The best gravity water filter in 2023 is the Propur ProOne Big+, due to its solid contaminant removal capability, NSF-certified design, and long filter lifespan. Read our review and check out the runner’s up!
Propur PROONE BIG+
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
Most of us know by now that “clean” drinking water isn’t quite as clean as it seems. The EPA regulates more than 80 contaminants that pose a health risk – but these chemicals, metals and plastics can legally still be in our water in trace amounts.
What’s more, there are many emerging contaminants that aren’t regulated at all.
If you’re inclined towards choosing a gravity filter to treat your water, I’m here to help you find a system that’s best suited to your needs.
With 150,000 monthly readers and articles published by the likes of WQP Magazine and Sawyer Products, I make all aspects of water filtration my business.
In this guide, I’ll be sharing:
- The top 10 gravity filters of 2023
- 6 things you need to consider when buying a gravity filter
- My answers to your most commonly asked questions
Table of Contents
- 🥇 Best Gravity-Fed Water Filter
- 📊 Comparison Chart of Gravity Water Filters
- ⭐️ Best Gravity Water Filter Reviews 2023
- 🧾 Gravity Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
- 🌢 What is a gravity water filter?
- 🔎 How does a gravity water filter work?
- 📝 Types of gravity fed water filter systems
- 🆚 Advantages & Disadvantages of Gravity Water Filters
- 📌 6 Considerations For Buying a Gravity Water Filter
- ❔ Frequently Asked Questions
🥇 Best Gravity-Fed Water Filter
- Best Overall: Propur PROONE BIG+
- High-Performance Budget Pick: Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
- Runner Up: Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
- Alternate Stainless: Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System
- Adds Healthy Minerals: Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration and Purification
- Most Portable System: Sawyer Gravity Water Filtration System
- Great for Camping: Platypus Gravity Water Filter
- Runner Up Bag System: LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag
- Affordable Hanging System: Miniwell Gravity Water Filter
- Premium Bag Choice: Katadyn BeFree Gravity Water Filter
📊 Comparison Chart of Gravity Water Filters
|System||ProOne BIG+||Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser||Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter||Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System ||Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration and Purification||Sawyer Gravity Water Filtration System||Platypus Gravity Water Filter||LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag||Miniwell Gravity Water Filter||Katadyn BeFree Gravity Water Filter
|Contaminants Removed||200+||200+||200+||200+||Chemicals, Pesticides, Herbicides & Toxins||99%+ of all Biologicals, Microplastics||99%+ of all Biologicals||99%+ of all Biologicals||Bacteria & Microbes||99%+ of all Biologicals|
|Certifications or Testing||NSF 42, 53, P231||NSF 42, 53, 401||–||–||–||US EPA Guide Standard (1986) and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water|
|NSF P231||NSF 42, 53, 491, P231||–||–|
|Process||Ceramic + Carbon||Carbon||Carbon + Ion Exchange||Ceramic + Carbon||Ceramic + Remineralization||Hollow Fiber Membrane||Hollow Fiber Microfilter||Activated Carbon + Ion Exchange||Hollow Fiber Microfilter||Hollow Fiber Microfilter|
|Filtration Capacity||1,000 – 1,200 gallons||150 gallons||3,000 gallons/ cartridge||5,000 gallons||1,000 gallons (Ceramic Filter)_x000D_|
500 gallons ( 5-stage Mineral Filter)
|100,000 gallons||1,500 liters||500 gallons||2,000 liters||1,000 liters|
|Warranty||1 year||Lifetime||Lifetime||–||30 days||Lifetime (limited)||Lifetime (limited)||3 years||Lifetime||2 years|
⭐️ Best Gravity Water Filter Reviews 2023
Propur PROONE BIG+
In our opinion, the Propur ProOne Big is the best gravity water filter available today.
This 2.75-gallon countertop gravity filter system comes with two 7-inch filter elements and is ideal for using in all circumstances, including in emergencies. It can remove more contaminants than any other gravity filter we’ve reviewed, with an official NSF certification to support the manufacturer’s performance claims.
- NSF certified components – The Propur ProOne+ is the only filtration system of its kind to be officially NSF certified to NSF Standard 42 for components. It’s also tested to NSF Standards 42, 53, P231, P401, and P473. See the datasheet here.
