Wellness

The 5 Best Reverse Osmosis Systems – [2019 Reviews]

An RO filter is more than a water filter. The filter is only one stage of a complete reverse osmosis water system. The heath benefits are numerous. In the following product reviews we analyze the best reverse osmosis systems on the market.

You can also learn more about the different stages and options offered by RO systems from our buyer’s guide, How to Choose the Best RO Water Purifier.

Best Reverse Osmosis Systems

 iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis SystemHome Master Reverse Osmosis SystemAPEC 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System






Stage Filtration6-stage filtration process7-stage filtration process5-stage filtration process
Pre-filters3 pre-filters (sediment, GAC, carbon block)2 pre-filters (sediment and carbon)3 pre-filters
Special FeaturesReverse osmosis membrane, 3.2-gallon storage tank, Reverse osmosis membrane, Permeate pumpReverse osmosis membrane, Sediment filter
Customer Ratings4.7 / 5.0 Stars4.8 / 5.0 Stars4.8 / 5.0 Stars






Also see: Best Reverse Osmosis Systems Comparison Table


Quick Answer: The 5 Best-Rated Reverse Osmosis Systems – 2019 / 2020

  1. iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
  2. Home Master Reverse Osmosis System
  3. APEC 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
  4. Global Water Reverse Osmosis System
  5. iSpring 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

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Reverse Osmosis Systems Reviews

#1 – iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System At A Glance:

  • 6-stage filtration process
  • 3 pre-filters (sediment, GAC, carbon block)
  • Reverse osmosis membrane
  • Fine granular activated carbon filter
  • Alkaline remineralization filter
  • 3.2-gallon storage tank
  • Heavy-duty brushed nickel high spout faucet
  • Removes up to 99% of over 1000 contaminants
  • Clear first filter housing

iSpring is one of the best brands in the market with multiple RO purifier options to best suit different needs. This iSpring reverse osmosis water filter, in particular, is one of the best values you can get.

It produces incredibly clean and pure water that also tastes good AND even has healthy minerals in it still! This is a big deal for a reverse osmosis machine.

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See, the process of reverse osmosis, as well as stages of filtration leading up to reverse osmosis in an RO water filter system, is almost too effective – as in it removes all the bad stuff, but it also takes away the good stuff.

Usually, you get many vital minerals from your drinking water. Reverse osmosis removes these healthy and vital minerals from the water. So, with a typical reverse osmosis system, you would need to supplement these minerals in order to maintain healthy levels of them.

However, the iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System includes the highly beneficial 6th stage where the healthy minerals are added back into your water before it comes out of your faucet!

It is called an alkaline remineralization filter. This 6th and final filter is filled with natural mineral stones to put the minerals back into your water. By doing so, it gives your water a healthy and balanced pH level while also enhancing the taste of the water!

The first few stages of this system are similar to what you would get with a typical multi-stage whole house water filter. It is important to distinguish that the RO systems we are recommending here are not whole house systems, though.

A whole house water filter is great for lots of reasons, but we do not recommend a whole house reverse osmosis system. There are a few reasons why. First off, a whole house RO system is insanely expensive. Like, it would cost you upwards of $10,000 or even more.

Secondly, it isn’t that beneficial. Reverse osmosis filtered water is excellent for drinking and cooking, but you don’t need it at all of your faucets for washing your hands and showering or especially for things like flushing your toilet.

A regular whole house water filter is perfectly fine for those things. Finally, it can really put a damper on your water pressure (and how much water you can use at once) because of how long it can take for the water to go through the entire system.

Instead, we strongly encourage you to get a whole house water filter for your home as well as one of these excellent under sink RO systems. So, back to the first few stages of filtration, your water first goes through a sediment filter. This removes all the big stuff like sand, rust, and dirt.

The second filter is a granulated activated carbon (GAC) filter. This then removes chlorine, VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical contaminants. Next, a carbon block filter will take care of the remaining chemicals, odors, and tastes.

Once the water makes it past these 3 pre-filters, it moves to the reverse osmosis membrane. This is where the reverse osmosis process takes place. At this point, things like remaining lead and chlorine, arsenic, hormones, asbestos, viruses, and bacteria are all removed from your water.

Finally, the water goes through a finer granular activated carbon filter before hitting the alkaline remineralization filter and then coming through your faucet as pure as possible! The iSpring 6-stage RO system comes with everything you need to install your system including mounting clips.

