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Home » Reverse Osmosis Systems » 12 Best Reverse Osmosis Systems Reviewed

12 Best Reverse Osmosis Systems Reviewed

By: David Trinh
Last Updated:
RO System

Are you in the market for a reverse osmosis system to get purified water in your home? 

If so, you’re likely wondering which water purification system is the best option for your home.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular reverse osmosis systems on the market and compare their features to give you the best possible drinking water without having to buy bottled water.

We’ll also discuss what to consider before making a purchase and share our top picks for the best reverse osmosis systems. Stay tuned!

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Top Home Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Systems Compared 

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES
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#1 Waterdrop G3
  • Stages: 7
  • Output: 400 GPD
  • Remineralization: No
CHECK PRICE
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#2 NU Aqua Tankless
  • Stages: 4
  • Output: 600 GPD
  • Remineralization: No
CHECK PRICE
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#3 AquaTru Countertop
  • Stages: 4
  • Output: Continous
  • Remineralization: No
CHECK PRICE
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#4 SoftPro Green
  • Stages: 5
  • Output: 75 GPD
  • Remineralization: No
CHECK PRICE
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#5 Home Master TMAFC-ERP
  • Stages: 7
  • Output: 75 GPD
  • Remineralization: Yes
CHECK PRICE
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#6 Pelican 6-Stage
  • Stages: 6
  • Output: 20 GPD
  • Remineralization: Yes
CHECK PRICE
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#7 Aquasana OPTIMH20 RO
  • Stages: 6
  • Output: 32 GPD
  • Remineralization: Yes
CHECK PRICE
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#8 iSpring RCC7AK
  • Stages: 6
  • Output: 75 GPD
  • Remineralization: Yes
CHECK PRICE

Evaluation Criteria To Consider for A Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

ro-filter-evaluation-criteria

When choosing the best reverse osmosis system for your home, these are the main things you should consider before making a purchase:

Contaminants Removed

All reverse osmosis systems are going to greatly reduce the amounts of:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses and protozoa
  • Copper, lead, chromium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus
  • Other total dissolved solids (TDS)
  • Nitrate
  • Sulfate
  • Fluoride
  • Radium
  • Arsenic, and other contaminants in your water.
  • RO filters can also remove organic chemicals if they are larger than 100amus in weight. 

The main difference between reverse osmosis water filtration systems is the exact percent of the contaminants that they filter out. Most RO filters alone will remove between 95 and 98% of contaminants.

Some systems will also come with carbon pre and post-filters that help filter out even more impurities like volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Flow Rate & Wasted Water Ratio

All reverse osmosis filters are going to impact your flow rate and/or water pressure, but reverse osmosis systems tend to slow it down the most. This is due to the high level of filtration, but low flow rates or water pressure are one of the most common customer review complaints about RO systems.

Reverse osmosis systems also generate wastewater by design. Every time the membrane is washed, contaminants that have built up over time are flushed away with additional water, and an RO system generates 4 gallons of waste for every 1 gallon of fresh water. The best reverse osmosis system will maximize flow while reducing water. 

Filter Lifespan & Replacement

Most reverse osmosis water filtration systems themselves last 10-15 years, the filter cartridges last 12-24 months, while carbon filters usually last 6-12 months.

Although most RO systems have simple filters like a sediment filter that are readily available and quickly replaceable, you’ll want to double-check the ease of installation before purchasing.

Contains Permeate Pump

Permeate refers to the filtered water that the reverse osmosis filters produce, and a penetrating pump works to push that water into the storage tank.

This achieves two things:

  1. More purified water
  2. Less wastewater

When the penetrating pump is removed, there’s less pressure on the reverse osmosis water filtration system since less water builds up on the penetrating side. This allows the movement of water across the membrane more efficiently, which reduces the wastewater needed and allows the membrane to remove harmful contaminants more effectively for purified drinking water instead of bottled water.

Contains An Alkaline Remineralization Filter

The TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) or harmful contaminants that these systems remove during the purification process include minerals like sodium, calcium, and magnesium. While these can be problematic in large quantities, removing too much of them makes your water both acidic and potentially less tasty. 

Reverse osmosis water filtration systems with an alkaline remineralization filter introduce some of these minerals back into the water after they’re filtered out to improve the drinking experience without having to buy bottled water.

Certifications

Reverse osmosis filters in general can be certified through both NSF and WQA for different standards, but RO systems have their own special certifications they can get, including the NSF/ANSI 58 standard. Certification by one of these third-party testers is an added assurance that your RO filter will do what it claims to. 

Price

The initial expense of your reverse osmosis water filtration system will be an upfront investment, but replacing the filters may add up in the long run. If you acquire a system that needs a plumber, you’ll also have to budget for the cost of installation.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Reviews

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Order of Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Reviews

Using our evaluation criteria from above we have determined which RO filters are the best on the market with these reverse osmosis system reviews.

1. Waterdrop G3 Reverse Osmosis Filter System

Waterdrop-G3

The Waterdrop G3 RO filters are the strongest reverse osmosis water filter system on the list, providing an impressive 400 gallons of purified water per day (GPD) – which is more than 5x the normal production of an RO system. 

Its 7-stage water filtration system with carbon filters is NSF certified, and this reverse osmosis water filter is one of the few that lacks a water tank and fits nicely under your sink. This compact, tankless design means your water is filtered on-demand.

