Best RO System Reviews 2017
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2018’s Best Home RO Water System and Filter Reviews

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Welcome to Our 2018's Best Home RO System Reviews

2 years ago, I spent almost $300 on a so-called 'premium' reverse osmosis water filter system. I considered it worth the money to finally get access to contaminant-free drinking water, which cannot be taken for granted anymore - even in the United States.

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.

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

On This Page You Will...

5 Best Undersink RO Water Filtration Systems

Model Our Rating Price Filter Stages Gallons Per Day Warranty (Years)
Home Master TMAFC RO Unit

Top #1 RO System: Home Master TMAFC

badge best rated no stroke

stars new

Read Review

$$ 7 50 5
APEC 5-Stage RO Unit

Best Price-Performance Ratio: APEC ESSENCE ROES-50

badge best seller no stroke

stars new

Read Review

$ 5 50 1
Home-Master-TMAFC-ERP-RO-Filter Unit

Most Economic: Home Master TMAFC-ERP

stars new

Read Review

$$$ 7 75 5
iSpring RCC7 Filtration Unit

iSpring RCC7 - RO System with Faucet

412star new

Read Review

$ 5 75 1
APEC Top Tier Supreme Certified High Flow System

Best Lead Removal: APEC ULTIMATE RO-90

412star new

Read Review

$$ 5 90 1
Whirlpool WHER25 System

No Green Light For: Whirlpool WHER25

2stars

$ 3 15-20 1

Key Aspects to Consider For Choosing a Reliable Product

You are about to get to know the top RO systems available on the market, but first, let's take a quick look at the key aspects you need to consider, if you want to purchase a reliable system. This way you can protect yourself from spending your hard-earned money on a product that is not up to standards.

Brand, Manufacturer & Certificates

You want to drink clean water, because you want to stay healthy and fit. That's why it's vitally important for you to rely on an established brand and a manufacturer based in the U.S. Usually, U.S.-made systems filter out at least 98 percent of all impurities.

Additionally, you should pay attention to FDA and NSF certificates. They ensure that a product is made from high-quality materials only, and that it provides water safe for human consumption.

The Filtration Process

Top-notch RO systems feature at least 5 filtration stages that water has to run through before it's ready to be consumed.

  • 1. Sediment filter - removes soil particles and dust
  • 2. Carbon block filter - removes chemicals such as chlorine + unpleasant odors and tastes
  • 3. Carbon block filter
  • 4. Reverse osmosis stage - filters out all remaining contaminants
  • 5. Coconut shell filter - removes any residue tastes

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

System Installation and Filter Replacement

Not all of us are gifted do-it-yourselfers, but well-designed systems make installation a quick and easy process for everyone. Also, replacing a filter cartridge can be tedious work and paying for the new filter can be expensive. Therefore, opt for a device with long-lasting filters that can be replaced in no time.

Side Note: If you live in a larger household, you want to look out for filter systems that apply bigger membranes as they extend longevity and shorten the time that is needed to fill up your water tank.

Reduced Water Wastage

A water filter should provide a consistent flow of clean drinking water and at the same time prevent water from being wasted by automatically shutting down once the tank is filled to the top.

Top #1 RO System: Home Master TMAFC - Best Undersink Water Purification System

What We Like

An outstanding seven-stage filtration process makes the Home Master TMAFC the best reverse osmosis water filter system available for under $500, although it comes at a much cheaper price!

System maintenance doesn't require much time nor effort, and thanks to an extended performance span (about 2,000 gallons) filters need to be replaced only once a year. Thereby, the 'all-in-one' design makes the replacement super fast and easy for you.

To prevent canister leakage or failure and disease-causing germs from accumulating, the annual filter replacement includes the disposal of the entire filter housing including possible sediment build-up, microorganisms, and biofilm (see all advantages on Amazon).

  •    Price: $$
  •    Water Purity: 99%
  •    Filter Stages: 7
  •    Gallons per Day: 50
  •    Warranty (Years): 5
  •    Shut-Off Function:

From our reverse osmosis reviews we've learned that most systems produce slightly acidic water lacking calcium and magnesium minerals, which would normally contribute to your daily nutritional intake. No reason to worry - the Home Master TMAFC automatically adds those minerals back into the water when it reaches the storage tank.

