A Comparison Between Waterdrop G3 vs. APEC RO-90
by Dr. Jonathan Doyle |
Let’s start by saying that almost all the Reverse Osmosis systems being compared are similar, at least, in terms of the basics. The impurities in unclean water are removed by making the water pass through a series of filters, before ending up in the RO membrane.
That said, the distinguishing factor is usually the quality and capabilities of the filters and membrane type. These factors determine the lifespan and efficiency of the system and the quality of the filtered water. Therefore, they are the talking points, alongside other features like drain ratio, tank, smart design, and product size.
This comparison will follow this same pattern. We will look at each of these features and how they pan out in both the Waterdrop G3 and APEC RO-90. We are confident you will be better positioned to choose between the two as the ideal reverse osmosis system for your home.
The Talking Points
This comparison will be based on eight talking points – Number of Stages, Tests and Certifications, Daily Capacity, Water Efficiency, Tank, Smart Design, Filter Lifespan, and the Price. So, let’s get right to it!
1. Number of Stages
Although this is not absolute, you can determine how good a filtration system is by looking at the number of stages. Most systems have a basic setup of five stages, as seen in the APEC RO-90 – sediment filter, 2 x carbon blocks, RO filter, and coconut carbon filter. This translates into five stages of filtration. The filtered water from a 5-stage system is non-mineralized; the membrane ends up removing all of them.
You have just three composite water filters in the Waterdrop G3. These are the pre-sediment and carbon block filter; the post activated carbon filter; and the reverse osmosis membrane filter. The stages of filtration here are seven. The composite filter setup is further enhanced by the tankless design, making the model the first-ever smart RO system to sport this arrangement.
The three-filter setup translates to seven stages of filtration. How? The pre-sediment and carbon block filter unit is a 3-in-1 filter. Hence, it works like a combination of three filters. The efficiency of the filter setup, coupled with the advanced design of the Reverse Osmosis membrane filter, offers more than three filtration stages.
The activated carbon block filters are sourced from natural coconut shell, which improves the taste of water. According to the manufacturers, the composite filters filter out over a thousand harmful sediments in the filtration process.
2. Certifications and Tests
APEC RO-90 is WQA-certified, which means it was build according to the best standards using the safest materials. Therefore, it offers efficient filtration capabilities and corresponding durability to filter out contaminants.
Waterdrop G3 is NSF 58 certified for TDS reduction. The filtration accuracy of the RO filtration technology in the system is 0.0001μm. This means it conveniently filters out most contaminants in tap water, such as limescale, TDS, heavy metals, and fluoride. The NSF 372 certification also guarantees the use of lead-free material in assembling the system.
3. Daily Capacity
We can also compare RO systems using their daily capacity, i.e., the amount of pure water they provide daily. The daily capacity is measured in GPD – Gallons Per Day. The average is between 100 and 400 GPD – this will serve even large families or smaller families that use filtered water for multiple purposes – drinking, cleaning, cooking, and beverages. Higher numbers of GDP signify faster water flow.
For instance, you can fill up a 200ml cup in about 12 seconds with a GPD of 400, as seen in the Waterdrop G3. However, APEC RO-90 does not offer this luxury. With a GPD of 90, the flow of water is comparatively slower. So, if you provide clean water for a large group of people, you may have to wait for long periods to fill their cups. However, you can prevent this by getting the 4-gallon storage tank unit. This makes water delivery faster by storing the filtered water in the tank until it is needed.
4. Water Tank
The reverse osmosis tank stores the purified water once it leaves the reverse osmosis membrane. The purification process is such that the filtered water is released in drops from the semipermeable membrane. Hence, the tank accumulates the water, making it easier and faster to get pure water whenever it is needed.
That said, these tanks can be counterproductive in some aspects. For instance, RO tanks are known to be breeding ground for over 600,000 water contaminants. This makes the stored purified water somewhat unclean. In addition to this, you will have to sacrifice some space to accommodate this rather large tank. This may reduce the aesthetic value of the setup.
