What Is The Difference Between Filtration And Reverse Osmosis?

Filtration and reverse osmosis are two processes that are commonly used to purify or remove impurities from water. While both methods effectively eliminate contaminants, they have some essential differences that make them suitable for specific applications.

What Is Filtration?

What Is Filtration
Filtration Process

Filtration is a process of purifying liquid or gas by passing it through a filter that removes impurities. It traps suspended particles, such as sediment and other matter, in the filter media. The filter media can be fabric, paper, ceramic, sand, and activated charcoal. This process removes bacteria and viruses from water, chemicals, particles, and other impurities from industrial processes.

What Is Reverse Osmosis?

What Is Reverse Osmosis
Reverse Osmosis Process

Reverse osmosis is a process of purifying liquid by pushing it through a semi-permeable membrane that removes molecules and ions. This process works by trapping the membrane’s dissolved solids like salt, calcium, and other mineral ions. Reverse osmosis is commonly used to purify drinking water, as it can remove up to 98% of dissolved solids from water with greater efficiency than filtration.

What Is The Difference Between Filtration And Reverse Osmosis?

  • Definition: Filtration is a physical process in which particles, bacteria, and other impurities are separated from liquids or gases. Conversely, reverse osmosis is a membrane filtration process that uses pressure to remove particles (including viruses), ions, and larger molecules from drinking water.
  • Storage: Filtration uses a filter medium such as filter paper. On the other hand, for storage, reverse osmosis uses a partially permeable membrane.
  • Method: Water usually passes through a filter medium under gravity infiltration. While in reverse osmosis, pressure is applied from one side of the membrane.
  • Uses: Filtration is used widely in laborites and industries. Reverse osmosis is suitable for laboratory uses but mainly for industrial purposes.
  • Cost: Filtration is much more cost-effective than reverse osmosis in terms of initial purchase and installation costs. Reverse osmosis systems are generally more expensive upfront, but their cost savings over time can make up for the difference.
  • Efficiency: Filtration systems are not as efficient as reverse osmosis in removing contaminants from water. Reverse osmosis systems can remove almost all impurities from the water, while filtration systems may not be able to do so.
  • Maintenance: Filtration systems require more frequent maintenance than reverse osmosis systems, as they must be cleaned or replaced periodically to keep running correctly. Reverse osmosis systems require less maintenance, as they do not need to be cleaned or replaced as often.
  • Space: Reverse osmosis systems typically take up more space than filtration systems, as they require a larger tank for storage. Filtration systems can generally fit into tighter spaces, making them more suitable for small apartments or homes.
  • Safety: Reverse osmosis is the safest way to filter water because it can remove up to 99% of contaminants, while filtration often only removes some particles but not all.

Which System Is Right For You?

  • Have Your Water Tested: Before deciding which filtration system is right for you, it’s important to have your water tested to determine what contaminants are present and how severe the contamination is. Understanding the composition of your water helps narrow down the types of filtration systems that will be effective for removing those contaminants. That said, there are still a few primary differences between filtration and reverse osmosis.
  • Consider Your Use: When deciding between filtration and reverse osmosis, consider your uses. Filtration is typically used for treating water to remove larger particulates and chlorine, bad tastes, and odors from the water. Conversely, reverse osmosis is typically used to purify water by removing salt, bacteria, and other contaminants. So reverse osmosis may be the better choice if you want to remove salt or contaminants from your water. However, if you want to improve your water’s taste and odor while also removing particulates, filtration can provide a suitable solution.

Is Reverse Osmosis Water Healthy For The Human Body?

Is Reverse Osmosis Water Healthy For The Human Body
Reverse Osmosis Water Healthy For The Human Body

Yes, reverse osmosis is a safe and effective way to purify water. It removes contaminants from the water, including heavy metals, arsenic, chlorine, fluoride, bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants that may be present in the water supply. Reverse osmosis also reduces the number of dissolved minerals (salt) in drinking water. This makes it very beneficial for people with sensitive stomachs. The process also adds no unhealthy substances to the water, making it an excellent choice for clean and healthy drinking water.


How much does a reverse osmosis water filtration system cost?

How much does a reverse osmosis water filtration system cost
Reverse osmosis water filtration system cost

A reverse osmosis system can range from small, under-sink systems costing as little as $200 to large, whole-home systems costing up to several thousands of dollars.

Which tank reverses osmosis water filtration, or a tankless RO system is better?

It depends on your specific needs and lifestyle. Tank-based reverse osmosis (RO) systems are more affordable but require more space. They also use up water as it passes through the tank several times before emerging at the desired quality. On the other hand, tankless RO systems are much more efficient, requiring a smaller space for installation and producing water instantly without wasting any. However, they tend to be pricier than tank systems.

How often do you change the reverse osmosis system?

The frequency of change of a reverse osmosis system depends on the quality of the water being treated and how much water is used daily. Generally, checking your filters every 6-12 months is advised to ensure they function correctly and replace them as needed.

What is another name for reverse osmosis water?

Reverse osmosis water is sometimes referred to as demineralized or deionized water.

What is capillary filtration?

What is capillary filtration
Capillary filtration Process

Capillary filtration is when liquids and gases pass through tiny pores in a membrane. It is typically used to filter large particles or contaminants from water or other fluids, such as seawater desalination.


Filtration and reverse osmosis are two familiar processes used in water purification. While filtration uses a physical barrier, such as a filter paper or membrane, to remove impurities from the water, reverse osmosis relies on pressure to force dissolved particles out of the liquid. Reverse osmosis effectively removes smaller particles and chemical contaminants. Reverse osmosis produces higher-quality water than filtration, making it the preferred method for many applications. Depending on your specific needs, either system can be used to make sure you have clean, safe drinking water.

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