Countertop 'smart' reverse osmosis water purifier nudges you to drink more water

WaterO reverse osmosis system
© WaterO

WaterO is changing the standard for home water purifiers with its next-generation reverse osmosis units.

What once took up a large amount of space, and a plumbed-in connection, will soon be able to sit on your counter and deliver exceptionally pure drinking water, thanks to the work of WaterO.

I've got a bit of a drinking problem. A water drinking problem, that is. I don't buy bottled water, and I don't have a problem with tap water, per se, but I do prefer filtered water, for a few reasons. In many communities, the local water supply has a taste and/or odor that can be a bit off-putting to some, which a decent purifier can remove, and now that the details about the poor toxic water quality in places like Flint, Michigan, are coming to light, it's probably a good idea to be a bit more discerning when it comes to tap water.

While basic water filtration systems are rather inexpensive and fairly effective, if you want to go full-on with your water purification, then a reverse osmosis might be just the ticket. The problem with residential-scale reverse osmosis systems (not to knock the technology, as it's a tried and true system) is that they tend to be not only horribly inefficient (some units may only be from 5-30% efficient, which is a lot of water down the drain), but they also tend to be rather large in size and are intended to be mounted as a semi-permanent part of the plumbing, which requires quite a bit more installation time and expertise than other, simpler, water filter options. And if you're a renter, you might be out of luck unless you can convince your landlord to install the system.

But a forthcoming countertop unit from WaterO promises to deliver top-quality purified water, at an efficiency of at least 70%, with no installation necessary, unless you count plugging it in and filling it. The team behind the WaterO reverse osmosis system just finished up a successful crowdfunding campaign, and expects to begin delivering its units, which were priced at $399 each, to campaign backers in June of 2016.

The WaterO units measure about one foot square, and can be placed anywhere there's an outlet nearby, which really changes the game for home water filters, as there's no need for it to be installed where there's access to the water supply. The units are also said to be able to deliver as much as 1 liter per minute of purified water, so there should be no issue with out-drinking your drinking water supply (which can happen with pitcher filters), and a year's supply of replacement filters (for two people) are expected to cost just $60.

The WaterO also has 'smart' features built into it (because of course it does) that let the user monitor the quality of water from the unit, receive alerts when the filters need to be changed, and "remind you when you need to drink water throughout the day." I'm not so sure that I want or need my water purifier to bug me to drink more water, but that may be a handy feature for some people.

One other compelling element of the WaterO is that the waste water from the units, instead of essentially being discharged down the drain, is captured in a pitcher that allows users to then reuse the waste water for plants, flushing the toilet, etc.

If you're interested in finding out when the WaterO units will be available near you, you can sign up for email updates on the company website, or look at more of the specs on the Indiegogo campaign page.

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