Which Water Filter Should You Choose?
Water is necessary for any living thing. If you work in warm climates, you need to consume up to 16-liters of water to control your body temperature. Water essential to keep you hydrated.
The problem is that most humans only drink one liter of water per day, while they should be drinking up to three liters. A fact is that we are lazy, as we do not want to carry a bottle around everywhere we go. Others believe that drinking too much of it can become hazardous.
That is why a water filter holds many benefits for you. You may already have a filtration system in the home. The question is, how well it is working. To find out which water filter you should buy, read our comprehensive buying guide that follows here. However, before we get to the main topic—maybe you have wondered if ever water does become scarce; why not purify the water from the ocean?
Why Can We Not Get Our Drinking Water from the Ocean?
The earth is filled with water, and the ocean is the most significant water supplier. The problem is we cannot drink it. We may have enough freshwater, but many countries are going through a drought, and water is becoming scarce. Why have we included the purification of saltwater in the article, and is it possible to desalinate it?
The biggest problem is it needs loads of energy as salt dissolves quickly in water. Further, it forms a strong chemical bond and is difficult to break. Alternatively, it is expensive and becomes costly. The costs can vary from one place to another based on energy and labor costs.
While setting up such a plant is pricey, looking for a new source of freshwaters by building dams is just as expensive. A fact is there are two methods to break saltwater. One is a thermal distillation, and the other is membrane separation.
The process involves heat by boiling water until it turns to vapor, similar to the products discussed further in the article. The method leaves the salt behind and collected liquids condensed back by cooling it down.
The methods are known as reverse osmosis, and you can find some fascinating water filters reviewed here related to cleaning water. What happen are the seawaters forced through a semi-permeable membrane to separate the salt from the water? This is a cheaper method as it needs less energy and plants such as Tampa’s use reverse osmosis.
So what is there to do?
Another problem is that sea life can be sucked up in the process, such as small ocean creatures and plants. The other problem is what happens with the salt, as it concentrated brine. The salty water one cannot pump back into the sea as it can harm aquatic life. All of this adds up to costs.
However, the environmental and economic hurdles using desalination looks like a more attractive solution to solve the water crisis. However, if you want to try it at home, you can make your distiller remove salt from water.
Making Your Distiller
To make your distiller, you will need:
- Two pots
- Aluminum Foil
- A glass jar
- Rubber Tubing
- Cover one pot with the aluminum foil to create a desalination chamber—leave a small opening for the tubing.
- Now fasten the tubing to the opening and ensure that it is airtight—this is where the evaporation takes place to help purify the saltwater.
- Take a particular portion of the tubing and run it through the 2nd pot—this is the condensation chamber. You will fill this container with ice water later on to turn the saltwater into freshwater.
- Now position the rubber tubing free end into the jar.
How do you use it?
- Place the saltwater in the pot with aluminum foil and see the magic happen. Place the pan on the stove to boil the water.
- Further, make sure that both the pots are placed on the same level. Place the collection jar lower to the other two chambers—this helps with the flow down of water into the jar.
- Heat the water in the desalination chamber and see how it turns into vapor. As the steam rises, it leaves the salt behind.
- The steam moves through the tubing to the second pot, and with the ice water in the container, it cools the steam down and returns to a liquid without the salt present.
Are there problems related to using this method?
Yes, you do not know how clean the water is when it moves through the contraption. The problem is you need to get it to 212° F for the water to evaporate. You will be using the stove for up to 30-minutes to achieve the best results. The process becomes costly but is useful in an emergency.
Another problem is sustainability, as the quality of the material used may need replacing at some time. Further, the rubber tubing will not stay clean, and having a steady supply of aluminum foil to make the contraptions expensive. Additionally, the device is not portable for camping trips, and the best is to look at commercial purifiers to solve the issues.
That is why the water filter at home is a crucial device to have, as it does more than removing the salt.
The Importance of a Water Filter
Now that we considered removing salt from water, what about trapped water. A fact is that any home tapped into the local water feed goes through a purification station. You may have driven past it a couple of times as the systems are working. So your tap water is purified and clean to drink, RIGHT!
