What is the difference between reverse osmosis vs water filter?
Let’s do some research to understand your family’s needs before choosing a water treatment system.
Let’s start with the fact that both of these systems function in completely different ways.
Both water filter and reverse osmosis are needed to reduce pollutants in the water, but the water quality depends on the type of filtration. The place where you live, the sources of water, and the condition of the pipes in your house all indicate the purity of the tap water you use.
Many people think that built-in filtration is the solution to home water problems, but this is not true in general. If you understand the difference between water filter and reverse osmosis, you will better understand and know which filtration is right for you and what quality of water you need.
What is reverse osmosis process, and what types of water filtration do exist?
The difference between inline filtration and reverse osmosis systems comes down to pleasantly refreshing drinking water or good tasting water that contains harmful impurities, many of which you may not even notice.
There are different types of water filters
Built-in filtration begins to work at the moment when the tap opens. A current of water is created, which passes through several cartridges. Depending on the degree of water pollution, filtering devices are installed for its filtration, having two, three, four and five stages of purification.
Each of them delays different pollution. And only after passing through all the steps, clean drinking water enters the outlet.
Activated charcoal is commonly used to improve the taste of drinking water. It absorbs harmful impurities from the water flow. But the fact is that coal does not filter out the same contaminants like a reverse osmosis system.
The filtration method only removes about 85% of the impurities include total dissolved solids in the tap water. For example, in a conventional charcoal-filtered pitcher, tap water passed through a screen; then activated carbon granules reduce the smell of chlorine and the taste of drinking water.
However, this process will reduce contaminants, such as:
- heavy metals
- chemical substances,
- volatile organic compounds.
- other pollutants.
The activated carbon used in these filters is specially treated with oxygen to increase the surface area of the carbon. 1 gram of activated charcoal has a surface area of over 32,000 feet.
This is very important because it is this surface area that attracts and traps contaminants through adsorption. And adsorption, in turn, is a process in which a solid body retains a gas or liquid.
That’s why, the porous nature of activated charcoal gives it many areas where contaminants are attracted to the charcoal and linger there.
The difference from water filter vs reverse osmosis for tap water passes through filters, and you quickly get high-quality drinking water for yourself and your family.
One built-in filter can serve you for more than six months, making it a cost-effective way to provide clean water. You must change filters regularly to get good results. And you can extend the life of your appliances because soft tap water doesn’t leave deposits on them.
And now we will see how reverse osmosis works and what it is.
Osmosis is a natural process that is of great importance in our lives and the lives of all living beings. To do this, reverse osmosis combines a unique semi-permeable membrane with several carbon filters, providing the best level of water purification.
- Water enters through a sediment filter to reduce chlorine and remove larger sediment.
- The pressurized water then passes through the membrane. This is an important difference from conventional carbon filters. The membrane allows tap water molecules to pass through and retains chlorine, calcium, sodium and large molecules such as glucose, urea, bacteria and viruses.
- At the end, the water flows through two carbon filters, removing any remaining tastes and odors, before being sent to a two-gallon storage tank.
This step is the last and only filtration used in today’s standard filter jugs and other household appliances.
The membrane must be semi-permeable, that is, it must let some molecules through and not others. Reverse osmosis continues until the liquid on both sides of the membrane reaches a state of equilibrium.
The reverse osmosis membrane is equipped with narrow pores, because of them it does not let parasites through, which are the culprits of a large number of gastrointestinal problems. It also purifies water from a wide range of microbes and viruses.
Water can also contains lead, which is detrimental to brain development. Therefore, unlike filtration systems, reverse osmosis will purify water containing lead to a safe level.
If your water is from a salty source, it most likely contains salts such as sodium. Unlike a water filtration system, reverse osmosis will remove sodium in unsafe amounts. Seawater desalination using a semi-permeable membrane has been successfully carried out and pure water has been obtained.
Now let’s compare these systems
The first thing to know is that they remove various contaminants.
