Water Filtration vs Purification: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

When it comes to clean water, water filtration and water purification seem to be interchangeable. If you buy a water filter for your drinking water, you might say that you’ve purified your home’s drinking water. However, this isn’t true. There’s technically a difference between water filtration and purification.


What is Water Filtration?

Water filtration is the process of using a porous substance to remove dirt, chemicals, and toxins from water. In many cases, activated carbon is used as a filter that must be replaced at regular intervals. Water filters are not effective enough to remove most of the toxins and contaminants that exist within municipal drinking water. These water filters often improve how the water tastes and smells, even if particles are left behind.


What is Water Purification?

Water purification goes beyond what a water filter is capable of. Using reverse osmosis, distillation, or deionization to sanitize the water, these systems can remove more than 90% of the contaminants in drinking water. Although each of these processes achieves similar results, the processes work in different ways.

Reverse Osmosis: Water is forced through a porous membrane when subjected to strong osmotic pressure to remove ions and particles

Distillation: Separating water with evaporation and condensation, such as through boiling

Deionization: Removes ions with negatively charged particles


Reverse osmosis gets water clean down to a molecular level, leaving only pure H2O behind.


What are the Advantages of Water Filtration?

Water filtration can still be a valuable process in many applications. Here are some advantages of water filtration systems:

  • Often less expensive than water purification systems

  • Remove many of the most dangerous contaminants that should be avoided, including mercury and lead

  • Easy to replace activated carbon cartridges

  • Systems can easily be purchased as pitchers and sink attachments in local stores

What are the Advantages of Water Purification?

There are many reasons why a water purification system might be a better choice for your family. These include:

  • More effective than water filtration systems

  • Removes up to 90% of contaminants from drinking water

  • Many of these systems need to be installed by a trained professional

  • Some systems need cartridges replaced less often

When Should You Use Water Purification?

Since water purification removes more pollutants from water, it would be easy to conclude that you should opt for water purification over a filtration system. This may or may not be the case. Water purification makes for the cleanest drinking water, so it’s a great solution for people who want to purify their home’s drinking water that comes from municipal taps. However, water purification is also beneficial to businesses who need access to pure water, too.


If you’re thinking about installing a water filtration or purification system, call 101 Water today at 210.929.2189. We can discuss which option is best for your particular needs.


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