Watertechadvice.com is supported by readers. If you purchase through referral links on our site, we make a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Home » Water Filtration Systems » 9 Best Gravity Water Filters Reviewed

9 Best Gravity Water Filters Reviewed

By: Stephanie Nielsen
Last Updated:
Best Gravity Water Filter

When looking at the best gravity water filter to purchase, it can be hard to tell if they are truly innovative and effective or just trying to sell you a crappy product.

This is why we spent countless hours researching, testing, and comparing the top gravity water filters on the market to determine which ones are the most effective.

Our review of gravity water filters compares each feature with key specifications and the buyer’s guide provides all information needed when picking which one is the right fit based on your water purification needs, not to mention that it will reduce the use of plastic bottles in your household.

Find The Right Section…

Best Gravity Water Filters Compared

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES  
hd-table__image
#1 Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter
  • Contaminants Removed: 232+
  • Filter Lifespan: 3000 gallons or 4-7 years
  • Capacity: 2.25 gallons
CHECK PRICE
hd-table__image
#2 Alexapure Pro
  • Contaminants Removed: 206+
  • Filter Lifespan: 5000 gallons or 7-11 years
  • Capacity: 2.25 gallons
CHECK PRICE
hd-table__image
#3 Propur ProOne
  • Contaminants Removed: 250
  • Filter Lifespan: 1000 gallons or 1-2 years
  • Capacity: 2.75 gallons
CHECK PRICE
hd-table__image
#4 Platypus Gravity Works
  • Contaminants Removed: 99% bacteria & protozoa
  • Filter Lifespan: 400 gallons
  • Capacity: 1 gallon
CHECK PRICE
hd-table__image
#5 Travel Berkey
  • Contaminants Removed: 232+
  • Filter Lifespan: 3000 gallons or 4-7 years
  • Capacity: 1.5 gallons
CHECK PRICE

What to Consider Before Buying a Gravity Fed Water Filter

gravity-water-filter-evaluation-criteria

We compared and ranked each water filtration system based on its ability to remove contaminants, the filter life, filtration rate, capacity and size, certifications, and price. 

These gravity water filter advantages will have the biggest impact on how well a water filtration system performs – and how happy you will be once you find the best gravity water filter to improve your water quality.

Contaminants Removed

All downward pull water filters work by filling up an upper chamber with dirty water and then letting gravity and the weight of the water force it through the filter and into the holding tank below. 

The contaminants a specific product can remove is going to depend on the type of filtration system it uses – it can use a carbon filter, ceramic filter, or other filter media to remove harmful contaminants for pure, healthy water.

The chart below shows the different filtration media commonly used in gravity filtration systems and the contaminants they work best on.

Filter TypeContaminants Removed
Activated CarbonOrganic chemicals, foul tastes and odors
KDF Heavy metals
Ion ExchangeHeavy metals, dissolved inorganic particles
CeramicMicroorganisms, particulates
Hollow FiberMicroorganisms, particulates

The more contaminants a filter removes, the more likely it is to work on the contaminants that are specific to your drinking water. 

If you don’t already know the contaminants in your water supply, it may be smart to test your home water with a professional water test kit first so you know what needs to be removed to improve your water quality.

Filter Life

The lifespan of a gravity water filter can often be measured in months or gallons. 

The gravity water filter life in months tends to be the more arbitrary measurement since a family of four will use 1,000 gallons of water much faster than a family of two. 

The lifespan of the gravity water filters will tell you how much general maintenance you can expect to do down the line, as well as how much cost there will be to replace them.

Filtration Rate

One of the biggest determinants of customer satisfaction with a filtration system is how long the filtration process takes. The filtration rate is how long it takes the system to filter the water supply to get clean drinking water, and there can be significant variations between products.

Capacity & Size

The capacity of the water filtration system will tell you how many gallons of filtered water it can hold, which often correlates with its size. 

The size will help you decide if you should get a countertop gravity filter or another water filtration system.