The included 3.2-gallon storage tank fits underneath your sink with the rest of the system. It holds the freshly purified water so that when you need it, you don’t have to wait for the water to go through the filter to get it!

A heavy-duty brushed nickel drinking faucet installs easy and looks incredible. The first filter also has a clear housing to make it easy to monitor when your filters need to be changed.

Most of the filters need to be replaced every 6 to 12 months, but the reverse osmosis membrane will last a good 2 to 3 years.

Cost-wise, this is definitely not the cheapest option of our recommendations, but it really isn’t too bad and actually has a really hard-to-beat overall value to it. It is definitely one of the best RO water system choices out there.


#2 – Home Master Reverse Osmosis System

Home Master Reverse Osmosis System At A Glance:

  • 7-stage filtration process
  • 2 pre-filters (sediment and carbon)
  • Reverse osmosis membrane
  • Artesian filter (fine granular activated carbon and natural minerals)
  • Double passes through final filter for additional minerals
  • Removes 99% of all contaminants
  • Includes chrome faucet
  • Partially pre-assembled
  • Easy-to-replace modular filters
  • Permeate pump
  • Under sink storage tank

Another one of the best RO system choices out there is this unbelievable pick from Home Master! The Home Master Reverse Osmosis System is incredibly efficient and unique.

The filtration process of this system is very similar to that of the i-Spring 6-stage system we just talked about. It starts with a sediment filter for bigger contaminants and then moves through a carbon block filter where many chemical substances, including chlorine, are removed.

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This doesn’t just improve the quality of the water before the reverse osmosis process even begins, but it also protects the reverse osmosis membrane from damage that may occur due to exposure to certain chemicals (chlorine, for example). Once the water goes through the sediment filter and carbon filter, it goes through the reverse osmosis process.

The last filter is actually 2 filters in one. It is the artesian filter. This artesian filter contains both granular activated carbon for further cleaning the water and it also contains natural minerals that help restore the mineral levels in the water for more natural, healthy, good-tasting drinking water!

Again, your typical reverse osmosis system will put out water that is a little acidic and lacks the healthy minerals you want to have in your water. This artesian filter takes care of that problem allowing you to get slightly alkaline water with great taste and healthy minerals.

What is really cool about this filter is that the water actually comes back through it, again! So, the water moves through the first two pre-filters, goes across the reverse osmosis membrane, and then hits the 2-in-1 artesian filter twice! This adds up to 7 different stages of filtration in total.

The really unique feature that we love about this particular reverse osmosis system is that the filters are modular. Basically, the filter and the filter housing are all one part made together.

So, when you go to change the filter, you just take the whole thing off and replace it. This is so much easier and more sanitary than how it works with most RO systems and water filters.

Usually, you have to unscrew the housing of the filter, replace the filter, and then screw the housing back on. Now, that might not sound too bad, but it can be a lot harder than it sounds.

First of all, many times, it is difficult to do without a special tool called a housing wrench that only some systems include.

Secondly, hardness from the water passing through the filters tends to build up and practically glue the housings shut. This can require excessive strength to undo.

The other bonus is that changing out the modular filters (housing and all) rather than just the filter while reusing housing keeps everything nice and sanitary throughout your system.

It also helps avoid potential leaks or even house floods as housings wear out over time. To remove the modular filters, you just pull them right off and then push the new one right onto the line.

It really couldn’t get any easier than this! Another special feature is the built-in permeate pump! This non-electric pump helps to ensure you have good water flow to your faucet while also helping to greatly reduce the water waste of the system! In fact, it can reduce water waste by up to 80%.

The unit comes with everything you need for an easy do-it-yourself install and even comes partially pre-assembled for your convenience.

You also get a nice chrome faucet for your system and you even get a free 24-ounce BPA-free water bottle as an added gift! The downside to this system is going to be the cost.

This Home Master RO system costs a good chunk more than any of our other picks. It may be pricey, but it definitely makes up for that in convenience and efficiency if you can fit it into your budget.


#3 – APEC 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

APEC 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System At A Glance:

  • 5-stage filtration process
  • 3 pre-filters
  • Sediment filter
  • 2 stages of carbon block filtering
  • Reverse osmosis membrane
  • Included pre-pressurized storage tank
  • Inline coconut shell carbon filter
  • Included lead-free designer faucet
  • Removes up to 99% of contaminants

Here is a more basic reverse osmosis from APEC. To clarify – that is basic for an RO system, but not at all basic for water filters in general. APEC is a fantastic company that has been making some of the best water filters for over 20 years.