Last but not least, the scope of delivery includes everything you need, such as a drain saddle, chrome faucet, filter membrane and UV power supply. The self-explanatory user manual guides you through the installation process step by step, so there's no need to hire a professional, if you don't want to. A great way to save that extra money!

What We Don't Like

One minor disadvantage is that you have to cover the additional costs that come up when replacing the whole filter housing. But as stated above, luckily this has to be done only once a year.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for the best reverse osmosis water filter system available, the Home Master TMAFC is definitely the right choice. The following link will get you to the official Amazon product page, which has the best price available as of 14th December 2017.
Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Purification Unit

Best Price-Performance Ratio: APEC ESSENCE 5-Stage

What We Like

In the second of our reverse osmosis system reviews, we take a closer look at the APEC ESSENCE 5-Stage, which offers a great price-performance ratio. We also consider it the best reverse osmosis system available for under $200.

First of all, the system is NSF and WQA certified (production in the United States), which guarantees that the treated water is 100% safe for human consumption and that the system doesn't make any disturbing noises. Above that, a WQA Gold Seal guarantees excellent performance, quality and durability with only little maintenance requirements.

Filters are long lasting, which means less replacement costs you have to pay for. Also, APEC provides a one-year satisfaction guarantee plus lifetime product support.

  •    Price: $
  •    Water Purity: 99%
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 50
  •    Warranty (Years): 1
  •    Shut-Off Function:

In the five-stage filtration process 99% of all contaminants get removed including soil particles, rust, and chemicals. Additionally, the storage tank included in the package doesn't add any artificial flavors to the water to preserve a natural taste. An automatic shut-down function prevents water wastage.

What We Don't Like

The membrane filter housing is a bit difficult to open. Moreover, at filtration stage three it may take a while for you to get rid of carbon floating on the water surface.

Our Verdict

The APEC ESSENCE 5-Stage filtration system is among the best selling RO systems on Amazon. It provides clean, clear and great tasting drinking water with almost no impurities left. We believe that it offers the best value for everyone on a small budget.

APEC Essence 5-Stage

Most Economic System: Home Master TMAFC-ERP

What We Like

The 7-stage filtration process, low maintenance costs, an alkalinization stage, full scope of supply - all these features are shared by the Home Master TMAFC and this second system named Home Master TMAFC-ERP. In fact, they are identical apart from the built-in non-electric permeate pump that comes with the latter.

The pump effectively boosts your daily water production capacity by 50 percent, from 50 to 75 gallons per day. At the same time, water efficiency and flow rate increase and thereby reduce water waste by up to 80 percent. Another positive side effect is that you can enjoy even slightly cleaner water by eliminating an effect called 'TDS creep'.

What this all means is that with the help of this system's permeate pump, you have access to even healthier water, you will get it faster, and you also save money, because less goes down the drain!

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Water Purity: 99%
  •    Filter Stages: 7
  •    Gallons per Day: 75
  •    Warranty (Years): 5
  •    Shut-Off Function:

Filtered Water - Wasted Water Ratios

Home Master TMAFC 4 gallons wasted for 1 gallon filtered
Home Master TMAFC-ERP (with pump) 1 gallon wasted for 1 gallon filtered

Home Master TMAFC-ERP

iSpring RCC7 WQA Gold Seal System with Designer Faucet

What We Like

Thanks to a WQA Gold Seal and NSF certificates, you can be rest assured that the iSpring RCC7 reverse osmosis system (5 filter stages) is a premium product built in the U.S., that makes almost no noises while operating.

The system comes at a very affordable pricing on Amazon and uses cost-effective technology (automatic shut-off when the water tank is filled up) making it a great choice for people who care about our environment and want to save money at the same time.

In the filtration process, the system removes 99% of all contaminants including pharmaceuticals and microorganisms, and it provides enough water even for larger households at a maximum of 75 gallons per day.

  •    Price: $
  •    Water Purity: 99%
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 75
  •    Warranty (Years): 1
  •    Shut-Off Function:

At filter stage #4 the reverse osmosis process itself goes into action. Here, a large semipermeable membrane increases the system's longevity and flow rate, which again is ideal for big families with a high demand for filtered water.