You’ll also find that these systems come with:

  • A dedicated smart faucet that lets you know when your filters need to be replaced
  • An automatic flush feature
  • A sound reminder for when the system is becoming overworked

We highly recommend this sink reverse osmosis system as our top pick overall because of its high capacity, high-tech, and excellent design.

Main Features & Benefits: 

Contaminants removed: The G3 water system contains 7 stages including both carbon block filters and RO water filtration. That means it’s removing chlorine, taste and odor, sand, rust, solids, and other impurities. The RO system also filters TDS to 94% and reduces limescale, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and more than 1,000 other harmful water contaminants.

Flow rate & waste ratio: The main benefit of the tankless system is that it does not have a storage tank, which means that it can continuously produce filtered water instead of needing to stop to refill a water tank.

This tankless system prevents germs from accumulating in the water tank and saves you 50% of under-sink space, as well as delivers a 0.27 GPM flow rate (you can fill a cup of pure water in 12 seconds).

As for the waste ratio, this water system is one of the most efficient on the market at 1:1 for gallons of wastewater produced compared to pure water. 

Filter lifespan & replacement: The carbon block filter lasts 6 months, the activated carbon filter lasts 12 months, and the RO filter lasts 24 months. Each can be replaced in seconds with the twist-and-pull design, and you don’t have to turn off the water supply.

This osmosis water filtration system also comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty against defects, and the system itself should give you fresh drinking water for 10-15 years.

Contains permeate pump: While this tankless RO system doesn’t have a storage tank for this to apply, the tankless reverse osmosis design mimics a system with a penetrating pump.

Contains remineralization: This system does not have a remineralization stage, which is one of the only downsides.

Certifications: This reverse osmosis system has been tested and proven to meet NSF 58 & 372 certifications to filter 94% of total dissolved solids. 

Price: The system itself is $549 to purchase which is on the higher end of the spectrum, but the value it provides is well worth it. The replacement cartridges for all 3 stages will run you about $240 over the span of 2 years. 

Who This System is Best For:

The Waterdrop G3 is ideal for anyone looking for a tankless option featuring a strong filtering performance, simple installation, quick water filtration rate, lower water waste, smart leakage detection, and a faucet featuring smart technology.

See our full Waterdrop Filters Review here for more information.

Pros:

  • No storage tank filter system
  • 400 GPD capacity
  • Low drain ratio
  • Awesome looking filter design
  • Saves space under-sink
  • Smart filter technology
  • Filters 94% TDS and other water contaminants for pure water
  • Easy to install and straightforward maintenance
  • NSF certified 

Cons:

  • Lack of water remineralization
  • Expensive
  • Electric pump
  • Users cannot place the unit on its side
  • No air gap faucet
  • No UV light

Check Price


2. NU Aqua Tankless Reverse Osmosis System

The NU Aqua Tankless RO system is one of the best filters on the market, it is compact and has no storage tank.

This is because of its standout waste water ratio of 2:1, a flow rate of 600 gallons per day, and an RO membrane lifespan of 3 years or 36 months. 

It comes with 3 highly effective filtration stages including a sediment and carbon filter, a granular carbon filter, and the RO membrane filters to remove 99% of all contaminants.

With the efficiency ratio, gallons per day output, and the ability to remove 99% of contaminants including VOCs, chlorine, hardness, chemicals, heavy metals, and microorganisms this is one of the best reverse osmosis filtration systems you can find for purified water.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants Removed: 99%

Flow Rate & Waste Ratio: Continuous flow rate and 2:1 waste ratio are great.

Filter Lifespan & Replacement: RO membrane lasts for 3 years

Contains Permeate Pump: NA, no storage tank

Contains Remineralization: No remineralization

Certifications: Not certified

Price: $500 which is the average price range for this level of quality

Who This System Is Best For:

The NU Aqua is a very efficient tankless under-the-sink reverse osmosis system if you’re looking for a great unit comparable to the Waterdrop.

Pros 

  • Efficient 2:1 waste ratio
  • RO membrane long lifespan
  • Highly effective filtration for pure water
  • Includes air gap faucet

Cons

  • Not NSF certified currently
  • No UV light

Check Price


3. Aquatru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

The Aquatru is the best countertop reverse osmosis system that is certified to NSF standards and removes 99% of contaminants including lead, chromium-6, fluoride, PFAs, nitrates, and much more.

It contains a 4 stage advanced purification system that includes a mechanical pre-filter, activated carbon pre-filter, high-efficient reverse osmosis membrane, and an activated coconut shell carbon VOC filter.

This osmosis water filtration system has some of the best technology including

  • A digital display with filter change alert function
  • One-touch water dispensing
  • A sleek compact design that fits perfectly on your countertop

If you’re looking for an effective RO system that looks good on your countertop then this is the top model to consider.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants Removed: 99% of all contaminants 

Flow & Waste Ratio: It has a fast production capability and a waste ratio of 4:1 which is 4x more efficient than typical reverse osmosis filtration systems.

Filter Lifespan & Replacement: The membrane should be replaced yearly

Contains Permeate Pump: NA

Contains Remineralization: No remineralization

Certifications: NSF certified 

Price: $450 which is average for a high-quality countertop RO unit

Who This System Is Best For:

If you want a very effective, nicely designed countertop reverse osmosis system instead of an under-sink model this is your pick.

