What are Different Types of Water Filtration Systems and their Costs?

Clean water is not a luxury but a necessity.

Although the US has one of the safest drinking water systems in the world, pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides, hormones and pharmaceuticals occasionally find their way into our drinking water supply.

According to the Centers for Disease control, there are an estimated 4-32 million cases of waterborne diseases in the US each year. The most frightening thing about this information is the fact that you might be completely unaware of these contaminants in your drinking water.

Hence, it is crucial that you use a water filtration system to safeguard your family against these potentially life-threatening contaminants. But how much does a water filtration system cost?

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How much does a water filtration system cost?

The average cost of setting up a water filtration system in your home is roughly around $1650, but it’s not quite as simple. There are a lot of different systems available, and the cost will vary depending on what you pick.

As this is an average price, your actual cost may vary depending on a variety of factors. While some people can get a system installed in as less as $750, some may have to shell out up to $2500.

Type of  water filtration system

Average cost

Pros

Cons

Whole house

$1000+

Capable of high volume

Expensive

Reverse osmosis

$400

Very pure water

Lots of water wasted

Under sink reverse osmosis

$200

Best value

Requires installation

Distiller

$150

Very pure water

Requires a lot of energy and time

What are different types of water filtration systems and their costs?

The choice of a water filtration system depends on some factors including the contaminants you wish to remove.

Simple contaminants such as calcium or magnesium salts or sulfur can be eliminated quite easily.

On the other hand, if your tap water contains contaminants such as lead, pesticides or hormones, a more elaborate system is required.

The best way to decide which system you need is doing a water quality test. Several water analysis test kits are available in the market that allows you to find out the levels of specific contaminants in your water supply.

Most of these kits cost less than $50 and given the information they provide; it is a small price to pay.

Once you have analyzed your water supply, it is time to decide the filtration system that is best for your needs. But before we jump to it, let’s familiarize us with the types of water purifiers that are available on the market.

1. Distillation Units

Distillation is a process of evaporating the dirty, contaminated water and condensing the vapor in the separate place. As you can imagine, distillation is great if your water supply has a lot of dissolved solids in it.

As the process is carried out near the boiling point of water, most dissolved impurities can’t evaporate with the water.

Hence, after the vapor is condensed, you get mainly contamination-free and pure water. Distillation can remove bacteria and other pathogens, heavy metals and other dissolved solids.

The downside of this process is that this process also removes beneficial minerals from the water as well. Also, distilled water can taste quite flat due to the removal of oxygen during the process.

There are several types of distillers available for homeowners. Small, countertop versions are, well, small. They can distil and purify only a few gallons of water an hour, and you must refill the system at regular intervals.

Although there are some bigger models as well, they too require some form of manual input to operate.

As far as the cost goes, you can get a counter-top distillation unit for around $150.

However, as the capacity of the unit increases so does the cost. The cost of a large distiller can reach upwards of $1500.

Also interesting: Is bottled water distilled?

Pros

  • Removes most dissolved impurities including bacteria and other pathogens
  • Is available as a counter-top as well as floor unit
  • Can cost significantly less compared to some other filtration units

Cons

  • Distilled water can taste a bit flat
  • Removes even the beneficial minerals from the water
  • Is not very energy efficient process and needs some form of electric supply to work
  • Requires some manual input to operate
  • Pure Water?
  • Durastill?

