Water Filter vs UV Filter – Which one is more Effective?

The level of purification you need depends on the quality of water you are getting at your home. The most effective and high-end protection for people suffering from poor drinking water is found in the shape of water filtration and UV light filtration. You can buy different filtration systems for your use. However, the best and most advanced are Reverse Osmosis and UV light purification systems.

In this comparison, we will compare a reverse osmosis filtration system and UV light filtration and suggest which is the best for you and under what circumstances. Let’s look at the basic features of both.

Water Filter (RO Membrane) vs. UV Light Water Purification

The Working Mechanism

UV light

Water filters and reverse osmosis membranes employ filtration media to filter out contaminants and microorganisms.  The semi-permeable membrane removes dissolved particles; large and small, bacteria, viruses and industrial wastes, herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers.

The water moves through each stage and then leaves the impurities behind on the filter screen. The reverse osmosis membrane is so small that it even filters out healthy minerals from your water as well. One problem with an RO system and other filters is that they can leave out micro-small bacteria in water.

UV Light systems use ultraviolet rays to kill bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms found in the water. The UV-rays attack the nucleus of the cell and kills them. Once the bacteria are killed, they become harmful to humans.


A filter can remove microorganisms, chemicals, sediments, TDS, chlorine, heavy metals, and other contaminants in the water. All the microorganisms bigger than the membrane can be filtered out along with healthy minerals such as zinc and calcium from your water.

A UV light is only able to kill the bacteria and other living microorganisms in the water. It will do nothing about the sediments and other contaminants in water. The problem arises when your water has contaminants and microorganisms in it. In such a case, you cannot rely on only one source of filtration.

Filtration Capacity

Filtration capacity

There can be no straightforward comparison in terms of the filtration capacity of the RO membrane and UV light. Both can provide as much as water you want without any hassles, and until or unless the filters are working fine, you don’t need to worry about the filtration capacity.

Maintenance and Costs

Maintaining water filters is easy as you have to replace water filters after the recommended time or usage (whichever comes first). If you change the filters timely, you don’t need to clean the system separately. Good quality RO membranes last for 1-2 years or as mentioned by the manufacturer.

UV water purifiers work by using a UV bulb. UV bulb can last for one year or two. It is tough to assess the exact life of a UV bulb, but it is recommended that you replace the bulb every 1 year. As compared to water filters, UV bulbs are costly.

Power Consumption

A water filter may need a different amount of power to run, depending upon the specifications; its power usage may vary. However, a RO filtration system does not need much power to run. On the contrary, a UV light purification system just uses a small bulb, and it is more power-efficient than a RO system.

Water Wastage

Water filters without RO membrane do not waste water, RO membrane can waste up to 3-4 gallons of water on every gallon they filter. You do not need to waste this water as it can be used for other purposes such as laundry, washing, and gardening.  A UV purification system does not waste any water because the water is just exposed to UV rays.

Some Other Differences

Ro System

  • Suitable for underground water sources
  • Enhances the taste and odor of tap water
  • Most of the RO systems contain a storage tank

UV Purification System

  • Best for Municipal water supplies
  • The taste and odor remain the same
  • No storage tank

Final Word: Which is the Best?

The answer to this lies in the quality of water at your home. The first step in deciding which filtration system you want is to get the water tested. Once you have the result in your hand, only then you can decide. If your water supply does not have a high percentage of microorganisms, a water filter is an excellent option.

If there are a lot of bacteria in your water supply, you would need a UV purification system. For effective protection against all microorganisms, you must employ both the techniques. There are a lot of filtration systems available in the market which come with a RO membrane, a UV light, and a remineralization stage to provide you pure and healthy water.

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