Review: Crystal Quest Thunder Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

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The Crystal Quest Thunder is a portable countertop reverse osmosis system. Most importantly, it can be installed to and removed from any standard-sized faucet in no time. You can use it in your RV or home and take it with you when you move to a new place. You might even have the space to make it your travel companion – safe water no matter where you go!

Let’s find out about all the pros, cons, and complaints of the Crystal Quest Thunder Countertop Reverse Osmosis System.

Crystal Quest Thunder Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

Crystal Quest Thunder Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

Price: $$
Filter Stages: 10
Water Flow: 0.02 Gallons Per Minute
NSF Certifications:
Annual Cost: ~$65-100

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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Crystal Quest Thunder Countertop Reverse Osmosis System – All Specs

  • Model: CQE-CT-00142
  • Last Price: $202.23
  • Annual Maintenance Cost: ~$65-100
  • Filter Process: GAC, RO, KDF, Ion Exchange, 1-Micron Filter Pads
  • Filter Stages: 10
  • Flow Rate: 0.02 gpm
  • Membrane Rating: 50 gpd
  • Filtering Capacity: 1-3 Years
  • WxHxD: 16″x7″x7″
  • Water Temperature: 40-85 °F
  • Minimum Water Pressure: 45 psi
  • Warranty: 1-Year Limited

Crystal Quest – Discount Code

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Crystal Quest Thunder – Key Features

When you attach the Crystal Quest Thunder to a faucet the water has to go through 10 filtration steps before it comes out of the dispenser:

  1. It all starts with a 1-micron filter pad. The pad blocks suspended solids like sediment but also giardia and cryptosporidium (cyst).
  2. Filter stage 2 uses granulated activated carbon. It adsorbs chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, and all kinds of chemicals that might be causing bad taste and odor, and that could actually be harmful to your health.
  3. Next comes another 1-micron filter pad.
  4. At the heart of the system (stage 4), the reverse osmosis membrane comes into play. It removes the majority of inorganic contaminants – think lead and other heavy metals, and salts like nitrate or chloride.
  5. One more filter pad.
  6. Filter stages 6 and 7 use a blend of copper and zinc oxidation media (Eagle Redox Alloy) also known as KDF to reduce chlorine, water soluble metals such as iron, lead, and chromium, hydrogen sulfide, and more. The filter media also inhibits bacteria from fouling the system.
  7. Stage 8 is an ion exchange resin. It gets rid of whatever heavy metals might be left and also reduces water hardness.
  8. Another granular activated carbon filter removes any residual tastes.
  9. A final 1-micron filter pad.

All in all, the Crystal Quest Thunder produces water that is much healthier and that tastes very clean. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with specific contaminant reduction rates (more on this in a bit).

By the way, you can order additional optional filter cartridges. There’s one for nitrates, one for arsenic, one for fluoride, and one ionization/remineralization/oxidation filter. They might be useful for your individual water situation.

What flow rate can you expect? The system is rated at .02 gallons per minute at 60 psi which equals around 2 gallons per hour. If the water pressure in your house is lower, you’ll get less. So the filtration is not super-fast but fast enough if you use the Crystal Quest Thunder in combination with a large container to store the purified water in.

Filter life: 1-3 years at $65-100 annually.

Crystal Quest Countertop RO Pros

For us, the main selling point of the Crystal Quest Thunder is its portability. Measuring 16x7x7 inches it’s one of the most compact countertop RO systems we know. This plus the fact that the unit can be easily hooked up and removed from any standard faucet within seconds, 2 minutes at max (adapter kit comes included), is why it’s our #1 portable reverse osmosis system.

Plus, there are no permanent modifications to your plumbing involved during installation – ideal for renters!

Crystal Quest customer service is great, too. And everything is covered by a 1-year warranty.

More pros:

  • Annual maintenance cost are very affordable.
  • Quick connect fittings allow for fast filter replacements.
  • BPA free.
  • Made in USA.

