Aquatru Review: We Tested the Countertop RO System

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🧾 Overview of the AquaTru Water Filter

The AquaTru Countertop Water Purification System is a simple, compact, accessible countertop reverse osmosis system.

This water filtration system uses ultra reverse osmosis technology to remove a broad range of contaminants, producing a high-quality result that tastes as good as bottled water. The unit can be stored on a kitchen counter to provide clean, pure drinking water at the touch of a button. With no complex installation required, the AquaTru RO system offers the convenience of quick, simple setup.

We tested the AquaTru RO system to determine which contaminants it could remove from our water, and we’ve shared the results later in this guide.

At the time of our review, we could buy the AquaTru in 4 configurations:

  • The AquaTru Classic – the standard configuration and the cheapest option
  • The AquaTru Connect (costs $20 extra) – comes with WiFi connection and provides information about the filters on a dedicated app
  • The AquaTru Alkaline Classic (costs $50 extra) – comes with an alkalizing mineral-boost VOC filter instead of the standard VOC filter
  • The AquaTru Alkaline Connect (costs $70 extra) – comes with built-in WiFi and alkalizing mineral-boost VOC filter
AquaTru ConfigurationsInclusionsPrice
ClassicRO + VOC Filter$449
ConnectWifi RO + VOC Filter$499
Alkaline ClassicRO + Alkaline Boost VOC Filter$469
Alkaline ConnectWifi RO + Alkaline Boost VOC Filter$519

For this review, we tested the AquaTru Classic, with this being the base model. We’re hoping to test the system with the remineralizing VOC filter in the near future, so we can see how it performs when removing impurities and adding healthy minerals back into the water.

aquatru review

Our Rating

🏷️ AquaTru Discount Code

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📑 Quick Summary

The AquaTru is a no-install countertop RO system that offers all the benefits of reverse osmosis purification without the hassle of an under-sink install. It performed as well as we’d anticipated from a reverse osmosis system, removing up to 100% of all the trace contaminants in our water. It’s a mid-priced system that’s more affordable than some of the more feature-heavy countertop RO systems we’ve tested, like the RKIN U1. We expected to spend less than $100 a year on filter replacements.

👍 What We Like

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Cheaper than similar competitors
  • Good 3:1 efficiency ratio
  • Reliably purifies water

👎 What We Don’t Like

  • Needs tank refills & empties
  • Remineralization filter costs extra
  • Water dispensing is slow
Brian installing the water tank of aquatru

💡 First Impressions

Out of the box, the AquaTru filter system is a compact RO unit that’s designed to sit on a countertop. When we got the system to review, it had an upfront cost of $450 to $520, depending on the system configuration. It’s pretty costly, but not as expensive as some of the super high-tech countertop RO systems we’ve reviewed, like the RKIN U1.

As far as design is concerned, we felt the AquaTru system had everything we were looking for in a modern countertop RO system. It might not be the most feature-heavy, and it didn’t blow us away or surprise us with any particularly unique benefits, but it was still ideal for our requirements. We liked that the digital display screen helped us out with filter lifespan information, so we didn’t have to make our own filter change reminders, and the water level icon meant we always knew when a tank refill was necessary. While we didn’t personally test the WiFi Connect system, we think some people will prefer this system because it connects to a dedicated app, which gives you data on filter lifespan, water consumption, and water quality.

A few other features we noted were:

  • The quick-change filters that require a simple twist and seal to replace one for another. We found it easy to install and change the filters (you can buy new filters directly from aquatruwater.com).
  • The water storage tanks, which need to be filled and emptied frequently. Because the AquaTru isn’t connected to a water pipe or drain line, you need to manually fill the tap water tank and empty the wastewater tank once it gets full. The purified water was collected in a dedicated tank, and when we pressed the dispenser, the water exited the tank via gravity.
  • The on/off switch. This red switch is at the back of the machine and needs to be switched on when you want to use the system to filter your water. We should note that the AquaTru uses electricity, so you’ll need to have space near a plug socket for the system to sit.

To summarize our first impressions, the unit impressed us from an appearance and function perspective. It’s compact, modern, and has all the features we’d expect to see in a countertop reverse osmosis system, plus a few extra.

🧪 Our Performance Test

We wanted to test what the AquaTru RO system could remove from our own water supply to confirm that the system offered the superior purification performance that we’ve come to expect from a reverse osmosis system. We used Tap Score for our testing, who provided us with a sample kit for us to use at home. We then sent our before-and-after test samples back to the company, where they were tested in a laboratory.

water testing with tap score

We followed Tap Score’s strict sample-taking protocol to ensure we got the most reliable results from the tests. This involved filling a clean bucket with tap water and swirling it around to make sure it was well-mixed. We then took a “before” sample straight from the bucket and poured the rest of the water into the AquaTru unit for purification. We dispensed our “after” sample of purified water from the AquaTru. Tap Score emailed us our results – and we were pretty pleased with what we saw.

