by Peter Lombardi
Quality Specialist, Consultant
> 4 min read
Water ionizers are a huge fad right now, but a lot of misinformation is present around them. Not just in the benefits alkaline water offers, but in the specific water ionizers themselves, which are often intentionally vague in their product descriptions or obfuscate the actual stats to make it hard for the consumer to find out the real details of what they’re about to spend money on.
Today I’m going to take a bit of time to cut through a lot of that nonsense and explain exact what they are, how they work, what benefits they offer, and how to make sure you’re buying the right one. Read the best water ionizer reviews to find out which water ionizer machine you should get.
Top Choices on the Market
Here is a quick summary of the products that we considered as top performers:
Aqua Machine Deluxe 9.0 Pro Alkaline
Life Machine MXL-15
Aqua Machine Deluxe 7.0
Aqua Deluxe 9.5 Anti-Oxidant
Buying a water ionizer machine can be an expensive prospect, so it’s better to be sure what you’re getting yourself into before sinking a ton of money into the idea. Let’s go over a few of the important things to look out for before you buy.
Important Factors to Consider Before Buying
- The quality of the electrode
You want one that is small and compact, which efficiently draws power to perform the electrolysis. Try to avoid large, bulky electrodes which are energy hogs. Not only does it burn out your electrode faster, it costs you more in electricity every year. Likewise try to make sure your electrode is made of high quality materials, the top being platinum coated titanium. These conduct electricity well and are very durable.
- Intuitive controls
They tend to have a lot of options, so you want one that makes all of these options easy to read and sift through at a glance. LED displays are always a plus, since they’re easier to read than most outputs and usually pretty durable.
- Automatic cleaning
Most come with an automatic cleaning function. Make sure you get one that is effective and easy to use. It’s better to look for one that has the least impact on your regular use of the device; whether that’s one that cleans on start up every time, at a certain time of day, or on another trigger is up to your own preference and usage habits.
This covers both type and ease. They can be installed under the sink or on a countertop, with countertop models either having their own tap or diverting your tap water to the device (which is easier to install). That last bit is a big factor as well; look for a model people say is easy to install and has clear instructions. You’re dealing with delicate equipment, and severe plumbing mistakes can be costly.
Your unit should come with a filter, and a good one at that. It should be thorough enough to remove unhealthy contaminants like lead and bacteria, while either not filtering or specifically reintroducing healthier chemicals and minerals like calcium to the water. Look for a filter with at least a two stage process.
This is a big purchase, and you should buy from a manufacturer you can trust. Research the company you’re buying from and look at their track record of quality assurance, customer service, and if any of their products have been previously recalled or severely panned. Remember that as an appliance, water ionizer machines may take a while to show quality control issues (2 to 3 years even), so consider avoiding products that are every new to the market. The technology is not changing for this product so quickly that you need to get the cutting edge, newest model, and instead want something you can count on for years.
An addition to the above, you always want a good warranty or money back guarantee on such an expensive purchase, to help account for any unexpected issues with the device, either user error with installation, accidental damage in transport, or even a real defective product.
Is It Safe to Use?
Generally speaking, yes. While alkaline water has many exaggerated benefits, and the ones that aren’t exaggerated need more testing to figure out the exact extent of their helpfulness, the one thing everybody agrees on is that drinking alkaline water will, at worst, do nothing unless it is vastly over-consumed.
There are some minor side effects I mentioned above, which include a reduced stomach acidity. This can indirectly compromise your immune system by not properly killing off bacteria in food, and killing off good bacteria in the gut which are necessary for proper digestion (these bacteria thrive in an acidic water environment), but no permanent or immediate harm is done by this.
As with everything it is recommended to use alkaline water in moderation, but the greatest danger of alkaline water lies not in the water itself, but the misinformation people spread around it, most prominently that it is a cure (or at least treatment or deterrent) for cancer. So long as you do not expect slightly more basic water to be a miracle cure for everything that ails you, it is perfectly safe.
Benefits of Drinking Ionized Water
As mentioned above, there are real benefits to drinking alkaline water, and then there are unsubstantiated claims about its properties.
