Does a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Pitcher Exist?

Author: Rory Mullan - Published: 2022/02/23 - Updated: 2022/06/16

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People love water filter pitchers for their convenience.

And people love reverse osmosis water purification for its effectiveness.

So why not combine both? A reverse osmosis pitcher!

But does such a device even exist?

Here is our guide answering the question, do reverse osmosis water filter pitchers exist.

Do Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Pitchers Exist?

RO water filter pitchers thumbnail

Reverse osmosis systems unquestionably make your water healthy and pure by filtering out all the harmful contaminants. This is why many homeowners prefer RO systems over other types of water filters.

But can reverse osmosis also be integrated into a pitcher? In other words, is there a reverse osmosis water filter pitcher?

Sadly, no, there is no such thing as a reverse osmosis water filter pitcher.

Reverse osmosis systems produce wastewater, require high pressure, and on top of that, use a slow purification process – all of which wouldn’t work very well in a filter pitcher.

As such, merging both is not feasible.

Nonetheless, we are not undermining what water filter pitchers offer alone. They solve aesthetic water issues and remove several pollutants, giving you filtered, fresh drinking water.

Why Filter Pitchers and RO Water Purification Cannot Be Combined

Let’s further elaborate on the question why filter pitchers and reverse osmosis water purification cannot be combined.

Reverse Osmosis Membranes Produce Waste Water

When water passes through a semipermeable RO membrane, it leaves behind all the contaminants. However, all water doesn’t pass through; instead, some of it stays at the membrane’s entrance.

As the filtration process proceeds, the remaining water keeps collecting more impurities and pollutants.

This concentrate or brine water needs to be flushed out. Thus, RO systems use a drain line. All the wastewater crosses the drain connection and flows out through your kitchen’s sink drain.

It’s hard to imagine a filter pitcher with a drain line. So where will the excess drain water go?

If the wastewater could be forced out somehow, you’d need a drain connection for your filter pitcher. Otherwise, the brine would re-contaminate the filtered water.

RO Systems Need High Water Pressure

Typically, an RO system needs high water pressure to work optimally. The water pressure comes either from your home’s very own water supply or is generated by a built-in pump.

40 psi is the bare minimum in terms of water pressure required.

On the contrary, water filter pitchers function with gravity. That is, gravity is the only force that pushes the water through their filter media. And this force just isn’t high enough to power a reverse osmosis process.

Therefore, even if you tried merging the two systems, it would be a non-viable option.

Also, the higher the feed pressure, the more contaminants an RO system removes and the less water it wastes.

Therefore, reverse osmosis realized in a water pitcher would provide substandard contaminant reduction and waste dozens of gallons of water for every filtered gallon.

Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Takes Time

Although RO systems have a reputation for effective purification, they work pretty slowly. This is why they are equipped with storage tanks to save water for future use.

A filter pitcher’s clean water reservoir isn’t large enough to serve as such storage. One would possibly have to wait for hours to get a full gallon of filtered water.

Water Contaminants Removed By Reverse Osmosis

The types of water contaminants removed by reverse osmosis include

  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Metalloids
  • Heavy metals
  • Sediment
  • Disinfection chemicals and their by-products[1]
  • Microorganisms
  • Nitrite/nitrate
  • Transition metals
  • Pharmaceuticals and other chemicals
  • Minerals and salts

Note that a reverse osmosis membrane alone cannot target the entire list. Such broad contamination removal is only feasible because RO systems combine multiple filter stages.

under sink reverse osmosis system with storage tank

Water Contaminants Removed By a Filter Pitcher

Different filter pitchers target different water contaminants based on the filter media used. Basic pitchers only work for aesthetic water issues. However, more robust models from premium brands have shown to remove many harmful contaminants. These include

  • Lead
  • Chloramine
  • Pesticides
  • Chromium
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Mercury
  • Chlorine
  • Disinfection byproducts (DBPs)
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Fluoride
  • Microplastics
  • Perfluorinated chemicals
  • Bacteria and viruses

Water Filter Pitchers vs Reverse Osmosis Systems

Filter pitchers and reverse osmosis systems are designed for different use cases and both have their pros and cons.

Advantages and Disadvantages of RO Systems

Some pros and cons of RO systems are listed below.

Advantages

  • RO systems are easy to install and maintain.
  • The purification process enhances your water’s taste and smell, making it palatable and fresh.
  • An RO system makes your water clean to the point that even ice cubes appear crystal clear.
  • It can eliminate all the hard-to-remove water contaminants, including chromium 6 and arsenic which can be detrimental upon ingestion.

Disadvantages

  • An RO system does not consider healthy vs. harmful substances – it removes both. As such, your water becomes mineral-deficient.
  • Mineral-deficient water can be acidic, which is another issue.
  • An RO system is costly compared to other types of water filtration systems including pitchers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Filter Jugs

Here are some pros and cons of filter pitchers.

Advantages

  • Water filter pitchers resolve aesthetic water issues, making your water odor-free and fresh.
  • Filter pitchers are highly cost-effective, RO systems not so much.
  • Quality pitchers from reputable brands can remove tons of water contaminants, including fluoride, VOCs, drug leftovers, chlorine, microplastics, microorganisms, lead, pesticides and arsenic.
  • They are easy to operate. You only need to add water into the pitcher and wait for a few minutes to access clean drinking water.
  • Filter pitchers are an excellent alternative to bottled water that otherwise contributes to pollution.
  • They are portable and lightweight.

Disadvantages

  • Most water filter pitchers have small capacities and purify water rather slowly.
  • Poorly built pitchers may leach bacteria in your drinking water.
  • The filter elements require occasional replacements. Ideally, it’s best to replace them every 1-2 months.
  • You must clean a pitcher thoroughly once or twice a month; otherwise, it won’t function properly.

Conclusion

There is no such thing as a reverse osmosis water pitcher.

That’s because reverse osmosis is a slow process that needs high water pressure and produces wastewater – 3 factors that are incompatible with filtering pitchers.

Nonetheless, both reverse osmosis systems and water filter pitchers can be highly effective at removing contaminants and providing clean water.

Aside from that, both home water filter types have their pros and cons.

Further Reading

Resources

Meet Rory Mullan

Rory Mullan Rory has joined the Water Masterz team as a contributing writer. He has covered all sorts of topics in the last several years.

Outside of his writing work, Rory enjoys photographing the Irish landscape and making music!

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