Feeling The G’s! The 7 Best Gravity Water Filters On The Market – Reviews and Buying Guide

Water is one of life’s basic needs. The crisp taste of pure water is a simple pleasure – no need for sweeteners or additives.

But all around us, life's getting more complicated. From our smartphones to our motor vehicles, we’re increasingly surrounded by baffling electronics.

And whilst these gadgets facilitate us breezing through the world, they don’t half make life awfully complex. Aren’t you dreaming of a return to simplicity, to nature, to water?

Anyone wishing for a return to the simple life, to the days before even our refrigerators were “smart” will appreciate the workings of a gravity water filter.

There’s something deeply appealing about these systems. The only force at work is a fundamental one in our universe: gravity.

Ever since an apple bonked Isaac Newton on the head, gravity has been at the forefront of Western physics.

But gravity doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s a dose of gravity that brings us back down to earth.

Gravity water filters are simple to use and, freed from the requirements of electrics they can be operated from anywhere. Whether that's a hotel room on the road or the backcountry on a camping trip is up to you.

So let’s take a look at the best gravity water filters on the market. Sit tight, you’re about to feel the G’s.

The 7 Best Gravity Water Filters On The Market (2021-2022)

Gravity water filters are a great addition to your kitchen or camping kit, providing you with clean, great-tasting water in an instant. Here are the best gravity water filters on the market.

1. Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter – Best Countertop Gravity Water Filter

Berkey’s countertop-style gravity water filter is built to balance the requirements of portability with high volume output.

Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
Pros
  • Hearty capacity
  • Easy to use
  • Longlife filters
Cons
  • Additional filters required for arsenic and fluoride
  • No NSF certification
  • An expensive system compared to competitors

With a 2.25 gallon volume, it has the capacity to keep your whole family hydrated. But the 19.25” x 8.5” tank size doesn’t overcrowd your countertop, and it can be easily transported to ensure you can hydrate on holiday.

Berkey is a premium brand with a reliable background in water filter systems. The stainless steel tanks and high-grade rubber components ensure that no additional contaminants are seeping into your water due to cheap parts.

The Big Berkey comes with two filters (“purification elements” in Berkey’s own words) as standard. Berkey’s Black Purification Elements are third-party lab tested and remove over 200 contaminants from your water, including lead, pesticides, herbicides, viruses and chlorine.

Berkey’s filters aren’t NSF certified, so it lacks the gold standard in independent testing. Despite this, the name Berkey inspires trust in the water filter world.

And to tackle fluoride and arsenic though, you’ll need to upgrade to Berkey’s PF-2 filters at additional cost.

The Black filter flow rate of 0.03 gallons/minute prevents you from getting purified water in a pinch – but of course, the countertop design lets you fill it up ahead of time.

And whilst equipped with two filters as standard, the Berkey has room for two more, enabling you to expand the flow rate, capacity and functionality of your countertop filter system. Even without the additional filters, you have 6,000 gallon filtering capacity before the filters need to be replaced.

Berkey’s quality craftsmanship and complete filtering won’t come cheap – but the long life filters save you the cost of frequent replacements.

Bottom Line Top-notch filtering with an impressive capacity – the Big Berkey will keep you and the family in clean water for quite some time. View Latest Price on Amazon →

2. ProOne Big+ Brush Stainless-Steel Gravity Water Filter System – Best Countertop System For Fluoride Filtering

The ProOne Big+ is the daddy of countertop water filters, with a 3-gallon capacity that will keep your whole family in good health, and then some!

ProOne Big+ Brush Stainless-Steel Gravity Water Filter System
Pros
  • Big capacity
  • Easy set-up and maintenance
  • NSF/ANSI-42 certification
  • Fluoride filtering as standard
Cons
  • Premium price tag
  • Just a one-year warranty
  • Filter lifespan is shorter than competitors

The two chambers are constructed from brushed stainless steel – this durable and easily cleaned material ensures your unit will remain in good condition.

Fully constructed on the wire-framed stand, it will tower above your other appliances at 28.75” tall. Consider it the centerpiece of your kitchen, and you’ll be drawn to it for your hydration needs.

The unit includes two 7” filters that have been independently tested and NSF certified for added peace of mind. Over 200 contaminants, including pesticides, chlorine and heavy metals are removed by the activated carbon layer – as well as fluoride, which makes the ProOne Big+ stand out against competitors.

The filters have a silver-infused ceramic outer shell, which is easy to clean and resistant to bacteria. This makes maintenance easy, and each filter should last for six months, or up to 1000 gallons, and they’ve been recently updated for an improved flow rate.

