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I'm looking to buy and install an under sink water filter - How do Single Stage, Dual Stage and Reverse Osmosis types compare?

Comparing:

  • Taste/Odor
  • Contaminants Removed
  • Filter Maintenance/Replacement
  • Price
  • Ease of installation
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Single versus dual stage is easy; dual stage is essentially two single-stage filters in succession. Bulkier, more expensive. Better removal of contaminants. Installation is the same.

Reverse osmosis is an entirely different technology. It generally has a prefilter because RO doesn't deal with particulates, only dissolved chemicals. It does handle those very well. It works by using pressure and a semipermiable membrane to achieve the purification. The membrane lasts a long time, but the system uses additional water to concentrate the impurities and flush them away so there's some ongoing cost there. Installation is a bit more complicated as well.

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