use with well water, which typically has more dissolved minerals and salts than municipal water.
Here’s a warning from the product manual:
“Do not use with water that is microbiologically unsafe or of unknown water quality without adequate disinfection before or after the system.”
That simply means the filter is ineffective against any bacteria and germs that may be in water hence you should only filter treated water.
This is another reason we do not recommend it for well water, which unlike city water, doesn’t contain chlorine for disinfection.
The only microbes the filter can remove are cysts.
The filter cartridge in the AQ-5300+ has a surprisingly short lifespan – only 800 gallons or around 6 months of use.
Most under counter filter cartridges last at least one year.
But at least you don’t have to worry about remembering to change the cartridge every 6 months.
Once you link your phone to the system via Bluetooth and download the free app, you can keep track of how many gallons of water have been filtered and get a reminder when it’s time to get a new cartridge.
The app will also estimate how much money you have saved by switching from bottled water to a water filter.
Unfortunately, the app is currently only available for iOS devices.
But don’t worry if you have an Android device or don’t care much about using Bluetooth. The filter beeps an audible alert when the filter life is almost up.
Installation does take a bit of time since you have to set up a dedicated faucet for the filter. But it’s something you can do yourself without spending more money on a pro.
Just set aside an hour or two to complete the installation.
The filter comes with everything you need to set it up.
But depending on the kind of plumbing you have, you might need to buy an adaptor to make it compatible with Aquasana’s fittings.
This is only for non-standard plumbing. The included fittings work fine with most types of plumbing.
The instructions are very clear so you should have no problem knowing what goes where. If you encounter any issue, Aquasana’s customer support is very helpful.
Note that you should connect the filter only to the cold water line. Carbon filters and hot water don’t go together. Connecting it to the hot water line will damage the filters.
You only need to change the filters every 6 months. No other maintenance is required other than occasionally wiping down the exterior with a damp cloth.
You don’t have to remember when to change the filter. If you have the app and have connected your phone to the filter, you’ll get an alert.
If you don’t have the app (or even if you do), you’ll hear a beeping sound from the filter and see a flashing red light.
That means you should replace the filter cartridges.
Aquasana also recommends replacing the battery when you put in new filters. The replacement battery is included along with the cartridges.
For those who live in Huntsville, Anchorage, San Francisco or one of the other cities that use chloramine to disinfect municipal water, it can be frustrating to find the right under sink water filter.
Most are designed to remove chlorine only.
That’s why we love the Aquasana AQ-5300+. It removes both chlorine and chloramine.
In addition, it removes many other impurities including heavy metals, dangerous organic chemicals from farming and other activities and sediment that gives water a muddy appearance.
The Bluetooth feature is also a nice bonus but it’s not a must-have. If you have an iPhone, it provides a convenient way to remember filter replacements.
We like that they have included a backup filter replacement reminder for those who cannot or don’t want to use the app.
We also love how easy the filter is to install and that it comes with all the parts and fittings you need.
For one, it’s more expensive than most under sink water filters. The replacement cartridges are also not cheap and considering you have to replace them more frequently, the cost add up quick.
But we think it’s still a value buy. You get better filtering performance than in most under sink carbon systems.
There are also a few limitations we don’t like.
You cannot filter out scale and iron from well water and you cannot filter hot water.
You’ll have to spend more money on the Aquasana AQ-5300+ compared to other under sink water filters but it’s worth it.
Not just because of the Bluetooth feature –that’s just the icing – but mostly because of the filter’s reliability and excellent performance.
If you are looking for an under counter water filter that will give you the same water quality as bottled water, we highly recommend this one.
Ed is a water specialist in Tampa, FL. He built CleanerSofterWater.com to help his friends and family learn about DIY solutions to common water quality issues in the home.
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