This is a question that has come up every day since we’ve launched our water filter shop. And it’s also a question that’s difficult to answer each time we hear it.
Partly, because many of our customers are hoping for an answer that will tell them about an exact filter (down to the brand and model) they can select from our products and have it up and running by tomorrow.
While this isn’t an unreasonable demand, choosing a water treatment solution isn’t always as simple as one might think, mainly because there isn’t a single filter system that’s the best for everyone.
Still, many filters on the market claim to be the best, and if you’ve been researching filters, you probably know what we’re talking about.
Surely they can’t all be the best! So, how do you know which filter to get? Here’s why there isn’t an ultimate filter that’s better than all the rest and how you can pick the ultimate water filter for you:
Purpose of Filtration aka Why are You Filtering Your Water?
If you’ve decided to filter your water supply, it’s probably because you’re not happy with it. It can be that you don’t like the idea of drinking chlorinated water or bathing in it.
But it can also be that you’re a dental surgeon and having a certain type of water sanitising solution is an industry requirement for you.
If you’re a dental surgeon, a residential chlorine removal water filter won’t be the best choice for you, even if the filter in question is the best chlorine removal filter.
Notice how something as seemingly simple as the purpose of filtration can radically change the type of water filter you must get?
Therefore, one of the first things to ask yourself is what’s behind your decision to filter water?
Is it to have a better quality water in your home, restaurant, cafe, office or dental surgery?
For each of these situations, a different type of filter may be required.
Water Contamination – What’s Causing Your Issues?
Just like not all filters are equal, tap water throughout the country isn’t all the same either. The tap water you get in Manchester won’t be the same as the tap water in Reading.
And not because one is better or worse than the other. Even within the same city differences in the make-up of tap water do exist.
And that’s because water can be sourced from different places (groundwater, private water well, collected water, water from lakes or rivers, etc.), and as it travels to your home, it can pick up different ingredients.
Only by identifying and understanding the ingredients that are in your water can you start thinking about actual type of water filtration solutions that can address these problematic or undesirable water ingredients.
For example, if you’re connected to the municipal water supply, you may need to worry about chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, disinfection by-products, VOCs, taste and odour issues, heavy metals, etc.
If you’re using water from a private well, chlorine will probably not be the most urgent of your worries, and you may need to deal with other, more pressing issues like bacteria, viruses, cysts, herbicides, pesticides, sediments, etc.
Point of Entry vs Point of Use Filtration
After determining the purpose of filtration and identifying the problems with your water supply, the next thing to decide is whether you want to purify your entire water supply as it enters your home or just the water that comes out of your kitchen tap.
If you want home-level filtration, you should focus your attention on point-of-entry (POE) water filters. If you’re happy having filtered water only at your kitchen tap, then point-of-use (POU) filters are the best choice for you.
Don’t worry too much about taking this decision. It’s not something set in stone, and you can revisit this decision later if you change your mind, even after you’ve installed a water treatment solution.
Of course, it would be ideal to get it right from the get-go, but your circumstances and needs may change over time, which might require a different approach to the water filtration in your home.
However, if you’re unsure which type of filtration system to get, here are a few things to consider first:
POU filters are great if you’re looking to have a more targeted filtration at each water outlet (you can install a certain type of kitchen water filter and have a filter with a different make-up at your shower);
POE filters are especially important if you’re not connected to municipal water, which is already treated against various water contamination issues, and your water source isn’t clean enough to be used for other household activities like washing or bathing;
POE filters are better suited for large households with a higher water consumption, while POU filters are best for smaller homes, where water consumption isn’t higher than average;
POU and POE filters can be comparable in price and maintenance, however, POE filters may simply be the more convenient choice;
Both POE and POU filters can be multi-stage and can incorporate various filter media.
As you can see, there are various applications in which one type of filter will better serve your needs. Therefore, choose the filter that’s best suited for your needs.
Filtration Technologies, Stages and Filter Media
Let’s say you’ve determined your needs, the type and level of contaminants in your water, and whether you want a POU or a POE filter.
Congrats! You’re now closer to finding the best filter system for you, but not quite there yet!
When you’re browsing for water filters, you may come across filters that use reverse osmosis, others that use UV water purification, filters that use activated carbon block cartridges or KDF filter cartridges.
It can be confusing to determine which filter technologies are better, how many filtration stages are required in your particular case, and the type of filter media that your filter system should operate with.
Without going into too many details about the various filtration technologies available, here are a few things that will help you find a suitable filter:
The power of many
Typically, modern residential water filters integrate multiple filter cartridges with various filter media, or at the very least, even if they have a single filter cartridge, it will usually be a mixed-media filter cartridge.
