Best Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis Systems

Top 8 Best Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System 2020: Reviews & Guide

Shopping for an under-sink reverse osmosis system?

You’ve come to the right place. 

Reverse osmosis is the most effective way to purify drinking water at home. 

Unlike ordinary carbon-based filters that only remove chlorine and other chemicals, an RO system filters out pretty much all contaminants from water, including tough ones like heavy metals and germs.

An under-sink reverse osmosis system connects to the incoming cold-water line under the sink and produces purified water from a dedicated faucet.

What's in This Buying Guide?

Table of Contents
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    In this in-depth buying guide, we review the best under-sink reverse osmosis systems in the market. 

    We also tell you everything you need to know about RO systems, how they work, how to choose the right one for your needs, and how to install a RO system under your sink.

    If you are looking for a different type of RO system, read our best reverse osmosis systems buying guide for reviews of the countertop, portable, and other types of reverse osmosis filters. 

    Best Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System 2020: Comparison Table

    Home Master tmafc
    • Home Master TMAFC-ERP

    • Editor’s top pick
    • Style:
      7-stage with non-electric permeate pump

    • Capacity (GPD):
      75

    • Re-mineralization:

    • Price:
      $$$

    Express-Water-RO5DX-5-Stage-Reverse-Osmosis-Filter
    • Express Water RO5DX

    • Best budget
    • Style:
      5-stage with a leak-stop valve to prevent flooding

    • Capacity (GPD):
      50

    • Re-mineralization:

    • Price:
      $

    Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection
    • Home Master TMHP

    • Best for well water
    • Style:
      9-stage with UV protection and a permeate pump

    • Capacity (GPD):
      75

    • Re-mineralization:

    • Price:
      $$$

    Waterdrop
    • Waterdrop

    • Best tankless RO System
    • Style:
      7-stage with booster pump and space-saving tankless design

    • Capacity (GPD):
      400

    • Re-mineralization:

    • Price:
      $$$$

    Tier 1 Essential Series
    • Tier1 Essential Series

    • Best RO Filter/Softener
    • Style:
      Combined 5-stage RO system and whole-house water softener

    • Capacity (GPD):
      50

    • Re-mineralization:

    • Price:
      $$$$$

    APEC RO-90
    • APEC RO-90

    • Best for large families
    • Style:
      5-stage with long-lasting filters

    • Capacity (GPD):
      90

    • Re-mineralization:

    • Price:
      $$

    iSpring RCC7AK, NSF Certified
    • iSpring RCC7AK

    • Best for mineral/alkaline water
    • Style:
      Style: 6-stage with re-mineralization filter

    • Capacity (GPD):
      75 GPD

    • Re-mineralization:

    • Price:
      $$

    iSpring RCC7P-AK Boosted Performance Under Sink 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis Drinking Filtration System
    • iSpring RCC7P-AK Boosted Performance

    • Best for homes with low water pressure
    • Style:
      6-stage with re-mineralization filter

    • Capacity (GPD):
      75 GPD

    • Re-mineralization:

    • Price:
      $$$

    Best Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System 2020: Reviews

    #1

    Home Master TMAFC-ERP Artesian Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

    EDITOR’S TOP PICK

    Home Master TMAFC-ERP Artesian RO System
    With seven stages of filtration, a re-mineralization filter, and a permeate pump to increase efficiency, the Home Master TMAFC-ERP RO system is our top pick. We also think it is the best choice for most homes.

    PROS

    CONS

    Our Review

    Home Master TMAFC-ERP is a high-performance under-sink RO system that removes up to 98% of contaminants in water. 

    It has seven stages of filtration. 

    A sediment filter reduces particulates. Carbon filters remove chlorine and other chemicals, and an RO membrane eliminates impurities such as heavy metals, fluoride, TDS, and bacteria. 

    The Home Master TMAFC-ERP stands out from other RO systems in several ways. 

    For one, it uses catalytic carbon filtration instead of the usual active carbon filters. This makes it more effective at removing chloramines (which active carbon struggles to filter out) and other chemicals. 

    Another unique feature is double re-mineralization. Most RO systems have one mineral/alkaline filter. 

