7 Best Gravity Water Filters – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2023

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

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

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

On This Page You Will…

No Time to Read? Check Our List of the Best Gravity Water Filters!

Gravity FiltersDetails
Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter
Best Gravity Water Filter: Big Berkey

Price: $$$
Tank Size: 2.25 gal
NSF: 42, 53
Annual Cost: ~$40
Warranty: Lifetime
Read Review: Click
Santevia Alkaline Gravity Water System
Best Alkaline Gravity Water System: Santevia

Price: $$
Tank Size: 2.6 gal
NSF: 42, 53
Annual Cost: ~$200
Warranty: 30 Days
Read Review: Click
LifeStraw Mission Gravity Bag Filter
Best Portable Gravity Bag Water Filter: LifeStraw Mission

Price: $$
Tank Size: 1.3 gal
NSF: Yes
Annual Cost:
Warranty: 3 Years
Read Review: Click

Best Gravity Water Filter Reviews

1. Best Rated Gravity Water Filter: Big Berkey

In our opinion, the Big Berkey is the best gravity water filter in 2023.

Berkey is easily the most popular gravity water filter brand currently on the market – and rightly so!

Simply put, a Berkey system 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 any SHTF scenario.

Furthermore, Berkeys come in different sizes but they’re all simple to put together, use, and maintain, and yet highly effective at providing water that easily meets drinking standards. 4.5 stars!

By the way, the perfect size for you depends on how much purified water you need on a daily basis. Larger system equals more water, meaning higher filtration speed and storage capacity.

Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter

Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter System

Drinking Water Storage:2.25 Gallons
NSF:42, 53
Annual Filter Cost:~$40

Our Rating


  • A Berkey gravity water filter targets water contaminants down to the submicron level:
    • Viruses (>99.999%).
    • Pathogenic bacteria like E. coli (>99.9999%).
    • Cysts.
    • Chlorine and 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.
    • Some of the best overall test results we’ve ever seen. Guarantees very, very thorough filtration.
  • Filter systems were tested according to NSF standard 53 and 42.
  • Healthy minerals are preserved.
  • Optional PF-2 filters can be used to remove fluoride and/or arsenic even more effectively.
  • Choose from 7 system sizes. Larger means higher filtration speed and water storage.
    • Big Berkey filter is best suited for families of up to 4 people. Can store up to 2¼ gallons of filtered drinking water. Maximum water flow rate: 7 gallons per hour.
  • Made from 304 food-grade stainless steel for durability.
  • Rubber gasket prevents scratching on surfaces.
  • Setup is a piece of cake. No plumbing involved, no tools needed.
  • Black Berkey gravity filter elements last a full 3,000 gallons or up to 3 years, whichever comes first. High filtration capacity is easy on your wallet and saves you from frequent replacements. Annual cost: ~$40 – super affordable!
  • Additional PF-2 fluoride filters last 1,000 gallons (set of 2). Annual cost: ~$120.
  • Lifetime warranty for peace of mind.


  • Fluoride filters cost a bit more, but fortunately they’re optional.
  • Frequent filter re-priming may be needed.
  • Filtration continues even if the lower tank is full. Watch out!
  • You cannot check how much purified water is left without lifting the upper chamber.
  • Some people had problems with a leaking dispenser.
  • If there’s a vacuum, water flow from the spigot may be slow.

Best for

The Big Berkey is best for people who want a highly effective and easy-to-use gravity filter for home use and prepping.

→ Read Our Full Big Berkey Review Here

2. Our Runner-Up: Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Water Filter

The Alexapure Pro is our second choice when it comes to the best gravity-fed water filter systems. And interestingly enough, it’s quite similar to the Big Berkey filter in many ways:

  • The water purification is solid, there’s no doubt about that.
  • The Alexapure Pro can store exactly the same amount of water as the Big Berkey.
  • Both systems can accommodate up to 4 filtration elements.

However, there have been issues where Alexapure filter elements clogged prematurely.

