Is UV Water Filtration Safe? (Pros and Cons)

Drinking dirty water can be very dangerous because various contaminants and bacteria can make you sick. Although most homes already have a pre-installed water filter, getting one more equipped to tackle contaminants and germs often becomes necessary.

Luckily for us, there are multiple ways to filter water and make it safe for drinking. UV (ultraviolet) water filtration is one of the many techniques used, and it’s catching on quite quickly, thanks to its countless perks.

But is UV water filtration safe

You can take a breather because, yes, UV water filtration is one of the safest ways to treat your water. But hold on! Don’t just go installing a UV water filter yet because there’s so much more we need to discuss.

Key Takeaways

  • UV water filtration works by emitting UV light onto the water
  • UV light can directly attack and kill microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, preventing waterborne diseases
  • UV water filtration is easy to install and low maintenance, so it’s ideal for most households
  • UV water filtration can’t remove dissolved contaminants, so it’s best when paired with a different filter

What is UV Water Filtration?

UV filtration is a water treatment that forgoes complex chemical techniques and purifies water using UV light.

UV filtration is also called UV Disinfection Filtration or UV Purification because it directly attacks microorganisms in the water and makes it healthy.

How Does UV Water Filtration Work?

A UV Water filter contains a UV lamp that emits ultraviolet light. UV light has a specific wavelength (distance or range of light); it can reach the microorganisms in the water and directly attack them.

You can read more about UV light here.

The microorganisms in the water are extremely dangerous because they can quickly reproduce and spread diseases. These microorganisms contain bacteria and viruses responsible for causing waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis.

A UV filter works by emitting UV light onto the water; the light attacks and changes the hidden microorganisms’ DNA so they can no longer reproduce.

The UV light then kills the microorganisms with the changed DNA, eliminating them from the water and purifying it. 

What Contaminants Can UV Water Filtration Remove?

Although UV filtration is a great purification technique, you won’t find most water companies recommending it as a stand-alone process because it can only eliminate particular contaminants.

Allow us to explain.

Water contains all kinds of contaminants; physical contaminants like dust, dirt, rust, chemicals, heavy metals, salts, and microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. It is important to eliminate all contaminants from water because each is equally dangerous.

Typically, you can get rid of most contaminants by using an effective filter. However, some of the best filters can’t completely eliminate contaminants, so it’s best to use a combination of various filters.

Now, UV filters can effectively eliminate all microorganisms, but that’s most of what they can do. It doesn’t sound like a problem until you realize UV filters can’t eliminate physical contaminants like dissolved salts, dust, debris, and rust.

This is because UV filters only contain a UV lamp without a physical filter that can manually separate contaminants. A UV filter seems weak when considering what contaminants it can and cannot remove.

So, What Does A UV Filter Remove?

As a stand-alone treatment, a UV filter can remove microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, protozoa, algae, and fungi from water.

However, you can pair a UV filter with different filters and purifiers to get the wanted result. For example, a stand-alone UV filter can only remove microorganisms, but paired with the right filter/purifier, it can remove chemicals, toxins, salts, and physical contaminants.

Can A UV Filter Remove Chlorine and Chloramines?

UV light cannot remove chlorines, chloramines and other disinfectants used to clean water, so using a stand-alone UV filter won’t remove such chemicals.

However, most companies pair their UV filter with filters capable of removing chlorine and chloramines, like a catalytic or activated carbon block filter. A UV filter with a carbon block removes contaminants like chlorine and chloramines and eliminates harmful microorganisms.

Can A UV Filter Remove Ammonia?

No, a UV Filter can’t remove ammonia.

You can pair a UV filter with an ammonia-removing filter media to remove the gas. 

Is UV Water Filtration Safe?

Many people wonder if UV water filtration is safe because it can only remove microorganisms. You don’t have to worry because UV water filtration is quite safe.

UV water filtration can remove up to 99.99% of microorganisms, reducing the risk of getting sick from harmful water-borne diseases.

However, a stand-alone UV water filter can’t remove sediments and physical contaminants, so you need to pair it with a filter that can. Using a UV water filter on its own can’t clean water as much as you would like, so it might still cause you to become sick if it isn’t paired.

How Safe is UV-Filtered Water?

Many become confused about the safety of drinking UV-filtered water because it can’t remove physical dissolved contaminants.

The safety of UV-filtered water depends on the contamination state of the water before going through the UV light.

