Someone drinking water from a wooden water flow

From Impurities to Purity - How Does a Water Filter Work?

From tap to sip, how do traditional filters compare to Atmospheric Water Generators. What device will win? Get all the details inside our comprehensive guide.

Water is crucial for survival, but sometimes, it's not as clean as it looks. Thanks to modern life and all the pollution, our water can get filled with stuff that's not good for us. That's where home water filters come in. They help get rid of the bad stuff in the water.

A significant number of people in the US are concerned about drinking tap water—55%, to be precise, according to a 2023 survey conducted by Statista​​. And their concerns are not baseless. We’re not here to scare you but to provide you with facts. 

Tap water can contain a variety of contaminants. Recently, the spotlight has been on a group of chemicals known as PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances), which have been found in tap water across the US​​​. These "forever chemicals" are hard to eliminate and can linger in our bodies and the environment for a long time. Besides PFAS, common contaminants include chlorine, chloramine, trihalomethanes, uranium, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, arsenic, lead, sediment, fluoride, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds); which is why filters come in handy. Now, you may be thinking this doesn’t affect you. However, in a survey we recently conducted, there was an alarming number of water contaminants above health guidance levels (see below).

I’m sure you’ll be wanting a solution right about now? But before we tell you, you'll need some more information to make a balanced decision for yourself. To start off lets take you through how water filters work, focusing on the usual ones we see around and some cool new filters found in devices called atmospheric water generators. We'll delve into how they enhance our water's safety as it flows through the filtration media and significantly improve the taste of the water.

Man drinking water at a table


Traditional water filters are the ultimate water treatment systems, like the old guards of water purification. They've been around, seen stuff, and know how to clean up a mess - well, most of it. These stalwarts operate by escorting water through different stages to remove impurities, ensuring safety and enhancing water tasting. Therefore, the best way to purify tap water at home includes:

Activated Carbon Filter

This filter effectively removes volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and other contaminants. The activated carbon attracts and holds onto impurities, providing water that is clearer and better-tasting.

Ion Exchange

This process targets heavy metals and other ions in the water. It works by swapping undesirable ions with others that are less harmful.

Reverse Osmosis

Known for its ability to filter out significant impurities, reverse osmosis forces water through a semipermeable membrane, filtering out contaminants.

A couple camping boiling water in a pot

Women pouring water from the Spout pitcher


Imagine a device that plucks moisture from thin air and gifts you with clean, drinkable water. That's Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) for you. A cool bypass to the traditional water supply, AWGs are a solid alternative to buying bottled water or the gamble on tap water.

Spout Atmospheric Water Generator 

The Spout AWG is a cutting-edge device designed to provide a sustainable solution for pure drinking water and cleaner air. 

It employs six stages of filtration, assuring the produced water is thoroughly purified and safe for consumption​​. One of the filters is the MERV 7 carbon felt filter that efficiently removes VOCs and unpleasant odors. Another is a MERV 13 air filter, designed to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, such as mold, smoke, allergens, bacteria, and viruses. 

During these stages, the filters also remineralize the water to an alkaline pH of around 9. These filters actively cleanse your indoor air and simultaneously produce clean drinking water, ensuring that even if your indoor air quality is poor, it won't affect the quality of the generated water. Additionally, the pitcher features UV technology to keep the water pure even outside the machine​​. The end product is up to 2.5 gallons of fresh, pure, alkaline drinking water daily. Learn more about how Spout works here.

Maintenance of the Spout AWG is also economical, with a reasonable cost for filter replacements, making it an attractive choice for those looking to generate pure water at home ​​. Beyond the tangible benefits of pure water and cleaner air, investing in a Spout AWG means gaining control over the water you consume reducing exposure to the harmful chemicals, bacteria, and heavy metals often found in tap water​​. 


They're pretty adept at purifying tap water at home. If used properly, they significantly reduce chlorine, certain heavy metals, and various other contaminants. Brita filters have become synonymous with a preliminary line of defense against impurities in tap water. The secret behind their effectiveness lies in the activated carbon and ion exchange resin they employ, which work together to trap and neutralize various undesirable elements. But what does Brita not filter out? Like any guardian with a chink in its armor, Brita filters, too, have their limitations.


While they are good at tackling common contaminants, their filtration capabilities fall short when faced with certain microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. This is primarily because standard Brita filters lack small pore sizes to capture microscopic organisms and do not possess any microbial-killing agents like UV light.


Furthermore, they may not be as effective against more stubborn or hazardous contaminants like lead unless you opt for specific models to handle such elements.



Spout Atmospheric Water Generator

Brita Filter


Generates and purifies water from the atmosphere

Filters tap water

Water Source

Atmospheric moisture

Tap water

Filtration Technology

Multi-stage filtration with UV technology

Activated carbon and ion-exchange resin

Water Quality

High-quality, alkaline water

Improved taste and reduced contaminants


Up to 2.5 gallons per day

Varies (e.g., 10-cup, 18-cup pitchers)


Higher initial investment

Lower initial cost, recurring filter replacement costs


$20 per 3 months for a hospital-grade filter that eliminates VCOS, PFAS, bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and organic compounds.

$10.50 per 3 months for a filter reduces common contaminants like chlorine, some heavy metals, and other substances that affect taste and odor


Standalone device

Pitcher, faucet attachment, or dispenser

Additional Features

Air purification

Some models have electronic filter replacement indicators

Environmental Impact

Eco-friendly, reduces plastic bottle usage

Reduces plastic bottle usage; filter cartridges need replacement

Ideal For

Those looking for an alternative to traditional water sources 

Those looking to improve the taste and quality of tap water


The journey from impurities to purity has seen the birth of various water filtration systems, each with its unique set of capabilities and limitations. With many options available on the market from Brita to Spout, choosing the system right for you boils down to your needs, preferences, and financial considerations - choose wisely.

Join the Water Revolution