APEC Water Systems Reviews: Updated for 2023

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APEC Water Systems is a well-known manufacturer of reverse osmosis systems and other filtration systems, established in 1995 in the City of Industry, California.

In this APEC Water Systems reviews guide, we’ll be reviewing 6 of APEC’s most popular water filtration systems on the market today. We’ll be sharing key information about their features, performance highlights, benefits, and potential setbacks. By the end, you should have a better idea of what the APEC brand offers – and which filter, if any, is best for you.

📊 APEC Water Systems Filter Comparison Chart

ProductAPEC Essence ROES-50
APEC Essence ROES-PH75
APEC RO-90 Ultimate
APEC Big Blue<br data-lazy-src=
TypeReverse OsmosisReverse Osmosis + Remineralizing FilterReverse OsmosisUnder SinkCountertop Reverse OsmosisWhole House Water Filter
Efficiency Ratio1:31:31:3n/a1:2n/a
Filtration5 Stages6 Stages5 Stages3 Stages4 Stages1 stage
Water Production50 GPD75 GPD90 GPD 0.75 GPM90 GPDn/a
Certifications or TestingNSF 58NSF 58NSF 58NSF 53NSF 42
Annual Cost~$70~$90~$70~$60~$150
Warranty1 year (limited)1 year (limited)1 year (limited)1 year (limited)1 year (limited)1 year (limited)

⭐ Reviews of APEC Water Systems Filters

APEC Essence ROES-50

APEC’s best reverse osmosis system for small budgets is the Essence ROES-50. This filter has earned its place as one of the most popular RO systems available today thanks to its affordable price (just under $200) and impressive five filtration stages.

Both city and disinfected well water can be filtered in the ROES-50. The system combines sediment, carbon block, and coconut carbon media with a thin-film RO membrane, to remove the likes of asbestos, arsenic, chlorine, chromium-6, fluoride, giardia, PFOS, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and more.

The 50 GPD (gallons per day) filtration capacity is plenty for the average family of three or four, and the filter’s efficiency ratio of 1:3 is slightly better than the traditional figure of 1:4.

👍 What We Like

  • The Essence ROES-50 is a WQA Gold Seal system and is certified to NSF 58 for reverse osmosis performance. It doesn’t get more reassuring than that.
  • The impressive contaminant removal is nothing to complain about. The Essence ROES-50 removes 99% of tens of common drinking water contaminants from both city and well water.
  • You get everything you need for installation, and setup is pretty easy thanks to the quick-connect fittings and color-coded tubing.
  • The Essence ROES-50 is backed by a 1-year limited warranty, which can be extended to 2 years if you register the product online.

👎 What We Don’t Like

  • The 1:3 efficiency is fine, but we’ve seen better from alternative systems (including some other APEC products).
  • Some customers had issues with leaks.

Our verdict: Costing less than $200, the APEC Essence ROES-50 is our top-pick APEC reverse osmosis water filter system for families of up to 4 with small budgets. The 1:3 pure water to wastewater ratio could be better, but the value for money is still unbeatable.

APEC Essence ROES-PH75

The APEC Essence ROES-PH75 uses exactly the same RO filtration process as the Essence ROES-50, but with a couple of notable differences:

  • The system has a 75 GPD capacity, rather than 50 GPD
  • There’s an included calcite filter that reintroduces calcium into water after it is filtered out during the RO filtration process, improving water’s taste and alkalinity

There’s nothing new to say about this system, since it has the same features and benefits as the Essence ROES-50. These include a 1:3 pure water to wastewater ratio, NSF certification, the same 5 initial filtration stages (sediment, 2 carbon block filters, an RO membrane, and coconut carbon media), and the same contaminants removed (asbestos, arsenic, chlorine, chromium-6, fluoride, giardia, PFOS, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and so on).

For the slightly better daily water delivery and the extra calcite filter, the APEC Essence ROES-PH75 costs about $35 more than the ROES-50. Do we think that’s worth it? Yes – RO water tastes a bit flat, so having a reverse osmosis water filter system that reintroduces tasty alkaline filters is a good shout.

