Did you know that tap water in the United States may contain harmful minerals and bacteria?
Fortunately, an easy and convenient filtration system to remove harmful pathogens exists, and is available to anyone. You can even install it directly under your sink, which means no more worrying about filling up water pitchers.
It’s called an under sink water filter. Most of these systems are reverse osmosis systems, which are the best water filtration systems on the planet. We have also included one under sink water filter that is not a reverse osmosis system, but still performs decently.
This article will clear up some of the misunderstandings with water filtration. It will also cover the benefits of filtering your water, a review of the best water filters, what to look for in a water filter, and answer all the common questions you have about water filtration.
Benefits of Filtering Your Water
Filtering your water has so many advantages. Honestly, it’s to the point that there isn’t a good reason not to filter your water. It’s especially important to use a home water filter if you live in a region that has poor water quality.
#1 Filter Removes Harmful Minerals
Water contains harmful minerals. This is true everywhere in the world, even in the United States. In fact, water municipalities allow small amounts of arsenic, aluminum, and chlorine in tap water. All of those minerals have adverse effects on the human body.
Arsenic, in particular, is deadly in relatively small doses. Plus, it takes a very long time for arsenic to filter out of the body. This means that it can build up to toxic amounts over a few years of small exposure.
In addition to those compounds, many countries (including the US) add fluoride to the water to improve dental health. However, there is no denying that it can cause other health problems, such as fluorosis, in larger amounts.
Fortunately, reverse osmosis systems remove almost everything in the water. They remove so many foreign objects from the water that it even affects the taste.
Other water filtration techniques work almost as well, but can still leave compounds in the water that will affect the taste.
#2 Water Tastes Better
As mentioned earlier, filtered water will alter the taste of water. This is especially apparent if you live in an area that has heavily chlorinated water, or if you use well water.
Chlorinated water tastes bad and isn’t healthy. No one wants to drink water that tastes like a swimming pool. Well water in most parts of the country also has a tendency to taste strange due to sulfur or other dissolved minerals from runoff.
Reverse osmosis filtration removes all of those foreign minerals, which makes the water taste better.
#3 More Affordable Than Bottled Water
Many people prefer to purchase bottled water instead of filtering their water. All you have to do is purchase the bottles from the store.
Unfortunately, bottled water has a few hidden disadvantages. The first one, and a major one, is that the cost of purchasing bottles adds up over time. The other problem with bottled water is that it causes plastic pollution. Pollution is especially apparent when you purchase smaller disposable water bottles.
Finally, bottled water in the United States has less quality regulations than tap water. In fact, bottled water often tests worse than tap water. You’re often better off using tap water than bottled. Though using a water filter is obviously the best option.
Water Filter Systems Comparison
tested and certified by WQA
16.9 x 16.5 x 16.3 inches
First on our list is the Home Master TMAFC-ERP-L, which is an under sink reverse osmosis water filter. We like this water filter for the following reasons:
- Nickel faucet looks luxurious
- Refrigerator connection kit
- Permeate pump reduces waste water production to 1:1
- 5 year warranty AND made in the US
- Adds magnesium and calcium to drinking water
Those are just some of the features that we like in the Home Master. Other nice features include a 7-stage filtration process that removes 99% of contaminants. Those contaminants include useful ones like magnesium and calcium, so the system automatically adds those back to the water after filtration.
The lack of waste water is where this system really shines though. Most units produce a lot of waste water. Some produce four parts waste water for ever one part filtered water.
The Home Master is different. It produces one part waste water for every one part filtered water.
That ratio is insanely good. In fact, it’s the best ratio of any water filter on this list. This feature alone makes this filter much cheaper to operate than other reverse osmosis filters.
The features included in the Home Master really make it stand out compared to other comparable units. 7-stage filtration removes most contaminants, and the efficient membrane produces very little waste water. You even get additional healthy minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, added to the water.
The only two downsides are the higher upfront cost and large size. Though the filter will pay for itself due to the lack of waste water and slightly longer filter life. We recommend this filter if you have the budget for a higher priced water filter. You also need the space under your sink. Remember, seven water filters takes up a lot of space.
tested and certified by WQA
Our next choice of water filter is the APEC RO-90 reverse osmosis filter. This filter costs less than the Home Master, but it still has many features that we like. Here are some of our favorite features:
- Designer faucet included
- High water pressure — 85 PSI
- Filters last one year
- Five filtration stages
As you can see, the features listed above are somewhat similar to the Home Master. The only major difference is that this filter only has five filtration stages and it doesn’t add magnesium and calcium.