Pros:

  • Quick installation
  • Less wastewater
  • Sleek design 
  • Great technology
  • 99% contaminant removal

Cons:

  • No remineralizing filter
  • Not cheap
  • Smaller holding tank
  • No UV light

Check Price


4. SoftPro Green Reverse Osmosis Filter

SoftPro Green RO

Working as a family-owned business since 1990, Quality Water Treatment features the SoftPro Green Reverse Osmosis System. This unit can remove up to 96% of the impurities in your home’s water, however, it only has a 1:1 waste ratio. That’s approximately two-thirds lower than competing models.

While starting with the 5-micron sediment filter, this sink reverse osmosis system features 5 stages. The remaining four include two coconut shell-activated carbon blocks, an RO membrane, and a carbon post-filter. 

We like this system because it eliminates up to 96% of organic and inorganic contaminants while adding back healthy minerals when producing up to 75 gallons of purified water daily which is pretty good.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants removed: This system removes 96% of arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, chromium, fluoride, heavy metals, lead, nitrates, bacteria, and viruses with its 5-stage reverse osmosis system.

Flow rate & waste water ratio: Not only does this reverse osmosis system work to produce 75 GPD of filtered water, but it also has a 1:1 waste water ratio to maximize efficiency.

Filter lifespan & replacement: This model comes with a five-year warranty and you can expect the system to last between 5 and 10 years.

The carbon replacement cartridges will last the standard 6 months, and the RO membrane and remineralization cartridges should both be replaced yearly. 

You won’t have to worry about hiring a plumber to install it, and the cartridges are also quick and easy to replace.

Contains penetrating pump: No

Contains remineralization: Yes, remineralization is included.

Certifications: This product has not been certified by NSF or WQA.

Price: You can get this system for $340, and then the replacement cartridges will run you about $200 per year to replace.

Who This System Is Best For:

This osmosis water filtration system is budget-friendly, easy to install, and removes 96% of contaminants at a 1:1 waste water ratio. 

Pros:

  • Filters 96% of water contaminants
  • 5-stage carbon block filter
  • 75 GPD filtration capacity
  • Low water waste ratio at 1:1
  • RO membrane

Cons:

  • Not a well-known brand
  • Noisy when refilling the storage tank
  • Large storage tank
  • No UV light

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5.  Home Master TMAFC-ERP Reverse Osmosis Filter

Home-Master-TMAFC-ERP

Opting for the Home Master TMAFC-ERP under the sink reverse osmosis unit means your water goes through seven water treatment stages that filter, purify, and enhance your home’s water while taking out up to 98% of the water’s impurities. 

This unit also improves your water’s taste during its remineralization process. With its highly efficient design, you’ll find a non-electric penetrating pump built-in to reduce wasted water by up to 80%. It also helps increase your home’s filtered water production by up to 50%.

The Home Master system is one of our top picks because of the high-quality filtration process. This unit’s water remineralization function has a patented two-stage process, and it also features a penetration pump.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants removed: You can be assured of clean water because this filter removes 98% of impurities including chloramine, chlorine, dissolved solids, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and more, and it reduces the level of biofilm and microorganism build-up. 

Unlike some reverse osmosis systems, the Home Master provides full-contact purification. That is in conjunction with water remineralization – producing high-quality drinking water with great taste.

Flow rate & waste water ratio: You should have filtered water for all of your daily needs with 75 GPD, and according to the customer reviews you won’t compromise much on your flow rate either thanks to the penetrating pump. The pump also helps make this system more efficient, reducing the wastewater generated to 1:1. 

Filter lifespan & replacement: Like most of the other RO systems, this filter will last you between 5-10 years, and Home Master will cover it for the first five. The cartridges all need to be replaced annually and the system has an all-in-one modular design for quick and easy filter changes.

Contains permeate pump: Yes

Contains remineralization: Yes

Certifications: NSF certified

Price: This RO system falls in the mid-range price point at $450. It doesn’t require professional installation, and the replacement cartridge set is $80 per year. 

Who This System is Best For:

The Home Master TMAFC-ERP system is an excellent choice if you want a standard under-sink reverse osmosis system with a storage tank that produces purified water fast and includes water remineralization at an affordable price.

Pros:

  • Full contact purification
  • Water remineralization
  • Dispensing water fast
  • Excellent customer support
  • Air gap faucet available

Cons:

  • The system makes noise when working
  • Takes up a fair amount of space
  • No UV light
  • Costs more

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6. Pelican 6 Stage RO

pelican ro

While maintaining its status in the water treatment industry, the Pelican 6 Stage RO system is compact and eco-friendly. This six-stage reverse osmosis system takes 95% of harmful chemicals and other impurities from your home’s drinking water and also incorporates demineralization in the filtration process.

While filtering a maximum of 50 gallons daily, this unit also produces a 30% higher flow rate than traditional RO systems. As a product of the USA, this unit steps above its competitors regarding efficiency and maintenance. 

