Water purification has become an essential part of the contemporary lifestyle. Household tap water is no longer completely reliable, either due to extensive chemicals or ineffective treatment processes. This situation means that plain tap water is no longer viable from a hygiene perspective, and due to health concerns in terms of consuming fresh water.
Accessing purified, safe drinking water has become essential. Sourcing a reverse osmosis system that does what it promises, and delivers pure, safe drinking water has now become a sought-after home item. Here, we explain optimal solutions for your home and family.
Reverse Osmosis Systems Explained
The following products have been used for decades to provide homes with pure drinking water. These systems use a tested, pump-driven high-pressure method to convert tap water, brackish- or sea-water into potable water.
Although not a new technology for water purification, this osmosis process has been around in a natural form in our environment since time immemorial. Contemporary water purification methods use the same principle found in nature, but in reverse.
Uses for Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis has been successfully used to treat water in various conditions. These includes desalination of sea water, purification of brackish water, conversion of waste- and tap- water into safe, drinking water. In comparison to other methods such as distillation, reverse osmosis is one of the water purification methods that uses the least energy.
To recap, reverse osmosis can be used to purify water from:
Best Reverse Osmosis System Reviews 2018
iSpring RCC7 WQA is the only reverse osmosis system to have received the Water Quality Association’s Gold Seal Certification in the world, making it a top model that exemplifies quality, safety, and durability.
This system is modelled on reverse osmosis (RO) with an infused granular activated carbon (GAC), carbon block (CTO) filtration basis, and polypropylene sediment (PP), which converts low-quality water to produce a refreshing, high-quality, pure result.
The iSpring RCC7 WQA model measures in at just 17.5 by 14.5 by 5.25 inches, encompassing a reservoir of 16 by 11 inches, with the entire system fitting beneath your sink cabinet.
A compact, lead-free brass surface tap with a nickel coated finishing can then be installed on your kitchen counter top for convenient access to your purified water source. Alternatively, this output can be connected to your ice maker, refrigerator, or coffee maker for added convenience.
Installing your iSpring RCC7 WQA model is quite simple, and is accompanied by multi-media instructions in the form of written text and video. DIY for the majority of customer is, therefore, an easy process. When required, parts are standardized and available directly from the supplier. A one-year money back guarantee, limited warranty, and a lifetime of technical support complete the customer’s value add for this top-rated product.
Highly-rated and popular, the RCC7 WQA has continued to deliver customer satisfaction as a very effective system over the year. I particularly enjoy its convenient tank feature. Even though the tank produces 2½ gallons with every purification run, this is an exceptional product, which is also appropriately priced. Even though I purchased this system to enhance my aquarium, rather than for household drinking purposes, it has made a significant difference in my life.
This system is so effective that my aquarium no longer suffers with algae problems, which was destroyed in no time at all. Making my life even more simple, I was able to connect this model to my upstairs water supply to enhance my personal hygiene program. Being able to connect this model in my bathroom is convenient for hygiene and for providing fresh drinking water upstairs.
Cleaning the water filters is also easy, adding to the convenience offered by this product. Whenever I have needed technical assistance to maintain my water system, the company’s services have always been available to help get my system up and running in no time.
Because the first stage housing is transparent, the sediment filter can be easily viewed at all times. Actually, being able to see the sediment that my water system removes, gives me even greater confidence in its purification capabilities, also allowing me to change the filter when needed, making maintenance even easier.
Find more iSpring RCC7 WQA information and reviews here
- Multimedia instructions facilitate easy DIY installation.
- Purified water offers a crisp, refreshing taste to add to health benefits.
- Convenient water pressure and connection potential to other household equipment such as your refrigerator, ice maker and coffee machine.
- Easy connect to water supply.
- Excessive filtering of natural minerals from water.
- Assembly can be time-consuming, particularly if you are not adept at DIY tasks.
2. APEC Essence Ultra Safe – Best Reverse Osmosis System for Water Well
APEC Essence Ultra Safe is another top RO home model that is notable for the refreshing, clean water results that it produces.
Used for various purposes in the kitchen such as coffee, ice, tea, and cooking, this system adds great value for the health-conscious family.
You can confidently leave the purchase of expensive bottled water in the past. There is no more need to rush to the store when you run out of fresh water, as you can now conveniently produce your own in the comfort of your home. With access to pure drinking water, a healthier life for your entire family is now within reach.
