Best Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Filter Reviews – Comprehensive Guide

Water is the one thing that human beings cannot survive without – without it, we are doomed. In the current climate, it is becoming more and more important to pay attention to the quality of water we are consuming on a daily basis. One of the better ways to clean and filter the water we use is through a process called reverse osmosis (RO). As complicated as that sounds, reverse osmosis filtration systems have been used for a very long time. Originally, high-pressure pumps were used to convert brackish or seawater into drinkable water. Nowadays all reverse osmosis systems work in the same fashion and pretty much look the same too.

Top Reverse Osmosis Filtration System Comparison Chart

ImageModelFavorite FeatureStagesPriceRating
APEC Water Systems ROES-PH75 Top Tier Built in USA ,Ultra Safe, pH Alkaline Calcium Mineral Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water SystemAPEC Water Systems ROES-PH75 Top TierUS Made cartridge uses food-grade calcium6$$$5 Stars
iSpring RCC7AK - Built in USA WQA Certified Reverse Osmosis 6 Stages 75GPD Under Sink Water Filter w: Alkaline stage Clear Housing, Designer FaucetiSpring RCC7AK - WQA GOLD SEALMost cost effective technology6$$$4.5 Stars
APEC Water - Top Tier - Built in USA - Certified Ultra Safe High-Flow 90 GPD Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System RO-90APEC Water - Top Tier (RO-90)Super capacity filters that last twice as long5$$$5 Stars
Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter SystemHome Master TMAFC ArtesianAdded minerals for great taste7$$$4.5 Stars
APEC Water - US Made - Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter - Portable + Installation-Free RO-CTOPAPEC Water (RO-CTOP)Lightweight, installation-free system4$$$5 Stars
iSpring RCC7AK-UV - WQA Gold Seal - Most Comprehensive 7-Stage 75GPD Reverse Osmosis Water Filter with Flow Sensor Switch 11W UV + Alkaline Mineral StageiSpring RCC7AK-UV - WQA Gold Seal
Use of FDA food-grade material in all parts7$$$4 Stars
Aquaphor RO-101 Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System 7 Stage NSF CertifiedAquaphor DWM-101NSF Standard 58 ensures quality materials4$$$4 Stars
iSpring RCW5 - US legendary 50GPD 5-Stage Under-Counter Reverse Osmosis RO Water Filter with Quick FittingiSpring RCW5 - US LegendaryNo electricity is required5$$4.5 Stars
Stainless Steel Tankless Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water RO SystemTankless RO Drinking Water SystemReusable Stainless Steel Sediment Pre Filter4$$3.5 Stars
iSpring RCC1UP - 100GPD 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis system featuring Real Booster Pump, 11w UV with Flow Sensor Switch and Clear Housing in 1st stageiSpring RCC1UPFeatures booster pump and 11w UV light6$$$5 Stars
iSpring RCS5T 500 GPD Tankless Side-Flow Commercial 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter SystemiSpring RCS5T
Rejects up to 99% of 1000+ pollutants5$$5 Stars

Reverse Osmosis Filtration System Reviews

Choosing the best reverse osmosis filtration system can be daunting to say the least. Luckily, we have put together reviews of the best reverse osmosis filtration systems on the market for you:

APEC Water Systems ROES-PH75

APEC-Water-Systems-ROES-PH75-Top-Tier

Features

  • Stages: Six-Stage Purification
  • Calcium Minerals added
  • Big Capacity: 75 gallons

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • 6 stages allows for most purification
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • A lot of waste (1/5)
  • Alkalinity is only slightly higher than the rest

Verdict

This 6-stage beauty is one of the bestselling RO units on Amazon. APEC is well known for pushing the technology within their products and they have not disappointed with the ROES-PH75 model. Previous units had the well-known five stage process for purifying water – the sixth stage now adds calcium minerals to enhance the alkalinity and taste of the water, mainly for people who prefer mineral water (who doesn’t?). The added calcium also has other benefits such as strengthening bones and teeth. It has a bigger capacity, generating 75 gallons of fresh water and can serve a family/household of up to 4 people.

