9 Best Gravity Water Filter Models for Indoor and Outdoor
Access to good, clean drinking water is not always easy to come by. Plus, if you’re roughing it out in the great outdoors, you don’t want to spend your break pumping for a drink. This is where the nine best gravity water filter systems come in.
Quench your thirst without fear of getting sick or having to carry heavy water bottles. Simply scoop water and attach the filter. Some of our purifiers don’t even need containers because they work like a straw!
Stay Hydrated with One of the Nine Best Gravity Water Filters in the Market
Choosing the best gravity water filter is a matter of knowing what you need to remove from your water source and how much filtered water you need. To help you out, we’re bringing you a wide variety of best gravity water filters, ranging from compact outdoor packs to big-capacity kitchen water purifiers.
Still unsure which is the best gravity water filter for your needs? Continue reading to know everything you need to about each model on our list.
Our top pick boasts the most thorough filtration system you can get. That is if you’re prepared to pay the amount equal to getting a brand new laptop. Here’s what makes this premium water filter worth the Benjamins.
The best gravity water filter doesn’t only get rid of the common bacteria, chlorine, and heavy metals. The filters screen the close to perfect 99.99% of pathogens and contaminants, including viruses, from any water supply.
The effectiveness lies in the patented purification elements, tested to ensure the filters are in tip-top shape every time. But the best part is that the filter lasts super long compared to most gravity water filters that need changing after less than 1,000 gallons. With a filter lifespan of 6,000 gallons, using this filtration system saves you maintenance costs and time. And you can extend this if you use water from your rain barrels. Ultimately, you only end up spending 2 cents per gallon of safe drinking water.
With a capacity of 2.25 gallons, this water filter is a good fit for a family of 4. Plus, its stainless steel design matches the appliances of most modern kitchens.
2. Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration & Purification System – Budget Pick
Capacity: 4 gallons
- Filter media: Ceramic filters, cartridge filter, mineral stones
- Gravity filter life: 1000 gallons (micro-ceramic), 500 gallons (mineral cartridge), every 3-5 years (mineral stones)
Zen Water Systems’ Vitality model is the best countertop gravity water filter for families on a budget. But don’t worry, you’re not getting lower quality for the price. If anything, you’re getting bonus benefits.
This gravity-fed water purifier has a top section with a ceramic filter. This microporous dome does most of the purifying by taking out contaminants, heavy metals, and most bacteria. After a few minutes, the filtered water goes through a cartridge that improves drinking water quality through ionization. A total of 5 elements do the final purification, and they also release micronutrients that keep this gravity water filter true to its Vitality label.
You can thank this gravity water filter system for its service by keeping it clean. Luckily, maintenance is relatively easy and cost-effective since most of the elements are washable. Of course, all filters need replacing but only in intervals of 6-12 months or after using 500-1000 gallons.
Keeping the gravity water filter out of the sun is one way to lessen maintenance and increase filter life. I know the transparent design looks nice and practical because you can easily check the filter water levels. But it also makes a perfect environment for algae growth, and you don’t want your filters doing double the work.
Despite all the health and cost benefits, this gravity filtration system has its flaws. For one, it tends to leak for different reasons. It also doesn’t have a National Sanitation Foundation certificate to back up its filtering capabilities. Then again, around 1,000 people have vouched for this product.
If you like hiking but don’t like carrying a dozen bottled water, the LifeStraw Flex is your new travel essential. Check it out in action.
It’s a hanging type gravity-fed water filter that you can use in four ways.
The first way is to fill up the bag, attach the hose with the filter and use it as a regular water tap. This is great for when you’re stationed in one place for a while. When you’re on the go, you can drink straight from the filter like straw or use it to strain water directly into your water bottle. Lastly, you can use it with in-line filter hydration packs.
Other filtration systems usually take time. But this portable water filter provides potable water right away. And don’t think that the fast flow lessens the water quality. This unit is the best backpacking water filter because it has certification from the NSF and EPA. Two filters work together to remove common contaminants as well as heavy metals.
