How Much Does a Reverse Osmosis System Cost?

Typical Range:

$150 - $4,800

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated September 7, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Reverse osmosis (RO) filtration cleans your water better than almost any other system and saves hundreds over buying bottled water. Installing a whole-home reverse osmosis system costs $2,200 on average, or between $1,000 and $4,800. Point-of-use reverse osmosis systems run around $150 to $1,300.

RO systems filter water through a membrane using a three-stage process to remove impurities. It requires regular filter changes but provides excellent drinking water and helps remove things like salts from the water softening process. You can get these in two types:

  • Point-of-use: Sometimes called "point-of-service" or "single tap," it only treats one tap, such as a kitchen sink, shower, washer, or fridge.

  • Point-of-entry: It treats at the point where water enters your home, which is excellent for homes with water softeners or particularly hard or chlorinated water.

Average Cost of a Reverse Osmosis Water System

Average Cost High Cost Low Cost
$2,200 $4,800 $150

Whole-House vs. Point-of-Use RO System Costs

How much is a reverse osmosis system? There are two main RO water filtration systems you get to choose from: whole-house and point-of-use. 

As the name implies, whole-house systems are installed at the water's point of entry into your home, cleaning all the water before it goes to appliances or faucets. Point-of-use systems only clean one point of use, typically a single faucet for drinking water.

Whole-House Reverse Osmosis System

A whole-house reverse osmosis system costs $1,000 to $4,800 on average but can hit $10,000 when combined with a water softening system package. It's also known as a point-of-entry system since it treats water at your home's main line. 

A whole-house system is great for homes with hard water, a water softener, or high chlorine levels. It’s also beneficial for homeowners who use well water or rainwater for their water consumption. 

Point-of-Use Reverse Osmosis System

Installing a single-tap or point-of-use RO system costs around $150 to $1,300. Materials alone run around $50 to $1,000. These systems get installed under sinks, behind refrigerators, and near washing machines, depending on where you need them.

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Commercial Reverse Osmosis Cost

Commercial reverse osmosis systems require high flow rates and storage capacities, so you’ll never use a residential system in almost any business setting. Commercial or large reverse osmosis systems cost around $4,000 to $25,000, not including installation, which can range from $500 to $2,000 or more.

They’re used heavily in the restaurant, hotel, and brewery industries. These high-capacity systems allow a high flow of water through for multiple points of use or quickly fill large-capacity tanks, such as a brewery or distillery would need.

Reverse Osmosis Installation Cost

Labor costs to install a reverse osmosis filter system runs $300 to $700 on average. Complex installs or those with minimal space or accessibility issues might reach $1,500. On the other hand, point-of-use systems only cost around $150 to $300 to install. 

Reverse Osmosis System Cost Factors

A few factors that affect a system's cost include its efficiency, the number of stages, and if it has an NSF certification. 


Reverse osmosis systems generally use wastewater during the filtering process, up to 4 gallons of wasted water for every 1 gallon produced. Newer systems have improved efficiency, getting a 1-to-1 ratio, meaning you'll waste a gallon for every gallon filtered. You'll spend up to $300 more for better efficiency in a reverse osmosis system.

Number of Stages

Most reverse osmosis systems come with multiple stages, from three to seven. Increasing the number of stages generally means a higher price point. However, one brand's seven-stage filter might cost less than another brand's three-stage system.

Keep in mind that although RO systems offer up to seven stages, the first four are the most critical:

  1. Sediment filtration

  2. Carbon filtration

  3. Reverse osmosis

  4. Post-filtration mineral additive for taste

Homes with untreated water heavy with chlorine may want to invest in a system with a UV filtration stage. Three-stage systems often skip the post-filter mineral additives.

NSF Certification

A National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification isn't required, but it often increases the filter price. However, NSF certifications are relatively easy to get, so be wary of any unit that doesn't have one. 

RO System Maintenance and Operating Costs

Reverse osmosis systems can last for decades with the right care and maintenance. You’ll need to check it yearly for leaks, replace hoses and gaskets as needed, and replace filters according to the filter replacement chart that comes with your system. Reverse osmosis water treatment repairs cost $150 to $800 on average. 

Expect some recurring costs, including:

  • $400 per year to run the system, including the cost of water and replacement filters 

  • $50–$100 every three to five years to replace the reverse osmosis membrane 

  • $25 per month per person for drinking water 

Price of Reverse Osmosis System by Brand

Several RO systems are currently on the market, each with various price points and bells and whistles. The table below lists some of the most popular brands for your home.

Brand Material Price Estimate
Culligan $250 - $2,000+
EcoWater Systems $300+
GE Pro Elite $200 – $500

DIY Reverse Osmosis System Installation vs. Hire a Pro

Countertop and under-sink installations often come with easy-to-follow DIY instructions that usually require no tools. However, doing it yourself means you're responsible for any water damage caused by improper installation. 

Hiring a professional installer might cost slightly more at $100 to $300 for small units or up to $1,000 for whole-house systems, but it comes with a professional's warranty. Find a plumber or local water softener installer for a free consultation. Keep in mind that plumbers charge about $45 to $200 per hour.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does reverse osmosis water cost per gallon?

Reverse osmosis filtered water costs about $25 per month or about $0.025 per gallon. Many systems also discharge wastewater, so for every gallon pumped through the system, you may waste anywhere from 1 to 3 gallons of water. Higher-efficiency systems tend to cost more but save you money in the long run.

Is reverse osmosis worth the cost?

Reverse osmosis is worth the cost if you need clean drinking water, are looking to stop buying bottled water, or are looking for a less expensive and renewable option than bottled water. Consider the following:

  • The average person spends about $1,500 on bottled water in a year.

  • The average reverse osmosis system costs about $400 per year, including filters.

Is a whole-house reverse osmosis system necessary?

A whole-house reverse osmosis system is necessary for some water conditions, most often found with well water and some rural water supplies. You may also want a whole-house system to combat hard water or remove water softening salts. Contact a local plumber or water filtration specialist to find out if your water and home need it.

How long does a reverse osmosis system last?

A reverse osmosis system will last for decades if properly maintained, filters replaced, and worn parts replaced. Most filters must be replaced every six to five years, depending on the stage. The reverse osmosis membrane lasts two to five years, while the recharge stage and carbon filters might need replacing yearly.