5 Best Reverse Osmosis System for 2020

#1 Recommended

4.8/5

Home Master TMAFC

Our No.1 recommended reverse osmosis system.

Budget Pick

4.8/5

iSpring RCC7

Value for money among all reverse osmosis system.

Countertop Pick

4.5/5

APEC RO-CTOP

An easy fix system, up and running within minutes.

Did you know that Singapore has the cleanest tap water in the world?

The government uses reverse osmosis(RO) as part of the process to translate everyday wastewater into the clean water due to the lack of water source.

The core filtration element is the semipermeable RO membrane which is 0.00001-micron rating that is capable of removing 99% of contaminants.

While many claims that RO water is not safe to consume due to the slightly acidic, Water Quality Association(WQA) claimed otherwise.

Upon contact with our saliva, the effects of the pH of reverse osmosis water are quickly negated. 

You might be struggling to identify which is the best reverse osmosis system as the membrane is not a proprietary product. Each company will produce their own RO membrane accompanied with varies stage of other filtration media.

DISCLOSURE: We may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

Product Comparison

You might have heard of some of the popular brands such as Apec, iSpring, Aquasana, Home Master and etc. These are some of the trusted household brands in the market.

However, not all filtration system from these brands is reliable and worth buying.

After more than 17 hours of research, we conclude the following 5 reverse osmosis water filter systems that are worth investing.

Home Master TMAFC

4.8/5

Best Reverse Osmosis System

+ Filtration: Remove Up To 98% Contaminants
+ Features: Remineralization twice with pH 7-8.
+ Flow Rate: 50GPD
+ Cost: $$$, $87 Yearly
+ Wastewater: 4 Gallons

iSpring RCC7

4.8/5

Best Budget RO System

+ Filtration: Remove Up To 95% TDS.
+ Features: The only WQA Gold Seal Entry Model Filter.
+ Flow Rate: 75GPD
+ Cost: $$, $50 Yearly
+ Wastewater: 3 Gallons

APEC RO-CTOP

4.5/5

Best Countertop RO System

+ Filtration: Remove Up To 99% TDS.
+ Features: High Graded FILMTEC RO membrane.
+ Flow Rate: 90GPD
+ Cost: $$$, $70 Yearly
+ Wastewater: 3 Gallons

Home Master TMHP

4.8/5

Best Well Water RO System

+ Filtration: Remove Up To 99% Contaminants including microorganism.
+ Features: Complete system with UV Sterilizer.
+ Flow Rate: 75GPD
+ Cost: $$$$, $150 Yearly
+ Wastewater: 1 Gallons

APEC RO-PH90

APEC RO-PH90
4.7/5

Best Alkaline RO System

+ Filtration: Remove Up To 99% Contaminants
+ Features: Remineralize naturally up to pH 8-9.
+ Flow Rate: 90GPD
+ Cost: $$$, $85 Yearly
+ Wastewater: 3 Gallons

Detailed Review

Home Master TMAFC

Best Reverse Osmosis System

When it comes to quality, Home Master has one of the best and highly rated RO system in the market. TMAFC is their flagship product which received thousands of great customer reviews.

What’s so great about this system?

Background: Formerly known as Tap Master, this company has been known as one of the most innovative reverse osmosis company in town. All their product is made in the US and is a patented system.

Filtration Capability: The TMAFC is a 4 stage filtration system that includes 2 pre-filters, an RO membrane, and a post remineralization filter. Home Master claims that it is 7 stage filters by using 4 physical cartridges.

The system is capable of removing up to 98% of heavy metals, chemical, chlorine, dissolved solids, and other contaminants.

While most of the RO system stored the slight acidic filtered water in designated storage tanks, the TMAFC will remineralize it with crushed marbles to make it slight alkaline before heading to the storage tank.

The water will pass through the post filter again before reaching the faucet. This patented technology, Full Contact Technology enables water to be remineralized twice within a single filter.

Key Features: There are 4 innovations that made Home Master system stand out from the rest.

  1. Advanced modular filter that removed the need for a filtration housing. It is hygienic and prevents cracks or leaks on the water filter.
  2. Fast Flow RO! Kit that increases the flow rate by 2X with larger tubing.
  3. Push-in tubing for replacement filter. No wrench needed.
  4. Patented Full Contact Technology.

The pH of the water is slightly increased to 7-8 as opposed to normal RO systems which are less than 7. The production rate is expected to be 50 Gallons per day depends on the water pressure, temperature and water conditions.

