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Best UV Water Purifier Systems of 2020

Best UV Water Purifier Systems

If you’re looking for the most thorough purification of your home’s water, you will benefit from a UV light water purifier.

An ultraviolet water purifier can expose harmful living organisms to ultraviolet electromagnetic energy. This attacks the genetic core of the microorganisms, destroying them and preventing them from reproducing. 

The best UV water purifier can remove a whole host of living organisms from water, including salmonella, Giardia, E. Coli, Hepatitis B, Cholera, Fungi, Algae and a number of viruses. 

They should only be used with the intention of eliminating living organisms, as they won’t remove particles, chemicals, taste or odors from water. 

If you’re interested in a UV water sterilizer, you may have a well water source for your home. Well water isn’t treated as municipal water is, and UV water purification can make your home’s water safe to drink for your whole family when combined with a well water filter system.

But you don’t have to limit the use of a UV light for water that comes from a well. You may decide to use a residential UV water treatment system to ensure that your home’s municipal water is microorganism-free, which you can greatly benefit from.

Best UV Water Purifier Systems

  • Viqua VH410 Ultraviolet Disinfection System
  • Pelican Premium Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection System
  • Vitapur Ultraviolet Disinfection System
SystemDetails 
Viqua VH410 Ultraviolet Disinfection System
Viqua VH410
Flow rate: 14 GPM
Power consumption: 60W
Installation: Vertical or horizontal

Pelican Premium Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection System
Pelican Premium Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection System
Flow rate: 15.8
Power consumption: 83W
Installation: Vertical or horizontal

Vitapur Ultraviolet Disinfection System
Vitapur Ultraviolet Disinfection System
Flow rate: 26.4
Power consumption: 60W
Installation: Vertical

UV Light Water Treatment System Reviews 2020

Viqua VH410 Ultraviolet Disinfection System

Viqua VH410

The Viqua VH410 is a powerful UV water purifier that can be used on water flow rates of up to 18 GPM. With a high UV output, this UV water filter is smaller in size, helping you to save space while providing an equal performance to a larger chamber. 

You can install the Viqua VH410 alone or accompanying a water filter, depending on your requirements. Remember that the VH410 won’t reduce particles or chemicals from water, like chlorine, which aren’t dangerous to your health in small amounts, but may still affect your water’s taste or odor. 

There’s no need to hire a plumber to assist you with the installation of the Viqua VH410. It’s designed for simple DIY set-up, for either vertical or horizontal installation (vertical is recommended). The package includes the lamp and the filter housing, as well as the bracket for wall mounting. Be aware, though, that you will need to buy the fittings required to connect the Viqua system to your water line. 

You can use the Viqua VH410 for both city and well water, and it’s considered the best UV water purifier for eliminating bacteria and cysts like E.Coli, Salmonella and Giardia. It works by targeting the DNA of these microorganisms, killing them and preventing them from being able to reproduce. Promising a consistently high output, the VH410 will continue to perform at its peak throughout the entire lifespan of the lamp. 

After roughly 9,000 hours of use (equal to approximately a year), you will need to replace the Viqua VH410’s lamp for a new one. The purifier comes with a lamp change reminder that will sound when it’s time to purchase a new one. There’s also a digital countdown screen, which you can use to check up on the unit’s performance and schedule a purchase of a new lamp ahead of time. 

Aside from changing the lamp, additional maintenance is minimal. You’ll need to clean scale and build-up from the lamp sleeve after every three months or so. Guidelines for how to safely do this can be found in the user manual. You don’t need to do anything to improve flow rate, as it’ll stay at up to 18 GPM, depending on your home’s ingoing water flow rate, throughout its entire lifespan. This means you’ll never have to deal with a drop in water pressure in your faucets or showers. 

Pros:

  • Quality construction for durability – Viqua UV purification systems will last for beyond a decade with the right care
  • Easy to get running after installation
  • Handy lamp change reminder

Cons:

  • Additional fittings will need to be purchased to connect the Viqua VH410 to your water line
  • Installation may be too complex for some people

Pelican Premium Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection System

Pelican Premium Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection System

The Pelican UV light water purifier targets waterborne pathogenic organisms that can cause illness and disease, such as bacteria, viruses and cysts. 

This environmentally friendly system has a 9 to 16 GPM peak flow rate, making it suitable for use in most households. Being capable of removing only living microorganisms from water, the Pelican system won’t affect the current taste, odor or appearance of your home’s water.

What puts the Pelican premium system apart from other UV water filters is its NSF 55 Class B certification. This certification offers assurance that the system is designed for supplemental treatment of drinking water to remove bacteria, which has been third-party tested and deemed suitable for consumption by humans.  

