Few things will quench your thirst better than a drink of cold, pure water. Bottled water has grown to become a billion-dollar business. The reason for this is simple. Consumers want the best and purest water available. This has also lead to the popularity of water-purification systems. Purifying your own water can save you money in the long run. It is also a much more environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water.
Reverse osmosis systems are one of the best water-purification systems available today. There are a number of great systems out there on the market. With so many choices, it can be hard to decide which is right for you. We will take a look at some of the best systems and the things to look out for when shopping for your own. We will provide you with 19 reviews of some of the best reverse osmosis systems available.
Buying a Reverse Osmosis System
The first thing often asked when selecting a water-purification system is: which system type should I buy? Reverse osmosis systems are one of the best options. They remove the usual contaminates along with salt and dissolved minerals. This makes them especially effective if you have a water source that is brackish or one that produces hard water. They even remove heavy metals, radionucliatides and nitrates.
A reverse osmosis system will typically purify more water in a day than other types of filters and purifiers. One feature to take note of on each model is whether or not it creates waste water as a result of the process. While some systems create zero waste, others may waste 3-4 gallons a day. This is just something to keep in mind if you are concerned with water conservation and environmental issues.
How Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Works
When shopping for a unit, it will help if you understand how the reverse osmosis process works. A special membrane is used to filter out the impurities. Basic water pressure is used to push your water supply through this membrane at an almost molecular level, leaving everything that’s not H2O behind. The system collects your clear water while flushing water with the contaminates away.
Most systems will be made of a sediment and chlorine filter. This will be followed by the membrane and then a tank for water storage. Finally, there will normally be a final filter using carbon. The first stage should remove dirt, sand, rust and larger particulates.
The next stage for your system is the carbon filter that takes care of chemicals. Water will pass through several layers here to remove chemicals that might otherwise damage the membrane. The membrane then filters out anything bigger than a single water molecule. The membrane stage is where your system gets its name from. It is called the reverse osmosis stage.
At this stage, many systems will add calcium and other minerals back into the filtered water. This is for taste and also to better balance the PH levels of your water. When water is purified to almost 100%, it takes on a slightly acidic PH level. This is yet another feature to be on the lookout for when shopping for a new system. Following this process or the previous step, your water now heads to the storage tank.
Another optional stage for systems is the UV filter. This is a desirable feature for your system, as it destroys bacteria, microorganisms and even viruses. This stage may also contain specialized filters to remove specific contaminates such as arsenic or even fluoride. After this, it’s on to the final carbon-filter stage for your reverse osmosis system.
The final stage of the reverse osmosis unit makes sure your water hasn’t picked up any stray contaminates. These are usually picked up from the storage system. The final carbon filters will weed out any lingering particles, odors or tastes. You will then be left with perfect, clear and clean water that is better than the finest bottled water on the market today.
More Things to Look for When Selecting a Reverse Osmosis Unit
Most of the purifying is done by the membrane filters and these need to be replaced regularly. You will want to check out the quality and availability of the filters that go with your reverse osmosis unit. If they are not readily available online or in a nearby store, this could lead to some future headaches. It might be best to select another system. The cost of the filters is also something that you should factor into your purchase.
The size matters. Most reverse osmosis units will go under your kitchen sink. Be sure to do some measuring and have the numbers in mind when you go shopping. You will want a system that can easily fit your space without costly or time consuming modifications. If you store a lot of things under than sink, keep that in mind too when taking measurements.
Check out the size of the storage tank for your reverse osmosis system. Make a note of the purification time frames of each model you look at as well. Some systems will purify water faster than others. If the system is too slow for your average needs, it will defeat the purpose of having a purification system in the first place. Most systems rate how much purified water they can produce in a day. This is given as a GDP rating, which stands for: gallons per day.
Some systems come with an adapter or system to send purified water to your refrigerator’s ice maker. You can buy separate kits for this for systems that don’t include the parts, but having this capability right off the bat is a nice perk if you have and use an ice maker.
