In this study at a full-scale desalination installation seven types of commercially available cartridge filter (CF) elements were evaluated in terms of: (i) water production volume (m3), (ii) produced water quality, and (iii) operational cost (€cent/m3). The cost of optimal CF replacement time relative to increased CF pressure drop was determined for three electricity tariffs (0.05, 0.15, and 0.25 €/kWh) to assess further cost reduction. CF 1 was able to achieve the highest water production rate, the lowest produced water SDI, and the lowest cost of operation. The total costs of cartridge filtration varied between 1.22 and 1.70 €cents/m3 produced water, depending on the CF type. Replacing the worst-performing CF type by the best-performing CF type would reduce operational CF costs by about 39.3%, enabling a cost saving of 0.48 €cents/m3 produced water, emphasizing that selection of the right CF enables a large reduction of cartridge filtration costs. Moreover, depending on the electricity tariff an additional 2–16% cost reduction can be achieved by replacing CFs at an optimal time. At high energy cost, it may be more economical to replace cartridge elements more often to reduce the increased cost associated with the required higher pressure.