Is there REALLY a difference in RO/DI systems?

Fruity Reefer

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I am looking for a 7-stage RO/DI system but cannot figure out why there is such an insane markup on the BRS RO/DI systems and I am hoping for some enlightenment.
These are the 3 main options I am looking at;

Liquagen 7 Stage RO/DI with Gauge & TDS Meter - $259.00 150GPD
Oceanic Water 7 Stage RO/DI System - $194.99 150GPD
BRS 7 Stage RO/DI system with Gauge & TDS - $390.99

Has anyone used either the Liquagen or the Oceanic water? any issues?
Is there any valid reason to go with BRS other than the brand name?
 

Troylee

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No differences… all housings are the same although you might get different di resin or carbon blocks which I’ve never noticed much of a difference honestly. I buy my replacement cartridges and di resin in bulk on Amazon for cheap!
 

KrisReef

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The carbon and particulate replacement cartridges are all interchangable.

The RO membranes are similar, but a good one is worth more ime. Hard to determine what a good one is, but they are replaceable and interchangable for the majority of these filters out there.

DI resins are also replaceable and vary in life expectancy, efficiencies, so some of these components are worth more than others, but the plastic hardware that is interchangeable is hard to value (more or less$$)

I did just take apart an inexpensive RO filter I have for drinking water and noticed a crack (not leaking) in one of the plastic parts that makes me wonder if i should have spent more money upfront? HTH.
 

DIYreefer

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Well, they're all made of plastic for the most part and I'm assuming it's basically all the same plastic. However, the "pro" version or whatever BRS calls it does get you a better TDS meter, better pressure gauge, and high quality filters and resins. It's what I use (75 gpd) and I'm happy with it.
 

EricR

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The first two (cheaper) ones you linked have smaller diameter DI chambers while the BRS has normal size DI chambers.
Whether or not that means anything in terms of how much resin you can pack in there and what the performance differences might be, I have no idea.
...just a quick visual observation
 

Cichlid Dad

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Brs uses higher grade connectors to prevent leaks over time. And I believe a way better warranty

These are on sale right now



 

rtparty

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7 stage always seemed like overkill to me. Just get a 3 stage RODI. Good to go

This a massive generalization that doesn’t take the starting water into effect at all. A 3 stage wouldn’t do jack for my source water and my water is pretty clean overall
 

BeanAnimal

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No differences… all housings are the same although you might get different di resin or carbon blocks which I’ve never noticed much of a difference honestly. I buy my replacement cartridges and di resin in bulk on Amazon for cheap!
They are all similar, but not the same. There are maybe a dozen or more different brands of housings, and none of them take the same o-rings.

That does not meant that BRS or any vendor (other than maybe spectrapure) uses the same brand of housings from day to day, week to week or year to year. Many buy whatever is cheap.

So - when you order your unit, but a dozen or so o-rings for the housings. Or you will be replacing housings when you replace cartridges. Forget trying to measure them and find what you need... it is a fools errand.
 

rtparty

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BRS has a 45 minute video they put out last week that will answer every RODI question you could ever have.

There is a large difference between the 3 in the OP. The 2 cheaper are comparable but the BRS is better in every way. Especially if you consider customer service, help before and after purchase, much better filters (sediment, carbon blocks, RO membrane, the 3 separate resins) and the list goes on.

You need to start by figuring out your own source water and that will determine what you need. For me, the 7 stage made way too much sense to try and save a couple hundred bucks upfront. I bet I’ve saved that much in resin replacements already.

For example, if you have chloramines in your source water, a dual carbon block is mandatory. If you’re like me and have high silicates, the separate resins are mandatory.
 

BeanAnimal

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To the OP - you choose the unit based on your water quality. What is the input TDS and do you have silicates. What is your input pressure and how much water a day do you think that you need to make. Lastly, how much waste are you comfortable with.

Companies like Spectrapure, @Buckeye Hydro or Air Water Ice will consult with you and get you what you need. I do buy from BRS but would buy an RO/DI from one of the three I mentioned before BRS, just based on customer service.
 

zheka757

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i have whole house ro unit, with 50-80tdc coming into house. then i have another cheap 4 stage that i got on ebay about 5 years ago for under $100 with tdc meter, after this ro i have 2tdc coming out from it into aquarium freshwater storage tank.
i just had my labs done on my water and nothing was detectable!
 