Their high level of experience and excellent-quality designs and materials make them one of the best RO purifier makers out there. This system includes 5 stages of filtration to help ensure the cleanest and purest water possible.

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As usual, the first stage of the process is a sediment filter to remove the largest contaminants including things like sand and dirt. Then, both the second stage filter as well as the third-stage filter are carbon block filters.

The carbon block filter stage is very important because it removes most of your chemicals. This really helps to enhance the safety of your water and make sure that it is the best possible water for your health.

That is why they’ve included 2 stages of carbon block filtering. The first filter will do most of the work and then the second carbon block filter makes sure to stop whatever manages to make it through the first.

After these first three stages, the water goes across the reverse osmosis membrane and then flows into the included pre-pressurized storage tank. It remains here until you turn on your reverse osmosis faucet.

As the water flows from the tank to your faucet, it goes through the 5th and final stage of filtration often referred to as the polishing filter stage. This filter is an inline carbon filter with granulated activated carbon within it.

The point of this stage is to catch any undesirable tastes or odors that somehow made it through the other stages of filtration.

This ensures your water is both safe as well as tasty! It is important to note, though, that this system doesn’t add healthy minerals back into the water.

This means that it likely won’t taste as natural as the water from the systems that do. It also means that if you are strictly drinking water from this RO system, that you are likely to end up deficient in healthy minerals.

So, if you do choose this reverse osmosis system for home, then you will want to find a way to get these healthy minerals in your diet elsewhere, such as by supplementation.

An included designer faucet is easy to operate and looks great! It is also lead-free with a nice brushed nickel finish. The price makes this a much more budget-friendly option!


#4 – Global Water Reverse Osmosis System

Global Water Reverse Osmosis System At A Glance:

  • 5-stage filtration process
  • 3 pre-filters
  • Sediment filter
  • Granular activated carbon filter
  • Carbon block filter
  • Reverse osmosis membrane
  • 3.2-gallon storage tank
  • Inline carbon filter
  • Extra set of filters (excluding RO membrane)
  • Filter wrench included
  • Modern lead-free faucet
  • Mostly pre-assembled system

Here we have what we would consider the best home reverse osmosis system for value. This is the least expensive option of all of our picks!

It is actually less than half the cost of the highest priced option on our list – the Home Master. Like our last pick, this is a 5-stage system. It has the sediment filter to get rid of the bigger contaminates, then a granular activated carbon filter to take care of most chemicals.

After that, the water goes through a carbon block filter to take out the smaller-particle chemicals that weren’t taken care of already.

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As with all of our recommendations, the 4th stage of filtration is the reverse osmosis stage. This is when almost everything else comes out of the water.

This stage clears out heavy metals, fluoride, arsenic, hormones, etc. After the reverse osmosis process, your water goes to sit in a storage tank until you are ready to use it. The storage tank comes with your purchase, is pre-pressurized, and holds 3.2 gallons at a time.

It is designed so that water stops flowing to it once it has reached its maximum capacity, and then starts flowing through the system once again when you start to empty it.

When you do turn on the included lead-free faucet, the water then goes through an inline filter of activated coconut shell carbon.

This last stage takes care of any leftover bad tastes for you. In addition to the low price of this system, it also has one more very valuable benefit to it. It includes an extra set of filters for you!

This adds a lot of convenience and value to the purchase. It doubles the time you have before you need to purchase replacement filters, which saves you time, trouble, and money.

You should note that this means you get an extra sediment filter, extra granulated carbon filter, extra carbon block filter, and extra inline carbon filter. You do not get an extra reverse osmosis membrane.

However, since the membrane lasts considerably longer than the other filters, this still allows you to go years without needing to buy replacement filters of any kind. (Time between filter changes varies depending on water quality and amount of use).

A filter wrench that also comes with your purchase makes it incredibly easy to change out your filters when needed.

One more thing to remember is that since this system does not add healthy minerals, the water will not be a good source of these vital minerals.