Alkaline water may:
- Help with indigestion
Reducing the acidity of your stomach acid when it is already overly acidic (such as from the over-consumption of acidic drinks like coffee and soda) can be a good thing, and if you suffer from chronic indigestion it may be worth a shot to see if it helps.
- Reduce symptoms of acid reflux (heartburn)
Studies suggest that consuming sufficient quantities of alkaline water can reduce the amount of pepsin in your body or “deactivate” it. Pepsin is the primary enzyme that breaks down your food in your stomach, and also the acid which causes the pain of heartburn (particularly the acidic burning at the back of the throat). Deactivating it leaves it inert, and thus neutralizes the pain. This alleviates the symptoms (though not the cause) of acid reflux.
- Reduced blood viscosity
This increases blood flow and oxygen, particularly after strenuous exercise. This can increase how quickly you recover your energy when working out, and can also have minor benefits for people with high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure as it acts as a mild natural blood thinner.
Alkaline water will not:
- Cure or treat cancer.
- Manifest anti-aging properties.
- Boost your immune system.
- “Detoxify” you. Nor will other supposed “detox” methods, for that matter.
- Hydrate your skin.
- Cleanse your colon.
- Shed weight.
There is no scientific evidence to back up any of these claims for the positive effects of drinking alkaline water, and most completely contradict all known human biology. Adjusting the pH balance of your gut has little effect on most of the primary healthy functioning of the human body, and certainly not to the fantastical degree that some people try to claim.
Be sure of the reasons you want to drink alkaline water before you buy, as you may find yourself disappointed with the results if you expect it to be a miraculous change.
But if you know what it really does and find value in those functions, it can help a lot with a few very specific things.
What Is This Kind of Water?
Ionized water (more commonly known as alkaline water), put simply, is water that has had its pH value artificially raised from the neutral 7 of normal water, to a value around 8 or 9, making it more basic.
There are a number of probable benefits, and quite a lot more claimed (but unproven, and quite unlikely) benefits to alkaline drinking water. Alkaline water can occur naturally in places where water passes over certain minerals (a lot of spring water is slightly alkaline), but they raise the alkalinity via the process of electrolysis.
Is Ionized Water Really Better For You?
The science is out on that one. There have been a few studies done that suggest certain minor health benefits, but the studies had small sample sizes and need to be followed up on.
These benefits include: reduced pepsin (the main cause of acid reflux), reduced blood viscosity after a heavy workout (increasing blood flow and oxygen), and similar benefits for those who suffer from high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure, who might otherwise be taking blood thinners.
There are other claims which are completely unsupported, including claims of: anti-aging properties, weight loss, boosted immune system, and (most dangerously) resistance to cancer.
Differences Between Alkaline and Regular Water
Alkaline water is slightly more basic, making it closer in alkalinity to certain things like green tea or sea water.
Naturally alkaline water is, if nothing else, pretty much harmless. While over consumption can hurt you a bit (by reducing the pH value of your stomach acid, leading to a higher risk of infection from bacteria in foods), you have to really go overboard for the intense side effects (alkalosis, primarily, which can have severe health complications).
Artificially alkaline water (such as that created by a product) can be a bit worse for you simply because it is usually pre-filtered water which is stripped of most of its mineral and nutrient value, so when using a water ionizer machine it is recommended to make sure your filtering system reintroduces the right minerals.
How Does It Work?
They use the process of electrolysis to split water into its component hydrogen and oxygen molecules. This transforms some of the water (H2O) into hydroxide (OH-). This is siphoned off at the cathode of the device (where the H2 and OH- molecules form) to be used as your drinking water, while the more acidic water at the anode (where O2 and H+ are formed) is to be used for non-drinking purposes such as cleaning.
Some are less effective at this, as in running water it is difficult to produce hydroxide, and takes less energy to reform into water than it took to split it off in the first place. In short, the component molecules merely form back into water almost immediately, leaving you with very expensive tap water.
Better water ionizers, however, incorporate a semi-permeable membrane to help keep the molecules separate, and are much more effective at producing the alkaline water.
Check our latest article on Home Water Filtration for 2020 here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Drink Alkaline Water?
To reduce the symptoms of acid reflux (deactivate pepsin), reduce blood viscosity, and help with indigestion by reducing stomach acidity. It also somewhat affects the taste of the water, and can make very good tea. It is particularly good for green and herbal teas.
