Were you aware that reverse osmosis systems were used 50 years ago to desalinate ocean water? While this idea has been long abandoned, water filtration technology has improved and is now available for domestic use. By getting the best reverse osmosis system on the market, you have the chance of treating your whole family with the cleanest water out there.
As you scroll down you will encounter expert tips, detailed reverse osmosis system reviews, and instructions on maintenance and installation. We have put together the guide below in order to assist you when thinking about which product to buy. Check it out and see what’s good for you.
How Will a Reverse Osmosis System Help Us?
Needless to say, municipal water supplies typically provide you with water containing a huge number of contaminants. In fact, the easiest way to see the difference between processed and raw water is to use a TDS meter. This is the main tool that will convince us that a reverse osmosis system is a must for almost any household.
Contents of our Regular Tap Water
TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids. This unit shows us the content of all organic and inorganic substances contained in our tap water. Without making it sound too scary, we need to point out that those substances are not only metals and minerals such as iron or magnesium. There’s an official list released by EPA mentioning 116 contaminants which can be found in municipal water specifically in the USA.
Examples of those contaminants are formaldehyde, nitrobenzene, pesticides, nitrates, progesterone (a hormone), pesticides, birth-control pharmaceuticals, and many, many more. So when you measure the TDS of tap water, you can expect a total count of about 600. If you put a TDS meter into a cup of water that has gone through a top-notch reverse osmosis system, you will see that this count stands at only about 40. This is a mind-blowing difference indeed and is the sole greatest reason why you might want to get your hands on a reverse osmosis system for your home.
Benefits of Using a Reverse Osmosis System
What we shared above should be more than enough to convince you that you can’t just put up with tap water, However, we will dive into listing a few more advantages and disadvantages of reverse osmosis systems. So here’s what we got in no particular order.
People who look to have tasty water often fall for buying bottled water from the store. While this sounds like a very healthy idea, it actually isn’t. Those bottles are plastic and this can lead to a number of health hazards for regular users. If you want to consume water from a bottle, you ought to go for glass and never plastic.
From an economic standpoint, obtaining bottled water is also not a great choice. You will pay good money for something which is basically filtered tap water. No not mention that you will also have to find a way to properly dispose of all this plastic.
Too Much Sodium
It is only normal for families to want to have softened water at home. This is achieved by getting a reliable and trustworthy water softener but other issues will still remain. For instance, softened water always contains high levels of sodium thanks to the resin located in the tank. This renders the water good for washing and cleaning but definitely not very tasty for drinking and cooking.
If you string together a softener and a reverse osmosis system, you will still get all the benefits of soft water along with low levels of sodium. Yes, such a combination costs more but it is still an option to consider.
Clear Ice Cubes
This is more of a perk than something important but who doesn’t like crystal clear ice cubes? As you freeze your tap water, all the impurities will be on display and the cubes will look somewhat cloudy.
There is one technical aspect of cloudy ice cubes that actually might render this benefit important to some people. For instance, ice cubes of non-filtered water have been proven to be softer and to melt faster. This is an effect that nobody desires and it can be avoided with proper water filtration.
It doesn’t come down to just taste. Municipal water typically contains high amounts of chlorine and chloramine. When you bake bread or boil a soup, this might even lead to some unwanted color changes in your food.
Additionally, there might be some sort of odor you will likely want to get rid of. Regardless of your reverse osmosis system cost, it will definitely take care of this aspect for you. Even the simplest RO systems will allow you to have odorless and colorless water for cooking. Many people prefer using high-quality water distillers in order to get water for cooking. This indeed is an option but you lose the opportunity to actually add some useful substances to your water or alkalinize it.
There is one main residual effect of cleansed water that will be felt only after a certain period of time has passed. The taste of your freshly purified water will be better. As the water passes through the components of your RO system, it also gets through carbon filters and other cartridges. (We will get to the components of your RO system later)
In the end, you and your family will find yourselves consuming more water and fewer juices, sodas, energy drinks, etc. In other words, your better-tasting water will also quench your thirst more effectively. Who doesn’t want that?