All in all, 4.0 stars.

Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Gravity Water Filter

Alexapure Pro Gravity-Fed Water Filter

Drinking Water Storage:2.25 Gallons
NSF:42, 53, P231
Annual Filter Cost:~$30

Our Rating


  • Alexapure can keep up with Berkey in terms of overall filtration performance. Comparing lab reports, contaminant reduction rates are almost the same. One important difference: Alexapure is a little less effective at removing toxic lead.
  • According to the manufacturer, Alexapure gravity filters remove more than 200 different contaminants that can be found in any water supply today:
    • 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.
  • All testing according to NSF Standard 42, 53, and protocol P231.
  • Holds up to 2.25 gallons of clean water.
  • Stainless steel gives the system the sturdiness it needs + is great to store and conserve water.
  • Ease of use and easy to assemble.
  • Filters are 100% made in USA and easy to change for maximum convenience.
    • Each element is rated at a mind-blowing 5,000 gallons or roughly five years, no priming required. Cost per year: $30 (theoretically).


  • Filtration elements have a theoretical capacity of 5,000 gallons. However, numerous people said they saw a drastic drop in flow rate within a couple of weeks or months.
    • For some the filtered water output was “ridiculously slow”, while for others it stopped altogether. 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.
  • Other complaints include rust spots and slow water flow from the dispenser.
  • Short 30-day warranty only.

Best for

The Alexapure Pro is our second best choice of gravity water filters.

3. Best for Alkaline Water: Santevia Gravity Water System with Fluoride Filter

Santevia’s Gravity Water System not only removes potentially harmful water contaminants, it also “boosts pH and alkalinity to make mineralized alkaline water”.

That said, at this time there seems to be no solid scientific evidence supporting the claim that alkaline water is any healthier than regular drinking water.

One thing is for certain, though, the Santevia may not be perfect but it’s still the best alkaline gravity water filter in 2023. 3.5 stars!

Santevia Gravity Water System

Santevia Alkaline Gravity Water System

Drinking Water Storage:2.6 Gallons
NSF:42, 53 (Unverified)
Annual Filter Cost:~$200
Warranty:30 Days

Our Rating


  • Applies multi-stage water treatment process producing water that tastes fresh and natural.
  • Ceramic pre-filter removes particles larger than 0.3 microns – think microplastics, rust, bacteria, sediment.
  • Fluoride filter reduces up to 98% fluoride, up to 99% chlorine, agricultural contaminants, heavy metals like lead (up to 89.1% removal), and pharmaceuticals. Also remineralizes and alkalizes water to boost water pH.
    • Infuses water with calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and other healthy minerals.
    • Raises pH by around 1.5 – 2.0 units.
  • Maifan and bio-ceramic mineral stones stabilize and maintain optimal water pH.
  • 2.6 gallons system size is ideal for families.
  • Material: BPs- & BPA-free plastic.


  • A few design and quality issues.
  • Product manual says the gravity filtration system is “Independently tested to NSF 42 and 53 standards” but we couldn’t find a performance data sheet or lab reports.
  • We read reports from users saying the filtration didn’t do anything when they had tested the product water.
  • At $200, the average annual filter replacement costs are relatively high, mainly because the fluoride filters last no more than 4 months or 317 gallons of water.
  • Builds up mold. Regularly requires thorough cleaning procedure.
  • Short 30 day-warranty only.

Best for

The Santevia Gravity Water System is best for people looking for a filter that provides alkaline drinking water.

4. Best Portable Gravity Bag Water Filter: LifeStraw Mission

Next, we’ll take a look at the LifeStraw Mission.

In our opinion, it’s the #1 gravity bag water filter in 2023. And thanks to its portability and the fact that it does remove viruses which is especially important when you’re ion the great outdoors or traveling internationally, the LifeStraw Mission is also our favorite backpacking water filter for both solo and group use. 4.5 stars!

