Rogelio Alvarez

By: Rogelio Alvarez on May 15th, 2023

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What Are the Different Types of Point-of-Use Filters?

Water Filtration & Purification

With a point-of-use (POU) water filter, you can have filtered water ready to use from your kitchen sink’s faucet. You visit a home improvement store to see what POU filters they have but need clarification on the different filters available. So after walking up and down the aisle or searching endlessly online, which POU filter is a good fit for your home?

For over 15 years, we’ve helped homeowners with their questions and concerns about point-of-use water filters. Although POU water filters are easy installations that homeowners can do independently, were happy to get you up to speed on the main options. Before we walk you through each option individually, let’s take a look at the types of point-of-use filters we’ll cover.

Point-of-use water filters are available in three different types.

  • Reverse osmosis system
  • Carbon point-of-use water filter
  • Sediment point-of-use water filter

We’ll highlight what each one does and their pros and cons. At the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the different types of POU filters so you can choose which suits you and your home. Let’s dive right in!


Are All Point-of-Use Water Filters the Same?

POU filters all share the same quality in that they’re all a type of water filtration system. They’ll all produce better-tasting water and remove any lingering odors from it. 

They’re also considered POU water filters because they’re installed at a single fixture instead of a home’s main water line. These filters are usually installed in the following locations:

  • Kitchen Faucet
  • Refrigerator water dispenser and ice maker
  • Bathroom Faucet
  • Showerhead

You can have multiple POU filters installed in your home. For example, you can have a kitchen faucet carbon filter and a sediment-filtered showerhead. 

These systems are great for filtration but also have a few downsides

Another thing all POU water filters have in common is that they all have a micron rating. A micron rating is used to rate water filters by the size of the microns able to pass through the filter.

A micron is another way to say a micrometer, which is a thousandth of a millimeter. A POU water filter with a micron rating of five means that contaminants larger than five microns will not pass through the filter. 

Point-of-use water filters usually have one single filter, with the only exception being reverse osmosis systems.


Reverse Osmosis System

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are point-of-use water filters that use multiple filtration stages to produce filtered water. They are usually installed in a kitchen sink but can also be installed on a bathroom sink. 

RO systems can also be seen as water purification thanks to their ability to filter out 99.9% of contaminants from water. One of the main reasons RO systems are highly efficient in water purification is its reverse osmosis membrane. The RO membrane has a 0.0001-micron rating. 

The microscopic pores of the RO membrane ensure that bacteria is trapped and not released into the drinking water. Bacteria are 0.2 to one micron and too big to slip through the RO membrane. 

The membrane is just one of the stages in an RO system’s multi-filtration. Reverse osmosis systems also have a built-in sediment and carbon filter to reduce physical particles and chlorine.


Pros of Reverse Osmosis Systems

  • Offers the most filtration of all POU water filters
  • Eliminates the need for plastic water bottles, among other benefits
  • Longer lifespan than other POU filters
  • Whole-house reverse osmosis systems available


Cons of Reverse Osmosis Systems

  • Produces wastewater 
  • It can have a higher price tag than other POU filters. 

As mentioned above, RO systems are made up of multiple filters, one of those being a carbon filter. 


Carbon Point-of-Use Water Filters

Carbon filtration is a widely used filtration system. All carbon filters, including point-of-use filters, are made up of a carbon source, such as coconut shells. These filters are commonly used in the following filter systems.

  • Pitcher filter
  • Showerhead filter
  • Refrigerator filter
  • Backpacking filter
  • Reverse osmosis systems
  • Whole-house carbon filters

One of the reasons why carbon water filters are so effective is adsorption. The adsorption process in carbon point-of-use filters is similar to how a magnet works with metal filings. The carbon filter traps contaminants and effectively attracts chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia. 

A carbon POU water filter installed in the kitchen faucet will produce better-tasting water that can also be used for cooking or making beverages such as coffee and tea. 

Carbon point-of-use water filters come in different micron ratings, usually 0.5, 5, or 10 microns. 


Pros of Carbon Point-of-Use Water Filters

  • Reduces chlorine taste and odor
  • Easy installation
  • Easier to maintain than RO systems


Cons of Carbon Point-of-Use Water Filters

  • It doesn’t filter out physical particles

Carbon filters are common, but it isn’t the only type of filter. We’ll look into sediment point-of-use filters in the following section. 


Sediment Point-of-Use Water Filters

Sediment point-of-use water filters are installed to help capture physical contaminants such as dirt, debris, rust, and other physical particles found in water. Although the amount of solids flowing in water is small, they can still build up and cause clogs. 

These point-of-use filters are seen as the ultimate line of defense against solid particles flowing in water. Sediment filters operate similarly to a screen in a window. 

Air can go through the screen, but larger objects like bugs and debris cannot. POU sediment filters allow water to flow through but prevent solid particles from sneaking past it. 

If you have ever poured tap water into a glass, you may notice its cloudy appearance. The cloudiness in water is called turbidity, and sediment filters help capture it so that water appears clearer.

The average micron rating for sediment point-of-use filters is five.  


Pros of Sediment Point-of-Use Water Filters

  • Highly effective in reducing and removing solid particles
  • It can be used with a carbon filter as a first line of defense. 
  • Simple installation process 


Cons of Sediment Point-of-Use Water Filters

  • It doesn’t remove chemicals, heavy metals, or bacteria


Which Point-of-Use Water Filters Are Best for Me?

Point-of-use filters offer several ways to get filtered water without an invasive installation. POU water filters help provide homes with filtered water, but deciding which is a good fit for your home can get confusing. Now that you know the three primary point-of-use water filters, you can confidently consider your options. 

At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’ve accumulated decades of experience in water filtration systems. Our insider knowledge is helpful in the field, but we also appreciate the opportunity to share it with homeowners so they know the different filters on offer. 

If you have any questions regarding water filtration, contact us using one of the buttons below. You can also book an appointment using our water filtration scheduler

If you’re curious about pricing and cost factors for water treatment, check out this article for a detailed cost breakdown.