Best Reverse Osmosis System Reviews: When it comes to the best reverse osmosis system there are a couple of stand outs that I’d like to tell you about.
Tap Master and iSpring reverse osmosis systems seem to be garnering the lion’s share of five star ratings on Amazon these days.
I am going to give you some info on each of these manufacturers top rated offerings.
But before we dive into the best ro system for your family let’s take a look at what you can expect from the best reverse osmosis water filter.
What Does Reverse Osmosis Do?
The best RO systems are simply water purifiers. Reverse Osmosis units all work the same way and most of them look exactly alike. The main difference in RO systems is the quality of their filters and membranes.
Tap water can have various impurities such as bacteria, viruses, pesticides, hydrocarbons, chlorine, detergents, sodium, calcium, magnesium, sulfates, and many other undesirable elements in it. Many people have water that tastes bad and it is usually because of some of these impurities.
So, what does reverse osmosis do, well simply speaking, reverse osmosis pushes tap water through a series of filters and membranes, flushes the impurities down the drain and delivers pure water to a holding tank that you access by turning on your faucet.
Benefits of Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
Some of the most desirable benefits of reverse osmosis treated water are:
- Improved Taste and Appearance
- Removal of Bad Odors
- Removal of Bacteria, Virus, Microorganisms
- Effective Pollutant Removal
- Low Energy Consumption
- Easy to Maintain
- Cost Effective: Most Filters Last A Year
Usually the best reverse osmosis system will cost under $ and some of the more moderately priced systems are less than $. Considering the cost of bottled water a reverse osmosis system can pay for itself in a matter of months depending on your water consumption.
Read on for a sampling of customer reviews as well as product reviews for some top rated reverse osmosis systems.
Best Reverse Osmosis Systems
Tap Master Reverse Osmosis Unit
Tap Master Artesian Full Contact Reverse Osmosis Under Counter Water Filtration System, White – 92% of reviews are 5 star ratings, $-$.
- This unit restores natural calcium and magnesium minerals removed during the reverse osmosis process. It’s like getting mineral water on tap!
- Removes up to 98% of chemicals, heavy metals, sediment, and other contaminants then adds good minerals back in.
- No tools needed for filter changes, all-in-one assembly
- Up to 1 full year between filter changes
- Free Fast Flow RO Kit included, this doubles the flow rate compared to standard units.
- Tap Master ULTRA Reverse Osmosis Under Counter Water Filtration System, White- 90% of reviews are 5 stars, $-$.
This unit removes up to 98% of iron, chemicals, heavy metals, sediment, and other contaminants as well as 99.9% of viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms
- Easy Filter Change, no tools needed!
- This system includes a Fast Flow RO Kit which provides double the flow of other RO units.
- Also included is an audio alert which indicates the need to change filters
- Removes dissolved solids, just like a water softener will.
The main benefits of the Tap Master systems over others are larger hoses which result in a better flow rate. And in the Artisan unit, a remineralization process which balances the pH and keeps your water from being too acidic. Basically, it gives you mineral water on tap.
This results in Tap Master being a RO system that produces superior reviews as well as a higher price tag. Read on for some sample customer reviews about the Tap Master system.
iSpring Reverse Osmosis System
iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System- 89% of reviews are 4 or 5 stars, $-$.
- Great construction for noise-free operation
- 75 GPD production will meet most families needs
- Steel storage tank will not leech any flavors into the water
- Free $30 value RO faucet included
- Easy to monitor, auto shut off, easy to change filters
- Low water pressure (below 45PSI) Choose the RO system with built-in booster pump.
- iSpring RCC7AK 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis Alkaline Mineral Water Filter System- 86% of reviews are 4 or 5 stars, $-$.
Very efficient, the drain to ro ratio is 2:1, each gallon of clean water produces 2 gallons of waste water.
System comes complete: including a RO faucet for no extra charge
- This unit includes an Alkaline Filter
- The unit allows for perfectly PH-balanced alkaline water.
- Reintroduces minerals such as ionized calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium ion that other units remove.
- For homes with lower water pressure, below 45PSI, choose the RO system with built-in booster pump.
The iSpring seems to be a good quality basic RO system. And they have a large selection. Some of the other great options in the iSpring RO line are:
- 5 stage lower output of 50GPD (Gallons Per Day)
- 5 stage 75 GPD with booster for low water pressure homes
- Tankless 5 stage for very large families, home brewing, hydroponics, or light commercial use, 400 GPD
- 6 stage 75 GPD with UV filter (instead of Alkaline)
- 6 stage with booster with UV filter or with booster and Alkaline filter
- 7 stage 75 GPD
- 7 stage 100 GPD with low pressure booster
The best benefit seems to be a low price on this unit. More than one reviewer commented that it was a great system for the price. So, if budget is a concern this unit should do you right, if you have a little more to spend go for the cream of the crop and grab a Tap Master!