The TMAFC is tested against NSF standards by an independent laboratory and exceed the expected performance on filtering contaminants.

Home Master backed their RO water filter with a 5 years limited warranty, one of the longest among all the reverse osmosis systems.

Maintenance: All of the filters have a lifespan of at least 1 year while the RO membrane can last for 3 years before a replacement is needed.

The estimated cost per year is $87 over a period of 5 years.

Customer Rating – 4.8 | Our Rating – 4.78

PROS

+ Remove up to 98% contaminants in tap water.
+ Double remineralization technology to prevent acidic water entering the storage tank and faucet.
+ Affordable maintenance cost.
+ Long lifespan filters for up to a year.
+ 5 years limited warranty.
+ Design and Manufacture in the US.

CONS

Expensive initial cost.
Average daily production rate as compared to the price category.
4 Gallons of waste water for 1 gallon of filtered water.

iSpring RCC7

Best Budget RO System

Looking for an RO system but on a tight budget? The iSpring RCC7 is one of the affordable models that cost less than $200 to own it.

Background: iSpring is one of well-known water treatment company that has been on the market for more than a decade now. They are specialized in under sink, commercial and whole house water filters.

The iSpring RCC7 is one of the best sellers products for under sink reverse osmosis filter which is backed by thousands of positive reviews from its customers.

Filtration Capability: It is a 5 stage filtration system that is packed with a pre-sediment filter, 2 activated carbon pre-filters, an RO membrane filter, and a post-carbon filter.

It claimed by iSpring that the membrane is capable of removing up to 95% total dissolved solids (TDS). In addition, the pre-filters will remove huge sediments such as dust, rust and chlorine odor and smell.

The post filter further making sure that unwanted odor and taste from the storage tanks will be removed before the clean water reaches the faucet.

Below is a list of contaminants that will be filtered.

iSpring RCC7 Rejection Table 1
iSpring RCC7 Rejection Table 2

Key Features: The RCC7 is the only RO system that is under $200 to receive the WQA Gold Seal Award. This is the highest among all certification as the filter needs to go through a rigorous test and examination to prove that it is trustworthy.

Among all the affordable water filter in the market, the RCC7 has the highest daily production rate of 75 gallons per day.

The wastewater ratio is 3:1 which is slightly better than most of the RO system.

The RCC7 is certified against NSF/ANSI standard 58 by WQA.

Maintenance: The lifespan of iSpring filters are way shorter than some of the RO systems. The suggested replacement frequency is about 6 months for the pre-filters, 3 years for the RO membrane and 1 year for the post-filter.

The estimated cost per year is $50 over a period of 5 years.

It is slightly higher than filters like the APEC ROES-50 due to the frequency of replacement. However, the cost is still affordable for an entry model filter.

Customer Rating – 4.8 | Our Rating – 4.6

PROS

+ Remove up to 95% TDS in tap water.
+ Affordable system to own in terms of initial and yearly cost.
+ Certified against NSF and WQA Gold Seal Award.
+ High daily production rate of 75 GPD.

CONS

Short lifespan filter of 6 months.
Not manufacture in US.
4 Gallons of waste water for 1 gallon of filtered water.
1 year limited warranty.
3:1 waste water

APEC RO-CTOP

Best Countertop RO System

There is only a handful of countertop reverse osmosis system in the market. The APEC RO CTOP is definitely one of the best in the market. 

Background: APEC has been in the water treatment market close to 2 decades now. They specialize in RO, softeners and whole house filtration systems.

One of their best seller product that was featured on Amazon is the APEC ROES-50 under sink water filter. It received more than 2000 great reviews from its customers.

Filtration Capability: Back to the CTOP model, it is a 4 stage water filter the comes with a pre-sediment filter, activated carbon filter, a high rejection FILMTEC membrane filter and a post-carbon filter.

APEC claims that the high-grade membrane filter is capable of removing up to 99% of TDS such as bacteria, radium, arsenic, fluoride, chromium, lead, and viruses.

The table below shows the list of contaminants that guaranteed to remove by APEC RO CTOP.

APEC RO CTOP Contaminants Removal Table

Key Features: This model has the filtration capability as the top-notch product in APEC. The high daily production rate of 90 GPD made it capable of producing great water almost instantly without a storage tank.

Rest assured on the built quality as the entire filter is manufactured in the US including the individual filters.

Installation is much simpler as compared to all of the recommended RO systems. All you need is to attach the adapter to the faucet and the water filter is ready to produce clean water. No drilling is needed.

