2021’s APEC Water Filter Reviews – Systems Pros, Cons & Complaints

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Established in the City of Industry, California in 1995, APEC Water Systems sells some of the most popular reverse osmosis filter units out there.

In addition, commercial RO systems and whole house water filters/conditioners are part of the product range.

Are the systems Made in USA? Not exactly. They are “designed, assembled, and tested in the U.S.A.”. In other words, their parts are manufactured overseas. However, some filters and membranes are indeed U.S. made.

That being said, in this APEC Water Systems reviews series we are going to check out:

APEC Water Systems – Water Filter Overview

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ModelOur RatingPriceTypeFilter StagesAnnual CostModel
APEC Essence ROES-50
APEC Essence ROES-50 Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

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$Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System5$$APEC Essence ROES-50
APEC Essence ROES-50 Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

Our Rating:
Price: $
Type: Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System
Filter Stages: 5
Annual Cost: $$

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APEC WFS-1000 Under Sink Water Filter
APEC WFS-1000 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filtration System

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$Under Sink Drinking Water Filter3$APEC WFS-1000 Under Sink Water Filter
APEC WFS-1000 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filtration System

Our Rating:
Price: $
Type: Under Sink Drinking Water Filter
Filter Stages: 3
Annual Cost: $

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APEC Ultimate RO-90
APEC Ultimate RO-90 High Output RO System

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$$Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System5$$APEC Ultimate RO-90
APEC Ultimate RO-90 High Output RO System

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Type: Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System
Filter Stages: 5
Annual Cost: $$

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APEC Essence ROES-PH75
APEC Essence ROES-PH75 RO System w/ Remineralization Stage

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$$Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System6$$$APEC Essence ROES-PH75
APEC Essence ROES-PH75 RO System w/ Remineralization Stage

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Type: Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System
Filter Stages: 6
Annual Cost: $$$

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APEC Portable Countertop RO-CTOP
APEC RO-CTOP Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

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$$RO Countertop Drinking Water System4$$$APEC Portable Countertop RO-CTOP
APEC RO-CTOP Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Type: RO Countertop Drinking Water System
Filter Stages: 4
Annual Cost: $$$

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APEC 2-Stage Whole House Water Filter System
APEC Big Blue Whole House Water Filter

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$$$Whole House System2$$$APEC 2-Stage Whole House Water Filter System
APEC Big Blue Whole House Water Filter

Our Rating:
Price: $$$
Type: Whole House System
Filter Stages: 2
Annual Cost: $$$

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APEC Water Filter Reviews

1. APEC Essence ROES-50 Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

The APEC Essence ROES-50 is easily one of the most popular reverse osmosis under sink water filter systems on the Amazon marketplace.

It features 5 filter stages to make tap or properly disinfected well water ready for drinking and cooking.

Different media types in combination with a thin-film composite RO membrane will remove up to 99% of dozens of contaminants that might be lurking in your water, such as chlorine, VOCs, lead, fluoride, arsenic, waterborne pathogens and overall TDS. This also greatly improves water aesthetics.

The daily filtration capacity and flow rate is sufficient for small to larger families without long waiting times.

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).

APEC Water Systems Reviews: Essence ROES-50

APEC Essence ROES-50

Price:$
Purpose:Making Water Ready for Drinking
Ideal for:Small to Larger Families
Water Source:Tap or Disinfected Well Water

Our Rating

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Excellent customer feedback
  • Removes up to 99% of dozens of contaminants
  • Provides clean and delicious drinking water
  • Everything included for installation
  • Easy to set up and maintain thanks to color-coded tubing + quick connect fittings
  • Low in maintenance
  • Replacement filters + membrane reasonably priced
  • Option to buy cheaper aftermarket filters
  • Backed by 1-year limited warranty (2 years upon product registration)
  • Support from WQA certified specialists

Cons

  • Issues with leaks
  • Not certified for contaminant removal

→ Read Our Full APEC ROES-50 Review Here

2. APEC WFS-1000 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filtration System

The WFS-1000 is a “regular” non-RO under sink water filter that gives your water a finishing touch and mainly handles taste issues.

