Keeping your drinking water clean and fresh is always a top priority, but buying single-serve water bottles can be quite wasteful. Everyone is doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint these days, and getting rid of the plastic bottles is a great place to start. Not only that, but having a gravity water filter means that you can have clean water anywhere, and you don’t have to take it with you. Whether you're camping, hiking, or just preparing for an emergency, these are a great asset to have.Of course, then comes the issue of choosing the best gravity water filter. There are a lot of different options out there, but we’ve taken the work out of it for you. Below, you’ll find a detailed review of each one, including its best features and drawbacks, to help you get a sense of what’s out there. At the end, you’ll find a guide to help you compare and buy the best gravity water filter for your needs, no matter what that might be. Let's get started by seeing how the best filters stack up.
The Platypus GravityWorks system is our best pick because it offers an impressive 4L capacity and premium construction that’s great for outdoor use and emergencies alike. Plus, it all comes with a handy carrying sack to keep it contained on the go.
Those on a budget will love the LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water Purifier> This model is perfect for emergencies and can produce up to 18,000 total gallons of purified water with its single-use filtration system.
Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Gravity Water Filters
This premium water filter system from Platypus is designed with the serious outdoor types in mind. The system includes two 4-liter reservoirs—one for clean water and one for dirty. It also comes with a hollow fiber microfilter, shutoff clamp, hoses, and a handy storage pouch that keeps everything contained while you’re on the go or when it’s being stored. The system meets all NSF and EPA guidelines for contaminant removal for all major bacteria and other germs.The GravityWorks water system is easy to use: You simply fill the dirty water reservoir, hang the bags, and let the filtration system and gravity take care of the rest. You'll be able to generate, store, and transport all the water that you need on the go without the hassle of bulky bottles, plastic waste, and other unnecessary elements. Plus, this antimicrobial filtration system is BPA-free and doesn’t leave an aftertaste like some filters. It can produce up to 1.75 liters of clean water every minute, making it quick and easy to get fresh water anywhere. You can even clean it in the field by backflushing the system for four seconds, so it’s ready to use again in no time.
The LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water Purifier has more than 13.2 million users and exceeds all standards for filtration by removing 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.99% of viruses without requiring chemicals like iodine or chlorine. This unique single-use system is designed to produce up to 18,000 liters of purified water, which is enough to provide clean water for three years for a family of four people. This is an impressive output for an emergency water system, which is why it makes our list.The system works by hanging the filled container and letting it fall through the filtration system and out the bottom of the hoses, with no pump or electricity required. Plus, you can even backwash the system to clean it while you’re out and about, and the filter is easy to clean so that you can continue to get the purest water possible. The water is filtered to 0.02 microns and all of the materials used in the filter are FDA compliant for producing potable water. For a basic system that delivers powerful emergency solutions, this simple kit from LifeStraw has all you need.
3. Travel Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
The Travel Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter is a unique option on the list. It delivers a powerful filtration solution, but unlike most of the bagged options, this model is a sturdy cylinder that is made of premium stainless steel and BPA-free plastic composites. The included filters will filter a total of 6,000 gallons before needing to be replaced, giving you plenty of use in a single purchase. The extra filter is a bonus with this system since most only include a single filter with the initial system purchase.This water filter system works by pouring water in the top which then filters through the system as it drops down into the bottom of the container. Then, it can be dispensed right from the tap on the front into glasses, pots, and more. At just 18 inches tall and with lightweight construction, this filter is easy to carry back and forth to camp or set up outdoors. Plus, it can filter enough water for 1-3 people a day, giving you plenty of capacity when you need something for occasional use or just a couple of people. It all includes the Berkey guarantee to give you that extra peace of mind, as well.
4. Sawyer Products One-Gallon Gravity Water Filtration System
This filtration system is great for emergency use or even to use when you’re hiking or trekking through nature when you don’t have constant access to clean water. Thanks to gravity, you can fill the bag and then let gravity filter the water, allowing you to fill your water bottles, hydration packs, pots, or any other containers that you need to fill while you’re on the go. Plus, this system features an impressive filter that removes more bacteria and protozoa than other systems on the market, exceeding EPA standards in all areas.The Sawyer Products Water Filtration System is simple to use and includes everything that you need. You can even use the sport cap on the filter for turning the system “on” and “off” when you’re filtering from the bag. You’ll get the one-gallon bladder bag, cleaning coupling and plunger, gravity hose, adapters, and the MINI water filter with your purchase. All of the MINI units are tested three times to ensure performance meets standards and every unit includes a guarantee for lifetime satisfaction.
5. LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag
The LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag offers a premium system for those who want something a little more high-end for their emergency or outdoor water cleaning needs. This system includes two filters that remove contaminants and bacteria while improving the taste of the water. The hollow fiber membrane removes almost all bacteria, protozoa, and microplastics, while the carbon fiber capsule helps reduce heavy metals, chemicals, and chlorine to help improve the taste and quality.This water filtration system can handle an impressive capacity over time and the filters can both be replaced once they reach a point where they are no longer filtering appropriately. The carbon capsule can handle up to 100 liters of filtering while the hollow fiber filter will provide an impressive 2,000 liters of water filtering before needing to be replaced. The LifeStraw system includes a handy hanging strap for the bladder, and the filter can even be used with plastic bottles or as a straw on its own. This system is great for outdoor use, emergencies, travel, and so much more.
6. LifeStraw Mission Water Purification System
When you need a lot of clean water quickly, the solution is to choose a bigger, better system. This is where the LifeStraw Mission Water Purification System comes into play. This system is available in two impressive sizes, capable of holding either 5 or 12 liters of water for those with high-capacity needs. Each system includes the hoses and the dispenser and can filter between 9-12 liters of water every single hour. When it’s not in use, the bag can be rolled up for easy storage and it includes its own carrying sack to keep everything contained.This system from LifeStraw includes a filter that will provide up to 18,000 liters of filtration before needing to be replaced, which is one of the best filters on the market today. Plus, like all LifeStraw products, your purchase will also financially contribute towards water to children in need. For emergencies, camping, and outdoor adventures, this filtration system makes gravity filtering easier than ever when you have large groups or bigger water needs. You can backflush the system to wash it out while you’re on the go so that it’s ready to use for the next stop, too.
7. Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Water Filter
As simple as it looks, this is one impressive setup. The Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Water Filter is designed to hold up to 6 liters of water and includes a window so that you can see the water level at all times. It can produce up to 1,500 liters of clean, safe drinking water and meets all EPA and NSF standards for quality and bacteria removal. This system can filter up to two liters of water per minute, with a 0.2-micron Ultra Flow Filter that features the latest in filtration technology.
The Katadyn Gravity system is unique among the options listed in this guide in that it has an available attachment that can even convert it to a portable emergency shower. The attachment is sold separately but can increase the functionality of this water filtration system to give you even more uses. It also includes its own carrying bag to keep everything in one place when it’s being stored or transported, and there is an integrated sediment trap that helps eliminate the hassles commonly known with backflushing for easy cleaning in the field.
8. Katadyn BeFree 3.0L Water Filter
The Katadyn BeFree Water Filter offers 3 liters of capacity in a stylish bag that is durable and easy to take just about anywhere. It is designed to filter out as much of 99.9999% of bacteria and other protozoa, surpassing all NSF and EPA standards for gravity filtration for potable water. Plus, unlike the other systems that require backwashing to clean, this filter just needs to be swished or shaken in clean water to remove any buildup or dirt. This filter can produce up to 2 liters per minute of clean, filtered water.This water filtration system is great for backcountry trekking, hiking, camping, and even just to keep on hand for emergencies when potable water might not be available. You'll never have to worry about having clean water because you can make your own, anywhere, in a matter of minutes. The collapsible bag is easy to store and it all comes from a company with more than 90 years of experience in the industry. This system is great for individual use or for small groups, and the high-tech material is BPA-free and designed to provide durable use in all conditions.
How To Choose the Best Gravity Water Filter for Camping, Emergencies, and More
There aren’t many major differences between gravity water filters on the market, so it can sometimes be challenging to figure out how to narrow down the options. Fortunately, now that you know a little more about these systems by seeing the best of what’s available, it should be easier for you to understand what elements are most important. To help you get the best gravity water filter for your needs, no matter what those might be, consider the elements below in your decision.
Although each one is more of a personal preference, it’s something that will impact the item that you ultimately choose. For example, you wouldn’t buy a small unit for a large group outing, and you wouldn’t waste money on a system that filters less water than another similarly priced model. It's all about finding the balance, which is what we focus on in this guide. Read on to learn more about choosing the perfect water filter for your on-the-go and emergency water needs.
How Much Water Will It Hold and Produce?
