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2018’s Best Reverse Osmosis Systems for Home Use: RO Water Filter Reviews

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Welcome to Our 2018’s Best Home RO System Reviews

In late 2015, I spent almost $300 on a “premium” reverse osmosis water filter system. I considered it worth the money to get access to contaminant-free drinking water, which cannot be taken for granted anymore – and certainly not in the U.S.

However, it turned out that the system couldn’t hold up to its promises. After using it for close to six weeks, the filtered water suddenly had a strange plastic smell to it and tasted even worse than the unfiltered version.

Obviously, I was disappointed and angry. And as I realized that there really wasn’t enough valuable information on proper RO systems available online, I decided to become active and created this website.

On This Page You Will…

Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Reviews – System Comparison

ModelOur RatingPriceFilter StagesCapacityWarranty
Top Rated Home Master TMAFC-ERP RO Unit

Home Master TMAFC-ERP - Best RO Under Sink Filtration System

badge best rated no stroke

stars new


Read Review
$$$775 gpd5 Years
APEC 5-Stage Residential R/O Under Sink Unit

APEC ESSENCE ROES-50 - Best Price-Performance Ratio

badge best seller no stroke

412star new


Read Review
$550 gpd1 Year
Olympia OROS-50 - Cheap RO System

Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 - Cheapest RO Water Filter

4 stars


Read Review
$550 gpd1 Year
Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection R O Under Sink Machine for Well Water

Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection - Best Reverse Osmosis For Well Water

stars new


Read Review
$$$975 gpd5 Years
Whirlpool WHER25 Residential R.O. Under Sink System

No Green Light For: Whirlpool WHER25 Reverse Osmosis Under Counter Filtration Unit

2stars


Read Review
$315-20 gpd1 Year

What You Need to Consider When Buying an RO System

We assume that you don’t want to waste your hard-earned cash on a random product that is not up to standards. So what do you need to consider for choosing the best reverse osmosis system for your home?

NSF Certifications

You should definitely pay attention to NSF certifications. They not only ensure that a system provides water safe for human consumption, but also that it’s made from high-quality materials only.

  • NSF Standard 42 tests for the reduction of aesthetic non-health-related impurities, most importantly chlorine taste and odor. The scope of the standard also includes material safety and structural integrity.
  • NSF Standard 53 tests for the reduction of contaminants with health effects regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These include cysts, some heavy metals and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) among others. Again, the scope of the standard also covers material safety and structural integrity.
  • NSF Standard 401 tests for the reduction of 15 different “emerging compounds“. These are pharmaceuticals and chemicals that are not yet regulated by the EPA.
  • NSF Standard 58 is for reverse osmosis filter systems only. It establishes the minimum requirements for the reduction of a whole range of contaminants, such as TDS (Total Dissolved Solids), chromium 3 & 6, arsenic, nitrate/nitrite and lead. Material safety and structural integrity is included.

Some reverse osmosis systems are also certified by the FDA, which is less important.

The Filtration Process

Top-notch RO home systems feature at least 4 to 5 purification stages that water has to run through before it comes out of the tap.

  • 1. Sediment filter – Traps soil particles and dust
  • 2. Carbon block filter – Removes chemicals such as chlorine + unpleasant odors and tastes
  • 3. Carbon block filter – Same as stage 2
  • 4. Reverse osmosis membrane – Filters out all remaining contaminants
  • 5. Coconut shell filter – Removes any residual tastes

Pricier systems often come with additional processing stages, for example to remineralize the water by adding bits of magnesium and calcium to it.

System Installation and Filter Replacement

Are you an experienced do-it-yourselfer? If not, you might want to look out for a well-designed reverse osmosis system that allows for easy installation. This way you can save money that you’d otherwise have to spent on a plumber.

Also, pay attention to annual filter/membrane replacement costs.

By the way, changing filter cartridges can be tedious work. First you have to turn off the feed water supply. Then you have to depressurize the system and drain all the water. And as soon as you open one of the filter housings, chances are that water will spill everywhere.

