2 types of RO faucets:
There are basically two types of faucets used with RO systems which include the air gap RO faucet and a standard faucet otherwise known as the non-air RO gap faucet. Between the two, the non-air gap faucets are the most common type that comes with many RO systems.
With that said, we are going to explain all the basics of these two types of RO faucets in this article to help you understand how they work and the differences between them.
We’ve also included brief reviews of some of our top recommendations for each type that we consider to be the best RO faucet models available in the market.
If you are thinking of upgrading or replacing your current faucet, then you might want to check our reviews below to help narrow your list down to the ideal model.
Air Gap RO Faucet
There are plenty of air gap RO faucets on the market and most of them are quite inexpensive which makes replacing them quite cheap and easy.
Below are our top choice of the best air gap RO faucet models you can consider to save you from going through a trial and error method. This will help you narrow down your options to the best option.
|Watts Premier 116001||Spring-loaded design|
|Watts Premier WP116187||Stylish curved design|
|Kingston Brass KSAG8198DL||Heavy-bodied|
|Avanti RF906A-CP||Slim and stylish|
|Water Filter Tec||Small and compact|
|H2O N-109-orb-e-ag-LF||Oil-rubbed bronze finish|
|KleenWater||Stylish curved design|
|Hydronix LF-BLRAG||Compact design|
|Watts Premier 116005||Space-efficient design|
|Watts Premier WP116094||Durable chrome finish|
The Watts 116001 is a faucet designed for functional ease and durability. It’s a standard air gap RO faucet and one of the best models out there.
The faucet features 3 lines with two of them, the wastewater in (red) and wastewater out (black) line passing through the air gap, already attached to their respective connections.
The third one is the processed water delivery tube (blue) which you have to attach to the threaded main shaft once the faucet is in place.
The air gap system of this faucet works flawlessly, so no backflow of drain water into the RO system.
The handle features a Touch ‘N Flow spring-loaded design which facilitates easy one-touch water dispensing. Even much better, it gives you three different ways to control the water.
Dispense continuous flow water, you simply push the lever up, to fill up a glasses, you simply press and hold the lever to avoid wasting the water and finally to stop any water flow, you only to return the lever to the central position.
In addition to that, the stem also rotates 360 degrees and you can install the handle in the side, front, or rear. The package includes all the necessary hardware needed to mount the faucet including the three-piece compression fitting for attaching the processed water line.
It meets all US plumbing codes for reverse osmosis systems. It uses a ¼” supply tube with the wastewater in the drain line being a ¼” tube and the wastewater out drain line being a 3/8” tube. This faucet will as well need access to a drain connection.
The quality of the entire faucet and its other parts is pretty good. It’s made of brushed nickel and comes in multiple colors including white, chrome, brushed nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze. So, you can the color that matches nicely with your kitchen sink.
This 10¾ inches Watts Premier WP116187 air gap faucet is a tough but attractive piece with its stylish curved design. It’s a sturdy top-performing faucet ideal for all under-sink RO systems.
It dispenses water using a variable flow lever which allows you to draw the amount of water you want easily. With only a downward push of the lever, the faucet gets to dispense water and locks open when you pull the lever up.
The spout equally swivels 360 degrees and the whole piece is an easy-to-install RO faucet. It comes with all the three tubes required for an air gap faucet system connection.
The tubes are all of the standard sizes. They include a ¼ inch blue tube for pure water connection, ¼” inch red tube for the air gap connection to the faucet, and another 3/8” black tube for connecting to the sink drain.
Like all the other air gap faucets, this one too will need access to a drain connection and it does conform to all plumbing codes.
Now the best part about this faucet is that it features a monitor design which means it will alert you when it’s the right time to change the filters.
The monitor works based on a timer system rather than the quality of the water coming from the filters. It keeps track of the amount of time that the faucet has been in the on position.
Therefore, if you set the timer on the monitor for around 6 months for each filter change, then when the time to change the filters reaches, the faucet will alert you via a blinking red light when it’s dispensing water. The light blinks blue when the filters are good.
