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Coconut Shell Carbon vs Catalytic Carbon Filter: Which is Better?

a coconut shell carbon water filter next to a pitcher of water filling from the sink
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Did you know that 26% of the world’s population lacks clean drinking water? Drinking unsafe water causes 1.2 million deaths per year globally. That’s why water filtration has become essential for quality drinking water. Coconut shell and catalytic carbon filters are two popular water filtration options available on the market. While both filtration methods absorb contaminants, they give different results. So which one is better? Coconut shell carbon is less effective than catalytic carbon filters. It’s also cheaper, making it more popular than its counterpart. The filter you choose will depend on the water contaminants you want to filter.

In this article, we will compare coconut shell carbon filters and catalytic carbon filters to help you choose one that meets your needs.

What is a Coconut Shell Carbon Filter?

coconut shell carbon filter uses granular activated carbon (GAC) from coconut shells as its primary filtering medium. Activated carbon is a remarkably porous material that is extremely effective at adsorbing contaminants due to its many tiny pores. Coconut shells are heated at a high temperature without oxygen, creating a highly porous material with a large surface area.

Coconut shell activated carbon filter is the most popular type of activated carbon filter. It effectively removes or reduces a wide range of pollutants from water, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, and other chemicals.

What is a Catalytic Carbon Filter?

A catalytic carbon filter is made of an activated carbon material which is treated to make it highly porous. This gives it a large surface area and more capacity for adsorbing contaminants. The activated carbon is treated with a catalyst, such as platinum or palladium. A catalyst helps speed up the chemical reaction when the carbon filter is in use without being consumed during the reaction.

A catalytic carbon filter is mainly for removing hydrogen sulfide and chloramines in the water, making it less common than a coconut shell carbon filter.

Hand holding a full glass of water.

Comparison of Coconut Shell Carbon and Catalytic Carbon Filters

Coconut shell carbon and catalytic carbon filter are almost identical, but the latter is more efficient. It’s important to understand the capability of each filter to choose the best fit.

Coconut Shell Carbon

  • Removes/reduces less chlorine than its counterpart
  • Offers limited reduction of THMs, VOCs and Chloramines
  • Effective at reducing hydrogen sulfide
  • Relatively cheaper

Catalytic Carbon Filters

  • Higher capability of removing /reducing chlorine
  • More effective are reducing THMs, VOCs and Chloramines
  • Enhanced capability of reducing hydrogen sulfide
  • More costly

Coconut Shell Carbon Vs. Catalytic Carbon: Which is Better?

Based on the comparison above, it’s clear that a catalytic carbon filter is an excellent choice if your water has a high concentration of contaminants. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper, general-purpose water filtration medium that can remove contaminants that are not highly concentrated, then coconut shell carbon would be a better choice. Ultimately, the filter you pick will depend on your budget and specific water filtration needs. The best way is to consult an expert to help you determine the best filter for your home’s specific needs.

A girl in a pink t-shirt is drinking water while looking to the left.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Type of Activated Carbon Filter

Before you choose between coconut shell carbon or catalytic carbon filter, it’s important to consider several factors, including:

Type of Contaminants

Conducting a water test to identify your water’s quality and the impurities present is important. You can also consider other types of carbon filters to select one that will be highly effective at removing the contaminant. For example, catalytic carbon filters adsorb chloramines and hydrogen sulfide more effectively. If your filter is for removing heavy metals, a coconut shell carbon or catalytic carbon filter can not be as effective. A more advanced carbon filter, such as a bone char carbon filter, can be a better choice.

Water Flow Rate

Your water’s flow rate is crucial when choosing the best carbon filter. A low flow rate allows the contaminant to adhere to the carbon, increasing the filter’s effectiveness. If your water flow rate is high, you might require a larger filter or multiple filters to ensure effective adsorption.

Size of the Filter

The size of your water filter will depend on the flow rate, your household’s water needs, the contaminants you want to filter, and the space available for installation.

Cost of the Filter

Some types of activated carbon are more expensive than others, and meeting your budget is important. Ensure you get different quotes from different suppliers for comparison. You should also factor in the price of replacing cartridges.

