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APEC RO-90 Review

APEC RO-90 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

APEC RO-90 is a 5-stage reverse osmosis system that produces clean drinking water. The system has been in the market for quite some time and is quite reputable due to its impressive specs and results.  This is similar to the ROES-50 but has a capacity of 90 gallons per day instead of 50 gallons per day like the ROES-50.

APEC RO90 - Best RO Water Filter

Clean water is important to many people. Reverse osmosis is one of the best methods for removing contaminants from water. A list of contaminants can be found on our Types of Water Contamination page.

The APEC RO-90 has impressive user reviews on AMAZON and other consumer review sites. Below is a list of APEC RO-90 features, pros and cons and our thoughts on whether it is worth the money. Other RO filters are compared on our Best Reverse Osmosis Filter Systems page.


Reverse Osmosis Water

As mentioned above, APEC RO-90 is a reverse osmosis water filter system. It is a five-stage reverse osmosis system that eliminates 99% of contaminants such as arsenic, chlorine, fluoride, lead, copper, and selenium. Removing such contaminants eliminates risks of health related complications, improves taste and removes odor.

A good RO system should :

  • Filter almost all contaminants
  • Have at least 2 carbon filters before the RO filter
  • Feature high quality filters
  • Have a reasonable GPD (Gallons Per Day).

The APEC RO-90 satisfies all these standards. The system is easy to install and the company provides support throughout the lifetime of the product.

Product Overview

Reverse Osmosis Purified Water

APEC RO-90 produces bottled-water-quality water from your tap and in the largest quantities of any of the APEC RO Filters. The contaminant-free water can be used for drinking, cooking, making tea, coffee or ice cubes. The system has a very high rejection rate, making it highly efficient in the elimination of organic and inorganic contaminants.

Contaminants (Removes 97% or more)

  • Arsenic
  • Borium
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium (Hex)
  • Chromium (Tri)
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Lead
  • Selenium
  • Radium 226/228 (80%)

5 Stage Filter System

The system has five filters. The first filter is the sediment filter that removes silt, dust, rust and other large particles. It is essential for the prolonged life of the other filters. The next two filters are carbon block filters that remove chlorine, bad taste, and unpleasant odor. These filters also remove other chemicals including VOCs. The fourth filter is a high-quality reverse osmosis filter responsible for the removal of 99% of contaminants. The final filter is a Coconut Shell Refining Carbon filter that polishes the water by removing odor and improving taste. You may need to change the water filters after 1,000 gallons of water pass through the system.


APEC RO-90 has a capacity of 90 gallons per day. Its tank, which measures 11 × 11 × 15 inches, can hold 4 gallons at a time. The tank fills in about 2-3 hours, according to the manual. Any time the tank fills up the system ceases running. The water filtration system runs on water pressure alone, no power supply or fuel is needed.


APEC RO-90 can handle water with a pH value between 2 and 11 and temperature between 40 and 100° Fahrenheit. For efficient filtration of water, the feed water should have pressure above 40psi. The system’s dimensions are 16 × 5.25 × 17.5 inches (w × d × h). The dimensions allow installation under the sink. The fittings are high quality, with no extra clipping needed. The fittings are leak free, eliminating any need for leak detectors.


Advantages of the APEC RO-90 include;

  • Removes 99% of over 40 contaminants.
  • Cheap, when you consider the lifetime of the filter.
  • Long lasting filters. Even with heavy use they will last 6 months or longer before they need to be replaced.
  • Easy to install for someone with basic handyman knowledge. The system comes with a step-by-step user manual
  • Small size for installation under the sink or inside a kitchen cabinet
  • Comes with a lead-free, high-pressure faucet
  • The system is certified by the NSF and FDA
  • One year warranty
  • Customer support throughout the lifetime of the system. Support through live chat, email or telephone.
  • 100% built in the USA


Even an excellent product has a few drawbacks; These drawbacks are common for all RO filter systems.

  • The system has a rejection rate of 3:1. Every gallon of clean water results in 3 gallons of waste water. You can direct the waste water to a garden or reuse it in some other ways such as cleaning the house.
  • The system is not selective in the minerals it filters out.  Some important minerals in water such as calcium are lost.
  • There is no alert or any other way for knowing when the filters require changing. However, you can install a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter, which indicates the rejection rate. If the rejection rate falls, change the filters.
  • The system only comes with one option for the faucet, which requires mounting on the sink. This could be a problem for people who do not want to drill their sinks to accommodate the chrome faucet.


For less than $300, the APEC RO-90 delivers what the company promises. You will get quality and clean drinking water with this low maintenance water filter. We highly recommend this product.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System Benefits

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Systems

Drinking enough water is definitely one of the pillars of overall health. A reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration system is the most effective method for purifying water. RO systems ensure that the water coming from your main supply is clean and tastes great. Not only does reverse osmosis provide safe and effective water filtration, but these systems are easy to maintain.

A reverse osmosis water filter system eliminates the need for bottled water. Reducing the number of water bottles that end up in landfills is an easy way to improve our environment. A variety of Reverse Osmosis filtration options are available. Our Best Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Page will help you find one to suit your needs and budget.

How Does It Work?

An in-depth article can be found at the How Does Reverse Osmosis Work post. Reverse osmosis filtration works by pushing water through a membrane, kinda like how a coffee filter works. The semi-permeable membrane is a filter that can remove even the smallest particles.

Most systems also have extra filter options, such as using the reverse osmosis along with carbon filtration. These systems remove many dangerous chemicals such as chlorine, nitrates(salts), and fluoride.

Water Bacteria

The Benefits Of Using Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Systems

Anyone researching a water purifier plans to enjoy drinking water without impurities. There are many different types of water filters you can choose from. Water filter choices include water filter pitchers, faucet water filters, and reverse osmosis water filters.

Of these choices, a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system (RO system) offers a better level of water filtration than the other choices.

