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Best Countertop Reverse Osmosis & Portable RO Systems in 2020

Countertop reverse osmosis filters are the best choice because they are portable. And portability is actually priceless when it comes to drinking water!

Even if you ignore their several other benefits (more on it later) over the fixed reverse osmosis purifiers – you simply cannot substitute the portability benefit.

You can use these machines in your rented apartments, condos, and even while you are on the go – which actually saves you a lot of dollars.

After much research, we feel that the best countertop reverse osmosis system is the APEC Portable system. The other systems on our list are much better looking, but APEC’s extensive experience in water purification and their solid customer support makes their countertop reverse osmosis system the clear winner.

A large majority today, prefer countertop RO purifiers over the fixed ones – even for their permanent houses.

Because of the several benefits they offer – even manufacturers are now shifting their production line to make the purifiers as portable as possible.

And the good thing is that these reverse osmosis water fitlers cater to a large number of users. They are very suitable for people/individuals who:

  • Want to hire rented apartments
  • renting out their homes
  • living in college dormitories
  • hotel rooms
  • vacation Homes
  • RVs and
  • long distance travellers
  • senior and widow apartments

We have selected the best 5 countertop reverse osmosis filter buys – based on the technological, design and performance specifications.

5 Best Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filters

1. Zero Installation Countertop Reverse Osmosis Sytem

AlcaPure Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter by RKIN with Patented High Capacity 4 Stage Technology: Purified Alkaline Water with Superior Taste. No Installation or Assembly Required. Space Black

Rating – 10/10

This reverse osmosis water filter is manufactured by PurifyUSA, and the manufacturer describes the product as “Zero Installation Purifier is not just a water filter. It is an essential companion for a long, healthy lifestyle.”

PurifyUSA focuses on alkaline water purifiers. Zero installation purifier is based on powerful RO technology but advances on this and provides alkaline water.

Technology: The RO water fitler works on a patented High Capacity 4 Stage Technology

Stage 1 – Five Micron Sediment Filter

The water filter system comes with five micron gradient pore structure – which works two ways. The outer section traps large particles like sand and dust. The inner section acts as a second filter used for trapping the smaller particles of the same. The stage filter process is unique as it purifies rust particles too.

Stage 2 – Coconut Based Activated Carbon Block Filter

Harmful chemical residues and carcinogens are removed in the second stage. Cleaning of the water and removing foul odour from it is also done by this filter.

Stage 3 – Reverse Osmosis Membrane

The RO Membrane of this purifier is a real advanced one and is NSF/ANSI 58 Certified! The company lists a number of harmful contaminants (provided at the end of the review) and claims to purify with 99 percent accuracy. Several reports on Zero Installation Purifier membrane suggest their claim to be true.

Stage 4 – Exclusive AlcaPure Post Filter

Calcium and Magnesium and some other essential minerals are required for our body. The RO membrane eliminates them and the 4th stage filter reimburses them in the water back again. This is where the waters alkalinity is also maintained to a perfectly balanced level of 7-8 pH.

Portability and Flexibility

As with all the other countertop ROs you need no installation for this machine which means no messy hoses or leaky diverter valves.

The system is space efficient and features a rectangular shape with W 9.5″, L 14.5″, H 16.25″ Dimensions. The machine is not bulky too and carries just 23 pounds of weight.

Loading and dispensing of the water is from the front so it doesn’t require any free space or top and side clearance. You can place it even in the tightest spaces at your home or in your RC vehicle.

Design

Compact and sleek this model will surely look great in your home or office. The purifier is available in two colour variants – Silver White and Space black in glossy, shiny finish.

Machine Specifications

Automated machine:

One of the best features which make this reverse osmosis water filter better than other ROs is its automated machine. You just have to fill the bottom pitcher with water from your kitchen faucet or wherever the water supply is, push the button and walk away. It just works just like your ordinary coffee maker.

In about 15 minutes the top container will be filled with 0.5 gallon of purified water and after this the unit turns itself off.

