Do Ceramic Filters Remove Fluoride from Water? (Expert Advise)

Millions of Americans drink fluoridated water, and you’re certainly not alone if you want to remove this controversial mineral from your water supply. Do ceramic water filters remove fluoride?

We’ll be answering this question in detail in this guide.

TL;DR

Ceramic water filters sometimes remove fluoride from water. It depends on additional media in the filter. Ceramic media alone does not remove fluoride.

❔ How do Ceramic Filters Remove Fluoride?

To learn how ceramic filters remove fluoride, let’s look at the structure of this type of filter.

A ceramic filter contains a filtration media inside a ceramic shell. The ceramic shell itself has a complex network of tiny pores, which trap the likes of bacteria and sediment. The media inside the ceramic filter – usually KDF, activated alumina, ion exchange, and granular activated carbon – adds extra depth to the filter and removes additional contaminants.

The type of filter media inside the ceramic filter’s core affects its ability to remove fluoride. While standard activated carbon can’t remove fluoride, ion exchange and activated alumina are the best defenses against this impurity. The outer ceramic shell behaves like a sieve, preventing particles from inside the filter media from leaving with the water.

Ceramic water filter candle diagram

What Is a Ceramic Filter Made of?

Most ceramic filters are made from silica powder, or diatomaceous earth. So, if you come across a “diatomaceous earth filter” in your research, it’s a ceramic water filter.

The media inside the ceramic filter could be made from a variety of natural materials, including bone char and coconut shell carbon.

Additionally, some ceramic filters are laced with silver, which prevents the growth of bacteria and algae.

✅ What Else Do Ceramic Water Filters Remove?

Now we know that ceramic water filters remove fluoride sometimes, let’s take a look at what else they can remove from your water.

The brand and model of the ceramic filter candle affect what it can remove. However, a ceramic filter alone, without any other internal filter media, can remove:

  • Pathogenic bacteria
  • Some viruses
  • Protozoans
  • Cysts
  • Sediment

Due to their ability to remove most microorganisms from water, ceramic water filters are often used to treat well water or raw water supplies.

Bacteria on petri dish

⛔️ What Can’t Ceramic Water Filters Remove?

If you want to remove fluoride from your water supply, there’s a chance that you’re dealing with other common city water supplies, like chlorine and heavy metals. But can a ceramic water filter remove these contaminants?

It depends on whether the filter is combined with other media types, such as activated carbon and KDF, that can remove these contaminants.

On its own, a ceramic water filter can’t remove:

  • Chlorine
  • Lead
  • Disinfection byproducts
  • VOCs
  • Some viruses
  • Minerals
  • TDS
  • Unpleasant tastes and odors

Luckily, the best ceramic water filters aren’t solely made from ceramic media. Most filters are combined with other media, allowing for thorough contaminant removal.

⚖️ Pros and Cons of Using Ceramic Filters to Remove Fluoride

Like all types of water filters, ceramic filters have their advantages and their setbacks.

Pros

  • Ceramic filters are made from natural, organic materials, including fine silica powder and coconut shell carbon. Using a ceramic filter to remove fluoride is completely safe and healthy, and the filter won’t add anything dangerous to your water.
  • Ceramic filter systems last longer than other filters. You can periodically flush a ceramic filter to remove built-up contaminants from the filter’s pores, helping to extend its lifespan and produce more filtered water from the same filter.
  • Ceramic filters can be used with a variety of internal filter media. You can choose a ceramic filter that contains the best media for removing fluoride, such as activated alumina.
  • No matter what media a ceramic water filter system contains, the ceramic outer surface will always be capable of removing pathogens and sediment.
  • Ceramic filtration systems are affordable and available in a variety of applications, such as under-sink, countertop, and whole-home systems. You can buy different-sized ceramic filter cartridges to suit different needs.
Ceramic water filter on kitchen countertop

Cons

  • While it’s a bonus that ceramic filters can be washed and reused, a setback is that the filter pores clog very easily. This means that flushing the filter isn’t optional – it’s essential if you want to maintain a good water flow rate.
  • If you buy a 100% ceramic water filter, its contaminant removal abilities will be limited. The ceramic surface can only remove a select few contaminants. You’ll need to look for a water filter that contains activated alumina or ion exchange resin to guarantee fluoride removal.
  • Ceramic water filters are brittle and prone to breaking. You’ll need to handle your filter carefully to prevent damage during filter changes and cleaning.
  • Not all ceramic water filters are of the same quality. Be wary of buying cheap ceramic filters that won’t live up to your expectations.
  • Because ceramic filters have very fine pores, they may slow down your flow rate. This is especially the case with a gravity water filter.