Benefits of RO Filters

Reverse Osmosis systems offer a range of benefits that help to increase their popularity, including:

  • Better Tasting Water: The Reverse Osmosis water filtration method helps to improve the taste of the tap water. It is able to get rid of contaminants that make your water taste and smell bad.
  • Eliminates the Need for Bottled Water: Reverse Osmosis systems deliver cleaner water than bottled water. We all know how expensive bottled water can be. Water bottles also have dangerous effects on the environment when they end up in landfills. Investing in a Reverse osmosis water purifier could save you a fortune in the long run. It also ensures gallons of pure water whenever you need it.
  • Easy to Maintain: The last thing most people want is an appliance that is going to need a lot of maintenance, both from a time and money perspective. Because a Reverse Osmosis water filter system is simple, cleaning and maintenance is fairly easy.
  • Effective Removal of Impurities:  Reverse Osmosis water filtration removes a more impurities from the water than other filters. This means you enjoy clean and great-tasting water. Some of the impurities this method can remove include bacteria, fluoride, and pesticides. The carbon filter in the Reverse Osmosis system can also remove chloramines and chlorine.
  • Reverse Osmosis Water TapVery Simple to Use: The way in which the filtration systems work couldn’t be easier. For example, if you want to enjoy clearer, purer drinking water at home, you simply use a Reverse Osmosis attachment on your tap. What started out as normal tap water will become purified drinking water by the time it hits your glass.

These are some of the benefits of using an RO system for your home or place of work.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Image

The Four Stages Of The Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Process

The Reverse Osmosis water filtration process usually involves four distinct stages. Think of each stage having smaller and smaller holes. Stage 1 and Stage 2 filters protect the RO membranes that could be damaged due to their delicate construction.

So, let’s take a look at the four-stage process:

  1. Stage One: This is the pre-filter stage. It uses a sediment filter to remove silt, sediment, and dirt. It stops the large debris from continuing to the next stages. However, the holes is this filter are fairly large so smaller contaminates continue to the next stages.
  2. Stage Two: This filter captures particles smaller than the sediment filter can stop. Certain contaminants, including chlorine, can damage the Reverse Osmosis membranes. These contaminants can also cause the water to taste and smell bad. Stage Two uses a carbon filter to remove the chlorine and other contaminants.
  3. Stage Three: Your Reverse Osmosis filtration system will contain the all-important Reverse Osmosis membrane. This is the smallest filter in the system. Although it is delicate, it performs superbly. It is a semi-permeable membrane with very small holes that is able to filter out the smallest contaminants.
  4. Stage Four: The final stage involves another carbon filter that can give the water a final cleaning to remove any remaining contaminants and impurities. You can then look forward to enjoying the odor-free and pure water.

Pumice Sponge Filter

What Can Affect The Performance Of The Reverse Osmosis Water System?

The process of Reverse Osmosis is simple yet effective at purifying water. However, some things can affect the performance. So, let’s take a look at the things that could influence the performance of the system:

  • Water Pressure: One thing that can affect the performance of the Reverse Osmosis drinking water system is the incoming water pressure. If the incoming water pressure is not high enough, the Reverse Osmosis system will not work properly.
  • TDS Levels in Water: The level of TDS (total dissolved solids) can impact the filter’s performance. Higher TDS (total dissolved solids) means there is more “gunk” in the tap water. The filter will have to work harder and won’t last as long.
  • Temperature of the Water: The temperature of the water affects performance. It takes longer for the system to filter cold water than warmer water.
  • Filter and Membrane Quality: The quality of the filters and membrane in your system will also affect performance, effectiveness, and water quality. Make sure you choose a quality filter when you are purchasing your system

If you do start experiencing issues, bear the above possibilities in mind.


A Reverse Osmosis water filtration system is a simple and affordable way to enjoy the health benefits of drinking water. You don’t have to worry about the cost and environmental impact of buying bottled water or investing in costly appliances.

This simple method will enable you to quickly purify your tap water so that it is safe and free from contaminants. With a good Reverse Osmosis water filtration system, you will notice the difference in quality when it comes to your drinking water.

What’s In Your Drinking Water

Communities magically get their water from a faucet. People don’t stop to think about what is in their drinking water. People don’t know what safeguards bring safe drinking water to you and your neighbors.

A community generally pulls water from water wells or from a surface water source such as a lake or river.  This water may have bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and other sources of contaminants that need to be removed. For more detailed information on contaminants and the types of water filters that remove them, visit our Types of Water Contaminants Removed by Reverse Osmosis page.

Most water systems in the United States are very safe and are monitored for water quality. Each year, the community water system is inspected.  The community water supply is required to provide a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) about the quality of the drinking water provided. The CCR report is due on July 1st of each year and is usually mailed out to each water customer. People living in apartments or other types of rentals may need to contact the owner or management company for their rental. Also, you can request a CCR from the water utility directly.

How to Read a CCR Water Quality Report

The CCR includes important information about your water quality that you should be aware of. This article will hit the parts of the report that you should pay attention to.

Section 1 – Introduction

Date & Conformity​

The introduction includes the date and a brief introduction stating how the utility conformed to the EPA rules.

This section has precautions for people who may be allergic to or have reactions from certain chemicals in the water. These chemicals are used to make the water safe for drinking. If you or a loved one is susceptible to chemicals, this section should be read carefully.
Water Source

Where doe the water come from? Does the water that the utility decontaminates come from a river or from a lake? This section answers these questions.

Section 2 – Assessment, Contaminants and Monitoring

Source Water Assessment and Availability

This describes the testing performed on the water source.  As discussed above, the water source describes where the water sample came from (rivers, lakes, wells, etc). In some cases, this section tells you what types of contaminants could be in the water and where these contaminants come from.

For example, the report may point out that rainwater runoff from a nearby feed lot may flush animal waste into the same lake that is the water source for the community. This section is important because it means the water can be decontaminated even when these risks are taken into account.
Why Are There Contaminants In My Drinking Water

This section ​describes the contaminants in the drinking water. In many cases, this seems very alarming but keep in mind that they need to spell out all the possible sources of contamination.

Monitoring and Reporting of Compliance Data Violations

This is a very important section because it spells out violations where the water supply did not pass the EPA regulations. Examples may include a contaminate that is above the EPA acceptable level such as a higher level of lead in the water. This section should also show how to fix the problem or how the problem is being addressed.

Section 3 – Lead, Nitrate and Water Quality Data Table

Additional Information about lead

This section will give an overview about the dangers of lead. Although this is initially alarming, it is included in every report.   The information about lead section doesn’t necessarily mean you have lead in your water. See the data table below to verify.

Additional Information about Nitrates

Similar to the lead information section, this section provides info on nitrates if the level is above 5mg/L.

Water Quality Data Table

This table describes he contaminants found during testing. An example table is shown below;. (courtesy of the CDC website).