A full 99% of water contaminants will be eradicated by this system, including any unpleasant odors, tastes, lead, chromium, arsenic, or fluoride. The APEC Essence Ultra Safe model uses a very efficient RO system that will continue to convert contaminated water into deliciously health purified water for many years to come.
Designed to fit in areas that do not necessarily contain an abundance of flat surfaces, this model is easy to install in just about any space on a permanent basis. An added benefit is that it will not be necessary to cut any holes to access your sink in the process.
Clear instructions make installation easy. Customers will be able to use a variety of solutions to ensure this model remains in place and stable once installed. Even those with little DIY experience will be surprised at just how easy installing this water purifier will be.
At an output of 50 gallons your household is assured of sufficient water for drinking or cooking throughout the day.
With good maintenance through following the instructions, you can rest assured that minimal water wastage will occur. Regular maintenance of your model is easy. All you need to do is follow the instructions, and you will have a regular supply of many years of clean drinking water right in your home.
I have personal knowledge of the installation process since I was able to install this system for my neighbor several weeks ago. Some minor discomfort lying on my back while following the instructions saw the system installed under his sink in a reasonably short timeframe.
The instructions specifically say that Teflon tape should be used. I highly recommend that you use this particular product to guard against any leaks. This is a sturdy model that has been well-designed to remain stable on any surface, which helps to maintain minimal movement and support the prevention of future leaks.
Buy APEC Essence here
- Thoughtfully designed and stable.
- Supports daily use for many years to come.
- Instructions are clear, which makes installation quite simple.
- The taste of the purified water is preferable to bottled water.
- After-sales service is not optimal.
- Parts may need to be replaced after several months of regular use.
The Home Master TMHP is a unique product in that it not only purifies your water, but also adds minerals for extra health benefits. Your tap water is both cleaned, while increasing its flavor and value as an additional benefit.
This system incorporates a permeate pump to reduce the wastage of water by approximately 80%, and it boosts the production of water by approximately 50%.
Common issues typically found in other reverse osmosis designs have been eliminated in this model. The slow canister filter housing flow rate is increased in this system, water wastage has been substantially reduced, additional minerals have been included to improve water flavor and health value, and leakages have been reduced.
The features of this model have been significantly improved on with the modular filter design, giving consumers improved water outputs, a faster flow rate, filters that are easily changed and maintained, plus the benefits of a UV light.
The Home Master TMHP also comes with a 9-step filtration, sanitization, and sterilization process in contrast to the usual 5 – 7 stages currently on the market. These improvements all add up to an excellent purchase that delivers delicious, clean water.
Just some of the components of this model include the use of catalytic carbon, sediment, iron, together with the RO sanitization method, which removes 98% of chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, chemicals, metals, dissolved solids, chloramines, and other potentially detrimental contents from your water.
The latest innovative redox media KDF85 method also eliminates dissolved iron, which is frequently present in well water. Dissolved iron has been found to destroy the membrane of the RO system, so this new addition is most welcome.
Most people dread the DIY installation process of any equipment, and let’s face it, we know some people who love DIY but shouldn’t go there. Luckily, for both these groups, installing the Master TMHP system is not that complicated. The system comes with clear installation instructions that make this job quite simple and quick. There is nothing about this process that need put you off, so go ahead and try it out. The result will be the refreshing, healthy drink of clean, cool water that you anticipated.
The Master TMHP water purifier model encompasses a mixed media pre-filter with catalytic carbon, which ensures that dangerous chemicals like chloramines, herbicides, and pesticides are eliminated from your water. In a world where chemical contamination of our food and water is a strong concern, this feature gives me great confidence in this product. With its advanced UV light, the sterilization chamber has the ability to get rid of up to 99% of all germs, bacteria, and viruses that may be present in tap water.
The encouraging result of all of these features is that you end up with water that is 100% pure and also tastes really good. A water production rate of 50 gallons a day also ensures that the entire family should have access to enough pure drinking water every day.
Find more Home Master TMHP information and reviews here
- Maintenance is simple and easy.
- Very durable product.
- Water wastage is minimal.
- Installation is quick and simple.
- Changing of the filter can be a little tricky.
- Install carefully to avoid potential leakage.
With the Express Water RO5DX model, you can expect to receive a conveniently simple design that is very user-friendly. Its twirl connections ensure that the membrane container can easily be opened, which is apparent in that none of the pipes need to be impacted.