    The Home Master TMAFC-ERP RO system has two. It adds small amounts of calcium and magnesium to the water at two points during filtration. 

    Adding back health minerals stripped from the water improves the taste of the water and makes it better for your body. 

    Home Master’s filter design is also a bit different. Instead of the usual configuration where the filter cartridge is in a housing, the TMAFC-ERP uses a modular design where the filter cartridge and housing are one. 

    When replacing the filter, you dispose of both the housing and cartridge. It has several benefits:

    Another great feature worth mentioning is the integrated Fast Flow RO Kit that significantly improves the amount of water flowing out of the RO faucet. You don’t have to wait forever to fill up a water bottle or jug.

    Like other RO systems, the Home Master TMAFC-ERP ‘wastes’ some water when it’s working. This water is used to clean the RO membrane and flush contaminants down the drain. 

    Thanks to a built-in, permeate pump, the Home Master TMAFC-ERP drains away much less water than other RO filters. Its waste to pure water ratio is 1:1, compared to the inefficient 4:1 ratio of other systems.

    The filter lifespan is one year (or about 2,000 gallons) for the pre-filters and 3-5 years for the RO membrane.

    Issues & Limitations

    The Home Master TMAFC-ERP artesian full contact under-sink reverse osmosis water filter system costs more than most other under-sink RO systems. But we think it’s worth it, and many customers agree.

    BOTTOM LINE

    4.7/5

    The Home Master TMAFC-ERP is a great choice for anyone looking for a high-performance, reliable, and low-maintenance under-sink reverse osmosis filter. 

    #2

    Express Water Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

    BEST BUDGET

    Express Water RO5DX 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis Filter

    If you are on a budget, we recommend the Express Water RO system. It’s one of the cheapest under-sink RO filters around. Still, it purifies water just as effectively as pricier RO systems. 

    The compromises you have to make for the lower price include a lower daily capacity (50 GPD instead of the usual 75-100 GPD) and a lack of a re-mineralization filter.

    PROS

    CONS

    Our Review

    Just because it’s cheaper than most RO filters, it doesn’t mean the Express Water RO system removes fewer contaminants. 

    The lower price is because it lacks some bells and whistles that are not essential to filtration. 

    When it comes to removing impurities, the Express Water RO system is just as good as pricier RO filters. 

    A 5-stage filtration process removes over 99% of impurities. The pre-filters – sediment filter and two carbon filters – filter out particulates, chlorine, and various chemicals. 

    An RO membrane then removes heavy metals, TDS, fluoride, and microorganisms. 

    Just before the water comes out of the faucet, it passes through a carbon post-filter to clean up any residual smells and tastes from the water. 

    The Express Water RO system misses several components available in higher-priced systems. But these are not essential and, if you want, you can add them to the RO system later. 

    These include a permeate or booster pump to increase water efficiency and output, an alkaline filter to add healthy minerals to the water, and a UV filter to provide additional protection from microorganisms.       

    The Express Water RO system is fairly easy to install. You can set it up yourself in 2-3 hours. 

    Issues & Limitations

    The lack of an alkaline filter or permeate pump is not a big deal since you can add these yourself. What you cannot change, however, is the short filter lifespan. 

    The Express Water filters last about half the time of other RO filters. The pre-filters are good for just six months, while the RO membrane lasts only one year.

    BOTTOM LINE

    4.6/5

    The Express Water RO system is a great choice for anyone looking for a high-performance but affordable under-sink reverse osmosis filter. 

    #3

    Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

    BEST FOR WELL WATER

    All RO systems can purify well water. But filter life is significantly reduced because of damage from iron and other contaminants found in groundwater.

    The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection RO system is designed specifically to handle well water without any damage to the filters. It has an iron pre-filter to remove all types of iron and a UV filter to kill germs.

    PROS

    CONS

    Our Review

    The iron pre-filter is what makes the Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection a good choice for homes that use well water. 

    The KDF85 media removes dissolved iron from the water before it reaches the RO membrane.

    Other pre-filters include a sediment filter to remove particulates and catalytic carbon filters that reduce chlorine, chloramines, and other chemicals.

