Review: APEC ROES-50 Essence 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

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This review features APEC’s highly popular ROES-50 Essence 5-stage Reverse Osmosis System.

We are going to cover all its pros and cons, talk about installation and maintenance requirements + costs, and in the end give you our final verdict of what we think about the RO system.

APEC ROES-50 Essence 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

APEC ROES-50 Essence 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

Price: $$
Filter Stages: 5
Water Flow: Not Specified
NSF Certifications: 58, 372
Annual Cost: ~$40-85

Overall Rating: 4.0/5.0 ⓘRating based on filtration performance, filter life, price and yearly cost, NSF testing/certification, customer support, product warranty, our testing/experience, user feedback, and other factors.

APEC ROES-50 Essence 5-stage Reverse Osmosis System – All Specs

  • Model: ROES-50
  • Annual Maintenance Cost: ~$40-85
  • Filter Media/Process: Sediment Filtration, Activated Carbon, RO
  • Filter Stages: 5
  • Membrane Rating: 50 gpd
  • Recovery Rate: 25%
  • Filtering Capacity: 6 Months to 4 Years
  • WxHxD: 16.0″x17.5″x5.25″
  • Tank: 11″x15″x11″, 4 gal
  • Water Temperature: 40-100 °F
  • Water Pressure: 40-85 psi
  • Water pH: 2-11
  • Fitting: 3/8”-1/2″
  • NSF Certifications: Standard 58, 372
  • Warranty: 1-Year Limited

APEC ROES-50 – Key Features

First things first, the APEC ROES-50 uses 5 filter stages in an attempt to provide clean and great tasting drinking water.

  • Stage 1: At Stage 1, we have a basic 5-micron polypropylene sediment pre-filter that removes stuff like sand, dirt, and rust. The goal here is to prevent sediment from building up and clogging subsequent filtration stages.
  • Stage 2/3: Stages 2 and 3 both use a 10-micron coconut based activated carbon block filter that eliminates chlorine, tastes, odors, cloudiness, VOCs, and other chemicals. Apart from improving water aesthetics, this is also to protect the delicate RO membrane from harm.
  • Stage 4: At stage 4, a semipermeable TFC reverse osmosis membrane comes into play. The membrane is capable of removing up to 99% of all contaminants that are left in the water, such as toxic lead, arsenic, radium, and fluoride. In addition, it reduces TDS and a range of waterborne pathogens. The membrane is rated at 50 gallons per day at 60 psi pressure (30 gpd at 50 psi).
  • Stage 5: Whenever you draw water from the storage tank it first flows through a 5-micron granular activated carbon (GAC) refining filter to get rid of any residual tastes/odors from said tank.

In summary, this is the standard filtration process used by most under sink reverse osmosis systems. There is nothing wrong about this at all and you can expect solid filtration results with the majority of contamination removed.

System recovery rate is around 20-25%, meaning 3 to 4 gallons of water are wasted for every gallon of purified RO water. This sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s the standard ratio for such type of system.

We should also mention the 4-gallon storage tank that prevents you running out of water (RO filtration is slow).

Filter life: 6 months to 4 years.

APEC Water Systems ROES-50 Pros

Most importantly, the APEC ROES-50 is among the most affordable under sink RO units. Plus, costs for annual filter replacement are highly affordable at around $40 to $85 depending on water conditions and usage. Filters are also easy enough to replace. The same goes for installing the system in the first place. By the way, you could go off-brand with replacement filters if you wanted, thanks to their standard sizing (10”). This allows for customization of the filter process and it might even save you money.

And no matter how much water you use for drinking, cooking, and to wash your car (just kidding), filtration capacity, water flow, and the 4-gallon storage tank should be sufficient even for larger families. FYI: The system will automatically shut off once the tank is full which takes a minimum of 3 hours.

What’s more, according to APEC, the ROES-50 is suited for treating tap AND well water. Plus, we like the fact that it’s noise-free during operation.

Last but not least, the system is backed by a 1-year limited warranty, lifetime support from WQA-certified specialists, and excellent customer feedback.

What Contaminants Are Being Removed?