With a hefty capacity, premium materials and equipped with fluoride filtering right out of the box, this is one of the most expensive water filters on the market.

Bottom Line Additional fluoride filtering meets a hefty capacity in this premium filter system. View Latest Price on Amazon →

3. Travel Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter – Best Portable Countertop Gravity Water Filter

Berkey’s travel system is a compact version of its countertop gravity water filter – but you won’t be fitting it in a backpack any time soon.

Travel Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
Pros
  • Portable and compact
  • Filters have a long lifespan
  • 2-year warranty on the filters
Cons
  • No NSF certification
  • Pretty expensive unit

When Berkey says travel, they just mean if you’re hitting the road. The stainless steel upper and lower chambers combine to a height of 18”. But with easy set-up and compact size, you can quickly equip any hotel room or holiday home with a water filter system thanks to the Travel Berkey.

And then you’ll have 1.5 gallons of freshly filtered water on hand from the lower chamber.

The stainless steel chambers are rust-resistant and easy to clean, whilst other rubber and metal components are high-grade. Berkey is one of the biggest brands in the water filtering game.

Included with the unit are two of Berkey’s Black range filters. These long-life filters remove more than 99.999% of viruses and greater than 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria. Regular folks round that up to 100!

The filters also remove heavy metals such as mercury and lead. Unfortunately, fluoride filtering doesn’t come as standard so you’ll be splashing out on additional filters if you’re concerned about this contaminant.

Berkey’s filters stand out for their lifespan and capacity – the Black range can handle 6,000 gallons. Berkey’s name speaks for itself in the water filter industry, so they haven’t opted for NSF certification. Despite this, the purification elements are third-party tested so you can rest easy.

Berkey’s portable system doesn’t come cheap – this is one of the more expensive limited-capacity models on the market. The long-life filters mean you won’t be shelling out regularly though.

Bottom Line For thorough filtering, while you travel, this is a well-built unit with long-life filters. View Latest Price on Amazon →

4. Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration and Purification System – Best For Remineralization

Countertop filtration systems often strike a balance between capacity and size. Most gravity fed systems are built tall to let gravity work faster, but this comes at a cost.

Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration and Purification System
Pros
  • Remineralization layer
  • Easy setup
  • Great value
Cons
  • Plastic chassis is less durable
  • Different filter-layers have different lifespans

Contrastingly, Zen Water Systems’ countertop design stands shorter and broader than its competitors. It’s 22” tall with the base, and it’s likely to fit under wall-mounted cabinets, making it a compact addition to your kitchen.

Despite the size, there’s an impressive capacity, with the lower chamber holding 2.5 gallons of newly purified water. It also stands out from competitors with its predominantly plastic chassis.

The plastic is all certified BPA free – no toxins here. The clear plastic chambers give you the added pleasure of looking into your crystal clear water, but it might have a slightly less sterile feel than stainless steel competitors.

The 8 stage filtration process strips away unwanted contaminants and then remineralizes your water to maximize health benefits.

Ceramic, carbon and infrared layers will remove pesticides, herbicides and microparticles However, metals such as arsenic and fluoride will persist so check your local water supply to see if it’s suitable for your area.

The system is also not NSF certified, so you’re taking Zen at their word when it comes to contaminants.

The ceramic filter is more durable and will last a year, whilst the 5-stage filter below should be changed every six months.

Make sure to mark the dates in your calendar as this creates an unintuitive maintenance schedule for your system.

Whilst plastic won’t be as durable as stainless steel, nor as easy to clean, it’s a well-built product. It also comes at a surprisingly affordable price, and with a few added bonuses like remineralization, this countertop gravity filter system is a steal.

Bottom Line A compact unit with a few added bonuses like remineralization, this countertop gravity filter system is a steal. View Latest Price on Amazon →

5. LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag – Best For Backpackers On A Budget

The first hanging bag-style gravity filter on the list, the Flex comes from LifeStraw. These guys create some of the hardest wearing adventure gear going.

LifeStraw Flex
Pros
  • BPA-free materials
  • Versatile unit – filter doubles as a straw
  • Great value and replacement parts are easily accessible
Cons
  • Carbon filter requires frequent replacing
  • Too much of a campsite feel for the kitchen!

The one-gallon bag is made of durable, BPA-free plastic, as is the tube which leads to the filter itself. To get gravity working, the bag is hung from nylon straps – these are well-built and stitched, as you’d expect from a brand like LifeStraw.