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iSpring RCC7AK 6 Stage 75GPD

iSpring-RCC1UP

Features

  • Stages: Six-Stage Purification
  • Additional Stages: Extra Carbon Filter and Alkaline (PH) Balance Stage
  • Output: 75 Gallons Per Day

Pros

  • Alkaline Mineral stage adds back the necessary minerals
  • Additional carbon filter ensures there is no chlorine component left in water
  • Low-cost cartridges ensure low operational cost

Cons

  • Looks cheap
  • The system is bulky with multiple units

Verdict

The iSpring RCC7AK is a great buy if you want performance and don’t mind the look of the unit, the brand has emphasized keeping the initial and operational costs low. Due to this the RO unit looks incomplete and if you do not have space to hide it, you should look for another unit. Users have reported  great performance for such a low price, but most were not satisfied with the appearance.

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APEC Water – Top Tier – High-Flow 90 GPD

APEC-Water-Systems-ROES-PH75-Top-Tier

Features

  • Stages: Five Stage
  • Additional Stages: Second Carbon Filter
  • Output: 90

Pros

  • Five stage purification process with perfect de-chlorination
  • High-speed of water output with complete purification
  • Heavy duty components for durability

Cons

  • The RO has a very high rejection rate which wastes a lot of water
  • The lack of PH balancer takes away the necessary minerals that should be present in your daily drinking water

Verdict

The APEC Water – Top Tier (RO-90) is one of the best five stage RO purifiers in the market. The water yield is much higher than the market standards, but so is the water wastage. It rejects more than 90% of the input water, so for the more environmentally conscious this may not be the best option. The low annual maintenance cost of under $40 is a big plus, however the ready availability of six stage purifiers in this budget creates a big challenge for the model.

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Home Master TMAFC Artesian

Home-Master-TMAFC-Artesian

Features

  • Stages: Seven Stage Process
  • Additional Stages: One additional carbon filter and two mineral addition stages
  • Output: 50 Gallons Per Day

Pros

  • The seven stage process ensures very high quality of pure water along with necessary minerals
  • Value for money and low operational cost
  • One of the cheapest seven stage water purifiers

Cons

  • Very low water output rate at just 50 gallons a day, other purifiers give up to 100 gallons a day
  • You will have to find space to hide and install the RO, its open structure makes it look cheap

Verdict

The seven stage RO purifier is one of the cheapest seven stage reverse osmosis purification systems available in the market. The open design of the RO make it very easy to maintain, however it looks cheap. If you have a place to hide your RO, it is probably a good buy. The maintenance cost is also very low.

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APEC Water (RO-CTOP)

APEC-Water-(RO-CTOP)

Features

  • Stages: Four Stages
  • Additional Stages: None
  • Output: 90 Gallons Per Day

Pros

  • Takes just 1 minute to install
  • The water is purified at an amazing rate
  • Very compact, can fit into any space

Cons

  • No water storage mechanism
  • No auto cut as there is no storage
  • The RO is primitive with no added protection or mineral addition.

Verdict

There are a lot of other RO systems available in this budget which offer better performance and protection. The APEC Water (RO-CTOP) is the best buy for those who really want a very compact unit to fit into a very tight space. It is probably the smallest unit available in the market. Most users have added an additional re-mineralization filter to turn it into a five stage RO system.

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iSpring RCC7AK-UV – WQA Gold Seal

iSpring-RCC7AK-WQA-GOLD-SEAL

Features

  • Stages: Seven Stages
  • Additional Stages: Additional carbon filter, Post RO carbon filter, and Alkaline Filter for Mineral addition.
  • Output: 75 Gallons per day

Pros

  • Seven stage all-round protection
  • The post RO carbon filter eliminates all kinds of impurities left in the RO process
  • Good water dispensing rate of 75 GPD, far better than other seven stage units

Cons

  • Really bulky, needs a lot of space for installation

Verdict

The iSpring RCC7AK-UV is a great buy. It is one of the bigger RO systems around so make sure you have the space to fit it. With no covering to speak of, the unit looks bulky and exposed, so you will have to make sure that it is installed in a covered space. Most users install it under the kitchen sink. iSpring have a great customer support in place, which is crucial nowadays. Their customers are generally very happy with their great support for any minor problems they faced. This reverse osmosis water system is a great buy and value for money product.