The 3-stage unit can be used to treat tap or properly disinfected well water, although it will only help with larger particles like sediments, chlorine, some VOCs and some other chemicals – nowhere near enough for heavily contaminated waters.

However, there are options to upgrade the system with specialized cartridges: The WFS-1000-FP filter, for example, takes care of fluoride (reduction from .5 ppm to .1 ppm) and bacteria by making use of activated alumina. The WFS-1000-PB was specifically designed for lead removal and meets NSF Standard 53 requirements. In other words, effective lead reduction is guaranteed. Lastly, there is also a filter for eliminating chloramines and hydrogen sulfide. One cartridge can treat as much as 1,500 gallons.

Upgraded or not, all filters are made in the USA for the highest quality standards.

On top of that, the high filtration speed allows you to fill a large pitcher in no time which is ideal for big households.

All in all, the system provides you with great tasting drinking water at an affordable price.

APEC WFS-1000 Under Sink Water Filter

APEC WFS-1000

Price:$
Purpose:Basic Filtration Needs and Taste Issues
Ideal for:Small to Larger Families
Water Source:Tap or Disinfected Well Water

Our Rating

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Fast filtration
  • Essential minerals are kept in the water
  • Can be upgraded with specialized filters for lead, fluoride or chloramines
  • Everything included for installation
  • Easy to set up and maintain thanks to quick connect fittings
  • Low in maintenance thanks to long lasting filters (up to 12 months)
  • Replacing filters is a matter of minutes
  • Filters are made in the USA
  • Option to buy cheap aftermarket filters
  • Backed by 1-year limited warranty (2 years upon product registration)
  • Support from WQA certified specialists

Cons

  • Not for more severe cases of contamination
  • Not certified for contaminant removal
  • Dispenser a bit flimsy, hard to tighten (prone to leaking)
  • Directions can be a little confusing at first

→ Read Our Full APEC WFS-1000 Review Here

3. APEC Ultimate RO-90 High Output RO System

The Ultimate RO-90 is APEC’s flagship providing roughly twice the amount of water that you can expect from any standard reverse osmosis under sink system. This, of course, makes it ideal for large families with high water demand that don’t like to be left high and dry.

5 stages of filtration take care of dust, particles, rust, chlorine taste and odor, cloudiness, 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%), and all kinds of chemicals.

This sophisticated filtration process has earned the RO-90 a WQA Cold Seal certification for NSF Standard 58 that guarantees material and parts safety, structural integrity and contaminant rejection performance.

Recovery rate: 1:3 at optimum efficiency.

By the way, the system can be upgraded with a remineralization stage that adds food-grade calcium carbonate back into your water for improved taste and balanced pH levels. You can also upgrade to a bigger output for up to two times faster water flow from the tank to the faucet. This allows you to draw more water from the system in a shorter period of time.

APEC Water Reviews: Ultimate RO-90

APEC Ultimate RO-90

Price:$$
Purpose:Making Water Ready for Drinking
Ideal for:Small to Larger Families
Water Source:Tap or Disinfected Well Water

Our Rating

Pros

  • Vast majority of users are happy with their purchase
  • Thorough filtration for excellent water quality
  • NSF Standard 58 certified
  • Fast flow rates eliminate long waiting times
  • Optional upgrades
  • Everything included for installation
  • Easy to set up and maintain thanks to quick connect fittings
  • Low in maintenance thanks to long lasting filters (up to 12 months)
  • Replacing filters is a matter of minutes
  • Filters are made in the USA + reasonably priced
  • Option to buy cheap aftermarket filters
  • Backed by 1-year limited warranty (2 years upon product registration)
  • Support from WQA certified specialists