LifeStraw Mission Portable Gravity Bag Water Filter

LifeStraw Mission Gravity Water Filter Bag

Water Storage:1.3 Gallons
Annual Filter Cost:
Warranty:3 Years

Our Rating


  • Gravity water bag is lightweight and can be rolled up. Easy to carry in a backpack.
    • Choose between 1.3 and 3.2-gallon bag.
  • Uses .02-micron ultrafiltration membrane to eliminate waterborne bacteria (99.999999%) as well as parasites, viruses and microplastics (all to 99.999%). Plus, any turbidity down to 0.02 microns will be reduced.
    • Makes contaminated water potable.
    • NSF International, EPA, and WHO standards are met. Used by millions of families in rural Africa and other parts of the world.
  • 2 gallons of water per hour means filtration flow rate is quite fast.
    • Great for family use for camping, hiking, and an emergency scenario.
  • Extra outlet to flush out dirt.
  • Red bulb can be used for simple membrane cleaning.
  • Food-grade quality materials.
  • 4,755-gallon filter should last a couple of years.
  • 3 years warranty.


  • Red bulb tends to leak.

Best for

The LifeStraw Mission is best for people who need a portable and highly compact yet effective gravity filter.

5. Alkaline Water Alternative: pH Recharge Gravity Alkaline Water Filter

The pH Recharge by Invigorated Water is another so-called alkaline water filter, meaning that apart from filtering several contaminants as well as bad taste it increases the pH value of water by up to 2.0+ points – just like the Santevia gravity filter above.

In addition, with its glass body and wooden stand the pH Recharge has a great design and clean look. But it also has a few major issues which you can check below. 3 stars.

pH-Recharge Gravity Alkaline Water Filter

Invigorated Water pH-Recharge Purification System

Clean Water Storage:1.25 Gallons
Annual Filter Cost:~$150
Warranty:60 Days

Our Rating


  • Most people love how the alkaline water tastes.
  • Gravity water filtration system uses same PH001 filter cartridges as the pH Restore water filter pitcher.
    • Coconut shell activated carbon, ion-exchange resin, and zeolite remove sediments, chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, heavy metals including lead, organic and non-organic matter, microplastics, and even some fluoride.
    • Plus, filters contain mineral stones which add beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc to water for higher alkalinity.
  • You can add optional PH002 ultrafiltration cartridges (0.01 micron) for more effective fluoride reduction (close to 80 percent) and elimination of 99.9% waterborne pathogens.
  • Supplies enough water for family use.
    • Base filtered capacity: 1.25 gallons. Total volume: 2.0 gallons.
  • Glass body.
  • Attractive bamboo base and lid.
  • Stainless steel spigot.
  • 60-day money-back guarantee (only when purchased on invigoratedwater.com).


  • Numerous complaints about leaky spigots. Feels flimsy. Drips constantly.
  • Legs of wood stand have to be screwed to the base platform. Provided screws are cheap. Pilot holes didn’t line up for many customers.
  • Much of the filtered water cannot be dispensed because of tap position.
  • Lack of NSF certifications with specific contaminant reduction rates.
  • Water runs through PH001 filters quickly. Filtration might not be really thorough.
  • PH002 filters tend to clog.
  • PH001 filters last no more than 96 gallons so that you have to replace frequently. At around $17 per piece, cost will start to add up fast. PH002 filters last a bit longer, 264 gallons, but add to the cost even more.

Best for

The pH Recharge is our second best alkaline gravity filter that’s also pretty affordable.

6. Best Budget Pick: Zen Water Systems Countertop Gravity Water Filter

Zen Water Systems’ countertop gravity filter seems extremely attractive for people on a tight budget, people in need for a low-cost solution to their water contamination problem.

The manufacturer promises that the filter system transforms ordinary tap water into purified, healthy, and great-tasting mineral spring water – truth or fiction?

