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- Gravity filters are ideal for camping, living off the grid, and hiking.
- When buying a filter, consider the time to filter, size, weight, ease of use, and more.
- The Big Berkey is the best overall gravity on the market today.
Gravity water filters are a must-have for any prepper, camper, or hiker who needs access to a freshwater supply, but which one should you invest in?
The best gravity water filters available are the Big Berkey, Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Water Filter, Santevia Gravity System with Fluoride Filter, Zen Water Systems Countertop Gravity Water Filter, and Propur Big Filtration System with Dispenser.
Gravity water filters have become popular because they are easy to use and convenient. They are perfect for everyday uses like hiking, camping, and emergencies when fresh water is hard to come by. Of course, the popularity has led to many brands and types of gravity water filters available. You could spend hours researching different models online or keep reading as I discuss the best gravity water filters, what to know when selecting one, and more.
What is a Gravity Water Filter and How Does it Work?
A gravity-fed water filter is a cool way to purify water using gravity to filter out impurities and contaminants. It uses two chambers, an upper one for the unfiltered water and a lower one for the clean water, and a filter element.
As the water flows from the upper chamber through the filter element, it removes sediment, chlorine, bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals. The filter element can be made of ceramic, carbon, UV, or a combination of these to make a proprietary device.
Depending on which filter you choose, the water goes through several different filtration stages designed to eliminate specific impurities and ensure the water is safe to drink.
The best part is that you don't need electricity or complicated plumbing to use it. Gravity water filters are perfect for camping, travel, and emergencies. They're also a great solution for households that want to reduce their reliance on bottled or municipal water supplies.
Best Gravity Water Filters
With so many options on the market today, choosing the best gravity water filter can take time and effort. I have compiled this list of the best options for researching and shopping.
Big Berkey - #1 Choice
If you search around, you will find that many lists have the Big Berkey as the best overall gravity water filter, and for a good reason. Equipped with powerful Black Berkey Elements, the filter can remove over 200+ typical contaminants in tap water, making even the dirtiest water drinkable and safe.
One of the biggest perks is that the Black Berkey Elements are incredibly long-lasting. Each pair will filter up to 6,000 gallons before you need to replace them. Plus, they were tested by accredited third-party labs to ensure they live up to the hype.
- Type: Proprietary filters
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Capacity: 8.5 Liters
- Dimensions: 8.5"L x 8.5"W x 19.25"H
- Filters last 6000 gallons
- Includes a limited warranty
- Quick and easy to set up
- Made from 304 food-grade stainless steel
- Filters are more expensive
- Filtration continues when the tank is full
- You must lift the top chamber before checking how much water is left.
Alexapure Pro Gravity Water Filter – Runner-Up
Another great and reliable gravity water filter is the Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Filter. The advanced filtration system removes up to 99.9999% of over 200 contaminants from any water source. These include lead, chromium, bacteria, volatile organic compounds, nitrates, and even drugs.
The hybrid ceramic shell and single gravity block core provide unprecedented filtration power. Plus, with its filtration capacity of up to 20,000 gallons, you won't have to worry about constantly replacing the filter very often. But when the time does come, the process is quick and easy, requiring no priming.
The Alexapure Pro is 100% made in the USA. The filter's low maintenance and easy assembly make it a great investment. Adding three additional certified filters allows you to achieve a much faster flow rate without sacrificing filtration power.
- Filter types: Ceramic
- Dimensions: 14"L x 9"W x 9"H
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Capacity: 8.5 Liter
- Removes up to 99.9999% of over 200 harmful contaminants
- Hybrid ceramic shell and single gravity block core
- Requires no electricity
- Filtration capacity of up to 20,000 gallons
- Replacement filters are easy to install
- Stainless steel construction
- Low maintenance and easy assembly
- The filter removes 97% of fluoride, but no mention of which types
- Reports of rust spots and slow water flow
- Not best for lead removal
- No warranty
Santevia Gravity System with Fluoride Filter - Another Great Option
The Santevia Gravity Water System is a reliable option for those who prefer a natural and refreshing taste in their drinking water.
