What You Get for the Money – $3,900 and Up

10/11/2011 , by Admin No Comments Featured Articles

This is the first in a series of articles designed to help you get the most out of the money you decide to invest in a water ionizer.   We’ll look at what you should expect from a water ionizer based on price – starting from the top and working our way down.

Today we’re going to look at water ionizers in the $3,000 and up price range.  Currently only three companies have models in this price range – Enagic, Evontis and Tyent.  We’ll take a look at what you get for your money from each.

The $3,900 + price range is the highest in the industry.   You should expect a lot of extras if you’re going to pay this much for a water ionizer.

  • Advanced Features
  • Modern Styling/Design
  • Higher Wattage and Plate Surface Area
  • Exceptional Performance
  • Better Warranty

Most shoppers in this price range are looking for something that has at least a hint of “luxury” in looks, solid, reliable performance and ease of day to day use.  Unfortunately, not all water ionizers in this price range deliver on “bang for your buck” or leave you with that “luxury” feel.

Let’s take a look at the “high dollar” players and what they offer (and don’t) for the extra you’ll be putting out for their “top of the line” models.  We’ll look at these models based on price starting with the most expensive.

Enagic SUPER501

Topping the price charts at $5,980 is Enagic’s SUPER SD501 12-plate water ionizer.

Don’t let the big price and 12-plate claim fool you.  This is a good example of more money NOT equally a better machine – although they do get points for offering “more machine” than any other company in this price class.

While the thought of a 12-plate water ionizer is appealing to some, that’s not exactly what you get with Enagic’s SUPER SD501.  This model is actually two water ionizers in one.  One 7-plate water ionizer and one 5-plate water ionizer, both operating on a shared maximum of 200 watts of power.  If you look at the image you’ll notice it has two dispenser hoses – one for each electrolysis chamber.

Basically what you’re getting with the SUPER SD501 is a Leveluk DXII 5-plate water ionizer and a Leveluk SD501 7-plate water ionizer (with 30 watts less power than the standard SD501) all rolled into one unit.

If you’re shopping this price range hoping to find better styling and design options you’ll be disappointed with the SUPER SD501.  It’s big, it’s clunky and will likely be one of the most conspicuous appliances sitting on your kitchen counter.

As far as performance, you can get more for less.  For day to day use you’ll have no problem producing water from a 4.0 to 9.5 pH with source water found in most parts of the country.  For the more extreme pH levels (2.5 – 11.0) you will need to add a chemical enhancer solution – rendering the higher pH water unusable for cooking or preparing anything for human consumption.

As far as advanced features, there aren’t a lot to mention.  The SUPER SD501 has an automated cleaning that runs after a specified period of use.  If you use the enhancer solution the SUPER SD501 will also automatically run a cleaning cycle prior to your next use to ensure that there is no enhancer solution left in the electrolysis chamber.

The SUPER501 has a single internal filter which should effectively remove both lead and chlorine for nine to twelve months, depending on your usage.  Enagic recommends cleaning the unit every two to four weeks using a refillable cleaning cartridge and performing a “deep clean” at least once a year.

The filter area is accessible for changing filters and using the cleaning cartridge from the front of the unit by removing a panel.  You won’t have to move the unit around to change the filters.  At 22 ½ pounds, that’s a good thing.

At the highest price in this class range – and the industry – the SUPER SD501 offers the least amount of available power (200 watts) and the shortest warranty – 3 years parts and labor.

If you want to stick with the Enagic brand, save your money and go with Enagic’s SD501 or SD501 Platinum model.  Better flow rate, more power, better warranty, better price.

Enagic SD501U

This is Enagic’s under counter version of their flagship Leveluk SD501 and retails for $4,980.  But what do you get for the money?

The basic components of the SD501U are the same as the countertop Leveluk SD501.  7 non-textured electrodes and 230 watts of power, single filtration, transformer power supply.

Home owners with limited counter space or those who are discriminating about their kitchen décor will frequently choose an under-counter water ionizer.  What makes the SD501U unique when it comes to the choices in under-counter water ionizers is the stainless steel faucet and wall-mount control panel.

On the plus side, most people prefer stainless steel – they feel it is more durable and longer lasting.  The downside to the stainless steel faucet is a loss of convenience.  The metal faucet isn’t suitable for housing the computerized control system so it mounts separately on a wall near the faucet.

While some like the idea of the stainless steel faucet and a completely separate control panel, for others, the idea of adding a hole in their wall, countertop or backsplash to accommodate the power/control cord for the panel will make them shop a bit more before making a final decision.

