How To Find The Best Whole House Reverse Osmosis System For Your Home
As a human being water is an essential part of your overall health and wellness. It is so important that the United Nations considers having access to clean drinking water a basic human right.
And though having access to clean drinking water is a necessity, the sad reality is most well and tap water in the United States contains very dangerous levels of contamination.
When it comes to contamination levels in water the contaminants originate from one of two sources. They can either be naturally occurring contaminants that come from the environment or they can be man-made contaminants that come from industrial population.
Either way these contaminants are nothing to play with. While they more than likely won’t lead to any immediately health problems, they can and often do lead to chronic health issues later on down the road.
What is A Whole House House Reverse Osmosis System?
A whole house reverse osmosis system is a system that filters all of the water that comes into your home. That means your sinks, showers and toilets will be using clean water.
Should You Invest In One?
A whole house reverse osmosis system is usually installed on the front of the water heater and has the ability to purify both hot and cold water. This means that every faucet in your home will have access to clean, non contaminated water whenever you want it.
All of the showers, washing machines, toilets, refrigerators, sinks and baths in your home will be safer and healthier for you and your family to use.
When it comes to purifying water most people only think of the water they drink. That however is a big mistake. All of the water that makes its way into your home has been infused with chlorine.
The purpose of adding chlorine to the water supply is to kill bacteria. The problem is chlorine, especially when consumed in large quantities, can be extremely dangerous to one’s health. Not only can it lead to serious health issues such as cancer, but it can also cause your skin to become dangerously dry.
The most common ways we are exposed to chlorine is through the water we drink and through water that gets absorbed by the skin. The easiest way to reduce this exposure to chlorine is to install a whole house reverse osmosis system.
By filtering water from the point of entry you will reduce the amount of chlorine that gets absorbed through the water you drink and use on a daily basis.
Besides the many healthy benefits, there are also a few other reasons you should consider investing in a whole house reverse osmosis system. The first one is the high capacity and high water production rates.
A regular reverse osmosis system can only produce about 50 gallons of water per day. On the other hand, a whole house reverse osmosis system can produce up to 20 gallons per minute. But it gets even better.
Whole house systems tend to be more durable and require far less maintenance than regular point of use systems. While a regular reverse osmosis system would require a filter change once or twice a year, with a whole house system you will only need to change the filter once every few years.
Here’s A Doctor Explaining the Benefits of a Home System
What To Look For When Buying a Whole House Reverse Osmosis System
Whole house reverse osmosis systems aren’t cheap. You should therefore take your time and do a little research before buying one. With that being said, here are 4 things you should look into before you buy.
#1 – What Type Of System Is It?
There are two types of whole house systems you can invest in. The heavy duty and the standard capacity. The heavy duty is considered the most effective and efficient due to its long life filters and low maintenance requirements. The filters on the heavy duty system only need to be changed once every 5 years.
The second type of system, which is the standard capacity, uses a water filter cartridge and it must be changed up to two times a year.
The standard capacity system gives you the ability to customize the filters to your specific needs. This means if you are considered about a particular pollutant you can arrange the filters to ensure that pollutant is properly filtered out.
#2 – What Is The Micron Rating?
The micron rating is extremely important as it determines how effective a whole house reverse osmosis filter is.
According to reference.com, a micron is one-millionth of a meter. This size is approximately equivalent to 0.00004 inches, which means there are approximately 25,000 microns in an inch.
If a filter has a micron rating of 1 that means it has the ability to stop any particle that is a size bigger from making its way through the system. Currently one of the best ratings for a whole house system is 0.35 microns and it is on the Aquasana Rhino.
#3 – What Is The Water Flow Rate?
The amount of a water a system can produce in a certain amount of time is known as the water flow rate. Water flow rate is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) and can range from as low as 5 gallons per minute to as high as 25 gallons per minute.
If you have a big home with a lot of people, be sure to invest in a whole house system with a water flow rate on the upper end of the spectrum.
You want to make sure that you can easily keep up with water demands of your household. If your system isn’t able to produce enough water you run the risk of the water pressure dropping off by quite a bit.
#4 – What Is The Cost To Replace The Filters?
When looking into the initial cost of a whole house reverse osmosis system you also need to consider the cost of replacing the filters. Depending on the type of system you get you may be replacing your filters several times a year.