For every gallon of filtered water, approximately 3 gallons of wastewater is produced. It is 1 gallon less in wastewater as compared to the majority of the system.

Maintenance: APEC is known for creating great filtration for RO systems. The lifespan of their filter can last for at least a year for pre and post filters and 3 years on the RO membrane.

With the suggested replacement schedule, it is estimated to pay about $70 per year over a 5 years period.

Customer Rating – 4.5 | Our Rating – 4.7

PROS

+ Remove up to 99% TDS in tap water.
+ Portable, easy to dismantle and move to a new location.
+ Long lifespan filters.
+ Installation is simple and fast for this model.
+ High daily production rate of 90 GPD.
+ A US-made product

CONS

Slightly higher in terms of initial cost.
3 Gallons of waste water for 1 gallon of filtered water.
1 year limited warranty.

Home Master TMHP

Best Well Water RO System

If you need a fully covered RO system, the Home Master TMHP is what we recommend. It was packed with all the features that are available in a water filter. 

Filtration Capability: It is a 5 stage filtration system which consists of a Modular Sediment filter, Iron Filter With catalytic carbon, Ultra Violet Sterilizer filter, RO Membrane, and a Remineralization filter.

Home Mater claim to capable of removing up to 99% sediments, dissolved solids, heavy metals, organic chemical, and VOC. In addition, the UV light will kill any virus, bacteria and living microorganism found in well water source.

Similar to the Home Master TMAFC, it is remineralized once when flows into the storage tank and once in going into the faucet.

Key Features: To combat the low-pressure problem that is often faced by well water homeowners, the system comes with a permeate pump which can increase the incoming water pressure.

The wastewater is reduced to 1 gallon for every gallon of filtered water. It is a 75% saving as compared to the conventional RO system. The daily production rate is set to be 75 gallons per day.

Likewise, this filter comes with a 5-year limited warranty as Home Master stood behind their quality.

Maintenance: As it is a complete system, it doesn’t come cheap in replacement cost. All of the filters can last at least for a year and 3 years for the RO membrane.

According to the suggested replacement schedule, the annual maintenance cost is about $150 in a period of 5 years.

Customer Rating – 4.8 | Our Rating – 4.6

PROS

+ Remove up to 99% contaminants and living microorganism.
+ Completed system with UV light sterilizer.
+ 1:1 wastewater.
+ 5 years limited warranty
+ High daily production rate of 75 GPD.

CONS

Expensive initial and annual maintenance cost.

APEC RO-PH90

Best Alkaline RO System

APEC RO-PH90

While most of the system has alkaline features in it, the APEC RO PH-90 is one of our recommended alkaline reverse osmosis water filter. Let’s take a deep dive on what is so great about this water filter.

Filtration Capability: It is a 6 stage filtration system that comes with a 5-micron Sediment filter, twin Premium Extruded Carbon Block filters, a high graded FILMTEC RO membrane filters, an Advanced Coconut Shell Refining Carbon Post Filter and a Calcite Acidic Water Neutralizer.

It is a similar membrane that is used in APEC RO CTOP model, our recommended countertop RO system. It removes 99% of TDS from the tap water which includes fluoride, chromium, arsenic, lead, and bacteria.

The neutralizer filter eventually increases the pH of the water to 8-9 which claims to be optimum for the absorption of our body.

Key Features: It is a high-end model among all APEC system which is capable of producing 90 gallons of filtered water per day. In addition, it comes with a huge 4 gallons storage tank to produce water instantly from the faucet.

The fully American-made water filter reduce the wastewater to 3 gallons for every gallon of pure water that was produced.

All APEC products come with a 1-year limited warranty.

Maintenance: As you might know that APEC produces quality filters that will last longer than average filters. The minimum lifespan is a year for all the cartridge except the RO membrane.

This translate to approximately $85 on the annual maintenance across a period of 5 years.

Customer Rating – 4.7 | Our Rating – 4.6

PROS

+ Remove up to 99% TDS.
+ Raise the pH of water to 8-9.
+ Fully American Made Product.
+ High daily production rate of 90 GPD.

CONS

Slightly expensive on initial and annual maintenance cost.
3:1 wastewater.
1 year limited waranty.

What Is Reverse Osmosis Water Filter?

The success of the reverse osmosis process hinges largely on whether or not the filter does its job. The filter, which is also often referred to as the semi-permeable membrane is responsible for separating the water from the impurities.

