5 Best Whole House Reverse Osmosis Systems in 2021 (+ Commercial Reviews)

Please note: This page may contain affiliate links. If you buy a product or service through such a link we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more about our product review process or check our FTC affiliate disclosure.

In some cases, reverse osmosis is the only water filtration method that can achieve the level of desired water purity.

And compared to point-of-use units, whole house and commercial reverse osmosis systems have much higher filtering capacities and water production rates.

  • A whole house system filters all the water coming into a home and provides purified water at every outlet. You can drink from any faucet, take chemical-free showers for healthier hair and skin, and wash your clothes with soft H2
  • Commercial setups can be used in coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, car washes – you name it. They are suited for businesses that rely on high-volume RO water.

The only problem: How do you find the best whole house reverse osmosis system respectively the best commercial reverse osmosis system out there? Don’t you worry, we got you covered!

On This Page You Will…

No Time to Read? Check Our List of the Best Whole House and Commercial RO Systems!

(Hint: Swipe to Scroll)

SystemOur RatingPriceGallons Per DayRecovery RateFilter StagesSystem
Crystal Quest Thunder Whole House Reverse Osmosis System
Best Whole House Reverse Osmosis System: Crystal Quest Thunder

Read Review

$$$200-7,00033-50%4Crystal Quest Thunder Whole House Reverse Osmosis System
Best Whole House Reverse Osmosis System: Crystal Quest Thunder

Our Rating:
Price: $$$
Gallons Per Day: 200-7,000
Recovery Rate: 33-50%
Filter Stages: 4

Read Review

APEX MR-C1500 Commercial Reverse Osmosis System
Whole House/Commercial RO System Alternative: APEX MR-C1500

Read Review

$$$1,50050-75%4APEX MR-C1500 Commercial Reverse Osmosis System
Whole House/Commercial RO System Alternative: APEX MR-C1500

Our Rating:
Price: $$$
Gallons Per Day: 1,500
Recovery Rate: 50-75%
Filter Stages: 4

Read Review

iSpring RCS5T Light-Commercial Reverse Osmosis System
Best Light-Commercial Reverse Osmosis System: iSpring RCS5T

Read Review

$50050%5iSpring RCS5T Light-Commercial Reverse Osmosis System
Best Light-Commercial Reverse Osmosis System: iSpring RCS5T

Our Rating:
Price: $
Gallons Per Day: 500
Recovery Rate: 50%
Filter Stages: 5

Read Review

Commercial & Whole House Reverse Osmosis System Reviews

1. Best Whole House Reverse Osmosis System: Crystal Quest Thunder

In our opinion, the best whole house reverse osmosis system in 2020 is the Crystal Quest Thunder, for 2 reasons:

  1. You can choose from several different sizes to meet your water demand
  2. It’s really high quality (Made in USA)

All in all, the system provides purified water throughout your entire home for up to 20 years if properly maintained, which is neither difficult nor does it require a lot of work. 5 stars!

Side note: We also consider the Crystal Quest Thunder to be the best commercial reverse osmosis system for heavy duty applications!

Crystal Quest Thunder Whole House Reverse Osmosis System

Crystal Quest Thunder

Price:$$$
Gallons Per Minute:?
Gallons Per Day:200-7,000
Recovery Rate:33-50%
Filter Stages:4