Cons

  • Some customers complained about issues with bad taste that might originate from the storage tank
  • System simply stopped working for a handful of users
  • Optional remineralizing filter is a bit pricey

→ Read Our Full APEC Ultimate RO-90 Review Here

4. APEC Essence ROES-PH75 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System w/ Remineralization Stage

The APEC ROES-PH75 alkaline mineral 6-stage reverse osmosis system is identical to the ROES-50 reviewed above with two exceptions:

  1. The RO membrane is rated at 75 instead of 50 gallons per day. This means higher output and faster flow rates.
  2. It features an additional calcite filter that enriches your water with calcium that is removed earlier in the purification process. The mineral increases alkalinity and improves taste.

Filtered to wasted water ratio: 1:3

Optional Upgrade: If you want you can upgrade the ROES-PH75 with a UV light stage that kills microbial pathogens found in non-chlorinated water.

APEC Essence ROES-PH75 with Remineralization

APEC Essence ROES-PH75

Price:$$
Purpose:Making Water Ready for Drinking
Ideal for:Small to Larger Families
Water Source:Tap or Disinfected Well Water

Our Rating

Pros

  • Removes up to 99% of dozens of contaminants
  • Provides clean and delicious drinking water
  • Fast flow rates eliminate long waiting times
  • Including remineralization for better alkalinity & taste
  • Calcite 100% U.S. made
  • Everything included for installation
  • Easy to set up and maintain thanks to color-coded tubing + quick connect fittings
  • Low in maintenance
  • Replacement filters + membrane reasonably priced
  • Option to buy cheap aftermarket filters
  • Optional UV light filter stage
  • Backed by 1-year limited warranty (2 years upon product registration)
  • Support from WQA certified specialists

Cons

  • Issues with leaks
  • Not certified for contaminant removal
  • Remineralizing filter is a bit pricey
  • Bad ASO valves have caused systems to drain constantly
  • Some users reportedly had higher wastewater ratios

→ Read Our Full APEC ROES-PH75 Review Here

5. APEC RO-CTOP Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

Another reverse osmosis drinking water filter system by APEC, but this time it’s a highly portable countertop unit that provides you with filtered H2O everywhere you go (as long as a compatible standard faucet is available).

The main reason for going countertop is that no installation is required, meaning no permanent changes to the plumbing system which is great for renters. You can just plug & play.

Also, because there is no holding tank the APEC RO-CTOP is ideal for smaller places.

We have 4 filter stages with the second stage certified against NSF Standard 42 for an average chlorine reduction of more than 95%. Furthermore, the RO-CTOP features the same 90 gpd membrane that also comes with the APEC Ultimate RO-90 that achieves a TDS rejection rate of up to 98-99%.

APEC Portable Countertop RO-CTOP

APEC RO-CTOP

Price:$$
Purpose:Making Water Ready for Drinking
Ideal for:Apartments, Renters, on the Go
Water Source:Tap or Disinfected Well Water

Our Rating

Pros

  • Clean drinking water at home and on the go
  • NSF Standard 42 certified for chlorine reduction
  • Compact and lightweight for high portability
  • No installation required (great for renters)
  • Hooks up in less than 5 minutes
  • Adapters included
  • Easily switch between filtered and unfiltered water
  • Available with aluminum case for better looks
  • Low in maintenance
  • Filters are Made in USA
  • Fast filter replacements thanks to quick connect fittings
  • Option to buy cheaper aftermarket filters
  • Backed by 1-year limited warranty (2 years upon product registration)
  • Support from WQA certified specialists

Cons

  • Except for Standard 42, no NSF testing with contaminant reduction rates
  • Incompatible with pull-out, sprayer and special designer faucets
  • Tubing is prone to leaking
  • No dispenser
  • Pricey

→ Read Our Full APEC RO-CTOP Review Here

6. APEC Water Systems Big Blue Whole House Water Filters

APEC offers 4 different 20” Big Blue whole house filter systems for basic filtration needs:

  1. The All Purpose 20” Big Blue sediment filter – Traps sand, silt, dirt, rust and other larger particles down to a size of 30 microns. The filter is resistant to chemicals and bacteria and can be washed and reused for a long filter life saving you money. A pressure drop is barely noticeable for maximum flow rates.
  2. The All Purpose 20” Big Blue carbon filter – With granular activated carbon great for chlorinated tap water supplies. The filter is good for 70,000 (100,000) gallons or 1 year, whichever comes first, and helps to improve water aesthetics. Suitable for fast-flow applications.
  3. The Multi Purpose 20” Big Blue sediment and carbon filter combo (most popular) – A combination of 1 & 2. The system comes pre-assembled and ready to mount.
  4. The Multi Purpose 20” Big Blue sediment, iron and carbon filter combo – Helps with iron staining and metallic taste in addition to removing sediments and chlorine. One iron removal cartridge lasts for up to 80,000 gallons at a maximum iron level of 1 ppm. Again, the system comes pre-assembled and ready to mount.

All in all, the pricing seems fair. Replacement filters are reasonably priced, too. Just don’t expect miracles in terms of water purity that can be achieved.

APEC 2-Stage Whole House Water Filter System

APEC Big Blue

Price:$$$
Purpose:Mainly Improve Taste and Odor
Ideal for:Small to Larger Families & Homes
Water Source:City or Well Water

Our Rating

Pros

  • Cleaner water throughout your entire home
  • Can prevent clogging and prolong the life of household appliances and fixtures (requires sediment filter)
  • Enjoy chlorine-free showers for smoother hair and skin (required carbon filter)
  • No significant pressure drop
  • Fair price
  • Sturdy plastic construction + heavy duty metal bracket for longevity
  • Low in maintenance
  • Installation is straightforward (we recommend flex tubing + shark bite fittings)
  • Option to buy cheaper aftermarket filters
  • Backed by 1-year limited warranty
  • Support from WQA certified specialists

Cons

  • APEC mentions NSF certifications on website without providing further details
  • No built-in bypass valve

→ Read Our Full APEC Big Blue Filter Review Here

APEC Water Systems Review: Why APEC?

What are the reasons to choose APEC in the first place and not opt for a different brand or company?

  • WQA Gold Seal – The APEC RO-90 as well as the RO-PH90 are WQA Gold Seal certified according to NSF Standard 58 for guaranteed material and parts safety, structural integrity and contaminant rejection performance. Tested contaminants include arsenic-5, chromium-3 and chromium-6, fluoride, lead, VOCs and TDS.
  • DIY – Reverse osmosis or whole house, APEC systems are simple to install with only basic plumbing skills required. No need to call for a professional and spend extra money.
  • Standard-Sized Filters – All APEC filters are standard sized making it easy to find cheap aftermarket replacements for additional savings.
  • Warranty – You get a 1-year limited warranty with each system that covers defects in material and workmanship for peace of mind. If you register your product with APEC within 8 weeks of purchase it will be covered for 2 years (only for residential RO systems and WFS-1000, only valid in the 48 contiguous states).
  • Certified Support – The APEC customer support team consists of WQA certified water specialists that know what they are talking about. The only downside is that the support can be hard to reach at times, according to some Amazon reviewers.
  • Free Drinking Water Charity Program – Through the Free Drinking Water charity program, APEC donates two of their reverse osmosis water filtration systems, either the ROES-50 or the RO-CTOP, to low-income individuals with an existing medical condition that would benefit from drinking purified water. The program is open to people within the 48 contiguous United States. You can support the program if you buy a system from APEC.

All other product-specific benefits are covered in each individual review.

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If you have any questions about APEC water systems please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

And remember to revisit this page from time to time as we are going to add new APEC water filter reviews occasionally.

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald has been with BOS since the very beginning. She is head of content creation and has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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