We like this RO system for its high percentage of contaminant removal, the incorporated remineralization, its higher flow rate, and the lower amount of water waste generated.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants removed: This system removes 95% of contaminants. During the first stages of filtration, this unit treats water for arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium 3 and 6, copper, fluoride, lead, radium, and more. The last of the two-stage reverse osmosis system is when a carbon filter polishes the water and remineralization occurs.

Flow rate & waste ratio: You have less compromise with both your flow rate, water pressure, and water waste generated with this system, even though the gallons per day produced is between 17.9 and 50 GPD. 

The flow rate is up at 1.0 GPM so you can be sure to have a good flow. The water waste ratio is also 2:1, meaning it’s 50% more efficient than most other RO systems. 

Filter lifespan & replacement: The carbon filters for this system need to be replaced every 6 months, while the RO filter itself can go for 18 months. All are simple to replace without any tools necessary.

Contains permeate pump: No

Contains remineralization: Yes

Certifications: This filter has been NSF/ANSI certified for standards 42 and 53, and has been Gold Seal Certified by the WQA.

Price: You can get this system for $560 without needing a plumber to do the installation, and over an 18-month period you can expect to pay $356 in replacement cartridges.

Who This System Is Best For:

If you are looking for a reverse osmosis system that is NSF/ANSI certified and includes water demineralization in the filtration process, this system from Pelican is an optimal choice. 

Pros:

  • 6 stage filtration
  • 50 GPD RO system
  • NSF/ANSI certified 
  • Filters 95% of water contaminants
  • Water remineralization
  • Compact and easy to maintain
  • A trustworthy brand made in the USA

Cons:

  • Capacity per day is not as good as Waterdrop
  • Some consumers complained about leaking faucets
  • Priced higher than competing models and the replacement cartridges are pricey
  • No UV light

Use Exclusive Code: WATERTECH at checkout for 10% off Pelican Products!

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7. Aquasana OPTIMH20 RO + Claryum

aquasana_optimh2o

The Aquasana OPTIMH20 reverse osmosis system is one of our top recommendations. It’s one of the only filters to combine reverse osmosis, Claryum filtration, and water remineralization in one system. 

That means it filters all the contaminants from your water while also putting back in healthy minerals that the reverse osmosis process removes.

Aquasana was the first in the industry to develop a reverse osmosis product featuring remineralization technology. This unit also filters five times more water contaminants than standard reverse osmosis systems.

We recommend the Aquasana OPTIMH20 because of its high contaminant removal percentage and incorporated remineralization system.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants removed: This filter effectively removes 88 harmful contaminants, including 95% of fluoride and mercury, 97% of chlorine and arsenic, and 99% of lead and asbestos.

It filters 5x more water contaminants than a standard reverse osmosis system with its six-stage filtration system.

These filtration stages include:

  • Reverse osmosis
  • Activated carbon blocks
  • Catalytic carbon filters
  • Ion exchange
  • 5-micron filtration
  • Water remineralization.

Flow rate & waste water ratio: Unlike the Waterdrop G3, this filter only has a daily production of 13.32 GPD and a flow rate of 0.05 GPM which is a main customer complaint about this system. The water waste ratio is on par with your average reverse osmosis system at 4:1.

Filter lifespan & replacement: Aquasana offers a 2-year warranty on this model and it should last for many years before needing to be replaced.

As for the cartridges, the carbon stages for this system will need to be swapped out every 6 months, while the remineralizer and RO cartridges should last a year.

The filters are easy to swap out and replace, and you don’t need to cut off your water supply to do so.

Contains penetrating pump: No

Contains remineralization: Yes

Certifications: This system has been tested and certified to NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, 58, 401, and P473. 

Price: This RO system normally sells for $400, but you can often find it on sale for $219 and you don’t need a plumber to install it. The yearly cartridge replacements will be $220, and overall this is a mid to high price point that delivers a high-end result. 

Who This System Is Best For:

This system from Aquasana is an excellent option if you’re looking for a reverse osmosis system containing superior water filtration plus demineralization for your purified water.

Pros:

  • Six stages in the filtration process
  • Certified to NSF/ANSI standards
  • Filters 5x more water contaminants than average
  • Easy to install filter replacements 
  • Straightforward installation
  • Good value for the price

Cons:

  • Not quite as powerful as Waterdrop’s gallons per day (GPD) output
  • Some consumers believe the water pressure is too low
  • There’s no automatic shut-off valve on the tank
  • No UV light

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8. iSpring RCC7AK 

iSpring-RCC7AK

The iSpring RCC7AK is our #6 pick because it successfully eliminates up to 99% of over 1,000 impurities in the water. 

The iSpring unit features a five-stage RO filtration system that’s incredibly effective and it also has the sixth stage for demineralization which makes this a great filtration solution for your drinking water.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants removed: The iSpring RCC7AK removes 99% of 1,000 contaminants including asbestos, arsenic, bacteria, calcium, chlorine, fluoride, giardia, hormones, and sodium with its 5-stage system and up to 98% of the water’s lead content.

  1. During the first stage, there’s a polypropylene filter for removing rust, sand, and sediments.
  2. The second and third stage involves a carbon filter for removing chlorine and unpleasant odors and tastes.
  3. The fourth stage uses a membrane for removing up to 99% of the water’s other impurities.
  4. During the fifth stage, the post-filter is available for removing any remaining tastes and odors.

