How to choose a water filter : Part 4 Water Filter Types and Its Performance

Previously, we have discussed about our water source and is our tap water safe to drink. We have also identified why is our water so dirty and have identified that water filter is a need in every home either indoor and outdoor filters. Since we know both water filters is needed for our daily routines let talk about the types that are offered in the market.



  1. Tap Filters

Also known as faucet-mounted water filtration systems, there are two types of tap filters one is attach directly to your faucet and another type is attached directly to your countertop or sink. This type of filters is a staple in many Malaysian’s household. They’re inexpensive and need some basic installation tools, one can just unscrew the faucet mount or the filter housing for simple maintenance on the filter.


Most tap filters are built with ceramic cartridge filters or membrane filters. Ceramic tap filters can polish your water up to 0.1 microns, which is good enough for your daily cooking and washing usage. Membrane tap filters can go as fine as 0.01 microns, its much finer compared to ceramic filters however the flow rate of water might be slow if your house water pressure is not high.

Tap filters rely on activated charcoal filters, which reduce chlorine, taste, and odours. Some models also reduce lead. Unfortunately, their size, coupled with the speed with which water moves through the filter, limits their efficiency. Replacement of cartridges is needed every 6 – 12 months in order to


  1. Countertop and Under Counter Water Filters

Countertop and under counter filtration systems connect to your incoming water line to provide cleaner, safer water for cooking and drinking. As the names imply, these are relatively small systems that sit right next to the sink, on top of your counter while undercounter water filters can be compact or bulky sized.  And it is installed in the cabinet beneath the sink. Maintenance of these filters may vary from one model to the other. Some just need routine cartridge or membrane replacement while some models need professional services.



Countertop and under counter systems can process significantly more water than tap filters, capable of handling higher flowrate. In addition to removing chlorine, they reduce lead, mercury, cysts, and a wide range of other contaminants. While most do not reduce microorganisms, the Hydrologics Water Station with its nanofiltration membrane can remove up to 99.9% or foreign matter in water including pesticides, bacteria and viruses. Of course one might argue that Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Membrane can be a ‘better / cleaner’ water filter, we agree on it, it will produce water at its purest form with is 0.00001 micron filters, however the downside is that it also filters of the beneficial minerals water that is in the water. Nanofiltration however remain and allow all beneficial minerals to past through while maintaining quality clean water.



Whole house filtration systems filter water just before it enters a building’s plumbing, so you get cleaner, safer water from every faucet and showerhead in the house. Point of entry (POE) filtration systems reduce sediment, chemicals, chlorine, and debris before it has a chance to negatively impact your health—or your plumbing. More advanced systems with ultraviolet light protection also prevent the growth and replication of waterborne microorganisms.

If you have yellowish or smelly water problems, a whole house filtration system might be your best solution. The maintenance for an outdoor water filter is fairly easy, depending on models some required weekly backwash-ing to ensure filter performance.


  1. Outdoor Media Sand Water Filter

This might be the most common outdoor water filter you will see when you are driving around the residential area. There are different sizes and different vessels offered in the market, some come in the greyish fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) cylinders while some come in stainless steel cylinders. These type of filters normally is filled with layers of fine quartz and activated carbon. There are brands offering 4 layers to 6 layers of sand filter medias.

Installing outdoor water filter might be a job for a plumber or your local water filter supplier, as these filters are heavy and installing yourself might be a hassle. Therefore, people tend to choose a outdoor water filter which is of quality as these water is under the hot sun and rain. FRP tanks are cheap and light however under direct hot sun and UV rays, these vessels tend to crack and degrade after 3-4 years of beating, should you want to replace these FRP vessel outdoor filters, some will charge a small fee for installing a new filter and dismantling of the existing ones.  This is the reason why people go for stainless steel vessels as they can last you a lifetime!

As for maintenance on these sand filters, you just need to do backwashing according to the manufacturers requirement. For media replacement, just change filtration media as recommended by the manufacturer, normally for activated carbon and anthracite media is around 4-5 years and for the sand media is around 6-10 years.


  1. Outdoor Membrane Water Filters

With technology advancement in outdoor water filter technology, membrane outdoor filters have become quite popular in recent years. The basically serve the same function as a outdoor sand filter, but it is in a more compact vessal and uses a filter membrane to process the water. Maintenance on these types of filters are the same as media filters, weekly or bi-weekly flushing is required. However membrane filter change have to be done in 2 – 3 years as the membrane pores might be blocked during the years of usage.


There you go, water filter types that are common in Malaysia’s water filter market. This blog post is to share simple guides , tips on how each type of filter work. Disclaimer, Do read and understand your water filter by reading your instruction manual in order to ensure your water filter is taken care of properly.


Thanks for reading, upon the day of posting, is the week for Father’s Day. We would like to wish every Father out there, Happy Father’s Day.


Meanwhile stay tune to our blog for the last part…

Part 5: Why nanofiltration?

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