Nothing beats a sip of cold, clean water. It’s refreshing and keeps some diseases at bay. However, based on the source of the water, it may have some unpleasant tastes and smells. Since the water comes through pipes, harmful elements like lead may also leak into the water. Such elements may cause illnesses like cancer. Luckily, we have reverse osmosis systems that help get rid of these contaminants.
Reverse osmosis systems have been gaining popularity over the years. Several manufacturers have also sprung up; making it challenging to decide which water filtering system is best suited for your needs. Worry no more, for we’ve got you covered. We have reviewed some of the best reverse osmosis systems in the market. But before that, let’s discuss what RO systems are and how they work.
- What is Reverse Osmosis?
- Best Reverse Osmosis Systems Review
- Home Master TMAFC-ERP
- Waterdrop RO Reverse Osmosis System
- iSpring RCC7P
- Home Master TMHP
- FS-TFC Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
- Brondell Circle Reverse Osmosis Certified
- APEC Water Systems ROES-PH75
- Whirlpool WHER25 Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filtration System
- Express Water UV Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
- APEC ESSENCE ROES 50
- iSpring RCS5T
- Nu Aqua Platinum Series
- Factors to Consider Before Buying a Reverse Osmosis System
- How to Install Reverse Osmosis System
- RO WATER EFFICIENCY RATIO
What is Reverse Osmosis?
Before explaining reverse osmosis, let’s first understand what osmosis is. Osmosis is the situation where a liquid naturally moves from a less complicated zone to a more concentrated region through a semipermeable membrane. For instance, consider a situation where you have freshwater and seawater. When you separate them with a semi-permeable layer, with time, freshwater moves towards the saltwater.
Now, reverse Osmosis works in the opposite direction. In the same situation where you have separated the two types of water, if you apply pressure on the more concentrated seawater, it will move towards the freshwater. By doing this, you eliminate larger particles, minerals, or any other elements. This process is common in recycling wastewater by removing minerals, and other additives, providing you with purified water.
However, the risk of drinking reverse water is the deficiency in some minerals. To avoid this, you can always get a system that reintroduces the essential minerals after filtering.
Best Overall – Home Master TMAFC-ERP Reverse Osmosis
Based on customer reviews, this is one of the most effective reverse osmosis systems for several reasons. First, it features a 7-stage purification process, a non-permeate pump that conserves water, and remineralization. The 50 gallons per day output is ideal for a majority of households. You get all these features at a considerable price.
Best for Well Water – Home Master TMHP Reverse Osmosis
One of the most common sources of water is wells. Even if your water feed may be coming from the city, they may be pumping water from a well. Wellwater is also considered as hard water and may contain several minerals.
The ideal RO system for such water should effectively remove these minerals, but ensure that the vital minerals are reintroduced. The Home Master TMHP is the best at this. It features a 9-stage purification system, remineralizer, and a UV sterilizer to remove any additional microorganisms in water.
Best for the Value of Money – APEC ESSENCE ROES 50
RO systems don’t have to be that expensive. At less than $200 the APEC ESSENCE ROES 50 has the basic features such as a 5-stage purification process, 3:1 waste water ratio, a permeate pump, a 1-year warranty, and the parts have been approved for use with drinking water. The in-house filters are a challenge to install, but the maintenance costs are way low when compared to other models. The 50 gallons per day is enough for a variety of applications.
Best Reverse Osmosis Systems Review
Home Master TMAFC-ERP
If you’re looking for a great water purification system, with remineralization features, and minimal water wastage, the Home Master’s TMAFC-ERP would be an ideal choice. Below are some of its key features.
- 7-stage purification system that gets rid of at least 98% of contaminants.
- Features remineralization, which reintroduces the minerals responsible for the flavor in the water.
- The manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty.
- Non-permeate pump that ensures maximum water production while minimizing the water wastage.
- The filters are also easy to replace, at-least once a year.
- It filters at least 50 gallons per day.
According to most reviews, this is one of the most effective reverse osmosis systems. It gives out water that tastes good and has the essential minerals. Many people also claimed that it’s easy to install, and it’s good at conserving water. It’s also one of the most affordable options.
