A lot of good descriptive reviews here, I'll add mine here but will focus on my perspective as someone living in Israel.
Israel is an arid country which in recent years made a big transition to desalination. The national water company (called "Mekorot") is using >50% desalinated water from the Mediterranean Sea mixed with about 25% water taken from the Galilee sea (which is actually a fresh water lake) and the rest comes from mountain and coastal plain aquifer. Water then travels in the "national conduit" to various regions in Israel.
The water in Israel are heavily treated, mostly because the national conduit is an open system, i.e. water travel in big pipes that are open to air and elements (e.g. rain water), but also because aquifer can become polluted with industrial waster and fertilizers, so does the Galilee sea. Also chlorine is added and recently fluoride as well. not to mention whatever is picked up from pipes until it reaches the kitchen tap.
Local mineral water companies (with strong brands) draw from fountains in mountainous areas and bottle onsite, but are exposed to the same contamination of aquifer. For instance, one very strong brand I examined had 3 times of what considered (in the U.S) the max safe concentration of nitrates.
I hope I'm successful so far at convincing you why water filtration is important in Israel.
Now comes the question, what are the options? for most people in Israel who don't want to research too much it's these: 1. water pitcher filters, like Brita 2. Tami4 - a water bar that combines carbon filter with UV lamp 3. bottled water, e.g. mineral water 4. there are some local vendors who install advanced water filtration systems like Everpure or some Reverse Osmosis systems
Next, why I think all of the above options are either not sufficient or cost effective
water pitcher filter - relatively cheap but only filters chlorine and stops some sediments like dust. you're still exposed to a lot of chemicals and heavy metals in the water
Water bar vendors - VERY high initial investment (~$1000) and high maintenance (~$150 year), not to mention if their equipment breaks you have to pay for repair. Also it's merely a carbon filter with a UV lamp, with some cold/hot function. I really don't think it's worth the money, especially since the UV lamp is there to kill the germs that grow in the machine itself. important to realize the due to the chlorine and UV treatment by the national water company, small chance of bacteria to survive in Israel's normal tap water.
Bottled mineral water - relatively expensive, need to carry from supermarket, or pay a monthly fee to the vendor to deliver to your house. Also not eco friendly (plastic), exposed to aquifer contamination (almost zero regulation and testing by government) and some say under heat conditions plastic can dissolve into the water. But most importantly, from TDS meter readings I've made, tap water and mineral water have the same TDS levels, while unlikely that healthy mineral concentration (e.g. calcium, magnesium, potassium) is any different. In some brands mineral water TDS was even much higher than normal tap water.
Local Reverse Osmosis Vendors - at best they are importers who lock you in high maintenance fees. worst case they import cheap chinese systems. You pay a premium for them to import, install and maintain the system for you.
I chose APEC RO-90 after hours and hours of research. It's very important for me to say APEC did NOT ask me to write this review and I'm doing it because I think their product and service is amazing and I'd like to give back.
Even after shipping and Israeli customs fees, the RO-90 was cheaper and more cost effective than any of the alternatives I specified.
What I really like 1. packaging was excellent and the product is robust, The system was intact and I had no worry about that. 2. installation was very easy, everything just connects beautifully. I installed it in a few hours (I like to read the manual very thoroughly) 3. water tastes great, even my pregnant wife who is very sensitive to tastes said she liked it 4. TDS went down from 260ppm (tap water) to 15ppm (after RO-90 treatment) 5. the included tap is elegant and fits nicely on our kitchen counter 6. system is VERY quiet, can't hear it 7. customer service is really good, I already talked to them twice about questions I had, they respond really quickly and their reps are knowledgeable. 8. maintenance is cheap considering the other options, and I have full control over the process.
What I don't like 1. the installation guides needs to be more specific about first run - you shouldn't drink first 2-3 tanks, open the tap and let them drain. 2. the feed water adapter should come with more options, I had to buy 1/2'' to 3/8'' adapter to make it work with my pipes - cost me another $10
What still needs to be tested 1. my water bill, but I checked in my house water gauge that the system stops working once the tank is full, so I'm Ok for now. 2. TDS measures at 15-25ppm at the moment, customer service promised it will go down even further, although I'm fine with that level as well.
All in all, I'm am very happy with this product. water quality is excellent and it gives me peace of mind I've made a cost effective and healthy choice.
Final note: During my internet research on the long term health concerns of reverse osmosis water I've made some interesting discoveries. This is a long subject and I believe I researched it well enough to make an educated decision. I'm tempted to post my thoughts about it here but this review seems long as it is. perhaps some comments might convince me to update this review with some key learnings. For the time being I would like to say this:
Almost all resources you'll find on negative long term health effects of reverse osmosis water are based on the World Health Organization research from the 80's. That research had some notable flaws in it and it tends to dramatize concerns. I believe that for people living in western countries and use home reserve osmosis system most of those concerns are not relevant. Reverse osmosis water are safe to drink, especially if you consider the alternatives.