Clean water is essential in hydroponics which is why the best RO system for growing plants is such an important topic for you to explore.
This is even true if you grow in soil - impurities in your tap water can be detrimental to your crop, whether you grow at home as a hobbyist or in a commercial warehouse professionally.
Don’t let something as simple as water quality affect your harvest - invest in the best reverse osmosis system for hydroponics and protect your plants.
As the experts in all things hydroponics, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to cover an option for every grower out there - our list will feature filters as small as 75 GPD all the way up to systems rated at 19,000 GPD & above!
By the end of this article, you’ll be well equipped to pick and size your water filter. You'll never have to worry about chlorine or sediments messing up your grow or not knowing what the actual PPM of your water is!
What Is The Purpose Of A Water Filter In Hydroponics?
You can probably surmise that the purpose of a water filter in hydroponics is to prevent any impurities in your tap water from making their way to your plants.
But, there is actually a second reason you need the best water filter if you’re growing plants - nutrient content.
Your tap water likely contains some trace nutrients and minerals, and no matter how small, this can alter the actual amounts of specific nutrients you feed your plants.
We’ll come back to this later on, we want to start with the importance of water purification first.
Water Purification To Eliminate Pathogens, Impurities, & Other Compounds
Even if you live in a city with relatively clean water, there will still be trace elements you don’t want to feed your plants.
These additives are not necessarily harmful to humans - in fact, they’re often added to tap water by the city to protect us from pathogens - chlorine is one of these in particular.
With that said, not everything that is good for us is good for our plants. There are a few particular compounds that you should seek to eliminate from your nutrient solution: chlorine, chloramines, fluorides, carbonates, and sodium.
Most RO filters contain a pre-filter for sediments like these, and they also tend to have a dechlorniator filter to prevent some of these minerals from making their way to your water.
Providing A Clean Slate For Feeding Nutrients
Similar to how growing in coco provides you a clean slate for feeding your plants nutrients, an RO system does too.
Your local tap water likely has trace nutrients in it that will alter what exactly you feed your plants.
They may be in very trace amounts, but in the concentrations of nutrients we feed our plants, there is minimal room for error.
Most of the people who are looking to invest in the best water filter for hydroponics are doing so to combat hard water - which is water that contains excess calcium and magnesium.
Sure - these are important nutrients for plants, but you want to be giving the best source possible, and ensure it can actually be taken up by your plants - that’s why you use a cal mag supplement.
If you feed a cal-mag supplement and have hard water in play, you don’t truly know how much calcium is circulating your reservoir or in your grow media. This can lead to lock out of other vital compounds, due to issues with nutrient balance.
The Two Types Of Hydroponic Water Filters: RO vs Dechlorinators
For most growers we recommend RO filtration, because it does everything a dechlorinator does and more!
While dechlorinators are great for those who just need to remove chlorine and sediments/particles from their water, most growers should rely on RO technology to help lower the PPM of your water, and provide that blank slate we discussed earlier.
What Is The Best RO System For Growing Plants?
Now that you have an understanding of what an RO system does, and why it’s so important, you’re ready to discover the best RO system for growing plants.
We always like to ensure our growers understand the different criteria they should take into account when shopping for the best water filter for hydroponics, so we’re going to first share our selection criteria.
Our Criteria For Selecting The Best RO System For Growing Plants
As with all our ‘best of’ lists, we always look at brand reputation first. We wouldn’t recommend any products we don’t use ourselves in our own grow rooms, which is why we stick with the manufacturers we’ve come to know as reliable over the years - that’s primarily HydroLogic & Growonix.
As it pertains specifically to choosing the best RO system for growing plants, you need to consider filter performance and efficiency. As we mentioned earlier, low quality RO systems will operate super inefficiently, while still letting impurities through!
We’re going to share filters that we know will do their job to protect your crop, while getting you the most bang for your buck in terms of efficiency, so you aren’t wasting water or electricity.
Another important factor is filter life. Not even the best reverse osmosis filter will last forever, but it will far outlast the competition!
Those who are after the best ro system for hydroponics will want to make their filter even better, which is why we also look at what available add-ons and upgrades are available for a filter. Finally, we consider the price - because we want to help you stretch your budget as far as possible! So without further ado, let’s dive into the first filter on our list.
Hydro Logic MicRO RO Filter
We’re going to start with an option for hobby growers who don’t need high-volume water filtration.