- Thorough contaminant removal – The unit’s NSF-certified G2.0 filters remove chemicals and contaminants from drinking water, including herbicides, pesticides, fluoride, chlorine, bacteria, chloramines, pharmaceuticals, and many more. Healthy minerals like calcium are left in water.
- Effective filtration blend – The filters are made up of ceramic and granular activated carbon media, which uses adsorption and a network of tiny pores to trap contaminants as water flows through.
Anyone looking to invest in the very best countertop gravity filtration system that has NSF certified components and has been tested to other NSF Standards for performance.
- The Propur ProOne Big+ removes a total of 275 contaminants – more than any of its competitors – and it’s the only gravity countertop filter to be NSF certified.
- Even if you use the filter regularly on a daily basis, the filters are set to last for 12 months, which is pretty good for a countertop water filter. They’re infused with silver, too, which inhibits bacterial growth, ensuring that they only take away harmful contaminants, and don’t add more.
- Being easily portable, you can take the Propur ProOne Big+ on camping trips, to a vacation home, or even to your office at work. You only need a countertop to set it up and get it started.
- All materials in the Propur unit are BPA-free and food-grade to prevent leaching.
- The ProOne Big+ is only certified for its components, not its performance. We’d love to see an official NSF certification for contaminant removal, too.
- The unit is quite awkward to clean.
Read the full review: Proone Big Review (updated: 2023
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
The Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser is our top pick for the best budget pick gravity water filter available today.
As one of the larger gravity filters on this list, this dispenser unit is designed to hold up to 1.5 gallons of filtered water and removes more than 200 contaminants using activated carbon adsorption.
- Removes 200+ contaminants – The Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser can reduce or remove more than 200 contaminants up to 99.99%, including lead, chloramines, fluoride, pesticides, herbicides, chromium 6, and PFAS.
- Solid carbon block filter – The BPA-free filter uses adsorption to trap harmful contaminants in its solid carbon block media.
- 150-gallon filter lifespan – You’ll need to replace the filter after 150 gallons of filtration, and the unit comes with a built-in filter change reminder that will let you know when a filter has reached the end of its lifespan.
Folks who don’t want to spend a fortune on a countertop gravity water filter but still want a high-quality filter with a large water holding capacity and the ability to effectively remove hundreds of contaminants.
- The Epic Pure dispenser costs less than $100 but rivals the other best gravity water filters on this list when it comes to contaminant removal. It reduces or removes many of the most common drinking water impurities, and has been tested to NSF Standards 42, 53, & 401. Check the test results here.
- We think it’s a bonus that this Epic filter is large enough to hold up to 1.5 gallons of water while also being designed to sit in your fridge. That means you can enjoy filtered, refrigerator-cool water without having to filter it then cool it in the fridge.
- The Epic Pure is relatively low-maintenance, and the pitcher unit is dishwasher safe (though the manufacturer recommends handwashing it in soapy water). The filter is also recyclable, and Epic has a recycling program where you can get a free filter for returning 4 used pitcher filters.
- The unit may be too bulky for some fridges, especially if space is a premium in your kitchen.
- The filters need to be changed more frequently than many of the stainless steel countertop units – usually every 3-4 months.
Read the full review: Epic Water Filters Pure Dispenser Review
Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
The Big Berkey is our runner-up gravity countertop water filtration system. This filter takes second place after the Propur ProOne Big+ because it’s a similar offering but doesn’t offer the same scope of contaminant removal.
While it’s priced around $50 to $100 higher than its competitors, you pay for the reputation of the brand supplying the product – Berkey is a popular choice with thousands of customers today.
- Reduces 200+ contaminants – The Big Berkey comes with two filters, known as Black Berkey Elements, which can reduce an impressive number of contaminants in water (more than 200), including chemicals like chlorine, pesticides, VOCs and herbicides; and heavy metals and nitrates like lead and mercury.
- Coconut shell carbon filter media blend – Berkey is secretive about its filter media, but we do know that it’s a media blend of coconut shell activated carbon and five other media types, including ion exchange resin.
- Long filter lifespan – A pair of Black Berkey elements have a long lifespan of around 6,000 gallons, or 3 years, so your long-term maintenance spend is minimal.
