The best reverse osmosis system for well water is more popular than standard filters because they can remove up to 99% of total dissolved solids. What you get in the end is water that’s not only free from contaminants but also great tasting.
For what they’re worth, these systems feature RO membranes that filter out up to 88 different contaminants, making sure that only pure water squeezes through to the other end. And with up to 6 filtration stages, there are no foreign substances and toxic chemicals that these systems can’t remove.
What’s even better? The reverse osmosis system includes a re-mineralization filter, which adds a good amount of healthy calcium and magnesium back to the water. As the demand for water purification and quality continues to grow, many manufacturers are coming up with sophisticated systems to help you treat municipal city water and well water.
And while they are more than willing to admit that the more reverse osmosis systems come to the market the more choices you have, you can’t just pick a unit randomly and expect to get the best value for your money.
In this guide, we dive into an in-depth review of the reverse osmosis systems that we’ve researched, put to the test, and analyzed to help you make the right purchase decision. So whether you need to install a new water system or you want to upgrade the existing one, this guide is for you.
In a hurry? Below is a list of the best reverse osmosis system that you can use to purify water and make it safe for everyone in your household to consume:
- Aquasana OptimH2O Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System
- APEC Water Systems ROES PHUV75 Reverse Osmosis System for RV
- The iSpring RCC7 Reverse Osmosis System for Hydroponics
- APEC Water System Reverse Osmosis for Well Water
How to Choose the Best Reverse Osmosis System for Well Water
Reverse osmosis systems aren’t the same in terms of built, features, limitations, and performance. That’s why it’s important to consider a number of factors to help you choose the right system to install in your home.
1. Evaluate your Plumbing Requirements
The first thing you have to do before choosing a reverse osmosis system is to understand your current plumbing setup. Check the space under your kitchen’s sink to determine how much real estate there is. Doing so will help you to invest in a RO of the right size.
Since these systems need separate faucets, you need to evaluate your sink and determine where to drill a hole to install the new faucet.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any prior plumbing experience. You can find a plumber near you for cheap or consult someone who has already installed a reverse osmosis system in his or her home already.
2. Water Waste
In reverse osmosis, water waste refers to the amount of water that goes into the system minus the quantity that comes out from the filtration side. In other words, the amount of water your plumbing system pumps into the reverse osmosis system isn’t the same as what you get as filtered water.
Having looked at and analyzed hundreds of reviews on different reverse osmosis systems, it’s clear that some units can waste up to 80% of water and give you only 20% in return. There are also some that give you a decent percentage of purified, healthy water, but you’ll still have water going to waste anyway.
We recommend choosing a reverse osmosis system that wastes the least water possible. If you can get a model that wastes a gallon of water for every equal amount of purified water, go with it. Avoid models that waste 75% of water waste, especially if you intend to treat a higher volume of water per day.
3. Tank Size
There’s no right or wrong tank size when it comes to a reverse osmosis system. Quite too often, the container size you choose will depend on the size of your family and the frequency of their demand for water.
To be clear:
Reverse osmosis systems work in stages. And that means water that goes into a system isn’t ready for consumption in an instant. If anything, the RO tanks mostly store the water in the filtration stages rather than filtering and serving it on demand.
So if you choose to use a reverse osmosis system to filter, make sure the tank that reserves the purified water is big enough to supply filtered water on demand.
See also: How do you know if your well is going dry?
4. Filtration Speed
The filtration speed of the reverse osmosis system isn’t the same. So you need to decide how fast you’d like to filter water and in what quantity. Then, base your selection on your expectation.
From what we understand, RO systems refill the storage tank at a rate of 50 gallons per day and an output rate of only a gallon of purified water every minute.
If you wish to replace regular well or city water with pure water for an entire household consider choosing a unit that can filter at least 50 gallons of water every day. A slower refill rate and tank is a fine consideration as long as you intend to use it to filter only drinking water.
And if you’re someone that needs a lot of pure water every day, you just might want to consider getting a tankless water system. That’s because they’re effective in producing not less than 200 gallons of purified water every day.
5. Filtration Stages
Search for a highly rated reverse osmosis system, and then buy it based purely on the number of positive reviews you’ve read.