The ceramic pre-filter is a dependable method that removes particles larger than 0.3 microns. These include microplastics, bacteria, rust, and sediment. The filter adds beneficial minerals like potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium into the water, raising the pH by around 1.5-2.0.
The water treatment process includes multiple stages and a fluoride filter that reduces up to 98% of fluoride, 99% of chlorine, and other heavy metals like lead and agricultural contaminants.
However, the Santevia Gravity Water System has some downsides. First, the filter replacement cost is relatively high, at $200 per year, mainly because the fluoride filters only last up to four months or about 317 gallons of water.
The product manual claims the system is independently tested to NSF 42 and 53 standards. Still, the lab report is unavailable to back up the claim. In addition, some users have reported that the filtration did not work, and the system requires regular, thorough cleaning to avoid mold build-up.
- Filter types: Ceramic, Fluoride
- Filtration capacity: 1200 liters
- Product Size: 9.8 liters
- Materials: BPA-free plastic
- The ceramic filter adds minerals to drinking water
- Fluoride filter reduces up to 98% fluoride, up to 99% chlorine, and more
- Adds healthy minerals
- Raises pH by 1.5-2.0
- Filter replacement costs $200
- Design issues reported by some users
- Regular cleaning required to prevent mold buildup
- 30-day warranty
LifeStraw Mission – Best Portable Bag Filter
The LifeStraw Mission is an excellent water purifier for group and family outdoor activities and emergency preparedness. It is easy to use, lightweight, and compact, perfect for any camping or hiking trip.
The capacity of the five or 12-liter bag is ideal for providing clean water to multiple people. In addition, it can be easily suspended from a tree or other support for easy access.
One of the most impressive features of the LifeStraw Mission is its filtration capacity. It removes virtually all bacteria, protozoa, and viruses that can contaminate water. In addition, the .02-micron ultrafiltration membrane eliminates microplastics and any suspended matter down to 0.02 microns.
The flow rate of 9-12 liters per hour is fast, and the outlet to flush out contaminants ensures the filter maintains its effectiveness. The red bulb is used for membrane cleaning, although it tends to leak, which can be a drawback.
- Filter type: Gravity-fed, hollow membrane
- Product size: 5 liters or 12 liters
- Filtration capacity: 18,000 liters
- Material: TPU laminated nylon
- Removes virtually all bacteria down to 0.02 microns
- 5 or 12 liters capacity
- A flow rate of 9-12 liters per hour
- Compact and lightweight design
- Meets NSF International, EPA, and WHO standards
- 3-year warranty and lifetime filtration capacity of 18,000 liters
- Red bulb leaks
- Limited capacity
- It needs to hang to filter
pH Recharge Glass Alkaline Water Filter – Great for Alkaline Water
The pH Recharge Glass Alkaline Water Dispenser filters out particles and impurities while increasing pH to pH10 and maintaining minerals.
It has a long-lasting filter and cleans up to 1000 liters of water.
Made from high-quality, BPA-free, food-grade materials, this dispenser is a great and sustainable solution for reducing how many plastic bottles are consumed.
It also features a cool design with a glass and wooden structure. The dispenser's proprietary filter recipe also offers several benefits, including improving water taste and smell, remineralizing water, and producing small molecular-sized structured water.
The dispenser has a precision tap designed for hygiene and an ergonomically designed tap that pours only the needed amount.
- Filter Type: Alkaline Ultra Filtration
- Dimensions: 11.1"L x 17"W x 10.9"H
- Capacity: 7.5 liters
- Material: Plastic
- Filters out chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, and organic and non-organic matter
- Adds minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc to boost alkaline levels
- Big enough for multiple users
- Stainless steel spigot
- No NSF certifications with contaminant reduction rates
- Awkward tap position
- PH001 filters water too fast
Zen Water Systems Gravity Water Filter – Best on a Budget
The Zen Water Systems Gravity Water Filter is a multi-stage filtration system that not only filters water but also mineralizes and magnetizes it.
