Welcome to our 2017's Best Home RO Water Filter System Reviews
It turned out that the system couldn't hold up to its promises. After using it for close to 6 weeks, the filtered water suddenly had a strange plastic smell to it and tasted even worse than the unfiltered version.
In that moment it became clear to me that there wasn't really enough valuable information on proper RO systems available, so I decided to get active and built this website.
On this page you'll...
|Model||Our Rating||Price||Size (inches)||Filter Life (Years)||Filter Stages||Gallons Per Day||Warranty (Years)||Review|
Unbeatable #1 RO System - Home Master TMAFC
|$$||20 x 16 x 13||1+||7||50||5||94.25% Read Review|
The Runner-Up - APEC 5-Stage RO System
|$||16 x 5.2 x 17.5||1+||5||50||1||94.0% Read Review|
Our #3 - Home Master TMAFC-ERP RO Filter System
|$$$||12 x 16 x 20||1+||7||75||5||95.0% Read Review|
iSpring RCC7 - RO System with Faucet
|$||14.5 x 5.2 x 17.5||1||5||75||1||92.5% Read Review|
APEC RO-90 Reverse Osmosis System
|$$||15 x 7 x 18||1+||5||90||1||94.0% Read Review|
Express Water RO5DX 5-Stage RO System
|$||18.2 x 19 x 16||up to 1||5||50||1||91.0% Read Review|
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 product. This way you can prevent yourself from making a wrong buying decision and end up with a second-class filtration unit that is not up to standards.
Talking about consuming clean drinking water is talking about staying healthy and fit, which is why it's vitally important for you to rely on an American recognized brand and a manufacturer based in the US. Usually, US-made systems filter out at least 98 percent of water impurities.
Additionally, you should pay special attention to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and NSF certificates. They ensure that the water processed by a system is of the highest quality and 100 percent safe for human consumption.
Furthermore, WQA (Gold Seal) certificates guarantee that a filtration unit doesn't make loud and disturbing noises and requires only little to no maintenance.
Top-notch RO systems feature at least 5 filtration stages that water has to run through, before it is ready to be consumed.
At stage one a sediment filter removes soil particles and dust, followed by 1 or 2 carbon filter stages, which remove chemicals, such as chlorine and fluoride as well as unpleasant odors and tastes.
The next stage involves the reverse osmosis process itself to filter out all remaining contaminants. Last but not least, a coconut shell refining filter removes residue tastes.
Pricier models often come with additional processing stages to re-mineralize the water by adding bits of magnesium and calcium and thereby balancing pH-levels.
Not all of us are gifted do-it-yourselfers, but excellent filter systems are designed to make installation and part adjustments quick and easy for everyone.
Also depending on the system, replacing a filter may be a difficult endeavor and paying for the new filter might be expensive. Therefore, opt for a model with long-lasting filters that can be replaced in no time.
Side Note: If you live in a larger household, you might want to look out for bigger membranes as they extend a unit's longevity and shorten the time period that is needed to fill up the water tank.
Top-notch RO systems not only provide a consistent flow of clean drinking water, they also prevent water from being wasted by automatically shutting down once the tank is filled completely. These systems will help you saving money!
An outstanding seven-stage filtration process makes the Home Master TMAFC the best reverse osmosis water filter system available for under $500.
System maintenance is a breeze and does require neither much time nor effort and thanks to an extended performance span (about 2,000 gallons), filters need to be replaced only once per year. Thereby, the 'all-in-one' design makes the replacement fast and easy for you.
To prevent canister leakage or failure, but also disease-causing germs from accumulating, the annual filter replacement includes the disposal of the entire filter housing including sediment, microorganisms and biofilm (check out all advantages on amazon).
From our reverse osmosis reviews we learned that most systems produce slightly acidic water lacking minerals (especially magnesium and calcium), 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 drain saddle, chrome faucet, filter membrane, UV power supply etc. The self-explanatory user manual guides you through the installation process step by step, so that even inexperienced handymen don't need to hire a professional; a great way to save that extra money!
