Kristen Hicks on May 10, 2016 1 Comment Table of Contents Types of Reverse-Osmosis Systems Factors to Consider When Shopping Popular Brands of Reverse-Osmosis Systems One of the main tips that seems to be included in every article or doctor’s recommendation on how to be healthier — Drink more water. It’s not a mystery to any of us that water plays an essential role in a our overall health and well-being. It’s a simple fact that we have to stay hydrated for the sake of basic health, and water is the best type of beverage to accomplish this. It would be nice if we could take for granted that drinking lots of water is always a smart choice, but water quality can vary a lot in different geographic areas. The standard advice that everyone seems to accept as a truth becomes inaccurate if you live in a place where the water has contaminants making it unsafe. When you think about how dependent we are on water and how much we really need it for, the thought of the water we have access to being anything less than healthy and safe is very concerning. If you’re worried about the contaminants in your water, a reverse-osmosis water filter is one of the most powerful resources you can turn to in order to solve the problem. The reverse-osmosis process removes a wider range of contaminants than other types of water filters so you can be confident the final product you drink is clean. According to people that have made the investment in a reverse-osmosis filter, it makes water taste better and can save you lots of money over time versus buying water in bottles or other containers. If you’re considering taking the plunge yourself and buying a system for your kitchen, here are the main things you need to know to make a smart purchase. Click Here to Shop for Reverse-Osmosis Systems Types of Reverse-Osmosis Systems When looking for a reverse-osmosis system for your home kitchen, you’ll come across two main options: countertop and undercounter models. Countertop Reverse-Osmosis Systems Countertop systems, just like they sound, are designed to sit on the countertop or on the ground. These are technically called freestanding reverse-osmosis systems. They’re usually designed to be compact so you don’t have to give up too much kitchen counter space and you don’t have to worry about a complicated installation process. These tend to be the best choice for renters that aren’t able to make permanent changes to the home they live in and anybody that wants to avoid bringing in a professional to install the system. Benefits: Compact Easy to install Temporary; if you move you can take it with you To Keep in Mind: Less convenient to use Requires counter space Undercounter Reverse-Osmosis Systems You could more accurately call these undersink reverse-osmosis systems, since that’s where they’re specifically installed. Undercounter systems are the most common option you’ll find. They’re extremely easy to use once you have them installed, since all you have to do is turn on the faucet. Installing them is complicated though, and many customers will need to call in a professional to help. However, it really is worth it, as these products can filter large quantities of water quickly, meaning they’re the most convenient option for daily use. Benefits: Easy to use Can filter lots of water To Keep in Mind: More difficult to install than countertop models Often produce a lot of waste water Factors to Consider When Buying a Reverse-Osmosis System The market for reverse-osmosis systems is surprisingly large and varied. To find the right one for your needs and budget, you’ve got a few key factors to consider. Cost One of the first questions you’ll have to ask yourself is how much you’re willing to spend. Reverse-osmosis filters range in price from around $150 to over $1000. Most fall somewhere in the $250-$500 range. The more expensive ones often boast more stages (which refers to the number of filters used), the ability to filter larger quantities of water at a time, and extra features like autoflush. Some higher-end systems also have the ability to put more valuable nutrients back into the water after the harmful ones have been filtered out. As with many types of products, if you go with a reverse-osmosis filter on the lowest end of the price spectrum, you may find yourself with a product made of cheap materials that doesn’t last you long or accomplish much. Many mid-range products will get the job done well enough for most people’s needs, and the higher-end options can add in some nice-to-have features. Size Whether you buy a reverse-osmosis system to keep on the counter or one to install under your sink, the space you have available for it is an important consideration. If you have limited counter space in your kitchen already, then a large reverse-osmosis system will add to the clutter of the space, if you can even make space for it to begin with. And quite simply, an undercounter reverse-osmosis system has to fit in the space you have under the sink. If you buy one that’s too big, you’ll have to send it back and start from scratch. Measure the space you have available and check it against the dimensions of any system you’re considering. If you’re worried the one you want might be a tight fit, check with a professional who can weigh in on how the size will affect their ability to install it properly. Amount of Water The other factor related to size is how much water a reverse-osmosis system can filter. The product specs for different systems will provide information on how many gallons a day a system can handle. The most standard sizes you’ll see are 50 gallons, 80 gallons, and 100 gallons. If you have a relatively small household, then the 50-gallon system should work for you. If your household is large and between everyone living there, you use a lot of water, then bumping up to one of the larger sizes is a smart bet. Effectiveness You’ll see a lot of reverse-osmosis systems that reference a number of stages. This refers to the number of filters the system uses to remove particles from the water. For example, a four-stage system may include a sediment filter for things like dirt and sand, a carbon filter for chlorine and other chemicals, a reverse-osmosis membrane that helps remove any traces of chemicals that still remain, then a post-carbon filter to