- Easy to install
- It features remineralization which provides great-tasting water
- Very affordable
- It doesn’t waste a lot of water
- The replaceable filtering system ensures it stays functional for long.
- Some parts, such as the faucet, are cheaply made. If not carefully operated, you could easily damage them.
It is an ideal RO for average family size. Most of its users approve that it’s effective, easy to install, and the best for conserving water. The manufacturer also offers a 5-year warranty, all the more reason to trust this product for your household’s water usage.
Waterdrop RO Reverse Osmosis System
The WaterDrop RO is an under-sink water filter that ensures enough healthy drinking water for your household. It features a 7-stage 3-in-1 filtering mechanism that removes most of the impurities, as well as the bad odor. Below are some of its main features;
- It features a tankless design that ensures that every ounce of filtered water is readily available for usage without having to fill a tank.
- It features composite filters that ensure maximum impurities removal.
- It can purify at least 400 gallons of water per day.
- It features a 1:1 drain ratio that minimizes water wastages.
Based on several customer reviews, the Waterdrop RO is very useful in purifying and conserving water. Since it is tankless, it doesn’t occupy a lot of space. Most customers also found the installation process very straightforward. However, some complained about the faucet which leaks sometimes.
- It’s easy to install
- The 1:1 drain ratio conserves a lot of water.
- Thanks to the tankless design, it can fit in a regular kitchen.
- The composite filters provide safe and great tasting water.
- It’s costly when compared to other ROS.
- Flimsy faucet. Even after installing it correctly, it may start leaking.
Overall, this seems to be a very effective reverse osmosis system. If you’re looking for premium features in a ROS, then this would be an ideal choice.
Are you looking for an efficient reverse osmosis system without breaking the bank? The iSpring RCC7P is right for you. It features a 5-stage purification process that eliminates most impurities, including lead, chlorine, fluorine, and drugs. Below are some of its main features.
- Electric booster pump that ensures efficiency and reduced noise.
- The manufacturer offers a 1-year money-back guarantee and lifetime support if you live in Alpharetta.
- It purifies and provides 75 gallons of water per day.
- Automatic shut-off valve that senses when the tank needs a refill.
- Shut-off valve that detects any leakages.
One primary attribute that stands out for iSpring is their customer service. Once you have any challenges with their products, they always respond promptly and ensure that they meet your needs. Many customers also claimed that it’s easy to install, and the resulting water quality is excellent for use at home.
- It’s effortless to install
- The booster pump is handy since it helps increase the pressure, especially if your water feed has low pressures. By boosting the pressure, it increases the water production rate and minimizes the drain ration
- It removes most of the impurities and the resulting water is “sweet”.
- Since it’s cheaply made, the filter and other crucial parts aren’t very durable.
The iSpring RCC7P meets all your water purification needs. The 5 stage process removes at least 99% of the impurities. Besides that, it’s also an inexpensive option, and the customer service is exceptional. It works great for small to average households.
Home Master TMHP
Home Master has a good reputation in building high-quality RO systems. The Home Master TMHP is a 9-stage purification system that features a permeate pump. It also features remineralization that reintroduces crucial minerals into the purified water.
- It features a permeate pump that reduces the waste water ratio.
- It outputs 75 gallons of water per day.
- It’s a 9-stage water filtering system.
- It also features a storage tank.
- 40 to 90 psi (pounds per square inch) pressure
- A UV sterilizer that removes any additional harmful substances in water.
Based on customer reviews, this RO system does offer great tasting water, thanks to the 9-stage process and remineralization. Home Master also provides excellent customer service, and their tools are also easy to install.
- It’s quite easy to install.
- The purified water tastes as good as some bottled water.
- The non-electric non-permeate pump
- Home Master also offers a 5-year warranty
- Some parts are flimsy, leading to leakages. You may need to purchase third-party items that are of higher quality.
This RO system works great for natural sources of water. It gives out natural tasting water, with balanced alkaline levels thanks to the advanced purification system.
FS-TFC Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
The FS-TFC features a compact design making it possible to fit it in smaller places. Outputting 100 gallons per day, it works great for all of your drinking water needs.
