Tannins are one of the most common impurities found in public drinking water. If your water has a brown, red, or yellow color, the first thing to do is get a water test kit to see if tannins are the culprit. There is only one way to make sure your supply is tannin free and that’s with a good quality filtering system.
Let’s take a look at some of the options available on how to remove tannins from water. Get peace of mind to make sure your family has clean, safe water to drink without spending a small fortune on tannin removal options.
Our experts researched and reviewed the five top-rated tannin removal systems. In this review, we’ll take a look at what tannins are, and the most effective ways to remove pesky tannins from your drinking water once and for all. Let’s dive in!
What are Tannins
If your water supply has a light yellow to dark brown almost tea-like color, then you most likely have a tannin problem. While this likely won’t do you any harm, it certainly looks unpleasant and will make you cringe if you are having guests over.
Tannins are a natural organic material created as a byproduct of nature’s decomposition of materials like moss, leaves, or grass, causing that yellow and brown coloring in our water. As a result, tannins are commonly found in shallow wells and surface water supplies. If you live near marshy, lake, or coastal areas you may also be susceptible to tannins in your drinking water.
You may be able to ignore your tannin problem for a while. Over time, however, you will begin to notice the effects more and more. Anything that carries the flow of tannin water will be affected. All of your sinks, showers, and bathtubs will become stained. Furthermore, it can cause costly damage to your plumbing, appliances, and clothes.
There are other less common causes of water discoloration, so the best first step is to purchase a water test kit that includes Tannins so you can know the cause of your water issues with certainty.
What Causes Tannins in Water
When you steep tea leaves in water, the tannins released from the tea give a rich dark color to the tea. It is exactly the same with the tannin in water coming from your tap. Leaves and other organic materials stain the water. A light yellow to dark brown color is a good indicator that there are tannins in your water supply.
More telltale signs include yellow and brown stains on your laundry, a bitter taste in the water, a musty smell, and yellow and brown stains on your toilet bowl, sink, tub, or shower. Stains on your cutlery and other kitchenware can also occur.
Are Tannins in Water Harmful
The EPA has classified tannin as a ‘secondary contaminant’. This means that tannins are harmless for the most part and municipal water sources won’t take any precaution to filter tannins out – so you are generally on your own when it comes to removing tannins from water.
Tannins occur naturally in common beverages such as tea and wine. While they are not considered harmful, they certainly reduce your water quality in every other way that counts. If you were offered tannin water in a restaurant you would certainly send it right back. It looks disgusting, it smells bad, it tastes bad, it will stain your clothes, and possibly even your teeth as well.
Unfortunately, you can’t send your household water back to where it came from. Especially ff you have your own well water source, the onus is on you to take care of the tannin issue.
Effects of Tannins On Your Home
Anything that carries the flow of tannin water will be affected. All of your porcelain sinks, showers, and bathtubs will become stained.
Then there is the kitchenware. Of course, you can remove tannin stains from plates, cups, cutlery, and other items, but it takes time and elbow grease to get the job done right. It makes much more sense to prevent the stains than to do all this work over and over again.
That is why getting a proper tannin water removal filter will save you countless hours of cleaning time, not to mention the expenses to repair appliances and plumping.
Challenges Removing Tannins from water
Removing tannins from water can be a little tricky. One treatment method may be effective in one area, but it may be completely different even a few miles away. That is why focus on full-proof removal systems below, step by step.
As mentioned above, contacting your water supplier isn’t an option in most cases. Tannins are not considered a health hazard so there is no obligation for your supplier to do anything. Another option is to prevent the source from being contaminated. If your water comes from a lake, or municipal supply, however, there is no way to prevent this from happening.
If you have a private well, the situation is no better. The likelihood is that your well accesses water that has already passed through underground soil to arrive at your supply. If the soil is rich in tannins there is simply no way to prevent them from staining the water. The only realistic solution is to filter the water after it arrives on your property.
How to Remove Tannins From Water
Once you have decided that a tannin water removal filter is the way to go, your next challenge is to figure out which system is going to do the best job in the most cost-effective way. It can certainly make sense for additional investment due to location-specific issues, but for straightforward tannin removal, there can be far simpler and more cost-effective solutions in the vast majority of cases.