👍 What We Like

  • Here’s another system with a performance worth talking about. It removes 99% of all the most common contaminants in city and well water.
  • The Essence ROES-PH75 has the same elusive WQA Gold Seal and NSF Certification to Standard 58 (for reverse osmosis system performance) as the ROES-50.
  • You get faster flow rates with this system, so it’s a great choice for families of 3, 4, or more who want instant access to clean tap water.
  • Again, this system is backed by a 1-year warranty (or 2 years, if you register online), and its color-coded tubing and quick-connect fittings make it easy to set up.

👎 What We Don’t Like

  • Again, customers reported issues with leaks in this system.
  • We think 3 gallons of water wasted to 1 gallon of water produced is a bit much nowadays.

Our verdict: The APEC Essence ROES-PH75 is the obvious choice for medium-to-large families looking for a highly capable RO water filter with added remineralization, that’s offered at a pretty budget price.

APEC RO-90 Ultimate

A step up from the ROES-50 and the Essence ROES-PH75 is the APEC RO-90 Ultimate, a high-output RO system that provides about double the daily output you can expect from a traditional under-sink reverse osmosis system.

Aside from its 90 GPD filtered water production, the RO-90 Ultimate is essentially the same as the other APEC RO systems mentioned above. It uses 5 stages of filtration to reduce a range of contaminants in water, including 98.3% chromium-6, 96.8% lead, and 93.8% fluoride, as well as all the expected contaminants (sentiment, chlorine taste and odor, etc). In all, the system can reduce up to 98-99% TDS.

You can guarantee good performance, structural integrity, and material safety from this reverse osmosis system thanks to its WQA Gold Seal Certification to NSF Standard 58. You can choose to add a remineralization calcite stage to the system to improve water pH and taste.

The 1:3 filtered water to wastewater efficiency ratio could be better, but for just under $230, it’s fair value.

👍 What We Like

  • The 90 GPD flow rate is ideal for big families or impatient folks who want the fastest delivery of RO water possible, without compromising on quality.
  • The NSF 58 certification is reassuring to see, and the 99% contaminant removal is excellent.
  • It’s relatively easy to install the system, and replacing the filters takes a matter of minutes.

👎 What We Don’t Like

  • Some customers complained that their water had a bad taste, potentially from the storage tank.
  • Again, 1:3 wastewater-to-pure water is a little low nowadays.

Our verdict: Thanks to its high water output, the APEC RO-90 Ultimate is ideal for big families with a higher-than-average water demand who still want filtered water on demand.


The best APEC non-RO under-sink system is the APEC WFS-1000. This system’s main role is to remove chemicals and other contaminants that affect water’s taste and smell. What else can you expect? NSF certified parts (although no official NSF certification, sadly), USA-made filters, and a fast filtration speed of 1.67 GPM.

There are three stages of filtration in this system: two carbon filter cartridges (both carbon block) and one sediment filter. Combined, these filters remove chlorine, sediment, some VOCs, and a few other chemicals.

You can choose to add a few custom filters to your order if you need more specialized filtration. There’s the WFS-1000-PB, for lead removal (and it meets requirements for NSF Standard 53), the WFS-1000-FP, which uses activated alumina for fluoride reduction (between 0.5 and 1.0 PPM), and the WFS-1000 CHLORM, for chloramine and hydrogen sulfide removal. Each of these filters costs between $5 and $20 extra.

As with all APEC systems, you get the WFS-1000 with a nice 1-year limited warranty, which you can upgrade to 2 years by registering the system online.

👍 What We Like

  • If you just want great-tasting tap water at an affordable price, this under-sink water filter will give you exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Healthy minerals aren’t filtered out, so you can enjoy a more bottled water-like taste.
  • The WFS-1000 offers fast filtration, and maintenance is easy – you can discard the old filters and swap them for the replacement filters in a matter of minutes.
  • We like that all the water filter cartridges are made in the USA, and the system uses NSF-certified components.

👎 What We Don’t Like

  • Don’t expect the same thorough treatment as you’d get with an APEC reverse osmosis filter. Using just carbon filter and sediment filter cartridges, this under-sink water filter simply improves the taste of your tap water.
  • There’s no official NSF certification for performance, which is a shame, since APEC’s reverse osmosis filter systems are certified.

Our verdict: We’d recommend the APEC WFS-1000 for people who are just looking for a system that’ll provide minor improvements to their water quality and want to spend as little as possible. But since the WFS-1000 costs just $50 less than the Essence ROES-50, we think you may as well just upgrade to the RO system in all other scenarios.