RO units with a modular design are much more convenient here. Whenever you replace one of the filters, you simply dispose of its entire housing. This helps to prevent germs from accumulating inside the purifier and the whole process doesn’t take more than 20 seconds. No need to turn off the water supply. No spilling. No worries.

The only drawback: Most of the time, modular replacement filters are more costly than those with separate housings – but not so with the Home Master TMAFC (review right below)!

Water Wastage

Let’s be clear: Every filter system that relies on reverse osmosis is going to waste water. That’s just how the technology works. The only thing you can really do about it is buy an additional pump, such as this one, which reduces water wastage significantly.

Best Reverse Osmosis Systems for Home Use – Water Filter Reviews

1. Home Master TMAFC & TMAFC-ERP – Top Rated Reverse Osmosis Systems

Home Master TMAFC

Top Rated RO System: Home Master TMAFC

  •    Price: $$
  •    Filter Stages: 7
  •    Gallons per Day: 50
  •    NSF Standard: 42
  •    Annual Costs: ~$85.00
  •    Warranty: 5 Years

What We Like

An outstanding 7-stage filtration process makes the Home Master TMAFC the best reverse osmosis water filter system for under $500.

It provides enough healthy and great tasting drinking water even for larger families, is made in the USA, and backed by a 5-year warranty in case something goes wrong.

System maintenance doesn’t require much time or effort and thanks to an extended performance span (about 2,000 gallons), filters need to be changed only once a year.

The all-in-one modular design means that the replacement is a piece of cake. Plus it prevents canister leakage/failure and the accumulation of disease-causing germs, since the entire filter housing including sediment, microorganisms and biofilm is disposed off.

And last but not least, the package includes everything you need for setting up the system properly, such as a feed water adapter, drain saddle, chrome faucet and filter membrane.

The self-explanatory user manual guides you through the installation process step by step. In addition, there are installation videos to be found on YouTube.

So if you are handy around the house, there’s no need to call a professional plumber. Time to save some extra money!

On a side note: RO systems produce slightly acidic water that lacks calcium, magnesium and other essential minerals. These minerals would normally contribute to your daily nutritional intake. But don’t worry, the Home Master TMAFC automatically adds them back into your water when it reaches the storage tank.

What We Don’t Like

We would have appreciated additional NSF certifications for contaminant reduction rates.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for the best reverse osmosis water filter system out there, the Home Master TMAFC is definitely the right choice. It’s our top product! For even more details, read our full review or click the following button to get directed to the official Amazon product page.

Optional Upgrade: Home Master TMAFC-ERP with Permeate Pump

Home Master TMAFC-ERP

Most Economic Reverse Osmosis System: Home Master TMAFC-ERP

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Filter Stages: 7
  •    Gallons per Day: 75
  •    NSF Standard: 42
  •    Annual Costs: ~$85.00
  •    Warranty: 5 Years

As an optional upgrade, you can add a permeate pump to the Home Master TMAFC, which is then called Home Master TMAFC-ERP.

The pump will boost the unit’s daily water production capacity by 50%, from 50 to 75 gallons per day.

At the same time, water efficiency and flow rate increase and thereby reduce the amount of wastewater that goes down the drain by up to 80%. And if that wasn’t enough, water quality will also improve a tiny bit.

In other words, you get more water, you get better water and you lower your costs.

Comparison: Filtered Water – Wasted Water Ratios

Home Master TMAFCapprox. four gallons wasted for one gallon filtered
Home Master TMAFC-ERP (with pump)approx. one gallon wasted for one gallon filtered

2. APEC Top Tier ESSENCE ROES-50 5-Stage RO System – Best Price-Performance Ratio

APEC Top Tier 5-Stage R/O Under Sink Unit

Best Price-Performance Ratio: APEC ESSENCE ROES-50

  •    Price: $
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 50
  •    NSF Standard:
  •    Annual Costs: ~$75.00
  •    Warranty: 1 Year

What We Like

In the second of our home reverse osmosis system reviews, we take a closer look at the APEC ESSENCE ROES-50 – a 5-stage filtration unit, which offers a great price-performance ratio.

We consider it the best reverse osmosis system for under $200.