75 gallons of water purification every day

This reverse osmosis system is huge in regards to the volume and capacity of water it purifier per day. The system purifies 75 gallons of water per day which is twice the capacity of other countertop water filters. The recovery rate is pretty effective – 50% (1:1) which is the best among the same range of reverse osmosis filters.

Efficiency

The machine uses only 24W of power which is less than a light bulb which means it saves a lot on your electricity bills. This feature makes it a very convenient model for carrying along in RV’s as electrical power has a lot of value in those vehicles.

Easy to change replacement filters

The reverse osmosis system notifies you for recommended filter change via red blinking light every 12 months. The filters last almost twice as long compared to other purifiers. The top and bottom containers are BPA-FREE and can be easily removed. They can be cleaned even with dish soap!

AlcaPure Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter by RKIN with Patented High Capacity 4 Stage Technology: Purified Alkaline Water with Superior Taste. No Installation or Assembly Required. Space Black
  • PUREST TASTING REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER: Zero Installation...
  • MODERN AND STYLISH COUNTERTOP WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM:...
  • SPACE-SAVING DESIGN: The supply water tank is conveniently...

2. Bottle-less Countertop Reverse Osmosis Filtration System and Water Dispenser (6 stage)

Bottleless Countertop Water Dispenser w/ 6 stage EZ Change R/O Filtration System by Brio and Magic Mountain Water Products Red

Rating – 9/10

A spectacular product by Brio and Magic Mountain Water CLBCM-3000U a counter-top dispenser and RO filter system is an eye catcher. It is two in one – a dispenser and a counter-top RO system.

The manufacturer is a reputed name in the market. Brio Water Coolers is one of the best water cooler brands and is known for quality and reliability. Below is a breakdown of machine specifications.

Technology

This countertop reverse osmosis water filter comes with a 6 Stage Reverse Osmosis Filtration System and 10” Standard Filter Housings. The machine and the purifiers come with a 3 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty and a 10 Year Sellers Prorated Warranty.

The 6 stage purification filters are as follows:

Stage 1 – a 5-micron sediment filter

Stage 2 – a Brio Coconut Carbon Granular Activated Carbon Filter (GAC)

Stage 3 – Carbon Block Filter

Stage 4 – 0.022 Micron TFC Membrane

Stage 5 – Granular Activated Coconut Carbon Inline Filter

Stage 6 – Anti-Oxidant Calcite Alkaline Up Inline Filter

60 Gallons per day is the maximum limit of purification.

Installation

This water filter system is an all assembled product, you just need to fit some basics and it is ready to use. A universal installation kit also comes – with everything you need to set-up and install the dispenser.

It has a built-in 1/4″ quick connect port, which can connected connect water line with a simple push.

Design

The model is a beauty. It is available in three colour variants – Black Red and White. And all the three have a glossy finish.

The machines exterior is made of High-volume 304 polished stainless steel with internal frame, shelves, reservoir, faucet lines, shelf all carved in stainless steel..

The exterior steel is made fingerprint proof, leaving it actually stain less and features an automobile like paint finish.

The exterior is lined with indicators. The Hot & Cold water temperature indicator lights give you more control over specific hotness or coldness of the water you want.

Dispenser Features

As it is a dispenser it has a storage tank as well. In all emergency situations this feature is a lot of help. Unexpected guests, sudden power failures and any adverse situation will not leave you without water.

It features an adjustable cold-water thermostat with easy access. You can easily choose for hot and cold features by a simple on and off switch.

Machine Specifications

This bottle-less purifier comes with convection cooling and an internally spring mounted hermetically sealed powerful compressor, which purifies water at the lowest cycle rate possible. Lesser cycles mean lower cost and long-life span.

It also has automatic overload protection system.

The dispenser can serve 1-50 People (Regular users). Its dispensing quantity of water is as follows:

Cold Water Capacity: 1-gallon – Can chill 20 x 6 oz. cups of water per hour.

Hot Water Capacity: 45 X 6-ounce cups of hot water per hour

Filtration Capacity: 3 Gallons of Pure Filtered Water per Hour and 4-gallon bladder storage tank.