This is because regardless of the filter material that’s used, there isn’t a filter media that will handle all types of water contamination issues, so manufacturers combine the power of more than one type of filter to create different types of filter systems for different needs.
Therefore, a filter system that incorporates activated carbon, ultrafiltration membranes, KDF process media, sediment filters is a filter that has multiple stages, which can address multiple water issues at each stage.
If you know about the contaminants you want removed from your water, make sure to research the type of filter media that will remove it.
For example, carbon block filters are great for chlorine removal and organic material removal, but they won’t deal with bacteria and heavy metals.
A good water filter isn’t necessarily expensive. In fact, it’s a myth that only expensive filters are worth their salt. Affordably-priced filters can be just as good if you’re not adamant on having a brand-name filter.
If the filter you’ve set your eyes on operates with all the filter cartridges required to tackle your water contamination issues, then there’s no point in buying a very expensive filter just because of its brand.
Sometimes you can make great trade-offs like opting for a more expensive filter system, which has lower maintenance costs and includes some freebies like a filter tap or an extra set of replacement cartridges.
You may not know anything about plumbing, but that’s no reason not to install a filter. You can get the help of a specialist to install it for you.
What if installation is simply not an option for you? Perhaps you’re living in a rental or moving quite often?
There are filters for these situations too. Zero-installation or stand-alone filters are designed for extra usability and convenience.
These filters don’t require incoming water pressure and they can operate with or without electricity. A simple assembly is all that’s required.
Another important aspect in your decision is knowing how much filtered water you need per day. This is important because the filter you’re going to install should be able to meet these requirements.
A filter that can’t offer the filtered water output you need is going to be a bad investment, therefore, it’s best if you slightly oversize your filter rather than undersizing it.
In Conclusion: What are the Attributes of a Best-in-Line Water Filter?
In our books, a filter that has a claim to be the best must meet the following requirements:
- It must be a multi-stage or mixed-media filter;
- It should come with durable filter cartridges to minimize maintenance related tasks and costs;
- It should meet your daily filtered water requirements;
- It should be affordable (or it can be a bit more expensive, but should include freebies like a kitchen tap);
- It shouldn’t take up too much space undersink, on the countertop or at the entry point in your home;
- It should meet additional water quality requirements that you have (e.g. if you need alkaline water, if you want a filter with scale-inhibition, etc.)
With these in mind, you can easily find a filter that works best for you. And if you’re still having doubts and unanswered questions, drop us a line and we’ll help you figure out which water system will best serve your needs.
Meanwhile, here are some filters that are great for residential water filtration:
Osmio Zero Installation Reverse Osmosis System
This countertop RO filter system is an excellent alternative to plumbed-in RO filters for those who aren’t keen on installing a home filter system or an undersink system.
It offers wide spectrum water filtration, comes with four filtration stages and has extra features like providing boiling hot water for tea or coffee.
This system can be installed anywhere there is an electrical socket and because of its compact and modern design, it looks like a fancy kitchen appliance.
Osmio D7 Direct Flow Reverse Osmosis System
What if you could have an undersink RO filter without the bulky hardware that’s usually the case with these filters?
Well, now you can! This direct flow, tankless reverse osmosis filter is a 7-stage system that’s compact, easy to service, and high-performing system for point-of-use filtration.
It offers all the benefits of RO with less waste and less maintenance. Plus, filtration is instant and there is no need for a reverse osmosis tank or backwash system.
Osmio PRO-III Ultimate Whole House Water Filter System
If you’ve decided that whole house water filters are the best choice for you, the Osmio Pro-III is a high-performance filter system that’s configured for multi-stage filtration.
The cartridges incorporate active ceramics, carbon block, KDF and GAC process media for a multi-faceted filtration and high-quality alkaline filtered water.
You can enjoy the benefits of this filtration system throughout your home. It comes at an affordable cost and virtually no pressure drop.
Big Berkey (8.5 L) Portable Gravity Water Filter System
Need a portable filter that’s big enough for everyone in your group? The Big Berkey Portable Gravity Filter has got your back!
This lightweight system is suitable for emergency situations, operates without any incoming water pressure or electricity and offers high-purity filtered water for up to 4 people
Whether you’re hiking to remote areas or going on an expedition with your friends, where clean water isn’t available, a gravity filter system can be a literal lifesaver.
This filter can remove viruses, cysts, parasites, and other bacteria, thus, eliminating the fear of contracting water-borne diseases.
As you can see, filter systems are extremely varied and there may be best filters for certain situations or applications, but it’s hard to design a system that will make everyone happy.
Therefore, the only way to determine the best system for you is to correctly assess your needs in terms of water quality, quantity and installation.