The filtration process was designed to provide up to 50 gallons of purified water per day, free from many harmful substances like lead (94-99%), fluoride (90-97%) and arsenic (94-99%).

Filters are long lasting, which means less replacement costs and you get a one-year satisfaction guarantee plus lifetime product support from APEC.

What about the installation? There are written instructions and a 5-part video series explaining every single step in great detail. All parts included – check. Low maintenance requirements – check.

What We Don’t Like

A handful of customers have struggled with minor leaks.

Our Verdict

The APEC ROES-50 is among the best selling RO systems on Amazon. It provides clean, clear and great tasting drinking water with almost no impurities left. In our opinion, it offers the best value if you are on a small budget.

For even more details, read our full review here.

3. iSpring RCC7 5-Stage Home RO Filtration System – Lowest Maintenance Costs

iSpring RCC7 - Budget R/O System

iSpring RCC7 - Budget RO System

  •    Price: $
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 75
  •    NSF Standard: 58
  •    Annual Costs: ~$60.00
  •    Warranty: 1 Year

What We Like

A WQA Gold Seal and an NSF Standard 58 certification – looks like you can be rest assured that the iSpring RCC7 home reverse osmosis system with 5 filter stages is effective at removing lead, fluoride, bacteria, viruses and a bunch of other bad stuff, while making no annoying noises doing so.

The system comes at a very affordable price and uses cost-effective technology (automatic shut-off when the water tank is full) making it a great choice for people who not only care about the environment, but also want to save money.

Maximum filtration capacity is 75 gallons per day, which is plenty of water for drinking and cooking, no matter how big your family is.

But what we like best about this reverse osmosis filter model is the fact that it comes with a leak sensor that triggers an acoustic alarm as soon as it detects any moisture beneath the bottom of the system. Oh, and replacement filter costs are super low!

On top of that, every single unit is thoroughly tested by iSpring before being shipped, and if you have the time and patience, you should be able to get everything up and running within a couple of hours.

What We Don’t Like

It might happen that your package includes broken parts upon delivery. It’s rare, but it has happened in the past.

Our Verdict

The iSpring RCC7 reverse osmosis water filter makes a great choice for everyone who likes the idea of saving a few bucks when purchasing the system itself and spend even less on replacement filters. Are there competitor products for sale that perform better from a water-quality point of view? You bet, but not for this price tag!

For even more details, read our full review here, which also covers iSpring’s top RCC7AK reverse osmosis system. The iSpring RCC7AK is almost identical to the iSpring RCC7, except for an additional remineralization stage to increase water alkalinity.

4. Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection – Best For Well Water (Top Quality & Ratings)

Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection R O Under Sink System for Well Water

Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection (Perfect For Well Users)

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Filter Stages: 9
  •    Gallons per Day: 75
  •    NSF Standard: 42
  •    Annual Costs: ~$135.00
  •    Warranty: 5 Years

What We Like

Home Master’s TMHP HydroPerfection is like the standard TMAFC on steroids, thanks to a couple of practical upgrades. So sit back & relax and watch the reverse osmosis system do its work providing you with a maximum of 75 gallons of pure H2O a day.

Upgrades:
  • An iron pre-filter stage + a UV light stage to destroy waterborne pathogens – perfect for well water treatment.
  • By default, the HydroPerfection comes with a permeate pump to increase water flow and productivity and reduce the amount of wastewater going down the drain, which saves you money in the long run.

Here are all the advantages at a glance:

  • Effective contaminant removal including lead, fluoride and VOCs
  • Alkalinized water with healthy minerals for better taste
  • High water flow
  • Modular filter design for fast replacements
  • Chrome faucet included
  • 5-year warranty
  • Made in USA
  • Top customer ratings

What We Don’t Like

The HydroPerfection is NSF Standard 42 approved, however, it lacks additional certifications. Also, the system is somewhat more expensive to maintain due to the 2 extra well water filter stages that require replacement from time to time.

