In the hustle and bustle of your ever-changing world, stopping to hydrate can be easily overlooked. Grabbing a glass of tap water is a quick way to quench your thirst – but why not do it from the best countertop reverse osmosis system? Do you know how purified the water flowing from your tap water is, and better yet, do you know how your water municipality treats your water supply?
Urban water sources are typically treated in a five-step process: coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. It’s a sure bet your city water or local well water is not purified by a popular extra layer of protection: reverse osmosis (RO).
Countertop RO purification systems use semi-permeable membrane filters. During the process of filtering your glass of water, the RO filter removes the most unwanted chemicals, sediment, and metal than most other types of water filtration systems.
Best of all, countertop RO water purification systems require no installation. Just plug the system in and let the purification begin! Use your RO system in any room of your home, your RV or your office.
We’ve researched and reviewed the six top-rated countertop reverse osmosis systems. In this article, we’ll explain how RO water purification systems work to purify your home’s water, and the difference between countertop reverse osmosis and under sink systems.
You will learn about the average cost of a countertop RO water filtration system, regular maintenance (word), and how often you’ll need to change the filter. Finally, you’ll learn the main points to consider when purchasing a countertop reverse osmosis system.
Reviews of the 6 Best Countertop Reverse Osmosis Systems
AquaTru stands by the claim that its countertop reverse osmosis system can remove 82 contaminants. AquaTru is proud to be tested and certified by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials IAPMO.
The impressive amount of harmful metals removed from the AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System ranges between 93.5% – 99.1%. From Lead to Chromium, Copper, Fluoride, and Radium, to Chlorine the filters in the AquaTru work hard to purify your drinking water.
Moreover, the design of the AquaTru countertop RO system specifically removes over one thousand pollutants. Out of the box and onto the counter, the AquaTru requires no extra plumbing, tubes running to the faucet, holes drilled into the counters or tricky installation. You’re drinking RO purified water in minutes.
A single set of AquaTru countertop RO “quick change, twist and seal” filters purifies the equivalent of 4500 16oz plastic water bottles. AquaTru filters are guaranteed to last between six to twelve months.
AquaTru uses three filter cartridges. The first filter is a combination of two Pre-Carbon filters to remove large particles and odors. Next, the RO filter uses pressure, forcing water molecules through its semipermeable membrane to remove the remaining contaminants.
Lastly, an additional carbon filter uses carbon particles to “grab hold” of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC) found in cleaning products, solvents, and bio and fossil fuels.
You’ll save money, wasted time, back and forth to the grocery store, and you’re doing the environment a huge favor. You’ll never buy bottled water again!
AquaTru’s design is perfect for your kitchen or office, even your RV. Its compact design weighs 27 pounds, measures 14” H x 14” D x 12” W, and can purify one gallon of tap in 12-15 minutes.
If you’re serious about RO, AquaTru offers a Wi-Fi app upgrade so you can view real-time filter usage, access local tap water data, order replacement filters and more!
Backed by a 30-day unconditional, no questions asked, 100% satisfaction guarantee, AquaTru is the best countertop RO system.
- Reduces your bottled water carbon footprint
- Patented RO technology
- Digital LED display with “change filter” alerts
- Wi-Fi and app connectivity upgrade
- Certified to NSF standards
- Needs to be refilled throughout the day depending on use
- Manufactured with mostly plastic parts
Arriving on the heels of the AquaTru countertop RO system is the Waterdrop WD-N1-W Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Dispenser. Waterdrop systems use a 0.0001 micron reverse osmosis membrane to eliminate everything from harmful impurities such as chlorine, arsenic, and harsh VOC chemicals.
A unique Ultraviolet (UV) light built into the WD-N1-W works hourly while the system purifies the water to kill bacteria and viruses instantly. A smart display screen allows you to monitor your overall water quality for peace of mind.
The dual Waterdrop Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Dispenser uses two filters to purify water, designed to last between 6-18 months.
Each filter combines a PP Cotton filter to trap sand, suspended particles, and rust. The Carbon Block filter removes bad tastes and aromas and, of course, a powerful RO filter membrane to remove heavy metals and chemicals.
Waterdrop systems incorporate a beautiful, easy-to-read LED display with five intelligent functions, including a filter life indicator and a 4-16 ounce volume sensor. Dispense only the water you want to drink!
