Best Reverse Osmosis System Reviews & 2019 Buyer’s Guide
One of the best ways to get alkaline water on tap at home is to install a reverse osmosis system with remineralization. In this guide, I share our top 5 best reverse osmosis system reviews. All of our picks come with inline mineral filter cartridges that boost the pH of your drinking water.
Do you already own a reverse osmosis system? I’ve got you covered. Toward the end of the guide, I’ll show you which remineralization cartridge is the best.
We’ll also go over the advantages of drinking remineralized RO water and the reasons why you should avoid drinking plain RO water.
Best Reverse Osmosis Alkaline Water System Reviews
In this section, I share our top 5 best reverse osmosis system reviews for 2019 and what to look for when shopping for an RO system with remineralization. After the reviews, continue on to read our complete buyer’s guide with additional alkaline water solutions and tips.
#1 iSpring (RCC7AK) Alkaline RO System
While comparing the alkaline RO systems included in our top 5 picks, we took several factors into consideration. In the end, we chose the iSpring RCC7AK as the best overall reverse osmosis filtration system for the money. We always check to ensure the systems don’t leak, install easily, and come with all the necessary parts.
We also investigate the companies behind the systems to verify they’re trustworthy and selling reliable products. Plus, we consider the price of each system and check it against other similar systems to guarantee it’s a fair price.
The RCC7AK passed all of our tests. Since you’re shopping for reverse osmosis with remineralization, it’s important to check the mineral profiles of each system. It’s best to get a wider range of alkaline minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium for the most health benefits. Especially, if you choose to pair your RO system with an alkaline water machine or ionizer, which I highly recommend.
- Removes 99% of most water contaminants and up to 98% of lead (great for well water)
- Removes fluoride (all RO systems in this guide remove fluoride)
- Comes with a European-style brushed nickel faucet
- Quick and easy leak-free under sink installation
- Long filter life (first set of filters included)
- Wide range of alkaline minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium
- 30-day money back guarantee and 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Might not raise the pH of your water high enough (depends on the pH of your feed water)
- Installation not easy for everyone
#2 APEC (RO-PH90) – Best Reverse Osmosis System for Well Water
The most premium alkaline water filter system on the list is APEC’s model RO-PH90. The filters in this system are made in the USA, and all the tubing is guaranteed food-grade. It comes with JG Quick Connect fittings to ensure you get a leak-free system that’s easy to install.
The high-purity calcium carbonate in the remineralization cartridge is US-made. The filters do an outstanding job of removing 99% of most water contaminants including heavy metals, fluoride, and chlorine. This unit’s ability to remove heavy metals makes it the best reverse osmosis system for well water.
This system makes ultra-pure and great tasting water. APEC is one of the best water filter brands in the country. The company stands behind its products with top-notch quality certifications including a WQA Gold Seal.
The double carbon blocks eliminate that chlorine taste that Brita filter pitchers and faucet filters so often leave behind. Whether you’re treating well water or municipal water, the APEC system will transform your tap water into crisp-tasting purified alkaline water.
- USA-made filters and calcium carbonate
- Attractive lead-free brush nickel finish faucet
- FDA-certified and food-grade parts
- 2-year warranty and lifetime customer support
- John Guest fittings provide superior protection against leaks
- Makes RO water 2x faster than other systems
- Powerful carbon filtration for better-tasting water
- Adds calcium only to boost pH
#3 Express Water Alkaline UV Water Treatment System
UV water treatment systems do an excellent job of killing viruses, bacteria, microorganisms, and cysts that could be lurking in your municipal (tap) water. This massive 11 stage reverse osmosis system by Express Water does the most thorough job of purifying your water of all the systems in our top 5.
You also get a wide range of alkaline minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium. We refer to these minerals as the power 3 since they’re the most essential minerals we need daily for good health.
Remember, all the best reverse osmosis systems remove fluoride. RO systems do an incredible job of removing everything from your water including lead, chlorine, arsenic, and heavy metals that are harmful to your health.
This RO system by Express has a fast flow rate of .8 GPM and can make up to 100 gallons of water a day. Express also made installation super easy for everyone by using a color coordination system for the connections and tubing. The entire system is BPA-free and checked for leaks during the quality control process by an air injection pressure test.
- Double-sealed filters for enhanced filter efficiency
- Leak stop valve protects against flooding by automatically cutting flow to the system
- Superior filtration with added UV water purifier powerful enough to kill E. coli
- Tricky to install for some people
- UV light requires a nearby outlet
#4 HiKiNS Alkaline Reverse Osmosis System
The most affordable RO alkaline water filter system on the list is the HiKiNS 150GPD 6-stage model with pH boost. This system also uses an inline remineralization cartridge to boost the pH of the RO water to a low alkaline level.
