How to Choose a Home Water Filter

All tap water is different. The quality of municipal water varies from place to place and can fluctuate over time. Cities disinfect tap water with chlorine, which is not good to ingest. Contaminants from industrial run-off, pollution, VOCs, and pesticides end up in the groundwater and can reach the drinking water system. No matter where you live, it is a good idea to filter your water. Have your water tested, learn about the different options available, and decide on a home water filter that meets the needs of your household.

Activated Carbon

Activated carbon filters are affordable and come in many different forms. There are pitcher filters, faucet attachments, or filters built directly into a refrigerator. Activated carbon filters are a great option for areas that don’t have high levels of heavy metals and bacteria in the tap water.


  • Affordable and easy to install
  • Removes harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which come from pesticides and are found in groundwater
  • Removes chlorine and radon
  • Makes water taste, smell, and look cleaner
  • Removes sediment
  • Doesn’t remove healthy minerals


  • Doesn’t kill viruses and bacteria
  • Doesn’t filter out heavy metals like lead

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis purifies water by using high pressure to push water through a membrane. This method can remove a wide range of pollutants. Some high-end reverse osmosis systems include an activated carbon filter and a UV light to kill any microorganisms that are not caught in the filtering membrane.


  • Removes heavy metals
  • Removes salts like fluoride
  • Removes VOCs
  • Filters bacteria and viruses


  • For every purified gallon, 4 gallons are wasted
  • Takes up space
  • Reverse osmosis does not remove chlorine and radon, but the system usually includes a carbon filter that does
  • Strips out all minerals, including healthy ones

Water Distillation

Water distillation involves boiling water to leave behind contaminants and then collecting the pure water vapor. The water vapor is then condensed back into water for drinking.


  • Filters out heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, and viruses
  • Removes some chlorine, but can be combined with a carbon filter for better results
  • No need to buy new filters


  • Takes a long time
  • Uses electricity
  • Removes essential minerals

UV Water Purifier

A UV water purifier eliminates bacteria and viruses in water without using chemicals, but the process doesn’t remove common contaminants like chlorine. It is best used in conjunction with another type of filter.


  • Works quickly
  • Effective at removing microorganisms from water
  • Doesn’t remove healthy minerals


  • Doesn’t remove more common contaminants like VOCs, metals, chlorine, and salts
  • Needs an energy source to work

Test Your Water Before You Pick a Home Water Filter

Before choosing a home water filter, hire a professional to test your water. Precision Home Inspectors provides water testing to Hampton Roads, Virginia and the surrounding areas. Contact us to schedule your water test.