RO systems, as they are commonly called, can eliminate up to 99% of all total dissolved solids in your drinking water. They combine sediment filters and carbon filters for maximum filtration efficiency. Reverse osmosis water filtration systems perform the most extensive water filtration processes on contaminated water, leaving you with nothing but fresh drinking water!
Let’s face it: with our environment deteriorating constantly, the integrity of our tap water is questionable. You’d be right to think that most of it is compromised. Sometimes the water comes with lots of chemical and minerals (such as excessive chlorine), posing more harm to your body. The lead that coats most water pipes makes it even worse. After prolonged use of the water, the pollutants can take a toll on your health and that of your loved ones.
If you are worried about the level of dangerous contaminants in your water, then this system could be all you needto put your mind at ease. The list below has the best reverse osmosis systems on the market today, so read on to find out the perfect model for your home.
|50 GPD||7||3.2 gal.||TMAFC Artesian|
|75 GPD||6||4 gal||Apec ROES-PH75|
|75 GPD||6||3.2 gal||iSpring RCC7AK|
|90 GPD||5||4 gal||Apec RO-90|
|50 GPD||5||3.2 gal||Express Water RO5DX|
|400 GPD||3||Tankless||Waterdrop WD-G3-W|
|100 GPD||4||1.6 gal||Brondell RC100|
|400 GPD||3||Tankless||Greatwell ROG400|
|25 GPD||3||3.2 gal||Whirlpool WHER25|
|600 GPD||2||Tankless||Watts WP500313|
- Highly Effective Purification
- Filter lifespan: 2000 Gallons
- Made in the USA with 5 Year warranty
- Improved ALKALINITY removal
- Trusted US brand with 20 years of history
- High purity RO water and at 75GPD
- Great PH Levels
- 98% lead removal
- Affordable Filters
- Good customer service
- Environmentally friendly coconut carbon filters
- Quick and easy installation
- 1: 1 Drain Ratio mean less water waste
- Fast flow 400 GPD
- Attractive Tankless Desing
- Compact Design
- WQA Gold Certified
- Water Saving Smart Technology
- True filter change indicator
- Unique leak-free integrated water route
- NSF/ANSI standards components
- NSF Tested and Certified
- Extra Long Filter Life
- Money Saving Model
- Reduces chlorine taste and odor
- Filters up to 600 gallons
- Removes entamoeba cryptosporidium and giardia
How To Choose the Best RO system – Buying Guide
Besides the age-old advice that an apple a day keeps your doctor away, one other standard health advice is to drink a few glasses of CLEAN water every day for better health. Water is crucial to your well being, yet not so much so, if it is polluted and unsafe. Contaminated water can be very disconcerting to a homeowner than needs to keep their household safe yet supplied with adequate clean drinking water.
Water filtration technologists have turned to the proven forces of nature to help produce clean filtered water. Through the study of osmosis, water filter manufacturers have come up with highly efficient reverse osmosis water systems that can purify any water contamination.
To help you learn about factors to keep in mind as you shop for the best reverse osmosis system, we are going to look at what this system is all about and, of course, how it works.
What Is Reverse Osmosis?
So, first things first! Osmosis is one of the most vital processes that support life on earth. In plants, the process helps water to diffuse from the environment to the plant. Animals are also very dependent on osmosis. Through it, water and nutrients are adequately distributed in the body. Osmosis also aids in the excretion of waste products from metabolism.
One common factor in osmosis in both plants and animals is the use of a semi-permeable membrane. The semi-permeable membrane controls the movement of liquid solvents from areas of higher concentration to areas where there is little of the solvents. A semi-permeable membrane, therefore, acts as a screen door. It will allow some molecules or atoms to pass through it and restrain others.
Reverse osmosis, on the other hand, is the process used to eliminate a wide range of contaminants from water. The process is also often referred to as RO, and it produces the tastiest and most refreshing water there is. While in osmosis water moves from areas of low solvent concentrations to areas that have higher solvent concentration naturally, reverse osmosis needs a push. In reverse osmosis, energy is used to push water through a semi-permeable membrane to deionize it. The process allows pure water through the reverse osmosis membrane and leaves all types of solvents and contaminants behind.
The reverse osmosis filtration system and stages
Stage 1: water pre-filtration
Home reverse osmosis water filters generally filter municipal or city water. The water is usually chlorinated but still has levels of visible sedimentation. The pre-filter is meant to eliminate these sediments and reduce the amount of chlorine in the water. The other critical use of the pre-filter is the protection of the reverse osmosis membrane. The residue in the water can easily damage the pre-filter, which is very expensive to replace. Therefore, it’s very critical to pay attention to a reverse osmosis water filter systems’ pre-filter quality.