- The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty and a lifetime support guarantee.
- It also features a 3.2 gallons storage tank.
- It features four filters that eliminate more than 1000 water contaminants.
- It also features an extension that allows you to connect to a fish tank, for a continuous flow of freshwater.
- It also features an automatic shut-off valve that stops the water once the tank is at the right pressure.
According to most user reviews, this RO system works as advertised. It gives out high-quality water, at a faster rate than most ROs in this price range. However, some users complained about leakages and having trouble when assembling it. You may need to get adapters and use other workarounds to prevent leakages.
- It features a compact built that’s easy to store.
- The 100 gallons per day is enough for a small household.
- It removes more than 1000 contaminants
- The installation process is also very straightforward
- Leakages are a significant issue, but they can be easily fixed through tutorials. However, the manufacturer doesn’t clearly state how to deal with them in their manual.
Based on its output and size, the FS-TFC is best suited for smaller households. Also, most of its features aren’t sturdy enough, so don’t subject it to heavy-duty water filtering activities.
Brondell Circle Reverse Osmosis Certified
Brondell Circle is yet another water filtering system for those on a budget. It doesn’t use electricity, making it an environmentally friendly option. Below are some of its main features.
- Four filters, taking the water through 4 stages to eliminate most of the impurities.
- Smart valve and flexible tank that maintains a consistent water flow rate by removing the backpressure.
- Auto-flush feature that cleans the membrane and ensures that you don’t have to replace the filters often.
- Designer faucet that has a LED light to notify you when you need to replace the filters.
Most customers found it easy to install this system. They also found it very efficient in saving water and purifying it. However, some of them complained about the defective valve and the low water output.
- It saves you money since it doesn’t use electricity, and the filters last longer thanks to the auto-flush feature.
- It has a unique system that eliminates backpressure every time water goes out, minimizing water wastage.
- It comes in a compact design that’s easy to fit in a regular kitchen.
- It wastes 2.1 gallons of water for every gallon purified.
- The water output is quite slow when compared to other RO systems.
- The shut-off valve could be better. It’s smaller and quite ineffective.
- It may be hard to find the filters from other vendors.
If you’re worried about keeping your environment clean, then you’ll love the Brondell Circle ROS since it doesn’t use electricity. It also eliminates all the harmful elements and very efficient thanks to the smart water-saving system.
APEC Water Systems ROES-PH75
If you’re looking for a water filtering system for an office or a large household, the APEC ROES-PH75 is worth consideration. Below are some of the reasons why it stands out from the rest.
- It takes the water through a 6-stage purification process, removing 99% of the impurities.
- It works with pressure ranging from 40 psi to 85 psi.
- It outputs 75 gallons of water per day.
- Remineralization feature adds safe minerals that give the water an appealing taste.
- The manufacturer offers a 2-years warranty.
- Food-grade chrome faucet.
A large number of the users can confirm that this APEC model does remove most of the impurities, as well as adding some minerals, resulting in great-tasting water. Most of them were also able to follow the instructions manual.
- The manufacturer provides excellent customer service and a 2-year warranty.
- It’s easy to install
- Remineralization ensures the water tastes great.
- The filters are inexpensive.
- It wastes a lot of water, at least 3 gallons, for every gallon of purified water.
- It lacks a UV light that could help kill harmful microorganisms.
- It’s hard to replace the filters when compared to those from manufacturers like Home Masters.
We vouch for this RO system for it eliminates impurities as expected, and outputs excellent tasting water. The filters may be a bit complicated to replace, but they are way cheaper than most models. However, since it lacks the UV light, it may not be the best if you get your water from natural sources like wells.
Whirlpool WHER25 Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filtration System
Whirlpool WHER25 is an inexpensive reverse osmosis system that features the most vital features that a ROS should have.
- The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty.
- It has three filtering stages and outputs 18 gallons of water per day.
- It’s equipped to eliminate elements such as lead, chlorine, and dissolved components.
For starters, a lot of consumers complained about poor customer service. Others complained about receiving defective items or missing some things in the shipped package. However, most of them agreed that it comes at a reasonable price, and it’s functional for basic water filtering applications.
