Epic Health

Soma Water Filters: High Style, No Substance

Readers of my blog know that posting critical product reviews is not my thing, but this company appears to be perpetrating one of the most sophisticated healthy product cons I’ve seen in awhile. This is textbook greenwashing and I’m compelled to expose it.

Enter Soma.


Humans are impressed by beautiful things, and the Soma water filter is certainly that.

Dubbed by many as a “Better Brita”, Soma describes their product as a “beautifully innovative, sustainable water filter”.

And at first glance, I have to admit, it is quite the attention getter.

The Soma boasts a german-engineered glass carafe, and a filter made entirely from biodegradable materials, including coconut shells, silk, and a plant-based plastic casing instead of chemical-based plastic.

$99 bucks gets you the Soma carafe and a 1 year supply of filters. The filters need replacing every two months at an eventual annual cost of about $78 per year.

And after baiting you with all of the eco-friendliness, they set the hook with charitable consciousness. A portion of the proceeds from every sale goes to charity:water (a personal favorite) to help install clean water wells around the world. 

Photo on 4-16-14 at 9.42 AM #3

Exhibit A:  Picture of a guy sporting a charity:water hoodie and t-shirt.

Soma was named one of “25 Companies That Will Change the World” by Inc. Magazine, and the #1 Design Story of the Year by Fast Company in 2013.

And they raised $100,000 on kickstarter in 10 days.

With a quick google search you will find what appears to be every website on earth praising this product, including Tree Hugger, Techcrunch, Glamour and GQ, and influencers like Tim Ferris and Oprah.

Soma recap
Beautiful? Check.
Innovative? Check.
Sustainable? Check.
Charitable? Check.
Affordable? Check.

Ok well I guess that about sums it up, this might just be the perfect product,
a healthy hipster must-have.

But I feel like I’m forgetting something…

Oh yeah, so how well does the filter work?

Employees scatter… Crickets chirp… A tumbleweed rolls by…

Apparently it doesn’t?

In fact I’m not sure what even qualifies this as a “water filter”, as it doesn’t appear to filter out anything.

If you’ve done any research on water filters, you may have noticed that a major selling point of a water filter is its ability to remove contaminants from your drinking water, and of course most water filter companies tout the degree to which their filters are able to do that.

But not Soma.

They make absolutely no claims that their “filter” filters out anything, choosing instead to seduce you with sexy curves and global consciousness. See for yourself.

On this page Soma states that “chlorine is carcinogenic and toxic,” implying that you really should filter your water. I agree!

The product description page says, “Proven to reduce aesthetic chlorine, taste and odor.”

Ok they mention reducing chlorine, but the precursor “aesthetic” seems a bit odd…

On their FAQ page they answer the question, “What does the Soma filter out?”

With this: “The Water Quality association (WQA) tested Soma to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 requirements for materials safety, and chlorine taste and odor reduction.”

The Soma was tested for using safe non-toxic materials, and for its ability to reduce the taste and odor of chlorine, aka “aesthetic chlorine”, but notice two things:

1) They fail to mention how well it did in that test, only that it was tested.

2) They are not claiming to actually reduce any measurable amount of chlorine (or anything else) from your drinking water, only the smell and taste.

So it’s essentially a water deodorizer. AKA Total Imposter.

Soma seems to be clean water what Healthy Choice cookies are to health food.

Also I can’t help but find it strangely ironic that they chose the name Soma, which was the name of the drug in Brave New World given to the population to keep them passive and docile. And there’s a chemical added to our drinking water which also does that… Fluoride.

Fluoride is an ingredient in both PROZAC (FLUoxetene Hydrochloride) and Sarin nerve gas (Isopropyl-Methyl-Phosphoryl FLUoride).

Oh, and fluoride calcifies your pineal gland, wrecks your thyroid, and causes a host of other problems in the body.

If you want to go further down that rabbit hole, read this post:
How a toxic poison ended up in our water supply

So yeah, chlorine and fluoride are super bad, but there’s a lot more to be concerned about.

Mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium, chromium 6, copper, arsenic, viruses, bacteria, parasites, toxic chemical fertilizers like glyphosate and atrazine, and antibiotics from the meat and dairy industry have polluted our ground water, rain water and tap water. These are serious contaminants that are literally making people sick and causing cancer.

Earth to Soma, do you copy?

I appreciate the spirit of what you’re trying to do. Really I do. But in the grand scheme of things, making our drinking water taste and smell a little less like chlorine is really not helping people or the planet.

I sincerely hope you figure out how to make an eco-friendly and effective water filter. That would be amazing. But for the time being, the product you are selling right now is, in my opinion, worthless. All form, and no function.

Thinking about the fact that people are buying Soma filters under the false pretense that it is removing contaminants and improving the purity of their drinking water makes me one frustrated fellow. It is unconscionable. And that is why I stayed up past my bedtime to write this. Only people who know me know what a big deal that is!

