How Much Does It Cost to Install a Water Treatment System?

Average Cost
(whole-house reverse osmosis system with sediment filter, installed)

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How Much Does It Cost to Install a Water Treatment System?

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Reviewed by Nieves Martinez. Written by

If you are concerned about the water quality or the taste of it in your home, a water filtration system can help correct potential issues. Water treatment systems come in a wide range of solutions, each designed to address specific needs. So whether you have hard water, sediment-filled water, or are worried about bacteria or chemicals, it is possible to install a system to correct these issues. Because there are so many different options and systems on the market, there is a wide range of associated costs.
The average water treatment system cost range is between $500 and $2,500 nationally, with most homeowners paying around $2,000 for a reverse osmosis system with a sediment filter installed for the entire house. For the lowest cost, it is possible to filter water using a pitcher for around $75, while a water softener with an ionization system and carbon filter for the whole house costs $5,000 or more.

Water Treatment System Costs

Water Purification System Costs
National average cost$2,000
Average range$500-$2,500
Minimum cost$75
Maximum cost$5,000

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Water Treatment System Cost by Project Range

Countertop pitcher that removes sediment, chemicals, and bacteria
Average Cost
Whole-house reverse osmosis system with sediment filter, installed
Whole-house water softener with ionization and carbon filter, installed

Water Treatment System Cost by Type

Water treatment systems can be broken down into three basic categories: water filtration, water purification, and water softening. Some homes may need one, but others need a combination of two or three to achieve the best results. This depends on your water source, pipes, and the age of the home and system.

Water Filtration Systems Cost

Filtration systems are used to remove things like sediment, rust, and particulates from your water. They do not necessarily improve the taste of the water, although they can, depending on what is being filtered out. They do not affect the hardness factor of your water.

Water Treatment System Cost

Water Treatment System Cost

Filtration System TypeAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Activated Carbon Block Filter$50 - $500
Activated Granular Carbon Filter$50 - $500
Sediment Filter$85 - $1,000
Activated Alumina$200 - $2,000
Ultrafiltration$2,000 - $9,000

Activated Carbon Block Filter

Activated carbon block filters can be installed at the tap or for the entire house fairly easily. They contain a cartridge that you change regularly. The water passes through activated carbon, which is positively charged, porous, and removes sediment and some chemicals that can impact the taste. These filters are usually fairly small, do not require tanks, and can be installed without much difficulty. They cost between $50 and $500, depending on the size, brand, and placement in your home.

Activated Granular Carbon Filter

Activated granular carbon or activated charcoal filters are made of various organic materials, including oats and coconut shells. They filter out sediment and some chemicals that get caught in the carbon. Like activated carbon block filters, these have to be changed regularly, but they do not take up a lot of room, so they can be installed anywhere. They cost between $50 and $500, depending on the size and placement.

Cost of Sediment Filter

Sediment filters are designed to catch larger particles in your water, such as rust, clay, or sand, and other particulates that may wash into your water. They come in many forms and can include string filters and centrifuge filters that spin the particles out. These filters need to be changed regularly but do not require large tanks, so they can be installed nearly anywhere. They cost between $85 and $1,000, depending on the style of system you choose.

Activated Alumina Water Filter

If you have heavy metals in your water that you need filtered out like arsenic, selenium, or even radium, you need an activated alumina water filter. This is a porous material made from aluminum dioxide that pulls metals and minerals from your water, improving its quality. The filters are larger and more expensive, costing between $200 and $2,000, depending on the size and placement. They are designed mostly for whole-house use.

Ultrafiltration Costs

Ultrafiltration uses a membrane-style system similar to reverse osmosis to provide extremely filtered water. The water is pushed through the membrane under pressure, until most contaminants, solids, minerals, and other particulates have been filtered out. It can remove viruses, silt, proteins, smog, and plastics, making it a better, more efficient filter than carbon or sediment-based systems. These are larger filters that are meant to work on your entire home. They are also expensive, costing between $2,000 and $9,000 on average.

Water Purification Systems Cost

Purification systems are used to treat the quality of your water. They remove bacteria, chemicals, contaminants, and toxins from your water. These often improve the taste of your water, but they do not catch clay or rust and do not impact the water’s hardness.

Water Purification System Cost Chart

Water Purification System Cost Chart

Purification SystemAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Distiller$400 - $1,000
UV$800 - $2,000
Ionization$1,000 - $2,000
Reverse Osmosis$1,400 - $1,500

Water Distiller Prices

Water distillers remove contaminants from your water by boiling it to vapor and then condensing it down. During the condensing process, the contaminants are separated from the water, so what is left behind is cleaner water without chemicals or bacteria. These are usually countertop systems that can be made to run automatically because it takes roughly 4 - 6 hours to distill. They cost $400 to $1,000 on average.