Mophorn 4L Distilled Water Maker, 304 Stainless Steel Distilled Water Machine, 750W Countertop Water Distiller, Dual-Button Water Distiller for Home, with Glass Container, Sliver
573 Reviews
Mophorn 4L Distilled Water Maker, 304 Stainless Steel Distilled Water Machine, 750W Countertop Water Distiller, Dual-Button Water Distiller for Home, with Glass Container, Sliver
  • 【FOOD-GRADE QUALITY】- 100% good-grade material. 304 stainless steel inner tank/Inner cap/Condensing coil/water outlet/water inlet, BPA-free plastic container, and aluminum fan blades. Sanitary and easy cleaning.
  • 【USER-FRIENDLY OPERATION】- Effectively removes contaminants for purest water! The unit will automatically shut off when the temperature reaches 115°C (239°F). Double buttons for start and stop, no need to plug or unplug while controlling.
  • 【POWERFUL PERFORMANCE】- 750W powerful machine with sufficient inner container volume of 4L (1.1 US gal/0.88 UK gal). The heating elements make distillation speed over a quarter gallon per hour, distill up to 6 gallons per day. Equipped with overheat protection and dry burning-resistant protection functions.
  • 【CONSIDERATE DESIGN】- Easy assembly and clean-out, no need to purchase and replace dirty filter cartridges. With a portable handle on the top for easy carry. Both distillers and containers have large openings for easy access and cleaning.
  • 【HOME & COMMERCIAL USE】- The water distiller removes most tap water impurities, ideal for distilling water, alcohol and so on. Perfect for labs, hospitals, dental clinics, offices, homes, travel, etc.

2. Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse osmosis or RO for short is a very popular water purification technology. The RO systems can be quite sophisticated with multiple stages of water purification. Many systems even employ a UV decontamination step to destroy any surviving bacteria or other pathogens.

At its core, an RO system works on the principle of reverse osmosis, which you probably must have guessed!

In a, RO water purification system, water is passed through a series of ‘semi-permeable’ membranes.

These membranes have holes that allow only water to pass through along with some dissolved small ions such as sodium and calcium.

Large atoms such as heavy metals, hormones, pesticides and pharmaceutical compounds are left behind.

One of the biggest advantages of RO purification is the taste. As the RO water retains dissolved oxygen and minerals, it has a better taste compared to distilled water.

You can buy RO units in different sizes and capacities. While there are some counter-top systems on the market as well, most popular RO systems are usually faucet based systems.

The cost of these systems varies depending on the sophistication of the unit and the output. While some low-end units can be around $150-$200, some high-end units with multiple stages of purification or a UV treatment feature can easily cost upwards of $1000.

One thing to keep in mind while purchasing reverse osmosis systems is that most of the systems require professional installation unless you are buying a counter-top version.

The semipermeable membrane filters also need to be replaced at regular intervals to ensure proper functioning. Hence, you should think of these recurring costs as well. Although these expenses are not that high, they will be there nonetheless.

Pros

  • Removes most pathogens, dissolved impurities such as pesticides, heavy metals, and even volatile impurities
  • Available as both counter-top units as well as faucet based units
  • Require little or no manual intervention to work
  • Preserves the taste of water and keeps mineral content high
  • Relatively energy efficient operation compared to distillation

Cons

  • Require professional installation and regular maintenance
  • Can cost more if you opt for multi-stage units with UV treatment
  • Recurring costs can add up in the form of labor and replacement filters

Below is an example of an under-sink reverse osmosis system that requires installation:

Sale
APEC Water Systems ROES-PH75 Essence Series Top Tier Alkaline Mineral pH+ 75 GPD 6-Stage Certified Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System
14,375 Reviews
APEC Water Systems ROES-PH75 Essence Series Top Tier Alkaline Mineral pH+ 75 GPD 6-Stage Certified Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System
  • Supreme quality – Designed, engineered and assembled in USA to guarantee water safety & your health.
  • This 75 GPD 6-stage system ROES-PH75 is guaranteed to remove up to 99% of impurities such as Chlorine, Taste, Odor, VOCs, as well as harmful Fluoride, Arsenic, Lead, Heavy Metals and 1000+ impurities. Max Total Dissolved Solids - 2000 ppm. Feed Water Pressure 40-85 psi
  • Premium made filter cartridge uses premium-grade calcium from trusted source for safe, proven water ph enhancement. Enjoy ultra-pure drinking water with added calcium minerals for improved alkalinity and great taste.
  • WQA certified system. Premium long lasting filters used to treat tap/well water. Provides unlimited clean drinking water.
  • America's no.1 rated water filter brand with 20 years of success guaranteeing trouble free, noise-free system for long lasting, dependable, pure drinking water.