Unlike the budget pick with a washable filter, this unit’s fast-acting advanced water filter needs frequent changing. The hollow microfilter needs replacing after 500 gallons, while the carbon filter needs switching after 25 gallons. Using the best portable water filter keeps you healthy, plus it helps you reduce plastic waste while traveling.
The Miniwell gravity water filter is another portable purifier. Unlike our outdoor pick, this one doesn’t include a bag. But that’s a good thing because it makes it more versatile.
The compact filtration kit comes with a universal connector. It lets you hook up the filter to almost any water-holding container by punching a small hole and tightening the connector. The filter fits standard water bottles for convenient refills without needing the hose for a more on-the-go setting. The bottom line is you can choose the water capacity of your filtration system to meet your needs.
As for maintenance, the small device only filters 500 gallons of water before you need to replace it. Keep in mind that the gunkier the water, the shorter the filter life will be. On the other hand, you can extend the filter life by back-filtering when you access clean water.
Quality-wise, this gravity water filter is certified effective by international and local water quality testing agencies. So you’re sure that the 0.1-micron filter prevents 99.99% of bacteria from passing, though. If you’re still unsure, the company also offers a lifetime warranty for the device as well as a money-back guarantee.
Capacity: 1 gallon
- Filter media: Dual-Threaded MINI 0.1 micron water filter
- Gravity filter life: 100,000 gallons
As far as bagged gravity-fed water filters go, the Sawyer SP160 is the best one you can find for its small size. But don’t underestimate this little system. The filter has thicker fiber walls, allowing it to go through 100,000 gallons of water without replacement. And similar to the Miniwell gravity-fed water filter, this also provides back filtering to increase filter life.
Not needing to replace the filter doesn’t take away from its effectiveness. Three tests throughout the assembly make sure there aren’t any pathogen leaks. It doesn’t, however, remove contaminants such as heavy metals and chemicals.
Also, despite the built-in handle and wide spout, this bag isn’t the easiest to use. The flimsy plastic material makes it difficult to refill in streams. You’re better off scooping water into the bag. And although the push-to-open drinking valve prevents leaks, it makes it hard for one person to operate. After all, holding the bag up, opening the valve, and aiming the water into a container is a bit much for two hands.
Overall, this gravity filter system is a good choice for group hiking trips since you don’t have to worry much about heavy metals and chemicals out in the wilderness.
We’re not done with hanging water filters. Next on the list is the Waterdrop gravity water filtration system. It has all the qualities of the other gravity filters we’ve mentioned earlier, but it has a bigger capacity and a bonus collection bag. Just note that the collection bag can only hold 20 ounces of water. You’ll need ten bags if you filter a full 1.5-gallon gravity bag.
With this filtration system, you don’t need to worry about putting your filtered water during your trip. Sure, you can bring water bottles or recycle a plastic bag like the other hanging gravity water filters. But those are either bulky or need to be sterilized before use. Having a compact and designated clean water bag saves you time and ensures water quality for every refill.
The water goes through 4-stages of filtration with this compact purifier. The process removes the usual sediments and bacteria as well as organic pollutants. And it all happens if you use the filter as a drinking straw. Filtering a full gravity bag, on the other hand, gets done within just a few minutes.
Considering you need to hang the bag up while it does its magic, you can use the time to catch your breath and rest your feet. When you’re done collecting, you can roll up the gravity bag, hang the water pouch to your pack and continue the adventure.
Let’s cap off the hanging gravity water filters with the Platypus GravityWorks purifier. This system uses two sets of bags and hoses for the total separation of raw and filtered water. It also comes with a hose clamp for easy access to filtered water.
All the connections and parts make the system versatile, but it’s also bulkier and heavier than most gravity water filters of the same category. You might also think that water passing through different sections takes more time. But surprisingly, this system has the fastest flow rate of all gravity water filters on the list, allowing you to instantly access clean filtered drinking water.
Its hollow microfiber filter meets EPA and NSF guidelines, removing 99.99% of bacteria and protozoa, including E.Coli and Salmonella. Filtration efficiency isn’t compromised despite the fast flow. For more thorough water purification, you can also buy a carbon filter add-on that lets you block out organic pollutants.