Fortunately, the difference between five filters and seven filters is not particularly significant. In fact, some people prefer it since it means less filters to change.
We really like the long filter life and high water pressure on this filter. 85 PSI is a lot of pressure, so you don’t have to worry about having a weak stream. You can also run it somewhat far with all that pressure, but it shouldn’t be necessary since this filter should fit nicely under your sink. It’s not recommended though.
As for the filter life, APEC claims that you will have to change the filter once per year. We find this slightly optimistic, but the filters do last a long time. It really depends on how often you use them.
We have nothing to complain about at this price point. It would be nice if the filter automatically added calcium and magnesium. However, it’s not particularly important in the grand scheme of things. If you want a reverse osmosis system that works and have a medium budget, then we recommend the APEC RO-90.
The APEC Essence ROES-50 is one of the most affordable reverse osmosis filters on the market. It’s definitely the most affordable filter that APEC, a trusted brand, produces. Again, don’t fear purchasing a budget filter. The ROES-50 still has all the basic features that you need in a water filter. Here are some of those features:
- High production — 50 gallons per day
- 2 year manufacturer’s warranty (with registration)
- Quick connect fittings make installation very easy
As you can see, this filter has all the basic features that you need in a reverse osmosis system. It even has five filtration stages like the slightly more expensive RO-90. It has other features that make it suitable for those on a smaller budget.
First, reviewers have indicated that the filter will last a family of four about a year, which makes it great if you’re on a tighter budget. The one downside is that the filter doesn’t have a clear housing, so you have to replace the filter once you notice the taste starting to differ. Clear housings have a tendency to break more easily, which means that it’s probably a good thing the filter does not have a clear housing.
Next, the installation on this system is really easy by reverse osmosis filter standards. The quick connect fittings mean you don’t have to mess around with wrenches. The only difficult part is installing the faucet if you don’t have a hole drilled in your sink.
All in all, this filter works great for a family on a smaller budget. It’s simply a reverse osmosis filter without all the extra features like a leak detector or calcium supplements. If you don’t mind the lack of extra features, then you’ll love the Essence ROES-50.
The iSpring RCC7AK is another reverse osmosis system in the budget category. However, this one has a few extra features that you don’t normally find at this price range. Some of them include the following:
- Alkaline remineralizer, which makes the water taste better (less acidic)
- Quick fitting connectors make installation easy
- Clear first stage filter housing
As you can see, the iSpring has features normally found in more expensive systems. This is especially true with the alkaline remineralizer included in this system. The remineralizer makes the water less acidic, which is great since acidic water has a tendency to taste bad.
Quick fitting connectors are also included. They’re a common feature on all the filters listed, but one that is always appreciated during installation. The one feature that we don’t like is the clear filter housing. It does make knowing when to change the filter much easier. However, a clear housing is weaker, so be careful not to break it when changing the filter.
We don’t have any major complaints about the iFilter, but we do have some minor complaints. First, the clear plastic housing will weaken over time. The benefit of the clear housing is that it’s easy to monitor the filter, so it’s just a trade-off. Our other minor complaint is that this filter uses PVC pipes.
Despite these minor complaints; we still recommend this filter due to its affordable price. Plus, the alkaline remineralizer is a really nice feature at this price point.
16.9 x 16.5 x 16.3 inches
The final water filter on our list is the NU Aqua Platinum Series filter, which uses reverse osmosis. NU Aqua isn’t a well-known brand, but they do make a quality reverse osmosis filter at the best price on our list. Here are some of the features that make this filter great:
- Excellent price
- 100 gallons per day (GPD) flow rate
- 5 year manufacturer’s warranty
- 4 gallon reservoir
The NU Aqua basically has the minimum features that you want in a reverse osmosis system. This is fine. You aren’t going to get fancy features at this price.
100 gallons per day flow rate is extremely good though. In fact, it’s much higher than many of the higher priced alternatives. Plus, the four gallon reservoir means you will likely never run out of water — 4 gallons is a lot of water for a day.
The five year manufacturer’s warranty is also great. It somewhat reduces the risk you get when purchasing a budget friendly water filter too. NU Aqua has a great customer reputation.