But what we like best about this system is the fact that almost everyone should be able to install it with the help of the detailed user manual including DIY videos that are part of the package.

What We Don't Like

Water pressure in your home needs to be at least 35 psi for this system to work efficiently. Therefore, citizens living in areas with low water pressure have to purchase an additional booster pump. On top of that, the filters tend to wear out rather quickly causing extra replacement costs.

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, but is willing to spend a bit more on replacement filters.

iSpring RCC7 WQA Gold Seal Certified Purification Unit

Express Water RO5DX Home Reverse Osmosis System Review Incl. Supreme Filter Set

What We Like

This Express Water system removes up to 99% of dirt, tastes, odors, chemicals, and microorganisms. It also comes at a very affordable price compared to most other RO systems on the market. And the fact that it gets build in the U.S. adds an extra layer of safety to the filtration process.

Because the Express Water RO5DX works fully automatic, it's very convenient to draw water from its faucet. The tank will auto-refill and shut off the system afterwards.

What's more is the easy-to-follow user manual with clear instructions makes everything easy to set up (no special plumbing skills required), plus the system fits into almost any kitchen due to its compact size.

  •    Price: $
  •    Water Purity: 99%
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 50
  •    Warranty (Years): 1
  •    Shut-Off Function:

4 extra replacement filters are added to the scope of delivery, which you can check out on Amazon. Additionally, a one-year warranty plus lifelong professional support back you up in case something goes wrong.

What We Don't Like

Customers have remarked that leakages are likely to occur, if you don't follow the installation instructions with utmost accuracy. On top of that, carbon may float on the water's surface for a couple of days before dissolving.

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.

Express Water 5-Stage Filter Unit

Best Lead Removal: APEC ULTIMATE RO-90

What We Like

The APEC ULTIMATE RO-90 is very efficient in removing lead from water (up to 99% removal rate). It exclusively uses FDA certified food grade tubing and a 100% lead-free chrome faucet to ensure your health and safety. Pre-filters require annual replacement and filter cartridges last much longer than normal filters, which reduces maintenance costs.

Above that, the ULTIMATE RO-90 system is one of the best at producing purified water with high speed - twice as fast as the average system. It can provide large families with 90 gallons of pure drinking water on a daily basis.

To prevent water wastage and save energy and money, the system will shut down automatically once the water tank has filled up. You can learn more about the automatic shut-off valve on Amazon.

  •    Price: $$
  •    Water Purity: 99%
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 90
  •    Warranty (Years): 1
  •    Shut-Off Function:

What We Don't Like

We are a little concerned about the fact that the membrane filters are difficult to access. You need to practice a bit before replacement and cleaning will become a quick and easy thing for you to do. Moreover, customers have noticed water leakage due to the smallest mistakes made during installation.

Our Verdict

This reverse osmosis system by APEC Water is top-notch and delivers exceptionally pure drinking water that tastes delicious. However, it costs about $100 more than the average system and not everyone is willing to pay that much for a water filter.

APEC Water RO Filter Unit

APEC Reverse Osmosis Reviews: Alkaline Mineral ESSENCE ROES-PH75


We continue our APEC RO reviews series by taking a look at the ESSENCE ROES-PH75 6-stage system - a top-notch product in the medium price segment.

What We Like

Like all other water filters sold by APEC Water, this system, too, gets manufactured 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 making water super safe for human consumption.

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

  •    Price: $$
  •    Water Purity: 99%
  •    Filter Stages: 6
  •    Gallons per Day: 75
  •    Warranty (Years): 1
  •    Shut-Off Function:

You don't have to worry about calling a plumber for the installation part since 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

Depending on your preferences you might not favor the alkaline taste of the water.

Our Verdict

Taking into consideration all features and advantages this product brings with it, it's not a surprise that customer ratings are more than excellent - check Amazon customer ratings here. If you are looking for a serious water filter unit in the medium price segment, this is the one to go for.