Convenient buckles and a karabiner give you multiple options for hanging the bag up when you’re out in the wild. It has no lower chamber though – you’ll have to bring your own cup or canteen to fill with the purified output.

And, when not in use, it folds away neatly, to be carried to the next camp.

The filter itself is made of two primary components, a carbon fibre capsule and a hollow fibre membrane.

Each of these elements has a differing lifespan, so you’ll need to keep a few replacement filters handy – and remember when to swap them in.

The carbon fibre capsule targets contaminants from chlorine to lead as well as pesticides – but with just a 25-gallon lifespan, you’ll need to keep a spare on hand for multi-day treks.

Meanwhile, the hollow fibre (HF) membrane targets pathogens and bacteria. If you’re out in the backcountry, this is where the LifeStraw Flex comes into its own, and the filter can tackle 500 gallons.

When the HF membrane gets working it removes 99.999999% of bacteria, 99.999% of protozoa, and 99.999% of microplastics – that’s pure peace of mind.

If you’re exclusively using your unit on water collected at camp, urban contaminants might not be such a concern – you can forget about the carbon filter in that case.

The Flex is super functional – the filter separates from the system and can be used as a straw or attached to a water bottle. And with a 0.125 gallon/minute flow rate (roughly 500ml/min) you can rehydrate in no time.

Because LifeStraw’s upper chamber consists of a bag rather than a stainless steel or plastic container, it’s a little trickier to clean. You’ll have to diligently sterilize it from time to time, to prevent algae and mould from blooming when it’s not in use.

The whole unit can be picked up without breaking the bank, and replacement filters come pretty cheap too. This is a great option for backpackers on a budget.

Bottom Line A versatile and durable gravity filter system that’s great out in the backcountry. View Latest Price on Amazon →

6. Platypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter System – Best For Family Camping Trips

The GravityWorks, from Platypus, has been built to provide larger groups and families with a fresh supply of water out in the backcountry.

Platypus GravityWorks
Pros
  • Higher capacity and fast flow rate
  • Targeted to bugs and bacteria found in wild water
  • Easy to use and lightweight
Cons
  • Limited range of contaminants removed
  • Higher price tag

Coming in 4 and 6 litre (around 1 and 1.5 gallon) models, and with an impressive flow rate of 1.75 litres (0.46 gallons) per minute flow rate, fresh water won’t be in short supply at camp.

This gravity filter system is unique amongst our hanging bag options as it contains a lower reservoir for clean water. That means you can hook it up and let the water filter in the background, leaving you with fresh water on tap.

Platypus’s filter technology relies on a hollow fibre (HF) membrane. This is targeted at bugs and bacteria that are the scourge of backcountry water.

The GravityWorks HF membrane removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, including common contaminants such as giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, salmonella and other worries such as cholera.

It’s built for camping, so urban contaminants such as heavy metals and fluoride are not targeted by the filter media. Whilst it’s great for the great outdoors, the GravityWorks won’t cut it for city use.

The upshot of the highly targeted filter is an impressive lifespan – you’ll get 1,500 gallons of fresh water through this filter before it’s time for a replacement.

The GravityWorks is solidly built with hard-wearing straps that can survive the campsite life. Buckles allow you to attach the dirty and clean water reservoirs to any convenient tree branch and then gravity does the work.

Cleaning the chambers will be added to the list of post-holiday chores, however. Both chambers should be flushed regularly to prevent algae or mould from taking over.

The Platypus doesn’t come cheap, but a long filter lifespan helps to justify the price tag.

Bottom Line A high capacity filter system targeting backcountry bugs. It’s a clean water supply for all you happy campers. View Latest Price on Amazon →

7. Katadyn Gravity BeFree 3.0L Water Filter – Best Compact Gravity Water Filter

The smallest and most lightweight of our hanging bag gravity water filters, Katadyn have built this for the solo camper looking to cut down on their kit.

Katadyn Gravity BeFree
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to maintain
  • Great value
Cons
  • Limited filtering range and a shorter lifespan
  • No freshwater chamber – keep your canteen handy

The dirty water reservoir holds 3 litres (around two-thirds of a gallon) – for groups, or for cooking and cleaning, you’ll find yourself heading to the river for a refill. And with no clean water reservoir, you’ll be reaching for the canteen to store your fresh water.

But weighing in at just 6.8oz, you’ll barely notice this in your pack. The industry-leading flow rate of 2 litres (around half a gallon) per minute gives you fast flowing fresh water. It takes around 15 seconds to fill up an average water bottle here.

