Untreated well water, like chlorinated tap water, comes with its own unique set of problems. Iron-rich well water often has a funky sulfur scent since iron and sulfur bacteria love to hang out together. Then there’s the problem of water run-off entering private wells and the propagation of microorganisms (*). Without chlorine treatment, a lot of enemies can make a home for themselves in your well. In comes RO systems to the rescue. Mostly all contaminants are no match for the microscopic pores of an RO membrane. Today, I’m sharing my comprehensive guide on choosing the best reverse osmosis system for well water.
By the end of the guide, you’ll have learned:
- Top 5 RO Systems for Well Water
- RO System Reviews
- How to Choose the Best RO System for Well Water
Best RO Systems for Well Water Reviewed
Now that you’ve seen the top RO systems currently on the market for well water, I’m going to share my individual reviews of each system along with the pros and cons of owning them according to current info. In the chart above, I listed all the key specs to look for when choosing a system for well water, though you may still be unfamiliar with several of the components such as a permeate pump.
Be sure to stick around after the review for my brief guide that summarizes why each filtration stage is suited for filtering well water. By the end of the guide, you’ll be ready to install a new RO system for transforming even the funkiest well water into crisp, refreshing, bottled-water quality water on tap in your home.
#1) Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection
The Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection system is currently the top system for well water that comes with all the bells and whistles required to transform well water into tasty purified water. One component that I like a lot in this system is the pre-filter specifically designed for removing iron. Since iron bacteria is a common culprit in well water with a rotten egg scent, this feature is a huge plus.
Despite having fewer filters than other systems in my Top 5, each stage in the HydroPerfection system is enhanced to get the job done, particularly for heavy metal and sediment removal. On top of that, the system offers an integrated permeate pump to significantly reduce wastewater.
One of the biggest drawbacks of all RO systems is wastewater. Some systems waste as much as 3-4 gallons to make 1 gallon of filtered water. With the permeate pump, you’ll save money on your water bill and increase the water pressure at the RO faucet. Additionally, you extend the life of your filters, which also equals less money spent on replacement filters each year.
Lastly, the HydroPerfection system uses an inline UV sterilization filter to effectively eliminate microorganisms that may be lurking in your well water.
Other system highlights:
- Modular Filter Design – With this system, you replace the filter along with the housing to mitigate the risk of leaky filter housings and the accumulation of biofilm. This feature also makes changing filters a whole lot easier and faster.
- Redox Media KDF 85 removes dissolved iron from well water with an up to 98% removal rate
- Reduce wastewater by up to 80%
- Perfect Water Technologies Fast-Flow RO Kit almost doubles the filtered water flow rate with larger fittings and tubing than competing systems
- A high maximum incoming water TDS of 2000 ppm
- High-Capacity 75 GPD RO membrane
#2) iSpring RCC1UP-AK
Family-owned iSpring is one of my personal favorite water filtration companies with a long track record of manufacturing top RO systems for affordable prices. When you invest in an iSpring system, you invest in a system that’s backed with confidence, expert knowledge, and a 1-year money-back guarantee. The one and only real drawback to iSpring systems is the lower max incoming TDS capacity of 750 ppm. Incoming water above this level voids the warranty so be sure to test your well water with a ppm meter before you choose a system.
Having said that, the RCC1U-AK system is packed to the brim with premium features. The one component that’s different when compared to the Home Master system is the integrated booster pump. The Home Master pump is non-electric, while the iSpring booster pump does run on electricity. The good news is the super-quiet pump turns itself on and off automatically. If you have low water pressure, the booster pump raises the incoming water pressure to 80 psi before it reaches the RO membrane. This equals less wastewater, a lower water bill, and an overall better end product.
If the appearance of the RO faucet is important to you, you’ll almost undoubtedly like the lead-free brushed nickel faucet included with the RCC1UP-AK. At the time of this writing, the iSpring system and replacement filters cost a good chunk less than the Home Master HydroPerfection system.
#3) Express Water ROALKUV10DCG
Compared to iSpring, APEC, and Home Master, Express Water is on the budget side of the spectrum. I rank Express Water as the best budget reverse osmosis system manufacturer because the company delivers a consistent product with tons of happy owners. In this price range, the ROALKUV10DCG offers the most thorough filtering process with UV filtration and remineralization.
The key difference between the Express Water system and the top 2 systems in my guide is the lack of an included pump. If you want to increase the effectiveness of this system and boost incoming psi, there’s the option to add a permeate pump to the system. Depending on your current water pressure, you might find that the ROALKUV10DCG system is a better buy than the iSpring or Home Master systems if you already have good water pressure.
