Water Dispenser Vs. Water Filter: What’s the Difference?

Every home requires a constant supply of clean and healthy water. You need it for washing your dishes, cleaning your clothes, serving your guests, and drinking.

And to ensure that your family enjoys clean water at all times, you’ll need a water dispenser or a filter.

A water filter ensures that your household receives a constant supply of clean and filtered water, while a water dispenser offers purified, safe, and clean drinking water.

In this post, we will unravel the differences between a water filter and a water dispenser. Stick around.

What is a Water Dispenser?

A water dispenser is an appliance that dispenses water. It provides clean, purified, and healthy water since no dirt goes through it.

Water dispensers provide easy access to drinking water. They are designed to suit homes, healthcare facilities, offices, and many other places.

There are different types of water dispensers. For example, bottled water dispensers provide clean water from replaceable bottles, while point-of-use dispensers provide water from a municipal water line.

Point-of-use water dispensers also come with a built-in filtration system, which filters bacteria, contaminants, and sediments from the water.

Water dispensers provide the option of having your water cooled or heated immediately. This feature has made these devices a necessity in many residential homes and businesses.

Many dispensers also give users the option to use filtered water, enabling them to enjoy more than hard water from the tap.

How a Water Dispenser Works

How a dispenser works simply depends on the type of dispenser.

Bottled Water Dispensers

Most bottled dispensers work by having 5-gallon water on top of the machine (upside down). This allows vacuum pressure and gravity to fill your glass should you press the water spigot.

When this happens, air enters into the bottle enabling the water to escape into your glass. The water in the bottle is usually high-quality filtered water.

A bottled dispenser only delivers water from the water gallon, meaning that if there’s no water in the gallon, there’s no water in the dispenser.

And since these dispensers use pre-filtered bottled water, they don’t need a filter inside.

Point of Use Water Dispensers

These dispensers tap into an existing water line and can be found in residential areas and businesses that require convenient access to clean and pure water.

POUs make a very convenient option as they offer an unlimited supply of water. They also don’t require bottle replacements to ensure that water is available at all times.

The water dispensers can heat and cool water by storing it in a tank and using electricity to heat or warm the water before dispensing it.

The dispensers have filters that filter the water from the waterline. You can dispense the water by either pressing a button or turning a knob.

Mounted Water Dispensers

Mounted water dispensers, also known as fountains, are found in public places such as parks or large office buildings. They mount to a wall or can be freestanding on the ground.

With these dispensers, water is dispensed by the user by pressing a button or turning a knob. The action sends a stream of water in an arched formation to make drinking easy.

Just like the point of use, water dispensers, mounted dispensers are usually tapped into the municipal water supply, meaning that the water is usually not treated, filtered, cooled, or heated.

These dispensers are the most primitive of water dispensers. They don’t have special functions like cooling, heating, or filtering.

Reasons Why You Need a Water Dispenser

Offers fresh water at all times

A water dispenser offers different water preferences, including cold, moderate and hot. You, therefore, don’t have to boil water and wait for it to cool.

For better hydration

A water dispenser encourages people to take water. Remember, everyone needs water, as it is healthy for our bodies. It also keeps us active and rejuvenated.(source)

For better health

Tap water is usually exposed to bacteria, chlorine, and other contamination. These can cause serious infections, especially to kids who have a low immune system hence more vulnerable.

With a water dispenser, you are assured of clean and purified water as no dirt goes through it. In addition, it boasts an inbuilt filtration system that removes all contaminants and bacteria.

Instant coffee and tea

With a water dispenser, you can make instant coffee or tea. Yes, you don’t need to boil water to make tea or use an electric kettle.

You get assured of clean boiled/hot water, which is healthy for everyone in the family. It also saves you time, especially if rushing for work.

Serves a large number

A water dispenser comes in handy when entertaining guests at home. Should they request water, it’s easy to give them at once since you don’t have to wait for it to boil and cool.

You are also sure that the water you give your guests is safe, clean, and healthy.

What is a Water Filter?