Though reverse osmosis systems can help with hard water, they are not meant for extreme cases. It can be a good idea to test the hardness of your water source. If it is 7 grains per gallon or more, then your reverse osmosis system may have some trouble dealing with all of the mineral content. Check each system you plan to purchase to see how well it can handle hard water. You may need to pre-treat the water before it gets to your purification system to prolong the life if the system.
Different systems will have different numbers or stages of purification. Different systems may have 3, 4, 5 or more steps in the process. Try selecting a system with 4 or more filtration steps. This is the minimum recommended to get your drinking water truly pure from a reverse osmosis system. If you have hard water or get your water from a well, a system with extra steps of pre-filtration. This may be necessary to remove the extra minerals or sediment that come from such water sources.
You should check each system you are considering to see if you will need a new faucet. Many systems require a dedicated faucet to dispense the purified water. Some systems may even include one, but you should check to make sure it matches the color and style of the faucet you already have.
The Product Reviews
In this section we will take a look at 19 of the best reverse osmosis systems available today. The systems have been listed in no particular order with the exception of the first one. The first is our pick for the best of the bunch. Each of these reverse osmosis system reviews will cover the basics of what makes each system so great.
This model ranks as the best reverse osmosis system on our list. This system can produce up to 90 gallons per day of purified water. The APEC RO-90 is one of the best when it comes to the amount of water it can process in a day. The system is extremely well built and safe to use. It uses 5 stages of filtration for excellent water purity. The system even comes with the extra faucet needed for dispensing the purified water. It was designed and assembled in the U.S. under the strictest specifications to guarantee your safety.
This reverse osmosis system features JG Food grade tubes that have been certified by the FDA. The system can remove up to 99% of the contaminates in your drinking water. This includes chlorine, lead, fluoride, bacteria, viruses and over 1000 other types of particles that can be found in water. All of the fittings are quick-connect for easy assembly. All fittings are guaranteed leak proof due to APEC’s excellent design and build quality. Filters for your APEC reverse osmosis system are designed to last up to two times longer than those for competing systems.
The many top tier features, the quality of the system, the amount of water purified per day, and the reasonable cost make this reverse osmosis system the best of any on our reviews list.
Home Master TMHP
The Home Masster TMHP reverse osmosis system features unique design elements that are proprietary to this brand. The many features solve some of the most common problems associated with reverse osmosis units. This includes water waste, leaks and slow flow, which permeate many other reverse osmosis units on the market. The system is easy to install and should fit under most sinks. This system was designed to purify city or well water. It features pre-filtration steps that should keep the reverse osmosis membrane working for years to come.
This system offers filters with a long life. They should only need to be changed about once every year, saving you time and money. A UV filter is featured to destroy microorganisms from your water supply. This reverse osmosis system adds minerals at two different points in the filtration process. This makes for healthier, less acidic and better tasting water from the system.
The system was designed to make filter changes quick and easy. No special tools are required for the system. The reverse osmosis unit removes up to 98% of contaminates including sediment, chemicals, heavy metals and much more. The system also offers a comprehensive warranty that lasts up to five years. The features, quality and great tasting water it produces, makes this reverse osmosis system a good choice for any family.
This is the second model from APEC to make our reviews list, and for good reason. This is one of the top American companies that makes reverse osmosis systems. Their quality is truly first class. Like the previous APEC model, this system can remove 99% of the contaminates that plague your water supply. This system also has the long-life filters made in the U.S.A. Bacteria, viruses, metals and more can be removed from your water with this efficient system.
One nice perk of APEC systems is that they are practically noiseless. You will hardly notice the system running as it purifies up to 90 gallons a day. It removes 99% of the contaminates in your drinking water. The first stage of this system features an especially effective sediment filter that removes dust, sediment and rust. This helps to extend the life of your reverse osmosis membrane and the remaining filters.