The truth is you are WRONG, but not right either way. Tap waters usually filtered in a purification facility before it reaches your home. It does not mean it is hygienic to drink. Another fact is it counts for any small to a large city. Further, the qualities of the water were tested directly after the filtration has taken place.
Furthermore, this takes place before the water reaches the feed lines. According to them, the results above the required standard and purified for you to drink. What they have not taken into consideration is the length and age of those feed lines. The majority of treatment stations are found at the edge of a city.
The water needs to travel a long way through those pipes before reaching your tap. Many of those pipes are old, and the water moving through the pipes become polluted from rust to debris. Further, these pipelines hold many bacteria, microorganisms, and bacteria.
Once you open your tap, the first thing you see is a brown color, and once consumed, the taste is terrible. Another reason why you need the best water filter is the way the municipality treats the water. In most cases, they use chlorinating and can kill some of the microorganism’s presents, but it does change the water’s taste.
However, many studies have recently proven that chlorine interacts with some organic matter and forms a hazardous carcinogenic compound. Now you may think this is the end of the line—wrong again! By filtering the water, it keeps harmful bacteria, parasites, and microorganisms from entering the water.
The truth is there is one parasite, the Cryptosporidium, that is immune to chlorine. The only way you can rid the harmful parasite is with a mechanical filter. Once the parasite enters the water, it leads to diarrhea and eventually results in dehydration and weight loss.
Further, chemicals, heavy metals, and pesticides can also contaminate the water. The majority of pesticides during 1940 and 1950 contained metals. These metals have a long halving time and are still present in water pipes and soil. The truth is that using a water filter is the only way to remove harmful metals.
What is A Water Filter?
You can get four different types of water filters used in the household around the world on the market. Each filtration system works differently. Further, the device contains various materials. Here you can find a list of the popular ones available:
For one of the most popular household water filters, this is the one to use. The filtration system is affordable, accessible, and small. The device operated through carbon granules and based on charcoal that blocks the contaminant. The charcoal has a porous structure made with ridges to trap chemicals possible through absorption.
How many times have you heard you must cook the water to make it purified—many times? A distillation water filter does more than boil; it captures the released steam and condenses it into a separate container.
The filtration systems made uploads of Zeolite beads that contain sodium ions. Once the water runs through the system, it comprises calcium and magnesium. What happens is the ions in the beads trap the calcium and magnesium to release sodium.
Such water filters are made up of three pre-membrane filters with a post and semi-permeable membrane. You can even find it with an added sieve varying from one model to another. The reverse osmosis membrane (semi-permeable membrane) plays an important part. With the filter, it blocks out the most contaminants according to their weight and size. So the only compounds that could pass are the smallest ones.
How Does Water Filter Work?
Each of the water filters presented previously works in a certain way:
- The activated carbon filter works through absorption. The process is when gasses and liquids attract other fluids or solids. The common impurities found in the screen draws to the porous surface to fill up the ridges on its facade. The big problem is it can remove common contaminants, but it cannot block limescale. Further, it cannot stop fluoride, nitrates, and microbes. Another disadvantage is the ridges clog up and needs periodical changes to work effectively.
- In the distillation water filter, the water boils, and it captures the steam. Once the vapor cools down, it condensates back to water in a separate container. The water boils at a low temperature. As the steam gets higher, the contaminants remain in the tank. The problem is that other pollutants boil before the water. The condensed vapor carries the impurities into the 2nd
- When hard water passes through the Ion Exchange water filter, the ions attract the water’s calcium and magnesium components. In turn, the sodium’s released and makes the water softer and gives it a better taste. However, the problem is with the sodium present. It provides the water with a salty taste. The chance is you might not like the acquired taste or may not be able to drink it if you are on a strict diet.
