Best Countertop Reverse Osmosis System Reviews – RO Water Filter Guide 2019

Love your countertop water filter? Get ready to take it up a notch. Countertop reverse osmosis systems are similar to standard countertop filters in size, but that’s where the similarities grind to a halt. Reverse osmosis systems, even small, countertop versions, filter water to a much higher degree than an ordinary filter. When properly maintained, countertop ro systems remove nearly all contaminants from your water- up to 99% of them!

Here’s what you need to know before you make the switch, including all the pros and cons, and our top picks for countertop reverse osmosis systems.

Best Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

SystemImagePriceOur RatingFilter Stages 
AquaTruAquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System$$$$$4.44Check Price
APEC RO-CTOPAPEC RO-CTOP Installation-Free table top Water Filter$$$4.44Check Price
Express Water EZRO5Express Water EZRO5 Countertop Reverse Osmosis System$$4.34Check Price
Zero Installation PurifierZIP Counter top Reverse Osmosis System$$$$$4.04Check Price
Reverse Osmosis RevolutionReverse Osmosis Revolution Counter top Portable 5-Stage System$$4.05Check Price
HydroLogic 31026Hydrologic 31026 Micro table top RO Water Filter$$4.33Check Price
Purewaterclub POQ-4B-50Purewaterclub POQ-4B-50 Portable counter top RO Unit$3.94Check Price

Before You Buy a Countertop Reverse Osmosis System, Keep Reading!

Countertop reverse osmosis systems are effective and compact, but they’re not perfect. Because they’re so much smaller than under sink ro systems, they typically don’t include as many filtration steps. That said, the benefits of countertop ro systems are:

  • Hassle-free installation
  • They don’t require permanent alteration of your plumbing system, making them an ideal option for renters
  • Most models are tankless, taking up very little space
  • Those systems that directly connect to a faucet usually come with a 2-way diverter valve, allowing you to only use filtered water when really needed
  • Easy to transport, so students, those with mobile homes, and frequent flyers can bring their systems on the go

It’s exciting, we know! But before you make a snap decision, it’s important to make sure a countertop reverse osmosis water filter is the right fit for you and your home. Countertop filters generally only fit standard kitchen faucets. If your kitchen sink uses a sprinkler faucet or another unique model, you’d be better off installing an under sink reverse osmosis system.

What to Look for in a Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

Once you’ve confirmed that a countertop ro system is the right choice, these are the qualifications you should look for before you make your purchase.

Lines that Suit Your Style

Unless you’re planning on upgrading to an under sink or whole house water filter in the near future, don’t pick a countertop reverse osmosis system that clashes with your kitchen. A quality unit can last for years, even a decade, so don’t choose one that’s a major eyesore.

A High Flow Rate

If you choose a model with a low flow rate, you may find yourself waiting for fresh water. Pick one with a high flow rate to ensure your family will have perfectly purified water ready when they need it.

A Little About Water Pressure

Most countertop ro systems work on water pressure alone. In some circumstances, like on an RV trip, it’s nice to have a system that doesn’t require electricity. Unfortunately, if your home has low water pressure, what will come out of the ro system might be no more than a trickle – no matter what the box says.

The amount of water wasted will rise as well. Usually, ro systems waste about three gallons of water for every gallon of permeate produced, unless you add a pump to improve efficiency. With low water pressure, the amount of wastewater will increase! Check your water pressure beforehand to see what you’re dealing with. Ideally, it should be about 60 to 65 psi.

NSF

The best water filtering solutions often prove they’re the best with NSF certifications. NSF standards guarantee a filter can reduce particular contaminants to a certain degree, so there are a few big ones to look out for. Standard 53 covers contaminants that can impact health. Standard 58 is a standard specifically made for reverse osmosis systems. It checks to make sure each model meets the minimum requirements for contaminant reduction.  NSF Standard 42 addresses chlorine flavor and odor. And Standard 401 checks for relatively newly discovered contaminants.

All of the above standards except Standard 401 also cover the structural integrity and safety of the materials used in a water filter. Any of these certifications are a big plus!

