The 15 Main Water Filter Types, and Their Pros and Cons

Here are 15 different types of water filter. Learn more about them, and their pros and cons

You probably heard about different water filter types, like countertop, under sink, faucet, Reverse Osmosis, water pitchers, and so on, but you don’t know much about them, and which ones are best for you and your family.

Our team of experts created this guide to help you learn more about each water filter type, what they are good for, and their benefits and drawbacks, so that you can have a good idea about the best type for your situation.

Every water filter type has its advantages and disadvantages and is suited for specific needs/ some are portable, others are specific to remove certain types of contaminants, others are ideal for emergency situations, etc.

Now you will learn more about each of one the main types of water filters:

#1 – Countertop Water Filter

Countertop water filters are devices that you connect to the faucet and filter the water directly, without having to install new plumbing. They typically have their own faucet, and as the name suggests, you should put it on the countertop, near the faucet.

There are single-stage and multi-stage countertop water filters. A multi-stage basically has more than one filter, which means more contaminants being filtered out, but it also occupies more space.


They are not expensive, are easy to install, quick to filter the water, and filter more than other options like pitcher or faucet water filters.


It will take some of your countertop available space.

#2 – Faucet Water Filter

Faucet filters are small devices that you install in your sink faucet directly, and they have a button to allow the water to pass or not through the filter. You can run it directly without being filtered, or “force” it to pass the faucet filtered to get pure water, which is ideal to drink and cook.


Won’t take any countertop space, unlimited capacity as it comes directly from the faucet, not expensive, small, and easy to install.


The water flow will be slower than when it comes directly from the faucet, and you need to check if your faucet allows the installation of one of these filters.

#3 – Under Sink Water Filter

An under sink water filter connects directly to your main water line, is placed under the sink (as you probably have guessed by the name 🙂 ), and usually have their own faucet that should be installed on the countertop near the main faucet.

Like the countertop water filters, there are single and multi-stage under-sink filters. The multi-stage filters are more powerful because you can combine different filters to remove a great number of contaminants from your water, but the drawback is that these filters take more space.


More aesthetic as the filter will be hidden, stronger filtration, longer lifespans


Takes more space, expensive, more difficult to install.

#4 – Whole House Water Filter

Whole House water filters are designed to filter all the water for your home. And for that reason, they will be larger, more potent, and also more expensive than all the other types of filters.

They are installed into the mainline of your home to clean the water before it goes to the different zones of your house, and you should use a professional to install one of these water filters. 


Powerful filter that removes several contaminants, purifies all the water in your house. 


Difficult to install, and expensive.

#5 – Reverse Osmosis System

Reverse Osmosis System is a filtration system that uses a semi-permeable membrane to filter out several contaminants, minerals, pesticides, and inorganic components that give you real clean water.

Because the membranes are sensitive, these systems typically combine different types of filters, having some pre-filters that remove large particles and chlorine to avoid damaging the membranes and extend the lifespan of the RO system.

The RO process is a bit slow, so the system has a pressurized water tank to store the filtered water to be used later.


Filter great amounts of contaminants (up to 99%) and harmful components, one of the most powerful systems to generate clean water, easy to maintain, and have a good lifespan.


They are expensive, generate lots of wastewater (typically in a 3:1 ratio), have a slow filtration process, and take some space.

#6 – Water Softener

Water softeners are generally used to solve problems with hard water. They use a process called ion exchange, in which the calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged by sodium ions, softening the water. If you have hard water at your home, using a water softener will bring you lots of benefits.


Ideal for houses with hard water, avoid limescale building.


Won’t filter contaminants, water has a higher concentration of sodium (not ideal for people with cardiovascular problems).

#7 – Shower Water Filter

A shower water filter is a device, like a faucet water filter, that you install directly on your showerhead to filter the water that is used on the shower. There are some versions with their own showerhead also.

It is a good option if the water at your home has good amounts of chlorine and fluoride, which can cause dry skin and hair.