Metal teeth and special o-rings provide for protected, leak-free fittings on this system. This reverse osmosis system offers 5 stages of filtration. The final stage features a unique refining filter made of coconut shell. This aids in the removal of any residual tastes or odors from the system storage tank. What is left is pure, natural, great-tasting water that rivals the best bottled waters in the world. This is an excellent choice for a reverse osmosis water purification system.
Home Master TMAFC
This reverse osmosis system is another offering from the pros at Home Master. Just like its predecessor, this system offers solutions instead of the usual problems. Minerals are added to your water to avoid a bland or acidic taste. The slower rate of flow found in lesser systems is not present here, and the canister filter housing is practically leak proof. This is a very high quality reverse osmosis system at a great price. Best of all, you get the Home Master 5-year warranty.
This reverse osmosis system uses a full 7 stages for purification, making it one of the most thorough systems on the market. The system can remove about 99% of all particles, chemicals, bacteria and other microorganisms. One unique design feature is that the filters are modular. What this means is that the housings for the filter get discarded. This removes the chance of sediments and other materials building up within the housing over time.
Many reverse osmosis units require tools and a lot of elbow grease just to do something as simple as changing the filters. With the modular design, this is one of the easiest systems around to maintain. The initial installation is pretty basic and intuitive as well. Everything you will need to install the system is included right in the box. This model is very efficient with little waste water after purification.
This is the third and last reverse osmosis system from APEC on our list. This system offers something different from the other reverse osmosis units we’ve covers so far. This model is a smaller, portable unit. This is a great alternative to the other systems if you do not have enough storage space under your sink for traditional installation. It connects to most modern faucets. Best of all, it can be hooked up within minutes and providing purified water for you in no time at all.
This system offers high-capacity filters that should have a long life. It is also made of a nice, sturdy aluminum frame. It is lightweight, but strong and durable. This system works for faucets with a water pressure rating of 40-80 psi. The system offers 4 stages of purification to provide clear, clean water. Even though this reverse osmosis system is small, it can still crank out an impressive 90 galls per day.
This system is lightweight at just over 12 pounds. This makes it easily to transport. It’s the perfect solution for those living in small apartments, condos, retirement homes or motor homes. It’s even useful if you travel frequently, as the weight and easy installation can even allow for the system to be used in hotels or motels. If this describes you, then the APEC Countertop reverse osmosis unit might be the best choice for you.
The full name of this 7-stage reverse osmosis system is the iSpring RCC7AK-UV DELUXE. This is another under sink system with 7 full stages of filtration. This system offers alkaline remineralization to put beneficial minerals back into the drinking water. This provides for less acid and a better taste. This system model also provides UV sterilization to keep harmful bacteria and viruses out of your water supply. The iSpring reverse osmosis system is Gold Seal certified by the WQA.
This system comes equipped with a water softener. That makes this reverse osmosis system a good choice for anyone who has hard water. If you have well water or a any source with excessive microorganisms, then the uv sterilization feature will be a nice perk for you as well. The system removes 99% of all contaminates and over 1000 different types of foreign substances. Hormones, asbestos, microorganisms, chemicals and more are all fully removed from your drinking water.
The iSpring system is made of the highest-quality components. It is easy to install and easy to maintain. This company is a leader in the industry when it comes to customer service. If you need help with installation, they are only a phone call away. It should last for a lifetime of use to provide clean water for your home. This system comes with an attractive all-metal faucet. The faucet was designed in Europe and is constructed of brushed nickel.
This reverse osmosis system is similar to the iSpring 7-stage system. The main difference is the one less stage of filtering. This system is also a bit smaller and lighter in weight. The 7-stage version can handle up to 90 gallons per day, while this version processes around 75 gallons of water each day. That’s not a massive change in efficiency, but the 6-stage is significantly cheaper. If you need less water to be purified each day and you’re on a tighter budget, then this reverse osmosis unit may be a great choice for you.