Like most reverse osmosis systems, the APEC ROES 50 has a pretty impressive contaminant removal list. This includes:

  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Rust
  • Chlorine
  • Bad taste and odor
  • VOCs
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Radium
  • Fluoride
  • TDS

APEC ROES-50 Essence 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

The APEC ROES-50 – learn more on


As with most under sink RO units, DIY installing the APEC ROES-50 Essence is fairly simple. For one, you get all supplies that are needed for the setup. Secondly, the system uses quick connect fittings and color-coded tubing which makes the whole process a lot easier and faster.

Now, obviously, this is 100% subjective and depends on your previous plumbing experience and also if you have the right tools at hand or can get them from somewhere.

In any case, you can count on APEC’s online installation videos that provide easy-to-follow instructions.

Please consider these instructions as a general guideline. Always make sure to check and follow your user manual before getting started.

To prepare for the installation, you should gather the following tools and supplies:

  • Variable speed drill
  • Drill bits – 1/4″, 1/8”, 1/2″
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Teflon tape

Once you have those, simply follow these instructions to install and set up the system:

  1. Take the 3 housings for the first 3 filter stages, and set them upright. Check that each one has an O-ring in the groove.
  2. Insert each filter into the right housing unit.
    1. The sediment filter should go into the 1st stage housing.
    2. The carbon filters should go into the middle and left housings.
  3. Insert each housing into the main system. You need to screw it in counterclockwise. Start with stage 3.
  4. Find a place under your sink for installing the system – there should be enough space for all the tubing and connections.
  5. Turn off the cold water supply.
  6. Hook up the feed water adapter. It comes with a needle valve, which screws onto the adapter.
  7. The next step depends on the connection size of your pipe – check the manual to see how to handle the installation of a needle valve, a 1/2″ connection, or a 3/8″ connection.
  8. If you have a flex line riser, you’ll need to loosen its nut and separate the cold water riser tube from the shut off valve. Bend the tube a bit so that the feed water adapter fits onto the shut off valve. Then connect the riser tube, feed water adapter, and the shut off valve all together and tighten them.
  9. Screw the needle valve onto the adapter, using Teflon tape to improve the fit.
  10. Slide the metal compression nut and the plastic sleeve, and push the plastic insert into the red tubing.
  11. Push the red tubing into the needle valve connection – you should feel a click at the end.
  12. Push the plastic sleeve up to the needle valve connection.
  13. Screw the metal compression nut with the red tubing pushed into the needle valve.
  14. To install the drain saddle, find a suitable location above the trap and on the vertical/horizontal tailpiece. Try to place it as low as possible to reduce noise.
  15. Drill a 1/4″ hole through one side of the drain pipe.
  16. Place a self-adhesive black sponge around the hole.
  17. Ensuring the holes are aligned, push the 1/4″ black drain tubing into the quick connect fitting on the saddle.
  18. Find a place to drill a hole for the reverse osmosis faucet, or find an existing hole that you can reuse.
  19. Mount the faucet.
  20. Hook up the clear faucet tubing to the system output.
  21. Find a location for the tank – make sure it’s no more than 20 feet away from the system.
  22. Connect the remaining tubing – there’s a diagram in the manual to follow, as the setup will vary according to your situation.
  23. Turn on the cold water.
  24. Open the ball valve on the tank.
  25. Wait for the tank to fill completely – usually it takes around 2-3 hours.
  26. Drain the first tank of water and discard it.
  27. Check for leaks.
  28. You’re ready to use your system!


Here is part 1 of a 5-part video series:

The Package (Parts)

  • RO module with filter and membrane housings
  • Pre/post-filter set
  • TFC membrane (0.0001 micron)
  • Drain saddle
  • Water storage tank (4 gallons, white)
  • Tank stand
  • Tank ball valve
  • 360° rotatable lead-free brushed nickel faucet with washers and nuts
  • Color-coded tubing
  • Feed water adapter (½″ and ⅜″)
  • Feed water valve
  • Filter and membrane housing wrenches
  • Teflon tape and other accessory parts
  • Instructions


Both pre and post-filters and the RO membrane are relatively long-lasting, meaning that maintenance requirements are low.

But the system works with housings rather than a modular design. So if you need to replace one of the filter elements you will have to open its housing first. And since water flows through the housing, you would do good to have a bucket at the ready. In other words, things can get a little messy but not too much.