Flow rate & waste water ratio: This unit produces 75 gallons daily, which is optimal for most families. It also has a 3:1 waste water ratio, so you’re getting slightly more efficiency than you would from standard RO systems. 

Filter lifespan & replacement: The filter system itself should last for at least five years and is guaranteed by iSpring for 1 year. The replacement cartridges all last between 6-12 months, except for the RO membrane which lasts 2-3 years.

Contains permeate pump: No pump.

Contains remineralization: The remineralization in this system is unique in that it adds back healthy minerals into the water while leaving your drinking water neutral or slightly acidic. 

Certifications: Certified for NSF/ANSI standard 58. 

Price: This unit is at a very reasonable price point for one that contains the sixth stage of remineralization at $220, and installation is easy. The cartridges are likewise budget-friendly at $106 for three years. 

Who This System Is Best For:

The iSpring system is a reliable water filtration pick for the budget-conscious who wants to buy from a reputable company that’s been in the water business for a while. 

Pros:

  • Six-stage reverse osmosis filtration 
  • Filters 99% contaminants
  • Includes water remineralization
  • Easy installation

Cons:

  • No penetrating pump
  • Bulky and cumbersome
  • Some consumers complained about too much water waste
  • Other consumers reported low efficiency
  • No UV light

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9. Brondell H20+ Circle

brondell h20

The Brondell H20 system made our list due to its efficiency and innovative technology, saving water, and making it ten times more efficient than other systems. 

What’s surprising about this model is that its efficiency doesn’t involve using a penetrating pump. Instead, the system features a patented smart valve, and its reservoir’s exclusive circular design increases the efficiency of the filtration process. 

Despite having these technological advancements, this unit has an incredibly small footprint meaning there will still be plenty of storage space beneath your kitchen sink. Because of its attractive design, many believe that it could have been a countertop unit.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants removed: The Brondell H20+ Circle contains a 4-stage filtration system with a sediment filter, pre-filter, RO membrane filter, and post-carbon filter.

It reduces heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, TDS, VOCs, microorganisms, harmful chemicals, and bad tastes/smells. 

Flow rate & waste ratio: The system’s efficiency saves an average of 2.1 gallons of waste for every gallon of drinking water it produces. The purified water refill rate for this unit is two times faster than competing non-electric RO systems, and the customer reviews don’t report a significant reduction in flow rate. 

Filter lifespan & replacement: The filter cartridges each last 6 months, except for the RO stage which will last for 2 years. Replacing the cartridges and initial installation is easy.

Contains permeate pump: No, but utilizes smart valves and a circular design to achieve the same pressure relief at the membrane.

Contains remineralization: No

Certifications:  Certified by both (WQA) and NSF/ANSI

Price: The initial cost of the system is around $450, while the replacement cartridges run $70 every 6 months for the carbon stages and the RO membrane itself runs $80 every 2 years.

Who This System Is Best For:

The system is a decent reverse osmosis system with average filtration, no water demineralization, and its nice design fits under your kitchen sink well.

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Saves water
  • 4-stage water filtration
  • Smart valve eliminates backpressure
  • NSF/ANSI certified for contaminant removal

Cons:

  • Average water filter capacity  
  • Replacement filters are difficult to obtain
  • No water remineralization
  • Some consumers had difficulty fitting this unit underneath a standard kitchen sink
  • The faucet’s flow rate seems lower than competing models
  • No UV light

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10. APEC Ultimate

APEC-Ultimate

The APEC Ultimate made our list because it offers outstanding, six-stage reverse osmosis filtration. We also like its water remineralization, WQA gold seal certification, and business reputation. It’s a reliable reverse osmosis system at a fair price.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants removed: With six-stage reverse osmosis filtration, you know you’re receiving filtered drinking water at the highest standards. The APEC Ultimate filters 99% of contaminants and solids as well as bacteria. The sixth stage remineralizes water with calcium and magnesium.

Flow rate & waste water ratio: The flow rate and wastewater ratio are both what is expected for a standard RO system (4:1), and the customer reviews don’t cite low flow rates.

Filter lifespan & replacement: One good thing is the APEC Ultimate is one of the most straightforward reverse osmosis systems regarding the installation and you can benefit from the top-notch customer service from APEC water RO systems

After set-up, the only maintenance that is required is changing the filters. Stages 1, 2, and 3 will all last you one year, stage 4 will last 2-5 years depending on your water source and usage, and stage 5 will last 3-5 years as well.

Contains permeate pump: No

Contains remineralization: The remineralization system improves the taste of the filtered water while raising the alkalinity. 

Certifications: This model has the WQA Gold Seal Certification.

Price: You won’t break the bank on this filter, with the initial system costing $250 and then the replacement filters costing $157 for a combo pack of all of them. 

Who This Is Best For:

Overall, this is another solid choice. The system gets the job done well with a standard tank and faucet, but it doesn’t have a sleek design or many bells and whistles. 

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Good customer service
  • 6-stage filtration that removes 99% of contaminants
  • WQA certified

Cons:

  • Too much water waste
  • Some users report taste issues
  • Issues with the installation process
  • No UV light

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11. Express Water RO5DX5

Express-Water-RO5DX

A budget system, the Express Water RO5DX5, provides high-quality filtered water at a discounted rate. 

