5 Best RV Water Filters – Buyer’s Guide

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RV water filters come in several distinct types, depending on your needs. Inline systems are ideal for users who use their rigs intermittently, while standard models can be tailored to fit your requirements. Full-time RVers will mostly benefit from the higher flow rates of jumbo canisters.

Best RV Water Filters
Best RV Water Filters

If you only want to address odor issues, you can buy a one-canister filter system, but dual and three-canister systems will deal with sediment and mineral buildup concerns. Some of the most effective systems include:

1. Clearsource Premium RV Water Filter System

The Clearsource Premium RV Water Filter System is engineered with Rvers in mind. You get a dual and portable canister filter system that removes contaminants like chlorine, giardia, and volatile organic compounds.

The system features a powder-coated chassis and stainless-steel fittings. This premium construction will promote the system’s durability and prevents corrosion. The system is built to be leak-free, thanks to the included large O-rings and buttress threads, which can be tightened with the given plastic wrench. You can place the model in a storage bin or on the ground, as the canisters are very solid.

The system is fitted with a pair of NSF-certified filters. The 5-micron filter extracts sediments while the 0.5-micron coconut-shell carbon block removes chlorine, cysts, giardia, and volatile organic compounds. The resulting water will also taste a lot better than that produced by standard carbon filters. The filters are oversized to accommodate a high flow rate, and they are also safe to use with food.

The filters are rated to produce 2,000 gallons of water before replacement. Annual replacements will work for the occasional camper, but full-time campers will need to replace the filters every two to three months.

Pros

  • Stainless steel hardware and powder-coated chassis
  • Oversized canister filters for maximum flow
  • Great tasting water

Cons

  • Heavy
  • More expensive than similar models

 

2. Camco EVO Premium RV & Marine Water Filter

This self-contained filter system can easily be linked to the supply line of an RV and produce clean water from wild water sources.

The system comes with a filter housing, extension hose, replaceable filter cartridge, Teflon tape, and a cartridge wench. These materials are durable and made purposely for camping.  It can be attached to any standard hose connection and will come in handy in campsites. You can even use the system while cleaning your car to minimize mineral deposit spots or in the garden to reduce chlorine levels.

The first filtration stage involves the water passing through the porous shells with holes no larger than 5 microns in diameter to trap the smallest of particles. The water then proceeds to a layer of KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) and granulated active carbon for advanced filtration and to discourage bacteria growth. The result is clean and safe drinking water. You can be sure that no sediments will pass through to your RV, and the water can be used to shower and do some home brewing.

The system is very safe to use as it complies with low lead laws.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Recommended for RV use
  • Encourages a streamlined water flow

Cons

  • Cannot be used for aquariums
  • A little prone to leaking

 

3. Camco 40013 TastePURE KDF / Carbon Water Filter

The Camco 40013 TastePURE KDF filter features a sturdy design for durability. You can comfortably use it without worrying about damage. It has an inline filtration design that promotes the model’s effectiveness. The filter also has a flexible hose protector, which discourages unexpected technical issues that can affect the water’s purity.

The winning feature about this system is that it protects users from many elements thanks to the included activated carbon and KDF. It will extract contaminants like lead, sediments, iron, odors, aluminum, chlorine, bacteria, cadmium, and hydrogen sulfide. This comprehensive protection will result in clean and refreshing water.  The is also a 100-micron thick fiber barrier to promote advanced filtration and purify the water.

The filter will last you an entire camping season because of its large capacity. You can, therefore, enjoy camping without worrying about filter replacements.

Pros

  • Gets rid of many impurities
  • Users get safe and refreshing water
  • Has an extension hose

Cons

  • Cannot be used with fish tanks
  • A bit heavy compared to competing models

 

4. Waterdrop RV Inline Water Filter

The Waterdrop RV Inline Water Filter promises superior performance for RVers. It is equipped with KDF and GAC technology to deliver clean and safe water. The resulting water will be free of bad odor, chlorine, heavy metals, fluoride, and particles that are larger than 20 microns. The system uses food-grade materials to deliver pure water to campers. The water will also taste and smell better and will be suitable for consumption.

You can expect easy installation with this model because the anti-kink flexible hose protector prevents the hose from straining and kinking for smooth water flow. The hose protector can be linked to any 3/4GHT standard water hoses. The inline water filter is designed to last for three months while giving you clean water throughout this period.

Pros

  • Improves water’s taste and smell
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • The 20-micron rating is not the best

 

5. Culligan RV-800 Exterior Pre-Tank Recreational Vehicle Water Filter with Hose

The Culligan RV-800 filter comes with a flexible 12-inch connector hose included. It can easily attach to RVs as well as campers, boats, and motor homes. The model’s slim design makes it impressively compatible with recreational vehicles.

The filter’s high flow rate and quick fill design will leave your water safe and pure. You no longer have no deal with odors, taste, sediments, and other impurities. It is rated for 2,000 gallons, which can last you an entire camping season.

Pros

  • Easy to connect using the flexible 12-inch hose
  • The filter cartridge is durable
  • Bacteria control

Cons

  • The hose is vulnerable to kink

 

Why You Should You Buy an RV Filter?

