RO vs UV vs UF vs MF – The Only Information You Will Ever Need

We have received many user requests for writing a post to explain all the different water purification technologies in simple terms.

Choosing the right water purifier for your home is extremely important in order to ensure good health. And the first step in choosing the right purifier is understanding the quality of water and selecting the suitable water purification technology.

We’ve already covered a detailed guide on how to choose the right water purifier for your home. In this previous post we’ve covered detailed information on identifying commonly found impurities in water and mapping the right water purification technologies according to the water quality.

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This post will try to explain all the common water purification technologies like RO (Reverse Osmosis, UV (Ultraviolet), UF (Ultra Filtration) and MF (Micro Filtration), and the difference between them.

Knowing the difference between the RO, UV, UF and MF water purification technologies will further help you in choosing the best water purifier that is most suitable for your home or office.

Another popular terminology used with water purifiers is TDS, you can learn all about TDS level of water in our previous post.

RO UV UF Full Form

  • RO – Reverse Osmosis
  • UV – Ultraviolet
  • UF – Ultra Filtration
  • MF – Micro Filtration

RO vs UV vs UF vs MF – Difference Between the Main Water Purification Technologies

RO Purification UV Purification UF Purification MF Purification
Needs electricity for purification Needs electricity for purification Does not need electricity Does not need electricity
Filters out all the Bacteria and Viruses from the Water Kills all bacteria and viruses but their dead bodies remain in the water Filters out all the Bacteria and Viruses from the Water Filters out only bacteria
Requires high water pressure. Therefore an extra water pump is used in all RO purifiers Works with Normal Tap Water Pressure Works with Normal Tap Water Pressure Works with Normal Tap Water Pressure
Removes dissolved salts and harmful metals Cannot remove dissolved salts harmful metals Cannot remove dissolved salts harmful metals Cannot remove dissolved salts harmful metals
Filters out all the suspended and visible impurities like mud, rust, dirt, sand etc. No filtering Filters out all the suspended and visible impurities like mud, rust, dirt, sand etc. Filters out all the suspended and visible impurities like mud, rust, dirt, sand etc.
Size of membrane: 0.0001 Micron No membrane Size of membrane: 0.01 Micron Size of membrane: 0.1 Micron
90% TDS reduction 0% TDS reduction 0% TDS reduction 0% TDS reduction
Wastes a lot of water No wastage of water No wastage of water No wastage of water

The below image visually depicts the filtration/purification characteristics and capabilities of MF, UF and RO membrane.

Water Purification Technology Comparison

 

Looking at the image above, one would naturally think, if RO alone can remove all impurities then what is the need of other purification methods like UV, UF and MF?

We will get to this in a second.

If you look at the comparison of purification technologies above, none of the UV, UF, MF offer complete protection against all commonly found impurities. So, it is quite clear that none of these three purification technologies can alone provide trustworthy purification.

Now, coming back to the RO purification.

The pores of RO membrane are extremely small (0.0001 micron) and RO membrane is prone to damage and choking if appropriate pre-filtration is not used. This is why you see most RO purifiers using 2-4 pre-filters like pre-sediment filter, sediment filter, Pre Carbon Filter etc.

RO water purifiers also need appropriate post treatment like UV column, post carbon filter and mineralizer etc. All these post RO filtration and water treatment are usually added to be 100% sure of the purification and to remove any organic and inorganic impurities still left in the water. RO membrane can also change the taste of water and make it taste bitter and unnatural. Because of this post RO activated carbon filter, taste enhancer or mineralizer cartridges are used.

So what we are trying to bring out here is, for reliable purification and pure water what is needed is a combination of multiple purification technologies.

We would not like to unnecessarily stretch this post long and would like to end with our final thoughts with this.

Final Thoughts

It is not advisable to rely on any single purification technology as every purification technology has it’s pros and cons. What is needed is a multi-stage purification approach that uses multiple purification methods.

That is why we recommend water purifiers which feature a combination of RO, UV, UF with TDS controller/modulator or Mineralizer. These water purifiers are suitable for most Indian homes.

Hope you found this detailed explanation, of difference Between RO, UV, UF and MF water purifiers, useful. If you still have any queries or would need some more information then please post them in the comments section below, and we’ll be happy to answer 🙂

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