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Reverse Osmosis System Cost Breakdown

By: Craig Smith
Last Updated:
Reverse Osmosis System Cost Breakdown

If you are thinking about significantly enhancing the purity of your home’s drinking water by purchasing a reverse osmosis filtration system, you are making a solid choice for doing that.

You are probably also wondering what it would cost to put in one of these systems. That’s something that I am prepared to help you out with.

I will do that by discussing with you the major cost factors that go into determining the price of a reverse osmosis system.

Also shown will be some examples of the costs associated with two currently available reverse osmosis systems.

You will learn how much of an investment on your part it would take to buy a whole-house reverse osmosis filtration system vs an under sink option.

After you are finished reading our reverse osmosis system cost breakdown, you will have a much better idea of how much you will have to spend to get one of these advanced water purification devices.

Also Check Out: Top Rated RO Systems

How Much Does a Reverse Osmosis System Cost?

Here are some of the main factors that determine the final cost of a reverse osmosis water filtration system: 

1. Upfront Cost of System

These are some of the characteristics of reverse osmosis systems that contribute greatly to their initial cost:

Unit Capacity

Bigger is not always better but it usually is when it comes to reverse osmosis systems. For a reverse osmosis filtration device to produce more purified water, it must have larger size individual stages that contain the appropriate amount of filter media or membranes in them.

So, the more purified water gallonage that a reverse osmosis system can produce, the more you can expect to pay for it.

Number of Stages

You would be hard-pressed to find a single-stage reverse osmosis system. That’s because at the very least they will usually have some type of sediment-catching pre-filter. That makes two stages right there and most reverse osmosis systems have at least three.

Other types of stages these water purification devices use include mineralizers, water conditioners (salt-free water softeners), UV light disinfection, and stages that can contain all different types of activated carbon filters.

It only stands to reason that the more stages that a reverse osmosis water treatment system has the more it will cost.


When shopping for a new reverse osmosis water treatment system, it’s no different than with most other products in that some manufacturers’ names carry more weight with prospective buyers than others.

So even if two reverse osmosis systems have almost identical characteristics, you can expect to pay more for the one that is made by the more reputable manufacturer.

Popular reverse osmosis manufacturers include Waterdrop, iSpring, and Crystal Clear.

2. Cost of Installation

I will start by saying that this is one of the costs associated with purchasing a new reverse osmosis system that’s the hardest to predict. For example, if you are a do-it-yourself type person then this cost would be zero.

On the other hand, for someone that does not have the knowledge or time to self-install their new reverse osmosis water filtration device, this cost could be significant.

3. Other Costs

There are a few other minor costs that you should be aware of when purchasing a reverse osmosis water purification device. These include the maintenance that you need to have performed on them and the cost of a system’s replacement filters.

These are the typical cost ranges of the main categories of reverse osmosis systems:

  • Countertop RO Systems w/self-install: $100 to $350
  • Under Sink RO Systems w/self-install: $200 to $700
  • Tankless RO Systems w/professional installation: $700 to $1500
  • Whole-House RO Systems w/professional installation and 500-gallon plus storage tanks: $7,000 to $10,000

How Much Do Whole-House Reverse Osmosis Systems Cost?

We have already discussed that the most widely used types of reverse osmosis water purification systems are those that are made to install under your kitchen sink or be placed directly on your kitchen countertop.

Much of this has to do with cost.

The bigger the reverse osmosis filtration setup, usually the more it will cost you. That’s why you mostly see reverse osmosis filters that only treat the water that’s used for drinking and cooking.

Reverse osmosis filters like these that are placed near a kitchen sink are referred to as point of use (POU) filtration systems.

But you can also step up the water filtration level in your entire house if you have a generous enough budget to invest in a point of entry (POE) reverse osmosis system.

Here is an example of how you can do that with a true whole house reverse osmosis system:

The above product is what’s known as the Crystal Quest Whole-House Reverse Osmosis System. It can produce a whopping 7000 gallons a day of purified household water. It does this through the use of four filter stages.

You may be wondering what sets this system apart from typical point of entry (POE) reverse osmosis systems that make them so expensive?

For starters, you will need to purchase a very large capacity storage tank. This is essential for any type of whole-house reverse osmosis water filtration system because they don’t filter water on demand.

That’s because the advanced filtering membranes used in these systems do not easily allow water to pass through them because of their incredibly small pore size. This is a tradeoff for them being able to produce the highest quality water of any home water enhancement device.

Most people who can afford true whole-house reverse osmosis systems will purchase at least a 500-gallon water storage tank.

The reason for this is that according to the USGS (United States Geological Survey) each person in a home uses an average of 80 to 100 gallons a day. So, if you have a family of five, a 500-gallon tank most likely will cover your family’s daily water use needs.

The water storage tanks for these systems alone will add over $1000 to their cost.