Pre-filters mostly use activated carbon filters, which are a low-cost item. Nevertheless, these cheap filters are a very vital part of the sophisticated RO system. The common industry standard is a 5-micron pre-filter, which eliminates 5-micron diameter sized contaminants or larger. Traditionally, melt brown cartridges were used as pre-filters, but today you will find sophisticated pleated media filters. Pleated media filters are engineered to enhance water filtration surface area, which increases their protective benefits for the RO system.
A well-protected RO semi-permeable membrane can last at least two years before you need to purchase a new replacement. If your chosen RO water filtration system has a poor pre-filter, it could end up fouling every six months, which will be very difficult and expensive to maintain. The optimal RO pre-filter has a 1-micron pleated filter that has a long life and filters sediments better than a melt brown filter.
Even better is a pre-filter that protects the RO system from wear and tear from biofilm growth and carbon particulates. If you are going to install a reverse osmosis water filtration system in a hard water area, you need to consider a softener first. The build of scale in an RO system could adversely affect your sophisticated water filtration system as well.
Stage 2: The semi-permeable reverse osmosis membrane
This is the heart of your RO water filtration system. It uses a high-pressure pump to intensify pressure on unfiltered water, which forces it across the semi-permeable membrane. Once the process is done, at least 95% to 99% of dissolved pollutants, salts, and minerals are left in the reject stream. The pressure used to force the water through the system is usually dependent on the number of solvents in the water undergoing filtration. The higher the concentration of solvents in the feed water, the higher the pressure will be required to bridle the osmotic pressure. At the end of the process, deionized or demineralized water is produced for house water use, and concentrate or reject stream is left-back for disposal.
Once your feed water from the pre-filter gets into the porous membrane canister under pressure, its molecules go through the membrane leaving behind its solvents. The water left behind is either directed to the drain or recycled back through the RO system for water-saving efficiency. RO systems use a cross filtration whereby, unlike standard filtration systems water, passes through it with two outlets.
A standard filtration system collects water contaminates within its filtration media. An RO system, on the other hand, has filtered water released through one outlet and the reject stream leaving through the other. Therefore, it prevents contamination from buildup in the RO system since water will sweep away build-up from the process.
The contaminants removed from water in this stage
A reverse osmosis water filter can eliminate up to 99% and above of dissolved particles, ions, colloids, pathogens, organics, and bacteria from your drinking water. It is crucial to keep in mind that the RO system will not eliminate all viruses and bacteria from your water. If your water is heavily infested, you will need further water sterilization through UV light water sterilization. The reverse osmosis semi-permeable membrane rejects solvents in water as per their charge and size.
If a specific contaminant in your water has a molecular weight higher than 200, it will be rejected by the RO system. This is in comparison to water that has a molecular weight of 18. If the solvent also has a high molecular charge, it will not pass through the membrane. As an illustration, sodium ions have one charge since they are monovalent. They will, therefore, easily pass through an RO membrane. However, the RO system does not purify gases such as carbon dioxide because they have a low molecular weight, and they are not highly ionized. It’s also the reason why deionized water from RO water systems has low PH levels since the carbon dioxide in it turns to carbonic acid.
Nevertheless, RO systems are perfect water filtration systems for ground, surface, and brackish water despite their level of flow. They are proficient filters of contaminants such as;
- Total dissolved solids
Final filtration stage
The reverse osmosis water system’s post-filtration stage utilizes a carbon post filter. The most common type of carbon filter used is the activated coconut shell carbon filter, which supplies the final water purification process for your drinking water. These filters eliminate any chlorine residue or any leftover contaminants from the reverse osmosis process.
The post-filter also eliminates any bad tastes and odors leftover in your water, especially those that are impacted by the filtration system’s holding tank or hoses. The post-filter can last at least one year of use and should be changed promptly with the best-filtered water results.
Factors to consider when buying a reverse osmosis system
Before purchase, measure your under-sink space to ensure that the RO’s dimensions fit in it. If you, for instance, have compact under sink space, you might need to move your garbage disposal for the RO system. If you are going to purchase an over the counter RO model, ensure that it is not too big, cluttering your workspace. If you are not sure about the fit of your RO system, consult a professional first.
RO systems are designed to work with a water pressure of 60 PSI and above. This gives them a close to 97.5% rejection rate. At lower water pressure, your RO systems might waste more water or produce little poorly filtered water. If your water is from ground sources, it most probably has 30 to 50 PSI on the higher side. Thus, it might be necessary to purchase an electric pressure booster pump to heighten the feed pressure to the reverse osmosis system.
Reverse osmosis water filters remove both bad and good elements from drinking. An inbuilt remineralization feature on your RO systems will increase the level of nutritional components in your water and make it taste better too.