On the upside, the total annual replacement costs are very low (~$40-85). Systems that come with modular replacement filters are usually more expensive.

This is how often you will have to change each component as per manufacturer specifications:

  • Sediment pre-filter: Every 6 to 12 months
  • Carbon block pre-filters: Every 6 to 12 months
  • RO membrane: Every 2 to 4 years for city water, 2 years on well water
  • Carbon post-filter: Every 2 to 4 years

As always, you should take this as a rough guideline. How long each filter or membrane will last in your home also depends on your water usage and the contamination level of the feed water.

Replacing the first 3 filter stages:

  1. Shut off the cold water supply.
  2. Turn off the tank ball valve.
  3. Briefly turn on the RO faucet lever to release pressure from the system.
  4. Open the RO system housing while keeping it upright – turn clockwise to unscrew it.
  5. Take out the 3 used filters.
  6. Wash the housings with soapy water and rinse them.
  7. Install the new filters into their housings.
  8. Close the housings, ensuring each one has a black O-ring in the thread grooves.
  9. Turn on the cold water supply.
  10. Turn on the RO faucet lever and keep the system running for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Turn off the RO faucet lever.
  12. Open the tank ball valve.
  13. Check for leaks.

Replacing the reverse osmosis membrane:

  1. Shut off the cold water supply.
  2. Turn off the tank ball valve.
  3. Turn on the RO faucet lever briefly to release pressure from the system.
  4. Remove the white tubing from the membrane housing’s cap.
  5. Open the cap and pull out the old membrane.
  6. Drain out any remaining water from the system by tilting it slightly.
  7. Insert the new membrane, paying attention to the correct orientation.
  8. Close the housing cap.
  9. Reattach the white tubing to the cap.
  10. Turn on the cold water supply.
  11. Turn on the tank valve.
  12. Let the system run until the tank is full – usually around 2-3 hours.
  13. Check for leaks.
  14. Drain and discard the first tank of filtered water.

Replacing the carbon post-filter:

  1. Take out the old filter by unclipping it from the membrane housing, and discard the filter.
  2. Clean the plastic ports of the Tee fitting and the open port of the new filter using a mild bleach solution.
  3. Hook up the new filter. Pay attention to the “FLOW” arrow.
  4. Check for leaks.


Here is a link to the official manual:

NSF and Other Certifications

The APEC ROES-50 comes with two NSF certifications:

  • NSF 58: for material and parts safety, structural integrity, contaminant rejection (TDS).
  • NSF 372: for lead-free materials used in the production.

Earlier Product Versions

There are no earlier product versions that we know of.

APEC 5-Stage Cons

We couldn’t find specific contaminant reduction rates. We also only have 1 NSF certification for contaminant reduction and that is for TDS only. We would have liked more specific testing/certification.

Also, this is one of the older style RO systems that don’t use a pump and that’s why water flow is much slower and a lot of water gets wasted. 75% or more of input water gets wasted.

Last but not least, the APEC Water ROES-50 likely clutters your kitchen sink cabinet because you have all the tubing and filters and the tank – and they’re not combined in a single body like with modern RO systems.

Checking customer reviews we read about occasional leaks.

APEC ROES-50 Review: Our Verdict + Best for

The number one selling point of the APEC ROES-50 Essence 5-stage Reverse Osmosis System is its low price and maintenance cost. What we miss are specific contaminant reduction rates and additional NSF standards. Also, as an older-style under sink RO system we lack features such as a booster pump for faster filtration speed and reduced waste. All in all, we award 4 stars.

Our Rating in Detail:

  • Filtration Performance: 4.0/5.0
  • Filter Capacity (Life): 5.0/5.0
  • Purchase Price: 5.0/5.0
  • Annual Cost: 5.0/5.0
  • Overall: 4.0/5.0

Comparison to Other Reverse Osmosis Systems

Two RO models worth looking into if you want some alternative options are the Waterdrop G3 and the AquaTru.

Waterdrop G3 Reverse Osmosis System (G3P600)

Waterdrop G3

Price: $$$
Filter Stages: 4
Flow Rate: 0.42 gpm
NSF: 58, 372
Annually: ~$145

Overall Rating: 4.0/5.0 ⓘRating based on filtration performance, filter life, price and yearly cost, NSF testing/certification, customer support, product warranty, our testing/experience, user feedback, and other factors.

