Reverse osmosis water systems are one of the most efficient ways of getting clean, safe water for your household. If we compare them to other water filter solutions, they compare very favourably, often removing up to 99% of the contaminants in the water. We’ve put together some helpful information about what this system is, key characteristics to look out for and a list of ten of the best systems to buy.
- Our Top Picks
- Best Reverse Osmosis Systems of 2021
- Water Distillers that are worth mentioning
- 1. Home Master Artesian – Full Contact Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
- 2. iSpring RCC7AK Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System
- 3. Quality Water Treatment SoftPro GREEN RO System
- 4. Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis System
- 5. APEC ROES PH75 6 Stage Reverse Osmosis Water System
- 6. Home Master HydroPerfection RO Water Filter System
- 7. iSpring RCC7 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis System
- 8. Express Water ROALK10DCG 10 Stage Reverse Osmosis System
- 9. Brondell H2O+ Circle Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
- 10. APEC ROES 50 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis Water System
- What is a reverse osmosis system?
- Reverse Osmosis Advantages
- What you should consider
- Important terms
- What are the components that make up a RO System?
- How to Install a Reverse Osmosis System
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How does it work?
- What will reverse osmosis systems remove?
- Is Reverse Osmosis water better than distilled water?
- Are Reverse Osmosis systems environmentally friendly?
- Where do you fit a reverse osmosis system?
Our Top Picks
Best Reverse Osmosis Systems of 2021
Water Distillers that are worth mentioning
We understand that it can sometimes be quite overwhelming trying to work out what system to buy, with so many options out there. As a result, we’ve done the research and put together a list of 10 great reverse osmosis systems that would be a great addition to your households water system.
1. Home Master Artesian – Full Contact Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
We start off with a fantastic reverse osmosis system that removes up to 98% of harmful contaminants from your water supply, including chemicals, metals and other minerals.
It achieves this through a patented full contact technology which remineralises the water twice, allows for better-tasting water and a longer-lasting product.
This product offers lots of upgrades and the option of a second faucet, with more than 10 types to choose from (for those that didn’t realise – a reverse osmosis system requires its own tap).
The filters are reported to last up to 2,500 gallons, so depending on your households water usage, we recommend changing filters at least once per year.
2. iSpring RCC7AK Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System
This system is hard to beat, with an incredible removal of up to 99% of contaminants and other bacteria in your water supply, as well as reducing the fluoride.
This is in part to its interesting six-stage filtration system that uses the first five filters to remove harmful content and the final stage actually restores a lot of the good minerals back into the water for improved health and improved taste.
The other reason we like this product from iSpring is that it is fairly simple to install, compared to some of the other reverse osmosis systems on the market. The instructions are clear, minimal tools are required and the customer support is pretty good.
On top of that, once installed, it only took moments to flush the system and have it ready for your family to start getting healthy, clean filtered water.
3. Quality Water Treatment SoftPro GREEN RO System
The next reverse osmosis system on our list really does live up to its claim to being green, with an impressive efficiency that you will struggle to beat with the other models.
On average, systems will have a waste rating of approximately 3-4 gallons, whereas the ratio for this one is closer to 1:1, which means that for each gallon of water that is purified, only 1 gallon is wastewater. A fantastic improvement for both the environment and your water bills.
Away from the wastewater improvements, its 5 stage filtration offers up to 96% removal of any contaminants in the water supply, and so it still offers a fantastic tasting clean water solution. You can also get a different version that uses an alkalizing filter which improves the pH level.
Finally, the manufacturer’s warranty is for five years, so it is a safe investment over the long term and we’ve found that the installation is relatively straight forward and can be done without professional assistance.
4. Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis System
If we were to tell you this product is a space-saving reverse osmosis solution that still offers industry-leading filtration levels and great features, then you’d think what a great deal. Well, you would be right!
As a result of being a tankless reverse osmosis water filtration system, it is a fantastic compact solution that features displays for easier monitoring of water quality and TDS. Some may prefer a storage tank that most other RO systems have.
Following the theme of great design, the installation is fairly simple and the filter changeovers shouldn’t cause you much bother with a simple removal and replacement system in place.
The only real downsides we can find with this model is that it doesn’t improve the pH level and requires a 30 minute flush after installation before it can be used to deliver purified water – not exactly deal breakers but good to know.
5. APEC ROES PH75 6 Stage Reverse Osmosis Water System
Another on our list that offers a 6 stages of filtration process including the final stage of adding in healthy minerals, creating better tasting, healthier drinking water for your family and friends.