What Contaminants Are Being Removed?

The contaminants targeted by the Crystal Quest Thunder include:

  • Suspended particles
  • Cryptosporidium, giardia
  • Chlorine
  • Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides
  • VOCs
  • Disinfection byproducts
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Chromium
  • Cadmium
  • Aluminum
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Salts like nitrate and fluoride
  • And more

Crystal Quest Thunder Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

The Crystal Quest Thunder – learn more on


The Crystal Quest Thunder comes with all hardware included. Here’s how to set it up:

Please consider these instructions as a general guideline. Always make sure to check and follow your user manual before getting started.
  1. Remove the faucet’s aerator.
  2. Check if you need an adapter.
  3. Screw the diverter to the faucet until hand tight.
  4. Use the clamp to tighten hose to the diverter.
  5. Push spout into housing.
  6. Turn on the water and check for leaks.
  7. Run about 4-5 gallons of water through the system before using it for the first time.

As mentioned before, the system can be quickly connected to all standard-sized kitchen or bathroom taps without making any permanent changes which is ideal if you are renting. Adapters are included.

The Package (Parts)

  • GAC filter cartridge
  • 50 gpd RO membrane
  • SMART filter cartridge
  • Various system components including diverter, tubing, auto shut-off valve
  • Adapters


All filter elements need to be replaced regularly to ensure proper system performance. The granular activated carbon cartridge expires within 12-18 months. RO membrane and SMART filter last 2-3 years.

However, if you notice a change in water taste or smell or you see a reduction in water flow it’s usually an indicator that at least one filter element has reached the end of its life.

The good news, replacing is fast and easy thanks to quick-connect fittings. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Unscrew the connector fitting counter-clockwise.
  2. Remove the membrane housing cap.
  3. Using a pincer, pull out the membrane.
  4. Insert the new membrane, pushing as far as it would go.
  5. Wrap the connector fitting with seal tape before reconnecting it.

Cost? Between $65 and $100 per year which is pretty affordable.

You should also soak the diverter in a solution of water and vinegar around once per month.


Here is a link to the official manual:

NSF and Other Certifications

There are no official certifications, NSF or otherwise, listed for this product.

Earlier Product Versions

We couldn’t find any earlier versions of the Crystal Quest Thunder.

Crystal Quest RO Cons

The product description says all system components are NSF-certified. But no actual certification or performance data are provided. We don’t even know which NSF certifications we’re talking about here. Personally, we would have appreciated specific contaminant reduction rates. That said, reverse osmosis water purification, activated carbon adsorption, and the other filter media mentioned above have proven themselves over the years.

More cons:

  • Only produces around 0.02 gpm – that’s okay for a reverse osmosis system with no pump, but since you have no storage tank and need to filter water on demand, this is quite slow.
  • No information about recovery rate, but we assume it’s not very high. We estimate that at least 3-5 gallons of water go down the drain wasted for every gallon of purified water.
  • Requires a direct faucet connection, but it can only be fit on standard faucets. This means that you can’t use it with any pull-out, special designer faucets, sprayer faucets, or any other more unusual designs.

Crystal Quest Thunder Review: Our Verdict + Best for

People are satisfied with both product and customer service. They say the Crystal Quest Thunder Countertop Reverse Osmosis System is “worth every penny” and would buy again. We can only agree. Considering the reasonable price, it’s our go-to portable RO system and worth 4 stars from us!

The Crystal Quest Thunder is best for people who want a compact RO system ideal for both home use and travelling.

Our Rating in Detail:

  • Filtration Performance: 4.0/5.0
  • Filter Capacity (Life): 5.0/5.0
  • Purchase Price: 4.5/5.0
  • Annual Cost: 5.0/5.0
  • Overall: 4.0/5.0

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Comparison to Other Reverse Osmosis Systems

If you’re looking for a good countertop RO system that doesn’t require installation, there are other options available on the market – such as the AquaTru and the SimPure Y7P.

