Installing a reverse osmosis water filtration system in your home can provide a variety of benefits for your family. Having an unlimited supply of pure, great tasting water right at your kitchen sink is not only convenient, it’s also beneficial for your health. Imagine not having to spend money on bottled water or hauling it home from the store ever again; that’s good for your wallet, back, and the environment.
The process of osmosis through a semipermeable film was first discovered in 1748. While we can only imagine how difficult to operate these first systems were, technology has come a long way since then. Today’s systems are designed to be highly efficient and simple to use. We’ve compiled the below reverse osmosis system reviews to help you make an informed decision about which system most suits your needs. Continue scrolling to see our picks for the best reverse osmosis systems, as well as learn more about these systems overall.
Reverse Osmosis System Comparison Chart
|Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System|
Our Top Pick for 2020
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|Pelican 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System|
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|APEC 5-Stage Top Tier High Output 90 GPD Reverse Osmosis System|
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|iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System with Remineralizing Alkaline|
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|APEC 6-Stage Top Tier Alkaline Mineral pH+ 75 GPD Reverse Osmosis System|
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|Home Master TMAFC-ERP Artesian Full Contact Reverse Osmosis System|
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|Brondell Circle Water Saving Reverse Osmosis System|
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|Whirlpool WHER25 Reverse Osmosis System|
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|Express Water 10-Stage Alkaline Mineral pH+ Reverse Osmosis System|
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|NU Aqua Platinum Series 100GPD 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System|
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Best Reverse Osmosis System Reviews
1. Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
The Waterdrop RO System is our top pick of reverse osmosis system for 2020. This unit features reverse osmosis filtration technology that boasts a filtration accuracy of 0.0001um, meaning it can effectively remove 99 percent of harmful substances, such as limescale and heavy metals from your tap water. According to the manufacturer, this innovative, all-in-one intelligent water purification system can be completely installed in a matter of minutes. Plus – you should be able to change the filter with a single turn in just three seconds or less!
With its no-tank design, you can forget about any secondary pollution, and its 5.7-inch slim, compact body takes up little storage space. With this system, you can count on maintaining faster water flow at 400 GPD (an absurd amount!), which helps satisfy the demands of an entire household and even some small companies. As an added bonus, the accompanying smart and lead-free faucet features an indicator that conveys water quality and filter service life. The system comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
According to users, this system delivers on all its claims – it’s small, easy to install and intuitive to use, and it maintains a fast flow rate. In fact, one reviewer has described the system as “darned near perfect.” Its only shortcoming may be that you’ll have to say goodbye to your existing faucet, as the system works best with the accompanying smart faucet.
2. Pelican 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
Pelican is a trusted name within the water industry, and this system once again proves the company’s expertise. For those who are environmentally conscious, this system is a particularly good choice – it’s Green By Design®, which means you’ll reduce water waste by 50 percent. Pelican also makes every effort to reduce manufacturing, packaging and shipping resources.
In addition to its filtering capabilities, the Pelican RO’s two-stage post filter features a carbon/mineral filter that adds back to your water any essential minerals – like magnesium and calcium, for example – that are removed during the reverse osmosis process.
Designed to fit under your sink, the Pelican Pro RO can filter 50 gallons of clean water per day, which quickly replenishes its storage tank. It also delivers 30 percent more flow from the faucet than many competitive RO systems. Overall, the system is smaller and lighter than many competitive filtration systems, so it’s easily installed in a small kitchen cabinet.
When it comes to maintenance, all you need to do is change the two-stage post-filter every six months and the four-stage membrane every 18 months. Your system also will come with a limited on-year manufacturer’s warranty.
According to many reviewers, this is one of the best systems on the market for the price. They report easy installation and high water flow, plus great-tasting fresh, clean water. You may be wise to have a plumber complete your installation – depending on the configuration of your current system, including your garbage disposal, the kit provided may not contain everything you need to make sure the two systems are compatible.
3. APEC 5-Stage Top Tier High Output 90 GPD Reverse Osmosis System
This system from APEC boasts that it’s one of the most durable reverse osmosis systems in the industry to guarantee both your water’s safety and your health; it’s able to remove up to 99 percent of contaminants including chlorine, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, arsenic, nitrates, lead and more.