Our Rating

Pros

  • Many different system sizes to choose from for flow rates between 200 and 7,000 gallons per day – plenty of RO water!
    • Smaller 200 to 300-gpd units are for 1-1.5 bathrooms.
    • 500 to 2,500 gpd-systems for up to 4 bathrooms.
    • 4,000 to 7,000 gpd-systems for 5 or more bathrooms.
  • You can add an atmospheric storage tank kit which guarantees sufficient water flow even at times of peak consumption, meaning when you use multiple water outlets in your household at once.
    • Storage tank sizes: 165, 200, or 500 gallons.
    • Kit includes water pump.
  • Features 1-4 high quality TFC reverse osmosis membranes, depending on which size you choose. Guarantees most effective contaminant removal (more than 95% TDS rejection).
  • Every system comes equipped with pre-filtration to extend the service life of the RO membrane(s) and further increase contaminant reduction rates.
    • Sediment pre-filter traps large particulates.
    • Carbon block filter adsorbs chemicals, organics, and bad taste and odor among other stuff.
    • Crystal Quest’s SMART filter eliminates chlorine and chloramine, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and other organic and inorganic pollutants. In addition, it enhances water pH and alkalinity so the purified water is less corrosive.
  • There are various other optional upgrades to handle a diverse range of water treatment applications.
    • Concentrate recycle valve lowers wastewater. Standard range is 33 to 50 percent.
  • System arrives operational and is therefore no more difficult to install than other whole house water filtration systems.
  • Maintenance is simple thanks to easily accessible components and doesn’t require much work. Costs are low: For example, for the smallest setup we estimate $300 annually.

Cons

  • Not exactly cheap.

2. Whole House/Commercial RO System Alternative: APEX MR-C1500

Built in the USA, the APEX MR-C1500 is a commercial reverse osmosis system that’s highly economical. Because all wastewater is reprocessed, the standard recovery is 50 to 75% which is much better than what you get with most other units – a real money saver, plus it’s good for the environment.

And when combined with a storage tank + delivery pump, the APEX MR-C1500 would be ready to go whole house giving you the flow rate and capacity that you and your family need.

APEX MR-C1500 Commercial Reverse Osmosis System

APEX MR-C1500

Price:$$$
Gallons Per Minute:1.04
Gallons Per Day:1,500
Recovery Rate:50-75%
Filter Stages:4

Our Rating

Pros

  • The 5-stage filtration system provides highly pure water at a good flow rate – quality written all over it.
    • A 5-micron sediment pre-filter traps sand, rust, and other debris to prevent clogging.
    • Two 10-micron activated carbon block pre-filters remove chlorine, chloramine, hydrogen sulfide, organic contaminants like herbicides and THMs, and other harmful chemicals that may also make your water taste and smell unpleasant.
    • 3 consecutive RO membranes help to get rid of heavy metals, salts, nitrate, fluoride, and up to 99% of dozens of other contaminants.
  • All filters are standard-sized so you can replace them with off-brand models in case you have specific filtration needs or want to spend less money.
  • A high-pressure pump guarantees maximum water output: 1.04 gallons per minute or 1500 gallons per day avoid long waiting times.
  • The steel frame makes it easier to install, maintain, and move the RO system.
  • Inlet and outlet pressure gauges give you an at-a-glance overview of the system’s status and indicate when the filters need to be changed. Other meters allow you to monitor how well the system performs and make adjustments accordingly.

Cons

  • Let’s put it this way: Quality doesn’t come cheap.

3. Best Selling Light-Commercial Reverse Osmosis System on Amazon: iSpring RCS5T

The iSpring RCS5T is your best option if you don’t want to be spending a thousand dollars or more on a whole house RO system.

It’s a light-commercial grade unit that supplies enough water for small businesses on demand, meaning it does not come with a storage tank.

iSpring RCS5T Light-Commercial Reverse Osmosis System

iSpring RCS5T

Price:$
Gallons Per Minute:0.35
Gallons Per Day:500
Recovery Rate:50%
Filter Stages:5

Our Rating

Pros

  • The RCS5T reverse osmosis system has a theoretical filtration capacity of 500 gpd or 0.34 gpm, under ideal conditions. According to iSpring, the actual output is likely to vary between 350 and 450 gallons – still sufficient for many commercial use cases.
  • A booster pump reduces wastewater production to a minimum (50% recovery rate: For every gallon of filtered water that you can use, only 1 gallon goes down the drain.
    • This sounds like a lot, but for a reverse osmosis water filtration system this is actually pretty good.
  • 4 sediment and carbon pre- and post-filter stages + 1 dual-flow RO membrane (pore size 0.0001 micron) eliminate all the bad stuff that might be lurking in your water, including:
    • 94-96% arsenic-5
    • 99% asbestos
    • 99+% bacteria
    • 94-95% chloramine
    • 94-96% fluoride
    • 96-98% lead
    • 90+% THMs
  • The installation is easy. It can certainly be completed by do-it-yourselfers that are handy with tools. This might be a chance to save some extra cash!
  • Maintaining the unit is a breeze. All you need to do is replace filter cartridges according to your water usage (check built-in pressure gauge).
    • The first set of filters is part of the deal.
  • iSpring offers a free 1-year money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty for peace of mind, if you register your system with the company.
  • Customer service is superb. The team will help you to work through any problem if need be.

