H2O. Though it runs freely from the faucet, Americans drink more than nine billion gallons of bottled water each year. A 100 billion dollar industry, bottled water manufacturers market their product as superior to its lowly tap counterpart, even though government regulations on tap water are more stringent than that of bottled water. With more than 30 billion plastic bottles produced each year and only 12% of those being recycled (Business Insider, 2015), more and more Americans are looking for ways to ditch the plastic altogether and begin purifying their own water from home. However, determining which home water filtration system is best for your family can be a draining decision. Here are three options to wet your whistle without ingesting a toxic chemical cocktail:

The Reverse Osmosis (RO) system removes all impurities and toxins, thus making it the purest form of water. Known as “dead water” because it removes natural minerals as well, reverse osmosis systems range in price from roughly $300 to more than $1,200, depending on the size of the tank and procedure performance. For a family of six, Paul Hendrickson, a representative with Reverse Osmosis Superstore, recommends the ProSeries 5 System with a 14-gallon tank. For single homeowners or couples, a smaller four gallon tank is sufficient. This reverse osmosis system is easy to install and does not take up counter space. Consumers appreciate that it sits under the kitchen sink and does not require manual filling. A separate faucet is used for drinking water, and consumers can select a wide range of faucet finishes to match existing décor. Generally, the filters need to be replaced once a year and the membrane every three to four years. Newer RO models operate on a 1:1 ratio, thus decreasing the amount of water wasted during the purification process. As an added bonus, some systems will add minerals back into the water before it reaches the faucet. Perhaps the biggest complaint with reverse osmosis is that it eradicates healthy minerals from the water along with the toxic chemicals, so having a system that replenishes the minerals is important.

Originated in Japan, the Kangen system changes the molecular structure of the water. Though the system does filter tap water, it is highly touted because users can control the Ph levels and personally adjust the amount of antioxidants as desired. With this system, consumers can easily change the acidity level for drinking water, cleaning water, vegetable wash water, coffee and tea water, and plant water. The system sits on the countertop by the sink, although many users have it installed by their laundry room sink for less visibility. Kangen enthusiasts believe that it is impossible to get cancer if drinking this type of water. Legendary singer Pat Boone is a spokesman for the Kangen Water System and states in a featured video that hospitals in Japan consider this water source a medical supply and therefore use it in their hospitals. In the very persuasive video demonstration, Boone and his friend Bob Gridelli demonstrate the difference between Kangen water, tap water, and various brands of bottled water for tasks such as washing vegetables, brewing tea, and alkalizing liquid. The video also shows that the Kangen water does not oxidize like other waters, giving it the name “negative water.” Kangen systems are not cheap, costing anywhere from $3,500 to more than $5,000.

With the efficient Radiant Life Water System, fourteen steps are taken before the water ever reaches your mouth. For filtration purposes, this is the most elaborate system. With steps such as “coconut shell carbon post-filtration” (step 13), consumers are certain to get pure water that has been both ionic re-mineralized and alkalized. Basically, the system uses three purifiers, one for the reverse osmosis stage and two for the deionization stage. In turn, 99.999% of impurities are removed. Like the regular reverse osmosis system, the equipment sits neatly under the kitchen sink and a separate faucet is installed for the drinking water. No manual filling of the tank is required, and the entire system costs $1,630 for a standard nine gallon tank. The company also offers whole house water purification systems, which range in price from $3,000 to more than $5,000.

Before purchasing an expensive water filtration system, consumers are cautioned to adequately research both the products and the companies, and then select one that is economical, efficient, and environmental-friendly.

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