#5 – iSpring 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

iSpring 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System At A Glance:

  • 5-stage filtration process
  • 3 pre-filters (sediment, GAC, carbon block)
  • Reverse osmosis membrane
  • Fine granular activated carbon filter
  • 3.2-gallon storage tank
  • Heavy-duty brushed nickel high spout faucet
  • Removes up to 99% of over 1000 contaminants
  • Clear first filter housing

Our final RO system pick is another good option from iSpring! This particular iSpring Reverse Osmosis System is almost identical to the first iSpring system on our list.

iSpring is such an incredible brand with amazing products that we chose to include both systems in our recommendations. The big difference between the two of the systems is simply the number of stages.

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Rather than being a 6-stage reverse osmosis system like the first iSpring option, this system only features 5 stages like our last couple of picks.

While this obviously doesn’t have quite the same level of benefit as the 6-stage system, it does drop the price enough to be worthwhile for some buyers.

The stage missing from this option compared to the 6-stage iSpring system is, as you may have guessed, the remineralization stage.

So, this does everything the other iSpring system does except for adding the healthy minerals back into the water at the end.

You still get water just as clean, pure, and safe with this filter. It even includes the same high-spout, European-style faucet, and 3.2-gallon pre-pressurized tank.

The clear housing of the first filter also helps set it apart from the other 5-stage systems we have listed here that do not have that convenience that allows you to more easily monitor how often your filters need to be replaced.

All in all, choosing between this system and our top recommendation comes down to your budget and what you actually want to get out of your RO system.


Reverse Osmosis Systems Comparison Table

  PriceStage FiltrationPre-filtersSpecial FeaturesCustomer Ratings
iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System$197.166-stage filtration process3 pre-filters (sediment, GAC, carbon block)Reverse osmosis membrane, 3.2-gallon storage tank, 4.7 / 5.0 Stars
Home Master Reverse Osmosis System$337.987-stage filtration process2 pre-filters (sediment and carbon)Reverse osmosis membrane, Permeate pump4.8 / 5.0 Stars
APEC 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System$189.955-stage filtration process3 pre-filtersReverse osmosis membrane, Sediment filter4.8 / 5.0 Stars
Global Water Reverse Osmosis System
$149.995-stage filtration process3 pre-filtersCarbon block filter, Sediment filter4.4 / 5.0 Stars
iSpring 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

$186.805-stage filtration process3 pre-filters (sediment, GAC, carbon block)Reverse osmosis membrane, 3.2-gallon storage tank4.6 / 5.0 Stars

How to Choose the Best RO Water Purifier

The water you drink has a huge impact on your health. Unclean or highly contaminated water can be detrimental to your health – even if you don’t realize it right away.

Years upon years of drinking contaminated water can lead to many health problems as these contaminants build up in your system.

Best Reverse Osmosis Systems guide

That is why it is so important to not only choose a good system for cleaning your water but to choose one that is going to best meet your needs and desires for your water filtration.

Here, we will talk about the most important things to look at before choosing your reverse osmosis system.

What Is Reverse Osmosis?

A reverse osmosis system, often referred to simply as an RO water system or RO water purifier, is a special multi-stage water filter system that produces some of the purest water possible.

These reverse osmosis water systems take water filtration further than other water purifiers with – you guessed it – reverse osmosis. To understand what reverse osmosis means, you first need to understand what regular osmosis is.

It is actually pretty simple. Osmosis refers to molecules equalizing themselves in a solvent (water in this case) by moving through a semipermeable membrane.

Basically, if such a membrane exists between two puddles of water and only one of the puddles has a solute (a dissolved substance) added to it, the molecules of that solute will move through the membrane until both sides have the same concentration of the solute.

During the natural process of osmosis, the water will want to move towards the high concentration of dissolved material. So, for reverse osmosis, pressure is applied that is stronger than the natural osmotic pressure to reverse the process.

This causes the water to move away from a high concentration of dissolved material and therefore leave behind the water’s contaminants. This creates very pure water.

Filtration Stages

First off, you need to consider the stages of filtration. Each RO system is similar, but they all vary a little in how many stages they have and how exactly each stage works. A 5-stage RO filter is the most common.

However, some systems do include a 6th and sometimes even a 7th stage of filtration. All options will start with a sediment filter to first get out the bigger, more obvious contaminants like rust, dirt, and sand.

Then, you’ll usually have at least 2, if not 3, carbon filters. The exact type of carbon filter also varies, though. Options that first have a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter help to get rid of a large number of chemicals before sending the water through the carbon block filter that almost all models have.