This is especially true if you opt for a cheaper model. While the initial cost may be more affordable, with the cost of replacement filters you may end up spending more in the long run.
The Reasons You May Not Want To Invest In A Whole House Reverse Osmosis System
While there are plenty of really good reasons you should invest in a whole house reverse osmosis system, there are also a few reasons why you may not want to. The first reason would of course be cost.
A top of the line system could easily cost you close to $1,000. Even still, the fact that it can filter all the water that comes into your home easily makes it well worth that price.
The second reason you may not want to invest in a whole house reverse osmosis system is because they aren’t always as effective as a regular point of use reverse osmosis system. A regular reverse osmosis membrane has a micron rate of up to 0.0001 microns.
That means anything bigger than that will not be able to get through the filters. Most whole house filters have a micron rate of 1 to 10 microns and aren’t as effective at removing pollutants.
Reverse osmosis technology is the only technology that has the ability to remove up to 99% of all contaminants. Knowing the quality of your water will help you determine what type of system is best for you and your family.
3 Benefits of Using A Whole House Reverse Osmosis System
Benefit #1 – Your Food Will Taste Better
Yes it’s true.. the water you use does indeed have an impact on how your food tastes. You talk to anyone who is serious about cooking and they will tell you cooking with filtered water produces a stronger flavor in your food. It also reduces the cooking times and creates a more optimal environment in the kitchen.
Benefit #2 – Your Skin and Hair Will Be Healthier
When you wash your hair and take a shower in filtered water you reduce the amount of exposure your hair and skin gets to harsh chemicals. These harsh chemicals are known to damage your skin and cause excess drying.
With filtered water you will be able to bathe in healthier water which will result in healthier skin and hair.
Benefit #3 – Indoor Air Quality Will Improve
Filtered water does more than just make your food taste better, it also improves the air quality inside of your home. With cleaner, healthier air you will be able to breathe easy.
When you take a shower in unfiltered water chlorine and volatile organic chemicals, also known as VOC’s, can evaporate in the steam and contaminate the air. However, when all the water that enters your home is filtered, air quality is not an issue you will need to worry about.
If you want to learn more about the basics of reverse osmosis system, click here.
Top 10 Whole House Reverse Osmosis Systems
#1- APEX MR-3020 Whole House GAC Water Filter System with Activated Alumina
- 20" polypropylene sediment pre-filter extracts suspended materials such as sediment, rust, insects, and other particles down to 5 micron.
- Multi-stage 20" filter that consists of 1 micron filter pad, Activated Alumina, another 1-micron pad & Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) effectively removes fluoride, arsenic, chlorine, heavy metals and hundreds of contaminants from water.
- NSF approved, acid washed, high performance coconut shell activated carbon filter absorbs heavy chlorine byproducts such as chloramines, THM, and TCE.
- Available in 1" NPT input/output
If you are looking to supply your home with clean water that you can bathe with, clean with, cook with and drink, then you will absolutely love the APEX MR-3020 Whole House GAC Water Filter System with Activated Alumina.
With this system the water in your home will pass through three stages of filtration before making its way through any of your faucets.
During the three stages contaminants such as heavy metal, sediment and chlorine will be removed. Discoloration and odors will also be removed.
The APEX MR-3020 features a wide cartridge design which gives it the ability to meet the water production needs of just about any size home.
This unit is also designed to meet the needs of large office buildings such as medical offices and restaurants.
To keep maintenance to a minimum the wide cartridge is engineered to be changed as quickly as possible.
The compact design and built in frame make installation of this system quick and easy.
#2 – Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
- Massive filter housings with 1-inch ports for the strongest water pressure possible - up to 15-gallon per minute
- Multi gradient density replaceable sediment filter produces finer filtration and greater dirt holding capacity; filtration down to 1 micron
- 100,000-gallon capacity replaceable coconut shell carbon filter provides a full year of clean water for a family of four
- Excellent purification - removes up to 95-percent of iron, manganese, sediment, chemicals and other contaminants that create foul tastes and odors
- Oversize filters improve flow rate and reduce maintenance frequency
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is the perfect solution for both well and city water. This particular system comes in a few different styles and you have the option to choose from either a 2 stage filtration process or a 3 stage filtration process.
The 3 stage system is more expensive than the 2 stage system and it is also more effective. The 2 stage system has two different models you can choose from which we will discuss below.