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Aquaphor DWM-101

Aquaphor-DWM-101 review

Features

  • Stages: Four Stage
  • Additional Stages: None
  • Output: 2.5 L per min

Pros

  • Great efficiency
  • Space saving, compact design
  • Sleek, attractive look
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • Basic four stage water purifier with no added protection
  • The pricing is high for four stage purifier

Verdict

If you are looking for a great looking top notch water purifier and do not bother about mineral addition and enhanced protection this is the perfect model for you. However, the model is a little premium priced because of its in-built water collection tank and compact design.

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iSpring RCW5 – US Legendary

iSpring-RCC7AK-UV-WQA-Gold-Seal review

Features

  • Stages: Five Stage
  • Additional Stages: Added carbon layer for enhanced de-chlorination
  • Output: 50 gallons per day

Pros

  • Value for money five stage purifier
  • The purifier has a very high efficiency and saves a lot of water

Cons

  • No UV protection
  • Lacks re-mineralization layer
  • Bulky and cheap design

Verdict

This is a great five stage RO purifier. Having UV protection is a necessity these days, but you can add that yourself. Users have reported it to be great value for money and report a very high level of satisfaction both from the RO system itself and iSpring (top notch customer support). The maintenance cost is really low which make the iSpring RCW5 – US Legendary a great overall unit at a good price.

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iSpring RCC1UP

iSpring-RCC7AK-WQA-GOLD-SEAL review

Features

  • Stages: Six Stages
  • Additional Stages: 1 additional carbon filter and 1 post RO carbon filter
  • Output: 100 gallons per day

Pros

  • Great buy with a very high output
  • Noise-free operations
  • Removes all kinds of impurities

Cons

  • Really bulky, needs a lot of space to install
  • You will need a place to hide the unit, as it does not looks good

Verdict

iSpring RCC1UP is a very high output reverse osmosis unit. With an output of 100 GPD, it gives almost double amount of water than its competitors. The pricing is great, but the looks are poor. The unit also lacks a pH balancing filter which is responsible for restoring the necessary minerals in water. It is a great buy for places with high water requirements.

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iSpring RCS5T

iSpring RCS5T review

Features

  • Stages: Five
  • Additional Stages: Additional carbon filter
  • Output: 500 gallons per day

Pros

  • A high-quality commercial RO system with great output
  • Very low operational costs

Cons

  • Not suitable for household usage
  • RO system is manufactured in China. Local support is not available in most U.S. cities.

Verdict

The iSpring RCS5T is a great RO system for commercial applications. It produces 500 GPD of water which is at least five times that of other RO systems available on the market. It is very compact, although the basic structure itself is large. Not well suited for home use due to its size and makeup – home users would be better suited choosing a smaller 7 stage process RO system at a better price.

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Tankless RO Drinking Water System

Tankless RO Drinking Water System review

Features:

  • Stages: Four
  • Additional Stages: None
  • Output: 400 Gallons Per Day

Pros

  • Made using food grade stainless steel
  • Very high capacity of water output: up to 400 gallons per day
  • Great system for commercial applications

Cons

  • The system is a little bulky and needs good space to install
  • Does not has any PH balancer or UV filter for enhanced protection

Verdict

The RO is a great buy for commercial applications. However, the lack of UV and other added protections make it unsuitable for high risk industries like hospitals and restaurants where the quality of water cannot be compromised. It is a great buy for users who need basic RO filtration with a high quantity of water. The design of the RO system is very appealing. The high quality stainless steel body gives it an elegant finish.

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How do Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems work?