The unit comes with a standard 5 year warranty on parts and labor.

Performance is comparable to the standard SD501 countertop model only the flow rate is a little slower.  The unit will produce ionized water with a pH of 4.0 to 9.5 on its own however you’ll need to use Enagic’s chemical enhancer solution to produce the extreme pH levels.

As far as extras you would expect for paying more for a product, aside from the under-counter design and stainless steel faucet, there really aren’t any “stand out” features.   You’ve got a basic 7-plate water ionizer with a single filter to remove chlorine and lead.

All of the presets are configured at the factory and there are no options for customizing them based on the mineral content of your source water.  The only way to “adjust” the strength of the water is by increasing or slowing the flow rate.

Enagic SD501 Platinum & Standard

Next we have Enagic’s SD501 Platinum for $4,280 and the original SD501 for $3,980.   These models are basically the same when it comes to plates, power, features and function – the only difference being casing.   The Platinum model will look much better on your countertop than any other water ionizer offered by Enagic.

So what do you get for the money with the SD501 and SD501 Platinum?

Both of these models have 7 flat plates, 230 watts of power (transformer power system) and a single internal filter for removal of lead and chlorine.  Either model should be able to produce water with a pH range of 4.0 to 9.5 however to reach the extreme pH levels you’ll need to use Enagic’s enhancer solution.

The presets on all Enagic water ionizers are configured at the factory and users have no option to customize power levels based on the source water in their area.  Increasing or decreasing the flow rate at your faucet is the recommended method for adjusting the “strength” of the water at any preset.

SD501 Platinum

Just like with the SUPER501 and the SD501U, the single filter cartridge should last you nine to 12 months.  Enagic recommends cleaning the unit every couple of weeks with their re-usable cleaning cartridge and “deep cleaning” the unit once or twice a year, depending on the hardness of the water in your area.

Both models have an LCD screen that displays the level of water being produced and both have voice alerts that confirm the current pH level selection and let you know when the unit is running a cleaning cycle.   Each time you start producing water the unit will default back to the last level of water you produced – the LCD screen and voice alert will let you know what you’re getting so you know to select another level if it doesn’t start out giving you what you want.

The automated cleaning cycle generally runs based on usage.  If you use the enhancer solution, the very next time you run the unit it will run a cleaning cycle to flush any remaining traces of solution from the electrolysis chamber.

The warranty on both models is a standard 5 years covering both parts and labor.  Repairs are made in the US but wait times for returns on repairs can vary.

Overall, the Enagic SD501 and Platinum are good water ionizers but for the price?  If you shop around you’ll find that you can actually get something with more features, more advanced technology and better filtration for half the price – watch for the “What You Get for the Money – $2,000 to $2,999” article to compare.

If you’re convinced that the Enagic name brand is what you want, pay the extra for the Platinum model.  The stainless steel face and more subtle control panel are the only real “luxuries” you’ll get for the extra money people pay for the Enagic name – and the SD501 Platinum is one of the better looking water ionizers out there.

Evontis Elite

Evontis easily hits the mark with their Elite water ionizer priced at $3,999.

Discriminating buyer’s looking for sleek design combined with powerful performance will be very satisfied with what they get for their investment in this model.  Styling features a clean stainless steel face with white casing that blends in with most modern stainless steel kitchen appliances.

The Elite water ionizer from Evontis is the most powerful non-commercial water ionizer on the market.  The nine hybrid-mesh electrodes were designed to provide optimal electrical conductivity without sacrificing the long-term integrity of the plates.  Operating at a maximum of 400 watts of power allows most users to create even the most extreme pH levels with almost any source water in the country.

Ease of use and ease of maintenance are key features as well.  When water is supplied to the Elite, any level of water can be produced with one touch on the control panel.   No defaulting back to your last setting then toggling through or making another selection to get the type of water you want.

Routine filter change and cleaning the electrolysis chamber are easier with the Evontis Elite than any other countertop water ionizer available right now.

Changing the filters and performing routine cleaning on most water ionizers involves removing a filter panel and working your fingers around the filter(s) to remove and replace.    In most cases, the filter panel is in the back of the unit which means you have to move the unit and hoses to perform maintenance.

Instead, the Evontis Elite’s design includes a unique front panel and “tilting” filters.  The entire front panel of the unit swings open for full access to the filter.  When in use, the filters are locked in place, but when it’s time to change them or run a cleaning cartridge, the easily tilt out making it much easier to grip them to remove and replace.

