After more than ten years of drinking water exclusively from the tap (New York City H2O is supposed to be some of the best out there, right?), a sick cat, of all things, forced me to look into water filtration systems. He apparently needed treated water, whereas good old sink water was always fine for me. I grew up using Brita Filters, but was never a huge fan of a) the inevitable accident of pouring a pitcher that had just been filled and b) the little bits of charcoal floating inside. I went to my local kitchen shop and asked if they had something that was a Brita, but not a Brita. That's how I got my Mavea pitcher, made in Germany. It is constructed well: the pitcher has rubber treads on its base so when you set it down, it grips the counter. Plus, there's a little hinged opening on the lid where you pour in the water—once the basin is filled, it shuts closed, leaving zero guesswork. Because the lid is closed tight, I haven't had a single water explosion yet. And, of course, it filters out all kinds of gunk, so the water is delicious, and almost sweet. I think I owe my cat one.