What Are The Common Types of Water Filters & How They Work

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types of water filter

Accessing clean and safe water in today’s heavily polluted world is almost impossible. To be sure you are using clean water, installing a filtration system is a must.

There are different types of filters available on the market. Which one should you buy depends on various factors including the water pressure, price, the material of the pipe, and your usage? Everyone will have different needs and preferences and so, there are various types that can be chosen keeping in mind all these basic factors.

Here, we will discuss the main types of water filters commonly available on the market. We will discuss each in detail, including its functioning, pros, and cons. Once you’ve finished reading it should be easy to decide which option will be best for your circumstances.

6 Most Popular Types of Water Filters

  1. Reverse Osmosis Filter

iSpring RCC7AK-UV 7-Stage Under Sink Water Filter

Reverse Osmosis is the most commonly used type of filter. In this process, the water passes through a thin membrane, and as it does all of the impurities are trapped and left behind in the membrane.

This type of filter is one of the best filters as it removes all the major contaminants from water and makes it safe for drinking and other purposes.


  • Removes harmful bacteria, parasites, and other contaminants that other filters are unable to remove.
  • This type of filter system works without electricity.
  • It is a great substitute for bottled water.


  • High water pressure is required.
  • Disposing of the wastewater is sometimes difficult.
  • Water wastage is greater and other filters have an impact on your water bill.
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  1. Activated Carbon Filter

activated carbon filter

The activated carbon or charcoal filter is another popular type of filter. The filter is layered with carbon, which absorbs contaminants, allowing the clean water to flow out. However, it is not capable of removing bacteria, which means it is not suitable in areas where the water contains a lot of bacteria or chemicals.

These filters also improve the taste of water, so the filtered water can easily be used for drinking and cooking.

As this filter is unable to remove bacteria, it cannot be used alone. You need to install another filter along with it to ensure that you are getting clean water.


  • This is a natural filter and no chemical is used in the filtration process.
  • Perfect for improving the taste and smell of water.
  • Budget-friendly and low maintenance.


  • If it goes unused for long periods, the filters can become filled with bacteria and will need to be replaced.
  • Over time, the trapped contaminants pile up and affect the performance of the filters. Hence, frequent replacement is necessary.
  • Unable to remove chemicals that are not attracted by carbon.
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  1. Activated Alumina Filter

activated carbon filters

This type of filter is mainly used where the water has a lot of fluorides. Aluminum oxide is used in the making of activated alumina filters.

The filter effectively eliminates fluoride, selenium, and other similar chemicals, making the water suitable for drinking. It is the best filter for cleaning fluoridated water as it removes almost 99% of fluoride from water. Water at low temperatures is also easily filtered through the activated alumina filters.


  • Budget-friendly.
  • Easy to use and low maintenance cost.
  • Ideal for fluoridated water.


  • The water obtained through this filter is not free from all bacteria.
  1. UV Filters

Viqua VH410M 18 Gpm Ultraviolet Disinfection System Water

UV water filters are less known and make use of some of the latest filtration technologies. As the name says, this filter uses UV light to eliminate all the bacteria and contaminants from the water.

The high-frequency light is installed in a glass chamber through which the water flows. The light kills all the harmful bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

This is an easy method that does not require any additional heat or chemicals.


  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Chemical-free water filtration.
  • Does not require too much energy.
  • Cleaning is very easy.


  • In order to keep this filter working, you need a continuous electricity supply.
  • Unable to remove dissolved impurities such as arsenic, rust, and fluoride.
  • More expensive than other options.
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  1. Berkey Water Filters

Big Berkey BK4X2

Berkey water filters are used worldwide because of their effective contaminant-removal properties. The Berkey filter has micropores, which remove viruses, pathogens, and waterborne chemicals that are harmful to human health.

It also enhances the taste of water and does not require electricity to power it. The filters are gravity-fed and also completely chemical-free.


  • Easy to use and maintain.
  • Small in size, hence portable.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Environmentally friendly.


  • Although the system is not expensive, the frequent replacement of the cartridges is a bit hard on the pocket.
  • Does not work effectively when the water pressure is too low.
  • With time, the filtration speed slows.
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  1. Ceramic Filters

Ceramic Dome Water Filter

Ceramic filters are the oldest and have been in use in various forms since ancient times. As new types of water filters were introduced, the use of ceramic filters has lessened, although they remain common and widely used to this day.

The ceramic cartridge has numerous tiny pores that trap impurities and microorganisms. The pores are very small, mostly the size of half a micron, and hence, they prevent almost all tiny bacteria and pathogens from passing through.


  • Long-lasting.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Simple and easy usage.
  • Does not require electricity.


  • Unable to eliminate viruses from the water.
  • Time-consuming, as the filtration process is slow.
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Clean water is a basic requirement of every person on the planet. There are a lot of ways to get your water filtered. Although the faucet filter filters the water to some extent still, the need for an external water filter remains.

The types of filters in this list are the most common water filters you’ll find and are all quite well known because of their satisfactory results. You can opt for any of them, focusing on your particular needs and requirements.

You should also take care that water wastage is kept to a minimum while using any of the filters because water shortages are another significant problem in today’s world.

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jeremy Lee is a researcher and part-time blogger who has a passion to discover cutting-edge technologies related to water filtration. He knows the importance of purified water in our lives and started this blog aiming to provide the best product reviews, buying guides, and other useful information related to water. When not working, he loves to spend time with his beloved wife and two kids.