As none of the piping needs to be touched, this helps to prevent leakages in the model over time. This design is, therefore, really optimal in this sense as it avoids an annoying little issue that has not been considered in other RO water purification models.
The Express Water R05DX is also an easy to install model, with no particular skills or technical knowledge being required. A simple, yet comprehensive installation manual also makes this a quick task to implement.
Helping with the installation process are all the labelled parts, such as the water inlet pipe, waste-water, the faucet, and storage tank.
Value for money when purchasing a reverse osmosis system is always important to consumers. You will be pleased to learn that this model helps to reduce operating costs in addition to its other attractive features.
A huge saving of approximately 1000 gallons for every 30-days of use ensures that the membrane life of your water purifier is vastly extended. The system in this model also switches off as soon as its pressure reaches 65%, and when it has filled up to a 2/3 capacity level.
The large storage volume of 4.4 gallons also operates well between pressure levels of 45 to 75 psi. Reverse osmosis performance is dependent on flow rates when booster pumps are not available, making this a welcome feature in this model.
A further feature of this model is that the flow restrictor, which feeds the appropriate levels of water pressure through its membrane, enhances the efficiency of its functionality to produce drinking water that is of an exceptional quality, is safe, and highly palatable.
Buy Express Water RO5DX here
- Operations are smooth and noise free.
- The automatic switch-off system increases its lifespan.
- Operates without electricity.
- Quite a lot of water is wasted.
- Can only be used with treated water, such as tap water.
The Hydro-Logic 31040 Stealth-RO200 is one of the largest reverse osmosis water purifiers on the market today. Delivering approximately 200 gallons of pure water daily, this monster is ideal for the household with an extended family.
Also eliminating 98% of water impurities such as chlorine, water wastage is also limited to 25% less than many other similar systems. One of its most attractive features is that it uses a convenient plug-in-and-use technology.
Everyone appreciates a minimum of maintenance in a busy contemporary lifestyle, and this model delivers exactly that. Advanced technology that produces pure water, while also saving you time and energy is definite must.
Plug-in-and-use technology equates to zero installation time, which also means that your first drink of purified water is rapidly produced. Additionally, low maintenance features also mean that this is a very durable water purifier.
The Hydro-Logic 31040 Stealth-RO200 is definitely a great competitor for other similar products on the market. Elimination of 98% of tap water impurities quite simply adds to the attraction.
Despite producing 200 gallons of pure water every day, and removing chlorine, it is also an effective power saver. This reverse osmosis water system saves up to 25% more electricity than other products in its class.
Research indicates that this water purifier is also ideally suited to drawing water from wells. Water wells usually have a very brackish water, which can be quite unpleasant to use for household purposes. Fortunately, as a large water volume purifier, this model easily eliminates large quantities of iron, neutralizes high pH levels, and normalizes ppm.
After measuring the output of this system, the pH indicated a figure of 5.7 and a ppm of 10. Following up on a small leak, I was pleasantly surprised to find that after sales services for this company were also very helpful. I was quickly assisted, and my leak was fixed within minutes. Impressive!
A strong mounting bracket is a part of this whole package, making for a sturdy, safe mounting tool. The smart auto cartridge also offers an efficient switch-off technology, ensuring that your purifier will not overflow.
As with any water system, it needs to be cleaned regularly. Although this process takes time, the hygiene benefits and savings on maintenance are well worth the effort.
Find more Hydro-Logic 31040 information and reviews here
- 200 gallons of water purified every day.
- Uses 25% less electricity than comparable models.
- Eliminates 98% of impurities.
- Only one size and shape are available.
- The bulky size may make it awkward to mount on the wall alone.
Reverse Osmosis System Buying Guide
If you want to take a deep dive into the factors that make a great reverse osmosis filtration system and how we determined our ranks, we looked at some of the following factors. Please note that we rely on the information from the manufacturer as well as online reviews for many of the water filters, and haven’t directly tested various lab results that are claimed on the products. We can confirm that these claims have been backed up by reputable labs all across the United States.
RO System Buying Considerations
1. Wasted Water
There are some common misconceptions about the amount of water that is wasted in Reverse Osmosis filtration. It is true, that when using sea water with very high amounts of salt and other sediments, there is a significant amount of water “wasted” to flush the membrane. However, these are for large, commercial uses. The RO systems in our guide are significantly more efficient, designed for home tap water which is generally pretty safe to start with.
