Activated carbon granules

The Science Behind Activated Carbon Pellets: How Do They Work?

Activated carbon, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), consists of various organic materials that are high in carbon. Processing these materials creates activated carbon which serves as an effective filtration medium for air and water.

What Are Activated Carbon Pellets?

Activated carbon comes in many forms. Common examples include:



Activated carbon pellets come in a variety of sizes. Naturally, all sizes of activated carbon pellets are larger than all activated carbon powders and granules.

How Do Activated Carbon Pellets Filter Contaminants Out of Air and Water?

Water or air flows through activated carbon filters. Activated carbon has a large surface area that can attract large volumes of contaminants.


Factors such as the size of the activated carbon pellets will influence the extent to which it removes contaminants from air or water. The activated carbon pellets “adsorb” these contaminants, sending out air or water that is cleaner than it was when it first entered the filter.

Replacing Activated Carbon Pellets

Activated carbon pellets can’t effectively filter air and water forever. Any form of activated carbon becomes less effective as contaminants begin to accumulate all across its surface area.


Someone using activated carbon pellets as a filtration medium has two options when this occurs. They can replenish their pellets with entirely new ones, or they may send their activated carbon pellets to a processing/recycling facility. By processing the activated carbon pellets, it’s often possible to remove contaminants from their surfaces, allowing you to recycle them.


Be aware that it may be unsafe to handle used activated carbon pellets yourself. Before using them in a filter, you can handle activated carbon pellets safely without concern. However, after contaminants have accumulated on them, you may need to enlist the help of someone with special training or equipment to dispose of them.

How Do You Know When it’s Time to Replace Activated Carbon Pellets?

A supplier or manufacturer may explain how long you can use activated carbon pellets as a filtration medium before replacing them. They may be able to provide this information if you plan to use activated carbon pellets in a manner similar to the way others use them. A supplier could potentially give you an estimate based on the experiences of others in your industry.


However, maybe your filtration needs are unique. It’s wise to regularly test your air or water if so. Regular testing allows you to monitor the effectiveness of your activated carbon pellet filtration system. Once test results show a filtration system is no longer delivering results, it may be time to replace the pellets.

Activated Carbon Pellets: A Common Filtration Option

Activated carbon is a common medium for air and water filtration for several reasons. They include the following:


  • Activated carbon is safe
  • Activated carbon is effective
  • Activated carbon pellets tend to be budget-friendly


These are just a few reasons to consider this option for your filtration needs. When purchasing activated carbon pellets, you may also discuss other options with a supplier, such as granular activated carbon and powder activated carbon. A professional can help you understand the unique advantages each offers.


Puragen offers activated carbon in pellet, granules, and powder forms.