Which Lasts Longer: Coconut Shell Carbon or Catalytic Carbon?

Generally, coconut shell carbon and catalytic carbon filters have a similar lifespan and should be replaced every 6-12 months. The actual lifespan depends on the concentration of the contaminants in the water, the water flow rate, and the filter’s capacity.

Furthermore, the quality of your water can affect the lifespan of your filter. Research shows that improving water quality can increase the life expectancy of your filter. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and replacement intervals is essential to ensure your filter gives you optimal performance.

What Is Activated Carbon?

Activated carbon is a form of carbon treated with a highly porous surface area, making it very effective at absorbing contaminants. The activation process involves heating carbon to high temperatures, which creates tiny pores between the carbon atoms, increasing the surface area available for adsorption.

Is There a Difference Between “Activated Charcoal” And “Activated Carbon”?

No. Both terms are used interchangeably, creating a lot of confusion. Activated charcoal and activated carbon are the same thing. They are made from carbon treated to make them more porous. The activation process makes it more effective at absorbing toxins and other impurities in the water. Activated charcoal is the more layman’s name, but activated carbon is the technically correct term.

Can Coconut Shell Carbon and Catalytic Carbon Filter Remove Microorganisms

No. Coconut shell carbon, or catalytic carbon filter, cannot filter bacteria and viruses, or other microbial contaminants. That’s because microorganisms can be as small as 0.01 micrometers.

If you detect microorganisms in your drinking water, installing a filtration system specifically designed to remove them is best.

Glass beakers with water inside are sitting on a white surface.

Which Contaminants Can a Coconut Shell Carbon and Catalytic Carbon Filter Not Remove?

Coconut shell carbon and catalytic carbon filters effectively remove many pollutants. However, there are some contaminants they cannot remove or have limited effectiveness against. These include:

  • Water hardness
  • Fluoride
  • Total dissolved solids (TDS) such as manganese and calcium

Which Contaminants Can Coconut Shell Carbon or Catalytic Carbon Filter Remove?

Coconut shell carbon and catalytic carbon filters are best for chlorine and bad taste or odors removal, but they can also have certification for removing other contaminants. The best way to confirm which contaminants an activated carbon filter can remove is to check the NSF certification. Here are some pollutants that coconut shell carbon and catalytic carbon filter can remove or reduce:

  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Mercury
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Bad tastes and odors
  • Chlorine
  • Chloramines
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Iron or heavy metals
  • Lead (if certified)

How to Know the Contaminants in Your Water

Conducting a water test is necessary to know the quality of your water and select the best water filtration system for your home or business. You can do the water test (DIY), contact a professional water service, or send your samples to a local laboratory.

Some common signs of contaminated water include:

  • Bad taste
  • Chlorine or sulfur scent
  • Change in color
  • Low water pressure
  • Rusted silverware
  • Dirt or sediments

When installing a filtration system, you may have two options: a point of entry (POE) system or a point of use (POU). Both coconut shell carbon and catalytic carbon filters are available as POU and POE. If you’re worried about water in a specific location in your home, a POU can be a good choice. However, a POE, also known as a whole house water system, can be better if you want clean and safe water from your entire home.

For homeowners dealing with different types of contaminants, a multistage whole-home filtration system can be ideal as it will remove various kinds of pollutants.

Worried About Your Water Quality? ONIT Home Has a Solution!

So which is better? Coconut shell carbon vs. catalytic carbon filter? If you’re looking for a cost-effective filter that will remove organic and aesthetic contaminants that are not highly concentrated, a coconut shell carbon filter might be your solution. However, opt for a catalytic carbon filter for improved removal of highly concentrated contaminants, such as VOCs, pesticides, THMs, and hydrogen sulfide.

It’s good to note the system you choose should meet your home’s unique needs since each household is different. Here is where ONIT Home comes in. We can do a free water test, whether it’s from a private well or a public system. After the analysis, we help you develop the best water filtration solution for your home needs

We provide cutting-edge products and use the latest technology to satisfy our customers. Our whole home water filtration system can remove 99.9% of contaminants. We install it at the main water line to filter the water from the source.

Need clean water? Call us at 1-833-433-0331 to speak to our experts on the next step.

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