Reverse osmosis is a very effective method for water filtering. It works by having water go through several layers of filters and membranes to separate impurities from clean, purified water.
It is not easy to decide what type of RO system to buy with so many choices available. If one is not already an expert it can be problematic to choose and, in the end, find out that you made a mistake.
I want to help you make an informed decision to provide your family and yourself with the best choice. So, what do the best countertop reverse osmosis systems have in common?
1. Easy and Hassle-Free Installation
Typically, countertop reverse osmosis systems do not require drilling or installation changes in plumbing. All you have to do to make them work is to plug them in. Some come with faucet connectors or already pre-assembled. The system must be compatible with your kitchen faucet in use. Otherwise, you might have to buy adaptors separately.
An excellent countertop RO system is quick and straightforward to configure and can start working right away.
2. Filter Life-Span
Before getting an RO system, it is essential to check how long its filters last. If you need to change filters too often, you will have an extra burden on recurring expenses. RO systems have multiple filtering stages; between 3 to 6, sometimes even 7.
How often do RO filters need to be changed? In general, the best countertop RO systems have filters with a capacity of 6-12 months. Still, it is always worth checking their exact life-span.
RO systems also have a membrane or a series of fine membranes that only allow water to pass, leaving impurities behind. These membranes have to be replaced as well. A great RO system provides membranes that can last between 3 to 5 years.
Great RO systems do not waste too much water in the filtering process. On average, you can expect to waste 4 gallons of water per gallon purified. However, it can be way more in some instances. One factor that can reduce wastewater is higher feed water pressure.
Incoming water pressure below 35-40 PSI will result in less efficient production. Bottom line: Top RO systems reduce waste as much as possible even under low-pressure conditions.
4. Filtration Speed
How long does it take to produce a gallon of purified water? Or, more importantly, how many gallons of water per day do you need? The best reverse osmosis systems are relatively fast, providing as much as 1 gallon per hour.
5. Filtration Efficiency
Of course, the most crucial factor is the quality of permeate water produced. I have already mentioned that most reverse osmosis units feature 3 to 6 filter layers. Some have even more. Each filter has a different function and provides an additional level of purification.
Sediment pre-filters remove particulates, turbidity, sand, and rust. An activated carbon pre-filter will then remove chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, disinfectants, and VOCs, which might otherwise damage the reverse osmosis membrane. The key component, the RO membrane, removes virtually everything left such as heavy metals, lead, salt, chromium, and dissolved solids.
There are also post-filters and, in some cases, there is a remineralization to give a more natural taste to the purified water. Since water is stripped of all impurities through filtering, the result would be water that tastes flat. That is why a remineralization filter adds calcium and magnesium.
A solid RO system does have the best filtration to deliver high-quality water.
An over-the-counter reverse osmosis system should be compact, lightweight, and portable, on top of all the other qualities listed above. If you travel often and want to keep drinking purified water a mobile system is an excellent advantage. Some RO systems are adaptable to most faucets in the US, which makes them very practical and perfect for traveling.
Price is a factor to take into consideration when considering higher priced products. Of course, it is not always true that the most expensive products are also the best. On the other side, a cheap RO system may not provide most of the qualities we are looking for.
If you ask me, it is more important to look at the ratio between price and quality. Can we find most of the qualities above at a reasonable price?
If a product is too cheap, it may break, require too much maintenance, and in the end, the quality of the service is low.
How to Choose the Right Countertop RO System
The seven points from above should give you an idea of what the best countertop RO systems have in common. If you read them carefully and take notes, you should have the complete game plan.
However, everyone’s needs are different. A 4-person household may prefer to give more importance to filter speed, while a person who needs to travel may want an RO system perfect for on the go. Based on each individual’s necessities, priorities can change.
The best way to go about choosing the right system it is to find one that has most of the qualities we discussed.