Best Reverse Osmosis Systems Comparison Chart
Waterdrop RO System
|View On Amazon|
iSpring RCC7 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
|View On Amazon|
Home Master TMAFC Artesian Ro System
|View On Amazon|
APEC 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
|View On Amazon|
iSpring RCC7AK 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis
|View On Amazon|
APEC Alkaline Mineral pH+ 75 GPD 6-Stage Ro System
|View On Amazon|
Whirlpool WHER25 3-Stage Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Filter System
|View On Amazon|
Best Ro-Systems of 2021
We will lead the way by talking about some of the finest products you can locate out there. Our experts have decided to share a few words of wisdom with you pointing out the strengths and the drawbacks of 10 of the nicest RO filtration systems you can buy. Check the list out and keep in mind that we have assembled it in no particular order.
1. Waterdrop RO System
This Reverse Osmosis system will genuinely give you everything you will require from such a product. Your water will pass through several stages of filtration, similar to what conventional filtration systems offer. Here, you also have three layers of the RO membrane to remove 99% of all bacteria, TDs, and heavy metals. It is essential to point out that the system does not have a tank, and the reverse osmosis layers are inside the box that you see.
For the filtration that it provides, the water flow is pretty strong as you can get about 400 gallons per day, which means that a cup of water fills up in 12 seconds. In case you use a water softener, too, this RO system will remove the salt that’s left in your water.
Another advantage is that the system comes with three replacement filters included. You only have to remember to store them in dark, cool places. Make sure to replace the pre-sediment filters every six months or 550 gallons (whichever comes first). The RO filters, however, will last for about two years or 2200 gallons, which is pretty impressive.
2. iSpring RCC7 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
We cannot have a comprehensive list of RO system reviews without highlighting this iSpring unit. You know that a system is thorough when it will rid you of more than 1000 contaminants. All the heavy metals together with chloramine will be out of your drinking/cooking water. So which are the 5 stages?
- PP Sediment filter – gets rid of the larger particles such as dirt and dust.
- GAC filter – will attack chloramine
- CTO – the coconut filter removes other chemicals and pesticides
- The Reverse Osmosis membrane – it will practically turn the quality of your water into a bottled quality one.
- Post Carbon filter – finishes off every residual particle and the bad taste left
What we liked most about this system is that it incorporates not only a RO membrane but also your regular water filtration. This means that you do not have to buy a whole house water filter separately if you have this product.
Here’s how often you will need to change the filters: GAC and CTO – once every 6 months; post-carbon and the RO membrane – once every 2 years. The ration of water waste is 2:1 meaning that for every 2 gallons of water, you get 1 gallon of completely filtered one.
3. Home Master TMAFC Artesian Ro System
Home Master Artesian comes to a reverse osmosis system that really has the top class technology but the price corresponds to that at 100%. If you are willing to spend more, you will enjoy a faster flow rate and easy to change filters. These are two main aspects in which other RO systems lack. What’s more, is that you get 7 stages of top-notch water filtration.
The Home Master system comes with a 5-year warranty on its parts which is a sure sign of the product’s quality. The power catalytic carbon filtration media has a special task to remove chloramine close to 100%. Water expenditure is also quite attractive. Most systems will waste about 6 gallons of water per each gallon of purified water. In this case, we are talking about a number closer to 3-4 gallons wasted. The filters are easily changed as they are just snapped onto the casing. On the downside, you need to buy specific filters for your system.
4. APEC 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
This is an American-made RO system and this is typically a sign of quality and longevity. The product will give you good value for your money and will also provide you with clean and healthy water. Needless to say, the main aim of the system is for you to utilize the water for cooking and drinking. Washing is rarely an option because the flow rate isn’t quick and the water tank has limited capabilities.
There are 5 filtration stages and you will be happy to find out that 99% of all the contaminants will be removed. The faucet is also made out of 100% lead-free material and the tubing parts are also completely FDA Certified. Installation and maintenance are rather simple as long as you follow the instructions. Replace the 3 main filters once a year and the other 2 once every 2-3 years.
5. iSpring RCC7AK 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis
Here you have 4 main filtration stages and 2 bonus ones. All of this results in a fairly thorough cleansing during which about 1000 contaminants are removed from your water. Among them, you will find sodium, arsenic, fluoride, chloramine, and many more.