No one needs the hassle of a challenging water purification system installation. Waterdrop’s 17” H x 7” W 17.8” D countertop RO system installs easily just by plugging it into an electrical socket anywhere in the home or office. It’s our runner-up for the best countertop reverse osmosis system.
- 6-18 month filter life
- Tool-free, 3-second filter changes
- Whisper-quiet operation
- 5-minute auto-flush and water shortage indicators
- 3:1 drain ratio and drain water recycling
- Minimizes power consumption in standby or sleep mode
- One second wake up function
- Slow purification time and water flow rate
- Long filter replacement shipping times
Frizzlife’s declaration of premium filtration doesn’t disappoint. The WA99 Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filtration System removes up to 99.99% of over 1,000 contaminants with up to 0.0001um filtration accuracy.
Got Lead? What about harmful Chlorine, Fluoride, Mercury, Chloramine, Chromium, Arsenic and other chemicals and metals that do way more harm than good. The good news is, nothing gets past a US-made Frizzlife RO filter membrane except pure water.
Using significant 5:1 water recycle technology Frizzlife purifies more of the pure water you want, and cuts back on drain water saving up to 1500% compared to conventional RO filtration systems.
Shopping for whole house water filtration systems includes potentially significant professional plumber and installation costs. Put that money and those costs back in your wallet.
The Frizzlife Countertop Reverse Osmosis drinking water purifier works and looks fantastic anywhere in home or office. All you need is a power supply source.
Frizzlife takes the guesswork out of when to replace filters and when to fill the system with an easy-to-read and operate real-time LED touchscreen. The system’s built in monitoring capabilities check water quality 24/7 while keeping track of the filter cartridge’s lifespan.
The Frizzlife WA99 Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filtration System is filled with some of today’s best innovations, and the attractive design measures 10.5” D x 13.2” W x 13.4 H” inches and weighs only 33.06 pounds. It will look great anywhere you plug it in!
- Circular multi-filtration process to remove 99.99% of contaminants
- Filters included: Sediment, Block/Granular Carbon, RO Membrane
- Easy Twist-and-Turn filter replacement design
- Pre programmed cup size of 150ml, 250ml, 330ml or continuous flow
- 5:1 drain ratio for max waste water reduction
- 3 filter system replacement costs can add up
- Water “impurifies” if left in the reserve tank too long
Did you know that trace amounts of Calcium and Magnesium minerals retained during water purification in a countertop reverse osmosis water purifier are reminiscent of the taste you enjoy in your favorite bottled water brands?
That isn’t a bad thing! It’s healthy for you and what RKIN calls “delicious purity.” And it’s what you can expect each time you dispense a glass of RO purified water from the RKIN Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter, making this the best RO countertop water purification system for remineralization.
RKIN builds water systems to last. Four filter cartridges work hard to ensure every piece of sediment, every harmful metal, and POC is removed from your home’s water. And since it sits on the counter, you don’t have to think about drilling holes, adding diverters, and extra tubing sections.
Fill the system’s pitcher – it’s BPA-free. Then push the button and walk away.
5-micron Sediment filter particles and suspended solids. Next, the Post filter absorbs by-products and improves the water’s taste. The Activated Carbon filter dissolves gasses, removes odors, and disinfects.
Finally, the reverse osmosis filter works at submicron levels to remove pesticides, VOCs, metals, and other impurities. And it’s all filtered using a CE-certified RO Booster pump.
Within 15 minutes, a 1/2 gallon of pure, balanced alkaline water is ready for consumption. The Rkin Zero even turns itself off.
The RKINS’s modern design is available in classic Space Black, a complement to every room in the house or office, and modern Silver White, a stunning addition to your kitchen or guest room.
Measuring 9.5″ W x 14.5″ D x 16.25″ H RKIN requires room temperature water to purify efficiently. The company offers an optional anti-scale prefilter if you find your home suffers from hard water.
- Provides a perfect 7-8pH with beneficial minerals
- Limited waste water with a 1:1 recovery rate
- Uses less than the power of a lightbulb
- CE-certified energy saving pump
- Unconditional 1-year money back guarantee
- Filters replacements can add up
If you’re looking for the best value in a portable RO countertop water purification system, and want your water to travel through ten stages of filtration, look no further than the Crystal Quest.
The five-pound Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis Countertop Portable Water Purification System fits onto your sink’s faucet. To set it up, simply remove the aerator, add the correct adaptor, then attach the diverter. Clamp the filter cartridges in a convenient location and add the water spout.
