Hydroviv Vs Reverse Osmosis: Which Is Better?

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Hydroviv Vs Reverse Osmosis

If you are like the ever-increasing population of people fighting back to get healthy drinking water, you’re in the right place! Nearly every day we see a new headline about cities with PFAS, fluoride, chloramine, lead, and other water contaminant problems. In this article, we’ll look at two custom-tailored solutions, Hydroviv Water Filter Vs Reverse Osmosis.

Hydroviv famously received a $400,000 deal on Shark Tank [1]. The company was in fact born out of the water crisis occurring throughout Michigan. But, is the under sink water filter worth it?

On the other hand, reverse osmosis filtration systems have been around for decades. They are amongst the most potent home water treatment options on the market.

Is one better than the other? We tested both to see what are the differences, pros, and cons of each. Without further delay, let’s dive in to see a head-to-head between Hyroviv and reverse osmosis.

Comparison Of Hydroviv Vs Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration

Here is a quick comparison of Hydroviv filters and RO filtration. We will unpack all the details later in this post.

Hydroviv Water FilterReverse Osmosis Filtration
Yearly Filter Replacement Cost$172.50$150
Installation15 Minutes90 Minutes
Takes More SpaceNoYes
Waste WaterNoYes
NSF CertifiedYesSome Are
Removes Healthy MineralsNoYes
Removes PFASYesYes
Removes ChlorineYesYes
Removes LeadYesYes
Removes BacteriaYesYes
Removes FluorideNoYes
Removes ArsenicYesYes
Removes Chromium 6YesYes
Comparison Table of Hydroviv Vs RO

Hydroviv Under Sink Water Filter

Do you want an undersink filter that is customized for your specific location’s water quality?  That is exactly what Hydroviv Water Filter Systems offer – when your order is placed, the shipping zip code is used to create a filtration system that is optimized for your city’s water conditions. This means you are guaranteed to get the best tasting water straight from the tap. Note that Hydroviv also makes a shower filter, which you can learn more about in our shower filter review

Hydroviv Vs Reverse Osmosis_Hydroviv Under Sink Water Filter

Testing and Certifications

The Hydroviv Under Sink Water Filter carries NSF certifications to Standards 42 (aesthetic effects) and 53 (health effects). You may see the NSF 42 certification more commonly on water filters, but standard 53 is a more intensive process. For example, a filter must reduce PFAS concentration to below 70 parts per trillion [2], and lead levels of 5 parts per billion or less [3].

Hydroviv filters are also independently tested to remove hundreds of contaminants including arsenic, lead, chromium 6, PFAS, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorine, industrial chemicals, and many more. Both Duke and North Carolina State University performed studies on the effectiveness of Hydroviv filters on PFAS removal. These studies demonstrated PFAS and GenX were not detectable in water filtered by Hydroviv’s under sink water filter.

Easy to Install Under Sink

Easy to install, the Hydroviv connects to any faucet’s standard under sink ⅜” cold water line.  The installation is a DIY process that takes about 15 minutes. Included with the kit are screw-on connectors that wont damage plumbing. And since the system is 6 inches wide by 14 inches high, it can be easily mounted under your sink without getting in the way, even if you have a garbage disposal.

Construction Quality and Maintenance

You will notice immediately the overall quality of the Hydroviv is superior. The filter housing walls are made with thick BPA-free material. The gasket is able to be replaced which means you don’t need to purchase a whole new system if there are ever any leaks or it breaks.

The filters have a long life of 6 months and you can subscribe to save 25% and have them automatically shipped to your door.  Best of all, the Hydroviv under sink filter system comes with a 30-day, money-back guarantee and the housings and hardware come with a 5-year warranty.

Is Hydroviv reverse osmosis?

No, Hydroviv filters are different than a reverse osmosis filter system. Hydroviv uses a single cartridge system, whereas ROs are multi-stage filter systems with a semi-permeable RO membrane.