How Do I Install It
Typically, you hook up the unit either under the sink or on a countertop to your normal plumbing. This will automatically alkalinize all of the water you pass through your system when the ionizer is turned on.
Is Alkaline Water Good Against Diseases?
Not in the slightest. Alkaline water has no effect on your immune system, and certainly doesn’t help you fight against any disease you may have already contracted. At worst (if consumed in too high of a quantity, too often), alkaline water can have the opposite of the intended effect, reducing your body’s ability to fight off diseases by reducing your stomach’s acidity, making it unable to kill off the bacteria consumed with food.
Best Water Ionizer Reviews
1. Aqua Ionizer Water Ionizer Machine Deluxe 9.0 Pro Alkaline - Overall
- 7 water settings for alkalinity adjustment and antioxidant addition (Cooking, Brewed Tea/Coffee, Daily Drinking, Initial Drinking, Purified Water, Cosmetic, Household Cleaning)
- ETL Listed, FDA Approved Plastics, RoHS Certified, ISO 9000:9001 Testing
- Contains inner filter
- With Active Carbon Water Filters that remove harmful pollutants
- Includes all the tubes and fittings
- Material: Platinum coated electrodes with 9 plates
FILTER: 1056 Gallons or 4000 Liters
ORP VALUE: -860 to +1000
Easy Installation: The Aqua Ionizer Deluxe 9.0 is a counter top water ionizer, and installs quickly and painlessly in about 10 minutes. Installing on top of the counter is the option that requires the least plumbing knowledge or fiddling, and is suited for everyone, with no specialized knowledge or uncommon tools needed.
Filtration: The water ionizer filter is rated for around 4000 Liters of filtering (1065 gallons, or about a year of continuous regular use). Filters are carbon, which makes them fairly standard fare for basic water filters.
Energy Efficient: Machine draws only 110 volts.
Clean Interface: All settings are easy to read and understand, with both text and infographic cues for instant recognition of the purpose of the setting.
High pH level range: It produces water in a range of 3.0 (acidic ‘waste’ product) and 11.5 (basic alkaline water). Don’t be afraid to use the acidic water, it’s not dangerous for your skin or anything like that, and is perfectly fine to use for everything from washing your hands to cleaning around the house.
Automatic Cleaning: This water ionizer automatically cleans itself by reversing polarity after each use, and periodically does a more thorough clean, washing the plates after around 11 gallons of use.
Quality Materials: Device is ISO tested for manufacturing quality and uses durable, long lasting parts at every stage of manufacturing. Platinum coated electrodes with 9 plates (more plates is generally better) is the highlight for the actual ionization chamber.
Price: The price of the Aqua Ionizer model can be expensive for some who are looking for a budget unit.
2. Life Water Ionizer Machine MXL-15 Counter Top Alkaline - Top Functional
- 15 Titanium Cored Platinum Coated XL Matrix GRID Plates
- Power: 800 watts
- Flow Rate: 6 Liters per minute
- More hydrogen on water
- One-click filter change
- Ultraviolet XL Sterilization System destroys harmful pathogens
- Removes common contaminants including chromium, copper, mercury, lead
FILTER: up to 6 months
ORP VALUE: Up to -1005 mV (Max)
Wide pH level Range: The MXL 15 produces water from 1.7 to 12.2 pH, giving it an incredible range compared to other water ionizers on the market.
High Quality Materials: The MXL 15 water ionizer uses an astounding 15 platinum coated titanium electrodes to produce top quality alkaline water (and is what allows the huge pH level range mentioned above). In addition to their construction (which is expected), they have a unique “matrix” design that provides more edges for the current to saturate, increasing the amount of alkaline water produced.
Energy Efficient: Due to the above construction, the MXL 15 is energy efficient, producing its above average results with only 800 watts of power.
Filtration: This water ionizer sends you customized filters based on your water report, tailoring the filtration system to the unique quality and quirks of your water supply. Additionally the filters are top mo9unted and easy to replace.
Basic Design: Machine is easy to use and figure out, with clearly labeled and easily readable buttons. It is also very well constructed to be durable and sturdy in the long term, both inside and out.