Our Verdict

This system is the cream of the crop of reverse osmosis water filtration – no doubt about that. It doesn’t matter whether you are on city or on well water, the Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection will deliver healthy and crisp drinking water right to your tap. Be prepared to dig deep into your pockets, though. Bottom line: Top Quality!

For even more details, read our full review here.

5. Express Water RO5DX – Residential Under Counter Purification Unit Incl. Extra Replacement Filter Set

Express Water RO5DX RO Under Counter Machine

Express Water RO5DX

  •    Price: $
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 50
  •    NSF Standard: 58
  •    Annual Costs: ~$70.00
  •    Warranty: 1 Year

What We Like

Let’s get straight to the point: This reverse osmosis system by Express Water removes up to 99% of dirt, tastes, odors, chemicals, microorganisms, etc. We wrote “up to”, since we couldn’t find specific reduction rates.

The system comes at an affordable price – extra set of replacement filters included – and is an okay choice, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a water purifier. Plus it fits into almost any kitchen cabinet due to its compact size.

You get 5 stages of filtration, 100% lead and BPA-free materials, an emergency leak stop detector that makes you sleep better at night and the standard one-year limited warranty.

What’s more, the quick connect fittings make the installation relatively effortless with only basic plumbing skills required.

Filters need to be changed more frequently compared to most other systems, but are inexpensive especially if you buy in bulk.

What We Don’t Like

You definitely want to be careful when turning on the system for the first time. Expect that you will have to seal multiple leaks before all components work as intended.

Our Verdict

The Express Water RO5DX is legitimately a very popular product among customers that only have a very small budget. Simply put, affordable pricing meets decent filtration performance.

For even more details, read our full review here.

6. APEC ULTIMATE RO-90 – RO System with Highest Filtration Capacity

APEC ULTIMATE RO-90 Purification Machine

Highest Filtration Capacity: APEC ULTIMATE RO-90

  •    Price: $$
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 90
  •    NSF Standard: 58
  •    Annual Costs: ~$75.00
  •    Warranty: 1 Year

What We Like

The APEC ULTIMATE RO-90 is one of the most efficient at producing purified water at high speed – twice as fast as the average home RO system. It can provide large families with as much as 90 gallons of filtered drinking water on a daily basis without long waiting times.

Keep in mind, however, that high water flow usually means less thorough filtration. In other words, if the safety of your health is your number one priority, consider opting for a different model, such as the Home Master TMAFC.

Pre-filters require annual replacement, unless you struggle with high levels of hardness minerals or TDS in general that cause clogging. In this case, you might have to change filters every 6 months or so. No reason to worry, though. The costs are reasonable.

What We Don’t Like

We are a little concerned about the fact that the membrane filter is quite difficult to access. You need to practice a bit before replacement and cleaning will become a quick and easy thing to do.

Our Verdict

APEC’s ULTIMATE RO-90 stands out from the competition, because it processes water at an extremely fast pace. However, it costs a bit more than the average system. So the question is: How much water do you need a day?

7. APEC Alkaline Mineral ESSENCE ROES-PH75 RO Water Filter System Review

APEC Alkaline Mineral ESSENCE ROES-PH75 R O Purifier

APEC Alkaline Mineral ESSENCE ROES-PH75

  •    Price: $$
  •    Filter Stages: 6
  •    Gallons per Day: 75
  •    NSF Standard:
  •    Annual Costs: ~$90.00
  •    Warranty: 1 Year

Next we are going to take a look at the APEC ESSENCE ROES-PH75, a top rated 6-stage under sink reverse osmosis system in the medium price segment.

What We Like

Like all other water filters sold by APEC Water, this system, too, is assembled in the United States.

It’s an advanced model that savors new features, like improved chlorine reduction and the ability to remove up to 99% of pathogenic contaminants, with the goal to make drinking water as safe as possible for human consumption.

A maximum of 75 gallons can be produced by the system each day, which is easily sufficient for households of 6+ people. Thereby, all water runs through 5 filtration stages with and additional sixth stage to balance pH-levels by adding carbonates (alkalinization).

Please be aware that it remains to be proven whether or not this has any further health benefits.