📝 Other Filters that can Remove Fluoride

Ceramic filters aren’t the only water filters that can remove fluoride. Other filters to consider are:

Reverse Osmosis Systems

If you’re looking for a filter that can remove virtually everything from your water, a reverse osmosis system is the answer.

This drinking water purifier uses several different filtration processes, including an activated carbon filter, a sediment filter, and a reverse osmosis membrane, to remove up to 99.99% of total dissolved solids (including fluoride) from water.

Fluoride is too small to pass through the RO membrane’s tiny pores. It rebounds off the membrane and becomes trapped in the RO chamber, eventually getting washed down the drain.

Reverse osmosis systems are most commonly available as point of use filters installed underneath your kitchen sink or on your countertop.

These systems are bulkier and more expensive than ceramic filters, but they remove more contaminants than the majority of filters on the market.

Ro system on counter with dedicated faucet

Activated Alumina Filters

Activated alumina water filters are often used inside ceramic cartridges, but they’re also available as standalone filters.

These filters are commonly used in combination with carbon filters to offer a more thorough contaminant removal. Activated alumina can remove both fluoride and arsenic; two problematic contaminants that most other filters can’t remove.

Activated alumina filters are typically used as a dedicated filter stage in a point of use or point of entry filtration system. They’re within the same price range as ceramic water filters.

Ion Exchange Resin

Ion exchange resin is another common water filter used in a ceramic filter for fluoride removal. This resin is often combined with other forms of filtration, like carbon and KDF, to remove a broad range of contaminants.

Under-sink filters and countertop filters are most likely to contain an ion exchange cartridge. This method isn’t guaranteed to offer fluoride removal – it depends on the design of the resin – so check the manufacturer’s contaminant removal datasheet to be sure.

Distillation

Distillation is a water purification method that removes virtually everything from drinking water, including fluoride.

A distiller is a standalone countertop unit. Water is boiled in the boiling chamber until it evaporates into steam. This steam travels into a cooling corridor and condenses into a separate container. Fluoride is unable to evaporate with water, so it’s left behind in the boiling chamber.

Distillation is a good option to consider for small families, but the process takes hours on end, so it’s not an on-demand fluoride removal solution.

countertop water distiller

Bone Char Carbon

Alongside ceramic filters, bone char carbon is one of the oldest methods of fluoride removal. This type of filter is made from charred animal bones, and contains tricalcium phosphate, which is effective in removing both chlorine and fluoride.

Bone char carbon is a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly way to remove fluoride from your drinking water. This filter is found in cartridge and media form, and is typically used as a filter stage in a whole-home or under-sink filtration system.

🧠 Ceramic Filters for Fluoride Removal: FAQs

What’s wrong with fluoride, anyway?

If you’ve clicked on this article, there’s a good chance that you already dislike fluoride in your drinking water, whether you know much about the mineral or not.

Fluoride is added to many public water supplies because it’s good for dental health. Fluoride has been proven to prevent tooth decay. However, too much fluoride can cause dental and skeletal fluorosis, affecting the appearance of the teeth and potentially leading to issues like osteoporosis.

Many people choose to remove fluoride from their water because they believe they already get enough in their food, toothpaste, or other dental products.

How do you remove fluoride from water naturally?

The best natural filters that remove drinking water fluoride are filters that contain bone char or activated alumina media.

Can carbon water filters remove fluoride?

It depends on the type of carbon. Activated carbon filters can only remove chlorine and other chemicals, but bone char carbon is effective in removing fluoride from a water supply.

What’s the most effective way to remove fluoride?

Reverse osmosis filters are highly effective at fluoride removal. Bone char carbon and activated alumina also offer thorough fluoride reduction.

📑 Takeaway: Are Ceramic Filters Worth it for Fluoride Removal?

Ceramic filters are certainly worth it for fluoride removal – as long as they contain media that can remove fluoride.

Look for ceramic filters that contain activated alumina or ion exchange media. These should offer guaranteed fluoride removal. Even better if a water filter has third-party testing that proves its fluoride removal abilities.

Many filters today have datasheets that can be accessed online. You can find out exactly how much fluoride a filter removes by reviewing its contaminant removal information.