Maintenance

In most cases, countertop ro systems are easy to maintain. The cost of maintaining them is another matter altogether. Some models have a high price tag, but replacement parts and filter cartridges are reasonably priced. On the other hand, cheap models can come with hard to find, expensive filtration elements. Check how much replacement filters and membranes cost for any model you’re considering to avoid expensive surprises down the road.

Countertop Reverse Osmosis Reviews – Everything You Need to Know About Our Favorite Systems

There are tons of countertop reverse osmosis systems available to pick from, so we did our research. Out of all of the current brands and models, the seven below offer a wide selection to accommodate every home and family.

1. The Most Popular Countertop Reverse Osmosis System: AquaTru

The Good

AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

The petite but powerful AquaTru is a best seller, and for good reason! Setup can be done in mere minutes. Additionally, the included 1-gallon feed water tank allows this model to work 100% automatically. How convenient!

It also comes with a 3-quart tank for the permeate water. This is a little on the small side for our liking, but because it refills in 15 minutes or less, we can’t complain. It can easily handle the drinking water needs of most households.

By the way, a ¾ gallon within 15 minutes might be nothing unusual, however, the system’s recovery rate is 75%. It includes a nearly silent pressure pump to minimize water wastage, so only 25% is wasted (standard systems waste 3 gallons for every gallon filtered – not with the AquaTru!)

The four levels of filtration include a sediment and carbon pre-filter designed to trap dust, sand, and other large contaminants as well as chlorine and chloramine. Next comes the reverse osmosis membrane rejecting everything that does not belong in your water plus some more. Following the ro membrane, a carbon post-filter gets rid of any leftover contaminants.

Now let’s get to the NSF certifications – our favorite! The AquaTru has earned certifications 53, 58, 42, and 401; it doesn’t really get better than that. For the specifics, it can reduce lead by 99.1%, chlorine by 96.6%, fluoride by 93.5%, chromium-6 by 97.2%, cyst by 99.99%, a number of VOCs like Trihalomethanes by as much as 99%, and much more. All in all, you can expect the highest water purity ideal for your health and fresh taste.

The annual maintenance isn’t bad at all, hovering well within the typical range. With this countertop ro system, cartridge replacements are insanely easy and take almost no time at all.

The not so Good

For the most part, customer reviews are extremely positive. The negative reviews include reports of occasional leaks, plus a few comments about units that stopped working shortly after purchase. The customer service line isn’t the easiest to reach, and we’re not too impressed by the 30-day return policy.

With that in mind, the vast majority of reviews are encouraging and the likelihood of running into problems is low.

Bottom Line

It’s no wonder the AquaTru countertop reverse osmosis system is so popular. With all 4 recommended NSF certifications, high efficiency, and amazing reviews, it is well worth the high price tag.
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2. Our Next-Best Choice:  APEC RO-CTOP Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

The Good

APEC RO-CTOP Installation-Free Water Filter

In our second countertop reverse osmosis system review we take a look at the APEC RO-CTOP which attaches to most standard faucets in under 5 minutes – adapters included. Once connected, you can enjoy 99% contaminant-free drinking water at a capacity of up to 90 gallons per day, enough even for large homes.

The 4-Stage filtration process removes dust, particles, rust, chlorine, odors, cloudiness, colors and common chemicals, arsenic, lead, fluoride, chromium, radium, bacteria, viruses and more, says APEC. Tests have shown that the countertop ro system was able to reduce TDS by 98.8%.

The pre-stage filters (sediment filter and activated carbon) need to be replaced once every 6-8 months. Filter stages 3 and 4 (ro membrane and activated carbon) every 2-3 years. Replacement packs come at a reasonable price.

The entire system is BPA-free and Made in USA. The recovery rate is 33%. Recovery rate defines the ratio of permeate to wastewater. 33% means for every gallon of filtered water, a total of 4 gallons will be used.

The not so Good

The APEC RO-CTOP is relatively expensive. Similar competitor products cost much less. However, bear in mind the 1-year limited warranty which backs up the unit.

We also couldn’t find NSF certifications. And users complained about leaks.

