Table of Contents
- 🥇 Best UV Water Purifier Systems
- ⭐️ UV Light Water Treatment System Reviews 2021
- 🧾 UV Water Purifier Buyer’s Guide
- 🤔 What is an Ultraviolet Water Filter?
- 👍 Advantages of Using a UV Filter
- 👎 Limitations of UV water purification systems
- ⚙️ How Does a UV Water Purifier Work?
- 🆚 UV Water Purifiers vs Water Filters
- ❕ When you should use a UV purifier
- 💭 Key considerations when buying a UV light water filter
- 🔔 How to choose the right size UV unit
- 🔧 Installation and Maintenance of a UV purifying system
- ❔ Frequently Asked Questions
In the US, we’re incredibly lucky to have one of the cleanest, safest water supplies on the planet. But still, the CDC estimates that around 7.2 million Americans get sick from waterborne diseases per year.
Having a well puts you at significantly more risk of water contamination. Luckily, UV water purifier systems can protect you from harmful pathogens. But which ones are worth your money?
If you’re struggling to choose a UV water purifier, you’ve come to the right place. With years of industry experience and articles shared in publications like WQP Magazine, WWD Magazine and Sawyer Products, I know the ins and outs of the water treatment industry.
I set up WaterFilterGuru.com to share my knowledge with likeminded people, and my website now sees an average of 130,000 monthly readers.
The most important feature of a UV water purifier is reliability. For that reason, this list is short and sweet – there are 4 purifiers that I can confidently recommend based on their high level of performance and customer satisfaction.
In this guide, I’ll share:
- Reviews of the 4 best UV water purifiers worth your money in 2021
- Information you need to know before purchasing a UV water purifier
- Answers to your commonly asked questions about UV water purification
🥇 Best UV Water Purifier Systems
- Springwell Blackcomb UV Water Filter System
- Viqua D4 Premium
- Acuva Arrow 5 UV-LED Water Purifier
- US Water Systems Pulsar UV Disinfection System
- Viqua VH410 Ultraviolet Disinfection System
- Pelican Premium Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection System
|Springwell Blackcomb UV Water Filter System||UV dose delivery: 30 mJ/cm²|
Flow rate: 15 GPM
Installation: Vertical or horizontal
|Viqua D4 Premium||UV dose delivery: 30 mJ/cm²|
Flow rate: 12 GPM
Power consumption: 50W
Installation: Vertical or horizontal
👉 Read the full review
|Acuva Arrow 5 UV-LED Water Purifier||UV dose delivery: 16 mJ/cm²|
Flow rate: 1.3 GPM
Power consumption: 60W
☝️ Get 10% off - Click here for code
|US Water Systems Pulsar UV Disinfection System||UV dose delivery: 30 mJ/cm²|
Flow rate: 10 GPM
Power consumption: 49W
|Viqua VH410 Ultraviolet Disinfection System||UV dose delivery: 40 mJ/cm²|
Flow rate: 14 GPM
Power consumption: 60W
Installation: Vertical or horizontal
|Pelican Premium Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection System||UV dose delivery: 30 mJ/cm²|
Flow rate: 15.8 GPM
Power consumption: 83W
Installation: Vertical or horizontal
⭐️ UV Light Water Treatment System Reviews 2021
Springwell Blackcomb UV Water Filter System
If you’re looking for a system that offers guaranteed protection against bacteria, the Springwell Blackcomb UV Water Filter System is a good choice for you. This water purifier kills 99.9% bacteria, as well as eliminating viruses and other common drinking water pathogens.
The Springwell Blackcomb is designed for whole house use, and can be either used alone or in combination with a whole-house water filter system. Operating at 30mj/cm2, the purifier offers a powerful performance, and its 15 GPM flow rate ensures there are no dips in water pressure when the system is in use.
The UV lamp is housed in a splash-proof case. It features a user interface that informs you of the system’s remaining lamp life, as well as any errors in real-time. You can use the available QR codes to access online information and videos to help you with changing the lamp.
The Springwell Blackcomb doesn’t come with a sediment filter, but Springwell recommends purchasing a filter at an additional cost to protect the lamp.
👍 What I Like
- Powerful 30mj/cm2 performance
- Kills 99.9% bacteria
- Lamp life indicator included
👎 What I Don’t Like
- Sediment pre-filter comes at an extra cost
- Additional components are required for installation
Viqua D4 Premium
The Viqua D4 Premium is a whole home UV water treatment system that’s primarily used for removing bacteria from water, making it ideal for residential homes using well water. With a flow rate of up to 12 GPM, this UV filter offers quick, efficient water treatment that won’t affect the water pressure in your shower or other water-based appliances.