Type of RO system
The very first decision you will need to make your mind up about when buying a reverse osmosis system is the type of RO most suited to your water filtration needs. There are two main types of RO systems models out there. One is known as the under-counter model, while the other is the countertop model. Below is a detailed explanation of each reverse osmosis system model.
- Countertop RO system: Like its name, the countertop RO filter is designed to work from your countertop but can also be placed on the ground. The countertop RO system is also known as a freestanding model. It’s one outstanding characteristic is its compact nature, that ensures that it uses minimal space on your kitchen counter. If you live in a rented apartment and are not allowed to make permanent changes to your kitchen’s plumbing, then the freestanding RO model is the best for you. It is designed to ensure ease of installation, so you do not have to call in a plumbing professional for the installation or maintenance procedures. The beauty of the countertop RO system is that you can take it along with you easily if you decide to move houses.
- Undercounter RO system: The model is also known as the under-sink RO system, and it’s the most common type of all manufactured RO systems. It is installed under the kitchen faucet, and its installation procedure is not as easy as that of the countertop system. But once you have it up and running, it’s easy to use and maintain. Just turn on your faucet, and you will have at hand the most refreshing water your money can buy. Unlike the countertop model, the under-sink RO system can filter lots of water faster, making it the more convenient of these two models, when it comes to daily use. Having said that, some under sink models are more water wasteful during their filtration process.
There are many reverse osmosis water filtration systems out there at different price ranges. Make a budget and ensure that you only purchase what your pockets can handle. Some RO systems like the Express Water Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System and the Whirlpool WHER25 Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filtration System are budget-friendly. Some other RO models will, cost much more. The Waterdrop RO Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System is a little pricey.
Indeed, there are reverse osmosis models out there that are quite expensive. The expensive models often have more stages of water purification and other functions, such as the autoflush. They can also filter more water at a go, than the less expensive models. A costly RO system could also have water remineralization features, which ensures that your deionized water has more nutrients and minerals for your health. Cheaper products may not have a hardy construction for durability, so you have to check the reviews before purchasing a very low-cost item. If you do not have a hefty budget for an RO system, buy one in the mid-range.
Water filtration quantity
Reverse osmosis systems vary when it comes to the amount of water that they can filter in a day. Some can handle 50 gallons, while others can filter over 100 gallons in a day. A 50-gallon model will adequately supply a small household, but a larger home will be inconvenienced by it.
RO systems often reference the number of water filtration stages inbuilt in them. A four-stage RO system will have pre-filter, the RO membrane as well as two other carbon filter cartridges for enhanced water filtration. If your water is not highly polluted, a simple three-stage RO model is sufficient for your water filtration needs. Having said that, if your water tests positive for high contamination, a five or six stage RO model will do an exhaustive water filtration job.
Ease of installation
Under the counter, RO models are not very easy to install, so if you purchase one, you might need to call in a professional for assistance. If the system’s process of installation is too complicated, it might force you to pay more than average for the process.
Most reverse osmosis models have different stages of filtration, which means that they do have different filter change maintenance processes. They could also require a system clean, which could be complicated depending on the model you purchase. If you are looking for an easy to maintain RO system, buy one with long-life filters and with features such as autoflush. If you buy a model that needs constant maintenance and you cannot keep up with it, you might end up with a malfunctioning RO system.
One of the most significant disadvantages of reverse osmosis water filtration products is that unlike other water filtration technologies that do not waste water, RO systems create water waste as a byproduct of the filtration process. Some RO systems only recover about 5 % to 15% of filtered water. But there also other RO systems that have recycling features such as repurposing the waste for use in laundry or dishwashing. Such models are often referred to as zero waste models. If you are very environmentally conscious and have decent treated municipal water supply, go for other environmentally friendly methods of water filtration.
Reverse osmosis systems are big-budget items, and you do not want to commit to one that will not last some years of use. They are also not easy to install, so disrupting your kitchen’s plumbing system for a short-lived product is a no-no. Go for a brand that is solidly reviewed and with a respectable brand history. Look for models with excellent warranties, especially those with lifetime guarantees.
Most homes in the US either use ground or city water. Water in urban centers has already gone through a water treatment plant before it is channeled to homes. Therefore, it has less contamination than most other water sources. Entry-level three stages RO models will work well for pre-treated water. However, if you live in a suburban area, your water could be from ground sources such as private wells. Water from these sources could have higher levels of contamination, especially bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. Thus, you will need a robust RO system, coupled with UV light sterilizer features to ensure absolute water safety.
Despite its propensity to wastewater during filtration, reverse osmosis produces the purest water just as nature intended it. These RO water systems will provide ample water filtration for your household. Our favorites are the Home Master TMAFC Artesian Reverse Osmosis Water System for its filtration prowess and long-life filters. We also love the APEC Water Systems RO-90 Ultimate High Output 90 GPD for its extensive capacity filtration for larger households, features, and affordability too.