take care of any impurities leftover. At the end of all those stages, you can likely count on your water being clean and tasting great. Depending on the state of the water you’re starting out with, you may not need five or six stages, but if you want the confidence that your system is doing a exhaustive cleaning job on your water, those extra stages may be worth the investment. Ease of Installation Most people will want to call in a professional to install their reverse-osmosis system, particularly if you buy an undercounter one. How difficult of an installation job it is will influence how much you need to pay for the job (or how much time you spend if you decide to do it yourself), so a system that’s pretty straightforward is likely in your best interest. Ease of Use Most reverse-osmosis systems will be pretty simple to use in the day-to-day, but you will have to do some work to keep them in good working order. Make sure to check how often a system’s filter needs to be replaced and how complicated it will be to clean before you make a decision on which to buy. If you know you’re the kind of person to begrudge having to deal with replacing a filter every other month, then go for a model that only needs a replacement once a year. For your reverse-osmosis system to do its job and last a long time, regular maintenance is important. But on the whole, the work you need to do is minimal. Waste Created One of the downsides of reverse-osmosis systems is that they create a lot of water waste in order to deliver clean water to you. Many systems only recover about 5-15% of the water they filter. In general, that extra water use is simply a necessary effect of getting cleaner water to drink. Some reverse-osmosis systems are designed to reduce water waste by repurposing it toward other uses, like your dishwashing or laundry. These are touted as zero-waste systems. If you’re okay with having clean water to drink, but using water with more chemicals and sediments for other household uses, then these are the best choice you have for using reverse-osmosis without wasting water. Lifespan If you’re going to invest in a reverse-osmosis system and go to the trouble of having it installed, you want to know you can count on it for years to come. Going with a brand that’s well regarded in the space and a product that has solid reviews is your best bet for finding a system that will last you for a long time. Many reverse-osmosis systems come with warranties, including limited lifetime warranties in some cases. If you want to be confident that you won’t be dealing with a broken or worn out system in the near future, you can opt for one that offers a solid warranty. Popular Brands for Reverse-Osmosis Systems One of the final considerations you should make in your search for a good reverse-osmosis system is brand reputation. A high-quality brand’s product will likely perform better and last longer than one from a company that hasn’t built up the same respect from customers. To give you an idea of which brands have the strongest reputation, we looked over reviews for the reverse-osmosis systems provided by each. Here’s a summary of what customers had to say. Click Here to Shop for Water Care and Accessories AquaPure AquaPure’s reverse-osmosis system earns predominantly positive reviews from customers who say the water tastes great and the installation is easy. A stray review here and there expressed less of a positive experience–one commenting on the quality of materials used and another on the amount of water the system goes through–but almost all reviewers are pleased with their purchase. Brondell Brondell sells an undercounter reverse-osmosis water filter that reviewers say works great. Most of the reviews are four or five stars. Customers praise the product for working as advertised, being easy to install, and using less water than competitors. According to customers, Brondell’s reverse-osmosis system is a solid buy. Global Water Global Water makes countertop and standing water coolers with reverse-osmosis systems that earn mixed reviews. The only real complaints are that some models are difficult to install, but customers that bought other models had no issue with installation. Many reviews suggest their filters work well and the company’s customer service is great. Hydrotech Hydrotech sells reverse-osmosis systems that receive mixed reviews from customers. Happy customers say they’re easy to install, work well, and their water tastes great. Unhappy ones say they’re noisy, leaky, and don’t last long enough for the price. With such an uneven reputation, it seems that choosing Hydrotech is a bit more of a risk than some of the other brands on the list. PurePro PurePro makes a range of undercounter reverse-osmosis systems that earn primarily positive reviews from customers. They’re easy to install, compact so they don’t take up much undercounter space, and make water taste good. Vitev Vitev sells a reverse-osmosis system that’s on the high end of the price spectrum, but has a solid reputation for delivering quality worthy of the price. Unlike most reverse-osmosis systems, it adds minerals back into the water to help alkalize it. That’s a big value add for some customers that makes the higher cost worth it. While the number of reviews of their reverse-osmosis system are minimal, the talk on the web around it is uniformly positive. Watts Watts provides reverse-osmosis systems that fall on the low end of the price spectrum. Most of their reviews are positive, with customers saying they’re easy to install and the water tastes good. But there is a fairly significant number of reviews from customers that have issues, including having to replace parts soon after buying the filter and dealing with leaks. If you want to save some money, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll end up happy with your Watts reverse-osmosis filter, but there’s also a chance you’ll have issues, so be prepared. Conclusion Water is a necessary and important part of every person’s life. You can’t just skip drinking if your water’s unclean; you have to find a solution that makes it healthy again. A reverse-osmosis system is the best solution for many people. It ensures clean drinking water that tastes good, so you can make sure you stay hydrated and healthy.