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11 Best Countertop Water Filter Reviews + Gravity Systems (2019)

A countertop filter system gives you access to clean water right at your kitchen sink.

Installation is quick and easy without the need for tools and no plumbing involved – perfect for any rental home or temporary living space but also small apartment where an under sink installation is just not possible.

What’s more, countertop water filters are portable, convenient to use and provide a good balance between filtration performance and price.

As far as gravity filter systems are concerned, they allow you to purify thousands of gallons of water from almost any freshwater source like rivers, ponds and lakes. This makes them ideal for emergency situations.

We find the best ceramic filters among them, and they don’t require electricity nor external pressure to operate (thus gravity).

How to find the best countertop water filter respectively the best gravity water filter? Well, you came to the right place!

On This Page You Will…

Best Countertop & Gravity Water Filters – Comparison

ModelOur RatingPriceTypeFiltering CapacityAnnual Cost
APEC RO-CTOP Water Filter - Top in Comparison

Best Countertop Water Filter: APEC RO-CTOP Reverse Osmosis System

badge best rated

5-star rating


Read Review
$$$Countertop Reverse Osmosis6 Months to 3 Years~$130
AquaTru Table top RO Water Filter Dispenser

Popular Tabletop RO Alternative: AquaTru

4 stars ratings


Read Review
$$$$Countertop Reverse Osmosis600-1,200 Gallons~$75
New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus Water Filter

Most Popular Countertop Water Filter: New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus

badge best seller no stroke

3 and a half stars rating


Read Review
$$Regular Countertop800 Gallons~$50-100
Ecosoft Over the Counter Water Filter

Ecosoft Bob for Basic Filtration Needs #Cheap

3 stars rating


Read Review
$Regular Countertop300 Gallons~$70
Invigorated Water pH REGENERATE Stainless Steel + Alkaline Countertop Water Filter

pH REGENERATE by Invigorated Water (Stainless Steel + Alkaline)

3 and a half stars rating


Read Review
$$Regular Countertop9 to 12 Months~$60
Berkey Gravity Water Filter - Top in Comparison

Best Gravity Water Filter: Berkey

badge best rated

4 and a half stars rating


Read Review
$$$Gravity-Fed3,000 Gallons~$20-40

What to Consider Before Buying a Countertop Water Filter

Skip Straight to Countertop Reviews!
Skip Straight to Gravity Reviews!

Before you spend any money, here are the important things you need to know and should look out for in a high-quality countertop (gravity) water filter system.

Water Contaminants & Filter Certificates

Your ideal water filter must be capable of removing all or at least the majority of harmful contaminants that can be found in your water. There are two ways you can approach this:

  1. You conduct a water quality test. To do that, either order a water test kit online or visit the local hardware store and do the testing yourself (if you are lucky, your local health department offers free test kits). Or pay a professional lab to analyze a direct sample of the water in your home, which is what the EPA suggests.
  2. You could also contact your city administration and ask for a water quality report, called Consumer Confidence Report, which every public water utility has to provide annually for free. Alternatively, you can browse the directory of the Environmental Protection Agency here to find the report which is a lot faster. Another option is to use this link to access the EWG Tap Water Database, our favorite tool to assess tap water quality in no time. The problem with this approach, however, lies in the fact that you can never be certain that no contaminants enter your water along the way from the water utility to your home. Also, this is not an option if you receive water from a private well.

Once you know about all the contaminants you are facing, look out for filters that are NSF-certified to eliminate these. Because manufacturers can make claims all day long, but only independent third party certificates provide proof. You should pay particular attention to these three NSF certifications:

  • NSF Standard 42 – For aesthetic effects
  • NSF Standard 53 – For the reduction of harmful water contaminants such as asbestos, cyst, giardia, lead, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • NSF Standard 401 – For emerging contaminants like prescription drugs and pesticides

nsf certified

Gravity-Fed vs. Regular Countertop Filters

Thanks to the extended contact time between water and filter media, gravity filtration is much more thorough than regular countertop filtration. In fact, Berkey and Propur achieved some of the best test results we have ever seen.

Faucet Connection

Except for gravity water purifiers which are autarchic, most countertop systems connect to a kitchen faucet. This means that a hose will run between the two. Now, you might not like the sight of this.

And it’s entirely possible that your kitchen faucet is incompatible with a countertop filter. This is usually the case for pull out/down, handheld, sprayer-type, sensor and basically any unconventional faucet or spout.

Yes, there are exceptions to this, but if your kitchen faucet falls in one of the categories you want to double check that it’s compatible before you spend any money.

