Choosing  PoU

Unbiased guide to indoor water filter systems

Simple 1-2-3

Today let’s talk about how to choose your point of use, AKA kitchen filter, AKA PoU filter. This is probably the most confusing topic for anyone who is looking for a new filter. There are so many models, various sizes and shaped and definitely prices. Let’s break it down into 3 easy steps and make it less complicated.

step 0

Ahha! We already cheated! Promised 3 steps but there is this extra 0 step…

In fact, it’s very important. At this step, forget every marketing gimmick or trick you heard in your life. Forget about alkaline water, dead/live water, positively/negatively charged, magnetized etc. These are what they are, marketing tricks introduced to suck more money out of you pocket when you’re shopping for new system. There are only 2 types of water, safe to drink and unsafe to drink. We will leave everything else to snake oil sellers and other charlatans.

step 1

First step is to understand what is (and what could be) in your water, and what’s the risk of each ccontaminant. Table below lists most of potential impurities. Some will never be present in your water, some will always be present, the table is constructed keeping in mind realities of Malaysia.
Disclaimer: we tried to give the most objective overview without getting too much into science and without fear mongering, so we may have omitted some rare and non-dangerous impurities.

step 2

So now that you know what’s in your water, it’s time to decide what you would like your filter to be able to effectively remove. At bare minimum, it should be sediment, taste and odor (VOCs), lead. If you don’t want to boil the water every time, you also need to remove bacteria, cyst and viruses. If you have limescale forming in your kettle, then your water is “hard” and you’d want to remove salts (usually not applicable to Malaysia since our water is soft). For everything else, think about your filter as your insurance, all contaminants are not always there, but if they end up in your water, will your filter protect you? Below is a table of what kind of filter can remove what kind of contaminant.

step 3

Alright, so now that you know what’s in your water and what you’d like to remove, you simply choose corresponding filter within your budget. Or you can evaluate your current system against this table. If the system has few stages, simply add their effect to get overall functionality of the system.
For example, let’s examine Fresca Disruptor (sediment+Disruptor+carbon block) and Aquaphor Crystal Eco (carbon block+UF) in the table below. To go ahead and draw a conclusion, the systems are similar, just that Fresca can also viruses, chromium VI and has a separate sediment filter (note how Aquaphor has “pink” for sediment, means it removes it, but may get blocked prematurely).
Remember, now you can do similar type of comparison of any systems.


Few things to remember and consider though:
  • Reverse osmosis (RO) systems offer the cleanest output water, however it must be made of quality components. It also wastes a lot of water, requires high water pressure, requires maintenance and has a weak point – water tank. Quality RO system will cost 1500RM or more, tankless RO systems with respectable flow will cost close to 2000RM.
  • It is highly recommended for systems to have separate sediment filter with replacable/washable cartridge. If it doesn’t have one, you can get a separate sediment pre-filter and adapt it to any system. Without sediment filter, even the best system may get clogged within few month.
  • Stay away from cheap Made-in-China systems and components. Their quality is questionable from both health and safety point of view due to lack of quality control and raw material input. This doesn’t generally apply to large brands manufactured in China (3M for instance).
  • Careful with “Made in USA”, “Made in Japan”, “Made in Malaysia” etc systems, especially from smaller brands. What matters is where the components of the system are manufactured, not where the system is assembled. If someone buys cheap components in China, brings them to Switzerland and assembles the system there, he is allowed to say that system is “Made in Switzerland”, however it won’t be realistic representation of the product and the quality. To our knowledge, Fresca Disruptor is the only system on the market where each component that touches water is made in USA/UK.
  • Is NSF absolutely required? No, but it is recommended. If system is made by big, reputable brand (Aquaphor, 3M etc), then you can ignore NSF, however, for smaller brands, better make sure that all components that touch water are NSF certified. For example, Fresca branded PoU systems have all components with at least NSF 42 or NSF 61 certification.
  • Avoid ceramic filters. Some may not agree with us, but ceramic filters are evil. Claims that ceramic filters can stop bacteria are doubtful, however there is no doubt that bacteria enjoy growing inside ceramic layer. Think about ceramic filter as glorified (and way overpriced) melt blown sediment filter. There are more troubles than benefits.
  • Consider that cartridges will need to be changed in 1 year time regardless of what manufacturer says (applies to UF membranes as well). Exception are washable cartridges (Disruptor, pleated polyester and RO membranes). After 1 year or so, a cartridge probably does more harm than good due to bacteria growth inside.
This is it for now. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We promise to actually advise you and not to feed you another sales pitch.