The greatest advantage of this system is its high daily output rate of 150 gallons per day. The first five stages of the system include a sediment filter, coconut shell carbon, and the RO membrane to ensure you drink ultra-purified water. The sixth stage is the remineralization filter cartridge that contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
The parts are FDA/CE certified, and what we really like about this system is the low wastewater ratio of 1:1. Other units waste larger quantities of tap water to produce RO water which can lead to a slow flow rate. If you prefer to fill a water dispenser bottle or jug and put it in your fridge to have cold filtered water on tap, this system is a great choice.
- The low wastewater ratio of 1:1
- Great value (the most affordable option on our list without sacrificing quality)
- Superior leak-free design
- Easy installation
- 2-year guarantee
- You may prefer a different faucet than the one included
#5 APEC (RO-CTOP-PHC) – Best Countertop Reverse Osmosis System
APEC model RO-CTOP-PHC is the best countertop reverse osmosis system. If you own an RV, motor home, vacation home, or condo, this system gives you the convenience of tankless portability. It’s also the easiest system to install. Simply install the diverter valve on any standard faucet to make an unlimited supply of purified alkaline RO water wherever you like.
The one downside is this unit creates more wastewater than other systems. It’s best to fill a large jug or water dispenser to use throughout the day. You also get the added benefits of APEC’s lifetime support and powerful USA-made filters. The 4 stage water filter includes a powerful RO membrane that does the heavy lifting to remove fluoride and other contaminants that standard water filters can’t remove.
The system comes with everything you need to install it. The remineralization cartridge contains the same food-grade calcium as in the APEC RO-PH90 system above. This is a portable countertop RO system at its finest. It’s perfect for apartment dwellers and other people who don’t have enough room beneath the sink to install a complete RO system with a tank.
- Tankless and portable
- APEC-quality parts and a lifetime guarantee
- Simple to install for anyone (no plumbing required)
- Fewer filtration stages than the other RO systems
- Makes more wastewater
- Calcium only in the remineralization cartridge
Reverse Osmosis Alkaline Water System Buyer’s Guide
Now that you’ve read all the best reverse osmosis system reviews, let’s check out what makes them the best. We’ll go over why reverse osmosis with remineralization is a better choice for your health. Plus, as promised, I’ll show you the easiest way to modify an existing RO system to make your drinking water alkaline.
Is reverse osmosis water acidic or alkaline?
The answer to this question is straightforward. When your tap water passes through the RO system filters and membrane, the system removes everything, including essential minerals. These minerals act as pH buffers. Without them, the water pH drops below neutral.
RO water has a very low TDS (total dissolved solids) and is virtually demineralized water. It’s healthier to drink water with a minimum number of minerals, which is the reason water filter companies are beginning to sell more reverse osmosis systems with remineralization
Why is my RO water acidic?
When your feed water passes through the RO membrane, the membrane strips the alkaline buffers from your water, but the carbon dioxide in the water – in the form of carbonic acid – passes straight through.
While carbonic acid is a weak acid, it’s strong enough to lower the pH of your RO water below 7 or neutral.
How much will an alkaline RO water purifier raise pH?
Each alkaline RO system raises the pH of your drinking water by a point or two. You get a low alkaline water pH of 7.5 to 8.5, which is within the ideal pH range for drinking water.
How to Install a Mineral Filter Cartridge
The best way to modify your existing RO system to make alkaline RO water is to install a mineral filter cartridge. The key is to install it after the existing stages as the final stage before your faucet. You use the same size hoses and quick connect fittings as in your existing system.
Where to buy mineral filter cartridges? Click Here to view the iSpring FA15 inline alkaline mineral cartridge. The FA15 contains FDA-grade Calcite and Corosex. Calcite and Corosex contain alkaline minerals calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. With this filter, you get a pH boost of between .5 and 1.2 depending on the pH of your feed water.
Want to know more? Read our how to make reverse osmosis water alkaline guide.
Is reverse osmosis water bad for you?
With all the misinformation floating around about alkaline water these days, you may have heard that plain reverse osmosis water is bad for you. This is a tricky statement.
There’s debate over whether RO water leaches vital minerals from the human body. One doctor does make a convincing argument, stating that mineral-free water such as RO water is “hungry water.”
He argues that a “chelation process” occurs when you drink RO water long term. During this chelation process, RO water attaches itself to vital minerals in the body and flushes them out.