The good news is, the vast majority of standard taps should be fine and there is always the option to use an adapter. In fact, most sellers include 2 or 3 with their products.

countertop water filter

Filtration Speed

A filter unit that gets attached to your kitchen faucet can provide more water in a shorter period of time than a standalone gravity system.

Gravity System Size

If you were to ask a dealer, he would tell you that the larger a gravity water filter system, the better. And it makes sense: A larger system can hold more water and therefore needs to be refilled less often which translates into more convenience.

At the same time, larger systems can usually host more filtration elements which results in higher filtration speed. And more water in the upper reservoir causes more pressure which also increases water flow.

The obvious downside is that system cost gradually increases with size.

Switching Between Tap/Filtered Water

Every countertop water filter with a faucet connection should allow the use of plain, unfiltered tap water by pushing a knob or turning a lever. This will increase filter life and save you money.

We made sure that all products in this guide fulfill this requirement.

Water Filter Looks

A countertop water filter sits on your, well, countertop every day, all day. The looks of a system might or might not be important to you, but if it is remember to not pick the ugliest just to save a few bucks.

Best Countertop Water Filter Systems

Best Countertop Water Filtration System: APEC RO-CTOP Portable Reverse Osmosis System

APEC RO-CTOP Portable Water Filter

APEC RO-CTOP

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Type: Countertop RO
  •    Filt. Capacity: 6 Mos. - 3 Yrs.
  •    NSF Standard: 42
  •    Annual Cost: ~$130.00

What We Like

The APEC Portable RO-CTOP is perfect for people who want to enjoy the taste and the health benefits of pure H2O – everywhere they go.

As the name suggests, this is a portable water filter system that is lightweight and very easy to carry around and connect to almost any standard kitchen faucet within a couple of minutes (faucet adapters included).

A maximum output of 30 to 90 gallons per day is plenty of water even for larger families.

As for the filtration, with 4 filter stages the RO-CTOP is capable of removing up to 99 percent of arsenic, chromium-6, copper, fluoride, lead and dozens of other potential water pollutants.

  • Stage 1 uses a sediment pre-filter to remove larger particles and protect the rest of the system from clogging.
  • Next comes a coconut shell granular activated carbon filter that adsorbs chlorine, unpleasant tastes and odors, cloudiness and colors, and volatile compounds (certified against NSF Standard 42 for 95% average chlorine reduction).
  • At stage 3, the RO membrane comes into play with a TDS rejection rate of 98 to 99 percent.
  • Stage 4 features another activated carbon filter to remove any residual tastes from the water.

Is the system difficult to maintain? Absolutely not. All you have to remember is to replace the disposable pre-filters once or twice a year to keep up output water quality. RO membrane and carbon post-filter last 2 to 3 years. All elements are Made in USA.

Quick connect fittings allow for fast filter changes. Average annual cost: $130 USD, although you can buy cheaper aftermarket replacements if you like.

Last but not least, the RO-CTOP is available with an aluminum case for better looks. This makes a lot of sense considering that it will sit next to your kitchen sink.

Please note: The APEC Portable RO-CTOP wastes about twice the amount of water than you can later actually use. This is just how reverse osmosis works. But why not collect the wastewater and use it in your garden for example?

What We Don’t Like

What we don’t like is that some users had issues with leaking hoses. Others had problems with tubing that became brittle after a couple of months use. Buying a suitable replacement at your local hardware is an easy fix.

Furthermore, the system is quite pricey and lacks NSF certifications other than standard 42.

Our Verdict

If you ask us, the APEC RO-CTOP is the best countertop water filter system. It’s easy to install and maintain, it’s great for on the go and small apartments, and it provides highly pure, great tasting water. 5 stars!

For a more detailed review, click here.

Popular Tabletop RO Water Filter Alternative: AquaTru

AquaTru Table Top RO Water Filter Dispenser

AquaTru

  •    Price: $$$$
  •    Type: Countertop RO
  •    Filt. Capacity: 600-1,200 Gal
  •    NSF Standard: 42, 53, 58...
  •    Annual Cost: ~$75.00

What We Like

The AquaTru Countertop 4-stage RO purification system is NSF Standard 42, 53, 58, 401 and Protocol P473 certified to remove more than 99% lead, 97.2% chromium-6, 93.5% fluoride, 96.6% chlorine, VOCs (at least 95%), drug residues like Ibuprofen, pesticides, herbicides, and 97.5% PFOA and PFOS among many other contaminants.

What this means is that you get pristine and pure tasting water for drinking and cooking.

The AquaTru water filter is also very convenient to use, can be set up in less than three minutes with no plumbing required, and works fully automatic – a real time saver.