There are a number of different systems, all with their pros and cons. Some of the most popular are ion exchange systems and reverse osmosis systems. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks that we will cover in detail below.
Ion Exchange Systems
These ion exchange systems use negatively charged resin beads to attract positively charged calcium and magnesium ions into the resin bed. Because tannins have a negative charge they can be exchanged for chloride into the resin. While this is a great system that can help to soften your water, the beads need to periodically undergo a regeneration cycle that uses a sodium chloride solution. These impurities are then released from your home’s water back into the environment through the drain.
Reverse Osmosis Systems (RO)
These are whole house systems that represent a comprehensive solution to not only tannins but thousands of other contaminants that can find their way into your drinking water. Reverse Osmosis systems remove more contaminants than other systems.
Best Tannin Water Removal Systems For 2022
The US Water Systems Disruptor 4-Stage Filter System is a great option for tannin removal on a budget. Here is the secret – This easy-to-install system costs thousands of dollars less than a whole house RO or ion exchange system and will remove tannins in 95% of the cases. If you have tested your water and are sure tannins are the issue, the best option is to try the Disruptor System first, and if it doesn’t resolve the issue, go ahead and purchase a more comprehensive system while using the Disruptor as a finisher.
In the 4 filter process, water works its way through the first three filters that go from 5 microns to 1 micron to .5 micron, but the magic really comes in the 4 filter. The Disruptor Nanofiber Zeta-Charged Electro-Adhesion filter is manufactured with micro-fibers that have an electrical charge so that many contaminants are actually “magnetically” removed from the water supply. The end result – water filtered out to .2 microns!
The Disruptor system uses no electricity and no chemicals whatsoever to clean the water. It also uses far less water in the filtering process than either Reverse Osmosis or Ion Exchange so no water is wasted.
This Disruptor will last longer and at a lower cost than many more expensive and elaborate systems. After installation, with the proper maintenance, you can expect 15 – 20 years of high-quality filtration before you need to consider an upgrade.
For additional peace of mind, the Disruptor has passed testing for NSF/ANSI Standard 42 and 61 and comes with a lifetime warranty on housings.
- Far less expensive alternative than other options
- Filters down to .2 microns
- High flow rate of 25 gpm
- Does not waste any water
- No chemicals or electricity required
- Requires filter changes up to once a year
Utilizing the ion exchange process, the SpringWell Tannin Removal System combines the Springwell STR Softener with the Tannin Removal System in a unique configuration that will take up minimal space in your home. The benefit of this system is it not only removes those unsightly tannins, but it also gets rid of hard water culprits like calcium scale buildup.
The SpringWell Tannin Removal System uses state-of-the-art technology that makes maintenance a breeze. The blue-tooth enabled head allows you to monitor and adjust your system right on your smartphone. Because it backwashes, regenerates, and rinses automatically, all you need to do is replace the brine tank salt and you’re off and running!
The system comes in 2 configurations depending on your requirements so you don’t have to worry about water pressure issues. The STR-1 is designed for homes with 1-3 bathrooms and has a flow rate of 12 GPM, while the STR-4 is ideal for homes with 4-6 bathrooms and a flow rate of 15 GPM.
Overall, if you have identified tannin and limescale as your two main problems, this is by far the best option to take care of two notoriously difficult issues with one simple solution. To top it off, SpringWell provides a 6-month money back guarantee.
- Comprehensive two-in-one solution
- Innovative bluetooth smartphone application
- Saves water with adjustable 5-cycle meter control
- Best in class support and warranty
- Requires brine tank refills with salt
- Professional installation may be required
If you’re looking for a top tier filtration option, the Crystal Quest Tannin Filter system could be your best option. Capable of removing tannins down to 5ppm, it will rid your tannin drinking water problems once and for all.
The Crystal Quest Tannin Water Filter automatically removes tannins within the filter bed with a self-backwashing system. The tannin water filter uses a microprocessor control valve mounted to the top of the Crystal Quest System. When the meter reaches your predefined level of water it initiates a backwash cycle that cleans the filtration media bed and resets for the next cycle.
To ensure top performance, The Crystal Quest system also includes 20 inch pre and post filtration cartridges that remove sediments, silt, VOC’s, insecticides, and any remaining industrial chemicals.
