WaterChef U9000 Review – High Quality RO & Under Sink System
The WaterChef U9000 is a premium under-the-sink filtration system that promises better-tasting water, less need for plastic bottles, and most importantly, a dramatic reduction in tap water contaminants.
To make good on its promise, the WaterChef uses its trademarked Big Block Filtration Technology to rid water of up to 99% of lead, cysts, and other VOCs (volatile organic compounds). As one of our top reviewed under-the-sink filter systems, we decided to go more in-depth and review the entire product’s features, pros, and cons!
Overview of the WaterChef U9000
The WaterChef U9000 Premium Under-Sink Water Filtration System is designed for use in homes, businesses, and even RVs. It is easy to install, doesn’t take up much space, and employs a long-lasting cartridge. These features, and more, make the WaterChef U9000 an ideal option for anyone new to water filtration systems, and/or who desires a low-maintenance system.
The stamp of approval from the Water Quality Association (WQA) provides added peace of mind, as does the included lifetime warranty. One of the WaterChef U9000’s standout features is the Intelligent Monitor LED Indicator. Built into the included premium designer faucet, the LED indicator communicates the current status of the WaterChef’s filter cartridge.
Always knowing exactly how the cartridge is performing means replacing the cartridge when it’s actually needed, instead of too soon or too late. Most households will find they need just one cartridge each year, as each cartridge has an impressive 1,000-gallon filtering capacity.
The WaterChef U9000 works as advertised. Though its price point is a bit higher than its competitors, the upgraded materials and thoughtful design mean money is likely saved over time. The following are the standout features of the WaterChef U9000.
1. One-Filter Cartridge System
The main, standout feature of the WaterChef U9000 is the single 1,000-gallon filter cartridge. Most other water filtration systems rely on two or even three cartridges to reduce the same number of contaminants the U9000 is capable of reducing. WaterChef’s success is the result of its exclusive Big Block™ technology. This “big block” is actually a solid-compression, molded carbon block cartridge nestled behind the pleated pre-filter.
The cartridge consists of a proprietary blend of multi-media filtration technology that does not require layering. This unique formation allows the cartridge to better reduce up to 99% of lead, mercury, chlorine and chlorine byproducts, and cysts including Giardia and cryptosporidium.
Those filtration systems which use 2-3 cartridges typically require said cartridges to be replaced much more frequently. This simply leads to higher expense, more labor, and additional landfill. Most households will find they only need to replace the WaterChef’s cartridge once every 12 months.
2. A Premium Designer Faucet
The WaterChef U9000 is as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional. In addition to the under-the-sink filtration housing, the system comes with a Premium Designer faucet. The faucets are made of surgical-grade stainless steel and have been certified by the WQA and NSF to ensure nothing transfers into your water from the system itself. You may choose between four finishes to match your countertops and kitchen decor. Available finishes are polished chrome, polished brass, polished nickel, and rubbed bronze.
3. Gold Seal Certification from the Water Quality Association
The Water Quality Association (WQA), one of the water industry’s leading organizations, has recognized the WaterChef U9000 with Gold Seal certification for 75 contaminants. This is an important and powerful indicator that the WaterChef U9000 is a filtration system on which you can trust and depend to produce safe drinking water for your family.
4. A Lifetime Warranty
Each purchase of a WaterChef U9000 comes with a lifetime warranty, which should provide buyers peace of mind. A 60-day, buy-back guarantee allows anyone to try the U9000 for themselves. After 60 days, WaterChef’s helpful customer service team can be reached Monday thru Friday, 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific time), or via the contact form on the official website.
5. Made in the USA
The WaterChef U9000 is an American product made in Reno, Nevada by the company Water Safety Corporation. Every piece of the WaterChef is made at Water Safety Corporation’s state-of-the-art facility near Lake Tahoe.