Over time, drinking plain RO water becomes unhealthy since a lot of people already have mineral deficiencies due to poor diet. To err on the safe side, it’s best to eat food rich in vital minerals and drink mineral water from time to time instead of drinking plain RO water only.
The best solution is to invest in one of the reverse osmosis alkaline water systems above to avoid any potential mineral deficiencies. People who do short-term detoxes often drink distilled water or RO water because there’s a belief that it helps to detoxify the body.
Remineralized Alkaline Water vs Ionized Water
Before you buy a reverse osmosis system with remineralization, I think it’s important for you to know the difference between alkaline water vs ionized water. You may have heard of a water ionizer or alkaline water machine.
The filters in water ionizers don’t remove vital minerals from your water because ionizers require minerals to make ionized water. When your water passes through a water ionizer, it undergoes electrodialysis, a process that creates alkaline ionized water with antioxidants and molecular hydrogen.
I drink ionized water every day, and it’s what helped me overcome a nagging case of heartburn. The antioxidants and molecular hydrogen in ionized water are where most of the health benefits of alkaline water come from.
With remineralized water, you’re simply adding alkaline minerals to boost the pH of your water. You don’t get the same anti-aging antioxidant and molecular hydrogen benefits as you would from ionized water.
While remineralized RO water is healthier than plain RO water, it’s not as healthy as alkaline ionized water. That’s why my top choice for the best home water filtration system is an alkaline water machine.
There’s a solution…
How to Use a Water Ionizer with Reverse Osmosis
One of the advantages of a reverse osmosis system that you won’t find in standard water ionizer filters is fluoride removal. How can you use your existing reverse osmosis system with a water ionizer?
Here’s the good news. If you purchase an alkaline RO system, you can use the remineralized RO water with your water ionizer. This gives you the option to install a water ionizer later inline with your existing RO system after the RO filters.
Since your water ionizer requires minerals in your feed water to do its job, the remineralized water from your RO system works quite well. For best results, choose an RO system that adds a wider range of minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Another added bonus is you avoid mineral buildup inside your water ionizer since RO water is super pure.
When you pair reverse osmosis with an ionizer, choose a different RO system than APEC since APEC uses only calcium carbonate in its mineral filter cartridges.
How to Install/Replace Reverse Osmosis Filters and the Membrane
The RO membrane life is years longer than the prefilters and mineral cartridge. Here’s a breakdown of the typical filter life for each stage:
- Sediment Filter: 6-12 months
- Carbon Filters: 6-12 months
- Alkaline Mineral Cartridge: 3-6 months
- RO Membrane: 2-3 years
The diagram from the HiKiNS system below gives you an idea of what to expect in a 6 stage reverse osmosis system:
RO Filter Replacement Instructions with RO Membrane Replacement Procedure
- Turn off the feed water to the system by turning the needle valve clockwise
- Turn off the tank flow valve located at the top of the tank
- Once you cut the water supply, switch on the faucet to release the pressure inside the system
- Use the included plastic filter housing wrench to loosen the filter housing
- One by one remove the filters and replace them with the fresh filters (during this process, you can choose to wash the inside of each housing with mild soap)
- Be sure to match the filters with their corresponding stages in the system before hand-tightening them back onto the system
- Tighten each filter housing with the filter housing wrench
- To replace the RO membrane, disconnect the hose from the quick connect fitting and unscrew the cap on the RO membrane housing
- Use needle nose pliers to remove the old membrane and install the new membrane (avoid touching the fresh membrane with your fingers)
- Screw the membrane housing cap back on
- Reconnect the water hose to the quick connect fitting, and you’re good to go
- At this time, you can open the feed water valve and tank flow valve
The video below shows you exactly how to replace reverse osmosis filters and the membrane from A to Z:
Now you know how to choose the best reverse osmosis system with remineralization and why you should drink remineralized RO water instead of plain reverse osmosis water.
Do you want to know more about alkaline water? Learning the pros and cons of alkaline water is a great place to start.
You can’t go wrong with any of the top 5 RO systems with remineralization above. If you want to upgrade your exisiting RO system to boost the pH, stick with the mineral filter cartridge by iSpring that I linked to earlier in the guide.
Overall, if you want the best reverse osmosis system, choose one that adds minerals. I agree with the doctor who argues that drinking plain reverse osmosis water long-term can leach vital minerals from the body. If he’s wrong, why would water filter companies offer RO systems with remineralization?
What did you think of our reverse osmosis system reviews? Which system did you choose?