Certifications

Two main independent organizations certify water filter media – the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and the Water Quality Association (WQA). 

They certify products for passing industry quality standards, and it’s a way that you can be sure your gravity filter system lives up to its advertisement.

Price

If you’re going to spend a lot of money on a gravity water purifier, you want to know that you’re getting the best value back out of it. Likewise, you don’t want to save money by sacrificing the quality of gravity-fed drip filters for the price.

Gravity Water Filter Reviews

Gravity Water Filters

Review Order

Using the criteria above to compare the gravity-fed drip filters, these are our picks for the 9 best gravity water filters on the market.

1. Big Berkey – Best Gravity Water Filter

Big-Berkey

Berkey has been a titan in the water filter industry for a long time, and with good reason. 

The Big Berkey gravity water filter is our top choice because it’s effective, long-lasting, made of stainless steel, and comes with a lifetime warranty. 

It uses a combination of activated carbon, microfiltration, and ion exchange filter media to achieve fantastic filtration results for clean drinking water, including the capability to remove 232+ contaminants such as chlorine, pesticides, VOCs, herbicides, bacteria, viruses, and much more to get alkaline water.

This system filters contaminants, all while keeping beneficial minerals such as magnesium and calcium in your water supply during the filtration process.

The best thing about the Big Berkey gravity water filter is it requires no installation, and it’s super easy to maintain. 

All you have to do is place the countertop water filter on your countertop, add filter elements, and add water to the device.

For maintenance, you just need to replace the Black Berkey filters after 300 gallons of water or 4-7 years of filter life.

Overall, the Big Berkey is a more expensive gravity water filter compared to other models, but it’s totally worth the additional price for the advanced water filter and quality drinking water it produces.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This gravity water purifier removes 232 contaminants in all classes, including organic and inorganic chemicals, heavy metals, radioactive particles, and microorganisms.

Filter life: The Big Berkey takes two Black Berkey filters, each with a lifespan of 3,000 gallons of water. This means that they should last 4-7 years before needing to be replaced, depending on your household size and usage.

Filtration rate: The gravity water filter system filters at 3.5 gallons per hour, which means the filtration process will take about 36 minutes to fill the storage tank.

Capacity & Size: This model can hold 2.25 gallons of filtered water, and its dimensions are 8.5 inches in diameter by 21 inches tall.

Certifications: While it hasn’t been certified by NSF, it has still been independently tested and found to pass standards 42, 53, and P473.

Price: This is one of the more expensive products on the list, but it’s worth every penny.

Pros

  • 232 contaminants removed
  • Long filter lifespan
  • 2.25-gallon capacity
  • Extensive independent testing
  • Good value for the price
  • Optional stand for mounting
  • Optional fluoride filter to remove even more
  • Stainless steel casing
  • Can get it equipped with 4 water filters instead of two – filters last longer and work faster
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 4.7 out of 5-star rating with 1,675 reviews

Cons

  • Longer filtration rate than some
  • Some gravity water filter reviews report staining on the stainless steel housing
  • Some customers report a rubbery taste in the drinking water

Who It’s Best For

If you want a gravity water filter that works on most contaminants, is backed by a lifetime warranty, and requires very little maintenance, then this is an excellent choice to consider.

You can see our full Berkey Filters Review here.

Check Price


2. Alexapure Pro Gravity Stainless Steel Water Filtration

alexapure pro

Another awesome gravity water filter is this system from Alexapure, which is a relatively new name in water filtration. 

This stainless steel gravity water filter uses both carbon filter and hybrid ceramic filter media to filter 200+ contaminants, including bacteria, lead, viruses, radioactive particles, fluoride, and much more.

It also has some of the longest-lasting water filters on the market, with 5,000-gallons of water capacity, which means it should last for around 7+ years.

One of the best features of this water purification filter is the ability to work without electricity in any situation. All you need to do is fill the tank with water and wait for it to complete the filtration process, where you can then fill up your glass or stainless steel bottle (not plastic bottles), which is as good or better than bottled water.

