Water Filtration vs Water Purification

Jan 05 2015

Water filtration and water purification are two different processes. Though the two terms are frequently used interchangeably to describe the removal of bacteria and contaminants from drinking water, there is, in fact, a difference between each. Both purifying and filtering water involve steps to remove harmful contaminants from water, but they are done in distinct ways. Here is a more detailed look at each individual process and how they are more distinct than many people realize.

Water Filtration

Filtering water involves removing impurities through some physical barrier, chemicals, or a biological process. Carbon filters and boiling are the two best examples of a water filtration process. Water filtration systems focus mostly on removing impurities in the water, not purifying the water entirely. These systems can be portable and a great way to remove bacteria and other microbial contaminants during outdoor excursions. Filtration systems, however, do not treat viruses in the water and are not large scale purification systems that can provide overall safe drinking water on a day to day basis. They are effective solution when you need to treat water quickly on the go, but are not comprehensive treatment solutions.

Water Purification

Purification systems are the more comprehensive methods of treating water. These systems remove biological contaminants, viruses, chemicals, and other volatile compounds from the water to make it safer for consumption. While total eradication of impurities in water is not always possible, a purification process will remove more harmful contaminants than a basic filtration system. Many complete water purification processes rely on a distillation or reverse osmosis system whereby the water is cleansed with the use of of a semi-permeable membrane. While purified water is, in part, filtered, the process is much more comprehensive.

In general, a water purification system is much more efficient than many simple filtration processes in the energy consumed and the quality of the final product. With a full water purification system, such as a reverse osmosis system, you can get consistent, purified, great tasting water from the tap with minimal maintenance and effort on your part. Of course, purifying water in the wilderness necessitates a quick, portable solution, so filtration is the only option. For homes and businesses, however, a full purification system is the most efficient solution.