A reasonably priced reverse osmosis system with a good wastewater ratio and filters that are long-lasting, it should be one to consider for anyone purchasing such a filtration system.
When we say that each RO filter is long-lasting, it is important to note that the ones that come with this RO filtration system are limited to around 6 months but subsequent ones state they can be changed every 2 to 3 years, with the water neutraliser lasting an incredible 4 to 6 years. All of this is dependant on the type of water your household has access to of course, whether it is a normal supply or well water, but still, these are fantastic statistics.
In terms of installation, we’ve found this product is supplied with detailed instructions, video guides and plenty of advice out there from customers who have successfully installed the system.
6. Home Master HydroPerfection RO Water Filter System
The Home Master HydroPerfection is another reverse osmosis system that offers up to 99.9% removal of microorganisms and approximately 98% of chemicals and metals, along with nicer tasting drinking water.
Where this Home Master reverse osmosis water filter stands out from the crowd is with its Fast Flow technology, designed to improve the water flow by on average, double the amount compared to normal systems. This really does stop the frustrating issue of low pressure and slow flow rates, common with many RO systems, without reducing its effectiveness.
Add into that a purify to waste ratio of 1:1, long-lasting reverse osmosis filters that deliver a good year of purified water before needing to be replaced and you’ve got a product to shortlist.
We like the fact that this manufacturer allows you to customise your order by upgrading the faucet, not simply sticking you with the boring, standard design, as well as offering a strong 5-year manufacturers warranty on the system.
7. iSpring RCC7 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis System
Another system on our list from iSpring, one of the giants in water filtration, is the RCC7 reverse osmosis water filter system.
At the cheaper end of the range, it still boasts an impressive 5 filter system that provides your household with safe, clean drinking water and cooking water.
Following in the footsteps of the majority of reverse osmosis systems on our list, the efficiency ratio is far better than the industry standard. This model sees an average ratio of 2.5:1, offering significant savings in both wastewater and energy bills, as well as helping protect the environment.
We also love the customer support that iSpring provides, with clear and simple instructions for installation, as well as video tutorials and a great customer service line to help.
8. Express Water ROALK10DCG 10 Stage Reverse Osmosis System
You will instantly notice the headline here – a 10 stage reverse osmosis system from Express Water. Like us, you may well be a bit sceptical of this, so let us explain what it all means.
Firstly, the majority of manufacturers believe the remineralization part of the process is a sixth step, with the first five being filtration. Where this company differs is that they view the remineralization as multiple steps, hence the 10 stages.
Whatever they want to call it, all you need to know is that they offer a filtration system that removes up to 99% of harmful contaminants, as well as a remineralization step that creates healthier, better-tasting water.
Throw in superb water efficiency of 2:1 and you really are achieving safe, clean water with minimal waste.
An easy installation process and colour coded pieces to make life easy, all of which means you’ve got a great choice for your home reverse osmosis filter system.
9. Brondell H2O+ Circle Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
We really do love the design on this reverse osmosis system, with its stylish and compact design allowing it to fit in far tighter cupboards and sink areas compared to many of the others.
Furthermore, they supply a chrome finished faucet with an LED light to signal when a filter needs replacing, a far nicer touch than some of the basic faucets offered elsewhere.
You’re not stuck with their standard faucet though and you can connect others to this system, but it is important to contact them and confirm the model you have chosen is compatible.
This leads on to one of the downsides we’ve found with this model and that is the filters seem to be harder to source than other brands, and in general with less availability, comes higher prices, so its good to add this into your decision-making process.
10. APEC ROES 50 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis Water System
The last on our list but by no means the least is another budget-friendly model, this time from APEC, who have delivered a five-stage filtration system that still has an efficiency of 3:1. This is still above average but not quite up to the standard of some of the other models on our list.
You still get the same, high-quality filtration system and it will remove the majority of harmful minerals in your water supply.
The cost-effectiveness doesn’t stop at the initial purchase, as APEC provides replacement filters at very reasonable prices, meaning over the long term it is even more budget-friendly compared to other systems. As an added bonus, replacement filters come with the system, so you will be unlikely to need more for another year or so.
Installation instructions are clear and in detail, with images to support each step.
Reverse Osmosis water filters are a fantastic solution for any household waiting clean, safe and healthy water. Efficiencies in water wastage and filtration are being improved all the time, so the majority on the market will offer cost savings in the long term, as well as helping protect the environment, which is a win for everyone.