Since the Alexapure Pro gravity water filter requires no electricity, it also serves a great need for emergency situations.

Overall, this is one of our top recommended gravity water filters due to the stainless steel construction, large filter life, and excellent filtration capability.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: The Alexapure Pro gravity water filter removes 206 contaminants, including organic and inorganic chemicals, radioactive particles, and microorganisms.

Filter lifespan: Each filter has a 5,000-gallon capacity, and the system comes with one filter element standard. This means it should last from 7-to 11 years before needing to be replaced.

Filtration rate: The filtration rate is 4.5 gallons of water per hour, which means the filtration process would take about 30 minutes to fill the storage tank.

Capacity & Size: This system can hold 2.25 gallons of filtered water, and its dimensions are 9 inches in diameter by 14 inches tall.

Certifications: This product has not been certified but has been independently tested and found to pass standards 42 and 53.

Price: This is one of the more expensive gravity water filters on the list, but it’s well worth the price for clean drinking water that is the same quality or better than bottled water.

Pros

  • 206 contaminants removed
  • Long filter lifespan
  • Good value for the price
  • Extensive independent testing
  • Very low maintenance
  • Easy assembly
  • Stainless steel housing
  • You can add up to 3 additional filters for faster filtration and longer lifespans of filter media
  • 30 money-back guarantee
  • 4.4 out of 5-star rating

Cons

  • Lesser-known brand
  • No warranty policy
  • Slower filtration rate than some
  • Some customers report slower than expected filtration times

Who It’s Best For

If you have a household with very high water usage, then this is a great water purification option due to the ability to stack filters. It’s also good for those who want a low-maintenance system.

You can see our in-depth review of the Alexapure Pro Gravity Water Filter here.

Check Price


3. ProOne (Propur) Big+ Gravity Water Filter

propur

Propur is another big name in drinking water filtration, and they just got a facelift. 

Propur is now ProOne, though they still produce the same quality products the brand is known for. 

The Big+ gravity-fed water filter system is made of stainless steel and uses ceramic filter media impregnated with silver and AquaMetix, which combines an activated carbon filter and ion exchange filtration.

The filter element removes over 250 contaminants, including chlorine, bacteria, herbicides, pesticides, and more, for pure, alkaline water.

The filters it comes with have a 1,000-gallon lifespan which means they will last around 1-2 years, and the replacement filter can be easily installed.

Similar to other gravity water filters, this model does not require electricity, so it can also be used in emergency situations to filter water.

Overall, this is a solid gravity water filtration system that is portable, easy to use, and lasts a long time.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This system removes over 250 contaminants in all classes.

Filter lifespan: These filters have a 1,000-gallon lifespan which will last about 1-2 years.

Filtration rate: The ceramic filter and carbon filter takes four hours to fill the reservoir with filtered water completely.

Capacity & Size: The capacity of the holding tank is 2.75 gallons, and the model itself is 9.25 inches in diameter by 22.75 inches tall.

Certifications: This product has been NSF certified for standards 42, 53, and P231.

Price: This water filter system is not quite as expensive as the top two but still delivers great water quality.

Pros

  • Over 250 contaminants removed
  • 1-2 year filter lifespan
  • Larger capacity than other models
  • NSF certified for 3 standards
  • Option to add up to 2 additional filter elements to boost lifespan and filtration rate
  • Option to upgrade from 7-inch to 9-inch filter elements
  • Stainless steel body
  • Stand included
  • 1-year warranty
  • 4.7 out of 5-star rating on 197 reviews

Cons

  • Replacement water filters are pricey and add up over time
  • Very long filtration flow rate
  • Some customer reviews point to problems with the durability of the model

Who It’s Best For

If you want to ensure the gravity water filter you choose will be most likely to remove the contaminants in your water, then this is the system for you. It removes more contaminants than any of the other filters on our list for great water quality. 