CCR Water Quality
  • Contaminants – This lists all the contaminants found in the water. Note: The level of this contaminant may not be unsafe – check the Violation column before jumping to conclusions.
  • MCLG/MRDLG – MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goal) & MRDLG (Maximum Residual Disinfection Level Goal) – These are numbers that will trigger a violation if your water is above this number.
  • MCL, TT, or MRDL – MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level), TT (Treatment Technique) and MRDL (Maximum Residual Disinfection Level)
  • Your Water – This field shows the contamination level for your water source. If this number is larger than MCLG then this will be a violation.
  • Range – the range of the contaminants detected during different times of the year. The concentration levels may change during the year.
  • Sample Date – Date when the sample was collected for analysis.
  • Violation – If the level listed in the “Your Water” field is higher than the maximum level allowed by the EPA, this violation field will be Yes.
  • Typical Sources – This lists where the contaminants may be coming from.

​See an example of Section 3 on the CDC site.

Section 4 – Action Levels, Violations and Exceedances

CCR Water Quality
  • AL – Action Level – The level that will result in a violation.
  • # of Samples Exceeding AL – the number of samples that exceeded the AL.

​See an example of section 4 on the CDC site.

Water Filtering

For further information, take a look at our Choosing a Water Filter Guide page.  Hopefully this article was helpful for learning what is in your drinking water.

Best Water Softener Reviews

Soapy Hands From Soft Water

Rusty Buildup From Hard Water

It doesn’t matter where you live or how nice your home is, almost everyone has some degree of hard water. The good news is that hard water doesn’t typically cause any serious health hazards. The next question will be what is the best water softener? and this page is here to help you make that choice.

What’s So Great About Soft Water?

Hard water can be a complete nuisance. Think of all the ways you use water around your home.  You may have noticed some effects of hard water but didn’t know why or what was causing it.

Here is a short list of some ways hard water can affect your life.

  • It can make your laundry look dull and stiff after cleaning, or worse, it can leave yellow or gray streaks on your clothing.
  • Showering in hard water can leave your hair dull and flat and your skin dry and flaky.
  • Hard water also makes soap less effective. Whether it is laundry detergent, shampoo or hand soap you will end up using more of it and not getting the full benefits. Talk about a waste of money!
  • Dishes washed in hard water can leave a scum. If your drinking glasses are cloudy, you probably have hard water.

Luckily, there are ways to soften your water and stop the drain on your finances. Since hard water is such a common problem, there are many products on the market aimed at fixing it. The difficulty is determining which product will work best for your home.

Choosing the Best Water Softener

I’ve combed through many water softener reviews and picked the best water softeners to help you narrow down the choices.

Top Rated Water Softeners & Conditioners

Fleck 5600SXT

48K Grain

N/A (Conditioner)

10K Grain

N/A (Conditioner)

N/A (Conditioner)

170 lbs

9.3 lbs

9 lbs

83.2 lbs

1.4 lbs

10″ x10″ x 54″

27″ x 10″ x 8″

21″ x 9.5″ x 9″

9″ x 46″ x 54″

6.7″ x 1.6″ x 3.5

Price: $$

Price: $$

Price: $

Price: $$$$

Price: $

Whole House Water Softeners

​City water goes through a water purification process before it gets to you. However, the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water (hardness) can cause the problems discussed above. Also, many people use well water that is considered hard. For a more detailed description of water softening visit our “How Does A Water Softener Work?” page, read the Scientific American article,  or watch a video on the How Stuff Works website.


If you want the convenience of having one unit that prevents hard water in your entire home you should consider a whole house water softener.

A whole house water softener helps reduce and prevent scale build up in all your faucets. You get the benefit of cleaner showers and money saved on soaps and detergent!A whole house water softener also protects your pipes from the corrosion that builds up over time from the hard water minerals – saving you money on plumbing and repairs.There are two types of water softeners that you can buy for your home.

Different Types of Water Softeners

Salt Based Water Softener

One uses salt to replace the minerals in the hard water using ion exchange. Although these are great for softening your water, they are a bit of work because they typically use electricity and the salt has to be replaced periodically.

Salt-Free Water Softener

The other kind of water softener is a salt-free water softener also known as a water conditioner. A page comparing only saltless water softeners can be found on our Best Salt Free Water Softeners page

Instead of salt, these water softeners neutralize the minerals that make the water hard and turns them into crystals so that they cannot attach to the inside surface of the pipe. Some may find these less effective, but others prefer them because they don’t leave a slippery feeling on your skin.

Quick Introduction to Water Softeners Video

Top 5 Best Water Softeners

The Fleck 5600SXT is widely known as one of the top water softeners on the market. This unit uses salt to replace the minerals that cause hard water and is perfect for households of 3-6 people with moderate to very hard water.

The installation process takes about 2 hours and for most will not need a professional plumber. However, you will be inserting it into your water line so it does require some plumbing experience. At 147 lbs, it is quite heavy and you may need help during installation.

The Fleck 5600SXT uses a special meter based regeneration process so that it measures the water it uses and it only replaces the water when necessary, making it very efficient. This unit has a digital display that is easy to program and comes in two colors, almond or black.

Although this unit comes with a higher price tag, it has the best water softener reviews and it also comes with a 10 year warranty on the tank and a 5 year warranty on the electronics, so it is built to last.

Attributes at a Glance


  • Best Ratings
  • Auto Regeneration using water usage measurement (instead of time)


  • Heavy
  • Requires some plumbing experience to install

The Aquios AQFS-220 is one of the best salt-free water softeners available. Unlike the models that use salt, this unit uses no electricity and is low maintenance. Also, because it crystallizes the minerals instead of replacing them with salt, you don’t lose the benefits of having calcium and magnesium in your drinking water – you only get rid of the side effects of hard water scale.

However, since it is a conditioner instead of a softener, you probably won’t see a decrease in soap usage or get the “slick” feeling from soap.

In addition to softening your water, the Aquios FS-220 also filters out contaminants like chlorine and dirt.

This unit is good for the entire house and it won’t cause a loss in water pressure.

The filters are good for 40,000 gallons meaning that the only maintenance you will have is to change the filter once every 6 months.

Also, the housing and valve come with an amazing 20-year warranty.

The unit itself is easy to install, but if you prefer to hire a plumber for installation it will take them less than an hour.



  • Filter lasts for 6 months
  • Light weight makes installation easier


  • Not a traditional water softener – this is a water conditioner
  • Requires some plumbing experience to install

If you are looking for a great portable unit to use in your RV, this is the unit for you. Campsites are known for having either very hard water or well water, which can be awful for the pipes in your RV.