The unit also features large-capacity filters that are designed to capture twice the contaminants of similar competitor units, plus a 100 percent lead-free designer chrome faucet and FDA-certified food-grade tubing for safe, contamination-free pure water. Furthermore, it’s been verified to meet the highest standards in the industry. It has earned the Water Quality Association’s gold seal, which guarantees the highest contaminant removal rates through its five-stage filtering system.
The 90 GPD model comes with a one-year, limited warranty with registration, plus lifetime support from APEC.
Users say that this unit lives up to its reputation – easy to install and simple to use, with outstanding results. Some users have even been able to install their system in 30 minutes or less! In addition, reviewers report that the accompanying faucet is stylish and the unit runs quietly. Even those without formal plumbing experience report an easy installation, with clear, detailed and well-written instructions from APEC. The company is also reported to be attentive and fast when it comes to customer service. A few users have reported broken or defective parts upon receipt of their unit, but it seems like APEC moves quickly and professionally to remedy issues.
4. iSpring RCC7AK 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System with Remineralizing Alkaline
This high capacity system is capable of removing up to 99% of over 1000 contaminants, including viruses, giardia, bacteria, sodium, calcium, asbestos, hormones, arsenic, fluoride, and chlorine. It can also remove up to 98% of lead.
iSpring has equipped this unit with a very effective five stage RO filtration system, and an additional sixth stage that deals with remineralization. Each of the five initial stages function as follows:
- A polypropylene sediment pre-filter removes rust, sand and other sediment.
- An activated carbon filter removes unpleasant odors or tastes as well as chlorine.
- A carbon block filter further removes tastes or odors.
- The reverse osmosis membrane removes 99% of all major contaminants.
- A final carbon post-filter removes any remaining odors or tastes.
As we alluded to above, what makes this stand out is its additional sixth stage filter that restores the healthy minerals back into the water and balances the alkalinity. During this sixth stage, the water is passed through an alkaline remineralization filter that uses all-natural mineral stones to add calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium back into the water, giving it a more natural taste.
The water production rate for this six stage system is 75 gallons per day, which should be more than enough for any family. While some six stage units tend to be on the pricier side do to the increased cost of materials or research and development, this unit is very reasonably priced. Installation can easily be completed by any DIYer, and everything required for installation is included with purchase; a 3-year warranty is also included. All in all, iSpring has successfully produced a reliable, efficient, high quality reverse osmosis system at a solid price point.
5. APEC ROES-PH75 6-Stage Alkaline Mineral Reverse Osmosis System
The APEC ROES-PH75 has some similarities to the Waterdrop unit above and gives our top pick a run for its money. This filter system removes up to 99% of chemicals, organics, cysts, viruses, bacteria, and more from your family’s drinking water. The ROES-PH75 is quite compact and can be installed under your sink in about an hour. Most should be able install this unit themselves, even with no previous plumbing experience.
APEC has been a trusted name in the water filtration industry for over 20 years. Their ROES-PH75 model comes with a lead-free designer faucet, and FDA certified JG food-grade tubing and parts. The quick connect fittings are a breeze to install, and they can be relied on to stay leak free.
This system comes equipped with a high-capacity, three-stage prefilter system. It also has a calcite acid neutralizer and a TFC membrane post filter with a high contaminant rejection membrane and a 10-inch food grade calcium alkaline inline filter. An NSF Certified four-gallon pressurized water tank is also included with this system.
The ROES-PH75 is capable of providing 75 gallons of filtered water per day. Users of this unit report that their water tastes better than ever before, and have been made believers of these systems. Although most reviewers were very pleased with the APEC ROES-PH75, there were some that feel it wastes too much water during the filtration process. The manufacturer provides a 2-year warranty with the purchase of this product.
6. Home Master TMAFC-ERP Artesian Reverse Osmosis System
The Home Master TMAFC-ERP provides seven stages of filtration, purification, and enhancement. This system is capable of removing up to 98% of contaminants, including chloramine, chlorine, dissolved solids, pharmaceuticals and heavy metals. The TMAFC-ERP also adds calcium and magnesium back into your drinking water for improved taste. This system has a highly efficient design and a built-in non-electric permeate pump that reduces wasted water by 80% and increases drinking water production by as much as 50%.