Price: The MXL 15 is incredibly expensive.
3. Pure Hydration Alkaline Water Machine, World's Only Affordable All-Natural Alkaline Antioxidant, Hydrogen, Ultra Removes Lead, Arsnic, Viruses, Boost Your Immunity - Budget
- Produces Hydrogen-Rich Alkaline Water
- Hydrogen Range 1,000ppb – 1,400ppb
- Germ-free touch-less on/off Infrared Sensor
- Micronic Rating .02 micron
- Blue and Red LED bar indication
- Countertop or under-counter configuration
FILTER: 607 Gallons or 2300 liters for a family of 4
ORP VALUE: -400mv to -700mv
Touch Free: The Pure Hydration turns on and off with the wave of a hand using infrared sensors. Getting a cup of water is quick, easy, and hands free for those hectic moments.
No Installation: While the Pure Hydration can be installed under the sink by connecting it to the faucet line, its primary use is as a countertop dispenser, similar to a traditional water filter like a Brita system.
Great Filter: Carbon filter works up to .02 microns for a very thorough filtering, and the alkalizing process this unit uses naturally reintroduces minerals to the water that would otherwise be lost in filtering.
Price: The Pure Hydration costs close to a third of the cost of most water ionizers on this list, making it an excellent budget buy.
Chemical Alkalizing: One of the pluses is also a minus. Alkaline water produced via the chemical process (passing water through a filter designed to add alkaline minerals to the water) is a whole different beast than the electrolyzing process the majority of other models use, and may as well be a different water ionizer machine entirely. While not necessarily bad, it’s not what you might necessarily be looking for when you’re thinking of purchasing a unit. As a plus though, it works without electricity.
Low pH level Range: Due to the factors above, the Pure Hydration only produces water from 9 to 9.5 pH level, making it the smallest range available.
4. Aqua Ionizer Deluxe 7.0, Water Ionizer, Alkaline Water Filtration System, Produces pH 4.5-11.0, Up to -800mV ORP, 4000 Liters, 7 Water Settings
- 7 water settings for alkalinity adjustment and antioxidant addition
- ETL Listed, FDA Approved Plastics, RoHS Certified, ISO 9000:9001 Testing
- Self Cleaning
- With Active Carbon Water Filters that remove harmful pollutants
- Material: 7 platinum coated titanium electrode plates
FILTER: 1500 Gallons
ORP VALUE: -800 to +1000
Good pH level Range: It produces water between 4.5 and 11 pH level, giving it a wide range for uses from cleaning and beauty products with the more acidic water and the more basic alkaline water for drinking and cooking.
Filter: Carbon filter is rated for over 1500 gallons of use before needing to be swapped, making it an even longer lasting filter than its cousin in the Deluxe 9.0.
Quality Materials: 7 platinum coated titanium electrode plates compose the ionization chamber, and the rest of the materials are high quality and durable, being ISO tested.
Clean Interface: Like the larger water ionizer, it has an easy to read interface with a range of simple and easily recognizable options to choose from.
Automatic Cleaning: It reverse polarity toc lean itself after each use, and washes the plates after 10.5 gallons have been ionized, all automatically and without any effort on the user’s part.
Warranty: A 5 year warranty backs up this already relatively cheap water ionizer, putting it on the short list. This is a great model for someone on a budget that wants to try this kind of water and see if it helps them before making a lifetime commitment to using a unit.
Installation: The installation of the unit can be quite tricky but it is manageable.
5. Tyent ACE-11 Water Ionizer Turbo Extreme with Hydrogen Boost & Sleek New Design
- Easy Load Front Door for Filters
- Dual Ultra Filtration
- 99.9% Removal of Many Contaminants Including Lead
- Option for Alkaline drinking water, water for medication, turbo setting for removing pesticides from produce, and acidic water for beauty and external use
- Material: 11 Platinum Titanium Plates & 10-Amp SMPS Plus and stainless steel body
FILTER: life of up to 6 months
ORP VALUE: Up to -1050
High Quality Materials: 11 platinum coated titanium electrode plates make up the ionization chamber of the Tyent Ace-11. Body is made of sleek stainless steel, and has a much cleaner appearance in the kitchen than most (which opt for a durable plastic body instead). Hybrid plates are a mix of solid and mesh plating, a unique design that increases conductivity in the metal.