The magic in this small but mighty RO water purifier is the 10-stage filtration. Stage one contains a one-micron pre-filter pad to catch silt, sand, sentiment, rust, and other undissolved particles.
Water passes through a Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) filter at stage two, removing VOCs, pesticides, and any bad taste and smell.
Stage three packs in an additional layer of one-micron pre-filter pad to ensure all sediment is trapped. As the water pushes through the stage four Crystal Quest® Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane traps particles, including salts, metals, and minerals, even at 1/10,000 of a micron.
You’d think the water is good to go, but no, the Crystal Quest RO countertop water purification system offers five more layers of filtration.
Stage five uses a one-micron filter pad to inhibit bacterial growth in the entire system, even particles at 1/25,000 of a micron. Stages six and seven use two beds of Eagle Redox Alloy, an electrochemical oxidation/reduction, and adsorption processes.
The great thing is that all this filtration won’t constrain your water capacity. The Crystal Quest provides up to 50 gallons per day at approximately 60 PSI.
- Purifies two gallons per hour / 50 gallons per day
- Affordable alternative for RVs, motels, and laboratory use
- All hardware included for installation
- Compact 16″ W x 7″ D x 7″ H footprint
- Works best at 60 psi – additional pump may be required
- Unit does not come with an exterior casing
APEC Water Systems designed the countertop RO system for exceptional portability. This design drastically reduces the price and gets you up and running with pure water in seconds. If you want unlimited access to pure filtered water that you can take anywhere, this is the model for you.
The APEC uses four stages of filtration. Premium 5-micron sediment filter greets the water as it flows into the system, then Coconut Shell Activated Carbon filters out the VOCs in stage two. The first two stages work to protect the RO membrane filter.
Next, stage three uses APEC Water Systems FILMTEC high-rejection TFC RO membrane filter to remove 99% of total dissolved solids (TDS) and contaminants. An additional stage four coconut shell activated carbon filter to remove the bad tastes.
The RO-CTOP Portable Countertop model measures 14” W x 6” H x 6.5” W and weighs only 7 pounds. Installation takes just minutes; just hook the APEC RO water purification system to your standard faucet.
APEC builds for quality, and purity, making the RO-CTOP Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System the best portable system for home, office, dorm, RV and more! Manufactured in the United States, the APEC comes with a full one year manufacturer warranty.
- Great for portability
- High grade 4-Stage ultra-pure filters
- Capacity of 90 gallons per day w/ 40-80 psi
- Optional exterior case available to protect filter cartridges
- Not compatible with all faucets; i.e. pull-out faucets and sprayer brands
- Need to replace filters about once a year
Countertop and Portable Reverse Osmosis System Buyer’s Guide
How Does a Countertop RO Water Filter Work?
The most important factor to consider when purchasing an RO water filtration and purification system is understanding exactly how it performs.
Reverse Osmosis occurs when a solution – your home’s water – pushes through a membrane filter by force. The water flows into one side of the membrane and traps and holds any harmful particles, allowing only pure water to continue flowing through the other side of the membrane.
Fun fact. Since the early 1970s, RO has been used to treat seawater. The process is called desalinization, filtering out the salt to produce refreshing pure drinkable water.
What is a Countertop Reverse Osmosis System?
Unlike an RO under-the-counter or tank-style water filtration and purification system, RO countertop systems require no additional plumbing, alterations to your kitchen countertops, or, if you’re the DIY-type, professional installation.
Typical RO water filtration and purification systems are plug-and-play. You remove the system from the packaging, insert the filter cartridges with a click and turn, and plug it into an electrical socket. Fill the tank with water, push a button, and walk away. The RO is ready to go to work!
Benefits & Disadvantages of a Countertop Reverse Osmosis System
One of the best factors about an RO countertop water filtration and purification system is the ease of use. They require zero to minimal installation. Zero meaning plug it in; minimal meaning remove the coupler and attach it to your kitchen faucet.
Portable reverse osmosis systems that plug into a single socket let you take pure water on the go. From your home to your office, and back again, on vacation, in your hotel room, or cabin, and for guests who come to visit for the summer, there is plenty of fresh pure water for all.
