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RV water filters help keep drinking water clean

Water Filters for RVs: Do They Work & Do You Really Need One?

Water filters for RVs… do you really need one? Do they actually even work? 

In this article, we’re taking a deeper look at RV water filters including the different types of RV water filtration systems, how each type of filter works, and how you can protect your RV plumbing and avoid clogs and build-up just by having a filter. 

Plus, we’re sharing 5 top-rated choices for RV water filters in various budget categories. Let’s get into it.

This article contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Escapees RV Club may earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

What Is a Water Filter for an RV? 

Water Filters for RVs: Do They Work & Do You Really Need One? 1

An RV water filter is exactly what it sounds like: a filter that removes impurities from water sources so you can have clean drinking water in your RV. 

As an RV camper, you’re traveling around your state, the country, or the continent and hooking up to many water sources. 

Not all campground water sources are alike. Some are on city water, some are on a well. And some will have impurities and sediments that can clog your system, so a water filter is essential. 

Some campgrounds may have muddy or discolored water, and some may have impurities like rust. Even if you’re not planning on drinking or cooking with your onboard water, it’s still important to prevent build-up in your RV plumbing.

RV water filtration removes things like sediment and odors and is the best way to ensure the water coming into your RV is safe to drink, bathe, and cook with, and won’t damage your RV’s plumbing. 

Do You Really Need an RV Water Filter? 

An RV water filter is not essential for the function of your RV, but it is a great piece for preventive maintenance that will prevent buildup, sediment, and clogs in your RV. 

If you don’t plan to drink, bathe, or cook with the water in your RV, it is still worth getting an inline water filter to protect your plumbing, appliances like your water pump, and your faucets free from sediments that can cause clogs. 

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Water Filters for RVs: Do They Work & Do You Really Need One? 2

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RV Water Filter Types

There are different types of RV water filtration systems depending on your needs and budget. From simple inline water filters to whole-RV indoor water filtration and sanitizing systems, there’s a lot to choose from. Let’s take a look.

Inline RV Water Filters That Connect To Your Hose

Water Filters for RVs: Do They Work & Do You Really Need One? 3

Inline water filters are a type of water filter that connects to your potable water hose and filters the water as it comes out of the spigot. 

RV inline water filters are typically the lowest-priced water filters available and should be replaced every camping season or every 3 months if you’re a full-time RVer.

These exterior water filters easily connect to between your potable water hose and the spigot. 

Alternatively, you can connect this type of filter between your potable water hose and your RV. This type of filter will prevent any sediment or impurities from entering your RV plumbing system. 

Inline RV water filters are great for removing sediment and odors from your local water source. 

These types of water filters range from cheap to expensive and you can find them in the RV aisle of most department stores. 

Most inline water filters use granular activated carbon to reduce bad tastes in water, chlorine, and odors. They also have a sediment filter that removes large sediments from entering your RV. 

Canister RV Water Filtration

Water Filters for RVs: Do They Work & Do You Really Need One? 4

RV canister water filtration systems consist of one or more canisters that can be mounted inside the RV. These systems can be mounted right near your fresh water inlet to filter all the water coming into your RV, or they can be mounted under the sink you use for drinking water.

These filters are a step up from inline filters in both functionality and in price. 

A canister system doesn’t filter water before it comes into the RV. Rather, it forces water that’s already in the RV into a filter or set of filters that removes bad taste, odors, impurities, and sediments before coming out of your faucet. 

Most canister water filters use some kind of carbon filtration system, similar to inline water filters. 

Multi-stage canister water filters have multiple canisters the water moves through before coming to the faucet. 

Typically, each canister contains a finer filter than the last so that they can effectively remove more sediment and impurities. 

RV UV Purification & Filtration

UV water purification systems use a UV light to sanitize water to kill bacteria and microbes. 

Not all UV purification systems come with a filter that will remove odor and sediment – so if this is something you’re interested in, be sure to check. 

UV purification and filter systems, like Acuva, are on the higher end of both price and functionality. Due to the nature of the UV purification and filtering, these filters have a more involved installation process as well. 

Reverse Osmosis RV Water Filters

Reverse osmosis water filtration is a process that moves water through various membranes to remove everything except the water itself. 

These filters can be installed under your sink with a special drinking-water faucet or you can even buy a countertop reverse-osmosis system.

Reverse osmosis removes sediment, chlorine, most minerals, and almost everything that’s not pure H20. 

This is a process that needs a large quantity of water to work – only 20-30% of the water that goes into a reverse osmosis filter will come out as drinkable. The remaining 70-80% of water is stored as “brine” and needs to be disposed of, usually by dumping it down a drain.