Cost of UV Disinfection System

If you have bacteria in your water, then a good purifying system is a UV disinfection system. This method uses UV light to kill any harmful organisms in your water as it passes through the system. They work on the entire house at once and tend to be a little larger than filters, but they are not as large as reverse osmosis or water softening systems. They cost $800 to $2,000 on average.

Water Ionization System

Water ionizers use electricity to create a low-frequency signal pulsed through your water thousands of times per second. This electromagnetic pulse ionizes the water and reverses the charge on any minerals in the water. It can produce alkaline water for drinking and acidic water for cleaning purposes, while also producing great-tasting water without many contaminants. These systems cost $1,000 to $2,000 on average.

Reverse Osmosis System Cost

Reverse osmosis is one of the most popular types of water purification. It is also one of the strongest, with the ability to remove a wide range of contaminants from water, including dissolved solids, heavy metals, bacteria, waterborne cysts, and some dissolved particulates. This system improves the taste of water the most out of any other and offers some of the best purification. During reverse osmosis, the water is forced through a membrane under pressure. The clean water is stored inside a pressurized tank for drinking later, while the contaminated water and what is left behind on the filter are washed away and disposed of.

While this system removes most contaminants, it cannot remove VOCs, chlorine, pesticides, or solvents. It requires a lot of space and results in wastewater being flushed periodically. It also filters slowly, so this is not a system that gives instant results. Reverse osmosis systems cost between $1,400 and $1,500 on average.

Water Softening Systems Cost

Water softening systems treat hard water. They protect your pipes and appliances from mineral buildup and help get your clothes cleaner. They do not affect the taste, remove toxins or contaminants, or filter out particulates. They are usually installed alongside water filtration systems, particularly if the system is only filtering for sediment or chemicals. They cost an average of $2,500 to install, and while there are many types, there are two more commonly installed alongside filters.

Water Purification System Prices

Water Softening SystemAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Magnetic$200 - $400
Ion Exchange$1,600 - $3,000

Magnetic Water Treatment Systems

Magnetic water softeners are a fast, easy, and fairly inexpensive method of softening hard water. They consist of metal coils wound around your pipes. Electricity is used to help ionize the water through the magnetic coils. This system is not as effective at treating very hard water as ion exchange systems, but it is a good choice for those with mild hard water problems. They cost $200 to $400 on average.

Ion Exchange Water Treatment System Cost

Ion exchange is one of the most common methods for treating hard water. It involves two large tanks, where you put salt or potassium in to exchange the ions in the water from hard to soft. The system needs a lot of maintenance, and it flushes wastewater out of your home every 2 weeks. But it is the best method at preventing mineral buildup on your pipes, appliances, and clothes. These systems cost $1,600 to $3,000 on average.

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Whole-House Water Filtration System Cost

There are many different types of whole-house water treatment systems. Some are designed solely to treat things like bacteria, such as a UV light, while others are designed only for hard water like an ion exchange system. For this reason, a whole-house system can cost anywhere from $200 for simple filters to $9,000 for an ultrafiltration system. Some systems can be used in conjunction with one another. For example, you can use a UV system with a water softening system if you have a lot of minerals and some bacteria or waterborne cysts in your water, but not real sediment or contaminants. This is often the case for some rural areas that use dug wells, so layering these two systems together gives the solution you need.

The most popular whole-house system is reverse osmosis. This does a superior job of filtering water, and it also provides water softening by removing some of the minerals in question. A whole-house reverse osmosis cost is between $1,400 and $1,500 for the system, with installation costing another $500 for a total of $1,900 to $2,000. If you select this option or ion exchange for water softening, you need a way to flush the wastewater from your home. The most common method is a sump pump. If you do not already have one, plan on having one installed for an additional $550 - $1,100.

Whole-House Water Filter Cost by Brand

Like any appliance, water filter systems are made by several different brands. Each has their specialty and range of costs. The following are some of the more commonly installed water filtration brands.

Water Filter Cost Chart

Water Filter Cost Chart

BrandAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Culligan$80 - $6,000
Kinetico$500 - $5,000
Ecowater$750 - $3,000
Aquasana$800 - $5,000
Waterboy$900 - $5,000
Rainsoft$4,000 - $8,000

Culligan Whole-House Water Filter Cost

Culligan makes a very wide range of whole-house filters. They have some very basic carbon filters, reverse osmosis, and water softeners. For this reason, their costs range from $80 for a basic filter system to $6,000 for some of their reverse osmosis and water softeners.