The problem here is, that you aren’t so sure how many filtration stages the system has. Even if you feel like you’ve found the best model to buy, it’s important to consider the number of stages first before spending your money.
Many reverse osmosis systems feature four filtration stages, and there are a few models that have more than seven. If you look at each product that we’ve recommended in this guide, we’ve stated the number of filtration stages each system has. Not to mention that we’ve explained each stage to help you understand exactly what happens.
Just to reiterate, the stages feature carbon filters that remove dirt, sand, dust, and sediment. There’s a filter that helps to remove disease-causing bacteria, toxic contaminants, and microorganisms. Every system has an RO membrane, which removes all the dissolved materials from the water you wish to purify. Then there’s a post-filter, which removes odor and bad taste from water.
Depending on the number of filtration stages, the reverse osmosis system that you choose should at least have additional filters to remove particles as small as a micron and minerals such as nitrates, lead, iron, and salt.
If you like, you can invest in large reverse osmosis systems that have six or seven filtration stages. The biggest benefit of such models is that they include unique filters that add healthy minerals such as calcium to improve the quality and taste of the water.
6. Know the Pumping Pressure of Your Water System
Reverse osmosis systems don’t work unless water flows into them at a pressure of at least 50 PSI. That’s a higher level of pressure, and it’s necessary to help push water through different filtration stages. The pressure level is also necessary to ensure water flows well out of the tap.
If the water system in your home operates at a pressure level between 50 and 110 pounds per square inch, all you have to do is to regulate the pressure so that it’s within the recommended range.
But if the pressure is lower, consider getting a booster pump to increase the pressure to at least 80 PSI.
7. Ease of Installation
The reverse osmosis you choose should be so easy to install that it takes you only a few hours to set up on your own.
Fortunately, every model that we’ve recommended in this guide either comes with a user manual or has YouTube videos that you can look at for reference to make the installation process easier.
If you don’t want to spend two or so hours fixing the unit yourself, you should consider hiring an affordable plumber to do the work for you. You’ll most likely end up spending around $50 an hour or so if you choose this route.
Top Reverse Osmosis Systems Reviews
1. Aquasana OptimH2O Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System
Whether you live in a small apartment or you own a large home, you can use the Aquasana OptimH2O under sink reverse osmosis system to remove toxic contaminants from water and make it safe to drink.
Powered with the brand’s Claryum technology, this under-sink reverse osmosis system can remove up to 95% of toxins from water.
Aquasana OptimH2O is hands down the best under sink reverse osmosis system certified by NSF for meeting the standards for contaminant removal. It succeeds at removing contaminants such as lead, arsenic, fluoride, and chlorine.
Aquasana OptimH2O reverse osmosis system is made of high-quality materials and comes packaged with all the components required for proper functionality.
To begin with, the model includes a carbon pre-filter, a reverse osmosis membrane, a clayrum, and a remineralizer. In addition to the tank that holds purified water ready for use, the Aquasana OptimH2O system features a dedicated faucet that easily prevents metal leaching.
The filter and membrane housing is in a manifold attachment and the remineralizer is on the side of the manifold. Because the filtered housing easily twists to reveal the filter elements, it shouldn’t be difficult to replace the filters when it’s time to do so.
We like how Aquasana makes the installation process of this portable reverse osmosis system easier. You do have to read the installation manual carefully to get this right. Or you can look up some YouTube videos if you prefer a visual DIY installation guide to written material.
Perhaps the most difficult part of the installation is fixing the outlet faucet if there isn’t an already existing hole in your sink. Use a wrench to create a ½ an inch or 3/8 an inch diameter hole.
Ask for help from a friend who has plumbing experience if you’re not sure, otherwise, you just might have to call a plumber to do the job for you.
With the Aquasana OptimH2O installed, it’s time to put it to the test to determine whether it lives up to its promise. Based on our analysis, and multiple hands-on tests from verified purchases, the Aquasana OptimH2O seems to do a great job in purifying water.
Like any reverse osmosis system out there, Aquasana OptimH2O isn’t perfect. But despite some drawbacks here and there, the performance of the model is pretty much up to the standard.