If you’re looking for a no-fuss UV purification system, the Pelican unit is an ideal choice. You only need to make sure to clean the lamp sleeve every couple of months and replace your lamp once a year. Both of these processes are super simple, and take a matter of minutes to carry out. 

The Pelican UV purification system uses a specific type of UV disinfection called thymine dimerization. When the UV light penetrates the DNA of the living microorganisms in the water, it becomes permanently altered, preventing it from being able to reproduce or infect a person drinking the water. 

The manufacturer provides a useful analogy for imagining how this might look: a broken zipper. The DNA is unable to “zip back up” because the mechanism that holds it together is no longer in tact. 

To ensure you never fall behind on lamp replacements, the unit has a useful lamp age display, which counts down until it’s time to order a new lamp. When there are 30 days before you need to make a replacement, a light on the system will turn yellow, and an alarm will sound, giving you plenty of time to order a replacement. 

For families with young children, finding a UV light that’s safe to leave in the vicinity of small fingers might be important. The Pelican premium UV disinfection system has a safety cap that prevents young children from being able to access the lamp or any of the other electrical components, and the lamp comes with a special plug that prevents you from being able to power it up when it isn’t safely inside the UV chamber. 

Pros:

  • Contains everything you need for installation
  • Can be installed by anyone; written and video instructions available
  • Ideal for families with children

Cons:

  • Some users have noted a noisiness from the fan
  • Has been known to heat up the water that sits inside it before use

Vitapur Ultraviolet Disinfection System

Vitapur Ultraviolet Disinfection System

The Vitapur is a UV disinfection system that has been tested and certified by NSF International to meet the requirements of NSF/ANSI 55 class B. This means it has been proven to disinfect contaminated water and can remove microorganisms, including bacteria and some viruses, to a level deemed acceptable by a local health agency. 

There are plenty of small touches to the Vitapur that make it a useful, simple-to-use system for cleaning your home’s water. When you need to change the lamp, the Vitapur has both audible and visible reminders, using a flashing light and beeping sound to let you know when the lamp has reached the end of its lifespan. There’s also an audible and visible lamp failure indicator, so you know immediately if something isn’t right. 

Being a non-invasive UV light, the Vitapur doesn’t add chemicals to your water or change its composition in any way. It simply uses ultraviolet light to target microorganisms in water and alter their DNA, stopping them from being able to reproduce or cause harm to the drinker. 

The lifespan of the Vitapur’s lamp is 9,000 hours, or just over one year – a standard lifespan for a UV lamp. The light, which is made from strong, durable glass, stays on throughout its lifespan, and it’s recommended that you don’t install a smart plug to turn the bulb on and off between use, as this could damage the power converter.

Installing the Vitapur can be a little tricky, and the manufacturer recommends hiring a plumber for the job. The problem comes with making sure your system’s installation is in accordance with your state’s rules and regulations for both plumbing and electrical services, which isn’t always easy if you don’t happen to have much plumbing knowledge. There are installation instructions included with the system, but many people prefer to hire an expert. 

The Vitapur is suitable for use on well water, and is capable of killing the harmful bacteria and many harmful viruses that are often found in well water sources. Replacing the lamp is an easier job – much simpler than installation – and doesn’t require a professional plumber. You can buy replacement lamps from the manufacturer online. 

Pros:

  • Tested and certified by NSF for disinfection performance
  • Audible and visible lamp change reminders
  • Quality components ensure long life of lamp and system

Cons:

  • Installation requires a plumber
  • Some users have experienced leaking with the system

UV Water Purifier Buyer’s Guide

To help you with your decision, we’ve compiled all the most relevant information about UV water purifiers in the guide below. Use this resource to learn how to find the best product for your specific needs!

What is an Ultraviolet Water Filter?

viqua uv disinfection system

An ultraviolet water filter, otherwise known as a UV water purifier or a UV water sterilizer, is an effective system for killing bacteria, viruses, cysts and other living organisms that are sometimes found in drinking water.

This system looks like a long, thin lamp, and is installed at your main water pipe at the point of entry into your home.

Advantages of Using a UV Filter

Whether you’re planning to use a ultraviolet water filter for your home’s municipal drinking water or a private well water source, there are a number of advantages to doing so. When using a UV purification system to treat your water, you can benefit from:

Non-chemical disinfecting 

Unlike other methods used to clean, purify or disinfect water, UV disinfection doesn’t add chemicals to water or alter its composition. It simply kills the harmful microorganisms by effectively shining a light through the water. 

No added tastes or odors

Because nothing is added to your water, you won’t notice a different taste or unpleasant odor as a result of using a UV filter. Your water will taste the same as it always does.

Virtually no maintenance

A huge advantage of a UV filter is that you don’t need to constantly change various different filters as you need to do with a reverse osmosis unit or whole-home water filter. You just need to clean the lamp case every couple of months, and change the lamp roughly every year. 