UV light can’t remove physically dissolved contaminants, so drinking UV-filtered water without running it through a physical separator can still make you sick. Getting sick from drinking such water won’t be because it’s UV filtered but because it contains harmful materials.

However, running water through a filter capable of removing dissolved contaminants and a UV filter removes all risks, so it’s quite safe to drink.

There are also numerous concerns about UV water causing cancer, but they are only myths and hold no truth.

Yes, drinking water purified solely through a UV filter might still make you sick, but there’s a lot you can do to prevent that. The simplest step would be to pair a UV water filter with a different filter, and the water instantly becomes the safest to drink.

Is UV Filtration the Best Technique?

UV water filtration is easy, quick, and safe. But is it worth the installation?

Although UV water filtration is an excellent technique, it has several downsides.

You won’t normally find much information about the downsides of UV filtration because there are only a few, but knowing everything about it can help you figure out if it’s what your house needs.

UV Water Filtration Pros and Cons

Let’s review all the pros and cons of UV water filtration:

●    Pro: Low Maintenance

UV water filters are very easy to install and do not require regular check-ups. Their low maintenance makes UV filters an excellent choice for all households.

●    Con: Not Enough As A Stand-Alone Filter

Although UV filtration is a brilliant way to purify water, it isn’t the best method of filtration. UV water filters can only do as much as eliminating microorganisms; removing everything else isn’t possible for them.

This is why it isn’t ideal to use UV water filters alone.

●    Pro: Kills Almost All Microorganisms

UV water filters can tackle and kill almost all microorganisms, including harmful bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. This makes UV filters ideal for those who get sick from drinking even the slightest contaminated water.

●    Con: Targets Healthy Microorganisms

Although removing and eliminating all microorganisms is a great quality, it has drawbacks because UV filters remove unwanted and wanted microorganisms.

Generally, most bacteria and viruses in water are harmful. However, few good bacteria classes are actually healthy for us, and our water contains them too.

A UV filter can effectively remove the bad bacteria and eliminate the good bacteria in the process. The difference might seem small to us, but removing the good bacteria from the water is actually quite harmful.

●    Pro: Doesn’t Affect Water pH and Taste

The good thing is that a UV water filter won’t affect the water’s original pH, so the water won’t have a residual metallic or bitter taste as you get with most generic water filters.

●    Con: Can’t Remove Physical Contaminants

Unfortunately, as efficiently as the UV water filter removes microorganisms, it cannot remove physical and chemical contaminants.

Water contains multiple contaminants like dust, dirt, rust from pipes, certain chemicals, toxins, and heavy metals; not all are harmful to us, but most are.

Removing such harmful chemical and physical contaminants is very important, but it’s unfortunately not something a UV filter can do.

●    Pro: Cost Effective

UV water filtration is cost-effective because it doesn’t require much installation equipment and is a low-maintenance filter.

●    Con: Needs Electricity

A UV filter works with electricity, so it won’t work if the electricity is out or if there’s a blackout.

Do the Pros Outweigh the Cons?

At a glance, it seems there are numerous cons to using a UV filter. Although partly true, you should know that the pros do outweigh the cons to some extent.

You see, a UV water filter is cost-effective, efficient, and strongly attacks microorganisms. In comparison, the cons are just that the filter can’t remove physical contaminants and requires electricity.

It is much better to install a UV filter with another one capable of removing contaminants. A UV filter’s ability to remove microorganisms is something you rarely find with most filters, so using it, in any case, is worth the risk.

UV Water Filter Versus Reverse Osmosis Filter

UV filters are gaining popularity, but numerous households and companies rely on reverse osmosis filters. There’s a massive debate about whether reverse osmosis filters are the best choice, mainly because they have numerous benefits.

However, there are many differences between a reverse osmosis filter and a  UV water filter, so many wonder which option is better. We’ll need to discuss reverse osmosis filters briefly to find out.

What is a Reverse Osmosis Filter?

A reverse osmosis filter pushes water through a fine membrane, separating everything from the water molecules, including contaminants and salts. Water purified by a reverse osmosis filter eliminates all contaminants and tackles particular microorganisms.

Quick Comparison of UV Filters and Reverse Osmosis Filters

Is a reverse osmosis filter better than a UV water filter? Here’s a quick comparison:

UV Water FiltersReverse Osmosis Filters
Disinfects and eliminates most microorganisms like bacteria and virusesCan only disinfect particular bacteria; it might not eliminate all organisms completely
Cannot remove physical and chemical contaminants like chlorine, lead, dust, and dirtCan remove physical and chemical contaminants, including chlorine, lead, dust, rust, etc.
Doesn’t change the water’s pHMight make water pH slightly acidic
Needs electricity to runDoesn’t need electricity to run

Are UV Filters Better Than Reverse Osmosis Filters?