To begin with, the water filtration system works exactly as advertised. The system takes water from the first filter in stage 1 all the way through to Stage 4, leaving you with pure water to drink, clean dishes, and cook.
Here’s a breakdown of the 4-stage filtration for clarity:
- Filter Stage 1: Here’s a basic activated carbon filter that traps large particles and reduces chlorine. You end up with water that not only tastes better but one that’s already free from toxic chlorine.
- Filter Stage 2: The RO membrane is at stage 2 for the Aquasana OptimH2O model. Here, there’s a reduction of harmful contaminants such as cysts, arsenic, nitrites, lead, and nitrates.
- Filter Stage 3: This stage features the Claryum carbon, which is a combination of catalytic and activated carbon. At this stage, the Aquasana OptimH2O reverse osmosis system removes more contaminants, including herbicides, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and chloramine.
- Filter Stage 4: By the time water gets to the remineralizer stage, it’s already safe to consume, just not nutrient-rich. The purpose of the remineralizer is to add back the healthy minerals lost during filtration. The process adds a combination of calcium, magnesium, and potassium in the right ratio, therefore, balancing the pH level of the water while improving its taste.
One thing that stands out about this reverse osmosis system is that it passes the NSF’s 42, 53, 58, and 401 standards.
Here’s a breakdown of what these standards mean:
- Standard 42: Aquasana OptimH2O can remove particulates such as chlorine or chloramine that cause an unpleasant taste and odor in the water
- Standard 53: Aquasana OptimH2O can reduce the contaminants likely to cause health problems
- Standard 58: This reverse osmosis system can clean emerging contaminants such as detergents, pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and pesticides from water.
- Standard 401: Aquasana OptimH2O complies with the Total Dissolved Solid rejection and other contaminant claims
- Passes NSF standard for removing contaminants from water
- Removes 99% of 88 known contaminants from water, leaving you with clean water to consume
- Works well at a water pressure in the 40 to 100 PSI range
- Decent filter lifespan
- Low maintenance cost and the filter are easy to replace
- The average efficiency ratio of this reverse osmosis system is 1:3, which isn’t bad
- Wastes up to 4 gallons of water for every gallon of filtered water, which is quite a lot
- You might experience problems with water flow
- You have to change all the filters after a given duration
2. APEC Water Systems ROES-PHUV75 Reverse Osmosis System for RV
There’s more to RV camping than just exploring the outdoors and connecting with nature. You also have to eat to your full and stay hydrated all the time. But unless you buy bottled water to bring to every outdoor adventure, chances are you won’t be drinking pure water.
The water from your tap contains contaminants of all kinds. To make sure the water is safe for drinking, cooking, and doing dishes, you should consider investing in the top-rated reverse osmosis system for RV.
We recommend getting the APEC Water System ROES-PHUV75, which gives you pure water with added calcium minerals for great taste and enhanced alkalinity.
With ROES-PHUV75, you’re sure to get pure, healthy, calcium-rich water with zero traces of microbial pathogens.
ROES-PHUV75 is a well-made reverse osmosis system that features a cartridge that uses food-grade calcium to boost water’s pH level.
Instead of using a 5-stage filtration system, this one uses a 6-stage filtration to remove up to 99% of contaminants, leaving you with clean water to consume as you RV.
Given that it can produce up to 75 gallons of pure water per day, you can be sure you’ll have enough supply for the week, especially if you’re planning to RV for a while before returning home.
The structure includes a 4-gallon storage tank, which holds about 12.1 liters of water, which should be enough for drinking throughout the day.
If you watched the videos that we provided for the REOS-50 model, then you should know by now that installing this one won’t take a lot of your time either. Even the user manual is easy to read and the installation steps are clear.
For what it’s worth, the quick connect fittings and color-coded tubing makes this reverse osmosis system easy to put together. It should take between 60 and 120 minutes to have this, fully setup.
An alternative to a DIY setup would be to hire a plumber or ask a friend with a plumbing background for help.
The true value of a reserve osmosis system is on the performance. Specifically, if the filtration system does a great job in removing contaminants from water, we can be confident that the unit is worth the asking price.