The Crystal Quest Tannin Water Filter is very low maintenance, requiring only sodium or potassium pellet replacements for your brine tank. And for added peace of mind, the system comes with a one year warranty and a performance guarantee.
- Effectively removes tannins down to 5ppm
- Requires very little ongoing maintenance
- Comes in both fiberglass or stainless steel casing
- 1 year manufacturer warranty
- Likely will require professional installation
- Best if paired with water softener to reduce hardness
This system is a heavy-duty solution guaranteed to solve even the most stubborn of tannin water problems.
Investing in the Matrixx Tannin Removal System guarantees that you will no longer have to worry about stubborn tannins. The proprietary Tanex filtering resin used in this system will remove 99.5 – 100% of tannin from your water supply.
Most filter systems, even if they are high-end, use a low-cost styrene-based resin that simply will not do the job. A filter using cheaper materials may not cost you any less to install, yet will only remove between 65 – 70% of tannins.
The Matrixx Tannin Removal System uses salt to regenerate the anion resin. While this may look like a traditional softener, it will not soften your water. That’s why if you have water with a hardness above 5 grains per gallon we recommend to put this system after a water softener to ensure effectiveness and a longer life.
Set up and maintenance with the Matrixx is simple because of the bluetooth enabled smartphone app. The smart valve system integrates directly with your smartphone and you’ll have access to real-time data and settings. The precise electronic meter means tannins are removed even in high water flow periods with minimal waste water.
Because the Matrix Tannin Removal System is made in the USA and utilizes only professional grade NSF certified parts, you can count on it lasting for years to come. But it’s also backed by lifetime warranty on tanks and a 10-year warranty on the valve and electronics.
- Guaranteed 99.5% – 100% tannins removed
- No trace of color or taste left in your water
- Bluetooth application for monitoring and settings
- Made in USA with NSA certified parts
- Best in class warranty
- Best if paired with water softener if you have hard water
- Requires brine tank to be refilled with salt
The US Water Systems Defender Whole House RO System is a comprehensive reverse osmosis solution that will address all of your water purification issues. Your entire household is protected with this long-lasting, highly effective, and eco-friendly solution.
The Defender Reverse Osmosis System is made exclusively in the USA and has been engineered to defend your home from the increasing number of contaminants that pose a threat to your health. Aside from removing tannins from your drinking water, the Defender will remove toxic trace pollutants from your water including PFOA/PFOAS, lead, arsenic, and thousands of other harmful substances.
Every component in the Defender has been engineered and manufactured to the highest specifications to ensure that it will continue to protect your water supply for years to come. At the core of the system is a multi-stage stainless steel centrifugal pump that will last much longer than competitor’s lower quality rotary pumps that require frequent maintenance.
Utilizing a 140 gallon water storage tank, the Defender is capable of delivering water at 20 GPM so you never have to worry about pressure drops.
The Defender is also an environmentally friendly solution. While many RO systems waste excessive amounts of water, the Defender is 80% efficient, meaning it uses only one gallon of water for every five gallons it makes.
The system comes with built-in UV disinfection and is highly rated for reliability compared to its competitors. The unique design makes this system as easy to service as it is to maintain. The Defender RO System comes with an industry leading lifetime warranty on tanks and a two year warranty on all other parts.
- Comprehensive whole house filtration solution
- Guaranteed to remove thousands of harmful pollutants
- Environmentally friendly
- Custom made in the USA
- Durable, long life, and highly dependable system
- Easy to maintain
- Requires a higher upfront investment than other systems
- Installation may require a professional plumber
What is a good tannin filter for well water?
The US Water Systems Disruptor 4-Stage Filter System is ideal for removing tannins from well water.
What is the best tannin removal treatment?
The US Water Systems Disruptor 4-Stage Filter System is usually the best to start with and will work in over 95% of cases.
Will activated carbon filters remove tannins?
No. You will need a tannin-specific filter to address this issue.
Will a water softener remove tannins?
No. You can purchase a dual tannin filter/water softening system, but a water softener alone will not remove tannins.
Do water filters remove tannins?
No. Unless a water filter specifically names tannins as something it removes, you should assume that this is not something a water filter does. Always ask before you buy.