Difference Between RO, UV And UF in Water Purifiers (RO vs UV vs UF)

Difference Between RO, UV And UF

Do you want to buy the best water purifier? If so, it is important to understand its features and the technologies used in its operation even before making the purchase. So, in this article, we will discuss the three common technologies (RO, UV and UF) prevalent in Indian water purifiers. Read on, to know how the technologies work and check out the difference between them (RO vs UV vs UF).

RO, UV And UF - Meaning

RO (Reverse Osmosis Technology)

A "RO" refers to reverse osmosis technology. The water purifiers powered by this technology can effectively treat salts, minerals, dirt, metals, and cysts from your water. Since their membrane is super thin, germs, bacteria, and other harmful viruses can’t pass through them either. Like the UV technology, the RO technology operates via electricity.

It is one of the most advanced water purification technologies in India, and our bottled water goes through this purification process as well. Reverse Osmosis purification is also an effective way to treat the metallic taste or weird odor from your water.

While taste is a subjective aspect, reverse osmosis enhances the taste of water by removing the presence of lead. Several blind taste tests have proved that reverse osmosis water is preferred than most other purified water.

Unlike other purification methods, RO effectively removes all traces of lead, nitrates, and every other compound that mars the quality and the taste of water. This technology can assure you to enjoy clean, tasty, and freshwater.

Do note that RO water is also better for cooking and it completely reduces your need for buying bottled water. Also, if you have high sodium soft water in your area, you can be completely assured of enjoying sweet, sodium-free water after the RO purification process.

UV (Ultraviolet Technology)

An "UV" refers to ultraviolet technology. An UV water purifier is backed by this technology and it effectively uses the UV light in killing harmful bacteria, viruses, and other dreadful germs. They also do a fairly good job of removing cysts from water. 

That said, it is important to note that your water might contain the remains of the dead insects even after it passes through UV purification. What's more, this purification doesn't clear salts and metal from your water. So, if your water purifier is only powered by this technology, you may not enjoy the perfectly natural taste in your water.

UF (Ultra Filtration Technology)

An "UF" refers to ultra filtration technology. Unlike the former two technologies, an UF water purifier doesn't use electricity. Instead, it leverages gravity for preventing the entry of cysts and other solid impurities. Despite being efficient, it doesn't stand as the best barrier against powerful viruses. It can, however, prevent the entry of bacteria. 

The devices powered by this technology cannot remove dissolved impurities either. That is why it is important to get your water disinfected after it is treated by ultra filtration technology. This will prevent any possibility of added germs or impurities.

RO, UV And UF - Difference

RO vs UV

In Reverse Osmosis water purifiers, reverse osmosis membrane plays a vital role in physically removing the traces of germs and viruses. Also, this membrane has filtering holes that are so exceptionally small that it’ll even end up removing the dissolved salts.

Contrary to the Reverse Osmosis systems, ultraviolet water purifiers have larger holes which makes it easy for the germs and bacteria to sneak through. So, why do people get it? Well, because ultraviolet water purifiers have a strong ultraviolet lamp that can effectively kill these toxic germs.

The UV light needs to pass via the water to ensure the proper operation of the ultraviolet filters. Unless it crosses the water, it can never effectively kill the germs.There is, however, a catch: unless the water is crystal clear, the UV rays won’t manage to work. Reverse Osmosis filters are a way ahead here as they can easily work with dirty water. 

For UV filters to work, you also need to ensure that your UV bulb doesn’t have any trace of dirt or algae. It is important to note here that if you turn off the ultraviolet light for a while, algae will easily form on the surface of the bulb which in turn will reduce its efficiency.

The process of ultraviolet filtration handles some of the most essential areas of purification. However, despite its efficiency, it cannot successfully treat the traces of contaminating agents like germs, viruses, bacteria, or even microorganisms. Even if your ultraviolet filtration system is extremely powerful, traces of these contaminating agents will remain in the water.

At this point, you're probably aware that these germs might lead to dangerous ailments including (but not limited to) fever, typhoid, dysentery, stomach infection, liver infection, and diarrhea. That is where the Reverse Osmosis Purification system comes to your rescue. These systems stand as a barrier against these microorganisms and similar other contamination's. The result: you’re left with completely purified water.

RO filters helps in removing the harmful bacteria, germs, cysts and every other kind of dissolved salts. That said, RO filter too has its fair share of disadvantages. One of the biggest issues with this filtration system is that it ends up wasting plenty of water. This, however, will depend on the level of impurities.

Usually, for purifying one-part water, the filtration system will reject around two to three parts of water. This is, therefore, not sustainable in areas prone to a severe shortage of water. Unlike RO filters, ultraviolet filtration systems do not involve any wastage of water. Both RO and UV filters do not operate with chemicals and are highly effective in maintaining the natural taste of water.