The more expensive (not a bad thing) RO countertop water filtration and purification systems have built-in LED monitoring systems that pretty much educate you about the water you’re filtering and purifying in real-time, when to change the filters when the system flushes when it’s in sleep or standby modes, and you have the convenience of dispensing exact volumes of water at a single touch.
Smaller RO countertop water filtration and purification systems have a small gallon per day (GPD) output and work efficiently at certain pounds per square inch (psi). If your water pressure is too low, the flow rate from the dispenser or kitchen faucet slows to a drip.
Conversely, if the water pressure is too high, the system may leak at any point a connector or tubing is attached to a filter or the main inflow point. If you desire a regular amount of RO-treated water per day, on-demand, be sure to check the system’s psi compatibility.
Consider the amount of water you and the family and the pets consume per day. Then ask yourself if the RO system will be used for cooking. Countertop RO water filtration systems have the capacity of a filter pitcher, possibly a little more.
A larger filter means an increased supply of pure water at longer service intervals. If you don’t want to consistently fill the RO system tank throughout the day this type of RO system may not be the best choice for your home.
The price points for RO countertop water filtration and purification systems vary drastically. On the low end you can pick one up for around $100-$150; on the high end up to $400.
Main Points to Consider when Purchasing Countertop Reverse Osmosis System
- Faucet Connection: get to know the connections on your sink’s faucet. It makes all the difference when it comes time to unpack the box and install the RO water filter. Otherwise, you may be making a trip to the hardware store.
- Filter Performance: Determine how often the RO countertop water filtration system will be useful. Do you have the time to keep it filled and clean? Are you able to afford the bi-annual costs of the filter cartridges in your current budget?
- Certifications: Any water filtration and purification system should meet NSF standards. So, what does that mean? NSF requirements protect you as a consumer, ensuring material safety, that the RO water filtration system will not leach harmful chemicals into the design and construction and mostly ensure the product is cleanable, to avoid the growth of bacteria.
- Water Pressure: Understanding your water pressure is important. For the RO countertop system to run efficiently, the water’s incoming pounds per square inch (psi) must be compatible with the system’s availability to flush out the filtered water while simultaneously dispensing the pure water in a consistent flow.
- Waste Water (Drain Ratio): What goes into the RO countertop water filtration and purification system must come out. For every gallon filtered, a certain amount of water needs to be flushed from the system. If the water has nowhere to go it will ultimately leak out of the back of the machine and onto the counter and floor.
- Flow Rate: The compatibility of your water’s psi and flow rate are crucial to the system running at peak performance. Here’s a quick test to help you determine your flow rate. Turn on the water. Using your phone’s stopwatch, time how long it takes to fill a container. Divide 60 by the number of seconds. Your home’s flow rate is that math equation in gallons per minute (GPM).
Is a countertop or portable reverse osmosis system worth it?
Yes, but these systems are best if you are just wanting to use the system throughout the day for fresh, pure drinking water and nothing more.
Is there a difference between countertop reverse osmosis systems and under sink systems?
Other than the size, cost, and amount of water filtered, the biggest difference between RO countertop and RO under sink systems is the cost of installation. Do you prefer free, or the potential of calling a professional plumber?
Do I need a reverse osmosis system if I have a whole house water filter?
If you own a whole house water filtration system and it doesn’t use an RO filter, do some research to determine if the manufacturer offers an RO filtration upgrade!
You’re adding an extra level of filtration projection using the RO membrane, and it can make a big difference in the quality of your already filtered water!
How much does a reverse osmosis filtration system cost?
On the low side of the price tag, portable Ro water filtration and purification systems can cost between $149-$200. The fancier, more advanced systems with built-in cabinets and smart technology range between $400-$600.
How often will I need to change filters?
The pre-filter and activated carbon filters should be changed between 6-8 months, while the RO membrane filter should be changed between 12-18 months, respectively.
Final Thoughts On Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Systems
According to the non-profit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG), grabbing a “glass of tap water is like pouring a cocktail of chemicals at potentially unsafe levels.”
Did you know that of the 71% of Americans that drink tap water, 43% don’t consider filtering their home’s water? Put yourself in the other percentage bracket!
Water filtration and purification systems come in many shapes and sizes. If you’re thinking about adding an RO water filtration system to your home’s water supply and want to avoid the costs associated with installation and water testing, consider a countertop reverse osmosis system.
You’re going to reach for that glass of hydration anyway, so why not make sure it’s as pure as possible.