Well, the Zen does a great job at improving water taste which most people love. But performance-wise it cannot be compared to the cream of the crop. The good news, it comes with added health benefits, e.g. remineralization.

Bottom line: A reasonable choice at such a low price. 3.5 stars!

Zen Water Systems Vitality - 4 Gallon Gravity Water Filter

Zen Water Systems Vitality Gravity-Fed Water Filter

Clean Water Storage:1.5 Gallons
Annual Filter Cost:~$70
Warranty:30 Days

Our Rating


  • Gravity water filtration system comes in three different sizes: Four, six, and eight gallons. No matter which version one picks, water quality remains the same.
    • For example: With 4-gallon filter system the top container can hold 1.5 gallons, the filtered water tank at the bottom up to 2.5 gallons.
  • Multi-stage filtration process purifies, remineralizes, and alkalizes water
    • Contaminants that will be removed include dirt, debris, sediment, bacteria, and VOCs. Silver impregnated granular activated carbon filters chlorine, chloramines and other chemicals, improving water aesthetics and inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
  • Normal flow rate is approximately 45 to 60 minutes for a full tank. Plenty of water for an entire family.
  • Spigot is magnetic in case you swear by magnetized water.
  • One definite advantage over Berkey and the other filters: You can 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.
  • Setup isn’t complicated, although it takes a little bit longer due to the many different parts that need to be assembled.
    • The mineral stones require boiling prior to first use.
  • All in all, the average annual filter replacement cost seems reasonable (around $70).
  • Everything is 100% BPA-Free.


  • Leaking and broken spigots – they just tend to not last very long and are costly to replace – are the main issues.
  • System is made of plastic for the most part. We would have preferred stainless steel.
  • Quality-wise, the build of this unit doesn’t look as good as any of the Berkey filtration systems.
  • We’ve checked the company website and product manual but couldn’t find any hint about independent lab tests or third-party certificates.
  • Higher maintenance needs.
    • Entire system requires cleaning about twice a year.
    • Mineral stones need to be rinsed, boiled and dried.
    • Ceramic filter dome needs to be cleansed.
  • To fill a glass of water you need to place the system near the edge of your kitchen countertop. Not very well thought through.
  • 30 days warranty for a gravity-fed water filter is extremely short.
  • Filtration can be slow at first.

Best for

The Zen Water Systems is best for people on a very tight budget.

7. Review: Propur Big Gravity Water Filtration System with Dispenser

Just like Berkey, Propur gravity filters can be fed with water from just about any water supply including tap, lake, stream, river, pond, or rain water. What’s more, they’re easy to use and do an outstanding job at removing even the most stubborn contaminants providing H2O of great purity that also tastes delicious.

That said, for our final verdict we must take into account all drawbacks listed below. Our final rating is 3.5 stars!

Propur Big Gravity Water Filter System

Propur Big Gravity Water Filter Dispenser

Clean Water Storage:2.75 Gallons
NSF:42, 53, 401, P231
Annual Filter Cost:~$150-160

Our Rating


  • Different sizes to match your water demand:
    • Propur Scout filter system is ideal for one person that wants to filter water on the go. Stores up to 55 ounces.
    • The Traveler purification system 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 a higher flow rate.
    • 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. Can hold almost 4 gallons of water at a time.
  • The larger the system, the more purifier elements it can host for higher filtration speed. 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 in one hour for the smallest filter versus 0.9 gallons flow rate for the largest).
    • Won’t affect water purity.
  • All Propur gravity filters work with ProOne® G2.0 ceramic filter elements combining granular activated carbon filter media with silver-infused ceramic.
    • They all remove the same things. This also goes for regular versus SLIMLINE filter versions (designed for emergency cases).
  • 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+%), a handful of waterborne pathogens, and so-called emerging contaminants.
    • Testing requirements for NSF standards 42, 53, 401, and protocol P231 were met – we love it!
  • All filter models feature 304 stainless steel containers (polished or brushed finish) for durability.
  • Initial setup and replacing filters is a breeze.
  • Filter lifespan per cartridge: Between 6 and 12 months, depending on which size. Cost estimate: $150-160 each year.
    • Larger filters last longer due to their larger surface area.
  • Except for the Propur Scout, all stainless steel components are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.