Easy to install, not expensive, and improves the health of your hair & skin.


Slows down the flow of your shower, does not remove lots of contaminants.

#8 – Water Filter Pitcher

A Water Filter Pitcher is basically a water pitcher with one water filter built in it to provide simple filtration before you drink the water. Usually, it has an activated carbon filter or a mixed media filter (which has a sediment filter and an activated carbon filter) at the center of the top half, where you pour the water to be filtered, which will then flow to the lower half of the pitcher.

It doesn’t have much capacity, so it is typically used for drinking and cooking, but can also be used to get clean water for outdoor activities.

Because it is small and portable, you can put it in on the fridge to have cold water when you want to.


Portable, affordable, and easy to use.


It has limited capacity, and may take some time to filter the water.

#9 – Water Filter Bottle

A Water Filter Bottle is a bottle with an in-built filter, usually a filter straw, that filters the water before you drink it. It has limited capacity, but it is a good choice to give you the option of drinking clean water anywhere you need to go.


Portable, affordable, and easy to use.


Limited capacity, and the filters need to be replaced with some frequency.

#10 – Straw Water Filter

Straw Water Filter is a special straw with a filter in it, that you place one side in your mouth and the other on the water source, and drink through the straw having the water filter in the way.

They are not designed for daily use, are directed for outdoor sports, survival, and emergencies.

More recent versions are designed to work inside of a water bottle, but that makes it more like a water filter bottle that was covered before.


Affordable and portable.


Do not filter all the contaminants, and are not that easy to use.

#11 – Portable Pump Water Filter

Like straw water filters, portable pump water filters are not designed for a day to day use, but more for emergencies and special situations.

A Portable Pump Water Filter is a device in which you put the hose in the source of water and manually pump it so that the water is pulled through the filter and leaves the other side of the hose filtered.


Good for emergency situations, and easy to maintain.


Large, heavy, and not easy to use.

#12 – Water Distiller 

A water distiller is a system that distills the water, ie, it heats it first until its boiling point (212 ºF, 100ºC), and then captures the steam and cools it down to get the distilled water. In this process, the contaminants, bacteria, and some minerals are left behind because their boiling point is higher than the water boiling point.

The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with boiling points lower than 100ºC are not removed because they will boil and convert into steam before the water.


Strong water purification process, that removes most of the impurities and contaminants from the water, high efficiency.


Really slow process, it requires lots of energy, and distilled water has a flat taste.

#13 – Water Ionizer

Water Ionizer, or Alkaline Ionizer, uses water electrolysis to produce antioxidant ionized alkaline water that is used to drink but can also produce oxidizing ionized acidic water for other uses, like cleaning.

If you have acidic water in your home, a Water Ionizer would be a good choice for you.

This device allows you to adjust the water pH to the level that you want.


Ability to adjust water pH level, and can generate alkaline water and acidic water.


Do not filter out lots of contaminants, needs electricity to work.

#14 – UV Water Filter

A UV filter makes the water pass through a section with a UV lamp, that kills the cells of the microorganisms, removing viruses, bacteria protozoa, etc. This process filters out up to 99.99% of microbiological contaminants from the water. 


Great to remove microorganisms from the water, easy to maintain.


Expensive, and do not filter other contaminants, so may need to be combined with other filters.

#15 – Gravity Water Filter

A Gravity Water Filter is a type of filter in which you pour the water in the container area, which is then filtered and goes for the collection area, where it is ready to drink. As the name indicates, gravity makes the water flow from the top area to the lower area, making it pass through the filter.


Affordable, portable, and easy to use.


Replacement of some parts may not be cheap, not suitable for all the situations.

15 Water Filter Types Infographic

What Next

There are many water filter options available in the market, so it is not easy to know the best solution for you.

But now that you know about the different types of water filters, you are in a good position to choose the right type for you.

Take into consideration your situation and personal preferences, and select the water filter type that suits you, to give you clean and pure water.