What makes the Viqua D4 unique from its competitors is its small, compact size. It’s space-efficient, with a smaller eco footprint, while offering an identical performance to a longer UV chamber. With a constant current feature, this UV lamp also won’t die, even when your power cuts out, so you’ll have access to clean drinking water at all times.
With a lamp life of 9,000 hours, the Viqua model D4 is designed to give you just over a year of use before it needs replacing. You install the system at your home’s point of entry, and most people find installation easy enough to handle themselves. You just need to fit the UV lamp inside the sleeve and attach the system directly to your water line, following Viqua’s installation instructions.
The Viqua D4 Premium won’t leave you in the dark when it comes to lamp life or UV intensity. Its interactive display screen showcases all the information you need to know about the status of your UV filter, helping you to troubleshoot issues if they arise and plan to buy a new lamp in advance of your old one running out of life. The screen also displays the company logo and contact information if you need to contact customer service for advice.
You can buy replacement parts for the Viqua online for a relatively low cost – replacement lamps, for instance, cost just under $100, which you’ll only need to pay for once a year. Aside from changing the lamp, the only other semi-regular maintenance you’ll need to do is cleaning the lamp housing. Unlike alternative bacteria removal filters, such as RO systems, there are no filters to replace on a half-yearly basis, and no backwashing required.
Read the full review: Viqua D4 Premium Review 2021
Acuva Arrow 5 UV-LED Water Purifier
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The Acuva Arrow 5 is a point-of-use UV-LED water purifier that can be used to treat water supplied to a kitchen faucet, bathroom faucet, dedicated drinking water faucet, or ice maker.
This UV-LED system doesn’t disrupt water pressure, and can provide purified drinking water at a rate of up to 1.3 gallons per minute. There are two buying options for the unit: DC 12V or AC 120/240V.
The biggest selling point of the Acuva Arrow is its impressively long lifespan. This filter is designed to operate for up to 10 years, treating 900,000 liters of water in its lifetime. If you’re looking for a UV purifier that’s virtually maintenance-free, the Acuva Arrow is a great choice to consider.
The unit has a solid, durable design, with a body casing made from high-quality aluminum, and the UV chamber from stainless steel. For installation, the Acuva Arrow 5 comes with mounting equipment, plumbing supplies, and power (DC or AC).
Also included with the Acuva Arrow is an advanced sediment pre-filter which reduces chlorine and heavy metals – but you can also use this purifier with any pre-filter of your choice.
👍 What I Like
- Only uses power on-demand
- Consumes far less power than equivalent UV lamps
- Very long lifespan of 10 years
- Can be hooked up to various applications in your home
- Comes with installation kit and sediment pre-filter which lasts for 5,000 gallons
👎 What I Don’t Like
- Only the pre-filter is certified for performance
US Water Systems Pulsar UV Disinfection System
One of the latest UV disinfection systems to hit the market is the US Water Systems Pulsar UV Disinfection System. This whole-home application offers rapid deactivation of microorganisms, rendering them incapable of reproducing or infecting.
The Pulsar is designed to provide a reliable and consistent UV output throughout it’s 9,000-hours lifetime. To check on the system’s performance, you can find the information you need on the included full-color LED screen.
Sediment in water can prevent the UV process from working properly, as it blocks UV light from fully penetrating water. The Pulsar comes with a 1-micron sediment pre-filter that removes particles of sand, salt and dirt before water passes through the system.
Like the majority of UV systems, the Pulsar is easy to install, and maintenance is limited – you’ll just need to replace the lamp on a yearly basis (and you can do this without interrupting water flow).
You’ll be informed by the system when the lamp needs changing, and an alarm will sound if the system failed to notify you in advance.
There are a number of features that support the efficiency of the Pulsar and make the UV disinfection process as safe as possible. The durable stainless steel chamber helps to prevent degradation of the UV light, and the power supply is in a sealed case to avoid accidental water damage.
- Lamp change notifications & alarm
- Safety features protect the system
- Made in the USA
- No certifications for disinfection performance
- May need a plumber to install
Viqua VH410 Ultraviolet Disinfection System
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.
- 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
- 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
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.
- Contains everything you need for installation
- Can be installed by anyone; written and video instructions available
- Ideal for families with children
- Some users have noted a noisiness from the fan
- Has been known to heat up the water that sits inside it before use
🧾 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?
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:
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.
❕ 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.
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:
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Turn on your home’s water – Next, you need to check for leaks by turning on your water and using your home’s appliances.
- 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.
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.