If you’re a fan of alkaline remineralization, the ROALKUV10DCG offers the most comprehensive 5-mineral blend of the systems in my top 5 to boost pH and enhance flavor. One of the drawbacks of plain demineralized RO water is it’s often slightly acid with a more bitter flavor than what’s produced by an RO system with remineralization. My top 3 picks including the ROALKUV10DCG all include an inline mineral filter cartridge along with UV sterilization, which is recommended for eliminating microorganisms in well water.
#4) APEC Water Systems RO-PERM
APEC Water Systems prides itself on parts and filters made in the USA, and I don’t blame them. I buy American-made water filtration systems whenever possible. In reality, APEC could easily be a #1 pick here if the company offered an RO system with UV sterilization and a permeate pump in one. Until that day arrives, I’m putting the RO-PERM system at #4. You may also want to click here #ad to view the ROES-PHUV75 with UV sterilization (no pump) at Amazon.
My favorite features of the APEC RO-PERM system are the extra-long filter life (rated at up to double the life of competing filters), reliable leak-free JG Quick Connect fittings, customer support from WQA-certified water specialists, an NSF-Certifed premium RO membrane, and the Advanced Coconut Shell Refining Carbon post-filter for superior water taste.
The missing ingredients in this system compared to the preceding three systems are no inline mineral filter cartridge and no UV filter. The good news is you can easily add a UV filter and mineral filter cartridge to the system or opt for the ROES-PHUV75 system with remineralization and UV sterilization that only needs a pump. Either way, you’re getting a superior USA-made RO system that’s an excellent choice for well water. The only disadvantage is you may want to modify either system to make it more complete.
#5) iSpring RCC7
Of all the most affordable RO systems on the market that are good quality and not junk, the iSpring RCC7 system impresses me the most. If you have good water pressure (50 – 70 psi) and well water on the safer side, then the iSpring RCC7 might be more than up for the task of filtering your well water. Keep in mind, the permeate pump increases the efficiency of an RO system, but it’s not 100% necessary if you have good water pressure. Additionally, if you’re unconcerned about microorganisms in your well water or already had it tested, then a UV filter is also not 100% necessary.
The third missing component from this system is an inline mineral filter cartridge. Depending on whether you want slightly alkaline drinking water or the resulting pH of your filtered RO water is low, the remineralization stage might also be unnecessary. For these reasons, most water filtration companies recommend testing your well water first, and so do I. A mistake I see a lot of people make is investing in a system that’s more than they need after assuming that their well water is worse than it actually is.
RO membranes by iSpring, APEC, Home Master, and Express Water are all high-quality and remove most common water contaminants. The bottom line is the iSpring RCC7 is a complete and efficient RO system that might be all you need. It offers the same iSpring-quality parts as the RCC1UP-AK system, minus the pump, UV filter, and remineralization (which can all be added to the RCC7 later).
How to Choose the Best RO System for Well Water
In this final section, I go over several key components of an RO system for well water.
The permeate pump is important if you have low water pressure (30 – 50 psi) or want to increase the efficiency of your system. What the pump does is increase psi before the water reaches the RO membrane. This action reduces wastewater by up to 80%, boosts the performance of the system to fill the filtered water tank faster, and eliminates TDS creep, which can shorten the life of the RO membrane.
As we all know, municipal water is treated with chlorine and chloramines to eliminate microorganisms, including microbial waterborne pathogens (*). Without chlorine treatment, there’s a chance of well water becoming infected by disease-causing contaminants. These contaminants include protozoa, bacteria, viruses, algae, and even microscopic worms (*). If you’re concerned about contaminated well water or had your water tested by a lab, a UV filter is an excellent non-chlorine alternative for destroying harmful microorganisms including E. Coli, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia.
Mineral Filter Cartridge
The final optional component I want to highlight is the inline mineral filter cartridge that boosts the pH of demineralized RO water after it passes through the RO membrane. The most common alkaline mineral used in mineral filter cartridges is food-grade calcium carbonate. Since plain RO water is nearly devoid of minerals, this can lead to slightly-acidic drinking water. Even bottled water companies add minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and salt “for taste.” You may not have known that a lot of bottled water is reverse osmosis water with added minerals. When you invest in one of the RO systems in my Top 5, you’re essentially mimicking the filtration process used by bottled water companies.
Now you know the best reverse osmosis systems for well water and how to choose the right one for your home. I’m confident that if you made it this far, you learned a lot about reverse osmosis filtration and why it’s so effective for filtering well water.
The best way to choose the right system is to get your well water tested by a qualified lab first. The lab results will lead you to the right system, and the companies selling the systems in my Top 5 will even go the extra mile by recommending systems to suit your needs based on your lab results. Bottoms up!