It uses a ceramic filter, activated carbon filter, ion exchange resin, far-infrared balls, silica sand, mineral sand, mineral stones, and a magnetized spigot to filter the water.
It is made of BPA-free plastic and has a micro-ceramic filter, a 5-stage mineral cartridge filter, maifan mineral stones, and a magnetized spigot. The ceramic filter lasts 1000 gallons or one year, while the 5-stage mineral filter lasts 500 gallons or six months.
However, the lack of warranty and published lab test results to back up the company's claims is a downside.
The system is affordable and will improve the taste of tap water and remove some contaminants. It works well for those on a tight budget who want a decent water filter.
- Filter Type: Activated Carbon, Alkaline, Ceramic
- Dimensions: 12.5"L x 12.5"W x 22"H
- Capacity: 15.1 liters
- Material: Plastic
- Affordable option
- Includes a micro-ceramic filter, a 5-stage filter, mineral stones, and a magnetized spigot
- Multistage filtration
- BPA-free plastic
- Ceramic filter lasts for 1000 gallons or one year
- A 5-stage mineral filter lasts for 500 gallons or six months.
- No known warranty
- Plastic is not very durable
- It does not remove fluoride
What To Look For When Buying Gravity Water Filter
A gravity water filter is a great option if you're looking for a reliable way to filter your water while camping, hiking, or traveling.
But with so many different models on the market, how do you choose the right one? Here are some things to consider when buying a gravity water filter.
Cost and Value
You want to invest in a product worth the money and lasts for years. So, look for an option with a high-quality filter cartridge that can be easily replaced. This will save you money over time. Additionally, consider the initial cost of the filter and whether it fits within your budget.
A water filter must remove contaminants, so you must ensure it is up to the task. Choose a filter that can remove many contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and chemicals.
Some filters are also designed to remove sediment and improve the taste of the water. Look for filters certified by organizations such as NSF or EPA, independently tested and verified to remove specific contaminants.
Durability and Maintenance
When camping or hiking, you need a filter that can withstand the elements and is easy to maintain. A filter made of high-quality materials, such as BPA-free plastic or stainless steel, is the best option.
Also, make sure the filter is easy to disassemble and clean, as this will ensure your filter is functioning properly for many uses.
Treatment time is an important factor to consider when choosing a gravity water filter. Some filters can filter water quickly, while others may take longer.
However, it is important to note that just because a filter is slow doesn’t mean it is bad; on the contrary, slow is good. It means the filter takes the time to remove impurities and gives you the cleanest water available.
If you're traveling or hiking with your filter, weight is an important factor. Look for a lightweight and easy filter to pack, as this will make it easier to carry with you on your adventures.
Additionally, consider whether the filter comes with a carrying case, as it can make it easier to protect the filter from getting knocked around.
Ease of Setup
Setting up your gravity water filter should be quick and easy. Look for a filter with clear instructions and easy to set up and use.
Some filters may require additional accessories or tools. Double-check to ensure you have everything before heading out on your trip.
Ease of Filtration
Finally, consider how easy it is to filter water with your chosen filter. Look for an easy-fill filter that will save you time and frustration when you're out in the wilderness.
Additionally, consider whether you can use the filter with multiple water sources, such as streams, lakes, or faucets.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Gravity Water Filters
Gravity water filters offer several advantages and some disadvantages. Here are some of them:
- No electricity required: This means that you can use them anywhere, even in places where there is no power supply.
- Easy to use: They typically come with clear instructions, and you can set them up quickly.
- High water quality: Gravity filters remove many impurities, including bacteria, viruses, and metals, from the water.
- Cost-effective: Gravity water filters are a relatively affordable solution to clean drinking water.
- Low maintenance: You only need to clean the filter periodically to ensure optimal performance.
- Limited filtration capacity: Gravity filters are not made to filter large volumes of water. They are mostly for personal use or small groups of people. Some models may suit large families or groups but check the specs first.
- Slow filtration speed: Gravity filters take longer to filter water than other water filters. It can take a while to filter a single gallon of water.
