Many different types of water filters are available in the market. Choosing which one is most suitable for you depends on what you are looking for and what capabilities a water filter holds. If you haven’t explored the wide range of water filters available in consumer markets or are ready to make a decision, know that not all types of water filters can eliminate all contaminants. So, how do water filters work, why you need a water filter, and which is the best water filter for you? Here you will find all the answers.


Know what you need

Key reasons that people need a water filter are:

  • Water tastes and smells bad
  • Worried about contamination
  • Concerned about specific chemical impurities
  • The water is not drinkable and needs to be treated
  • Water causes health problems or is exposed to viruses or bacteria

Most people who shop for water filters want to improve the quality of their drinking water.  You can even go a step further with a product like The Vortex Water Revitalizer™, which revitalizes water quality.

Once you know the problem that you want to address then you can easily choose the right kind of filter.  You will also want to take into consideration how large of a filter you will need, from a faucet filter to whole house water filter systems.

Types of water filters and how do they work?

Activated Carbon

Water filters with carbon function on a simple scientific mechanism called adsorption. In simple terms, when organic compounds present in the water interact with carbon, they get stuck and don’t come off even when you squeeze the carbon filter. That’s how a carbon filter helps you get rid of things that cause poor taste and odor in the water. The major source of carbon for water filters is coconut shell. However, some companies also use wood and even bituminous coal. To enhance its capabilities, carbon goes through an activation process under steam or heat.

  • Benefits & Limitations

Although activated carbon filters absorb organic contaminants, remove pesticides and chlorinated solvents, they have certain limitations, suggests a report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These filters are ineffective against dissolved minerals, bacterias, and nitrates.

  • Reason to choose

If you are facing taste and odor problems.

Reverse Osmosis

In the reverse osmosis process, water is pushed through a semipermeable membrane that blocks larger molecules including dissolved minerals. RO is effective in the removal of minerals and pollutants such as nitrates, fluoride, sulfates, and arsenic. But it also removes magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium which are healthy minerals. That’s why it is used with activated carbon filters.

  • Benefits & Limitations

RO with carbon is one of the most popular types of water filters and is used for the effective removal of dissolved minerals. But it doesn’t remove all the organic and inorganic contaminants from the water.

  • Reason to choose

Choose RO + Carbon filters if you are concerned about bad taste and odor as well as dissolved impurities.


Distillation is one of the oldest water filtration methods. The water is heated and then vapor reaches a condenser where the temperature is kept low using coolants and the water is then stored. With this method, most impurities are removed from the water, but distillation gives water a poor taste. Distillation is an effective process to remove bacteria, nitrates, dissolved solids, and heavy metals.

  • Benefits & Limitations

Other than the benefits mentioned above, the distillation process is also useful for removing hardness from the water. The filtration process is comparatively slow and costs more.

  • Reasons to choose

Kills bacteria, removes most chemicals and fluoride.


Ion-exchange water filters are one of the types of water filters that reduce hardness in water. These water filters are considered the most basic type of filters and are relatively cheap. The filters can be reused if regenerated. When hard water flows through the resins and the combination of magnesium and calcium displace sodium making the water soft.

  • Benefits & Limitations

The major benefit of using an ion-exchange based water filter is turning hard water into soft water. It is also an effective way to remove fluoride. But the resin often becomes coated and loses softening ability.

  • Reason to choose

You probably already know that hard water is not good – it can make food taste dull and causes damage to appliances too. If you want to get rid of hard water, these types of water filters are the best for you.

Ultraviolet Light Filters

A germicidal wavelength of radiation, when emitted on the water, removes living organisms if present in the water. It disinfects the water and makes it suitable and safe for drinking and cooking purposes. The living organisms can be viruses, bacteria, and cysts. When the ultraviolet radiation hits these organisms, it causes damage to their DNA making them unable to reproduce.

Benefits & Limitations

Different types of water filters are used to solve different problems, so remember that a UV light filter can significantly reduce the number of microorganisms present in the water, but to remove other contaminants, it should be combined with a carbon filter.

Reasons to choose

If you suspect illness-causing microorganisms and pathogens in the water, ultraviolet water filter systems are highly recommended to protect yourself from water-borne diseases.