- The replacement of the filters is easy, by just twisting like you’re opening a lead.
- It comes in a compact design for fitting even in smaller kitchens.
- It provides safe water for drinking, coffee, ice, and many other uses around your home.
- The filters and membrane have a shorter lifespan than those from its competitors.
- The 18 gallons per day is too small for a variety of applications.
- Their customer service is also not efficient.
Since it has a limited water output and filtering capacity, we would recommend this RO system to small households. Any attempt to use it for heavy-duty activities could lead to a lot of disasters.
Express Water UV Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
This ROS is the ultimate heavy-duty water filtering system. Every part has been designed for efficiency and to prevent any leaks. It also features an 11-stage purification system, which is more thorough than most systems in the market today.
- It removes 99% of the impurities through 11 stages, as well as a UV light that eliminates harmful microorganisms.
- It also adds crucial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium that adds flavor and benefits your body.
- The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty.
- It outputs 11 gallons of water per day.
- It also features a shut-off valve that detects leaks.
- This ROS features a flow-rate of 0.8 gallons per day, which is higher than most of its competitors.
According to most customer reviews, the remineralizer, filtering, and water output works as advertised. However, some of them had issues with installing it. Also, the UV sterilizer and the remineralizer seem to break down after using it for some time. Luckily, the customers can confirm that Express has excellent customer service, and they were always ready to help whenever the parts broke down.
- It features a thorough purification system that gets rid of most of the water impurities.
- The 100 gallons per day is ideal for medium to large households.
- The remineralization adds some crucial minerals that may be missing in most reverse osmosis water.
- The UV light goes a long way to ensure the elements that went through the other stages don’t end up in your drinking water.
- The remineralization feature wears out very fast. There were also complaints about it, giving the water a sulphuric taste.
For its price range, the Express ROS has some top-notch features like the 11-stages, UV sterilizer, and remineralization. Mineral addition may deteriorate over time, but it doesn’t fail completely. We would recommend it for regular home usage.
APEC ESSENCE ROES 50
You don’t have to break the bank for a water filtering system. The APEC ESSENCE ROEWS 50 is another inexpensive option that omits the bells and whistles on most ROS but ensures it has all the necessary functionality.
- The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty that can be extended to two years.
- It outputs 50 gallons of water per day.
- All of its parts are food-grade, lead-free, and FDA approved. This makes it safe for drinking water.
- It takes the water through 5 stages of purification.
- It wastes 3 gallons of water for every gallon purified.
- You can attach a permeate pump to reduce the water wastage.
According to most reviews, this 5 stage RO system functions as advertised. It gives high quality and great tasting water. The maintenance costs are affordable, and the water conservation is better with a permeate pump. However, some users had some difficulties in replacing the membrane. The in house filters are also difficult to replace.
- It’s one of the most affordable options.
- It’s quite easy to install. The manufacturer gives a detailed guide, and there are numerous tutorials available online.
- It’s easy to maintain. The filters are not costly, and they last for two-three years before being replaced.
- The 3:1 wastewater to water ratio is high. Luckily, this system has some connectors that you can use to redirect the water to your farm.
- The filters are usually in housing. You have to remove the casing first. This may get messy, and it’s also quite tricky.
- It lacks the UV sterilizer and remineralizer.
We recommend this reverse osmosis water filter because of the low cost of purchase and the low maintenance costs. It may lack advanced features like UV sterilizer, remineralizer, or modular filters, but it has the most crucial elements that make it an ideal whole house reverse osmosis system.
If you’re looking for a commercial tankless RO system, the iSpring RCS5T may be your best bet. Below are some of its features.
- It’s a 5-stage water filtering system that removes 99% of water impurities.
- It outputs 500 gallons of water per day.
- It features a booster pump that enables it to work even with low-pressure water feeds.
- It features a tankless design, but it also comes with a tank that you can attach when you want to.
Most of the customers who’ve used this RO system agree that it’s easy to install, outputs excellent tasting water, and the manufacturer has excellent customer service. However, there are some delays in the water output, but this is because it’s tankless.
