reverse osmosis system cost (price, maintenance, installation)

Reverse Osmosis System Cost: Price, Maintenance, & Installation

How much does a reverse osmosis system cost? How much does a whole house reverse osmosis system cost? What about under-sink and countertop versions? How much does it cost to install, maintain, and operate?

Navigating the world of reverse osmosis systems can be very confusing.

Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place and can find all the answers below.

The Best Thing About Reverse Osmosis Systems

picture of reverse osmosis filter that removes fluoride

Let’s start off by talking about how great of a decision you’re about to make.

Not only do are reverse osmosis filters arguable the best fluoride water filter, but overall – it provides the best quality water and in a very wallet-friendly way.

This means when it comes to costs, a quality reverse osmosis system will pay for itself in a matter of time.

As an example, I’ll quickly show you how much money my family and I have saved by switching from bottled water to a reverse osmosis filter (under-sink model).

Reverse Osmosis vs. Bottled Water

bottled water vs reverse osmosis system

In this example, we’ll take the price per gallon of the cheapest bottled water (lowest quality and bought in bulk).

Then compare it to how much I paid over the course of 1 year using a reverse osmosis filter.

Obviously, how much you save and when you’ll get your money back in savings, will mainly depend on how much water you use.

The more water you use the more money you save.

Example: Family Of 4

  • Reverse osmosis system purchase price: $300 USD, self-installed
  • Annual filter replacement cost: $40 USD
  • Cost per gallon of bottled water: $0.90 USD
  • Cost per gallon of tap water: $0.01 USD

Now, my family uses a lot of water and on average we drink 1 gallon a day, per person. This may seem like too much but let’s not forget about the water used for tea, coffee, and cooking.

With that being said, let’s see the cost difference:

  • Bottled water: $0.90 USD/gallon x 4.0 gallons/day x 365 days = $1,314.00 USD per year
  • Reverse osmosis water: $0.01 USD/gallon x 4.0 gallons/day x 365 days = $14.60 per year
  • Total: $1,314.00 USD – 14.60 USD = $1,299.40 USD per year

By switching to using a reverse osmosis system, my family saves $1,299.40 USD a year.

Even when we subtract how much the reverse osmosis system cost, we’re still left with a large sum of savings:

$1, 299.40 USD – $300 USD = $999.40 USD.

While every year after the first year, we continue to save (minus the cost for filter replacements) which would equal:

$1,299.40 USD – $40 USD = $1,259.40 USD.

I know this may be hard to look at so here’s a chart showing how the savings would look over the years:

Years Of UseTotal Savings (Using Reverse Osmosis)
1$999.40 USD
2$2,258.80 USD
3$3,518.20 USD
4$4,777.60 USD
5$6,037.00 USD

Yes, I know…

These numbers are hard to believe.

But it makes sense when we think about how it’s possible for big brands of bottled water to ship heavy packs of water, pay their CEO’s millions, have offices around the nation…

All while selling a pack of 24 for a few dollars?

It’s because water is cheap and instead of most people saving $1,000’s dollars, it goes to the companies that sell water.

I love business but I’d rather have my readers save thousands.

Now let’s go through the specifics of reverse osmosis system costs.

Reverse Osmosis System Cost Factors

Just like anything, quality and price vary from one thing to another.

When it comes to reverse osmosis system costs, the following factors influence how much you’ll be paying:

  • Brand – unlike many other products where you may pay for the “name”… in the world of filters, brands are based on their quality, which means you should avoid some brands while comfortably buying others.
  • Type – countertop and under-sink reverse osmosis systems start in the low $100’s while whole house reverse osmosis systems range in the low, mid and even high $1000’s.
  • Stages – the filtration process typically contains anywhere from 3 to 7 stages (the more, the more you pay). The one I use has 6 stages, while some have an additional 7th stage that uses UV light to kill waterborne pathogens (a must have for well-water users).
  • Features – depending on the quality, certain brands and models may offer additional benefits. For example, the model I have contains an add-on that increases the alkalinity of the water by re-adding beneficial minerals (pictured below).
reverse osmosis system with additional stage to increase alkalinity of filtered water

With this in mind, both under sink and countertop reverse osmosis systems can cost anywhere from $150 to $450 USD.

Now, with so many factors and so many models to choose from, you may find it difficult deciding on what to buy.

It’s easy to choose a poor quality reverse osmosis system (one that leaks, does not filter well, overall poor quality).

So in order to help you, I’d suggest taking a look at my water filters guide (link to guide).