The reservoir and output tube are all made from plastic, but it’s reassuringly BPA-free and the material – thermoplastic polyurethane – is durable enough for the hardiest campers.

The reservoir is also lined with Katadyn’s own EZ-clean membrane: this makes maintenance quick and easy, so you won’t have to worry about mould or other contaminants hanging out in the reservoir.

The filter media is a 0.1-micron hollow fibre (HF) membrane. It excels at removing dangerous contaminants from backwoods water: bugs like giardia & cryptosporidium are 99.9% removed and bacteria is removed to 99.9999%.

The 0.1-micron limit will also remove any unpleasant particles spoiling your purified water experience.

Chemical contaminants and heavy metals aren’t targeted by HF membranes, making this better in the backcountry than in the back garden.

Katadyn recommends replacing the filter after around 250 gallons – that’ll see you through a few camping trips, although the filter lifespan can’t compete with other similar options.

It’s an affordable system and won’t leave you out of pocket, even once you factor in replacement filters for serial campers.

Bottom Line Solid filtering and lightweight components make this great for solo campers or small groups looking to cut the kit. View Latest Price on Amazon →

The Gravity Water Filter Buying Guide

Gravity water filters themselves aren’t complicated. But navigating the high seas of water filter systems can leave us gasping for air. With different structures, a wide variety of filter media and so many contaminants to be concerned about, where do you start?

Well, we’re here to help. Here’s everything you need to know about gravity water filters. That’s a weight off your shoulders!

So What Is A Gravity Water Filter?

In the wide world of water filter systems, gravity water filters are special. Rather than relying on water pressure to move water through a filter – or even hooked up to mains electricity – these systems use gravity to move your water through the filter media.

That makes them super easy to use and often more affordable than other options. And because your water will be in contact with the filter for longer as gravity draws the water down, you often get a cleaner, crisp drinking product too.

How Does A Gravity Water Filter Work?

An upper chamber will store your dirty water – usually, you’re required to fill this manually. Then, a filter is placed below this chamber, with a clean water reservoir below that.

As soon as you fill the upper chamber, gravity goes to work. Your impure water seeps through the filter media before collecting in the lower chamber. A spigot, attached to the lower chamber, enables you to collect your purified water.

Some gravity water filters designed for camping and backcountry use won’t have a lower reservoir. With this design, you control the water flow into the filter, and catch it in your canteen or cup.

Unlike some under-sink water filters that require a professional plumber, a gravity water filter is intuitive and simple to set up.

Gravity Water Filters: The Upsides

Whether for your RV, backcountry camp or just to get pure water on demand at home, gravity water filters are a great choice. Here’s why you might consider opting for this water filter system.

Easy Set-Up: Gravity water filters can be installed at home without any special expertise. Simply construct the filter system, prime the filter and you’re ready to go.

Affordability: Gravity water filters come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s an option for everyone. Thanks to their simplicity, gravity systems are often great value – but make sure you know how much you’ll shell out for replacement filters.

Good in an Emergency: Because gravity filters don’t need electricity to use, they’re great for emergency situations when the power goes out. You and your family will need fresh drinking water in a tornado, snowstorm or global lockdown – the gravity water filter provides.

Gravity Water Filters: The Drawbacks

As with everything, there’s a trade-off. Here are the limitations of these fantastic filtering systems.

Slower Filtering: Compared to units that push water through a filter through pressure, you’re going to have to let nature take its course. Gravity water filters tend to have slower flow rates than other systems – which is fine until you’re thirsty!

Labour Intensive: This isn’t quite clean water on tap. You’ll need to fill the upper chamber yourself before the system can get to work. Often, that means carrying jugs of water across the kitchen which, for some, is a recipe for disaster.

Required Maintenance: Any water filter system will require the filter itself to be changed, but with a gravity system you also have to water reservoirs that will require occasional cleaning. Add it to the list of chores.

What To Look For In A Gravity Water Filter?

With no need for a faucet or an electrical socket, gravity water filters can go anywhere. So are you a homebody or a happy camper? Here’s how to choose the best gravity water filter for you.

Design: Countertop vs Hanging Bags

Gravity works in one way only, so the basic structure of all gravity water filters is the same. However, there are two main designs to choose from.

Countertop designs feature tiered chambers, an upper dirty chamber and a lower clean water reservoir with a filter in between. A spigot on the lower chamber gives you access to your purified water.

Countertop water filters are built for kitchens, hotel rooms and RVs – they’re bulkier and weighty, and never going to fit in your backpack. But they have a greater capacity and offer easier access to clean water.