Finally, NU Aqua has color coded tubing, which makes installation extremely easy. All you have to do is match the pipes to the proper filter. Also included is an installation DVD with step-by-step directions and quick fitting connectors. You can easily install this system yourself.
It’s easy to install, affordable, and has a fast flow rate. While it doesn’t have all the fancy features of the high-end models; we still like it because of the price. The five year warranty also quells some of the fears that many have about such an affordable home water filter.
The Woder 10K is the first, and only, water filter on this list that does not use reverse osmosis. Instead, the Woder uses a charcoal filter combined with a proprietary filtration method. The proprietary filtration method uses a special technique that attracts contaminants you don’t want (chlorine, arsenic, etc.) while leaving the minerals that are healthy for you (magnesium, calcium etc.).
This filter has other features that we like. Here is a quick overview of some of them:
- 3 year, or 10,000 gallon, filter life
- 2 gallons per minute (GPM) flow rate at 65 PSI
- The compact size makes it easy to install
The three features listed above add to the overall appeal of this filter. You won’t find a water filter that lasts three years while removing so many contaminants. It’s not common.
A flow rate of two gallons per minute is also nice. It’s so much that you probably won’t notice that you even have a filter. The fast flow rate combined with the small size allows you to put this filter in your refrigerator.
That’s a feature that we really like. A reverse osmosis system simply won’t work, nor will it fit, in the refrigerator. Placing the filter in the refrigerator cools the water, which increases the filter life.
This water filter does have a few issues compared to the reverse osmosis systems. First, this filter does not remove everything from water. Stuff like fluoride will still remain in the water. The other disadvantage is that this filter does not work great with well water or warm water.
Overall, we like this filter as a good alternative to a reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis obviously does a better job filtering water. However, the Woder does a great job when you factor in price and the filtration method.
This filter is great if you have a smaller budget or you have fairly clean tap water. Remember, this filter is not designed to work with well water.
Tips for Installing a Home Water Filter
Installing a home water filter under your sink isn’t too difficult. The exact instructions vary depending on the type of water filter you have purchased. Though they all are somewhat similar.
Here are some general tips to know before installing your home water filter.
1. Make sure that you can add the faucet to your sink.
All the under sink water filters include a small faucet. You must ensure that your sink has a hole for that faucet. Otherwise you must drill a hole for the faucet, which isn’t difficult.
2. Measure the space under the sink.
Make sure that you have enough room under your sink for the filter. Remember, some of these filters can get big. Many modern sinks don’t have enough room for the larger reverse osmosis systems.
3. Check Your Pipes.
Check your pipes if you have an older home. Older homes often have old and brittle pipes, which are more prone to breaking during installation. You can always call a plumber to install the system if you have brittle pipes.
Does reverse osmosis filtration remove fluoride? - Yes. Reverse osmosis will remove fluoride.
Does reverse osmosis use a lot of water? - Yes. The process of reverse osmosis requires more water, sometimes significantly more water than it outputs. This is known as the efficiency ratio.
Can I use reverse osmosis for my entire home? - No. It isn’t efficient enough to use for your entire home. Most people place the water filter under the sink. They will then use it for drinking and cleaning. You can also use it with your ice machine.
What doesn’t reverse osmosis remove? - Reverse osmosis removes all the contaminants found in tap water. It’s just how reverse osmosis works.
How does reverse osmosis work? - Basically, the dirty water gets pushed through a membrane. This tiny membrane will separate the water molecules from the contaminants.
The method is extremely effective at removing contaminants. However, it can use up an extraordinary amount of water.
All of the home water filters listed above will work perfectly fine for your home. The exact one that is right for you depends on your water quality and how much filtration you want.
You definitely want filtered water in your home. Tap water, even in cities with good tap water, has so many contaminants in it.
If you want maximum filtration, then we recommend the Home Master. The seven filters will filter absolutely everything out of your water, and the remineralizer will add minerals that you need into the water. You don’t have to worry about not knowing when to change your filter either.
On the other hand, we recommend the Woler water filter if you want an affordable filter. It’s not a reverse osmosis system, but it works almost as great. The only real downside is that it doesn’t remove fluoride.
Finally, NU Aqua makes a great reverse osmosis system at a great price. However, it doesn’t have many of the extra features like a remineralizer or a change filter indicator. Don’t worry, it will still filter water like a normal reverse osmosis system.