Cons

  • Quick connect fittings may leak.
  • The user manual could do with an upgrade.

4. iSpring RCB3P 300-GPD Light Commercial Reverse Osmosis System

Compared to the iSpring RCS5T reviewed above, the RCB3P is a commercial-grade reverse osmosis unit that is compatible with pressurized storage tanks for whole house usage. Filtration capacity: Up to 300 gallons per day under ideal conditions which might be enough if your household is small.

iSpring RCB3P 300-GPD Light Commercial Reverse Osmosis System

iSpring RCB3P

Price:$
Gallons Per Minute:0.21
Gallons Per Day:300
Recovery Rate:25-33%
Filter Stages:5

Our Rating

Pros

  • Applies 5-stage filtration process:
    • Stage 1 is a 5-micron sediment filter that traps larger particles.
    • Stage 2 and 3 are activated carbon filters that reduce chlorine, chloramine, and other chemicals and also improve how your water tastes, smells, and looks.
    • At stage 4, each RO membrane removes hundreds of potential contaminants from your water. A carbon post-filter eliminates residual tastes.
  • For faster water production and a higher recovery rate and purity, a booster pump increases water pressure to 80 psi.
  • The free-standing frame helps you to keep everything nice and clean.
  • System installation is a simple and straightforward process.
  • The system features oversized pre-filters providing about twice as much purified water as the industry standard, which means that they need less frequent changes for added convenience. The same goes for the 3 separate RO membranes that the system uses.
    • A pressure gauge lets you know when it’s time for replacing the filters.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact iSpring’s customer support based in Atlanta, GA if you run into a problem.

Cons

  • More water gets wasted during the purification process compared to other systems.
  • A few issues with shipping which, to be fair, iSpring has resolved exemplarily.

5. WECO HydroSense Light Commercial Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

The WECO HydroSense is the last commercial RO water filter system that we’re going to review as part of this buying guide. It’s ideal for schools, medical offices, hydroponic growing operations, and other use cases.

What’s more, it comes in 5 slightly different variations so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

WECO HydroSense Light Commercial Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

WECO HydroSense

Price:$$
Gallons Per Minute:0.35
Gallons Per Day:500
Recovery Rate:50%
Filter Stages:6

Our Rating

Pros

  • 5 different versions available (from lowest to highest price):
    • Standard HydroSense-0500uses sediment and carbon block pre-filters to remove larger particles and a range of chemicals including pesticides, chlorine, and chloramines plus their cancer-causing byproducts. This not only protects the health of the user, it also prevents the whole system from clogging. Bad taste and smell are also eliminated. In addition, the system uses a total of 5 100-gpd RO membranes rejecting up to 98.5% of all remaining impurities, such as nitrate, fluoride, lead, and overall TDS.
    • HydroSense-0500DIhas an extra deionization resin filter to achieve 0 ppm in TDS.
    • HydroSense-0500GACcomes with a granular activated carbon post-filter to remove any residual tastes and odors (great for whole house use when storing your water in a holding tank).
    • HydroSense-0500UV features a UV filter stage to kill all microbes that might have survived the filtration process or somehow re-enter the water afterwards (great for whole home use when storing your water in a tank).
    • HydroSense-0500GAC-CAL-UV is our favorite as it features both a UV filter stage and a carbon post-filter to give your water a finishing touch. What’s more, the filter also remineralizes your water enhancing its pH to protect pipes and fixtures from corrosion and improve taste.
  • Automated pressure sensors and 4 independent booster pumps make the system run under optimal conditions and at maximum capacity. Flow rate: 0.34 gpm for on-demand use at a 50% recovery rate (or 1:1 waste to reject water ratio) to keep your water bill low.
  • Although we have a total of 4 water pressure pumps, the HydroSense runs very smoothly and quiet without making disturbing noises.
  • The whole unit arrives pre-assembled and can be set up with simple tools. If you do everything yourself, you should have it up and running within a couple of hours.
  • Pre-filters are 20″ in size instead of 10″ which doubles their capacity for fewer replacements saving you time and money.
  • Cartridges can be changed with the help of the filter wrench included in the package.
  • WECO staff is very knowledgeable and happy to help you with all your inquiries

