RO vs UV vs UF Water Purifiers – Major Differences Explained!

Potable water is everyone’s right, but most of the earth’s water resources are unfit for consumption. According to WHO, contaminated drinking water results in 485,000 diarrheal deaths annually.

That’s disturbing, isn’t it?

Therefore, you must choose the right water purifier for yourself because there are many harmful substances in the water that can cause various diseases.

However, with so many technical terms, buying a water purifier is not an easy task. Just don’t worry; we’re here to help.

In this article, we will tell you about the three different types of water purifiers – UV, UF, and RO water purifiers (in a very simple way).


UV Water Purifiers

UV Water Purifiers

As the name suggests, UV stands for ultraviolet water purifier. It has a UV lamp through which contaminated water flows.

UV radiation penetrates the cells of all bacteria, viruses, and pathogens and destroys their reproductive potential. However, their bodies don’t flush out from the water.

UV water purifiers can eliminate 99.9% of germs.

UV water purifier offers chemical-free purification. It has a low maintenance cost and saves you the time and energy of cleaning it every week

However, it has some drawbacks as well:

  • UV water purifiers require electricity to function.
  • They cannot purify muddy or turbid water as it tends to damage the UV lamp.
  • They don’t improve the taste and colour of the water.
  • UV water purifiers are not good at removing heavy metals, lead, salts, arsenic, other chemicals, etc from water.
  • The UV lamps in UV water purifiers need to be replaced annually for better performance.


UF Water Purifiers

UF Water Purifiers

In simple words, UF stands for Ultra Filtration water purifier. It has a semi-permeable membrane that filters out any contaminants from the water.

Bacteria and contaminants are trapped in the UF membrane as water travels through it and can be flushed out when you manually clean the filter.

Moreover, they don’t require electricity but use gravity (water pressure) to function.

Some of the drawbacks of UV Water purifiers are:

  • They do not affect the water’s taste or colour.
  • Dissolved solids like arsenic, fluoride, and lead are not removed.
  • You have to clean your UF water purifier at least once a week


RO Water Purifiers

RO Water Purifiers

We are pretty sure that you’re familiar with this name!

One of the most popular types of water purifiers is the RO water purifier. ‘RO’ refers to the process of filtering water by reverse osmosis.

It has a membrane that reduces salinity, prevents bacteria and viruses from passing into the water, and filters out any impurities, even dissolved compounds.

Apart from a membrane, it also has filters which are called ‘stages.’

  • The water travels through the sediment filter in the first stage, which removes all solid pollutants such as sand, clay particles, debris, and other contaminants.
  • The second filter is an activated carbon block, which removes chlorine and odor from the water.
  • Finally, the water passes through a post-carbon filter to enhance its color and taste.


Some drawbacks you might want to consider:

  • RO water purifiers require electricity to function.
  • They are more expensive than UV and UF water purifiers.
  • The biggest disadvantage of the RO water purifiers is that they waste a lot of water.

For example, if you fill your RO purifier with 3 liters of water, you will only get 1 liter of potable water.

Tip– You can use the dirty water for cleaning purposes.


But Which Water Purifier Is The Best for Me?

If you’re still not sure which water purifier will best fit your needs, consider these 4 things:

1. The TDS Level Or Water Quality

TDS stands for (Total Dissolved Solids) level of your water. You need to get your water tested with the help of a professional to know its TDS level.

For low and moderate (50-250 mg/L) TDS levels, you can opt for a UV or UF water purifier. However, if it is high (300-500 mg/L), an RO water purifier will best do the job.


2. Storage Tank Capacity

Another thing you should take into consideration before buying a water purifier is the no. of your family members.

  • If you have a small family of 1-4 members, a water purifier with a storage capacity of up to 7 litres would be the best for you. RO
  • If you have a medium-big family of 5-8 members, a water purifier with a storage capacity of up to 10 litres would be sufficient for you. UV
  • For families consisting of more than 8 members, water purifiers that have minimum of 12 litres storage capacity will meet the requirements. UF


3. The Source Of Drinking Water

You have to take into account the source of your drinking water.  If your water source is bore wells or tankers, it likely has a high amount of salts, impurities, lead, and other harmful chemicals.  Therefore, an RO water purifier will be the best option for you.

If the Municipal Corporation supplies water to your home, its source is lakes or ponds, most likely. Usually, water from these sources has a low TDS level.  Therefore, a UV or UF water purifier will be the most suitable for you.


4. Electricity


When it comes to water purifiers, electricity plays a vital role since most of them need electricity to function.  If there are frequent power cuts in your area, refrain from buying a UV water purifier as it doesn’t work without electricity.

Similarly, opt for an RO water purifier only if you have a good power supply to your home as they also use electricity to function. A UF water purifier is suitable if you have a low power supply as it uses the gravity of the water pressure instead of energy to function.



What Is The Best TDS Level for Drinking water?

The TDS level between 50-150 mg/L is considered the fittest for drinking.


Is water purified in a UV filter harmful?

It is not harmful as UV used by the water purifier system doesn’t remain in the water once purified.


How often do we have to change the RO membrane?

RO membrane needs to be changed every 2-3 years. Also, depending on the amount of water and sediment passed through it, you need to change it.


Also Read:

How To Clean Water Purifier

Tips To Maintain Your RO Water Filter

Most Common Water Purifier Problems And Solutions



Each water purifier has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, we recommend you opt for a water purifier after considering the TDS level of your water, the size of your family, your source of water, and your locality’s power supply (and, of course, your budget).

By now, we hope you know the difference between UV, UF, and RO water purifiers. If you still have any queries, please post them in the comment section below, and we’ll be happy to help you!

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I am tech writer who is passionate about technology and spearheads the core writing team on tech news

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