- It features a 1:1 water wastewater ratio. This minimizes any potential water wastage.
- The 500 gallons per day output is higher than most RO systems reviewed in this list.
- It makes less noise
- It features a pressure gauge and a booster pump
- It backwashes the membrane automatically to keep it clean and ensure it lasts longer.
- Installing the system and replacing the filters is straightforward.
- It’s quite expensive, and the maintenance costs are hefty.
This RO system has enough power to function at home and in commercial settings like offices and restaurants. The boost pump enables it to work even in low-pressure water feeds. You may need some investment to make it work, but it’s totally worth it.
Nu Aqua Platinum Series
If you’d love to get the best value for your money in an under-sink RO water purifier, the Nu Aqua Platinum Series is another item to consider.
- It outputs 100 gallons of water per day.
- It’s also a 5 stage RO system that eliminates more than 1000 water contaminants.
- It features a unique Hydracoil technology that ensures efficient water filtration.
- It also features boost pumps that makes it efficient in low water feeds.
- The manufacturer offers a 5-years warranty.
- It features a 4 gallons tank that ensures constant water pressure.
Unlike most budget RO systems that forego customer service, most customers confessed that the Nu Aqua manufacturers promptly responded to their queries. They also claimed that it does output clean water, and the installation and filter changing processes aren’t that complicated.
- It’s easy to install.
- The manufacturer offers exceptional customer service.
- The 5-warranty is an assurance of quality and a guarantee of technical support in case some of the parts are defective.
- It also features an auto-flush that keeps the membrane clean and ensures it lasts longer.
- The manufacturer includes an easy-to-follow instructional video in the form of a DVD.
- You also get a PPM water tester as a bonus. It allows you to test for the quality of water.
- It lacks a UV sterilizer. Some harmful microorganisms may end-up in your drinking water depending on your source. The good thing is that you can buy it separately and attach it for optimum water filtering.
It may not be as efficient as it’s more priced counterparts, but its functionality is everything someone on a budget would require. The UV light and remineralizer are optional, but you can include them if you’re sure your water contains some harmful microorganisms.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Reverse Osmosis System
There are several reverse osmosis systems in the market currently. Here are the factors that you should put into consideration before acquiring one:
Of course, this is one of the significant factors that you consider before anything in a market. Initial cost and maintenance cost are two values that you find before approaching and buying one. The initial cost is the amount that you use when purchasing, while maintenance cost is one that occurs when replacing worn out parts and filters.
The cost of maintenance will be higher when filter replacement is done frequently. In case you are in a tight budget, go for RO systems whose filters last longer
Rate of flow
Two factors determine the flow rate of water, the temperature of the water, and its pressure. The higher the temperature, the higher the pressure.
Quality of water
Have you ever wondered why there are differences in the pricing of these systems? Well, different companies have different technology adoption. This way, there is a difference in the rejection ratio of the system. There are pre-filters and post-filters to improve effectiveness.
The method adopted by most companies is determining the effectiveness of water purification is a total dissolved solids (TDS) meter. This method measures the filtered water about the source water.
Most companies argue that they remove 99% of contaminants. Although TDS is an excellent method, it is not advisable to be taken as the only method to gauge effectiveness. Reverse osmosis with alkaline mineralization contains higher TDS in comparison to those that don’t have one.
Pressure of water
It is a significant factor for these systems to enhance their performance. With sufficient water pressure, the source of water is capable of passing through the delicate membrane to produce contamination-free water.
In urban areas, most houses can meet the threshold water pressure required by all reverse osmosis systems. If your water feed doesn’t have enough of it, go for a RO system that has a booster pump.
Lastly, water source plays a significant role in dictating the type of reverse osmosis system you need. As earlier stated, there are two types of water sources, well water and city water. If you are a city resident, typically, water comes from municipal water and sewerage treatment plants. This water contains contaminants before the process that it has gone through.
Water from wells may contain living micro-organisms, bacteria, and viruses. The systems are required to have UV light sterilizer to eliminate these micro-organisms.
How to Install Reverse Osmosis System
Before learning how to install a RO system, you need to understand which type you need. There are two main types;
- Countertop Reverse Osmosis System – This type is designed to stand on its own, or on top of the counter. They are often lighter, smaller, and easy to install.
