Best Reverse Osmosis Systems

Top 10 Water Purification Systems

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    Stages: 6

    Output (GDP): 75
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 3:1
    Remineralization:
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    Stages: 7

    Output (GDP): 400
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 1:1
    Remineralization:
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    Stages: 6

    Output (GDP): 75
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 3:1
    Remineralization:
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    Stages: 7

    Output (GDP): 75
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 1:1
    Remineralization:
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    Stages: 5

    Output (GDP): 50
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 3:1
    Remineralization:
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    Stages: 3

    Output (GDP): 50
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 1:1
    Remineralization:
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    Stages: 4

    Output (GDP): 90
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 2:1
    Remineralization:
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    Stages: 9

    Output (GDP): 75
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 1:1
    Remineralization:
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    Stages: 4

    Output (GDP): 50
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 2:1
    Remineralization:
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    Stages: 5

    Output (GDP): 75
    Water Efficiency Ratio: 3:1
    Remineralization:
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Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Reviews

There is no single best RO home system. All 10 of the top contenders have their share of benefits — and downsides. To pick the best for you, it’s necessary to figure out which model meets all your criteria and what features you can go without.

1. iSpring RCC7AK

Offering under the sink reverse osmosis, the iSpring RCC7AK provides you with the benefits of RO without taking up space on your kitchen counter. For many people, this is a selling point of the water filter. Obviously, if you have insufficient space under the sink, you will need to look for a different model.

Pros

Using six stages of filtration, you can rest assured that your water will be almost completely rid of contaminants with the iSpring RCC7AK. It has the capacity to remove up to 99 percent of all impurities, including fluoride. Plus, only the first five stages remove contaminants: the final stage is for remineralization. This sixth stage means that your drinking water regains beneficial minerals for a higher pH and better taste.

Installation of the iSpring RCC7AK is easy, requiring just a couple tools that you likely have already. In about an hour, you’ll be able to install the faucet and pressurized storage tank. Should you run into any problems, you can call the customer support team on the number included in the instructions.

After installation, you just need to flush the system one time — and then you can start using it. You’ll find that you only wait around two minutes for water, which is a decent speed and perfect for households that need a regular supply of clean drinking water.

Cons

For all its advantages, the iSpring RCC7AK has neither a UV light nor a permeate pump. As a result, there is the risk that your filtered water could contain bacteria and you’ll waste around 3 gallons of water for every gallon purified.

 

2. Waterdrop RO

The Waterdrop RO is the most powerful reverse osmosis system on the list, providing an impressive 400 gallons per day (GPD). This is far more than even a large household usually needs.

Pros

One of the few models that lacks a tank, the Waterdrop RO filters water on demand. This means it can keep producing purified water continuously, instead of needing to stop to refill its tank. As a result, its daily output is more than five times the average unit.

The tankless design also means that, despite its capacity, it takes up less room and is compact enough to fit comfortably under most sinks. The sleek body still has space for two displays: one of water quality and one for TDS. (This is unusual — most of the time, you need to purchase a separate TDS meter.) You can also find out the status of the filter without looking under the sink, thanks to the LED ring on the faucet. The ring lights up in different colors to indicate status.

The three filters that provide the seven stages of filtration are easy to replace — you just twist them to remove. Similarly, installation of the Waterdrop RO is simple, although if you want to connect it to your refrigerator, you will need a separate drain connection. This will prevent unclean water from flowing into the supply of clean water.

A final advantage is the extreme accuracy of the RO membrane. This means you can expect the filter to remove 99 percent of contaminants, including fluoride.

Cons

Unfortunately, this model lacks both UV light and remineralization. In addition, it does nothing to improve the pH level of water.

Plus, although installation is relatively straightforward, you need to follow instructions carefully. If you place the system on its side, it will not work properly and may leak. Also, you need to flush the system for a full 30 minutes after you complete the installation.

3. APEC Ultimate

An under-sink model, the APEC Ultimate has a 4-gallon pressurized tank that requires 15 inches by 11 inches of cabinet space. These are around average requirements for an under-sink unit.

Pros

The APEC Ultimate is one of the easiest reverse osmosis systems to install. If you do run into any problems during the installation process (or at any other time, for that matter), you can benefit from the top-notch customer service from APEC. Once you’ve set up the system, the only maintenance it will require is changing the filters once a year.

With six-stage filtration, you know you’re receiving water purified to the highest standards. The APEC Ultimate removes 99 percent of contaminants and solids as well as bacteria. The sixth stage remineralizes water with calcium and magnesium to help you reach your recommended daily allowance of these minerals and enhance the taste of the water.