Lifetime Warranty: The Tyent Ace-11 is covered for the life of the product, and it helps take the sting out of its extraordinarily high price point. Their customer service is reported to be very good when carrying out the uses for the warranty, and respond promptly with links to helpful videos or walkthroughs for self repairs if you want to avoid shipping the Ace-11 back to the manufacturer to fix it themselves.
Easy Filters: Filters are front mounted and can be changed by simply flipping open the front chamber, making them far easier to change out than others.
Price: The Tyent Ace-11 is one of the most expensive water ionizers on the market by a long shot (about 2 and a half times the price of its nearest competitor). While it is one of the top machines on the market in terms of sheer quality, it is not so much better than the other, cheaper options that it really justifies such a ridiculously high price point, particularly several years after its release.
Obtuse Interface: Digital interface is small, hard to read, and relies on unintuitive abbreviations for everything, with tedious drop down lists for the options available. Of all the water ionizers on this list, it is by far the hardest to use, and has clearly traded function for form by reducing the size of the interface to make it look sleeker to match the stainless steel exterior.
6. Bawell Platinum Alkaline Water Ionizer Machine
- Forever Lifetime Warranty
- Alkaline ionized water made by electrolysis
- Material: 7 plates
- Uses 2 filters
- 2 stage internal alkalized water filtration system
FILTER: 1320 Gallons each filter
ORP VALUE: +600mV to -800mV
Incredible pH level Range: The Bawell Platinum Alkaline Water Ionizer produces water with a pH level of 2.0 to 12.0, which is a wider range than the average of 3 to 11. This produces water on the very extreme ends of the pH scale for various uses.
Filtration: The Bawell Platinum Alkaline Water Ionizer uses a 2 stage filtration system, making it a more thorough filter than the usual. It even has an optional 3 stage filtration system, though it is bulky (about the same size as the entire unit is normally) and needs to be installed outside of the casing. Filters are rated for 5000 Liters (about 1320 gallons, or roughly a year and 3 months of continuous use).
Unclear Interface: Readout is dim and unclear on the Bawell Platinum Alkaline Water Ionizer, with a similar issue for the buttons, which use very small fonts and are not immediately obvious what each does.
Potential pH level Uncertainty: The company claims that the water cannot be tested with pH level strips, which is not always a lie, but is a red flag, particularly when customers report that the pH level they test the water to be is often different than what the machine is set to.
Unclear Internals: There is no information on how many or what kind of electrode plates this device uses, so there’s no way to know for certain what exactly they’re made of, how efficiently they work, or how long they last. Combined with the pH level issues it makes it a product with a bit too spotty of a reputation to fully recommend.
7. Aqua Ionizer Deluxe 9.5 Anti-Oxidant Boost Water Ionizer Filtration System
- Increase the number of molecular hydrogen in water
- 7 Healthy Options: Cooking, Brew Tea/ Coffee, Drinking water, Purified Water, High Antioxidant, Beauty, and Cleaning
- LCD Backlit
- Self Cleaning every 10.5 Gallons
- Easy Install
FILTER: 1056 Gallons or 4000 Liters
ORP VALUE: +600 to -880mV (Max)
Quality Materials: 9 platinum coated titanium electrodes provide a great amount of coverage for electrolysis, and the basic construction is highly durable and long lasting.
Wide pH Range: The Deluxe 9.5 produces water from 3 to 11.5 pH, making it one of the widest ranging on the market, and producing water specialized for any purpose.
Interface: Interface is easy to read and extremely clear on function, telling the user not only the pH but what the ideal use for that pH level is. Handy digital readout also tells you how many Liters of water have been alkalinized and how long until the water filter needs changing at any given time, taking all the guess work out of the process.
Filters: Water filters are active carbon, and have a 4000 Liter (1056 gallon, or about a year of filtering) lifespan. While not the longest lasting around, they are efficient and well made water filters.
Installation: Easily installs in about 10 minutes on any standard sink or faucet, making it pretty much the most painless installation around for these products.