Water filters remove impurities such as sediment, bad taste, and odor, bacteria, and hardness from the water. With water filters, you are assured of better quality water.

Different water filters address various water problems. These water filters include:

  • Mechanical filters
  • Reverse osmosis filters
  • Ion exchange filters
  • Absorption filters
  • Sequestration filters

How Water Filters Work

As aforementioned, different water filters help solve different water problems. We’ll therefore go through all of them.

Mechanical Water Filters

Mechanical filters help physically remove dirt, sediment, or any particles in your water using a barrier. They can actually be anything from a ceramic filter with a complex core structure for ultra-fine filtration to a basic mesh that filters large debris.

These filters usually have a micron rating which indicates how effective they are. Some of the common ratings include:

  • 0.5 micron – removes cysts.
  • 1 micron – removes particles that are too small to see with the naked eye
  • 5 micron- removes particles visible to the eyes.

Absorption Filters

The most common absorption water filter is carbon. It is highly effective at removing water-borne contaminants.

So, what makes carbon the best absorption water filter? First, it has a vast internal surface, packed with nooks and crannies that easily trap chemicals such as chlorine.

Ion Exchange Filters

Ion exchange is a process that softens hard water by exchanging calcium and magnesium ions found in hard water. The method removes the hard minerals, reduces limescale making the water suitable for applications.

Ion exchange is usually carried out using an ion exchange resin, which comes in tiny beads. The resin is used in some water softeners to utilize sodium ions.

However, one thing to note is that resins that utilize sodium ions are never used in drinking water filters as they can increase salt levels. Remember, the amount of salt that can be present in drinking water is limited to 200 milligrams/liter. Therefore, a hydrogen ion-based resin is the best option for filters.

Sequestration Filters

Sequestration is, in simple terms, the action of chemically isolating a substance. For example, scale inhibiting filters usually use food-grade polyphosphate to sequester magnesium and calcium minerals, which cause limescale and corrosion.

Reverse Osmosis Filters

Reverse osmosis is an effective way of purifying water and is usually combined with filters such as mechanical (sediment) and absorption (activated carbon) filters.

RO systems use water to force water through a semipermeable membrane. As water passes through, contaminants and dissolved inorganic solids are left behind.

This system offers the finest level of filtration.

Reasons Why You Need a Water Filter

Better tasting water

Filters remove chlorine and bacteria that make water have taste and odor. As a result, filtered water tastes fresh and clean.

Filtering water gives a more refreshing and enhanced flavor, resulting in higher satisfaction levels after drinking the water.


Filtered water is by far less than bottled water. So by installing a filter, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money while drinking high-quality water that is well filtered.

They are low maintenance.

Water filters are not only convenient but also easy to use. In addition, water filtration products are portable, durable, and low maintenance.

Remove contaminants from the water

A good water filter tackles a wide spectrum of contaminants including chlorine, bacteria and arsenic. As a result, you get the chance to drink and cook with tap water worry-free.

Reduce limescale and other mineral deposits

Have you ever looked at the bottom of your tea kettle and noticed white chalky deposits on the bottom? If yes, that’s limescale buildup.

A quality water filtration system helps alleviate issues associated with limescale and gives you tasty water as well.

Which is Better, A water Filter or a Water Dispenser?

The biggest advantage of a water dispenser over a water filter is that it avails you of water at a temperature of your choice. Therefore, if working and need to prepare a cup of coffee, the dispenser comes in handy.

Water filters help to remove sediments, dust, and contaminants from the water, ensuring that you get fresh and clean water at all times.

Using water filters helps to cut on plastic, a practice that enables you to protect the environment. In addition, installing a water filter in your home assures clean, tasty, and safe drinking water at all times.

And although a water dispenser gives you access to clean and pure water with ease, it would be great if you got a water filter as well. You’ll enjoy a lot of benefits from both.


Although water dispensers and water filters give you a constant supply of clean water, they work differently. They are also different in nature and perform different functions. Therefore, what to get for your home will depend on the convenience you seek, the type of water available, and your budget.

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