    The RO membrane deals with all other remaining contaminants, including the high level of TDS usually found in well water, heavy metals, and microorganisms.

    The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection also comes with a UV filter that complements the RO membrane in neutralizing bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms.   

    Similar to other Home Master RO systems, the TMHP HydroPerfection  uses long-lasting filters. The pre-filters last one year while the RO membrane is good for 3-5 years. The UV filter needs to be replaced after a year.

    The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection undersink RO system has an efficient 1:1 waste to pure water ratio, thanks to the built-in permeate pump that reduces how much water goes down the drain.

    It is far more efficient than other RO systems, which have a ratio of 4:1.

    Another area where the Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection outdoes other RO filters is the faucet flow rate. The Fast Flow RO kit doubles the normal water flow rate.

    Installing the Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection is a 2-3-hour DIY job. Everything you need is included.

    Note that the system may be a tight fit under the sink. You can lay the reserve tank on its side to save space.

    Issues & Limitations

    The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection is more expensive compared to most under-sink RO systems. But for the extra cost, you get an iron pre-filter for well water and a UV filter to kill germs. 

    So, overall, we think it’s worth it. 

    BOTTOM LINE

    4.7/5
    The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection RO system is a great choice for homes that use well water. It purifies groundwater while ensuring the filters last long.

    #4

    Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System

    BEST TANKLESS RO SYSTEM

    Waterdrop Under-sink Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System

    Don’t have much space under the sink? We recommend the Waterdrop RO tankless system

    An internal electric pump ensures you get a strong flow rate out of the faucet even without a pressurized tank.

    PROS

    CONS

    Our Review

    The biggest component in a conventional under-sink reverse osmosis system is the reserve tank. The tank can be hard to fit even under a spacious kitchen sink. 

    That’s why the Waterdrop RO tankless system is such a space saver. It’s a single compact unit that fits easily even in a small under-sink space. 

    It’s not just the absence of a tank that saves space; the Waterdrop system also uses an innovative filter design. 

    Instead of separate filter housings linked with tubing, Waterdrop’s filters fit into the main unit. 

    The integrated design saves more space and makes filter replacement much easier compared to the traditional RO systems. 

    Despite the compact design of the Waterdrop system, it has as many filtration stages as traditional filters. 

    The three composite filters add up to seven filtration stages. 

    First filter: Two Sediment pre-filters + a carbon block pre-filter. These remove sediment, chlorine, and various chemicals. 

    Second filter: Three layers of the RO membrane remove over 99% of heavy metals, TDS, and heavy metals. 

    Third filter: The final filter consists of just one post carbon filter to clean up any remaining odors and tastes. 

    The Waterdrop RO system has an electric pump that boosts the pressure of water going through the filters. 

    The pump also ensures a strong flow rate out of the faucet and an efficient 1:1 waste to pure water ratio. 

    Another way the Waterdrop filter stands out is the digital control panel that indicates two things: filter life and TDS levels. The TDS indicator tells you how well the RO system is working. 

    Other Waterdrop features we love include: 

    Issues & Limitations

    The main issue many customers have with the Waterdrop RO system is the price. Even without a tank, it costs more than traditional RO systems. But many say it is worth it. 

    Another issue is that it requires an electrical connection to work. You may need to call an electrician to add an outlet under the sink if you don’t have one. 

    Keep in mind that the filter will not work if there’s a power outage, something you never have to worry about with conventional RO systems.

    BOTTOM LINE

    4.7/5

    The Waterdrop RO system is a great choice for homes with limited under-sink space. 

    #5

    Tier1 Essential Series 48,000 Grain Water Softener with Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

    BEST COMBINATION RO WATER FILTER
    +
    WATER SOFTENER

    Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis

    Buying a RO water filter + water softener combo will save you money compared to purchasing each separately. 

    Our top combo pick is the Tier1 Essential Series water softener and RO system. The water softener treats all the water coming into your home while the RO system goes under your sink to purify your cooking and drinking water. 

    PROS

    CONS

    Our Review

    Reverse osmosis does a great job removing TDS (total dissolved solids) from water. These include calcium and magnesium, the primary minerals that cause water hardness. 

    If an RO filter can soften water, why do you need a water softener? 

