Cut Through the Jargon & Hype… Get the Answers to these Questions and Get the Right Water Ionizer!
Making an informed comparison between competing brands of water ionizers can initially be a bit daunting. But, Air Water Life is so confident in our water ionizer’s features and performance, we’ll even given you the Top 10 FAQ Key Questions every consumer considering purchasing a water ionizer should get answers to BEFORE making their final buying decision. We’re betting that, the more you know, the more likely you are to purchase your water ionizer from Air Water Life. But even if you don’t these question will help you make the right water ionizer choice for you! We’ve listed each question below with advice on how to evaluate the answers you receive:
Is the water ionizer a countertop or under-sink model? If it’s a countertop version is there an optional faucet adapter available to convert it to an under-sink model and what is the cost of the adapter?
Answer & Advice: The overwhelming majority of water ionizers are countertop models which can either set on the counter or affixed to the wall next to the sink. The main reason for this is that people frequently use more than just the standard alkaline drinking water setting. So leaving the unit on the counter makes changing these settings easier than reaching under the sink to do so. However, for people who don’t often vary the unit’s settings, you may consider an under-sink model such as the Jupiter Delphi which retails for $2,695. The far more affordable option however is to simply purchase the Air Water Life countertop Aqua-Ionizer Deluxe 7.0 that sells for $895 and add our optional Under-Sink Universal Water Ionizer Adapter Faucet that sells for only $170 more and turns almost any countertop water ionizer into and under-sink one. (Total for the Air Water Life Water Ionizer with under-sink adapter $1,065).
How many alkaline, purified and/or acidic water presets does the particular water ionizer model have and does the control panel and LCD screen make it easy to view and change these and other water ionizer settings?
Answer & Advice: To make it easy to quickly activate and dispense your desired alkaline, purifier/neutral or acidic water setting, most modern water ionizers have between 5 and 9 pH level presets. The preset common to almost all water ionizers is a daily alkaline drinking water. The second most common is usually a neutral pH option where water may be filtered but is neither alkaline nor acidic. The other presents may be made up of any combination of acidic and alkaline water pH levels. Obviously, more presets offer you a wider choice of water options. But, since most people rarely use more than 4 or 5 alkaline or acidic presets plus the neutral water option, you’ll probably never need or use more than 7 presents.
What are the electroplate materials, are they so-called “solid” or “mesh” plates and is the platinum coating dipped or sprayed on?
Answer & Advice: The electroplates in all quality water ionizers are made from titanium coated in platinum. Titanium is used as the base metal because of its durability and platinum is used as a coating because because its electrical properties accelerate electrolysis. In addition, both metals are non-toxic to humans. Water ionizer companies will often argue over which is better “solid” plates which are flat without holes or mesh or slotted plates which have holes in them. There are advantages to both. Mesh or slotted designs, by artificially expanding the electrical surface area of the plate, can sometimes perform better even with a smaller plate design. However, solid plates tend to be more durable and less subject to long-term scaling and corrosion. There are similar industry disputes regarding whether plates that are “dipped” in platinum or where the platinum is “sprayed” (also called “electroplated”) are better. Again there pros and cons to each. Dipped plates are less expensive to produce allowing manufactures to keep down machine costs and may last longer because they are far less susceptible to scaling and corrosion. Whereas sprayed/electroplated plates “may” perform electrolysis slightly more efficiently at least until they become damaged or corroded. Regardless of whether a water ionizer’s plates are solid, mesh, dipped or electroplated, the bottom line, as we’ll discuss in more detail in the response to Question #6 (see below), is how the electroplates perform in terms of their pH and ORP ranges. A better pH and ORP range means a better electroplate and a better water ionizer.
How many electroplates does the water ionizer actually have, e.g., is it a 5 or 7-plate unit, and does a higher electroplate number automatically mean it’s a better water ionizer?
Answer & Advice: Leading water ionizer brands typically have either 5 or 7 electroplates. As a general rule, while 5-plate water ionizers are usually slightly less expensive, 7-plate units tend to perform better on all performance measures most people look for when purchasing a water ionizer, e.g., wider pH and ORP ranges (see Question #7 below). There are exceptions however. Some very efficiently designed 5-plate water ionizers perform as well as some lesser quality 7-plate ones. So, whether it’s a 5 or 7 electroplate water ionizer, look for the features and performance you need at a price you can afford.
What is the total electroplate surface area for a given water ionizer and, more importantly, does a larger size actually translate to better performance?