Because of the cost, size, and filtration process, reverse osmosis filters aren’t always a popular choice among water-saving RVers. 

5 Best Ranked RV Water Filters For Any Budget

Are you on the hunt for the best water filter for your RV? Here we’ve compiled a list of 5 top-rated choices for any budget. 

1. Camco TastePURE Inline RV Water Filter

camco inline water filters attached to RV hoses
one camco inline RV water filter attached to potable water hose

The Camco TastePURE inline RV water filter is one of the most popular RV water filters and it costs less than $30. 

This inline RV water filter screws directly onto your potable water hose and uses an activated carbon filter to reduce odors and bad taste, and its 20-micron sediment filter will also prevent sediment and impurities from entering your RV. 

2. WaterDrop Inline RV Water Filter

waterdrop inline water filter for rvs

The Waterdrop RV inline water filter is another great budget option for those who want to reduce chlorine, bad taste, odor, and sediment from entering your RV water supply. 

This filter has 4 layers of filtration to filter out bad taste and odor, suspended solids and sediment, rust, chlorine, and more.

3. ClearSource Premier RV Water Filter System – Canisters

clearsource water filter for RVs

The Clearsource Premier RV water filter system is a great canister filter system with 2-stage filtration. 

This exact filter was covered by our own Mark Nemeth in our RV Gadget Box column, you can read it here. 

This system uses hospital-grade 0.2-micron filters to capture contaminants other filters miss. 

Clearsource can even remove or reduce bacteria from your local water source. 

In addition to removing unwanted impurities, this filtration system improves water taste and smell and stops sediment in it’s tracks. 

Last but certainly not least, this system was made specifically with RVers in mind with oversized canisters for maximum water flow and stainless steel fittings for durable plumbing that can stand up to the rigors of RVing.

4. Acuva ArrowMax UV Purifier and Water Filtration System

acuva arrowmax UV water filter and purification system for RVs

If it’s a UV purifier and filter system you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the Acuva ArrowMax system

This RV water filtration system simultaneously filters, purifies, and sanitizes your RV drinking water. 

The Acuva system consists of a composite filter that removes sediment and impurities from your water to improve taste, remove odor, and enhance clarity. Then, the water moves to the UV-LED chamber where a UV light disinfects up to 99.9% of harmful microorganisms. 

5. RV Water Filter Store Canister Water Filtration

rv water filter system from rv water filter store

This 3-step canister filter from RV Water Filter Store consists of 3 filters: it has two 1-micron sediment filters to remove sediments and impurities, and a 0.5-micron carbon block filter that removes chlorine, some bacteria, and improves taste and smell. 

This filter was also made specifically for RVs and comes with a steel mounting bracket and premium brass hose fittings. 

FAQ About Water Filters for RVs

All the different types of RV water filters might feel confusing, but hopefully this article provides some clarity. Let’s dig into some of the most frequently asked questions about water filters for RVs. 

How Often Should You Change Your RV Water Filter?

With frequent use, most RV water filters should be changed every 3 to 6 months or at the beginning of each camping season.

How often you should change your RV water filter depends on the type of filter you get, how often you use it, and your manufacturer’s instructions.

Inline water filters will need to be changed more frequently, and canister systems will typically last on the longer end of that range. 

If in doubt, consult your manufacturer’s instructions or website for information on your specific water filter. 

How Do I Know When to Change My RV Water Filter?

Water Filters for RVs: Do They Work & Do You Really Need One? 5
Have you ever been to a campground with muddy water?

If you notice a foul odor, a bad taste, or even lower water pressure in your RV, it’s probably time to change your filter. 

Aside from the recommended time frame for changing your RV water filter, there are physical tell-tale signs that it’s time to swap it out. Here’s what to look for: 

  • Foul odor.
  • Bad taste.
  • Visible sediment in your water.
  • Noticeably lower water pressure.


RV water filters are a great piece of RV gear for preventive maintenance and clean and fresh drinking water. 

No matter what your budget is or what type of filter you choose, rest assured that they all provide protection to your RV plumbing system against impurities and sediment. 

Want to learn more about RV preventive maintenance to protect your expensive investment? Check out our RV Foundations online course through RVers Online University!

Do you want to learn more about RV preventative maintenance so you can save yourself costly repairs and protect your investment?

Visit RVers Online University today to learn more about RV preventative maintenance, RV safety, and much more! Taught by RV-industry experts, RVers Online University helps you save money and enjoy life on the road.

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