After I posted this article, the two founders of Soma booked a coaching call with me and then when I got on the phone introduced themselves (gotcha!) and then asked me to take down this article. We actually had a nice conversation and I explained to them that if they could send me test results that verified which contaminants the Soma filter actually removed, then I would update this article. 

They said they would me test results. And never did.

[Two year later… December 2016 Update] 
The founder and CEO of Soma emailed me asking me to take down this post again.

Soma’s latest claim is “Our new and improved filter is tested and certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) against NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for the reduction of mercury and copper, and Standard 42 for the reduction of chlorine taste and odor and zinc. You can find us listed on the WQA website as a certified product.”

Sounds like they’ve made some improvements (great!), but when I tried to verify their listing on the WQA website link above which they provided, it wasn’t there… (hmmm)

Here’s a wild idea Soma… How about posting independent lab test results on your website that show how much of each contaminant is actually removed.

Claims like “certified for the reduction of x element” don’t hold much water (ahem) unless the consumer knows how much reduction is actually happening. Is it 99%, 50% or 1%?

To my readers, water is a critical element of life, without it you die. But we live in a toxic world, so it is imperative that you purify your drinking water.

I recommend investing in a proven, highly-effective filtration system proven. The sad reality is that most water filters are pretty lousy and filter out very little. So do your research.

There are three types of filtrations systems that remove upwards of 99% of contaminants: reverse osmosis, distillation, and my personal favorite the Berkey Water Filter.

We used a Waterwise Countertop Distiller for 8 years and now we use a Berkey water filter and shower filter. (I’m an affiliate for both)

Here’s to truly clean water.



Related Posts
How a toxic poison ended up in our water supply
5 Reasons Why I Love My Berkey Water Filter

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  • Sunnie Shine

    Unbelievable, but then again, I guess not. Yeah, I’ll stick with my Berkey – it’s beautiful and sexy, too, lol!

  • UK Raw Health

    Thank you for your research, it did appear secret agent skills were required on your part to get through the information presented to the truth! What a shame this product is useless, would look lovely as a vase tho! I agree that the Berkley is the best. I use the British version of this called the Douton British Berkefeld gravity filter. It filters out all nasties with the super heavy metal filters option. Keep sharing.

  • Jamie

    Chris you rock!!!!
    I looked into this brand a few weeks ago and felt the EXACT same way. There was absolutely nothing regarding the efficacy and more so just a really pretty product. I was super disappointed and extremely frustrated!
    Thanks for vocalizing this!!!!

  • Health4me

    So glad you posted this! I had recently researched this product because it was being given away on a popular health website to one “lucky” person. I came to the same conclusion as you did. Sad, sad, sad!

  • Nic Chimenti

    Yea, I am loving my Berkey. It sounds like the Soma passes the ‘as safe as tap water’ test at best, which of course completely defeats the purpose if tap water is your input. I’ve got my 1/2 gallon of Berkified water sitting right next to me at my desk and I’m feeling pretty good. :)

    • Chris Wark

      Nic rockin the Berkey!

  • personishperson

    How the heck do they get away with this garbage? Thanks for the truth!

  • EZ

    I appreciate this info, but is there any proof (such as actual test results) besides the obviously vague information provided by SOMA. Independent test results from Consumer Labs or a water filter comparison.

  • Wendy

    Thanks Chris! I’ve been in search of a water filtration system for a couple of years, but nothing seemed to fit my needs. Either to expensive, frequent filter change, too big, etc.. This one seems spot on! I already placed my order for the Big Berkey and will post a review once I receive it!!! Thank you, thank you! —-Wendy

    • EvenTempered

      Wendy, I hope you got the Berkey system. I haven’t regretting spending the money. It is not better than anything in plastic bottles and more efficient on my energy to tote cartons of water.

  • Andrea

    Hi Chris. I’m from Brazil and I was thinking about putting subtitles in Portuguese in your videos, so that more people have access to them. What do you think?

    • Chris Wark

      Go for it!

  • sara

    I friend did a test on water from my Berkey filter and said it had 200 ppm (?). Apparently, this is high and not very “filtered”. Any thoughts?

  • Kathy

    Thank you Chris for staying up past your bedtime to let us know about this scam. Also you may know that Brita filters do not filter fluoride, as per their own info. It took me years to even notice that significant detail. And they do not recycle their own filters, or last time I checked that was the case. Really important to do one’s research. Thank you for doing what you do. All the best, Kathy Butler

  • Shelly

    Thank you Chris, once again, for doing the research that the rest of us probably wouldn’t have, and alerting us to deceptive advertising. We are all so easily duped into believing things we really want to believe in, especially any product that claims to help improve our health and our world at the same time. I’ve been meaning to buy the Berkey for some time now. Noticed someone who commented below had a question about her Berkey not passing some sort of test! Urghhhh!

