Last Updated on June 7, 2021 by Michael
Water is an indispensable natural resource and a fundamental human need. Though Earth constitutes 70% water, only 3% of it is suitable for human consumption.
As per a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), 785 million people have no access to drinking water. Also, 2 billion people drink contaminated water. Contaminated water causes water-borne diseases. This results in over 485,000 deaths every year. WHO predicts that half of the world’s population will face water scarcity by 2025. So, there are a couple of points to ponder. We need to use water wisely. Secondly, we should drink uncontaminated water.
What is The Best Gravity Water Filter
Drinking pure water is of paramount importance for maintaining good health. You may be blessed with a pure water supply in your home. However, there are times when you may need a water filter. When you camp out or if there is a natural calamity, a water filter comes to your aid. It’s good to be ready with a water filter in case of an emergency. If you have the slightest doubt about your supplied water purity, it is essential.
There are ample types of water filters that purify water. Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters, Ultra Violet filters, activated carbon filters, and gravity water filters are some of them. Each filter has its own purification method. Some use ultraviolet radiation, some use filtering membranes, and some use carbon filters. With the advance in technology, some brands are launching a combination of these filters as a single product.
Though RO filters are the most popular, gravity water filters are gaining popularity of late.
We are likely to see a paradigm shift to the use of gravity water filters in the next few years. You’ll trust that it isn’t an exaggerated statement when you complete reading this post. This is due to the unmatched benefits of gravity water filters with the other types. Let’s take a look at the advantages of gravity water filters now.
Why choose a gravity water filter?
Most of the water filters available are either not portable or need electricity to operate. The biggest advantage of a gravity water filter is that it does not need electricity. Further, it is usually portable. Unlike the other water filters, you don’t need an electrician or a plumber to set it up. In fact, there is nothing to set up, except plugging in a hose to a water bag at the most.
The maintenance cost is also relatively negligible compared to that of other water filter types. There are gravity water filters with high capacity also for daily use.
Something new is less likely to be perfect. So, if you are concerned that gravity water filter is a new technology that is in its inception stage, it is not. The concept of gravity water filter was used in the early 1800s in England. It was initially used when there were widespread water-borne diseases. It gained prominence when Queen Victoria had a gravity water filter made for the Royals in 1835.
How does a gravity water filter operate?
If you wonder how a water filter works without electricity, the answer is in the name itself. It works using the principle of gravity. We learned about Earth’s gravity in school many years ago. Hence, here is a quick and simple recap. Earth’s gravity is an invisible force that pulls everything towards the ground.
Gravity water filters use gravity to pull down the water from the upper chamber through purifying filters. The purified water is collected in the lower chamber. These purifying filters are made of activated carbon, ultrafine filtration membranes, etc. As gravity exists everywhere, you can use a gravity water filter even in the most remote corner of the world. So, if you are going on an expedition, a gravity water filter is the best option.
Now we know what a gravity water filter is and how it works. So, let’s look at the top 7 options to choose from.
7 best gravity water filter system
1. Platypus GravityWorks
Platypus is over 20 years in the business of making water filters. They launched the GravityWorks water filter system. It conforms to the U.S EPA and NSF guidelines. EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency. NSF stands for the National Science Foundation.
Features and Capabilities
The Platypus GravityWorks contains a filter. It also contains a hose to fasten the dirty water and clean water bags. Both the bags have a storage capacity of 4 liters each. For every minute, 1.75 liters of water can flow through the hose. So it just takes a little over 2 minutes to have 4 liters of pure water.
This product boasts about removing 99.999% of bacteria like E.coli and 99.9% of parasites like protozoa, giardia, etc. You need not worry about changing the cartridge filters often. One thousand and five hundred gallons of water can be purified without replacement. An average person drinks 4 liters of water a day. So, this cartridge filter would last for nearly 4 years. Another variant of this product with similar features has a 6-liter capacity. It means that it would last even longer.
It weighs 0.33 kilograms, which is slightly heavy compared to the next products on this list.
2. LifeStraw Flex
LifeStraw Flex is a flexible water filter. It was launched by the Switzerland-based Vestergaard company. You can attach it to most disposable water bottles and hydration packs. You can also use it like a straw or filter water from the hose connected to the included bag.
