Is a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System Worth It?

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Are you considering taking the plunge into the pure waters of home reverse osmosis filtration, but not sure if it’s worth it?

At the end of the day, that’s something only you can decide by weighing up all the pros and cons with your own personal situation.

However, we want to make that decision a little easier for you by discussing all the things you might need to consider. After all, an informed decision is the best kind…

Key Takeaways

  • Depending on the level of contamination of your feed water and your budget, a reverse osmosis water filter system may be worthwhile.
  • If you want to ensure healthy and clean drinking water for your household at all times, then an RO system is worth the cost and cheaper than drinking bottled water.

Is a Reverse Osmosis System Worth It?

So, is a reverse osmosis system worth it? Yes, reverse osmosis is worth it – at least in our opinion. Let’s elaborate:

If you have contaminated water, then some kind of RO purification is usually worth the cost as pretty much all systems end up being cheaper over time than buying bottled water. Besides, the quality of bottled water is far from perfect. Chances are high that the RO water you produce yourself at home will be much purer than the bottled water you can buy at your local grocery store.

That said, prices for an RO system will vary considerably depending on factors like its brand, the exact filtration process, and the level of NSF certification.

System size also plays a huge part. Countertop or under sink reverse osmosis systems might only set you back a few hundred dollars, but a whole house system will be thousands.

If you have other features you want to install, this will affect the price too. For example, adding a UV water purifier to the RO system or a pressure pump to boost feed water pressure will all increase the price.

Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

As a general guide, a point-of-use RO system will set you back between $150-600 at purchase and an additional $150-400 for the initial setup (unless you do the installation yourself which most people do). This does not include filter replacement costs, which will vary depending on which system you buy, and how often you need to replace the filters.

So, is it worth the cost to you? Let’s see how you weigh the price points with the advantages and disadvantages we will discuss below.

What Is Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration and How Does It Work?

Before we get into the pros and cons of reverse osmosis, let’s talk about what it actually does. A reverse osmosis system is the gold standard of water purification. By pushing water through pre-filtration steps and then through a reverse osmosis membrane, it captures even the smallest of harmful contaminants, leaving you with almost 100% pure H2O.

Whole house system aside, there are two main point-of-use systems, a countertop and an under sink. Countertops are great if you want portable and accessible, and under sinks are great for being out of the way. Both will only filter water at the point of use, not anywhere else around the house.

What Pollutants Does a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Remove?

When functioning optimally, an RO system can remove water pollutants such as heavy metals, bacteria, chlorine, pesticides and herbicides, nitrites, fluoride, dirt, and sediment. This will also vary depending on which pre-filtration steps you have. A combined 4+ filtration steps can remove the following:

  • Dirt and debris
  • Chlorine, chloramine, and their byproducts
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Nitrates and other salts
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Heavy metals such as lead and mercury
  • Arsenic
  • PFAS
  • Disease-causing pathogens

Benefits of Reverse Osmosis Systems

Here are all the benefits of home RO systems at a glance:

Broad Contaminant Removal for Healthier Water

Reverse osmosis systems remove up to 99.99% of water contaminants, leaving you with incredibly pure and safe drinking water.

Better Tasting Water (Improved Hydration)

Your reverse osmosis system eliminates bad tastes. You might even drink more because your water tastes so much better, leading you to reap the multiple health benefits that come with improved hydration.

RO water can also improve the taste of your food if you are using it for cooking.

Unpleasant Odors Removed

Odor-causing pathogens and chlorine are removed from RO water, as well.

Safer and Cheaper Than Bottled Water

While bottled water contains microplastics that could be harmful to health, reverse osmosis water doesn’t, making it a safer option – not to mention other pollutants that often make their way into bottled water.

RO water is also cheaper if you are a household that only drinks bottled water.

Easy to Install

Countertop units are installation-free. Under sink models are slightly more complicated, but you could probably still do it yourself with a few tools and a manual.

Easy to Maintain

General maintenance is easy and only sometimes needed, if your RO system is installed correctly and the filters changed when they are supposed to be. Aside from changing the filters, which is as easy as removing the old ones and popping the new ones in, most maintenance involved is cleaning and sanitizing.


Many reverse osmosis systems allow for customization, so if you want to add a UV purifier or a remineralization filter, no problem!

young girl opening reverse osmosis faucet

Reverse Osmosis Disadvantages

Beneficial Minerals Removed

With reverse osmosis, removal of all the baddies means the removal of all the goodies, including beneficial minerals. These can be added back in with a remineralization filter, or you can get those essential minerals from your food, but for some, the lack of them in the water is a concern.


There is no getting around it; RO produces quite a bit of wastewater, up to a 1:4 ratio depending on the system and feed water pressure. A permeate pump may be able to reduce the wastewater.

Faucet Hole Required

If you have an under sink RO system, you will need to have an extra hole in your sink drilled for the special RO faucet if you don’t have one in there already. This is easy enough with stainless steel sinks and a little more difficult with sinks made from other materials.

Drain Connection

Because reverse osmosis water purification produces wastewater no matter what, a drain connection is required for disposal of this waste. This means there must be a drain near the installation location.

Under Sink Space

If you want an under-the-sink unit, you will need to make sure you have enough space under your sink or in a nearby closet so that you can still run the lines to your RO faucet. This could be a problem in smaller apartments.

Slow Process

Reverse osmosis is not a fast process. An under sink unit with a storage tank will take time to fill, and once it is used up, you have to wait for it to refill again. The water that comes out of the RO faucet is low-pressure for this reason and is only suitable for drinking and cooking.

If you have any thoughts about the question, is reverse osmosis worth it, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald is one of the founders of BOS and currently head of content creation. She has 8+ years of experience as a water treatment specialist under her belt making her our senior scientist. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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