As far as installation is concerned, the system comes with easy-to-grasp instructions suited for do-it-yourselfers. To top it off, you can always rely on APEC’s great customer service and support.

What We Don’t Like

NSF certifications are missing. Also, depending on your preferences, you might not favor the water’s alkaline taste.

Our Verdict

It’s not a surprise that Amazon ratings and reviews for this product are more than excellent – you can check out some of them here. Although we are missing certifications against NSF standards, lots of customers like the presumed benefits of alkalinized water. If you do too, then you can’t really go wrong with the APEC ESSENCE ROES-PH75. Top!

8. Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 Home Water Filter #CHEAP

Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 Home Under Sink Unit

Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 #CHEAP

  •    Price: $
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 50
  •    NSF Standard: 42, 58
  •    Annual Costs: ~$70.00
  •    Warranty: 1 Year

What We Like

The Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 stands out as it appears to be a high-quality reverse osmosis system and yet super affordable at the same time. It features a solid 5-stage purification process providing up to 50 gallons of clear and tasteless water per day – a sufficient amount for families with up to six members.

A recent test conducted in December 2017 has shown that the system is able to reduce the amount of dissolved solids by roughly 87.8% from 82 ppm to about 10 ppm.

What’s more is that the whole system is NSF tested and certified against standards 42 and 58, unlike many other models that only feature certified parts – think tank or filter housings.

The OROS-50 measures 16″ x 7″ x 20″ and the tank 12″ x 12″ x 18″ (W x D x H). Both were designed to fit inside small kitchen cabinets.

You shouldn’t have any problems installing the system in under 3 hours (the official record is 45 minutes), if you follow the step-by-step installation guide with plenty of color pictures to help you out. Screw fittings make the installation very unobtrusive, which in turn makes the system a great choice for renters.

Last but not least, this unit is super quiet and if you ever need help, you can approach the highly professional customer support team that knows all Olympia water filters inside out.

What We Don’t Like

As with everything in life, there are pros and cons. NSF Standard 42 and Standard 58 are a good start. However, we would have preferred more comprehensive testing with the focus on contaminants with health effects.

Our Verdict

This home reverse osmosis filter system may not be capable of removing 98 or 99 percent of all water impurities, nonetheless, because it’s so cheap, it’s worth the buy and perfect for renters.

For even more details, read our full review here.

9. Aquasana OptimH2O Home Reverse Osmosis System with Good Ratings

Aquasana OptimH2O

Aquasana OptimH2O

  •    Price: $
  •    Filter Stages: 3
  •    Gallons per Day: 35
  •    NSF Standard: 42, 53, 58...
  •    Annual Costs: ~$180.00
  •    Warranty: 2 Years

What We Like

Certifications for…

  • NSF Standard 42 for chlorine + chloramine removal,
  • Standard 53 for the reduction of contaminants with health effects,
  • Standard 58 specifically for point-of-use RO systems,
  • Standard 401 for contaminants that found their way into our water systems in recent years,
  • and lastly Protocol P473 for PFOS and PFOA which are known carcinogens.

This is what distinguishes the Aquasana OptimH2O from the rest.

Altogether, the unit can handle a total of 88 different contaminants. Here are some of the reduction rates:

  • Fluoride. 95.7%
  • Mercury: >95.8%
  • Chromium Hexavalent: 97.0%
  • Chlorine: 97.66%
  • Arsenic: 97.6%
  • Chloramines: 97.66%
  • Asbestos: >99.0%
  • Lead: >99.3%

As you can see, this simple reverse osmosis system for home use provides refreshing drinking water that’s more or less 100% pure (do the ice cube test for proof!).

Its filtration capacity and flow rate is on the lower end, but should still suffice for medium-sized families if water usage is limited to drinking and cooking.

Another great aspect about this purifier is that it also remineralizes water with healthy calcium, magnesium, and potassium that add to your daily nutritional intake.

The holding tank is standard-sizes (3.2 gallons) and top quality.

What We Don’t Like

The costs for replacement filters are a bit over the top.

Also, the chrome faucet that is part of the package looks and feels rather cheap, which is particularly noticeable when switching back and forth between it and your regular faucet.