The 2 stage stage models also have cheaper running costs and offer consumers a faster water flow rate.
3 Stage System
The 3 stage system is perfect for well water and has the ability to remove heavy metals such as copper, mercury, lead, manganese and iron. It can also remove dirt, sediment and chlorine and has a water flow rate of 15 gallons per minute.
2 Stage System
As previously stated, the 2 stage system comes in two different models. The chlorine specialist model, which is referred to as the 2 stage carbon system, is best for homes that use city (municipal) water.
It has a 20 gallon per minute flow rate and can remove sediment, chlorine and dirt. The second option is the 2 stage catalytic carbon model. This system is ideal for homes that use well water.
This particular model is great at removing heavy metals such as iron, mercury, lead and copper. The one big downfall with this system is its slow water flow rate of 10 gallons per minute. While that will still get you a decent amount of water, if you have a big household it could be an issue.
The Home Master water filter stands out in 2 key areas. First off it can work with a high water pressure. And secondly, it requires very little maintenance.
The larger sized filters make it possible for more water to pass through the system at a faster rate. And being that it has 1 inch ports it easily has one of the strongest water flow rates on the market.
#3 – Hydro Care Iron 300x
- No More Odors or Iron Stains
- 3 Stage Filtration Process
- Removes Iron up to 3ppm, Hydrogen Sulfide up to 1ppm, Manganese up to 1ppm
- No Backwashing Required - No Electricity Required
- Easy to Install and Maintain
The Hydro Care Iron 300x is designed specifically for the filtration of well water. It features 3 stages of filtration and can remove a variety of contaminants including iron, sediment manganese and hydrogen sulfide.
The system also comes with a special insert that prevents bacteria from growing inside. And unlike other filtration systems, the Hydro Care Iron 300x does not require electricity, a tank or any backwashing.
The 3 Stage Filtration Process
Stage 1 – During the first stage of the 3 stage process water will get passed through a multi-gradient dual density filter. This filter is responsible for removing iron and sediment particles.
This filter has a capacity that is 3 times that of other filters on the market. It also features a KDF core which prevents algae and bacteria from growing inside the system.
Stage 2 – The second stage is where the iron reduction cartridge starts to remove ferrous iron.
Stage 3 – During the third and final stage hydrogen sulfide, chlorine and a variety of different chemicals all get removed. The taste is also improved by getting rid of chemicals that cause bad odor.
The Iron 300x is easy to maintain, easy to install, can remove chemicals and pesticides, is environmentally friendly and loses virtually no water pressure.
#4 – Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000
- Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
- Aquasana Rhino exceeds NSF standards by removing 97% of chlorine for up to 1,000,000 gallons
- ACTIVATED CARBON FILTER: reduces herbicides, pesticides and other chemical compounds that may be present.
- Includes pre-filter, copper-zinc and carbon filtration stages with standard fittings
- Filtering your water improves indoor air quality by reducing chemicals that vaporize in shower steam
The Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000 is the most effective water filters for homes that rely on city water. It provides a great deal of protection from some of the most dangerous contaminants and it won’t hurt your bank account.
Initially the cost of this system is more expensive than most other machines. However, its costs are quite competitive and will therefore save you money in the long run.
The Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000 exceeds the standards set forth by the NSF and has the ability to remove up to 97% of chlorine for 1,000,000 gallons of water. Other contaminants it can remove includes pesticides, VOC’s, lead, herbicides and mercury.
One of the many things that makes this system stand out from the others is its ability to adjust the pH levels of the water. This helps improve the taste of the water as well as make it healthier to drink.
It improves the pH levels by fixing the imbalances that often occur during the filtration process. This is a very beneficial feature that is not often seen in whole house reverse osmosis systems.
The initial cost of this system is over $1,500. And though that is quite expensive, being that it has a 10 year life span you will more than recoup those costs over time.
Very few systems can offer the protection you get with the Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000. This is in large part due to the effectiveness of its post filter. With a micron rating of 0.35, the post filter offers some of the best protection against contaminants with really small particle sizes.
You will find it very difficult to find other whole house filters that provide this level of protection. Something else consumers love about this system is its specialization in removing chlorine from the water.
It can remove up to 97% of all chlorine from the water supply which is really impressive when you consider how common chlorine is.