Both these filters require an equal degree of effort, when it comes to maintenance. For UV filters, you have to constantly ensure that the UV bulb is up and running. Additionally, you need to go the extra mile for keeping it algae free. For RO filters, you need to check the filtration membrane from time to time. If the membrane breaks, you won’t enjoy the benefits of completely purified water.

Finally, both UV and RO filters work in their way. While the former kills the harmful germs, the latter prevents the germs from entering your water. Additionally, it also removes salts, cysts, arsenic, lead, and other harmful fluorides.

UV vs UF

At this stage, you probably know what UV water purifiers are. As we already mentioned, UV purifiers are powered by the ultraviolet technology that plays a vital role in killing the germs, bacteria, and protozoa. While it doesn't remove metals and salts, UV purifiers effectively remove cysts and other solid impurities from your water. Like Reverse Osmosis water purifiers, UV purifiers operate via electricity.

UF purifiers are the devices that are backed by ultra-filtration technology. As mentioned in the previous section, this technology plays an imperative role in treating cysts, salts, chemicals, and sand from your water. They also prevent bacteria from entering your water.

However, despite being as efficient, these purifiers aren't the best tools for treating virus from your water. To enjoy this added benefit, the water needs to go through another level of filtration. Ideally, you should choose a water purifier that is backed by both UF and UV technologies. This will prevent the trace of impurities, and thoroughly cleanse your water.

That said, it is important to note that UV powered water purifiers aren't charged with electricity. Instead, they use gravity for both operation and purification. Owing to this feature, these purifiers also tend to be more inexpensive when compared to the other variants.

UF vs RO

RO, as you know at this point, refers to reverse osmosis technology. This is one of the most advanced systems for treating and purifying your water. With the RO technology, you can be assured of treating the harmful microorganisms, germs, bacteria, salts, minerals, and other impurities from water.

UF, on the other hand, refers to the ultra-filtration technology. This gravity powered technology is effective in removing bacteria and cysts, but it cannot prevent the entry of viruses. This technology is also ineffective in barring the entry of minerals in your water.

While both the technologies are great for purifying water, the water needs to go through a second stage of purification if you’re using UF purification. That is because it cannot entirely rely on this method.

It is important to note here that RO uses electricity unlike UF that is powered by gravity. Also, RO uses plenty of water as opposed to UF. Both the RO and UF technology can work in dirty water.

The difference between RO and UV is that RO doesn’t let the viruses and bacteria to enter the water, while UV allows the entry but kills them with its UV light. Also note that UV purifiers cannot treat the metallic taste or the salty taste from water as its RO counterpart.

RO, UV And UF - Comparison

Now that you’re aware of the top three technologies behind major water purifiers, let’s compare these technologies (RO vs UV vs UF) and check how they stand against each other.

RO Technology

  • One of the most convenient methods of water purification.
  • It removes cysts, bacteria, viruses, metals, protozoa, and salts from your water.
  • It can treat the hardness of the water.
  • Ideal for places with a TDS rating ranging from 200 to 2,000.
  • Prevents the cross-contamination of water from fluoride, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals.
  • This technology improves the taste of water.

This technology effectively squeezes water via a semipermeable membrane. Since this membrane has a rating of 0.0001 microns, it also hinders the entry of germs and microorganisms. This technology is widely used for desalinating seawater. It is also used in making bottled water.

UV Technology

  • It doesn't chemically alter the water.
  • It doesn't remove the dead microorganisms from the water.
  • The disinfection process is extremely fast.
  • It doesn't treat the water of dissolved organic or inorganic particles.
  • This technology removes cysts, bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and chlorine.
  • It doesn't remove salt or metal from the water.

This technology works when the powerful UV light passes through the outer cell membrane of the microorganism. Eventually, it passes the cell bodies of these germs which results in the disruption of its DNA. UV technology prevents the reproduction of organisms. It is important to note that ultraviolet light is completely invisible to our naked eyes. Therefore, it is a form of invisible radiation.

UF Technology

  • It is highly effective in treating cysts, salts, bacteria, dust, chlorine, and chemicals from your water.
  • This technology relies on gravity instead of electricity.
  • This is not the best technology for getting rid of the dissolved impurities.
  • It doesn’t serve as a powerful barrier against viruses.
  • It is best to disinfect your water if you are solely relying on the UF technology.

The water purifiers powered by UF technology works best with water that comes with low TDS. Almost all gravity-powered water purifiers come backed by a storage tank. These tanks usually have a storage capacity ranging from 13 liters to 15 liters.

Bottom Line

If you are looking forward to enjoying completely purified water without any trace of impurity, it is always better to choose a device that is powered by more than one technology. Since every technology has its fair share of drawbacks, so it is better to understand the difference between these technologies (RO vs UV vs UF) and then choose the best combination of multiple technologies to enhance the purification.

With a combination of UV, RO, and UF technology, you can be completely assured of receiving crystal clear water devoid of germs, bacteria, waterborne viruses, cysts, salts, dirt, and other relevant impurities. This will also ensure that you're provided with pure water at every stage.

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