Depending on why you’re purchasing a gravity water filter, you’ll need to consider what capacity you’ll need. If you are buying it for individual use, a smaller system that holds one to three liters might be good enough to get the job done. On the other hand, if you’re looking to produce water for a large family or a group outing, you might want to consider one of the larger models, such as the five and 12-liter versions available from LifeStraw.
Capacity is one thing—that tells you how much water the bladder or container will hold. Output, or production, is another consideration. For example, some of the systems here will produce about two liters of water every minute, which is fairly standard for a gravity system. Think about how much water you need and how quickly you need it to determine what kind of output you prefer. More is obviously better, but if you don’t need a ton of water, this might be a factor you can move down on your priority list.
BPA-Free and EPA Standards
When choosing a more eco-friendly clean water solution, it would make sense that you’d want a system that is BPA-free and designed with materials that are durable, sustainable, and going to give you the quality you deserve. Many of the bladders and containers on this list are made of much higher-quality materials and they are all designed to meet all FDA standards for food-grade use and human consumption regulations. Look for the construction materials or specifically to see if something is listed as BPA-free to make sure you’re getting the best material.
You'll also need to make sure that, like all of the filters on this list, the one that you choose meets or exceeds all EPA and NSF standards for antibacterial and antimicrobial protection with the included filtration system. Fortunately, most manufacturers are competing against each other and working to shatter the EPA and NSF standards regularly as a result. Still, it will be important to ensure that the listing that you choose says that the filter meets or exceeds these standards. That way, you know you’re getting the best and cleanest water possible.
Other Material Concerns
Although most of the models on this list are gravity bags or bladders, there are other styles of filters available on the market. For example, one model we reviewed is made of durable stainless steel. There are also ceramic models available for those who want something a little different or if they have allergies and sensitivities to consider.
The exact material of the container doesn’t matter as much as the style or function that it offers. For example, a lot of people like the bladder-style containers because they can be compacted and rolled up for storage and portability when they aren’t in use. Hard-sided models like those made of stainless steel are a little more difficult to carry and are better suited for camping or other uses where they will be set up and packed away and don’t need to be carried around a lot.
The reason that you’re buying a gravity water filter is probably going to have the most effect on your ultimate decision. After all, those who are purchasing a system for emergency use will have different needs than those buying a system for hiking, camping, or other outdoor adventuring. It was sort of mentioned in the section above how canister-style filters and those that are less portable would be best suited for camping or stationary uses. In that same regard, the type of need that you have will dictate which filtration solution is best.
Camping gives you a lot of options because you don’t need something portable or that offers a lot of convenience features. If you’re hiking or trekking, however, you’ll want something that you can carry around with ease, such as one of the bladder-style filters that include its own carrying case to contain all of the various parts and accessories. Some people purchase these systems just to have on hand for emergencies, and in that case, the type that you choose depends on how much you want to invest. A system that’s specifically designed for emergency use might be ideal, but some other models might have more features that you like.
Why Choose Gravity Water Filter Systems?
There are several benefits to these systems, aside from the fact that they can purify just about any water supply. The filters on these systems can process thousands of liters of water before needing to be replaced, and can remove up to 99.9999% of some impurities and bacteria, giving you peace of mind that you’re drinking water that’s even cleaner than what comes out of the tap at home, no matter where you got the water from in the first place.
Gravity water filter systems are an eco-friendly way to get fresh, clean water without requiring the use of a pump or batteries. Plus, they reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles and other waste, which can help reduce environmental impact and your carbon footprint overall. This also helps save a lot of money on bottled water or paying for other purification methods or systems.
Plus, of course, this is an ideal solution for potable water in an emergency. Imagine being in a situation where there is no running water and no clean water available. All you have is a gravity filtration system— which means you can have clean water in minutes. Take it from a lake, creek, or even just from your own sink, and let gravity filter it through the system and produce water that will meet or exceed cleanliness and safety standards set forth by the NSF and EPA.
If you’re looking for a full-time in-home filtration solution, this option might not be ideal. It has a comparably slow output to pumps and other filtration options and is much better suited for occasional outdoor use or in the event of emergencies. Be sure to consider all of these things when you are investing in gravity water filters so that you can find the right fit and guarantee that you’re getting the right filtration solution in the first place. In the long run, the benefits generally outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to using gravity filters for outdoor and emergencies, which is precisely what they were designed for in the first place.