Carbon Filter – Definition and Use for Water Filtration

What Is a Carbon Filter? – Carbon Filter Definition

When it comes to water filtration, carbon filters are the most basic, practical and cheapest type of water filters. Carbon filters are widely used in many ways. For example, they can be used to filter drink water, removing or reducing bad smell and taste and they also can be used to make a fish aquarium’s water not murky but clear. Why? This is because they have their abilities to remove some particles which make the water become murky and reduce chlorine residue in our tap water to improve both smell and taste of our drink water. However, every coin has two sides. Of course, they also have their limitations. For example, they cannot effectively remove microbe, virus and bacteria.

How Does It Work?

During a filtering process, when water passes through a carbon filter, certain particles will be trapped to the porous structure of activated carbon. Here, we refer to certain, but not all. This means not all the particles in our water can be attracted because this depends on micron rating or the pores size. Once these pores are full of particles, they lose their abilities to attract new particles and the only solution is to change a new carbon filter.

What Are Made Of a Carbon Filter?

As the most common element in activated carbon filters, coal plays an important role. However, this is not the whole story. In order to enhance the filtering ability, other elements are also adopted by many manufacturers. For example, spun fibers are widely used in their designs. These blends of materials enhance the filters, because layered water filters are more effective to filter much smaller particles from our drinking water. Although there are plenty of different carbon filters, different ones have different abilities. This depends on what they are designed to remove different sizes of waterborne particles. Therefore, besides function, they are also different from designs, sizes, intensity, lifecycles and efficiency. When you plan to buy one, pay attention to the differences.

Another thing we also need to know is that every carbon filter only allows a certain flow of water to pass through. When you decide to buy one, you need to know this.


The cost of different filters vary. The effectiveness of a filter depends on the size of particles it can attract. This is called as microns. If the number of microns is higher, the filter is less effective and vice versa. If the number is higher, this means the filer only attracts large particles but cannot remove other minute particles. If the number of microns is 0.05, this means, even minute particles can be removed.

Don’t be confused with sand or sediment filters

Don’t be confused with sand or sediment filters which are normally installed at our home. Sand or sediment filters are used to remove soil, sand, silt and other large sediment. Generally, they remove sand or sediment that is was visible to the human eye. However, they are not effective to remove virus and bacteria and they cannot soften hard water. If you want to kill or remove the virus and bacteria in our water, a UV or ultraviolet light system or a reverse osmosis system is more effective.