APEC Water Systems ROES PH75 Top Tier RO

Olympia Water Systems OROS-50

What We Like

The Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 stands out as it appears to be high-quality and at the same time a very affordable option. It features a solid 5-stage filtration 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 was 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 NSF/ANSI 42 + 58), unlike many other models that only feature certified parts, such as tank or filter housing.

  •    Price: $
  •    Water Purity: -
  •    Filter Stages: 5
  •    Gallons per Day: 50
  •    Warranty (Years): 1
  •    Shut-Off Function:

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.

Installing the system is a piece of cake and will take no more than 1-2 hours (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 its products inside out.

What We Don't Like

Watch out to not accidentally break some of the delicate parts during installation. However, if you do, don't fear to call the Olympia office and they will make sure to send a replacement piece out to you within a few days.

Our Verdict

The Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 may not be able to remove 98 or 99 percent of all water impurities, nonetheless, it's worth the money and perfect for renters.

Olympia OROS-50

Aquasana OptimH2O™ AQ-RO-3.55

What We Like

Aquasana OptimH2O™ AQ-RO-3.55, again, a full NSF certified system that removes up to 99% of more than 70 different contaminants. Here are some certified removal rates:

  • Fluoride 95%
  • Mercury 95%
  • Chromium 96%
  • Chlorine 97%
  • Arsenic 97%
  • Chloramine 97%
  • Asbestos 99%
  • Lead 99%

  •    Price: $$
  •    Water Purity: Up to 99%
  •    Filter Stages: 3
  •    Gallons per Day: 35
  •    Warranty (Years): 2
  •    Shut-Off Function: ?

The system provides refreshing drinking water that looks and tastes 100 percent pure (do the ice cube test for proof!). Filtration capacities are a little lower, but should still suffice for medium-sized families, if water use is limited to drinking and cooking.

A great thing about this system is also that it remineralizes the water with healthy calcium, magnesium, and potassium that adds to your daily nutritional intake.

What We Don't Like

The install is not super easy, and in rare cases customers have reported missing parts. Also, be careful to not over tighten the fittings or they will likely crack. Above that, the chrome faucet that is part of the package looks and feels a bit cheap, which is particularly noticeable when switching back and forth between it and your regular faucet.

Water flow rate could use some improvement, too. Filling a whole pitcher might take you a lot longer than you'd expected.

Our Verdict

There is not much to say about this system. It performs well, but we consider it a little too pricey.

Aquasana OptimH2O™ AQ-RO-3.55

Brondell H2O+ Circle

What We Like

Finally a system that looks good and that comes in one 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 RO system that applies a permeate pump to increase water pressure. It's an advantage that helps you to save money, and it's useful if you live in a region that fights against frequent drought.

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 let's you know when it's time to replace a filter. It's integrated in the chrome faucet that is part of the delivery scope.

  •    Price: $$
  •    Water Purity: Up to 99%
  •    Filter Stages: 4
  •    Gallons per Day: 56
  •    Warranty (Years): 1
  •    Shut-Off Function:

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 for waste water and the additional faucet.

What We Don't Like

Some parts of the system appear weak and look like they wear out quickly. In the past, it has also happened that customers received broken pieces, which needed replacement before the installation could begin.

Our Verdict

The Brondell H2O+ Circle is a solid water filter that comes at a reasonable price. We like the reduced water waste and also the fast tank filling speed. If both these features are important to you, make sure to shortlist this product!

Brondell H2O+ Circle

More on Reverse Osmosis Systems

In the first section, we've reviewed some the best reverse osmosis systems the market has to offer. Now, we are going to answer some of the most common questions consumers have regarding RO water filtration.

How Reverse Osmosis Works

You have probably heard the term 'reverse osmosis’ or RO for the first time in relation to water purification. There are RO systems for home use, for businesses and large units for industrial use. But how exactly does reverse osmosis work?

couple drinking filtered drinks

In simple words, reverse osmosis is the opposite of the natural osmosis process. If you remember your chemistry, osmosis occurs when a solvent, like water, moves from a low concentration solution into a more concentrated solution through a semi-permeable membrane. This process goes on until the concentration on both sides of the membrane is equal.

