High End Water Filtration Systems Review: How Dirty Is Your Water?

Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Does “dirty” tap water come out of your faucets? Do you know if “dirty” water is coming out of your faucets? Maybe you should find out and then check out these high end water filtration devices, if you find that there are too many undesirables lurking in your drinking water, whether you have “city” water or well water.

High end, whole house water filtration systems come in many different styles. In this review, I’ll take a look at several of the more popular models of water filters to see what they have to offer, so you can get some idea of which one might the best water filter for your situation and current water quality.

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Multipure Aquaperform Under-the-Sink Filter Model MP880

Multipure Aquaperform
Multipure Aquaperform

One of the methods for cleaning your water is called Solid Carbon Block technology. This is what the Multipure Aquaperform MP880 uses, but it doesn’t stop there. To get rid of any arsenic V that may be in the water, Multipure includes a “specially-developed arsenic-adsorptive media” that filters that out as well.

Multipure actually makes several variations of the MP880. The one we’re looking at here goes under your sink and includes a chrome faucet that you’ll need to make room for.

Multipure Aquaperform Mp880 Specifications

According to the specs, the stainless steel housing of Aquaperform water filters has a capacity of about 600 gallons and a flow rate of about 1 gallon per minute. I’m quite sure that the 600 gallons of water refers to the life of the filter. It certainly doesn’t mean that the unit can hold that much water. It measures just 11 inches high by 5 ¾ inches wide, so it should fit under most any sink.

According to Multipure…

“Nationally recognized standards established for the drinking water treatment industry confirm that the most effective systems for the removal of both aesthetic and harmful contaminants are those that utilize solid carbon block filters.”

I’m not sure which “nationally recognized standards” this refers to, but it sounds good.

The Aquaperform system is NSF-certified to treat contaminants of Aesthetic Concern (Standard 42), contaminants of Health Concern (Standard 53). These two numbered standards are often cited relative to filtering systems because they are some of the most basic out there. If you’re buying a high end system, you should expect that these standards are covered.

The Aquaperform MP880 uses a pre-filter to catch many contaminants before the water gets to the carbon block. It’s the job of the carbon block to remove the rest – chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and some heavy metals.

Multipure Aquaperform

Check the pricing and availability of the Multipure Aquaperform Mp880 filtration system at Amazon.

Multipure Aquaperform Filtration System

Check the pricing and availability of the Multipure Aquaperform (MP880) Filtration System at Ebay.

Big Berkey Water Filter System

Big Berkey and filters
Big Berkey and filters

The Big Berkey water filters look a little like a large coffee maker. It might even sound somewhat like one while the water is filtering through the system.

The standard Big Berkey comes with 2 “Purification Elements” (filters), which is likely enough if you have a family of up to four people. These two elements will give you about 3.5 gallons of clean water per hour.

If you need more than that, you can add one or two more elements inside the 19-inch, stainless steel canister and get up to 7 gallons of water per hour. Berkey claims that this could supply enough water for 85 to 170 people per day as might be needed in an emergency situation.

Big Berkey Filtration System Capacities

The Big Berkey stores about 2.25 gallons of water when full. Berkey makes other models with various capacities.

The Travel Berkey holds 1.5 gallons. As its name suggests, you would probably use this one on the go, like when you’re camping, for example.

Larger models include the Royal Berkey (3 gallons), the Imperial Berkey (4.5 gallons), and the Crown Berkey (6 gallons).

Big Berkey

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Big Berkey Water Filter

Check the pricing and availability of the Big Berkey water filter systems at Ebay.

Aquasana 3-Stage Under Counter Water Filter

Aquasana 3-stage system
Aquasana 3-stage system

Aquasana’s description of their 3-stage water filters includes these parts.

  1. Activated carbon
  2. Catalytic carbon
  3. Ion exchange
  4. Sub-micron mechanical filtration
  5. Pre-filter

I guess that, if you combine the two carbon items as well as the mechanical filtration and pre-filter, you get 3 stages of filtration overall. Aquasana calls this their “Calryum filtration technology”, which is NSF certified and has been “proven to remove over 97% of chlorine and chloramines.” It’s especially the catalytic carbon that gets rid of those chemicals.

The activated carbon takes care of pharmaceuticals (for example, estrone and ibuprofen), herbicides, pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether, a gasoline additive for raising the octane number).

The ion exchange removes heavy metals, such as mercury and lead, and the sub-micron mechanical filtration handles asbestos and chlorine-resistant cysts, like giardia and cryptosporidium. The pre-filter captures any rust, sediment, and silt that may have entered the system.

Aquasana Filtration Effectiveness

Aquasana claims this reduces contaminants 10 times more than a filtration pitcher. This is most probably true. I just can’t show you the exact data to back it up.

This filter gets rid of all these bad guys but retains the good ones. Minerals like calcium magnesium, and potassium – things your body needs – stay in the water and may even make it taste and smell better to you.

Aquasana gives you a 90-day guarantee and a 1 year warranty on this 3-stage system.

Aquasana 3-Stage Filter

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Aquasana 3-Stage Water Filter

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APEC ROES-50 Essence 5-Stage Drinking Water System

APEC ROES-50 filtration system
APEC ROES-50 filtration system

If 3 stages aren’t enough for you and your water, you might consider the ROES-50 Essence 5-Stage Drinking Water System from APEC.