Here is an example of a countertop reverse osmosis system, which will cost a bit more since they are self-contained systems:

Zero Installation Purifier Water Filter - Alcapure Edition, Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter, Purified Alkaline Water, Certified by IAPMO R&T, Patented 4 Stage Technology, No Assembly Required
411 Reviews
Zero Installation Purifier Water Filter - Alcapure Edition, Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter, Purified Alkaline Water, Certified by IAPMO R&T, Patented 4 Stage Technology, No Assembly Required
  • Filter tap water with a Zero Installation Purifier filter for healthy and delicious drinking water. Opt for AlcaPure for alkaline water with a pH of 7-8.
  • Upgrade and beautify your kitchen with a modern and stylish countertop water filter system. It is ideal for small living spaces like apartments, condos, and RVs.
  • The supply water tank is conveniently located in front of the unit, making it possible to place the unit under most kitchen cabinets and save valuable space.
  • This is a 100% BPA-free water filter system that removes up to 99% of all contaminants, Including Fluoride, Chlorine, Heavy Metals, Lead, PFOA, PFOS, and others.
  • With a 50% recovery rate, the highest among reverse osmosis water filters, this system is unmatched in efficiency. It operates on just 30 Watts of power, using less energy than a standard lightbulb.

Finally, here is a whole house reverse osmosis system that will be the most expensive:

Home Master Whole House Three Stage Water Filtration System with Fine Sediment, Iron and Carbon, Blue
198 Reviews
Home Master Whole House Three Stage Water Filtration System with Fine Sediment, Iron and Carbon, Blue
  • Optimal Performance for Well Water: Specifically engineered to tackle well water contaminants, this system excels in removing up to 95% of iron, manganese, sediment, chemicals, and other pollutants, ensuring clean and clear water devoid of foul tastes and odors. For city water users, consider the Model #HMF2SmgCC for tailored filtration.
  • High Flow Rate and Pressure: Features massive filter housings with 1-inch ports that maximize water flow across your entire home. Experience strong, consistent water pressure with a capability of up to 15 gallons per minute.
  • Advanced Filtration Technology: Includes a 4-layer 25-10-5-1 micron replaceable sediment filter that not only provides finer filtration but also boasts a greater dirt holding capacity, reducing the frequency of maintenance.
  • Comprehensive Contaminant Removal: Achieve superior purification that removes up to 95% of various contaminants, including iron, manganese, and sediment, plus chemicals that cause unpleasant tastes and odors in water up to 3 PPM combined load.
  • Reduced Maintenance Frequency: The oversize filters improve flow rate and significantly decrease the need for maintenance, making this system both effective and convenient.

  • GrowoniX?
  • OmniFilter?
  • Aquasana?

3. Whole house water filtration systems

Whole house water filters are more complex in functionality and scope as well. These systems are huge and can filter water on a continuous basis.

As a matter of fact, most of these systems are hooked right to the incoming water supply to your house.

These systems usually employ some different methods to get the water cleaned. Some of the methods used in these systems include the following.

As I said, the systems a quite big and as a result, you will need a professional installation. Although they are not that difficult to maintain, you will need professional help to keep them up and to run in top shape.

The biggest advantage of these systems, as you can imagine, is the convenience. Once the system is in place, you get pure, filtered water right from your faucets.

As the systems operate ‘in-line,’ there is no need to store the filtered water. Whenever you need purified drinking water, just turn on your faucet. It is as simple as that.

These units often come with additional features and some can even operate without electricity. As you can imagine, these units are the most expensive home water purification system. The average cost of this kind of water filtration system can range between $400 to upwards of $10,000.

