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If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line water filtration solution, a reverse osmosis system is the way to go. However, with so many different models and brands on the market, it can be tough to know where to start your search.
The benefits of using reverse osmosis water filter systems are vast and well-documented. Not only does this technology provide high-quality drinking water for your home or office, but it can also help to improve the quality of your entire plumbing system.
To help you decide which system is best for you, we put together this comprehensive guide to the best reverse osmosis water filter systems on the market. In our search for the best reverse osmosis system, we looked for well-built, well-rated products with a proven track record of effective filtration and good durability.
In this article, we’ll help you understand how these systems work, what to look for in a good model, and we’ll even give you some specific product recommendations to get you started.
What is a Reverse Osmosis System?
Reverse osmosis is a method for filtering water that uses a semi-permeable membrane to get rid of impurities. This process works by passing water through the membrane, which only allows pure water molecules to pass through while trapping contaminants on the other side.
Reverse osmosis systems usually have a series of filters, including a pre-filter to remove larger particles and an activated carbon filter to eliminate smaller contaminants and chemicals. The reverse osmosis membrane is the last thing that keeps any remaining impurities out of your water.
Reverse osmosis systems can clean your water by getting rid of chlorine, fluoride, lead, arsenic, bacteria, and viruses. This makes them an excellent choice for anyone who wants to ensure that their drinking water is as safe and clean as possible.
Quick Picks for the Best Water Filter Systems of 2020
Key Features: #1 best-seller; No tank needed; It’s capable of producing 90 gallons per day; excellent reviews; removes 99% of contaminants; 2 year warranty; leak-free fittings
Price Range: $$
In our opinion, the APEC ROES-50 is the best reverse osmosis water filter on the market today. The device is incredible efficient, filtering out 99% of all contaminants and effectively removing over 1,000 unique contaminants from your tap water. It’s well built, offers a long-lasting filter, and has premium leak-free components for no-hassle installation and use. Check out our APEC ROES-50 review for more info.
We are not alone in our high praise for this product – the ROES-50 has consistently been a top seller on Amazon, earning incredibly positive ratings in reverse osmosis system reviews from real customers.
Despite the excellent performance, 2-year limited warranty and exceptional customer reviews, this unit is actually quite affordable! It also comes with just about everything you need to get started, and it’s relatively easy to install if you have some basic plumbing knowledge. Click here to learn more.
Best Quality: iSpring RCC7AK, NSF Certified 75 GPD, 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
- 6-stage filtration system
- Transparent stage 1 housing
- Leak-free system
- Online video support
- Protection against over 1,000 contaminants
- NSF Certified TDS Reduction
One of the best reverse osmosis water filter systems is the iSpring RCC7AK Reverse Osmosis System. It is an excellent choice for those who are looking for reliable and high-quality filtration.
This system is certified by NSF International to get rid of more than 99% of contaminants, such as lead, chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, chromium, and radon. The system also comes with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee.
The iSpring RCC7AK uses a 6-stage filtration process to remove impurities from water.
The first stage removes sediment with a pre-filter through a sediment filter. The second stage uses a carbon block filter to remove chlorine and other chemicals.
In the third stage, contaminants like lead and fluoride are taken out of the water with the help of a reverse osmosis membrane. The fourth stage uses another carbon filter to remove any remaining contaminants from the water.
A final post-filter is used in the fifth stage to polish the water right before it comes out of the smart faucet. The whole process takes about two hours and can filter up to 75 gallons per day.
The iSpring RCC7AK is an excellent choice for those who are looking for an effective and affordable reverse osmosis system to purify their water.
Price Range: $
For those on a budget, the best reverse osmosis system may just be this Costway model. This unit features a 5-stage filtration system that’s effective in removing organic substances, colloids, bacteria, heavy metals and other harmful substances.
At around half the price of most comparable units, it’s quite a deal indeed. And although it’s cheaper, it’s still quite effective and well-made. Replacement filters and parts are also quite affordable, so this should be a cheap unit to maintain long-term, as well! Click here to learn more.
Key Features: 7-stage filtration system; long lasting filters (2000 gallons); fast flow rate
Price Range: $$$
For a more high-end product, look no further than the Home Master TMAFC. This unique product has a 7-stage filter that removes up to 98% of chloramine, chlorine and other contaminants. It also has unique Full Contact technology that actually adds calcium and magnesium (beneficial minerals) back into your water after filtration.
The long-lasting filters feature a 2,000 gallon/1-year lifespan, and are relatively affordable to replace. The filter design also allows for a fast flow rate, which is up to twice as fast as traditional reverse osmosis systems. Click here to learn more.
Key Features: 2-stage, high capacity system; strong water pressure; 1-micron filtration; 100,000 gallon filter
Price Range: $$$
If you’re looking for the best whole house reverse osmosis system, this unit from Home Master is a great option. This high capacity unit will allow you to filter all the water that comes into your house – so whether you’re washing the dishes, taking a shower or drinking a glass of water, you’ll be using clean, filtered water.