This technology continues to improve and we see the amount of water needed to flush the RO membrane continues to decrease. The benefits significantly outweigh the small additional cost of wasted water. When selecting the right RO system for you, be aware of the water costs in your municipality and if they are high enough, you may want to spend a bit more for a more efficient unit.
2. pH Levels
Reverse osmosis systems can work with water of nearly any pH level, and most public water supplies already have water with pH levels around neutral (6.5 – 8.5). In general, reverse osmosis systems make water slightly more acidic, meaning they lower the pH value if the incoming water. As a result of the lower pH, the water might have a taste that you’re not accustomed to, since a lot of the minerals have been removed from the water.
RO lowers the pH value
If you don’t like the taste of your RO water, you can simply use a remineralization system which will change the taste of the water and put the exact minerals in the water that you’re looking for.
The ease of installation is another key factor that you should take into account when buying your system. Some of these systems are easy to install (DIY) while others are complicated (require an expert). Some reverse systems require addition parts to be installed (additional cost) while others come with all the items.
With that said, ensure that your system comes with an installation manual that will show the right steps of installation.
The taste of the purified water is probably the most significant factor of a good osmosis system. After all, you will be drinking and using this water to cook, so you will surely want it to taste good. Luckily, these systems are designed to remove impurities that might make you water to taste bad. They remove even elements that you might not have known that they exist in water.
The majority of people think that water doesn’t have a taste. You will be surprised to find out that it has a delicious taste when you drink your first cup of a good reverse osmosis system. You will never want to take water from another source. Furthermore, the best system will provide sweet water, regardless of the quality or price.
Some of the best osmosis system models come with 7 stages of purification. However, not all the systems have the seven stages, and it isn’t that critical for the quality of the water. Unless you have a personal reason for wanting all these stages, 5 stages are often enough.
These stages include the following (they are universal to all systems):
- Stage one – water pass via a filter that traps sediment to eliminate silt, dust, and large particles.
- Stage two – a carbon filter filters odors, bad tastes, mineral oil, and chlorine from the water.
- Stage three – another carbon filter removes any remaining odors, bad tastes, or chlorine that might have been left.
- Stage four – this is the reverse osmosis stage. Water is pushed via a fine filter that removes about 95 percent of the remaining impurities, such as fluoride.
- Stage five – the water in a reservoir is prevented from forming a stale taste by a polishing carbon filter.
- Stage six – the water is alkalized here, pH is adjusted to 7 or above using elements such as calcium and magnesium.
- Stage seven – the last step used a special filter with UV rays to kill all germs and bacteria in the water.
6. Total Dissolved Solids
Total Dissolved Solids, or TDS, is a measurement for the amount of sediments in drinking water. The sediments include elements like magnesium, potassium, chlorides and sulfates, as well as other organic matter which is generally harmless. The EPA’s standard for a failing TDS score is 500 mg/L of water. Depending on the RO filter you’re using, you may get up to 99.9% of these sediments out of your drinking water.
How do Reverse Osmosis Systems Work?
Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters have extremely microscopic pores to allow only water to pass through. In fact, they aren’t technically called “filters”, the term is a membrane, as it is so thin it resembles the thinness of a cell membrane, although some models come with a pre-filter for sediments (ie in a 5 stage system). Water is forced through this thin membrane with either gravity or the water pressure from your house’s system, forcing only pure water through and leaving all the sediments behind. All the pure water is stored in a tank for consumption.
Since Reverse Osmosis filters up to 99% of all contaminants in water, it can turn virtually any water source, even the most toxic and polluted, into pure drinking water that is safe for human consumption. In general, RO systems can filter out the following levels of contaminants in water:
- Phosphate: 97.1% – 99.8%
- Arsenic: 98.4% – 99.9%
- Lead: 99.1% – 99.9%
- Iron: 98.4% – 99.5%
- Fluoride: 94.5% – 99.1%
- Chloride: 92.1% – 99.3%
- Mercury: 96.2% – 99.5%
As you can see, RO filters can basically remove everything from the water, including essential minerals that are beneficial to you. Thankfully, these minerals are easy to re-add to the water, using a mineral packet or an alkaline water machine.
The effectiveness of your reverse osmosis system is dependent on a variety of factors. Depending on your situation, the RO system you have may underperform your expectation, especially in highly sensitive areas such as medicine and science. Some of the factors that can impact the performance of your RO system include:
If you have insufficient pressure to your RO filter, it may not be able to force the water through the membrane, resulting in a lot of wasted water
TDS of Incoming Water:
The more impurities are in the water, the more stress is put on the machine, which will result in the need to replace the filters more frequently
In general, RO systems filter water best at higher temperatures, although you want to avoid boiling hot water. Luke warm is ideal.