But what we like most about this unit is that it uses a high pressure pump to force water through its reverse osmosis membrane, reducing wastewater production from 2-3 gallons for every gallon of filtered water down to 0.33 gallons.

In other words: Only 25% of the input water has to be discarded. This is good for the environment AND your wallet.

FYI: Every reverse osmosis purification process wastes water. It’s just how the technology works.

A high flow rate – the system purifies 1 gallon in 12 to 15 minutes – and a 3-quart storage tank ensure that there will always be filtered water when you need it. Wastewater collects in the tap water tank in the back which you can simply dump in your sink and refill.

Yes, the tanks are made of plastic, but it’s Tritan and therefore guaranteed BPA and BPS-free. Testing has shown that Tritan does not release any estrogenic or androgenic substances into water.

What about the filters?

The activated coconut carbon block pre and post-filters last for 600 gallons of water or 6 to 12 months, whichever comes first. The US made RO membrane is good for 1200 gallons or 2 years. Don’t worry, a light will flash on the front control panel indicating whenever one of the filters needs to be changed.

The good news is that you can replace each element with a simple twist, no tools required. This barely takes 5 minutes. What’s more, everything is color-coded so you know which filter goes where.

Cost? $75 USD per year when bought in bulk. Pretty reasonable.

What We Don’t Like

Customers reported that their AquaTru stopped working for no apparent reason after a couple of months use. This is probably due to malfunctioning base units. Following the troubleshooting instructions in the manual did not help in most cases.

Mind you, this only happened to a relatively small proportion of users, but if this is something you absolutely don’t want to deal with, we recommend you opt for a different product.

Also, in our opinion there should be a longer return policy, not just the 30 days. And the fact that the customer service can be hard to reach isn’t helpful either.

Rarer issues include leaking and pumps that continue to turn on and off. You also have to make sure that the tap water tank is seated just right or the system won’t turn on.

Lastly, the dispenser on the filtered water tank is a bit low and not suited to fill larger containers.

Our Verdict

Bottom line: Most customers are very happy with the AquaTru and can’t say enough good things about it. The water it provides tastes great and is free from many harmful contaminants. In comparison with other reverse osmosis filter systems it is also uniquely water-efficient.

But we must also take into account the issues mentioned above as well as the high price. 4 stars.

Most Popular Countertop Water Filter: New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus

New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus Counter Top Water Purifier

Most Popular Countertop Water Filter: New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus

  •    Price: $$
  •    Type: Regular Countertop
  •    Filt. Capacity: 800 Gal
  •    NSF Standard: ?
  •    Annual Cost: ~$50-100

What We Like

The New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus is the most popular countertop water filter on Amazon at the time of writing (or rather updating) this review guide.

Believe it or not, this tiny device features a 10-stage filtration process that removes all kinds of chemicals, heavy metals, tastes and bad smells, and at the same time leaves magnesium, potassium and other essential minerals in your water.

Unfortunately, New Wave Enviro does not provide specific contaminant reduction rates other than aesthetic chlorine (98.8%) and TTHMs (91.3%), a group of disinfection byproducts.

However, the company claims that the 10 Stage Plus also reduces chloroform, inorganic arsenic, mercury, lead, PCBs, pesticides, herbicides and a range of other organic and inorganic substances.

By the way, if you suffer from fluoride in your tap water and you are trying to have it removed, this countertop filter is not the right choice. It does not affect fluoride content at all.

As far as installation is concerned, the countertop system attaches to any standard kitchen faucet within mere seconds. All you have to do is unscrew the aerator from your faucet and screw on the diverter valve. A male thread adapter is part of the package.

Above that, you can also easily convert the unit to a fully functioning under sink water filter system with the help of the Enviro installation kit, which can be purchased on Amazon separately.

Finally, we like the affordable price and the relatively low maintenance cost (filters last for about 800 gallons or 12 months). Expect to pay somewhere between $50 and $100 per year depending on how much water you consume.

What We Don’t Like

First of all, we don’t understand why New Wave Enviro does not disclose their testing data. Certifications for NSF standard 42 and 53 supposedly exist, but we are not sure about that to be honest.

Also, there is some confusion going on about 2 different filter versions: The standard version and a so-called “California version” (which is more thoroughly tested?).

Other issues have to do with unpleasant water taste, broken products and replacements filters being shipped, and difficulties removing the filter casing.

On top of that, it can be hard to get a response from the company.

Our Verdict

New Wave Enviro’s 10 Stage Plus combines a variety of filtration media with a quick setup and an affordable price tag. However, it doesn’t come without issue and we miss contaminant reduction rates substantiated by standardized lab testing. 3.5 stars.

