How Do Water Filters Work? | 6 Unique Types of Water Filters

How Do Water Filters Work

Table of Contents

Water serves as an essential asset to human existence, and it’s necessary to ensure it’s clean and safe for consumption. Sadly, the water we obtain from our taps may include different impurities, including chemicals, germs, and viruses, which may impair our health. That is where water filters come in. Water filters improve water quality by eliminating pollutants and toxins to make it safe for consumption. In this post, we’ll investigate how water filters operate, the many kinds of filters, their advantages, and their environmental impact.

Water Contaminants

Water pollutants are chemicals or bacteria that may adversely influence the quality of the water and people’s health. There are many types of water contaminants, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides
  • Chemicals
  • Chlorine

Water pollution may arise from numerous sources, including industrial waste, agricultural runoff, and sewage. Water pollution exposure may develop many health challenges, including gastrointestinal ailments, skin troubles, hair issues, and cancer.

Types of Water Filters

There are several types of water filters available in the market, including:

1. Pitcher Filters

Pitcher filters are water-filtering equipment designed for domestic usage. They are small and easy to use, making them a popular alternative for consumers who wish to enhance tap water quality. These filters employ activated carbon and other materials to remove pollutants like chlorine, silt, and volatile organic compounds. Pitcher filters are cost-effective and straightforward to get clean, great-tasting water without expensive or sophisticated filtering equipment.

Brita Metro Water Filter Pitcher with SmartLight Filter Change Indicator, BPA-Free, Replaces 1,800 Plastic Water Bottles a Year, Lasts Two Months, Includes 1 Filter, Small - 6-Cup Capacity, White
  • WATER FILTER PITCHER: One BPA-free, small 6-cup Brita Metro Water Pitcher includes one Standard filter to help remove impurities from your tap water
  • CUTS OUT IMPURITIES: Brita water filter cuts the taste and odor of chlorine and also reduces copper, cadmium and mercury impurities
  • SUSTAINABLE: By switching to a Brita water pitcher with filter, you can save money and replace up to 1,800 single-use plastic water bottles a year

2. Faucet-mounted Filters

Faucet-mounted filters are a sort of water filtration equipment that may be readily added to the end of a standard faucet. They utilize a blend of activated carbon and other filter materials to remove contaminants such as chlorine, sediment, and volatile organic compounds from tap water. These filters offer a simple and cost-effective solution to increase the flavor and purity of tap water without the need for professional filtration equipment. Some faucet-mounted filters additionally have a button that allows customers to select between filtered and unfiltered water, making them a versatile option for any home.

PUR PLUS Faucet Mount Water Filtration System, 3-in-1 Powerful, Natural Mineral Filtration with Lead Reduction, Vertical, Chrome, FM3700B
  • 3-IN-1 POWERFUL WATER FILTRATION. PUR is the only faucet filter brand certified by WQA and NSF to reduce 70 chemical & physical substances, including...
  • INCLUDES 1 GENUINE PUR PLUS FAUCET MOUNT WATER FILTER THAT IS CERTIFIED to provide cleaner, better-tasting drinking water in your PUR PLUS Faucet...
  • QUICK, 1-CLICK, TOOL-FREE INSTALLATION with on/off lever for easy, on demand, filtered water.

3. Under Sink Filters

Under-sink filters are a type of water filtration system that is installed beneath the sink in a kitchen or bathroom. These filters use a combination of activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and other technologies to remove a wide range of impurities from tap water. Under-sink filters are typically more effective than pitcher or faucet-mounted filters, and they provide a more permanent and efficient solution for households that require clean and safe drinking water. However, they may require professional installation and can be more expensive than other types of filters.

Waterdrop 10UA Under Sink Water Filter System, Reduces PFAS, PFOA/PFOS, Lead, Chlorine, Bad Taste & Odor, Under Counter Water Filter Direct Connect to Kitchen Faucet, NSF/ANSI 42 Certified, 8K Gallons
  • Less than $25.99 per replacement filter (Search " B085G66JTZ "on Amazon), save over 50% of cost on subsequent use.
  • [After Sales Assistance] Waterdrop Backs the WD-10UA's high-end technical performance with a comprehensive prorated performance service; should a...
  • [Deep Filtration and IAPMO Certified] Based on independent testing, this filter can efficiently reduces PFAS, PFOA/PFOS, large-particle contaminants...

4. Reverse Osmosis Filters

Reverse osmosis filters are water filtration systems that utilize a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants from water. These filters apply pressure to the water, forcing it through the membrane, which traps contaminants and permits clean water to pass through. Reverse osmosis filters are extensively used in household and commercial settings to purify drinking water and eliminate harmful substances such as lead, arsenic, and chlorine.