Check Price


4. Platypus Gravity Works Water Filter With Gravity Bag

platypus

The Platypus Gravity filtration system is a great on-the-go, camping, or survival gravity water filter option.

Using hollow fiber filtration technology to make dirty water microbiologically safe to drink, this system ditches the bulky shell for a gravity bag and makes portability its strong selling point.

The gravity water filter system is effective against 99% of bacteria, protozoa, as well as particulate contaminants down to 0.2 microns in size. 

The only downside compared to other hanging gravity water filters is that the water filter doesn’t remove viruses or harmful chemicals, toxins, or heavy metals, so it lacks in that regard compared to other gravity bag water filters.

A great feature is that this gravity bag is really easy to use. All you do is hook it up to a tree or other object where it can hang, add water to the top filter, and let gravity pass water through the filtration device into the clean bag, then fill up your water bottle.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: While it doesn’t work to remove viruses, chemicals, and toxins, this filter is effective against 99.9% of bacteria, protozoa, and particulate contaminants down to 0.2 microns in size.

Filter lifespan: The filter cartilage has a lifespan of about 400 gallons, which means it would last you between 9-12 months with daily use.

Filtration rate: This model has one of the fastest filtration rates on the market, at almost 28 gallons per hour.

Capacity & Size: The filtered water storage capacity is 4 liters or 1.06 gallons, and instead of being built into a housing, the system uses two hanging bags that are 4L each with a filter between them.

Certifications: While not certified, this product has been tested to EPA and NSF standards for microbial water safety.

Price: This gravity water filter is at the low end of the price range compared to others on the list.

Pros

  • Removes 99.9% of bacteria and protozoa as well as particulates
  • Very fast filtration rate
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Tested against EPA and NSF microbial standards
  • Inexpensive
  • Ideal for backpackers, hikers, etc
  • You can backflush the filter to improve its lifespan
  • The hose shutoff clamp allows you to regulate the delivery of filtered water
  • Made in the USA
  • Universal bottle adapter available
  • 4.8 out of 5-star rating with 1,039 reviews
  • Lifetime warranty against defects

Cons

  • Does not remove chemical contaminants
  • Short filter lifespan
  • Multiple customers have reported that their filter came without the first filter cartridge.

Who It’s Best For

If you spend a lot of time camping, hiking, etc., and you want to ensure you have safe drinking water on the go, then this is the gravity water filter system for you. It’s lightweight and easy to use as well.

Check Price


5. Travel Berkey Gravity Water Filter

travel-berkey

Berkey also tops our list with their smaller and more portable system – the Travel Berkey water filter. 

This system also comes equipped with two Black Berkey filters and removes all the same contaminants as its big brother.

Basically, this gravity water filter packs the same quality and punch as the Big Berkey in a smaller unit which is better for people looking for a more portable or convenient option or who don’t have as much space.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This system removes the same 232 contaminants as the Big Berkey.

Filter lifespan: The Black Berkey filters in this model likewise have a 3,000-gallon capacity each or about 4-7 years lifespan.

Filtration rate: The filtration rate is slightly lower at 2.75 gallons per hour.

Capacity & Size: The storage capacity of the Travel Berkey is 1.5 gallons, and the dimensions are 7.5 inches in diameter by 19 inches tall.

Certifications: This product has not been certified but likewise passes independent testing for NSF standards 42, 53, and P473.

Price: There’s only a slight price difference between this model and the Big Berkey, but it’s still reasonable for its performance.

Pros

  • 232 contaminants removed
  • Long filter lifespan
  • More compact and portable
  • Extensive independent testing
  • Slightly less expensive water filter than models with comparable contaminant removal
  • Stainless steel housing
  • Optional stand
  • Optional fluoride filters to add
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars with 1,098 reviews

Cons

  • Smaller capacity
  • Slower filtration rate
  • Some customers report the filters failing the red dye test

Who It’s Best For

If you want a hardy yet more easily transported gravity water filter, then the Travel Berkey has your name on it. If you don’t want to have to do much maintenance on it either, then you’re in luck.

