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Best Whole House Water Filter

designed by ecologist James P McMahon

James P McMahon

Some years ago, while selling another company's product, I realized I could design a whole house water filter that was more effective, cost you less, and cost less to maintain. So I did.

I put all of my knowledge about water quality and all of my experience in water treatment into the design. I believe that the Urban Defender is the best whole house water filter available today, equal to products that cost three times the price and far superior to many of my competitor's products that deprive you of effective treatment in order to appeal to you on price. 

To learn about these features click here, or request my specifications here. The Urban Defender is custom built and I can modify each unit to match the chemicals in your water and the needs of your household. Hundreds of people now enjoy healthy water using the Urban Defender water filter. If I could make it even better, I would... Each year I take time out to research how I can improve the filter system and while I have made minor adjustments I am extremely pleased with the construction and effectiveness of the filter system components. I describe below why I think it is the best whole house water filter for your family.


whole house water filtration system, Urban Defender

Sweetwater's Urban Defender™

Extremely Effective - Great Value

Learn how it works! To learn what design features I use, click here Or, request the Urban Defender water filter specifications to learn how it  works.  This description includes the seven features to look for when choosing a whole house water filter system:


Send me your Urban Defender specifications and pricing 


I have also designed a less expensive system for smaller homes. Sweetwater's Terminator is designed for homes with one or two people and low water use. See below. 

The Urban Defender will remove the chlorine or chloramine and the carcinogenic chemicals, including the hard to remove trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids (look for those in your water report) in municipal water supplies. 

The Urban Defender removes or reduces: volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds such as chloramine, chlorine, alachlor, atrazine, trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, solvents such as benzene and MTBE, soluble metallic and non-metallic ions including but not limited to arsenic, cobalt, antimony, copper, mercury, cadmium, chromium, lead, chloroform, hydrogen sulfide, lindane, malethion and other pesticides, silver, and trichlorethane. If you have significant levels of any of these metals then I will recommend the addition of a reverse osmosis system at the kitchen sink because we want to be able to maintain high flow rates with the Urban Defender and that limits its effectiveness at removing metals.


"My Urban Defender has changed my life.  I love it!"

Aileen Gee; Falmouth, MA


Urban Defender whole house water filter

Pictured above the Urban Defender in a tight closet space

The Urban Defender water filter is available with catalytic carbon to remove chloramines or granular activated carbon (GAC) to remove chlorine. 


Urban Defender with GAC: $1685.

Urban Defender with catalytic carbon: $1960.

Super Size Urban Defender for large homes: $3450.

5 micron pre-filter: $ 195.

Optional add on filters:

Fluoride filter: see here

Zeolyte (for trace levels of iron and manganese) filter: $325.

You may also wish to use a water softener, ultraviolet light, or the water revitalizer but whether or not I recommend these depends on what is in your water report as wealth of the current health of individuals in your household.



All orders are by phone but you may request detailed specifications by email:

Send me your Urban Defender specifications and pricing 

I invite you to watch this short video in which I demonstrate quite clearly that chlorine is quickly absorbed into your skin when you shower or bathe:




If your water contains chloramines, a toxic combination of chlorine and ammonia now in use by many cities, then you need the catalytic carbon version. If your city uses chlorine then the GAC version will work just fine. If you have want to be able to use more than two showers at any one time then you need to use the Super Size version which has a higher flow rate.

The Urban Defender media is tailored to your water, the features, such as downflow filtration and the amount of carbon I use, make it effective at removing contaminants, and the quality of its components are the best in the industry. Mostly though I can honestly say that it is the best whole house water filter because I look at your water report as we talk and I build the system that will serve the needs of your family.

The seven features that make the Urban Defender the best whole house water filter in America today:

First, the Urban Defender is a Downflow system, which means that the water flows down through KDF media and 2 cubic feet of carbon chips forcing the contaminants to come in contact with both media types, thus maximizing effective removal.

Second, weekly backwash reshuffles the carbon to present new carbon surfaces to incoming water, maintaining effectiveness throughout the five to seven year life of the initial media.

Third, you can choose between catalytic carbon for chloramine removal or granular activated carbon (GAC) for chlorine removal.

Fourth, the 2 cu ft Urban Defender is limited to a flow rate of 10 gallons per minute -  allowing for sufficient contact time between water and carbon to ensure removal of contaminants for the typical family home.

Fifth, for larger homes a larger version is available. The important factor in this choice would be the number of showers or water features you wish to operate simultaneously. The size of the house itself doesn't actually matter. For smaller homes of one or two persons my Terminator model is ideal. The Terminator is intended to compete price-wise with the cheap carbon systems that don’t actually work well while out-performing them.

Sixth, the Urban Defender is reusable, meaning that when the carbon is saturated with contaminants you can easily replace the media in a little over an hour.

Seventh, I use media that has been certified by NSF (42 and 61) but I don’t make phony claims about how long the system will last or what it will do.

For a comparison to other water filtration systems, visit:

Finally, I can provide numerous pre or post treatment filter options to remove or reduce the other contaminants in your water - if necessary.  

The Urban Defender will out perform and out last competitors' systems. It is far superior to non-backwashing, upflow systems and equal in effectiveness to more expensive competitors backwashing systems while costing you less. 

effective water filtration system, Urban Defender

As you can see from the diagram all of the incoming water is treated by a downflow design. The purpose of the backwash then is to reshuffle the media in order to provide new carbon surfaces to the water as well as to eliminate channeling.

