I am largely a under sink RO system guy and have already compiled the best under counter reverses osmosis systems for 2015. However, I also understand why folks might need a counter top RO system instead.
These systems are perfect for people who rent their homes or who want a portable system as a typical reverse osmosis system requires permanent modifications to your cabinets for proper installation. The countertop system connects to your existing sink faucet quickly and easily. Once connected, the system moves your water through several purification stages to provide you with excellent water quality.
Whatever the reason, I am putting together this review to offer my opinion on what is the best countertop RO system in 2015 and 2016.
Updated: 9th September 2016: There are more countertop RO systems that came to the market in 2016, beyond what are reviewed in 2015. I have already covered 2 such models in my brondell h2o+ circle review and ZIP reverse osmosis review article.
- 1 Best countertop reverses osmosis system for the money
- 1.1 APEC RO-CTOP review
- 1.2 ZIP Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
- 1.3 Cheap countertop reverse osmosis system: Reverse Osmosis Solutions review
- 1.4 Crystal Quest CQE-CT-00142 Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System
- 1.5 Home Master Jr. F2 Elite Sinktop Water Filter
- 1.6 iSpring #WKW21 3-Stage Counter-top Filter
- 1.7 Aquaphor DWM-101 Compact RO Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System
- 1.8 Nature’s Spring® Countertop RO Water Unit
- 2 Top Makers of Countertop Reverse Osmosis Systems
- 3 Conclusion
Best countertop reverses osmosis system for the money
First of all, there isn’t much choices to choose from. The market has more options when it comes to under sink reverse osmosis system but is pretty limited for the counter top versions. In fact, I can only find a few such systems: the APEC RO-CTOP and the Reverse Osmosis Revolution. In the following, we will be doing reviews of 2 such models in the following sections.
APEC RO-CTOP review
After looking in detail at these 2 choices, I will have to go with the APEC versions even though it is about twice as expensive. Reason? APEC is simply the better reverses osmosis system. Let me show you the PPM readings taken from Amazon reviewers who has kindly provided their results in their reviews:
APEC: 10 PPM
Reverses Osmosis Solutions: 30 PPM
That is quite a difference. If you want a RO system, you will probably be expecting the quality of something along the APEC version. I am a firm believer that a good filtered drinking water should have something along 5 to 10 PPM TDS so I am not really convinced by the results of the Reverse Osmosis Solutions.
Other Pros of APEC
Besides offering the best quality water for a counter top RO system, the APEC has also other highly desirable qualities that you should know:
- Easy to install: All you need to do is to attach the faucet adapter to the faucet, turn on the cold water, pull the black knob and you are done. It is much easier than a under sink RO system and ideal for those who isn’t too big into DIY installation that involves drilling.
- Fast filtering: A 2 Litre jug requires only 5 minutes to fill. It is pretty close to the heating time for a traditional kettle.
- Able to remineralize the water: One of the more exciting feature to me is that you can add a remineralization filter to the APEC system! If you have read my other reviews, you will know I think remineralization is important to balance the PH of the water. Hence, having the ability to insert a remineralizatuon filter as the last stage of the APEC system’s filtering is great and solves the PH balance issue for many RO system.
- Tasty water: Most importantly, you get a very clean and crisp water without all the tubing and wiring. Best for apartment owners who can’t play with the plumbing too much within the building.
- Filters out 97% of TDS: Nuff said
- Lower water wastage: Most under counter reverse osmosis systems have a 3:1 ratio of wastage water to clean water. The APEC RO-CTOP has a 2:1 ratio, which means you are wasting less water to enjoy your clean water.
Downside to the APEC
No product is perfect so it is good for you to know what are some of the minor downside for the APEC system.
The price tag is going to be a turnoff for some. It costs more than USD200, which is about the same price for a under sink version, which has more capacity with 0 waiting time. However, you are paying for the convenience and easy of use so nothing really to complaint about. Of course, you can always choose the cheap counter top reversess osmosis system like the one from reverse osmosis revolution but you will be getting lower quality water.
Another thing I feel it can improve is to have a TDS meter as part of the package. Unfortunately, that is not the case so you will need to buy it separately if you want to test the PPM quality of the water to see for yourself.
ZIP Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
This ZIP system is highly efficient and very sleek-looking. It only uses 24 watts and has 50% recovery rate. You’ll get about .5 gallon of purified water in 10-15 minutes. It doesn’t have any hoses or diverter valves that typically leak so it takes up less space and is tidy.