Check Price


6. Katadyn Gravity Camp Water Filter

Katadyn BeFree

As an alternative to the Platypus GravityWorks, this water filter uses microfiltration to make natural water safe to drink on the go. 

It likewise features a portable, hanging gravity water filter design.

It’s a 0.1-micron filter that has the ability to remove 99% of bacteria and protozoa.

The filter in this unit has a lifespan of around 400 gallons which means it can last for 9-12 months before needing to be replaced.

Overall, it’s another option if you are someone who likes camping or the great outdoors and needs to fill up your water bottle often.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This water filter removes all contaminants larger than 0.2 microns, but the percentages of microorganisms removed have not been published.

Filter lifespan: This filter likewise has a lifespan of about 400 gallons, which would last you 9-12 months.

Flow rate: With a fast flow rate, you’ll have safe water on hand almost instantaneously.

Capacity & Size: This gravity water filter has a slightly larger capacity than the Platypus at 6L or 1.6 gallons, but it’s likewise portable and lightweight.

Certifications: This product has not been NSF or WQA certified.

Price: This is one of the least expensive water filtration systems available that still produces quality results.

Pros

  • Filters contaminants larger than 0.2 microns
  • Very fast flow rate to fill up water bottles
  • Larger capacity than similar systems
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Inexpensive
  • No filter backflushing required
  • No hoses required – can drink straight from the bag
  • The quick-connect adaptor can fit most water bladders
  • 1-year warranty
  • 4.3 out of 5-star rating with 237 reviews

Cons

  • Short filter lifespan
  • Unknown microbial performance
  • No certifications or known independent testing
  • Shorter filter lifespan
  • Some customers report very short filter lifespans

Who It’s Best For

If you’re looking for a cheaper and simpler version of the Platypus, then this is a good option to consider. It’s great for those who spend a lot of time outdoors and want to ensure they can fill up their water bottles and drink the water they come across in nature.

Check Price


7. Santevia Gravity Water Filter

santevia

This is one of the few alkalizing gravity water purifiers on the market that raises the pH of your tap water by adding back healthy minerals. 

It uses a combination of microfiltration, ceramic, and fluoride filtration media to filter water. The Gravity Water System creates naturally clean, mineralized, and alkaline water to revitalize your body with multi-stage long contact filtration.

 It has been shown to reduce heavy metals, agricultural contaminants, rust, pathogenic bacteria, parasites, fluoride, chlorine, and lead.

Compared to our top countertop picks, this model takes a long time to filter water, and the filter does not last quite as long at around 4 months compared to 12.

We think this is a decent option for the price, but we wouldn’t recommend it over Berkey or Alexapure gravity filter.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: The full list of contaminants removed has not been published, but it has been shown to reduce heavy metals, agricultural contaminants, rust, bacteria, parasites, microplastics, sediment, and 98% of fluoride, 99% of chlorine, and 89.1% of lead.

Filter lifespan: The included fluoride filter is rated to last up to 4 months or 317 gallons.

Filtration rate: While the filtration rate has not been published, several customers report it taking at least 2 hours to fill the holding tank.

Capacity & Size: This system has a 2.6-gallon capacity, and its dimensions are 12 inches in diameter by 24 inches tall.

Certifications: While not certified, this product has been tested to NSF standards 42 and 53.

Price: This model is less expensive than most of the other countertop water filter models on the list.

Pros

  • Reduces contaminants across many classes, including fluoride
  • Larger capacity than some models
  • Extensively independently tested
  • Reasonable price
  • Clear holding tank and reservoir
  • Alkalizes water
  • Magnetic energizer in the spout to make water more easily absorbed
  • 90-day warranty
  • 4.6 out of 5-star rating with 180 reviews

Cons

  • Complete contaminant removal list not published
  • Very long filtration rate
  • Short filter lifespan
  • Several customers report a buildup of residue in the filtered water holding tank

Who It’s Best For

If you’re looking for a gravity filter that works on many different contaminants and alkalizes your water, then this is definitely a top choice. Take away the alkalizing feature, however, and there are better options.