We hope the information on this page has helped you take a step closer to getting a water filtration system that works for you.
What is a reverse osmosis system?
We will all have heard of water filters for the home or office, particularly if you live in an area with a poor water supply or particularly hard water. A reverse osmosis system is a way of purifying water by the passing of contaminated water through a semipermeable membrane using pressure, that then removes harmful minerals and contaminants. It is this membrane that blocks molecules above a certain size from getting through.
Where a reverse osmosis system stands out from the crowded field of water filter systems, is in its ability to filter out far smaller particles in the water, such as molecules, bacteria and even salt. As a result, this type of system is a popular choice for industrial processes such as treating wastewater, recycling and even energy production.
Reverse Osmosis Advantages
There are some fantastic advantages to owning a reverse osmosis system when compared to other water filtration systems in your home. We’ve listed just a few of them below:
A Reverse Osmosis (RO) machine will offer pretty much the best filtration out there, removing harmful bacteria, microorganisms and any impurities in the water such as chromium, heavy metals and other chemicals.
It will improve the taste and smell of water that you use in your household, whether that is drinking water, cooking water or washing water. A RO system will remove the harmful contaminants that cause these disgusting smells and tastes, such as chlorine.
Another advantage is that you will save time and money buying bottled water from supermarkets, as you no longer need to worry about the safety, taste or cleanliness of your water supply. Many don’t realise how much they spend on bottled water or individual filters for the home and when you take these into consideration, the savings can be impressive over the short and long term.
Very much linked to the previous advantage is the benefits on the environment. As a result of no longer needing to buy individual filters, plastic bottles and other items you will reduce your household impact on the environment. It is important to note that any individual or whole house RO system will produce wastewater, so you will want to check each model’s efficiency before buying one.
What you should consider
Whilst you may have heard of reverse osmosis, it is important to understand some of the key characteristics of these systems, so you know what to look out for when buying one for your household.
In general, a reverse osmosis system should be installed under the sink and requires space for all of the components including the tank. As a result, you will need to measure your storage space and work out early on whether a reverse osmosis system is a solution for you. If not, then there are plenty of other options to go for, especially for those households lacking much space.
You can also get countertop reverse osmosis water systems, as well as countertop and a whole-house RO system.
This is a very important point to note – if the water pressure at your property is under 40PSI, then you need to increase the water pressure in order to effectively use a reverse osmosis system. Some RO systems come with a booster pump, or you can buy one separately, that will help resolve this. If however, the water pressure doesn’t improve with a booster, then you need to look at an alternative solution.
A reverse osmosis system isn’t particularly easy on the water usage front and this is putting it mildly. These systems do use large amounts of water because they drain so water during the filter process because the harmful minerals are drained away using more water than feeds through to your tap. If wastewater is an issue or simply not an option, you will need to have a rethink.
Replacement Reverse Osmosis Filters
Any type of water filter system you choose for your house will require regular maintenance and filter replacements. For a reverse osmosis (RO) system, this is a slightly more complex process because it has multiple filters to keep track of. Furthermore, this obviously increases the cost both initially and over the lifespan of the RO system.
This is less of an issue in more urban and developed areas but if you live in remote areas that rely on well water, you may find a reverse osmosis water filter (RO system) unsuitable due to how much water is required for it to work, as well as the pressure required. This is a particular issue for well water but doesn’t mean all other sources will be okay.
The world of water filtration can be complex and confusing, particularly with the different terms and references used by manufacturers. We’ve put together a summary of the key reverse osmosis (RO) system terms that you should be aware of and that will help you make an informed purchasing decision.
pH Levels (Acidic to Alkaline)
Taking many of you back to those school science lessons now with this term – pH levels refer to the level of acidity or alkalinity the water is. If it has a low pH then it is at the acidic end of the spectrum and a high pH means it is at the alkaline end.
The majority of the best reverse osmosis systems on the market will work with a variety of pH levels but it is important to be aware that the majority will actually lower the pH level as they filter out minerals, both healthy and harmful. This in turn makes the water more acidic and gives it the bland taste you may have experienced.
Some of the reverse osmosis water filtration systems will utilise a remineralization stage to add back in those minerals before the water goes into the storage tank. This will increase the pH level back to around the neutral mark, but this isn’t always included, so check the features on your favourite RO system before buying.