What Does Reverse Osmosis Remove?
As you shop for reverse osmosis systems you will notice that they are listed from 4 stage to 5 stage, 6 stage, and even 7 stage. Each “stage” is a filter or membrane that removes a particular impurity from your water. Different manufacturers may do things slightly differently but for the most part the stages do the following…
- 1st Stage is a sediment filter (usually 5 micron) which removes dust, rust, and silt, basically the bigger stuff that can clog the system and make your water look cloudy.
- 2nd Stage is a (GAC) granular activated carbon filter (usually 5 micron) which will get rid of cloudiness, discoloration, bad tastes and odors. It tackles chlorine as well as mineral oil, BTEX, Poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PACs), phenol, and halogenated substances.
- 3rd Stage is a denser block carbon filter (5 micron) that knocks out any remaining chlorine, bad tastes, odors, and chloramines.
- 4th Stage is the “heart” of the unit, a reverse osmosis membrane to 0.0001 micron which removes between 95-99% of all the remaining impurities in the water, including fluoride.
- 5th Stage is an in-line polishing carbon filter which cleans up any leftover tastes and odors from the water.
- 6th Stage is an alkaline filter. This will “re-mineralize” the water. Essentially putting back good minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, and others. If you DO want to remove these hard minerals from your water be sure you skip this filter.
- 7th Stage is a final round of protection for your water. It is a UV filter that can kill bacteria, virus, and other microorganisms. If you are on a municipal water supply this is probably over-kill but if you are on well water or in an area that is known to have bad water it might be an additional layer of protection for you.
Note: In a 6 stage ro unit many companies will offer a 6 stage alkaline or a 6 stage uv. Be sure to check which one is offered so you know what you are getting.
Reverse Osmosis Maintenance
How to keep your RO System in tip top shape:
This is a general guide, you should always refer to your owner’s manual for confirmation. Overall, it’s an easy process that you can add to your home maintenance schedule.
Depending on your water usage you will want to replace all your filters every year, sooner if you use a lot of water or if you have low water usage every 18 months. The membrane will need to be replaced every 2-5 years, again it depends on the manufacturer, how bad your water is, and how much water you use daily. About once a year you should flush the unit and recharge it. I’ll walk you through the filter change and the flush process below.
Filter cartridge replacement for standard system
Changing the filters in most ro units is a fairly simple process. Read through the instructions and check out the video below to get an idea of how to easily change the filters and flush the unit.
- First shut off the water supply valve under the sink
- There is a valve on top of the storage tank, turn it to the off position
- Open the ro faucet by turning the handle to the open position
- Unscrew each filter, one at a time and replace (handle the filters as little as possible)
- Check each filter o-ring to be sure it is in the proper placement and lubrication
- Hand tighten but do not over tighten
- Close the ro faucet, turn on both water valves, check for any leaking
- Flush the System: drain the storage tank, let it refill, drain again and fill. The fill will take any where from 2 to 6 hours depending on your unit.
Note: If you are using the RO unit in any additional capacity such as running it to your ice maker, these lines may have additional filters. Just check your owner’s manual to be sure.
Reverse Osmosis Installation
Reverse Osmosis water filters are generally very easy to install for the DIY enthusiast. The most complicated part will be tapping into the existing water lines. This will require some contortions on the installers part but once you add the ro adapter to the cold water line it’s all downhill from there.
Check out the video below it walks you through the installation of an iSpring reverse osmosis system.
Reverse Osmosis Systems Fact Sheet
Reverse osmosis systems will treat many different water quality problems. Reverse osmosis can help with water contaminants, cloudy water, bad tastes or odors, as well as reduce the costs associated with purchasing bottled water to take care of these problems.
The last thing you want in your drinking water is contaminants this is particularly important if you get your water from a private well. The water that you use for drinking, making beverages, and preparing foods should be safe for your consumption. Even if you are on a city water supply your water may have some contaminants in it. You can purchase a DIY home test kit to determine if your water supply is harboring any contaminants.