Pros

  • Can purify several gallons of water in no time
  • As they are in-line systems, they can operate continuously
  • No need to store filtered water
  • Some systems don’t even require electricity to work
  • Depending on the setup, can be as efficient as an RO system to purify water

Cons

  • Significantly more expensive compared to the earlier two
  • Need professional installation and maintenance
  • You need to have regular maintenance and check-ups to keep it running smooth
  • Pelican?
  • Aquasana?
  • iSpring?

Sale
iSpring Whole House Water Filter System, Highly Reduces Sediment, Taste, Odor, and up to 99% Chlorine, 3-Stage w/ 20-Inch Sediment and Carbon Block Filters, Model: WGB32B, 1' Inlet/Outlet
2,383 Reviews
iSpring Whole House Water Filter System, Highly Reduces Sediment, Taste, Odor, and up to 99% Chlorine, 3-Stage w/ 20-Inch Sediment and Carbon Block Filters, Model: WGB32B, 1" Inlet/Outlet
  • Chlorine-Free, Pure Water: Shield your family and appliances with the WGB32B whole house water filter—eradicating up to 99% of chlorine, along with sediments, rust, tastes, odors, herbicides, and more for clean, odor-free water.
  • Easy DIY Setup: Utilize our manual and YouTube guides for straightforward installation. Featuring 1” NPT inlet/outlet and 20” x 4.5” filters, this whole house water filtration system maintains robust water flow (up to 15 GPM) with minimal maintenance.
  • Premium Filtration: The first stage sediment filter reaches 5 microns, while the second and third stage CTO Carbon Block filters use quality coconut shell carbon—tested by a third-party to meet NSF/ANSI standards. The system has a 100,000-gallon capacity for a year's supply.
  • Customer Service Assurance: Activate your extended warranty and lifelong tech support by registering online. We're committed to prompt assistance—reach out if you encounter any issues.
  • TDS-Friendly System: Unlike RO systems, our whole house water filters maintain healthy minerals in water. Explore our iSpring Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems if TDS removal is desired.

Factors Affecting the Average Cost of Water Filtration System

Some factors affect the cost of a water filtration system. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

The type of impurities in your water supply

The cost of a filtration system will vary greatly depending on the type of contaminants present in your water supply.

For instance, if your water supply is already quite clean, but you just need to get rid of the funky smell or taste, a small tap based system might be enough for you.

However, if your water supply contains some other impurities such as pesticides or heavy metals, you may require sophisticated filtration units such as Ro or distillation. These units cost a lot more than the simple tap filter.

Size of the System

As you can very well imagine, the more water you need to get filtered, the bigger unit you will need. And it goes without saying that larger units cost more.

Whether it is distillation unit, an RO unit or a whole house filtration system unit, big units cost more than small ones.

Running Costs

Maintainance and running costs can quickly add up.

For instance, if you go for an RO based system, you will need professional installation and maintenance which costs money.

Also, these systems require their membrane filters replaced after a certain amount of usage. Again, replacement filters cost money, and all this adds up to the expense of the unit itself.

Should you buy a single tap water filter unit?

Now, this is a bit more complicated question than you may think.

If your water supply is relatively clean and you only require filtered water for drinking and cooking then, yes, a single tap filtration system is a good option.

These systems are usually attached to a pipe that supplies water to a faucet. So, as the water passes through the system, it is filtered before it is dispensed through the faucet. Don’t get fooled by the small size of these units.

These can be quite complex and sophisticated as well. They can do a great job of removing a considerable amount of impurities from your tap water.

However, you will need some plumbing knowledge to install these systems. If you can, hiring a professional plumber is the best way to go.

As far as the cost of these systems goes, it varies greatly depending on the brand and the technology utilized in the unit.

Usually, these units cost somewhere between $50 to $100. However, as they do have a lifespan, they need to be replaced after some time.

Conclusion

As you can see, the question of how much does a water filtration system cost and the average cost of a water filtration system is not quite straightforward! It really depends on your specific filtration needs. If you are only concerned about your drinking water, you could even just use a simple pitcher filter and that would be it!

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