Brian pouring filtered water from Aquatru
Important Note: Tap Score lets you review your test results based on different water quality standards. We decided to evaluate our results using the HGL (Health Guideline Level), a benchmark that prioritizes human health and is much stricter than the federal MCL. You can toggle between the different water quality standards on the results page depending on what you want to compare the data to.

Below is a comparison of the contaminant concentrations in our unfiltered tap water compared to the contaminant levels in our purified water from the AquaTru filtration system.

ContaminantPre-FiltrationPost-Filtration% Reduction
AluminumNDNDND
Barium0.014 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Calcium23.9 PPM0.7 PPM97.07%
Chloride9.2 PPM0 PPM100.00%
ChloroformNDNDND
Copper0.0525 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Fluoride1.5 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Lead0.0009 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Magnesium6.08 PPM0.36 PPM94.08%
Molybdenum0.0047 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Nitrate (as N)2.1 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Phosphorus1.1 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Sodium9.91 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Strontium0.108 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Sulfate7.6 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Total Dissolved Solids112 PPM12 PPM89.29%
Total THMsNDNDND
Uranium0.0182 PPM0 PPM100.00%
Zinc0.559 PPM0 PPM100.00%

Contaminants With Health Effects

Our unfiltered water contained trace levels of 11 contaminants with possible health effects: fluoride, lead, strontium, uranium, molybdenum, barium, zinc, nitrate, sodium, copper, and sulfate. Of these contaminants, the three most concerning were fluoridelead, and uranium, which were all detected at levels higher than the HGL.

Some of the possible health effects caused by these contaminants include:

  • Developmental issues
  • Kidney problems
  • Carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects
  • Problems with the blood system
  • Skeletal health issues
  • Immune function effects
  • Reproductive issues
  • Cardiovascular health effects
  • Nervous system problems
  • Gastrointestinal effects

Our purified water test results showed us that the AquaTru system was able to completely eliminate 100% of all contaminants with possible health effects detected in our unfiltered tap water. That includes the contaminants we were the keenest to remove, like lead and fluoride.

Minerals & Salts

The reverse osmosis filtration process is so thorough that it doesn’t only remove the bad stuff – it also reduces healthy minerals. Since we tested the AquaTru system without the remineralization filter, the healthy trace minerals in our water were reduced by the RO membrane, and there was nothing in place to replace them.

Calcium in our water was reduced by 97%, magnesium by 94%, and chloride and sodium were both completely removed.

🚦 Performance

Aside from contaminant removal, we also wanted to see how the AquaTru compared to other countertop RO systems across other performance categories, including purification speed and efficiency ratio. Here’s what we found in our testing.

Efficiency Ratio

The AquaTru unit is one of the more efficient reverse osmosis filter systems, especially when compared to a conventional under-sink system. It has a 4:1 performance efficiency, which, so far, is better than any of the other countertop systems we’ve reviewed.

In case you’re new to efficiency ratios, these measure how much waste water a reverse osmosis system generates for every 1 gallon of purified water produced (wastewater production is, unfortunately, a side effect of the reverse osmosis process). The AquaTru unit’s 4:1 efficiency ratio means there’s only 1 gallon of water wasted for every 4 gallons of clean, filtered water produced, which meant there wasn’t a whole lot of wastewater that we had to throw out, and our tank emptying duties were less frequent than with other countertop systems we’ve tested.

aquatru clean water tank
The clean water tank

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Water Purification Rate

The AquaTru system uses an electric pump (hence why it needs electricity) to send water through the RO stages and into the collection tank. In our testing, we found that the unit can fill the clean water tank in between 10 and 15 minutes.

This system stores the water in a tank, ready for dispensing, which has its pros and cons. On the one hand, we didn’t have to wait for water to flow through the filter stages before it was ready for dispensing, which was a plus. On the other hand, the clean water tank is a gravity tank, and we found that the flow of water exiting the tank was slow – and it only got slower as the tank emptied.

Performance Note: If you want a little reassurance when it comes to performance, you’ll be happy to hear that AquaTru offers a money-back guarantee on its water filters, plus a 1-year warranty.

📝 Filter Testing & Certifications

The AquaTru uses two RO “conventional” water filter stages: a mechanical and RO pre-filter and an activated carbon filtering cartridge. It also uses an RO membrane to remove contaminants and improve overall water quality. As we mentioned, we reviewed the base-level AquaTru model, but we’re planning to upgrade the VOC carbon filter with remineralization. While there’s nothing wrong with demineralized RO water (as long as you’re getting plenty of healthy minerals in your diet), we found that our water tasted quite bland, and the mineral boost filter should resolve this issue.

how aquatru works

Although our own testing showed us that the AquaTru performed as claimed by the manufacturer, we still looked for performance certifications as a mark of reassurance before reviewing the system. We were pleased to see that AquaTru’s filters are IAPMO certified to NSF Standards 42, 53 and 58 for the removal of 83 contaminants – however, these are only the contaminants that it has been tested and certified to remove, and, with its RO process, it should remove hundreds of other trace impurities and dangerous contaminants.