- Depending on the type of Reverse Osmosis, the water filter you buy can come with up to five screens. The first one blocks dust, rust, and debris that could harm the RO membrane. The 2nd one is the carbon filter that blocks chemicals such as chlorine and more. The 3rd filter is another carbon one with a denser design. The filtration system captures the smaller particles to make the water nearly contaminant free. The 4th one is the reverse membrane and blocks particles according to their size and weight. The 5th filter prevents bacteria, viruses and removes the bad taste and smell. You can even buy them with UV light and special filters to help raise the water’s PH.
Which Filtering Solutions Right For You
As you can see, you can get different water filters, each removing contaminants in the water. The problem is that most of them only remove a particular part of pollutants while others are not efficient at all. So what is there for you to do before buying a filtration system for your home? Here is an easy guide that you can follow:
Use a Test Kit
It would help if you looked at the bacteria, chlorine, hardness, heavy metals, pesticides, nitrates, and viruses present in the water.
Further, it would help if you considered the pH as well. The chlorine may help disinfect the water but does change the taste. If you live in a town, the hard water leads to a scale buildup and is dangerous for health.
If the water has an acidic taste, it means there is corrosion present in the pipes. It would help if you bought a quality test kit to check the water. Look for one where there are different strips to test for chlorine, bacteria, hardness, and more. Never use one with a single piece as it only determines the pH level of the water.
Once you have read the instructions, you need to test the water. Use each strip available, submerge it in the water, and wait for the time to compare them to the color chart. By doing this, you can determine what substance is present and if it is hazardous.
Another excellent way to determine contaminants present is with your sensors. You can use your smell; for example, if the water has a bleach odor, the treatment’s facility uses chlorine to clean the water. If the water smells like a rotten egg used from the hot and cold water faucet, there are bacteria present in the pipelines.
Furthermore, you can taste the water if it has a metallic taste. The water has a low pH level or high level of minerals. With a salty taste, there could be chlorine and sulfate ions present. When the water has floating particles with cloudiness, there could be rust present in the pipes. Check for a change in the color of the water from black particles, cloudiness, and more.
Get a Water Report
Alternatively, you can contact your municipality for a water quality report. They are supposed to test the water regularly and have one available. However, it would help if you remembered that the test does not consider the pipelines it flows through to reach you.
Now that you have determined which water contamination is present, you need to think about why you need a water filter. Depending on the color, smell, and taste of the water with the test you have done—you can determine which one will work best for your needs.
Determining Which Water Filter to Buy
As you know by now, the specific filtration system can remove some pollutants while unproductive at removing other impurities. Depending on your water test results and your budget, it provides you with fewer options to choose from. Here we have some of the best water filters to use in different contaminant situations.
Which Water Filter Removes Fluoride
One of the most challenging pollutants to remove is fluoride. The problem is that it is a toxic substance used in pesticides and rodenticides. With excessive fluoride exposure, it causes a painful bone disease known as skeletal fluorosis. Further, it causes discolored teeth.
The recommended filtration systems available according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Water Quality Association (WQA) are as follow:
- Activated Alumina Filtration
- Bone Char Filtration
- Distillation – the filters can remove anything except volatile compounds from water but do take time and much. We recommend the Megahome Distiller if you have the money to spend.
- Ion-Matrix Filtration
- Reverse Osmosis Filtration – you can remove up to 90% fluoride using the water filter and removes almost everything from the water. We recommend the iSpring 75GPD Five Stage Filter.
Which Water Filter Removes Lead
For years, lead has been an environmental threat faced in most countries. If you are facing this problem after doing your water tests, make sure to read on. The heavy metal causes serious health concerns, and exposure to a small amount leads to much damage. These concerns are impaired hearing, learning disabilities, and more. The problem is that you cannot see, smell, or taste it—to make it even worse, boiling water does not help remove it. The simplest solution is using one of the following water filters:
- Distillers – this is a great way to purify water with lead. The biggest problem is you need electricity to power them, and they are slow. Our recommended product is the Megahome Countertop Water Distiller and Waterwise 9000 Countertop model.
