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There’s something synonymous with cheaper prices and lower functionality. But, does that apply to water filters? There are so many options on the market, that sometimes purchasing a cheap water filter may seem like it’s no better than an expensive filter. However, in this case, cheaper is not better. Here’s why you should skip the cheap filter and buy quality.
What Constitutes a Cheap Water Filter?
Cheap water filters are constituted not only by price, but by the style of filtration. There are three different types of water filters. Therefore, look at the type of filter and average prices to find what is considered to be “cheap.”
This is one of the most common filters when it comes to cheap water filters. These water filters are packed with fine grains of carbon, giving less surface area for water to work through. These grains help develop different flow channels allowing for water to bypass the filter. Compared to the other two filters, there is a smaller surface area in this water filter. As a result, this water filter is the least effective filter of the three. These filters remove chlorine, fluoride, and some can remove lead.
These filters are commonly found in popular companies such as Brita or Pur. Since these filters are smaller, they are generally found in the cheaper filtered water bottles and filtered water pitchers. More expensive water pitchers and filtered water bottles use a different form of filtration that removes more contaminants, and thus is more expensive.
While this isn’t necessarily a “cheap water filter” these have cheaper alternatives. Reverse osmosis systems are used in home filtration systems. There are phases to this filtration. The initial phase is the carbon treatment, removing chlorine, trihalomethanes, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). The next phase is the reverse osmosis filtration. During this phase, the water passes through membranes blocking particles larger than a water molecule. Only the water molecules pass through, making sure that the system removes most contaminants that were previously in the tap water.
Ion exchange processes are used as water softeners if someone has “hard water.” Hard water is an influx of calcium and magnesium in water. These are naturally occurring minerals found in rock, so oftentimes it can be found in pipes. This water filtration system does not remove chemicals, but uses sodium as a way to “soften” the water. Ion exchange filtration can add longevity to many home appliances like a dishwasher or washing machine.
Should You Have a Cheap Water Filter?
Cheap water filters, like a Brita, do work to an extent. Brita filters work when it comes to reducing and eliminating chlorine, but they do not have proof of removing any contaminants, only reducing them. There are a few different types of these cheaper filters: bottles, pitchers and faucet attachments.
Reasons to Have A Cheaper Option
These cheaper filters work well if your tap water system is naturally clean. A good way of finding out the contaminants in your tap water is to have a free water test. You can also visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Tap Water Database. From there, fill out your zip code and it can give common lab results from water samples in your area.
If your water is clean and free of harmful chemicals, a cheap water filter will work fine for you. It will help improve the taste and quality of your water.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Have a Cheap Filter
If you have a water system that is contaminated with lead, nitrate, or have any groundwater contamination: you should not have a cheap option. The less expensive the filter is, the less chemicals it is going to remove. You could be wasting time and money by using these, instead of investing in a stronger and more effective filtration system.
If you have a tap water system that is contaminated, you’re posing the risk of ingesting chemicals that can harm your body. Chemicals like Nitrate, Chloroform and Arsenic are found in city water systems and can cause cancer and other health concerns.
Other than the contamination issue that cheap filters pose, they also don’t last very long. With the average Brita or Pur filter lasting only two months, you’re routinely buying new filters to keep up. While it may not seem like a big deal to stretch a filter past their life span, it can actually be more harmful than just drinking tap water. Old filters can produce bacteria, which could spread into your water.
If you’re using an unknown brand as a cheap filter, you’re also potentially buying a counterfeit filter. Those filters don’t work at all, and instead they just place contaminants in your water. Fair Warning posted an article about the dangers of counterfeit filters and how to spot them. First, these filters were found on Amazon, so if you’re wanting to make sure that your product is legitimate, buy it directly from the source. Other signs of counterfeit water filters include:
- Weighing less than normal.
- Similar, but poor quality packaging.
- Product has misspelling or typographical errors on online listing
- Costing less than others
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