Hanging bag designs don’t have any frills – the dirty water chamber is made from high tech thermoplastic polyurethane plastic. An output tube leads to the filter, and then a lower reservoir bag or simple spigot gives you access to your water.

Hanging bags are designed for camping use: using straps, you can hang them in nearby trees and filter river water to purified bliss.

Hanging bags on the other hand have a distinctly rustic feel. They’d be out of place amongst your kitchen appliances.

Gravity works everywhere, from the backcountry to the urban kitchen. But choosing the right gravity water filter depends on where you’re planning on using it.

Capacity

Capacity varies between filter systems, and as all gravity water filters require manual filling, you should choose a system that won’t require frequent refilling.

Upper chambers of 2-3 gallons are common. According to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, everyone should drink around 15 cups of water a day (1) – 3 gallons will keep a family of four healthy and hydrated.

If you live alone, a smaller unit will suit you. And if you’re hitting the backcountry, hanging bag filter systems range between a half to 1.5 gallons.

Staying hydrated is crucial to your health and wellbeing – having purified water on-demand helps you get that health hit in minimal steps.

Materials

Materials matter. Cheap rubber and plastic components will degrade faster, not only reducing the lifespan of your filter system but potentially leaking chemicals into your water supply. Yuck!

Countertop gravity water filters are built from either stainless steel or plastic. Whilst stainless steel appliances have more of a commercial look, they’re easier to clean, more hygienic and often provide your purified water with a cleaner taste and crisp feel.

But transparent plastic reservoirs let you see your crystal clear water – doesn’t that make you thirsty?

All plastic components should be BPA-free. BPA (bisphenol A) is an industrial chemical that can contaminate your water even after it’s filtered – undermining the integrity of your unit.

Contaminants

There are many contaminants in our water these days, and often from dramatically different sources. Arsenic, lead, microplastics and pesticides abound in city water, whilst nature is no more “pure” a source as rivers and lakes across North America are contaminated by bacteria and parasites like Giardia.

Identifying the contaminants of high concern will help to guide you in your quest for the perfect gravity water filter. Many hanging bag systems are targeted towards bacteria and parasites, leaving you little protection against heavy metals, pesticides and other urban contaminants.

Fluoride

Fluoride is increasingly on the agenda these days and this contaminant is actually added to many city water supplies. Whilst it works wonders on our teeth, the jury is still out on its negative effects and many people are avoiding it due to concerns about damage to our bones and brains.

Many common filter media can’t remove fluoride from water supplies, so you’ll often need to purchase additional filters if this is a contaminant of concern. Check whether fluoride filtering is an optional extra or comes as standard with your gravity water filter system.

Filters

Filters do the heavy lifting in any water filter system, so to understand your gravity water filter you need to know the filter inside out. Activated carbon, ceramic and hollow fibre membranes are common components, but each element often has a different lifespan.

Few filter media last forever, so replacing your filter is a long-term cost to factor in. Typically, you can expect a filter to last for six to nine months – but lifespan will vary based on the quality of your water.

Flow Rate

Because the only force at work in your water filter is gravity, you’ll end up waiting for nature to take its course to filter your water. The flow rate is how long you’ll wait.

Countertop designs, with more complex filter media, are often slow to flow – at 0.03 gallons/minute, you’ll be waiting around 5 minutes to fill up a standard water bottle. It’s best to plan ahead. Faster models offer flow rates of 0.125 gallons per minute.

Conclusion

Our urban water supplies have been contaminated by pesticides, herbicides and microplastics. A complex concoction of modern chemicals.

Gravity water filters provide a simple solution to a complex modern problem. Allow gravity to provide purified water, on your kitchen counter.

And out in the backcountry, parasites and pests are lurking in innocuous streams and rivers. This is one instance where nature isn’t so pure after all.

When you’re travelling light, it makes sense to let gravity do the work! When an apple dropped on Isaac Newton’s head, way back in 1665, he had an “aha” moment that revealed the theory of gravity.

That kind of crystal clear thinking has inspired three centuries of science. Take a drink from the fountain of knowledge, purified by a gravity water filter.


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Eric Phillips

Hi, I’m Eric, a Plumber, Home Repair Expert and Chief Editor behind Dripfina. I first became interested in water purification and water safety when I spent a couple of years traveling the world. I not only learned the importance of keeping my own water fresh and pure (yes, sometimes the hard way…) but I also saw how important water is as a resource worldwide. Read more about me...

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