Anyone who prefers to buy one of the best gravity water filters from a well-known brand name or doesn’t want to buy the Propur ProOne Big+ for whatever reason.
- The Big Berkey removes most of the contaminants you’re likely looking to filter out of your water, without removing healthy alkaline minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.
- Like many gravity water filters, the Big Berkey requires no installation and is easy to set up: just place it on your countertop, remove the packaging, attach the filters in place, and add your water.
- We like having the option to spend around $110 extra for an extra two filters in the unit. Increasing the number of filters will speed up the filtration process, doubling the filtration speed and the total lifespan of each filter, so you can reduce your filter replacement frequency.
- Even if you don’t buy 4 filters, the 2 filters still last a long time.
- The Big Berkey has no NSF certification or testing to NSF Standards.
- Berkey has been dishonest about the contaminant removal abilities of its filter elements. The manufacturer initially claimed that the filters could remove pathogens, but these claims have now been revoked.
Read the full review: Big Berkey Review
Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System
The Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System is another stainless steel gravity-fed water filtration system to consider alongside the Berkey and Propur units.
This gravity water filtration unit has a 5,000 gallon filter capacity and removes more than 99.9% of 200+ contaminants, including bacteria, lead, viruses, cysts, fluoride, and TCP. It’s cheaper than the comparably sized Berkey and Propur filters, while offering the same quality filtration.
- Removes 206 contaminants – The Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System has been tested to NSF Standards 42 and 53 for its ability to remove contaminants including chlorine, disinfection byproducts, lead, iron, aluminum, and other heavy metals, nitrate, pathogens, and more. The filter also qualifies as a microbiological water purifier. Read the test results here.
- Carbon block filtration – The main filter media in the Alexapure system is made from activated carbon block and provides “gravity block ionic absorption”, trapping contaminants as water travels down through the filter.
- 2.25-gallon water holding capacity – The Alexapure can hold up to 8.5 liters (or 2.25 gallons) of water at a time, which is ideal for an average sized family of 2-4.
Anyone who wants a water filtration system that’s cheaper than the Big Berkey and is tested to remove the same contaminants (plus a few extra, like some microorganisms).
- The Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System ticks all the boxes for contaminant removal. Regardless of your water quality issues, the filters in this system will likely remove the contaminants you’re concerned about.
- With a stainless steel construction, the Alexapure is built to last and low-maintenance to use. You only need to remember to change the filters every 5,000 gallons, or roughly every 12 months.
- The filter cartridges are easy to install and don’t require priming, which is handy if you want to get started straight away. You can also add up to three additional filters for a faster filtration performance.
- Although the Alexapure gravity filters are tested to NSF Standards, there’s no evidence of an official NSF certification.
- Rusting on the inside of the chamber has been a problem for a few users.
Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration and Purification
The Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration and Purification filter is our top pick for the best alkaline gravity water filter that removes contaminants and adds healthy minerals to water.
This clear water purification system removes bacteria, chlorine, chemicals and other impurities from water, and also features several dedicated alkalization and mineral-boosting filter stages. At just under $100 (at the time of writing), this system is a great option for smaller budgets.
- Multi-function gravity filter – The Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration and Purification filter has 5 functions: it filters, purifies, alkalizes, mineralizes and preserves drinking water.
- Removes bacteria, chlorine, & more – The filter stages in this unit are a granulated activated carbon filter (traps contaminants like chlorine), an ionic exchange resin, infrared ceramic balls (contribute to alkaline taste), and silica sand and mineral stones (introduce healthy minerals to water).
- 6-12 month filter lifespan – The unit’s micro-ceramic filter has a 1,000-gallon lifespan, which is equal to about 1 year. The 5-stage mineral cartridge lasts 500 gallons or 6 months, and the mineral stones last for 1,000 gallons or 1 year.
Folks who are specifically looking at gravity water filtration systems that filter water and treat it with healthy alkalizing minerals.
- We think the obvious selling point of the Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration and Purification filter compared to similar systems is its ability to mineralize water as well as filtering it. Mineralized water has a pleasant alkaline taste and contains healthy micronutrients.