Aside from being quite functional and convenient, the Watts Premier WP116187 air gap faucet has a stylish look too with a brushed-nickel finish that would look good with any sink. The quality of the faucet is great as well. It’s strong and scratch/rust-resistant.
The Kingston Brass KSAG8198DL is a heavy-bodied faucet that’s designed to be both durable and functional. It’s a strong faucet that’s bound to deliver years of trouble-free service.
The unit comes with a complete air gap system to ensure no contaminated water would be backing up into the RO system. It is compatible with all under-the-sink RO filtration systems that work with air gap RO faucets.
Operating the faucet has been made easier too as it features a single lever handle with a ¼ turn on/off control mechanism which is definitely convenient since you have to worry whether you turned or didn’t turn the knob hard enough.
The spout can rotate a full 360 degrees plus the drip-free ceramic disc cartridge system ensures that no leakage of water is going to take place while using the faucet.
It’s a deck mount air gap faucet with about 7-3/16” of spout clearance and 5-3/4” spout reach. You will need around a 1 ½” inch opening if you are to install it on the kitchen counter.
Overall, the faucet has a solid brass construction which is one of the most durable materials used in plumbing. Therefore, you are pretty much guaranteed a longer lifespan.
Kingston Brass also offers the faucet in a wide array of finishes from brushed nickel to antique brass to matte black to polished brass.
You have a good number of options to pick from and ensure your kitchen look its best. None of the finishes tarnishes or collects scratches easily, most importantly, they won’t corrode.
The Avanti RF906A-CP is a sleek-looking air gap faucet that’s built to great quality and performs very well with any under-sink RO unit that works with an air gap system.
When you look at this faucet, you will notice that it doesn’t look like other regular air gap faucets. There’s no difference between its design and that of non-air gap faucets.
Well, this is because it features a built0in air gap which is inside the faucet body and it effectively helps prevent the wastewater from flowing back into the RO system through the drain line.
The quarter-turn on/off lever provides a precise flow control with a 360-swivel spout that allows you to direct the water to where you want.
As for the installation, it’s simple and straightforward. It will fit a hole opening of between 7/8” and 1¼, and countertop up to 1 7-8” thick.
It can be connected with any ¼” pure water supply tube, ¼” drain tube from RO to faucet, and 3/8 inch drain tube from the faucet to the sink drain.
However, if the supply tube is around a 3/8” tube, you will need a quick-connect adapter preferably the Avanti QF-FF06 faucet connector which is sold separately.
The whole faucet is indeed built to last as it has solid construction consisting of lead-free brass and 304 stainless steel with ceramic disk cartridge. It’s a long-lasting faucet that will serve you for many years plus the lever is sturdy with no play at all.
Like I mentioned in the beginning, the finish is sleek and quite attractive. It looks simple yet elegant and would complement any kitchen décor pretty well. You can choose from either a Brushed Nickel finish or polished chrome finish both of which look amazing.
Sporting an oil-rubbed Bronze finish with an elegant European style design, the KleenWater KW-DWF-ORB_AG-DC38 is yet another attractive air gap faucet that offers superior performance.
The faucet comes fitted out with the air gap feature on its underside, thereby, cross-contamination between the purified water and the wastewater will not occur. The wastewater is efficiently carried up to the base of the faucet by a ¼” tube where it drips to a small reservoir within the faucet base.
From there, the water is moved to the main drain pipe that services the kitchen sink through a 3/8” drain tube.
The spill vent inside the faucet base allows the wastewater to fall freely into the drain line while preventing it from flowing back into the RO system and contaminating the purified water.
In terms of operating the faucet, the unit comes with a manual on/off the handle that works smoothly allowing you to control the flow of water with much ease. Once you turn it on, the lever stays on and the water flows continuously until you move the lever/handle to the off position.
The height of the faucet from the countertop surface is around 9 7/8 “with a total loop reach of around 5”.
Installing this faucet is a simple process as well since it comes with the necessary hardware to get the job done including a 3/8” drain tubing and drain clamp which is much better than the ¼” clamps that are used in most RO systems.
The minimum mounting hole it requires is 1 ¼” while the maximum mounting hole diameter that the escutcheon plate can cover is 1 5/8”. The quality of the materials is great and the overall construction of the unit is well made including the in/off valve.
