Best Whole House Reverse Osmosis Systems


best whole house reverse osmosis systemsbest wholehouse reverse osmosis systems

Probably the best way to get overall excellent quality of water in your whole household is the Whole House Reverse Osmosis System. An increasing number of health specialists agree that RO is the best technology to make your own purified drinking water. What’s more, there are ways to get RO water distributed throughout your whole house.

The benefits are plenty, and to name but few – excellent shower water quality and home appliances supplied with water that will make them work better and last longer.

Here we are taking a better look at how a whole house systems work. And examining five RO systems that meet the criteria of supplying a whole house with RO purified water.

SystemCapacity (GPD)PressureNumber of StagesPrices
iSpring RCS5T50030-70 PSI5Check it on Amazon
WECO HydroSense Light Commercial Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System 50040-50 PSI4Check it on Amazon
iSpring RCB3P  30035-40 PSI5Check it on Amazon
Hydro-Logic 31023 1000-GPD Evolution RO1000 High Flow RO System100015-20 PSI3Check it on Amazon
NU Aqua Platinum Series Deluxe High Capacity 100GPD 5-Stage Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Ultimate Purifier Drinking Water Filter System10020-30 PSI5Check it on Amazon

What is a whole house system?

Basically it’s a water purification system that is set in a place where the water source is entering your house. So all the water is purified and then it can flow further to every sink, shower, and hose. Reverse Osmosis is much more robust and advanced technology than just water filtration.

An RO system that covers the needs of the whole house can remove particles as tiny as molecules, ions, and even a few types of bacteria or microorganisms from incoming water. Also, Reverse Osmosis filtering process removes the foul smell and taste associated that comes from pollution.

No matter the water source – municipal, well water, rainwater, or any other, there are systems and add-ons that can purify pretty much any water into safe drinking water.

Whole House Reverse Osmosis System Reviews

Here are five systems that I’ve picked and examined to figure out which one is best and for which situation.

1. The Best Whole House System: iSpring RCS5T

iSpring RCS5T

Technical specifications

• Capacity – 500GPD

• Size – 14 x 11 x 18 inches

• Dry system weight – 32.6 pounds

• Wastewater to water ratio – 1:1

• Water pressure – 10-15 PSI

• Filtration stages – 5

• Included components: Housings, filters, parts and tubing, faucet and mounting bracket

iSpring RCS5T will work for residential or commercial environments. With a capacity of 500 GPD, it works well for locations where water drinking is frequent. Such as a home, small office, meeting center, and similar.

RCS5T comes with a water faucet that can be installed in the desired location. In essence, it should be used as a water fountain. Because of its high capacity, it is suitable for continuous use through a single point.

It is designed as a tankless, on-demand drinking water system.

However, with some additional parts, it’s possible to use this system like a whole house RO purification unit. Or even install a storage tank. It’s not recommended by the manufacturer since the system is designed to work in a light commercial setting. But people often install iSpring RCS5T to be used as a whole house system and see no trouble.

RCS5T is designed to have a small physical footprint, it could be fitted into most under the sink cabinets if used without a tank. This system delivers excellent quality drinking water while staying convenient enough and saving space.

The filter life is not surprising. It’s worth replacing filters every six months and RO membrane every two years. That largely depends on incoming water quality and the amount of water that runs through the system every day. With some knowledge about water conditions, it’s possible to extend filter and RO membrane life. For example, if the water carries dust and larger particles by changing the sediment filter you can prevent the wear of main filters and RO membrane. Additionally, if incoming water is hard, a water softener will treat water to be softer, further extending the lifespan of filters. This is called pre-treatment and more on that later.

Advanced Dual-Flow 500GPD membrane has an exceptionally low waste to water ratio of 1:1. That’s great news for municipal water users. It has a booster pump that is responsible for increased system efficiency. This system suits those living in an apartment or a small house. The capacity is 500 GPD which is enough for a family of four.

This system is at the top of the list because it’s versatile. The installation and maintenance can be performed on your own, as it would be with other, more capacious systems.

Filter change is simple and easy. Also, a nice addition – a see-through casing of the first sediment pre-filter allows for a quick inspection.

Pros:

Easy to install and operate

Does not use up too much electricity

Easily replaceable and reasonably priced filters

Improves water taste

Good customer support

Cons:

Relatively low water pressure

A part of owners still prefer to install a tank

For some people, the electrical pump tends to give up.