Recreational vehicles promote adventurous and low-cost traveling, and their popularity has been surging in recent years. The vehicles do not receive water from municipal agencies, however, which is among the challenges RVers face on the road. An RV filter has numerous advantages, including:

Removal Contaminants

Rvers are exposed to many contaminants while they travel across the country. Common pollutants include sediments, silt, lead, fluoride, bacteria, cysts, pesticides, and chemicals. Effective RV filters remove as many contaminants as possible from the water by exposing it through a medium layered with small openings to trap them.

Cost

While you can buy bottled water on the road, the costs quickly add up and become expensive. Large bottles can also be heavy to carry and will only occupy space in your vehicle. Most RVers are also concerned about plastic waste, and filters provide an environmentally friendly way of accessing safe water.

Convenience

Camping season is the time to sit back and enjoy all nature has to offer. Having fresh and pure water is a convenient way to drive through different adventures. Some models have filter cartridges that can last for up to a year, which means that you only need to set it up and be on your way. Most filters also come in a compact design, which makes it easy to carry from one area to another.

Types of RV Water Filters

Types of RV Water Filters
Types of RV Water Filters

The different types of RV water filters are:

Sediment Filters

Sediment filters typically perform mechanical filtration. They extract particles from water, which is important because the particles can clog up your vehicle’s water system and result in maintenance issues. Such filters are vital if you are using water that is concentrated with dirt and debris.

Sediments can also damage toilet valves, faucets, water heaters, pumps, and other appliances. Dirt can clog up your water pipes and reduce water pressure, which can be frustrating when you are out camping.

A sediment filter also enhances the effectiveness of other filters. Debris prevents UV light from completely disinfecting water, while carbon cartridges will be damaged quickly if exposed to heavy dirt particles. A sediment filter should, therefore, be the bare minimum for Rvers to ensure that their whole filter system is working correctly.

Activated Carbon Filter

A carbon filter is ideal if you want to get rid of unpleasant odors and tastes, and it is among the popular RV filtration methods.

Carbon filters are known to eliminate chlorine and chloramines. The former is added to the water supply as a disinfectant, but it leaves the water with a sharp chemical taste. Carbon extracts this element via a process known as adsorption, where the chlorine attaches to the surface of the carbon block. Carbon also eliminates lead, mercury, asbestos, pesticides, and other volatile organic compounds. A carbon filter should, however, be used for water that is free of heavy sediment.

RV carbon filters are available in various types. The granular type passes water through a surface area layered with an activated carbon like grains of charcoal. This kind of screen offers minimal surface area, however, making it mostly ineffective.

The solid block carbon is characterized by blocks of pulverized activated carbon molded by high pressure. These blocks provide a larger surface area than that of a granular filter. The solid block carbon model also discourages channels from forming and promotes maximum contact between the water and the carbon.

There are also modified carbon blocks that encourage faster rates of water flow. These models are more effective, and they last a long time as well.

Most carbon filters in the market include KDF, which is an alloy of zinc and copper. Its bacteriostatic characteristic controls bacteria growth and reduces the levels of heavy metals. KDF also extracts some chlorine and promotes the durability of the activated carbon.

Ceramic Filters

A ceramic filter is designed to remove organic contaminants like bacteria and other microscopic organisms. The filters are built from Diatomaceous Earth, which is a fossil element consisting of tiny silicon shells. These small openings will trap a variety of contaminants in the water. Some filters can even strain out bacteria with sizes as small as 0.22 micron, which is very impressive.

Ceramic filters will typically screen out bacteria in addition to protozoa, cryptosporidia cysts, giardia cysts, and sediment, making them ideal for water with biological pests. Some filters will also neutralize any bacterial growth on the intake side of your filter.

Some models provide chemical filtration as well, although their effectiveness will not be as good as that of a dedicated carbon filter. Some ceramic filters also have a low flow rate, which means that they cannot be utilized for the entire RV water system.

Reverse Osmosis

You can also equip your RV with a powerful reverse osmosis filtration system. The system works by projecting water onto a semi-permeable membrane, which prevents anything bigger than water molecules from passing through. You will need a high-pressure water pump to set up the system, and many RVers may be discouraged from buying the expensive pumps since most RVs do not come fitted with one.

This system produces distilled water that is free of nitrates, fluoride, chlorine, arsenic, perchlorate, and hexavalent chromium. While your water will be pure and free of bacteria, your body will lack other beneficial minerals and suffer from an electrolyte imbalance.

The other drawback of using RO systems for recreational vehicles is the need for ample space. The systems need a dedicated storage tank and a booster pump. They also produce large amounts of wastewater, which needs to be mitigated by a permeate pump.

RO systems create high-quality water that can be used for cooking, washing, and drinking.

Ultraviolet Purification Systems

UV filtration systems expose bacteria, viruses, and cysts to ultraviolet wavelengths to discourage them from reproducing in the water. These micro-organisms can spread waterborne diseases easily and make the inhabitants of the RV sick. UV systems are particularly useful in areas where there is low water quality.

How to Choose an RV Water Filter?

