Aquasana 3-Stage Under Counter ReviewBy John Davis - February 1, 2016
The Aquasana 3-Stage Under Counter water filter is a compact system designed to fit comfortably underneath your kitchen sink. It comes with its own faucet which is a nice addition to this filtration system, considering the relatively low price point.
Unlike other under the sink water filters and reverse osmosis systems, the Aquasana is an inline system. That means that it filters water as you use it as opposed to storing it in a tank. The system uses three different filters to reduce contaminants and produces a clean, good tasting drinking water.
One of the nice features of this system is that it leaves natural elements like calcium and magnesium in your water. Not only does your body need these elements to survive, some people also say that they contribute to a better tasting water.
System Performance Overview
Using an inline design the Aquasana filters about half a gallon of water every minute. That filtration rate is enough to ensure a steady supply of water out of the dedicated faucet.
This compact unit requires significantly less space than most undersink water filters. In fact if you mount it underneath your counter against the back wall you’ll hardly notice it’s there.
Aquasana suggests that the maximum feed temperature for water going into this system is 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). Additionally, the maximum water pressure feed is 80 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch).
The Filtration System
The Aquasana is one of the few filters on the market which is capable of removing chloramine. Several users on Amazon have commented that this is the reason they bought the system in the first place. Occasionally water municipalities will use chloramine, instead of the more common chlorine, for decontaminating water. You should check with your local water municipality to see which chemicals they use in their treatment process.
The three stage filtration process that the aquasana uses is very effective at removing unwanted contaminants and foreign toxins.
Stage One: In this initial stage water flows through Activated Carbon, which is a very common filtration media. Activated carbon is useful because it has a tremendous surface area. On their website Aquasana states that water going through their filters runs over almost two million square feet of surface area, which is equivalent to 35 football fields. That’s a big punch for such a small package.
That large surface area allows the activated carbon to filter out a whole host of unwanted toxins and other chemicals.
Stage Two: After going through the activated carbon, the water next goes through an Ion Exchange filter. Inside this filter, water runs through a series of high surface area resin beads. There, unwanted cations (metals) are exchanged for harmless hydrogen or hydroxyl atoms. This filtration stage can catch micro-pollutants that the activated carbon filter didn’t catch.
Stage Three: During the final stage in the filtration process, water passes through a Sub-micron filter. This filter is capable of scrubbing particles out of the water all the way down to .35 Microns. This final stage filter catches any particles that made it through the first two filters.
The Sub-micron filter is extremely effective at catching cysts, which are small, organic compounds that can make you sick. The Giardia cyst is a good example, as it’s relatively common and has found its way into water supplies before when municipal filtering proved inadequate. However, this cyst is no match for an Aquasana filter. At anywhere from 7 to 10 microns, it is easily captured by the Aquasana’s .35 micron filter.
All three of the filters used in this system are certified by the NSF (Public Health and Safety Organization) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute). Both of these independent certification agencies ensure that a product functions correctly and lives up to the claims made by the manufacturer.
Together, the three filters reduce up to 97% of lead, mercury, cysts, herbicides, pesticides and VOCs from water. As I mentioned earlier, the Aquasana doesn’t actually remove some naturally occurring minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium.
While some homeowners find this to be a benefit, other customers think differently. If these minerals are in your water in high levels they can cause a bad taste and you’re going to want them filtered out. Thus you should be aware that if you have hard water (high calcium and magnesium content), the Aquasana is not going to be an effective system for softening your water.
Specification and Design
One of the nicest features of the Aquasana water filtration system is the included water faucet. What sets Aquasana apart from other manufacturers is that they give you a line of colors to choose from, including Brushed Nickel, Chrome, and Oil-Rubbed Bronze.
The Aquasana filtration system also has an automatic alert system. When a filter is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced, an alert light will display, letting you know that it’s time to buy a new filter.
Once you receive your replacement filter, changing it is easy. Aquasana has designed the filters to attach and detach without any wrenches or difficult maneuvering. Simply twist off the old filter and attach the new one. The filters are rated for 6 months or 500 gallons before needing to be changed.
The system weighs 6 pounds and is 12 inches wide, 4.2 inches deep, and 9 inches high.
The water faucet is 7 inches high and has a spout reach of 4.75 inches.
How Much Does Aquasana 3 Stage Cost?
At the time of writing, the Aquasana 3 Stage Under Counter water filter costs $168.26 on Amazon and comes with free shipping.
A set of three replacement filters costs $64.99 and they also come with free shipping from Amazon. As you’ll need to replace the filters twice a year, you can expect an annual operating cost of $130.
Installation of the System
Unlike other filters, any homeowner can easily install this filter. With a drill and a screwdriver most people find that this project only takes an hour or two. Check out the video below for a walk-through.
Alternatively, you can also pay a plumber to install this system and it the cost could be anywhere from $30 to $60.
Warranty and Support
The Aquasana comes with a one year warranty that guarantees the product will function normally and be free from any craftsmanship related problems.
Aquasana has several physical locations including two different offices in Texas and one office in London. On their website they list several different ways to make a support inquiry. You have the option of calling their toll free number or sending them an email.
- This system is easy to install and takes up little room under your sink
- Very effective three stage filtration process
- Rated as best buy for 6 years in a row by Consumers Digest
- Relatively low initial price
- Filters must be replaced twice as often as other systems and they are expensive
- Slightly less effective filtration than more comprehensive Reverse Osmosis systems
- Slower flow rate means filling up a large pan or water bottle takes longer
Aquasana 3-Stage Under Counter Customer Reviews
On Amazon, 151 customers have given this unit an average review of 4.3 out 5. This is a very good rating but not great. Several customers expressed concerns about poor water quality and leaks. 61% of people left this unit a 5 star rating and 7% left it a 1 star rating.
Despite having several flaws, the Aquasana is a very effective under the sink water filter. It’s easy to install, takes up little space, and is relatively cheap to buy.
Of course it also provides a high level of filtration and does an excellent job of reducing contaminants and toxins from your drinking water. The inclusion of a dedicated faucet available in three different color choices is a nice bonus.
The largest drawback of this system is the need to replace the filters every six months. Other systems only need their filters changed every twelve months. However, with the Aquasana you’re still going to pay less money in the long term versus buying bottled water or Brita filters. It’s a good investment for any homeowner who wants high quality drinking water in their kitchen.
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