APEC Water System doesn’t disappoint with the ROES-PHUV7 model. It has a powerful 6-stage filtration system that purifies water, so you end up drinking clean, healthy, and tasty water all the time.
Stage 1 is a 5-micron polypropylene pre-filter responsible for trapping sediments. The unit will catch large particles such as sand and dust and make sure that the system doesn’t clog.
Stages 2 and 3 both use coconut-activated carbon block filters. These are responsible for removing chemicals, absorbing chlorine, improving your water’s taste, and removing the bad odor.
Also known as the RO membrane, stage 4 of the filtration uses a thin semipermeable film composite to filter out 99% of the contaminants that passed through the first, second, and third stages. It’s here that the system removes contaminants such as radium, heavy metals, thick arsenic, and fluoride.
In stage 5, ROES-PHUV75 uses activated granular carbon to further remove contaminants from the water while, at the same time, removing residual tastes and smells. In the final stage is a calcite filter that adds back the calcium carbonate removed from the water in the initial stage.
Replacing the Filters
We wish the filters for this reverse osmosis system had a longer lifespan. For what it’s worth, though, the regular replacement of the filters can go a long way to improve the overall performance of the system.
- Replace the sediment pre-filter every 6 months
- Get a new carbon block filter at least every 6 to 12 months
- Switch to a new RO membrane every two years for city and well water
- Replace the carbon post-filter at least every 3 years
- Get a new calcite post–filter every 12 months
- The mineralization stage was added to this model, making it more advanced than the PH75 model
- Can output up to 70 gallons of water at a standard pressure of 60 PSI
- This system can dissolve solid of up to 2000 ppm during the filtration stage
- This reverse osmosis system removes all kinds of contaminants from water
- The system is easy to install and the filters are easy to change
- Includes UV light filter that kills harmful microbial pathogens
- In addition to raising the pH level of water, this system also helps to improve taste so you can drink flavorful water when RVing
- Purifies up to 70 gallons of water, which makes it ideal for small to large families
- Not filtration efficient as it emits 3 gallons of wastewater for every gallon of pure water
- Occasional leaks from the system can be quite annoying to deal with
- The system’s automatic shut-off valve can use some tweaking
- Higher amount of wastewater for every gallon of pure water produced
- Recommended, but it’s not tested and certified against NSF standards for contaminant removal
- The mineralization stage only increases alkalinity, it doesn’t make the filtered water alkaline
3. The iSpring RCC7 Reverse Osmosis System for Hydroponics and Aquarium
While the conventional way of growing plants is to use soil, some farmers have shifted to hydroponics to grow some plants.
The approach uses nutrient-rich water instead of soil. In hydroponics, farmers suspend plants in net pots and float them in water and the roots go in the nutrient-rich water.
Here’s the problem:
Hydroponics require clean, healthy water but water free from impurities is hardly ever available. That’s why it’s important to invest in the top-rated reverse osmosis system for growth.
We recommend getting the iSpring RCC7, and for good reasons. It does a good job of removing contaminants from water, leaving you with clean, healthy water that won’t damage your plants.
Compared to other models in the same price range, the iSpring RCC7 removes a higher percentage of lead and chlorine, leaving only a negligible amount of contaminants. The filtered water is also safe for feeding fish in the aquarium.
The iSpring RCC7 is a well-designed reverse osmosis system and it comes at a price that just might feel like a bargain for some. The unit is 15 by 5 by 16 inches in dimension and the storage tank is 15 inches high with a diameter of 11 inches.
Like ROES-50 by APEC Water System, this reverse osmosis unit uses a 5-stage system to remove hardness from water and purify it in readiness for use in hydroponics.
The package also includes color-coded tubing, a tank valve, spare elbow fitting, a feed water adapter, lead-free faucet, drain saddle, two wrenches, a Teflon tape, a tank valve, spare O-rings, and a user manual.
Note that the filtration system of iSpring RCC7 features cartridge-like filters placed on a clear plastic holder. These filters are easy to change. All you have to do is to use a spanner wrench to loosen the housing, take the old filter out, place the new filter in, apply some greasing, and screw back the housing.