Our top choice for the best portable reverse osmosis system offered by APEC is the RO-CTOP. This countertop RO water filter wastes far less space than an under-sink reverse osmosis system and doesn’t need to be installed at your cold water line.

You can take the RO-CTOP wherever you go, as long as you have a cold water faucet that’s compatible in your location. Why consider APEC’s countertop RO system? Because installation is minimal – no connecting the unit under your sink and no permanent maintenance. Simply plug the unit in, install the filters, and you’re good to go.

The RO-CTOP is smaller than most countertop RO systems because it doesn’t have a water storage tank. Instead, water flows straight through the RO filters and out of your faucet. You still get the same filters that you’d find in any APEC RO system, though: a sediment pre-filter, two carbon filter cartridges (with an NSF 42 certification for 95% chlorine reduction), and an RO membrane.

Plus, you get the same fast water flow from this system as you get from the APEC RO-90 Ultimate, so there’s no waiting around for clean water, and you can enjoy up to 99% TDS rejection.

👍 What We Like

  • You can use the RO-CTOP for clean water at home and while you’re on vacation, at work, or anywhere else with a compatible faucet.
  • There’s no difficult installation or permanent plumbing needed for this APEC system, and installation is a breeze.
  • Again, we’re pleased with the value for money you get from this unit. It’s about $240 – so $40 extra than the Essence ROES-50 for the convenience of portability.
  • As always, you get a 1-year limited warranty with this system, or 2 years if you register the unit online.

👎 What We Don’t Like

  • This APEC reverse osmosis system might be compact, but it’s not the most attractive unit we’ve seen for countertop use. The filters are all on show, rather than being hidden inside a unit.
  • The system is only compatible with standard faucets, so no pull-out faucets, designer faucets, or sprayer faucets.

Our verdict: Folks looking for the most convenient, portable purified water solution should consider the APEC RO-CTOP. It has the advantage of being super easy to move from location to location, so it’s ideal for renters or people who don’t want the hassle of installing an under-sink water filter.

APEC Big Blue

Finally, our best choice for a whole house filtration system is the APEC Big Blue filters. There are several filters in this series, which you can buy separately or together:

  • The 30-micron Big Blue sediment filter is a 20-inch all-purpose sediment filter that reduces large sediment particles (most commonly found in well water). The filter is washable and reusable, so it has a long lifespan, and it offers a fast flow rate with minimal difference to water pressure. Plus, it has bacteria and chlorine resistance for longevity.
  • The Big Blue carbon filter is another 20-inch offering, this time made from granular activated carbon and designed to remove chlorine from disinfected city water. This filter has a 1-year or 70,000 gallon lifespan, and improves water taste and odor without affecting flow rate.
  • The Big Blue sediment and carbon filter set combines the 20-inch Big Blue sediment filter and carbon filter in a pre-assembled unit for sediment and chlorine reduction.
  • The Big Blue sediment, KDF and carbon filter set goes one step further, removing sediment, chlorine, heavy metals like lead, and hydrogen sulfide, with a sediment, carbon, and KDF filter cartridge in a pre-assembled unit.
  • The Big Blue sediment, iron, and carbon filter set uses an iron filter to reduce rust, orange stains, and metallic taste in drinking water alongside sediment and chlorine reduction.
  • The Big Blue sediment, GAC carbon and carbon block filter set uses two types of carbon filters and a sediment filter to reduce sediment, chlorine, and other chemicals in drinking water.

APEC occasionally updates this list with additional combination and filter options, so check here to view the updated list of available products.

You won’t get the best ever results from these filters, and no filter combo provides the same thorough water treatment as a reverse osmosis membrane – but they’re a good targeted solution for a few select contaminants. Pricing is fair, too – about $130 to $450, depending on the system you buy.

👍 What We Like

  • We love that you can mix and match different filters depending on your water quality issues.
  • Filtered tap water tastes great from systems using a carbon cartridge.
  • Even the most expensive system costs less than $500, which is a steal (most whole home systems cost around $1,000).
  • The filter systems are all backed by a 1-year limited warranty and support from a specialist team.

👎 What We Don’t Like

  • None of the systems come with a built-in bypass valve. We’d strongly recommend buying one separately, which will come at an extra cost.
  • You won’t get really thorough filtration from any of these filters.