This is one of the cheapest reverse osmosis units on our list. It still features most of the same nice perks of the costlier systems. The system removes 99% of what’s in your water. An alkaline system restores some of the minerals that are lost in the purification process. This model of the system gets the easy, do-it-yourself installation once again. Remember, you can also call customer support and have a knowledgeable expert walk you through the whole process. Just like its bigger brother model, this system comes with an included faucet made of brushed nickel.
This reverse osmosis unit is another unique system for our list. The Purify Guru system is made of stainless steel. This is a food-grade, durable steel that should last you a lifetime. The main selling point here is that it is a tankless system. This makes the system easy to deal with and basically portable like the table top system we covered earlier. The tankless feature means there can be no secondary contamination from a tank. You can just open up that tap and get clean water right away.
This reverse osmosis unit offers two modes of operation. One is a rough filtration that is just for basic purification. The second is a full reverse osmosis purification that will remove even the tiniest of particles and contaminates. The Purify Guru reverse osmosis unit is a fully invisible system. It connects under the sink and features sensors that monitor the system. When filters need to be replaced, this system will let you know about it. It is 100% worry free and takes any guessing out of the equation.
Even when this system does require you to change a filter, the task is easy to do. It’s also a few and far between type of task. Most of the filters for this system last up to 18 months before they need to be replaced. Fortunately, the cost of filters for this system is low as well.
Olympia Water Systems OROS-50
The Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 system comes equipped with a 50 GPD membrane. The system is NSF certified and gives you 5 separate stages of purification for high-quality drinking water. The unit is well suited for city or well water sources. The system is small and sleek and is designed to fit underneath most kitchen sinks. The tank is only 12″ X 12″ X 18″. It can handle water flow temperatures of between 50-100° F. The purification side of the system comes in at 16″ X 7″ X 12″. The system ships with a nice, full-color manual that describes in detail how to install the unit. Installation should be quick and easy to do by yourself.
This reverse osmosis system has quick-connect joints and fittings. This makes for a sturdy and leak-proof unit. The system also ships with a high quality, chrome-finished faucet. The purifier has 5 full stages. The first is a micron sediment filter. This is followed by a carbon block and then the reverse osmosis membrane. This membrane gets rid of everything over 0.0001 microns. This means that anything bigger than a water molecule should be weeded out of your drinking water supply.
US Aqua Platinum Series
This system makes it onto our list for a couple of reasons. First, it’s one of the least expensive reverse osmosis systems around, while still maintaining a high quality. It is also a very high-capacity purifier that can crank out up to 100 gallons per day. If you need lot of purified water for a low cost, this is the system for you.
The US Aqua Platinum Series Deluxe is a 5-stage purifier that also comes in a couple of other 6-stage variants. One adds a mineralization process to the 5 stages. The other adds a UV system that can thoroughly kill microorganisms. This brand is known for quality and performance. The company does extensive testing on all of the purification systems to ensure you get the best quality water possible. The high flow rate and low costs makes this system a real bargain. Installation is easy and a DVD is provided to walk you through each step of the process.
This brand uses some proprietary technology to make its purification systems better than many competing models. Their hydracoil technology makes water that is up to 50% more pure than the competition. Carbon filters used by US Aqua are more absorbent than other brands, making them much more efficient at removing particles from your drinking water supply.
This purification system makes our list as a cheap and simple alternative to other models. The system is a 5-stage, reverse osmosis purifier. It’s also a great replacement for an old or broken system. It does not include a faucet or water tank. If your older system stopped working, this may be able to be dropped in with the old faucet and tank. Just replacing this section can save you some of your hard earned money.
This system comes already assembled and ready to go. Installation is fast and simple. All of the tubing and and starter filters are included. The system also provides you with the necessary housing wrench. All of the parts are tested by LiquaGen with food-grade tubing to ensure the highest quality performance and filtering process. This system can remove 99% of the particulates in your source of drinking water. This covers, but is not limited to, over 1000 contaminates such as arsenic, chlorine, viruses, bacteria, and heavy metals.
This reverse osmosis unit is small and lightweight. It should fit neatly under most sinks. This system is extremely safe as is produces around 50 gallons per day of clean drinking water.