Cons

Although the flow restrictor and automatic shutoff valve do reduce water wastage somewhat, the lack of a permeate pump still means you waste 3 gallons for every 1 gallon of purified water.

Another issue for some users is taste. Many reviews show that people do like the resulting drinking water, but others complain that it is like alkaline than they would have liked. This discrepancy is likely due to the difference in the water being purified. The unit raises the acidity level by 1 to 1.5, which is less of a problem if your water is more alkaline to begin with.

4. Home Master TMAFC-ERP

A great choice for most households, the Home Master TMAFC-ERP is an under-sink RO system with a storage tank that holds 3.2 gallons.

Pros

Unlike some models, the Home Master TMAFC-ERP provides full-contact purification. As this is in conjunction with remineralization, it produces high-quality water with a great taste.

Another advantage is its speed in dispensing water — there’s no need to wait when you want a glass of water. The faster delivery is due to the permeate pump and the larger dispenser tubing, which is ⅜ inch rather than the standard ¼ inch of most units. The permeate pump also means that water wastage is just 1 gallon for every gallon filtered.

It is unlikely you’ll run into any problems over the lifetime of the filter, but if you do, you can rely on the excellent customer support. The Home Master TMAFC-ERP also has a long 5-year warranty.

Finally, the design of the reverse osmosis tank makes it easy to install (provided you have basic DIY knowledge). The process should take just 1 hour. Changing the filters is also easy — you don’t need any tools and you only need to change filters every 2,000 gallons, or around once a year.

Cons

For all its benefits, the Home Master TMAFC-ERP is unable to bring you silent water filtration. Although you will hear the system working when it is purifying water, it should be quiet. If it is loud, this is a sign you made a mistake during the installation. This is unlikely to happen, however, since installation is straightforward.

A second disadvantage is the price of the system, which is higher than average. You’ll need to consider if all the additional features make the higher price tag worthwhile for you.

5. Express Water RO5DX5

A budget model, the Express Water RO5DX5 provides high-quality purified water at a discounted rate. Although it only uses five stages, it is effective at removing all types of contaminants from water.

Pros

Despite the low price of the system, the filters in the Express Water RO5DX5 are of the highest caliber — able to remove 99.99 percent of impurities. When you need to change the filters, the process is simple: you only need the filter wrench that comes in the package.

Installation of the Express Water RO5DX5 is just as easy, thanks to the detailed instruction manual that lays out the steps in easy-to-understand language. Plus, the filters are pre-assembled for faster fitting.

Cons

The Express Water RO5DX5 has none of the frills of some of the other models. For instance, all five stages remove impurities — there is no stage for remineralization. In addition, there is no permeate pump, which leads to 3 gallons of wastewater for every gallon purified.

6. Neo-Pure RO-4300

Of all the RO systems in the list, the Neo-Pure RO-4300 has the least stages — just three. In fact, it is one of the few on the list that uses less than four.

Pros

There’s no need to worry that the fewer stages means that the Neo-Pure RO-4300 is ineffective at cleaning water: it is a pharmacy-trusted model. In fact, many of the top pharmacies in the country use the filtration system to gain clean water for reconstituting antibiotics. Plus, the unit has an extended contact filter and uses a membrane monitor — two more features that bring high quality.

Another advantage of the Neo-Pure RO-4300 is its eco-friendly 3-stage reverse osmosis replacement filters. Unlike quick-change filters (which are housed in plastic casing that is discarded along with the filter), the filters for the Neo-Pure RO-4300 are entirely carbon.

Cons

Eco-friendly replacement replacement filters may be a selling point, but the style of the filters makes changing them more complicated. Worse, you’ll need to change the filters frequently: the 5-micron pre-filter every six months, the RO membrane every two years, and the activated carbon post-filter every year.

You should also bear in mind that the Neo-Pure RO-4300 produces less purified water per day than most of the other models, at just 50 gallons. This is enough for a small family, but it may be insufficient for an average-size household — it all depends on your water needs.

7. APEC Portable Countertop

If you’d prefer to avoid taking up space in a cabinet with your water filter, a countertop system could be a better option for you. The APEC Portable Countertop also requires no drilling to install. However, if you don’t want your reverse osmosis system cluttering up your countertop, a better option will be one of the under-sink models.

Pros

This portable RO system is ideal if you want to be able to benefit from reverse osmosis water outside your home, as it requires no permanent installation at your kitchen sink. You can move it at any time and reinstall it later.

In addition, although it looks small, the APEC Portable Countertop is one of the more powerful models: it can purify as much as 90 gallons a day, which puts it on the high end. This is more than enough for the average household and even enough for most large families.

Cons

If you have a customized kitchen faucet, the likelihood is you’ll be unable to use the APEC Portable Countertop. It only works with a standard faucet, not spray heads, pull-out models, and designer faucets.

