Review of APEC RO-90 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System (Ultimate Series)

    APEC Ultimate RO-90

    APEC Ultimate RO-90 High Output RO System

    •    Price: $$
    •    Filter Stages: 5
    •    NSF Cert.: 58
    •    Annual Cost: ~$70.00
    •    Warranty: 1 Year

    As part of the Ultimate series, the APEC RO-90 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System is the company’s flagship providing about twice the amount of water that you get with a standard RO unit – great for large families!

    This is mainly due to the high-output RO membrane rated at 90 gallons per day at 60 psi (75 gpd at 50 psi).

    Please note: These are only theoretical numbers. The system will NOT produce 90 gallons a day due to backpressure and other factors. However, it will supply more than enough water for drinking and cooking.

    Of course, higher water output also means higher flow rates which is the main benefit, really, as it eliminates long waiting times.

    What does the filtration process look like and which impurities will be removed?

    First, we have a polypropylene sediment pre-filter that traps dust, particles, rust and the like to protect the whole system and the membrane in particular from clogging.

    Stage 2 and 3 are carbon block filters to reduce chlorine taste and odor, cloudiness and all kinds of chemicals. Removing the chlorine is also important as it would otherwise damage the delicate RO membrane.

    Speaking of which, the membrane takes care of the following contaminants:

    • Arsenic-5 (99%)
    • Barium (98.8%)
    • Cadmium (98.3%)
    • Chromium-6 (98.3%)
    • Chromium-3 (99%)
    • Copper (98.4%)
    • Fluoride (93.8%)
    • Lead (96.8%)
    • Radium 226/228 (98.8%)
    • Selenium (97.9%)
    • TDS (98-99%)

    Last but not least, a carbon refining post-filter removes residual tastes and impurities that might have leached into the water while being stored in the tank.

    This filtration process has earned the APEC Ultimate RO-90 a WQA Cold Seal certification according to NSF Standard 58 for guaranteed material and parts safety, structural integrity and contaminant rejection performance (see above). We like!

    The recovery rate a.k.a. filtered to wasted water ratio is 1:3 which is pretty standard (every home RO system will waste some water).

    Min/max required water pressure: 40-85 psi

    Max TDS: 2000 ppm

    By the way, the APEC RO-90 is for tap and well water. The latter requires adequate disinfection, though.

    What We Like

    Apart from the sophisticated filtration process, we like that filters are Made in USA and long lasting (about 12 months) which reduces maintenance requirements. What’s more, the filters are standard sized so it’s easy to find cheap aftermarket replacements if need be.

    Above that, there are 2 upgraded versions of the APEC RO-90 for sale:

    1. For one, the RO-PH90 that features an additional 6th remineralization stage to enrich your water with calcium carbonate for better taste and to balance water pH. Naturally, we are talking about food-grade calcite made in the U.S. FYI: The calcium will increase water TDS which is normal.
    2. Secondly, the RO-Hi. The unit comes with a bigger output for increased flow rates from the tank to the faucet – up to 2x faster, says APEC. This allows you to draw more water from the system in a shorter time ideal for filling large pitchers.

    Did we mention that the system is backed by a 1-year limited manufacturer warranty (2 years with registration) for peace of mind?

    APEC Ultimate RO-90

    System Installation

    Installing the APEC RO-90 is like installing any other reverse osmosis under sink system: You need to drill a hole in your kitchen sink or countertop for the dispenser in case there is none, install the drain saddle, and assemble the unit itself with all its connections.

    The good news is that the system comes with clear step-by-step instructions including pictures.

    If you are at least a little handy with tools you should be able to pull this off in 1 or 2 hours.

    For additional guidance you can refer to this 5-part video series:

    Parts List

    • System module with preinstalled membrane and post filter
    • Pre-filters + housings
    • 90 gpd TFC membrane
    • Lead-free chrome faucet, 360° rotatable + washers + nut
    • Faucet adapter
    • Color-coded tubing (food grade)
    • 4 gallon storage tank
    • Housing wrenches
    • Drain saddle
    • Tank ball valve
    • Feed water adapter (1/2″ or 3/8″)
    • Teflon tape
    • Manual
    • Only RO-PH90: Calcite filter

    Filter/Membrane Replacements

    With home reverse osmosis systems in general only very little maintenance is required. This also goes for the RO-90. All you need to do is remember to change filters according to schedule.

    For stages 1, 2 and 3 that is once a year (if not changed in a timely manner the membrane might be damaged).

    The membrane lasts for 3 to 5 years on city water and 2 to 3 years on well water.

    The carbon post-filter is also good for 3-5 years.

    The average annual replacement costs amount to approx. $70 USD which is not only reasonable but also less than we had expected.

    Only the optional remineralizing filter that needs to be replaced every 6-12 months seems a bit pricey.

    Manuals

    • Manual for the standard APEC RO-90
    • Manual for the APEC RO-PH90

    What We Don’t Like

    We like the fact that APEC provides certified, knowledgeable support based in California. What we don’t like is that the support can be hard to reach, according to a handful of Amazon reviewers.

    Also, some customers had issues with bad taste that might originate from the storage tank.

    For a few others the system stopped working out of nowhere.

    Our Verdict

    The APEC RO-90 saves you the time, money and inconvenience of buying bottled water.

    Water quality is excellent and flow rates fast enough to provide plenty of pure H2O even at times of peak consumption.

    Bottom line: The vast majority of users are happy with the product. 4.5 stars!

    Looking for More APEC Water Filter Reviews?

    Check out more APEC water filter reviews here.

    Our favorite RO systems money can buy? Click here!

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    This completes our APEC RO-90 review. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

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