- Undersink reverse osmosis system – These systems are designed to be installed under the kitchen sink. You can also install them in the basement if they are too large.
The Installation Process
Reverse osmosis systems are different, and kitchen layouts also vary in different regions. Therefore we are going to list general procedures. Make sure that you read the instructions from the manufacturer. Also, contact them in case of any issues. The following are just basics of how to go about it.
Gather all the parts and tools
Some of the tools necessary for installation include:
- The manual from the manufacturer
- Adjustable wrench
- Screws and a screwdriver
- Color-coded pipes
- Filters and membranes
- Drain saddle
- Connector pipes.
- A power drill and drill bits of different sizes
- A faucet
Install the faucet
If your counter doesn’t have a hole, you’ll have to drill one. Just select a strategic position and use a drill bit that matches the size of the faucet’s stem. Once you have drilled the holes, smoothen the edges to remove any residual metal or wood. Slide the stem in and tighten it using the washer, nuts, and a wrench.
Install the Drain Saddle Valve
The drain saddle allows water from the RO system to drain. It’s usually attached to the kitchens drain. Find a drill bit that matches the size of the valve, and drill a hole on the kitchen’s drain, then attach the saddle and tighten it with the provided screws.
Install the Angle Stop Valve
This is the valve that allows you to the cold water line to the RO system. But make sure you turn off the cold water line first or shut off the whole water system. If you’re not sure which is the cold water or hot water line, unscrew both of them. Then check the tubing. The hot water line is labeled in red while the cold-water line is marked in blue. Make sure you leave it off.
Install the tank
You can install the tank when it’s standing, or on its side based on the amount of space you have. Wrap some Teflon tape on the outlet of the tank, and then attach one of the valves. After you connect the valve, place the container in the space under the sink.
Install the RO Module
Now pick one of the pipes, according to color-coding provided by the manufacturer. Most of the pipes from the feed valve are either orange or yellow. Insert one end on the quick-connect feature in the valve you attached to the cold-water line in the previous step. Connect the other end to the filtration set-up. Make sure that this set-up easily fits in the compartment under the sink.
The green pipe connects the tank to the RO system output. The black tube connects the drain saddle you installed in step three to the flow restrictor in the water filtering system.
The blue tube connects the faucet to the post-filter outlet on the RO system.
Install the filters and the membrane
Installing these items isn’t that complicated. Just unscrew their housings, insert the filters or the membrane, then place them back in. Make sure you read the instructions carefully in case there are any special instructions, pre-filters installation, and the frequency of replacing them.
Start the System
After making sure everything is in place, turn the cold-water feed on. If there are any leaks, turn it off and fix them, then restart it. It takes 3 to 10 hours to fill the tank. Since these are industrial products, it’s essential to flush the faucet at least three times before you drink the water from the RO system.
RO WATER EFFICIENCY RATIO
Water Efficiency Ratio is simply the ratio of wastewater to purified water of a reverse osmosis system. For every gallon purified, some water is wasted. Most companies strive to reach a ratio of 1:1. Such a rate can reduce the amount of wastewater by at least 75%.
The water efficiency ratio is usually pre-set by the manufacturer, thanks to the flow-restrictor. The wastewater is also meant to flush the membrane to prevent it from clogging. Since the membrane pores are too small, they tend to clog very fast. Therefore, if the wastewater is minimal, you will have to replace the membranes often, and that’s an extra cost.
To achieve a balance between water conservation, and the layer lasting for longer, you’ll need an efficiency ratio of at least 3:1. That is, for every gallon purified, you create 3 gallons of wastewater.
A number of factors affect the water efficiency ratio of the RO system. They include pH, water temperature, water quality, and the presence of a permeate pump or a boost pump and the water pressure.
The lower the water pressure, the higher the waste, the lower the temperature, the higher the amount of wastewater. Some RO systems redirect this water to the hot water line, where you use it to wash dishes.
This takes a toll on your filters, though, and you’ll have to replace them often. You can also redirect the water to a rain barrel and use it on your farm.