ContaminantReduction
Alachor>98%
Atrazine>97%
Benzene>99%
Carbofuran>99.5%
Carbon Tetrachloride98%
Chlorbenzene>99%
Chlorpicrin99%
2,4-d98%
Dibromochloropropane (Dbcp)>99%
O-Dichlorobenzene>99%
P-Dichlorobenzene>98%
1,2-Dichloroethane95%
1,1-Dichloroethylene>99%
Cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene>99%
Trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene>99%
1,2-Dichloropropane>99%
Cis-1,3-Dichloropropylene>99%
Dinoseb99%
Endrin99%
Ethylbenzene>99%
Ethylene Dibromide (Edb)>99%
Bromochloroacetonitrile98%
Dibromoacetonitrile98%
Dichloroacetonitrile98%
Trichloracetonitrile98%
1,1-Dichloro-2-propane99%
1,1,1-Trichloro-2-propane96%
Heptachlor>99%
Heptachlor Epoxide98%
Hexachlorobutadiene>98%
Hexachlorocyclopentadiene>99%
Lindane>99%
Methoxychlor>99%
Pentachlorophenol>99%
Simazine>97%
Styrene>99%
1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane>99%
Tetrachloroethylene>99%
Toluene>99%
2,4,5-tp (Silvex)99%
Tribromoacetic Acid>98%
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene>99%
1,1,1-Trichloroethane95%
1,1,2-Trichloroethane>99%
Trichloroethylene>99%
Chloroform (Surrogate Chemical)95%
Bromoform95%
Bromodichloromethane95%
Chlorodibromomethane95%
Xylenes (Total)>99%
Barium96.4%
Hexavalent Chromium97.2%
Trivalent Chromium98.0%
TDS87.1%
Copper95.2%
Cyst99.99%
Fluoride93.5%
Lead99.1%
Radium 226/22896.4%
Selenium98.1%
Chlorine Reduction, Free Available97%
Meprobamate92.9%
Phenytoin95.7%
Atenolol95.7%
Carbamazepine93.3%
TCEP91.4%
TCPP90.5%
DEET93.3%
Metolachlor93.1%
Trimethoprim93.1%
Ibuprofen95.1%
Naproxen96.6%
Estrone96.6%
Bisphenol A99.0%
Linuron86.7%
Nonyl phenol96.7%
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)97.5%
Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)97.5%

🔧Installation & Maintenance Considerations

There is virtually no installation required for the AquaTru, which makes setup a significantly faster task than installation of most under-sink RO systems.

Our unit came partially assembled. All we had to do was set it up on our countertop of choice, install the filters, wash and fill the tanks, plug in the unit, and get started. We followed the instructions in the user manual to prime the filters, which is super simple and just requires running 4 tanks of water through the system and discarding the water in the filtered water tank.

We also found it easy to follow the instructions for general maintenance, including:

  • Cleaning both water tanks with warm, soapy water once a week
  • Cleaning the outside of the unit base with a damp towel when necessary
  • Flushing the unit with pure water once a week to clean the filters (recommended but not essential)
  • Buying replacement filters when notified by the display screen (the prefilter lasts 600 gallons or six months; the reverse osmosis membrane lasts 1200 gallons or two years; the VOC filter lasts 600 gallons or one year)

Like any multi-stage RO system, the AquaTru water filter system is a bit more maintenance-heavy than non-RO systems. It’s worth asking yourself whether you want the most thorough, comprehensive filtration process to remove harmful contaminants from your tap water, and whether you’re happy with the additional maintenance commitments of changing the RO, sediment, and activated carbon filters every 6-24 months.

Aquatru filters 4 stages

🤔 Should You Buy The AquaTru Countertop RO System?

We recommend the AquaTru Countertop RO system if you’re looking for a convenient, no-install RO purification solution with optional remineralization, and you have a fairly big budget – but you’re not bothered about splurging on the very best, most feature-heavy unit. Essentially, if you want a modern system that removes contaminants reliably but doesn’t have all the modern, high-tech features and add-ons, the AquaTru system is a good pick for you.

Our readers get 15% off at waterandwellness.com – 👉 Click here for code

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  • Brian Campbell
    Founder, Water Treatment Specialist

    Brian Campbell is a water treatment specialist and water expert based in Denver, Colorado. He's always been obsessed with water quality, and has spent years testing all kinds of treatment devices from simple pitchers and portable devices to complex whole home systems.

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