2019’s APEC Water Filter Reviews – Systems Pros, Cons & Complaints

    Established in the City of Industry, California in 1995, APEC Water Systems sells some of the most popular reverse osmosis under sink and countertop 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 review series we are going to check out:

    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.

    We will be covering all other product-specific benefits in each individual review.

    APEC Water Systems Reviews

    ModelOur RatingPriceTypeFilter StagesAnnual Cost
    APEC Essence ROES-50

    APEC Essence ROES-50 Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

    4 and a half stars rating


    Read Review
    $RO Under Sink Unit for Drinking5~$80.00
    APEC WFS-1000

    APEC WFS-1000 Under Sink Filtration Unit (Non-RO)

    3 and a half stars ratings


    Read Review
    $Under Counter Drinking Water System3~$45.00
    APEC Ultimate RO-90

    APEC Ultimate RO-90 High Output RO System

    4 and a half stars rating


    Read Review
    $$RO Under Sink Unit for Drinking5~$70.00
    APEC Essence ROES-PH75

    APEC ROES-PH75 Featuring Remineralization Stage

    4 and a half stars rating


    Read Review
    $$RO Under Sink Unit for Drinking6~$130.00
    APEC Portable Countertop RO-CTOP

    Portable APEC RO-CTOP Countertop RO Filter

    5-star rating


    Read Review
    $$RO Countertop Drinking Water System4~$130.00
    APEC 2-Stage Whole House Water Filter System

    APEC Big Blue Whole House Water Filter

    4 stars rating


    Read Review
    $$$Whole House System2~$125.00

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

    Best For:

    • Tap or disinfected well water
    • Making water ready for drinking
    • Small to larger families

    In a Nutshell:

    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

    Pros & Cons

    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 review here or

    2. APEC WFS-1000

    Best For:

    • Tap or disinfected well water
    • Basic filtration needs and taste issues
    • Small to larger families

    In a Nutshell:

    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 Water Reviews: WFS-1000

    Pros & Cons

    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 on sink or countertop (prone to leaking)
    • Directions can be a little confusing at first

    Read our full review here or

    3. APEC Ultimate RO-90 High Output RO System

    Best For:

    • Tap or disinfected well water
    • Making water ready for drinking
    • Small to larger families

    In a Nutshell:

    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

    Pros & Cons

    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 review here or

    4. APEC ROES-PH75 w/ Remineralization Stage

    Best For:

    • Tap or disinfected well water
    • Making water ready for drinking
    • Small to larger families

    In a Nutshell:

    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

    Pros & Cons

    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 review here or

    5. APEC RO-CTOP Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Filter

    Best For:

    • Tap or disinfected well water
    • At home or on the go
    • Making water ready for drinking
    • Small apartments and renters

    In a Nutshell:

    Another reverse osmosis drinking water filter system by APEC, but this time it’s a highly portable countertop unit that provides you with healthy and delicious 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

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
    • Clean drinking water on the go
    • NSF Standard 42 certified
    • Compact and lightweight for high portability
    • No installation required (great for renters)
    • Hooks up in less than 5 minutes
    • Adapters included
    • Available with aluminum case for better looks
    • Low in maintenance thanks to long lasting filters (U.S. made)
    • 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
    • Incompatible with pull-out, sprayer and special designer faucets
    • Tubing is prone to leaking
    • Pricey
    • Filtration is not the fastest

    Read our full review here or

    6. APEC Water Systems Reviews: Big Blue Whole House Filters

    Best For:

    • City or well water
    • Mainly to improve taste and odor
    • Small to larger families/homes

    In a Nutshell:

    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

    Pros & Cons

    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 review here or

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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.

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