Counter Top or Under Sink Machine?

Do you want a counter top model or an undersink model?  What are the differences between them? Advantages and disadvantages of each?

There are a couple of different types of designs that are available. Both designs make ionized alkaline drinking water that provides the health benefits of electrolysis, however one style is more portable and easier and cheaper to install while the other style is permanent and much more complicated to install, necessitating a plumber for most people.

Main Differences of Countertop & Under Sink Alkaline Water  Machines


  • Counter top models sit next to your sink and connect directly to your faucet.
  • Counter top units come with a 2-way valve to attache to your faucet. To attach the valve you will need to unscrew and remove the aerator on your faucet. The aerator is the part at the tip of your faucet with the screen over it. Once you remove the aerator, you will screw the valve in it’s place. Then to use the water alkalizer you turn on your faucet and turn the lever on the valve to send water into the ionizer machine. If you want to wash the dishes, turn the lever again so the water comes out your faucet like it always does.
  • The main disadvantage of this connection is that there is a tube that is connected to your faucet at all times. This tube takes the water into the machine. Some people don’t want this tube connected to their faucets while most people do not mind.
  • The main advantage of this connection is that it is very easy to do, just about everyone can make the connection in 5 minutes or less.
  • Another advantage of the faucet connection is that it is very easy to undo, if you want to move the machine to another place in your house or if you live in a rental property and will be moving in a year or so.
  • Counter top units very portable and simple to install.
  • Some counter top machines can be connected under the sink to the water line and come with connections for this. You will still need to put the machine on the counter top but you can connect it below the sink instead of to your faucet. You will need to run the line up through the countertop either by way of your soap dispenser hole or some other pre-drilled holes that are under the base plate around your faucet.


  • Undersink alkaline water ionizer systems are generally a whole other ball game when it comes to installation.
  • These models are generally much bigger in size. The will consist of a box like unit which is the alkalized ionized water machine and another cylinder like unit which is the faucet for the counter. There will also be many cords and tubes to connect them all together.
  • The 1st part of the undersink model installation will consist of you placing the unit under the sink and tapping into the water line. You will also need to drill a hole in your pipes under the sink to place the drain line for the systems acidic waste water. Finally you will need a power source for the machine and you will need to ground the device to prevent electric shock if there is a leak or it gets damaged.
  • The 2nd part of the undersink installation consist of you installing the “handle” or “faucet”. The is the part that sticks up through the counter top and from which the alkaline ionized antioxidant rich drinking water comes out. You will need to place this faucet where you soap dispenser is or drill a new hole in the counter top some distance away from your faucet, unless you can fit them next to each other. Once you get the faucet in place you need to wire it up underneath and plug it in since they do require power. You will need to ground this part as well to reduce the risk of electric shock.
  • The main disadvantage of the under sink alkaline ionizer water machine is that it has a very elaborate and complicated setup. Most people cannot do this themselves and will need to hire a plumber to do the work.
  • The second big disadvantage is that this installation is most likely permanent, if you move you will need to hire a plumber to take it out, or you can try to do it yourself. Many companies will void your warranty if the item is damaged by what they consider to be “non normal use” meaning that if your machine gets damaged from multiple installations or gets wet the warranty may be voided.
  • The main advantage of the under sink design is the clean look you get on the counter-top.
under sink water ionizer concept
A quick sketch of the under sink installation concept.

Also if you purchase an under the sink model, every time you move you will have to hire a NEW plumber to re-install your system. Not only is this an added expense but in some styles of homes or apartments the pipes can be too thick to use or may be buried in the walls in ways which are hard or impossible to access. Due to this added complexity it is common to read undersink alkaline water machine reviews left by customers complaining of frequent break downs in their units from high humidity levels below the sink and complaints of manufactures not honoring and voiding warranties due to water damage from leaks. Check the Better Business Bureau or Amazon for the manufacturer brand name and model to read these reviews before you make your purchase.

Counter-top alkaline water ionizers offer flexibility and the ease of being able to move it around. These models typically have a smaller size than their under the sink counterparts, and come in different shapes and sizes. They often weigh much less than the under the sink models as well since they are smaller. The portability allows you to take your system with you even when traveling on short or long vacations so you never have to go without your alkaline drinking water.

For those people who like the portability and ease of use and ease of installation of the countertop systems but who do not want to have them connected to their faucet, they will be relieved to know that some ionizers can be connected below the sink and placed on the counter top. These models add increase versatility, allowing the owner to connect these alkaline water systems to the water line below the sink and then place the machine on the counter top.

Using an External Pre-Filtration System with your System for Polluted Tap Water

All water ionizer machines contain internal filters, these filters are inside the machine and cannot be seen unless you remove the back covers to access them. The internal filters are generally changed every year or so, depending on the amount of use and the water quality where you live. People living in bigger cities with more polluted water may need to use additional external pre-filtration systems with their machine. This is especially true for people living in super large cities like New York City where the population density is very high. If you live in a smaller rural city or a small town you will not need an external pre-filter and can usually get a singe filter or dual filter water ionizer. If you need to use a pre-filter, you may want to buy a machine that can be connect below the sink yet can be placed on your counter top.

Some systems can be connect below the sink with the ionizer placed on the countertop.
Some systems can be connect to the faucet or below the sink with the ionizer placed on the countertop.

Pre-filter systems are generally very large in size and very unsightly, they are something you will not want to place on your counter-top with your machine. By purchasing a system that allows you to connect below the sink, you can put the pre-filter below the sink and all the hardware down there out of your sight. Then all you need to do is run the intake line up through the counter top to the bottom of your water ionizer machine. This also frees up your faucet so there is nothing connected to it and the ionizer sits next to your sink on the countertop