Please keep in mind this system is best for homes that use city or municipal water. It is not ideal for home that use well water that tends to contain a lot of heavy metals.
#5 – Whirlpool WHELJ1
- Provides filtered water for your entire home
- Reduces chlorine taste and odor from your bath and shower for cleaner, softer hair and skin
- Reduces sediment to protect plumbing and appliances
- Provides great tasting water at a fraction of the cost of bottled water
If you are looking for an effective system that will save you a few bucks, the Whirlpool WHELJ1 is exactly what you need.
It requires very little maintenance and is great at removing chlorine from the water supply. Its an automated system that can automatically flush itself at various times throughout the life of the machine.
An automatic wash is basically the same thing as a filter change which means that is one thing you don’t have to worry about. Using the digital controls you can set up the automatic flush to take place at the intervals of your choosing.
The quality of your water will ultimately determine how often you should have an automatic flush. You can set it for as often as once a week or in longer intervals of once a month. Thanks to the automatic routine maintenance you never have to worry about getting your hands dirty.
And being that the unit is built to last for a minimum of 10 years, it’s easy to see why many consider this whole house system the best bang for your buck.
When you factor in the initial cost of this system, the maintenance cost and the overall lifespan, this system is easily one of the cheapest ones on the market to run.
#6 – Home Master Filtration Catalytic HMF2SMGCC
- Massive filter housings with 1-inch ports for the strongest water pressure possible -- up to 10-gallons per minute
- Four gradient density sediment filter produces finer filtration and greater dirt holding capacity filtration from 25 to 1 micron
- 95,000-gallon capacity replaceable catalytic carbon filter provides a full year of clean water for a family of four
- Excellent purification -- removes up to 95 percent of sediment, chloramines, chlorine, chemicals, heavy metals, and other contaminants
- Oversize filters improve flow rate and reduce maintenance frequency
The Home Master HMF2SMGCC is suitable for families that live in populated areas where the water most likely has issues with chemicals, chlorine and sediments. With this system you can have access to clean, clear water whenever you want it. And the best part is it will not cause your water pressure to draw down.
Simply connect it to your main water line and all water that comes into your home will be treated before it is dispensed.
The HMF2SMGCC features 2 stages and can remove up to 95% of chlorine, chloramines, sediment, chemicals and a host of other contaminants that cause water to taste and smell bad. It can produce up to 10 gallons of water per minute and has a capacity of 95,000 gallons.
That means before you will need to replace the filter you will be able to purify up to 95,000 gallons of water. For the average family of four this equals a full year of water.
#7 – iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System w/ 20-Inch Big Blue Sediment and Carbon Block Filters
- Filters the incoming water supply for your entire home
- Removes up to 95% of sediment, chlorine, rust, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, VOCs, and various other contaminants
- Big Blue 20" x 4.5" filter cartridges allow for minimal pressure reduction and extended filter life
- High capacity polypropylene sediment filter achieves filtration down to 5 micron, tested by independent third-party to meet NSF/ANSI Standard
- CTO Carbon Block filters use high quality coconut shell carbon for maximum filtration efficiency and filter life, tested by independent third-party to meet NSF/ANSI Standard
The iSpring WGB32B is the ideal whole house filtration system for homes or businesses that use city water. Unlike a point of use reverse osmosis system, this whole house system is connected to the source of all the water that flows into your home.
This means that every faucet, sink, shower and toilet in your business or home will go through a three stage filtration process before the water makes it way to you.
The first stage of the filtration process is the first stage of defense. Stage one houses a 5-micron high-capacity polypropylene sediment filter that is responsible for removing filter clogging particles such as dirt.
Stages two and three consist of 5-micron CTO coconut shell carbon block filters. These two back to back filters provides highly effective contaminant removal and ensure the filters have a longer life.
Block carbon is finely ground up carbon that is packed in a solidified block. It is more effective than other forms of carbon and has a higher density than other carbon filters. Because of this these filters are extremely effective at removing specific targeted contaminants.
Combined the two carbon block filters can remove up to 90% of chlorine in the water. These two filters can also get rid of odors, smells and bad tastes. These filters are also effective at removing organic chemicals such as industrial chemicals, herbicides and pesticides.
The iSpring WGB32B can produce up to 100,000 gallons of fresh, clean water for your entire family for a full year.