From what we’ve learned, the iSpring RCC7 reverse osmosis system doesn’t have the highest flow rate compared to some models in the same price range, but it’s suitable for gardeners who are looking for a unit that can provide a constant supply of pure yet nutrient-rich water for plants.
We believe that reverse osmosis systems should be easy to install, and it’s great to see that iSpring makes it easier for its audience. The basic tools required for the process are a unity knife, pliers, a variable speed drill, a screwdriver, and drill bits.
We highly recommend that you watch the video below to learn how to install the iSpring RCC7 reverse osmosis system. Even the installation manual is improved and easy to read. So if you prefer a written version of the installation process, get the manual from here.
The iSpring RCC7 reverse osmosis system performs well for its price point and delivers a good amount of water on a daily basis so you don’t have to worry about the shortage in supply.
The water performance is dependent on the recommendation of the manufacturer. According to iSpring, this unit can only work well with water flowing at a pressure between 40 and 80 PSI. So if your water pressure is below 40, you will need to use a permeate pump.
Water Filtration Stages
The water filtration process, which happens in 5 stages, is the strongest selling point of this reverse osmosis system.
- Stage 1: Housed in a visible case is a polypropylene sediment filter that removes dust, sand, particles, sediment, and rust from water.
- Stage 2: The stage features a carbon filter, which removes colors, pungent smell, color, chlorine, and cloudiness from water.
- Stage 3: Includes a carbon filter, which is responsible for removing residual contaminants from water.
- Stage 4: This is where reverse osmosis is, and it’s helpful in removing radium, lead, bacteria, arsenic, fluoride, chlorine, and chromium from water.
- Stage 5: The final stage uses a carbon filter to add a decent taste to the already healthy water.
Multiple tests show that iSpring RCC7 is effective in removing up to 99.6% of lead from water.
Also, it’s effective in lowering the level of chlorine in the water. In testing, the unit lowers the level of chlorine by over a thousand parts per minute, which is quite commendable for such an affordable device.
The iSpring RCC7 reverse osmosis isn’t powerful in removing salt from water, but it doesn’t do a bad job either. At least it can reduce the concentration of standard table salt by up to 95%, which isn’t a bad score.
- A popular reverse osmosis system that can purify up to 75 gallons of water per day.
- There’s a water leak alarm included in the package.
- Effectively removes contaminants by up to 96%, so you have healthy water for hydroponic.
- Expect 3 gallons of waste water per gallon of pure water.
- Shorter lifespan for the filters.
- A UV filter not included.
4. APEC Water System ROES-50 Reverse Osmosis for Well Water
ROES-50 by APEC Water System is a reverse osmosis system that uses a five-stage filtration for the best results. It removes hardness and impurities from well water. And besides serving water in a pure form, even the flavor is instantly noticeable.
APEC Water System recommends a minimum operating pressure of 40PSI, with anything below this value more than likely to give poor results. Also, you shouldn’t exceed 85PSI, as doing so can cause damage to the system and possibly cause leaks.
ROES-50 features careful construction and performance optimization, with the final product being a reverse osmosis system worth the asking price.
It’s a housing system in kind. You have to detach the housing, replace the filter, and then put the filter – stage back in place.
Filters for stages one, two, and three need replacement at least every six months, and it’s quite easy to replace them using the C spanner. The ones for stages four and five require replacement after 2 and 3 years respectively.
Setting up the ROES-50 reverse osmosis system shouldn’t be difficult. Even if you consider yourself to be someone with very little plumbing experience, the manual should be quite handy in helping you get the installation right.
This reverse osmosis system has quick connect fittings and color-coded tubing, so putting the components together shouldn’t take much of your time. Plus, all the parts come packaged in the shipment and the tools necessary for the setup are included.
There are tons of useful installation videos on YouTube that can help you with the process, but here are the best ones in the order of priority:
- Video 1 – Learn to unpack and examine the unit
- Video 2 – Learn how to install and fit the filter and membrane
- Video 3 – Install the feed water and drain saddle adaptor
- Video 4 – Learn to install the RO faucet
- Video 5 – The best way to connect the tubing connections and system start up
It’s important to stick to the brand’s water pressure recommendation during use. That means monitoring the PSI and making sure it’s between 40 and 85.