In reverse osmosis, the opposite happens. A solvent, usually water, is forced to move from a high concentration solution to a low concentration one. The aim is to separate the solvent (liquid) from the solute (dissolved solids), resulting in pure potable water.

A reverse osmosis water filtration system is thus a system that makes use of the reverse osmosis process to purify water and makes it safe for drinking. In homes, reverse osmosis systems come in small sizes and are used primarily to produce clean drinking water. You can even carry one with you when you go camping.

Desalination

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 roughly 335,600 years to replace all fresh water on earth using desalination.

What Does an RO Purification Unit Do?

We had a brief glance at the scientific principle behind reverse osmosis systems. But what exactly happens during the process and how does reverse osmosis work? Here is a more detailed look at the inner workings of an RO filtration system:

The objective of the reverse osmosis process is to remove bacteria, salts, lead, fluoride and other dissolved impurities from water. The resulting purified water can then be used for drinking and in other applications such as preparation of beverages, irrigation and factory production.

An RO system comes with some essential components that makes the process possible. In fact, most RO systems are similar and work in roughly the same way. Some basic components you will find in most RO systems include:

  • Cold water inlet where water is fed into the system.
  • Reverse osmosis pre-filter. A pre-filter, of which there could be several depending on the system, helps to remove large particles such as sand and silt. These could damage the sensitive inner RO membrane. Some systems even have carbon pre-filters to remove chlorine, which could also damage the membrane.
  • Reverse osmosis membranes. This is the heart and center of an RO system. This is where a majority of dissolved components are removed by a semi-permeable membrane.
  • Storage tank. The storage tank is used to store the purified water. The size of the tank will depend on the capacity of the RO system.
  • Post filter. When you draw water from the storage tank, it goes through a final filtration process to remove any remnant odors and tastes; a sort of a final touch.
  • Other common components include valves, flow restrictor, faucet and drain line.

To sum it up, water will enter the system, undergo a pre-filtering stage to remove large particles, pass through a semi-permeable membrane (the main RO process), go through a post filtering process and finally come out of the faucet as purified potable water. Of course, different systems will have slight variations in the process. Additionally, industrial systems will have much more complicated processes though still based on the same principle of forcing water to go against the natural osmotic pressure.

One of the best explanatory videos about how reverse osmosis works can be found on YouTube. To make things easier, we embedded the video into our website. Check this out:

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

How Much Does a Reverse Osmosis Water System Cost?

Reverse osmosis systems vary in price depending on the size and complexity of the system. For a few hundred dollars, you can get an under-sink system that connects to a single faucet in the kitchen. For several thousand dollars, you can get a larger system that cleans all the water coming into your home. Some systems will have a complicated 5-step filtration process, even using UV light to purify your water further.

Your needs therefore, will dictate how much you will pay for an RO water filter system. Evaluate what your water purification needs are and what cost range is within your financial comfort. For homes, there are plenty of low cost RO systems. If you have a business, you might need something bigger and more expensive.

Generally, reverse osmosis systems cost between $100 to $300 on the lower end and $1,000 and above on the higher end. Do not forget to add installation and maintenance costs for the system.

Cheap Systems, Middle-Class Systems, High-End Systems

When evaluating the cost of RO systems, there are three general categories you need to be aware of; cheap systems, mid-range systems and high-end systems.

Cost of Reverse Osmosis SystemCheap systems will cost anywhere between $100 and $200. These are small home-based systems that usually connect to a single tap only. You can get a cheap RO system to place on your countertop or one that goes under the sink. These systems are cheap because they use the lowest quality parts available. While they will purify your water just as well as other higher priced systems, individual components do not last long. After about a year, you will have to replace various parts such as the filters and faucet.

Mid-range systems provided the best value to homeowners. They range in price between $250 and $600 depending on size and complexity. They are much better in build and quality and are likely to last for many years. Some sellers even provide lifetime guarantees. If you are looking to buy a good quality RO water filtration system without spending thousands of dollars, look for a middle-class system.

On the pricey end of the scale, we have high-end systems. These systems combine top performance with stylish looks and extra features in one system. The cost can start at $800 and go into the thousands. However, be careful when buying a supposedly high-end reverse osmosis system. Some come with useless bells and whistles that will do you no good. Others compromise on important features just to maintain their form and style. Make sure that when you pay for a high-end RO system, it actually delivers on function and performance.