Check the price of this product on Amazon

2. WECO HydroSense Light Commercial Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

WECO HydroSense Light Commercial Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

Technical specifications

• Capacity – 500GPD

• Size – 15 x 20 x 34 inches

• Dry system weight – 70 pounds

• Wastewater to water ratio – 1:1

• Water pressure – 40-50 PSI

• Filtration stages – 5

• Included components: Necessary tubbing

WECO HydroSense works great for small-scale commercial situations. People do set these units in small distilleries, small restaurants, or coffee shops. That’s why this particular WECO is on a more expensive side. But if you will use it in the commercial setting then it is a good investment.

Besides that, the system works great for households with a higher demand for purified water.

As stated by the manufacturer, the system is engineered for residential drinking water use, medical offices, laboratories, schools, aquariums, and hydroponic growing operations.

When buying there are options to choose from. For example, you can pick WECO with a different set of main filters (RO membrane stays the same) and with Ultraviolet Light unit for an added bacteria removal stage.

The system comes pre-assembled. So, basically the installation includes twisting the filters in and hooking the system up to water and drainage outlets.

It’s an on-demand system. It delivers free-flowing purified water at a rate of 0.35 gallons per minute. This is based on the incoming water with 250 ppm and a temperature of 77F.

If you need more, it’s possible to set it up with a pressurized storage tank. The system has four booster pumps, which makes it so efficient with a waste to water ratio of 1:1. However, the filters will last for six months. However, with pretreatment (more on that later) the filter will last for around 12 months.

Pros:

  • Excellent built quality
  • Delivers good water pressure
  • Adaptable to a variety of situations

Cons:

  • Produced water quality can be slightly lower than other systems

Check the price of this product on Amazon

3. iSpring RCB3P

iSpring RCB3P whole home ro system

Technical specifications

• Capacity – 300 GDP

• Size – 14 x 10 x 30 inches

• Dry system weight –  52 pounds

• Wastewater to water ratio – 1:1

• Water pressure – 35-40 PSI

• Filtration stages – 5

• Included components: Filters, parts, tubing

The RCB3P system is specifically designed and engineered for light commercial settings.

It purifies water through a five-stage filtration process and comes with a built-in booster pump. This does two things. Firstly – reduces water wasting significantly. Secondly – the water flow rate through the taps or other outlets is boosted also. RCB3P delivers a pressure of 35-40 psi. Exact numbers depend on incoming water ppm and temperature.

The drawback is that this system is 300GPD. Meaning it’s good for quick on-demand water delivery but will not do that for prolonged periods. It would work in a smaller commercial setting where a business is not based on the water production rate but rather on quality.

It’s no wonder that iSpring recommends pairing it with the storage tanks that they offer. That greatly expands the available water capacity and you’re no longer limited by the 300GPD. With a tank, iSpring RCB3P becomes suitable for high demand commercial uses such as medical labs, breweries, small restaurants, and hairdressers.

What’s great about iSpring RCB3P is the oversized pre-filters. Most RO systems come with a 10” filter as a standard. iSpring RCB3P comes with 20” pre-filters. Meaning that with average use, the filters will last twice as long as other competitors.

The whole system is quite large. If paired with a tank it definitely needs dedicated space. The system itself requires at least 40 PSI to work normally. So to reach that or go even higher you might need to install a pressure pump at a pre-treatment stage.

The price, for this commercial system, is not too high, though. Known downsides are quality control at the stage of packaging and shipping units. Sometimes people unpack the system only to realize that some components are missing or broken. But customer service is good and you get the spare parts, often free of charge.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy installation
  • Works best for light commercial use
  • Good customer service

Cons:

  • Only 300 GPD
  • Pressure tank not included

Check the price of this product on Amazon

4. Hydro-Logic 31023 1000-GPD Evolution RO1000 High Flow RO System

Hydro-Logic 31023 whole house filtration system

Technical specifications

• Capacity – 1000GPD

• Size – 23 x 13 x 13 inches

• Dry system weight – 15.3 pounds

• Wastewater to water ratio – 2:1

• Water pressure – 15-20 PSI

• Filtration stages – 3

• Included components – nothing extra.

HydroLogic 31023 is different from other similar RO systems in more ways than looks. Apart from astonishing 1000GPD capability and being tankless, this system is unique in having two Reverse Osmosis membranes and one carbon filter.

This system does not have a booster pump, so in order for it to work in high capacities that it’s capable, you need sufficient water pressure. Incoming PSI of 60 is recommended, however, the system will work with 35 PSI but will have a rather slow flow rate.

HydroLogic 31023 is reasonable in size so will fit in a lot of places. It’s no wonder that people like to install these units in RVs. The system works as such – incoming water is filtered in the first carbon filter and then travels through the second inline RO membrane. Then, through another RO membrane before exiting through the outlet.