    The problem is that hard water quickly damages a RO membrane. Scale forms on the membrane, reducing its output and reducing its lifespan. Instead of the usual 2-3 years lifespan, you’ll have to get a new RO membrane every 3-6 months. 

    The Tier1 Essential Series combo solves this problem by combining a water softener and an under-sink RO system. 

    The water softener softens all the water coming into your house. It’s a whole-house water softener. 

    The under-sink RO system can then purify the softened water without damage to the membrane. Not only will you get better quality water, but your RO system and filters will also last longer. 

    You can choose between a 32,000-grain and 64,000-grain softener depending on your family size. The water softener comes with everything you need, including a brine tank, resin, mineral tank, bypass, and fittings. The only thing you need to buy is salt for the brine tank.

    A digital control head monitors water flow and triggers automatic regeneration. You can also set the head to trigger regeneration when it’s least disruptive, typically at night. 

    The reverse osmosis system uses five filtration stages to purify the softened water. They include three pre-filters, an RO membrane, and a post-filter. 

    The RO system removes any remaining TDS as well as heavy metals, chlorine, chemicals, and microorganisms.

    Issues & Limitations

    You can install the Tier1 Essential Series water softener and RO system yourself, but it takes time – 3-4 hours on average. The poor instructions certainly don’t help. 

    Many customers had to call customer support for guidance on installation. 

    Some found it easier to hire a pro to install the two systems, but that means spending extra money. 

    Something else to note about the Tier1 Essential Series combo system is that it is not ideal for well water. It cannot handle water with a high level of iron (more than 3 ppm). Groundwater typically has lots of dissolved iron. 

    If you use well water in your home, the manufacturer recommends installing a whole house iron filter. Install it before the water softener.

    BOTTOM LINE

    4.2/5

    The Tier1 Essential Series water softener and RO system is a great choice for homeowners looking for a combined water softener and reverse osmosis system at an affordable price. 

    #6

    APEC RO-90 Supreme Reverse Osmosis System 

    BEST FOR LARGE FAMILIES

    ro filter

    Need a lot of RO purified water for drinking, cooking, and other uses? Get the APEC RO-90 under-sink reverse osmosis system

    It has one the highest daily outputs among RO filters – 90 gallons vs. 50-75 of other RO systems. 

    PROS

    CONS

    Our Review

    Most RO systems average about 50 to 75 gallons of purified water output per day. That’s enough drinking water for most families. 

    But larger families might need more than that, especially if you also use the water for pets, cooking and other uses. 

    The APEC RO-90 under-sink system produces more purified water per day than most RO filters – up to 90 gallons. 

    It is a five-stage system, consisting of three pre-filters, an RO membrane, and a post-filter. 

    The pre-filters include double carbon blocks that remove almost all chlorine, chloramines, and other chemicals from water. 

    The membrane reduces TDS, heavy metals, fluoride, and bacteria while the post-filter polishes the water to remove any tastes and odors still in the water. 

    Issues & Limitations

    The APEC RO-90 system comes with a 4-gallon pressurized tank with a usable capacity of 3.2 gallons. The small tank does not take full advantage of the system’s high output.

    You may occasionally run out of purified water and have to wait for the tank to fill up again.

    For a more stable water flow, we recommend upgrading to the 14-gallon or 20-gallon APEC tank.

    Another limitation that may require an upgrade is the flow rate. The water flows out slowly from the faucet, especially as the water level in the tank goes down.

    To solve this, you’ll need a booster pump. It’ll increase water flow from the faucet and also reduce the amount of water the system’ wastes’.

    BOTTOM LINE

    4.7/5

    APEC RO-90 is a great choice for large families that need a lot of purified water for drinking and other uses. 

    #7

    iSpring RCC7AK

    Best for Mineral/Alkaline Water

    best under sink reverse osmosis system

    If you want an under-sink RO system that produces mineral/alkaline water, we recommend the iSpring RCC7AK. It’s a cheaper alternative (almost half the price) to the fairly pricey Home Master TMAFC-ERP that also produces mineral water. 