  • Vicki

    I have not done the research, Chris, but a trusted friend explained to me why I should not drink water purified by reverse osmosis. The water is left hungry for minerals, he said. It will pull them from my body. He is a plumber and he added that he has seen eat through copper piping. If this is fact, filtered spring water will be our safest choice, right?

    • sj

      I read that too from Dr. Lawrence Wilson’s website so, I took off my RO Aquasana from my faucet and am now buying spring water from Whole Foods except I can’t find out how they are cleaning it and suspect they use RO even on sping water!

  • Cathie Grout

    I applaud your article, Chris! I personally use a reverse osmosis system as it is one of the only systems that will also remove fluoride, and I do not trust any local water authority to keep us safe.I will share this on my page!

    • sj

      Which RO system are you using? I haven’t found one sold openly on Amazon,etc. that removes fluoride except one that cost $700 but (it) had no testimonials except a couple on their website and zero info from customers on google about the company that’s in Oregon.

  • Daisy

    Thank goodness, i own a Berkey now so i would not even look anywhere else. Chris, you are the best!

  • Tina Bees

    Hi Chris I bought a biocera anti oxidant alkaline water filter do you know anything about these filters or have I invested in something totally useless I also give this water to my toddler I’m now a little confused in what to do!
    Kind regards

  • Tina Bees

    I would just like to add that you are an amazing person and an inspiration to so many people I no longer live with the fear of cancer so a great big thankyou for that keep up the good work!

  • ant

    to make the filter look good is a start, what would it take to finish the design
    but they would not obviously be interested .
    you are the best

  • Gino

    what do you think of the Zero Water FIlter?

  • Susie

    Great scoop. What are your thoughts on alkaline (/acid) water filtration systems?

  • Kathy Dabanian

    Berkey is a great water filter. I tried also to find out about Soma and got nothing. Its a shame it looks great but not sure what it delivers!

  • There’s no doubt that water is an essential part of good health, although the amounts. The consumption of both beverages and also foods that contain a high water content. Point-of-use water filters serve to remove the lead content from drinking water prior to its’ consumption, thanks.

  • EvenTempered

    We have been using a Big Berkey for a good while now and even the animals will no longer drink water from the tap. Even if the water in the container for the animals is gone, they will go outside and drink from a mud puddle before anything from the tap. That itself was enough of a “hint” if they won’t even drink that water from the tap, I won’t either. Well, now I’m sorry we didn’t get the bigger Berkey. Animals….three cats and a 99 pound dog….not counting the two humans. If you are shopping and have pets, be sure to include the water they need.

  • sj

    Thank you, I felt the same smoke and mirrors when I looked into this product. I guess they think we’re dummies? lol The first thing smart people do… is looks for their stats on which contaminates are removed by a filter and attractiveness is way down the line on a long list of priorities for healthy drinking water! I search and search and came up with zero about that for Soma.

    There needs to be a clearing house website for ALL water purification products because water is that important and there are so many products that don’t do what they say they will and are not cheap either! I found an obscure company that makes a water filtration counter system that is $700 but I could not find 1 customer review or anything but the company on google about it and they’ve been in the biz for a long time. They can make wild claims of total purification perfection on their website but as we know..it doesn’t make it true.

    I don’t own a Berky, it’s way too big for my kitchen & I’m on the fence right now and got rid of my Aquasana and am drinking spring water. But the company that invents a filter that gets rid of fluoride, fits into every kitchen, easy to use,etc….can rule the water world. Almost every filtration system dances around the topic of fluoride.

  • Mary

    So, what about Britta?

    • Chris Wark

      It’s better than Soma but still not very good.

  • Meghan

    Does no one care that David Beeman, one of the most respected professionals in the water filtration field, designed this? i would find it hard to believe that a person of that caliber would create something that didn’t actually work. Why would he risk his reputation on something that is fraudulent?

  • Dehydrated

    Hi Chris! I like your critical look at the product, but I don’t see what’s wrong with it? It only claims to filter out odor and bad taste. By doing that it makes the water taste better and therefor makes us drink a little bit more water, which is good for the body. In the long run it would make us drink less soda and other sugary drinks. I can’t see the harm in that. I think the reason why the add may seem deceptive, and since people misunderstand it in some ways it is, is because people are lazy add readers. When something states water filter, we assume that it filters away toxins. A filter is a filter as long as it reduces other qualities, and this product does. So whatever our personal wishes are what a filter should be, this is a filter and pretty much does what it says on the website…

  • Aida S Garcia

    Can you recommend a good shower water filter. I have a Berkey for drinking water but read somewhere their shower filter is not that great.
    thank you

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