Waterdrop N1 Countertop RO System Review

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📊 Scoring Data

We conduct our own testing to obtain the majority of the scoring data for our reviews. For some scoring categories, we also use information from third-party lab testing and company websites. Our aim is to get the best understanding of a water filter’s performance, component quality, ease of setup and use, and more. We’ve highlighted our 6 testing categories in the table below.

Health Related Contaminants9.90
Aesthetic Related Contaminants9.90
Performance CertificationNot certified for any reduction claims
Filtration Rate0.1 GPM
Component QualityFair
Component CertificationNot certified
Servicing RequirementsExceptional
Costs$0.09/ gallon

🎬 Video Review

🚰 Contaminant Reduction

Score: 9.51

We objectively tested the Waterdrop N1 to see what it could remove from our water. We used SimpleLab’s Tap Score for this purpose. We also checked IAMPO, NSF and WQA databases to see if the N1 had any performance certifications for removing contaminants. 

water testing with tap score
Testing note: Like all RO systems, the Waterdrop N1 can only be used with treated city water (not untreated well water or untreated surface water), so we tested it with our municipal water supply only.

Our Performance Testing

Score: 9.90

To ensure we obtained accurate and reliable test results, we followed SimpleLab’s strict sampling protocol. 

We filled a bucket with our water sample and swirled it around to properly mix it, then: 

  1. Collected the pre-filtration sample directly from the bucket. 
  2. Collected the post-filtration sample from the N1 unit itself.

Tap Score lets you select from a few different water quality standards when interpreting your results. We decided to use Tap Score’s HGL (Health Guideline Level), which is stricter than the federal MCL and prioritizes human health.

Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective water treatment techniques, so we had high expectations for the N1 going into our testing. 

Selecting options on the Waterdrop N1 filter system

Health-Related Contaminants

Score: 9.90

Our unfiltered water contained trace levels of 12 contaminants with possible health effects: fluoride, lead, uranium, barium, phosphorus, copper, molybdenum, nitrate, strontium, sulfate, sodium, and zinc. Of these contaminants, we were the most concerned about uranium, lead, and fluoride, since these were detected in concentrations that exceeded the HGL.

Some of the possible health effects associated with these contaminants include: 

  • Developmental and skeletal effects
  • Nervous system problems
  • Reproductive effects
  • Kidney problems
  • Cardiovascular and blood issues
  • Immune system effects
  • Carcinogenic (cancer-causing) outcomes

Our testing showed us that the Waterdrop N1 did an excellent job of removing 100% of 10 of these contaminants: barium, copper, lead, molybdenum, nitrate, phosphorus, strontium, sulfate, uranium, and zinc.

It also greatly reduced the other two contaminants – fluoride by 93% and sodium by 78%. 

Our complete third-party laboratory testing data for Waterdrop N1 is provided in the table below.

ContaminantMeasurementPre-FiltrationPost-Filtration% Change
Nitrate (as N)PPM2.10-100.00%
Total Dissolved SolidsPPM11216-85.71%

Minerals & Salts

Reverse osmosis membranes don’t only remove the bad stuff – they also remove the impurities that don’t typically have health effects, including minerals and salts. 

The Waterdrop N1 doesn’t have a remineralization filter. We were expecting to see a significant reduction in our water’s mineral concentrations, and that’s exactly what happened. 

Calcium in our water was reduced by 91%, magnesium by 91%, chloride by 85%, and sodium by 78%.

We’re a little disappointed that the N1 doesn’t come with a remineralization post-filter, like many of its competitors. 

Demineralizing your water shouldn’t be an issue if you follow a healthy diet that includes much higher concentrations of these minerals anyway. But our water’s pH and alkalinity both reduced, and we personally don’t enjoy the slightly “flat” taste of demineralized water. 

Aesthetic Contaminants

Score: 9.90

We tested the Waterdrop N1 with our chlorinated tap water. Testing for chlorine has to be conducted at home because of chlorine’s high volatility, so SimpleLab sent us a chlorine test strip, which gave us instant results. 

In our unfiltered tap water, the test strip detected around 0.4 PPM of chlorine. After we’d filtered the water through the N1, chlorine was no longer detectable by the test strip. Carbon block is one of the three main materials in the N1’s filters, and activated carbon is well-known for its ability to remove chlorine, tastes, and odors. 

As we’d expected given that chlorine had been eliminated from our water, there was no detectable chemical taste or odor when we taste-tested our filtered water. 

