There is often confusion around the differences between alkaline water and reverse osmosis. This may be due to the fact that people often associate alkaline water with ioniser machines, which is not always the case of course. Here we are talking about countertop alkaline water filters, which don't require any huge costs or electricity usage.
What is Reverse Osmosis (RO)?
Reverse Osmosis uses a semi-permable membrane system to remove ions, particles and molecules from water. This type of water filtration technology filters to a micron size of 0.0001.
This is done using hydraulic pressure to push the water through the system and separate the molecules, meaning that electricity is usually required to power this form of filtration.
5 Differences Between Alkaline Water & Reverse Osmosis:
1. Alkaline Water filtration does not require electricity
As we previously alluded to, reverse osmosis requires electricity to power the hydraulic pressure required to treat the water and remove particles such a small micron size. Along with the comparatively expensive cost of a reverse osmosis system, this makes alkaline water a much more viable alternative economically.
Typically, a countertop filter will be much easier to setup than a reverse osmosis system too.
2. Reverse Osmosis removes minerals
Despite the fact that RO removes to a tiny micron size of 0.0001, this doesn't mean that it necessarily creates the healthiest water. The process of RO reduces the total dissolved solids count to 0 but this means that it also strips mineral content out of the water, along with all of the other contaminants. Demineralised water is not recommended for consistent human consumption because it can lead to dilution and deficiencies, if your mineral intake from your diet is not sufficient. To circumvent this the system would have to remineralise the water which adds another step to the process.
An alkaline water filter on the other hand, can enhance the mineral content of drinking water and add electrolytes to allow for better hydration capacity. This aids the mineral intake from your diet and can act as a much needed top-up if you are not getting enough minerals from food. Your body can absorb minerals quicker from water than it can from food consumption, and therefore makes alkaline water a great way of maintaining mineral and electrolyte balance.
3. Reverse Osmosis wastes a lot of water
The more water a reverse osmosis system pushes through its system, the more back pressure is created which leads to more water being wasted. Due to the pressure that RO needs to apply to remove all dissolved solids, vast amounts of waste water are created carrying all of the removed particles.
Retention rates vary between different makes and models, however it can be as low as 20%. This means that if you filter 20 litres of reverse osmosis water, around 80 litres will be flushed down the drain! While some new technologies claim to have created zero waste systems, these tend to be very expensive.
One of the biggest challenges of our time is avoiding water crises like 'Day Zero' in Chennai, India in 2019 - where the entire city ran out of water. This is a huge problem facing the planet and using systems like Reverse Osmosis is far too inefficient.
Alkaline water can be made with the help of a counter top filter, which not only adds minerals, but produces next to no waste water as part of the process.
4. An Alkaline Water Filter isn't huge
As you can imagine, reverse osmosis systems can be particularly large units that take up a lot of space in your kitchen. An alkaline water filter can be small enough to fit in your fridge because it comes in the form of small jug. They can also be considerably expensive as well, meaning that an alkaline water filter is a much more economical alternative both in terms of aesthetics and economics :)
5. Reverse Osmosis makes water acidic
Alkaline water enhances the pH level of your drinking water, in contrast to RO water which makes it more acidic. As we've touched on already, RO removes all the minerals but this also has an adverse effect on the pH level.
In order to improve the pH and give RO water healthy mineral content it has to be put through an ioniser machine, this means extra time and a whole lot of extra money.
An alkaline water filter combines these processes in a way that is more accessible, affordable and sustainable - win, win.