Bottom Line

If your budget allows, the APEC RO-CTOP is a great choice. It’s the best countertop reverse osmosis system if you value compactness combined with usability. The model is placed at the upper end of the price scale, but therefore it’s US made and backed by APEC’s customer support and product warranty.
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3. Express Water EZRO5 Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

The Good

Express Water EZRO5 Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

The Express Water EZRO5 is a well-designed and well-built countertop ro system. At 3-4 gallons of filtered water per hour, you won’t have to wait long when you are thirsty. And the overall provided water quality should be as good as with any other reverse osmosis water filter.

We are looking at 4 stages of filtration. First, a 5-micron sediment filter is followed by granular carbon. Next comes the ro membrane rated at 100 gallons per day. A carbon post-filter does a final pass on your water, removing any remaining taste or odor. The first three stages remove up to 99.99% of contaminants, including sand, rust, chlorine, VOCs, lead, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, fluoride, radium, pesticides, and pathogens.

You’re going to need 5 to 10 minutes for the initial setup. The instructions are easy to understand and we have quick-connect fittings so no tools needed. The EZRO5 fits any standard faucets. After that you have to run the system for two hours flushing the filters – think carbon fines. Then you can drink the water.

Mounting the system is optional.

Other advantages:

  • Fast filter changes
  • Impressive customer support
  • 3x faucet adapter included

The not so Good

Although it says NSF 58 in the product description, we couldn’t find any further information on that matter.

Bottom Line

Customers say the Express Water EZRO5 countertop reverse osmosis system is totally worth it to get clean, safe and fresh water. Most would recommend the product and buy again. We can only agree, especially considering the price which is below the APEC’s. Ideal for smaller budgets!
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4. The Zero Installation Purifier aka ZIP

The Good

ZIP Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

Known as ZIP for short, the Zero Installation Purifier is attractive and blends well with a variety of color schemes. Made by PuricomUSA, the ZIP fits easily on any kitchen counter, taking up minimal space and requiring virtually no installation or assembly. Just fill the lower container with water and hit the start button. In 15 minutes or less, the clean water tank will be filled with half a gallon of fresh, pure water. It really doesn’t get easier!

Just like the AquaTru reviewed further above, the ZIP uses a booster pump and includes 4-stages of filtration, reportedly removing up to 99% of contaminants. However, the ZIP countertop reverse osmosis system is quite unique in the sense that it uses a remineralizing post-filter as its final stage of filtration. The filter is designed to add minerals back into your water to improve flavor and raise the pH. This is a definite plus for those who don’t love the taste or feel of pure ro water in their mouth.

While the ZIP doesn’t filter water quite as efficiently as the AquaTru, it’s still better than most. It wastes about 1 gallon of water for every gallon of filtered water produced.

To maintain the reverse osmosis system, just twist off the old filters and pop in new ones. All you need for this is an ordinary screwdriver.

The not so Good

As hard as we tried, we couldn’t find a single NSF certification. While this doesn’t necessarily mean the manufacturer’s claims are inaccurate, we would be happier if this model had been tested to more rigorous standards. Both water containers are made from BPA-free plastic, which is acceptable but not quite as nice as glass.

Bottom Line

The Zero Installation Purifier isn’t cheap, but it’s the easiest to set up, efficient, and does what it claims to.
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More Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System Reviews
If you haven’t found what you are looking for, maybe an under sink reverse osmosis water filter with an integrated tank is the better choice for you. View the best reverse osmosis system reviews here and make the most out of your money.

5. Reverse Osmosis Revolution Countertop Portable 5-Stage System

The Good

Reverse Osmosis Revolution Countertop Portable 5-Stage System

The number one reason to buy a countertop reverse osmosis system from Reverse Osmosis Revolution is the low price tag. The US-based company sells some of the cheapest models on the market. With this in mind, one might not expect remarkably high quality. However, this portable 5-stage ro system is Made in USA and delivers about 3 gallons of filtered water per hour, so a glass of water fills in no time.