Check Price


8. Sawyer Gravity Filter

sawyer

This is another hanging bag gravity filter system that is tailored to campers and those spending time outside.

It uses hollow fibers and absolute microfiltration down to 0.1 microns to achieve excellent microbial filtration, and it’s designed with versatility in mind. 

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This filter removes 99.9999% of all bacteria, protozoa, and 100% of microplastics.

Filter lifespan: The filtering membrane has a lifespan of 100,000 gallons and can be back washed to extend the life even longer.

Filtration rate: The flow rate hasn’t been published, but customers report near-instantaneous results.

Capacity & Size: This water filter system has a 1-gallon capacity, and it weighs just 2oz which makes it ideal for backpackers.

Certifications: This product has not been certified but has been tested to the EPA microbial standards.

Price: This is the least expensive gravity filtration system option in our review.

Pros

  • Removes virtually all bacteria, protozoa, and microplastics
  • Long filter lifespan
  • Fast filtration rate
  • Lightweight and easily portable
  • Very inexpensive
  • Tested to EPA recommendations
  • Includes cleaning tools for backwashing
  • Warranty for up to 100,000 gallons
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars with 1,294 reviews

Cons

  • Not as versatile as other bladder gravity water filters
  • Some customers report that the bag rips easily
  • The filtration system does not work on chemical contaminants
  • The water filter does not come with instructions for assembly

Who It’s Best For

If you’re looking for the most cost-effective way to get safe water from nature, then this is the water filter you’ve been looking for. It also requires much less maintenance than similar models.

Check Price


9. Zen Water Gravity Water Filter

zenwater

Rounding out our top 9 is this alkaline gravity water filter by Zen Water Systems. It uses a combination of ceramic and 5-stage mineral media to filter water and also features alkalization to raise the pH of your water.

The benefit of this countertop gravity water filter is that it has the ability to filter, purify, alkalize, and mineralize water instead of just acting as a standalone water filter.

The Zen Water system is also a great budget option that is also an effective countertop filter. Overall, we really like this system if you’re trying to save some money and want a countertop gravity water filter.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This filter removes particles down to 0.2 microns, suspended particles, colloids, chlorine, chloramine, organic chemicals, heavy metals, free radicals, viral particles, and microorganisms. While these are the manufacturer’s claims, there is not a performance sheet to back them up.

Filter lifespan: The main filters last 500 gallons or roughly 6 months, depending on your usage.

Filtration rate: The filtration rate for this gravity filter has not been published, but there are some reports of it taking over an hour.

Capacity & Size: The holding tank has a 2.5-gallon capacity, and it requires two fill-ups to fill the holding tank completely. The system itself is 13 inches in diameter by 22 inches tall.

Certifications: This product has not been NSF or WQA certified.

Price: This is on the lower end of the price spectrum but still offers multiple desirable features.

Pros

  • Acts on a wide range of contaminants
  • Large capacity
  • Inexpensive
  • Alkalizes water
  • Magnets in spout for increasing water absorption
  • Remineralization stones last up to 5 years
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Contaminant removal tests not published
  • Slow flow rate
  • Short filter lifespan
  • Not certified
  • Some customers report poor durability and lack of reliability

Who It’s Best For

If you want an alternative to the Santevia system for alkalinization, this is the other top recommendation. Both have similar drawbacks and strengths, so picking the best one may come down to personal choice.