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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SimPure Y7P-BW Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter

SimPure Y7P-BW

Price: $$
Filter Stages: 4
Flow Rate: 0.1 gpm
NSF: 58
Annually: $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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Crystal Quest Thunder Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

Crystal Quest Thunder

Price: $$
Filter Stages: 10
Flow Rate: 0.02 gpm
Annually: ~$65-100

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.

Get 5% Off! Use Code: BOS5OFF

The AquaTru is a personal favorite of ours for several reasons. Most importantly, it comes with a 4-stage filtration system that’s been independently tested and certified against NSF standards, with guaranteed removal or reduction of around 80 contaminants. The system holds 5 NSF/ANSI standards in total: 42, 53, 58, 401, and P473. That’s remarkable on its own, and carries a lot more weight in terms of guaranteeing pure, clean drinking water compared to the Crystal Quest Thunder. The contaminants targeted by the system 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%
  • Several trace pharmaceuticals and pesticides: 86.7% – 96.6%
  • PFOA, PFOS: 97.5%

Its design is sleek and saves space compared to some other models, and it’s very simple to assemble and get it up and running – as is using it afterwards. It also filters water very fast, which is a major bonus over the Crystal Quest Thunder. The recovery rate is very good as well, with only about a fifth of the input water going down the drain – that’s an 80% recovery rate, several times better than what the Crystal Quest offers. That’s thanks to the internal pump.

Speaking of the construction, the AquaTru uses BPA and BPS-free Tritan plastic exclusively. It also requires very little long-term maintenance, thanks to the long-lasting filters and the quick replacements that take just a couple of minutes and don’t even require any tools. You also get an indicator light that lets you know when it’s time to change your filters – which should be done every 6-24 months for the various stages. This all comes down to around $120 per year, which is more than the Crystal Quest Thunder but is still quite affordable. The AquaTru also comes with a 1-year limited warranty. The only major issues we’re aware of include occasional leaking, as well as some units breaking down prematurely. And of course, the unit costs quite a bit more than the Crystal Quest Thunder.

The SimPure Y7P is another strong contender, and a great option for those on a more limited budget. However, it’s still more expensive than the Crystal Quest Thunder. In our opinion, this system measures up to the AquaTru, and it’s definitely better than the Crystal Quest Thunder. The model requires no installation, and comes with 4 filter stages – one of which is a UV post-filter, which is great at eliminating various microorganisms. It’s worth noting that neither the Crystal Quest Thunder, nor the AquaTru have this feature.

The model also comes with testing against NSF standard 58 – although there’s no official certificate for that. The list of targeted contaminants is less impressive than that of the AquaTru, but still better than what the Crystal Quest Thunder has to offer. In total, there’s testing for 16 contaminants, including:

  • Chlorine: 99.45%
  • Lead: 98.46%
  • Chromium-6: 99.28%
  • Arsenic: 99.65%
  • Nitrate: 96.26%
  • PFOA: 98.75%
  • PFOS: 98.30%
  • TDS: 98.64%
  • Turbidity: 99.47%
  • Total coliforms: 99.99%

The system also works quite fast, and wastes little water – only 1 gallon is wasted per 4 gallons of pure water, which is the same as the AquaTru, and far better than the Crystal Quest Thunder. You can select between several cup sizes: 6 oz, 12 oz, 15 oz, or a continuous stream of water. No BPA materials are used in the construction. The system alerts you when it’s time to replace the filters. Those only last for around 528 gallons – or 6 months – so expect more frequent replacements compared to the AquaTru and Crystal Quest. Your annual costs are around the same as for AquaTru – about $120, and you get a 1-year warranty.

Bottom line: The AquaTru comes in first place, closely followed by the SimPure. We recommend the Crystal Quest Thunder RO system if you want the smallest and most portable solution.

More Crystal Quest Reviews:

This completes our review of the Crystal Quest Thunder Countertop 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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