What Contaminants Does an RO System Remove from Water?

does reverse osmosis remove flourideAn RO system is designed to remove most of the impurities from water. At the pre-filter stage, large particles like sand and silt will be removed. Most RO systems also come with a carbon filter or two to remove chlorine, which would otherwise cause damage to other parts.

When the water gets to the heart of the system – the semi-permeable membrane – virtually any molecule larger than the water molecule will be filtered out. Most of the minerals will be stripped off, dangerous substances like lead and asbestos will be removed and compounds like fluoride and calcium will likewise be removed from the water. Even bacteria and many viruses are not spared from the filtration process.

What you have at the end of the process is almost pure H2O. This is why reverse osmosis is one of the most recommended water purification processes and is used everywhere from homes to large industries. It simply works.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Chlorine?

  • Yes. Although, it is important to note that chlorine is removed by carbon filters at the pre-filtration stage rather than the semi-permeable membrane at the heart of an RO system.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Bacteria?

  • Yes. In the microscopic world, bacteria and viruses are literally giants (especially the former). The semi-permeable membrane in an RO system is designed to filter out molecules that are a thousand times smaller than the smallest bacteria. So yes, reverse osmosis will remove bacteria and many viruses from water with ease.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Salt?

  • Yes. Remember that anything bigger than a water molecule does not pass through the semi-permeable membrane? Dissolved salt will certainly not make it through there. This is why reverse osmosis is used in desalination, where salty seawater is made potable. The removal of salt also improves the taste and smell of the filtered water.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Calcium?

  • Yes. Calcium can be quite problematic in water because it causes hardness. It can clog up your plumbing, cause your pipes to rust and leave a film on everything the water touches. While there are many ways to remove calcium from water, reverse osmosis has proven to be the easiest and most effective method.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Lead?

  • Yes. Experiments have shown that an RO filtration unit can very well remove lead during the purification process.

How Pure Is Reverse Osmosis Water?

Reverse osmosis is one of only two processes that produce what is described as 'high purity drinking water’. The other process is steam distillation. As mentioned earlier, the semi-permeable membrane found in RO systems removes anything bigger than water molecules. Thus, the filtered water at the end of the process has a high level of purity. In fact, the FDA recommends the use of RO filtered water in medical applications. Additionally, industry processes that require mineral-free water use RO filtration to obtain 'pure’ water.

how pure is reverse osmosis waterBut what about an actual number representing purity level? Well, manufacturers and sellers of RO systems tend to claim that water filtered by their systems is 95-99% pure. While there could be some advanced high-end systems that come close to these numbers, the reality is that most home RO systems achieve lower purity percentages.

This is not to say that reverse osmosis is not a good process to purify water. Even with a 70% or 80% purity level, the water produced is safe enough for drinking and other uses. It is important to note that different reverse osmosis filtration systems will have varying levels of water purification performance. Cheaper systems may be able to remove only 50 to 60% of dissolved solids while mid-range and expensive systems can get up to 80% and more. Furthermore, the percentage of water purity goes down as the system ages. This is why it is important to maintain your system regularly and change filters as recommended.

Is RO Water Bad for You?

People tend to be skeptical of new technologies, and rightly so. Even though reverse osmosis is not exactly new tech, there are still many people who doubt its ability to purify water. Other people claim that the water produced through reverse osmosis is not healthy. The main basis of this claim is the stripping away of minerals that are otherwise considered healthy for the human body. They call it 'dead water’ with no health benefits at all.

Are they right in saying that reverse osmosis water is bad for you?

Is RO Water Good, Safe & Healthy?

Let us begin with the safety issue. Reverse osmosis is considered one of the best water filtration methods. As a result, it is used in hospitals, homes, disaster relief areas, laboratories and factories. Most of the bottled water you see on supermarket shelves is in fact produced through reverse osmosis. The filtered water may not, as we mentioned before, be 100% pure, but that does not mean that it is unsafe. Remaining solutes will not cause any health problem. So yes, RO water is safe to use and drink.