Home Master has constructed this unit to use long-lasting filters that are easy to change without the need for any special tools. Simply change the filters once each year, or after 2000 gallons of water have been filtered. With this system, the filters are incorporated into the filter housing, making the entire filter disposable. This design reduces the amount of biofilm and microorganism build up, and also helps to eliminate leaks.
The TMAFC-ERP comes with a Fast Flow RO Kit that includes larger fittings, high-flow components, and large diameter tubing. These features lead to this unit delivering up to twice the water flow of some other models. The system has been tailored to make installation easy for the average homeowner; the tubing is color-coded, and all connection hardware is made from high-grade materials, meaning you won’t accidentally break something during installation.
Most users love this system and report that their drinking water tastes much better after installation. However, there were a few reports of the permeate pump and some connections leaking after installation, so that’s something to watch out for post-installation. A few users also felt that the pump was too noisy. Home Master provides a 5-year limited warranty with the purchase of this product.
7. Brondell Circle Water Saving Reverse Osmosis System
According to Brondell, the RC100 is said to be up to 10 times more efficient than conventional reverse osmosis systems. Not to mention, its compact design leaves plenty of room under the sink for storage. This a WGA Gold Seal Certified four-stage reverse osmosis filtration system that removes lead, chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, cysts, and more.
This system has been designed with a unique, flexible reservoir that substantially reduces the amount of wastewater. The reservoir works along with the system’s patented smart valve that eliminates back pressure, making it extremely water efficient. This unique technology also allows the system to refill about 50% faster than traditional methods. The system even flushes the RO membrane automatically to extend the life of your filters.
The Brondell RC100 uses no electricity, further adding to its economic nature. Users found this system relatively easy to install on their own; all of the necessary parts and adapters required for the install are included. Adding to this, many appreciate the fact that this unit is self-contained and doesn’t have to be mounted under the sink. Furthermore, a number of firsthand consumers say this filter does a great job of specifically removing sulfur-related smells from their water.
The filters for this filtration system are a bit pricey, but most users felt it was worth the money. Unfortunately, a few also feel that the water flow with the Brondell RC100 is much slower than with other systems, which makes sense considering how efficient the unit is when it comes to wastewater. Brondell offers a limited lifetime warranty on this product, making it the best warranty of any unit we have listed.
8. Whirlpool WHER25 Reverse Osmosis System
The Whirlpool WHER25 promises to deliver water that tastes better than bottled water at a fraction of the price. This filtration system is capable of reducing the amount of chlorine, sediment, cysts, lead, chemicals, and dissolved solids found in your home’s drinking water. The WHER25 offers three stages of filtration but claims to do the same job as a five or six stage system.
The compact design of this system saves space in your cabinet, leaving you plenty of room for storage. For added peace of mind, the WHER25 also comes equipped with a filter change indicator light to help you know when the filters need to be changed. Even better, this system uses long-life filters and a membrane that can last for years, making the system incredibly low maintenance and economical.
Whirlpool has designed this unit to use an UltraEase Filter Replacement System that allows you to change the filter in seconds. Reviewers report that the filters come off easily with just a quarter turn; no tools are needed. Not to mention, you don’t even have to turn off the main water supply to replace a filter, and there’s no mess. The system, like many of the others in this post, has been designed for hassle-free installation by the average homeowner.
Consumers found the tank and filter system to be very attractive and well made. Unfortunately, they were not nearly as impressed with the faucet that is included with the unit. Many chose to replace it with a higher-quality faucet from the home improvement store.
9. Express Water 10-Stage Alkaline Mineral Reverse Osmosis System
The Express Water Reverse Osmosis System is an under-sink water filtration system that offers 10 stages of filtration and enhancement, including a remineralization and pH enhancement step. This unit boasts the most stages of any RO system in this article and the reverse osmosis market as a whole. Furthermore, this model is capable of filtering up to 100 gallons of water per day, which makes it a great choice for large households. Installation can be completed by the average homeowner in an hour or less.