The Home Master’s high-capacity filter (which can last up to 100,000 gallons) can remove up to 95% of contaminants and sediment, leaving a cleaner, tastier and healthier purified water. This unit also has a very high flow rate, so you won’t have to sacrifice water pressure for cleaner water. Note: This will likely require some basic plumbing knowledge and additional parts to install for whole-house use. Click here to learn more.
Key Features: Attaches to standard faucets; counter-top, portable unit; 4-stage filter system
Price Range: $$
Apartment-dwellers, renters and RV travelers may wish to seek out the best portable reverse osmosis system. In our opinion, the APEC Portable is the perfect product for the job. It easily attaches to most standard faucets, and simply sits on top of your kitchen counter – no installation needed!
This unit features a 4-stage filter to effectively remove chlorine, sediment and other contaminants from water. It’s compatible for water pressures between 40 and 80 PSI, which should be sufficient for most household uses. Like other APEC products, this unit has excellent customer reviews from verified purchasers. Click here to learn more.
Other RO filter reviews:
Reverse osmosis, sometimes referred to as RO, is a filtration technology commonly used in homes across the world. It’s used to remove contaminants by pushing the water through a semi-permeable membrane with microscopic holes.
A high-pressure pump is used to force the tap water across the membrane. This leaves the majority of contaminants – usually 95% to 99% – in the “reject stream”, which is then discarded. Very small portions of contaminants can make it through the membrane, which is why no RO filter is 100% effective.
If you want to learn more, this guide explains the process in great detail.
Taste – Using a good RO water filter can help drastically improve the taste of your water. Chlorine is a big culprit that can affect the taste of tap water, often leaving a chemical-like aftertaste in your mouth. Many other contaminants can also affect the purity and tastiness of your water.
Safety – The best reverse osmosis water filter will remove many contaminants that are potentially harmful to our health. Chlorine alone is highly toxic when consumed over long periods of time, and other common contaminants found in tap water can cause a whole host of health concerns. And remember, even if your city has good tap water, the piping leading from that water to supply to your house could be contaminated!
Peace of Mind – Knowing that you are drinking fresh, clean and purified water can provide significant peace of mind. It may even encourage you to drink more water, which is never a bad thing!
Filtration – The technology behind the filters used in each unit was a main consideration in our search. Although the concept of reverse osmosis is the same in each filter, the execution and design of the filter system differs. We focused on filtration tech and efficacy in our quest for the best RO water filter system.
Price – You can spend as little as $100 and as much as several thousand on a good RO filter setup. We focused on affordable yet high quality models, mostly in the $150-$350 range. We found this to be the “sweet spot” between quality and value.
Reviews – Our hands-on testing was limited in scope and duration, so we also looked at tons of reverse osmosis water filter reviews from customers. This helped us get a more rounded picture of the quality of each product – often from people who had been using the devices for years!
Durability – Even on the more affordable end, these RO systems are still a decent chunk of change – so you want them to last! We focused on well-built models that are designed to last a long time.
Reverse Osmosis FAQs
How much is a reverse osmosis system?
Typically, you can expect to spend around $150-$300+ for a good RO water filter. Most of our recommendations fall in this range.
What does reverse osmosis remove?
Reverse osmosis filters are quite effective in removing bacteria, protozoa and viruses. They can also significantly reduce or remove a wide variety of contaminants, including metal ions, sodium, chromium, chloride, copper, and lead. They can also reduce radium, arsenic, fluoride, sulfate, “hard” minerals like calcium and magnesium, potassium, nitrate, phosphorous and others. Find more info at the CDC website.
How much water does reverse osmosis waste?
As part of the filter’s normal flushing process, reverse osmosis filters use a fair amount of water that will never make it to your glass. Efficiency varies, but even the best RO systems typically have a ratio of about 1:1, meaning for every 1 gallon of filtered water, you have about 1 gallon “wasted” through the flushing process. Some units have a ratio of up to 1:4. This is an unfortunate aspect of RO systems.
Is reverse osmosis more effective than other water filters?
This is a contentious debate. The Center for Disease Control notes that RO systems are very effective in the removal of bacteria, protozoa and viruses, and the general consensus is that reverse osmosis is quite effective. If you’re curious about other types of filters, check out our overall water filter buying guide.
At the end of the day, the best reverse osmosis system is the one that meets your specific needs. All of the systems that we have featured in this article are high quality and will provide you with clean, healthy water.
We recommend the iSpring RCC7AK to you because it offers excellent value — it’s affordable yet well-built and effective. If you have a larger family or want a little more flexibility in your system, we recommend the APEC ROES-50.
Whatever system you choose, make sure to follow the maintenance instructions carefully. These systems occasionally need their filters changed and cleaned to function at their best. With a little TLC, your reverse osmosis system will provide you with years of clean, healthy water.
Austin is the lead water consultant and blogger for Water Filter Data. With 10 years of experience in the water quality industry, Austin can instantly pinpoint the cure and the cause for the water pollutant.