But is it healthy? Absolutely. The average tap water supplied by your municipal is far from pure. Various studies have discovered that the water contains contaminants that cause skin rashes, tooth damage and allergic reactions. Even harmful substances like arsenic, lead and barium have been found in tap water. If you are getting your water from a ground source, there is even worse stuff lurking in it. Reverse osmosis removes most of these toxic chemicals, leaving your water safe and healthy to drink.

Is RO water good for you healthy safeSimply because most of the minerals have been removed does not mean that your body is starved of essential minerals. Water is not the only source of important minerals for the body. A good diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables more than adequately covers the body’s mineral requirements.

So you do not have to worry about RO water making you ill or denying you of amazing health benefits that you would otherwise get with normal tap water. It is safe, it is healthy and it is good.

How to Remineralize RO Water

If demineralization of drinking water due to filtration is something you take very seriously, then we want to provide to you some basic information in the following paragraph on what you can do to cover your daily intake of minerals.

Let's take calcium as an example: About 20% of our recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium comes from the water we drink (remaining 80% comes from our food). If we drink filtered water, then we might not fully cover our RDI of calcium.

The most convenient solution would be to add a remineralization stage to our filtration system or use electrolyte blends containing Ca, Mg, potassium, sodium, etc.

RO Water Benefits

  • It is safe and healthy for you. RO water has been stripped of most contaminants that would cause health issues. Only steam distillation produces water as pure as RO water.
  • It is good for your skin and hair. All the contaminants in unfiltered water can have adverse effects on your skin and hair. You find yourself with unending rashes, dry and brittle hair and other problems. Using RO water is a highly recommended course of action if you want to improve your skin and hair health.
  • It protects your plumbing. Hard water clogs up your pipes and causes them to rust. A whole house RO filtration system changes the hard water into soft water, thus protecting your plumbing and prolonging its life.
  • Safe for cancer patients. Chemotherapy weakens the immune system and microorganisms in water can cause serious infections. RO water is often prescribed for cancer patients since it has been purified of bacteria and viruses.

Reverse Osmosis Water Waste

Does Reverse Osmosis Waste Water?

One of the common charges against reverse osmosis filtration systems is their water wastage. Potential buyers are warned of high water bills, if they use a system in their home. Is there any validity to this claim?

Yes, it is true that water also goes down the drain every time filtered water is produced using an RO system. But that does not give you the full picture, because, in our opinion, the water is not necessarily what we would refer to as 'wasted'. Many mechanical or chemical processes, with a beneficial product at the end of it, require an input of resources. It can be power, other chemicals, human labor or, as in this case, water.

When you consider just how effective reverse osmosis is at purifying water, then the water 'wasted’ is more like an investment that pays for itself many times over. So yes, water will go down the drain, but you would not really call this water wasted. It is simply a resource necessary for the final product, which is safe and healthy drinking water. You wouldn’t call water you use to do your laundry a waste, would you?

Last but not least, the biggest part of the water that you use every day, you use to shower, clean the dishes or wash your clothes. Only a very small percentage of it is consumed as drinking water.

How Much Water Does Reverse Osmosis Waste?

Most RO systems will drain away 1 to 3 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of purified water they produce. This may seem like a lot, but not so when you consider that other purification methods take even more resources to work. For example, WAC or weak acid cation is a type of water softener (best water softener reviews here) that is very expensive partly because production requires a lot of water.

With advancing technology, manufacturers are coming up with RO systems that have significantly less water draining away. In fact, today you can get some small reverse osmosis systems that drain only very little. Additionally, what you can do is attach a permeate pump to your RO system, which will increase water pressure and make it much more efficient. In some cases water wastage could be reduced by 75% to 80%.

Where To Buy RO Water?

where to buy RO waterIf you want healthy and safe drinking water, the best recommendation is to buy a reverse osmosis system for your home or business. For people on a tight budget, you can get something small to place on your countertop or under your fridge. If your budget is more allowing, you can get a larger system that purifies your entire home water, so that every tap in the house supplies already-purified water.

