When we renovated our house this year, one of the questions we had to ask ourself was - should we get a water filter? Is it needed, or can we save on this expense?

Is a water filter necessary in Singapore?

It is common knowledge that Singapore's tap water is safe to drink. And while PUB makes it mandatory for town councils in charge of the water tanks to engage licensed plumbers for regular inspections, there have also been cases where contaminants were found in HDB water tanks, including worms, yellowish water and even a dead body.

Our tap water in Singapore contains chlorine (to kill bacteria) and fluoride. Despite the controversy over fluoridated water, which is banned in many European countries as well as China and Japan, PUB still adds fluoride to our water in a bid to fight tooth decay. But I'm concerned over the studies showing that fluoridated water might reduce children IQ and potentially cause bone cancerI'm also not all comfortable with all the chemicals found in our water (view the comprehensive list here).

There have also been cases where we've encountered discoloured water in our current HDB flat. Apparently, this does happen from time to time and PUB states this could be due to the following reasons:
  • corrosion of the iron tank or other storage components
  • corrosion of service water pipes and fittings
  • heavy drawoff from a watermains leak 
It is also advised that residents to not use the discoloured water for laundry or drinking in the meantime. Which can be extremely inconvenient, especially if you only have those few hours at home to run your errands and household chores.

Why we decided to install a water filter 

Aside from the research above, our other considerations were to:
  • protect against old / rusty pipes
  • remove chlorine (and its metallic taste)
  • reduces the hassle of having to keep boiling water (at least 10 times a day)
Given that the resale flat we're moving to is really old, I'm really not sure what has accumulated in the water pipes over the last few decades. With a child at home, we don't want to take the risk, especially since the young kidneys aren't fully developed to cope yet.

Although it has been said that PUB discourages the use of filtration devices, it is worth noting that this is largely based on the assumption that these filters are not cleaned or replaced regularly, which then makes them a breeding ground for bacteria. Which is why regular maintenance (at least once a year?) is important. 

We thus visited several shops to check out the different brands of water filters in Singapore but soon ran into a problem - most of the water filters were too bulky and we simply didn't have enough space on our kitchen countertop to fit it in!

Luckily, a friend of ours introduced us to Tomal and that solved most of our issues. 

The most important factor was that Tomal was the only one that could fit into our kitchen - it was only 8cm thin, and we could mount it against the wall instead of having to put it on our countertop. It was the slimmest and most elegant in design among all the water filters we checked out, and this addressed the space constraints we had to work with in our kitchen area. 

My other criteria for a water filter included:
  • Easy to replace, ideally DIY so I can save on servicing costs
  • Affordable replacement cartridges
  • Able to dispense hot and cool water
  • Frequency of replacements not more than every 4 months
Tomal custom undersink water bullet filters are so simple to install that all we needed to do was to plug and twist. That was it!

The filtered water tastes pure and there's no metallic taste anymore. The minerals in the alkaline cartridge also adds back necessary minerals, so if you're into the benefits of alkaline water, you might want to have this too.

On longevity, the bullets can apparently last for up to 1.5 years for a household of 4 - 5 people, but the suggested replacement is for once every year. And if you're like me and you've ever tried to make milk while juggling a crying baby, you're going to appreciate how much safer and convenient Tomal makes it for us to prepare warm milk within a few seconds flat.

How much does it cost?

We got the FreshDew Hot & Cool Dispenser and opted for the set of 4-bullet filter series for a total of S$2,399. Tomal's custom undersink series has a modular system which also makes it easy to change the filters next year when we need to - which means we don't have to pay for any call-back service, hooray! 

The cartridges are at $489 for the set of 4, so that works out to be $1.33 / day for every replacement. Right now, we're a family of 5 adults and 1 child, so that's about 22 cents per person each day. And considering how we've been paying a lot more than that for coffee and bubble tea, I think this is a negligible price to pay.

If you have young children or the elderly in your household, then you might want to look into whether getting a water filter makes sense for you as well.

It certainly did for me. 

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This post was written in collaboration with Tomal Global. 


  1. Considered hydroflux? Rhyers? They have slim model too. Maybe not mounted.

    1. I didn't check out Rhyers but yes I did look at Hydroflux cos my friend has theirs! Hers is really bulky though (but she has lots of counterspace so it is fine for them). Hydroflux's models online didn't look as slim as Tomal's when I was browsing, so I didn't go further to check them out in person. Also made a few trips to Gain City to check out more brands and models but none were as slim hmm. Hopefully more brands innovate on this!

  2. There was an episode of Talking Point on this just a few months ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_qeI9GoMQg