    PROS

    CONS

    Our Review

    The iSpring RCC7AK starts out with the standard 5 filtration stages. These include three prefilters – a sediment prefilter and two carbon filters – that remove sediment, chlorine and a range of chemicals from the water. 

    An RO membrane removes almost everything else that’s remaining in the water, including hardness minerals like sodium and heavy metals like mercury. 

    A carbon filter provides a final polish to the water to remove any remaining tastes and odors. 

    In addition to the five stages, the RCC7AK has a sixth stage that’s a remineralization filter. The filter adds back some of the minerals removed by the RO membrane. This restores the water’s natural pH and greatly improves its taste. You don’t get the flat-tasting water most RO systems produce.  

    Many users of the iSpring system say they actually find the RO water better tasting compared to expensive bottled water. 

    For the price, we did not expect a high-end system. The materials used for the RCC7AK are average in quality. The brushed nickel faucet looks nice, but it’s not luxurious. 

    That said, the RCC7AK RO system holds up surprisingly well over time. As long as you are careful not to bump it around too much or over tighten the fittings, it remains leak free. Some customers have had theirs for 4-5 years without an issue. 

    Just remember to replace the filters after 6-12 months (depending on your water quality and water usage) and the RO membrane after 2-3 years. 

    Installation is a 2-3-hour DIY job and everything you need is included in the package. This includes color-coded tubes, a faucet, a drain saddle, a 3.2-gallon tank and a water leak detector. 

    By the way, note that you can also hook up the iSpring RO system to your fridge or ice maker. If your fridge has a water dispenser, it saves you the trouble of installing the faucet on your kitchen counter.

    Issues & Limitations

    Where the iSpring system is outdone by pricier RO systems is water efficiency. The iSpring RCC7AK drains away 3-4 gallons of water for every gallon of purified water. 

    If the wastage pains you, find a way to collect the drain water. It’s great for gardening. 

    Bottom Line

    4.7/5

    If you are tired of buying expensive mineral bottled water, the iSpring RCC7AK is one of the cheapest RO systems with great-tasting mineral water. You essentially get free purified mineral water for life. 

    #8

    iSpring RCC7P-AK Boosted Performance

    Best for Homes with Low Water Pressure

    If you have low water pressure in your home, we recommend the iSpring RCC7P-AK Boosted Performance 6-stage RO system. It comes with an electric booster pump that improves filtration performance and reduces water wastage.

    PROS

    CONS

    Our Review

    Most RO systems require a minimum incoming water pressure of 40-45 PSI. If your home’s water pressure is under 40 PSI, the RO tank will fill up very slowly and you’ll hear water constantly going down the drain instead of into the tank.

    The booster pump included with the iSpring RCC7P-AK increases the pressure of water getting into the system to the required PSI. This allows the tank to fill up quickly (which is great for homes with high RO water consumption) and reduces the amount of water that goes down the drain. 

    The manufacturer says the RCC7P-AK works with water pressure under 40 PSI. 

    The booster pump has a big effect on the system’s water efficiency. The iSpring RCC7AK without a pump has a waste water to purified water ratio of 3:1. In contrast, the RCC7P-AK with a pump wastes just 1.5 gallons of water for every gallon of purified water (1:1.5).

    Don’t worry about noise from the pump. It’s virtually inaudible from under the sink. You have to open the cabinet doors and touch the pump to tell that it’s running. By the way, the pump doesn’t run continuously; only when the tank is filling up with water. It’ll shut off when the tank is full. 

    Other than the pump, the RCC7P-AK is similar to the RCC7AK. It has 6 filtration stages consisting of three pre-filters to remove sediment, chlorine and chemicals, a RO membrane to remove germs and TDS (including heavy metals) and a re-mineralization filter that delivers great-tasting mineral/alkaline water.

    Issues & Limitations

    Because of the electric booster pump, the iSpring RCC7P-AK RO system needs to be plugged in. If you don’t already have an outlet under your sink, you’ll have to get an electrician to install one.

    BOTTOM LINE

    4.7/5

    If you already have a RO system, you can buy a booster pump separately to help with low water pressure. We recommend the Aquatec 8800 booster pump. It works with most RO systems.

    If you are buying a new RO system and you have low water pressure at home, getting the full iSpring RCC7P-AK package, complete with the pump, will save you money compared to buying a pump separately.

    Specification Chart: Top Picks Compared

    RO System
    Dimensions
    WeightWith pH FilterCapacity (GPD)No. of StagesReserve Tank Water Capacity
    Home Master TMAFC-ERP

    Home Master TMAFC-ERP
    12 x 16 x 20 inches14.5lbsYes7573.2 gallons
    Express Water RO5DX
    Express Water RO5DX
    16.2 x 18.8 x 18.1 inches30.8lbsNo5053.2 gallons
    Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection
    Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection
    12 x 16 x 20 inches18.75lbsYes7563.2 gallons
    Waterdrop
    Waterdrop
    18.1 x 5.7 x 17.8 inches31lbs Yes4007None
    Tier1 Essential Series
    Tier1 Essential Series
    18.5 x 18 x 18 inches (RO system only)111lbs (RO system + softener)No5053.2 gallons
    APEC RO-90
    APEC RO-90
    16 x 5.2 x 17.5 inches25lbsNo9053.2 gallons

    Do You Need an Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System?

    install reverse osmosis system under sink

    To decide if you need an under-sink RO system, you just need to answer one question: Are you worried about germs or heavy metals in your drinking water?

    If you are, then yes, you need an under-sink RO system. An RO system is the only type of residential water filter that can reduce heavy metals and waterborne bacteria and viruses in your water.

    What if you are only worried about chlorine in your water? A cheaper carbon filter can help with that. It can also remove chemicals such as VOCs, pesticides.

    What about fluoride? Here you have two options. You can use An RO system or a activated alumina filter.

    If your concern is only about fluoride, an activated alumina under-sink filter like Home Master TMJRF2 Jr F2 is cheaper than an RO system.

    But if you also worried about germs, heavy metals, and other impurities, An RO system is the best option.

    Here the bottom line: If you want the safest drinking water, get an under-sink reverse osmosis system. An RO system removes the most contaminants from water, including heavy metals, bacteria, chemicals, and sediment.

    The Definitive Buyer's Checklist: What to Consider When Choosing an Under-sink RO System

    best reverse osmosis system

    1. Number of Stages

    The number of stages represents the number of filters in an RO system.

    The minimum number of stages an under-sink RO system should have is five. These include three pre-filters (a sediment filter and two carbon filters), a RO membrane, and a post-filter.    

    The pre-filters remove sediment and chemicals to protect the RO membrane from damage. 

    The membrane reduces tough impurities like heavy metals and bacteria, and the post-filter gives the water a final polish.

    Some RO systems have seven or more stages. These extra stages are not essential to filtration performance but are nice to have. They improve the quality and taste of water. 

    The two most common extra stages of looking for include a mineral filter and a UV filter.

    A mineral or re-mineralization filter adds small amounts of minerals to the RO purified water to improve the taste. Re-mineralization also balances the water’s pH or makes it slightly alkaline. pH-balanced and alkaline water is better for your body than acidic water. 

    A UV filter complements the RO membrane in reducing microorganisms in your drinking water. If you are worried about waterborne bacteria and germs (especially if you use well water), a RO system with a UV filter provides the best protection. 

    2. Daily Output

    Next, check how many gallons of purified water the RO system can produce per day. For most families, we recommend a 75 GPD (gallon per day) RO system. Smaller families will do with a 50 GPD RO filter, while larger families should get a 90 GPD or higher RO system. 

    Note: If you use RO water for other uses other than drinking, such as gardening, pets, and skincare, you’ll need a high-output RO system.

    3. Filter Life

    Finally, check the filter life. Filters with a short lifespan can raise maintenance costs since you need to buy new filters often. 

    Note that pre-filters and the post-filter have a different lifespan from the RO membrane. 

    The minimum lifespan for the pre-filters and post-filter should be six months. The ideal lifespan is one year. 

    The minimum recommended lifespan for the RO membrane is 2-3 years. Premium models like Home Master use high-quality membranes that can last 3-5 years. 

    Tip: Make sure you buy your RO system from a reputable and well-known company to ensure you can easily find replacement filters. 

    4. Water Efficiency

    All RO systems ‘waste’ water. It’s not actually wasted water; rather, it’s water that the system uses to flush the RO membrane to make sure it keeps working properly. This water goes down the drain along with whatever the RO membrane had trapped.

    However, the amount of the water used in this process varies from system to system. RO systems with a permeate or electric pump like Home Master typically waste less water – usually a gallon for every gallon of purified water or a 1:1 wasted to purified water ratio. 

    These are the most efficient RO systems. 

    Cheaper RO systems like iSpring have a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1, which means they waste 3 or 4 gallons of water for every gallon of purified water. 

    You can make an RO system more efficient by adding a permeate or electric pump. This increases the pressure of water in the system, ensuring less of it goes down the drain. 

    Also, make sure your tank is properly pressurized and that the automatic shut off valve is working properly. 

    5. Storage Tank

    Most RO systems come with a 3.2-gallon pressurized tank. The actual capacity of the tank is 4 gallons, but because it needs to stay pressurized, it can only hold 3.2 gallons of water. 

    This tank size is ideal for most families. For larger families or if you plan to use the RO water for more than just drinking, you can get a bigger tank with a capacity of 5 gallons, 11 gallons or more. iSpring has a 40-gallon tank and Home Master has a huge 53-gallon reserve tank

    Of course, you have to consider the amount of space you have for the tank. A standard 3.2-gallon tank takes up a lot of space under the sink already. If you get a RO system with a larger tank, you may need to install the system elsewhere such as in the basement. 

    Don’t worry if you already have a RO system and the tank is too small. The beauty of under-sink RO systems is that they are highly modular. You can simply swap the smaller tank for a bigger one. 

    6. Pump

    The Home Master TMAFC-ERP comes with a non-electric permeate pump while the iSpring RCC7P-AK Boosted Performance features an electric booster pump. 

    What do these pumps do and do you need one in your RO system? 

    It depends on your particular situation. An RO system with a pump is great for homes with low water pressure. Low water pressure causes the RO system to work slowly and a lot of water to be wasted. 

    The pump increases the pressure of water going through the system ensuring faster tank fill up and less water wastage. 

    And even if you don’t have a low water pressure problem in your home, adding a permeate or booster pump in your RO system can greatly reduce water loss from a ratio of about 4:1 to 1:1 (4 gallons wasted to just 1 gallon wasted).  

    A non-electric permeate pump is not as powerful as an electric booster pump, but on the upside, it doesn’t need to be plugged in. Get an RO system with a permeate pump if you mostly want to reduce water wastage. 

    An electric booster pump is much powerful, and is the best choice for homes with water pressure below 40 PSI.

    Note that you can add a pump to an existing RO system – again, the modular design of RO systems is handy. 

    How to Install an Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System

    Before you do anything, check that the package has all the parts you need. If anything’s missing or broken, contact customer support. 

    RO systems come with colored tubes so you can easily tell which one goes where. 

    All you need to do is connect the main feed line to your cold-water supply using the included T connector. 

    Use quick connectors to run the tubes from the cold-water supply to the RO system, then to the storage tank, the faucet and the drain saddle. 

    You’ll need to drill a hole in your sink for the faucet. But if you have an unused hole, you can insert the RO faucet there. 

    Once you’ve installed the RO system, drain the first couple of tanks to flush the system. 

    Note: Check your manual for specific installation instructions.

    Care and Maintenance of Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis Systems

    ro installation

    Reverse osmosis systems are low-maintenance. The only thing you need to do is replace the filters after 6-12 months and the RO membrane after 2-3 years. 

    Occasionally check the system for leaks, especially where the quick connectors are located. 

    Frequently Asked Questions About Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis Systems

    reverse osmosis system reviews

    What impurities do reverse osmosis systems remove? 

    RO systems use multiple filters to reduce chlorine, chemicals, microorganisms like bacteria, heavy metals, fluoride, and sediment.  

    Which impurities does a reverse osmosis system NOT remove?

    Reverse osmosis does not remove some chemical solvents, VOCs, and pesticides. Also, an RO system does not remove all microorganisms. Certain bacteria and viruses may pass through. 

    Is reverse osmosis water bad for you? 

    RO water is great for you. Even without minerals, RO water is healthy since most essential minerals come from the food you eat. 

    If you want to make RO water healthier, look for a RO system with a mineral filter. Alternatively, add liquid minerals to the RO water.

    Does reverse osmosis reduce TDS?

    Absolutely. A reverse osmosis system can reduce TDS by 90% or more. This includes harness minerals, heavy metals and other solids dissolved in water. 

    What’s the TDS Level of RO water?

    Because a RO system removes over 90% of total dissolved solids in the water, the amount of dissolved solids remaining in RO water is very low – usually under 50ppm. 

    With a high-performance RO system with properly working filters, you can get a final TDS figure of 15ppm or less. 

    If you test your water and get a high level of dissolved solids (over 100ppm), it’s probably time to replace the filters. 

    What’s the GPD of an RO system?

    GPD refers to gallons per day. It is the amount of purified water an RO system can produce in a period of 24 hours. 

    Cheaper RO systems will usually have a capacity of 50 gallons per day, but most RO systems average about 75 gallons per day. You can get higher-capacity systems with a 90 GPD or higher capacity that is great for big families. 

    What is an RO system’s waste water?

    Waste water is the water that goes down the drain along with debris and contaminants flushed from the RO membrane. 

    Most RO systems ‘waste’ more water than they purify. The typical ratio of gallons of waste water to purified water is 4:1. Systems with a permeate or booster pump are less wasteful. They have a ratio of 1:1, 1.5:1 or 2:1. 

    How much water pressure does an RO system need?

    The minimum water pressure for most RO systems is 40 to 45 PSI. Below that, the tank will fill up slowly and you’ll get a lot of water wastage.  

    If your home has low water pressure, get an RO system with a electric booster pump or add a booster pump to your existing system. 

    What’s a reverse osmosis membrane? 

    An RO or reverse osmosis membrane is a semi permeable membrane that allows water molecules through and blocks most other substances in the water including heavy metals, salts and minerals, chemicals and germs. 

    The permeable membrane is at the heart of any reverse osmosis filter. 

    What’s a re-mineralization filter?

    A re-mineralization filter is a filter in some RO systems that adds back beneficial minerals into the water that were removed by the RO membrane. In some RO systems, it’s called a pH or alkaline filter. 

    The re-mineralization filter makes the water healthier for you (by increasing alkalinity) and improves taste. 

    If you hate the flat taste of RO water, get a system with a pH filter. The mineral water tastes much better. 

    What’s the purpose of a UV light in an RO system? 

    Ultraviolet light is great at neutralizing or killing microbes. That’s why some RO systems include a UV light as one of the filtration stages. It catches any waterborne bacteria, cysts and viruses that may have gone past the other filters and RO membrane. 

    What harmful contaminants does an RO system remove?

    • Sediment including dust, silt, rust and other particulates. 
    • Chemical contaminants such as chlorine, chloramines, VOCs, pesticides, hormones, phosphorus and others. 
    • TDS including heavy metals (arsenic, lead, mercury etc.), hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) and fluoride. 
    • Microbes including bacteria, viruses, protozoa and cysts. This includes common disease-causing microorganisms like Amoebiasis, Cryptosporidiosis, Cholera and E. Coli.

    What are single pass and double pass RO filters?

    A single pass RO system is the ordinary one you’ll find in most homes. It filters water once. A double pass system has two RO filters. Pure water from the first filter is passed through the second filter to remove even more impurities. 

    Double pass filters are usually found in commercial settings such as pharmaceuticals or sea water treatment where extremely high-water quality is necessary. 

    What are single stage and double stage RO filters?

    A single stage RO system is the ordinary type that produces pure water and waste water. A double stage RO system collects the waste water and passes it again through the filters to recover additional pure water. 

    Double stage RO filters are typically found in commercial settings. They reduce the amount of water that’s wasted. 

     

    Where To Get The Best Deal on an Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System

    Whole-House Reverse Osmosis System

    Amazon is the best place to get the best deals on under-sink RO systems. 

    They have a wide range of sizes and brands, and the prices are usually lower compared to manufacturer websites and brick and mortar stores. 

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