Furthermore, the reliable ceramic disc valve mechanism ensures no dripping or leaking whatsoever. It even comes with a 3-year leak-free warranty. Therefore, the entire unit will hold on pretty well for a long period. The materials are lead-free and NSF certified.
For those looking for a simple air gap RO faucet that’s designed to do its work without much fuss, then this Water Filter Tech faucet might be worth considering.
The unit features the standard air-gap design that works pretty well at directing the drain water from the RO system into the sink drain and prohibiting it from flowing back into the system in case the sink drain gets clogged or backed up.
The faucet is quite long and dispenses water using a quarter-turn handle giving you ample control over the flow of the water. Moreover, the spout is capable of turning 360-degrees hence you get to adjust it the way you want and the faucet works with zero leaks.
To make the installation quick and easy, the manufacturer has included all the connection pieces along with the faucet in the package.
It comes with both the ¼” and 3/8” quick connect which provide easy fitting in most RO water systems. Also included in the package are the lock washer, rubber washer, stem, hex nut, and all the trim pieces.
Considering that all the parts are constructed using strong and durable lead-free brass, this faucet will not only withstand regular operation for many years but is also safe and non-toxic.
The design is small and compact hence it will use only minimal space on your countertop and it’s ANSI and NSF certified, so you are guaranteed its quality and functionality.
The only slight setback is that it tends to make a little more gurgling sound than the other models but not to the point that’s distracting.
Closing our list is the H2O n-109-orb-e-ag-LF faucet which is as functional as its beautiful oil-rubbed bronze finish design.
The faucet has a built-in air gap feature with 2 hose barb connections on its end for the RO drain lines, in addition to the pure water connection. It does work flawlessly passing the wastewater from the RO membrane to the sink drain pipe while preventing any backflows into the RO unit.
It’s equipped with a quarter-turn handle that uses a ceramic disc valve. Thereby, you get to dispense water easily and control the flow with no leaks or drips. The faucet can as well swivel in any direction you want and it is 8 inches tall from the countertop (or sink) to the spout with a 6 ½” clearance.
The whole unit installs in a matter of minutes and the process is pretty much straightforward as everything you need is included with the faucet except the tubing.
The package includes the rubber washer, stem, lock washer, hex nut, all trim pieces, and the installation manual. It requires around a 1 ¼” opening in the sink for the installation.
In general, the built quality is excellent as the faucet is made from a strong metal material that will not succumb easily to rust or tear and wear as a result of frequent use.
What is an air gap RO faucet?
An air gap RO faucet is a faucet that has an “air gap” installed in the RO system drain line which creates a siphon break from the RO system itself and the sink drain.
The main reason behind the air gap design is to prevent any back-flow of water from your kitchen sink drain into your RO system via the drain line connection.
The air gap RO faucet accomplishes this by routing the drain line water discharged by the RO membrane upwards to the base of the faucet where it falls into a small, non-pressurized trough, rather than directly into the sink drain pipe.
The water then passes over to the other side inside the faucet stem where it then drops into a 3/8” flexible tube by force gravity and flows to the sink drain. Therefore, the wastewater from the RO membrane flows out of the system from one tube into another via the air gap.
Therefore, in case the sink drain is clogged and backed up, then the air gap in the RO drain line would pull only a small amount of air back into your RO unit instead of the dirty water.
On that note, the air gap faucet requires three tubes than one which is what a standard faucet requires to operate. One is a ¼” inlet tube for routing the drain water from the RO membrane upwards to the faucet.
The second one is a 3/8” outlet tube for routing the drain water downwards to the sink drain, and the final one is a ¼” pure water line for delivering the purified water to the faucet, which you drink.
All these tubes are normally color-coded (red, black, and blue), so you won’t have a problem getting a hang of what connects to what.
There are quite a number of advantages to installing an air gap RO faucet.
The first one is that it offers great protection to the RO system. The air-gap system ensures that only a small amount of air gets siphoned back into your RO system.
No dirty water would flow back into the discharge line of your RO system which could damage the water lines and the unit as well as contaminate the membrane.
