10 Easy Pieces: Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Systems

If you are looking to effectively filter your local municipal water directly from your kitchen faucet, research shows that the best option is an over-the-counter reverse osmosis filter system combined with an activated carbon component. Below are a few things to note when considering this type of filtration system, and in addition, our 10 choices for countertop reverse osmosis (RO) systems.

  • Activated carbon filters (such as Brita), when used alone, filter a range of contaminants but do not filter inorganic pollutants such as fluoride, arsenic, nitrate, hexavalent, chromium and perchlorate.
  • Reverse osmosis filtration systems work by pushing water through a semi-permeable membrane that blocks everything that is large than a molecule of water. This system removes inorganic pollutants, but alone cannot effectively remove chlorine, trihalomethane or VOCs. This is why the best RO system includes an active carbon component to remove all of the above contaminants and up to 99% of the total dissolved solids (TDS) from your water supply.
  • RO filters are wasteful, using 3 to 20 times more water than they produce. The main thing is to find an RO system with the least amount of wastewater.
  • There are between 2 and 6 stages of filtration options for an RO system. Filters include a sand filter, a carbon filter, a cartridge filter and a membrane filter.
  • A 2-stage filter will remove all of the contaminants mentioned in bullets 1 and 2, except for fluoride. This is why a filter with 3 or more stages is what to look for if you also want to remove fluoride from your water.
  • Since many minerals are removed during the process, some RO filters include or offer the option of purchasing an alkaline remineralizer to reintroduce beneficial minerals such as calcium and magnesium and balance the pH of the water.
  • Once installed, an RO filter system is relatively low maintenance with the need to change its filters about once a year.

N.B .: For a more complete reading on RO filtration, see the articles on Water Filter Magazine and Gimme the Good Stuff.

Waterdrop reverse osmosis water filtration system Above: The Waterdrop reverse osmosis water filtration system is the most compact of the cluster and can be installed under the counter or connected to the refrigerator. It produces a small amount of wastewater with an efficiency ratio of 1: 1 and its 7-stage filtration system filters 99% of all contaminants. It works with a layer of PP cotton, a high quality carbon filter, a second layer of PP cotton, 3 layers of RO membrane and a layer of post-activated carbon block. The filter is $ 539 straight from Waterdrop.
Home Master TMAFC artesian sink water filter Above: The Artesian Home Master Full Contact Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System provides faster water flow than other systems using larger fittings and a larger tube and has a ratio of 1: 1 higher efficiency. The system removes up to 98% of chemicals, heavy metals and sediments with a 7-stage filter including the remineralization of calcium and magnesium in water. New systems are available through Amazon sellers starting at $ 329.95.
6-stage iSpring under-sink drinking water filter Above: The high capacity 6 stage iSpring high capacity reverse osmosis water filter system is Gold Seal Association certified for water quality (WQA) and filters up to 75 gallons of water through day. The 6-stage filter removes up to 99% of harmful contaminants and 98% of lead and includes an alkaline remineralization filter to better balance the pH of the resulting filtered water. The filtration works with a sediment prefilter, a KDF carbon prefilter, a carbon block prefilter, an RO membrane, a GAC ​​polishing filter and a remineralization filter. The system costs $ 199.49 on Amazon.
3-step Pentair Water FreshPoint reverse osmosis system Above: The Pentair FreshPoint 3-stage reverse osmosis system produces a small amount of wastewater during daily filtration of contaminants up to 50 gallons of pure water. It works with a simplified 3-stage filtration system including a Diamond Flow cartridge, an RO membrane and a post-filter cartridge to remove total dissolved solids (TDS), chlorine, fluoride, lead, copper and barium . Available at Fresh Water Systems.
Brondell Circle Reverse Osmosis System Above: The Brondell Circle reverse osmosis water filter system is compact and water efficient (2: 1 efficiency ratio), claiming up to 10 times more efficient than traditional RO systems. It has the capacity to produce 50 gallons of pure water per day and includes a chrome faucet, but can also be connected to other compatible faucet models. The Brondell is a 4-stage filtration system comprising a sediment (or sand) filter, a pre-carbon plus filter, an RO membrane and a post-carbon block filter. Prices start at $ 299.99 on Amazon.
The APEC Water Systems Essence Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System is an advanced 6-stage RO filtration system guaranteed to remove 99% of harmful contaminants and includes an additional remineralization filter. The 6-stage system works via a sediment prefilter,
Above: The APEC Water Systems Essence Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System is an advanced 6-stage RO filtration system guaranteed to remove 99% of harmful contaminants and includes an additional remineralization filter. The 6-stage system works via a sediment prefilter, 2 sets of carbon block prefilters, an RO membrane, an in-line carbon filter and an in-line pH plus filter. The system has a 3: 1 wastewater efficiency ratio and costs $ 236.85 at The Home Depot.
Neo Pure Basic residential RO system Above: The Neo-Pure Residential RO System (RO-4300RX) is a 4-stage tank filtration system that works with a carbon pre-filter, a composite thin film membrane, an extended contact filter and a polishing. It has a relatively compact 3-gallon tank and its carbon filters are changed every 6 to 12 months while the RO membrane is changed every 24 months; $ 199.99 at Fresh Water Systems.
The Filtrete Maximum water filtration system under the sink is a super budget option for less than $ 50 with filtration still quite decent, but not as intensive as the others on this list. A great DIY option for those living in areas with high quality water, the filter reduces lead, germs, taste and order of chlorine and 0.5 microns of TDS. Operating with a single filter, the system is available with standard, advanced or maximum filter options (shown); $ 48.33 on Amazon.
Above: The Filtrete Maximum sink water filtration system is a super budget option for less than $ 50 with still decent filtration, but not as intensive as the others on this list. A great DIY option for those living in areas with high quality water, the filter reduces lead, germs, taste and order of chlorine and 0.5 microns of TDS. Operating with a single filter, the system is available with standard, advanced or maximum filter options (shown); $ 48.33 on Amazon.
5-stage PureDrop reverse osmosis water filtration system with prefilter Above: The PureDrop 5-stage reverse osmosis water filtration system with pre-filtration kit is a 5-stage filter that removes 99% of TDS, 96% of lead, 99% of chlorine and 98% of iron. The PureDrop is relatively efficient (but not as efficient as others on this list) with a wastewater ratio of 1: 3. Its 5-stage filter system includes pre-sediment, pre-GAC (chlorine, odor , taste, chemicals), pre-carbon, RO membrane and post-carbon filters. The system is affordable at $ 144.19 from The Home Depot.
Express Water Reverse Osmosis Filtration System Above: The reverse osmosis water filtration system using express water works via a 5-stage filtration system of sediment and carbon pre-filters, an RO membrane and a post-activated carbon filter. The system is also customizable with the option of additional UV water filters, alkaline remineralization filters, deionization charges, etc. The system is priced at $ 149.17 on Amazon.

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