So, only one carbon filter stands between the incoming, untreated water source and RO membranes. This means that HydroLogic 31023 is suited for situations where existing water quality is quite good. Otherwise, with exceptionally poor water you’re running the risk of wearing down the expensive RO membranes at a faster rate. With normal use, the membranes and a filter are long-lasting, but quite expensive when the time to change then comes.

Because of two RO membranes, the system needs to be flushed twice, so waste to water ratio is 2:1. Keep in mind, that PSI on a higher side is needed for the system to keep this efficiency.

I guess it’s worth getting this system if you like and want to tinker with your water delivery system. You could install a pre-treatment filter and a booster pump to really make HydroLogic 31023 perform at what it’s capable of. And to expand the longevity of it.

That’s only if you don’t mind spending more money since the system itself is on the expensive side, plus add-ons, it costs way more than comparable setups.

Keep in mind that his system is not ideal for home use. It’s meant to produce high amounts of water and to work continuously. It’s tankless, so when you open the tap, the water will flow immediately, but it will take some seconds for RO membranes to deliver freshly purified water.

That happens because unused water spends time just sitting in the filter and membranes. And freshwater needs to be delivered through the system. For the best results, you should use HydroLogic 31023 regularly throughout the day.

Pros:

  • Two RO membranes for very low TDS
  • Lightweight and simple to set up
  • Capable of high water production

Cons:

  • Will be noisy
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Needs additional investment to function at a peak

Check the price of this product on Amazon

5. NU Aqua Platinum Series Deluxe High Capacity 100GPD 5-Stage Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

NU Aqua Platinum Series Deluxe High Capacity whole house reverse osmosis filters

Technical specifications

• Capacity – 100GPD

• Size – 16.9 x 16.5 x 16.3 inches

• Dry system weight – 20 pounds

• Wastewater to water ratio – 1:1

• Water pressure – comes with a storage tank

• Filtration stages – 5

• Included components: tank, installation hardware, PPM Meter, Installation DVD

NU Aqua is one small but capacious RO system meant for small house usage. It has most of the benefits that are mentioned in the above four Whole House Reverse Osmosis systems reviews.

NU Aqua is on this list because of this system capacity factor, most often is not the sole reason for choosing one system over the other. As you will see later in the Buyers Guide section of this article – there are things to take into consideration when choosing the best-suited system for your situation.

In essence, NU Aqua does not offer anything new. Just a standard and working five-stage RO system with a tank that can be installed under the sink. With a production rate of 100 GPD, it takes up to two hours to fill a 4-gallon storage tank. Of course, that could be boosted with the addition of an electric or permeate pump and other NU Aqua systems come with it.

But, the main selling point of this system is that it’s cheap and the reviews are largely positive. At the moment of writing it has an Amazon rating of 4.6!

If you need water in your house solely for drinking and cooking, this system is to go for.

Pros:

  • Five stage RO system for a good price

Cons:

  • Does not come with a booster pump

Check the price of this product on Amazon

Buyers Guide: How to choose a whole house RO filter

There are optimal solutions for every household or small business. Before investing in the RO system you should decide on a number of factors that are listed below. Then set your expectations and weigh your options. It all can be summed up into a process of your need evaluation.

This is a list of things that you need to take into account to avoid unpleasant surprises after you purchase a whole house RO system. We can list them as:

  • Untreated water that you’re getting
  • Amount of purified water that you need
  • Installation and maintenance of the system

Now we will cover these topics in the rest of this article.

Capacity, Water Flow, Tank Size

Or simply speaking – how much water do you need.

When talking about the capacity of the RO system it is measured in a maximum amount of gallons produced per day (GPD).

GPD number is optimistic, it’s calculated by the manufacturers’ tests done to as close to perfect conditions as possible to become a selling point. That’s why the GPD capacity is always estimated and a rounded number. It’s just a guess.

You could probably get even more gallons per day that are stated by manufacturers, but that would put much stress on the system and will shorten the lifespan of filters, RO membrane, and other components.

My advice is to think a bit under the GPD value stated together with the system. It’s similar to the idea that you should not drive your car on high RPM for too long. I suggest taking into account 70% of the maximum GPD to see if the system has the right capacity for you. Simply multiply the stated system capacity by 0.7 to get the 70% value.

To estimate how much water you use, simply look at your water bills over a year. Then add them up and divide by the amount of months, to get an estimated monthly amount.