Portability and Flexibility

The machine weighs 30 pounds and has 19 x 10 x 19.8 inches of size. The size and weight makes it appropriate to carry around. A handle is also provided to assist easy handling and moving. A removable drip tray that’s dishwasher safe too is also provided which makes it very portable and easy to clean.

Efficiency

This system runs on 110V – 120V 50/60Hz. It does not consume much power and saves a lot of electricity costs.

It works without electricity too. Only the dispenser will not heat or chill water if there is a power shortage.

Bottleless Countertop Water Dispenser w/ 6 stage EZ Change R/O Filtration System by Brio and Magic Mountain Water Products Red
  • Services 1-50 (People) Regular users. This NEW 2018 Hot and...
  • (Stage 1) (Quarter turn EZ Change) 5-micron sediment filter....
  • Cold Water Reservoir: 1-gallon, with the capacity to chill...

3. Bottle-less Countertop Water Dispenser and Reverse Osmosis System

Countertop Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser w/ (6 Stage R/O w/ 10' Standard Filter Housing) w/pH Balance 6th Stage by Oasis, Brio, and Magic Mountain

Rating – 8/10

The same company Brio and Magic Mountain Water Products have manufactured this dispenser water purifier, and this time in collaboration with Oasis too.

The main difference between this model and the model discussed above this one – is that this one has a 5 stage purifier and the prior one has a 6 stage purifier.

Also, the design is completely different.

Other than these – there are no differences at all. The installation, efficiency, water dispensing quantity and machines performance – everything remains the same.

For your convenience we have given a complete review of this model too – although the same details remain as they were discussed in the prior model. (The differences are marked in red)

Technology

The machine comes with a 5 Stage RO Filtration System and 10” Standard Filter Housings. The machine and the purifiers come with a 3 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty and a 10 Year Sellers Prorated Warranty.

The 5 stage purification filters are as follows:

Stage 1 – Quarter turn EZ Change 5-micron sediment filter

Stage 2 – Quarter turn EZ Change Carbon Block filter

Stage 3 – Quarter turn EZ Change Coconut Carbon Granular Activated Carbon Filter (GAC)

Stage 4 – 50 GPD TFC Membrane

Stage 5 – Granular Activated Carbon Inline Filter

The stage 6 Anti-Oxidant Calcite Alkaline Up Inline Filter – which appeared in the above filter is the only missing feature here.

75 Gallons per day is the maximum limit of purification.

Installation

This reverse osmosis system is an all assembled product, you just need to fit some basics and it is ready to use. A universal installation kit also comes – with everything you need to set-up and install the dispenser.

It has a built-in 1/4″ quick connect port, which can connected connect water line with a simple push.

Design

This model cannot be compared to the prior one if we are talking design. It is an economic model and hence design takes a downturn here.

The good thing about the design is a whisper free purifying performance of the machine. The machine and the filters do not make any sound.

The machine’s exterior and interior are not complete stainless steel. The exterior is lined with Neon Blue light indicators.

The Hot & Cold water temperature indicator lights give you more control over specific hotness or coldness of the water you want.

Dispenser Features

As it is a dispenser it has a store tank as well. In all emergency situations this feature is a lot of help. Unexpected guests, sudden power failures and any adverse situation will not leave you without water.

It features an adjustable cold-water thermostat with easy access. You can easily choose for hot and cold features by a simple on and off switch.

Machine Specifications

This countertop reverse osmosis water filter comes with convection cooling and an internally spring mounted hermetically sealed powerful compressor, which purifies water at the lowest cycle rate possible. Lesser cycles mean lower cost and long-life span.

It also has automatic overload protection system.

The dispenser can serve 1-50 People (Regular users). Its dispensing quantity of water is as follows:

Cold Water Capacity: 1-gallon – Can chill 20 x 6 oz. cups of water per hour.

Hot Water Capacity: 45 X 6-ounce cups of hot water per hour

Filtration Capacity: 3 Gallons of Pure Filtered Water per Hour and 4-gallon bladder storage tank.

Portability and Flexibility

The machine weighs 30 pounds and has 14 x 13 x 17.9 inches of size. The size and weight makes it appropriate to carry around. A handle is also provided to assist easy handling and moving. A removable drip tray that’s dishwasher safe too is also provided which makes it very portable and easy to clean.