Answer & Advice: Regardless of how a given water ionizer’s plates are constructed, i.e., solid, mess, dipped or sprayed (see Question #3), or the actual number of plates (see Question #4), it also pays to find out the actual total surface area of the machines plates. While plate size and total surface area alone tells you nothing directly about water ionizer performance, extremes in either direction, i.e., a very small total electroplate surface area or an overly large exaggerated surface area, should raise potential warning flags. For example, an extremely small plate surface may literally just not have enough electrolysis contact area for the water to be properly ionized and an extremely large plate surface area may add high cost to the price of the water ionizer but do nothing to increase actual performance relative to a less expensive but more efficiently designed water ionizer with average size plates. A perfect example of this is Enagic Kangen’s water ionizers which, while they do tend to have much larger overall surface area than other water ionizers, are regularly matched or outperformed on both the pH and ORP scales (see Question 6) by water ionizer brands that cost thousands less than Kangen’s machines. Generally, a quality water ionizer will have total electroplate surface area of between 100-125 square inches. If the total surface area is well below that, you’re probably not getting the water ionization you need and, if it way over that, you’re probably paying way too much for the extra plate cost without any significant increase in performance.
What are a given water ionizer’s upper and lower pH and Oxidation Reduction Potential (OPR) ranges and why are they the two best indicators of water ionizer performance?
Answer & Advice: Despite all the hype you may hear from water ionizer companies about electroplate count, size and construction, there are basically two key water ionizer performance measures that matter: The first is pH range, which is the highest alkaline and acidic water level the unit is able to achieve. Water with a pH greater than 7 is considered alkaline, a pH equal to 7, e.g., most municipal tap water, is considered neutral and a pH of less than 7 is considered acidic. The official pH scale ranges from 0 (zero), extreme acidity, e.g., battery acid, to 14, highly alkaline, e.g., household lye. However, when purchasing a water ionizer, you should normally look for a pH range of between 4 (acidic) and 11 (alkaline). While there are more expensive water ionizers that have an even wider pH range, unless you’re planning on making your own battery acid or lye at home, why pay for pH levels you’ll never use?
The second key water ionizer performance measure is Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP). Measured in millivolts (mV), ORP is the extent to which consuming alkaline water helps reduce cell oxidation in the human body. The ORP is most often advertised as a negative to positive number range, it’s the more negative number that matters when it comes to the health benefits of drinking alkaline water. Specifically, tap water, as well as many other foods and beverages, especially acidic ones with a positive OPR cause the body’s cells to oxidize, i.e., breakdown and age, more rapidly. Whereas, alkaline water, which has a negative OPR, helps prevent and even reverse cell oxidization which inhibits aging and promotes better health at the cellular level. Any good water ionizer should be able to achieve a negative ORP of at least -700mV.
Does the water ionizer have one or more self-cleaning functions, if so what are they, and why is self cleaning such an important feature?
Answer & Advice: Because the minerals and chemicals in tap water can cause scaling and corrosion to develop on the water electroplates, it is very important that you look for a water ionizer that has one or more auto-cleaning features. This is especially true for mesh and sprayed electroplate water ionizers since the rougher plate surface increases the likelihood of scaling and corrosion. Ideally, you should look for a water ionizer that cleans itself by reversing plate polarity for at least a few seconds after each use and conducts an extended cleaning cycle after every 10 or 12 gallons of use.
Does the water ionizer have a built-in water filter? If so, what is the filter made of, how often will it need to be replaced and at what annual cost?
Answer & Advice: Most modern water ionizers have built in water filters to help remove chlorine, benzene, VOCs and other harmful water pollutants from your tap water. However, some water ionizer companies’ filters are expensive to replace and/or actually add chemicals or mineral compounds to their filters to try to artificially manipulate electrolysis, i.e., they’re adding more chemicals to your water than they’re removing. When buying a water ionizer carefully consider how much you’ll spend replacing filters annually and what chemical or mineral compounds these filters contain. For example, Air Water Life water ionizers use active carbon filters that last up to a full year under normal use conditions, don’t inject chemicals or minerals into the water and sell for only $40. By contrast, Jupiter’s Biostone filters use the mineral compound Tourmaline to boost ionization and cost $80-$90 to replace and Enagic Kangen water ionizers with filters retail for $110 each and use sodium chloride (salt) and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and to artificially expand the unit’s pH and ORP ranges.
How safe is the water ionizer? For example, is it ETL or otherwise certified for electrical safety and does it use FDA approved plastics?
Answer & Advice: Given that a water ionizer is an electrical device through which water is being processed and dispensed, it’s essential that your water ionizer be certified by Electrical Test Laboratory (ETL) or another recognized national or international electronics testing facility as safe. The newest water ionizer industry safety enhancement, developed right here at Air Water Life, is the use of FDA plastics for all the parts through which water is filtered or dispense. We are currently the only water ionizer company offering this feature.