One minor disadvantage is that you have to pay for the additional costs that come up to replace the whole filter housing. But as stated above, luckily this has to be done only once a year.
If you are looking for the best reverse osmosis water filter system available, the Home Master TMAFC is definitely the right choice for you. The following link will get you to the official amazon product page, which has the best price available as of 4th October 2017.
In the second of our reverse osmosis system reviews, we take a closer look at the APEC Top Tier 5-Stage unit, which might easily be the best reverse osmosis system for under $200.
First of all, the system is produced in the US and NSF and WQA certified, which guarantees that the filtered water is 100% safe for human consumption and that the system doesn't make any disturbing noises. Above that, a WQA Gold Seal assures the product's excellent performance, quality and durability with only low-maintenance requirements.
Filters are long lasting, which means less replacement costs you have to cover. Also, APEC provides not only a one-year satisfaction guarantee, but also lifetime product support.
5 filtration stages process the water removing 99% of all contaminants. The filters remove soil particles, dust, rust, chemicals like chlorine, odors, tastes and provide a consistent and unlimited water supply.
Additionally, the steel-free tank included in the package preserves a natural water taste and does not add any artificial flavors. An automatic shut-down function prevents water wastage once the tank is filled completely.
Customers criticize the membrane filter housing, which is difficult to open. Moreover, at filtration stage three it may take a while to get rid of carbon floating on the water surface.
The APEC 5 Stage Water 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. Also, the price-performance ratio is great.
This unit offers an alternative to APEC filtration systems. However, the APEC 5-Stage outperforms it, as its filters are going to last longer. The iSpring RCC7 75GPD Reverse Osmosis System is also NSF certified and ensures microorganisms don't get past the multi-level filtration process. For a full review click here!
With its WQA Gold Seal and NSF certifications, you can be rest assured that the iSpring RCC7 RO system (5 stages) is a premium water filtration unit built in the US. It operates without problems and makes almost no noises.
The system comes at a very affordable pricing on amazon and uses cost-effective technology (automatic shut-off once the tank is filled up) making it a great choice for people who want to save money.
In a 5-stage filtration process, the system removes 99% of all chemicals, pharmaceuticals and microorganisms and provides enough water even for larger households (maximum 75 GPD).
At filtration stage #4 the reverse osmosis process itself goes into action. Here, a larger membrane is used to increase the system's longevity and filling speed (again, ideal for larger households).
What we like most about the system is the fact that even inexperienced handymen should be able to install it themselves with the help of a detailed user manual including DIY videos as they are part of the scope of delivery.
We don't like that the water pressure in your home needs to be at least 35 psi for this reverse osmosis unit to work efficiently. Therefore, citizens living in areas with low water pressure have to purchase an additional booster pump.
On top of that the system's filters tend to wear out rather quickly, causing extra replacement costs.
The iSpring RCC7 reverse osmosis water filtration unit is suitable for everyone who wants to save a few bucks when purchasing the system itself, but is willing to spend the extra dime to purchase replacement filters more regularly.
This product is one of the best filtration systems we covered in our reviews. It makes use of a world-class purification process to ensure that users do not experience service challenges, low flow rates, acidic water or water leaks. It uses a high-density combination of flow restriction components that control the pressure emanating from the membrane to ensure an optimization of the purification process.
The APEC 5-Stage is among the best filter systems on the market. It utilizes the exact same filtration technology as the iSpring RCC7 - the same technology used by bottled water companies - and competes toe to toe with the iSpring system.
All in all it is super effective at purifying water, which makes it an equally ideal choice. For a full review of the APEC 5-Stage Water Filtration System click here!
The Express Water Home Reverse Osmosis System not only removes up to 99% of dirt, sand, tastes, odors, chemicals and microorganism, it also comes at a very low price compared to other RO systems on the market. For an extra layer of safety, the system is build in the US.