Kinetico Whole-House Water Filter Price

Kinetico also produces several different types of filtering and water softening systems. They do not make the smaller carbon filters, but they have a wide range of products, including some high-end filters that cost $500 to $5,000 on average.

Ecowater Systems Cost

Ecowater makes several different types of filter systems. This includes some sediment filters and reverse osmosis systems, ranging from $750 to $3,000, depending on the model.

Aquasana Installation Cost

Aquasana is one of the most popular brands of water filter systems. They carry a full range of products, including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, and water softening. They have a cost range of $800 to $5,000.

Waterboy Whole-House System Cost

Waterboy makes some unique products that help filter out pollution from your water supply. They offer salt-free water softening systems beneficial to people who cannot tolerate extra salt. Their systems cost $900 to $5,000 on average.

Rainsoft Water Filtration System Cost

Rainsoft makes some of the most luxurious water filtration and purification systems on the market. Their systems are designed to offer multiple benefits to users, allowing you to solve several issues at once. They typically cost $4,000 to $8,000 on average.

Water Treatment System Prices by Setup

If you have serious concerns about the water in your home, then a whole-house system is your best option. But for people who rent, do not have space for a larger system, or want to try filtering or purifying their water for eating and drinking, there are a variety of other methods and systems available:

Water System Prices

Water Treatment System Prices

Treatment SystemAverage Costs
Pitcher$20 - $100
Faucet$50 - $100
Single-stage countertop$50 - $120
Single-stage under sink$50 - $200
Multi-stage countertop$200 - $400
Multi-stage under sink$200 - $400
Gravity drip$300 - $600

Water Filter Pitcher

This is the simplest way to filter the water in your home. You pour water into the top, it passes through a filter - usually made of activated charcoal. Some types may have membranes to remove bacteria, which settles in the bottom. You pour from it like any other pitcher. This is a good option for keeping in the fridge. Depending on what you want it to filter, it costs $20 to $100.

Tap Water Filter Price

If you just want to filter the water at your sink and have it work instantly without waiting for a pitcher to fill, this is a good option. It fits over the end of your faucet and filters as the water runs through. It is not an option for faucets with a pull-down spray head, and it can slow down your water flow as the filter ages. They cost $50 to $100 on average.

Single-Stage Countertop Water Filter

This is a bigger system meant for filtering a couple of gallons of water at a time. There are a few types, but most work by filtering the water from one compartment to another, usually through a sediment filter or a membrane. If you want more water than fits in a pitcher and do not have the option of attaching to the spray head, this is a good choice. They cost $50 to $120 on average.

Single-Stage Under Sink Water Filter

This is a small filter, usually carbon block or sediment, installed beneath your sink. It filters like the faucet style, with continuous water flow, but it works with any faucet system and does not take up space on your countertop. You need professional installation for this method, however. They cost $50 to $200 on average.

Multi-Stage Countertop Water Purification System

If you like the idea of reverse osmosis or ultrafiltration systems but do not have the space necessary for a whole-house system, this can be a good choice for you. They work a little more slowly but pass the water through different filters, so you get cleaner, better-tasting water. These systems cost $200 to $400 on average.

Multi-Stage Under Sink Water Purification System

If you want an out-of-the way water purifier that works right at the kitchen sink, consider this option. It combines a few different filters or membranes to ensure the water getting to your faucet is very clean with a fresh taste. You need professional installation for this system. They cost $200 to $400 on average.

Gravity Drip Water Filter

A gravity drip water filter is a subset of the countertop system. This is a big cylinder that looks like a coffee urn. It filters 2 or more gallons of water at a time, using gravity, so it is a slow filtering process. The system has a tap at the bottom, so you can access the water at any time. They cost $300 to $600, depending on size.

Plumber Replacing Water Filters

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Water Filtration System Installation Cost

Installation costs anywhere from $100 for a simple under-the-sink system to $500 or more for a larger, whole-house system. If your system is very outdated or does not have a way of flushing out wastewater, expect your total installation costs to climb closer to $1,000. Expect to pay roughly $500 in installation fees for a whole-house system.

Water filtration systems can be installed by professionals who deal solely with these systems and by plumbers. Some plumbers offer a range of systems or install a system that you purchase separately, such as an under-the-sink system, while others defer to water filtration specialists. If you have a well, the company that services your pump will likely install your water filtering system as well.

