Reverse Osmosis Pros and Cons

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Reverse osmosis is the most effective of all the different water filters on the market today. It can help you get confidence in the quality of your drinking water by ensuring that the water is safe and healthy to drink.

But just like any other product out there, reverse osmosis filters have both pros and cons.

That’s why when weighing the decision of whether to invest in an RO system or not, you need to know the advantages and the disadvantages as well.

In this post, we discuss the benefits and demerits of reverse osmosis to help you determine whether it’s a worthy investment or not.

Advantages of Reverse Osmosis

Reverse Osmosis Pros and Cons
  • Improves the Taste and Appearance of Drinking Water

By removing water contaminants and impurities, reverse osmosis filters improve the quality of your drinking water.

Chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine give the water an unpleasant taste and odor. Eliminating the pollutants from the water makes it great tasting.

The system also removes bacteria and minerals that make the water appear cloudy.

  • Makes Food Taste Better

Better tasting food starts with fresh and tasty water. Cooking with RO water affects the flavor of most recipes. It is actually for this reason that most restaurants are now using the water in their cooking.

  • Promotes Drinking More Water

If you have fresh and great-tasting water, you’ll get more inclined to drink it when thirsty. Drinking enough water will keep you hydrated all day long.

In addition, access to tasty water discourages the use of unhealthy drinks like soda and processed fruit juices to hydrate.

  • Removes Most Contaminants

Compared to other water filtration methods, reverse osmosis removes the most contaminants. In fact, RO filters often remove up to 99.99% of pollutants from drinking water.

Some of the contaminants removed by reverse osmosis systems include nitrates, sulfates, chlorine, chloramines, fluoride, arsenic, and bacteria, among others.

  • Environmentally Friendly

Reverse osmosis makes a better alternative to bottled water. It’s no secret that plastic bottles pollute the environment, and using filtered water is safer than using disposable bottles.

RO systems also add the convenience of getting clean, pure and healthy water from the comfort of your home. You only need to turn on the faucet to fill your glass with great-tasting water.

  • Fully Automated

RO systems run automatically after installation. You only need to change the filters periodically for optimal operation.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and replace the filters based on their recommended life. Most require replacement every 6 to 12 months, while the RO membrane lasts 2 to 3 years.

  • Energy-Efficient

Most RO systems don’t require any electricity to function. They simply use the pressure of the incoming water to filter contaminants from water.

And while the unit runs on water pressure, it enables you to get unlimited access to pure water without adding to your electricity bill.

  • Easy to Maintain

After installing an RO system, all that’s required of you is to keep up with the filter changes. The unit doesn’t require regeneration, backwashing or manual flushing after setting it up.

And you don’t have to worry about how to change the filters because it’s quite easy. In fact, the process should take you just a few minutes since there are usually only around 3 filters to change.

  • Cost-Effective

Although bottled water seems cheap, it is actually expensive in the long run. Think about the money you’ll keep on spending every time you purchase a bottle. It’ll cost you a lot, especially if you have a big family. Read also: Best cheap reverse osmosis system

  • That’s not the case with reverse osmosis.

Once you’ve paid for the system, you’ll only spend money replacing the filters, which might be only once or twice a year. And you’ll get unlimited access to pure, clean and fresh water every time you turn on the faucet.

Although expensive at the time of purchase, the system will pay for itself a few years down the line.

  • Variety of Options Available

There are different types of reverse osmosis systems available in the market today. They include whole-house, countertop, and tankless and tanked under-sink RO systems.

Each option has its pros and cons, features and price points. Read also: tankless vs tank reverse osmosis system

To get the right fit for your home, weigh the benefits and disadvantages of each unit.

Disadvantages of Reverse Osmosis

  • Removes Beneficial Minerals

While contaminants are eliminated from the water, some important minerals are also removed. Essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium won’t be present in the RO water.

Remember these minerals are quite important for your health and need to be in your diet.

However, the good news is that you’ve got the option of replacing the lost minerals using mineral drops, mineral cartridges, or alkaline pitchers.

And although some RO systems boast a remineralization stage, you’ll have to pay more for the maintenance. The filtration process in these systems also takes longer.

  • Waste a Lot of Water

With a reverse osmosis system, you’ll always get waste water. And even though some RO systems are more efficient than others (they have a super low drain ratio, amazon #Ad), they still waste some water.

For every 1 gallon of pure water produced by a traditional RO system, 4 gallons go to waste. Thankfully, you can still reuse the waste water to wash your car, water your garden, and mop the floor, among other household chores.

  • Slower Filtration Process

Reverse osmosis systems filter water in multiple filtration stages so that you won’t get immediate access to the water. This is simply because the systems operate on water pressure.

This pressure pushes the water slowly through the tiny pores of the RO membrane.

If you opt for a tanked system, you are better off as the tank reduces the issue. It stores the water awaiting use, meaning that unless the tank goes empty, you’ll always have clean water.

The only downside of tanked systems is that they take up a lot of under-sink space.

  • Clogging

A reverse osmosis membrane has tiny pores, which clog with ease in case of excess impurities. However, this only happens if the unit’s maintenance schedule isn’t adhered to.

Clogging reduces water pressure and flow, resulting in a reduced flow rate and increased waste water.

  • Ongoing Maintenance

Although reverse osmosis systems are quite easy to maintain, you’ll still have to regularly replace the filters according to specific guidelines.

The guidelines vary from filter to filter and one system to another.

  • High upfront cost

Reverse osmosis systems come with a high price tag. The good news is that these units tend to pay for themselves a few years later hence a worthy investment. Read also: average cost under sink ro


A reverse osmosis system is an excellent method of providing your family with clean, safe and healthy drinking water. Although not without flaws, the pros outweigh the cons(source).

If you feel that it’s a worthy investment for your home, research and get the option that fits your household best. Cheers!

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