Cons

  • We got nothing.

Comparison List

How do the best whole house reverse osmosis systems respectively the best commercial reverse osmosis system compare to each other?

(Hint: Swipe to Scroll)

SystemPriceAdditional Info
Crystal Quest Thunder$$$
APEX MR-C1500$$$
iSpring RCS5T$
iSpring RCB3P$
WECO HydroSense$$

Buying Guide: What You Need to Consider When Buying a Whole House RO Water Filter

Commercial reverse osmosis systems aren’t cheap. This is all the more true for whole house units. In order for you to make the right buying decision and not waste any money, here is what you need to consider when shopping:

Storage Tank and Other Components

A complete RO solution usually involves more than just the filter unit itself. You may need additional pre and post-treatment (more on this below) and a method for storing and distributing the purified water.

As far as whole house reverse osmosis systems are concerned, there is no way around a water storage tank which collects all filtered water acting as a buffer to make sure that you never run dry.

Most systems are compatible with atmospheric tanks. An atmospheric tank is non-pressurized. Thus, the water must be re-pressurized to flow which is why an additional booster pump is required for distribution. Some RO units also work with pressurized bladder tanks. The benefit of using a bladder tank is that a pressure pump is redundant.

Depending on your conditions, you may or may not require a storage tank with a commercial RO system.

Sizing (Daily Capacity and Water Flow)

Properly sizing a whole house reverse osmosis water filter system is key. Of course, the same goes for commercial units. This is the only way to guarantee that your water needs can be met.

It is estimated that the average American uses about 80 to 100 gallons of water per day. So for a whole house unit, a family of 4 should calculate with at least 4 x 80 gallons = 320 gallons of filtered water.

Furthermore, most experts recommend sizing a system so that it runs at 75% or less. Some go even higher and say the best practice is to double your water usage needs. So for a family using 320 gallons of water a day, a 2 x 320 gpd = 640 gpd (gallons per day) system would be appropriate.

However, just because an RO system is rated at 500 gallons per day does not mean that it will indeed deliver those 500 gallons within 24 hours. These gallon ratings mirror filtration capacities under ideal conditions. If in doubt, ask the manufacturer or seller for the actual output with your water conditions.

By the way, sizing is not only a question of how many gallons of water you use on a daily basis. It’s also about how many gallons you use at peak times, for example in the morning. This is why at least for whole house applications a large enough storage tank is mandatory. Minimum size: The amount of water that you use over the course of 1 day.

Light-commercial reverse osmosis systems are tankless most of the time. In other words, water gets purified on demand. So what matters most here is the amount of water that can be produced within a certain period. This is also known as water flow rate measured in gpm (gallons per minute). If a system’s flow rate is below of what you require, you may experience a drop in water pressure.

commercial reverse osmosis system

Pre-Treatment

Depending on your feed water quality, a whole house RO system may call for additional pre-treatment. The same is the case for commercial units that operate at very high flow rates.

With the proper measures in place, a reverse osmosis system can last for many years. Without them, a system is almost bound to fail prematurely, which will add to the operating cost.

  • A backwashing carbon filter removes chlorine and other chemicals.
  • In case of high water hardness a water softener is required, since hard water can plug and foul an RO membrane.
  • If iron, manganese, or sulfur is an issue as is often the case with well water, specialized removal filters are your only option.

We also highly recommend that you conduct a water quality test to get a basic understanding of the condition of your feed water and the contaminants it contains. For TDS above 2,000 ppm, consider consulting a specialist to discuss your next steps.