- Faucet Mount Filters – For an affordable solution, this is the way to go. You do not need to fill up containers with water and only need to turn on the tap. So before picking one, always check the specifications to see if it can remove lead. We recommend the PUR PFM400H or DuPont WFFM350XCH Electric Model.
- Gravity Filters – the water filtration system is a countertop model and made of stainless steel. They can hold loads of water but needs refilling occasionally. The system works with a carbon filter and is excellent for removing lead—you can look at the Berkey or Propur range.
- Pitcher Water Filters – In the past, these water filtrations only removed chlorine from water, but today you can find them in different models removing lead. Our favorite ones are the Aquagear and Propur.
- Reverse Osmosis Systems – this type of method does an excellent job of removing lead from water. The only problem is they take up much space under the sink. Furthermore, they can use wastewater, and we recommend the Home Master TMAFC-ERP or Express Water Five-Stage Filtration System.
Now that you have seen some of the water filters that work best for removing lead and fluoride, what about:
Do Water Filters Remove Chlorine?
The answer is yes, and no! Depending on the type of water, filtration you buy determines if it can remove chlorine from the water. There are various items available, the shower filter, whole house filters, and bath filters to help solve the problem. The best is to look at the specification and fine print of the product.
Do Water Filters Remove Microplastics?
Now, this is one of the most discussed topics online. The ever-growing plastic production causes more water contamination with microplastic. The problem is becoming a significant concern for our health and the environment. The answer is yes, with a water filtration system, you can remove the harmful plastic found in water, but you need to read the features and make sure you are buying the right one.
Do Water Filters Remove Minerals?
The water filter purifies water, making it healthier for you to drink. The answer to the question is it depends on the filtration system installed in the home. The Reverse Osmosis model removes a wide array of ingredients from the water that include healthy minerals. You will find the water tastes less palatable with an acidic taste. Are you looking for the best reverse osmosis water filter? Look for one with a remineralizing filter-making up the last process of the filtration?
Size Matters When It Comes to Water Filters
By now, you know why you want to buy a water filter and which one to choose. However, it helps if you considered where you plan to install it and determine the size needed.
- Small Water Filters take up little space and comprise electronic, activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange filters.
- Medium Water Filters take up some storage space and are available in some ion-exchange filters, distillation, ozone, and reverse osmosis systems.
- Large Water Filters – the filtration system takes up much space and may need installing in the basement or shed. These types of systems fall in the whole-house water softeners, multi-layer filters, and deionization category.
Which Water Filters are the Best?
Depending on what is in your water determines the best water filter to use. With the mentioned filtration systems above, you can find the pros and cons of choosing the best one suitable for your home.
The activated carbon water filter remains one of the oldest methods of purifying water. The screen is used worldwide and efficient to apply and affordable. The only problem is they are not valid at removing minerals, dissolving inorganic compounds, and salts. They are useful for removing:
- Volatile Organic Compounds
- Weird tastes and smells
You can buy them in a powdered block or granulated model. We recommend the carbon block as it is more useful to absorb larger quantities and add layers found in between the carbon. You can get them in different sizes, and for a smaller space, the granulated charcoal models ideal to use. You will, however, have to remember to change the filter for optimal performance.
Ion Exchange Filters
If you have heard about the deionization and water-softening filter, you know what this water filter is. You get two types using the ion exchange method and similar. The device works with beads and becomes charged with hydrogen and hydroxyl ions. Once a metallic ion enters the system, it releases hydrogen, replaces the metal, and blocks it in the beads. With the combination of hydrogen and hydroxyl, it offers you mineral-free water. The deionization model traps salt with magnesium and calcium, making the water softer — the filtration systems usually large, and the water taste like salt.
Distillation Water Filter
For one of the most straightforward water filtration system, this is the one to get. The units are cheap and small and work by boiling water, but the problem is that some contaminants still simmer through. Further, some valuable minerals go lost.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
The multiple filters remove contaminants from the water. The unit can remove up to 99% of impurities from water and produce much clean water daily. The water tastes bland if it does not have a remineralize attached, and water wastage happens.