Global Water RO-505
Global water’s reverse osmosis purification system is another 5-stage model. Like most of the systems on our list, this unit can filter out over 1000 different types of pollutant. This includes microorganisms, dirt, particles, bacteria, arsenic, lead, chemicals and more. The system is effective, removing 99% or more of the contaminates in your water supply. Installation of the system is a breeze. It’s made even easier by the company’s excellent customer support. They provide 24/7, around the clock service by phone. They can answer any questions, assist you with problems and walk you through the entire installation process if needed.
Included in the box are 2 sediment filters, 2 GAC carbon filters2 block carbon filters, 2 inline filters and the reverse osmosis membrane. All of the hardware needed to install the unit are includes, as are the tank and a high quality faucet. Colored tubing and installation valves are included as well.
The initial stage is a 5 micron filter for larger particles such as dirt and dust. Next come the various carbon filters and then the membrane. Finally, the water is passed through an inline filter cartridge to remove any nasty smells or flavors.
The Brondel Circle reverse osmosis purification system is another unique entry on our list. This system features smart technology to assist with efficiency. This makes the system up to 10 times more efficient than many of the competitors on the market today. It’s not one of the cheapest on our list, but the technology and quality do justify the price. Like most water purification systems, it really does pay for itself in saved money normally spent on bottled water and in the health benefits it provides for your family.
One great feature with this system is the quick-change filter system. The filters can be twisted off and on and replaced in seconds. No extra tools or extreme upper body strength is needed, which is actually the case for many other systems in this category. The system includes a designer chrome faucet. The smart technology comes into play here too. All of the filters are monitored. When something needs to be changed, an LED light on the faucet will alert you to this fact.
This purifier is a 4-stage system. It is also WQA Gold certified so you can rest easy knowing you are getting true, pure drinking water. Another great feature for this system is its size. The design is streamlines and small. This should save you a ton of space underneath that sink.
This reverse osmosis purification system from Express Water features a number of elite-tier features, but at a very affordable price. This is an alkaline system that adds beneficial minerals back into your drinking water after it has been thoroughly purified. It contains an ultraviolet system to get rid of harmful bacteria, E. Coli, viruses and other microorganisms that can make you and your family sick. The design was built with quick and easy installation in mind. This system comes with a water tank and a high quality faucet to dispense your clean, purified water.
This is another company that prides themselves on being available for their customers. They not only stand by their products, they continue to be there for you should you need any assistance at all. They offer world class customer support at all hours of the day. Alkaline energy in this system means more oxygen in your water than regular tap water. The system can handle an impressive 100 gallons per day and also comes with a clear housing and a pressure gauge. The thorough filtration system will remove approximately 99% of all contaminates in your drinking water supply.
iSpring RCS5T Commercial Grade
This is another offering from the excellent iSpring company. This reverse osmosis filtration system was built for commercial use. It has a solid, rugged construction that is sure to be durable for use in restaurants, bars or large office buildings. The purifier is a tankless system that can immediately process and purify water. It can handle a whopping 500 gallons per day, making it the hardest working system on our list. That comes at a price, though, as it’s also one of the more expensive choices. This is about right, however, when you consider that this is a commercial purifier meant to handle much larger loads than your typical system.
Being a commercial system, this model is obviously not for everyone. Even outside of businesses, it can be useful if you happen to have an extremely large family. Clean water is cranked out of the included faucet at around 10-15 psi. ISpring uses a patented and proprietary dual-flo membrane for efficiency and effectiveness. This system will remove up to 99% of particles, dirt, sediment, chemicals, heavy metals and more. It can even tackle pesticides, sulfur, THMs, PFOA and PFOS. If you need a heavy supply of drinking water on the job, this is the purification system for you.
This system from AquaTru is another countertop purification system. This is a countertop appliance in the truest sense of that term. If you want easy installation and simple to use, this may be your best choice for a reverse osmosis purification system. This device requires no installation and no plumbing work at all. It can be up and running on your counter within 3 minutes. This model is the ultimate for convenience.