- Unlike remineralizing filters installed at your water line, this filter unit doesn’t need electricity or plumbing, so setup and maintenance is easy. Its BPA-free design ensures no contaminants are added to water after the filtration process.
- It’s a small feature, but we appreciate the convenience of being able to see through the clear container to check how much water you have left, so you’ll never run out without knowing.
- If contaminant removal is your main priority, this Zen Water Systems filter might not be for you. It doesn’t remove hundreds of contaminants – just a handful of impurities with its micro-ceramic and activated carbon filter stages.
- There are more filters to change, so maintenance is higher.
Sawyer Gravity Water Filtration System
In our opinion, the Sawyer Gravity Water Filtration System is the best portable gravity water filter that you can buy today.
This 1-gallon hanging gravity filter system uses a 0.1 micron inline filter, weighing just 2 ounces. It’s ideal for backpacking, camping, or just keeping on hand for emergencies, thanks to its small, lightweight design and ability to remove 99% of all biological impurities and microplastics.
- Hanging gravity filter – The Sawyer Gravity Water Filtration System works by using two bladders: a “dirty water” bladder and a “clean water” bladder. You add dirty water to the “dirty water” bladder, and it flows down the tube separating the two bags, where it is filtered, before flowing into the “clean water” bladder.
- Hollow fiber filter technology – This Sawyer filter has a 0.1-micron pore size and uses hollow fiber filtration that traps contaminants of all sizes in its pores.
- Makes water microbiologically safe – The filter has been independently tested to remove more than 99.9% of all bacteria and protozoa, including salmonella, E. coli, giardia and cryptosporidium, as well as microplastics, suspended particles, and more.
Anyone looking for a portable gravity water filter that can easily be stashed in a backpack and used in emergency situations or when you’re traveling off the grid.
- If you want a convenient on-the-go gravity filter, look no further. You can use the Sawyer water filter to fill disposable water bottles or hydration packs, so you can store your water and drink it in your own time.
- You can clean and reuse the Sawyer filter cartridge again and again without having to buy a replacement. When water flow starts to diminish, performing a filter backwash will help restore it to 98% of its original efficiency.
- Maintaining this filter couldn’t be easier. It has a 100,000-gallon lifespan, which equates to around 3-4 years.
- Some users reported leaking between the water bags and tubing.
- The filter isn’t NSF certified for its performance.
Platypus Gravity Water Filter
Based on our research, we think the Platypus Gravity Water Filter is the best filter system that uses gravity filtration for camping.
This filter treats around 0.4 gallons of water per minute with a 0.2 micron filter, which can trap microorganisms like cysts and bacteria. With its 1,500-gallon capacity, the system can be used again and again with periodic backflushing.
- Hanging gravity filtration – The Platypus Gravity Water Filter filters water as it travels between two filter bags. One bag is hung higher than the other, so water flows down through a tube and the filter before collecting in the other bag.
- 1,500-litre lifespan – The microfilter in the unit has a lifespan of 1,500 liters, or around 396 gallons of water, so replacement filters are few and far between.
- Backflushing required – You can extend the filter lifespan and maintain its filtration speed by backflushing water through the filter in the opposite direction, which will clear the trapped sediment.
Anyone looking for a portable gravity drinking water filter that they can take on camping trips or simply store at home for emergency use.
- We love that there’s no pumping or other repetitive maintenance required to use the Platypus filter. You simply hang the system from a tree and add your water, then leave it to filter from one bag to another, ready for drinking, cooking and washing.
- The simple design of the Platypus makes it easy to put together for use. It features two 4-liter reservoirs – one for holding dirty water and one for holding clean, filtered water. The reservoirs are connected by a hose, and there are a couple of extra useful features like a shutoff clamp and a sack for storage.
- We also think that the Platypus filter’s flow rate (around 1.75 litres of water per minute) is better than similar hanging gravity filters, so you can access clean drinking water faster.
- There’s no prefilter, so flow rate will slow quickly if you use the filter to treat sediment-heavy water.
- The filter can’t remove viruses.
LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag
The LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag is the runner-up bag filter on this list.