If you have water with a high level of bacteria present, the UV water filter comes highly recommended. The unit kills most bacteria, microorganisms, and viruses. The purification systems small use electricity and do not affect chemicals and minerals.
Suppose you prefer having all the water in the home purified, the house water filtrations the way to go. The system connects to the main water line of the house before splitting into the water heater. Selecting the best one depends on the pollution found present in the water. Make sure to read the section on which filtering solutions right for you to find out how.
Alternatively, it helps if you looked at a water filtration and water softening solution. With water softeners, it removes the hard mineral while a water filter removes a selection of contaminants. You can find units with a combination of both. For a fantastic whole house filtration system, you can look at the SP3 Scale Prevention System with a Filtration.
The thing to consider when buying such a water filter system:
- Check the water flow rate – when doing your calculations, look at the ratings printed on appliances and the toilet. A typical toilet has 5 gallons per minute flow rate. Further, you need to consider the size of your home, as well.
- Look at the filter size – choosing a larger filter offers you a longer service time and allows more water to flow with enormous You can look at a model with a filter size of 4.5-inches by 20-inches.
- Filter size is essential – depending on the system you buy, e., a 4.5-inch x 20-inch carbon filter cartridge lasts up to 150,000 gallons with a municipal water supply. Using a standalone model equipped with carbon beds last longer if it has a backwashing valve.
- Find one with an ideal port size – the correct size for a home is 1-inches.
Where Should You Mount The Water Filter?
The next step to determine where you plan to mount the water filter. Here are several options you can consider:
- Faucet Mounted – you install the cleaner directly on the tap. All you need to do is remove the aerator from the spout to connect the filter.
- Dispensers or Pitchers – you can place them anywhere, and some are portable enough to take with you on vacation.
- On–counter Installation – if you need a small water filter, you can install the unit directly on the counter. The screen might not look modern but are great to use, making it within reach.
- Under–sink Installation – one of the most popular water filter systems is the under-sink option. You can hide it under the kitchen cabinet out of sight.
The Three Best Water Filters for Convenience
If you need the best water filters at an affordable price and convenient to use, look at the following models:
The Best Pitcher Filter – Mavea Elemaris XL
The water filters are well designed with smooth use and give a great taste. The constructions thoughtful, and you do not need to pre-soak it. The only problem is the device is not NSF-401-certified. It helps to remove cadmium, mercury, benzene, copper, and more. Further, it reduces the TDS level of water to 148. The water from the tap pours through a spring-loaded cap, and everything stays in place when you pour.
The Best Faucet Filter – PUR 3-Stage Horizontal Water Filtration System
The faucet water filter provides you with fresh water directly from the tap with a straightforward click. The device is easy to install and NSF-401-certified. The downside is it is bulky and made of cheap material. For water filters that remove microbiological and pharmaceutical contaminants, this is the one to have.
The Best Budget Filter – Culligan FM-25 Faucet Water Filter
Here is a cheap filter that works well and looks great with any kitchen décor. The product has a metal structure with a compact design. The biggest problem is it filters out fewer contaminants and captures the lead, cysts, atrazine, and turbidity. The water still tastes good.
When choosing a water filter, the important thing is to remember to read your public reports or have tested the water yourself. There is an accessible online database with loads of information available from the EPA. Always compare the ongoing costs such as replacement filters and the lifespan of the product.
Maintaining the Water Filter
Another vital aspect is taking care of the water filter by following some easy steps:
- Changing the beads – if you have an ion exchange filter, you will need to change them. The beads come with a limited charge, and once spent, it becomes useless.
- Replacing the filters – whether you buy an activated carbon or reverse osmosis filter, you need to change it at some point. You can see the life expectancy of the product available in the description or instruction manual.
- Changing the bulb – if you have an RO system or UV filter, the lamp will need a change at some time. On the sieve, you can find some notification advising you when the bulbs no longer working.
What are the Benefits of a Water Filter?
- It offers a better taste and smell to the water, as most discussed systems discussed are capable of achieving these results.