Ecosoft Bob Countertop Water Filter for Basic Filtration Needs #Cheap

Ecosoft Over-the-Counter Water Purifier

Ecosoft Bob for Basic Filtration Needs #Cheap

  •    Price: $
  •    Type: Regular Countertop
  •    Filt. Capacity: 300 Gal
  •    NSF Standard: -
  •    Annual Cost: ~$70

What We Like

The Ecosoft Bob is a countertop water system for basic filtration needs, so mainly to improve water aesthetics and remove pollutants such as lead, chlorine and a couple of organic impurities.

That being said, the coconut shell carbon block cartridge has a filtering capacity of round about 300 gallons or 3 to 6 months, depending on the size of your family.

At $17 USD per cartridge, annual replacement costs are pretty average. Changing filters couldn’t be any easier.

Other than that, the Ecosoft Bob won’t take up much space on your kitchen counter and is available in 4 different designs: Leaf (green), ocean (blue), black, white. Installation is child’s play – 2 faucet adapters and a housing wrench are included in the package – and everything is BPA-free.

What We Don’t Like

The seller claims that this filter removes fluoride, iron, manganese and water-hardening salts. Well, nothing could be further from the truth in our opinion. There is also no evidence for any WQA certifications.

Browsing through customer reviews we also stumbled upon complaints about issues with leaks, bad water taste and unresponsive customer support.

Our Verdict

One thing is for certain, there are better countertop filtration systems out there.

However, if you are mainly concerned about how your water tastes and there are no specific contaminants that you want to have removed, the compact, easy-to-use and highly affordable Ecosoft Bob might be just what you are looking for. Our verdict: 3 stars.

If you want to learn more about how to remove fluoride from tap water and get a list of the best fluoride filter systems, access our badass fluoride guide here.

If you want to learn more about how to best remove lead from water and check out our lead filter system reviews, follow this link.

pH REGENERATE Countertop Water Filter by Invigorated Water (Stainless Steel + Alkaline)

Invigorated Water pH REGENERATE (Stainless Steel + Alkaline) Countertop Water Filter

pH REGENERATE by Invigorated Water (Stainless Steel + Alkaline)

  •    Price: $$
  •    Type: Regular Countertop
  •    Filt. Capacity: 9-12 Months
  •    NSF Standard: -
  •    Annual Cost: ~$60

What We Like

The pH REGENERATE by Invigorated Water ought to do 2 things:

  1. Filter water improving taste & smell and reducing sediments, rust, chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, fluoride, aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, chromium and other heavy metals.
  2. Increase water pH and ORP. The latter stands for “oxidation reduction potential” and can reflect the antimicrobial potential of water. The increase is achieved by adding healthy minerals including calcium, zinc and iron.

The reason why we wrote “ought to do” is because Invigorated Water does not provide any lab reports to prove these claims.

Granted, the multi-stage water filter which makes use of activated charcoal, zeolite, KDF and other media blends probably does a great job removing chlorine, lead, mercury and a bunch of chemicals. But chloramine, arsenic and chromium? Yeah, we don’t know about that…

On the upside, the system is made from stainless steel for longevity and it’s easy to install just like most other countertop filters. One of the 6 connectors should fit your faucet as long as it’s standard-sized.

In addition, refill cartridges last between 9 to 12 months and are reasonably priced (about $60 USD per year).

Did we mention that the pH REGENERATE is backed by a 60-day money back satisfaction guarantee?

What We Don’t Like

What we don’t like?

For one, this countertop water filter is rather pricey.

Also, at this time there seems to be no solid scientific evidence that supports the claim that alkaline water provides any additional health benefits.

Our Verdict

The Invigorated Water pH REGENERATE is one of the few countertop alkaline water filters we could find. Apart from raising pH and ORP, it takes care of the “standard” tap water contaminants and also enriches your water with healthy minerals. 3.5 stars.

iSpring CKC1C Counter Top Water Purifier: Basic Filtration, Great Customer Service

iSpring CKC1C Counter Top Water Purifier

iSpring CKC1C

  •    Price: $
  •    Type: Regular Countertop
  •    Filt. Capacity: 500 Gallons
  •    NSF Standard: ?
  •    Annual Cost: ~$60

What We Like

The iSpring CKC1C is another basic countertop water filtration system that turns tap water into somewhat cleaner and healthier drinking water.

What makes it special, though, is the clear housing. Well, actually the housing is some semi-transparent darkish blue. Anyway, it allows you to visually inspect the filter so that you know when it’s time for a replacement.

Speaking of filters, by default the CKC1C comes with a 5-micron (nominal) carbon block cartridge that removes 95% of chlorine, odors, sand, silt, sediment and rust.