Although it only features a 5 stage reverse osmosis process and no penetrating pump, it effectively removes all types of contaminants from the water coming out of your faucet.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants removed: Despite the system’s low price, the filters in the Express Water RO5DX5 are of good caliber and filter out 99.99% of impurities including lead, fluoride, chlorine, nitrates, arsenic, calcium, bacteria, and others.

Flow rate & waste water ratio: You’ll get 50 GPD from this filter, and that should be plenty depending on your usage. The flow rate is also 0.8 GPM, and the wastewater ratio, on the other hand, is the standard 4:1.

Filter lifespan & replacement: The carbon filters will need to be replaced every 6 months, while the PAC filters will last 12 months and the RO filters will last 18 months. The system itself is only under warranty for a year, but you should still get several years’ use out of it.

Filter replacement is quick thanks to the included wrench and user-friendly design. Installation of the Express Water RO5DX5 is just as easy with the detailed instruction manual that lays out the steps in easy-to-understand language. Plus, the filters are pre-assembled for faster fitting.

Contains permeate pump: No

Contains remineralization: No

Certifications: NSF certified for standard 58.

Price: At $200 for the system and only $89.50 every three years, this model proves that having clean water doesn’t have to cost a bunch of money. 

Who This System Is Best For:

If you are looking for a budget option, this system from Express Water is one to consider.

Pros:

  • Removes 99% of impurities
  • Straightforward installation with pre-assembled filters
  • NSF/ANSI certified

Cons:

  • No water remineralization
  • No penetrating pump
  • Produces 4 gallons of water waste for each of the gallons per day (GPD) that it purifies
  • Some consumers reported that the connections didn’t come with their faucet upgrade
  • Other consumers indicate that this unit is difficult to install
  • No UV light

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12. Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection

Home-Master-TMHP-HydroPerfection

The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection is one of the few filters with a UV light, making it suitable to use with more water sources. 

The UV filter kills 99.8% of microorganisms that may be present in your natural water source. These reverse osmosis water filters also have nine-step filtration, making them one of the most effective filters for purified water.

Main Features & Benefits:

Contaminants removed: Sending water through a total of nine stages (including an iron filter), you’d be hard-pressed to find a filtering system that removes more impurities. That makes it ideal for families concerned about water quality, especially households receiving their water from a well.

Impurities removed include 99% of chemicals, TDS, and metals, as well as iron, viruses, and other microorganisms.

Flow rate & waste water ratio: Thanks to the permeate pump, this system wastes minimum water with a 1:1 ratio. You’ll receive drinking water quicker as well, due to the ⅜-inch diameter tubing that allows for faster water flow rates. The daily production of this filter is 50 GPD.

Filter lifespan & replacement: It is easy to change the filters – there’s no need for any tools. The system’s installation is also simple, provided you do have some DIY knowledge.

The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection also comes with a 5-year warranty which is longer than most other reverse osmosis filter systems, and the replacement filters themselves last around a year each.

Contains permeate pump: Yes.

Contains remineralization: There is a remineralization stage as well. 

Certifications: This product is EPA #97952-AZ-1 registered. 

Price: The system itself is pricey at $550 – and that’s on sale. The replacement cartridges are more reasonable at $157 per pack.

Who This System Is Best For:

If you’re looking for a top traditional reverse osmosis system with a tank, then this system is one to consider. It has 9-stage filtration, which is one of the most effective on the market, and it wastes smaller amounts of water compared to some RO systems.

Pros:

  • 9 Stage filtration
  • Easy to change filters
  • 5-year warranty
  • Includes UV light

Cons:

  • A UV filter is often unnecessary
  • Electric pump
  • Bulky and cumbersome
  • The system’s lamp requires a 115v power connection
  • The RO membrane removes too many helpful minerals

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Top RO Systems Feature Comparison Table

ModelWaterdrop G3SoftPro GreenHome Master TMAFC-ERPPelican 6-StageAquasana OPTIMH20 RO + Claryum
Our Rank12345
Contaminants Removed %94%96%98%95%95-99%
Output400 GPD75 GPD75 GPD50 GPD32 GPD
Wasted Water Ratio1:11:11:12:14:1
Filter Lifespan6-24 mo6-12 mo12 mo6-18 mo6-12 mo
Permeate PumpYesNoYesNoNo
RemineralizationNoYesYesYesYes
CertificationsNSFNoNSFNSF/WQANSF
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$($)

A Buyer’s Guide to RO Water Systems

ro-water-system-buyers-guide

Now you’ve read the reverse osmosis system reviews, how do you choose the single best reverse osmosis system for your home?

Before you start narrowing down your options, make sure that you clarify what a RO filtration system does. You should also understand why it is different from other reverse osmosis systems.

What Is a Reverse Osmosis Filtration System?

A reverse osmosis filtering system passes water through an RO membrane using pressure. With this technology, reverse osmosis systems can remove between 95 and 99% of contaminants from the tap water.

This makes a reverse osmosis membrane or RO filter more effective than any other membrane filtration method, including ultrafiltration, micro-filtration, and nano-filtration. You should replace that membrane every 2 to 3 years.

The Basics of Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

A reverse osmosis system is typically a “point of use” filter system, meaning installation occurs near a faucet. Most designs include an installation either on the countertop or under the sink to limit the use of bottled water. 