An air gap faucet simply offers an easy way to safeguard your RO system against future plumbing issues.
The local plumbing codes in many areas make it mandatory to use an air gap faucet with a reverse osmosis system. However, the best part about air-gap RO faucets is that they can work with either air gap or non-air-gap RO systems.
If you live somewhere the plumbing regulations don’t require it, then you may not need to install it or you can even install an external airgap which fits around the RO faucet. You can also use a combination of dishwasher and RO system airgap.
While the air gap RO faucet has several benefits, nothing is perfect. It does have some downsides which include:
The air gap RO faucet has small tubing and the water in the trough is non-pressurized.
Therefore, even a small piece of sediment or food lodged in the drain connection inlet or the small hole in the faucet can cause clogging leading to the drain water flowing back up into the sink or countertop.
A bit Noisy
RO systems are generally quiet, however, they can also be a bit noisy especially with the air gap system installed. It may make a gurgling sound as the wastewater is pushed from the RO membrane to the drain.
You might as well hear additional gurgling sounds as the RO storage tank is slowly getting filled with water.
Not Ease to Install
Air gap faucets are a little more complicated to install compared to a standard faucet. To start, they require three tubes to connect as opposed to just one which makes the installation cumbersome.
In addition to that, the air gap faucet usually requires a larger counter hole than a standard faucet. You need to drill around 1½” opening which requires some good skills to ensure you do right, especially if you are to drill the hole through the countertop.
However, once you are done with the hole problem, the remaining installation is pretty much straightforward.
Non-Air Gap RO faucet
Non-air gap faucets come in a wide variety and after carefully going through several options on the market, below are the top 10 models we picked based on quality and performance.
The ESWO ZT-01 is one of the best and reliable non-air gap faucets on the market. It’s a quality and functional faucet that’s built to last for many years.
The first thing to like about this faucet is its gooseneck faucet arc design which allows the water to gather together and concentrate facilitating a smooth and stream water flow instead of a splash.
Another thing we liked is the single lever handle. It can rotate 90 degrees giving you quick and easy control over the water flow. The spout can also swivel 360 degrees hence you got much flexibility to turn the faucet in the direction you want.
Featuring lead-free stainless steel construction with a heavy-duty disc cartridge valve, this faucet is strong and highly durable.
The brushed nickel finish ensures no rust or corrosion hence further facilitating the longevity of the unit. The faucet also features a triple o-ring design which provides leak-free seals.
When it comes to installation, you won’t break any sweat. The package included various accessories to simplify the whole process. It comes with ¼” and 3/8” tube quick connectors as well as ½” and 3/8” adapters.
It will require around 0.4″ to 1.96″ kitchen sinkhole and a maximum of 2.36″ thickness of the countertop. Plus, the faucet will effectively work with any RO system that doesn’t require an air gap faucet.
Taking the second sport is the iSpring GA1-BN RO faucet. iSpring is one reputable brand in the industry and they have several top-quality RO units and accessories under their name. The GA1-BN non-air gap faucet is one of them.
The spout is 11.25” tall with a total reach of 6.5”. It features a quarter-turn handle with a ceramic cartridge that operates smoothly and it can swivel 360 degrees, so dispensing water and controlling the flow is much easy.
The faucet provides an easy and leak-free installation. The faucet provides an easy and leak-free installation. It comes with an upgraded push-in fitting and push-in adapter which makes the installation easy and ensures a leak-free seal.
You will need between 0.5“to 2” holes for the faucet stem but a 2” cover plate is provided to accommodate large pre-drilled holes.
The front washer comes pre-installed underneath the front metal plate plus there’s a back washer that goes underneath the countertop and a final long washer wing nut.
The adapter that it comes in is meant for the ¼” tubing only, for 3/8” tubing, you will have to get a separate adapter.
The overall construction of the faucet is heavy duty and very durable with a lead-free stainless steel inner tube which ensures no metal or rust leaches into the water. It dispenses safe freshly filtered water through the faucet.
Finally, the graceful curve and stylish brush nickel finish make it look sleek. It’s not just a highly functional faucet but it will also add a great accent to any modern kitchen.