It’s also highly effective on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like pesticides, herbicides and industrial chemicals, says iSpring.

As an alternative, you can choose a cartridge containing granular activated carbon (model number FG15), also rated at 5 microns. The FG15 is a tad cheaper and more focused on improving bad taste.

Both water filters should be replaced every 500 gallons or 3-6 months. The good news: They are affordable and standard-sized, meaning that you can choose from a whole arsenal of off-brand replacements if you like.

As always, the iSpring countertop is super easy to connect to any standard faucet. Tip: Remember to remove the cellophane wrapper from around the inside filter. A plastic wrench to open the housing and two extra adapters are included.

We also wanted to point out that we really appreciate iSpring’s responsive and helpful technical support which is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Some customers said it’s the best they have ever experienced.

What We Don’t Like

Our biggest concern is that the product description says “Tested by independent third-party to meet NSF/ANSI Standards” without actually providing any test data.

We also read about minor leaks here and there – nothing that couldn’t be solved (YouTube is your friend).

And it looks like the instructions could do with an update.

Our Verdict

As the headline suggests, the iSpring CKC1C combines basic filtration with great customer service.

Simply put, don’t expect fully purified RO water. 3.5 stars.

Home Master Jr. F2 Sinktop Water Filtration System

Home Master Jr. F2 Counter Top Water Filter

Home Master Jr. F2 Sinktop

  •    Price: $$
  •    Type: Regular Countertop
  •    Filt. Capacity: 500 Gallons
  •    NSF Standard: ?
  •    Annual Cost: ~$80

What We Like About this Water Filter

Perfect Water Technologies, Inc. markets the Jr. F2 sinktop water filtration system under their well-known and popular Home Master brand. The filter is available in white or black.

We have a very compact and portable design which is perfect for renters and small apartments. Plus, the installation is super convenient and barely takes more than five minutes (adapter included).

Happy customers reported that the device makes even the most disgusting tap water taste fresh and also praised the excellent customer.

But what makes the Home Master Jr. F2 stand out is the combination of activated carbon with activated alumina (AA) filter media.

As we already know, the carbon treats chlorine, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals responsible for foul tastes and odors.

The AA eliminates up to 93% of fluoride from your tap water, says the manufacturer (more on this in a bit). Moreover, it also reduces arsenic. Now this is something you won’t find with any of the other countertop filters reviewed on this page expect for the two reverse osmosis systems at the very top.

By the way, to prevent a condition called “channeling” where water bypasses the filtration media and comes out unfiltered, Home Master uses three 5-micron compression disks. This helps to ensure uniform filtration and, above that, it traps sediments.

Capacity: 500 gallons of water or 3 months per filter which is pretty average.

And lastly, the Home Master Jr. F2 Sinktop is backed by a 3-year limited warranty for peace of mind.

What We Don’t Like About this Water Filter

Here are four aspects that we don’t like:

  1. The Jr. F2 is considerably more expensive than its direct competitors. Filter replacement costs are rather high.
  2. Except for the housing, this filter is NOT certified by any third party that supports the claims the manufacturer has made about fluoride removal capabilities. Yes, activated alumina does reduce fluoride from water, but the process is highly dependent on contact time. Not having conducted any testing ourselves we cannot possibly tell how effective the filtration is under real-life conditions.
  3. In theory, tools aren’t needed for replacing the filter. However, for some users it is impossible to open the casing. Even a strap wrench doesn’t work.
  4. Other customers complained about water taste issues and leaking.

Our Verdict

We welcome the fact that with the Jr. F2 Home Master has tried to offer a non-RO countertop filter capable of reducing fluoride. However, whether the process is really as effective as advertised is a different kettle of fish. NSF certifications are missing up to this day. Taking into account the other drawbacks, it’s 3.5 stars from us.

Best Gravity Water Filter Reviews

Best Gravity-Fed Water Filter: Berkey

Berkey Gravity Counter Top Water Purifier Dispenser

Big Berkey with 2 Black Berkey Purification Elements

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Type: Gravity-Fed
  •    Filt. Capacity: 3,000 Gallons
  •    NSF Standard: 53
  •    Annual Cost: ~$20-40

Berkey certainly is one of the most popular brands when it comes to home water filtration. Personally, we believe that it offers the best gravity filters on the market.

What We Like

Travel, Big, Imperial, Crown… – Berkey gravity water filters come in different sizes. The perfect size for you depends on how much purified water you need on a daily basis. Larger system = More water, meaning higher filtration speed and storage capacity.

Let’s take the Big Berkey as an example: It’s by far the most popular Berkey model and ideal for families of 4, serving enough water to avoid long waiting times while not being too bulky for most kitchens and to be moved around.