There’s more than one company out there called “APEC”. This one is the Advanced Purification Engineering Corporation that you can find at FreeDrinkingWater.com.

The ROES-50 is a reverse osmosis system that can provide up to 50 gallons of filtered water per day.

There is a great video review of this system shown here.

Note that, even though there really are five filtering components to this system, two of them are identical. If you hear anyone arguing that this is a 4-stage system, this is probably the reason for it.

The 5 Stage Filter of the APEC ROES-50 System

Stage 1 removes sediments, rust, and so on.

Stages 2 and 3 are the identical components that each use a carbon block filter to remove chlorine, VOCs, and other common chemicals, thereby improving the flavor of your water, coffee, tea, ice cubes, etc.

Stage 4 uses a high-rejection thin film composite (TFC) reverse osmosis membrane to clear out bacteria, lead, fluoride, arsenic, radium, chromium, and more.

Finally, stage 5 is a coconut shell refining carbon filter that takes care of “any possible residual taste” that may be in the tank. That’s an unusual way to word the function of this component because stages 2 and 3 are trying to improve the taste. Why would a later stage then try to remove the taste? I assume they actually mean that this stage removes anything else that would contribute to a bad taste.

APEC claims this system is “more efficient than any other competitor.” Again, this may be true, but I don’t have the data to prove it to you.

As you can may have seen in the video, this Essence filtration system has multiple colors of tubing to make it easy to install (and maintain). APEC uses industry standard parts, so if you ever need to replace any component, you should find it simple and cost-effective to do so.

You get a lead-free (I should hope so!) faucet and a 4-gallon pressurized tank with your purchase. As briefly mentioned in the video above, I’m not sure why this tank has to be part of the system. Many other systems seem to work fine without one. Perhaps it’s the larger systems such as this one and the iSpring below that need a tank.


Check the pricing and availability of the APEC ROES-50 Essence System at Amazon.

APEC ROES-50 Essence System

Check the pricing and availability of the APEC ROES-50 Essence water filtration system at Ebay.

iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System

iSpring 6-stage high end water filtration system
iSpring 6-stage system

And if 5 (or 4) stages still aren’t enough, check out the iSpring RCC7AK 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System which can provide 75 gallons per day.

iSpring offers its products at 123Filter.com.

Here is a detailed installation video that also shows the ice maker option and how to change filters.

Besides a storage tank, smaller but similar to the APEC model above, your iSpring system can have a booster pump, which is recommended if the incoming water pressure is low – under 45 pound per square inch (PSI).

Most people have no idea what the incoming PSI of their water is, but they likely know if it’s low. If you feel that yours is low, I suggest having it measured before getting an iSpring model. The RCC7AK comes without the booster pump. The RCC7P-AK is the version with the pump.

iSpring Filtration Happens in 6 Stages

I’m going to let iSpring explain the 6 stage filtration system for you.

Every time you open the drinking faucet, the source water passes through a 5-micron sediment filter that traps particulate matter such as dirt, rust, and silt – things that can affect the taste and appearance of your water and potentially clog the system.

Next, a 5-micron GAC [granular activated carbon] filter reduces chlorine, tastes, and odors, as well as mineral oil, BTEX [benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene], Poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PACs), phenol, and halogenated substances.

At the 3rd stage, a denser carbon block filter removes any residual color, taste and odor (CTO), as well as difficult-to-remove chemicals such as chloramines.

The system’s 4th stage of filtration is especially important, as it involves the pressing of water through the tested by independent third-party to meet NSF/ANSI Standard reverse osmosis (RO) membrane, the same technology used to produce bottled water. This semi-permeable membrane features tiny 0.0001 micron sized holes, effectively removes arsenic, lead, perchlorate, chromium, copper, TDS (total dissolved solids), sodium, and a long list of other water contaminants. It also removes parasitic cysts, such as giardia and cryptosporidia.

The 5th stage of filtration utilizes a finer GAC filter, also known as the post carbon filter, which works as a final polishing filter when the water leaves the storage tank.

The RO water then passes through the Alkaline pH filter, which is the 6th and final stage before the water reaches the faucet.

iSpring list 59 substances that the system rejects to some extent – most over 90%.

That alkaline filter in stage 6 adds healthy minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium) that were removed during the reverse osmosis process and can also improve the taste of the water.

The system has a Water Flood Alarm that detects unwanted water levels as low as 2 millimeters. It sounds an extremely loud alarm warning you of potential flooding problems which may be caused by leaks or come from other sources.

iSpring gives you a 30-day money back guarantee, a 1-year limited warranty, and lifetime technical support.

iSpring 6-Stage System

Check the pricing and availability of the iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System at Amazon.

iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

Check the pricing and availability of the iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter system at Ebay.

Conclusions about High End Water Filtration Systems

All of these systems pretty much do what they claim, according to current owners. I think you would be happy with any one of them that fit your situation.

Some remove more contaminants than others, possibly making the best water filter in their class. You need to choose one that removes what you need removed. This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of a purchase.

Speaking of size, the system you select also has to physically fit into the space you have. Some larger systems, while they are not exactly huge, do require some room for the filters and the tank. And don’t forget the faucet!

If you don’t have a large undercounter area and don’t want to cut another hole in your sink, you may need to eliminate systems that would conflict with these kinds of features.

If these aren’t what you were looking for, check out these additional 4 filtration options.

Gary Sonnenberg
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