This is a 4-stage system that removes up to 99% of contaminants from tap water. No installation is required, you simply remove it from the box and plug it in. It works similarly to a coffee machine where you fill the basin with water and push a button.
It measures 9.5”x14.5”x16.25” and is very attractive for a water filtration system. You’ll need to change your filters every 12 months and a complete set costs about $50. You’ll also have to replace the reverse osmosis membrane every 2-4 years and that’s going to cost $50 as well.
The Zip comes with a 100% money back guarantee and ships from Fort Myers, Florida. According to reviews and specifications, this is one of the top countertop reverse osmosis systems on the market right now.
Cheap countertop reverse osmosis system: Reverse Osmosis Solutions review
While the APEC RO-TOP works really well with its filtration system that can bring the quality of drinking water down to 10 ppm. Unfortunately, its high price tag is a tough pill to swallow for some. So, is there a cheaper alternative? Yes, of course but you need to know what is the trade off you will be making with the cheaper alternative. That is the intention of today’s review. Specifically, I will be reviewing a cheap countertop RO system from Reverse Osmosis Solutions.
- Water quality: The most important function of a RO system and one that this model falters in. On the TDS meter, the water filtered from this system comes in at around 25-30 ppm. That is better than your tap water but far below the APEC system and the under sink RO brands that I have reviewed here. My personal Home Master system yields around 5 ppm while the APEC countertop produces water in the 10 ppm range.
- Water wastage: The ratio of waste water to clean water for Reverses Osmosis Solutions is around 2.1:1. It is better than the usual under sink system but is a bit more wasteful than the APEC countertop which has a ratio of 2:1.
- Speed of filtration: As mentioned in the APEC review, that system needs about 5 minutes to produces 2 liters of clean water. This system, on the other hand, is pretty slow. 2 liters of water will require need about 8 to 10 minutes of waiting time.
- Customer Service: Despite its cheaper price, Reverse Osmosis Solutions does have a good customer service, according to reviewers at Amazon. They provide helpful installation advice if you are stuck in your installation process.
In summary, the Reverse Osmosis Solutions is probably the cheapest countertop reverse osmosis system in the market today. Unfortunately, the water quality isn’t the best when compared to what other RO system can do. Speed of filtration is also slower with more wastage of water. I will recommend buying the APEC RO-TOP if budget is not a big factor for you.
Crystal Quest CQE-CT-00142 Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System
This Crustal Quest countertop reverse osmosis system is actually a 10-stage system and it’s listed as 50 GPD which means it produces around 2 gallons of pure water per hour. It comes with all of the hardware that you’ll need for installation and it’s convenient to hook up to your current faucet. You do need to make sure that you have sufficient water pressure in order for the system to work properly. If you’re wanting to get 50 GPD, your water should have about 60 psi.
The unit measures 16”x9”x3” so it will take up quite a lot of cabinet space and won’t tuck out of the way easily, if that’s something that you’re hoping for.
Since we haven’t covered a 10-stage system, we’ll briefly go over the steps for you.
Stage 1: Water flows through the filter pads and particles such as silt, sediment, sand, rust and dirt are removed.
Stage 2: Water passes through the Granulated Activated Carbon and chemicals such as chlorine, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds are removed.
Stage 3: Water flows through another filter pad to reduce undesirable particles.
Stage 4: Water passes through the reverse osmosis membrane to remove inorganic chemicals and microorganisms.
Stage 5: Water flows through another filter to remove suspended particles such as sand, rust, and dirt.
Stage 6 & 7: Water flows through two beds of alloy in the oxidation/reduction process. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and aluminum are removed.
Stage 8: Water flows through the ion exchange resin to reduce other heavy metals and water hardness.
Stage 9: Water passes through granulated activated carbon.
Stage 10: Water flows through a post filtration pad to reduce again undesirable particles and flavors.
To maintain the purification process, you’ll need to replace your filters at least once a year. You should also remember to always use cold water. If properly installed and maintained, this system delivers high quality water that’s pure and great for drinking and cooking.
Home Master Jr. F2 Elite Sinktop Water Filter
The HomeMaster F2 is a 5-stage counter top system that removes up to 93% of dirt and rust as well as soluble metals. The compact design delivers pure water in an efficient and space-saving system. Installation is simple and only takes minutes.
The design makes it perfect for any sink top and the manufacturers even have a video to help with installation. The filters are replaceable and should be changed every three months or 500 gallons. This system uses an advanced multi-stage granular filter which uses the latest filtration medias. It treats chloramines and removes metals such as lead, copper, iron, and aluminum.