There are cheap RO systems that don’t have as thin membranes as some of the quality brands. You always get what you pay for.
Reverse Osmosis Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need Reverse Osmosis for my drinking water?
In general, Reverse Osmosis is overkill for drinking water, unless your source water is very impure or potentially dangerous. If you are looking to improve the taste of your drinking water, you may want to first look into a more simple countertop water filter.
Is Reverse Osmosis water safe to drink?
Yes, reverse osmosis is 100% safe to drink. Many articles may discuss the lack of essential minerals, however this does not make the water inherently dangerous in any way; it simply means you may need to supplement some of the minerals you would have otherwise ingested from your tap water.
Can RO water truly filter even the most dangerous water sources?
In 99.9% of cases, yes — RO is the most sophisticated method of filtering water us humans have come up with. In very rare instances, if RO filtration is not acceptable, you may want to look into a water distiller, which isn’t filtration, but is is able to achieve 100% pure water, albeit with significant amounts of energy.
What do the different RO stages mean?
Technically speaking, the only reverse osmosis filter is the membrane, which can filter out sediments over 900,000 times thinner than a human hair. This membrane is usually one of the later stages of an entire RO system. The first filtration stages are virtually the same as your average water filter, such as a Brita or a countertop water filter. After going through standard filtration processes, only then is water forced through an RO membrane. Some systems even have a stage after the RO membrane, which is usually a UV light. In general, the more stages, the more pure the water is at the end of the process.
Do I need to maintain my RO system?
Yes, RO systems require maintenance every 6 months to 2 years, depending on use and quality of the filters. Since sediments will build up in your filters over time, they will eventually be so full of sediment that water will no longer pass through the stages at a reasonable enough speed, and will end up wasting nearly 100% of the water. For that reason, you will have to replace your filters every so often. However, the replacement process is quite easy and in general the water filters are quite affordable, relative to the system cost.
How do I install a Reverse Osmosis System?
Reverse Osmosis systems, specifically countertop and under-sink varieties, are very easy to install and do not require professional installation. Some basic tools and a very basic understanding of where your incoming water pipes are is all you need to know to install your RO system. In addition, there are countless videos on YouTube and other sources that show you step by step how to install virtually any model of reverse osmosis system.
While there are a plethora of new reverse osmosis filtration brands popping up on Amazon everyday, we’ve narrowed down the best of the best so you can buy from reputable companies
iSpring Water Systems
iSpring Water Systems LLC is a Georgia based, family run company established in 2005. A proudly American company, they specialize in both residential and commercial reverse osmosisis systems, and an assortment of other filters for various faucets and appliance you’ll find around the house. Their products are some of the highest quality in the market and you will seldom find any bad reviews about their reverse osmosis water filtration systems online.
APEC Water Systems
APEC Water Systems is the #1 manufacturer of reverse osmosis systems in The United States. This california based company has a strong desire to educate the public about safe water and providing the world with the finest filtration systems that keep people in need safe. We love APEC water systems and think our mission aligns great with theirs as well.
Home Master Water Filters
Home Master Water Filters is one of the leading providers of RO systems for hydroponics and counter top reverse osmosis filters. Another proudly american from Scottsdale, Arizona, Home Master has grown to become one of the best selling RO filtration systems online. You can expect the majority of their systems to have the necessary add ons such as UV filters.
The Bottom Line
By now you should have a better understanding of these purifying systems and know whether to invest on one or not. I hope that you liked this guide and learned a lot about water systems that might be beneficial to your life.
In general, it’s quite simple to know what factors to consider when choosing the best system for your family needs. For example, you need to consider the system’s capacity, durability, installation, taste, among other.
One of the systems that boast of these features is the iSpring RCC7 WQA 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System – Gold Seal Certified (75 GPD) (my favorite reverse osmosis system). The system is the only top system in the world that has the Water Quality Association’s Gold Seal Certification and is quite safe, durable, and quality. Maintaining the system is also very easy since the filters are quite easy to clean and the firm provides great customer services.
The system also boasts of a transparent first stage housing that makes it easy to visually see the sediment filter and witness the elements being removed from the water.
With these features, you will easily realize why it is a great buy.