In your mission to maintain a clean and healthy home, you are probably shopping for a good water filter. Since there are many types, choosing one may feel overwhelming. Let’s take a look at your options. There are various types of water filters that can be installed as whole-house systems, counter-top models, or under-counter options.

Activated Carbon Filter

Activated carbon filters are also called activated charcoal. This is a type of carbon with pores that are small enough to trap pollutants as water passes through the filter. Most of the common pitcher filters use activated carbon. Some larger, whole-house filtration systems use activated carbon as well.


  • Activated carbon filters are inexpensive.
  • They improve the smell and taste of water.
  • These filters remove sediment, volatile organic elements, and chlorine.
  • Electricity is not required.


  • Salts, minerals, and dissolved inorganic compounds aren’t removed.

Ceramic Water Filter

Ceramic filters do their work as water passes through many small pores. Substances larger than the pores are trapped in the filter. Silver is often added to help prevent algae and mold and to kill off bacteria.


  • Ceramic water filters are reasonably priced.
  • This type of filter is long-lasting.
  • There is no electricity required.
  • Filter replacement is easy.
  • Ceramic filters remove protozoa and bacteria.


  • The filtration is a slow process.
  • Ceramic cannot get rid of viruses.

Reverse Osmosis Filter

This is one of the most well-known types of home water filters. Water gets forced through a semi-permeable membrane during the reverse osmosis process. This membrane has small pores that keep contaminants from passing through.

Reverse osmosis systems are typically used as whole-house systems. They are a more expensive option than other types of home water filters but are highly effective at getting rid of harmful chemicals and heavy metals.


  • Electricity isn’t required.
  • They effectively remove parasites, viruses, and pollutants.


  • RO filters use a lot of water.
  • These require a high level of water pressure.

UV Types of Water Filters

An ultraviolet system is one where high-frequency light is used and water is irradiated as it passes through a glass element.


  • A UV filter kills bacteria, viruses, and parasites.


  • This is an expensive type of filter.
  • UV filters require electricity.
  • It won’t remove fluoride or minerals.

Water Distillation

The water distillation process produces steam via boiling water and water is distilled from the cooling steam. The filtered water is then collected inside a container. These are usually purchased as countertop options.


  • Distillation will kill bacteria.
  • Replacement filters aren’t necessary.
  • It will improve the smell and taste of your water.


  • This system takes many hours to purify a small amount of water.
  • Electricity is required to run a distillation machine.

Types of Water Filters Used in Homes

When choosing a water filter, one of the decisions you’ll make is how the filter is installed. Different filters offer different options including pitchers, faucet filters, shower-head filters, counter-top varieties, under-sink options, and whole-house systems.

Request a water-quality report from your local utility and a professional testing service and use the above information to choose a water filter for your home.

RE/INSPEX offers home inspection services, including water testing, to northwestern North Carolina. Contact us to request an appointment.