How to Choose an RV Water Filter?
How to Choose an RV Water Filter?

You will need to pick the most suitable RV filter unit for your needs by factoring in these considerations:

Type

RV water filters come in different types for various kinds of RVs. Inline filters provide basic sediment filtration and remove unpleasant tastes and smell from water. Compact filters have the benefit of a slim design, and they can be customized for the needs of your RV. The filters are available in single, double, or triple models.

Amount of Water

The amount of water you intend to filter will also guide the type of filter you get. You can opt for a sediment filter to clean the dirty water that will be entering your vehicle. Multi-canister systems are ideal for large amounts of water since they ensure that all the water getting into the rig has been distilled.

You may only need a countertop or under-sink filter if you only want to purify the water draining out of the sink faucet for cooking and drinking. Such filters will, however, not strain out the sediments in other appliances.

Micron Ratings

RV filters are typically rated with a micron rating, which describes the size of the particles that can pass through. The smaller the micron rating, the more contaminants that will be screened out.

You should also check if the model in question adheres to NSF ratings, which certify items based on consumer health. The standard number describes the kind of pollutants that will be removed. Standard 53, for example, covers lead, giardia, cryptosporidium, and volatile organic compounds, while Standard 42 addresses taste, odors, and chlorine.

Installation

The installation of an RV filter should be straightforward and easy. They can either be attached to the external hose linked to your vehicle or the under-sink pipe. Filters are replaced regularly, which is why you need to pick a model that can be fitted easily.

Size

You should determine the water pressure of the model in question to measure its effectiveness. Bigger filters will have high water flow rates, but they can easily damage the water system of your RV. Smaller filters, on the other hand, may have insufficient water pressure for activities like washing the dishes.

Nature of Contaminants

You will need to know the type of pollutants in the water supply to identify the most appropriate filter. Perform a water test, primarily where the RV park uses wells to supply water across the campground. Well water is known to be concentrated in heavy metals, sediments, and micro-organisms.

Some parks are served by city water supply via hydrants, and the water may have chlorine. While chlorine is a known disinfectant, it leaves the water with a chemical odor and taste. If you are using hard water, you will soon notice buildup on your plumbing and appliances because of the presence of magnesium and calcium. Knowing the kind of contaminants you are dealing with will help you choose the best solutions.

Price

RV filters differ by price, with the most comprehensive ones being on the pricey side. You should also estimate the costs of maintaining various filtration systems. Reverse osmosis pre-filters, for example, need replacement after every six months, while UV replacement lamps are replaced on an annual basis. You should ensure you can maintain the upkeep required for your filter choice.

Frequency of Use

Full-time campers have more comprehensive filtration needs. It is hard to determine the kind of water quality you will encounter in different areas as a full-time RVer, so you require powerful filters than can tackle a range of water issues. If you are relying on wild water sources like streams, you will need protection from bacteria, protozoa, and other organic threats. Seasonal campers who visit well-known sites will be better equipped to determine their precise water needs. Sediment filters are the basic standard for all Rvers, and you can tailor your system from here.

Manufacturer

Established brands often have superior filtration technology like KDF to offer high-quality water. While such models may be expensive, you will benefit from a constant supply of refreshed and safe water. It will also be easy to get replacement cartridges and kits with a reputed manufacturer.

How Long do RV Water Filters Last?

RV water filters typically last for 3-12 months, depending on the manufacturer and quality. RVers use the quality of the output water to determine when to change the filter. Check for any sediments or reduced water flow, and it is advisable to change filters every 3 to 6 months.

How to Install an RV Water Filter?

The filter has rubber hose seals that will need to be attached to both sides of the canister. You should also attach the off valve of the garden hose and ensure that the canisters are lined in the appropriate flow pattern.

Fix the adapters of the hose and install the fittings of the PVC pipe. You can then set up the O-ring of the canister and the filter cartridge. Ensure the head of the cartridge is tight and install the carbon filter. The waterline of your RV should be shut off when connecting the canister. Look for a compatible water hose and link it to the canister and the inlet. Check for any leakages once the water supply is on.

Can You Use an RV Water Filter for Hot Water?

RV filters are recommended for cool or cold water. Hot water cannot be filtered sufficiently in these filtration systems, and it may even impede the process of absorbing pollutants.

How do You Clean an RV Water Filter?

Cleaning an RV water filter begins by backflushing the model to get rid of accumulated debris. You can then brush the filter using a brush with soft bristles to remove buildup. You can disinfect the filter with chlorinated tap water or a bleach solution. The filter should then be let to dry by leaving it in a warm area and not direct sunlight.

Should You Use RO Filter for Your RV?

A reverse osmosis filter can purify the water supply in an RV. It softens the water while screening out many contaminants. Such a model will, however, also remove beneficial minerals from your water.

Conclusion

If you are an active RVer, you will need a reliable water filtration system while moving from place to place. Such systems will purify your water supply and protect your health. The kind of filter you get will depend on the contaminants that are in the water supply, although it is advisable to get a thorough solution.

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This is George, the Aquaman, editor at AquaMantra. I'm a water quality analyst by profession, and used to work at one of the largest water bottler company.
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