Efficiency

The purifier runs on 110V – 120V 50/60Hz. It does not consume much power and saves a lot of electricity costs.

The purifier works without electricity too. Only the dispenser will not heat or chill water if there is power shortage.

If you order form Amazon then you get a Discounted Multi Replacement filters Pack.

Countertop Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser w/ (6 Stage R/O w/ 10" Standard Filter Housing) w/pH Balance 6th Stage by Oasis, Brio, and Magic Mountain
  • Services 1-50 (People) Regular users. This NEW 2018 Oasis...
  • (Stage 1) (10” Standard Filter Housing), 5-micron sediment...
  • Magic Mountain's 6 Stage Reverse Osmosis 10” Standard R/O...

4. APEC Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis System and Water Filter

APEC Water Systems RO-CTOP-PHC Alkaline Mineral Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System pH+ With Case, Installation-Free, Fits Most STANDARD FAUCET

Rating – 10/10

APEC specialises in reverse osmosis water filters. The company manufactures all kinds of water servicing machines, ranging from huge industrial purifiers to the small single user ones.

This one is a very popular mid range RO water purifier. Compact and sleek design makes it very portable. The horizontal shape is unique, because mostly purifiers and dispensers have a vertical built.

Technology

The purifier uses a 4 stage purifying system. The RO membrane goes down to 0.0001 microns. The first and second filter needs to be changed every six months, whereas the third and fourth lasts for at least 3 years.

Most of the contaminants are removed by the machine; however removing of chloramines remains a question. You need a Omnipure K2526-JJ for chloramines. The K2520-JJ filter installed in this product does not filter chloramines.

The machine does not have an alkaline addition feature too. If you want, you need to buy separate alkaline filter.

In general the machine uses high quality filtration components which protect and prolongs the lifespan.

Installation

The installation process is easy, but the only limitation is that it does not fit to all the faucets. If your sink has pull-out faucets, special size designer faucets and sprayer faucets then you need to change to a standard one.

Design

The actual purpose of this countertop reverse osmosis water filter system is to serve condos, motor homes, retirement homes, seniors, students & travellers and so is designed accordingly. You will not come across many reverse osmosis systems having a horizontal built. This one is! The reason is that it fits easily in vehicles and RCVs.

15.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches are dimensions of the purifier and weighs only 10 pounds, which means it can be carried very easily.

It also comes with an aluminium case for further protection and proper handling.

APEC Water Systems RO-CTOP-PHC Alkaline Mineral Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System pH+ With Case, Installation-Free, Fits Most STANDARD FAUCET
  • Hooks up to most STANDARD FAUCET in minutes. Just plug and...
  • Top rated brand, high performance reverse osmosis drinking...
  • Highest grade 4-Stage ultra-pure system provides refreshing...

5. NISPIRA Countertop Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System Dispenser

Countertop Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System Dispenser 4 Stages Filtration Purification (No Installation Required). Removes chlorine, lead, fluoride, heavy metals, bacteria and contaminants

Rating – 9/10

NISPIRA manufactures a range of products and it actually specialises in all kinds of purifiers in general – and not just water purifiers. This water purifier is the best one from all its products.

Technology

This countertop reverse osmosis water filter uses 4-Stage filtration system. It removes most of the contaminants like chlorine, lead, fluoride, heavy metals. The company claims to remove 1000+ contaminants!

Stage 1 – Pre-filter – removes sand silt, dirt and other sediment

Stage 2 – Activated Carbon Filter – Removes odour, chlorine and other contaminants

Stage 3 – RO membrane – Removes bacteria, heavy metals and other harmful chemicals and has 99.93% accuracy.

Stage 4 – Activated carbon post filter – further removes the odour and improves the taste.

Design

The model especially in black colour – looks beautiful and is worth a display at your home of office.

The display panel is also very attractive featuring a LCD screen which shows filters status and replacement due dates.

The pitcher finds a place in the machine itself which acts as a small tank. The purified water gets stored in a removable pitcher. The pitchers placement actually adds to the attraction.