Performance of the WaterChef U9000
The WaterChef U9000 uses its innovative Big Block™ Filtration technology to reduce or eliminate 75 common and not-so-common contaminants from your drinking water. Targeted contaminants include:
- Cysts, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium
- Chlorine and Chlorine byproducts such as Trihalomethanes
- Pesticides, herbicides, and other synthetic contaminants
- Industrial contaminants
- Detergents and pharmaceuticals
- Benzene, MTBE, and other petroleum contaminants
Big Block™ Technology marries a proprietary blend of filter media with the more typical solid activated carbon block filtration. Together, they block out 97-99% of common contaminants from both city and well water. This same unique media formation allows beneficial minerals such as Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium to remain in the water.
What comes through the dispenser is filtered water that tastes crisper and is all-around healthier, but without the “flat” taste so often associated with Reverse Osmosis and similar technologies. This performance has been independently verified, and the WQA has given the WaterChef U9000 its gold seal. The system has also been tested by NSF International, which has certified it for NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, and 701.
In full transparency, and in line with the company’s excellent customer service, WaterChef’s official website maintains the U9000’s Performance Data Sheet for anyone to reference. The WaterChef U9000 boasts a flow rate of .75 gpm. Though less than some of its competitors, it is enough to produce about three gallons of water each day. Many customers report using their WaterChef U9000 for drinking, cooking, and even watering plants and pets.
Most water filtration systems require users to replace filters every couple of months. However, the WaterChef U9000 can filter up to 1,000 gallons with a single filter. Environmentally conscious users will note that 1,000 gallons equate to about 7,500 plastic water bottles. No electricity is required to operate the WaterChef U9000, nor is water wasted while the U9000 is working.
Installation & Maintenance of the WaterChef U9000
The WaterChef U9000 is an under-the-sink water filter. Weighing just 7.9 pounds and measuring 8.8 x 11.2 x 12 inches (or about the size of a medium coffee can), it doesn’t take up much space. It is a free-standing unit, and so does not need to be permanently attached to any walls or cabinets.
These features make the WaterChef U9000 an ideal system for use in a kitchen of any size. When you purchase the WaterChef U9000, you receive everything you need to properly install the filtration system, and to immediately start producing fresh, drinkable water. The following items are included in the box when you purchase your WaterChef U9000:
- Surgical Stainless Steel Housing Assembly with a filter cartridge already installed
- Your choice of Premium Designer faucet with built-in Intelligent Monitor LEDs
- Intelligent Monitor Assembly
- Battery for the Intelligent Monitor
- Installation and User Guide
- All the tools required for a successful installation, including tubing, a T-Valve, and a wing nut
- A lifetime limited warranty and the promise of a 60-day, money-back guarantee
Most customers report that they were able to install their WaterChef U9000 easily, and without the help of a professional plumber. Some customers have decided to drill a new hole into their counter top for the faucet, though this is not necessary in all cases.
A few customers do mention issues with the valve and/or the connectors that have caused leaking of varying severity. Fortunately, WaterChef offers customer service in which anyone who purchases a WaterChef product can be confident. The company can be reached during business hours Monday thru Friday, or via a contact form on their official website. A 60-day, money-back guarantee is also offered.
People looking for a water filtration system that does not require a ton of maintenance or advanced planning will appreciate the Intelligent Monitor LEDs that clearly communicate when the cartridge should be replaced. A green light means the filter is working as normal, a yellow light appears when less than 10% of the filter’s capacity remains, and a red light comes on when the filter needs to be replaced. Batteries operate the LEDs, and each new filter comes with replacement batteries, too.
The WaterChef website and Amazon both offer an auto-ship option for replacement filters. This means the WaterChef U9000 is one of the rare water filtration systems that can be installed and used with very little concern about keeping up with its maintenance.
Pros & Cons of the WaterChef U9000
- 1,000-gallon capacity cartridge means fewer replacement cartridges over time
- Certified by the NSF to remove 75 common and not-so-common contaminants
- Gold seal certified by the Water Quality Association
- BPA free
- Beautiful designer faucet available in a variety of styles to match your kitchen decor
- Intelligent LED monitoring device takes the guesswork out of replacing a used-up filter cartridge
- A lifetime warranty and top-rated customer service provide for peace of mind when it comes to solving any issues
- Higher initial cost (though customers report saving money over time because of the longer-lasting cartridge)
- Slightly slower faucet rate than some other water filtration systems on the market
- Some users report issues with the plastic tubing connecting the canister to the faucet. Issues range from easy fixes to substantial leaking.