The APEC FAUCET-CD-COKE-NP is a top-standard RO faucet. It’s very well made, operates flawlessly, and looks amazing. It’s a worthy upgrade to consider.
To start, the faucet offers very easy and smooth control. It comes with a solid metal handle that controls a quarter-turn ceramic disc valve. The valve is extremely smooth.
It’s literally a one-finger operation and you don’t have to hold it open manually throughout while dispensing water. It provides a smooth handle operation plus the ceramic disc ensures drip-free performance.
On top of that, the spout can swivel 360 degrees hence you have all the flexibility to pour the water in the direction and rate you desire.
The faucet has only one tubing connection, so installation is pretty much no hustle at all. The hardware you need to connect the ¼” tubing has been included in the package. The stem will fit any countertop hole that ranges from ½” to 1 ¼” in diameter.
Constructed using a strong lead-free material the faucet is quite sturdy and can last for a long time.
Moreover, the brushed nickel finish not only matches the faucet perfectly but it’s also rust-resistant and anti-corrosion. It ensures the durability of the faucet and that it remains to look elegant for a long time.
This stainless steel faucet with a brushed nickel finish is a modern and minimalist unit that’s designed to perform its work efficiently and offer years of service.
The handle is a classic shape 90-degree single lever with a washer-less ceramic valve. It’s very responsive facilitating easy and quick water control.
The water is gathered and concentrated together, thereby you get a smooth water flow with any splash. It offers precise water control.
The spout is also just the right height and can rotate 360 degrees giving you enough flexibility to perform a variety of activities in your kitchen sink with much ease and convenience.
Installation is easy too as the kit includes the push-in fittings that match many standard RO tubing sizes. It comes with the ¼” to ¼” OD hose quick connection and ¼” to 3/8” OD hose quick connection. They will connect with a majority of under-the-sink RO units or filters.
The stem will fit countertop holes of the range of ½” to 1 ¼” in diameter. You can as well rotate the spout to mount the base with the handle lever on the side you want. There is no leak or drip once you install it correctly.
The whole body of the faucet is made of SYS304 stainless steel with a brushed nickel finish. The tube is non-toxic which ensures that your water remains pure and safe to drink when it hit your glass. The faucet is as well very sturdy and will last for many years.
The Frizzlife RO is one of the most stylish standard faucets on our list. It’s sleek and attractive with solid construction and well thought out design.
It has a single handle with a quarter-turn ceramic disc valve. It only requires a single push to dispense water. The valve operates pretty smoothly and the flow is even.
It features a Gooseneck faucet design that concentrates the water to facilitate a smooth and stream water flow. The spout is high enough to be able to fill containers sitting at the bottom of the kitchen sink.
Installation is simple with only a single tube to connect. All the required hardware is included in the package as well as two pieces of a ¼” quick fitting and one piece of ¼” to 3/8” quick fitting.
The stem of the faucet will fit countertop holes that are 0.5” to 1.73” in diameter. Once mounted the faucet remains very sturdy and push-in adapters ensure a leak-free seal.
Coming in a matt black finish, this KES Z504CLF-BK is a simple RO faucet designed to dispense water without many bells and whistles.
The whole faucet is 11 9/6 inches tall while the spout alone is 8 25/64 inches tall with 5 5/8 inch reach. It basically towers over other basic sink faucets. It sits up high such that it doesn’t come in the way when doing dishes or when the sink is full of dishes.
You can as well rotate the spout out of your way in case you are washing larger items. It can swivel 360 degrees and the handle features a ceramic disc cartridge which guarantees a leak-free performance throughout the life of the faucet.
You will have no difficulties installing this faucet. It comes with the ¼” and 3/8” quick connectors, Teflon tape, and deck-mounting hardware. It will fit a maximum of 1 3/8” thick countertop.
The whole unit is real lead-free stainless steel. It’s strong, rustproof, and anti-corrosion. It’s a faucet that can no doubt serve you for many years without any problems or leakage.
The Metpure RO-FW148 faucet has a nice, cool, and calm Venetian bronze finish but it’s as well built for long-term durability and functionality.