With this unit, you won’t have to compromise your health or spend your entire vacation cleaning the showers and sinks of limescale. It also comes with test strips so you can see with your own eyes that the system is effective.

However, with the benefits of having a portable unit, there are also some downsides. This unit must be manually regenerated, so there is more maintenance than a whole house unit.

To regenerate, these steps must be followed:

  • Unscrew the top
  • Add table salt into the cavity
  • Re-attach the top
  • Flush with water

It would be impossible to take a bulky whole house unit on the road, so for most the trade off is worth it. As long as you regenerate it on a regular basis, this is the best unit for the money.

Attributes at a Glance


  • Portable
  • Small size is great for RVs


  • Must be manually regenerated
  • Not as much capacity as other units

If you are looking for a salt free water conditioner solution to your hard water problems, you should consider the Aquasana EQ-1000.

If you are looking for a salt free water conditioner solution to your hard water problems, you should consider the Aquasana EQ-1000.

Although this unit is higher in price than some of the others, it is meant as a long-term solution to your hard water problems. It is low maintenance and only requires replacement of the main filtration tank every 10 years or 1,000,000 gallons.

The Aquasana EQ-1000 has 3 filtration systems to remove the greatest amount of contaminants possible. The filters on this unit remove 97% of chlorine and other microscopic impurities. Depending on your needs and the types of contaminants in your water, there are many different options to add on to this unit, including a UV filter.

The water softener itself is salt-free (a conditioner) and therefore doesn’t remove the minerals, but prevents scale buildup. Additionally, the Aquasana EQ-1000 does not use electricity or waste water from back drainage.

One of the downsides of this unit is that unless you are a skilled DIY person, you will likely need a professional plumber to install it. Also, reviews indicate the plastic connectors are prone to failure. Additionally, since it is a conditioner instead of a softener, you probably won’t see a decrease in soap usage or get the “slick” feeling from soap.

Attributes at a Glance

  • No Electricity Use
  • No waste water


  • Not a traditional water softener – this is a water conditioner
  • Requires some plumbing experience to install
  • Expensive – this is the most expensive unit on our page

One of the best lower cost models is the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler. This unit is a straightforward water descaler and it does its job well.

It is also one of the most lightweight units at 1.4 lbs. The Eddy Electronic Water Descaler does not use salt to soften the water. Instead it uses electro-magnetic waves which alter the property of the limescale so that it can no longer stick to hard surfaces like your shower walls and doors.

This means you get to keep the essential minerals like calcium and magnesium in your water, without the time consuming task of cleaning limescale deposits.

The company is so confident that you will like their product that they offer a 12 month money-back guarantee.

One thing to keep in mind if you are considering this unit is that although it works on almost any type of PVC water pipe, it does not work with lead and iron pipes.

Attributes at a Glance


  • Cheaper than other units
  • 12 month money-back guarantee
  • ​Does not require any plumbing experience
  • ​Lightweight


  • Not a traditional water softener – this is a water conditioner

Other Great Option

  • Easy to use electronic system
  • Status light
  • Salt Capacity of 230 lbs
  • Whole house water softener
  • ​45,100 Grains
  • ​12 PPM Iron Removal

  • Not a water softener but a whole house filter – an alternative.
  • Carbon filter
  • Whole House System
  • High Flow Rate
  • ​Materials are FDA CFR-21 compliant
  • Simple twist off filter change

  • Salt Based Water Softener
  • Easy to install
  • 34,000 Grains
  • ​Brine tank & filter combination
  • Small footprint
  • Reviews suggest this unit uses less salt than expected
  • ** Replacement parts are expensive

Reverse Osmosis Water Systems

Reverse Osmosis water systems are much more expensive ($3K and up) for full house water softening. Reverse Osmosis filters so many contaminants out that they typically drop the water pressure and waste a lot of water. A much better alternative is to use a water softener for your entire home and then add a Reverse Osmosis filter for just the areas that need purified drinking water.

If you have hard water and extra contaminants in your water supply, your water problems will be magnified. If this is the case, then you may want to consider adding a reverse osmosis water system after the water softener. The reverse osmosis (or RO) system will remove other contaminants from your drinking water.

Reverse osmosis water systems not only prevent scale build up, but they also reduce the amount of contaminants in your water supply – sometimes by as much as 99%. This option is incredibly important if someone in your household is allergic to chlorine and it can make a world of a difference.

Best Water Softener for Clean Water

Reverse osmosis water systems are also great if you have well water as their filters can improve the taste and smell of your water.

The only downside to reverse osmosis water systems is that they can be incredibly inefficient. Because the water goes through the filter and the contamination goes back down the drain, reverse osmosis water systems can discard up to 85% of the water coming from your pipes.

Considering how much water is wasted with an RO system, the whole house RO is not recommended. Whole house RO is particularly not recommended for well water systems.

Smaller Reverse Osmosis systems are usually just installed underneath the kitchen sink so that the water can easily be used from drinking and cooking. These small RO system won’t help with hard water in the shower which is what most people are looking for.

For more information on RO systems,  take look at our How Does Reverse Osmosis Work page.  For help selecting an RO system, take a look at our Best Reverse Osmosis Systems page.

Buying Guide

When investing in a water softener for your home there are many things you need to consider.

To determine which model is best for you it is important to identify what you need the unit to do (i.e. do you need a water softener only or do you also need a filter). Once you’ve identified this, you must also consider the following things:


There are a wide range of models out there and an even wider range in cost. If you are looking for a whole home unit, you may want to consider investing in a more expensive water softener. These are typically more permanent and they need less maintenance.

The salt based water softeners need salt to regenerate the softener. Sacks of salt pellets can typically be purchased at home & garden stores. One popular manufacturer of salt pellets is Morton Salt Company. I’ve had great luck with the System Saver Salt Pellets.

If you just want a basic model there are plenty of good options that cost less than the whole house units and still do a great job at softening your water.

Portable or Household

Are you looking for a unit that will soften or filter the water in your entire home or do you just need a localized unit?

If you don’t necessarily need to soften the water in your entire home, you may want to consider a shower head unit.

This will save on shower cleaning and prevent the dryness in your skin and hair caused by hard water.

If you are looking for a unit to take on the road in your RV there are options for that as well. We suggest the Watts RV Pro-1000 above. The disadvantage is that it will need to be recharged manually.