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Fruity Reefer

Fruity Reefer

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To the OP - you choose the unit based on your water quality. What is the input TDS and do you have silicates. What is your input pressure and how much water a day do you think that you need to make. Lastly, how much waste are you comfortable with.

Companies like Spectrapure, @Buckeye Hydro or Air Water Ice will consult with you and get you what you need. I do buy from BRS but would buy an RO/DI from one of the three I mentioned before BRS, just based on customer service.

I have already figured that, thus why I’m looking for a 7 stage with 150gpd (like all of the sample units I posted) I have super hard water and it’s treated with chloramines. I’m simply trying to decipher the difference between the brands and why one would be nearly $500 after add-ons while another would be around $200 if at the end of the day you are packing the same resin and things, why the price difference for the same functionality?

In my experience BRS has a fairly large stronghold on the aquarium hobby and is able to markup things solely because they are thrown in your face every time you look for anything.

I’m trying to figure if there is anything actually tangible that BRS provides in their unit to justify the multi hundred dollar markup on their units vs most of the competition.

What would you say the brands you suggest provide in their systems the other 2 I originally mentioned don’t? (Aside from customer service)
 

BeanAnimal

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Spectrapure is expensive - they have wonderful customer support and they use quality components. You won't get parts substitutions, etc.

Buckeye is a member of the reefing community. Quality products, honest small business. You may pay a bit more, but you are supporting a trustworthy company.

Air water ice is similar. They build a quality product and stand behind it. They have good prices.

Does any of it matter at the end of the day? Maybe not. I tend to replace housings instead of o-rings. They are $15 or so each and it just makes life easier.

Resin? There are different grades. The companies that I listed provide quality resins. I can't speak for anybody else. Some places use no-name pre filters and carbon, others like I listed use well regarded products.

If my advice is ambiguous, I am sorry. I have purchased from AWI, and Buckeye over the years, but built my own low waste microcontroller run system that auto flushes the membrane, does auto resin bypass, etc. to keep waste to almost nothing. It will likely never pay for itself, but keeps the warden from complaining about the water bill.
 

Ernie Mccracken

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Spectrapure is expensive - they have wonderful customer support and they use quality components. You won't get parts substitutions, etc.


Any idea on why they've mostly abandoned the aquarium industry? They are still same products as they were 15-20 years ago. Obviously top of the line gear, but nothing new.
 

Asagi

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This a massive generalization that doesn’t take the starting water into effect at all. A 3 stage wouldn’t do jack for my source water and my water is pretty clean overall
Ok fair enough. If you live next to chernobyl go with the 7 stage.
 

jimk60

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Personally I would go with the lower price options for the whole unit. Just make sure when you go to replace the filters and RO filter you buy quality components. Same with your resin.
 

Cichlid Dad

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There's other benefits of using three stages of di. It reduces waist and in the end cheaper as a mixed bed only depletes one of the resin types and the others still have some life left. Having two carbon blocks increases the life of the ro membrane or di resins I can't remember which one.
 
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jda

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I have used air, water, ice since before the current reefing companies were a thing. They are helpful (they answer the phone or call you back), always have parts and stuff and their units are high quality. Prices are really good too. You can get the same rig here as anywhere else. It isn't like one company has a monopoly on chloramine filters, or anything. I don't even really know what I have... I just put in what they mail me.

There are only a handful of places that make high quality gear and the differences are just in stickers and branding. This does not include any of the bargain Chinese made stuff which is becoming more common.

I have it very easy... like 32-35 TDS from the tap. No chloramines. After 99% rejection membrane, by resin lasts for at least a year. I could likely use a 3 stage and get the same results as people who use 7, or more. It is always important to understand your local needs and adjust accordingly since other people's rigs might need to be totally different than yours.

As much as anything, I am interested in a solid auto shut off that does not start to leak over time. I have a float valve on a large reservoir and the thing just takes care of it's self as long as it can shut off when the float tells it.

The pressure gauges and inline TDS all fail on me over time, so I don't care about them anymore.
 

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