APEC Water Systems FILTER-SET-ES High Capacity Replacement Pre-Filter Set For Essence Series Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System Stage 1-3
  • APEC Water ESSENCE Series FILTER-SET-ES is for ROES-50, ROES--PH75, and ROES-UV75.
  • Includes (1) sediment and (2) carbon block filters to protect and extend the life of the RO system
  • 1st stage 5 micron Polypropylene sediment filter to remove dust, particles, and rust

5. Whole House Filters

Whole house filters are a sort of water filtration equipment used to cleanse all the water entering a home or organization. These filters usually employ a mix of sediment, carbon, and other filter media to remove impurities like chlorine, silt, and heavy metals. Whole home filters are good for homes with hard water or those who rely on well water. They supply clean, safe water for all functions, including bathing, cooking, and drinking, and may assist in boosting the flavor and odor of water.

Express Water Whole House Water Filter System - 3-Stage Water Filtration System with Sediment, GAC & Carbon Filters - Reduce Chlorine - Clean Drinking Water - Stainless Steel - Water Pressure Gauge
  • Reduce Contaminants and Enjoy Clean Water: Get safe, clean water for your family with our 3-Stage Whole Home Water Filtration System. Our advanced...
  • Improved Water Quality: Upgrade your water quality with our home water filtration system. Eliminate impurities and chemicals for a refreshing, clean...
  • Comprehensive Filtration: Featuring 1" standard connections and quick-change cartridges, our filtration system efficiently removes impurities,...

6. Gravity-fed Filters

Gravity-fed filters are water filtration devices that do not require electricity or pressure to function. These filters rely on gravity to force water through a filter medium, which removes contaminants such as dirt, bacteria, and chemicals. Gravity-fed filters are extensively used in camping and outdoor activities to purify water from streams and lakes. They are also a popular alternative for families in locations with limited access to energy or clean water. Gravity-fed filters are simple to use, inexpensive, and require minimal maintenance.

Waterdrop Gravity-fed Water Filter System, Reduces Lead and up to 99% of Chlorine, NSF/ANSI 42&372 Standard, with 2 Black Carbon Filters and Metal Spigot, King Tank Series, WD-TK-A
  • [Large capacity] The Waterdrop King Tank gravity-fed water filter system comes with a 2.25-gallon large capacity, thereby meeting water demands of a...
  • [Outstanding filtration] The filter media adopted in the King Tank is natural coconut activated carbon, which effectively reduces chlorine and...
  • Longer filter lifespan: The two carbon filters (black) and two fluoride filters can effectively filter up to 6,000 and 1000 gallons of water. Go for...

How Do Water Filters Work

Water filters work in several ways, including:

Mechanical Filtration

Mechanical filtration is a standard method used in water treatment to remove solid particles from the water. The technique comprises passing the water through a physical barrier, such as a filter or mesh, that traps the particles. The size of the filter pores impacts what size particles may be eliminated. Mechanical filtration can be used alone or as a pre-treatment before other water treatment methods. It helps remove silt, debris, and some types of bacteria but may not successfully eliminate dissolved minerals or chemical contaminants.

How Do Water Filters Work?
How Do Water Filters Work?

Absorption Filtration

Absorption filtration is a water treatment technology that eliminates contaminants from water by utilizing an adsorbent substance, such as activated carbon or zeolite. As water travels through the adsorbent material, contaminants attach to its surface, eliminating them from the water. Absorption filtration removes dissolved organic molecules, chlorine, and some heavy metals. Unfortunately, it may not effectively eliminate some types of germs or viruses. The procedure’s success depends on the type and amount of adsorbent material utilized, as well as the qualities of the pollutants being removed.

WhatsApp Image 2023 04 23 at 22.16.54

Ion Exchange

Ion exchange is a water treatment process that removes dissolved ions from water by exchanging them with other ions of similar charge. The process involves passing water through a resin bed containing charged ions that attract and replace unwanted ions. Ion exchange is commonly used to remove hardness-causing minerals such as calcium and magnesium and other ions such as nitrates, arsenic, and fluoride. The effectiveness of ion exchange depends on the specific resin used and the properties of the water being treated.

WhatsApp Image 2023 04 23 at 22.24.56

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is a water treatment process that removes dissolved impurities from water by forcing it through a semi-permeable membrane under high pressure. The membrane blocks most pollutants, allowing only pure water molecules to pass through. Reverse osmosis effectively removes dissolved minerals, bacteria, viruses, and some organic compounds. It is commonly used in residential and commercial water filtration systems and in desalination plants to produce freshwater from seawater. The quality of the treated water depends on the type of membrane and the pressure applied.