Other advanced features include

  • Fully adjustable presets allowing users to customize each pH level for optimal performance with their source water.
  • Automatic shut-off after 15 minutes of operation to prevent overflowing containers or wasting water and filter life.
  • Internal flow sensor protects the plates by stopping ionization if there is no water flowing through the unit.
  • TURBO control which automatically slows the flow rate and boosts the power for production of water at the strongest possible pH levels.
  • SMPS power supply to deliver optimal levels of electrical current reducing electrical waste and excess heat.
  • Timed automated cleaning cycle for daily prevention of excess scale buildup inside the electrolysis chamber.

The Evontis Elite has a dual filtration system with a filter lifespan of six to nine months, depending on your usage and source water.  To maintain optimal performance Evontis recommends cleaning the unit once every six to nine months in hard water areas and every 12 to 18 months in other areas.  One-time-use cleaning cartridges are available.

Evontis offers a lifetime warranty covering both parts and labor for as long as you own the product.  All service is performed in the United States with units being repaired and returned to customers within 48 hours (Monday – Friday) of their arrival at the repair facility.

The Evontis Elite should be the basic minimum standard for water ionizers in the $3,900+ price range.  If you are looking only at the best and only in this high-end price range, contact an authorized Evontis distributor for more information.

Tyent UCE 9000T

Rounding out the water ionizers in the $3,900+ price category is Tyent’s UCE 9000T Under Counter model.

The UCE 9000T has 9 hybrid-mesh electrodes and 375 watts of available SMPS regulated power.

Like most under counter water ionizers, the system’s control panel is on the faucet.  All functions, including advanced settings, can be controlled right from the faucet.

The 9000T faucet has a few unique features.

The first is dual control.  The primary controls are on a touch-screen control panel.  All available pH levels and access to advanced settings are directly on the faucet.  For those who don’t like the touch screen control for day to day use the faucet has a secondary “jog dial” control.

The “jog dial” control is on the top of the faucet.  Turning the dial let’s you select a different pH level.  Your selection is visible both on the control panel and on the jog dial – which is “back-lit” and changes colors based on your selection.  Once you’ve selected the level of water you want to produce, lightly press the dial and the unit goes to work.  To stop water production, touch the dial again.

Another unique feature is the spout design on the faucet.  The dual spouts on all water ionizers can be shifted to the right or left so the user can move them out of the way when full access to the sink is needed.  What makes the spouts on Tyent’s UCE 9000T unique are the directional tips at the end.

These directional spout tips not only give you the flexibility to move the spouts to the left or right, but also allow you to angle the streams of water.  Handy when filling containers with both alkaline and acidic water in the sink at the same time.

As for performance – the nine electrodes and 375 watts of power make getting 2.5 to 11.5 pH levels possible in most parts of the country.  Because Tyent water ionizers do not use any sort of chemical enhancer solution to achieve the stronger pH levels, water produced at these extreme levels is safe to use for making tea, coffee or to use for cooking.

This model has several advanced features you expect when paying more for a product.

9000T Control Panel

Every primary alkaline and acidic preset is fully adjustable allowing you to customize the unit based on the mineral content of your source water.

There is a timed automated shut off to prevent overflowing containers and wasted filter life.  If the unit is left running for more than 15 minutes it will automatically shut itself off – you can restart the unit at any time.

TURBO function with flow control increases the power used to the maximum available wattage and slow the flow rate for optimal production of water at extreme pH levels.

For convenience, the entire front panel of the unit swings open and the filters tilt out which makes changing the filters or using the cleaning cartridge in the unit under the sink easier.  The dual filters last six to nine months depending on usage and water quality.

The UCE 9000T has an automated cleaning cycle that runs based on both timer and sensor.  Tyent recommends running a one-time-use cleaning cartridge every six to nine months in hard water areas or every 12 to 18 months in other source water areas.

The Tyent UCE 9000T comes with a lifetime warranty covering both parts and labor for as long as you own the unit.

In the end – “high end luxury” is in the eye of the beholder – or in the opinion of the user.  This article should give you a good starting point as to the features and functions available on the priciest water ionizers available today.

Shop around – the prices in this article are full retail price and you can find some of these units on sale for less.  Just be aware – if you find a deal that looks better than what everyone else is offering, chances are you’re either not dealing with an authorized reseller – or you’re dealing with one who won’t be authorized for much longer.   Another tip – stay away from sites like E-bay and Amazon.com for water ionizers.  You may end up with a machine that isn’t new or isn’t covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

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