It exceeds the guidelines of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) & the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Features and Capabilities
This product includes a long-lasting water bag, containing a strap for easy hanging.
In terms of efficiency, this product eliminates 99.999999% of bacteria. Further, it eliminates 99.999% of protozoa and 99.999% of microplastics. Apart from the hollow fiber membrane, it also contains a carbon-fiber capsule. Pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, lead, and other heavy metals are purified by this capsule.
You would need to change the filters for every 500 gallons of water purified with it. So, in terms of longevity, it lasts only one-third of the previous product. Further, the carbon-fiber capsule needs a replacement for every 25 gallons of purification. This is an additional maintenance effort.
It is a lightweight product weighing just 0.19 kilograms. The flow rate is not great and hence we suggest you stock up water well in advance when using it.
Something unique about LifeStraw products is that you indirectly donate to a child in need of safe drinking water. So, if you are philanthropic, this product would be a good choice for you.
3. Sawyer SP160
Sawyer is a trusted brand since 1984. They have launched this Sawyer SP160.
Features and Capabilities
Sawyer has reused their prominent MINI filter in this product. A hose connects a water bladder to the MINI filter. The bladder can hold up to 1 gallon. As the MINI filter is useful in many ways, it offers you a lot of adjustabilities.
In terms of efficiency, this product eliminates 99.99999% of bacteria. In addition, it eliminates 99.9999% of protozoa and 100% of microplastics.
You have to replace the cartridges for every hundred thousand gallons of water purified with it. This is as good as saying that you never need to replace the cartridges! You just need to backwash the cartridge if the water flow rate decelerates. Then, it should be accelerated to full speed again.
This product weighs just 0.25 kilograms. This includes the weights of the hose, bladder, and MINI water filter.
It is noteworthy that the filtration is done till one-tenth of a micron.
4. SimPure Gravity Water Filter
Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Simpure has been operating since 2006.
SimPure Gravity Water Filter was initially launched in June 2019. The water filter bags are certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Features and Capabilities
SimPure Gravity Water Filter contains a 3-liter bag and has 3 levels of filtration systems.
It also has a 29.5-inch tube that can be extended to allow drinking directly from lakes, rivers, etc. You can hang it at a moderate height like a branch of a tree and drink water from it as well.
It has a UF membrane, GAC filter, and a PP fiber filter. It removes 99.99999% of harmful minerals, chlorine, and heavy metals.
The flow rate is 0.45 liters a minute. It weighs just 0.079 kilograms. Hence it is easily portable.
This product has a reasonable lifetime of 1320 gallons of purification.
5. Travel Brkey
New Millennium Concepts, Ltd. (NMCL) is the manufacturer of Berkey gravity water filters. This product is not compliant with the guidelines of the U.S EPA and NSF. All Berkey products are unavailable in California due to a lack of required certifications.
Features and Capabilities
Travel Berkey Gravity Water Filter is a costly gravity water filter. It’s practically not an easily portable water filter due to its height and weight. It is 18 inches high and weighs 1.8 kilograms.
The unique feature of this water filter is its ability to remove 99% of all viruses, unlike its competitors. In addition, it removes heavy metals and pharmaceutical drugs. It also removes 99.9999% of bacteria and protozoa similar to other products.
You would need to change the filters only after 6,000 gallons of water is purified with it. So, though it looks costly, the maintenance cost is less.
It has a high storage capacity of 5.68 liters. However, the flow rate is unimpressive at 0.19 liters a minute.
6. Miniwell L630
Manufactured by Guangzhou Lanquan Household Electrical Appliance Co. Ltd, this Chinese product was first made available in June 2019.
The product doesn’t state if it is compliant with the guidelines of the U.S EPA and NSF.
Features and Capabilities
Miniwell L630 Gravity Water Filter is a very economical amalgam of the features of LifeStraw Flex and Sawyer MINI. You can attach it to disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use it as a straw to drink from any water source.
The longevity of this filter is 500 gallons. It is relatively less compared to the products above.
Similarly, the water flow rate stands at 0.6 liters a minute only, which is another drawback.
It weighs just 0.085 kilograms, giving it a significant advantage in this comparison.
7. Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
BeFree is a product made by Katadyn. It is a Switzerland-based company operating since 1928. Many trekkers likely know the Katadyn brand.
It surpasses the guidelines of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Features and Capabilities
In terms of efficiency, this product eliminates 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa.
This is an easy-to-use system having just a nozzle mouth for a 3-liter bag. It doesn’t include any reservoirs or hoses like other similar products.
It has a high flow rate of two liters a minute. So, you can quickly get hydrated when needed.
The nozzle is the distinctive feature of this water filter. Water dribbles out of the nozzle even if the bag is held at a low height. You can drink directly from the nozzle of the bag. Further, you can also pour the water into a container from it.
Another characteristic feature of this water filter is the cleaning process. Backflushing is the common way to clean any other filter. You just need to swish or shake the filter to clean it. Cleaning may not be easier than this.
It weighs just 0.1 kilograms, adding one more feather to its cap.
There is a snag with this product. The filtration capacity is up to 1000 liters only.
Decisive factors while buying a gravity water filter
We have seen the top 7 gravity water filters. Also, we have seen the advantages and disadvantages of each filter. We need to weigh various factors before we choose the right product. It is advisable to take your time in finalizing the product to buy instead of having to return it later. To take a call on which one best suits you, we suggest you consider these important factors.
Gravity water filters that are compliant with the EPA/NSF guidelines are proven efficient filters. Any gravity filter that complies with these guidelines eliminates more than 99.9% of bacteria. Any protozoa and other biological contaminants are also eliminated by more than 99%.
There is no point in having a stylish easy-to-use water filter that doesn’t guarantee purity. So, we suggest that this should be the topmost priority.
A high flow rate ensures that you get pure water in few minutes. You won’t need to wait long. This is a crucial factor if you plan to utilize it during outdoor activities like trekking. Imagine the pain of being thirsty and peeping into your water filter desperately for water. The joy of your trip can diminish due to a lack of pure drinking water in an instant.
Almost all the top 7 gravity water filters mentioned here are portable. If you are planning to use it at home, portability would not be a major factor. Indeed, a water filter with high capacity and low portability best suits a home environment for regular use. However, if you travel often, a lightweight water filter should be your priority.
Ease of use
We are in a generation where the easiest of tasks are attempted to be made easier. In this context, choosing a water filter that needs minimal setup effort would be logical.
In the initial days of your product purchase, you may not find it strenuous to fit in hoses to water bags. If you use it every day, it becomes monotonous and might appear strenuous at some point. Holding a cup of coffee wouldn’t cause your hand to ache initially. It would start aching if you hold it for an entire day. It’s analogous to setting up a water filter, no matter how easy it is to set it up.
Though it is easy to replace a filter, a need to change it often would be an unpleasant experience. A filter that gets clogged when you are on an adventure would be a nightmare. You may not have the replacement filter and you cannot use it without replacing it. As per the manufacturer’s recommendation, you need to replace the filters when you use them beyond the filtration capacity. So, this is another key factor. The longer the filter life, the better.
If you love versatility, choose a water filter that can be attached to a bottle or used directly as a straw. It would be stylish too.
This is another key factor, specific to each individual. There are budget-friendly water filters, but you would have to compromise on some other factor. In general, if you spend more, you are likely to get a higher quality product with more features.
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of each water filter, take a moment to think about which factor is a priority for you.
Consider how often you plan to use it and how many liters of filtered water is needed per day. Also, decide on where you are going to use it, be it at home or outdoors.
If efficiency and capacity are your topmost priorities, Platypus GravityWorks is the one you need.
LifeStraw Flex is the best option for you if ease of use and versatility are your topmost priorities.
For someone hating maintenance effort, Sawyer SP160 is the best suitable option.
If you prefer lightweight products, SimPure is the best fit for you as it weighs just 79 grams.
Travel Berkey is the best option when you are planning for a home-use water filter, considering its durability.
There is no better option than Miniwell L630 for budget-concerned customers.
If you need the best quality filter and can afford to buy a new one for every 1000 liters of usage, go for Katadyn BeFree.
We hope you have loved reading this post, and got the information you were looking for.
Michael is a plumber and expert with years of experience in water heaters and water filters installation. Join me and my readers in identifying water problems and solving them with ease.