They have a dedicated faucet that delivers potable water for drinking and cooking. By purchasing an extra line, you can also connect your system to your refrigerator for the water dispenser or ice maker.

How a Reverse Osmosis System Works

  1. A reverse osmosis filter works with a high-pressure water pump to increase the system’s salt-side pressure to force water across the system’s semi-permeable reverse osmosis membrane. 
  2. Between 95% and 99% of dissolved solids remain behind in the wastewater stream during that process.
  3. The amount of pressure to push water the unit requires depends on the feed water’s salt concentration. If the feed water contains a high salt concentration level, that means it needs additional pressure.
  4. When water enters the system’s reverse osmosis membrane under pressure, its water molecules pass through a semi-permeable membrane. During that process, the water’s salts and other contaminants cannot pass through, making them flow into the wastewater, brine stream, or drain line.
  5. That wastewater flows down the drain and feeds back into the feed water supply.
  6. There are also situations when this brine water can recycle back through the reverse osmosis filtration system to help conserve water.

Learn more about how reverse osmosis works here.

What Contaminants Does the Best RO System Remove?

microorganisms

Reverse osmosis water is free from all contaminants that come out of your faucet and could be damaging your health, even substances that can cause cancer. Your tap water might contain contaminants like:

  • Selenium
  • Arsenic
  • Nitrates and nitrites
  • Phosphate
  • Fluoride
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Cysts
  • Metals like lead, chromium, cadmium, radium, barium, and sodium

How Are Reverse Osmosis Filters Different Than Regular Filters?

A reverse osmosis water filtration system has a more comprehensive filtration level than a standard water filter that uses just carbon filter cartridges and sediment filters. A traditional water filter usually removes taste, odor, chlorine, chloramine, and other organic compounds and bacteria.

The RO filter systems remove all the contaminants from the tap water listed above, plus the ones that a standard filter removes as well.

One thing to make sure that you keep in mind is that reverse osmosis filtration is exceptionally effective. That means that these filter systems make water so pure that they remove healthy minerals from the drinking water coming out of your tap water. If having these beneficial minerals in your drinking and cooking water is essential to you, you should buy a filter that includes water remineralization.

Lastly, it’s important to note that an RO filter’s use is mainly a “point of use” under the sink reverse osmosis systems with a dedicated faucet. If you are looking for whole-house filter water, find our review on whole-home filters.

Can You Get Reverse Osmosis in a Whole-House Filter?

You may be curious if RO is a viable alternative for your entire-home system now that you know what it is. The problem: as mentioned, reverse osmosis becomes less and less efficient the larger you scale the system. 

This means vast amounts of wastewater are generated, and very few companies incorporate RO into their whole-house systems. RO will give you great-quality purified water at your faucet, but for your other water needs, you’re going to be better off going with a different filtration system. 

Yes, there are some larger commercial whole house RO machines that can be used for the whole house but the efficiency and waste are not good. Most people don’t need RO filtration for all the tap water in their home, just the drinking water.

What to Keep in Mind For Your Reverse Osmosis System

Before picking the best system for your home’s purified water, there are a few criteria to consider.

Space Requirements

To start, you need to assess how much room you have under your sink and/or on your countertop. It needs to be sufficient for the filters, reverse osmosis components, and (in most cases) the storage tank. It may be that you need to rule out a countertop system or an under-sink water system for lack of space.

Replacement Filters

  1. Multiple filters are excellent for having cleaner water, but they also mean more maintenance and a high expense.
  2. Plus, you’ll need to keep a note of when it’s necessary to change each water filter.

For this reason, it’s essential to choose the level of filtration that best matches your purified water needs.

Water Source

You need to know if your water is coming from a city supply or if it’s well water. That way, you can figure out which system could best remove the contaminants present in your tap water. You can find out what your water has in it by conducting a water test through a certified lab.

Water Remineralization

Your water may currently contain a large number of healthy minerals that the system can remove. If you want to regain these water minerals, you should pick a water system that offers water remineralization to add them back.

Water Usage

Even if you choose the most efficient reverse osmosis filtration system, it can waste some water. If you live in an area where water is scarce, wasting water may not be an option.

In this case, you should pick a filter other than reverse osmosis to purify your water. Otherwise, consider looking for the RO filter that wastes the least amount during the purification process and still offers quality filtration.

Water Pressure

Most water reverse osmosis systems use water pressure to operate. Your home’s water pressure needs to be at least 40 PSI for the reverse osmosis filter process to work. If your home has low water pressure, find out if you can increase the pressure with a booster pump.

How Much Does a Reverse Osmosis System Cost?

The price of an RO system typically ranges from around $200 to $550. In large part, the price depends on the quality and additional features of the reverse osmosis system. Most of our picks for the top reverse osmosis systems fall within the range of $200 to $600 for each model.

Water Efficiency Ratio of A Reverse Osmosis Explained

The amount of wastewater compared to purified water determines the water efficiency ratio for these systems. 

The best reverse osmosis system usually uses a penetrating pump, which lowers the wastewater rate to 1:1 – meaning one gallon of water wasted for every one gallon of filtered water. Without a penetrating pump, a good ratio is 3:1.