  • Water storage capacity: ~ 2.25 Gallons
  • Fully expanded: 4 filter elements
  • Maximum water flow rate: ~ 7.0 gallons/h

Other than that, there is no difference between the various Berkey versions. They all have an upper and lower chamber made from 304 food-grade stainless steel (except for the Berkey Light) for longevity, a dispenser at the bottom and a lid on top.

Also, large or small, all units use the same filter elements. Thus, filtered water quality is consistent.

Speaking of water quality, the standard Berkey filter element is the Black Berkey. Installed in the upper chamber, one Black Berkey has a filtration capacity of approx. 3,000 gallons or 3 years, believe it or not. In other words, the long-lasting filters save you money and time, and they trap water impurities down to a submicron level doing so.

This is a summary of the lab testing reports:

  • Viruses (>99.999%)
  • Pathogenic bacteria (>99.9999%)
  • Cysts
  • Chlorine, chloramine (removed to below lab detectable limits)
  • Heavy metals like aluminum (>99%), barium (>80%), cadmium (>99.7%), chromium-6 (>99.85%), lead (>99.9%) and mercury (>99.9%)
  • THMs (removed to below lab detectable limits)
  • Pharmaceutical drug contaminants such as Acetaminophen, BPA, Progestrone, Ibuprofen (removed >99.9%)
  • Pesticides and VOCs (removed to below detectable limits)
  • Arsenic (>99.9%)
  • Rust, sediment, silt, turbidity, taste and odors

*All according to NSF Standard 53. Testing conducted by an accredited laboratory.

As you can see, the filtration is very, very thorough. In fact, these are some of the best test results we have ever seen. Maybe this is why most users love the taste of Berkey filtered water so much!

If you struggle with fluoride (sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate, fluorosilicic acid) and/or arsenic (arsenic(III) and pre-oxidized arsenic(V)), you would additionally have to install the optional Berkey PF-2 filters in the lower chamber. The PF-2 are matched with the Black Berkey elements on top – easy. They are certified to remove more than 97% fluoride and 99.9% arsenic, and last 1,000 gallons per set of 2.

In addition to Black Berkeys, there are Berkey’s Earth ceramic filter elements. They reduce contaminants to the bacteria level as well as SOME viruses. Chemicals such as chlorine, herbicides, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, VOCs, THMs, heavy metals and other contaminants are reduced likewise to levels of up to 99.9% and above. Submicron purification is not provided. The advantage of the Earth filters is that they cost less than a third of what you pay for Black Berkeys. On the downside, their water flow rate is much, much slower.

And of course you also have the option to add a post-filter to Earth ceramic elements in order to get rid of fluoride in your water. In that case, choose the PF-4 which last for 6 months.

More Pros

  • Beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium are preserved
  • Classic stainless steel looks
  • Assembly barely takes 10 minutes, no plumbing involved (great for renters)
  • Rubber casket prevents surface scratching

What We Don’t Like

Replacement cartridges are rather expensive. Their longevity evens that out, though.

Furthermore, some users have complained about the plastic spigot leaking or breaking easily.

Another issue is the drop in filtration speed after a couple of weeks/months. Frequent filter re-priming is required which can get tiresome. This also applies to the PF-2 filters that may add cloudiness or an unpleasant taste to your water when not properly (re)conditioned.

And sometimes, due to negative pressure, the water flow from the spigot can be really slow. One simple trick is to slip a small piece of plastic between the two chambers to allow air to flow inside.

One minor complaint is that the filtration does not stop once the lower chamber is full. So be careful to prevent overfilling.

Our Verdict

To us it’s not a surprised that Berkey, and the Big Berkey in particular, are the most sought after countertop gravity water purification systems on the market. Easy to set up and use, relatively low in maintenance, and very effective at removing impurities to provide drinking water of superb quality – what else could you ask for? Definitely our numero uno. 4.5 stars!

For a more detailed review, click here.

Propur Gravity-Fed Water Filtration System with Dispenser

Propur Gravity Sink Top Water Purifier Dispenser

Propur Big

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Type: Gravity-Fed
  •    Filt. Capacity: 4-12 Months
  •    NSF Standard: 42, 53, 401...
  •    Annual Cost: ~$85-170

What We Like

Just like Berkey, Propur gravity filters can be fed with water from just about any source including tap, lake, stream, river, pond or rain water.

They are easy to use and provide H2O of exceptional purity.

And again, there are different sizes that you can choose from:

  • The Propur Scout is ideal for one person on the go.
  • The Traveler can hold more than 3 times the amount of water that goes into the Scout.
  • Next in line is the Propur Nomad which combines good portability with higher flow rates.
  • The Propur Big is the most popular version and perfectly sized for everyday use by a whole family.
  • And lastly the King which can be expanded to 4 filters for very high water consumption.