How do Water Filters Work?
How do Water Filters Work?

Activated Carbon

Activated carbon is a typical water treatment material manufactured from organic materials, such as coconut shells or wood, that are heated to high temperatures without air. The resultant material has a highly porous surface that may absorb contaminants from water, such as chlorine, volatile organic compounds, and certain heavy metals. Activated carbon is extensively employed in both household and industrial water treatment applications. Its efficiency depends on the quality and kind of activated carbon used and the rate at which the water is treated.

WhatsApp Image 2023 04 23 at 22.41.42


Ultrafiltration is a water treatment procedure that employs a membrane to remove suspended particles, bacteria, and certain viruses from water. The membrane features tiny holes that restrict the passage of these pollutants yet are big enough to allow water molecules to flow through. Ultrafiltration is frequently used in household and industrial applications, including drinking water purification, wastewater treatment, and food and beverage processing. The efficiency of ultrafiltration depends on the kind and quality of membranes utilized and the quality of the water as it is processed.

WhatsApp Image 2023 04 23 at 22.47.50

Choosing the Right Water Filter

When choosing a water filter, there are several factors to consider, including:


Choosing a water filter with the appropriate capacity based on your household’s water consumption is critical. A higher power filter will require fewer replacements, whereas a lower capacity filter may be adequate for smaller homes or occasional use.

Filtration level

The filtration level of a water filter refers to the size of particles or contaminants it can remove. Before choosing a water filter, consider the filtration level needed to eliminate the specific pollutants in your water source properly.

Type of water filter

Water filters are not one-size-fits-all; they are designed for specific purposes, such as camping, residential, or commercial use. Choosing the right water filter type ensures optimal performance and effectiveness in removing contaminants from the water source.


While picking a water filter, consider the maintenance necessary to keep it running correctly. Frequent maintenance and filter replacement is essential to guarantee the filter is eliminating pollutants as intended and to increase the filter’s lifetime.


When choosing a water filter, consider the initial and ongoing costs. Some filters may have a lower initial cost but require frequent replacement, while others have a higher upfront cost but require less routine maintenance.

Benefits of Using a Water Filter

There are many benefits to using a water filter, including:

Improved Taste and Odor

A water filter may give various benefits, including lowering the taste and odor of drinking water. Removing impurities such as chlorine, bacteria, and sediment may result in cleaner, fresher-tasting water that is more joyful to drink.

WhatsApp Image 2023 04 23 at 22.55.31

Health Benefits

Water filters may give considerable health advantages by eliminating toxins such as lead, chlorine, and germs from the water. Clean, filtered water may aid in minimizing the likelihood of health challenges such as gastrointestinal illness, skin irritation, and compromised immune systems.


A water filter can be a low-cost solution for providing clean and safe drinking water. It eliminates the need to purchase bottled water, which can be costly over time, and lowers the likelihood of expensive repairs due to contaminants accumulating in plumbing systems.

Environmental Benefits

Using a water filter can have good environmental advantages by lowering the quantity of plastic waste created from bottled water usage. It also helps to preserve water by reducing the need for regular plumbing repairs and replacements owing to the accumulation of impurities.

Environmental Impact

While water filters can bring numerous benefits, they can also have an environmental impact. The manufacture and disposal of water filters can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and using disposable filters can produce plastic trash. Nonetheless, the ecological effect of utilizing a water filter is often far smaller than the environmental impact of bottled water.


In this article, we covered that water filters are crucial for ensuring that the water we consume is clean and safe. Various unique types of water filters are available, each with its merits and downsides. When selecting a water filter, it’s necessary to consider elements like capacity, filtration level, kind, maintenance, and cost. While water filters can provide various benefits, they also have an environmental impact, and it’s crucial to consider this when selecting a water filter.


Q: Can water filters remove all contaminants from the water?

No, water filters cannot remove all contaminants from water. The effectiveness of a water filter depends on the type of filter and the specific contaminants present in the water.

Q: Do water filters remove fluoride from water?

Some water filters, such as reverse osmosis filters, can remove fluoride from water. However, not all water filters are capable of removing fluoride.

Q: How often should I replace my water filter?

The frequency of filter replacement depends on the type of filter and the manufacturer’s recommendations. In general, it’s recommended to replace the filter every three to six months.

Q: Are water filters easy to install?

Most water filters are easy to install and come with instructions. However, if you’re unsure about installation, it’s best to seek professional help.

Q: Can I use a water filter for well water?

Yes, water filters can be used for well water. However, the type of filter required will depend on the specific contaminants present in the water. It’s important to have the well water tested before choosing a water filter.



Want to keep up with our blog?

Get our most valuable tips right inside your inbox, once per month!

Related Posts