Apart from the usual filtration stages that remove sediment, chemicals, heavy metals and more, this system comes with a deionizing filter and a T33 post-polishing filter for close to 0 ppm Total Dissolved Solids.

EPA tests have shown a removal of 80% to 100% triazine, 98.5% to 100% acetanilide, 98.5% to 100% organophosphorus pesticides, 92.9% or more carbamate pesticides, and 82% to 92% fluoride removal. TDS where reduced from 445 parts per million to less than 10 parts per million.

According to the manufacturer the system can be attached to 96% of all kitchen faucets in under 5 minutes. Clear and concise instructions are shipped with the product.

The not so Good

The ROR countertop ro system received some negative feedback due to customers having issues with defective products or products with parts missing. If you experience any problems make sure to reach out and get in touch with costumer support (very responsive).

Lastly, we are missing NSF certifications.

Bottom Line

What Reverse Osmosis Revolution offers is a solid product; cheaper than most of its competitors, EPA tested, and not imported from overseas. The biggest issue is malfunctioning products being shipped every once in a while. Bottom line: Attractive in the lower price segment.
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6. HydroLogic 31026 Micro Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Review

The Good

Hydrologic 31026 Micro RO Water Filter

HydroLogic Purification Systems specializes in a broad range of water purification products, looks back at 11+ years of experience, is based in Santa Cruz, California, and has all of their systems build in California or Arizona.

The HydroLogic 31026 Micro reverse osmosis system is highly portable and produces ro water fast enough to serve an entire family at the yearly reunion.

It can easily be hooked up to a kitchen faucet in no time. It comes with an integrated and very accurate pressure gauge, allowing you to monitor water pressure which indicates when to replace the filter elements. And most importantly, the HydroLogic countertop reverse osmosis system is inexpensive.

Other features are

  • The activated carbon/KDF pre-filter mix which targets iron and hydrogen sulfide and the “regular” chemicals like chlorine and chloramine.
  • The 33% recovery rate which is pretty good #SaveOurPlanet.
  • The metal bracket for stability and optional wall mounting.
  • The included garden hose connector for outdoor use.

The not so Good

Instructions could use some work. And no NSF certifications.

Bottom Line

With the 31026 Micro reverse osmosis water filter system HydroLogic came up with a product that does what it says and at a reasonable price. No downsides here!
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7. Purewaterclub POQ-4B-50 Portable RO System

The Good

Purewaterclub POQ-4B-50 Portable RO Unit

Installing the Purewaterclub POQ-4B-50 is simple. Even if you know nothing about plumbing, you should be able to follow the instructions provided. After a few minutes of setup, your system is ready to go to work. Turn on the valves and you’ll have pure water in an instant.

The 4 filtration stages remove 99% of sodium, aluminum, lead, nitrate, silicate, ammonium, barium, chromium and many more substances, plus 99% of all bacteria in your water. In a test conducted in Q4 2014 the countertop ro system was able to reduce TDS from 80 to 1.5 ppm, showing that it can compete with the big brands as far as deionization is concerned.

Speaking of, Purewaterclub offers a carbon post-filter as an optional upgrade to improve the taste of the RO/DI water which many describe as “flat”.

Depending on the pressure it will take between 15 to 20 minutes to fill one gallon of water.

The not so Good

Purewaterclub reverse osmosis systems are sold by PW TEC CORP which is based in Rowland Heights, CA. But whether or not the POQ-4B-50 portable unit is a product from the US we do not know. PW TEC does not accept phone calls and rarely responds to email enquiries it seems.

Above that, you may need to make a trip to the local hardware store to buy a few items you need for system installment as the ones provided are of lower quality, such as the faucet attachment.

Any NSF certifications? Nope.

Bottom Line

The main application of the POQ-4B-50 countertop reverse osmosis water filter system is filling fish tanks with RO/DI water. A UV-filter would probably make a good addition for added insurance of killing any pathogenic germs that may survive the system. All in all, thumbs up but certainly not the best countertop reverse osmosis water filter!
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Reasons to Invest in a Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

The More You Know…

Questions? Just leave a comment and we’ll get back to you in a flash.

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