Environmental Effects

Another thing to consider is the environmental effect of each unit. The salt used to recharge the salt based water softeners will be hard on your septic. Many people prefer to drain this into a pond but the salt will kill the plant growth around it.

Most water softeners do not waste a lot of water, but if you are looking at a reverse osmosis water softener this will be a consideration.

Reverse osmosis units tend to waste a lot of water, but they are effective at softening and filtering hard and contaminated water so you will have to weigh the costs and benefits.

Salt vs. Salt-Free Water Softeners

Salt based water softeners tend to be better at softening the water, but there can be a lot of maintenance involved because the salt needs to be replaced periodically.

Salt-free units may not always be as affective as their salt based counterparts, but they are definitely less involved on your part.

Shower Head Water Softeners

Do you live in an apartment in which you don’t have the ability to change the entire water supply?

Do you like the calcium and magnesium in your drinking water and just don’t like the effects it has on your hair and skin?

In either of these cases, a shower head water softener may be the best choice for you. Most shower head water softeners also come with a filter to protect you from the hard water scale and the other contaminants that may be coming out of your pipes.

When deciding on a shower head water softener you can choose to get a filter that attaches to your existing shower head or you can get an all in one unit that includes a filter in the shower head.

The former may be the best choice for you if you have a shower head that you love, but you just don’t want the negative effects of hard water.

The later is more convenient if you just want one unit and you don’t want to deal with having many parts.


There are many things to consider when choosing a water softener for your home.

Depending on the extent of the contamination you may want to consider going a step further and getting one that also has a great water filter.

Whether you need to soften the water in your entire home or just your shower or sink, there are plenty of options out there.

A water softener can be a great investment. Despite the up front cost of the unit, it will save you time and money and keep your pipes clean of the scale build up that can cause corrosion.

How Does A Water Softener Work

Have you seen the terms “soft water” and “hard water” and wondered what they mean? Why do we need to soften the water used in our homes?

While other articles on this site, focus on picking the best water softener with specific reviews, this article will answer the question “how does a water softener work?”

To understand the concept of water softening and its advantages, we must first learn about the types of water. Depending upon the amount of dissolved minerals in our water, we have two types of water: hard water and soft water.

Water picks up minerals such as magnesium and calcium when it passes through the soil and rock underground. The amount of minerals in the water determines the hardness of water. If there is a high concentration of minerals in a gallon of water, it will be called hard water compared to a gallon of water with only a few minerals.

Hard water is not harmful but it is undesirable because it can clog pipes and reduce water flow.

Hard water also causes problems when used in daily tasks around the home such as cleaning dishes, bathing or laundry. Hard water does not form enough lather and usually leaves a sticky scum when it comes in contact with soap. This makes washing off soil and bacteria difficult, and leaves the skin and hair feeling dry and dull

Washing laundry with hard water doesn’t completely clean the clothes and can damage clothes in the long run. It is preferable that household water doesn’t contain these minerals. The process of removing these minerals is known as softening of water.

How does a water softener work?

The hardness of the water is due to minerals like calcium and magnesium saturating the water. The act of softening of water is removing these minerals.

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How Water Softeners Work

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Water softeners work on the principle of ion exchange where the harmful minerals are replaced with another mineral. In the case of salt based water softeners, these minerals are replaced with sodium.

A water softener is a mechanical device that is attached to the household water supply system where the water enters the home. After exiting the water softener, the soft water is then sent to the different water faucets in the home.

A water softener consists of a softener tank which has thousands of tiny resin beads or zeolites, which are basically polystyrene beads. The resins are coated with sodium positive ions. The resin beads attract and bind the magnesium and calcium ions present in hard water.

Calcium and magnesium have a positive charge and they switch positions with the sodium ions on the resin bead as water is pumped through the beads. Water coming into the softener has calcium and magnesium minerals. Water exiting the water softener will have sodium ions..

After some time, the beads are saturated with calcium and magnesium and the water exiting the water softener is hard again. To remove the calcium and magnesium from the resin beads, a regeneration cycle is required.

A strong saltwater (brine) solution (created using common salt in a separate brine tank) is used to wash away the minerals collected by the beads. Calcium and magnesium ions are displaced by the high concentration of sodium ions in brine solution, and the resin gets coated with new sodium ions. The salty rinse water, and the minerals are flushed down the drain and a cycle has been completed. This is known as recharging of the resin, and the process is repeated every few days.

Trigger a Recharge Cycle

The process of recharging can be controlled in a variety of ways.

The most common method is the use of electric timers which automatically flush away the rinse water and minerals through the drain on a fixed scheduled time.

The second method is to use an electronic device or mechanical meter to measure the amount of water usage. The device starts the regeneration process once the set amount of water has passed through the mineral tank.

Salt or salt less?

There are some arguments against salt-based water softeners.

The main argument is that minerals like magnesium and calcium are healthy and beneficial to us and they are being replaced by sodium. Sodium can be harmful to both our health as well as the environment.

Also, the cost of maintenance can be high, and the cost of buying salt must be factored into your budget.

Is A Salt-Less Water Softener Good?

Water softeners have been developed that don’t use salt at all. These are the salt-less water softeners. Technically they don’t soften the water because the hard minerals aren’t removed from the water. Instead they are crystallized so they don’t adhere to the surface of clothes or utensils.

The term “water conditioners” or “descalers” is used to describe these devices instead of water softeners. They use either magnets to “condition” the water.

Usually permanent magnets are fixed to either the inside or outside of water pipe. The magnetic field from the magnets crystallizes the minerals.

Another alternative is using an electromagnet – an electrical current carrying wire – around the water pipe which performs the same function as the magnets.

But Is a Salt-Less Water Softener Effective?

In a word, No.

Although salt-less water softeners are cheaper and easier to maintain than salt type water softeners, studies suggest they aren’t as effective.

Many people argue that the laundry is not as soft and the whites aren’t as white when salt-free water softeners are used.

The use of salt-less water softeners is limited. Salt based water softeners are much more popular than salt-less water softeners.


In many areas, water softeners are a necessity because of the issues caused by hard water if not treated properly.

We have discussed “how do water softeners work” with an overview of removing the problematic minerals magnesium and calcium that build up over time. This “scale” is what you’re trying to prevent.

These minerals don’t form lather easily and mess up the cleaning process.

More importantly, they cause buildup of scale in water pipes which if not treated at the earliest would become a huge issue in the long run. The replacement of pipes would result in huge costs and inconvenience.

