Water Filter Cartridge Types and Sizes: Complete Guide

Whole house water filters will provide users with fresh, clean as well as pure drinking water. What specifically do these filters take away? What is the way your water filtration system stand out from your neighbor’s?

Perhaps your water quality issues that you’re dealing with differ from the ones your neighbor is dealing with also. In this case, the kind of whole-house water filter or cartridges, you require be able to choose from.

For example, certain water filters are made to eliminate large particles floating in the water, such as sand from the water, while others are designed to remove chemical substances.

In this way, it is essential to identify the cause of the problem with your water before you purchase the appropriate filter. This is why, in this guide, we’ll talk about different whole-house water filter cartridges, their types and sizes, and then try to figure out which one will best suit your requirements.

Physical Whole House Water Filter Cartridges

Physical filters are utilized to eliminate solid particles from the water you drink in your home. For instance, if the water has dirt, such as silt, sand or even sediments, these filters can help get rid of these.

Sediment Filters

The primary whole-house water filter cartridge we’ll be discussing are sediment filters.

There are three subcategories in this category:

  • Surface filters
  • Filters for depth
  • Absorptive filters

The particles are all trapped in the filtering media in one of several layers, allowing clean water to exit.

It is important to note that the majority of physical filters aren’t able to remove heavy metals, chemicals salts, or microorganisms from your water. Instead, they focus on big pieces and bits that typically of a size greater than one micron.

Surface Filter Cartridges (Pleated)

Often referred to in the context of “pleated filter” (due to their acorn-shaped shape) The whole house filter cartridges are made up of the thin sheet which collects all dirt.

The pleated design gives these filters a larger surface. This means they are able to hold particles, allowing for the water that is filtered for a longer period.

What else is great? They can be washed and reused at least a couple of times, meaning you don’t need to spend money often.

Depth Filter Cartridges: Melt Blown & String Wound

A huge drink of water, then dirt or rust inside your mouth is the most terrifying moment!

Luckily, depth filter cartridges are a lifesaver. These cartridges eliminate sediment, rust and other contaminants out of water, by forcing it through a wall of material for filtering.

Filters for depth are available in a variety of materials, such as glass fibers, cellulose polyester, ceramic, and polypropylene.

What makes a few distinct is their graded density structure. This means that as water flows through the filter, it gets more compact, which means it is able to catch the larger particles first, and then holds smaller particles inside its core.

The design of gradual density filter cartridges extends their service duration significantly, as the they are able to delay clogging.

Absorptive Filters

Absorptive filters are gaining more recognition and with good reason. They can be designed in both pleated and in depth.

Many of these cartridges employ electrokinetic absorption to attract and retaining positively charged microorganisms. Additionally, they can catch super small particles that normally go through traditional filters.

They are generally designed to capture particles that are as small as 2 microns, but they also can capture colloidal matter that is smaller that 2 millimeters.

Ultrafiltration Cartridges

Ultrafiltration (UF) cartridges take out colloids, proteins bacteria, viruses, parasites, pyrogens, and any other organic substances that are greater that 0.01 millimeter in diameter.

Additionally, certain UF currently in use remove pesticides and herbicides, as well as reducing the hardness of water and salt.

Reverse Osmosis Membranes

Membranes that filter reverse osmosis out the tiniest particles. For instance, they are able to block microorganisms and viruses smaller than 1,000ths of one millimeter.

In simple terms this way, membranes can eliminate nearly everything from your water. This includes pesticides, tannins, nitrate heavy metals, you know what!

Micron Ratings

Micron is a common measurement used by filter makers. For instance, a complete household sediment water filter cartridge might be evaluated with 5-10 microns.

Do you want to know how much? Your hair’s about 70 microns in diameter, and certain sediment filters collect particles within the submicron size range This is very small.

The filters are rated micron by their makers. They provide information on the efficiency in removing particles to a particular size.

Nominal in Comparison to Absolute

A nominal micron rating indicates that an item blocks at least 80% of particles of its designated micron size.

A water filter with a nominal size of 1 micron can eliminate around 80 percent of the particles of one micron or greater in your drinking water.

However, absolute ratings show that a cartridge removes all particles down to a certain size. These filters are utilized when efficiency is a major factor.

For instance, a complete house sediment filter cartridge that is rated at 10-micron absolute will capture every particle that flows through it that are 10 microns or greater.

It’s crucial to realize that if a filter promises to eliminate Salmonella in your water supply, it is not possible to be relying on a filter which claims to be 80% efficient (i.e. nominal). Therefore, you’ll need to use absolutely microns (perhaps an equivalency of a 3-log or 4-log rating, at the minimum).

Additionally, the problem with the two rating systems is that there’s no universal standard that ensures the sameness. For instance, some producers of nominal filters find 75% rejection to be satisfactory, while Others require at least percent. Therefore, the criteria differs from one manufacturer to the next and the consumer does not have a method to test the claims.

Common Chemical Cartridges for Whole House Filtering

From trihalomethanes and pesticides various chemicals could make it into the water supply. But, with a high-quality chemical filter, you’ll be able to get rid of the majority, or perhaps the majority. In this article, I’ll discuss various common chemical cartridges for home filtration.

