4 Best Gravity Water Filters – System Reviews & Buying Guide ’20

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Gravity water filters are great for home use. But that’s not all. They also allow you to purify thousands of gallons of water from almost any fresh water source like rivers, ponds and lakes.

And because we find the best ceramic filters among them and they neither require electricity nor external pressure to operate (thus gravity), they’re ideal for emergency situations.

So, how to find the best gravity water filter? Well, you came to the right place!

On This Page You Will…

Best Gravity Water Filters

ModelOur RatingPriceFilter LifeStorageAnnually
Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter

Best Gravity-Fed Water Filter: Big Berkey

Read Review
$$$3,000 Gallons2.25 Gallons$
Propur Gravity Water Purification System with Dispenser

Propur Gravity Water Filter

Read Review
$$$4 - 12 Months2.75 Gallons (Total)$$-$$$$
Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Water Filter

Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Water Filter

Read Review
$$$Up to 5,000 Gallons2.25 Gallons?
Zen Water Systems Countertop Gravity Water Filter

Most Affordable: Zen Water Systems Countertop Gravity Water Filter

Read Review
$$500 Gallons2.5 Gallons$$

Gravity Filter Reviews

1. Best Gravity-Fed Water Filter: Berkey

Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter

Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter with 2 Black Berkey Purification Elements

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Filter Life: 3,000 Gallons
  •    NSF Standard: 53
  •    Filters Fluoride:
  •    Annually: $

Berkey 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.

Pros

Travel, Big, Royal, Crown… – Berkey gravity 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 filter model and ideal for a family 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 flow rate: ~ 7.0 gallons of water per hour

Other than that, all Berkey filters are identical. 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 filter 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 the reason why most people really like the taste of Berkey filtered water.

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. Each PF-2 filter is matched with a Black Berkey filter 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, 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 way less than what you pay for Black Berkey filters. 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 filter type which lasts for 6 months.

More Advantages:

  • 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

Gravity Filters Size Guide

If you’d ask a dealer, he’d tell you that the larger a gravity water filter system, the better. And it makes sense: A larger filter 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 filter elements which results in higher filtration speed. And more water in the upper reservoir causes more weight (pressure) which also increases water flow.

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

Cons

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

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

Another concern 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.

Verdict: Our Number One Gravity Water Filter

To us it’s not a surprised that Berkey, and the Big Berkey in particular, are the most sought after gravity water filters 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 number one. 4.5 stars!

2. Propur Gravity Water Filtration System with Dispenser

Propur Big Gravity Water Filter Dispenser

Propur Big Gravity Water Filter Dispenser

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Filter Life: 4-12 Months
  •    NSF STD: 42, 53, 401...
  •    Filters Fluoride:
  •    Annually: $$-$$$

Pros

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 filter system is ideal for one person on the go.
  • The Traveler filter can hold more than 3 times the amount of water that goes into the Scout.
  • Next in line is the Propur Nomad filter 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 total. 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 filters work with ProOne® G2.0 ceramic filter elements combining granular activated carbon based media with silver-infused ceramic. They all remove the same things. This also goes for regular versus SLIMLINE filter versions. The only difference here is that the SLIMLINE elements were designed for emergency cases, whereas the regular filters are better suited for daily home use.

Why then offer different filter sizes in the first place? Because the larger filters 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 filter models feature 304 stainless steel containers (polished or brushed finish) for durability.
  • Except for the Propur Scout, all steel components are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
  • Initial setup and replacing filters is a breeze.

Cons

The most common issues and complaints include:

  1. Slow filtration (to be fair, thorough filtration takes time) – Try to filter 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 spigot

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) months and one year depending on their size.

Our Verdict

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

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

3. Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Water Filter

Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Filter Dispenser

Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Filter

  •    Price: $$$
  •    Filter Life: 5,000 Gallons
  •    NSF STD: 42, 53, P231
  •    Filters Fluoride:
  •    Annually: ?

Pros

The Alexapure Pro gravity filter is way 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 2.25 gallons of clean 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 filters more than 200 different impurities found in water including

  • Dozens of volatile and semivolatile compounds (99.9+%)
  • Heavy metals such as aluminum (99.9%), 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 gravity filter transforms water from virtually any fresh source – stream, lake, well or tap water – 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 water filters, we can tell that they’re almost the same. Although one important difference is that the Alexapure is a little less effective at removing lead.