Some public estimates are that an average American uses the amount of 80 to 100 gallons of water each day. You can multiply that by the number of people living in the house and get your numbers this way.

Keep in mind that this is together with the toilet water and showers. Adjust the numbers if you’re looking for RO water only to be used for drinking, ice making, and such.

Water pressure and TDS (pre-treatment)

This is where the complexity of Whole House RO systems continues. It might not be enough just to purchase the system and get it installed. Some pre-treatment will be needed.

Water pressure

You’ll need to measure the incoming water pressure that you’re getting at the point where water enters your house. Or, more specifically, at the point where the RO system will be located after installation.

Most often, water pressure of 40 PSI is recommended. Since with lower pressures, the systems will not be efficient. In reality, it’s quite rare to have municipal or private well water delivered at such PSI. Oftentimes to feed the system properly, people need to install an additional pump.

Basically, the more capable the system is the more pressure it requires.

Water Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Another point of pre-treatment is the TDS of incoming water. While it is true that it’s possible to desalinate seawater with an RO system, that is some really powerful and expensive equipment we’re talking about.

Commonly available Whole House RO systems have stated TDS levels that they can manage. If the levels are greater, this wears out filters and RO membranes. Some whole house RO systems are better at pre-treatment than others. So the recommended TDS levels vary.

Sometimes incoming water will require additional, rough particle filters or even a water softener system. That’s usually true for really hard water.

Now, this might sound discouraging. The more parts and components there are, the more everything costs. This could be frustrating, especially since most people can’t simply choose to use other water sources than the default one available.

Keep in mind, that pre-treatment components will make the actual RO system work better and last longer. So you might be investing more at the beginning, to save money and time in the long term.

Stages of water quality and post-treatment

Most of the time, the more filtration and purification stages the system has, the better the end result will be. When choosing a solution for whole house water treatment you will eventually end up choosing between a Whole House Water Filter and a Whole House Reverse Osmosis System.

The latter has the same filtering properties as a simple filter. The bonus comes from the Reverse Osmosis membrane which, in most cases, is an extra step towards the cleanest purified water.

However, there are a few exceptions where a possible owner needs to take into account.

After RO water is treated, it will be slightly lower in pH. There’s nothing to worry about but in some cases, a remineralization unit can be needed. This is not an issue for taking a bath or a shower. As well as feeding RO water to the washing machine or ice maker.

However, for an even greater taste and natural pH balance, a remineralization unit can cover these bases by restoring a proper mineral balance and introducing adequate levels of magnesium and sodium.

The remineralization units for Whole house RO systems are rare additions because Whole House systems need to be capacious. A remineralization unit can be installed at the point where water will be used for drinking or cooking.

One special case might be needed if the water you’re getting has water-borne microbes in it. That can be common in areas with ground or wild water. Then a UV disinfection lamp covers all that by effectively destroying microbes and viruses. But if your water comes from a municipal source, you have other matters like Flouride to worry about and not microbes. More on what RO systems remove are covered later in this article.

Wastewater

Some water will be used to flush the RO membrane and this is a feature of this technology. Capable systems are effective at recycling wastewater and using it over and over again. Older and cheaper RO units can have a waste to water ratio of 3:1. But modern units can have that of 1:1 so water wastage is minimized.

Wastewater is created when the RO membrane is washed from the particles that it stopped while purifying water. Unless you deal with really nasty water, normally, wastewater can be routed to the separate barrel and used to water your garden or other simple uses. Only if you’re dealing with serious contaminants, the water should definitely be discarded to the drain. Or for the sake of simplicity.

The amount of wastewater depends greatly on incoming water pressure. That’s why RO systems with booster pumps are more efficient and economical. That’s true even if they need some electricity to run. Wastewater can sound reasonable but can add up the overall cost when running more demanding water operations.

What other components are needed

We’ve covered pre-treatment and post-treatment already. What’s left can be summed up into storage and distribution components and plumbing.

Most Whole House RO systems require a pump to supply water at an adequate pressure and then it’s distributed all throughout the house. So most Whole House systems work on demand and do not require a storage tank. However, a water tank is an addition that can increase the water availability so the place will never run out of water even if the water is running at separate places for a time. Because such atmospheric tanks are not pressurized, the water needs to be repressurized in order for it to flow to a number of taps and outlets. A booster pump will do just that.

Also, some pipes and other components will be needed to install the system. Possibly to make an alternative waterway around the system if for some reason it will need to be turned off. It’s possible to use untreated water to the areas where purified water is not needed. Again, some alternative piping will be needed.

If the system will be located remotely from the house, then wiring and proper electrical equipment will be needed.