There is also the issue of appearance. Whereas you can conceal the filters behind the snap-on case, you’ll still have tubes running to the faucet. This can be off putting to some people.

Finally, you need to consider the price. The benefits of a higher capacity and greater versatility mean that the APEC Portable Countertop is more expensive than many of the other models on the list.

8. Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection

The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection is one of the few water filters with a UV light. This makes it suitable for a greater variety of water sources. The UV filter kills 99.8 percent of microorganisms that may be present in natural water sources.

Pros

The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection has more stages than any other reverse osmosis drinking water system on the list. Sending water through a total of nine stages (including an iron filter), you’d be hard pressed to find a system that removes more impurities. This makes it ideal for families concerned about water quality, especially households receiving their water from a well.

It is easy to change the filters — there’s no need for any tools. It is also simple to install the unit, provided you do have some DIY knowledge. It should take around an hour to fit the faucet and pressurized storage tank.

Even better, the Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection has a permeate pump, meaning it wastes a minimal amount of water — just 1 gallon for every gallon purified. You’ll receive drinking water quicker as well, due to the ⅜-inch diameter tubing that allows for faster flow rates.

Lastly, the Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection comes with a 5-year warranty, which is longer than most of the other models.

Cons

A UV filter is often unnecessary — if you’re receiving your water from a city supply, you may be better off picking a different model. The UV filter requires plugging into a 110-volt power outlet, which can make installation more complicated and means that (unlike other models) the system requires electricity to run.

9. Brondell H20+ Circle

The Brondell H20+ Circle is quite efficient, wasting just 2 gallons for every one gallon purified. It stands out from the other models for its appearance: a black, rather than white, storage tank.

Pros

Not only is the Brondell H20+ Circle compact, it’s attractive. Most homeowners are happy to have this filter in their kitchens. In addition, the faucet has a stylish chrome finish, which looks great in modern settings.

Cons

If you have a more traditional kitchen, you may want to connect the filter to a different faucet. However, you will need to check that the faucet is compatible, as not only designs work with the filter. You should call customer support to ask before you make a purchase.

The Brondell H20+ Circle is also one of the filtration systems with the smallest capacities (just 50 gallons per day) and it has only four stages. However, neither of these are the main disadvantage: the biggest issue is that replacement filters are difficult to obtain. As they are only for sale through the manufacturer’s website (not in any stores), you’ll need to pay for shipping every time you need new filters.

10. iSpring RCC7

A variant of the iSpring RCC7AK that we saw above, the iSpring RCC7 is a 5-stage reverse osmosis system at a more budget price. It has all the basics you need and none of the extras that can bring up the price.

Pros

Offering countertop reverse osmosis, the iSpring RCC7 provides extremely clean water, fast. It is rated to waste three gallons of water per gallon purified, but you may notice it wastes less — perhaps as little as 2.5 gallons, depending  on water pressure.

The instructions to install the iSpring RCC7 are easy to follow. If you do need some extra help, you can find video tutorials online or you can call customer support. Similarly, the 5-stage reverse osmosis replacement filters are easy to change.

The APEX MR-3030 may be the best water filtration system for well water. It removes all kinds of sediment (in addition to chlorine) and gets rid of bad odors and tastes. Each of its filters ranges from 5 microns down to 1 micron, meaning it is very effective.

Cons

The lower price of the iSpring RCC7 does come at a cost: it lacks the sixth stage remineralization. Some people may find the taste of the water unpleasant for this reason — although this depends partially on the water source.

A Buyer’s Guide to RO Water Systems

Now you know what some of the top reverse osmosis filters on the market are, but how do you choose the one for your home?

Before you start narrowing down your options, it is important to be clear what a reverse osmosis system does and why it is different from other types of water filtration systems.

What Is a Reverse Osmosis System?

A reverse osmosis system uses technology to pass water through a membrane. Reverse osmosis systems are able to remove between 95 and more than 99 percent of contaminants from water. This is more extensive than any other method of membrane filtration, including ultrafiltration, micro-filtration, and nano-filtration.

The Basics of an RO-Filter System

RO systems tend to be point-of-use units, meaning they are installed near a faucet. Most are designed to be installed either on the countertop or under the sink. They have their own faucet that delivers potable water from drinking and cooking. By purchasing an extra line, you can also connect your RO system to your refrigerator for the water dispenser or ice maker.

How a Reverse Osmosis Machine Works

In most cases, an RO filter only needs water pressure to operate — there’s no need for an electric power source. The water pressure forces the water to pass through a semipermeable membrane that traps dissolved solids in the liquid.