You’ll notice that the filter itself features plenty of small pores. This is necessary because the impurities need to be completely eliminated from the water. Larger pores would just allow those contaminants to pass through.

When we’re talking impurities, we’re referring to any foreign particles that could have been in the water previously. Even microscopic particles such as bacteria are blocked by the reverse osmosis water filter.

5 Factors to Consider Buying a Reverse Osmosis Water System

How can you ensure that you are getting the best RO system for your home? You can get on the right track by taking the following factors into consideration.

Water Source

Where your water comes from should be among your main considerations if you’re on the market for a reverse osmosis system.

Homeowners who get their water from private wells will want to invest more in their new system. More often than not, the water coming from a private well is loaded with all kinds of contaminants. Microorganisms are especially abundant in that kind of water.

A water filtration system equipped with some kind of UV light sterilizer is better suited for those who get their water from private wells.

If your water comes from a water treatment plant, a less sophisticated system should suffice.

Water Pressure

Some reverse osmosis systems come equipped with booster pumps. Whether or not your system will need a booster pump depends on what kind of water pressure you’re getting at home.

If the water pressure in your home falls below 40PSI, you will most likely need a system equipped with a pump. Without enough pressure, the water may not be properly filtered and you could end up drinking something contaminated.

Waste Water

Simply put, there is no way to completely eliminate waste water from the equation if you are using an RO system. This is true even if you have the best reverse osmosis system installed in your home.

All that said, you can still get a system that produces only a minimal amount of waste water.

The so-called “zero waste” systems are ideal for minimizing waste water production because they circulate the unclean water back into the system until they can be processed again. Look for those if you want to avoid having too much dirty water stuck inside your system.

Maintenance Cost

There are two things you need to keep in mind if you want to pinpoint the maintenance cost for your unit.

First, you have to check how much the replacement filters cost. Some replacement filters are available for as low as $25 while others may be sold at double that price point. Check out which replacement filters your system needs before deciding whether or not to purchase it.

The other consideration to keep in mind is the longevity of the filters. You will find filters that only last for about 2 years. As much as possible, try to find the units which utilize filters that can remain in service for about 4 years or something closer to that.

Remineralization Capabilities

RO systems are quite thorough. Because of that, they will also remove elements that you actually want in your water supply such as minerals.

Even though mineralized water can leave stains on clothes, you still need it because it provides important nutrients.

You can ensure that you still get a steady supply of minerals from your water by finding those systems that make use of a remineralization filter.

What Does Reverse Osmosis Remove?

One of the reasons why reverse osmosis units stand out from other water filtration systems is because they excel at removing foreign bodies.

These systems will target the common contaminants that are found in the water such as salt and sediments that may enter the supply via erosion. It’s crucial for any home-based system to get rid of those contaminants simply because they tend to be so abundant.

Fluoride is yet another common contaminant that is removed by reverse osmosis systems. Elements such as arsenic and chlorine are also targeted.

Of course, those are not the most serious threats to your health that could come from the water supply. The good news is that the aforementioned filtration systems will also work on removing pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Bacteria and viruses that somehow sneak into the water supply can also be removed through the process of reverse osmosis.

As noted earlier, certain minerals that you don’t want taken out of the water may also be removed by RO filters.

How Does it Work?

Filtration through reverse osmosis takes place over the course of different stages. The process also typically involves more than just one filter.

Step 1: Pre-filtration Takes Place

To get things started, the water that enters the system, whether it’s an under sink reverse osmosis system or not, must first make it through pre-filtration. During this early stage, the focus is mainly on getting rid of the larger contaminants that may be floating around in the water.

Two different kinds of filters are often used during the pre-filtration process, with those being the carbon and sediment filters.

Pre-filtration is necessary because those larger contaminants could inflict serious damage upon the RO filter if they are not dealt with beforehand.

Step 2: The RO Membrane Gets to Work

Now that the larger contaminants have been handled correctly, the process can continue to the next step. The next step in question involves the RO filter.

Pressure is again applied to the water in order to force it through the finer pores of the RO membrane. This time around, the smaller contaminants will be targeted and promptly removed from the water.

Step 3: Storage and/or Recycling

Your system should already have produced some filtered water after the first 2 stages. It’s now time for the system to store that water.

Reverse osmosis systems have storage tanks precisely for that reason. The system will continue to filter the water until such time that the tank has been filled up.

Depending on what kind of system you have installed, waste water produced through the filtration process may re-enter the system so it can have another go at being cleaned up.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Unsurprisingly, there are benefits and drawbacks to using a reverse osmosis system inside your home. Here are the main points you need to know so that you can determine if the system is right for you.

