Learn How Water Filters Work and the Benefits of Water Filters

Choose the Best Personal Water Filters and Residential Water Filter

We’ll explain how water filters work and the different types of water filters. Scroll down for links to unbiased comparisons of drinking, shower, whole house and hiking water filters.


Water filters have been around for 6,000 years with varying success. How water filters worked for ancient civilizations is not very clear. What we know is that rulers and emperors ordered them mainly to remove sediment and cloudiness. They also improved taste and odour.


We still look for those benefits of water filters but most consumers expect water filters to also remove bacteria, chemicals and possibly, minerals.

Learn how water filters work by seeing the inside of one. There are certain basic residential water filters including tap water filters like the filter, left, that show the insides of a basic drinking water filter.

There are also shower head water filters, whole house particulate water filters, and backpacking water filters. Finally, there is a whole house particulate water filter system that many companies manufacture.

Types of Water Filters

There are 4 main types of water filters.

1. Most personal water filters are “charcoal activated.” That means that when charcoal is initially processed, it becomes very absorptive. So, it then absorbs sediments and particulates that we want to be eliminated from our water.

The filter pictured above uses charcoal technology.

Also, popular our water filters and Brita water filters, are pour-through filters that use charcoal to remove sediment.

Charcoal water filters are inexpensive, effective and do not waste much water. A good choice for most consumers.

2. How water filters work in reverse osmosis systems – RO filters process water which then goes into a storage tank for later use. The stored water is then put through charcoal technology before use.

Reverse osmosis water filters are very good at removing almost everything but the H20. So what you are left with is almost pure water.

That may be good if you have reason to drink pure water as is the case when you wish to purify your body.

However, natural water is not free of all extra ingredients like minerals including calcium and magnesium. In fact, humans have always drank water that contains healthy minerals. You should not drink only demineralized water for long periods of time.

Another problem with reverse osmosis filtration systems is that they waste 2 gallons of water for every gallon of usable water.

3. How water filters work in Ion exchange systems. These filters remove salts and other minerals and then put water through a charcoal filter.

Like reverse osmosis filters, it produces demineralized water.

4. How water filters work using distillation technology. It essentially involves boiling water. This creates steam. The steam cools and condenses producing almost pure water.

This filtration method is very effective but has the same drawback that the previous two filters have – they remove healthy minerals.


How water filters work depends on the technology used to filter water. While different filters have to offered various advantages, any filter is better than no filter if your water supply contains elements you wish to avoid.