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

Cons

We’ve already mentioned that each filtration element has a theoretical capacity of 5,000 gallons. However, numerous people said 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 said, the filter cartridges are 100% Made in the USA and not exactly cheap. This is also the reason 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.

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.

4. Zen Water Systems Countertop Gravity Water Filter #Cheap

Zen Water Systems Countertop Gravity Water Filter

Zen Water Systems Countertop Gravity Water Filter #Cheap

  •    Price: $$
  •    Filter Life: 500 Gallons
  •    NSF Standard: -
  •    Filters Fluoride:
  •    Annually: $$

This Zen Water Systems countertop 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?

Pros

First of all, the system comes in three different sizes: Four, six and eight gallons. No matter which version one picks, 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 activated carbon filters chlorine, chloramines and other chemicals, improving water aesthetics and inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

FYI: The spigot is magnetic in case you swear by magnetized water!

Another positive aspect, and definitely an advantage over Berkey and the other filters, 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 seem reasonable.

Everything is 100% BPA-Free.

Cons

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 unit doesn’t look as good as any of the Berkey filter systems. Keep in mind, though, that the Zen costs a lot less.

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.

Lastly:

  1. The entire system requires cleaning about twice a year. The mineral stones need to be rinsed, boiled and dried, the ceramic filter dome cleansed, and the storage tank wiped out regularly. Sure, a little bit of maintenance 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 countertop. Again, neither very convenient nor well thought through.
  3. The unit is warranted for no more than 30 days.

Our Verdict: Solid Gravity Filter for Newbies

Our verdict: This gravity filter does a great job at improving the taste of your water – most people love it. And although performance-wise it can’t be compared to the cream of the crop, it’s way more affordable than the others 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!

Gravity Fed Water Filter Comparison List

Filter ModelsAdditional Information & Notes
Berkey Gravity Filters (Best Choice)Choose from these Products: Berkey Go Filter, Travel Filter (1-3 People), Big Filter (1-4 People), Royal Filter (2-6 People), Imperial Filter (4-8 People), Crown Filter (6-12 People), Light Filter (2-5 People); Microscopic Pores Remove Contaminants like Lead, Chemical Odor, Bacteria, Protozoa (i.e. Giardia, Cryptosporidium), Viruses; Fluoride Filters are Optional, Inexpensive Replacement Filters + High Capacity; Simple Design
Propur Gravity FiltersChoose from these Products: Propur Scout Filter, Traveler Filter, Nomad Filter, Big Filter, King Filter; Ceramic + Carbon Remove Contaminants like Viruses, Bacteria, Protozoa (More Info), Lead, Fluoride, Expensive Replacement Filters but High Capacity; Simple Design
Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity FilterFilters Fluoride; Easy Filter Replacement; Plastic Design
Zen Countertop Gravity FilterPick from these Products: 4-Gallon Filter, 6-Gallon Filter, 8-Gallon Filter; Fast Filter Replacement; Simple Design

Other Gravity Filter Reviews:

More on Gravity Water Filters

Gravity Water Filters: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Are gravity based water purifiers good?
    They are. Because filtration is slow, the water has a long contact time with the filter media which makes the process highly effective. For example, the lab test results for the Black Berkey water filter elements are some of the best we’ve ever seen.
  • How do you use a gravity filter?
    You simply fill dirty water into the top reservoir and let gravity do the rest. It’ll push the water through the filters (where it’s cleaned) and into the lower storage tank – just like a pitcher water filter.
  • How much does a gravity filter cost?
    This mainly depends on its size. A Berkey Go filter is available for less than $200 USD. Larger units are usually above the $300 USD mark. If you opt for a portable gravity water filter, you might spend less than $50 USD.
  • How do you make a gravity water filter?
    Actually, we wouldn’t recommend making your own gravity water filter. Or at least buy the filter elements from a reputable source providing real test data. For the rest of the setup, you could use stainless steel pots. Just make sure that the feed water doesn’t contaminate the drinking water.
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Questions about gravity water filters or any other type of water filter really? Ask away!

And keep in mind to revisit this buying guide from time to time since we are going to review new gravity water filters occasionally.

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald has been with BOS since the very beginning. She is head of content creation and has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
Learn more about Gene and the rest of the BOS Team.

Gene

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