The capacity of the iSpring RO system is rather impressive as the membrane can process up to 75 gallons of water per day. The 6-step filtration includes a remineralization filter and all of the components are American-made. Size is really an advantage because the unit can fit under almost any sink.
The tech support is nice as it will last for as long as you own the product. Of course, you also get a 1-year money-back guarantee. Be aware that the pressure might be lower than expected and buying a pump might be imperative.
6. APEC Alkaline Mineral pH+ 75 GPD 6-Stage Ro System
The double carbon blocks before the actual reverse osmosis membrane will be quite beneficial to your water filtration needs. What they will do is remove 99% of chlorine and other chemicals and make the work of the membrane significantly easier. This is yet another 6-stage reverse osmosis system and you can rest assured that your water will be odorless and that it will have no bad taste.
The product is advertised as a 75-gallons-per-day one but realistically you will get about 50. A component that sets this RO system apart from others is the re-mineralizing calcium filter. It will raise the pH levels of your drinking water.
Flushing the system 4 times is mandatory upon first use. The installation might prove to be a little bit challenging so hiring help is the smart choice. Tightening the connections is mandatory because there’s always the danger of leakages.
7. Whirlpool WHER25 3-Stage Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Filter System
Saving money straight from the store is always a good option and the Whirlpool WHER25 is a fair budget solution. With this RO system, you won’t have to overpay in order to get high-quality components. The name of the manufacturer is proven and you will be satisfied with the performance.
The water that you will get at the end will be tasty and absolutely pure. Yes, the quantity of cleansed water produced at one time is not going to be huge. It is still enough to meet the daily drinking and cooking requirements of a family of 4. A nice perk is the EZ Change Indicator Light which will prompt you to replace your filter when the time comes.
Once you try to install the system, you will find out that it is not as easy. Additionally, the performance of the device might need to be boosted by third-party appliances. Such an example is a pump for better water pressure.
8. Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 5-Stage Ro System
The capacity here is a very strong argument to purchase the RO system. 50 gallons per day is truly impressive but you should know that most systems are able to actually produce about 80% of what they advertise. The water filtration itself is also a viable aspect for one to consider when purchasing.
Not only that you have some 4 decent filtration stages but you also have a 5th. That’s where the post-carbon filter is and it will handle the toughest contaminants as it filters down to 5 microns. The parts of the device are going to last long because this craftsmanship is exceptional.
On the downside, such proprietary technology will actually obligate you to buy only brand name spare parts. When it comes to paperwork, the RO system is NSF Certified and you also get a 1-year manufacturer warranty. You can also ask for your money back during the 1st year of use.
9. Geekpure 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis
The economy is rather important and users looking for an RO filter with very low water waste ration will be thrilled with this Geekpure product. So for every 2 gallons of wastewater, you get 1 gallon of cleansed water. The ratio is 2:1 and it gives you excellent value for that price. The effectiveness here is also astonishing. The Geekpure 6-Stage RO System will take care of 1000+ contaminants. This is about 99% of the threats you have in your tap water.
The special mineral filter will mineralize your water and it will increase the levels of magnesium. Use the system after your water softener if you have one. The body of the device is plastic but it is BPA-free. The faucet that you get is also completely lead-free. Once you install your RO system, make sure you check the connections twice before turning the water back on. Leaks are a possibility after all.
10. Global Water RO-505 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis
If you are okay waiting for about 4-5 hours in order to get a full tank of cleansed water, then this product is fine for you. Unfortunately, the capacity of the tank of the Global Water RO-505 is not mind-blowing. As it stands at 2.5 gallons.
However, the daily gallons are 50 but realistically you will get about 40 of them. If we take a look at the filters, we see that there are 4 cartridges. There you have a sediment filter, a coconut shell filter, and a carbon block filter. The 4th stage is the actual reverse osmosis stage.
The best part is that you get a spare filter for each stage the moment you buy the system. How cool is that? You will not need to worry about buying new filters for at least a year. If you need help replacing or fixing anything, though, you can always contact the 24-hour lifetime customer support.