It is important to invest in good water softening equipment and there are two main options available.

One uses salt such as sodium in the recharging cycle of resin beads.

The second is a salt-free water conditioner that is popular due to concerns related to sodium intake and is a cheaper alternative. It uses either magnetic or electric fields to neutralize the minerals. It also has a much simpler set-up and is less costly (no monthly salt purchases).

As is the case to every technology, there are pro and cons to every alternative.

Water softeners with salt are preferred because of their reliability and efficiency.

Ultimately it comes down to the preference of each individual but this article has given an overview of the different types of water softeners.  For a more detailed look at water softener options, look at our best water softeners reviews page.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work

If you’re here, you’re probably wondering “How does reverse osmosis work and what is special about it?” This post walks through what reverse osmosis (RO for short) is and how it works.

Water is an essential natural resource. In its natural state, water may be unusable – dirty or in some cases salty. For these reasons, dirty water has to go through a purification processes such as filtering to be safe to drink.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Systems ensure that you have clean and uncontaminated drinking water. For a comparison of different units, see our Best Reverse Osmosis Filters page.

Water is disinfected by most public water distribution authorities. Still, there is room for contamination when the water is in transit to your home. To ensure you are drinking 100% safe water, consider installing an RO system in your home.

To learn how reverse osmosis works, keep reading…

What is reverse osmosis?

Reverse Osmosis is a process of removing contaminants, such as dirt and minerals from water by passing water under pressure through a filter (called a semi-permeable membrane).

Think of the semi-permeable membrane like a piece of skin. Not much can filter through the skin without pressure.

The RO process results in pure water on one side of the membrane and the impurities (minerals, bacteria, etc) on the other side of the membrane.


Yep, that’s a lot of technical talk. Basically we’re forcing water through a filter that has small holes that only the water can pass through. The impurities can’t go through so they’ll stay on the other side of the filter.  These impurities will need to go somewhere so they’re typically flushed down the drain as waste.

The principle of reverse osmosis

The principle of osmosis states that molecules will migrate from regions of low concentration to regions of high concentration through a semi-permeable membrane.

Osmosis explains the absorption of water by plants via the roots.

Um, yeah. But that is osmosis, not reverse osmosis…

Reverse Osmosis or RO is the opposite of osmosis.

In RO the  membrane filter allows water molecules to pass through but prevents the mineral and other solvents molecules from passing through. But this process cannot occur naturally.

The water has to be forced through the reverse osmosis membrane. The pressure of the water has to be higher than the pressure resulting from the naturally occurring osmosis.

How does Reverse Osmosis Work in the Home?

The typical residential Point-of-Use Reverse Osmosis system has four stages. Four stages (or sets of filters) are responsible for the removal of 99% of more than 65 possible contaminants in water.

Some of the contaminants include fluoride, chlorine, lead and other dissolved salts.

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How RO Water Filters Work

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Stage 1 – The Sediment Filter

Made of Melt Blown polypropylene, the sediment filter removes dirt, silt, rust and large sediments of up to 5 microns. This filter is crucial in removing sediments that would otherwise damage or plug up the more delicate filters that follow.

Stage 2 – The Carbon Filter

Chlorine, a common compound in water, will go through the sediment filter. More importantly, chlorine damages the reverse osmosis filter. So we need to filter that out before it gets to the RO membrane. That’s the job of the carbon filter which has slightly smaller holes than the sediment filter.

Chlorine also affects the taste and odor of water.  The carbon filter isolates chlorine, reduces the amount of lead and removes harmful bacteria such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Stage 3 – The Reverse Osmosis Membrane

The Reverse Osmosis membrane handles the isolation of 99% of contaminants. This filter allows water to pass through and stops contaminants as small as 0.0001 microns.

Stage 4 – The Post Carbon Filter

The post carbon filter is the final stage of the water filter. This carbon filter will remove any remaining odor and improves the taste of the final drinking water.

What does Reverse Osmosis remove from water?

As mentioned earlier the process removes contaminants. These contaminants are both organic and inorganic impurities.

Common water contaminants include:

  • Chlorine
  • Chromium
  • Asbestos
  • Arsenic
  • Fluoride
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • THMs (TriHaloMethanes)
  • Harmful bacteria such as Giardia and Cryptsporidium.

Reverse Osmosis systems also remove odor and bad taste.

Factors that will change the effectiveness of the RO system

  • The pressure of the tap water. Normally, the pressure of tap water is 40-80psi. Pressure lower than that will reduce the effectiveness of the system. Pressure is needed to force the water through the RO filter.
  • The contaminants in the tap water. Some types of impurities reduce the effectiveness of the system. Also, the number of different contaminants determine the effectiveness of the system. Over time the filters will get plugged up and need to be replaced.
  • The quality of the membranes and filters. Always ensure your RO system is using the best filters in the market.
  • The temperature of the water. The temperature is not a big issue if the pressure is okay. However, cold water tends to filter out slower than hot water.

Things to consider when purchasing a residential RO system

Reverse Osmosis systems differ so when buying such a system consider these factors:

  • Number of filters – most systems have four filters (discussed above). Some systems have five filters. The extra stage is usually a carbon pre-filter that comes before the water passes through the reverse osmosis filter (so there are 2 carbon filters before the RO membrane).
  • Quality of the filters and other components – a little research will help here. Check the reviews of the RO water filter system. Also, the costlier a system the more likely it has quality components.
  • Input Water Quality – If the input water is very contaminated, the RO filter will not last as long. Also, hard water tends to plug up RO filters. Consider softening the water before reverse osmosis filter.  When considering water softeners, our Best Water Softeners Reviews page is helpful.
  • Gallons per day – RO systems have a specified amount of water they can produce each day. A huge household uses many gallons per day, so choose carefully.

Summary of RO system benefits

This article answers the question, how does Reverse Osmosis work? Now that you understand the inner workings behind these filters, consider going to our reverse osmosis systems reviews page to see RO Water filter comparisons and reviews.

Drinking contaminant-free water reduces the risk of water-borne diseases.  Water purified through an RO system is safe for whatever purpose, be it drinking, cooking or washing.

Priced at less than $1000 and in many cases below $500, RO systems are affordable and worthwhile investments.

Types of Water Filters

Coffee Filter

Why you should replace Water Bottles with Water Filters

In 2015, US families bought over 50 billion water bottles because most people don’t think about using water filters. Many people spend money on water bottles instead of using water filters. Although water bottles seem cheap, in the long run using one of these types of water filters is more affordable. Using water filters also reduces the amount of plastics in our landfills.