UV filters are a great fit for any household, but they can’t remove physical and chemical contaminants, so you would need a different filter anyway.

A reverse osmosis filter is better than a UV filter because of its ability to remove most contaminants, but it can’t kill microorganisms as effectively as a UV filter.

There’s no easy way to choose the winner, but you could always pair a UV filter with a reverse osmosis purifier to get the perfect result. UV filters might not be perfect, but they are the best filters to pair with others.

Common Questions About UV Water Filtration

There’s a lot of confusion about UV water filtration because while it’s a popular technique used in industries, not every household has it. Those interested in UV filter installation have many questions on their mind, so we’ll try to answer as many as possible.

●    Can UV Water Filtration Cause Cancer?

UV rays in sunlight can cause cancer, so many wonder if UV water filters have the same effect. Fortunately, the UV light in water filters doesn’t cause cancer because the entire filtration process happens in an enclosed container with no risk of exposure.

The water filtered by UV light doesn’t retain any harmful exposure either, so it’s safe to drink and won’t trigger cancerous growth.

●    Is UV Water Filtration A Stand Alone Process?

No, UV water filtration is not stand-alone because it can’t filter dissolved contaminants like chemicals, dust, dirt, debris, rust, and more. Using a UV filter as a stand-alone would only be beneficial if you’re using it on water that already went through a different filter.

For example, adding a UV filter to a water container will do wonders if the water is pre-filtered. Using a UV filter alone on unfiltered water will remove microorganisms, but dust, dirt, and physical contaminants will remain.

So it’s always best to pair a UV filter with a different filter and purifier capable of removing dissolved substances.

●    Is UV-Filtered Water Healthy?

Yes. Water filtered from UV light is healthy because it contains little to no harmful bacteria and viruses.

However, the water’s health depends on how dirty it is before going through a UV filter. The water from a UV filter is healthy in terms of no bacteria, but physical contaminants like dust and rust could still make you sick.

Pre-filtered water might still contain bacteria and harmful microorganisms, so a UV filter makes it healthier to drink.

●    Is UV Water Filtration Necessary for City Water?

City water is typically filtered through a large filtration and purification system before it goes to households and common access points. However, pipes with rust, growing algae, and dust can still contaminate it during transport.

It is important to filter city water upon entry, especially if you frequently get sick from drinking it or think it is dirty.

Of course, what type of filter you need depends on how dirty the water is. A bitter, metallic, or other weird tastes and odor can tell you if the water is dirty, so you know to install a generic filter.

But sometimes, colorless and odorless water can still be contaminated; you just can’t see it.

In this case, adding a UV filter is great because it kills any harmful bacteria and viruses that might have escaped the generic filters. However, it’s not much use adding a UV filter if the water isn’t pre-filtered.

●    Can UV Water Filtration Remove Rust and Dirt?

No. A UV water filter can’t remove rust, dirt, or other dissolved contaminants because it works by shining UV light onto the water. Since light is not a physical or tangible filter, it can’t remove dissolved contaminants.

●    How Pure is UV-Filtered Water?

A UV water filter disinfects up to 99.99% of microorganisms, so it’s extremely pure.

Where Can I Buy A UV Filter?

You can buy a UV filter by directly contacting a water company or online. Your best bet would be to get a UV filter from Amazon.

Amazon offers various UV water filters; some are capable of purifying water for the whole house, while others are available for countertops and smaller household water systems.


UV water filters are easy to install, don’t have a complex process, and have minimal side effects. TUV water filtration kills most microorganisms and reduces the risk of waterborne diseases.

It is best to use a UV water filter with a different filter (reverse osmosis or any other generic filter) because UV water filtration can’t remove physical, dissolved contaminants. Drinking water filtered solely through UV light isn’t smart because physical contaminants can still make you sick.

However, drinking UV water isn’t harmful and is healthy.


This is my blog about the ways and solutions that can help you improve your health by taking more value from drinking water. As improving health means a lot to me, I decided to create the Water On Top project with the purpose to reveal the benefits of water, the finest products to take our daily water to another level, and much more great stuff about water that I believe is on top of our nutrition.

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