Gravity Water Filters or Gravity-Fed Water Filters

What do water filters have to do with gravity? Gravity water filters or gravity fed water filters rely on the force of gravity to allow water to pass through a filter bed, thus, cleaning water like a regular water filter, but without any water pressure or electricity.

These types of filters come with a great deal of independence – you don’t have to plumb them in, you don’t need any municipal water pressure or any source of electricity, and you can take them with you anywhere you go.

While most water filters are pressure-based, gravity water filters don’t need pressure to filter water. The porous structure of ceramic filters and carbon filters allow water to pass through all the while trapping harmful contaminants. Albeit this process is much slower than pressure based systems, it’s not less effective at removing contaminants.

Gravity water filters are used with great success in emergency relief situations, precisely because of their easy usage and high contaminant removal capacity.

Do you need a gravity water filter?

Although based on a simple process – water goes in the top chamber, passes through the filter elements, and ends up filtered in the lower chamber – gravity water filters are excellent at removing numerous dangerous contaminants including pathogenic bacteria and viruses.

Because they don’t need to be attached to a source of municipal water or a source of electricity the use cases for gravity-fed water filters are endless:

  • Great in emergencies – gravity water filters have been used with great success by emergency relief organisations, the military, and by people living is secluded areas with no access to running water. These filters are very useful in cases on natural disasters or any other time you don’t have access to clean drinking water;
  • Great for travelling, backpacking, hiking – because they are easy to assemble and carry with you, gravity water filters make a great travelling companion when taking large volumes of clean drinking water with you is simply not feasible or when you’re going in areas with substandard water regulations;
  • Good for filtering virtually any water source in remote areas – gravity water filters are designed to be used with natural water sources like water from a river, a spring, a pond, lake, etc. If you rely on natural water sources for drinking and cooking, gravity water filters can help you remove contaminants that may pose a danger to your health;
  • Gravity fed filters can double as countertop water filters – even if you’re not cut off from municipal water, gravity water filters make good countertop water filters in your vacation home or at home.

If you’re not travelling to areas with no reliable drinking water source or you don’t live in areas affected by hurricanes, earthquakes or other natural disasters, you may prefer a plumbed-in water filter solution that filters your entire municipal water supply.

If the above listed scenarios feel all too familiar to you, a gravity water filter can help you get access to clean drinking water whatever the circumstances.

How to choose a gravity water filter?

Whether you want a gravity water filter to have one in case of an emergency or you’re planning on using it when travelling to remote rural areas, here are some tips on how to choose a gravity water filter that will meet your needs:

  1. Make sure it’s stainless steel construction: Stainless steel is easy to clean, which help you keep the filter chambers clean. Stainless steel is also resistant to rust and corrosion, thus, increasing the durability of your filter system. Because stainless steel is lightweight and resistant to the wear and tear of travelling, you can easily take it with you;
  2. Powerful contaminant removal capacity: If you’re planning on using your gravity-fed filter with water sources of a questionable quality, you can’t risk it not being able to remove pathogens, heavy metals, viruses, herbicides, or other nasty contaminants that can potentially make you ill. Usually, gravity water filers used in emergency aid situations can be relied on to offer a superior filtration. The Doulton SS Gravity Water Filter with ATC Super Sterasyl Candles is an example of a gravity-fed water filter that has been used by emergency relief organisations.
  3. Storage capacity: Make sure to choose a filter with a storage capacity that can meet your needs. It’s perhaps better to oversize your filter than to choose one that is too small. Gravity water filters have storage capacities that can range from 8.5 litres to 25+ litres, meeting the drinking water demands of a smaller group of people.
  4. Filter durability: Filter elements in gravity water filters are made to last an upwards of 18 months. Gravity filter with silver impregnated filter elements (common for Doulton gravity water filters, but also the Propur™ Traveller SS Gravity Filter System).

Beyond the fact that they are highly effective at removing disease-causing water ingredients, gravity water filters also stand out through their portability. With some models, you can pack the upper chamber into the lower chamber for easier transport.

How to maintain your gravity water filter?

Gravity filters are easy to assemble, clean and filters are easy to replace at the end of their service life. They fall into the category of low-maintenance filters, and most filter elements can be cleaned to prolong their service life.

When handling ceramic filter elements in gravity water filters, it’s important to remember a few things:

  • If you decide to clean the filters, make sure to do so in accordance with the instructions of your manufacturer. Usually, ceramic filters can be cleaned under running water with a dishwasher sponge, but no soap or detergent is necessary;
  • Even if you clean the filters, there is a limited number of times you can do that before it becomes absolutely necessary to replace them. Most manufacturers will have information about this detailed in the user guide of the filter system;
  • When replacing or cleaning these ceramic filters it’s crucial not to drop them or chip them in any other way. These filter elements are easily broken it dropped, so take care. Should you drop them, avoid reusing them;
  • When you replace filters, it’s also a good idea to clean the filter chambers, once again following any specific instruction laid down in the filter user guide.

Also read: Water Filter Best Practices – How to Keep Your Water Filter in Top Shape

What gravity water filters can I trust?

Since you shouldn’t take any risks with your health, choose a gravity water filter with an established track record and from a reputable brand. As mentioned before, gravity water filters used by relief organisations are always a trustworthy and reliable option. To get you started, here are a few gravity water filter brands that can be a good choice:

  • Doulton SS Gravity Water Filter with ATC Super Sterasyl Candles: Doulton is one of the most trusted water filter brand with a long-standing history in ceramic filtration. It can filter down to sub-micron levels, removing pathogenic bacteria, cysts, heavy metals, and other chemicals and chemical by-products;
  • Big Berkey (8.5 L) Portable Gravity Water Filter System: Like Doulton, Berkey is a trusted brand in the filtration industry. Its chambers are constructed from stainless steel and the system removes parasites, viruses, VOCs, organic solvents, THMs, pesticides, heavy metals, and fluoride;
  • Propur™ Traveller SS Gravity Filter System with 1 ProOne® G2.0 5″ Filter Elements: in addition to primary contaminants such as disease-causing pathogens and cysts, the Propur also removes fluoride (including the latest hydrofluorosilicic acid), pesticides, herbicides, chloramines, glyphosate (also known as Monsanto’s Roundup), etc.

Also read: The Berkey Water Filter – The Ultimate Water Filter for Backpackers

Are there any alternatives to gravity water filters?

When it comes to portability, gravity water filters are not singular on the market. Water filter bottles outperform gravity water filters in terms of portability, but they do lag behind them in terms of filtered water output and contaminant removal capacity.

While there are filter bottles like the Lifesaver bottle that can remove viruses and disease-causing bacteria, as well as a wide range of other harmful contaminants, their filtered water output cannot keep up the pace with the filtered water output of gravity water filters.

That being said, water filter bottles can be a good choice for a day trip, while gravity water filters are a superior option if you’re drinking water needs need to be met for a longer period.

Gravity water filter wrap-up

If you travel to secluded areas with no running water, if you’re a backpacker going on an adventure in the great outdoors, or if you simply just want a portable water filter system that you can take with you on your vacation, gravity water filters are the simplest way to get clean drinking water without compromises. You don’t need to worry about plumbing, water pressure or finding a source of electricity. Simply find a water source and let gravity help you get filtered water wherever you go.


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