Optional Accessories for Your Home Reverse Osmosis System

Many of the top reverse osmosis systems come with additional accessories to improve the filter’s efficiency and increase water quality coming out of your home’s faucet. There are three main accessories that many reverse osmosis water systems come with:

  • Permeate pumps — Because it’s non-electric, a penetrating pump improves filter efficiency by eliminating wasted water. This pump also helps maximize the water pressure of the filtered drinking water coming out of your home’s faucet.
  • Remineralization — Filtering water with an RO system can mean that you lose some beneficial minerals. A system with a water remineralization filter adds minerals back to the pure water, creating better-tasting water and increasing health benefits.
  • UV light — To kill all the bacteria and microorganisms in the water, it is necessary to go beyond filtration and use UV light systems.

Other Important RO System Terminology

You may come across unfamiliar terminology when reading the best reverse osmosis system reviews. Being clear about what each term means can help you determine which filter to use, select the ideal models for your home, and make the right buying decision.

  • Filter Stages: Each reverse osmosis water model is a multiple-stage system. The reverse osmosis process starts with pre-filtering, which removes large particles from the water. The next is a reverse osmosis filter that removes small particles from the water. Lastly, water filtration systems include post-filters, which reduce odors and adverse tastes in the water. Some RO systems also have an additional stage after post-filters to remineralize the water.
  • Storage tank: Almost all the reverse osmosis filtration water systems on the list but one has a storage tank. The main reason is that a tankless reverse osmosis system doesn’t work super fast, and a storage tank can hold filtered water until it’s needed.
  • Gallons per day output (GPD): The amount of water the system can process per day is the system output. You’ll see reverse osmosis filtration systems measuring this as gallons of water per day (GPD).
  • Wasted water: As reverse osmosis water filters need additional water to remove the buildup of contaminants from the RO membrane, the system wastes a certain amount of water for every gallon of pure water produced.
  • pH: The pH of water refers to how acidic or alkaline it is when flowing through these systems. A higher pH is more alkaline, and a lower pH is more acidic. Water with a high pH has an improved taste, whereas a low pH is more corrosive.
  • TDS: Meaningtotal dissolved solids, these are small, mineral contaminants the RO system removes. In doing so, these systems produce purified water.
  • Air gap faucet: An RO system features a drain line and a cross-connected cold water line. Preventing water in the drain from making contact with the clean water involves cross-connections that use an air gap faucet.

Installation and Maintenance of a Reverse Osmosis System

installation

All RO systems feature a relatively simple installation process. A countertop system is the most straightforward system of all, as they sit next to the faucet and don’t require significant plumbing installation. However, an undersink system means that you have to drill a hole into the countertop for the faucet during installation.

Under the sink systems typically come with a dedicated faucet or a separate attachment so you can use your existing faucet.

That means you may need the assistance of a plumber or handyman to complete the installation process so that you can use the faucet. If you prefer not to drill a hole in your countertop during installation, then these under-sink water reverse osmosis systems are not the optimal choice.

Rarely is any maintenance necessary after installation beyond the replacement of filters. Typically, a pre-and post-filter requires changing every 6 or 12 months and reverse osmosis filters every one to five years after installation.

The manual for your filtration system specifies installation instructions and how often you need to change the system filtration. You can utilize a TDS meter to check the filters you use, too.

Before you purchase an RO system, make sure you run a water test. That water test helps you determine the level of filtration your water requires and show you what types of contaminants are currently in your water supply. 

If you find high levels of the contaminants named above in your water, the installation of an RO system is ideal. However, if the problem lies with chlorine, an adverse taste, or odors it would be wise to consider a standard carbon water filter.

See our reverse osmosis system maintenance guide here for more information.

RO System Frequently Asked Questions

Will An RO Filter Remove Minerals From My Water?

Yes. These water treatment systems typically remove calcium, fluoride, iron, lead, manganese, and salt. The process eliminates minerals because their molecules are significantly larger than what’s in water. 

We wrote detailed guides on how they remove different impurities below:

How RO Removes minerals

How RO Removes bacteria

How RO removes fluoride

Is Reverse Osmosis The Same As Distilled Water?

No, there are differences between reverse osmosis vs distilled water. For example, reverse osmosis involves removing volatile chemicals and filtering water. Distilled water involves boiling water, capturing its condensation, and condensing it back into the water’s supply.

Are There Any Regulations on RO Systems?

As of now, there are not any legal bans or regulations on reverse osmosis systems. You can see our article where we review reverse osmosis bans speculation here.

Final Recommendations

A reverse osmosis system is an excellent way to improve your home’s water quality. These systems are not only easy to install but also offer many benefits for your family.

After reviewing all of the best reverse osmosis systems above, we recommend a couple of standout filter options.

If you are looking for the best technology and highest filter GPD output, we recommend the Waterdrop G3 System as the top choice for your home’s water.

If you’re instead looking for the best countertop reverse osmosis system, we recommend the Aquatru.

If you have any questions about which system is best for your needs, please leave a comment below, and we will be happy to help you choose the perfect reverse osmosis system for your home.

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AUTHOR
David Trinh
David is an expert in all things plumbing, heating, cooling, and water treatment. He got his start in the plumbing business working on fixing all types of home improvement issues including water leaks, broken toilets, appliance installation, and more. Over time, he learned a ton about installing and choosing the correct water treatment products for homeowners.

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