Choosing a water ionizer isn’t difficult but there are some important considerations to keep in mind while shopping around. Learning these basics will help you separate the facts from some of the hype out there.
Having a good grasp of these basics can help you choose a good water ionizer that will produce quality ionized water for many, many years.
Every water ionizer has four key components that contribute to water quality, ionization performance and usability. Those components are the plates (also referred to as “electrodes”), power – which includes both the amount of power used and the power system, the filtration system and the computerized control system.
When choosing a water ionizer, these are the most important components to consider to ensure the best possible ionization potential. Each of these components vary from machine to machine and from company to company.
So let’s take a look at each of these key components and the role they play in the overall performance of water ionizers.
Plates – Electrodes
The electrodes used in a water ionizer are one of the two most important components. Water ionizer electrodes come in a variety of sizes and designs. Water ionizers can have as many few as three electrodes or as many as nine.
A water ionizer’s level of performance can vary based on the number of electrodes used in the electrolysis chamber and the electrical conductivity of the electrodes.
Every reputable water ionizer company uses electrodes that are made of titanium with a double coating of platinum applied for better electrical conductivity. More advanced water ionizers will have “textured” plates which further enhances electrical conductivity.
In water electrolysis (or ionization) the electrodes’ ability to conduct electricity is important because the electricity is what is responsible for ionizing the water. The basic laws of electrical conductivity state that textured surfaces are better conductors than flat surfaces. This is why you find textured plates in hydrogen fuel cells which use the process of water electrolysis to create hydrogen used for fuel.
Power & Power Supply
The amount of power available for ionization is another important factor that determines the ionization potential of a water ionizer. The more electricity used, the stronger the charge delivered to the water through the plates.
Transformer power systems found in older water ionizer technology delivers electricity to the electrodes using a single current. Transformer systems are larger using only a single current charging the plates – and ultimately the water. This single current is will fluctuate in strength with excess power being dispersed as heat.
More technologically advanced water ionizer use an SMPS power supply – or “Switching Mode Power Supply” for delivering the electrical current to the plates. SMPS uses rapidly alternating currents which maintain optimal power levels while the device is in use. Because the currents are switching rapidly, fluctuations in power do not occur so the system runs cooler and with higher energy efficiency.
Flat screen TV’s, laptop computers and other devices that are sensitive to heat and require precise levels of electrical current use SMPS power systems.
Computerized Control System
A water ionizer’s computerized control system serves two basic functions. The first is controlling the user interface – how you will use the unit on a day to day basis and the options available for adjusting the water ionizer’s performance. The second function is monitoring the internal components of the water ionizer.
More technologically advanced water ionizers will have an enhanced computerized control system that allows the user maximum control of the unit’s performance. These models will offer features like adjustability within the individual presets, which allows the user to customize the unit’s performance based on their source water. Adjustability may be one “master control” that increases the amount of electrical current used on all settings – some water ionizers only offer adjustability at alkaline presets – and other models offer adjustability at all primary alkaline and acidic presets.
The computerized control system also monitors the performance of the unit. Almost ever water ionizer will have a sensor that determines remaining filter life and triggers the unit’s automated cleaning cycle. More advanced models will also monitor water flow – automatically shutting the unit down if no water is present or if the flow rate is too high or too low for optimal performance.
No matter how well a water ionizer works, the quality of the water being produced will only be as good as the quality of the water being ionized.
Many older water ionizers will have a single internal filter for removing the most common contaminants like lead and chlorine. A few will have an additional component for pre-conditioning the water prior to ionization.
More advanced water ionizer will have a dual internal filtration system. Each of the two cartridges will offer multiple layers of filtration for effective removal of chlorine, lead, volatile organic compounds, bacteria and other contaminants that leach into the water supply like detergents and some agricultural chemicals.
Dual filtration system water ionizers will typically include a layer in the secondary filter cartridge that preconditions the water for ionization.
As you shop around and begin comparing water ionizers, take a close look at these four components to ensure you’re “great deal” doesn’t end up being a mediocre product.