Reverse Osmosis is a process in which dissolved inorganic solids (such as salts and impurities) are removed from a solution (such as water). It is the application of excessive pressure forcing water molecules to leave the high solute concentration region into the low solute concentration region through a semi-permeable membrane (reverse osmosis membrane). As such, you can remove salt from seawater and iron and impurities that are dissolved in tap water. The result is clean, fresh, and better-tasting water for you and your family.

Reverse Osmosis Process

The typical reverse osmosis process is a four stage process, however, advanced units can have more stages (we will cover them later). Here are the four basic stages of the process and their benefits:

  • Sediment Filter – The first step of the commercial RO unit is a sediment filter which removes all large impurities. The list of impurities removed in this stage include (but are not limited to) rust and calcium carbonate.
  • Activated Carbon – The second stage is an activated carbon filter which traps all kinds of organic chemicals and chlorine present in almost all public supply systems. These impurities are a risk to the thin membrane layer of the RO system.
  • RO Filter – The third stage is where the reverse osmosis actually takes place. The water is purified under osmotic pressure and water is filtered at the microscopic layer. All particles larger than water are filtered out. This stage removes almost all impurities and bacteria present in water.
  • UV Filter – The water filtered by the reverse osmosis process is further passed through a UV filter- this ensures that there are no microbes in the water. Some microbes are so small that they pass through all the previous stages. Water is passed through ultraviolet light to ensure there are no organisms left in it.
Diagram-of-a-reverse-osmosis-system-with-basic-components

Diagram of a Reverse Osmosis (RO) System with basic components

OsmosisRemovalSytem

Reverse Osmosis Removal System

There are reverse osmosis filtration systems with a different number of stages –  they either add multiple units of a stage to ensure better protection or add a Nanomembrane filter. However, it is scientifically proven that a four stage RO process is sufficient to make water healthy for human consumption.

Benefits of Multi-Stage Purification Process

The multistage RO units deliver high-quality enriched water. Here is a list of benefits that you get when you filter water with a multi-stage reverse osmosis system.

  • No sediment or salt impurities.
  • No bacteria or viruses.
  • No chemicals like chlorine, organic impurities, etc.
  • Complete Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
  • Added minerals for better health.
ReverseOsmosisMembrane

Simple Diagram of a Reverse Osmosis Membrane Filter

Some Advantages

  • Appearance and taste are drastically improved in areas with low-quality water.
  • Highly effective water purification, up to 99% of impurities removed.
  • RO water systems use no energy so there is no extra overhead on your electricity bill.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Production costs are low so you get excellent value for money and are guaranteed a certain water quality for a relatively low price.

Choosing the best Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filter System

The biggest factor when choosing the right RO water system is the quality of the unit and how easy the installation is. There are many factors which could affect the performance of the unit:

  • Incoming water pressure – if there is no pressure then the unit itself will not be able to produce enough pressure to work effectively.
  • Type and the number of TDS in the tap water.
  • The quality of the RO water filters and the membranes used in the RO water system. As all RO systems work the same way, the final choice lies in how the units are manufactured.

A Few Takeaways

Reverse Osmosis or RO systems are fast becoming a necessity for family safety. High levels of water contamination and an increasing number of water-borne diseases leave us little choice but to install RO systems in our homes, workplaces, or any other sites which need quality water. Responsible buyers should of course also be concerned about the environmental impact of RO systems, so always buy a reverse osmosis water system with very high efficiency and as little water waste as possible. It is possible to obtain clean water without sacrificing our planet as a result.

Also bear in mind that when choosing a RO system, one has to first understand the local conditions and availability of water in the area. Some RO systems offer only a few stages of purification which might work in some areas but will fail if there are specific problems in a certain region. To be absolutely sure, buying a 7 stage process reverse osmosis filtration system will ensure the greatest purification, taste, and water colour.

It is also recommended that you drain the waste water into your garden or lawn. Up to 85% of water which is drained by a RO unit is not hazardous. The water is impure but is usable for purposes other than human consumption so it can be used to keep your lawn green or any other purpose.