Cloudy or discolored water
If your water is discolored or seems cloudy it probably contains fine particles of organic matter. Color in water is usually a result of dissolved organic matter not being filtered out. If your water appears to be cloudy this is due to turbidity which are finely dissolved particles. This results in water that is unpleasant to drink luckily cloudy or discolored water is easily corrected by reverse osmosis systems.
Bad smells or bad tasting water
Anyone who has completed an elementary science course understands that we get our drinking water from rain water that has fallen from the sky, been absorbed into the earth, run off into rivers, collected by cities, processed by treatment plants, and finally delivered to your home via underground pipes. Water comes into contact with many different impurities along its path from the sky to your faucet. Sometimes it picks up impurities which contribute to a bad taste or smell.
Is bottled water the answer?
Many people put up with poor tasting water and resort to purchasing bottled water instead. This is not only inconvenient it is costly as well both to your pocketbook and to our environment. Water treated by RO systems only cost pennies per gallon which is much more economical than purchasing bottled water from the store.
Top 15 Reverse Osmosis System Questions
What is reverse osmosis?
It is a process that uses pressure to force a solution through a membrane. When you’re talking about hard water using reverse osmosis will force your hard water through a membrane allowing softened water to pass through to the other side while keeping the hard minerals separate and out of your drinking water.
How does reverse osmosis work?
Your water flows through a pre filter which removes dirt and small particles then it goes through a carbon filter which removes any organic contaminants like chlorine then it goes through the reverse osmosis membrane this allows pure water to pass through while keeping material like sodium and calcium out. The pure water is stored in a tank until needed. When you turn on your faucet in the house this purified water is forced through a final carbon filter before it comes out of your faucet.
What is the best RO system?
It depends on your needs. Not all systems offer the same features. Five stage units are good for city water. Other systems are highly efficient and are best for water conservation. Finally some units are designed to be low maintenance.
Someone told me reverse osmosis is the same as distilled water is this true?
No, the processes are different yet both reduce the solids in your drinking water. Reverse osmosis filters the water through a very specialized semi permeable membrane. Distilled water occurs when the water is boiled, the steam collected, condensed, and the resulting water collected. In distilled water most impurities are left behind after boiling if you purchase a cheap unit it may not have a carbon filter and therefore will not be effective.
I heard it distilled water was the purest is this not true?
Distilled water will have less sodium however; it is not as effective as removing volatile chemicals like chloramines. Many cities use chloramines now instead of chlorine as a disinfectant in water treatment plants. Reverse osmosis does a better job than distillers at removing chloramines.
I heard ro units waste water is this true?
RO units will typically use a little extra water similar to two or three extra toilet flushes per day, you probably won’t even notice it on your water bill.
How much will it cost to run a reverse osmosis unit each year?
Depending on the efficiency of the model you choose you will typically pay less than 30¢ per day. Annually, you will have to replace the filters. As well, the reverse osmosis membrane we’ll have to be replaced after 2 to 5 years of use.
I have low water pressure; can I still use a ro system?
It depends, the ideal pressure for operating a reverse osmosis system is 60 PSI if your water pressure is below 40 PSI you may have problems. You can, however, install a pressure booster pump. Do not overlook low water pressure as an issue it will cause reduced production and premature degradation of the RO membrane.
I want my ice cubes to be pure; can the reverse osmosis system be connected to my refrigerator?
It is possible if you can connect the RO unit to the refrigerator with ¼ inch tube. Before connecting the unit to your refrigerator check the manufacturer’s guide, the incoming pressure from the unit will only be about 2/3 of what was originally flowing to the refrigerator.
How long does a reverse osmosis system last?
RO units will last decades if they are properly maintained and serviced regularly. Replace the filters annually and the membrane every 2 to 5 years depending on how hard your water is.
I read that these systems won’t remove chlorine is that true?
It is true that the membrane does it remove chlorine however the filters that are in the reverse osmosis unit will remove chlorine.
I heard ro units remove essential minerals from the drinking water is this true?
These units remove about 95% of the mineral content of your water. However humans get most of their minerals from food rather than water.
Does my reverse osmosis unit need to be connected to electricity to run?
These units run on water pressure. Unless you have low water pressure and need to add a pressure boost pump you will not need electricity.
Are reverse osmosis systems popular?
Yes you can in fact the minerals that a water sotener is best at removing, calcium and magnesium are two of the hardest minerals for the ro membrane to remove. Since a water softener adds sodium to your water this is effectively removed by the reverse osmosis system. In essence, these two units work hand in hand to give you extremely pure, tasty water.Yes, they are typically low maintenance, produce great tasting water, and operate at a reasonable cost, when comparing bottled water prices.