The name “reverse osmosis” is derived from the fact that this system is the opposite of natural osmosis. In osmosis, the more pure water flows toward the less pure water, even when this means passing through a membrane.

What Contaminants Does the Best RO System Remove?

R/O water is free from all contaminants that could be damaging your health, even substances that can cause cancer. This includes:

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

What to Look For in Your Reverse Osmosis Water System

To pick the best RO system for you, there are a few criteria to consider.

Space Requirements

To start, you need to assess how much room you have under your sink and on your countertop. It needs to be sufficient for the filters, RO components, and (in most cases) the tank. It may be that you need to rule out all countertop models or all under-sink models for a lack of space. However, most homeowners should be able to free up enough space under the sink simply by moving things that are currently there.

Replacement Filters

Multiple filters are excellent for having cleaner water, but they also mean more maintenance and a greater expense. Plus, you’ll need to keep note of when it’s necessary to change each filter. For this reason, it’s important to choose the level of filtration you actually need.

Water Source

This brings us to the next point: the source of your water. You need to know if your water is coming from a city supply or well to figure out which models will remove the contaminants present in your water.

Remineralization

Your water may currently contain a large amount of beneficial minerals that the RO system will remove. If you want to regain these minerals, you need to pick a model that offers remineralization.

Water Usage

Even if you choose the most efficient RO filtration system, it will 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 solution other than reverse osmosis to purify your water.

Water Pressure

Water pressure needs to be at least 40 PSI for reverse osmosis to work. If your water pressure is lower than this, find out if you can increase the pressure with a booster pump — some RO systems even come with a pump. Bear in mind that in some homes, it is impossible to increase water pressure, making an RO system an unsuitable choice.

How Much Does a Reverse Osmosis System Cost?

The price of a reverse osmosis system ranges from around $200 to $550. In large part, the price depends on the quality and additional features of the system.

Water Efficiency Ratio of an RO Unit Explained

The amount of water wastage to purify water is expressed as water efficiency ratio. The most efficient models use a permeate pump, which lowers the ratio to 1:1 — one gallon of water wasted for every 1 gallon purified. Without a permeate pump, a good ratio is 3:1. Anything lower than 4:1 is considered decent, but some budget models have a ratio as high as 5:1.

Optional Accessories for Your Home Reverse Osmosis System

Many of the top RO systems come with additional accessories to improve efficiency and increase the quality of water.

There are three main accessories to look out for:

  • A permeate pump — Without electricity, a permeate pump will improve efficiency by lowering the amount of water wasted.
  • Remineralization — Filtering water of contaminants can mean that you lose some beneficial minerals. Models that have a remineralization filter add minerals back to the water, improving the taste and increasing health benefits.
  • A UV light — To kill all the bacteria and microorganisms in the water, it is necessary to go beyond filtration and use UV light.

Other Important RO System Terminology

You may come across unfamiliar terminology when comparing RO systems. Being clear as to what each means will help you make the right buying decision.

  • Stages — All RO systems have various stages. The first are pre-filters that remove large particles. The next is an RO filter that removes small particles. Lastly come post-filters, which reduce odors and bad tastes. Some systems also have an additional stage after post-filters to remineralize water.
  • Storage tank — Almost all the RO filters on the list have a storage tank. This holds purified water until it is needed.
  • Water output — The amount of water the system is able to process in a day is specified as water output in gallons per day (GPD).
  • Wasted water — As RO filters need additional water to flush the membrane, the system wastes a certain amount of water for every gallon of water it purifies.
  • pH — The pH of water refers to how acidic or alkaline it is. A high pH is alkaline, a low is acidic. Water with a high pH has an improved taste, whereas a low pH is corrosive.
  • TDS — Standing for total dissolved solids, these are contaminants the RO system removes.
  • Air gap faucet — RO systems feature a drain line and a water line that are cross connected. To prevent water in the drain making contact with the clean water, cross connections need an air gap faucet.

Installation and Maintenance of a Reverse Osmosis System

All reverse osmosis systems are relatively simple to install. Countertops are the easiest of all, as they sit next to the faucet. Under-sink models, however, require drilling a hole into the countertop for the faucet, which may mean you need the assistance of a plumber or handyman.

Rarely is any maintenance necessary beyond the replacement of filters. Typically, pre- and post-filters require changing every 6 or 12 months and RO filters every 1 to 5 years. The manual for your filtration system will specify how often you need to change the filters in your unit. You can also check using a TDS meter.

Before you purchase a reverse osmosis system, it is worthwhile to run a water test. This will help 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 that you have high levels of the contaminants named above, an RO system will be ideal. However, if the problem lies with chlorine, a bad taste, or odors, you may like to consider a different solution.

Latest posts by David Trinh

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