Our Verdict

The Aquasana OptimH2O is a great example showing that quality doesn’t come cheap. And we are not talking about the initial purchase price, obviously, but the replacement filter costs. It’s up for you to decide if you are willing to pay this much. In our opinion, more affordable RO systems should be adequate for most waters.

For even more details, read our full review here.

10. Brondell H2O+ Circle RO Water Filtration System with Integrated Tank

Brondell H2O+ Circle R/O Unit

Brondell H2O+ Circle with Integrated Tank

  •    Price: $$
  •    Filter Stages: 4
  •    Gallons per Day: 57
  •    NSF Standard: 42, 53, 58...
  •    Annual Costs: ~$185.00
  •    Warranty: 1 Year

What We Like

Finally in our reverse osmosis reviews – a purification system that looks good and comes in a single box! Which, by the way, helps to keep the space under your sink much tidier.

The Brondell H2O+ Circle wastes as little as 2.1 gallons of water for every gallon filtered. This is about as efficient as a regular home RO system that applies a permeate pump to increase pressure. It’s an advantage that helps you to save money, and it’s useful if you live in a region that faces frequent droughts.

The system fully refills in about 40 minutes, which is nice because you don’t have to wait for too long in case the tank ever gets empty. Another convenient feature is the LED that lets you know when it’s time to replace a filter. It’s integrated in the chrome faucet that is part of the package.

Even if you are not good with tools, installing the Brondell H2O+ shouldn’t take more than one or two hours, including drilling the holes in the drain line and your kitchen sink or counter.

What We Don’t Like

We don’t like that replacement components are that expensive, and we don’t understand why to be honest.

Above that, some system parts seem weak and look like they tend to wear out quickly.

Our Verdict

The Brondell H2O+ Circle is a solid RO unit with good filtration performance. We like the reduced water waste and also the fast tank filling speed. All in all, if you don’t mind paying for high-priced replacement filters, make sure to shortlist this product!

For even more details, read our full review here.

Other Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Reviews:

More on Residential Reverse Osmosis Systems

In the first section, we reviewed some the best RO systems for sale. Next we are going to answer some of the most common questions consumers have regarding RO water filtration.

How to Remineralize RO Water

Drinking water treatment by means of RO filtration leads to a reduction of mineral content. If that’s something you are concerned about, then we want to provide you with some basic information on what you can do to still cover your daily mineral intake with ease.

Let’s take calcium as an example: Only about 20% of our recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium comes from the water we drink. The remaining 80% comes from our food. Nevertheless, if we drink RO purified water, chances are that we might not fully cover our calcium RDI. The same applies to magnesium. For all other minerals, including iodine, iron and zinc, drinking water provides less than 5% of the RDI.

The Solution

The most convenient solution for demineralized water would be to add a remineralization stage to your reverse osmosis filtration system. In the additional treatment step, minerals are automatically added to your drinking water. It doesn’t get any easier!

What’s important is that you use nothing but food-grade minerals, which usually need to be refilled every 6 to 12 months. But this also depends to a large extent on your water’s pH-level.

Another option to conquer demineralization would be to mix electrolyte blends containing calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, etc. into your water. Your main focus here should be a balanced mineral composition. About 60 mg/l of calcium and 25 mg/l of magnesium are perfect. An alternative to electrolyte blends are green powder blends and mineral-rich salt – think Himalayan salt.

himalaya salt

Reverse Osmosis Filter Replacement

A well maintained residential RO purification system can last for many years. Proper maintenance includes replacing parts that are subject to wear and tear. Of course, the first component that comes to mind are filters, which need to be changed every 6 months to 3 years.

Actual filter lifetime mainly depends on quality and also the condition of the feed water. Cheap filters require replacements more frequently, as they tend to wear out quicker. Water with exceptionally high levels of chlorine and certain other impurities add to the burden.

How to Replace Reverse Osmosis Filters

Before you attempt to replace your system’s filters, make sure to check the product manual. It’s likely that the manufacturer has outlined specific maintenance requirements. The manual will even tell you how often you need to replace the various types of filters as well as the RO membrane.