Express Water claims that this system can remove up to 99% of contaminants, including bacteria, arsenic, fluoride, chlorine, lead, sediment, pesticides, heavy metals and more. It uses Active Mineral Technology to add back essential minerals, like potassium, magnesium and calcium, by passing the water over five different types of all natural, remineralization stones.
This 10-stage system takes your water through a more extensive filtration process than most other units. The first stage is a sediment pre-filter. Stages two and three are carbon block filters for removing pollutants and chemicals. The RO membrane is the fourth stage, and it removes things like lead, arsenic and fluoride. Stages five through nine consists of the alkaline filter which adds minerals, antioxidants, and oxygen back into the water. Finally, the tenth stage is a carbon block post-filter for removing any residual tastes or odors.
Hands-on trials of this product found that the drinking water quality was drastically improved after installation. However, some were disappointed with the amount of wastewater discarded by this unit, which makes sense considering the number of stages water must pass through. Express Water offers a one-year limited warranty with purchase.
10. NU Aqua Platinum Series 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
This unit from NU Aqua offers five stages of filtration via reverse osmosis. A high capacity system, this unit, like the Express Water unit above, is capable of filtering up to 100 gallons of water per day. NU Aqua has designed this unit with high-quality, quick connect fittings and includes a designer faucet with a contemporary design that should fit in the décor of most kitchens. For peace of mind, the NU Aqua includes a free PPM meter so you can test the quality of your water simply and easily, ensuring your system is working as intended.
This five-stage filtration system removes up to 99% of harmful contaminants in your water, including lead, viruses, bacteria, pesticides and heavy metals. The first stage filter is a sediment pre-filter that removes dirt, rust and sand. Stage two is a carbon filter designed to remove finer particles of sediment, plus odors and organic pollutants. Stage three is a coconut carbon block filter for removing chlorine, chloramines, and additional organic compounds. Stage four is the RO membrane for removing chemical contaminants, and the final stage is another carbon filter for removing any lingering odors or bad tastes.
This NU Aqua Platinum Series model comes complete with a four-gallon holding tank. An installation DVD is also included with the purchase of this unit. Furthermore, thanks to the thorough instructions and color-coded tubing, any homeowner can have this unit installed in less than an hour, even with no prior plumbing experience.
Users of this system were pleased with its performance, especially for the price. However, there were a couple of reviewers that mentioned the hoses that come with the unit may be too short depending on your situation. NU Aqua includes a five-year warranty with the purchase of this unit.
How Reverse Osmosis Systems Work
Reverse osmosis (RO) is defined as a process in which fresh water is passed through a permeable membrane when pressure is applied to a solution (such as tap water). That may sound a little complicated, but it’s actually a pretty simple process. During the reverse osmosis water filtration process, your home’s tap water is pushed through a semi-permeable RO membrane to remove contaminants and impurities from the water.
These systems are designed to remove most of the significant sources of water contamination, including fluoride, lead, chlorine, pesticides, detergents, nitrates and sulfates. Most reverse osmosis systems also incorporate additional filters, like carbon filters or sediment filters, to filter out other impurities. The wastewater, contaminants, and pollutants are then flushed down the drain, leaving you with pure, odorless, great-tasting drinking water right at your kitchen sink.
To help you better understand how these systems work, let’s go over the individual components of a reverse osmosis water filtration system. The water source for your system is your cold-water supply line. A cold-water line valve is installed, along with a tube, that goes from the supply line to the RO filter. The water enters the system and passes through the pre-filter(s). Pre-filters are vital because they extend the life of your RO membrane and other filters by removing a majority of the sediment.
The next step generally involves a carbon filter, or a series of carbon filters, that are designed to remove chlorine and other contaminants that can give your water an off taste or odor, and possible damage your RO membrane. Next comes the heart of your RO system, the RO membrane. This membrane has the job of removing a large number of contaminants that can be harmful to your health and make your water taste and smell bad.