Benefits

Water Produced Is Pretty Close to Pure

The water you get from a reverse osmosis system is about the closest thing you’ll get to completely clean water. RO systems excel at cleaning up the water and you can rely on them to get rid of the dissolved solids.

Just refer back to the list of contaminants removed above to find out how comprehensive RO systems are when it comes to cleaning.

Does Not Get in the Way

Adding a new water filtration system can seem like such a good idea at first. But then you realize how often it will be in your way and you start to second guess your decision to purchase one.

The great thing about many RO systems is that they can fit conveniently under your kitchen sink. You can continually use them without them ever being a hindrance to your work in the kitchen.

No Installation Issues

Compared to many other water filtration systems, the RO units are very easy to install. You should be able to get it done even if you don’t have a lot of experience working with household appliances.

Drawbacks

Minerals May Be Removed

The biggest drawback to using a reverse osmosis system is that you may be taking out important minerals from the water by using it. Given how often you drink water over the course of a day, it probably accounts for a huge chunk of your mineral intake.

Thankfully, you can remineralize your water to minimize the impact of this drawback.

Installation

The first step of the installation process involves toggling the cold and hot water shut-offs inside your home. You specifically want them to be inactive during the installation process.

Next, take out the filter assembly and hang that on the wall of the sink base, according to Family Handyman. You can now go ahead and install the saddle valve that was packaged together with your system.

Turn your attention to the color-coded water supply line next and cut it. After cutting, position it above the cabinet base and then fasten the plastic tubing to the supply valve.

Connect the supply and waste lines to the fittings on the base of your faucet. Shorten them as appropriate, but don’t touch the black waste line.

Link the faucet to the sink and follow that by placing the drain line adapter under the sink basket. Cut off the waste line now and make sure it goes into the adapter.

Get the storage tank now and place that in its designated location before installing the water line.

With all that done, you can now start using your reverse osmosis filtration system.

Maintenance

Maintenance, as it pertains to RO systems, means managing the filters. The tricky part is that the filters used by most reverse osmosis system feature different lifespans.

The filters that take effect before and after the RO filter has done its job are the ones that don’t last very long. You can expect them to remain in working condition for about a year, but you should really start to check on them once they hit the 6-month mark.

As for the reverse osmosis filter itself, you don’t need to worry about replacement until after 2 years. Once you get to that point, pay closer attention to the condition of the RO filter.

FAQs on Reverse Osmosis Systems

Why Should I Rely on a Reverse Osmosis System Instead of Using Bottled Water?

People like to drink bottled water because it’s convenient and they can be confident that they are consuming something clean. The main issue with relying so heavily on bottled water though is that you end up producing a lot of plastic waste. The world is already suffering due to how much plastic is in the environment and you should avoid contributing to that problem if possible.

Reverse osmosis systems give you the same quality of water without the accompanying plastic waste.

How Much Waste Water Is Produced by a Reverse Osmosis System?

There’s no getting around the fact that waste water will be produced if you use an RO unit. You may even end up with about 4 gallons of waste water for each gallon of clean water. That is obviously a problem.

To minimize that issue, look for RO systems that recycle the water they don’t clean up right away.

What Does Water Produced by a Reverse Osmosis System Taste Like?

Water produced via reverse osmosis does not taste bad per se, but it’s hard to say that it tastes great as well. The best way to describe the flavor is that it’s bland. The water tastes that way because so many of the foreign entities have been removed.

You will likely need some time to get used to the new taste of the water, but it’s not too bad.

Do I Need a Reverse Osmosis System with a UV Light?

You may find some RO systems that are bundled together with UV lights. Those UV lights are actually meaningful additions. They help clean the water further as they specifically target bacteria and viruses.

How Much Will I Have to Spend if I Want a Reverse Osmosis System in My Home?

Homeowners can still add an RO system to their home even if they don’t have a limitless budget to draw from. Per HomeAdvisor, there are RO units available for as low as $150. If you have more money to spend, there are more feature-rich options sold for around $1,000.

Wrap Up

Everyone has their own requirement when it comes to picking the best reverse osmosis water filter. The above recommendation reflects our opinion and knowledge towards water treatment products.

It might be hard to decide which type of filtration system should you be taking. Don’t worry. Head over to our drinking water filter guides today and discover which water purifier suits your family’s needs.

In general, there are 7 types of drinking water purifiers system. There must be one which is suitable for your home.