The Santevia gravity water filter is very similar to our budget pick, having a ceramic pre-filter and a multi-layer mineral cartridge. But the difference is that this water filter has an activated alumina section that blocks out fluoride.
“But isn’t fluoride good for your teeth?”
Yes, a certain amount of fluoride is good for bone development. But high levels have been known to cause bones and teeth problems, so fluoride in water is now regulated. (1).
“The EPA has also set a secondary standard of no more than 2.0 mg/L to help protect children (under the age of 9) from dental fluorosis.”
The extra filter prevents excess fluoride buildup in the body, keeping your bones and teeth safe. Fluoride is not the only thing that gets blocked. Heavy metals get stuck in another section before mineral stones add beneficial trace elements into the water. By the time it reaches the spout, the water is spotless and easier for your body to process.
As for the overall design, this gravity water filter is big and tall. It provides enough water for a family of four, but it also takes up a lot of space on your kitchen counter. On the other hand, the external construction doesn’t match the quality of the internal filters, which lasts from 4 months to 2 years. BPA-free plastic isn’t the most durable material. And with the top chamber smaller than the bottom, you need to wait longer for full water capacity.
Our last gravity water filter can go toe-to-toe with the top pick on several levels aside from looks and size. First off, the Alexapure Pro water filtration system has a better purification cartridge than the Berkey since it can filter out fluoride. It also has a ceramic shell that filters out heavy metals and 99.99% of contaminants and bacteria, increasing your protection.
Despite being upgraded to filter twice as much water as the previous Alexapure version, these cartridges filter 1,000 gallons less than the Berkey. On a more positive note, this gravity water filter is easy to assemble since it has all the little parts included in the box. What it doesn’t come with are rust-proof construction and NSF certification.
Luckily, you can increase the Alexapure gravity water filter’s flow rate, efficiency, and service life, by buying more cartridges for the canisters. Avoid filtering super murky water; otherwise, using extra filters will be useless.
All in all, this gravity water filter is a good-looking alternative to the costly Berkey unit.
Buying the Best Gravity Water Filter
Just like when shopping for water-saving toilets, understanding how each gravity water filter product stacks up against others will make it easier to decide which one best suits your water needs. For example, many portable gravity water filters hold 1 gallon but differ in their filtering capability.
Filter Replacement Frequency
Let’s start with how often you need to replace the filter media. Generally, you want a gravity water filter that doesn’t require frequent changes. Or else, you’ll be paying more money on replacement filters.
Gravity Filters don’t last forever- even reusable filters eventually need replacement. Otherwise, the filtration system can backfire.
Always check the fine print on your gravity water filter and monitor how often you need to change or clean the filter media.
Most filter media on our list need replacing after 500-1,000 gallons, primarily because these gravity filters are pocket-sized and can only handle so many filtrates. But others like the Waterdrop Straw can filter up to 100,000 gallons before needing a replacement.
We know it’s hard to keep count after a dozen or so refills. A good rule of thumb to follow is to replace the water filter whenever the flow rate decreases. (2). This usually means that your filter trapped so much sediment that water has a hard time passing through.
You’ll notice that all the gravity water filter chambers or pouches differ in material. All bags of hanging type gravity water filters, like the Sawyer Filtration System, are made of food-grade plastic. These are easy to roll up and don’t take up too much space.
A countertop gravity water filter can be plastic, like that of the Zen Water Systems. Or it can be stainless steel like our top pick, the Berkey Water Filter. Deciding on the material is usually a personal preference since you have to consider how the water filter looks in your kitchen.
Stainless steel materials fit better with most appliances of the same finish. They also prevent light from hitting the water, which can be a problem of plastic chambers. Direct sunlight can cause algal blooms, just like in other stagnant bodies of water. On the plus side, you can easily see the water level in plastic chambers. Again, it all boils down to your preference.
