Water filters have been in use in the UK since their introduction with the early 19th century in Scotland with the first recorded use of sand filters. However not all water filters are created equal, and consumer preference has always been guided by 3 main factors: price, effectiveness and environment friendliness.
In recent years, the environmental impact of these filters has been influencing British consumers when it comes to choosing their water filtration units. It is sometimes very difficult to understand the differences between each type of water filtration unit/technology.
Home water filter systems are very popular in the UK, especially now that we’re more aware of the environmental impact of bottled water. Various systems are available, but they all produce better-tasting water by either reducing the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water or removing chlorine and other impurities.
When it comes to the best water filter system, UK consumers are often guided by price and effectiveness. But you may also want to consider the environmental impact of your chosen water filter system.
So let’s take a look at the three main types of home water filter systems:
Which water filter is best in the UK (2020)? - Expert Guide & Review
Last Updated: Aug 19, 2020
(2 minute read)
1 - Filter Jugs
Water filter jugs like the Brita filter jug are really simple to use, which could make them the best water filter system for you. Filter jugs have a filter cartridge which contains activated carbon and ion exchange resin. This removes chlorine and heavy metals while still retaining some essential minerals.
Replacement filter cartridges are widely available, however the need to keep replacing cartridges raises questions about their environmental impact. Over 21,000 tonnes of CO2 are generated annually in the production of water filter cartridges. And while some filter cartridges are recyclable, you may need to travel to find a recycling point.
The Phox V2 water jug is an excellent alternative. It has a glass jug and housing made from recycled plastic, giving a smaller environmental footprint. And because you can refill the Phox V2 filters at home, this reduces the environmental impact even further.
Pros: Easy to use, filter cartridges are readily available
Cons: Potentially high impact on environment
Overall grade: 6.5/10
2 - Reverse Osmosis Units
Reverse Osmosis uses a membrane to remove ions and particles from water. Domestic systems like the Finerfilters Domestic Reverse Osmosis Unit have been available for around 30 years.
Water that has passed through reverse osmosis is highly purified, containing just 10% of the original TDS. The pore size in the reverse osmosis membrane is around 0.0005 micron, which means that the system can even remove bacteria and viruses from the water.
However you will need to plumb a traditional reverse osmosis system into your water system, and the process itself is also quite inefficient. For every litre of unprocessed water, it will produce only 500-750ml of purified water and the remainder goes down your drain. The process also removes beneficial minerals alongside the less desirable elements.
The OSMIO Zero system addresses some of these issues. This countertop system has a 5 litre water tank and doesn’t need any installation. OSMIO Zero also recovers around 80% of the water, resulting in less waste than traditional systems. It even allows you to dispense hot water at the push of a button!
Pro: Provides highly purified water
Con: Inefficient, removes essential minerals
Overall grade: 7/10
3 - Water mineralisation
There are a number of water mineralisation systems which purify the water and then replace trace elements, such as the Mitte Home Plus system. This system first purifies the water through a distillation process and then passes the water through a cartridge to replace minerals and trace elements.
This produces very high quality filtered water, but it is a slow process which takes around 30 minutes to produce one litre of purified water. The water is then stored in a separate tank, which can take up a lot of room.
By contrast, the Sküma water mineralisation system is a sleek countertop device which takes moments to transform tap water into purified mineral water. It uses reverse osmosis and a liquid mineralisation cartridge to give great tasting, pure water, with a similar level of minerals as brands such as Evian and Volvic.
The Sküma water mineralisation system is as quick and easy to use as a filter jug, and produces great tasting, purified mineral water. The all-round performance makes it a great contender for the best water system for your home!
Pro: Very high quality water, replaces essential minerals
Con: Some systems can be slow
Overall grade: 8.5/10
Each technology described above has its own advantages and disadvantages summarised below:
Water filter jugs - Great for cost effective taste enhancing filtration but overall superficial filtration technology.
Reverse osmosis systems - Best water filtration technology along with distillation however most systems are costly and time intensive to install.
Water mineralisation - Best alternative for consumers looking to have the best water filtration technology and match mineral bottled water. However these devices can sometimes be expensive.
By Alex - 09 Aug 2020
The information contained in this article is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or nutritional advice.