So, you’ve decided to filter your water to improve its quality. But where do you start? This article outlines the different water filtration methods as well as the various filtration systems available. If you’re asking yourself what kind of water filter do I need, you’ve come to the right place.
What Kind of Water Filter Do I Need?
You’ve got two ways to choose a water filtration system. In this article, we’ll talk you through both. While the first option involves taking your own circumstances – budgetary and lifestyle – into account, the second option focuses on the water contaminants you want to filter out.
If you’re to be sensible and smart about this, you’d use the second option. This is because it’s the specific contaminants you need to worry about, rather than the aspects determining option one.
The only thing is, sometimes lifestyle and budget will force you to opt for a specific filtration system.
Let’s begin by using option one.
Option One – Choosing based on lifestyle & budget
When asking what kind of water filter do I need using this method, you make your selection based on your lifestyle, household type, and personal needs. Several different water filtration systems are available. In essence, you’ve got to ask yourself one fundamental question here:
Do I want to filter my drinking water only or do I want to filter all the water in my house?
If you decided to filter all the water in your house, your choice is easy. You need a whole house water filter. Let’s look at what this entails.
Whole House Water Filter
A whole house water filter is what many consider the best option. This is because all the water in your house undergoes a filtration process. How is this possible? Well, whole house water filters “catch” your water before it enters your house. Hence, they are also known as point-of-entry systems.
Here, you install the filtration system along the main water line. The line is cut and at that point, the water is diverted through the filtration system. As a result, all the water in your home, from the kitchen to the bathroom, and right through to the garden faucet, is going to be filtered.
When it comes to whole house water filters, different systems are available. Some of them incorporate a 1, 2, some a 3, and some a 4-step filtration process. This depends on how sophisticated the filter of your choice is.
It makes sense to point out that the more steps are involved, the greater the degree of filtration.
When choosing a whole house water filter, your needs will determine the choice. Water pressure as well, as the types of contaminants you wish to eliminate, will be the predominant aspects to consider. The less sophisticated 1-stage systems are more suitable for city water, whereas the multi-stage systems are ideal for rural areas.
So, when asking what kind of water filter do I need, you have to answer all these questions first.
The next few water filters will only decontaminate some of the water you use. While many of them take care of your drinking water, others soften your bathing water. Let’s go through them one by one.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
This system takes care of your drinking water and takes out most contaminants. In general, this system fits under your kitchen sink. By using a high-pressure pump, the RO system forces the water through a semi-permeable membrane. This membrane removes contaminants such as metals, toxins, dissolved solids, and more beyond.
While many believe RO systems to deliver the purest water, some believe that it also removes valuable minerals. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has pointed at the health risks of using RO systems, stating that it removes a significant amount of beneficial calcium and magnesium.
Still, many consider reverse osmosis water filters as the best option, convinced that it produces the purest water possible.
When it comes to cost, the RO systems can be quite expensive.
Faucet Water Filter
If you want a simple answer to the question what kind of water filter do I need, a faucet water filter may be the answer. Fitted directly onto your main kitchen faucet, these filters remove the majority of contaminants.
What’s more, they are comparatively inexpensive, require little maintenance, and are very easy to fit.
Several manufacturers supply faucet water filters, with most of them removing contaminants like chlorine, organic contaminants, metals, pesticides, and more beyond.
If you’re opting for a faucet water filter, you can probably fit it yourself as you simply connect it to your faucet. Within minutes, you’ll be sipping purified water. As with all filtration systems, you periodically need to change the cartridge to maintain the water filter performance.
Under Sink Water Filter
As the name indicates, under the counter/sink water filter systems are fitted beneath your worktop, usually near your main kitchen faucet. As the system is under continuous pressure, the water is forced through the filter whenever you turn on the tap. As a result, you get pure water.
There are two types of under sink water filters; simple and conventional. While with the simple system, all the water in the kitchen undergoes a purification system, the conventional system is a little different. Here, you install a secondary faucet which will supply the purified water.
Both types have advantages and disadvantages. With the simple system, you may need to change the cartridge more often and the filtration may not be as thorough. In contrast, you have to install a second tap with the conventional system, but the water there is likely to be purer.
Countertop Water Filter
Countertop water filters provide excellent filtration, removing toxins and metals. In addition, they are very easy to install. As the name suggests, they sit on your countertop, and you connect them to your main kitchen faucet.
While some of them feature a tap so that you get your purified water from the filter unit itself, others feature two tubes. The water from the faucet runs into the filter, undergoes decontamination and then travels back to the faucet through a second tube. The faucet top that comes with this system features an outlet specifically to dispense the purified water.
Refrigerators & Ice Maker Water Filters
Some refrigerators and ice makers incorporate a water filtration cartridge, designed to purify the water before it’s dispensed. Though this may not be the most sophisticated water filtration system, it still removes many metals and toxins, while also eliminating the taste of chlorine.
Shower Head Water Filter
If you’re happy with your drinking water but do not like the way your hair or skin feels after taking a shower, you may like to consider a shower head water filter. These filters are designed to remove chemicals and chlorine.
You easily fit these filters onto your shower head so that it purifies the water before its dispensed.
Water Filter Pitcher
No doubt the simplest water filtration system – and the least expensive at that – water filter pitchers are very popular. Here, you get a pitcher incorporating a filtration cartridge. You fill the top part of the pitcher and wait for the water to seep through the cartridge.
What you get is water without many of the unpleasant or hazardous contaminants. Although water filter pitchers will not remove as many contaminants as some of the more sophisticated systems, they still do a pretty good job of purifying your drinking water.
Option Two – Choosing based on the water contaminants
Now, let’s look at a different option. With this method, the contaminants determine your choice.
Most people worry about the following three contaminants:
All these contaminants pose potential health risks. But what kind of water filter do I need to remove them from my water? Let’s look at the best options:
According to the WHO, the presence of lead in water can cause health issues among both children and adults. The development of the nervous system and brain in kids can suffer, while adults are at risk of developing kidney disease and high blood pressure.
These water filtration systems reduce the lead content in your water provided they are of adequate quality:
While fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay, it may carry several health risks. As a result, many people want a water filtration system that reduces the fluoride content to a minimum. But what kind of water filter do I need if this is my prime concern? Here are the filters that do:
Although water suppliers add chlorine to remove bacteria, it carries considerable health risks. The following systems help to reduce the content:
Other Possible Contaminants
Let’s look at a list of other possible contaminants and the relevant water filter to use:
You now have all the information you need to answer the question what kind of water filter do I need. If possible, use method B for your selection, so that you can reduce the content of the specific contaminant.
All the filtration systems we’ve gone through provide some degree of filtration which is preferable to leaving the water untreated. Just how sophisticated a water filtration system you want, will depend on personal circumstances.