You never quite know what’s lurking in your water. Ever since the crisis discovered in Flint, Michigan, however, more and more people have been questioning what’s in their water. In the case of Flint, lead was discovered in troubling amounts in their water. A reverse osmosis water filter can help you keep lead and other pollutants out of your water. What is a reverse osmosis filter and which is the best for you? This article will shed some light.
Why You Need a Reverse Osmosis System
In the world of purified water, you typically have quite a few choices. There are RO filtering, activated carbon filtering, and even just simple membrane diffusion filters. What makes RO any better? One aspect to consider is the popular use of an RO water filter in both the residential and military sector. Neither of these sectors would be using this type of filter if it didn’t work.
The filtration system works through the process known as osmosis. It takes the water and runs it across a membrane. This membrane is nonporous or has a membrane with 0.001-micrometer pores. By relying on some pressure, the water is slowly diffused over the membrane. This membrane catches all of the pollutants and only allows the water to pass through the membrane and into the storage tank for drinking water.
Where RO Filters Are Used
In particular, RO water filters have been used to help remove the salt from saltwater sources. Considering the water demand for dry states and country, this is a powerful tool for ensuring that those people receive water. However, it doesn’t just need to be used for saltwater. In fact, it’s most commonly used in residential homes for purifying fresh water.
Interestingly enough, an RO water filter is the go-to choice for those in the food industry. Dairy farmers, for instance, use it to produce whey protein powders. It’s also popularly used in the production of many wines.
Why Reverse Osmosis Filters are Effective
A reason why RO water filters are so effective is that they contain a network of membranes. These are either in the spiral-wound formation or a hollow-fiber formation. With the extensive network, any pollutants or bacteria that are not caught with the initial membrane can be caught by one of the following membranes. Clearly, some form of pressure is required or else the water wouldn’t make it through the membrane network.
One of the major benefits and features of the RO water filter design is that it’s only one-way. All water moves down a spiral-wound design. As a result, the water is unable to backtrack. If it were able to do so, it risks contaminating the filter as a whole. This spiral-wound design that promotes one-way flow further improves the purification process. Not all other purification designs prevent this backtracking from occurring. As such, the drinking water inside the storage tank may be contaminated.
Don’t Forget to Add Minerals Back to RO Filtered Water
Reverse osmosis can strip out minerals that are critical for your body to function. Many RO water filters have special cartridges to add the minerals removed by the RO process. Read the full guide on how to add minerals back to your RO filtered drinking water to learn more.
How to Install RO Water Filters
Before you buy your RO filter, you first need to know if the installation process is going to be something you’re up for or not. The following Youtube video does a great job of leading you through the steps of two of the most popular choices for a purification system. Those steps are as follows.
Preparation – Tools and Equipment
First, you need to ensure that you have all of the equipment necessary. You’ll need a pressure pump, RO module, your faucet, the manual for installation, and the kit for installation. It’s the kit that will provide most of the tools for the installation process. In this kit, you should find color-coded tubing, a filter wrench, a dangle-stop connector, a tank valve, a faucet connector, a drain saddle, and finally a membrane.
In addition to the equipment, you also need the following tools. You’ll need a 1/4” drill bit, a faucet drill bit according to the size of your faucet, a Philips head screwdriver, a tubing cutter or a razor knife, channel lock pliers, and an optional adjustable wrench.
Step One – Faucet Installation
The first step is to install the faucet. You may need to drill a new hole in order for the faucet to fit. Then you take the faucet and place the escutcheon and a rubber washer on its bottom. Insert the faucet through the hole. On a black washer, installed the washer knut and place the black washer on the bottom of the faucet beneath the sink. Tighten it until it is secure.
Step Two – Quick Connect Fitting
The quick connect fitting is next. This is placed on the bottom of the faucet. Tighten it with your pliers. This completes the faucet installation.