Granular Cartridges

Made of highly adsorbent and porous material, activated carbon granular removes waterborne contaminants through chemical reactions and adsorption.

It’s one of the most sought-after household filter media due to the fact that aside from eliminating chemicals such as disinfection and pesticides, it also gets rid of unpleasant odor and taste.

Carbon filter cartridges with activated or granular granular are typically employed in applications for the whole house than carbon block filters (see below) since they can provide more flow rates.

Carbon Blocks

Blocks of carbon filter are composed from activated carbon, which is then bonded with the binder. The mix is then formed and compressed into a filter in the dimensions or form.

Carbon blocks are able to filtering capability that ranges from 0.5 10-microns at nominal. They can therefore easily reduce lead levels and in certain instances, even cryptosporidium and Giardia, in addition to decreasing the chemical levels.

Catalytic Carbon Filter Cartridges

Although activated carbon filters are effective in removing the majority of chemical compounds from water, they are unable to completely eliminate chloramine (a chemical that is being used increasingly to disinfect water in the tap).

Chloramines pose a few issues. Chloramines are much more stable however, they are also more difficult to eliminate. They also produce undesirable byproducts that have been proven to have adverse health effects.

Because GAC is unable to get rid of chloramine correctly and properly, you require an acatalytic carbon filter cartridge to rid yourself from the chemical.

KDF Filter Cartridges

KDF filter cartridges employ the redox reaction to get rid of the water contaminant. The copper-zinc mix can remove chlorine as well as hydrogen sulfide, lead and mercury, chromium, and many more. Furthermore, it stops organisms like bacteria, viruses and microbes from growing within the system of filtering.

Two major kinds of KDF are:

  • KDF-55 filter media
  • KDF-85 filter media

KDF is commonly added to carbon-based filters in order to provide a greater range of contaminants.

Iron Filters

Iron filters are used to remove iron, which is prevalent in well water. They first convert ferrous soluble iron to hard ferric (rust) by an oxidation. The rust gets stored within filters.

Ion Exchange

Whole-house water ion exchange filter cartridges target particular types of contaminants that the other types of filters don’t have to touch.

They can be very effective in removing or reducing inorganic compounds like arsenic sulfate, as well as other pollutants that are negatively charged.

Activated Alumina

These filters are made of activated Alumina Granules. It is utilized to absorb arsenic and fluoride. Other contaminants that are able to be eliminated include thallium and uranium.


These are also known by the name ultraviolet filters due to reasons. They contain a lamp within the canister which emits ultraviolet light that kills microorganisms such as bacteria.

The UV light causes DNA damage of these microbes which results in the activation of the microbes in water which means they are unable to reproduce.

This characteristic differentiates UV filter cartridges from other water filtration systems, in which water is typically filtered through filter media.

If your water is contaminated with the presence of cysts, fungi dysentery, salmonella or any kind of virus or bacteria ultraviolet filter cartridges are the most effective way to eliminate these!

Cartridge Sizes for Whole House Water Filters

In general there are four primary kinds of cartridge sizes for water filters:

2.5 10 inches
2.5 20 inches x 2.5 inches
4.510 inches
4.520 inches

4.5″ 10″ and 4.5″ 20″ filters are typically used for applications that span the entire home. While some like smaller size (to reduce costs) but they reduce the flow of pressure and make them a poor selection in the majority of instances.

In addition, you may select from sizes that are proprietary However, this is not recommended due to two reasons:

  1. In the beginning, they are more expensive.
  2. In the second, it could be difficult to obtain replacements suitable in the event of a company’s shutting down or discontinuation of a product.

Thus, opting for an overall filter size is the ideal choice.

Flow Rates

The rate of flow varies based on the filter media and the size of cartridges.

For instance, a bigger cartridge is always going to have greater flow rates when compared to a smaller. Additionally, sediment filters that have larger micron ratings are able to provide greater flows over carbon block filter that are of similar dimensions.

In general, the more tight and smaller a cartridge, the lower the maximal flow.

Let’s take a look at some of the following examples:

A manufacturer could have rated his 4.5 10 inches filter cartridge as follows:

  • 10 GPM (50-micron absolutely pleated filter for sediment)
  • 8 gpm (25-micron 100% poplypropylene and spun sediment water filter)
  • 3gpm (25-micron nominal carbon filter Granular activated)
  • 4 GPM (5-micron nominal carbon block water filter activated)

What Type of Filter Cartridge for your water problem?

The kind of water filter cartridge that you require is based on the issues with water you’re facing.

In addition, whole-house filters allow you to enjoy trying different filters to determine which one will work best for you.

In general, we suggest at least one sediment pre-filter as the initial line of defense. They are used for keeping debris and dirt in place to safeguard the subsequent filter stages.

After that, you can set up carbon filtration, followed by special filter cartridges that focus on the specific water contaminants you are experiencing.

What Will You Know If Your Water Filter Cartridge is Working?

It is possible to determine the efficiency on the part of the filtering system by testing water prior to and after the filtration.

This is also known as a performance assessment, and it is possible to do it in two methods:

conducting Full Performance Test

In this way, you will conduct two tests.