Bulk: Machine is bulky on the countertop and may not be suitable for homes with less counterspace nearer the sink area. For those places under sink installation is possible, but far more difficult.
8. IonTech IT-750 Compact Under Sink Alkaline Water Ionizer And Filtration System- With Dual- Spout Countertop Faucet Dispensing Alkaline and Acidic Purified Of Toxins and Pollutants
- 6 Water pH Levels, 4 Alkaline Levels, 1 Acidic water Level, and 1 Pure Filtered Level
- NSF Certified
- Self Cleaning
- CE, SGS, ISO Certification
- 5 Plates
FILTER: 3170 Gallons or 12,000 liters
ORP VALUE: up to -850mv (Max)
Auto Cleaning: The IT 750 automatically cleans itself for 10 seconds after each use, preventing build up of grime and algae or corrosion on the electrodes.
Interesting Design: Buttons for settings are located on the faucet itself, which is unique among these products. It allows the under counter portion of the device to be as bulky as it needs to be while keeping the bits above the sink (the new faucet) sleek and compact, while remaining easy to use. The buttons don’t get in the way and are easy to read and press. All in all a great design.
Long lasting Filters: Water filters are rated to last for 12,000 Liters (3170 gallons, or about 2 and a half years of use). This explains a bit of the bulk of the under counter electrolysis chamber, but is a worthy tradeoff in a lot of ways.
Warranty: The IT 750 is warrantied for two years and is generous given the relatively low price point of this model compared to several of its competitors. It remains on the lowest end for price while still being one of the better products out there.
Number of Plates: Unfortunately the It 750’s main stumble is only having 5 plates, making it both less energy efficient and less effective at converting water to alkaline water. Less plates is increased risk for water simply reverting to a neutral pH even as it gushes from the faucet.
9. IONtech IT-656 by IntelGadgets Water Ionizer Machine with Filter
- Ceramic ion membrane
- Self Cleaning: Automatic 10 second electrolysis chamber cleansing
- Activated Carbon Fiber (ACF) water filter manufactured by Pentair
- Soft Button Control Panel
- 7 color LCD display
- NSF certified
- Material: 5 Platinum-titanium electrolysis plates made in Japan
FILTER: 1200 Gallons
ORP VALUE: -850mv (Max)
Energy Efficient: Uses 110 volts of power (or 220 with a European plug).
Good pH Range: The IT 656 produces water in a range of 4 to 11 pH, with 7 distinct buttons for each level.
Clean Interface: Buttons are clearly labeled, obvious in their purpose, and easy to press to press, making this a huge step up over some other products on the list. It makes the product uglier, but ease of use if always a bigger plus over looks.
Automatic Cleaning: After each use the device automatically cleans itself for 10 seconds, and it does a more thorough clean after every 50 Liters (13 gallons) of use.
Filters: Filters are rated for 6000 Liters before needing to be changed (1585 gallons, or a little over a year and a half of life per filter).
Warranty: The IT 656 comes with a 2 year warranty and unlimited customer support, making it a reliable purchase.
Number of Plates: They are platinum coated titanium, but this water ionizer only has 5 plates. The manufacturer claims the device’s energy efficiency from its transformer makes it so “we do not need many plates”, but that doesn’t make a ton of sense given how these devices work; the number of plates don’t just provide more electricity, it’s a higher surface area and more redundancy, which no amount of energy efficiency can completely replace.
You can’t go wrong with any of the Aqua Ionizer brands, with the 9.0 leading the pack for those. If you don’t mind busting the bank though, the Life Ionizer MXL 15 is the best water ionizer, if incredibly pricy. Finally, the Pure Hydration Next Generation stands out as an incredible budget option for those with particular budgeting needs. All of the others are good in their own way, but are either flawed, spotty, or too pricy for what they offer to truly recommend over the others.
Balance between price and function
Aqua Ionizer Deluxe 9.0
Perfect in terms of function
Life Ionizer MXL 15
Pure Hydration Next Generation
About the Author
Peter is a Los Angeles based water quality specialist, and works as a surveyor for businesses and communities looking to be informed and active about the quality of their water. He shares his expertise with 64 oz. to ensure everything is accurate, and to prevent the spread of misinformation about water contaminants.