Step 3 – Drain Saddle
Next comes the drain saddle. Drill a hole in your drain pipe and attach the saddle on the pipe. Tighten it up.
Step 4 – Inlet Feed Valve
The inlet feed valve has to be installed next. First, the water should be turned off.
Then relieve the pressure in the faucet. The tubing on the cold water valve should be removed. The angle stop valve should be placed there instead. Then the tubing should be re-attached to the angle stop valve.
Step 5 – Pressure Tank
Next, the pressure tank is installed. First, tape should be wrapped around the top port of the tank. Then the tank valve should be placed on the port.
Step 6 – Module Connections
At last, we can make connections to the module. First, connect the orange tube from the angle stop valve to the port marked as “N” on the module. The green tube connects from the top port on the pressure tank to the top connector on the module. The black tube connects from the drain saddle to the flow restrictor on the module. The blue tube connects the faucet supply fitting to the post-filter fitting on the module.
Top 11 Best RO Water Filters
For those who are interested in buying a reverse osmosis water filter system, here are some of the top RO filters for you to consider. These are listed in no particular order except for the additional “Top Choice” NU Aqua Platinum Series 6 Stage Alkaline 100GPD RO System
This system has an extra stage that will run the water through the NU Aqua Alkaline Filter that features a 5-Stages of remineralization. The Alkaline filter uses ORP Balls, Calcite, Maifan, Tourmaline, and BioCeramic to take the water to the next level. The result is not only water that tastes better but the water that increases antioxidants and natural minerals.
Adding back in the minerals taken out by the RO process is critical. You can read more about this important factor via the “How to Add Minerals Back to Reverse Osmosis Filtered Water” article. The 6 stage process is depicted as follows:
All of the systems come with the “Love Your Water Guarantee”. It’s a 100% Risk-Free 120-Day Home Trial. Essentially whoever purchases a system can try it for a full 120 days, if they don’t absolutely love the NU Aqua Water Filter System, they can send their system back for a 100% full refund! No strings attached.
You can purchase the NU Aqua Platinum Series 6 Stage Alkaline 100GPD RO System directly from the NU Aqua site.
This water filter works best at 45-70 psi. With that pressure, it effectively removes 99% of over 1,000 contaminants. Some of these contaminants may include lead, chlorine, hormones, asbestos, bacteria, and many others. This filter, in particular, includes a remineralization filter that restores certain alkaline minerals back into the water for a great taste. All of the parts are included which means you can install it quite quickly and easy. Finally, it also comes with a European-style faucet that looks elegant with any sink.
- Certified to NSF/ANSI 58, 6-Stage Alkaline Remineralization Layered Filtration - Exclusively designed to restore the natural alkalinity and mineral balance of water; this reliable and ultra-safe Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filtration system converts your water into clean, pure and healthy drinking water by removing up to 99% of over 1,000 harmful contaminants like PFAS (includes PFOA and PFOS), chlorine, fluoride, lead (removes up to 98%), arsenic, asbestos, calcium, sodium and more.
- GREAT-TASTING MINERAL WATER - A standard 5 stage RO system produces slightly acidic water with a pH of 7. 0 or below because the RO membrane removes not only harmful pollutants but also a few helpful minerals. The iSpring RCC7AK Reverse Osmosis water filter includes an additional 6th stage - an Alkaline Remineralization filter which restores healthy minerals and produces a balanced alkalinity, which gives your water a more natural taste than regular 5 stage RO water filter.
- LOW MAINTENANCE - Transparent 1st stage housing for easy visual inspection. Three extra long life pre-filters to remove large contaminants and protect RO membrane. Ultra fine (RO) filter to remove contaminants down to 0. 0001 microns; fine GAC filter to provide final polishing to the purified water and (AK) filter to finally restore just the right proportion of healthy minerals and a natural alkaline balance. The end result is great-tasting bottled-water quality.
|Effective in removing contaminants
|Doesn’t destroy microorganisms
|Fits under the sink
|Easy to install
|Remineralization filter for great tasting water
This filter system provides a staggering seven different filters for water to pass through. Purified water has never been so attainable. In addition, it also adds a bit of calcium and magnesium twice during the filtering process to ensure you still receive good nutrients and minerals in your water. Finally, the pump is non-electric and permeate which means that it cuts down on water waste by 80%. For those who are anxious about how much water they consume, this filter may be a great choice for you.