Reassurance of safe drinking water

You never quite know what the future might bring, and having a UV water sterilizer will assure you that if your city’s drinking water is compromised for whatever reason, you will still have access to water that is safe to drink.

Limitations of UV water purification systems

Of course, like all water filters and purifiers, whole house UV water filters do come with a number of limitations, including:

No contaminant removal

If you’re looking for the removal of suspended particles in your water, including contaminants that affect water taste and odor, a UV water purifier isn’t for you. The system can only kill living microorganisms, and has no effect on drinking water contaminants

Needs power to run

Should your home experience a power outage, you won’t be able to use your UV lamp, as it requires electricity to run. 

May heat your water

If you haven’t turned on the faucet for a while, it’s possible that the water sitting beneath the UV lamp may be warmed up. You can rectify this by simply running the faucet to allow this water to pass down the drain before cooler water arrives.

How Does a UV Water Purifier Work?

A UV light water purifier works very simply to eliminate microorganisms and prevent them from multiplying in water. 

It treats water with a germicidal UV light, which targets the DNA of the microorganisms populating the water and scrambles it. 

With scrambled DNA, the microorganisms are unable to reproduce or behave as they usually would. This means that you can safely drink water containing bacteria and viruses after it has been treated by a UV water purifier, and it won’t cause you to fall sick.  

UV Water Purifiers vs Water Filters

A UV water purifier and a water filter are not the same thing. For a start, they’re completely different in appearance – a UV light is essentially a long lamp encased in a metal housing; while a water filter consists of a mesh cartridge, usually made from activated carbon or a similar material. 

The function of a water purifier is also very different to that of a filter. While water passes through water filters, which reduce or remove contaminants by trapping them in their media, UV purifiers allow water to flow straight through the UV tube without being slowed down by a filter. 

A UV lamp treats water as it flows through the ingoing pipe into your home. By damaging the DNA of living microorganisms in water, it kills off harmful bacteria, viruses, cysts, and other microorganisms. Water filters, on the other hand, can’t kill off living organisms. They simply remove suspended particles from water by preventing them from flowing through the filter media. 

whole house uv water filter
Source: viqua.com

When you should use a UV purifier

You can use a the best UV water purifiers whenever you wish. Many people choose to use UV disinfection:

For at-home municipal water

UV purifiers are installed at the water’s point of entry into a home. While your local area’s water is treated to remove bacteria and other microorganisms before it reaches your home, there’s no guarantee that your water is completely sterile. Only an at-home UV light water filter can ensure this.

While traveling

If you’re traveling or camping and you don’t have access to a clean water source, you can bring a UV water purifier with you to ensure that your water is safe to drink. There are a number of portable, handheld water purifiers that you can use for the job. 

For treating well water

Having your own private well water source for your home comes with its benefits, but you need to be certain that it’s safe for consumption before your family starts drinking it. Installing a whole house UV water can ensure that all faucets and appliances in your home are producing clean, safe water. 

Key considerations when buying a UV light water filter

Before you jump into making a UV water filter purchase, there are several factors to consider. These include:

Your budget

Not all UV water systems are priced the same. You can buy some for as low as $100, but the more advanced systems can cost a few hundred dollars upfront. While you don’t need to look for the most expensive model on the market to get the job done, keep in mind that price and quality are often interlinked.

Your water purifying needs

If you’re looking to remove living contaminants from your water, a UV water purifier will certainly help. But if you want to improve your water’s taste, or get rid of chemicals like chlorine, look elsewhere. A UV light won’t improve your situation. 

Your water flow rate

All UV systems have a flow rate measured in GPM, or gallons per minute. This measures how quickly water can flow through the system, or how much water can flow through the system at one time. It’s better to get a system with a higher flow rate for your home, but knowing your home’s flow rate will help you to make the right decision. 

Your water quality

Some properties of your home’s drinking water may make it more difficult for UV water purification to be carried out effectively. For instance, water with high sediment levels, or water containing lots of iron, calcium and magnesium may prevent a UV system from properly treating water. Installing a whole home water filter or a water softener before your UV lamp may help the situation, depending on the issues your water has. 

Your available space

UV systems come in all different sizes, and some require more available space than others. Long lamps are unlikely to be suitable for small storage cupboards, but finding a more compact UV lamp with the same GPM isn’t difficult. You should also consider whether a UV system can be installed vertically and horizontally, or only vertically, if your available space isn’t suitable for vertical installation.

How to choose the right size UV unit

There is a huge variety of sizes of UV water systems, and you may be uncertain how to correctly size your ultraviolet water system for your family. You can find everything from tiny handheld, portable drinking systems to large whole home systems with flow rates of up to hundreds of gallons per minute. 

