I know that you can use a reverse osmosis process to desalinate water, and I know that there are many reverse osmosis water filtration systems marketed to individuals.

In general, do some/all/none of these reverse osmosis filtration systems desalinate water?


  • I'm confused why you asked this question. You start by stating that you know that these systems work, then ask if they work. It's as though you don't believe the marketing and the regulations against false advertising, but you'll take the word of a random stranger on the internet...
    – FreeMan
    Jul 28 '20 at 15:42
  • Haha sorry, I guess here's what I was trying to say: There's a thing, "A," that uses reverse osmosis to filter water. There's also a thing, "B," that uses reverse osmosis to desalinate. And then my question was, is "A" the same as "B"? And lo and behold, based on Ecnerwal's answer, the answer is "kind of": A will work like B, but A is not specialized enough to act like B for very long.
    – capet
    Jul 28 '20 at 19:19
  • For me, who doesn't really know what reverse osmosis is, it would be like me saying this: I know there are "guns" you use to put hot glue on your craft projects, and I know there are also "guns" that you bring to the shooting range. Are they the same type of gun? Can I use the glue one at the shooting range? I don't know, lol. Not that I don't believe there are guns for each purpose, just not sure how they are connected.
    – capet
    Jul 28 '20 at 19:21

Reverse Osmosis will desalinate water.

If you apply a RO system expecting well water or municipal water to raw seawater desalination, you will very likely experience short membrane life .vs. a system optimized for that job, which might have many more pre-filters, for one thing.

Likewise, as far as I recall from not very recent research, RO membranes intended for use with well water are different from those intended for use with municipal water (in the context of the vast majority of United States municipal water being chlorinated, and well water usually not being chlorinated.)

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