Post-Treatment

Calcite filters are most commonly added to whole house RO systems for post-treatment. These raise water pH to prevent corrosion of copper pipes and fixtures, and also improve water taste (what you have to know is that reverse osmosis reduces natural mineral content in water).

What’s more, if you don’t consume a whole lot of water for a few days in a row and it stays inside the storage tank for too long, UV light disinfection or ozonation are recommended to ensure that any microbes that might have accumulated are rendered harmless.

Installation & Maintenance

Of course, every POE and commercial RO filtration system is different, but as a general rule, most of them can only be installed by do-it-yourselfers that have the necessary time, determination, and experience OR by a professional plumber or contractor.

As for the maintenance part, all there is to do is replace any pre and post-filters and any membranes on a regular basis and according to your water usage – easy. The crucial factor is replacement cost that can add up over time depending on the filter brand.

Wastewater

In the past, RO systems used to waste 6, 7, or even 8 gallons of water for every gallon purified. That’s not only a waste of resources, it also costs a lot of money. Today, modern devices are much more efficient which is all the more important if you go whole house. They can now achieve a minimum recovery rate of 33% (2:1).

By using a recycle valve, a portion of the drain water flows back into the system to obtain recovery rates of up to 70%. Multi-membrane units can achieve even more.

Also, remember that the amount of wastewater produced might overburden your septic system. In this case, you will need to send it to a dry well or out the basement drain system if possible.

Dimensions

These systems are heavy and more importantly large in size, so make sure that you have enough space to accommodate one.

Cost

The cost for a whole house RO filtration system can vary a lot. If we are only talking about the system itself without storage tank and optional delivery pump, expect to pay anywhere between a few hundred and a couple of thousand dollars. This depends on how sophisticated the purification process, how high the filter capacity, and how many extras you want.

The price for a system including an atmospheric tank plus delivery pump or alternatively a bladder tank is even higher.

More on Whole House Reverse Osmosis Systems

What is a Whole House Reverse Osmosis System?

Of all water treatment methods, reverse osmosis removes the largest spectrum of contaminants at the most economical costs. Overall contaminant rejection rates: Between 95 to 99.9 percent.

Most common are RO systems that get installed under the kitchen sink or that stand on a countertop. But there are also whole house RO water filters and systems designed for commercial use.

Both whole house and commercial units are much larger in size and can provide much more water much faster, compared to under sink or countertop systems.

How Does a Whole House Reverse Osmosis System Work?

Just like any other system type, a whole house reverse osmosis system makes use of a semipermeable membrane to remove a wide range of contaminants from water.

This process is based on the natural osmosis phenomenon, where a solvent flows from a low-salt through a membrane and into a high-salt solution until both salt concentrations are equal. In reverse osmosis the exact opposite happen: External pressure is applied to reverse the solvent flow. The aim is to separate the solvent (in our case water) from the salt (in our case any water impurities) resulting in purified water.

Natural Osmosis Process Diagram

Reverse Osmosis Process Diagram

That said, a semipermeable RO membrane doesn’t make a (whole house) reverse osmosis system. Pre-filtration is used to protect the delicate membrane from fouling. This is usually achieved through sediment and activated carbon filtration. Depending on the quality of your water, you may also require more specialized filters and filter media to get rid of heavy metals, hard water minerals, etc.

In our opinion, the most important post-filter to use in conjunction with a whole house RO system is a calcite filter. The goal is to make the RO water – water that has been deprived of its mineral content – more alkaline and thus prevent corrosion of the plumbing system.

After the filtration process comes a pressurized or atmospheric water storage tank. This is the only way to guarantee that you don’t run out of purified water all of a sudden. An atmospheric tank must be used in conjunction with a booster pump for water distribution.

Do You Even Need a Whole House System?

There is only one way to answer this question: Doing a thorough water analysis.

If you test your water you know what type(s) of contaminants you are dealing with. For this, you can either hire an independent laboratory which allows you to test for hundreds of different substances that your water supply might contain. Or you can do the testing yourself using simple test kits which are widely available.