Performance Certifications

Score: 6.00

We know that performance certifications are super important to many people when deciding whether or not to invest in a water filter. Certifications by the NSF, WQA, or IAPMO prove that a filtration system is capable of removing the contaminants that it’s advertised to remove. 

But we couldn’t find any evidence of certifications for the Waterdrop N1, so it didn’t impress us in this testing category. 

Some of Waterdrop’s other products are performance certified, so we’re hoping the N1 might get certified soon (the process of obtaining a certification is lengthy). But we’ve heard nothing to suggest that this might be happening. 

🚦 Filtration Rate

Score: 7.5

The Waterdrop N1 is powered by electricity, and it uses a pump to quickly send water through the RO membrane. The filtered water can then be dispensed from the unit at the touch of a button. 

We timed how long it took to filter water in the unit, and found that it produced 1 gallon of water in around 11 minutes, giving it a filtration rate of 0.1 GPM.

That’s pretty slow, but, from our experience, fairly average for a countertop reverse osmosis system with an integrated pump. Since we were only dispensing water for drinking, we never felt like we had to wait too long to fill a glass. 

Dispensing water from the Waterdrop N1 RO system

Efficiency Ratio

As a modern countertop RO system, the Waterdrop N1 has a good efficiency ratio of 3:1. That means it wastes only 1 gallon of water for every 3 gallons of water purified, making it much more efficient than a conventional RO system, which wastes up to 4 gallons of water for every 1 gallon purified.

How does the N1’s efficiency ratio compare to other countertop RO systems we’ve tested? It’s one of the best we’ve come across, although not quite as good as the AquaTru, which has a slightly more efficient pure-to-wastewater ratio of 4:1. 

If you’re new to efficiency ratios, you should know that all reverse osmosis systems produce some water waste – it’s how the rejected contaminants get carried out of the system. The less water an RO system wastes during filtration, the better its efficiency ratio. 

Because the N1 is pretty efficient, we didn’t have to throw out a whole lot of wastewater, but emptying the tank was still a regular maintenance task.

📐 Design

Score: 8.10

There were two factors we considered when testing the N1’s design quality: its component quality, and whether or not Waterdrop had obtained an official certification for materials safety. 

Out of the box, the Waterdrop N1 is a sleek, modern countertop unit that should look the part in most kitchens. It has a simple design, with a feed water tank (which holds 140 ounces of unfiltered tap water) at the back of the unit, a set of two filters in the middle of the unit, and a display screen with several automatic and manual functions, including: 

  • A TDS indicator
  • A filter life display
  • Customized volume options
  • A water shortage indicator
  • An auto-flush indicator

We’re seeing these smart display features on most countertop RO systems today, and they’re a really useful feature. We appreciated having insight into the N1’s performance, so we knew when to refill the tank and when to replace the filters, and could check that the system was reducing TDS properly at a glance. 

TDS reading from the Waterdrop N1 touchscreen

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Design Setbacks

There were a couple of setbacks that we noted with the N1’s design. 

Our main gripe was having to manually fill the tank and empty the wastewater tank at intervals throughout the day. For the most part, we prefer the fact that the N1 is freestanding and doesn’t connect to a waterline, but it does mean slightly more work on our part.  

Another design setback is that the unit only has space for two filters, and there isn’t a remineralization filter, so we’d have to find another way to reintroduce minerals into our water (such as with mineral drops or re-filtering through an alkaline water pitcher’) if we really wanted to.

Component Quality

Score: 9.50

The Waterdrop N1 has a mostly plastic design with some stainless steel components. The plastic components that the water comes into contact with are made from polypropylene (PP), which is BPA-free and is considered the safest of all plastics thanks to its high heat tolerance. 

However, if you’re looking to avoid plastics as much as possible, the N1 probably isn’t best for you. 

There’s also the issue that polypropylene may still leach bisphenols into water even if it’s BPA-free. One study shared by Healthline found that some polypropylene products caused a “toxic or stress response” in cells and affected androgen hormones. 

Microplastics leaching is also a potential concern for polypropylene. A 2022 Chinese study found that all of the tested polypropylene-made takeout food container samples contained microplastics, and the estimated daily intake of microplastics for the general Chinese population through using these containers was 0.042–0.14 items per kilogram of bodyweight/day.

Design Longevity

We couldn’t find any conclusive evidence for the lifespan of polypropylene plastics, but a few unofficial sources said that products containing polypropylene typically last 20-30 years on average. 

There are a few advantages of using polypropylene compared to other materials: it’s unlikely to shatter like glass, and it won’t rust like metal, so it should (in theory!) last a few years; perhaps even decades. 