11. Home Master TMHP-L Hydroperfection Ro System
This next filter is for the lovers of luxurious items. And by that, we do not mean that the body of the unit is golden or anything like that. Instead, you simply get 9 thorough stages of filtration rendering your water absolutely purified. The capacity of this system is also something we cannot skip mentioning. With its 75 gallons per day, you will be able to cover a whole family of 4.
Along the way, through all the filters your water will also gain increased levels of magnesium, calcium, and others. But the best thing undoubtedly is efficiency. Here the ratio between waste and clean water is 1:1 and this is simply marvelous.
The water flow is also relatively quick allowing you to take advantage of the full potential of the machine. Keep your warranty papers as they are good for 5 straight years. The fittings are not the strongest side of this RO system.
12. Ecosoft 6th Stage Add-On Coconut Carbon Ro System
Since the origin of most expensive household appliances really matters, you will be happy to find out that this unit is 100% the US made. With the Ecosoft 6th Stage RO system you can rest assured that your water is thoroughly cleansed and that it is perfectly crystalline.
The 6-stage filtration removes about 99% of all bacteria and contaminants. Replacing the filters is not a huge challenge as the first 3 filters of the chain are changed every 6 months. The other 2 will last for about 16 months each. Your peace of mind should be aided by the fact that you also get a 100% BPA-free device.
Trust the professional customer service representatives in case you have any questions regarding installation and maintenance. However, the instructions are pretty easy to follow so mounting the system yourself should do for a nice afternoon DIY project. Keep in mind that you might not be thrilled with the water flow speed but who is?
How Do RO Systems Work
Simply looking at under sink reverse osmosis water filter reviews is not going to be enough to understand and appreciate the functionality of the device. This is why in this section we are going to focus on the process called reverse osmosis as well as the components of the system, and how they perform together. Check out our under sink water filter reviews for more goods.
The Process of Thorough Purification
In short, reverse osmosis works by forcing water through a specialized plastic membrane sheet. This way a number of compounds such as organic substances, salts, viruses, and microorganisms are removed from the water. We can also include pharmaceuticals in the list.
You might have noticed that the cartridges are typically cylinder-shaped. This is because the membrane sheets are wound into such a shape. But each of these long pressure vessels houses a number of elements inside itself.
So water flows through the “cylinder” where all those sheets are rolled up and then exits it. The membrane layer is exceptionally thin. It allows water to pass through, a process also known as permeation, while other compounds are blocked.
Thus molecules are removed based on their size, shape, and charge. This means that 99% of the time, molecules larger than those of water cannot pass through. This, of course, includes a wide array of chemical contaminants and microorganisms.
Two streams of water are therefore produced. Pure clean water, also known as “permeate”, gets across the membrane sheets and enters the inside core tube. This is the water that you are to use. Water that doesn’t permeate is concentrated with contaminants and salts and is usually called “concentrate water” Needless to say, this water leaves the system through the drain and not the clean inlet pipe leading to your faucet.
The Stages of a Reverse Osmosis System
For the sake of covering as many aspects as possible, we will describe what happens when a relatively thorough domestic RO system is used. Keep in mind that some components and parts of the stages are optional and will not be available with all the systems you can buy. Refer to our individual best reverse osmosis system consumer reports for more detail. Some of the core stages, however, include:
- Filtration stage
- Reverse osmosis stage
- Alkalization stage
As soon as the water enters the system, a sediment filter (typically of 5 microns) retains suspended particles such as algae, dust, sand, and many others. 5 microns stand for a five-thousandth of a millimeter. Yep, this is quite thorough.
In the next phase, there is an activated pre-carbon filter. It traps minerals and contaminants some of which are chlorine, PCBs, pesticides, and organic compounds.
Now comes the carbon filter in the 3rd stage which further neutralizes chloramine in order to make it easier for the RO membrane in the next phase. It is quite obvious that you do not necessarily require all 3 filter cartridges and most cheap reverse osmosis systems will not have them.
At the beginning of the 4th stage, we have clean water but definitely not pure. This is where the actual reverse osmosis happens. Its membrane will remove about 99% of all the undesirable items. They include:
The porosity here is simply incredible compared to a 5-micron filter. The membrane has a porosity of one ten-thousandth of a micron. This is a 1/10 of a millionth of a millimeter. An adult human brain will have a hard time realizing exactly how little this is.