  • Compared to the competition, filters are rather pricey.
  • 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.
  • Unpleasant or funny water taste.
  • Rust spots.
  • Leaky spigot.
  • According to Amazon reviewers, Propur customer support is unresponsive at times.

Best for

The Propur is best for people who don’t mind slow filtration and paying a higher price in return for effective contaminant removal (NSF-tested).

→ Read Our Full Propur Review Here

Filtration Systems Comparison List

(Mobile Hint: Swipe to Scroll)

Gravity SystemPriceStorageNSF/ANSIAnnuallyWarrantyAdditional Info
Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter$$$2.25 gal42, 53~$40Life3,000-Gallon Capacity, For Any Fresh Water Supply
Alexapure Pro Gravity Water Filter$$$2.25 gal42, 53, P231~$30?Gravity Water Filter with 5,000-Gallon Capacity
Santevia Alkaline Gravity Water System$$2.6 gal42, 53~$20030 DaysFor 317 Gallons of Water
LifeStraw Mission Gravity Water Filter$$1.3 galYes3 YearsFilters 4,755 Gallons Before Needing Replacement
pH Recharge Gravity Water Filter$1.25 gal~$15060 DaysUses Carbon Filter Media to Remove Contaminants, Holds Little More Than 1 Gallon of Water at a Time (4 Liters of Water)
Zen Water Systems Gravity Water Filter$1.5 gal~$7030 Days
Propur Big Gravity Water Filter$$$2.75 gal42, 53, 401, P231~$150-160LifetimeGravity Water Filter Can Be Used to Remove Contaminants From Any Fresh Water Supply
Lifestraw Flex Advanced Gravity-Fed Water Filter$1 gal42, 53, 401, P231$253 YearsLifestraw Flex Advanced Filter Cartridge Lasts 500 Gallons (2,000 Liters of Water)

Buying Guide: How We Picked the Best Gravity-Fed Water Filters + What You Need to Consider

The following are things worth considering before you go out and buy a gravity water filter. These are also the very same criteria we focused on when picking our top products for this guide.

Indoor or Outdoor – How Will You Use Your Gravity Water Filter?

Are you planning to use your new gravity water filter indoors or outdoors?

What difference does that make? Well, depending on the application you’ll likely be facing a completely different range of water contaminants.

For example: Most tap water is chlorinated or chloraminated to kill waterborne pathogens. So while you don’t have to worry about bacteria and viruses, you probably want to get rid of that unpleasant chlorine taste and smell.

On the other hand, if you are planning a camping trip in the backcountry where you don’t have access to a safe freshwater source, a gravity water filter needs to be capable of removing dangerous bacteria, protozoa, cysts, viruses etc.

Simply put, the filter you buy needs to be designed for the purpose you’re intending to use it for. Or, you buy an all-rounder like the Berkey which basically removes all the harmful contaminants from tap water, well water, and water sources like rivers and lakes.

tent near lake

Filter Effectiveness: Contaminants Removed

Personally, we like to rely on NSF testing/certifications when it comes to filtration effectiveness. Otherwise, brands and manufacturers can make claims all day long about which contaminants their water filtration systems remove. Reality is, only independent lab testing can provide proof.

In the realm of gravity water filters, these are the most important NSF standards you should look out for:

  • Standard 42 – For water aesthetics. Most importantly, measures the reduction of chlorine.
  • Standard 53 – For contaminants with health effects. The standard covers reduction of lead, chromium 6 and other heavy metals, all kinds of chemicals, organics, microorganisms, and much more.
  • Standard 401 – For emerging chemicals like pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other compounds that can have health effects.
  • Standard 244 – For microbiological contamination. Viruses, bacteria, cysts, protozoa – you name it.
  • Protocol P473 – For PFOA and PFOS reduction.

