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More than 90 percent of the United States’ water supply is safe to drink according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But that hasn’t stopped people from fretting over the quality of their tap water—or appliance manufacturers from churning out all kinds of “purifiers” to purge it of contaminants real or imagined.
The Coway Aquamega 200C is an electric countertop water filter that promises to reduce no less than 10 contaminants including lead, chlorine, volatile organic compounds, mercury, and even ibuprofen. It also boasts a few de riguer smart features, such as real-time monitoring and app control.
The heart of the 200C is a two-step filtration system. A sediment filter removes infusible particles from your water supply to protect the carbon filter, which does the heavy lifting of removing the contaminants that can endanger your health or just make your water taste bad. Coway claims the system can cleanse up to up to 150 gallons of water per filter change. Those filters don’t come cheap, though—currently, Coway is selling them for about $40 per pair, which over time will add a significant chunk of change on top of this smart appliance’s $499 retail price.
Connecting your water supply
While installing the Aquamega 200C is fairly straightforward, it does require familiarity with kitchen-sink plumbing and some solid handyman skills. You’ll need to close the cold-water shut-off valve under the sink, and then separate the cold-water hose from the valve. Next, screw the supplied T-valve onto the shut-off valve, and then reattach the cold-water hose to the T-valve. Tighten all the connections with a wrench to ensure nothing leaks.
Though the instruction manual makes no mention of it, you’ll next need to drill a quarter-inch hole in your countertop, so you can get the supplied feed hose from the cold-water supply under your sink to the Aquamega. Connect one end of the feed hose to the water inlet on the back of the 200C, thread it through the hole in the countertop, and then insert the other end into the T-valve. Finally, turn on the T-valve and open the cold-water shut-off valve to feed water into the 200C’s tank.
Before you can start drinking your newly purified water, you need to flush the 200C’s filters with room-temperature water, and then fill the cold-water tank to start cooling—a process you’ll repeat for each filter change. For this step, it is recommended that you attach the included drain hose to the 200C’s faucet and place the other end in your sink, so water doesn’t splash all over your counter. To flush the filters, you just press the Ambient water button on the touch display, and then press the dispensing button for two seconds, which will prompt the Aquamega to continuously dispense water for three minutes before automatically shutting off. Finally, select the Cold button and again press the dispensing button for two seconds to fill the cold-water tank, which takes about one minute.
A tall drink of water
The appliance’s touch display makes getting a glass of water an act of Jetson-like convenience. The 200C dispenses water in three preset amounts: 4-, 8-, or 16 ounces. All you need to do to slake your thirst is press either the Ambient or Cold button, depending on your preferred temperature, select the desired amount of water, and press the dispensing button. You can also have water continuously dispensed for three minutes by following the same steps used in the setup process.
You can get more out of the 200C by pairing it with Coway’s IoCare app. Once you download it and create an account, press the Ambient and Cold buttons simultaneously to enable Wi-Fi paring, and then follow the app prompts to complete the process. The app provides a range of real-time data, including daily water consumption stats (broken out by Ambient and Cold), as well as monthly water analysis reports. The also enables limited remote control—you can turn the unit’s sound, LED indicators, and cold-water function on and off—and it tracks the life cycle of the filters. All these features and functions are laid out in a clearly labeled tabbed interface.
It’s worth noting here that keeping your water clean requires maintenance beyond replacing the filters. The cold-water tank, faucet, mesh filter, and tray all need to be cleaned regularly, and while none of these tasks is particularly arduous, they should be factored into your investment.
Should you buy it?
Admittedly, the push-button process of dispensing water was fun, particularly for my kids, and the water tasted good if not necessarily better than what came straight from the tap. And the app provided some interesting, though not essential, context for our water consumption. Those considerations alone, however, are not really enough to recommend the 200C—or any water filter—though.
Before you shell out for such an expensive appliance, you should get some facts about the quality of your water. Your local Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) is a good place to start, as it identifies the levels of contaminants detected in your municipality’s water supply and how they compare to the EPA’s drinking water standards. This EPA document also provides many useful facts about home water testing.
If your home was built before the mid-1980s—when lead-free pipes started being mandated—you should also get a test kit to check what’s coming out of your tap. That goes double if you live in a rural area and draw your water from a private well. You should consider the Aquamega 200C only if it removes the specific contaminants that are identified in your water.
Even then, I’d still only recommend the Aquamega 200C to families and other larger households that consume a lot of drinking water, who object to alternatives such as bottled water, but don’t object to the initial purchase price and the ongoing cost of replacement filters. If that describes you, the Aquamega 200C might serve you well.
Coway Aquamega 200C smart water purifier
The Coway Aquamega 200C offers comprehensive water filtering and convenience, but at a significant price. Make sure you actually need its cleansing capabilities before you consider purchasing it.
- Filters nearly a dozen water contaminants
- Companion app tracks water usage and filter life cycle
- Dispenses water in preset amounts
- Expensive up front and on and ongoing basis for replacement filters
- Installation requires light plumbing/handyman skills and minor counter-top alteration
- Requires ongoing maintenance