Research has shown that some water bottles can still contain foreign contaminants (such as BPA) which can have a negative health effects.

Even more alarming – a staggering 25% of bottled water produced may not go through the full filtration process.

In this case, it is no better than tap water.

Most people have no clue where to start when buying water filters – there are so many different categories.

So we are going to discuss the best water filters. We start with the 5 types of Water Filtration that are available on the market and why you should stop using water bottles.

1 – Water Pitcher Filters

Water filter pitchers work by filling a small tank at the top of the pitcher with tap water. The water slowly drips into the bottom tank through a filter. Typical filters last around 2 months.

*Please note – no Water Pitcher Filters can remove fluoride. It is better to choose a reverse osmosis water filter if you are worried about fluoride.

We have an entire post with a detailed look at choices for the best water filter pitcher comparison.

Mavea - Best Water Filter Pitcher

The MAVEA 1005722 is one of the leading brands when it comes to Water Pitcher Filters. This water filter uses silver to prevent any foreign bacteria from entering the water. It comes with a “smart meter” which can measure water volume and notify you when the filter needs to be replaced.


  • Very Affordable
  • No installation – no plumbing
  • Uses BPA-free plastic
  • Filters can last for up to 6 months
  • Easy to maintain
  • Fresh tasting water

Customer Ratings

Many customers have compared MAVEA to “Brita Everyday”.  MAVEA is certified to remove a lot more impurities than Brita.  It is easy to refill and for the price is definitely worth the investment. 65% of customers have rated this product 5-stars.


Priced below $50, the MAVEA is affordable and the filters are made to last 6 months. This is a bargain with its 9-glass water capacity

Check the Price On Amazon

2 – Faucet Filters

Faucet water filters attach to the water tap in the kitchen. They normally have a way to select whether the water coming out of the faucet is filtered or not. These filters last about 2 months as well.

*Please note – no Faucet Filters can remove fluoride. It is better to choose a reverse osmosis filter if you are worried about fluoride.

We have an entire post with a detailed look at choices for the best faucet water filter comparison.

Pur Water Faucet Filter

PUR Faucet filter is the best-rated filter on Amazon. It is made to remove 70+ foreign contaminants from the water we drink every day.

It comes with an electronic filter life reader so you will be able to check when the filter needs to be replaced. PUR is a combination faucet filter and carbon filter.


  • Affordable
  • Easy Installation
  • Filters can last for up to 2-3 months
  • 360 swivel to fit in most sinks

Customer Ratings

40% of customers have rated this product 5-star. This is because of the filter life in most cases. If you don’t mind upgrading your filter every 2-3 months then a PUR filter can save a lot of money.


It is certified to remove 70+ contaminants (including more than 95% of lead and mercury) which is much better than bottled water.

3 – Carbon Filters

Carbon filters are generally found on the water line going to the ice maker in typical refrigerators. They are the best water filter if you are looking for small size and the ability to tuck it out-of-sight. Carbon filters are also the second stage of  an RO water filter assembly.

In Line Water Filter

Nahla Pure is the best carbon filter to purchase. It filters the kitchen sink water. It can be easily installed under the kitchen sink with normal household tools.

This filter is installed directly to the standard 3/8″ cold water line.


  • Affordable
  • Smaller in size than RO Filters.
  • Filters can last up to 6 months or more
  • Fresh tasting water

Customer Ratings

Again, the rating for this product is 81% 5-star on Amazon. Customers have argued that the carbon filter is the game-changer for this filter. It removes the chlorine taste better than any other filter. There are a number of complaints about the filter having the wrong parts.


4 – Reverse Osmosis Water Filters

Reverse Osmosis (or RO filters) are extremely good at removing most impurities. RO systems usually are 3 or 4 stages with each stage a filter with smaller holes for catching impurities. The last stage is a RO filter. Since there are a number of stages, RO water filter systems are more expensive as a result.

We have an entire post with a detailed look at choices for the best reverse osmosis system comparison.

If you’d like to learn more about RO water filters, try looking at our “how does reverse osmosis work​” webpage.

APEC is the leading brand for RO filters. They use a 4-stage filtration process.

Stage 1: Sediment Filter: Entry water is filtered through a polypropylene filter to remove any dust or rust. This stage filters out the larger particles from the water.

Stage 2: Carbon Filter. A carbon filter block removes harmful chemicals in tap water and removes the chlorine which can damage the R.O. filter.

Stage 3: Reverse Osmosis. The reverse osmosis membrane removes 99% of the foreign bacteria and other impurities such as arsenic, lead and fluoride.

Stage 4: Carbon Filter. In the last stage, the coconut carbon filter removes any remaining bad odor and taste.


  • Reverse Osmosis filters remove 99% of foreign contaminants in the water we drink.
  • Filters up to 50 gallons per day
  • “Ultra-fresh taste” from purified water
  • Filters can last for up to 12 months
  • Easy to maintain

Customer Ratings

On Amazon, 92% of people have given APEC 5 stars, which is rare on any product. This definitely shows that this product has a large customer following.  Customer reviews show that this filter can last a year if well cleaned and looked after.


The filter lasts for a full 12 months – which is incredible in comparison to some filters that breakdown quickly.

It is also easy to maintain and still works out a lot cheaper than water bottles – an average family spends $346 per year on bottled water.

5 – Distilled Water

Water distillers work by boiling the water, capturing the pure steam, and cooling and condensing it. The impurities are left behind while the steam condenses into purified water – like rain.

MegaHome Water DistillerThe best water distiller to buy would be “MegaHome Countertop Water Distiller” as shown by the large number of positive reviews.

It distills 1 gallon every 6 hours which is why this isn’t a more popular choice for water purification.


  • Stainless steel and glass lined
  • Easy to maintain
  • 1 Gallon
  • Removes 99.6% of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) with its distillation process

Customer Ratings

There is a 78% 5-star rating on Amazon, which is pretty good. There are a lot of happy customers.

Most complaints are about the taste. Weird tasting water is a common complaint about distilled water. Adding in “good” minerals may help add good taste but that defeats the purpose.


Water Distillers are more expensive than Water Pitchers and Faucet Filters but they claim to remove more contaminants (TDS).

Our Recommendation

Out of all the types of water filters, we would recommend Reverse Osmosis water filter systems as the best water filter to invest in.