We move on to the 5th stage where odor, germs, bad taste, and dyestuff are all removed from the water. This is a polishing filter with activated carbon. In order for it to be used, the manufacturer has to make sure that this cartridge clears all NSF regulations.
At this point on, we are definitely talking about stages that might not be available in all systems. Of course, some types of water require specific cartridges and this is especially true when we talk about reverse osmosis systems for well-water. The 6th stage really shines there.
There are infrared stones in and the already crystalline water undergoes this specific type of filtration. Such stones are a rarity and they come at a price. When combined with osmosis water, the infrared stones activate the water molecules increasing the amount of oxygen in your water. This is very favorable towards one’s metabolism when consuming such water.
Another optional phase is this 7th one which contains a bamboo canister that deals with gaseous products.
In the 8th stage, the water passes through a canister of a natural organic material that will mineralize and revitalize it. Magnesium, calcium, and potassium come to mind. Be aware that a water softener removes magnesium from water and adds sodium to it. What you want to do is have the softener connected before the RO system.
The 9th and last phase is the one with the alkaline filter. It will reduce the acidity of the water and will increase the pH levels. If you can cover all those stages with your home RO system, then you will truly have the purest water possible. Lastly, the water is stored in a tank right by the device.
Some Important Questions About Reverse Osmosis Devices
Before we dive into the topic of how to select your RO system, we will conduct a short Q&A session addressing some key questions. They will help you also figure out some main reverse osmosis pros and cons and will aid you with coming up with a good setting.
Does my faucet matter?
Not only that it matters, but you will also actually need a separate one. RO systems give you excellent drinking and cooking water but it is not suitable for washing. Activities that require larger amounts of water are typically carried out using another faucet.
Hot water also doesn’t go through reverse osmosis systems. This fact also disqualifies washing dishes from the equation. Additionally, the water pressure and the GPM of your RO faucet is not going to be huge. Because of the little amount of purified water and the low flow speed you must always use a separate faucet.
The type of RO faucet is also important. Knowing the difference between “Air Gap” and “Non-Air Gap” faucets will prove to be useful in this case. Having an air gap can be quite useful as it will prevent drain water from entering the RO system again. On the other hand, you will find the non-air gap faucets to be easier to install.
Will my water be softer?
No, it will not be. If you have hardness levels of 7 grains per gallon or more, then your water can be rendered hard. Reverse osmosis systems will not remove any magnesium from your water which is the main source of hardness.
You can hook up a water softener but you need to bear in mind that this is a whole separate system and it will come at a price. The RO device must always be connected after the softener in order to reduce the levels of sodium which will significantly rise during the softening process.
Can I pair my RO system with other filters?
You can absolutely do that. In fact, most reverse osmosis systems come with a few cartridges. You can opt to get a full-blown complete house water filter but an RO system will pretty much have the same effect.
Most such devices come with cartridges with activated carbon. They will “prepare” your water before it gets to the membrane of the RO system. More and more advanced water filtration is always a great idea. Go for it.
So how many stages of filtration are enough?
Typically 4-5 stages are just right. Refer to our section depicting the stages of a usual reverse osmosis system above. This is especially important when you have well water. In this case, go for as many pre-filtration stages as you can.
What amount of cleansed water will I get every day?
The GPD (Gallons per day) values vary from model to model. While the manufacturer will likely list a certain amount, you can expect to get about 75% of that rating. An example of a usual GPD rating is 50. Barely any household will use 50 gallons of water daily.
Such a system is more than enough for a family of 4. As far as water pressure goes – 60 PSI is the realistic number here. As mentioned above, water flow speed is not among the main strengths of reverse osmosis systems.
Is any water wasted?
When your RO system performs its functions i.e when it processes water, some water is definitely wasted. In fact, you will lose pretty much just as much water as you cleanse. The good thing is that once the tank is full, no more water goes down the drain.
Water is required for the membrane to clean itself but the system automatically shuts down when it is not needed anymore.
Our Insider Tips For The Right Ro-System
Before you go out spending your family’s money, you should perhaps get your hands on some special inside information. Our expert tips will definitely give you a head start when selecting the right RO system.