Other significant cost factors of whole-house reverse osmosis systems include the booster pumps that are required to add extra pressure during its operation and a sophisticated float system that is placed in the storage tank to make sure that is always filled to capacity.

What is the price tag of this whole-house reverse osmosis system with an included 550-gallon storage tank?

It will set you back over $9000 and that does not even include the price of installation. It’s a very typical price range for what I consider to be a true whole-house reverse osmosis system.

This is the reason why so many people like me choose to use a carbon-based POE filter working in tandem with a good POU reverse osmosis system.

You will then get decent quality water to use throughout your whole house and excellent quality drinking water for around $1000.

Can a Tankless Reverse Osmosis System Be Used for the Whole-House?

When looking for a whole-house reverse osmosis system, you will come across high-capacity tankless (direct flow) reverse osmosis options. Many of these can produce up to 600-gallons of purified water a day.

They can do this because they come with booster pumps and more membranes which allow them to purify water faster.

Keep in mind though that they still don’t produce purified water on demand. That’s why most manufacturers recommend purchasing a storage tank that holds around 5 to 20 gallons of treated water to be used in conjunction with them.

This will help avoid short periods of water outages. It’s also something that may change your mind when it comes to thinking about using them as a whole-house filtration system.

Here is an example of what I am saying about a tankless reverse osmosis system in some cases not being the perfect whole-house water purification solution:

This is the iSpring RCB3P Reverse Osmosis RO Water Filtration System. It’s an excellent quality, commercial-grade, tankless reverse osmosis system that is capable of producing up to 300 gallons of purified water per day.

The most commonly used storage tank sizes that are associated with this product hold either 11 or 20 gallons of treated water.

Since reverse osmosis systems do not produce purified water on demand, a shower or two could leave you without water for a short time.

The best trait of these systems when it comes to potential use as a whole-house reverse osmosis system is their much smaller price tag. Usually, they will run you less than $1000 with an added storage tank.

Direct flow reverse osmosis systems are also very commonly found in commercial settings such as offices and restaurants.

Are Reverse Osmosis Systems Worth the Price?

This is a hard question for me to answer for you. I won’t pretend to know your budget concerns or what else is important to you when it comes to your tap water quality.

What I will tell you is that you really can’t put a price tag on your family’s health and the quality of the drinking water that they consume definitely has a role to play in that.

For me, it was an easy choice to purchase an under-the-sink reverse osmosis system. I feel that my family is healthier because of it and I enjoy the looks and the taste of the water that this type of purification system allows me to have.

Comparison of Two Top Reverse Osmosis Filter Brands

Here are some of the costs associated with two of the best reverse osmosis systems that are available:

1. Waterdrop G3

waterdrop ro

This is one of the best countertop/under-sink reverse osmosis systems that you can buy. It features a tankless design, small profile, built-in smart technology, and it can treat 400-gallons of water per day.

  • System Cost: $549
  • Replacement Filter Cost: Carbon – $27, Reverse Osmosis – $80, Sediment – $25
  • Shipping Costs: Free
  • Warranty: 1-year
  • Cost for Installation: Self-Install

2. Home Master TMAFC

Home Master

Here is an under-sink reverse osmosis system that features 7-stage filtration, added artesian minerals, and a fast flow rate due to its included booster pump.

  • System Cost: $348
  • Replacement Filter Cost: Reverse Osmosis – $59, Carbon Pre-filter – $50
  • Shipping Costs: Free
  • Warranty: 5-year
  • Cost for Installation: Professional Installation (many can self-install) $150

Where Do You Buy a Reverse Osmosis System?

There are two main ways that you can go about buying a reverse osmosis water purification system. That’s by shopping for them online or by searching for them in a store that sells these types of products.

Shopping for a reverse osmosis system in person will allow you to get a better feel for the size of the system. It will also let you see how well they are constructed and give you an idea of whether you can install the system yourself or you will need help from a professional.

One of the advantages that you get when shopping for a reverse osmosis system online is that it will give you access to a wider selection of these products. It will also save you time from driving around and eliminate the stress that usually goes along with that.

You will also be able to find detailed information from the manufacturer about each reverse osmosis system you are interested in.

Simple copy and paste functions tend to make it easier to keep track of the important information on the reverse osmosis systems you are thinking about buying too.

No matter how you shop for them, I believe that you and your family will always be better off health-wise by having a POE or POU reverse osmosis water purification system.

Check out the top ro systems we reviewed that you can buy online here.

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Craig Smith
Craig got his start in water working in the swimming pool and spa industry. Water treatment would grow into his main career but he ended up working in the pool industry for over 26 years where much of his time was spent balancing the water in customer's swimming pools and installing water filtration equipment. Craig offers an abundance of water treatment knowledge after helping homeowners get pure water for 26 years.

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