Looking for an affordable reverse osmosis system that produces healthy mineral-filled alkaline water?
We recommend the iSpring RCC7AK.
It is a 6-stage RO system that features 4 filters, an RO membrane and a remineralization stage that enhances the taste and freshness of your drinking water.
The system is relatively easy to install and can comfortably supply up to 75 gallons of purified water a day.
Read on for our full review of the iSpring RCC7AK RO system.
To compare it to other popular RO systems, read our recently updated best reverse osmosis water filters buying guide.
Basic RO systems have five stages: 3 pre-filters, an RO membrane and a post-filter.
The extra stage in the RCC7AK is for remineralization. It’s not essential to the overall performance of the system but it significantly improves the taste of your drinking water.
Here’s a description of the six stages.
5-micron sediment filter: Filters out dust, dirt, sediment and other large particles suspended in water.
5-micron granular activated carbon: This high-rejection filter removes more contaminants than carbon filters in most RO systems (most RO carbon filters are 10 microns). It filters out the unpleasant taste of chlorine as well as harmful organic chemicals from pesticides, herbicides and industrial waste.
5-micron carbon block filter: A dense CTO (color, taste, odor) filter freshens up the water by removing any residual tastes and odors from chlorine, chloramines and other chemicals.
0.0001-micron RO membrane: The 75GPD membrane removes hundreds of contaminants including heavy metals, illness-causing microorganisms and TDS (dissolved minerals and salts).
Inline post-filter: A carbon filter gives the water a final polish just before it comes out of the faucet to remove any remaining odors and tastes.
pH remineralization filter: After the post-filter, the water passes through a remineralization filter that does two things. First one, it adds healthy minerals back into the water including potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium. Second, it raises the water’s pH. What comes out of the faucet is alkaline mineral water that’s healthier and tastes better than ordinary purified water.
The system also includes a 3.2-gallon reserve tank that ensures there’s always pure water on demand, so you don’t have to wait forever to fill up a glass of water.
The use of 5-micron carbon filters, rather than the usual 10-micron filters found in most RO systems, increases the filtering performance of the iSpring RCC7AK.
It can remove more and smaller contaminants.
But this comes with a major downside.
We are not sure whether the smaller micron size is to blame but the RCC7AK’s filters last half as long as comparable RO filters (6 months vs. 12 months).
You’ll be replacing the filters fairly often.
But it’s a small sacrifice for the guarantee of clean and safe drinking water.
While the carbon filters remove the offending taste of chlorine and chloramines, the RO filter ensures your water is free of bacteria and viruses as well as heavy metals like lead.
The RCC7AK’s water efficiency is not the best in the industry but it’s not too bad either.
The wastewater to pure water ratio is 3:1, meaning the system drains away 3 gallons of water for every gallon of purified water.
That may seem like a lot but keep in mind there are cheaper RO systems have a ratio of 4:1.
You can reduce the amount of water the system waste by recycling the wastewater and using it for gardening or installing a booster pump.
The booster pump will increase the pressure of water as it passes through the filters. This reduces the amount of water that is flushed away.
Installing a booster pump can increase the water efficiency ratio to as high as 1:1.
No, but you can buy one separately.
The iSpring RCC7AK takes about 2-3 hours to install.
Everything you need, other than some basic tools, are included in the package. You don’t need to buy any parts or fittings.
The system goes under your counter. You mount the filter assembly on the wall and place the tank on the floor.
You’ll need to drill a hole in your drain line for drainage and another in the sink for the faucet.
The tubes are color-coded, so it’s easy to know which one goes where.
Once you are done setting up the valves, connectors and tubes, flush the system as instructed in the manual before you start drinking the water.
You’ll need to replace the pre-filters and pH filter after 3-6 months. As I mentioned, these filters have a lower lifespan than filters in most other RO systems.
It could be because of the smaller micron size or the filter design.
Either way, get ready to spend a bit more on maintenance.
For homes that receive city water, replace after 6 months. For well water, replace after 3 months.
The manufacturer sells a 9-pack replacement set (good for one year) so you shouldn’t have trouble finding replacement filters.
They also have 2 and 3-year sets that include the RO membrane.
As for the RO membrane, it’s good for 2-3 years (2 for well water, 3 for city water).
The post filter has a 12-month lifespan.
Replacing the filters is easy.Using the included wrench, loosen the filter housings and remove the used cartridges. Sanitize the system and then put in the new filter cartridges.
The pH/remineralization filter: It does not make the water any cleaner or safer but it’s still worth the extra cost. If you want that crisp and fresh bottled water taste, you’ll appreciate the iSpring’s pH filter.
High capacity: At 75GPD, the iSpring RCC7AK has one of the highest capacities among RO systems. It can comfortably serve a large family’s drinking water needs. The high capacity is also handy if you want to use the purified water for other activities in addition to drinking.
Great value: The RCC7AK matches most of the features and capabilities of premium RO filters but costs much less.
3-6 months of filter life is half the industry standard. Even cheaper RO systems have filters that last longer.
Luckily, the replacement filters are not that expensive. A 1-year pack of 9 filters costs about $65.
Because the iSpring filter doesn’t come with a booster pump, the flow rate out of the tap is low and the amount of water wasted is relatively high.
To solve these two problems, you’d have to buy and install a booster pump, which means spending more money (though you’ll recover it by saving water).
A common complaint among customers is that the O-rings and other fittings included with the filter are low quality.
They feel like they can break any moment.
Surprisingly, most customers have not had any leakage issues. You just have to be careful when installing the system.
The iSpring RCC7AK is a great example of how affordable reverse osmosis systems have gotten.
A few years ago, you would have paid well over $500 for a system with similar features. Some RO filters still cost that much.
The iSpring RCC7AK provides excellent filtration performance and adds a pH filter for way less money.
Ed is a water specialist in Tampa, FL. He built CleanerSofterWater.com to help his friends and family learn about DIY solutions to common water quality issues in the home.
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