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AquaTru Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System


Price: $$$
Filter Stages: 4
Water: 1 Gallon in 10-15 Minutes
NSF: 42, 53, 58, 401, P473
Annually: ~$100-120

Overall Rating: 4.5/5.0 ⓘRating based on filtration performance, filter life, price and yearly cost, NSF testing/certification, customer support, product warranty, our testing/experience, user feedback, and other factors.

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APEC ROES-50 Essence 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System


Price: $$
Filter Stages: 5
Flow Rate: Not Specified
NSF: 58, 372
Annually: ~$40-85

Overall Rating: 4.0/5.0 ⓘRating based on filtration performance, filter life, price and yearly cost, NSF testing/certification, customer support, product warranty, our testing/experience, user feedback, and other factors.

With the Waterdrop G3, you get a tankless under sink reverse osmosis system which filters water on demand and doesn’t store it – this makes for a very compact design that easily fits in various places. Thanks to the 4 filtration stages, the system can address various contaminants backed by NSF standards, including:

  • Chlorine: 99%
  • VOCs: 99%
  • Nitrate: 98%
  • Fluoride: 99%
  • Arsenic: 99%
  • Chromium-6: 99%
  • Lead: 99%
  • PFOA/PFOS: 99%

Water pressure is regulated by an internal pump, which achieves a flow rate of 0.42 gallons per minute. At this rate, you can pour a cup of water in just 8 seconds, which should be fast enough for most users, and is definitely faster than the APEC ROES-50. In addition, only about 33% of the input water goes to waste. As a reminder: The APEC wastes around 75% to 80%.

The system has some smart components, including a faucet that alerts you when it’s time to replace one of the filters with the use of lights and sound. Filters last for 550 to 2200 gallons of water, or 6-24 months for most users. It’s very easy to replace all of them, and you don’t even need any special tools or even have to shut off the water beforehand. In addition, you can keep track of your water’s TDS levels with an integrated monitoring system.

The whole device is made of BPA-free materials. Waterdrop also offers a money-back satisfaction guarantee for a full refund in the first 30 days after your purchase. You also get a 1-year warranty, but keep in mind that it’s only valid when using the system with municipal water.

You may occasionally get some weird noises coming out of the G3, and it costs significantly more than the APEC ROES-50 to buy and maintain – around $145 per year – but those are the only negative points we can come up with for this model.

The AquaTru is another excellent choice, and by far our most favorite reverse osmosis system. It’s a countertop model and it’s very easy to set up and use. The most important feature of this model for us is the extensive testing it’s gone through. It comes with NSF/ANSI certificates for standards 42, 53, 58, 401, and P473 – a very impressive lineup. Some of the contaminants this model can address include:

  • Chlorine: 96.6%
  • VOCs: 95% – 99%
  • Chromium-6: 97.2%
  • TDS: 87.1%
  • Cyst: 99.99%
  • Fluoride: 93.5%
  • Lead: 99.1%
  • Radium 226/228: 96.4%
  • BPA: 99%
  • Pharmaceuticals and pesticides: 86.7% – 96.6%
  • PFOA, PFOS: 97.5%

Compared to that, the APEC only has 1 NSF standard and no specific reduction rates.

You can set up the AquaTru and get it up and running in no time, and it’s very easy to use as a whole. And with a 20% wastewater rate, it’s one of the most efficient models on the market – better than both the APEC ROES-50 and the Waterdrop G3. The model is made using BPA and BPS-free Tritan plastic. It may occasionally leak or stop working prematurely, but keep in mind that those reports are relatively rare. The AquaTru also costs noticeably more than the APEC ROES-50, both initially and in the long term at around $100-120 per year.

All in all, we recommend going with the AquaTru if you want the best overall model on the market. The Waterdrop G3 reverse osmosis system is also a good choice, but has some slight shortcomings compared to the AquaTru. The APEC ROES-50 should really only be considered if the other options are out of your budget.

This completes our review of the APEC ROES-50 Essence 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Alexandra Uta

Alex is a content writer with an affinity for research and a methodical attention to detail. Since 2020, she has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Alex has been using water filters and similar products for years which has gained her lots of hands-on experience.
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