When deciding on the right size for you, consider the following:

Your home’s size

The bigger your home, the higher the GPM you will need to efficiently deliver purified water to all of your home’s appliances. 10 GPM systems are suitable for small houses, condos or apartments, while those at 15 GPM or above are ideal for large homes with more than one bathroom.

If there is color in your water

Color in your water may indicate a high level of iron or surface sediment. This may affect the UV rays from penetrating effectively through the water, so it’s always best to size up if your water has a yellowish tinge.

The size of your plumbing

Most UV systems are designed to connect seamlessly to your plumbing, but it’s still worth looking into a product’s fittings before making a purchase. Buying a UV system that isn’t compatible with your plumbing may restrict the flow rate of your water.

Installation and Maintenance of a UV purifying system

Installation of a UV purifier is about a medium on the complexity scale, and you might prefer to hire a plumber to do the job for you. But if you enjoy a DIY project and you have up to an hour of spare time on your hands, you can install a UV system yourself. 

Your system’s installation instructions will tell you specifically how to install your own model, but if you’d like a basic idea of how installation works, here’s what you’ll generally need to do:

  1. Decide where to locate the filter – If you’re installing a whole home UV purifier, it’s unlikely that it’ll be alone. You may have the UV lamp as a follow-up to a well pump (if you’re using well water), a water softener, and a whole home water filter. In this case, you just install your UV filter last, so that water can flow through everything else you have installed first. If you don’t have anything else installed, you can simply install your UV filter as close as possible to your water’s entry point into your home. 
  2. Mount the lamp housing to the wall – Your UV lamp should come with lamp housing. You can attach this housing directly to the wall using the included mount. Make sure to install the lamp so that the power wires come out of the top if you choose to install it vertically; this helps to ensure the system can work effectively. 
  3. Undo one end of the lamp housing – Slide your UV lamp into the housing, then seal the lamp on both ends using your included O-rings. 
  4. Connect your lamp to your water line – Your UV lamp has two threads, one for water traveling into the system and one for water traveling out of the system and back into the water line. Connect these up to your water line following your manufacturer’s instructions. 
  5. Turn on your home’s water – Next, you need to check for leaks by turning on your water and using your home’s appliances. 
  6. Plug the UV system into the wall – The final stage of installation is to connect the UV light up to your electricity by plugging it into your wall. Make sure to connect the wire safely according to your installation instructions – don’t allow the non-waterproof areas of the wires to get wet.
UV water filter replacement lamp

Like any water treatment process, UV water purifiers require some maintenance. The UV lamp itself requires replacing roughly every 12 months, or after every 9,000 hours. 

The reason why you need to change the lamp is because after 9,000 hours, the mercury in the lamp diminishes, reducing the effectiveness of the lamp. Replacing the lamp takes a matter of minutes – you simply need to take your lamp housing off the wall, slide out the old lamp, and slide in the new one. 

You also need to clean the quartz glass sleeve inside your UV water filter. If your water has hardness or iron, it will cloud the screen of the glass and prevent the UV wavelengths from being able to pass through your water. For this reason, it’s recommended that you make sure to clean the sleeve every couple of months or so.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I turn off my UV lamp when I’m not using it, will it last longer?

There is sense in this theory, especially if you have a vacation home with a well water source and you don’t want to leave your UV light on while you’re away. Unfortunately, though, turning off your UV lamp when you’re not using it is a bad idea. It can cause the lamp to fail prematurely, so it’s best to leave it on if you want your lamp to have a long lifespan. 

How is UV strength measured?

The power, or strength, of a UV lamp is measured in millijoules per centimeter squared, or mj/cm2. According to the US Department of Health, the minimum power provided by a UV water filter is 30,000 mj/cm2. You can usually find how many mj/cm2 a UV system is from its product description. If a system is NSF Class B certified, that means it has met test requirements and exceeds the minimum required power of 30,000 mj/cm2. 

Do I need to install a whole home water filter before my UV lamp?

If you’re not using well water, then no – but it is recommended. Installing a filter will enable contaminants and particles that could interfere with the ultraviolet process to be cleared from water before it passes through the UV light. 

If I install my UV lamp vertically, does it matter which way the water enters and exits?

Yes, your water should enter the lamp through the bottom fitting and leave through the top fitting. 

What happens if I don’t change my UV lamp when I’m supposed to?

For a start, your light will not work anymore, as the UV intensity will have degraded to such a level that it will be useless. Even if the lamp is still lit, it doesn’t mean that it’s doing much to your water. 

How do I check that my UV system is working properly?

The simplest way is to buy a laboratory water kit that will enable you to test your water before and after using the UV lamp. Look for a kit that tests for bacteria, like coliform and E. coli, both of which a UV lamp will be able to kill.

It’s especially important that you test your water if you’re taking it from a well, as you need to ensure that it’s safe to drink before using it in your home.