This sturdy hanging gravity filter removes more than 99.9% of pathogenic bacteria, protozoa and microplastics. With a carbon filter capsule that improves water taste and reduces lead, chlorine and other chemicals, this gravity filter meets NSF Standard 53 for the reduction of lead and other heavy metals.
- Removes pathogens, chemicals, metals, & more – The LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag has been third-party tested to reduce or remove pathogens like bacteria and parasites, microplastics, heavy metals like lead, as well as chlorine, pesticides, sediment, and cloudiness.
- Multiple filter uses – The LifeStraw system is a little different in design to other hanging gravity fed water filters. It doesn’t have two separate bags connected by a tube – it just has one bag and a tube, with the filter at the very end. This means you can use it as a personal straw filter – ideal if you want to drink from the filter while you’re hiking.
- Long filter lifespan – You can get a good amount of use out of the LifeStraw before its filter components need replacing. The hollow fiber microfilter, which removes the bacteria, microplastics and protozoa, has a 500 gallon lifespan, while the carbon filter capsule lasts for 26.4 gallons.
Folks who take a lot of trips away from home and prefer a gravity hanging filter that they can drink straight from, or anyone who wants a small, compact filter to add to their emergency kit at home.
- We think backpackers and hikers will appreciate the versatility of this LifeStraw system. You can also use it as an in-line filter with the majority of hydration packs, or attach it to your water bottle to fill while you’re taking a break.
- The system packs light, and, compared to other hanging water filters, it works impressively quickly to filter water.
- It’s great to see that the filter has been third-party tested and deemed to meet NSF Standards 53 for lead reduction, 401 for reducing emerging contaminants, P231 for bacteria and parasite removal, and 42 for chlorine reduction.
- The flow rate is slightly slower than advertised.
- Sipping the filtered water from the straw is quite difficult.
Miniwell Gravity Water Filter
The Miniwell Gravity Water Filter is an ultra-light hanging gravity filter that can filter up to 2000 liters of water.
This affordable hanging system is a great choice for hiking, fishing, camping, travel, or simply keeping in the car for emergency use. It removes bacteria and microbes, eliminating the need for bottled water and providing a much more convenient, space-saving and lightweight solution.
- 0.1 ultrafiltration membrane – The Miniwell Gravity Water Filter has a tiny 0.1 micron pore size, which traps contaminants as small as bacteria and microbes, as well as chlorine, heavy metals, and more.
- Fast flow rate – The Miniwell has a flow rate of 600 ml per minute, so you can access clean water faster.
- Multiple uses – You can use the filter with the included reservoir, attach the straw end to your own water bottle for personal use, or use it to fill multiple drinking glasses for your family. The lifespan of the filter can be extended with regular backwashing.
Anyone with a small budget who wants to spend less on a portable gravity filter but doesn’t want to compromise on filter quality or filtration effectiveness.
- The Miniwell gravity filter is another flexible, versatile filter for use on your travels. One option is to attach it to the included bag, like the LifeStraw Flex. You could also attach the Miniwell to a bucket or a water bottle.
- The filter is a fraction of the price of similar filters from better-known brands, so it’s a great option if you have a small budget that you need to stick to.
- The complexity and thoroughness of the filtration stages is a reassuring sign of good performance. There’s a PP screen, which removes visible particulates (i.e. sediment), an ultrafiltration membrane, which removes bacteria and protozoa, and a carbon filter media, which reduces chlorine, tastes, lead, and other heavy metals.
- The filter gets clogged easily and can’t withstand high sediment levels.
- Miniwell isn’t as popular or as well-known as the likes of LifeStraw and Sawyer.
Katadyn BeFree Gravity Water Filter
Our premium bag filter choice is the Katadyn BeFree Gravity Water Filter.
This 0.1-micron fast-flow hanging gravity water filter costs slightly more than the average hanging water filter, and has a sturdier design and construction that’s ultra-durable and provides fast 2-litre-per-minute filtration. The filter can remove both protozoa and bacteria to EPA standards.
- Easy-use filter – To filter water on the go, just fill up the Katadyn’s flask (filter bag) and let gravity do the work.
- Removes bacteria and protozoa – The filter removes contaminants and organisms, including more than 99.99% of bacteria and 99.9999% of protozoa.
- 1,000 litre filter lifespan – You can get up to 1,000 litres of use out of the filter before it needs replacing.