ROES-50 is a promising reverse osmosis system. While it’s not as powerful as industrial-grade water systems, it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance. In our eyes, it’s the best reverse osmosis system for apartments that solely depend on well water.
To be clear, this reverse osmosis uses a 5-stage filter system to remove dirt and hardness from water. The result is clean, soft water that not only tastes great but also is also healthy for human consumption.
Stage 1 is a basic polypropylene sediment pre-filter, which removes up to 5 microns of rust, sand, and dirt. By doing so, the unit easily prevents the buildup of dirt that would otherwise clog other filtration stages.
There are 10-micron coconut-activated carbon blocks at stages 2 and 3 of the filtration. This is where the ROES-50 filters out odors, cloudiness, tastes, and chlorine from water. Further, this filtration stage protects the RO membrane from damage while improving the quality of the water in the process.
It’s at stage 4 that water contacts a semipermeable TFC membrane, which removes not less than 99% of the contaminants left in the water. Once water passes this stage, it’s usually free from lead, fluoride, radium, and arsenic.
Stage 5 is the final filtration phase. It’s here that the reverse osmosis system removes any traces that other filters may not have easily trapped. So you end up with clean water that you can use for cooking, bathing, and doing laundry.
The powerful filtration system can put up to 60 gallons of water per day. Some testers claim that this is just a theoretical value. However, for most people, the output is close.
That’s a lot of soft, healthy, pure water produced by the REOS-50 reverse osmosis system. And it’s enough for small, medium, or large families.
One thing that stands out about this reverse osmosis system is its ability to treat even the hardest water. So even if your well water is as hard as 2,000 PPM, you can expect this device to give you the best results.
- An inexpensive reverse osmosis system that softens even the hardest water on the planet
- Removes up to 99.6% contaminants from water so you have healthy, clean, and tasty water to use
- Long-lasting filters. Need replacement after 6 months for stages 1 to 3, and 2 and 3 years for stages 4 and 5
- Can filter up to 60 gallons of water per day
- Cheap plastic fitting doesn’t last and will require replacement
- The design of the filters may not appeal to everyone
- Provides only a rough range of contaminant removal rates
Frequently Asked Questions about Reverse Osmosis Systems
1. What is a Reverse Osmosis System?
A reverse osmosis system is a water filtration device that uses filters to remove contaminants from water.
In RO, water passes through multiple filtration stages, each of which removes a different type of contaminant, with the last stage fully purifying water and making it safe and flavorful for consumption.
The benefit of owning a reverse osmosis system is that you get pure water with improved taste. Not to mention that the water is safe for cooking and drinking.
2. How does a reverse osmosis system work?
A reverse osmosis system passes water through a semipermeable membrane under pressure in the range of 50 to 80 pounds per square inch.
The membrane traps large molecules such as sodium, chlorine, viruses, and bacteria, leaving you with clean and safe water for drinking.
3. What kind of contaminants do RO systems remove?
A reverse osmosis system can remove many harmful substances from water and make it safe to consume. Unlike standard water filters, RO systems can remove disease-causing bacteria, dirt, silt, sediments, and dust.
Thanks to the different filtration stages, the system can remove toxic chemicals such as lead, radium, chlorine, and coffer from the water.
4. What’s the function of valves in a reverse osmosis system?
Water from a well or municipal city supply enters the reverse osmosis system through a membrane and then into the tank. The one-way shut-off valve completely seals the RO tank to keep water from flowing back to the membrane.
With the tank full, the valve, which is spring-operated, gets to work, stopping water from flowing back against the membrane. Every time the tank’s pressure drops to a low point enough for water to enter the system again, the valve opens.
While the valve is tiny, it plays such a crucial role that you just have to make sure it works well in a model before you can actually attach the RO system to your water system.
This complete guide to the top-rated reverse osmosis system has examined the different types of RO systems that you can buy, install, and use.
Based on testing, with a particular focus on performance and water quality produced, you can be confident that the RO systems reviewed in this guide are by far the best in the market right now.