Hydroviv Under Sink Filter

Customized for your water source
NSF 42 and 53 certified
Removes PFAS, lead, chlorine, & more
Installs in under 15 minutes
Does not remove fluoride

Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems

Reverse osmosis filtration uses pressure to force water through a series of semi-permeable membranes to remove impurities. The pore size is as small as .0001 microns!

After the water is forced through the semipermeable RO membrane, additional water is required to flush the system clean. This part of the process leads to reverse osmosis “waste water” as the system regenerates.

The end result is purified tap water that can be up to 99.9% free of harmful contaminants. The most common use for osmosis systems is to provide healthy drinking and cooking water.

Types Of RO Systems

Residential reverse osmosis systems can come in two forms. The first is a whole house reverse osmosis system that installs at the home’s point-of-entry. The second, and more common, is a point-of-use system. These can be either under-sink systems or countertop reverse osmosis systems.

Hydroviv Vs Reverse Osmosis_Types Of RO Systems_Under Sink RO_Countertop RO_Tankless RO

Installing A RO Filtration System

Installing a reverse osmosis system at home can take longer than a Hydroviv filter. The exception is if you get a countertop RO unit. Countertop ROs simply need to be plugged into an electrical outlet and it’s ready to go.

An under sink RO comes in two types, a tankless or tank-based system. A tank-based system will take approximately 2 hours to install. A tankless unit is slightly easier and will take about 90 minutes to install. Although the installation process is not terribly difficult, if you are not DIY inclined, it may be best to hire a plumber.

Reverse Osmosis Lab Test Results

We lab-tested the SpringWell 4-stage reverse osmosis system to verify its filtration performance. The RO system removed approximately 95% of most contaminants in the water sample, including bacteria, TDS, and sodium. It also completely removed fluoride, radon, and uranium from the drinking water.

SpringWell Reverse Osmosis System Review_Independent Laboratory Test Results

Full Reverse Osmosis System Lab Test Results:

What Are The Benefits Of Reverse Osmosis

  • Removes most water contaminants: Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective filtration options for eliminating all disease causing organisms and the most chemical contaminants [4]. Most RO filtration systems exceed NSF/ANSI Standards to remove at least 95% of dangerous contaminants like lead, chloramine, PFAs, fluoride, and more. Unlike Hydroviv that does not remove fluoride.
  • On demand purified water: Getting access to filtered water with a RO system is as easy as turning on the faucet. Since they are installed directly to your under sink water supply, you don’t need to wait around for water.
  • More eco-friendly:  Eliminating plastic waste in your household by investing in an RO filtration system will go a long way in reducing single-use bottles. Using drinking water from your RO will cost less than regularly consuming bottled water.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Reverse Osmosis

  • Wastes water: A traditional RO system will use 4 gallons of water to create one gallon of filtered tap water. Fortunately, with high efficiency RO systems, you can have a 3:1 waste ratio. This means you get 3 gallons of purified water with only one gallon of waste water.
  • Requires installation: Unlike the Hydroviv that can be installed in under 15 minutes, RO installation requires a little more effort. A point-of-use system requires light plumbing modification and can take about 2 hours.
  • Removes Healthy Minerals: The RO osmosis system is so effective at removing contaminants that it even removes healthy minerals. Minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium are removed from your drinking water. The good news is there are several ways to remineralize your RO water.
  • Takes more space: Under sink RO systems will take more room under your kitchen sink. Fortunately, tankless RO systems have become very compact at take significantly less space than traditional RO systems.

Hydroviv Water Filter Vs Reverse Osmosis: Key Considerations

Your Water Quality

The first step to knowing which solution is best is getting your water tested. It is critical to understand what contaminants are in your water before making a decision. If your water is heavily contaminated with things like fluoride, a RO system is the better option. However, if you have municipal water with lead, PFAS, or chromium 6, a Hydroviv system may be suitable depending on the concentration levels. Lastly, you may find that your water is fine as is, and you don’t need to spend money on a filter!