Most importantly, look for specific step-by-step instructions on how to open up the filter and membrane housings.

It is also essential that you get the correct filters for your unit. Almost all manufacturers sell replacement parts including filters, so visit the manufacturer’s website first. If you are going to buy from another source, be sure that the quality is up to standards. Otherwise, you might put your own health at risk.

Although every model is different, here are some basic steps that apply to most RO units:

  1. Turn off the water supply.
  2. Turn off the tank valve.
  3. For system depressurization, open your RO faucet and drain the remaining water. When it stops dripping, close the faucet.
  4. Open the filter/membrane housings. Some call for a filter wrench, while others need to unscrew a number of screws. Make sure not to lose any parts. Keep all screws in a safe place, so they cannot roll off.
  5. Clean the housings if need be. If you want to sanitize the housings, use some bleach mixed with water. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
  6. Replace filters as directed.
  7. Screw the housings back on and use filter wrench to tighten (carefully).
  8. Turn on the water supply.
  9. Reopen the tank valve.
  10. Open the faucet and let your system flush for a couple of minutes.
  11. Close the faucet. You can now start using the water.

Eric from emoneyblue does a great job at demonstrating how to replace RO system filters in a couple of minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3Ly2Zh3j2Q

How to Clean an RO Membrane at Home

What You Need:

  • Chemical solution (varies for each type of membrane)
  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Protective eye wear

The best way to clean a reverse osmosis membrane at home is by soaking it in different chemical cleaning solutions. So first, put on your gloves and protective eye wear and prepare the solutions in buckets.

By the way, using the right chemicals is key, as different RO units use different types of membranes. Using the wrong chemicals could lead to irreversible damage. Therefore, if you don’t want to ruin your precious RO membrane, consult the manufacturer’s instructions for more information.

In general:

  • Cellulose membranes need to be soaked in cellulose acetate membrane cleaner.
  • If your system houses a thin film membrane, use specially designed silicates or silica solutions and acid cleaner. Furthermore, an alkaline cleaner helps to eradicate organic matter, such as oil and grime.
  • Anionic surfactant cleaners are best suited for the removal of mold and mildew.

Please note that you don’t have to use all of the above chemicals to make your membrane look brand new!

Step-By-Step Cleaning Instructions

  1. Start the process by turning off the water supply and tank valve.
  2. Depressurize the system by opening the RO faucet. When the flow stops, close the faucet.
  3. Remove the membrane housing and carefully take out the reverse osmosis membrane.
  4. Soak the membrane for as long as the manufacturer recommends in each chemical solution. After every bath, rinse the membrane with clean water before you soak it in the next solution.
  5. At last, thoroughly rinse the membrane to free it from remaining traces of chemicals and impurities stuck in the pores.
  6. Put your system back together.
  7. Open the RO faucet and let the water flow for 20 to 30 minutes in order to flush the entire system.
  8. Close the faucet and you are done.

Cleaning Agents for RO Purifiers

Seawater Desalination Using RO Technology

In industrial applications, reverse osmosis filtration systems are much larger and much more complicated. They can be used for many purposes from producing drinking water from salty seawater (desalination) to recycling wastewater.

In recent years, the global capacity of desalination plants commissioned by the International Desalination Association (IDA) has increased by 28.8% from 67,400,000 m³/day (or 0.0674 km³/day) in 2011 to 86,800,000 m³/day (or 0.0868 km³/day) in 2015.

Considering that our planet’s freshwater resources add up to 10,633,450 km³ (U.S. Geological Survey), the annual worldwide desalination capacity in 2015 equaled about 0.0003 percent of that amount.

This means that with the underlying capacity it would take about 335,600 years to replace all fresh water on earth using desalination.

Do we need to start drinking toilet water?

The rising number of people living on our planet and severe droughts add to the problem that there is not enough clean drinking water available for everyone. This is the exact reason why we will have to accept “toilet-to-tap” schemes in the near future, according to BBC.