Once the water passes through the RO membrane, it is stored in a holding tank until you need it. Most systems come with a four-gallon holding tank. In some systems, water may pass through an additional post filter, sometimes called a polishing filter, on its way to the RO faucet. The post filter is generally a carbon filter that removes any residual odors or tastes.
The filtered water comes out at your RO faucet, while wastewater that contains all the impurities and contaminants is flushed down the systems drain line. Some systems are very water efficient, while others flush away as much as four gallons of wastewater to produce one gallon of filtered drinking water.
During the RO process, minerals are removed from the water, and the pH becomes slightly more acidic. This happens because the semi-permeable membrane that filters out contaminants can not filter out carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide dissolves in the water and causes it to be slightly acidic. Many RO systems solve this issue by including an additional filter that re-mineralizes the water, makes it more alkaline, and sometimes even oxygenates it for the best possible taste.
If the inner-workings of water filters and purifiers interests you, our water distiller reviews post details the process of distilling water.
Advantages of a Reverse Osmosis System
Installing an under-sink reverse osmosis water filtration system in your home provides a multitude of benefits for your family. The obvious main advantage is that the reverse osmosis filtration process removes contaminants and impurities from your family’s drinking water. Reverse osmosis systems remove up to 99% of the total dissolved solids (TDS) and other impurities from your drinking water. Not only is reverse osmosis water healthier, but it also tastes, smells, and looks clearer, too.
Most of us buy bottled water at the store every week because the water that comes out of the tap just tastes awful. If you’re on city water, your water probably tastes and smells like the chlorine (or chloramines) that is used to sanitize the water and make it safe to drink. Unfortunately, recent studies are beginning to show that chlorine, even in diluted amounts, doesn’t just taste and smell bad, it can actually be hazardous to your health, too.
Folks who get their water from a well may not have to worry about chlorine, but well water often contains sediment and other impurities like sulfur that make it taste and smell unpleasant. Sometimes, well water even contains dangerous heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria, and viruses that could make your family sick. Installing a reverse osmosis system removes these impurities, providing you and your family with unlimited amounts of clean, great tasting, safe water for both drinking and cooking.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, kidney disease, or liver problems, a reverse osmosis system offers you a benefit that other types of systems do not. The reverse osmosis process can remove sodium from the water, which is a leading cause of these conditions. Not only that, but it also removes lead, which can cause significant health problems, including high blood pressure, infertility, nerve issues, and in severe cases, brain damage.
We all know we should be drinking more water each day because it is essential for our health. Dehydration is known to be a leading cause of mental and physical fatigue, mood swings, and even cardiovascular issues. When your family has access to great tasting water, they’ll be more likely to drink water instead of grabbing sugar-laden soft drinks. And, there’s no bottle or can to throw away, so you’re helping the environment, too.
Other key benefits of a reverse osmosis system include the financial advantages. A reverse osmosis system can save you a significant amount of money over buying bottled water. In fact, reverse osmosis water will only cost you a few cents per gallon, which will save you quite a bit of money in the long run. Not to mention the inconvenience of having to drag those heavy cases of bottled water home from the store each week! With a reverse osmosis system, filtered, clean water is available right at your kitchen sink.
Under-sink reverse osmosis systems often use less energy than whole house filtration systems so they can save you some money there as well. Since they fit right under the kitchen sink, they can easily be installed in apartments, condos, or tiny homes where other types of filtration systems may not be practical.
Reverse osmosis systems are also very low maintenance and easy to install. Most systems are designed to be installed by the average homeowner with little to no plumbing experience. Once installed, simply replace the filters every six to twelve months and replace the RO membrane every two to three years. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
Reverse Osmosis System Installation and Maintenance
Installing and maintaining your reverse osmosis water system will vary slightly depending on the manufacturer of your unit, but these general guidelines will explain just how easy the process is. Every system will come with detailed instructions for installing and maintaining your particular model.
- Start by installing the RO faucet first. You will need to choose the location for your faucet and carefully drill a hole with a ¼” drill bit. Then, place the stem of the faucet in the hole and secure it with the supplied nut. The quick connect fitting will need to be attached to the bottom of the faucet using a wrench.
