Express Water RO5DX: Best Budget Reverse Osmosis System
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Are you looking for a good reverse osmosis filter that won't cost you an arm and a leg?
Like the rest of the top rated systems, the RO5DX 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis System from Express Water does a fantastic job of removing contaminants and making drinking water taste fresh and clean.
But it's a good bit less expensive than the others.
If you want a good RO system but you're on a tight budget, I think it would be worth your while to take a closer look at the RO5DX. It might just be what you're looking for.
This review will cover the RO5DX's features and answer questions you might have about its effectiveness, cost, warranty, reputation, and more. I've also included a video a little way down the page that shows what's included in the system.
If you're pressed for time and don't want to read my whole review, you can skip to what interests you most in the quick navigation below.
Express Water RO5DX Key Features
- 5 Stage filtration system effectively removes up to 99% of contaminants
- 50 gallons per day capacity - good for average size family
- Color coordinated connections and housings make installation and filter replacement a snap
- Fast flow rate of 0.8 gallons per minute means getting that spaghetti pot filled up pronto!
- Affordable - as effective as other brands at a budget friendly price
- Extra filters included - for a limited time, get an extra set of replacement filters free
- Leak stopper included so you don't have to worry about flooding accidents
Pros and Cons of Express Water RO5DX
Reviewers online tend to be brutally honest. That's why I always read through them when I'm making a purchase. Here are the common themes in the reviews I read:
What People Like
- Great tasting water
- Easy to install
- Good flow rate
- Low price
- Good customer service
Don't Like So Much
- 4:1 waste to filtered water ratio
- Printed instructions not good
Express Water Reverse Osmosis FAQs
How does the Express Water system work?
Like all reverse osmosis systems, the Express Water works by the force of the water pressure in your plumbing system. There's no electricity involved.
The whole filter system and storage tank are installed under your kitchen sink.
The water goes through a series of 3 pre-filters before it's forced through a reverse osmosis membrane.
This membrane allows clean water molecules to pass through, while contaminants are blocked and go down the drain.
After passing through the ro membrane, the filtered water goes into a tank where it's stored until you turn on the faucet.
When you open the faucet, the water leaves the tank and goes through one more carbon filter on its way out.
Here's a video from the manufacturer that shows the system and explains what the filters do-
What contaminants does it remove?
Different contaminants are removed at each stage of filtration.
First, the sediment filter captures particles like dirt, rust and sand.
Next, a coconut shell granular activated carbon (GAC) filter removes chlorine, chloramine, VOCs and other chemicals, bad tastes and odors.
After that, a carbon block filter removes even more of the same types of contaminants.
The reverse osmosis membrane blocks contaminants like pesticides, bacteria, viruses, fluoride, chromium-6, heavy metals, and TDS.
The final carbon filter is also known as the "polishing filter". It takes out any last traces of bad tastes or odors that the water might have picked up in the storage tank.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) are dissolved salts, minerals and metals that get into the water from rain and runoff.
What comes in the box?
When you order this, you'll get all the standard parts of the complete system:
- all filters and reverse osmosis membrane
- 4 gallon NSF approved water storage tank
- designer faucet
- color coded tubing
- drain saddle
- flow restrictor
- ASO valve
- feed valve
- housing wrench
Right now they are also including an extra set of replacement filters, so you're good for at least a year.
Another added bonus is a free leak stopper, which shuts off the system if it detects a leak. You won't have to worry about waking up or coming home to a flooded kitchen.
What are the dimensions?
Filter Assembly: 15" W x 16" H x 5" D
Storage Tank: 16" H x 11" Diameter
Faucet: 11" H x 5" W; base diameter is 2"
Can I install this RO system myself?
Most people find it pretty easy to install themselves. But, some have said that the printed instructions aren't the easiest to follow. What's funny is that others say they're clear! I guess it depends on whether you have previous plumbing experience.
At any rate, if you have trouble, you can call Express Water customer support and they'll be happy to help you out.
I looked for Express Water installation videos on YouTube, but I couldn't find any. There are several showing other brands, though, that could be helpful. Installation doesn't vary much from brand to brand.
What is the storage tank made of?
The tank is metal with a butyl rubber bladder. Everything that the water touches throughout the system is lead free and BPA free.
How much waste water does it produce?
The typical ratio is 4 gallons of waste water per 1 gallon of filtered water. This can vary, depending on the temperature and pressure of the input water.
How do you know when it's time to replace the filters?
The life of the filters depends somewhat on the quality of your input water and on how much you use it.
There are a few telltale signs that the filters are worn out:
- decrease in output
- high TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) levels
- funny taste
The manufacturer recommends replacing the filters every 6 months, regardless of the taste. Part of the job of the pre-filters is to keep debris from clogging up the reverse osmosis membrane. Also, after 6 months you could have bacteria growing in the carbon filters. You don't want either of those things to happen!
The RO membrane should last for 1 year if you change the pre-filters on time.
By the way, if you want to monitor the TDS of your water, you can get an inexpensive TDS meter like the HM Digital TDS-4. (Click here to see if it's available at Amazon.)
Where can I get replacement filters?
You can buy replacement filters either from the manufacturer or other online retailers.
There are different size packs available. You can save yourself a lot of money by buying a 2 year supply as opposed to a 1 year supply.
Does the RO5DX remove beneficial minerals from the water?
Yes, all reverse osmosis systems take out all of the minerals, including the good ones. This results in water that is slightly more acidic.
That's not a problem for most people, but some prefer more alkaline water for the taste or because of health concerns.
Express Water does have an RO system that adds minerals back to the water as part of the filtration process. It costs about $20 more for this option.
Where are Express Water systems made?
The systems ship out of California, but where the parts are made remains a mystery to me. A couple of reviews I read said that the parts are stamped "Made in Taiwan".
I emailed the manufacturer requesting information, but I haven't heard back from them yet. When I do get an answer, I'll update it here.
What kind of warranty does Express Water have?
Express Water offers a 1 year warranty from the time of purchase. It doesn't apply to the consumable parts, like the filters, membrane and tank.
Verdict: Express Water RO5DX 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System
The Express Water RO5DX seems to be just as effective at removing contaminants as the more expensive brands.
It's known for making great tasting water and for being easy to install and maintain.
The only negative is that it appears to be made in Taiwan, where the other major brands are made in America. To me, that's not a deal breaker. But you may feel otherwise.
Also, this might not be for you if you want alkaline water. In that case, you can consider an RO system with remineralization like the Express Water ROALK5BN or another brand.
I think this would be a good choice for someone who wants to try out a reverse osmosis system without sinking a lot of money into it. It has a one year warranty and the customer service has a good reputation, so there's really no risk.
You can order an RO system for yourself today and have access to pure healthy water in your own home.
If this system doesn't seem like the right fit for you, please see my review of the best RO systems for other options.