- A better RO system | Home Master Artesian Full Contact’s innovative design solves most common problems associated with cannister and tankless RO systems.
- Mineral Water on Tap | Patented remineralization system adds calcium and magnesium twice during the purification process for reduced storage tank degradation and great tasting, highly pure Mineral Water on Tap.
- NSF Certified Components | meets or exceeds NSF standards for material safety and performance. NSF listed company. Made in USA.
|Doesn’t destroy microorganisms
|Keeps good minerals in the water
|Seven stages of filtration
The best water feed pressure for this particular filter system is 40-85 psi. It has six chambers offering water purification. The APEC claims to remove 99% of bacteria, viruses, cysts, and other pollutants from the water. It also uses food-grade calcium cartridges which have been proven safe to consume and are added naturally within the water. One of the perks of this particular system, too, is that is noiseless.
- Supreme quality – Designed, engineered and assembled in USA to guarantee water safety & your health.
- This 75 GPD 6-stage system ROES-PH75 is guaranteed to remove up to 99% of impurities such as Chlorine, Taste, Odor, VOCs, as well as harmful Fluoride, Arsenic, Lead, Heavy Metals and 1000+ impurities. Max Total Dissolved Solids - 2000 ppm. Feed Water Pressure 40-85 psi
- Premium made filter cartridge uses premium-grade calcium from trusted source for safe, proven water ph enhancement. Enjoy ultra-pure drinking water with added calcium minerals for improved alkalinity and great taste.
|pH reading may be incorrect
|Effective filtering system
|100% lead-free faucet
Another incredible filtration system from iSpring is the RCC7AK-UV. This particular model offers seven different filtration cycles instead of six. However, it is a bit larger, and may not fit under all sinks. With claims to remove 99% of contaminants, you can have chlorine, lead, giardia, and other viruses removed from your water. In particular, this model benefits its users by including a UV-sterilization step that works with the RO process. This allows the filter to also remove microorganisms from the water.
- Certified to NSF/ANSI 58, this Reverse Osmosis under sink mounted water filter and Point-of-use water softener contains 7 different stages of filtration to remove up to 99% of over 1,000 contaminants, including lead (removes up to 98% of lead), chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, PFAS, asbestos, calcium, and sodium and more.
- With its advanced 11 watt UV stage, the RCC7AK-UV is a suitable option to deal with all kinds of water including well water and other unreliable water sources like lakes and streams. Our unique flow sensor switch turns the UV unit on and off automatically with water flow, saving power and lengthening the life of the UV lamp.
- Reverse Osmosis (RO) removes not only harmful pollutants but also a few helpful minerals. The Alkaline Remineralization (AK) filter restores healthy minerals and a natural alkaline balance, also producing a more natural taste that comes from the presence of the right balance of these minerals.
|UV-sterilization for the removal of microorganisms
|7 chambers of filtration
|99% removal of contaminants
For those who have a smaller sinker, then the iSpring RCC7 model may be the best option for you. This model has five chambers which make for easier storage. Despite having fewer chambers than other models, this system is still able to remove 99% of the contaminants that it is faced with. It’s received Gold rank from the Water Quality Association. So, you can be assured that their claims aren’t false. The installation for this model is quite easy and can be finished in just a couple of hours. The end result of the water doesn’t contain sodium and instead tastes like what you would expect from bottled water.