That way, there’s no doubt about the quality.

Whole House Reverse Osmosis System Cost

Whole house reverse osmosis systems are not commonly used.

This is mainly due to the huge effort required, as whole house reverse osmosis systems require careful planning, frequent maintenance, and a professional’s experience.

In addition to a whole house reverse osmosis system, you’d need to also set-up a pre and post-treatment and additional units to store and distribute the water.

reverse osmosis system installation

With so many factors, it’s quite difficult to answer precisely how much a whole house reverse osmosis system would cost.

However, to give you a general idea, expect to pay a minimum of $650 USD for JUST the whole house reverse osmosis system.

When you add the tank and deliver pump, the total cost will be closer to around $1,500 USD.

As you go up in quality and size, reverse osmosis system cost can reach $5,000 or even beyond $10,000.

Type Of Reverse Osmosis SystemCost Range (USD)
Under Sink$150 – $450
Countertop$150 – $450
Whole House$650 – $5000+

Which Reverse Osmosis System Should You Choose?

Should you choose the under the sink, counter-top, or a whole house reverse osmosis system?

A whole house reverse osmosis system is only necessary for very specific water problems. Where your water is dangerously high in contaminants, commonly found in rural homes and homes near manufacturing plants.

Health wise it’s most important to take care of the water going INSIDE you.

With this being said, I’d personally go with the under the sink option as once you set it up, you pretty much forget about it.

It doesn’t take space, ruin the look of your kitchen, and most importantly provides you fresh and healthy water to put inside your body.

For example, here’s a picture of mine:

reverse osmosis system under sink

Since the reverse osmosis system is continuously filtering water and keeping your tank full, you’ll have access to enough water for all your cooking and drinking needs.

At that point all you do is head on over to your tap and pour yourself a glass of water.

Or in this case, a huge jug of water for my tea…

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Now let’s talk about installation…

Installation Cost

Countertop reverse osmosis systems are simple, you can attach them in seconds since they do not require any plumbing work.

While systems that go under the sink can be installed yourself (my father and I installed ours in less than two hours with no prior experience).

Lastly, when it comes to whole house reverse osmosis systems, you’ll require professional help and as a result can pay close to $350 USD for just installation.

Reverse Osmosis TypeInstallation Cost
Counter-topFree (easy set-up)
Under SinkFree or $100 – $200
Whole House$200 – $350

Operating Costs

After you purchase your reverse osmosis system, there are a few operating costs to keep in mind: filter replacements and wastewater costs.

The good news is that these costs are extremely low.

Filter Replacements

How often you change filters depends on three factors: quality, usage, and water quality.

When it comes to water quality and usage, the worse the water quality and the more you use, the more the reverse osmosis system has to work and the sooner it has to be replaced.

Most importantly, I’d say the quality has the biggest effect on when you should replace your filters.

For example, most sites say pre-filters (pictured below) need to be replaced every 6-12 months.

reverse osmosis system, post and pre filters shown

This is true but you should expect lower quality filters to last closer to 6 months while higher quality filters lasting closer to 12 months.

With a family of 4, using a lot of water, we replace our filters every year and only pay $40 to do so (you can replace the filters by yourself, it’s quite easy).

Wastewater

In the process of filtering water, the reverse osmosis system produces filtered water and “wastewater” that contains, well pretty much all the bad stuff.

For example, let’s say 2 gallons are wasted for every 1 gallon of filtered water.

For me and my family, that would equal to an extra $2.40 a month on our water bill.

Really nothing to worry about.

However, if you’re not comfortable with water waste, I also have a filter that produces zero waste (I’ll mention where to find it below).

Where To Buy Reverse Osmosis Systems?

Your best bet is to buy off of Amazon.

This will provide you with the best prices, fast shipping, and easy/quick returns.

Most importantly, you’ll be able to get the filters my family and I use, which will help you avoid buying the wrong one (and there are a few).

Lastly, you can find the water filters I use at my water filters guide (link to guide).

my top two favorite filters

In the guide you’ll also be able choose the right reverse osmosis system based on your water (tap water vs well water) and as mentioned, a filter that also produces zero water waste.

Anyways, that’s all for now.

Cheers!

Written By Casey J Krol

The guy exposing the truth about fluoride, one great article at a time. Now if you'd like to support what I do or show thanks, click on the "Buy me a coffee" button below. While if you have any questions, contact me using the buttons below (Instagram for a faster response).

casey j krol
casey j krol