But if you don't want to deal with the costs and hustles of an RO system, like the installation part, there is an alternative that will still get you purified water and that is to simply buy it in a store (although we warn you that in the long run this is more expensive).

What you have to know is that most bottled water, unless it's spring water, is RO-purified tap water. So check your local Wal-Mart first. Chances are that they sell RO water by the gallon. Look out for labels that state 'Purified by Reverse Osmosis' or something similar. The price per gallon can range between 30 and 50 cents.

Most HEB stores also sell reverse osmosis water by the gallon. Check other stores in your area, too.

Reverse Osmosis Filter Replacement

A good quality reverse osmosis system can last for years as long as basic maintenance is done. This includes replacing parts that are subjected to wear and tear. One of the components that require regular replacements are the filters.

Filters can last for between 6 months and 3 years before they need to be replaced. This will vary depending on their quality and the kind of water passing through the system. Cheap filters require replacements more frequently because they wear out more quickly. Additionally, water with exceptional high levels of impurities will also wear out filters a lot faster.

How to Replace Reverse Osmosis Filters

how to replace ro filtersBefore you attempt to replace your system’s filters, check the product manual. Your manufacturer will have outlined specific maintenance requirements for your system. The manual will even tell you how often you need to replace the various filters and the membrane in the RO system. Most importantly, check for specific step-by-step instructions on how to open up your unit and replace the filters successfully.

It is also essential that you get the right filters for your unit. If you check your manufacturer’s website, chances are that they also sell replacement products including filters. If you are going to buy from another source, be sure the quality is up to standards. Otherwise you could be risking taking improperly purified water.

Although every model is different, here are some basic steps that apply to most RO units. But we cannot overemphasize the importance of referring to your product manual for specific instructions.

  1. Turn off the water supply and shut off the system.
  2. Drain the water in the storage tank into a container. Make sure the unit is placed on a towel to prevent spills on the floor.
  3. Refer to your manual on steps needed to open the unit. Some call for a filter wrench, while others need you to unscrew a number of screws. Make sure not to lose any part during the opening process. Keep small parts such as screws in a safe place, where they cannot role away.
  4. Replace filters as directed by your manual and put the unit back together again.

How to Clean an RO Membrane at Home

Equipment Needed:
water bucket with cleaning solution

  • Chemical Solution (varies for each type of membrane)
  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Protective Eye Wear

Before you start cleaning your RO membrane, put on your gloves and protective eye wear and prepare the chemical cleaning solution in a bucket.

In order to best clean a reverse osmosis membrane at home, first you need to soak it in different chemicals solutions. Using the right chemicals is a crucial factor, since different water filtration systems use different types of membranes. Using the wrong chemicals could lead to severe damage that might be irreversible. Therefore, be careful and take a look into the user manual first or contact the manufacturer to get more information.

  • 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, alkaline cleaner helps to eradicate organic matter, like oil and grime.
  • Anionic surfactant cleaners can be use to remove mold and mildew.

Please be aware, you don't HAVE to use all of the above chemicals in order to be able to fully clean your membrane. This also depends on the quality of your water.

Soak your reverse osmosis 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.

At last, thoroughly rinse the membrane to free it from remaining impurities stuck in the pores and remains of the chemical solution.

After installing the membrane back into your RO system, led the water flow for 20-30 minutes in order to clean the system.

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 many cities incorporated it into their water supply, because it is the best way to tackle water scarcity and a necessity in a sustainable water future.

After filtering out all the solids and other contaminants, a reverse osmosis filtration process is used to filter out even very tiny particles. Additionally, the water is flashed with UV-light to sterilize pathogenic microbes.

If you are interested to get more information on this topic, you can find a link to the full BBC-article right here.

Leave a Comment:

10 comments
Carl says 6 months ago

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 6 months ago

    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 a few months ago

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 a few months ago

    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 a few months ago

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 a few months ago

    Hello Scott,

    we appreciate your kind words!

    Best Regards

    Gene

    Reply
Tobias Haws says a few months ago

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 a few months ago

    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 3 weeks ago

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 3 weeks ago

    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.

    We always recommend the APEC ULTIMATE RO-90 for lead removal. Check out our review here.

    Best Regards

    Gene

    Reply
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