For people on tap water, another option is to check their latest water quality report. People on well water usually don’t have that choice.

Each method has its pros and cons:

  • A water quality report has to be provided for free, however, water utilities are only required to test for certain contaminants and contamination that happens while the water travels from the utility to your home cannot be detected at all.
  • Hiring a lab you get the most complete picture of the situation, but it’s not cheap.
  • Doing your own testing using a kit is affordable but results may be faulty and incomplete.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Whole House Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration

Advantages

Healthy Drinking Water

The number one benefit of using a whole house RO water filtration system is that you get access to RO water at every single outlet in your home. Drinking RO purified water is much healthier than drinking plain tap water obviously. That’s because reverse osmosis is a tried and tested technology. It removes up to 99.99% of heavy metals, metalloids, transition metals, salts like nitrate, bacteria, viruses, and cyst – and the list goes on. In addition, a system’s pre and post-filters target sediments, water disinfectants, disinfection byproducts, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and PFAS among other things.

Better Tasting Water and Food

Water free from chlorine and other chemicals and contaminants is likely to taste and smell much better. The same goes for meals that are prepared using the water.

Healthier Skin and Hair

Chlorine-free water with reduced mineral content also benefits your skin and hair when used for showering and to fill the bath tub. Both chlorine and hard water minerals are known to irritate sensitive skin and dry out hair.

Shower Head Running

Customized Water Purification

Many whole house systems are easily customizable to your individual water purification needs.

Money Savings

Operating a system is more affordable than buying bottled water for drinking.

Simple to Maintain

Maintaining any type of whole house water filter system sounds more complicated than it is. In fact, RO system maintenance is rather simple. You just need to remember to replace the different filter elements in due time.

Disadvantages

Wastewater

Even a small point-of-use reverse osmosis water filtration system wastes water. That’s just how the process works. This applies all the more to a whole house unit; it produces wastewater on a large scale. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to recovery rates.

Lack of Minerals

RO is free from almost all impurities. Unfortunately, this also includes minerals like calcium and magnesium. On the one hand, those healthy minerals cannot add to your recommended daily intake anymore. On the other hand, water that lacks minerals is more corrosive. That’s why we recommend you add a remineralization/alkalinization stage to your setup.

Proper Installation Required

Installing a whole house filter system at the main water line involves plumbing.

Should You Invest in a POE RO System for Your Home?

For us, the main reason to install a POE reverse osmosis system in your home is when other methods of water filtration cannot provide the desired results in terms of filtered water purity or quality.

But to be completely honest, this is rare. You may be able to achieve satisfying results by combining a regular whole house water filter that processes the water you use for showering and to wash your clothes etc., with an under sink or countertop reverse osmosis system that provides clean drinking water at a single point of use.

The costs for such a setup are likely to be significantly lower and you don’t have to deal with the undesired side effects of whole home RO purification, first and foremost the amount of water that gets wasted and the corrosiveness of the permeate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • How much does a whole house RO system cost?
    The price range is huge. Lower priced systems start at several hundred dollars not including a storage tank kit. Setups for large homes can easily cost more than $2000 USD.
  • Is reverse osmosis water healthy to drink?
    Reverse osmosis is free from contaminants and is therefore healthy to drink. However, we recommend enriching the water with minerals before consumption.
  • Do I need a whole house RO filter if I own a water softener?
    A water softener removes hard water minerals. It has almost no effect on harmful chemicals and other water contaminants.
comment banner blue

Questions? Ask away!

And keep in mind: We’ll add new whole house reverse osmosis system reviews occasionally. So come back for more!

About the Author Maria Martino

Maria Martino is one of our part-time content creators. She owns a B.A. in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Chicago and enjoys writing about all walks of life. When she doesn’t write, Maria likes to portray people and support her local community.
Learn more about Maria and the rest of the BOS Team.

Maria

Leave a Comment:

Want cleaner, safer and healthier water?

Sign up to join 1,000+ subscribers and get notified about new BOS guides & checklists as well as exclusive product sales and discount codes.