- You get healthier water for cooking and drinking to improve your health. The reason as the chemicals, contaminants, and bacteria are removed.
- Filtering your water is more environmentally friendly compared to buying bottled water that contains plastic polluting the earth.
- There is no plastic leading to health problems and different species getting hurt in the process.
- It may be a significant investment, but in the end, it is more affordable than buying water.
- The water is healthier for the kids and prevents nitrate poisoning.
- There are no toxins, chlorine, and harmful pollutants present, causing several sicknesses.
- Your skin and hair will look healthier when washed, and it has no harmful chemicals damaging your body.
How Do You Filter Water at Home?
If you are still saving up to buy the best water filter for the home, you have another option. You can filter water in the comfort of the house. All you need to do is replicate the natural water filtration process-taking place in the ground. There are different ways to clean dirty water, and the best one is to build one. Not only is making one a great experiment to do with the kids, but it also helps emergencies.
Making a Carbon Filter (Bio)
Things you will need:
- Activated Charcoal
- Plastic plumbing fittings
- A screen
- Gravel and Sand
- A hole saw
- Food-grade 5-gallon bucket
The water filter comprises three individual layers of gravel (stones can also help), clean sand, and activated charcoal.
How to make it:
- Take one of the buckets and turn it upside down. Now cut small holes big enough for the water to run through.
- Turn the bucket over and place a layer of activated charcoal to remove impurities such as chemicals and pathogens.
- Now place a layer of sand to filter out other smaller particles in the water.
- End with a coating of gravel. You can also use pebbles as the first filtering system to catch small sticks, leaves, and creatures.
Once completed, you can hang the bucket and place a catch basin for the filtered water as it passes through the material.
What you will need:
- A piece of cloth
- A two-liter plastic bottle
The water filters are similar to the bio one. The only difference is the gravels left out, and you use good-old coal instead. For camping and outdoor adventures, this is easy to make.
How to make it:
- Take the plastic bottle and cut the bottom section off to make a funnel.
- Place the piece of cloth at the opening side of the bottle and keep the cap on.
- Now you place the charcoal with a layer of sand over it. Make sure to crush the coating inside of the bottle where you pour over the water.
The central purifier is the coal, but you will end up with cloudy water and still need to boil it before drinking.
Boil the water:
For filtering water, the simplest method is to boil it and usually overlooked by many. If you are in the wild with your camping gear and do not have clean drinking water, this is the way to go. You can start a fire, place a pot of water on it, and sustain the boiling temperature for up to three minutes.
SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection)
What you will need:
- Any container to place water in, such as a plastic bottle
- A spot that is directly in the sunlight
The important thing about the water filter is that it needs heat to work. The problem is depending on the water source, it can take a long time. All you need to do is fill up the container and make sure you cover it with a thin screen to prevent impurities from contaminating the water further. Place it in direct sunlight for up to two hours until the water is clear. If the water is cloudy, leave it for up to two days. Following the method, you still need to remember the water is drinkable but not entirely pure.
What is Purification vs. Water Filtration
A water purification system can remove up to 99% of impurities found in water, but it does remove the valuable minerals in the water. While the water filter works with sieves and removes contaminants from the water, certain brands remove only some toxins, and others remove more.
Wrapping It Up
In today’s society, a water filter is a necessity. Whether you live on a farm, in town, or a city, receiving your water from a municipal plant, the water is not always clean. Using a filtration system may seem expensive at first, but it saves you money in the end. You do not have to buy additional bottled water and changing the filters done periodically.
The fantastic thing is you can find different systems to purify drinking water, use it for showering, and more. Your hair and skin will look healthier and better. If you have kids, it is an essential item to have in the home, as children are susceptible to bacteria and viruses.
Having a water filter helps to reduce diseases caused by drinking water. Are you saving for one or stuck in an emergency? You can always use the DIY tips and filter the water at home with your homemade water filtering system. Live healthy by drinking clean water and make sure you get your deserved amount of nature’s fresh fluid daily.