The carbon block filter will stop even more chemicals from coming through and the GAC basically just reduces the number of chemicals the carbon block filter has to deal with to help it work more efficiently and preserve it longer before needing to be replaced.

All RO systems will obviously include a reverse osmosis filter. After heading through the reverse osmosis filter, the water often goes to a storage tank before hitting 1-2 more filters on its way to your faucet.

Usually, it will go through an inline carbon filter that features more granulated activated carbon.

Doing this right before coming out of the faucet helps to ensure you don’t get any undesirable tastes or smells with your water. Some systems also feature a remineralization filter.

Ultimately, all good-quality RO systems have the same basic function of providing you with pure, clean water. It is up to you to decide which types and order of filtration you prefer for your system.

Remineralization

We mentioned remineralization in the section on filtration stages, but we wanted to touch on it a little more in-depth since it is one of the most relevant and important decisions to make regarding your RO system.

The biggest criticism of reverse osmosis for drinking water is the fact that it works so well at cleaning the water that it actually removes the good minerals as well as all of the undesirable contaminants.

Since drinking water is the primary source of healthy minerals in most people’s diets, it is very important to make sure you are getting these minerals one way or another.

If you don’t have remineralization occurring in your RO system, you need to incorporate them in your diet elsewhere (such as through supplementation). You don’t have to worry about that with a remineralization filter, though.

If your RO system does have this beneficial feature, it will actually push your water through a filter filled with stones made up of these important healthy minerals. As the water passes through, it picks up some of the minerals.

This not only makes it healthier and more beneficial for you to drink, but it also makes it taste more natural and gives it slight alkalinity – which is ideal for drinking water.

The only real downside of having one of these filters is that the system will cost you more. Generally speaking, though, it is more than worth the extra cost in terms of convenience and health.

Extra Features

Lastly, you can take a look at and consider what other features the different RO systems have. These systems all come with storage tanks as well as faucets.

So, you can determine what size storage tank you want as well as what faucet you prefer in terms of materials and appearance. Some systems also come with extras like a housing wrench for easy filter changes.

Of course, one of our recommendations (Home Master) makes filter changes even easier with modular filters that are built in one piece with the housing.

In this case, you change the whole thing easily by just pulling it off the system and pushing the new one onto it. A system including a permeate pump also helps to increase water flow and pressure.

Beyond these features, you can also look for convenient bonuses like pre-assembled systems and extra filters.

Frequently Asked Questions about Reverse Osmosis Systems

How does a reverse osmosis system work?

To put it as simply as possible, a reverse osmosis system works by forcing water across a membrane in such a way that causes the water to separate itself from contaminants to become purer.

 

Does an RO system waste water?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes, RO systems do create water waste. Due to the nature of the process of reverse osmosis. Some of the water that goes through the system must take on the load of the contaminants it removes from the water that you are actually getting through the RO faucet.

Fortunately, having a permeate pump as part of your system reduces waste. It is impossible to actually get down to zero water waste with any RO system.

This is another reason that you wouldn’t want a whole house reverse osmosis system. Instead, it is best to stick to using it for just drinking and food preparation. This is the only time you will actually benefit from water as pure as that from the RO system.

Buyer’s Tips for Reverse Osmosis Systems

Water is vital to life and the quality of water can impact the quality of life. The purest water is the safest water and the best way to ensure you are getting pure water is through reverse osmosis.

When choosing a reverse osmosis system, the most important decision is to get an option with a remineralization filter or not. This determines if your water will or won’t contain healthy minerals when it comes out of the faucet.

After making that decision, you can consider the details of the filtration process as well as extra features of the systems you are looking at.

Also, always make sure to choose a reputable seller that you feel comfortable buying from. This is especially important with slightly costlier purchases like an RO system. It is also important when you take into account just how important the quality of your water actually is.

We appreciate the amazing selection, quality, and customer service you get with Amazon. You can still consider shopping around if you can find a retailer you really trust that has a good deal, though. Remember that either way, Amazon is a great source for reverse osmosis water filter reviews.

These can help you make your choice based off of unbiased information from actual users of the different reverse osmosis systems.

It is so important to choose a good system to ensure your water is what you expect it to be and that you don’t run into serious issues during installation or use.

We hope you will find your perfect match in our recommendations above and soon you’ll be enjoying the clearest, purest, best water you can imagine!

Water Filtration
Capacity
Supplies Replacement Costs

We chose the iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System as our Editor's Choice for the Best Reverse Osmosis System.

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