A Beginner’s Guide to RO, UV, UF and MF Water Purifier


Water purifiers are designed to protect yourself and your family from harmful contamination in drinking water. Waterborne diseases, viruses, and bacteria cost India millions of lives daily, with at least one million contracting typhoids and a whopping nine million falling prey to diarrhea.

Amid such a huge problem, how do you choose the right water purifier for yourself? Reverse Osmosis or RO systems have been credited to be the most effective when dealing with water contamination, and you can check out this list of top RO purifiers in India to make your decision.

However, there are many other types of water purifiers like UV, UF, MF. What are these terms, and what do they mean? There’s confusion around these terms, but we will make it simple for you in this guide.

Follow this guide to choose the right water purifier for your needs

What Is The Full Form of RO, UV, UF, and MF?

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

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Purifiers

To grasp what the Reverse Osmosis system is, we need first to understand what Osmosis is. An osmosis process involves water flowing from one area or end with a low TDS level or low solute concentration, heads to a membrane, and enters a high TDS level.

There are several tiny pores in the membrane area, which are roughly 0.0001 microns small, where only water molecules will be able to make their cut and rest all dissolved solids or contaminants will be left out.

As you can understand from the name, RO is a complete opposite of the ‘reverse’ of the Osmosis process. The RO system will push the water molecules with a high TDS level, through the membrane, to a lower TDS level or low solute concentration. External pressure is applied through water sources to provide a natural flow to the water.

The RO chamber receives water with high TDS pumped in high pressure and forcefully pushes pure, fresh, and safe water molecules through a semipermeable membrane. It keeps all the dissolved solids and other harmful impurities outside. All of the rejected water goes out to a separate outlet or pipe, which can then be used to wash clothes or utensils.

These purifiers are generally recommended for people living in areas with high TDS levels in their water sources. The TDS level can include minerals, bacteria, and other impurities. According to studies, human beings can only tolerate water within 400 TDS levels.

One of the cons of using an RO water purifier is high electricity consumption. The electrical water pumps are certainly not energy-efficient, and you also cannot use the system altogether if there is no electricity.

Another significant con of the RO system is the wastage of water. For instance, if the purifier produces one ltr of purified water for you, it will have to discard at least three ltr of contaminated water. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, there is a silver lining to use the discarded water for your washing-related activities.

Ultrafiltration (UF) Purifiers

Like in RO, the UF or ultrafiltration process also uses a semi-permeable membrane that does not allow impurities to pass through. Then what is the difference here? The central aspect that puts these two systems apart is that the membrane used in the UF system has larger pores compared to the RO system.

Let’s take the numbers; for example, a UF system’s membrane has pores about 0.01 microns large, which is several times bigger than the ones in RO’s membrane. This does sound like a downside, but there is a benefit to using this purifier, and that is—they don’t need electricity to run. The large pores in the membrane provide a natural flow and force of gravity, where fitting an external pump is unnecessary.

Not only that, there is absolutely no wastage of water. But there are always some limitations to these systems, and for the UF purifier, the large pore size is both a winner and a loser. While it certainly removes dirt and dust from the water, it will not remove dissolved solids like minerals or even bacteria as efficiently. If you have a hard water supply in your house with a high TDS level, this system is not recommended for you.

Ultraviolet (UV) Purifiers

As you can probably guess by the name, UV purification systems use ultraviolet rays during the purification process. This is how it’s done—high-intensity UV rays are thrown on the water, which helps kill disease-causing bacteria, or at least inactivates them. This system is ideal for those who have their water supply through a government source, as they have the least TDS.

However, since UV rays will not be able to remove or eliminate dissolved impurities like chemicals, excess minerals, and others, it will not be of much use for hard water with a high content of TDS. Some people opt for sediment filters, including carbon, which helps remove Chlorine and a couple of other contaminants. But not all.

Come from an area with high TDS levels in water but worried about waterborne diseases and opt for UV purification. You can try a product that provides a combination of UF+UV membranes for extra clean water.

Please keep in mind that UV purifiers still need a certain amount of electricity to run efficiently, but it works with regular tap water pressure.

Microfiltration (MF) Purifiers

As compared to all of the other three purification systems, MF purifiers are not equipped to deal with viruses, dissolved salts, or metals—it can only help you kill harmful bacteria. This system can work without electricity and does not require a lot of maintenance instead of RO or UF systems that can cost you a fortune.

As it doesn’t work on electricity, it can easily accommodate normal tap water pressure and works best with water with a TDS level of less than 400. It will help you remove all visible impurities like dirt, mud, and dust suspended throughout the water.

The upside of this system is that you will not be wasting any money or water once you install the device. Although, as mentioned with UV and UF systems, it will not reduce the TDS levels.

Final Thoughts

These purification systems have their own set of pros and cons; this is why it is not recommended to rely on a single kind for the ultimate purification. Thankfully, manufacturers have been assessing the market with purifiers that combine two, three, or all of these systems combined.

Yes, it is not going to be budget-friendly, but this is an investment for you and your family members’ health and care. Hopefully, you have found this comparison between RO, UV, UF, and MF purifiers helpful, and that it has equipped you to choose better for yourself.

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