Check Price


 Best Gravity Fed Water Filter Feature Comparison Table

ProductContaminants removedFilter LifespanFiltration RateCapacityCertificationsPrice
Big Berkey2323,000 gallonsModerate2.25 gallonsNo$$$
Alexapure Pro2065,000 gallonsModerate2.25 gallonsNo$$$
Propur Big+2501,000 gallonsSlow2.75 gallonsYes$$$
Platypus Gravity Filter>0.2 microns400 gallonsFast1 gallonNo$$
Travel Berkey2323,000 gallonsModerate1.5 gallonsNo$$$
Katadyn Gravity Filter>0.2 microns400 gallonsFast1.6 gallonsNo$$
Santevia Gravity FilterMultiple - unknown317 gallonsSlow2.6 gallonsNo$$
Sawyer Gravity Filter>0.1 microns100,000 gallonsFast1 gallonNo$
Zen Water Gravity Filter>0.2 microns500 gallonsSlow2.5 gallonsNo$$

Gravity Fed Water Filter Buyer’s Guide

gravity-water-filter-buyers-guide

Now that you know our picks for the best gravity water filtration systems, here are the things you need to know to make the best purchase decision for your home.

What Is a Gravity Fed Filter and How Do They Work?

Gravity filters or water purifiers are a blanket name for any filter that works using gravity. 

Water is loaded into a top chamber, and then gravity forces it down and through the filter below. 

In many gravity filters, there’s a second holding or collecting tank, but as you saw with the Katadyn model, it can dispense right from the water filter as well.

This means that there’s minimal setup, no installation, and no power required for true gravity water filter systems. You can bring the water purifiers anywhere that space allows, and they can be left on the counter or tucked away in a cabinet.

Gravity filter systems use many different kinds of filter media in their filters, including activated carbon, ion exchange resin, KDF media, ceramic, hollow fiber, and others. 

The type of filter used will determine the number and kinds of contaminants removed. Both the filter type and the amount of water the top reservoir can hold will often help determine the filtration rate.

Types of Gravity Filters

 gravity filter

There are three main forms of gravity filters, and each has its own unique characteristics: countertop filters, hanging filters, and filter pitchers.

Countertop Filters

A countertop gravity filter is models like the Berkey, Alexapure Pro, and Aqua rain that were made to sit on your countertop. 

While designed to look appealing as part of your home, countertop gravity water filters are usually the least portable by nature of the three. Water is usually dispensed from the bottom of these from a spigot. These filters usually employ combinations of activated carbon, ion exchange, and others.

Hanging Filters

Hanging filters like the Platypus GravityWorks, on the other hand, are designed to be extremely portable – which makes them a go-to for camping.

Their one or two-bladder design means that they can roll up into a small and generally lightweight bundle. As the name suggests, you do have to hang the reservoir above the gravity-fed water filter or at least elevate it to ensure that gravity is able to push the water through the gravity bag.

These filters tend to use different filtration types than the countertop and pitcher filters. Since they’re designed for use with natural water sources, they focus on removing microorganisms rather than chemical impurities. This makes them filter faster because the filters are less involved as well, but they won’t be as effective for at-home use.

Water Filter Pitchers

Water filter pitchers also work via gravity filtration, and like the countertop models, they often combine activated carbon with other methods of filtration. Water filter pitchers are designed to be more easily stored than countertop filters, such as in the refrigerator, and offer a great alternative for those with little countertop space.

Camping Gravity Filters versus In-Home Filters

As mentioned, the main differences between these two are their portability and the contaminants they target. 

Any water coming into your home should theoretically be microbiologically safe, while organisms like crypto and giardia are major concerns when drinking water from lakes and streams. For backpackers especially, the more lightweight the portable water filter system, the better.

What Else to Consider When Buying

We’ll touch on our key features in a bit more detail while telling you what gravity filter you need to consider for your home specifically.

Contaminants Removed

Do you need a system like the ProOne Big+ that removes a huge number of contaminants, or can you get away with using a system like the Zen Water Gravity Filter?

This is going to depend on the specific contaminants that inhabit your water, which you can find out by using a water testing kit. This will also tell you what harmful contaminants are in the highest concentrations.

Some contaminants are also more of a health hazard than others, and you can always look up the EPA recommendations and NSF standards to see what are the most detrimental contaminants in your water.

Filter Media & Lifespan

As mentioned, the filter media is going to determine what contaminants a particular system works on as well as how long it takes to filter the water. This is because the more stages of filtration water have to pass through, generally the larger the reduction on how quickly it can go through them.