One before and another after one after.

A thorough performance test can test how effective the filter is , by comparison of the contaminants prior to and after the filtration.

Conducting Post-Treatment Testing

This test will allow you’ll look at the water sample after the process of filtration.

It decides whether that water has been filtered and is suitable for drinking after the filtration process.

Additionally, you should test the levels of contaminants present in drinking water.

Furthermore, it’s cheap to conduct because it only requires one test.

A thorough testing of performance is most efficient way test to assess the efficiency for the filters.

What are the contaminants that are harmful For You?

They comprise:


The constituent makes up about 5% in the earth’s crust. earth, and is therefore found from water resources.

Signs of high levels of iron in water include:

  1. It can darken drinks.
  2. The fabric of your clothing will change color after washing them.
  3. The water may possess a metallic taste.
  4. There’ll be brown-red streaks on laundry, dishes and more.
  5. The water turns brownish or reddish when you pull it out of the taps.

The most popular types of iron found in water include:

  1. Bacterial iron
  2. Colloidal iron
  3. Iron from Redwater
  4. Clearwater iron
  5. Organic iron


This element is formed by iron present in the water.

They accumulate in the plumbing, and they show as you use water.

It could cause clogs to fittings and pipes.

Manganese is more likely to oxidize than iron.

The symptoms of high levels of manganese include:

  1. Blockage of pipes.
  2. Blackwater.
  3. Black sediments.
  4. Turbidity blackish.

Magnesium and Calcium. Magnesium

This causes water to become hard.

The higher levels of calcium as well as magnesium can result in a higher level of hardness.

  • Other contaminants

They include:

  1. Nitrates
  2. E-coli
  3. Sodium
  4. Tannins

What are the Qualitative Standards in water Filter Cartridge?

These standards guarantee the quality of water.

They comprise:

  • Water Quality Association [WQA]
  • NSF
  • The current Good Manufacturing Practice [cGMP]
  • Limitation of Hazardous Substance [RoHS]

I hope that you find the information you’re searching for.

Here at Filson Filters, we design and manufacture a variety of cartridges for water filtration.

Even replacement filters for trusted brands, you can be available here.

Contact us today to discuss your needs for water filter cartridges.

What types of water Filters are available in the Market?

They comprise:

Water Pitcher Filter

It’s a low-cost device that’s lightweight, and user-friendly device.

It has activated carbon which is able to cleanse water.

They can be used to filter the water used for cooking and drinking because they are small in capacity.

Faucet Water Filter

This device attaches to the faucet, removing any the contaminates before they are released.

Additionally, they can enhance the flavor and aroma of tap water.

They are compact, cost-effective and simple to put in.

The downsides are that they could be incompatible with low faucets as well as that they may slow down the flow of water.

Showerhead Water Filter

This is a device that’s on the showerhead.

They get rid of basic contaminants, cost little and easy to set up.

The downside is that they provide the slowest flow.

Countertop Water Filters

The devices are located installed on the faucets, and thus they filter water when you turn on the tap.

They are compact, inexpensive, and provide more filtering capacity than faucet water filters.

But, they are located in the countertop, so that you will need additional space to install them.

In Sink Water Filters

They are big and can filter a large amount of water within a brief duration.

They are typically in the sink, so not visible. They also remove a variety of contaminants.

In addition, they cost money and require a long time to put in.

Whole House Water Filters

This is ideal for regions that don’t have tap water.

Installation takes place in the tank for water.

It is connected directly to the pipe, and it filters the water before it is pumped into the various rooms within the property.

It also removes the majority of contaminants, and is affordable since it does not require additional filters.

In addition, it’s expensive and requires a specialist to set up.

water Bottle Filters

They are compact, inexpensive and have a limited capacity.

It cleans the water every time you consume it.

Straw Filters

These filters are cheap and light. They are also portable and simple to use filters.

They function as straws in the normal way, however they come with a filter at one end that removes pollutants.

Softeners for Water Softeners

These filters get rid of hard minerals by adding sodium Ions.

It prevents water from leaving the limescale after drying.

Additionally, they can be expensive to buy and to install.

Gravity Water Filters

It’s a small portable, portable water filter for emergencies.

They are durable and effective.

It is done by hanging one reservoir and allowing gravity to move water to a different reservoir bag.

They are reasonably priced and are small in capacity.

Portable Pump Water Filters for the

They are water filtering systems for emergencies therefore they are long-lasting and reliable.

A manual pump produces suction after you dip the hose in the water source.

The clean water flows out the other end of the hose.

They’re quick and have removable filters.

How Do Absolute and Nominal Micron Water Filter Cartridges Compare?

There is a wide range of water filter cartridges out there. A true filter has dimensions of pore that are precise to the micron count.

Nominal filters have pores that are similar to their micron size.

For example, a 30-micron filter will let a small amount of debris , but it will allow an area of 30-microns through.

Absolute filters are efficient of more than 95%, which means they do not allow particles of their micron size to be able to pass through.

To ensure that the process is accurate it is best to purchase an actual water filter system and not just nominal filters.

Nominal filter systems are most commonly used, however you can also find absolute filters.

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