Best Gravity Water Filters

Gravity filters are easy to use, they don’t require installation or electricity, and they’re often highly effective at removing contaminants from water. When looking at which one to purchase, however, it can be hard to tell the true innovators from the imitators.

We wanted to make that a little easier, so we researched the top products on the market to find the best gravity water filters out there. Our review compares each product on their key features and specifications, and our buyer’s guide will give you all the information you need to pick out the best filter for your home.

 

Best Gravity Water Filters Compared

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

We compared and ranked each filter based on their ability to remove contaminants, filter lifespan, filtration rate, capacity and size, certifications, and price. These are the features we believe will have the biggest impact on how well a filter performs – and how happy you will be with the final result.

 

Contaminants Removed

All gravity filters work by filling up a top reservoir, 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 filter it uses. The chart below shows the different filtration medias 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 water. You can always get your water tested, however, to find out exactly what those contaminants are and then select a filter to match.

Filter Lifespan

The lifespan of a filter can often be measured in months or gallons. The lifespan in months tends to be the more arbitrary measurement, since a family of four will use 1,000 gallons much faster than a family of two. The lifespan of the filters will tell you how much general maintenance you can expect to do down the line, as well as how much costs there will be to replace them.

Filtration Rate

One of the biggest determinants in customer satisfaction with a filter is how fast they work. The filtration rate is how long it takes the system to filter the water, and there can be significant variation between products.

Capacity & Size

The capacity of the 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 it’s a good fit for your countertop, cabinet, or wherever else you plan to store your gravity filter.

Certifications

There are two main independent organizations that certify water filtration products – 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 filter lives up to its advertisement.

Price

If you’re going to spend a lot of money on a water filter, 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 quality for price.

Gravity Water Filter Reviews

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

1. Big Berkey – Best Overall

Berkey has been a titan in the water filter industry for a long time, and with good reason. The Big Berkey is our top choice because it’s effective, long-lasting, and comes with a lifetime warranty. It uses a combination of activated carbon, microfiltration, and ion exchange filter medias to achieve fantastic filtration results.
Clearly Filtered

Main Features & Benefits

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

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

Filtration rate: The system filters at 3.5 gallons per hour, which means it 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 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 customers report staining on the stainless steel housing
  • Some customers report a rubbery taste to the water

Who It’s Best For

If you want a gravity 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.

2. Alexapure Pro

Claiming the silver medal is this system from Alexapure, which is a relatively new name in water filtration. This gravity filter uses both carbon block and hybrid ceramic filter media to filter a large variety of contaminants, and it has some of the longest lasting filters on the market.
Waterdrop-G3

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: The Alexapure Pro 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 standard. This means it should last from 7-11 years before needing to be replaced.

Filtration rate: The filtration rate is 4.5 gallons per hour, which means it 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 products on the list, but it’s well worth the price.

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
  • 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 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 here.

3. ProOne (Propur) Big+

Propur is another big name in water filtration, and they just got a face lift. Propur is now ProOne, though they still produce the same quality products the brand is known for. The Big+ gravity filter uses ceramic impregnated with silver and AquaMetix media which combines activated carbon and ion exchange filtration.
Aquasana RO

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: It takes four hours to completely fill the reservoir with filtered water.

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 model is not quite as expensive as the top two, but still delivers great results.

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

Who It’s Best For

If you want to ensure the 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.

4. Platypus GravityWorks Filter

Using hollow fiber filtration technology to make water microbiologically safe to drink, this system ditches the bulky shell and makes portability its strong selling point.
pelican undersink

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: While it doesn’t work to remove chemicals, toxins, or viruses, 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 system 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
  • 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 system for you. It’s lightweight and easy to use as well.

5. Travel Berkey

Berkey also tops our list with their smaller and more portable system – the Travel Berkey. This system also comes equipped with two Black Berkey filters and removes all the same contaminants as its big brother.

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 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 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.

6. Katadyn Gravity Camp Filter

For an alternative to the Platypus GravityWorks, this filter uses microfiltration to make natural water safe to drink on the go. It likewise features a portable, hanging bag design.
waterdropblack

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This 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 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 gravity filters available that still produces quality results.

Pros

  • Filters contaminants larger than 0.2 microns
  • Very fast flow rate
  • Larger capacity than similar systems
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Inexpensive
  • No filter backflushing required
  • No hoses required – can drink straight from the bag
  • 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 drink the water they come across in nature.

7. Santevia Gravity Filter

This is one of the few alkalizing gravity filters on the market that raises the pH of your water by adding back healthy minerals. It uses a combination of microfiltration, ceramic, and fluoride filtration media to filter water.

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, 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 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 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.

8. Sawyer Gravity Filter

This is another hanging bag gravity 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.
iSpring-RCC7AK-RO

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 backwashed to extend the life even longer.

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

Capacity & size: This 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 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 filters
  • Some customers report that the bag rips easily
  • Does not work on chemical contaminants
  • 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 filter you’ve been looking for. It also requires much less maintenance than similar models.

9. Zen Water Gravity Filter

Rounding out our top 9 is this system by Zen Water. 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.

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 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 completely fill the holding tank. 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 or 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.

 Gravity Water Filters 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 Filter Buyer’s Guide

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

What Is a Gravity Filter and How Do They Work?

Gravity filters 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 filter as well.

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

Gravity systems use many different kinds of filtration 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

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

Countertop Filters

Countertop gravity filters are models like the Big Berkey, Alexapure Pro, and Aqua rain that were made to sit on your countertop. While designed to look appealing as part of your home, they’re 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.

There are also water dispenser coolers that sit on the floor either in an office or kitchen which work as gravity filters as well but don’t sit on the countertop.

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 filter or at least elevate it to ensure that gravity is able to push the water through.

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

These also work via gravity filtration, and like the countertop models they often combine activated carbon with other methods of filtration. 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 vs 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 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 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 testing kit. This will also tell you what contaminants are in the highest concentrations, and you can see our recommendations for the best testing kits here.

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 has 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 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.

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 filter can keep up with the demand. One 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. 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 filter with multiple gallons of storage so that you’re not constantly having 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 filter if you pick one with the highest capacity.

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.

Stephanie Nielsen
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