Due to the fact that it works fully automatic, it's very convenient to draw water from the faucet; the tank will get auto-refilled. Afterwards the system shuts off.
Thanks to the easy-to-follow user manual and instructions, the system is easy to install (no special plumbing skills needed), fits in almost any kitchen and only requires low maintenance.
4 extra water filters are added to the scope of delivery, which you can check out on amazon here. Additionally, a one-year warranty plus life-long professional support back you up in case anything goes wrong.
Customers have remarked that leakages might occur, if you don't follow the installation instructions precisely.
On top of that, carbon may float on the water surface for a couple of days before dissolving.
The Express Water 5-stage reverse osmosis system is legitimately one of the most popular among customers with a small budget. An affordable price meets great filtration performance that is up to standards.
Although the following 2 products are similar to the Express Water system in terms of features, they vary in quality, price and required level of maintenance:
The Aquaphor DMW-101 has a built-in airless storage tank and a mineralization function. It is incredibly compact compared to other home drinking systems and the best advantage is that it works efficiently even at a low level of water pressure without requiring a booster pump.
In addition to that the Aquaphor DWM-101 (available on amazon) features twist ON/OFF replacement filters. Its components are manufactured from food-grade recyclable materials in an environmental friendly process.
The Brondell H20+ uses a new patented technology making it 5 times more efficient than the current conventional models. The system reduces water wastage to an average 2.1 gallons for every gallon of drinking water. The Brondell H2O+ (available on amazon) removes many hazard chemicals making it suitable for home use.
The APEC RO-90 GPD Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System removes 99% of all contaminants in a 5-stage water filtration process.
Every single unit gets tested and put through a 10-point quality control procedure to ensure it is up to WQA Gold Seal standards, which guarantee the highest rates of water contaminant removal.
Additionally, the seal ensures low noise levels during operation plus low maintenance requirements - pre-filters have to be replaced annually and filter cartridges last much longer than normal filters do.
Above that, the RO-90 system is one of the best at producing purified water as fast as possible - twice as fast as the average system. It provides large families with 90 gallons of pure drinking water per day.
Once the system's water tank is filled up, it will shut down automatically to prevent water wastage and save energy and money. Learn more about the automatic shut-off valve on amazon. 100 percent lead-free chrome faucets complete the package.
Customers are concerned about the fact that the membrane filters are quite difficult to access. You might need to practice a bit before it will become a quick and easy task to do.
Moreover, customers have experienced water leakage due to mistakes made during the installation process and additionally, floating carbon might take a while to be cleared during filtration.
This APEC Water reverse osmosis system is top-notch and delivers the purest drinking water with the best taste. However, it costs about $100 more than the average system and not everyone is willing to pay that extra money.
There are many different reverse osmosis water filters available on the market. Each manufacturer claims their product to be the best reverse osmosis system out there. Therefore you can’t make a decision based only on advertisements. You need to compare the advantages, disadvantages and features of different products by reading various reverse osmosis system reviews in order to make an informed decision.
The iSpring RCC 5-stage WQA Gold Seal Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System is among the most feature rich products currently on the market. For customers with a low budget it's the ideal choice as it is a bit cheaper than the APEC. For a full review of the iSpring RCC7 5-Stage 75 GPD Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Unit, click here!
More on Reverse Osmosis Filtration Units
In addition to our reviews, we would like to provide to you more information on RO water filtration technology, which might be the key to a sustainable water future.
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?
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. In industrial applications, reverse osmosis filtration systems are much larger and more complicated. They can be used for many things from producing drinking water from salty seawater (desalination) to recycling wastewater.
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 a 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:
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:
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 a 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.
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.
Cheap 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.
A 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 Fluoride?
Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Chlorine?
Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Bacteria?
Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Salt?
Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Calcium?
Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Lead?
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.
But 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.
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?
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.
Simply 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.
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.
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 a 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.
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%.
If 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 a 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.
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.
Before 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.
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.
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.
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.