While the Propur Scout can’t store more than 55 ounces of water, the King can hold almost 4 gallons. Also, the larger the system, the more purifier elements it can host for higher filtration speed.

And that’s not all. The larger units also apply larger filters which again increases the amount of water that can be processed in a given period of time (0.18 gallons per hour for the smallest filter versus 0.9 gallons for the largest).

However, this won’t affect water quality. All Propur gravity systems work with ProOne® G2.0 ceramic filter elements combining granular activated carbon based media with silver-infused ceramic. They all remove the same contaminants. This also goes for regular versus SLIMLINE versions. The only difference here is that the SLIMLINE elements were designed for emergency cases, whereas the regular filters are better suited for daily use.

Why then offer different filter sizes in the first place? Because the larger cartridges last longer due to their larger surface area.

The most important water pollutants that will be eliminated are VOCs (>95.0%), TTHMs (99.0% on average), aluminum (98.0%), arsenic(III) and arsenic(V) (99.7%), lead (99.9+%), sodium fluoride (97.5%), pesticides, semivolatile contaminants (97.0+%), chlorine and chloramines (99.9+%), nitrites & nitrates, herbicides, pharmaceuticals and PFOA & PFOS (99.9+%).

In addition, a handful of waterborne pathogens and so-called “emerging contaminants” will be filtered out as well.

All in all, testing requirements for NSF standards 42, 53, 401 and Protocol P231 were met – we love it! And again, these are some of the best test results we have ever seen.

More benefits:

  • All models feature 304 stainless steel containers (polished or brushed finish) for longevity.
  • Except for the Propur Scout, all steel components are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
  • Initial setup and replacing filters is a breeze.

What We Don’t Like

The most common complaints include:

  1. Slow filtration (to be fair, thorough filtration takes time) – Try to purify your water overnight and follow instructions regarding filter priming. It might also be that the lid sits too tight not allowing air to flow inside for pressure compensation.
  2. Unpleasant or funny water taste
  3. Rust spots
  4. Leaky spigots

According to Amazon reviewers, the Propur customer support is also unresponsive at times.

What concerns us is the fact that the filters are pricey and don’t last very long, between 4 (3) and 12 months depending on their size.

Our Verdict

Propur gravity filter systems do an outstanding job at removing even the most stubborn contaminants for clean drinking water that tastes delicious. That’s why most users are pleased with their purchase and would buy again.

Taking into account the drawbacks listed above, our final rating is 3.5 stars!

For a more detailed review, click here.

Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Water Purification Filter

Alexapure Pro Sink Top Water Purifier Dispenser

Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Water Purification Filter

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Type: Gravity-Fed
  •    Capacity: Up to 5,000 Gal
  •    NSF Standard: 42, 53, P231
  •    Annual Cost: ?

What We Like

The Alexapure Pro countertop gravity water purifier system is much more affordable than a Berkey and not too far behind in terms of filtration performance.

It is made of stainless steel, which is great to store and conserve up to 2.5 gallons of filtered water, plus it gives the system the sturdiness it needs.

Furthermore, each filter element is rated at a mind-blowing 5,000 gallons or roughly five years. At least that’s what Alexapure says – we will discuss issues with slowing filters further down below.

But first, let’s take a closer look at how well the Alexapure Pro is able to remove some of those nasty contaminants:

According to the manufacturer, the system reduces more than 200 different impurities found in water including

  • Dozens of volatile and semivolatile compounds (99.9+%)
  • Heavy metals such as aluminum (99.9%), arsenic (99.%), cadmium (99.9%), chromium (98.7%), lead (96.4%)
  • A whole bunch of pesticides including Glyphosate (99.9%)
  • 14 herbicides (99.9%)
  • Chlorine (99.9%), chloramines (99.9%), sodium fluoride (97.6%) + other chemicals containing fluoride
  • Nitrites (99.9%) & nitrates (98.2%)
  • Pharmaceutical drugs – think BPA, Ibuprofen, Progestrone (99.9%)
  • Different pathogens (99.9% to 99.9999%)
  • Radioactives

*Testing according to NSF Standard 42, 53 and Protocol P231

Simply put, the Alexapure Pro transforms water from virtually any fresh source – stream, lake, well or tap – into cleaner, healthier drinking water which is great for everyday life and in an SHTF scenario.

What’s more, comparing the lab reports to Berkey, we can tell that the difference is almost negligible. Although one important difference is that the Alexapure is a little less effective at removing lead.