Gravity Systems Flow Rate

We get it; fast filtration without long waiting times seems desirable. However, most filter media require a long-enough contact time with the water to pull out as many contaminants as possible.

In other words: Thorough filtration takes time. But don’t make the mistake and confuse thorough filtration with low quality, clogged filters that won’t let any water pass through.

Filter Lifespan & Replacement Frequency

We like long-lasting filters as they save you time and money. Black Berkey purification elements, for example, last up to 3,000 gallons or 3 years. Compare that to the 96 gallons you get out of the PH001 filter cartridge by Invigorated Water.

Our tip: When shopping for a gravity water purifier also check capacity, price, and availability of replacement filters.

Portability + Storage Tank Capacity (a.k.a. Size)

A filter’s portability becomes important when you’re thinking about using it outdoors.

The two main factors that determine portability are physical size and weight. Obviously, the smaller and the lighter, the better.

At the same time, a small system means low storage tank capacity and in some cases even slower filtration speed. Thus, if all you want is a gravity filter for your kitchen countertop, we recommend you go for a larger unit for maximum convenience.


When it comes to gravity filtration system materials, food-grade stainless steel and glass are our preferred choices. We don’t really like plastic, even if it’s free from BPA and BPS.

Ease of Use

First and foremost, a cleverly designed system is easy to use and maintain.

The exact opposite of clever design is when the spigot of a gravity water filter system is positioned too high so that much of the filtered water cannot be dispensed.

More on Gravity Water Filters

What is a Gravity Water Filter?

First of all, what is a gravity water filter?

Just like a water filter pitcher, a gravity water filter relies on the force of gravity to push water from an upper chamber through one or more filtration elements into a lower storage tank. The filtered water can then be dispensed via a simple spigot.

The main advantages of a high-quality gravity water filter is that it make water safe(r) to drink and greatly improves aesthetics without the need for electricity or water pressure from a faucet or pipe. Certainly the main disadvantage is that you have to refill each system manually.

How about installation and maintenance? Don’t worry, gravity filters are quick to assemble and all they need for maintenance is a good cleaning every now and then.

The Different Types of Gravity Water Filters and How They Work

As we said, gravity water filters use the force of gravity to direct water from an upper chamber through one or more filter elements into a lower water reservoir ready for dispensing.


Most units are supposed to stand on a flat surface, such as your kitchen countertop or the ground if you are outdoors.

Hanging Gravity Filter Bags

Gravity filter bags are just a tiny bit different: They consist of a bag to fill in the feed water and a hose with a filter element attached. If you open the valve, water is filtered on demand. Some gravity filter bags also feature a second bag to store the filtered water in.

Ceramic Filters vs. Sediment Filters

As far as the water purification process is concerned, most countertop gravity filters rely on ceramic filter elements. Some may also use some sort of activated carbon filter media.

Mere sediment filters are mainly used outdoors. They need to be small and portable and therefore only provide basic filtration.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Gravity Water Filters


Clean Drinking Water

Obviously, the most important benefit of a gravity filter is that it gives you access to clean drinking water, at least if the filtration process is solid – clean water means mostly free from potentially harmful contaminants that may otherwise affect the health of your family.

glass with water on tree stump

Improve the Taste and Smell of Water

In addition to filtered water being healthier, it also tastes and smells much, much better. For improved tap water taste and odor, efficient chlorine removal is key.

If you receive water from a private well, you might be dealing with organic contamination, or high iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide content. A good gravity filter can easily eliminate these contaminants.

Great for Emergencies

A benefit specific to gravity filters is that they’re great for emergency situations as they require neither electricity nor a functioning plumbing system to work. So if sh*t hits the fan and you’re the proud owner of a Berkey system or something comparable, all you need is a nearby freshwater source to feed the filtration process.