The lifespan is going to be important not only for you to do maintenance to ensure your gravity-fed water filter is working at full capacity but for calculating costs down the line as well. A filter with a low up-front price can cost you more in the long run if the replacement filters are pricey and have to be changed out often.

You’ll want to make sure you’re replacing the filters as the manufacturer recommends because you’ll start to notice both a reduction in flow rate and a drop in filtering effectiveness as the filters near the end of their lives.

There are some great gravity water filters on the market that remove sodium fluoride as well, removing 97% of sodium fluoride in drinking water. They are cheaper than RO systems as well, but they are not as effective at removing other contaminants.

Filtration Rate

It doesn’t matter if a filter removes every contaminant in your water if that water isn’t accessible when you need it. If you have a large household size with heavy water usage, you’ll want to make sure your gravity water filtration system can keep up with the demand.

 A filtration system that works in a matter of minutes is going to be more sustainable for you than one that works over the span of several hours.

Now, not everyone is going to go through water that rapidly. If you have a small household and you can make 2.25 gallons last over the course of several hours while you filter more, that’s great. No matter your usage, just make sure you take your home situation into account when looking at the filtration rate.

Portability

If you’re interested in a water filter that can come camping with you, then portability is going to be much more of a concern than those that just want one to live in their homes. 

Most gravity water filters as a whole are more portable than most other filter types, but make sure you’ll be comfortable lugging around the Big Berkey before you decide you’ll just throw that in your trunk for a weekend trip.

Storage Capacity

For those with large household sizes, you’ll probably want a gravity water filtration system with multiple gallons of storage so that you do not constantly have to refill your filter. For those who don’t go through as much water, it may not be so much of a consideration.

Remember that the storage capacity often correlates to the size of the model, so make sure that you have the space to house a large gravity filter if you pick one with the highest capacity.

Gravity Water Filter FAQs

question

How Effective Are Gravity Filters?

These water filters are very effective for home use and for camping use. The top brands can remove over 200 contaminants, including chlorine, fluoride, lead, microorganisms, and much more.

The only downside is they are strictly point-of-use filters and do not work to filter a large amount of water continuously.

How Do You Use a Gravity Water Filter?

In order to use a gravity water filter, you simply fill the gravity bag or upper chamber with water and let gravity feed the water supply through the filter elements and into the dispenser, where you can get fresh drinking water.

Do Gravity Water Filters Remove Fluoride?

Some gravity filters do have fluoride filters, and others do not. It depends on the filter that the gravity system has in it.

How Do You Clean a Gravity Water Filter?

In order to clean a gravity water filter, you simply remove the lid, rinse with soap and water, and dry the unit off. Usually, it is recommended to clean your filter every 2-3 months.

Which is Better, a Hanging Water Filter or a Countertop Filter?

They both have their uses. A hanging filter is better for a portable camping option, while a countertop filter is best for a kitchen filtration option.

Does a Gravity Filter Soften Water?

No, gravity filters usually don’t remove hard water or limescale buildup. You will need a separate water softener for this application.

Conclusion

Gravity filters offer excellent water filtration solutions to both those at home and those out in nature. While they all function via the same process, their performance is largely determined by the filter type they use and their size.

We believe the Big Berkey is the best gravity filter on the market due to its long filter lifespan, lifetime warranty, and high number of contaminants removed.

You can also see our head-to-head comparisons of Berkey vs. Alexpure and Berkey vs. Propur if you’re still on the fence between these top gravity water filters. 

Photo of author
AUTHOR
Stephanie Nielsen
Stephanie worked as a department supervisor of kitchen, bath, and appliances at Home Depot, and water filters were part of the inventory she was responsible for assisting clients with so she learned the ins and outs of matching the right filtration device to homeowner’s needs. She also worked closely with Culligan water to educate customers about whole-home water treatment and softener systems.

Learn More About The Water Tech Editorial Team