Written by: Alexandra Uta // Last Updated:
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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…
Best Gravity Water Filter: Big Berkey
Tank Size: 2.25 gal
NSF: 42, 53
Annual Cost: ~$40
Read Review: Click
Best Alkaline Gravity Water System: Santevia
Tank Size: 2.6 gal
NSF: 42, 53
Annual Cost: ~$200
Warranty: 30 Days
Read Review: Click
Best Portable Gravity Bag Water Filter: LifeStraw Mission
Tank Size: 1.3 gal
Annual Cost: –
Warranty: 3 Years
Read Review: Click
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 System
|Drinking Water Storage:||2.25 Gallons|
|Annual Filter Cost:||~$40|
The Big Berkey is best for people who want a highly effective and easy-to-use gravity filter for home use and prepping.
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:
However, there have been issues where Alexapure filter elements clogged prematurely.
All in all, 4.0 stars.
Alexapure Pro Gravity-Fed Water Filter
|Drinking Water Storage:||2.25 Gallons|
|NSF:||42, 53, P231|
|Annual Filter Cost:||~$30|
The Alexapure Pro is our second best choice of gravity water filters.
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 Alkaline Gravity Water System
|Drinking Water Storage:||2.6 Gallons|
|NSF:||42, 53 (Unverified)|
|Annual Filter Cost:||~$200|
The Santevia Gravity Water System is best for people looking for a filter that provides alkaline drinking water.
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 Gravity Water Filter Bag
|Water Storage:||1.3 Gallons|
|Annual Filter Cost:||–|
The LifeStraw Mission is best for people who need a portable and highly compact yet effective gravity 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.
Invigorated Water pH-Recharge Purification System
|Clean Water Storage:||1.25 Gallons|
|Annual Filter Cost:||~$150|
The pH Recharge is our second best alkaline gravity filter that’s also pretty affordable.
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 Gravity-Fed Water Filter
|Clean Water Storage:||1.5 Gallons|
|Annual Filter Cost:||~$70|
The Zen Water Systems is best for people on a very tight budget.
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 Dispenser
|Clean Water Storage:||2.75 Gallons|
|NSF:||42, 53, 401, P231|
|Annual Filter Cost:||~$150-160|
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
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|Gravity System||Price||Storage||NSF/ANSI||Annually||Warranty||Additional Info|
|Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter||$$$||2.25 gal||42, 53||~$40||Life||3,000-Gallon Capacity, For Any Fresh Water Supply|
|Alexapure Pro Gravity Water Filter||$$$||2.25 gal||42, 53, P231||~$30||?||Gravity Water Filter with 5,000-Gallon Capacity|
|Santevia Alkaline Gravity Water System||$$||2.6 gal||42, 53||~$200||30 Days||For 317 Gallons of Water|
|LifeStraw Mission Gravity Water Filter||$$||1.3 gal||Yes||–||3 Years||Filters 4,755 Gallons Before Needing Replacement|
|pH Recharge Gravity Water Filter||$||1.25 gal||–||~$150||60 Days||Uses Carbon Filter Media to Remove Contaminants, Holds Little More Than 1 Gallon of Water at a Time (4 Liters of Water)|
|Zen Water Systems Gravity Water Filter||$||1.5 gal||–||~$70||30 Days|
|Propur Big Gravity Water Filter||$$$||2.75 gal||42, 53, 401, P231||~$150-160||Lifetime||Gravity Water Filter Can Be Used to Remove Contaminants From Any Fresh Water Supply|
|Lifestraw Flex Advanced Gravity-Fed Water Filter||$||1 gal||42, 53, 401, P231||$25||3 Years||Lifestraw Flex Advanced Filter Cartridge Lasts 500 Gallons (2,000 Liters of Water)|
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.Reply