While the APEC Essence didn't do a bad job in our tests, we were rather unimpressed by this filter. It did well in our trio of impurity removal metrics and produced filtered water that is clean, crisp, and easy to drink. However, it doesn't have a great flow rate and is a little too pricey — especially when considering that other models that cost less outperformed it. The Essence might be a great bet if you find it at a discounted price, but otherwise, you would be much better served by other filters.
APEC Essence ROES-50 ReviewPrice: $260 List | $189.95 at Amazon
Pros: Performed well in our lead removal, chlorine removal, and mineral removal tests
Cons: Low flow rate, pricey
Bottom line: This relatively expensive under the sink model was outperformed by products that cost much less
Replacement Schedule: Stage 1, 2, 3 Pre-Filters Every 6 - 12 months, Stage 4 RO Membrane Every 2 - 4 Years, Stage 5 Carbon Post-Filter Every 2 - 4 Years
Replacement Cost: Stages 1-3 for $27, RO for $45, Carbon for $10
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This product was narrowly beaten by both the iSpring RCC7 and the Home Master HydroPerfection. This trio all did about the same at extracting lead and chlorine from the water, but the iSpring and the Essence have an edge at removing minerals. These all produced great tasting water, though the Home Master has the best flow rate of the group by far. All of these under the sink filters were outperformed by the ZeroWater, which costs far less than all three of the under the sink filters.
To rank and score these filters, we conducted extensive research to pick the most promising products and then bought the best. We put each product through a series of head-to-head tests, with the results of the APEC Essence described in the sections below.
The first of our trio of impurity removal tests, our Lead Removal metric is responsible for 25% of the overall score for each water filter. We mixed up a batch of water with very high concentrations of lead, then ran in through each filter. We took a sample of both our supply and the water after it was filtered, then sent them off to an independent lab for testing, as we did not have the necessary equipment to measure the lead content ourselves. The APEC Essence did an excellent job, removing practically all of the lead and earning a 10 out of 10 for its top-notch performance.
Our supply water started with lead levels around 2.3 ppm — over a hundred times higher than what the EPA considers to be an acceptable level. The Essence dropped the lead levels to around 0.001 ppm, removing approximately 99.96% of the lead.
For this metric, we used chlorine bleach to get the chlorine levels in our supply water well above what is normally found in tap water. We actually did two separate tests, one with astronomically high levels of chlorine and one with significantly less, though still much, much higher than what you would typically find in tap water — or even a swimming pool. The Essence again delivered an exceptional performance, earning another 10 out of 10 in this metric, which also accounts for a quarter of the overall score.
For the first test, we measured concentrations in excess of over 1000 ppm in the supply. The Essence handled this easily, with our tests failing to indicate the presence of any chlorine in the filtered water. The same held true for the second test, though the supply was only between 20-50 ppm.
For the last of our impurity removal metrics, again worth 25% of the total score, we assessed how well each filter did at removing minerals from your water. For our sample mineral, we used table salt, dissolving in into our experimental supply until we measured concentrations of about 445 ppm on our electronic meter. The Essence did well at filtering our the salt, but not the best, netting it an 8 out of 10 for its showing.
The Essence removed the majority of the salt, with the filtered water having a concentration of about 16 ppm, translating to a reduction of a little over 96%.
For our Taste metric, responsible for 15% of the total score, we relied on a panel of tasters to rank and score the filtered water produced by each product. The Essence again scored very well, earning a 9 out of 10 for its performance.
For the first part of this metric, we ran purified water through each filter, to see if our taste tester could detect the presence of any undesirable flavors added by the filter. None of them could, with all of them stating that the filtered water tasted the same as the purified water.
For the second component of this metric, we ran a batch of exceptionally nasty water through each filter, flavored with chlorine bleach and salt. Our panel again tasted the results, scoring the Essence very high, as it removed essentially all of the contaminants, rendering the water drinkable once again.
To finish off our testing procedure, we evaluated the filtered water flow rate for each product. We did this by timing how long we had to wait for each filter to fill a quart container. The Essence is one of the slower models, taking about 38 seconds — significantly slower than the 9 seconds of the regular faucet. This performance earned the Essence a 4 out of 10 in this test, which accounts for the remaining 10% of the total score.
This filter isn't a great value, as it was outperformed by other models that cost less.
We weren't the biggest fans of the Essence, finding that it delivered a second-tier performance at a relatively premium price.