Water contamination in India being a stark reality, consumers need to be well-informed about the type of water purifiers available in the market along with the trending technologies before picking one! While you may be tempted to go for any of the most advertised products, we are here to facilitate you to chalk out a definitive guide with a checklist to identify the best water purifier you can have for your family!
Priority factors to consider:
The composition of water supply
Before anything else, one needs to have a good understanding of the type of water supply at home. Knowledge of TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) level in water is crucial. Next factor is the presence or absence of heavy metals and impurities.
Technology alone need not be the differentiating factor in determining your pick! It is equally important to consider the certification mark on the water purifiers. Broadly speaking and without going into much of the technicalities, there are three certifications to know of.
- IS 16240:2015, most commonly seen in water purifiers used in urban dwellings. This BIS standard covers Reverse Osmosis (RO) treatment systems. Compliance with this standard would mean that the capacity of the system is up to 25 litres per hour and is effective against microbial impurities besides chemical agents.
- IS 7402:1986/2011, specifically for ceramic filters that act well against both bacterial and particulate impurities. This mark especially holds significance considering the fact that there are numerous brands of ceramic filters in India.
- IS 14724:1999, an indicator of the use of UV film and UV rays to get rid of impurities. The intensity of the rays as well thickness and resilience of the UV films are regulated in this case.
- IS 10500:2012, an assurance of superior quality water, without the presence of harmful coliforms or chemical contaminants.
Apart from these certifications, the drinking water quality should have proper certification to eliminate the risk of contamination.
Picking the right water purification based on water source
For underground/boring water in less urbanised areas – If there is a presence of chlorine, pesticides or herbicides in water, the most gainful pick would be a water purification having active carbon filters.
For hard groundwater in semi-urban and urban areas – If the water content has industrial pollutants, microbes, salts and chemicals, then Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purifiers act best.
For municipal sources – Such water runs the risk of contamination in transit, for which UV-based water purifiers are superior, although RO-based purifiers too can be efficient.
Price of a water purifier in India ranges from Rs 1500 to Rs 30000. Of course, the price entirely depends on the type of technology used. We have therefore illustrated all the technologies in short:
Gravity-based water filter: most basic and oldest technology! It merely uses pressure difference along with filters to destroy germs and a micro-fibre mesh to sort out dissolved salts and dust particles.
It goes easy on the pocket and falls in the least price range of Rs 1500 – 4000. However, it is ineffective in case of the presence of heavy metals like arsenic, fluoride etc.
RO Water Purifier: The technique of Reverse Osmosis (RO) comes into play in these water purifiers, wherein water under pressure is forced through a special type of semi-permeable membrane. This technique is very effective in removing suspended or dissolved impurities including fluorides, mercury, nitrates and arsenic.
For household usage, they are pretty popular. The price range is between Rs 5000 – 12000, depending upon technology membranes and storage capacity. RO is best for water with high TDS content in the range of 500 – 2000 ppm. Also, its efficiency is high with hard water or salt water with low contamination. When fluoride and arsenic content is high, it is best to opt for RO purifier.
On the flipside, an electricity connection at all times is a must for RO. Add to it the fact that more than 40% of water gets wasted in the RO process and hence leads to water wastage in an already water-scarce planet. Besides, RO is not the best in the business when it comes to killing germs or other bacteria.
UV Water Purifier: These purifiers use ultraviolet light radiations effectively to weed out almost all types of bacteria and viruses. Germs responsible for causing cholera, typhoid and dysentery cannot stand such radiation effect and unlike RO purifiers, these UV water purifiers retain the important dissolved salts in the water.
Removal of bacteria and viruses is the top priority and these are best for soft water. There is no wastage of water and taste of water remains the same due to the absence of chemical use. An electrical connection is essential and cost range from Rs 6000-20000. However, it is ineffectual when it comes to removing heavy metal impurities like arsenic, lead, nitrates or fluoride.
Ultrafiltration (UF) Water Purifier: These make use of a special membrane capable of ultrafiltration, having relatively larger pores than RO membranes. This technology is suitable to get rid of dirt, bacteria and dirt particles but allows dissolved salts to go by through the UF membranes.
It works without electricity, require low maintenance and last longer. Its drawback is that only water with low TDS can be efficiently purified by these filters. Given its performance, the price range starts from Rs 10000 & above.
Universal or Multi-stage water purifiers: These purifiers aim to club the benefits of multiple purification processes by combining the optimal technologies available. Following are the combinations available:
- RO + UV Purifiers – Involves use of both RO and UV technology and is most effective in case of hard water with a lot of contaminants.
- RO + UV + UF Purifiers – Comparatively expensive because of its automatic ability to apply the optimal purification technology as suitable for the water input quality.
- Pre or Post Activated Carbon Purifiers – Best in case of water containing toxic organic chemicals.
Experts suggest that such fusion of multiple technologies can provide for the best water, irrespective of the type of water supply and hence are the most expensive. Also, because of use of a combination of technologies, maintenance cost is high beside the need for service at regular intervals.
Another factor to consider before buying a water purifier is the requirement of storage capacity. For instance, in a family of 4 members, a water purifier having a capacity of 7 litres will suffice. Then there are others that come without any storage capacity. Also, before purchasing a water purifier, consumers should ensure that the product comes equipped with an airtight stainless steel storage tank.
Analysis of the available water purifiers in India reveals that brands like Kent, Tata Swach, Eureka Forbes, HUL Pureit, Aquaguard, LG and Livpure give a reasonably good performance and high durability. While products like Kent Grand Plus come for a hefty price, there are others like Livpure LIV-PEP-PRO-PLUS that are sensibly priced yet accomplishes what they are meant to.
For hassle-free service, a well-recognised brand should be picked. Each of them varies in terms of price and methods used and it’s prudent to check out the reviews for each product.
Thus, before choosing a treatment, the symptom has to be identified, effectively followed by the right kind of water purifier technology and brand! By such simplification, it will be a lot easier to purchase the right water purifier and get the best out of it. We hope we have made a vital addition to assisting you in picking the best water purifier for your family. If water gives life, we ought to drink it clean!