A Regular Reverse Osmosis vs. A Carbon Filtration


Reverse Osmosis

We are often asked about the various options for water filtration. Reverse osmosis and carbon-based filters are the two most popular technologies for water filtration. These are two distinct technologies that offer very different levels of drinking water quality.

Carbon Filters

Carbon filtration is one of the oldest technologies on Earth. There are many options for these filters. Carbon gravel is the lowest-end option. These are cartridges filters. This carbon gravel is the same as what you would find in an aquarium shop. These filters can remove some chlorine. Better filters are carbon in a block format, or “activated carbon” and similar. These will remove more chlorine. A high-quality carbon filter will often be more efficient than a low-end reverse-osmosis system. Our Always Fresh filter is an example. It removes 99.99% chlorine. It can also remove volatile organic compounds as well as heavy metals. Reverse osmosis systems will use a carbon filter of high quality. These filters are also known as the “taste-and-odor” filter.

Reverse Osmosis

A membrane technology, reverse osmosis, is available. These membranes are thin-film composite (TFC). They force water to pass through a semi-permeable membrane. There will be three stages in most filters. Pre-Filter: This is where sediment and particulate are removed. The membrane is the most important component and it matters. The membrane separates the water from non-water. The taste and odor of the system are called the post-filter. The water will be “polished” by carbon filters. Avoid systems that are 4-stage, 5-stage, and 20-stage. These are often redundant and unnecessary filters. Gimmicks that increase your operating costs. Expanding ports are a feature of better systems like our Paragon Water Reverse Osmosis. These ports are not for two taste or odor filters but an option to expand the system. You can think of the following:

  • Eliminating arsenic
  • Mineral addition/Ph adjustment
  • Virus protection

The Difference

These technologies are very different. Carbon isn’t bad. We use it for whole-home desalination. There is a huge difference in drinking water quality. Reverse osmosis is different from carbon filtration because of its size. Everything in water has a specific size. This measurement is in microns. NSF Class I ratings are common for carbon filters. These filters remove approximately 85% of particles between 0.5 and 1 micron. Reverse osmosis systems are capable of filtering down to.001 microns. This is a difference of 500x incapacity.

This post was written by a water treatment expert at Paragon Water Systems. At Paragon Water Systems we are the Manufacturers of the best Carbon Block Water Filter! We know that the best product comes from the best materials. We manufacture home water solutions such as reverse osmosis systems, under sink water filtration systems, showerhead filtration systems, carbon cartridges, and a wide variety of other products. Our focus is to provide Americans with safe and clean water throughout the home. 

Jackson Lee

Ryder Jackson Lee: Ryder, a property manager, offers advice on managing rental properties, landlord tips, and insights on the rental market.


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