The APEC ESSENCE ROES-50 5-stage RO system is one of the most affordable under-sink reverse osmosis filters.
It’s an excellent choice for those who are looking for an RO system that hits the sweet spot between quality and price.
Despite the relatively low price tag, it provides the same high-quality water filtration as other systems.
Five filters remove hundreds of contaminants, including 99% of arsenic, lead, fluoride, heavy metals and biologicals.
It doesn’t have a remineralization stage, but that’s not essential. The water still tastes great even without a mineral filter.
The daily production capacity is a bit lower than most RO systems, but it’s enough for most families.
Read on for our full review of the APEC ROES-50.
If you are looking for an RO system with additional features such as a UV sterilizer or an alkaline filter, read our reviews of the top reverse osmosis water filters for the best recommendations.
Filtration System Design
Just because the APEC ROES-50 is cheaper than other RO systems doesn’t mean it does a less than stellar job filtering impurities from water.
The ROES-50 does make some sacrifices and lacks certain features. But when it comes to the core filtration system, there is no compromise at all.
The system has the same filter set up as other pricier RO filters with the only thing missing being the remineralization stage, which is not essential for filtration.
You can be sure that your drinking water is safe and of high quality.
Below are the different filtration stages of the APEC ROES-50.
The ROES-50 uses a set of three pre-filters for initial filtration. Not only do they help clean up the water, but they also protect the RO membrane from clogging and damage.
Certain chemicals like chlorine can damage the membrane while silt and dust can clog it.
The first pre-filter is a 5-micron sediment filter.
It filters out particles like dust and silt that are suspended in water. The 10” cartridge can hold a lot of dirt before it needs to be replaced.
With water turbidity cleared up by the sediment pre-filter, the water goes through two carbon filters.
Having double carbon filters makes a big difference in performance compared to systems that have just one carbon pre-filter.
The filters remove more contaminants, they last longer and the membrane lasts longer as well since it’s well protected from harmful chemicals.
Dual carbon filters also produce better-tasting water. They do a much better job than a single filter removing chemicals like chlorine that affect the taste of water.
Both filters are carbon CTO blocks. They perform much better than GAC carbon filters at filtering out organic chemicals such as pesticides, hormones, pharmaceuticals, and VOCs.
The high rejection semi-permeable membrane deals all other remaining contaminants including heavy metals, biologicals (bacteria, cysts, and viruses), arsenic, fluoride, and total dissolved solids.
The membrane uses a Thin Film Composite design that ensures a decent flow rate while maintaining high filtration performance.
When the RO water sits in the tank for a while, it tends to take up some odors and tastes from the rubber bladder in the tank.
A final filtration stage consisting of a coconut shell carbon filter removes these tastes and odors to ensure the water coming out of the faucet tastes and smells fresh.
The 5-stage set up of the ROES-50 allows it to remove 100s of impurities from the water ranging from sediment to chlorine to bacteria.
Harmful contaminants like arsenic, lead, mercury, and organic chemicals are eliminated mainly as well.
For most impurities, the system achieves a removing rate of 98% or more.
The dual carbon filters help a lot when it comes to removing pesticides, hormones, chlorine, chloramines, and other chemicals.
The water tastes so much fresher compared to systems that have just one carbon pre-filter.
The ROES-50 also works great for homes that use well water.
It removes all those hardness minerals, essentially acting as a water softener but without adding salt to your drinking water.
It also does a great job removing hydrogen sulfide (the rotten egg smell), iron, lead, and other dissolved solids.
Overall, there is no difference in performance between the APEC ROES-50 and other premium RO water filters that cost more.
Some homeowners who’ve bought other pricier systems in the past have tested it. The ROES-50 lowest the water’s TDS levels just as much as other systems.
The only thing you sacrifice is a remineralization filter.
The water output is also a bit slow. But you can easily solve this by storing the water in easily accessible bottles.
Daily production is also relatively low at 50GPD, but it’s enough for most families. Even for a family of 10, that’s still a generous 5 gallons of drinking water per person.
With no permeate pump or any special features to reduce backpressure, the ROES-50 is bound to be less efficient than other more expensive RO systems.
It wastes about 3 gallons of water for every gallon of pure water.
This is in line with the efficiency of other filters in the same price range.
To reduce the water wastage, buy a booster pump, and connect it to the RO system. It will increase the pressure of water going through the filters, which will reduce the amount of water flushed down the drain.
Another option is to find a way to capture the drain water and use it elsewhere like gardening.
Installation and Maintenance
There’s nothing complicated about installing the APEC ROES-50 RO system.
Okay, maybe drilling a hole for the faucet and drain line might be a bit daunting for some. But it’s something you can easily do yourself as long as you have the right tools.
All other steps are easy to follow.
The system uses quick-connect fittings that require no tools, and the tube is colored for easy identification.
The fittings are surprisingly high quality considering the price of the unit. Most users say they’ve not experienced any leaks or other quality problems.
Set up takes about an hour or two, depending on your DIY plumbing skills. If you’ve installed an RO system before, you can do it in a quick 30 minutes.
The RO system is sizable but not too big that it can’t fit under most sinks.
But just in case your under-sink space is small, or you have other stuff there, you can also set it up in the basement and then run a tube to the faucet.
A basement installation might require a permeate or booster pump to increase water pressure as well as extra tubing.
If you want to feed the RO water to your ice maker or refrigerator, APEC sells an ice maker kit separately.
Most RO systems in this price range have filters that last 3-6 months. The APEC ROES-50 uses longer lasting filters that don’t need to be replaced for 6-12 months.
The exact replacement period depends on your water quality. If you use well water, for instance, it will be closer to 6 months.
To keep your system functioning at its best, get a TDS meter, and monitor the water quality yourself.
If TDS levels start to creep up, you know, it’s time to get new filters.
The RO membrane and the post-filter are both good for 2-3 years.
You can buy replacement filters individually or order the conveniently bundled 3-filter (1 sediment two carbon) set on Amazon.
What We Like the Most About the APEC ESSENSE ROES-50 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
What We Don’t Like
The APEC ROES-50 Is Perfect For You If...
You are looking for a cheaper but high-performance RO system that’s easy to install and maintain.
The ROES-50 lack some features and has less water output. But where it matters most, filtration performance, it’s just as good as any other RO filter.
It removes virtually all impurities from your drinking water.
Our Bottom Line
You won’t find many RO filters that provide as good value as the APEC ROES-50.
If you don’t mind drinking non-mineral water and a fairly low flow rate from the faucet, the ROES-50 is an excellent choice, especially if you are on a budget.