#8 – Aquasana EQ-600
- Aquasana Rhino EQ-600 is certified by NSF to remove 97% of chlorine for up to 600,000 gallons
- Does not require electricity, drainage, or back flushing and does not create waste-water
- Includes pre-filter, copper-zinc and carbon filtration stages with standard fittings
- Filtering your water improves indoor air quality by reducing chemicals that vaporize in shower steam
- Great tasting, healthy water throughout your home
With the Aquasana EQ-600 you can get ultra delicious water from every tap in your home whenever you want it. The system is able to remove up to 97% of chlorine found in regular tap water.
It can also reduce other harmful contaminants such as lead, mercury, VOC’s, herbicides, pesticides, industrial solvents and much more.
The Aquasana EQ-600 is smartly designed and intelligently engineered. It is able to maximize potent filtration and provide the ultimate in performance. It has a unique upflow, dual tank design that increases water contact time with contaminants and prevents the system from clogging up.
Optionally you can upgrade the system and get UV sterilight filtration. UV filtration is extremely powerful and can kill up to 99.99% of various viruses and bacteria such as E.coli. It can also destroy Cryptosporidium and Giardia which are both chlorine resistant cysts.
Overall this is a great system that can last up to 6 years and produce up to 600,000 gallons of water.
#9 – Aqua Pure AP903
- Particulate filtration reduces particles as small as five microns in size
- Chlorine taste and odor reduction helps provide more appealing water
- High-capacity cartridge filters up to 100,000 gallons of water, as much as a year's supply
- Sanitary quick-change design makes cartridge replacement clean and simple
- Flow rate of 20 gallons (75.7 liters) per minute provides a whole-house supply of filtered water
If you are concerned about the water pressure in your home this is the whole house system you need to invest in. Like other systems on the market it too is capable of removing dirt, chlorine, rust and sediment.
Because the Aqua Pure AP903 is so effective at removing chlorine from water it has become extremely popular in homes that are served by municipal water supplies. Its ability to filter down to 5 microns in particle size makes it one of the top whole home devices.
The great thing about this unit is it requires very little maintenance. The filter only needs to be changed once a year or after it has filtered 100,000 gallons of water. It is by far one of best systems you can invest in if you are looking for very low maintenance.
If your water contains high levels of heavy metals and sediment this system is not a good option for you. It doesn’t have a pre-filter which means it can’t get rid of heavy metals often found in well water.
As far as price goes, the AP903 is probably one of the more affordable systems to operate. The initial cost is less than $300 and you will only need to change the filter once a year.
The AP903 has one of the fastest water flow rates of all the systems we have covered in this article. It can produce 20 gallons of filtered water per minute without dropping the water pressure in your home.
If you have a large home with multiple bathrooms, this is the ideal system for you. It can handle the high water demands without interrupting your everyday life.
And thanks to its slim design you don’t have to worry about it taking up too much space. Just attach it to your point of entry and don’t have to check on it for an entire year.
#10 – DuPont WFPF13003B
- Filters Up To 15,000-Gallon For Home or Office
- Features Universal 500 Series Poly Block Cartridge
- Standard System has 3/4 in. inlets and outlets.
- Improves Clarity and Taste of Incoming Water, Also Protects At The Kitchen Tap
- 3-Year Limited Warranty.
If you are looking for a budget friendly system try the DuPont WFPF13003B. It is probably one of the cheapest systems you will find on sites such as Amazon.com. However, don’t let the low price fool you.
Just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean it can’t do a great job at filtering the water in your home. If need be you can combine multiple units to ensure your home has the protection it needs.
Since this system can take most 10 inch filters you can easily add a carbon filter to give it multiple stages of filtration. And don’t worry, Dupont filters are very cheap. Generally speaking you can find them for a few bucks.
While the DuPont WFPF13003B is great at filtering dirt, iron and sediment, it is not one of the most effective systems on the market. If you need something more powerful consider using one of the others listed above.
Another great budget friendly filter is the Watts WH-LD. Keep in mind it only has one stage of filtration. It is therefore best you use it as a pre filter for an existing unit. It will also provide great protection to a water softener.
Similar to the Dupont model this unit can also be combined with other units to make the filtration process more effective.
While this system will not protect your home against chlorine, it is able to remove large contaminants such as sediment and iron.
Overall both systems provide decent value and can give you one stage of filtration at a very affordable price.