The Waterdrop G3 is built to deliver fast flow of water. The purified water comes straight from the filter membrane into the cup or container whenever you want. This removes the need for a storage tank, and by extension, the risk of ending up with more contaminants due to storing. It offers better aesthetic values, thanks to its smaller size. Unlike the traditional RO, you can save up to 70% of under-sink space.
5. Water Efficiency
You can expect every reverse osmosis system out there to produce wastewater. Yes, every single one. This is largely because the RO systems work by removing the contaminants in the unclean water to produce clean water.
APEC is silent about its drain ratio. However, the drain ratio in the smart Waterdrop G3 RO is 1:1. This means that for every cup of wastewater, there is a cup of clean water. This is one of the best water efficiency rates out there – 300% higher than the regular RO.
6. Smart Design
RO manufacturers are continually leveraging technology to improve customer experience when it comes to water purification. This is evident in the smart light ring in the Waterdrop G3 faucet. This serves as a reminder for filter replacement. There is also a TDS monitoring function that measures the cleanliness level of the filtered water and water quality.
Accumulated contaminants from the RO membrane are found in the drain water. Unless the membrane is regularly and adequately flushed, its lifespan will be short. You can worry less about this if you use the Waterdrop G3, thanks to its automatic flushing function and holiday mode. So, even if you have no reason to use the G3 for a long time, it flushes on its own to eliminate accumulated impurities. Likewise, G3 has an automatic ‘off feature’ that stops the water from running continuously for an extended period. Overall, the Waterdrop G3 and its smart features offer improved convenience and ease-of-use.
The APEC RO-90, on the other hand, is not smart.
7. Filter Lifespan
You can deduce the quality of a RO system from its filter life. The level of purification in both cheap and expensive RO systems are close. However, the former requires more frequent filter replacement – 3 to 6 months for filters and 1 to 2 years for the membrane.
The carbon lock filters and sediment filters in the APEC RO-90 are due for change after a year, and the coconut carbon filters and reverse osmosis filters after 3-5 years. You will spend up to $119 to change the complete filter set in the APEC.
Conversely, the pre-sediment and carbon block filters in the Waterdrop G3 are due for a change after every six months, the activated carbon block after a year, and the RO filter after two years. You will spend about $150 to change the complete filter set in the Waterdrop G3.
When we consider the price, the APEC RO-90 is the cheaper option (at $229.95) than the Waterdrop G3 ($539). However, if we factor in the benefits the G3 offers, the higher cost becomes justified. After all, you get a smart, tankless design RO system fitted with composite filters at that price point. If you have a tight budget and still want to stay in the Waterdrop family, consider the Waterdrop G2.
You get a reverse osmosis filtration technology that delivers a filtration accuracy of 0.0001μm. This translates to a filtration accuracy of 99.99%, getting rid of impurities like heavy metals, limescale, fluoride, and others from your tap water. Another justification of the price point is the ease of installation of this unit. According to the manufacturers, the installation process is a DIY that requires less than 30 minutes, while the filter replacement can be done in less than five seconds using a single turn.
The Waterdrop G2, with its tankless design, eliminates the risk of secondary pollution. The compactness means you need minimal storage space to accommodate it. You also get up to 400 GPD clean water – more than enough volume to serve a large family and even a small company. Also worthy of note is the built-in smart and lead-free faucet features, as well as a smart indicator that shows the quality of water and the service life of the filters.
Lastly, you are entitled to a one-year manufacturer’s warranty on every unit. This link offers a clearer insight into the differences between the Waterdrop G3 and G2.
All the points raised in this post are worthy of note when shopping for a RO system for domestic use. We are confident that you are better positioned to decide on which to buy between the APEC RO-90 and the Waterdrop G3.
** The water filter is not sourced by or sponsored by above brands. The manufacturer's names have been used for reference purposes only.
** APEC is a registered trademark of Advanced Purification Engineering, Corp.