Being a smaller unit, it’s easy to transport making it more portable than other countertop systems.
iSpring #WKW21 3-Stage Counter-top Filter
This is a 3-stage system that generates clean water for drinking and cooking. It removes 95% of VOCs, TOCs, chlorine and other contaminates and can clean up to 500 gallons per day with a pressure measure of 50/60 psi.
Installation is quick and easy and can hook up to any faucet with the included connector. The system measures 11x5x12 inches so it’s suitable for a smaller countertop.You will need to replace the filters occasionally and can purchase them through the company or through Amazon. It’s also easy to see when the filters need to be replaced thanks to the clear design of the system.
Aquaphor DWM-101 Compact RO Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System
The compact system is very efficient even for low pressure flows. It removes harmful substances in the water as well as the hardness with minimal waste. It also adds desired minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
The system is extremely quiet even while operating and gives you pure water that’s 99% contamination free. The five liter tank takes 40 to 60 minutes to fill so you can have a large supply of great-tasting water quickly.
The manufacturer estimates that this system can save you 9 tons of water per year thanks to its efficient design. The filters do need replacement periodically and can be purchased separately through the company’s website or third-party vendors.
Nature’s Spring® Countertop RO Water Unit
This system is designed around a semi-permeable membrane so only pure water, oxygen and a minimal amount of minerals are allowed to pass through. It’s the same technology that’s been used for years to purify seawater into drinking water.
This is a 4-Stage system that will produce 35 gallons of pure water in one day. Lights on the system will remind you when to replace the filters which should be once a year.
This company is mostly known for their health products, however they’ve been working on developing this product for years now and it does hold some promise for the future.
Top Makers of Countertop Reverse Osmosis Systems
When it comes to choosing a system, one of the first considerations is which company to buy from. It’s best to choose a company that’s recognized by the FDA and has NSF certificates which ensures their systems are high quality and that the water produced is 100 percent safe for consuming.
APEC Water Systems– This USA-based company has been in the industry for over 17 years and specialized in high performance reverse osmosis systems. They’re actually the original manufacturer of the systems so they’re fairly knowledgeable on the subject. Their systems are certified by NSF and FDA approved. According to their website, their products are made to last 50 times longer than small faucet filters. Website: www.apecwaterbd.com
Crystal Quest Water Filters – This progressive company has over 30 years of experience in the manufacturing of water filtration products. They claim to deliver cost-effective and reliable systems for both residential and commercial customers worldwide. Their systems are all approved by the FDA and their products are certified by NSF.
Global Water Solutions – This company operates on a worldwide basis and supplies a large variety of products related to water filtration. They have extensive experience with water purification and have supplied to the U.S. Military and Special Operations for over fourteen years.
Puricom (Manufacture of Zip Products) – This global company was started in 1989 and since then they’ve worked hard to establish a good name in the water purification industry. Their 5-step “Puricom Production System” is their way of maintaining quality in their products starting at production. It includes tidiness, orderliness, standardized clean-up, cleanliness, and discipline. All of their products go through extensive testing and they’re certified by the FDA. They’ve also been recognized as a Master Water Specialist by the Water Quality Association.
Nature’s Sunshine (Manufacturer of Nature’s Spring) – This company has worked to become a global force for good healthy in twenty-six markets around the world over the past forty-two years. All of their products have been certified by the NSF and they’re produced entirely in-house with carefully selected raw materials to ensure purity and top quality and then rigorously tested.
Home Master – This company has been in business since 2002 and claims to stand alone I quality and performance of their filtration systems. They’re an American manufacturing company that has been certified by the NSH and they have an A+ rating with the BBB. Their mission is to provide water treatment equipment to residential, commercial, and municipal customers at a range of price points.
Aquaphor – This company was founded in 1992 with the sole intent to develop and produce water filters. They now have production and research sites in Estonia, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Quality control and efficient technologies are two of their main cornerstones and they’re what led to over 70 patents for the company. All of their filters are NSF and LGA certified.
iSpring Water Systems – This family owned company is located in Alpharetta, Georgia and specializes in reverse osmosis water filtrations systems. Their goal is to make high quality drinking water available for all households with solid quality and affordable pricing. All of their products are tested and certified through the Water Quality Association.
There isn’t much to complain about the APEC countertop RO system. It produces clean and tasty water without all the installation fuss. You have to pay a heavy price tag for it but I think it is value for money. If I was in the market for a counter top version, this will have been my top rated choice.