6 Must-Have Reverse Osmosis Features

Posted by
John Woodard on October 27, 2023

Reverse osmosis systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so many homeowners may wonder which system works best for their home. The perfect RO system for your home provides crisp, clear drinking water for you and your family. In this article, we’ll share six key features to look for when shopping for a residential reverse osmosis system.

6 important reverse osmosis features

The perfect reverse osmosis system is not the same for everyone. However, some features make some systems more desirable than others. When searching for a reverse osmosis system, ensure it meets the functionality, efficiency, ease of maintenance, form factor, remineralization, and upgradability standards you want in a system.

Learn more about reverse osmosis: What is a reverse osmosis system?

1.  Functionality

A reverse osmosis system should contain all the necessary components to provide the water you want for your home. These components include the membrane size, prefilters, and postfilters you want for your water.

Membrane size

The membrane size of a reverse osmosis system determines how many gallons of water it can treat in a day. Most residential RO systems contain membrane sizes between 25 and 100 gallons per day (GPD). Homes with many occupants will need at least a 50 GPD membrane, while small families or single homeowners likely do not need a membrane greater than 25 GPD.

When choosing a membrane size, you must consider the volume of water your RO system must produce on the most demanding days. If you regularly entertain guests, for example, you will need to equip your system with a larger membrane than would be necessary for only your family. Likewise, if you hook up your RO system to your refrigerator or other sinks, you must ensure that it can supply enough water to meet these demands.


Reverse osmosis systems contain sediment and carbon prefilters that treat water before it passes through the RO membrane. These prevent certain particulates and chemicals from damaging the membrane over time. They also reduce some aesthetic impurities from water, such as chlorine, bad tastes, and foul odors.

If your water quality is particularly poor, you will need more robust prefiltration than standard sediment and carbon filtration. If your home uses well water, you will need to add UV disinfection to your well water treatment system to eliminate the threat of bacteria and microorganisms. If your home’s water is hard, you will want a water softener to be installed before the reverse osmosis system. While RO does soften water, water-hardening minerals can damage the RO membrane and reduce its efficiency over time.


A carbon postfilter on a reverse osmosis system removes any lingering foul tastes and odors caused by chlorine, chloramines, or other contaminants. A postfilter ensures the water you consume is crisp and refreshing. Some RO systems are equipped with a remineralization postfilter that adds beneficial minerals back to filtered water. Like the carbon postfilter, these are designed to enhance the aesthetic qualities of your drinking water.

2.  Efficiency

One major gripe homeowners have with reverse osmosis is the amount of water it sends down the drain. However, certain RO system elements reduce the wastefulness of the system and can save hundreds of gallons of water each month. The most significant water-saving feature of an RO system is the permeate pump.

Permeate pumps push treated water, also called permeate, to the RO storage tank by using wastewater for energy. These pumps can save up to 80% of the water that flows to the drain. Not all RO systems are plumbed to support a permeate pump, so you will want to find a system that can equip a permeate pump if saving water is important to you.

Learn more: How a permeate pump works with a reverse osmosis system

3.  Ease of maintenance

All reverse osmosis systems require filter replacements, cleaning, and other maintenance as needed. Some systems are designed to swap out cartridges or sanitize easier than others. Quick-change cartridges require only a quarter turn to remove and another quarter turn to lock in the new cartridge. To replace a cartridge in a traditional filter housing, you must take the housing apart, clean the inside of the housing, replace the cartridge, and put the housing back together. While this maintenance is still simple, it involves more steps than quick-change cartridges.

Also, consider how easily you can order replacement parts for your system. For systems with quick-change cartridges, pieces and parts on the system are more difficult to replace than those with isolated components. In some RO systems, replacing one piece of the assembly may require the entire assembly to be replaced altogether.

4.  Form factor

Some reverse osmosis systems contain proprietary filters, while others use standard filters. Proprietary filters do not match standard sizing for RO cartridges. Rather, they have unique sizing that often give a sleek, eloquent look compared to traditional filters. Standard filters, on the other hand, contain standard dimensions, so there are more compatible cartridges available for each filter. The two primary differences between proprietary and standard filters are cost and availability.

