Access to clean and safe drinking water is a fundamental requirement for a healthy life. With increasing pollution levels and contaminants found in water supplies, many homeowners are turning to in-home water filtration systems. One of the most effective filtration methods for ensuring high-quality drinking water is reverse osmosis (RO). Choosing the right reverse osmosis system for your home can be overwhelming given the myriad of options available. This article aims to guide you through the process of selecting the most suitable RO system that caters to your specific needs.

Understanding Reverse Osmosis

Before diving into how to select an RO system, it’s important to understand what reverse osmosis is and how it works. Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that removes contaminants from water by pushing it under pressure through a semi-permeable membrane. The membrane allows water molecules to pass through while blocking larger molecules like dissolved salts, bacteria, and chemicals.

Benefits of Reverse Osmosis

  1. Removal of Contaminants: RO systems can remove up to 99% of dissolved salts (ions), particles, colloids, organics, bacteria, and pyrogens.
  2. Improved Taste: The removal of contaminants often results in better tasting and smelling drinking water.
  3. Cost-Effective: Although there’s an upfront cost, RO systems can be more cost-effective than buying bottled water over time.
  4. Ease of Maintenance: RO systems generally require less maintenance compared to other types of water purification systems.

Assessing Your Water Quality

The first step in choosing a reverse osmosis system is to understand the quality of your water. This can be done by getting a water quality report from your local municipality or conducting a home water test using a kit available at hardware stores or online. Testing will reveal which contaminants are present in your water and their concentration levels. Common contaminants include chlorine, lead, fluoride, nitrates, and sulfates.

Determining Your Water Needs

Once you know the quality of your water, consider how much filtered water your household needs on a daily basis. RO systems come in various sizes and capacities. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Household Size: Larger families typically need higher-capacity RO systems.
  2. Water Usage: Beyond drinking, consider if you’ll use RO water for cooking, aquariums, plants, or other uses.
  3. Flow Rate: The system should provide a sufficient flow rate so that you have access to purified water when you need it.

Key Features of RO Systems

When selecting your reverse osmosis system, consider the following features:

Number of Filtration Stages

RO systems can have anywhere from three to seven stages of filtration, with each stage providing an additional level of purification. More stages usually mean better quality water but also a higher price.


Some RO systems include a remineralization stage that adds healthy minerals back into the water, which are otherwise removed during the reverse osmosis process.

Storage Capacity

The system should have an adequate storage tank to meet your immediate water consumption needs. If you have a larger household, a larger storage capacity will be necessary.

Quality of Components

High-quality components such as the RO membrane, filters, and storage tank are crucial for the system’s effectiveness and longevity. Look for certifications from organizations like NSF International or the Water Quality Association (WQA).

Water Efficiency

RO systems produce wastewater in the process of filtration. Look for systems that have higher water efficiency rates to save water and reduce utility bills.

Installation and Maintenance

Consider whether the system can be easily installed with standard tools or if professional installation is required. Also, check the frequency of filter changes and overall maintenance requirements.

Price Considerations

Prices for reverse osmosis systems can vary widely based on capacity, number of filtration stages, and brand reputation. While it may be tempting to go for a cheaper option, investing in a higher-quality system could result in better water quality and lower maintenance costs over time.

Brands and Warranties

Research reputable brands and read reviews from other customers. A good warranty can offer peace of mind, so pay attention to the terms and coverage offered by the manufacturer.

Environmental Impact

Consider the environmental implications of an RO system, including the production of wastewater. Some systems are designed to be more eco-friendly than others, so if this is a concern for you, look for a system with a low waste-to-pure water ratio.

Choosing the right reverse osmosis system for your home is about balancing water quality, daily needs, budget, and personal preferences. By starting with a thorough understanding of your water quality and carefully considering the features and costs associated with different RO systems, you can make an informed decision that will ensure safe, tasty water for your household for years to come.

Remember, investing in an RO system is not only a step towards better health but also peace of mind knowing that your water is free from harmful contaminants. Take the time to research and select the best system for your needs, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of pure water every day. If you are considering a reverse osmosis system for your home, call Tri-State Waterworks today.