Why is Carbon a Good Filter?

Carbon water filter cartridge isolated on white background.

Learn More About Water Filters

If you’ve been in the market for water filtration systems it may be wise to consider your options before committing, especially if you are thinking of only purchasing one type of water filter instead of a three-stage water filtration system. A three-stage water system consists of a  carbon water filter, a reverse osmosis filter and a post-filter (like ultraviolet light or other options.) At the very basic level, a carbon water filter is often put into consideration for those who have to deal with larger contaminants, discolored water or odors. However, it’s important to know what a carbon water filter does and does not do as although it’s able to get rid of certain impurities it does not have the ability to remove smaller particles and contaminants. There are many carbon water filter pros and cons that should be mulled over in order to get the right water services for you.

What is a carbon water filter?

A carbon water filter is a type of water filtration system that removes large sediments and silts and reduces other contaminants by being adsorbed through it’s activated carbon filters. It’s important to realize the distinction that they do not absorb, with adsorbing the activated carbon film that’s placed inside a carbon water filter holds onto contaminates that can influence, color, taste, and odors of water. Since they only hold particular ions, atoms and molecules of contaminants that are water dissolvable it will not easily catch onto others that don’t hold this distinction.

What are carbon water filters used for?

A carbon water filter is typically used as a primary stage filter for a three-stage water filtration system. It can be used to hold onto contaminants in gases or liquids that promote species in color, taste, odor, and toxins.

What does carbon water filter remove?

Carbon water filters are most adept at reducing contaminants but may not fully remove them. For example, a  carbon water filter breaks down chlorine and changes it to chloride which gives water improved taste and reduces odors. A carbon water filter is also used as a solution in removing organic compounds which include numerous bacteria, algae, phenols, and tannins.  Other areas where a carbon water filter can excel in is in removing VOCs, also known as volatile organic compounds. VOCs are byproducts of household products like cleansers, paints or solvents. They are also part of commercial or industrial processing that can enter water through runoff and spills which can evaporate into the air or enter the water supply. Finally, an activated carbon water filter is adept at getting rid of herbicides, pesticides and toxic chemical compounds such as styrene, dioxin, benzene, and chloroform.

Does a carbon filter remove bacteria?

A carbon water filter does not remove bacteria or viruses. Methods that can be used to disinfect these contaminants is with the use of an ultraviolet treatment or chlorination.  

The types of water filters lines side by side.

The Pros and Cons of a Carbon Water Filter


  • Removes Larger Particles
  • Removes Odor
  • Improves Tastes
  • Great Preliminary Step


  • Doesn’t Remove Minerals, Salts, Metals
  • Doesn’t Remove Microbiological Contaminants
    • Bacteria, Coliform, Cysts
  • Doesn’t Remove Inorganic Contaminants
    • Lead, Arsenic, Asbestos
  • Doesn’t Reduce Minerals or TDS (Total Dissolved Solids)

Which is better reverse osmosis or carbon filter?

Carbon Water filter vs Reverse Osmosis

Ultimately, it’s better to use both a carbon filter and reverse osmosis system together as they can work hand in hand and pick up where the other lacks as far as water purification. A reverse osmosis water filtration system is adept at removing smaller particles and contaminants that a carbon water filter is unable to yet it works much better when larger particles are removed with a preliminary water filtration system. Let’s put it this way, most carbon water filters have a NSF Class I rating which means they remove 85% of particles at sizes of 0.5-1 micron. A reverse osmosis system would go much further, about 500x the size difference, and filter water down to .001 microns! You can expect improved water treatment and effectiveness in purification when you combine the two systems.  

Are carbon air filters safe?

Carbon air filters are environmentally safe and safe for the family. They are able to remove odors as well as toxic gases from an area so you are able to breather safer air.

Are carbon cabin filters better?

Carbon cabin filters are one of two air filters often installed in cars which contain activated carbon that is treated with heat and chemicals to allow it to have odor-control abilities. These carbon filters incorporate charcoal traps that adsorp, not absorb, odor-causing gases which allow it to hold them onto the surface of the charcoal treated media. Since charcoal is porous these filters can trap a large expanse of noxious gases. Carbon cabin air filters are able to adsorb exhaust fumes, odors, pollen, dust and other contaminates from the air.  

If you’re interested in a carbon water filter in Aledo and Fort Worth, TX call 817-901-7775 with Elder's Pure Water!