The handle features a high-quality ceramic disc lever that functions smoothly making it easy to control the flow of the water.
The spout is about 8 ½” tall, so it will fit any kitchen sink very well and provide enough room to carry out several activities within the sink without it being on the way.
It has a goose-neck design hence there’s no splash. The flows out in a smooth stream plus you can swivel the spout in any angle or direction you want.
Now setting this faucet up has been made quite easier by the manufacturer as they have included all the hardware from the gasket seal, lock washer, escutcheon, lock nut, tube insert, ¼” tube nut, and tube sleeve.
On top of all these, Metpure has also included a free faucet wrench in the package which is a very convenient and handy addition that makes it a lot easier to secure the faucet to the counter.
The stem requires a minimum of ½” countertop hole and a 3” shank to ensure correct and easy installation under the sink. If your system works with only a 3/8” tube, then you will need to get a universal quick-connect adapter as it has only hardware for a ¼” tubing.
Once you have the right adapter, the installation is a breeze. The entire unit is made of lead-free solid brass which ensures its durability and lasting finish. It’s an attractive finish that will fit in well with any modern kitchen sink décor.
What is a non-air gap RO faucet?
A non-air gap RO faucet is a standard RO faucet with only the pure water line/tube connected to it as opposed to the three lines in air-gap RO faucets.
The drain line, in this case, is connected directly to the under-the-sink drain pipe. Therefore, with a non-air gap faucet, the wastewater from the RO membrane is routed and emptied directly into the sink line without going through the faucet.
The faucet usually uses 3/8” tubing for the pure water from the RO membrane to the faucet and a ¼” drain tubing which delivers the wastewater from the RO membrane to the sink drain. It requires around ½” to 5/8” holes for installation on the sink or countertop.
The first thing to like about non-air gap RO faucets is the fact that they are very straightforward when it comes to installation.
Unlike air gap faucets, these have fewer connections and tubing as it’s only one water line that needs to go up to the faucet hence allowing for easier and faster installation.
Another commendable thing about non-air gap RO faucets is that the drain line coming from the RO system goes directly into the sink drain pipe. Therefore, there is no gurgling sound which often occurs in the air gap faucet as the drain water passes over the faucet base and drops into the drain line tube that flows into the sink drain line.
Without the additional parts and connections, non-air gap faucets generally tend to be much less expensive too compared to most air gap faucets which makes them a good replacement option for those on a budget or who don’t wish to install an air gap system.
While air gap RO faucets provide ample protection to your RO system against the backflow of wastewater, non-air gap RO faucets, on the other hand, don’t offer such protection.
If the sink drain gets clogged or backs up, then chances of the wastewater flowing back to the RO system are high which could end up damaging the system or contaminating the RO membrane.
The other major setback of non-air gap RO faucets is that they are often considered non-compliant for most local plumbing codes since many of them require RO systems to be installed with air gap faucets.
Furthermore, while air gap faucets can work with both a non-air gap and air gap RO system, non-air gap faucets can only work with non-air gap systems which kind of limits your ability to customize your RO system in case your building code requires an air gap system.
The faucet is the most accessible part of any RO system. It’s the point where you have personal, daily contact with the RO system.
When installing your RO system or in case you are seeking to replace your current faucet, you will need to decide whether to go with an air gap faucet or a non-air gap faucet.
The best choice here would be to have a matching set, a faucet that’s compatible with your RO system and conforms to your local plumbing codes.
All the faucets we’ve listed herein are amongst the finest models available in the market today. They are certainly worth the price and considering if you are planning to replace your current faucet.
One thing you want to make sure though is that you choose a faucet that you like. A faucet that is durable, functional, and will work with your RO system without any issues.
A reverse osmosis tap is a component in the RO system which is usually installed on the kitchen sink and its work is to dispense the purified water from the RO system.
Yes, you can use a regular faucet with a reverse osmosis system, the only thing is you have to use adaptors to be able to connect the RO water output pipe to the regular faucet.
Reverse osmosis systems come with an RO faucet that’s designed for the RO system. You won’t need a separate faucet unless you need to replace it.