- The drain line is installed next. Be sure to locate it as far away from your garbage disposal/dishwasher discharge as possible to prevent contaminating your RO system. Simply drill another ¼” hole at the top of your drain line, install the drain saddle, and use the included bolts to fix it in place.
- Now, turn off the hot and cold water supply so you can install the inlet feed valve. Next, turn on the faucet to release any pressure in the line, remove the existing cold-water supply tubing, and install the new feed valve. Attach your cold-water supply to the new valve, make sure the valve is off, and then turn your water supply back on.
- Now, put the storage tank in position and attach the connector using Teflon tape to prevent possible leaks.
- The next step is to install the reverse osmosis component. Attach the tubes according the manufacturer’s directions (they may even be color-coded) and hang the module in a location that will be easy to access when the filters need to be changed.
- Once you’ve connected all the hoses/tubes, you’ll need to install the filter cartridges and RO membrane into their appropriate housings, as directed by your system’s manufacturer.
- Now, it’s time to test the system. Turn on the water feed valve but keep the storage tank valve closed so water can’t enter the tank. Check each connection for leaks. Wait 10-15 minutes for the water to dribble out. (It’s ok if it’s brown, that’s from the carbon filters and will eventually flush away.)
- Now, allow the tank to fill completely, turn on the faucet and flush the unit by letting the water run until it’s just a dribble. New RO systems should be flushed 2-3 times. That’s all there is to it!
Proper maintenance of your RO system is essential for clean and safe drinking water, but it’s not difficult. The pre-filter and post-filter cartridges should be changed every 6-12 months, as recommended by the manufacturer. The RO membrane itself should be cleaned every few months to maintain performance, and then changed completely every 2-3 years. The storage tank should be sanitized yearly, and the pressure nozzle should be monitored to make sure it is functioning correctly.
Best Reverse Osmosis System Buyer’s Guide
There are several factors to consider when choosing a reverse osmosis water filtration system for your home. For many people, the cost is the first thing they consider. Fortunately, a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean a better product in this case. For example, the iSpring RCC7AK is very reasonably priced, but it still offers six stages of filtration, including a remineralization and alkalization stage. It also filters 75 gallons of water each day, which should be more than adequate for most families.
Another important consideration is the size of the system. If the space under your sink is tight, you will need to measure carefully before you order to make sure your tank and filtration will fit properly. Those who need a space-saving, compact system should consider the Brondell RC100. This system is completely contained in one unit, making it a good choice for tight spaces.
You will also need to consider how much water the system can provide each day. Some systems can only filter about 50 gallons per day, which may be enough for a small family. A system that filters 75 gallons per day should be perfect for most families. However, if your family is very large, you might want to look at a system that can provide 100 gallons of filtered water per day, such as the Express Water system discussed above.
In some cases, you may want to consider having your water tested to see what level of filtration you need. If you are on city water, your top concern is probably going to be filtering out the chlorine that municipalities use to sanitize the water. In that case, a basic system like Whirlpool WHER25 should be adequate for your needs. However, if you are concerned about things like bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals you might want to go with something like the Waterdrop unit because it filters out more contaminants.
While all reverse osmosis systems will create wastewater as part of the filtration process, some systems are more efficient than others. If conserving water is an important consideration for you, choose a system with a low waste ratio. The Home Master TMAFC-ERP features a non-electric permeate pump that is specifically made to reduce the amount of waste by up to 80%.
Additionally, consider the lifespan of the system and its filters. Look for a system that allows you to go for at least a couple of years before changing the RO membrane. Keep in mind, the best reverse osmosis systems will usually come with at least a decent manufacturer’s warranty, as the manufacturer fully believes in the product they’re producing.
As reverse osmosis units are designed to be installed under the sink, it may be worth reading through our best under sink water filters article for more information about these types of products.
A reverse osmosis system is an excellent investment in your family’s health, but choosing the right system can be a little intimidating. We hope our reverse osmosis system reviews along with the above buyer’s guide has helped you in making an informed decision for your home and family. We’ve experienced firsthand out life-changing these systems can be; our family hasn’t purchased a case of water bottles in quite some time and thoroughly enjoys the ease at which we can obtain clean water right from our kitchen.