Installation

It is a counter top machine and hence no installation is required. You just have to plug in and the purifier is ready to use.

Machine Specifications

A Full tank holds 1.4L tap water and each minute it can filter 200 ml, which is a fair amount for an average family, and the water pressure is also quite decent.

System dimensions are 13″ x 10.3″ x 15.4″ and the machine weighs around 22 pounds.

You will never find leakage problem in this water system.

The suggested replacement period for filter is as follows:

Pre filter – 12 months

Carbon filter – 12 months

RO membrane filter – 2 years

Post carbon filter – 12 months

Replacing filters is also easy. You just need to turn and click the filters in their position and required no plumbing tools.

The unique feature which makes this machine stand out is the Environmental friendly approach. The system is designed to save water. The waste water is recycled and reprocessed and no wastage occurs.

Related

What is a Countertop reverse osmosis filter?

A countertop RO filter is on the counter machine for purifying water, which does not need to be fixed in place. Before recently most of the systems were designed as under-the-counter units, commonly installed under a sink cabinet.

People who don’t have their own houses had a lot of issue installing RO’s in their rented apartments. According to US rental laws, even a small modification in the house needs to be sanctioned by the owner, and installing a fixed under the counter RO required changes in the drainage and sink counter.

Other than the renters, a fixed reverse osmosis system was a hassle to even the hotel owners and people who give their houses for rent. Even college going students and single bachelors had to spend a lot many dollars just on the installation – after the purchase of the machine.

Then there a lot of frequent travellers, who just want to rent an apartment for a month or so – and buying a fixed a machine was never an option for them.

Countertop reverse osmosis systems are the best possible solution, because they can be easily attached to new and existing faucets and no installation is required.

Secondly because the counter-top machines are small, compact and usually tank-less – they serve best if you want to carry them along on your short trips too. You are going camping, or just want to enjoy this summer with your family you can put them in your recreational vehicles and enjoy pure water through-out your trip.

How Does a Countertop reverse osmosis system work? 

A countertop RO system is highly effective in producing drinking water quality comparable to the standards of under-counter RO systems, and if you are comparing tap water, than this machine can guarantee higher standards and better quality. They are purer and fresher than bottled water (more on this later).

Once you connect it to a sink faucet through a faucet head adapter and turn the faucet on. This process is as easy as connecting your phone to its charger, and requires no technician. The good thing is that most of the countertop reverse osmosis water filters fit to all kinds of faucets.

Next, open the diverter valve on the adapter. The water will be channelled through a tube away from the faucet and will flow through 3-4 different purification cartridges. A counter-top RO’s filtration process is very similar to a fixed ones filtration process.

The Stages of filtration are:

  • 1st Stage: Spun fibre removes sand, particles, dust, mud etc.
  • 2nd stage: Granular Carbon Filters chlorine, organics, odour, smell, turbidity, etc.
  • 3rd Stage: RO membrane removes bacteria, dissolved metals, chemicals, salt, other minerals, and other dissolved matter in the water.
  • 4th Stage: Post carbon filters dissolved gasses and any cleanses the water from foul smell and taste.

Some high end counter-top RO systems even offer alkaline water. They make the water basic – by adding organic bases. More alkaline water is extremely beneficial for the human body and is recommended for its health benefits.

Once the water has passed through all the above filters and the required minerals are added, you can open the tap and enjoy fresh, pure and healthy water.

But there is an important thing to note. Generally countertop RO’s do not come with a storage tank. The water is purified in some seconds and then comes out of the tap. No stored water is available for instant use. If you want to store the water, then you need to do it in a separate pitcher or jug.

For single users and users on the go – this is not that big a problem but is an inconvenient feature for big families and house owners. However now manufacturers are offering all the features of a fixed under the counter RO – in countertop reverse osmosis water filters.

In fact you can get a countertop reverse osmosis water filter which acts as a water dispenser – having cold and hot water dispensing provision.

Earlier Countertop reverse osmosis system models were not fully automated. So you had to wait until the filtration progress used to get over and then manually turn off the faucet and the diverter valve. This was very time consuming and a hassle to use. So if you are planning to buy a counter-top RO, look whether it is manual or automated.