Finally, leak detection systems are there for a safe mind. Possibly a good idea if the system is installed at a place where water damage would be critical for the building and surroundings.

Contaminants removed by whole house RO filters

Reverse Osmosis water purification process removes over a thousand known water contaminants.

Metals:

• Aluminum

• Ammonia

• Arsenic

• Barium

• Cadmium

• Chloramine

• Chromium

•Copper

Common tap water contaminants:

• Fluoride

• Lead

• Sulfur

• Nitrates/Nitrites

• Mercury

• Perchlorate

• Radium

• Uranium

• And water-born Bacteria & Viruses

Installation

The process of installation varies from system to system. Some come preassembled and some come as a collection of parts. The systems that I’ve covered are easy enough to install on your own if you have DIY knowledge and tools that are needed. However, there might be some plumbing and piping works involved. With Whole House systems, the vise choice is to get a professional to do the installing.

Some things to take into consideration:

  • Decide on allocated space for the system. Once up and running it will be full of water and heavy. Some systems are freestanding, some require to be bolted to the ground.
  • Whole House RO will require electricity. There will be a need to power booster pumps. If you will install such a system in the shed or other location further from home or office you will need to install an electrical way to it.
  • Plumbing is another thing to solve. RO not only takes feed water but also produces some wastewater that needs to go down the drain. Alternatively, it can be used to water plants you’re not eating. But take into account that with a larger system, more wastewater will be produced and discarded. So a drain is important.

All that adds up a list of jobs. Plumbing, electricity, maybe even masonry. But don’t get discouraged. Installing a Whole House RO is not always so complicated.

Maintenance

Maintenance cost also consists of the regular filter and RO membrane change. Some systems are designed to be maintained by owners where these tasks are simple. Other, especially commercial ones will require a special technician to service them and make them work especially well. It’s hard to estimate.

Some systems require flushing and sanitizing. It’s done at the same time when changing filters. It probably will be necessary for systems that have a storage tank. The ones working on demand do flush themselves. I have a separate article on how to flush, clean, and sterilize your under the sink RO system, but the same process applies for most Whole House systems as well.

Most maintenance is composed of regular filter change. Whether that’s done on a schedule or after doing water tests and acting when the results demand – it’s up to you.

Also, a simple, but important thing to note. Do check for water leaks from time to time. Especially, pay closer attention for a few days just after the system is newly installed and after changing the filters.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a whole house water filtration work?

It is installed at the place where the water source enters your house first.  Whether it comes from a well, a municipal pipe, or any other source.
The water then passes through a series of filters and membranes to have the contaminants removed.
1) The pre-treatment (water softener if installed)
2) The pre-filtration system (made of 1-3 filters)
After these stages, the water will be pressurized and passed through the semipermeable RO membrane. The worse the water quality, the higher pressure is required.
3) The RO membrane chamber
Now, water can be sent directly to the taps if the system works on demand. If not, then water is collected for further use.
4) UV sterilization chamber (if installed)
Now, water can be sent directly to the taps if the system works on demand. If not, then water is collected for further use.
5) An atmospheric storage tank
6) A re-pressurization pump
7) A remineralization unit (if installed)

Is a whole house reverse osmosis system necessary?

It really depends on what you need water for.
If you need better tasting food and drinks, then by removing sediment and contaminants, the RO system can significantly improve the taste of meals and beverages.
If the water you’re getting is contaminated and not safe to drink, then the purification process will remove impurities. Water will be healthy for you and good for whole-house equipment. That’s especially beneficial for businesses that depend on water.

Is reverse osmosis worth the cost?

Simple water filtration systems are cheaper than RO systems. So is it worth the cost?
– If you take into consideration the health of your family, then RO is the way to go.
– Another reason is that equipment that deals with water will get damaged beyond repair if utilized with poor quality water.
– Some food and drink products need to be manufactured with excellent quality water. Otherwise, whole batches might get spoiled or suffer from a significant drop in quality.
These are the three main risks that RO purified water removes.

How long does a whole house water filter last?

That depends on the system type and volume of water it produces. Also on the incoming water quality. You might need to replace the first sediment filter every few months. However, the average estimate is six months for filters and a year or two for RO membranes.
Cheaper models typically require more frequent filter replacements. More expensive and physically larger filters will last for longer. With moderate use even for a few years. The best way is to keep track of water quality with simple equipment.
Cheaper models typically require more frequent filter replacements. More expensive and physically larger filters will last for longer. With moderate use even for a few years. The best way is to keep track of water quality with simple equipment.

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