The huge capacity APEC RO-90 features new longer life filters and a water quality tester. However, does it live up to the APEC name?
Filtration Stages: 5
Warranty: 1 Year + 30-day money back guarantee
Dimensions: RO system: 17 L x 6 W x 18 H inches, storage tank: 11 D x 18 H inches
Filter Lifespan: Filters 1-3 every year, stages 4 & 5 every 3-5 years
Water Production: 90 gallons per day at optimal levels
The APEC RO-90 is a 5-stage reverse osmosis water filter. APEC is the market leader in home reverse osmosis systems, and boldly market this system as having “The most effective filtration technology in the industry”. It features many of the same attributes of the APEC ROES-50 but also boasts a massive 90 gallon per day water production rate, super capacity filters which can last two times longer than conventional filters, an extra pre-filter set, and water tester. At around $100 more expensive than the ROES-50, it represents a significant outlay, but the need to buy fewer filters reduces the long term running costs. The 90 gallons per day water flow rate is also among the biggest available and would be ideal for larger households and families. Competitors offer systems featuring 6 and even 7 stages of filtration at similar prices, so APEC obviously really believe in their technology and build quality.
The APEC RO-90 has a lot going for it and should be a serious consideration for larger households. But, the lack of a pH or alkaline filter is a blow. The reverse osmosis process strips away anything and everything from the water, above a certain particle size. Sadly, it cannot differentiate between the good and the bad, so the healthy minerals are lost at the same time as the arsenic, for example. A pH or alkaline filter can add these healthy minerals back (and raise the pH to more natural levels), providing more natural and healthy mineral water. APEC does offer a slightly smaller model with a pH filter, the APEC ROES-PH75.
The amount of waste water that a reverse osmosis system produces is one of its drawbacks. This system works at a ratio (waste water: drinking water) of 3:1. This seems like a lot of waste, but it is considerably better than systems by brands like Watts. To improve the waste water to drinking water ratio even further, a pump can be added. The APEC system with pump costs around $60 more but can improve efficiency to almost 1:1 under the right circumstances. It should be noted that an RO system with a pump would actually be a necessity should your water pressure be particularly low.
This system fared really well when we compared it to other leading models. To see how it stacks up against other brands please read our guide.
Performance-wise, the APEC RO-90 is a strong runner. It packs APEC’s renowned high performance filters, but with a new larger capacity. The image below gives a good idea of what each filter actually does, and our review of the APEC ROES-50 (which uses the same technology in smaller filters) can shed some light too.
APEC firmly believe that they produce the best filters on the market, and customer feedback is certainly very positive. Installation and replacement of the filters is relatively easy. A series of official youtube tutorial videos are available if you are curious, but it’s really no harder than screwing the lid on a flask. Replacing the membrane is also a very simple task, and shouldn’t be an issue for anyone. These long life filters (stages 1-3) need to be changed just once a year, while the membrane and stage five filter need to be changed every 3-5 years. If for whatever reason, you need a system to be as low maintenance as possible then this one is about as good as it gets.
The system is designed to produce 90 gallons of water per day. The image below shows that this is only achievable should you have an ideal constant temperature and a good household water pressure of at least 60 psi. What this doesn’t mention is that the flow rate depends very much on the quality of the water that is being treated too. If your water has high levels of contaminants and larger particles, it will slow the production rate. APEC has achieved these figures in ideal conditions so don’t be surprised to see your system fall slightly short. A 75 gallons per day production rate is much more likely, and still more than enough for most households.
The system has dimensions of 17 L x 6 W x 18 H inches for the RO system and 11 D x 18 H inches for the storage tank. It weighs 12 lbs. It is designed to be installed under the kitchen sink, but should that not be possible it can be installed in the garage or in the basement too. You can actually reduce the waste water by installing it on the counter-top, but space and aesthetics make this less viable. If installing the system in the basement, for example, you must ensure the water pressure is still high enough. The addition of a pump may be required.
The installation of the water filter system shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Basic DIY skills are needed, but they really shouldn’t be an issue. The installation will be considerably harder if you have to drill a new faucet hole though. APEC has a series of instructional videos that walk you through the process, right the way from un-boxing through each stage of installation. These videos are really helpful and will relieve you of any DIY anxiety, the installation might present. The APEC RO 90 installation manual is available online too. I’ll give you a quick run through of the tools that it says you’ll need.
- Variable speed drill
- Drill bit: 1⁄4” (for the waste line), 1/8” (as pilot, not mandatory), and 1⁄2” (for standard faucet hole, air-gap faucet requires 1&1/4” hole)
- 5/8”, 9/16” open-end wrench, or adjustable wrench, pliers
- Phillips screwdriver
- Utility knife, or scissors
- Teflon tape
Everything else needed for you to install the RO system in your home, is included in the box.
- RO system head
- Pre-filters in 3 Housings
- Storage tank
- RO Membrane
- Faucet with washers and nuts
- Feed water adaptor 1/2” with needle valve kit
- Drain saddle for waste water
- Color tubing 1/4”
- Tank’s ball valve
- Wrench, nuts, and inserts
Pros and Cons
|Fast water production rate||No pH filter|
|Long life filters|
|Water quality meter included|
Read our reverse osmosis guide to find out about other RO water filters available.
If you need a whole home solution to water pollution then don’t miss our resource on whole house water filter systems.
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Products Similar to the APEC RO-90 5-Stage RO System
APEC ROES-PH75 Essence Series 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
If you liked the APEC RO-90, wait till you get a load of the ROES-PH75 with enhanced alkalinization properties.
The US-made cartridge uses food-grade calcium from trusted sources for safe, proven water pH enhancement, which allows you to enjoy ultra-pure drinking water with added calcium minerals for improved alkalinity and great taste.
But what we like most about it is that it comes with a 2-year extended warranty once you register the product on APEC’s website. The system also comes with a 100% lead-free designer faucet, plus JG Food grade tubing and parts to provide safe, contamination-free pure water.
Express Water RO5DX 5 Stage RO Filtration System
This particular system is capable of removing up to 99.99% of lead, chlorine, fluoride, nitrates, calcium, arsenic, bacteria, and more.
The under-sink type of this reverse osmosis system ensures that you don’t need to mess too much with plumbing and that you won’t need to change filters all that often. And more importantly, each of these under sink water filters includes an emergency leak stop detector that shuts off water flow when it detects unwelcome moisture.
In short, you’re getting a good reverse osmosis system, plus four replacement filters at a fairly low price. You won’t have to worry about buying extras and paying a significant amount of money for the same protection that more well-known brands offer.
FS-TFC 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
This ingenious reverse osmosis system promises to remove 99.99% of contaminants, including chlorine, taste, odor, VOCs, as well as toxic fluoride, arsenic, lead, nitrates, heavy metals, and 1000+ contaminants.
While the brand is relatively unknown, the quality sure looks decent when compared to the price. However, we can’t vouch for its long-term capabilities as we haven’t had the opportunity to test it out for longer periods of time.