If you are trying to choose between these two types, below is a list (just key points) highlighting countertop system’s advantages and limitations.

Countertop Reverse Osmosis Systems: advantages and limitations

Flexibility

Advantage – Countertop ROs are very flexible than the latter. They are compact so they can be easily carried too.

Most importantly the installation-free feature is a welcome benefit. The system is easy to install without tools or drilling required, so one can do it without any support, which again saves you a lot of dollars.

And the system attaches to any faucet head so that does not require you to modify you sink or sewage plumbing.

Limitation – Tank-less system makes the product a little inconvenient for larger families.

Secondly if the system requires manual operation than a lot of time gets wasted in switching the system off and on.

Maintenance

Advantage – Counter-tops are easy on pockets as they require less maintenance. With them leakage and plumbing issues are minimum.

Limitations – The filters are inferior in comparison to the fixed RO filters. The maximum period they can support is 6 to 8 months. After that the quality of the water gets affected. In a fixed one you can stretch the filter to a year, and sometimes to 14 months.

Quality

Advantage – There is not a percents difference regarding the quality of water produced by both the machines. The water tastes same and has no contaminants like the fixed ones. In fact as the system is tank-less the users are subjected to instantly purified water.

Secondly the machines hardware is also rough and tough to support the portability and travel wear and tear.

Limitations – There are no limitations in regard to the quality of the water. The only issue you can face is the collapsing of the system if you have chosen a low quality machine.

RO Purifier Water VS Bottled Water

Reverse osmosis water purification was developed more than 40 years ago – as a means of creating clean freshwater from saltwater. The available water treatment sources at that time were very expensive and consumed a lot of energy resources. Reverse Osmosis guaranteed the treatment at an affordable price and by conserving the energy resources too.

In spite of this history – There is a lot of misconception that bottled water is manufactured according to the highest purity standards, and hence is the healthiest of all the available sources.

Below are some points which provide end to end comparison between bottled, natural and RO purifier water.

Bottled Water:

  • It is manufactured according to guidelines set by the FDA, not the EPA
  • The test requirement for microbiological contaminants in bottle water plants in only once a week.
  • Elimination of Chlorine-resistant bacteria is not covered in FDA guidelines, and hence bottled water does not screen these kinds of bacteria.
  • Average manufacturers actually fill tap water in bottles and add some mineral salts (according to a study of 103 brands of bottled water). So basically bottled water is literally nothing but municipal tap water.
  • Contamination due to plastic containers is an unavoidable factor. If the water is bottled in any organic container, then the cost will rise to several dollars.
  • Bottled water costs an average of over $1 a bottle. Sometimes the cost rises to 5-10 dollars. An average $7 billion per year is spent on water in America alone.
  • Some studies claim that the risk of birth defects rise due to tap water as it is a contaminated source.

Natural Water

  • Ponds, lakes or any other surface or groundwater does not provide purity. The contamination does not stop – because these are natural sources.
  • A lot of medical problems are associated with drinking natural water from its source. The most common are kidney stone, diarrheic conditions and a sudden increase in blood pressures.
  • Natural water after being treated in a municipal water plant travels hundreds of miles of pipeline before reaching your home faucet. Just imagine the amount of contaminants present in the pipelines which can spoil the water.

Filtered Water:

  • Can be used for all household purposes and provides cleaner and better results even when used for cooking, and dishwashing.
  • A study claims that filtered reverse osmosis water removes 2,100 known toxins found in drinking water, some of the most harmful being chlorine and lead.
  • Filtration removes contaminants which are harmful to the body, incites diseases and are even affect cells on a molecular level.
  • Removes lead which can cause learning disabilities in children.
  • Removes fluoride which is the most used chemical additive municipality tap water. Fluoridation till this day remains a topic of debate its affects on human health.
  • Protects children’s developing immune systems.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many use cases where you’d prefer to have a portable, countertop reverse osmosis system rather than an under-sink or fixed system. We hope that you’ve found these overviews useful, and if you’re still in doubt, we highly recommend the APEC system.

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