If you’re tired of the waste that comes from plastic bottles of water, and you’re doubtful of the quality of the stuff you get delivered by the keg to your office, it’s probably about time you looked at investing in some home water-purifying solutions.
Preface: it is important to note that different water sources will contain different contaminants. In many cases, before water is pumped through a city’s plumbing system, it may very likely be sterile and contaminant-free, but once it has traveled through a city’s waterways, it can be corrupted by a variety of things, with old and contaminated lead pipes among them.
There are three basic kinds of technology that are commonly employed to achieve the end goal of safer, cleaner drinking water: carbon-based filtering, distillation systems and reverse osmosis. It is not uncommon to combine a few methods to make for a more complete system, as no single system will tick all boxes when it comes to removing contaminants.
All methods deliver water relatively slowly and depending on the device, they may need assistance from a professional for installation.
Carbon-based filtering is typically employed to improve the so-called “aesthetic” properties of water (smell, taste) over removing harsh heavy metals and toxic substances.
Distillation is typically able to improve biological contaminants and heavy metals, but they can have problems removing chemical contaminants.
Reverse Osmosis is the most thorough system among the alternatives and claims purification at levels up to 99%, though with potentially significant waste, depending on the model.
Table top pitchers
Table top pitchers, of which the Brita filter seems to be the most famous, are simple and convenient options that can be had for low cost. Typically, tabletop pitchers don’t provide the most thorough filtering, as many solutions solely make use of carbon filtering technology, but for basic contamination scenarios, table tops get the job done.
Table top pitchers are typically limited in capacity to about 2 liters, so they are ideal for water prepared in advance for drinking. These types of purifiers are widely available in China for about RMB 100 and above, either in-store or on the internet.
These varieties are the kind that attach to your faucet directly, rather than being installed under your sink. Faucet-mounted filters overcome the capacity challenges faced by table tops by filtering water as it comes out of your tap, but it is important to note the filtration system being employed by the manufacturer, as some models provide only simple carbon-style filtration, akin to table top mounted filters.
These varieties tend to be more cost effective than their professionally installed, under-the-sink variations but similar to table tops, they require periodic replacement of filter cartridges and so it is worth inquiring into the cost of replacement filters before buying.
Of note, Xiaomi has its own faucet-mounted purifier, but aside from Xiaomi there are numerous other well-known brands vending their wares throughout Chinese white good stores and over on the internet. Models can be had for the same price as pitchers, with more expensive models tending to provide better filtration technology.
Reverse Osmosis systems
These systems claim the most significant purification but need to be professionally installed and come at the pricier end of the scale. In addition, Reverse Osmosis systems have the potential to create significant waste, with some models producing as little as 1 gallon of water for every 4 gallons of input.