The WaterChef U9000 vs. the Aquasana AQ-5300.55 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filter
Both the WaterChef U9000 and the Aquasana AQ-5300.55 are top-rated under-the-sink water filtration systems. However, they vary in such ways as to make them each the ideal choice for certain households. First, the Aquasana is a reverse osmosis filtration system, whereas the WaterChef is not. As an RO system, the Aquasana will remove chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals. It will also get rid of fluoride.
While the Aquasana is initially easy on the budget, it requires its filters to be changed every six months, upping the overall cost. Users also report that the Aquasana’s crucial O-rings tend to fail after 2-3 years of use, and need to be replaced. Beyond those two major differences, the WaterChef and the Aquasana are very similar. Both include a faucet with your choice of finish, as well as a filter change notification to remove all guesswork.
What are the Benefits of Having an Under-the-Sink Water Filtration System?
Water on demand is one of the biggest reasons people invest in under-the-sink water filtration systems. Unlike pitcher filters, under-the-sink systems provide filtered drinking water whenever you need it, instead of having to wait for the filtration system to run its course. Under-the-sink water filtration systems are also space savers, as they do not need to take up space on countertops or refrigerator shelves.
The History of WaterChef Filtration Systems
WaterChef is the exclusive online retail brand of Water Safety Corporation, a Reno, Nevada-based company. Inspired by the crystal clear waters of nearby Lake Tahoe, Water Safety Corporation is dedicated to designing only the highest quality water filtration products. Thirty years ago, WaterChef was a mere idea, and Water Safety Corporation a small, garage-based business. Over the decades, the two names have become synonymous with innovative water filtration and trustworthy products.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often should I replace the cartridge?
You should replace the cartridge every 1,000 gallons, or about once per year. The WaterChef U9000 conveniently includes Intelligent Monitor LEDs to communicate when your current cartridge is ready to be replaced.
2. How much do replacement cartridges cost?
Replacement cartridges for the WaterChef U9000 can be purchased for $64.95. An auto-ship option is also available via the official WaterChef website.
3. Does the WaterChef U9000 come with a cartridge?
Yes, the WaterChef U9000 comes with the first cartridge already installed.
4. Can the WaterChef U9000 be used to filter well water?
Yes. Although the WaterChef U9000 has been designed to decontaminate municipal water, it will also work well on most disinfected wells. WaterChef Customer Care suggests having your well water tested first, then working with one of their water quality specialists to determine whether the WaterChef U9000 is the best product for your home.
5. Does the WaterChef U9000 remove fluoride from the water?
Not really. The WaterChef U9000’s innovative design means it will remove some fluoride from the water, though it is not designed to do so. WaterChef’s customer service recommends having your water tested. If fluoride remains a big concern, they recommend finding a reputable manufacturer of a reverse osmosis system or a distillation system.
6. Does the WaterChef U9000 require electricity?
No. No electricity and no power cords are required for the WaterChef U9000 to work. Only a battery (included with each new filtration cartridge) is required to work the LED lights of the Intelligent Monitoring system.
7. Where is the WaterChef U9000 made?
Like all WaterChef products, the WaterChef U9000 is made in the USA in Reno, Nevada.
8. Can the WaterChef U9000 filter water from my refrigerator?
As it comes, the WaterChef U9000 only filters water through a sink. However, an Optional Refrigerator Kit can be purchased separately to filter refrigerator water.
Anyone searching for a compact and long-lasting water filtration system that won’t take up any counter space would do well to consider the WaterChef U9000. The system’s free-standing design and included pieces make installation a breeze for just about anyone. Once installed, healthy drinking water pours from an attractive, premium designer faucet that can be chosen by you to match the style of your kitchen.
The WaterChef U9000’s one-of-a-kind Big Block™ technology allows it to remove up to 99% of harmful contaminants, including Lead and Chlorine. With the seal of approval awarded by the Water Quality Association, buyers can be assured they are purchasing a high-quality water filtration system from a trustworthy company.
Bonus tip: While you’re considering our water filter review, check out this helpful video on how to install the WaterChef U90000!