- [Effectively Remove Contaminants] This iSpring RO system is designed to produce great-tasting water that is clean, pure, and healthy for drinking. It uses a 5-stage filtration process that removes up to 99% of over 1,000 harmful contaminants, including PFAS, chlorine, fluoride, lead (removes up to 98%), arsenic, asbestos, calcium, sodium, and more. The under sink water filter system also reduces the TDS rate by 80% to 90% or better, making it ideal for drinking. Additionally, it removes hard water minerals like calcium, and magnesium that leave white residue or scale.
- [Certified to NSF/ANSI 58] The iSpring reverse osmosis water filters are designed in the United States and produced in strict accordance with American quality standards. Certified to NSF/ANSI 58 and has been dedicated to providing unlimited clean, refreshing, and crisp-tasting water superior to bottled water for American families for more than 15 years.
- [Low Maintenance and Leak-free Design] Quality components ensure reliability and low maintenance for many years to come. Clear see-through 1st stage housing makes filter inspection a snap. The system is compact and can fit under most kitchen sinks. It doesn't require any power source and comes with a check valve to prevent the backflow of water into the membrane housing, ensuring safety and avoiding water leakage. With a tank, it can meet the needs of big families or offices. The first filter housing is made of AS material (impact strength), allowing you to see the condition of the filter element without removing the casing and ensuring you always enjoy the best quality of water.
|Capable of easily filtering 75 gallons a day
|Doesn’t remove microorganisms
|Small enough to fit in any kitchen
|Doesn’t add in minerals
|99% removal of pollutants
This is another model that has been certified by the WQA. Its claims to remove 99% of water contaminants has been thoroughly tested by the association. Some of the contaminants that it has been shown to remove are heavy metals, arsenic, chlorine, lead, and bacteria. One of the perks of this model is that it has larger filters that offer a larger capacity and prevents clogs from forming. It also has easily labeled filters and replacement filters. You can easily replace the parts without much of a fuss.
- Enjoy unlimited ultra-fresh, clean, great tasting water right at home. Save money, time and hassle of buying costly, bottled water
- Designed, engineered and assembled in USA, RO-90 is a dependable RO System rated to last over a decade and will greatly improve your water quality
- Tested and approved by WQA to remove up to nearly all impurities including arsenic, chlorine, lead, fluoride, heavy metals and 1000+ impurities in your water
|May need a permeate pump to achieve the correct pressure
|Large filters to prevent clogging
|Certified by the WQA
|Remineralization filter for great tasting water
One of the claims that Whirlpool boasts with this particular model is their ability to filter out 99% of contaminants without needing additional filter chambers. That means that you can effectively do the same job with three chambers rather than six or seven. For those with restricted space beneath their sinks, this model could be quite beneficial. This model also has filters that last for an extended period. Their membranes should be able to last for years.
- Better than bottled water — Reverse Osmosis filtered water tastes better than bottled water — Convenient, unlimited and refreshing, and for a fraction of the cost of bottled water.
- Safer drinking water — Reduce chlorine taste and odor, sediment, cysts, lead, chemicals, and dissolved solids that show up in unfiltered tap water.
- Change your filter in seconds — Ultraease Technology allows for easy and hassle-free filter changes with no open sumps.
|Effective filtering with small unit
|Doesn’t remove bacteria
|Can fit under small sinks
|Doesn’t remove pharmaceuticals
One problem that some reverse osmosis filters face is destruction due to its exposure to iron. This can be quite common in city water. This model seeks to protect the RO filter by including a prefilter specifically for filtering out iron before it can injure the system. With maintenance sometimes difficult to perform on filters, having this added protection is a wonderful benefit. This model also comes with a UV filter to further destroy and remove microorganisms from the water.
- A Better RO System | Home Master HydroPerfection realizes three major performance improvements - significantly reduced TDS Creep, 4.5 second fill rate, and significantly reduced water waste.
- EPA Registered | The Home Master is registered under EPA #97952-AZ-1 and has been approved to kill, inactivate or suppress growth of viruses, bacteria, fungi in water purification devices
- Mineral Water on Tap | Patented remineralization system found in our Artesian Full Contact model adds calcium and magnesium twice during the purification process for reduced storage tank degradation and great tasting, highly pure, Mineral Water on Tap
|Faucet may leak
|UV knocks out microorganisms
Another problem that may filtration systems suffer from is that they can sometimes be slow to filter. When you need a glass of water, you want it now rather than waiting for the pump to do its work. That’s where this model can really help. The iSpring RCC1UP-AK works quickly, so you don’t have to wait to receive your water. It also has a great drain ratio. Their membrane filters are also quite effective in removing contaminants due to their ability to filter out objects no smaller than 0.0001 micron. This model, in particular, is capable of filtering 100 gallons per day while still maintaining optimal membrane health.
- QUALITY 7-STAGE FILTRATION: This Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filtration system removes up to 99% of over 1,000 harmful contaminants like PFAS (includes PFOA and PFOS), chlorine, fluoride, lead (removes up to 98%), arsenic, asbestos, calcium, sodium, and more.
- BOOSTER PUMP: Reverse Osmosis produces filtered drinking water by pressurizing water molecules through RO membrane and leaving impurities out. Equipped with an electric booster pump enables standard RO performance regardless of pressure variations; delivering higher throughput with less wastewater in comparing to pumpless models.
- UV FILTER: The UV stage of this Reverse Osmosis system comes with a Smart Flow Sensor which turns the UV light on and off. An automatic 3-minute delay saves power and also extends the life of the bulb.
|UV filter for additional filtration
|Faucet may drip
|Remineralization filter for great tasting water
For a filter that requires little maintenance and long-lasting filters, you might want to consider this model from APEC. It possesses super capacity filters to treat more water at a given time. This allows the filters to be used less over time and extends its life. While it cannot remove total dissolved solids or TDS, it is capable of removing pollutants like chlorine. It can even remove contaminants like rust and dust from the water.
- High quality, designed, engineered and assembled in the USA; System built with USA MADE super capacity filters for long lasting dependable filtration
- Effectively remove impurities (i.e. chlorine), taste and odors. NOT designed for TDS removal
- Premium long-lasting filters used to treat tap water, well water. Provide unlimited refreshing water. Feed Water Pressure 20-85 psi
|Powerful 3-stage filtration system
|Doesn’t remove lead
One last RO filter that you might want to consider is this model from Express Water. With five chambers for filtration, this model offers 99.9% removal of all contaminants in your water. It also cuts down on the amount of work that you need to put into the use of the filter. Instead of waiting or turning anything on, the filter kicks on the moment your tank releases water. That way you always have water when you need it. In particular, this model seeks to be environmentally friendly with its use of coconut carbon filters.
- Reverse Osmosis Water Filter: Experience what water should taste like with the Express Water reverse osmosis water filtration system reducing up to 99.99% of Lead, Chlorine, Fluoride, Nitrates, Calcium, Arsenic, and more.
- Water Purification System: Drink the healthiest water on Earth. All our water filters are specially engineered to work together, producing the safest and best tasting water you’ll ever drink
- Under Sink Water Filter: Don’t waste money on professional installation. Express Water’s quick and easy-to-understand design means you can install and understand everything about your new water filtration system
|Maintenance can be quite involved
|Five chambers for massive filtration
|Automatic leak stop detector
Clearly, there are some great reverse osmosis water filters out there for you. No one should have to worry about what’s in their water. Nor should they have to worry about the health of their child. All of these filters are great at removing the big problems that may reside in your water. How much further you purify your water beyond that is up to your personal tastes and budget. You’ll also want to keep the size of your sink in mind. Some of these models might not fit below sinks that are smaller or crammed full of other items. However, with these top 11 reverse osmosis filters listed above, you’re sure to find the perfect filtration system that works best for your needs.