Our verdict: The Big Blue filter is for folks who want to protect their entire water supply from select contaminants, and don’t want to spend more than $500 on a whole home solution.

✅ What We Like About APEC Water Systems Filters

Multiple RO Systems to Choose From

Most brands only offer one or two reverse osmosis filter systems to choose from, but APEC has a big selection of systems, including a countertop option. It’s great to be able to compare the systems and choose one based on your budget and their offerings.

Most Filters Are Certified

It’s great to see that APEC has taken the time and spent the money on obtaining a WQA Gold Seal for its reverse osmosis systems. This Seal certifies the systems to NSF 58, for TDS rejection and contaminant removal and NSF 372 for lead free components.

Easy to Install and Maintain

All APEC systems are designed for DIY installation, so you won’t need to spend extra money on hiring an expert for a job. Changing the filters is easy – and if you’re struggling, APEC offers support from WQA-certified specialists to all its customers.

Installing an apec ro system

Warranties Available

Most of the water filters sold by APEC have a 1-year warranty that can be upgraded to 2 years if you register the system online. While this isn’t the most impressive warranty we’ve ever seen, we still think it’s useful that APEC offers a warranty during the first year, when it’s most likely that manufacturing defects will make themselves known.

Standard Filter Sizes

All the filters in APEC’s systems are standard size. That means you don’t have to stick to APEC when you buy your replacement filters. You might choose to purchase a cheaper non-branded filter that does the same job. This means you’re nicely covered if APEC ever stops selling a certain filter range, too.

❌ Potential Setbacks of APEC Water Systems Filters

Poor Efficiency Ratios

The best RO systems available today have an efficiency ratio of 1:2, 1:1, or even 2:1 – which puts APEC’s standard 1:3 ratio to shame. When you can buy systems that only waste 1 gallon of water for every 1 or 2 gallons of filtered drinking water produced, why would you choose a system that wastes 3 gallons of water for every 1 gallon produced?

Potential Quality Issues

We’ve read reports from customers who complained about leaking systems, a strange taste to their water, and systems that simply stopped working. These complaints are few and far between, but it still seems as if APEC has a few quality issues to work through.

Non-RO Systems Are Lacking

APEC is definitely best at making RO units. The manufacturer’s non-RO offerings are fine, but nothing special. They don’t appear to be NSF certified, for the most part, and can only improve certain aspects of water quality, like water taste. Their value for money isn’t amazing, either. If you’re after an affordable purification solution, you may as well spend about $50 extra on an APEC RO offering.

📝 APEC Water Systems Filter Review: Our Verdict

Now that you’ve read our APEC Water Systems reviews, you’ve probably formed your own opinion about APEC products.

But in case you’re curious, here’s what we think.

APEC’s reverse osmosis filters do a lot of things right. The NSF certifications are reassuring, the flow rates are decent, and the filter lifespans are good. Plus, we enjoy having so many options when it comes to flow rate, remineralization, and install location.

📌 Do we think APEC offers the best reverse osmosis systems out there? No. But are they some of the best for their price range? Yes. You could spend twice the price on a system with a faster flow rate, a better pure-to-wastewater production ratio, and a more attractive design, but you wouldn’t get that much more. Medium-to-large families with a tight budget should get along with any APEC system just fine.

🧠 APEC Water Systems Filters FAQ

How long do APEC Water Systems last?

APEC Water Systems have a lifespan of 6 months-1 year, depending on the type of filter you buy. The filtration systems themselves should last at least 5 years with no major maintenance or repairs required.

Who owns APEC Water Systems?

APEC Water Systems, or Advanced Purification Engineering Corp., is a member of the Culligan family. Since BDT Capital Partners owns Culligan, we assume that this same company also owns APEC, although the information isn’t clearly available online.

Are APEC Water Systems NSF certified?

Yes, APEC water filters are tested and certified to NSF Standards by the Water Quality Association (WQA). Different APEC products are certified to different NSF Standards (including 42, 53, and 58, for the reduction of chlorine and contaminants with health effects, and for reverse osmosis performance).

Is APEC water filter Made in USA?

Yes. APEC is based in the City of Industry, California. This is where all APEC water filters are designed and manufactured.

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