The Hydro Logic MicRO Reverse Osmosis Filter - 75 GPD is perfect for those who need to purify up to 75 gallons a day, which is plenty for a huge chunk of growers who only cultivate a small batch of plants at a time.
It operates at an impressive 2 to 1 waste to clean ratio, and filters out up to 98% of contaminants.
Plus, the filter life of 1,000 gallons gets you around 6-18 months of life, which means you don’t have to worry about replacing the filter anytime soon!
Optional upgrades include a UV sterilizer kit, a pressure booster pump, and even a de-ionization kit! This last one is really cool because it allows you to polish the water as the last step to remove any remaining impurities, giving you the 0 PPM water you’re after.
Hydro Logic Stealth-RO150 RO Filter
If you need something a bit bigger, the Hydro Logic Stealth-RO150 Reverse Osmosis Filter has double the output! This is one of our most popular RO systems and for good reason.
It’s even more effective than the 75 GPD option we just shared, as this one effectively filters out 99% of contaminants!
It can also be even more efficient, operating at either a 2:1 or 1:1 waste-clean water ratio. This variability is due to the fact that tap water around the world varies so much, that the system includes both options.
In terms of lifespan, you can expect to get similar use to the Stealth-RO 75, unless you upgrade to the premium KDF/CAT filter - which will get you 2,000 filtered gallons of water!
The premium KDF/CAT filter upgrade on this system is perfect for eliminating chlorine and chloramines that could harm your plant, while also eliminating iron, hydrogen sulfide, and heavy metals - none of which you want making their way to your plant.
Like the first option on this list, you can also upgrade and add on a deionization kit, booster pump, UV sterilizer, or even a TDS meter to help you understand what exactly is in your water.
Axeon Hydro Reverse Osmosis 750 Gallon Per Day Hyperfiltration System
AXEON HYDRO RO 750 Hyperfiltration Systems use advanced reverse osmosis membrane technology for removing +96% contaminants from feed water sources. The systems are designed and engineered for maximum flow and efficiency rates, meaning less water down the drain and more purified water for use.
Simply put, AXEON® HYDRO RO Systems are the most efficient systems in the industry. They produce less wastewater than competing models and are equipped with all the bells & whistles a grower needs, all at an affordable price.
The RO system design features a smart controller with integrated functions and monitoring, while offering hassle-free installation and maintenance.
If you require more than 750 gallons of pure water per day, consider the optional RO-1250 Booster Pump Kit. The booster kit upgrades the RO-750 into the AXEON RO-1250 System which will produce 1,250 gallons of purified water per day / .87 gallons per minute.
A Booster Pump Kit can be attached to boost your RO output up to 1250 GPD! Learn more here.
GrowoniX EX400-T - 400 GPD RO Filtration System
GrowoniX is another incredible water filter brand - and they’re making their first (but certainly not last!) appearance on this list with the EX400-T - 400 GPD RO Filtration System.
We’re specifically highlighting the version that features tall filters, because growers we’ve talked to tend to prefer this one. These tall pre-filters allow for twice as much sediment and carbon filtration. However, the standard version is also a great choice.
As the name suggests, you can expect about 400 GPD of clean RO filtered water out of this unit. It is more than twice as powerful and effective as the HydroLogic Stealth-RO150, yet it features the same system ratio of 2:1 - making it one of the most efficient in the entire industry!
A manual flush valve makes it easy to dial in your high-pressure flow rate and clean the membrane, to prevent any buildup that could mess with flow rates or efficiency. By constantly flushing your included cold water membrane, you can expect a longer lasting filter, too.
To make the best even better, consider add ons like the KDF/CAT carbon filter, UV sterilizer, and even an electric shutoff kit.
GrowoniX GX1000 - 1000 GPD RO Filtration System
We’ve covered some great options for the small-mid size growers out there - but it’s time we start uncovering some of the best high-flow RO systems for growing plants.
To kick off our commercial-friendly filters, we’re going to share the GrowoniX GX1000 - capable of filtering 1,000 GPD!
This is the top of the line RO filter GrowoniX offers, and can flow 42 gallons/hour of pure, filtered water. What’s really impressive about this filtration system isn’t just this massive flow rate - but the efficiency at which it accomplishes it.
You would expect something this powerful to lose some efficiency - but that’s not the case. The GrowoniX GX1000 works at an incredible 1:1 ratio, getting you water savings you’d never expect at this volume.