Not only are nearly 100% of customers happy but it also is a long-term investment. The product lasts a lot longer than other filters and is easy to maintain.

  • It can be installed underneath the sink.
  • Can filter a large amount of water per day (50 to 90 gallons per day)
  • RO Filtering removes the worst contaminants.

Reverse Osmosis Filters are popular due to the incredible filtering qualities. They have been proven to remove a lot more contaminants than any other water filter.

APEC’s purer, tastier filtered water will definitely save you money in the long run when compared to water bottles.

It is worth scrapping water bottles and investing in water filters.

Types of Water Contaminants

Is tap water really safe for drinking? Well, that is a controversial question. The truth is that municipalities do their best to ensure that they provide clean water. Unfortunately, the water they deliver is not clean enough.  With a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system in place you can be certain that the water you drink is free of most types of contaminants.

The process of reverse osmosis involves water being filtered through a semi-permeable membrane (see our page for additional information about how a RO filter works). A typical RO system has four filters (the sediment filter, carbon filter, the reverse osmosis filter, and the post carbon filter). Each filter is responsible for removing certain types of contaminants.

Types of water contaminants

Generally, RO systems get rid of contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and chemicals. The list below shows the types of chemicals removed and the percentage of effectiveness of the system in their removal.

Contaminant % of removal Contaminant % of removal
Aluminum 97-98% Nickel 97-99%
Ammonium 85-95% Nitrate 93-96%
Arsenic 94-96% Phosphate 99+%
Bacteria 99+% Polyphosphate 98%-99%
Bicarbonate 95-96% Potassium 92%
Boron 50-70% Pyrogen 99+%
Bromide 93-96% Radioactivity 95-98%
Cadmium 96-98% Radium 97%
Calcium 96-98% Selenium 97%
Chloride 94-95% Silica 85-90%
Chromate 90-98% Silicate 95-97%
Chromium 96-98% Silver 95-97%
Copper 97-99% Sodium 92-98%
Cyanide 90-95% Sulphate 96-98%
Ferro cyanide 98-99% Sulphite 96-98%
Iron 98-99% Zinc 98-99%
Lead 96-98% Insecticides 97%
Magnesium 96-98% Detergents 97%
Manganese 96-98% Herbicides 97%
Mercury 96-98% Virus 99+%
Total Dissolved Solids TDS 95-99% Hardness 93-97%

The percentages indicated above are generally accepted in the industry. However, an RO system could perform better or worse than the figures noted above because other factors could affect the filtration process. Such factors include the PH, temperature, pressure and chemicals in the water.  The above chart is handy for comparing the Consumer Confidence Report that details what’s in your water to potential pollutants.

The filtration process

Reverse Osmosis is primarily based on the physical process of filtration. Filtration occurs when matter (gas, liquid or solid), passes through the pores of a medium or an absorbent material. Where water contaminants are concerned, filtration is dependent on the size of contaminant, and where applicable, its charge. To increase the effectiveness of the RO filters, pretreatment of drinking water may be necessary. The pretreatment might involve adjusting the pH, adding coagulants in the water or altering the chlorine levels.

There are three types of filtration described by the CDC and understanding them will give you a clearer idea of how a good water filtration system works.

  • Water first goes through the microfiltration to remove large particles that would otherwise destroy delicate filters such as the RO membrane.
  • The 2nd stage is ultrafiltration to trap larger chemicals, bacteria and protozoa. In many systems, there may be 2 of these filters.
  • The last filtration stage is nanofiltration or Reverse Osmosis (of these 2 choices, reverse osmosis is better) which gets rid of most chemicals to produce safe drinking water.

1. Microfiltration

Microfiltration filters have a pore size of about 0.1 microns. Some microfiltration filters have a pore size as small as 0.05 microns while others have a pore as big as 5 microns. Due to the pore size, microfiltration is effective in removing some contaminates as show below:

  • Yes – Filter is effective in removing protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium
  • Maybe – Filter is moderately effective at removing bacteria such as E. Coli and Salmonella
  • No – Filter is not effective at removing viruses such as Rotavirus or Hepatitus A.
  • No – Filter is not effective at removing chemicals

2. Ultrafiltration

Ultrafiltration filters have a pore size of about 0.003 microns with a range from 0.003 on the lower scale to 0.05 on the upper scale. The Molecular Weight Cut Off (MWCO) on these filters is between 13,000 and 200,000 Daltons. In the RO system, the ultrafiltration filter is the carbon filter.

  • Yes – Filter is effective in removing protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium
  • Yes – Filter is effective in removing bacteria such as E. Coli, Salmonella, and Shigella.
  • Maybe – Filter is moderately effective at removing viruses such as Rotavirus and Hepatitus A.
  • No – Filter is not effective at removing chemicals

3. Nanofiltration

Nanofiltration filters have even smaller pores with pore sizes between 0.001 microns and 0.01 micron. The MWCO of these filters is between 200 and 2,000 Daltons. Like the ultrafiltration filters, the effectiveness of nanofilters is affected by the size of particles, the weight, and the charge. Nanofilters aren’t typically used in a RO filter because the even smaller pores of the Reverse Osmosis membrane are used.

  • Yes – Filter is effective in removing protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium
  • Yes – Filter is effective in removing bacteria such as E. Coli, Salmonella, and Shigella.
  • Yes – Filter is effective at removing viruses such as Rotavirus and Hepatitus A.
  • Maybe – Filter is moderately effective at removing chemicals such as metal ions of copper, chromium, or lead.

4. Reverse Osmosis Membrane

Reverse Osmosis membrane filters have the smallest pores at about 0.0001 micron or 0.1nm. These filters are best at filtering out ions and molecules that the other filters can’t.  In the RO system, the RO membrane filter is the last stage and filters out the smallest particles.

  • Yes – Filter is effective in removing protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium
  • Yes – Filter is effective in removing bacteria such as E. Coli, Salmonella, and Shigella.
  • Yes – Filter is effective at removing viruses such as Rotavirus and Hepatitus A.
  • Yes – Filter is effective at removing chemicals such as chromium, copper, sodium, and lead.


RO systems are cheap and easy to install. Also, these systems do not require lots of maintenance but they do require filter changes are regular intervals – typically every 6 months to a year depending upon the amount of contaminants in the water.

Take a look at our Reverse Osmosis Filter Reviews page to see our top picks for RO Filter systems.​