What else is there to say? Well, the system is easy to assemble, filters don’t require priming, and they are easy to change. How convenient!

What We Don’t Like

We’ve already mentioned that each filtration element has a theoretical capacity of 5,000 gallons. However, numerous customers said that they saw a drastic flow drop within a couple of weeks or months.

For some the filtered water output was “ridiculously slow”, while for others it stopped altogether. Now in case of the latter, sucking on the filter can help if an airlock is causing the issue. If not, replacement is your only option.

That being said, the cartridges are 100% Made in the USA and not exactly cheap. This is also why trying to increase the water flow rate by using up to 4 filter elements simultaneously is not really an option.

Other complaints include rust spots and slow water flow from the dispenser.

Personally, we would have preferred if Alexapure had differentiated between arsenic(III) and arsenic(V) as well as chromium 3 and 6 in their testing.

Our Verdict

The purification is solid, there’s no doubt about that. Unfortunately the overpriced and sometimes faulty filter elements can be a real problem. 3.5 stars.

Zen Water Systems Countertop Gravity Water Purifier #RealBargain

Zen Water Systems Over the Counter Water Purifier Dispenser

Zen Water Systems Countertop Gravity Water Purifier #RealBargain

  •    Price: $$
  •    Type: Gravity-Fed
  •    Filt. Capacity: 500 Gallons
  •    NSF Standard: -
  •    Annual Cost: ~$60

This Zen Water Systems gravity filter seems extremely attractive for people on a tight budget that are looking for a low-cost solution to their water contamination problem.

The manufacturer promises that it will transform ordinary tap water into purified, healthy and great-tasting mineral spring water – truth or fiction?

What We Like

First of all, the system comes in three different sizes: Four, six and eight gallons. No matter which version you choose, water quality remains the same.

Let’s take the 4-gallon system as an example: The top container can hold 1.5 gallons, the filtered water tank at the bottom up to 2.5 gallons. And although the filtration can be slow at first, it should get better after a few cycles. The normal flow rate is approximately 45 to 60 minutes for a full tank. This should be plenty of water for an entire family.

The multi-stage filtration process not only purifies but also remineralizes and alkalizes water. Contaminants that will be removed include dirt, debris, sediment, bacteria and VOCs.

Also, the silver impregnated granular carbon adsorbs chlorine, chloramines and other chemicals, improving water aesthetics and inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

On a side note, the spout is magnetic in case you swear by magnetized water!

Another positive aspect, and definitely an advantage over Berkey and the others, is that you can actually see inside the system so you can tell how much water is left in the holding tank. This makes it a lot easier to manage.

Also, the setup is not complicated, although it takes a little bit longer due to the many different parts that need to be assembled. The mineral stones, for example, require boiling prior to first use.

All in all, the average annual filter replacement costs amount to about $60 USD which seems reasonable.

Everything is 100% BPA-Free.

What We Don’t Like

The main issue is leaking or broken spigots (they just tend to not last very long and are costly to replace).

We also don’t like that the system is made of plastic for the most part. Granted, the manufacturer made sure to only use BPA-free materials, but we would have preferred stainless steel – at least for the water storage tank.

Quality-wise the build of this product doesn’t look as good as any of the Berkey filter systems. Keep in mind, though, that the Zen costs less than one-third.

And we’ve checked the seller’s website and the product manual but couldn’t find any hint about independent lab tests or third-party certificates.

Last but not least, three minor points of criticism:

  1. The entire system requires cleaning about twice a year. The mineral stones need to be rinsed, boiled and dried, the ceramic dome cleansed, and the storage tank wiped out regularly. Sure, it won’t kill you, but it’s inconvenient.
  2. In order to fill a glass of water you need to place the system near the edge of your kitchen counter. Again, neither very convenient nor well thought through.
  3. The system is warranted for no more than 30 days.

Our Verdict

Our verdict: The Zen Water Systems gravity filter will greatly improve the taste of your water – most people love it. And although performance-wise it can’t compete with the cream of the crop, it’s much more affordable and comes with added health benefits, e.g. remineralization. In our opinion, at such a low price it makes a reasonable choice. 3.5 stars!

Other Countertop Water Filter Reviews:

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If you have a question about countertop, gravity-fed or any other type of water purifier please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

And don’t forget to come back to this page from time to time as we are going to add new countertop and gravity water filter reviews occasionally.

Leave a Comment:

2 comments
Arch Brashears says 9 months ago

Is there a gravity fed pour through drinking water filter device that will remove TTHMs.

Reply
    Gene says 9 months ago

    Hey Arch,

    The Berkey is good for TTHMs as tests have shown (>99.8% reduction rate).

    Gene

    Reply
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