Folks looking for a premium gravity water filter made from high-quality durable materials.
- Unlike most similar filters, the Katadyn BeFree filter doesn’t require backwashing to maintain a decent flow rate. To get more use out of the filter, you can fill the flask with water, attach the cover and give it a shake to free the debris.
- If you need an on the go gravity filter, the Katadyn system should tick your boxes. It has a collapsible flask, making it easy to fit the system into tight spaces in backpacks or coat pockets. With lightweight material, it’s a great tool to have to hand when you’re hiking or camping, either alone or with friends.
- We also love that this filter is powerful enough to be used on water that’s cloudy with sediment, so you don’t have to worry about prefiltering your water before use.
- The filter is a bit more expensive than similar filters on this list, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll last longer.
- Some customers noticed a plastic taste.
🧾 Gravity Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
🌢 What is a gravity water filter?
Gravity water filters don’t rely on water pressure to push water through a filter. Instead, they use gravity – hence their name – to slowly filter water and gradually remove contaminants. This often means that a gravity fed water filter can do a much more thorough job of filtering water, by giving it longer exposure to filter media.
🔎 How does a gravity water filter work?
A gravity filter is usually made up of two chambers, one on top of the other. You pour water into the upper filter, and this water travels through a filter into the lower chamber using the pulling force of gravity alone. The lower chamber generally has a small dispenser, which you can switch on to release clean water into a drinking glass.
📝 Types of gravity fed water filter systems
There are two main types of gravity fed water filter systems: countertop and hanging. Their main differences are covered below.
A countertop gravity fed water filter sits on a surface, such as a kitchen countertop, and is often made from stainless steel. The best countertop gravity water filters come in a range of different sizes, and the larger filters are capable of filtering several gallons of water at a time.
Hanging gravity water filters use the same concept as countertop filters, but are designed to hang from a height. They tend to be a lot smaller than countertop water filters, and look a bit like hospital IV bags – though they’re much more innocent than that!
You can fill a hanging gravity filter with water from a lake or stream while on a hike or camping trip, and it will use the force of gravity to filter the water as it flows down the tube towards the cap you drink from. They tend to be a lot cheaper than countertop gravity filters, but aren’t intended for daily use, and are generally less durable because of the materials they’re made from.
🆚 Advantages & Disadvantages of Gravity Water Filters
- Can be used in an emergency
Perhaps the best thing about a gravity filter is that it doesn’t rely on electricity to run. You don’t even need to connect it up to a water line like you do with other types of water filtration systems for home use – as long as you have a water supply, you’re guaranteed to have a reserve of clean water to drink from. If you ever experienced a situation where your home had no power or running water, you’d still have your water filter to drink from.
- Simple installation
There is virtually no installation involved with a gravity water filter. All that’s required is some basic putting-together of the different components that make up the system. Some filters need to be primed before use, which means running a batch of water through them to remove any lingering tastes or odors, but this only takes a few minutes to do. Setup of a gravity water filter is a lot faster than installing a filter that needs to be connected to a water line.
- Low maintenance
With a gravity water filter, all you need to keep up with is filter changes. You’ll know when your filters need changing, because it’ll take double as long for your water to be ready for drinking. Most of these filtration systems only require you to change the filters once every 6 to 12 months, so that sort of maintenance is infrequent.
You should also clean your gravity water filter from time to time, but this tends to be quick and simple, with most filters being made from stainless steel.
- Various sizes for various purposes
There are many different sizes of gravity water filter, from large countertop units for big families, to smaller units and portable systems that can be taken on your travels. You don’t need to compromise when shopping for gravity water filters – you can buy the filtration system that ideally suits your needs.
- Slower than water line filters
Because gravity water filters use gravity, and not the force of water pressure, to filter water, the filtration process takes longer. In most cases, it will only take a gravity water system a few minutes to filter water, but it still isn’t as immediate as a filter that’s connected to your water line. If you want instant access to drinking water, you won’t get it with a gravity water filter.
- Needs to be cleaned regularly
Although cleaning a gravity water filter is quick and simple, you’ll still need to do it very often to prevent recontamination. If you’re not prepared to commit some time to cleaning your system, it probably isn’t the right one for you.
