How to Select the Right Home Water Filter: A Complete Guide

Is your home’s drinking water not up to scratch? If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, you should consider installing a drinking water filter. Here at the Irrigation Shop, drinking water filters are one of our specialties. We offer a wide range of drinking water filter products to our customers. We’ve put together this handy guide for anyone looking to install a drinking water filter in their home. 

What Types of Water Filter Remove the Most Contaminants?


This is the golden question for most people thinking about installing a drinking water filter. However, the answer to that question depends strongly on what you need your filter for.


There are multiple types of contaminants that you may want removed from your drinking water. The most harmful contaminants are pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and small organisms. Less harmful but still unideal are physical impurities such as sediment, metals, and other compounds or objects that may enter a drinking water system. Lastly, there are chemicals in the water supply that may affect the taste and odour. Some of these are routinely added such as fluoride. Other chemicals may be the result of the water supply itself, such as calcium and magnesium. 

Installation Method 

There are a number of ways a drinking water filter can be installed. Smaller systems are cheaper and easier to install but may not be as effective at removing contaminants. Effectiveness increases with larger systems but so does cost and the difficulty of installation. 


Pitcher Filters 

Pitcher filters are simple and affordable. They consist of a pitcher with a built-in filter that treats water as it is poured into the pitcher. They do not require any installation and are convenient for small households.

Faucet-Mounted Filters

These filters attach directly to the end of the faucet. They are easy to install and suitable for renters or anyone who doesn't want to make permanent changes to the plumbing.

Under-Sink Filters

Under sink kitchen systems are connected to the existing water supply line. They provide filtered water through a separate faucet mounted on the sink.

Countertop Filters

Pitcher filters are simple and affordable. They consist of a pitcher with a built-in filter that treats water as it is poured into the pitcher. They do not require any installation and are convenient for small households.

Whole House Filters

Whole house filtration systems are installed at the point where the water enters the house, usually near the main water supply line. They treat all water coming into the house, ensuring that all faucets and appliances have filtered water.

Filtration Method 

The filtration method used by the water filter affects which contaminants it can filter out: 

Activated Carbon Filters:

These filters use activated carbon to remove impurities and contaminants from the water. They are effective at removing chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some heavy metals, and bad taste and odour.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems:

RO systems use a semipermeable membrane to remove a wide range of contaminants, including dissolved solids, bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, fluoride, and other harmful substances. They provide one of the most comprehensive filtration processes.

Ceramic Filters:

Ceramic filters have small pores that trap sediment, bacteria, and other larger particles, effectively removing impurities from the water. They are often used in conjunction with other filters for better purification.

Ultraviolet (UV) Filters:

UV filters use UV light to disinfect the water and eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. They are usually used alongside other filtration methods to ensure microbiological safety.

Ion Exchange Filters:

These filters use ion exchange resins to remove dissolved ions like calcium, magnesium, and heavy metals from the water, reducing hardness and preventing scale build-up.

Multi-stage Filters:

These systems combine different filtration methods (e.g., activated carbon, RO, sediment filters) to provide comprehensive filtration and address a wide range of contaminants.


    When filtration is concerned, a reverse osmosis filter will generally provide the most effective filtration for your home. Faucet-mounted, countertop or under-sink systems will generally be sufficient for most urban households. A large property that is not connected to the mains water supply may require the use of a whole house system that uses multiple filtration methods.

    Environmental Benefits of Using a Water Filter

    It’s no secret that bottled water tastes different from tap water. Furthermore, in some places in Australia, tap water can have an unpleasant taste and/or odour. If you want water that tastes great and don’t want to buy bottled water, using a water filter is a great way to save yourself money and save the environment at the same time. By using a water filter over bottled water, you’ll:

    • Reduce the amount of plastic waste you create 
    • Conserve energy use and consumption of natural resources 
    • Minimise water waste  
    • Lower your overall carbon footprint 


    Water Filter Home Maintenance 

    After installation, you will also need to maintain your water filter to keep it in good condition. It is well worthwhile doing the following: 

    • Reading the manufacturer's instructions: Always start by reading the user manual provided by the water filter manufacturer. It will contain specific maintenance instructions and guidelines for your particular filter model.
    • Regularly replacing filter cartridges: Most home water filters use replaceable filter cartridges. Follow the recommended replacement schedule. This typically ranges from every 3 to 6 months, depending on the filter type and usage.
    • Checking for leaks: Regularly inspect the filter system for any signs of leakage.
    • Cleaning filter housings: If your water filter has reusable filter housings, clean them periodically to remove sediment, debris, and other buildup. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning these components.
    • Flushing the system: Some filters, like reverse osmosis systems, may require periodic flushing to prevent the buildup of impurities. Follow the manufacturer instructions on how to flush the system properly.
    • Sanitising the system: To prevent bacterial growth and ensure the best water quality, sanitise the filter system at regular intervals. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
    • Checking the water pressure: Monitor the water pressure in your system to ensure it remains within the recommended range. Excessive pressure can damage the filter components.
    • Maintaining pre-filters: If your water filter has pre-filters, such as sediment or carbon filters, follow the recommended maintenance schedule for these components as well.

    If you are unsure about how to maintain or troubleshoot your water filter system, consider hiring a professional to inspect and service the system regularly.


    Common FAQs

    • How often should a water filter be changed?

    Most water filters will recommend that the filter cartridge be replaced anywhere between 2 to 6 months. Whole house filter systems components may last longer and only require replacement every year or two years. 

    • Will a water filter soften hard water?

    Some filters may remove a small amount of calcium and magnesium but you will generally need a dedicated water softening system to soften your water. 

    • Will a water filter remove pathogens and sediment?

    Most water filters remove sediment quite effectively. Effectiveness at filtering pathogens varies significantly. Generally, you will need a multi-stage system that uses RO and another filtration method to ensure complete pathogen filtration. Some pathogens such as amoebas will need to be neutralised using chlorine and cannot be completely removed using water filters.  

    Talk to the Drinking Water Filter Experts at The Irrigation Shop Today 

    We hope that this guide to water filters has given you an idea of what to choose for your home. If you’re ready to have one installed, talk to experts at the Irrigation Shop today. View our product range here or contact us if you have any further questions.