- Bulky and heavy: Some gravity filters are awkward, making them less portable than others.
What are the Different Types Of Gravity Water Filters?
Not all gravity filters use the same methods. Here are some of the most common types:
Ceramic water filters are one of the most popular types of water filters. They use a simple but effective method to remove impurities.
Ceramic filters are made of porous ceramic material that traps impurities as the water passes through them.
The filtration process of ceramic filters involves two methods: mechanical and adsorption.
In mechanical filtration, the ceramic filter traps impurities larger than its pores, including dirt, rust, sand, and sediment.
In adsorption, the filter material attracts and holds impurities like chlorine, chemicals, and organic matter on its surface.
Ceramic filters also have a self-sterilizing effect due to the porous structure of the ceramic material. As a result, the filter attracts and holds bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, which are then killed by the filter's natural antimicrobial properties.
This makes ceramic filters ideal for filtering water from natural sources like rivers, lakes, and ponds where these things thrive.
Ceramic filters are easy to clean and maintain. Most ceramic filters can be scrubbed with a soft brush or sponge to remove any buildup of contaminants on the surface. However, ceramic filters can become clogged over time and lose their effectiveness.
So, replace the filter cartridge periodically, usually after several months of use or after filtering a certain volume of water. Again, check the manual for more info on this.
Activated Carbon Filters
Activated carbon filters are made of activated carbon treated with oxygen to create millions of tiny pores between carbon atoms.
As water flows through an activated carbon filter, contaminants are attracted to the carbon's surface and trapped in the tiny pores.
Activated carbon is great for removing chemicals, such as chlorine, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can make the water taste and smell bad.
Activated carbon filters also effectively remove heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and certain bacteria and parasites.
However, they are less effective in removing minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which can cause water hardness.
Activated carbon filters come in various forms, including granular activated carbon (GAC) and carbon block filters. GAC filters are made of loose carbon granules and effectively remove larger particles and impurities.
Carbon block filters, conversely, are made of tightly packed activated carbon and are more effective in removing smaller particles and impurities.
Activated carbon filters require regular maintenance to remain effective. Over time, the pores in the activated carbon become clogged with impurities, reducing the filter's effectiveness.
So, replace the filter cartridge after a few months or after filtering a certain volume of water, depending on the manufacturer's instructions.
Sand filters allow water to flow through a bed of sand, which traps and removes contaminants and impurities from the water.
The sand used in these filters is typically specially processed to remove any impurities or contaminants that could affect the quality of the filtered water.
As the water flows through the sand bed, particles and contaminants are trapped in the spaces between the sand grains, allowing only clean water to pass through.
One of the key advantages of sand gravity filters is their simplicity and low cost. These filters can be easily constructed and maintained, making them an ideal solution for small communities or individuals needing a reliable, clean drinking water source.
However, sand gravity filters may be less effective at removing certain contaminants than other filtration systems, such as activated carbon or reverse osmosis filters.
Additionally, the sand bed in these filters can become clogged over time, reducing their effectiveness and requiring more frequent maintenance.
Proprietary water filters are unique to a specific brand or manufacturer. They are not commonly used or found in other filtration systems.
These filters are often marketed as offering superior filtration capabilities, but how they work is not always disclosed to the public.
One of the perks of proprietary filters is that they are often designed to target certain contaminants specifically.
This can make them better at removing specific pollutants or contaminants than more generic filters designed for a wider range.
Of course, the lack of transparency of proprietary filters can make it difficult to assess their effectiveness or compare them to other filtration methods.
Proprietary filters may also be more expensive than other types of filters since they are often only available from a single manufacturer or supplier.
How Effective are Gravity Filters?
Gravity filters are generally effective in removing contaminants from water, including sediment, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals.
Of course, the level of effectiveness can vary depending on the type of gravity filter, the quality of the source water, and the conditions when the filter is used.
Some gravity filters can remove up to 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, while others may only remove a portion of these microorganisms.
The effectiveness of a filter can also depend on the size of the pores, which determines what size particles can pass through.