You will notice that all of the RO systems to feature on our best reverse osmosis system reviews will state they offer multiple stages of filtration. This refers to the different phases and types of filtration that happen before you get clean, filtered water at the faucet. These stages of filtration include pre-filters, carbon filter options, sometimes UV light, as well as the permeable membrane. A reverse osmosis filtering system is ultimately a complex reverse osmosis process, ending in filtered RO water that is about as pure water as you can get at home.
In general, the more stages of RO filters, the more pure water you receive but this isn’t necessarily always the best option for your individual requirements, so assess each RO system carefully. For example, you may want one with fewer RO filters but works as a whole-house RO system.
Almost all of the best reverse osmosis systems that you install under your sink will come with a pressurized storage tank. This is used to hold all of the purified water once the process is complete and ensure that you have clean, safe water as quickly as possible when you turn on the faucet. Without this, you would need to wait for the RO system to filter and deliver pure water every time you turned on the tap.
A storage tank can be replaced with larger ones in most cases, should you find your household requirements change or you underestimated your usage before buying a reverse osmosis (RO) system.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
This term refers to a wide range of solids that are dissolved in water, such as calcium and magnesium, sodium, chlorides, sulfates and more, as well as small amounts of organic matter. The official maximum allowed TDS level set by the EPA is 500mg/L.
There isn’t an easy way to test this without getting a lab test performed, which is relatively expensive and takes time to do. In general, the best Reverse Osmosis systems will reduce the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) levels in your household water supply by around 90% but it does vary, so check the reviews for each RO system.
This is an incredibly important factor to consider when purchasing a reverse osmosis system and will determine how efficient and cost-effective your chosen system is. Unfortunately, any reverse osmosis water filtration system will produce wastewater as a result of needing to flush the reverse osmosis membrane.
For standard reverse osmosis (RO) systems that you buy for your household, you will likely get a wastewater ratio of between 1-5 gallons of water wasted, per 1 gallon of filtered water produced. This is quite a variance and clearly, you will pay more for the most efficient models but not always, so it’s good to check the efficiency of every product within your budget. Depending on your gallons per day usage, this could lead to a high amount of wastewater.
One of the key factors in performance is the water pressure flowing into the property. The higher the water pressure, the lower the wastewater. In theory, you could even reuse the wastewater by adding extra pipes to your water system and feeding it to a different faucet or back out of the property.
This one is fairly simple – it is the amount of water that a RO system can process every day and is generally measured in gallons per day (GPD). It is important to note that the figures manufacturers arrive at are based on the optimum temperature, flow rate and water pressure, an unlikely combination for most households.
We recommend you expect your chosen RO system to deliver lower gallons per day than the stated amount, so incorporate this into your planning. Think about the water pressure in your household and current flow rate. Equally, you may want to install improved water systems such as a pump to increase the gallons per day output.
What are the components that make up a RO System?
The Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems that have made it onto our list of what is the best reverse osmosis system, are all relatively complex when compared to other filtration options. That is because of how effective and efficient they are. Fortunately, the majority of the models we have reviewed use similar components and stages, as well as fairly uniform designs, as detailed below.
Often the first stage of all reverse osmosis systems, it will filter out the larger pieces of sediment that are in the water supply, including dirt and metals. These larger grains can be damaging and harmful to the rest of the reverse osmosis water filtration system and RO membrane and so it is important to filter them out beforehand.
One of the key components is the semi-permeable RO membrane which helps to trap the harmful contaminants you really don’t want in your water supply. These include things like pesticides and harmful materials used by water companies or that can get into the supply from external sources.
This is one of the reverse osmosis filters that sits between the water tank and your faucet, ultimately performing a final filtration before you use the water. In most cases, it will remove any of the remaining carbon to improve taste and appearance. By this point, the water is pure and filtered, so it is just about improving the final product.
A component that helps switch the system off when the water tank is full. Thanks to improvements in technology, this valve is often automatic and doesn’t require manual operation.
As mentioned previously, the higher the water pressure as it flows through the RO membrane, then the improved performance and lower wastewater. A flow restrictor will help apply pressure to the water, improving this flow rate.
The storage tank that holds the purified water for each reverse osmosis (RO) system. This means that you have water ready when you turn the tap on, minimising delays and frustration from having to wait for clean, safe water. A storage tank is very important for households using a high number of gallons per day of purified water.