Already today, wastewater including toilet flushes is being filtered and treated until it is perfectly ready and 100% safe for human consumption. “If anything, recycled wastewater is relatively sweet,” says Anas Ghadouani (Environmental Engineer, University of Western Australia). Many people might not like the prospect of drinking recycled wastewater, but most cities already incorporate it into their water supply. After all, it’s the best way to tackle water scarcity and a necessity for a sustainable water future.

After removing larger solids, a reverse osmosis filtration process is used to filter out even the tiniest particles. Then the water is flashed with UV-light to kill pathogenic microbes.

If you are interested in reading more about this topic, you can find a link to the full BBC-article right here.

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We hope you found a top quality reverse osmosis filter.

If you have any questions about under sink RO systems or any other type of water purifier really, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

And don’t forget to come back to this page from time to time, as we are going to add new reverse osmosis system reviews occasionally.

Leave a Comment:

10 comments
Carl says last year

Hello,

I am wondering if the Home Master RO systems are from the same manufacturer as the Tap Master systems that I used a couple of years ago. The quality was really nice and the processed water’s purity level was that high that the water almost tasted sweet.

regards

Carl

Reply
    Gene says last year

    Hi Carl,

    Thank you for your question. Actually, the Tap Master brand was renamed to Home Master. As far as I know the manufacturer considered it to be more suitable to convey the right message to their customers. So typical marketing strategy. I don’t think that they actually came up with a lot of new product features. Though, as you already said, Home Master (or Tap Master) has set the bar really high for years…

    Hope that helps. Have a nice day.

    Gene

    Reply
Jason says last year

Dear team,

thanks for doing the work and collecting all that information. I listened to your advice and bought the APEC Essence with 50 gpd and couldn’t be happier with it. After 2 months of using the system everything still works exactly as it should. The water is very delicious.

Greetings

Jason

Reply
    Gene says last year

    Hello Jason,

    Thank you for your kind words. We’ve put a lot of effort into creating this site and still continue do so. It’s nice to hear that the information was useful to you :).

    Best Regards

    Gene

    Reply
Scott R. says last year

Hey everybody! Just wanted to reach out to you and say thank you for the free info you provide. You guys literally saved me from hours of research and browsing the web. Thumbs up and keep up your great attitude 😉

Reply
    Gene says last year

    Hello Scott,

    We appreciate your kind words!

    Best Regards

    Gene

    Reply
Tobias Haws says last year

Hi, I would be interested to know what you guys think about demineralized water, which according to multiple sources that can be found on the web, could actually be harmful to our health.

Reply
    Gene says last year

    Hi Tobias,

    Before I can give you my opinion on the topic, I want to point out that I’m no doctor whatsoever and therefore can’t give you any medical advice!

    It is true. A number of sources online make that claim you are talking about. First of all you need to know that we only get 20% of our daily mineral intake from drinking water. We digest the remaining 80% from our food. Therefore it is important to eat a sufficient amount of healthy food that contains those minerals that you need. Furthermore, what you can do is add a mineral-rich sea salt (e.g. Himalayan Salt) to your filtered drinking water.

    If you still don’t know what to do, you can always opt for a purification system that features an additional remineralization stage (such as this one) to get those minerals back into your drinking water,

    Reply
MsRabbi says last year

After that Flint crisis a couple of years ago I’m most concerned about lead. Can you tell me how I can get more information on the drinking water where I live (in Wisconsin)? I would like to find out about what poisonous stuff can be found in there. Also do you have a system that you can specifically recommend for removing lead?

Thanks
MsRabbi

Reply
    Gene says last year

    Hey there,

    The quality of water that you’re receiving depends on what water utility your home is connected to. There are hundreds or even thousands of utilities in Wisconsin, so I cannot answer your question, I’m afraid. But what you can do is use this database: https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/index.php. Just enter your zip code and hit enter and chances are that you will find your water utility there. Unless you are getting your water from a private well. The database doesn’t cover those, unfortunately.

    Regarding water filters suited for lead removal, check out our article section in the sidebar. We’ve recently added a new article with the topic ‘What’s the Best Water Filter for Lead Removal’.

    Best Regards

    Gene

    Reply
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