I really encourage you not to be swayed by the lower price and false claims made about downflow systems that do not backwash or upflow systems. While tempting, these systems will not last long and you will end up having to replace them sooner. An honest estimate of their longevity is one fifth of the gallons they claim. Their lack of effectiveness is known throughout the industry and not just a statement made by me.

And you may request an explanation on why a downflow design with backwash is better than an upflow carbon filter: Backwash vs Upflow. They really are. Once again this entire issue comes down to the question of who you can trust to sell you an effective product. Look at my testimonials. With the products I sell you are getting the very best that money can buy.

The Urban Defender may also be combined with Ultra Violet light, a water softener, nitrate or iron removal, or an array of backwashing water filters to provide you with the best whole house water filter system - comprehensive and effective; all based on a review of your water report and the contaminants that must be removed to provide your family with healthy water. 

Send me your Urban Defender specifications and pricing 

I do not sell products over the internet and there is no shopping cart on this site.  To order, you call me and we will review your city's water report, discuss your goals, and determine which product will best meet your needs.  My phone number is in the top right hand corner of this page.

Urban Defender Product Reviews:


"Because I have chemical sensitivities, allergies, and other health challenges, I need the cleanest water. Jim and I discussed my particular requirements and sensitivities and arrived at a customized set of components for a whole house water filtration system, showering, and drinking. I intentionally waited a year after the installation to have the water analyzed by a national lab to see if the water filter system components were each still doing a good job, even at the point in time when replacement water filters were due. The tests came back with results that were near perfect: in all cases contaminants were below the national standard, and no contaminants and bacteria could be detected at all for the drinking water. This is the best whole house water filter because after many years and several systems the Urban Defender allows me to have peace of mind about my water. Thanks for your help and caring."

Diane, Asheville, NC


"It has been almost 2 years since we purchased and installed the "Urban Defender" and I can now without hesitation offer you my unqualified statement of satisfaction. The Urban Defender completely transformed the quality of our drinking water, which now is pure tasting goodness. To say we are thrilled is an understatement! Maintenance -- the simple annual replacement of the system's 5 micron filter -- is a snap and cost effective. I congratulate you on a fantastic product and will continue to tell friends and associates about the benefits of clean and pure drinking water.  You know your stuff.  Sincerely,"  

David J. Peebler Montclair, NJ  


Urban Defender whole house water filtration system

Super Sized Urban Defender with Whole House Flouride Filter


See what my other customers have to say:

Sweetwater Product Reviews


To see how my Urban Defender compares to other popular models, visit:

A Comparison of Popular Whole House Water Filtration Systems


This comparison shows that the Urban Defender is equal in contaminant removal to whole house water filtration systems that cost three to five times as much.  I am confident that your choice of the Urban Defender is the best choice for the health of your family.  If I could make it even better....I would.


Send me your Urban Defender specifications and pricing 



"What an amazing difference! We used to have a chlorine smell every time we opened the tap, now we have amazingly clean, odor free water. We purchased the Urban Defender with the additional fluoride filter, as well as the custom reverse osmosis system. The end result was that our water not only tastes fantastic but also feels great too!

Jim is awesome at what he does and he gives you personal attention through the entire process. He looked at our water reports. He helped design the perfect system. He helped us when the shipping went awry. He talked to the plumber when the installation took place. He overnighted us a part that was missing. Jim is a really great guy, and he really stands behind his product!
For anyone looking for a water filter, I can’t recommend enough Jim or his Sweetwater systems. You will definitely be thrilled with the end result."
Nicholas Saparoff
Franklin, MA

Sweetwater's Urban Defender® is the best whole house water filter because of its effective removal of contaminants and the facts about your water and home that go into the construction of each unit - custom built just for you. 


The Terminator: a Filter for One Person Households 

The Terminator is an inexpensive whole house water filter designed specifically to provide you with a high quality alternative to the cheap products offered by my competitors that plague people with underperformance. I have struggled for years to bring you a design that I can be proud of and I finally have it. The Terminator is intended to be an entry level product that can protect you from chlorine, chlorine byproducts, pesticides, and other volatile organic compounds.

low cost whole house water filter

Please note the following factors. Because this is intended to be inexpensive it has a limited application. The Terminator is best used on small homes with two people or less to remove chlorine or chloramine and its byproducts. 

The Terminator will remove 1 ppm of chlorine at 4 gpm. At higher flow rates it will remove less chlorine due to the decreased contact time.

The Terminator is a downflow system with a manual backwash. The backwash can be plumbed to a drain or attached to a garden hose.

Pricing: $750. for chlorine removal

$900 for chloramine removal

Email me today for more details:

Request specification and pricing information about The Terminator

If you want the best whole house water filter, buy my Urban Defender described above.

I always recommend that you use a 5 micron pre-filter. Here's a look at one after 6 months of Madison, WI water:


Are you drinking that?

When you call, you'll reach me directly.

Together, we will solve the water problems in your home.

Toll-free: 866-691-4214

Direct: 970-259-2171

Monday thru Friday 9 AM to 6 PM Mountain Time


"What's in YOUR Water?"

James P McMahon, Jim McMahon, Sweetwater, LLC
James P McMahon


Learn about my products and services here:

Home Water Purification Systems

To read more about this topic see this Wikipedia article 

 To view my experience and credentials:

JPM Biography


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