Filter Media Capability
Choosing your gravity water filter depends on your water supply quality. Residential tap water can often contain heavy metals and residue. In this case, you want a multiple-stage filtration system that combines different filter media. The Santevia System is an excellent example of a hybrid filtration system. Plus, mineral stones also release essential elements, making your drinking water healthier (3).
“Mineral water containing calcium and magnesium, such as that used in this study, deserves to be considered as a possible therapeutic or prophylactic agent in calcium oxalate kidney stone disease.”
Mixed media gravity filters provide essential minerals and process water, making it easier for the body to absorb. Some gravity filters also include a carbon filter that removes organic toxins (4). In the long run, you get the much-coveted alkaline and mineral water for a much lower price!
If you’re using your gravity water filter at home, the ones with bigger capacity are usually better. Our top pick, the Berkey Water Filter, is the best countertop gravity filter in terms of capacity, able to hold water for up to four people per day. Plus, the filtration system can block out a wide range of pathogens and bacteria.
When hiking with a group, you want to be able to have a big capacity water filter. But you also want it to be lightweight. The WaterDrop may not be our best pick because it has fewer gravity water filter reviews. But it does have the highest capacity among the hanging gravity water filters.
Portability and Storage
When you’re talking about the easiest gravity-fed water filter to carry around and store, the Miniwell gravity water purifier is a perfect choice. This product is so small because it’s just a filtration straw that doesn’t come with a water bag. But since it comes with universal attachments, you can use anything from recycled plastic to a plastic bucket with this water filter.
Other hanging gravity water filters are bigger because of the bags and attachments. But they all still roll up into a pack that takes up as much space as a water bottle.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the main factors for choosing a gravity-fed water filter is the raw water quality. Most harmful contaminants need testing to be detected. But your water’s smell, taste, and appearance are typical indicators for contamination.
Choose a gravity filter that removes not only impurities but also a wide range of contaminants from bacteria to heavy metals.
The LifeStraw gravity-fed water filter uses a hollow fiber membrane to eliminate 99.999% of biological contaminants. And it also has a carbon-fiber capsule that softens the water. On the other hand, the Alexapure Pro filtration system includes a rare fluoride filter on top of the usual water purification capabilities.
Gravity water filters are the slowest purifiers around because they don’t use a pump. To add to that, the flow rate decreases as water impurities increase (5). The size and type of filter also affect how fast water flows through the system. Countertop gravity water filters have bigger and multiple filters, making them one of the slow ones.
Luckily, most outdoor water filters on our list have dual dual-threaded hollow filters that allow faster flow and back filtering to clear out debris. Overall, the Platypus GravityWorks purifies water the fastest among all the products on the list.
The difference between distilled and purified water is that the former has nothing but hydrogen and oxygen molecules. It doesn’t have any minerals or trace elements like purified water. Because distilled water is pretty much “empty,” it also doesn’t taste refreshing.
A person needs between 2.7 to 3.7 gallons of filtered water daily. But also remember that fluid intake doesn’t only come from beverages. Around 20% of the recommended water intake comes from food (6).
No, a gravity filter cannot remove total dissolved solids such as calcium, magnesium, and silica. These ions are present in trace amounts in most water sources and are not harmful in their naturally occurring concentrations. Some filters even add these trace elements to mineralize the water.
- Water Fluoridation and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/water-fluoridation-and-cancer-risk.html
- Filtration: Sediment, Activated Carbon and Mixed Media. Retrieved from: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/environment-natural-resources/filtration-sediment-activated-carbon-and-mixed-media#section-6
- Effect of mineral water containing calcium and magnesium on calcium oxalate urolithiasis risk factors. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9096270/
- Filter Media: Types and Functions. Retrieved from: http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/freshaqua-filtermedia/
- Filtration Process and Alternative Filter Media Material in Water Treatment. Retrieved from: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/12/12/3377/htm
- Water: How much should you drink every day? Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
Tana grew up around island farms and pine forests. Her love for nature lead to her degree in Biology and mission to lessen her environmental impact. Now she grows food in her backyard and shares what she learns from Eco Peanut with others.