Our help should be sufficient for you to save not only money in the long term but also have hassle-free maintenance and replacements. So here are the areas where you want to pay extra attention.
The correlation between the size of the tubing and the water flow speed
There are to measurements to watch out for here. Most reverse osmosis systems will have either ¼-inch or 3/8-inch tubing. The smaller tubing should only be used as a supply line. This is fine, it will not affect anything.
But the tubing that goes up to the faucet should be of the 3/8-inch type. The main complaint that you will encounter in the best reverse osmosis system reviews is related to water flow speed. The wider tube will allow for more water to pass through. You will significantly happier with how much water comes out of the faucet.
Proprietary technology or not?
Who doesn’t want a brand name product? Buying proprietary reverse osmosis filters sounds like a nice investment but it really? The problem with proprietary technology is that you can buy spare parts only from the manufacturer.
Non-proprietary devices typically have universal filters, tubes, casings, and others. You can simply run to the store and buy a spare filter for little money. Name brands will charge you more and you will need to buy a specific part, not just a universal one.
Replacing parts can be a challenge
In relation to the previous paragraph, changing components inexpensive name brand devices can prove to be quite challenging. When you have a universal cartridge, it would typically easily snap on and off.
Some proprietary units have specific instructions regarding how to replace components. More often than not, you might need a plumber for that job. All of this will lead to extra costs and delays.
Watch out for unnecessary features
LED meters, water quality measuring devices, and other perks sound like a lot of fun but they really add to the price tag. That’s fine but do you really need that stuff? In all fairness, cheap reverse osmosis systems might be the way to go because of the longevity.
Additional electronics and similar conveniences would be the first to break down in a system meant to last 10-15 years. A bare-boned product will have fewer components ready to fail and will still do its main job – purify your water.
Reverse Osmosis System Installation
It is clear what this section is about. Without any further ado, we will move right to the process itself. While it is not rocket science, installing a reverse osmosis system properly can be tough if you have little or no experience. Consult a professional if needed.
- This pre-filter phase is very similar in nature to install like most types of water filtration systems. Each filter element has a designated location. There are typically 3 cartridges. Use the wrench to tighten them up.
- Next comes the membrane. This is an actual reverse osmosis component and it is perhaps the most important one. The tank of the membrane usually rests on top of the casing with the filters. As you remove the black caps from both ends of the membrane, install it inside the housing. It will snap right in.
- Quick Connect fittings are what you will likely have with your RO system. Remove the clip and squeeze the tube, make the connection and then install the locking clip again.
- Turn off your cold water supply and make sure your faucet is completely drained of any remaining water.
- It is best if you use a John Guest Angle Stop Valve. Remove the cold water flex line and put the valve there. Then put the flex line back. Soft connections are recommended here. Then simply connect the red tubing into the adapter.
- Installing your faucet will require you to drill a hole at a desired location on the sink. Once you have installed all the fittings and rubber seals, install the faucet into the hole.
- As you go under the sink, place the nut and the collar onto the blue tubing. Connect it to the bottom end of the faucet and tighten it.
- The tank shut-off valve is also connected easily using the yellow tubing and the quick connect fittings. Again, just use the blue clips.
- The drain saddle can be installed anywhere on the drain pipe. Drill a 1/4 –inch hole in the drain pipe and install the sticky foam pad right on the hole. Install the backplate and the bracket. As you put the black nut on the black tubing, connect the tube to the drainpipe and tighten the nut.
- Follow the colors of the tubes and connect them to the respective holes on your RO system.
- Start the cold water supply again and check for leaks. Let the tank fill and after 2 hours have passed, drain it completely. This is called flushing and it must be done before using the device for the first time.
There is little doubt that if you get the best reverse osmosis system for your home, you and your family will consume only perfectly cleansed water. Since the level of filtration is so thorough, you will have odorless, crystalline water – perfect for cooking and drinking. While RO systems are not meant for washing and cleaning, their benefits are countless.
Our guide covers all of the above and we hope that you have found it useful. Leave us a comment and a recommendation in case you think a product should be added to our reverse osmosis system reviews. Share the article with others and look for our other guides on water filtration. Thanks for reading and as always – stay put!