Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Through constant research in science, new knowledge is constantly being gained. Substances that are good for people and can even help them. But there are also substances that harm people. Some pollutants have been researched and solutions for reducing them have been developed. The activated carbon filter is one of these solutions.

Therefore, we want to introduce you to the activated carbon filter in this guide. For this purpose, different products will be compared with each other. This should give you an overview of the large selection of activated carbon filters. The purchase and evaluation criteria should also help you with your purchase decision. To clarify final questions, these are answered in the guide.


  • Activated carbon filters can be used in a wide variety of areas. Some of these filters can also be found in the household, for example in extractor bonnets or hoovers.
  • Important purchase criteria are the intended use, the dimensions and the durability.
  • Activated carbon filters protect us humans from harmful substances.

The Best Activated Carbon Filter in the United Kingdom: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for activated carbon filters

To give you a better overview of relevant criteria for buying activated carbon filters, we have listed the most important ones for you below. You should always keep these in mind when buying.

In the next steps, a more detailed description of the criteria will follow in order to clarify them for you. You should be aware of what you have to pay attention to and what differences there are.

Intended use

In industry, activated carbon filters are mostly used for water or air purification. In the ventilation system and the tank ventilation of your car, the filter serves to protect against odours and to reduce emissions. Respirators are also often equipped with an activated carbon filter.

But these filters are also used more often at home than you might realise. For example, activated carbon filters are used in hard drives to protect against dust and in cooker bonnets to filter odours.

If you have an aquarium, it also contains activated carbon filters. These are supposed to remove pollutants and medication residues from the water. As a smoker, you will also come into contact with activated carbon filters. Here, the harmful nicotine is to be retained. Other uses include dust binding in hoovers, odour reduction of shoe soles and water purification in domestic water systems.


The dimensions of the activated carbon filter depend on what you need it for. For example, a filter for a cigarette is much smaller than one for an extractor bonnet. When choosing the right activated carbon filter, it is important to know the exact name of your product. The filters are usually specific to a certain product and cannot be used for any purpose.

The example of the cooker bonnet makes this clear once again. There are round and square activated carbon filters in countless sizes. Without the exact product designation, it is difficult to find the right filter in this large selection.


The durability of an activated charcoal filter depends mainly on the purpose for which it is used. Another influencing factor is the frequency of use or cleaning.

For cooker bonnets, the filter has a shelf life of about 3 - 4 years. However, it must be cleaned at intervals of 3 to 4 months. The shelf life can be extended or shortened depending on the frequency of use. Activated carbon filters for cigarettes can be used up to 10 times or until the filter becomes clogged. In cars, they can be used up to a certain number of kilometres. Usually this is around 30 000 km.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about activated carbon filters answered in detail

In the following, we want to give you a deeper insight into the topic of activated carbon filters. For this purpose, we will clarify important questions that you are probably still asking yourself.

What is an activated carbon filter?

The activated carbon filter is used to clean liquids and gases. Harmful substances as well as dust, heavy metals and odours are to be removed. However, the filters only have a limited absorption capacity. Therefore, they have to be changed at regular intervals. Experts describe activated carbon filters as unique because they protect us humans from substances that are hazardous to health.


Many household appliances contain activated charcoal filters. They are supposed to protect you from harmful substances. Such a filter can also be found in the cooker bonnet. (Image source: Le Creuset / Unsplash)

You can imagine an activated carbon filter as a sponge. Carbon is the main component of this sponge and has a very porous structure. This structure extends over several levels. When this carbon structure comes into contact with water vapour, carbon dioxide or oxygen, fine pores are created.

These created pores then attract unwanted and harmful substances until they are clogged. Activated carbon filters then have to be changed or, if possible, cleaned.

What types of activated carbon filters are there?

Within the activated charcoal filters and the different uses, you can also find different types. For example, activated charcoal filters for gaseous particles can be in pellet or powder form or only impregnated with a layer of activated charcoal. The type of carbon filter depends on the area of application and the gas concentration.

You can also purchase activated carbon filters as one- or two-chamber filters, which can be filled with different types of carbon. These types of carbon are moulded activated carbon, activated carbon granulate or activated carbon powder. Shaped activated carbon and activated carbon granulate are particularly suitable for filtering gases or water. Activated carbon powder is mostly used in the chemical industry or industrial processing.

What do activated carbon filters cost?

The prices of activated carbon filters vary depending on the area of application. A cigarette filter is understandably cheaper than a filter for the cooker bonnet. In general, however, most activated carbon filters can be obtained at a reasonable price.

Price range Available products
Low-priced (5 - 50 €) Activated carbon filters for: Cigarettes, water filters, masks
Medium-priced (50 - 200 €) Activated carbon filters for: Extractor bonnet
High-priced (from 200 €) Activated carbon filters for: Industrial use, diesel vehicles, ventilation and air conditioning technology

It becomes clear that activated carbon filters for household use are already available at low prices. Depending on the manufacturer, however, these can also fluctuate. Activated carbon filters for industrial purposes are in the upper price segment, as they usually have to perform much better.

How are activated carbon filters cleaned?

If you take a closer look at activated carbon filters, you will notice that not all filters can be cleaned. Many have to be replaced after a certain period of time because they are no longer absorbent. Even cleaning cannot change this.

Activated charcoal filters that can be cleaned are those in cooker bonnets. You can tell when it needs to be cleaned by the fact that the fumes are hardly absorbed any more. One way to do this is to clean it in the dishwasher. To do this, clean the activated charcoal filter without detergent in the intensive programme. The temperature should not exceed 70 degrees.

An alternative is to wash it under hot, running water. Note, however, that no sponge should be used. As soon as the filter has dried a little, it can be placed in the oven for regeneration. There, the activated carbon filter should dry for two hours at 70 degrees. However, there are also filters that regenerate at higher degrees and for a shorter time. Therefore, you should always follow the instructions for use.


To protect you from harmful substances, activated carbon filters have become indispensable in daily use. Whether in the household in extractor bonnets and hoovers or in the car in the ventilation system. These filters are also used in inconspicuous objects such as cigarettes or breathing masks. Activated carbon filters are usually inexpensive to obtain and can, in some cases, last for several years.

Especially for asthmatics and allergy sufferers, this filter can make a decisive difference. When choosing, you should always keep the criteria in mind. For what purpose do you need an activated carbon filter, what are the dimensions and how long do they last?

(Cover photo: KawikaFilms / Unsplash)