Using any home water filter is a lot more eco-friendly than buying bottled water and producing plastic waste. Above that, many bottled waters are literally plain tap water filled into a water bottle, so why even bother?

Save Money

Another reason to invest in a countertop gravity water filter or any type of water filter really is reduced cost. Buying water bottles is just so much more expensive than investing your money in a high quality water filter system. And yes, we’ve taken into account expenses for replacement filters.

Simple Installation & Maintenance

Putting together most gravity filter systems is a breeze. It can be done without tools in 5 to 10 minutes. As for maintenance, all you need to do is re-prime your filter elements and clean the water tanks every once in a while – easy!


Manual Refilling

Probably the main disadvantage of using a gravity water filter is that you have to refill it manually. Many people don’t see a problem in that, but some may consider it inconvenient.

Slow Water Output

Remember that we mentioned that thorough filtration takes time? It may take even longer with gravity filters. That’s because the pressure created by gravity force is nowhere near as high as water pressure in your home’s plumbing system.

Assembly & Maintenance

How to Assemble a Gravity Filter System

Putting together most gravity filter systems is a breeze. It can be done without tools in 5 to 10 minutes. As an example, here’s how you assemble a Berkey:

  1. Wash your hands before proceeding.
  2. Attach lib knob.
  3. Insert washer onto threaded end of dispenser.
  4. Insert spigot into hole of lower chamber.
  5. Insert washer to threaded end of dispenser from inside lower chamber.
  6. Secure spigot with nut.
  7. Hold nut from inside and turn spigot upright.
  8. Install plugs into holes that won’t accommodate filter elements.
  9. Prime filter elements (see below):
    • Press circular priming button onto threaded stem of filter element.
    • Carefully press filter with priming button on top against a faucet.
    • Slowly turn on cold water.
    • Wait for water to run down filter side.
    • Wait another 5 seconds and repeat process with next filter element.
  10. Install filters to holes in upper chamber using washers and wing nuts.
  11. Place upper chamber on top of lower chamber.
  12. Fill water into upper chamber.
  13. Place lid on top.
  14. Done!

Maintaining a Gravity Filter

What do you need to do to keep your gravity filter system in good shape?

Again, using Berkey as our prime example, each filter element requires cleaning every now and then. Frequency depends on the quality of your water like turbidity and sediment content. Whenever filtration speed starts to decrease significantly, it’s probably time for another cleanse.

Simply remove the filter(s) and scrub the exterior with a brush or scouring pad. The idea is to remove the outside layer which absorbed the vast majority of impurities. If scrubbing doesn’t work, you can use a vegetable peeler to peel away a thin layer under running water.

When you’re done, keep in mind to re-prime each filter element before reinstalling.

Another essential task is washing the upper and lower chamber with soapy dishwater, about monthly.

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. You can then filter your water bottle using the dispenser.
  • How much does a gravity filter cost?
    This mainly depends on its size and construction materials. Anywhere between $100 and $350 is realistic. Although, if you opt for a portable gravity water filter, you might have to spend less than $50 USD.
  • How do you make a gravity water filter?
    Actually, we wouldn’t recommend making your own gravity water filter. I mean, 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 dirty water doesn’t contaminate the drinking water.

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Questions about gravity water filters of 2023? Ask away!

And keep in mind to revisit this buying guide from time to time since we’re going to continue our hunt for the best gravity water filter.

About the Author Alexandra Uta

Alex is a content writer with an affinity for research and a methodical attention to detail. Her writing interests have included many different topics, water treatment among them, which have encompassed varying writing styles.
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Leave a Comment:

David Henry says January 19, 2021

This is a really thorough review of the systems I’ve seen yet so thank you! I purchased a Big Berky last week from Amazon. I needed to watch a YouTube video to figure out how to set up, which took maybe 30 min to do. But after that, it’s perfect. The steel containers are sturdy and the filter really does clean the water better than any other system I have used.

    Gene says May 1, 2023

    Glad we could help!

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