The AquaTru is very reasonably priced in addition to being easy to set up. The unit offers quick change filters. These are of the twist and seal variety. This makes changing them out a simple task. The unit can remove 99.1% of the lead in your water. It can also take care of 96.6% of the chlorine, and close to 98% of other heavy metals. In all, the unit can remove sediment, dust, chemicals and more.
The compact and attractive design of the AquaTru will fit right in with almost any kitchen decor. The device measures in at just 14″ high, 12″ wide and 14″ deep. A small size is even more important for a countertop model, as you wouldn’t want it taking up too much of your kitchen space.
The Hydrologic StealthRO is another great budget buy for the frugal shopper looking for a reverse osmosis system. It’s small, it’s inexpensive when compared to other competing units in the range and it’s very efficient. This system can purify up to 300 gallons of water per day. It takes care of 99% of PPM rejections and around 98% of chlorine and other chemicals. It also wastes much less water than comparable units in its price and feature range.
This system installs under your sink and comes with a metal, mounting bracket to keep it securely in place. This product weighs in at around 12 pounds. It is 26″ X 12″ X 6″. There is an automatic shut down cartridge that kicks in when the unit gets too hot, depending on the pressure and other factors. All in all, that’s a pretty nice safety feature for a reverse osmosis system to have. Not only does this model produce a lot of clean water per day, but it also has a fast rate of flow. It can crank out around 2 gallons per minute. No one will ever go thirsty waiting on the water to be processed and purified with the Hydrologic StealthRO.
This reverse osmosis purification unit from Whirlpool is one more budget buy that offers the basics at an affordable price. Whirlpool is known for making all kinds of different appliances. They are also known for having excellent quality products. This Whirlpool WHER25 is no different and definitely lives up to the company name and reputation. Filter life for the device is around 6 months. The included faucet contains an indicator light that lets you know when it’s time to change each filter.
This device is small and light and won’t take up too much room under the sink. It has a low rate of waste water and can purify about 22 gallons a day. This unit requires a water pressure rate of between 40-100 psi for optimum efficiency. The unit can remove large particulates, sediment, dirt, rust and sand. It can also get rid of lead, chlorine, arsenic and various other chemicals. It can even reduce dissolved solid materials such as copper, nitrates, chromium, sodium magnesium, and radium.
If you’re looking for something simple on a budget, the Whirlpool purifier offers a much higher quality than most units at its price point. The unit is easy to install and can provide you and your family with clear, great tasting water right from your tap.
GE is another major manufacturer of multiple appliances that gets an entry on our list. They produce one of the better reverse osmosis purifiers on the market. GE produces another budget-friendly model that offers three stages of filtration. This is one of the least expensive models for you to consider. One of the benefits to this model is that it has long-life filters than should go through 6 months before a change is needed. This set also comes with a chrome plated faucet that has a replacement indicator light. You’ll never have to guess or check under the sink to see when it’s time for a change.
This model is a basic, 3-stage machine that is meant for those looking to rid their water supply of the most common types of contaminates. It can handle over 10 different foreign substances that are commonly found in drinking water. Arsenic, lead, pesticides, and more can all be significantly reduced, leading to better tasting, healthier drinks. This is another small unit that won’t take up too much of your under-sink storage space. It comes in at 12″ X 11″ X 5.5″. The entire system only weight around 5 pounds. Like most of the entries on our list, this is an easy to install system that you can have up and running in minutes.
By following the guidelines in this article and our product reviews, you should be able to pick out a quality water-purification system. There are a number of excellent choices on the market today. You can’t go wrong by choosing any of the 19 systems from our reviews list. For our money, the APEC RO-90 is the best reverse osmosis system you can buy. This model has all of the features you should look for in this type of device. The quality is second-to-none, so you should see a lifetime of use from the APEC RO-90. The cost is more than reasonable for the quality. If you previously purchased drinking water, then the APEC RO-90 will pay for itself in no time.