Because proprietary filters are unique to a system, they are often only available from one vendor. Due to the lack of competition, this vendor can upcharge replacement filters, leaving you with only one expensive option. If the vendor discontinues replacement filters for your system, then you are stuck with no way to refresh your filters. In contrast, standard filters can be replaced with many different cartridges from various vendors. There is heavy competition in the world of standard filters, so you can always get the best deal on your replacement filters.

under-sink ro system

5.  Remineralization

Reverse osmosis systems strip minerals from water as it passes through the RO membrane. Some of the minerals lost are beneficial both to the human body and to the taste of water. Remineralization postfilters add some beneficial minerals back into water before it is delivered to your storage tank. Not all RO systems are equipped with a remineralization postfilter, but many newer systems contain a built-in remineralization cartridge. If adding minerals back into water is important to you, ensure you choose a system with a remineralization cartridge.

6.  Upgradability

As your water needs increase, you need your reverse osmosis system to keep up. Many RO systems offer various membrane sizes within the same system, allowing for easy output upgrades as demand increases. Many proprietary RO systems do not offer different membrane sizes, so you are stuck with the same output as long as you have that particular system.

RO storage tank sizes are also upgradeable with any reverse osmosis system that utilizes a storage tank. Tankless RO systems do not provide the ability to upgrade storage because they do not offer storage tank compatibility. For now, tankless RO systems are simply not as effective as systems with a tank and do not provide the same value.

Learn more: What is a reverse osmosis tank and how does it work?

Top reverse osmosis systems by features

Neo-Pure PRO-4 Series RO System

The Neo-Pure PRO-4 Series RO System is an all-around system that provides an abundance of excellent features, including a permeate pump and remineralization postfilter.


  • Functionality – chlorine and sediment prefiltration; remineralization and carbon block postfilters
  • Efficiency – built-in permeate pump provides high efficiency
  • Ease of maintenance – standard housings must be disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled with each cartridge change
  • Form factor – standard filters
  • Remineralization - yes
  • Upgradability – available with 25, 50, and 75 GPD membranes

Pentair Freshpoint 50 GPD RO System

The Pentair Freshpoint 50 GPD RO System produces high-quality reverse osmosis water with a sleek design. Its 3-stage filtration includes a prefilter and postfilter that eliminate chlorine, tastes, and odors. Its sleek design allows it to fit into tighter spaces than traditional RO systems.


  • Functionality – CTO (chlorine, taste, and odors) prefilter and postfilter
  • Efficiency – high-performance GRO membrane; no permeate pump included
  • Ease of maintenance – easy click-in filter changes
  • Form factor – proprietary filters
  • Remineralization - no
  • Upgradability – only available with 50 GPD membrane

Pentair Freshpoint 75 GPD RO System

The Pentair Freshpoint 75 GPD RO System is a 4-stage, 75 GPD version of the 50 GPD system. Unlike the 50 GPD system, the 75 GPD version includes a fourth stage to filter out cysts and lead before water reaches the membrane.


  • Functionality – CTO (chlorine, taste, and odors) prefilter; cysts and lead prefilter; CTO postfilter
  • Efficiency – high-performance GRO membrane; no permeate pump included
  • Ease of maintenance – easy click-in filter changes
  • Form factor – proprietary filters
  • Remineralization - no
  • Upgradability – only available with 75 GPD membrane


Neo-Pure PRO-4 Series

Pentair Freshpoint GRO-350B

Pentair Freshpoint GRO-475B


Prefilters - sediment and carbon

Postfilters - carbon and remineralization 



Prefilters - CTO; cysts and lead

Postfilter - CTO 


Included permeate pump 

GRO membrane 

GRO membrane

Ease of maintenance

Standard filters 

Click-in filters

Click-in filters

Form factor









25, 50, or 75 GPD

Only 50 GPD

Only 75 GPD


If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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