Activated carbon filter removes:
- herbicides, pesticides and organic pollutants,
- the taste of chlorine,
- the smell and unpleasant taste of tap water,
- volatile organic compounds.
Reverse osmosis reduce:
- heavy metals such as copper and lead
- salts and nitrites
- viruses such as hepatitis A, norovirus and rotavirus
- minerals content in hard water.
Which filtration system to choose?
We have outlined how inline water filtration and reverse osmosis methods work, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. If you are still thinking about the benefits of a pure water filter over an osmosis system, you need to know which impurities you want to remove.
To do this, you need to know the quality of tap water in your home.
- Read the water report from your supplier. Most of the providers publish results several times a year.
- Order and analyze your water.
Combined use of three-stage filters and reverse osmosis.
Water filtration is a good way to remove bad tastes and odors from your water and filter out large particles, while reverse osmosis will filter almost everything out of your water. But it’s best if you filter out large particles first to prevent premature fouling of the membrane, which can degrade water quality.
Besides, tap water testing and familiarity is the best way to determine which type of system is right for you.
Appearance and space play an important role in the choice. This can be very important for design conscious homeowners.
Water filtration systems also come down to space and appearance. Let’s say the filter jug takes up space in the refrigerator. Some people don’t like faucet-mounted filtration systems, because they can deprive them of the beauty of a designer faucet.
But with reverse osmosis filtration systems homeowners can install a separate designer faucet, and a built-in touch monitor at the base of the system faucet checks if the water is purified.
Think about the use case
How you plan to use your water treatment system will help you make an obvious choice in favor of one of the systems.
Do you just need filtered fresh drinking water?
Consider a use case such as an osmosis unit that can be installed under a sink faucet. This system does not take up much space, and provides many gallons of delicious, fresh drinking water every day.
Do you want a filtration system for the whole house filtration system?
If so, you can find hybrid media systems or whole house water filtration systems. Keep in mind that reverse osmosis systems can be found for the whole house, but they are more often used to provide drinking water than as a whole house solution.
If you are still not sure, what water filter vs reverse osmosis filters, consider a combination of the two. In this situation, you would use an activated carbon clean water filter installed where the tap water is supplied to your house. Also you can read about water filter vs bottled water in our guide
As an alternative, many osmosis systems combine pre and post filtration process using activated carbon filters.
Now you may be wondering, “How much does water filter cost? “
Water filter offers many benefits but require an initial investment to get started.
The cost of water filter depends on a number of factors. Some of these factors include what types of water filter you plan to install. In addition, most water filtration systems require some ongoing maintenance which should also be included in the total cost.
The best way to get an accurate idea of the cost of a pure water filtration system is to request a quote. RO systems are not so expensive in using. RO systems are also cheaper becouse of it’s low maitenance.
Is reverse osmosis water better than filtered water? What is the differenses between water filter vs reverse osmosis
Reverse osmosis water is slightly worse than natural water because it contains minimal traces of beneficial minerals. In composition, it will be more like distilled than drinking.
The semi-permeable membrane filters elements based on their size, and regardless of whether whether they are healthy or not.
If you are deficient in beneficial minerals, using reverse osmosis water can aggravate your health and you will need to look for additional sources of minerals.
And even cooking in water, using a reverse osmosis system, can cause the food to also lose useful minerals and substances.
The reverse osmosis membrane softens the water. Thus, water will not leave marks on your appliances, including the aquarium, kettle, sink and faucet.
You won’t need more soap and detergent during your wash, unlike hard water from other water treatment methods.
Bottom line: Osmosis water can be harmful as it can weaken your body’s immune system.
What are the disadvantages of reverse osmosis?
- high price
- slow exit
- reverse osmosis membranes need to be replaced frequently
- hard water reduces the life of the reverse osmosis membrane
- relatively large dimensions
- high consumption of water discharged into the sewer
- absence of mineral salts in the final product
Filtration and reverse osmosis are powerful and efficient, and one of the most common water treatment technologies.