Reverse Osmosis System Installation Cost

Reverse osmosis is a more complex setup than some water filters. It involves large holding tanks and wastewater, which must be flushed. Installation costs typically start at around $500 for these systems but can go much higher if you do not have a way to flush the system. This makes the typical cost of a reverse osmosis installation between $1,900 and $2,000.

Whole-House Water Filter Installation Cost

The cost of a whole-house water filter depends on the system type. A basic sediment or carbon filter can be installed for roughly $100. A larger ultrafiltration system costs closer to $500 to install. If you need wastewater flushing, costs could climb to $1,000 for installation.

Whole-House Water Filter Sizes

While some basic filters for the entire house are one size only, larger systems are designed based on your water needs. For a basic system, if you use more water, you simply change the filter more frequently. But for ion exchange systems and reverse osmosis systems, you need to know your water usage. Every system is sized differently, so your plumber or water system installer should determine the size unit you need based on your peak water flow. This is based on the size of your pipes during times of maximum usage:

Pipe SizePeak Flow
½ inch7gpm
¾ inch16gpm
1 inch30gpm
1¼ inch35gpm
1½ inch70gpm
2 inch120gpm
2½ inch170gpm
3 inch270gpm

Each type of system uses its own method of determining size. UV is based on flow, as are cartridge filters. Reverse osmosis and ion exchange need your average usage at one time. Speak to your plumber or installer about your peak flow and your water needs to find the correct size for your home.

Water Testing Cost

Before installing a filter system, you need to know what is in your water that you want to remove. For example, if your water does not contain any sediment or toxins but has some bacteria, a UV filter is your best choice. If you have many minerals, toxins, and heavy metals, then reverse osmosis or ultrafiltration will be your best choice.

To test your water, get a kit from your local water testing site. Clean your faucet thoroughly, and let the water run for a minute before filling the kit. Drop it off within the next 24 hours to your testing site for a report. Depending on what types of tests you run, this costs $30 to $200 on average. Most sites give you a written report of what is in your water, and some may make recommendations as to what to do to correct it.

Well Water Filtration System Cost

Wells come in a variety of forms. Dug wells use groundwater, while deep wells can hit aquifers lined with many different minerals. For this reason, your well may have a variety of needs. Most require some type of filter system because the water is coming straight from the ground, rather than running through a water treatment plant first. The average whole-house system costs around $2,000 installed, but your needs may be different. Speak to your plumber or water filtration expert about what your well may need.

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Enhancements and Improvement Costs


If your plumbing is old or outdated, your plumber may need to make modifications to install the system. If this is the case, your costs increase. Plumbers charge between $45 and $200 an hour on average.

Bottled Water Delivery

An alternative to a water filtration system is to use bottled water. The cost of bottled water delivery is around $45 a month.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • In some cases, the water in your area might require some type of system. In other areas, it may be recommended, especially if you have a well. Check with your local resources before proceeding.
  • You may need to get a permit for a whole-house water filtration system installation. This varies by area, so check with your local authorities for more information.
  • In some areas, Water Filter Performance Certification is necessary to show that the system is removing contaminants below certain levels. In other areas, this is only voluntary, but looking for the certification can help ensure that you are getting a quality system.
  • Water filter cartridges need to be changed based on usage, rather than time. Each one has a different schedule for changing, so find your peak water flow and the recommended changing schedule on your filter to get the best timing.
  • Reverse osmosis produces a lot of wastewater. For every gallon you get, 2 to 25 gallons are wasted and flushed from your home.
  • Many people need water filtration because their water is contaminated with pollutants, plastics, and toxins. If this is concerning, start helping reduce these things in your water supply by recycling, cleaning up waste, and investing in low-VOC and low-pollution products and technologies to keep water cleaner in the future.


  • Does a water filtration system add value to a home?

This depends on the type of system and how bad the water was to begin with. Some can add value, but others may not.

  • How much does it cost to install a reverse osmosis system?

The average cost to install a whole-house system is $1,900 to $2,000.

  • What is the ideal pH level of tap water?

The ideal pH range is 6.5 to 8.5 for water.

  • Is NSF certification required?

In some states, yes, but in others no.

  • Where should a whole-house water filter be installed?

Install a whole-house water filter as close to the intake of the water into your home as possible.

  • Does a whole-house water filter reduce water pressure?

No, when working properly, you should not notice a difference. A drop in pressure can indicate the need to change the filter.

  • How long does a whole-house water filter last?

This is entirely dependent on the filter type, how much water you use each day, and where in the house it is installed.

Cost to install a water treatment system varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Water filters to purify  drinking water in the kitchen interior
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Cost to install a water treatment system varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources