If you’re looking for purified drinking water, but don’t want to mess around with any installation, the best countertop reverse osmosis system is the way to go. We laboratory tested and reviewed the top countertop and portable RO systems. The winner for 2023 is the Waterdrop Countertop Reverse Osmosis System.
Quick Comparison Of Our Favorites
Includes UV purifier to eliminate bacteria & viruses
Digital display with robust functionality and options
Water storage can detach and used as pitcher
Upgrade for bluetooth control and smart app
Connects to most standard faucet fittings
Relatively inexpensive option
Countertop RO purification systems use semi-permeable membranes with pores that are only .0001 microns in size. During the process of filtering your tap water, the RO membrane separates more unwanted chemicals, carcinogens, sediment, and heavy metals than any other home water treatment solution.
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. If you don’t mind the installation and want purified water on demand, an undersink reverse osmosis system is worth checking out too.
🏆Best Countertop Reverse Osmosis System
- Best Overall: Waterdrop Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Learn More
- Runner Up: AquaTru Countertop Water Filtration Purification System Learn More
- Best Alkaline Water: AlcaPure Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter Learn More
- Best Portable: Crystal Quest Portable Reverse Osmosis System Learn More
- Portable Runner Up: APEC Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis System Learn More
🧪How We Test Countertop Reverse Osmosis Systems
Unlike most review sites, we actually set up the countertop RO unit, try the features, and send a water sample to a certified laboratory to see how the reverse osmosis system performed.
We used an advanced water test kit that analyzes 52 different water contaminants and provides a water score based on a scale of 0 – 99. This allows us to objectively review countertop RO filtration performance. Other review rating factors we consider are price, replacement filter costs, warranty, NSF certification, and water production (GPD).
⭐Countertop Reverse Osmosis System Reviews For 2023
Waterdrop Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
Based on our lab testing, the Waterdrop was able to remove 100% of the most harmful contaminants in our sample water like arsenic, uranium, and lithium. The Waterdrop systems use a 0.0001 micron reverse osmosis membrane to eliminate hundreds of impurities from your drinking water. But what we especially like is it includes a UV purifier light to destroy viruses and bacteria.
A smart display screen allows you to monitor overall water quality, TDS removal, filter life, and use pre-set dispensing options.
The dual Waterdrop Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Dispenser uses two filters to purify water, designed to last between 12-18 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.
- 4-stage RO filter removes up to 99.9% of common contaminants
- Includes UV purification light to destroy bacteria and viruses
- Minimal waste water with a 3:1 drain ratio
- Digital display to show filter life, TDS reduction, and pre-set dispensing options
- Long 12-18 month filter life
- Need to refill the water supply
- Filters may need to be replaced more frequently if you have untreated well water with heavy sediment levels
AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System
We lab tested the AquaTru for ourselves to see if it really can deliver. Impressively, the system was able to remove 100% of the worst contaminants like trihalomethanes, lead, lithium, and nitrates. It was also able to remove 87% of fluoride in the water.
Because it is NSF and IAPMO certified, the amount of harmful metals removed from the AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System ranges between 93.5% – 99.9%. 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 purify 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.
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.
- 3-stage filtration system for up to 99.9% purified water
- Digital LED display with “change filter” alerts
- Wi-Fi and app connectivity upgrade
- Certified to NSF standards
- Detachable water storage pitcher
- Filter replacements are slightly more expensive
- Need to refill the water supply
RKIN AlcaPure Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter
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 alkaline 7 – 8 pH with beneficial minerals
- Removes up to 99% of water contaminants
- Limited waste water with a 1:1 recovery rate
- Unconditional 1-year money back guarantee
- Filter replacements can add up
- Slightly higher price than alternatives
- Waste water ratio is good, but not as good as some other options
Crystal Quest Countertop Portable Reverse Osmosis
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.
- Utilizes a compact 10-stage filtration system
- Purifies two gallons per hour or 50 gallons per day
- Affordable alternative for RVs, apartments, or offices
- Best for emergency water filtration or individual consumption
- Lower flow rate so not ideal for multiple people
- Does not have any digital display or functionality as a traditional countertop RO.
- Unit does not come with an exterior casing
APEC Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis System
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.
- High grade 4-Stage ultra-pure filters
- Capacity of 90 gallons per day
- Great for portability
- Optional exterior case available to protect filter cartridges
- Not compatible with all faucets; i.e. pull-out faucets and sprayer brands
- Slightly more expensive portable RO option
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. Simply unpack the system, 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 installation and minimal maintenance. Simply set it on your counter and plug it in.
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.
Some countertop water purification systems have built-in LED monitoring to display the water system details in real-time. This includes filter life, sleep or standby modes, and pre-set dispensing settings.
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 connection points 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.
Key Considerations When Purchasing A 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).
In past years we reviewed the Frizzlife Countertop Reverse Osmosis System. It was edged off the list this year as it did not rank as high based on our review criteria. The Frizzlife Countertop Reverse Osmosis drinking water purifier is compact and works great anywhere in the home or office. All you need is a power supply source. You can watch our full Frizzlife Countertop RO review video here.
FAQs For Countertop Reverse Osmosis Systems
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 countertop or portable 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 on my RO system?
The pre-filter and activated carbon filters should be changed between 6-8 months. 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.