As a result of a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system being so efficient and effective at removing all harmful contaminants and particles from the water, it also removes healthy minerals that you want to keep in the water supply. This is where a remineralization filter comes in handy, adding back in minerals such as calcium and magnesium, iron and zinc.
This is normally performed before the purified water flows through into the water tank, where it is stored. Should your chosen RO system not include a remineralization filter, then you can often attach one relatively easily.
You will most likely need to use the faucet supplied with your chosen Reverse Osmosis (RO) system, which should be able to fit into your existing kitchen sink. However, it is important to research this, in case your current setup doesn’t have the right size fitting. Likewise, some give you the option of choosing from different designs or your existing faucet.
Air Gap Faucet
An air gap faucet takes the drain water from the reverse osmosis (RO) membrane, routes it up to the bottom of the faucet where it drops down into a non-pressurized trough. The water then flows down with just gravity aiding it into the sink drain. Not all reverse osmosis filtration systems will have this feature.
A permeate pump will help improve the efficiency of your reverse osmosis system, as without a permeate pump then far more water will be wasted. To give you an idea of the impact of these pumps, they can improve efficiency by 80%. It works by storing impure water in a special chamber and using it to produce the energy required by the Reverse Osmosis (RO) system.
In essence, an electric pump performs the same purpose as a permeate pump but is designed very differently. It uses a sensor known as a pressure switch to check the water pressure and when required, the electric pump will turn on and increase water pressure.
This isn’t a feature on each best reverse osmosis system that has made it onto our list but if you have a particular problem with water pressure and want to improve efficiency, then an electric pump is a great feature.
How to Install a Reverse Osmosis System
A reverse osmosis system can be installed without the need of professional assistance, in most cases anyway. Thanks to improvements in design and advancements in technology, most of the systems that make it onto our best reverse osmosis system review can be done yourself.
It is important to follow the instructions and guidelines for each individual product but the majority will follow these steps:
Step 1: Shut off the cold water valve, turning it clockwise to ensure the water is shut off
Step 2: Open your faucet and empty any remaining water left in the pipes.
Step 3: Disconnect your water line from the shut-off valve. You will want to have towels or pots ready to mop up any residual water.
Step 4: Connect your RO system to the cold water line using the adapter provided by the manufacturer.
Step 5: Switch on the cold water valve
Step 6: Install the filters and tank, ensuring both are fitted securely under your sink.
Step 7: Install the drain line by firstly locating the systems drain line, drilling a hole in the existing waste line and installing your system onto it.
Step 8: Install your new faucet. It may be that your sink has a spare hole or existing spot to place the faucet, or you may need to drill a new hole in the countertop or sink.
Step 9: Attach the supply line to the output section of your RO system.
Step 10: Connect the water tank up to the filtration system making sure you follow the guidelines and instructions provided with the product.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve put together some of the most common questions from people considering buying a water filtration system. Hopefully, these questions and answers will help you make an informed decision when reviewing our best reverse osmosis systems list but should you have any further questions, please just contact us and speak to an expert.
How does it work?
- Reverse osmosis is the process of water being pushed through a semipermeable RO membrane via water pressure. It is this RO membrane that stops particles above a certain size, including harmful contaminants like bacteria, heavy metals, chlorine, viruses, pharmaceuticals and more.
What will reverse osmosis systems remove?
- These water filtration systems will use this reverse osmosis membrane to remove almost all harmful contaminants from your household water supply including sediment, harmful bacteria, viruses, chemicals, chlorine and minerals including copper. They will also remove some of the more helpful minerals including calcium and magnesium, iron and zinc.
Is Reverse Osmosis water better than distilled water?
- The quick answer is yes – thanks to being able to remove all traces of harmful contaminants that distillers can’t, such as chlorine and some pesticides. RO systems are an all-round more effective solution to your water purification needs. It is always important to think about your requirements for water per day, as you sacrifice speed for pure water.
Are Reverse Osmosis systems environmentally friendly?
- Unfortunately, even the best reverse osmosis systems create waste in the form of wastewater. This means that they do have an impact on the environment. Having said that, some of the best systems on the market are far more efficient than others. The average RO system will produce 3-5 gallons of wastewater, per single gallon of purified water.
Where do you fit a reverse osmosis system?
- You can choose from a range of RO systems. The majority fit under the sink in your kitchen but you don’t have to go down this route. You may prefer a whole house reverse osmosis water filter system. Likewise, you may not have space under your sink and you can go for a countertop reverse osmosis system in order to get purified water for your home.