- Takes some manual work
To get filtered water from your gravity water filter, you need to first put in the unfiltered water yourself. Every time your water runs out, you’ll need to refill it. It’s not a lot of work, but if you have mobility issues, you may struggle to fill your filter up.
📌 6 Considerations For Buying a Gravity Water Filter
Before buying a gravity water filter, consider the following:
Filter media & lifespan
The majority of gravity filters have the same lifespan: roughly 6 to 12 months. It’s common for filter media to be made from activated carbon, coconut shell carbon, or a similar product.
In terms of effectiveness, activated carbon media is one of the most popular filter materials and has a proven scientific process that makes a lot of sense. The average lifespan of a hanging gravity water filter is 500 gallons, so you’ll need to replace this more frequently, roughly every 1 to 2 months, depending on use.
Most gravity water filters remove chlorine from water at the bare minimum. There are many filtration systems that can do much more than this, removing bacteria, heavy metals, and chemicals like pesticides and herbicides. Some gravity fed filters can even soften water and add healthy minerals, but this isn’t a guaranteed feature of most.
Gravity water filters have a slower flow rate than other types of water filter by nature. Because they don’t have any pressure from a plumbing system pushing the water along, it takes them longer to filter water for drinking. You can expect a gravity water filter to take around 7 hours to filter between 4 and 7 gallons, depending on the number of filters included.
Hanging gravity water filters are, by design, a lot more portable than countertop water filters. They’re small and compact, and their bagged reservoir design means you can mold them somewhat to fit them into a space in your backpack. When they’re empty and not in use, you can simply fold them up and stash them away.
Countertop filters are still portable, but not to the level of a hanging filter. You can take them apart and slot the components inside one another to save space, but you’ll still need a substantial amount of room to store and carry them.
👨🔧 See Also: Our Top Choices for Best Portable Water Filter in 2023
While being small and portable is an advantage of a hanging gravity water filter, it does mean this type of filter has a reduced capacity. You can expect most hanging filters to have a 1 gallon capacity. Some countertop water filters, on the other hand, can hold up to 5 gallons of water, but obviously these much bulkier units wouldn’t be ideal for carrying around in your backpack on a camping trip. If you plan to exclusively use your water filter at home, a countertop gravity filter will be best. For taking a filter on camping trips, a hanging water filter is more suited to your needs.
The most common chamber material for a countertop water filter is stainless steel. This material prevents rusting and helps keep water fresh for longer.
Hanging gravity water filters are generally made out of plastic and silicone. It’s worth checking that a product is made from food grade, BPA free materials when plastic is involved, and the good news is, most hanging water filters are.
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
Will a gravity water filter soften water?
9 times out of 10, no. If a filter does do this – and there are a couple that do – it’ll be advertised as one of its top benefits. Like most water filters, the majority of gravity water filters just remove contaminants from water. You’re better off buying a dedicated water softener if you want to remove limescale.
Which is best, a hanging water filter or a countertop water filter?
Neither is better than the other – but you may find that one type of gravity water filter is better suited to your needs. Think about whether you’ll get more use out of your filter at home or during trips away. For at home use, countertop water filters are the more practical option. For trips away, hanging water filters make a lot more sense.
How do you know when to change your filters?
You should notice that the filtration process slows down to the point where it may take double or triple the amount of time to filter your water than usual. You may also notice a change in the taste of your water.
Why is it important to change the filters?
When your filters stop working, there’s effectively no point in using them to clean your water, as they won’t do their job properly. If you’re filtering river water particularly, changing your filters and ensuring they’re working at their peak will help you to stay healthy.
How often should you clean your system?
It’s recommended that you give your countertop water filter a deep clean every 2 to 3 months. If your water has a high mineral content, and is depositing limescale on the inside of the holding tank, you should clean it more regularly. For hanging gravity water filters, wash everything and dry thoroughly according to the manufacturer’s instructions after using it on a trip. You can also rinse it out on your travels if you’re away from home for a long time.
How do you store filters?
If you’re going away for a while, or you just won’t be using your gravity water filter, drain the water out of your system and remove the filters. Allow them to air dry, then leave them in a dry and cool place until you plan to use your system again.