But the N1 uses electricity, and the system’s parts may outlive its electronic components. If an electrical issue occurs, you’ll probably have to replace the whole thing. 


Score: 6.00

We couldn’t find any evidence of certifications for materials safety or structural integrity for the Waterdrop N1.  

That doesn’t mean that the unit is unsafe – it just means it hasn’t been officially certified for safety, which is a little disappointing. 

Filter Materials

There are two filter cartridges in the N1: a PP cotton and carbon block filter and an RO membrane.

We couldn’t find exactly what the carbon block media is made of, but AC filters are typically made from natural carbonaceous materials, like coal, coconut, and wood. Carbon block filters are made when loose carbon granules are heated and compressed into a solid block, which increases the contact time between water and the media. 

Reverse osmosis membranes are usually made from cellulose acetates, polyimides, polyamides, and poly-sulfones. 

The filter housings contain BPA-free plastic. 

Waterdrop N1 filter cartridges on counter

⚙️ Setup

Score: 9.50

We set a timer to see how long it took us to assemble the N1 ready for use after unboxing it. 

The N1 is a plug-and-play unit and comes with most of the components, including the filters, already pre-installed. 

This was ideal for us because it meant our initial setup process was easy. All we had to do was rinse and flush the system a few times based on instructions in the user manual

The N1 automatically flushes after the first power-on, so we didn’t have to stand around pressing down the dispensing button, and we didn’t have to manually prime the filters. Waterdrop recommends flushing 2-3 gallons of water (around 4 tanks worth), until the water looks clean. 

The setup instructions are pretty thorough, but you can’t go wrong if you follow each step carefully. The process was easy, but the flushing was quite time-consuming and took just under an hour from start to finish. 

Brian holding the filter cartridges of Waterdrop N1

🔧 Maintenance

Score: 10.00

In this category, we assessed the maintenance requirements and costs for the Waterdrop N1. 

Servicing Requirements

Score: 10.00

We noted a few features of the N1 that made maintenance easy. 

The display screen has a filter life indicator that changes color based on how long the filters have been used (the icon turns red to tell you when new filters are needed). We found it super easy to change the filters, too – we just removed the top cover, took out the old filters, and slotted the new filters in their place. 

A unique feature of the N1 that we really appreciated was the internal UV light, which sanitizes the internal water holding tank. That meant less maintenance on our part, and there’s a light on the display that indicated the UV status (blue means it’s working, off means it’s not working). 

We did still have to wash the feed tank and its components with soap and water weekly to get rid of any accumulated contaminants. There are instructions in the user manual on how to remove the feed tank’s components to wash them, which we found easy to follow.

Installing Waterdrop N1 CF filter

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Score: 10.00

We wanted to get a better idea of the N1’s long-term value for money, so we calculated how much it costs to purify a gallon of water. 

Overall, the N1 has a cost of $0.09/ gallon for both filters. Here’s a breakdown of the cost for each of the filter stages: 

  • CF filter:  $0.06/ gallon
  • MRO filter: $0.03/ gallon

That makes the N1 one of the lowest-cost systems we’ve tested in terms of maintenance, which you might be surprised about. 

The N1 might have two separate filter cartridges, but their long-term cost is very affordable because they both have decent lifespans and are pretty cheap to replace. (In case you were wondering, the mid-range cost for water filters is around $0.54-0.61/gallon.)

🏢 Company

Score: 8.65

Finally, we graded Waterdrop as a company based on its warranty offerings, and its shipping and returns policy. 


Score: 8.50

Waterdrop issues a 1-year warranty for all its products, which covers any manufacturing defects and quality issues that occur during the warranty period (not caused by misuse).

Under this warranty, customers can receive free returns, replacements, or repair services. Instructions on registering for the warranty can be found on page 2 of the user manual.  


Score: 9.50

Customers in most states can use Waterdrop’s free Economy Shipping when placing an order. There are just a few exceptions – shipping currently isn’t offered to Alaska, American Samoa, Hawaii, Guam, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Waterdrop lets you upgrade to Standard Shipping (if you spend more than $200, this is free) or Express Shipping (costs $12.99) if you want to receive your order faster.  

View Waterdrop’s shipping policy here. 


Score: 8.00

The N1 is covered by Waterdrop’s 30-day return policy. If you return the N1 within 30 days of your purchase, you’ll need to disassemble it and send it back in its original packaging. There’s also a return shipping fee that the customer covers.

It’s possible to return the N1 outside of the 30-day returns window, but Waterdrop issues a 10% restocking fee on top of the return shipping fee. 

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  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

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