In terms of purification, you can expect 98.5% rejection, as the GX1000 implements the best membrane technology in the world.
You can easily move this system around the grow room as needed thanks to the heavy duty locking casters. The filters last really long, and you’ll know when it’s time to change them by taking a peek at the attached pressure gauges.
Like the aforementioned GrowoniX filter, you can flush the membranes to further this long-lifespan.
Need even more output from this system? The booster pump upgrade will essentially double the gallons per day output! There are all kinds of other upgrades just waiting to be discovered too, so click the button below and learn more!
Hydro Logic Evolution-RO High Flow RO System
Our most popular commercial water filter by far is the Hydro Logic Evolution-RO High Flow RO System.
Capable of filtering up to 1,200 GPD at an incredible efficiency of as low as 1:1, this is a great system for commercial growers on a budget.
For under $700, you are unlocking 50 gallons per hour of pure, contaminant free water. This is as cost effective as you’ll be able to get!
The included Chlorashield carbon filter eliminates any trace elements of chlorine, keeping your plants healthy and happy. With a filter life of 7,500 gallons, you won’t worry about changing it any time soon.
You can further optimize your Evolution RO system with the upgrades we’ve already mentioned are available through this brand - including but not limited to deionization kits, manifolds, UV sterilizers, a booster pump, TDS monitor, pressure gauges, float valves, and more.
Hydro Logic HYDROID Compact Commercial RO System
The last RO filter we’re going to cover today is the biggest and the best for commercial growers. The Hydro Logic HYDROID Commercial RO System is a beast, capable of filtering 4,500 GPD - which is about as much volume as you could ever really need in hydroponics!
This flow rate is coupled with an astounding 2:1 product to waste efficiency - far and away the best in its class.
This is a completely state of the art machine. With the output and efficiency it offers, you’ll be surprised to see how easy it is to set up - and how minimal energy it consumes. It’s pretty compact, helping you maximize your expensive commercial growing space and fit more plants in there.
Similar systems on the market may require you to alter your feed water quality beforehand or even temperature - that’s not the case with the HYDROID. It will last you years and years of reliable, pure water production.
There are so many incredible features on this RO system that it’s tough to condense them all into this section. We’re going to cover a few of our favorites:
- Onboard TDS monitoring & pressure gauges
- Concentrate water recycle loop
- Product (purified water) blend valve
- Heavy duty casters for easy movement
To learn more about why we consider this the best commercial RO system for hydroponics, click the button below!
Need A Custom RO System For Commercial Hydroponics?
The HYDROID is a great choice for most commercial growers - but if you need something more custom, we’ve got you covered.
The HyperLogic Commercial Reverse Osmosis Systems are a solution for growers needing high volume water purificiation customized to suit their needs - ranging from as low as 2,000 GPD to as high as 19,000 GPD!
You've seen efficiency ratios of 1:1 on this list, which is pretty amazing. But how about a ratio of 5:1? That's right, 5 parts clean, RO filtered water for every 1 part waste water. It doesn't get any more efficient than that.
You also get the purest water available - as the low energy RO membranes feature a 99% contaminant rejection rate.
An advanced microprocessor computer controller helps you dial in the system and shows you access to pertinent data like flow rate, filter life, and TDS levels.
You'll also enjoy state-of-the-art features like:
- Clean In Place (CIP) to automate membrane cleaning and keep the system running perfect
- Optional PLC controller, allowing for configurable trending, data analysis, and networked, real-time analytics
- Equipment comes on a pre-plumbed, leak-tested, powder-coated metal skid
- Reduce water usage by as much as 80% with the modular nutrient runoff filtration system
There are plenty of growers out there who should consider investing in this incredible water purification system for their indoor or outdoor crop. We even took it upon ourselves to write a review of the HyperLogic - if you're a commercial grower struggling with water purity or efficiency issues, it's a must read.
If you'd like to request more information, and learn just how much money this system can save you, click the button below!
Final Thoughts On The Best RO System For Growing Plants
We’ve covered the best reverse osmosis systems for hydroponics and offered an option for every size grow out there.
Now all that’s left to do is pick which one is right for you, determine which add ons you need, and get growing with the pure water your plants deserve.
If you want to learn more about hydroponics in general, our hydroponics 101 guide is a great resource for any grower out there.
Or, if you’re in thehttps://hydrobuilder.com/hydroponics/water-filtration-and-treatment.html market for a new system - check out our review of the best hydroponic systems of the year.