Your Budget

A reverse osmosis system will be more expensive on average than a Hydroviv filter system. This is because an RO system is more comprehensive and able to remove a greater amount of contamination. Putting aside the initial purchase, ongoing filter replacement costs for both Hydroviv and reverse osmosis are both around $150 per year.

Filter Certifications

When looking for any home filter solution, it is best to get one with accredited certifications. The best certification is ANSI/NSF. As mentioned above, Hydroviv is NSF certified to Standards 42 and 53. RO filter systems, or the filters themselves, can also be certified to standard 42 and standard 58. While this isn’t required, it gives peace of mind knowing the systems are tested to the most rigorous standards.


If you don’t want to deal with installation or live in an apartment where installation is prohibited, an under sink RO will not work. A Hydroviv requires light DIY installation in 15 minutes which would be acceptable in most circumstances. A countertop RO requires no installation, just access to an electrical plugin.

Space Requirements

The Hydroviv takes less under sink space than a reverse osmosis system. If space is a constraint, but you still want the performance of a RO filtration system, a tankless RO is 75% smaller than a tank based RO. Alternatively, a countertop RO unit can be placed anywhere that has access to electricity.

Final Verdict

We want to reiterate…test your water! You cannot know what solution is best if you don’t know what’s in your water.

If you are on a tighter budget and have city water, the Hydroviv is your best choice. Make sure the contaminants in your water align with what Hydroviv is designed to treat. Also, ensure the concentration levels of the contaminants are within acceptable ranges.

If your water quality is very poor and you have heavy contamination, an RO system will be the best choice. Are they slightly more expensive? Yes. But that is the price for getting healthy and safe drinking water at home. And don’t forget, the cost of an RO is still far less expensive than using bottled water!

Is hydroviv better than reverse osmosis?

Hydroviv filters generally have a lower upfront price than reverse osmosis systems, however, RO filters can remove a broader spectrum of contaminants. If you are on a budget and still want great filtration performance, the Hydroviv is the right choice. Also if you cannot make plumbing modifications, the Hydroviv undersink filter will be best. If you want a more thorough purification process, a reverse osmosis system is ideal.

Are Hydroviv water filter NSF certified?

Yes, Hydroviv filters are NSF 42 and 53 certified for health and aesthetic impurities in your drinking water.

Do Hydroviv water filters actually remove PFAS?

Yes, Hydroviv water filters have been independently tested to remove PFAS and GenX chemicals from drinking water.

Do Hydroviv water filters remove fluoride?

No, Hydroviv filters do not remove fluoride. If you want to filter out fluoride from your water supply, a reverse osmosis system is best.

Why Trust Freshnss?

Ricky is the founder of Freshnss and product reviewer specializing in water filtration, home, and kitchen products. For this review, he spoke with members of our water review board of experts. And also with our network of industry professionals who offered input on Hydroviv Water Filters and Reverse Osmosis, and contrasted the two options. Next, he researched today’s best home water filters, considering over a dozen options from various merchants. The two were compared based on filtration performance, filter replacement costs, and overall value. He has also tested and re-tested some of our top picks, and looked for emerging filtration companies offering new home water treatment options worth trying.

Articles Sources

Freshnss uses only the highest-quality sources to support the facts used in our articles including: government organizations, independent studies, peer-reviewed journals, and lab testing results. Read our editorial review guidelines here to learn more about how we verify and fact-check our writing to keep our content reliable, accurate, and trustworthy.

  1. Shark Tank Hydroviv Water Filter Update, Shark Tank Update
  2. PFOA/PFOS In Drinking Water, National Standards Foundation (NSF)
  3. Drinking Water Treatment Units Must Now Meet Stricter Requirements for Lead Reduction Certification, National Standards Foundation (NSF)
  4. Water Health Series: Filtration Facts, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
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