To evaluate the myriad gravity filters out there, I teamed up with James Layton, our in-house water filtration expert, to test and review dozens of gravity filters and determine the best.
Together we have more than four decades of combined experience in water treatment and filtration. The result of our efforts was a list of the seven best gravity-based water filters on the market.
Spoiler Alert: Here’s Our #1 Pick
The ProOne BIG+ took home the prize for the best overall gravity water filter.
Exceptional filtration, sleek design, complementary add-ons, and a 3-gallon tank means it has all it needs and more to deliver clean, high-quality water when you need it most.
Best Gravity Water Filters: Top Picks
Best overall: ProOne BIG+
Best for 1–2 people: Waterdrop King Tank
Best for large families: Crown Berkey
Best for camping: MSR Gravity Flow XL
Factors We Consider: Expert Reviews by Real World Experts
Reviewing water filters is not easy. There are countless options and lots of competing claims.
Luckily, I am equipped with a team of water filter experts and a systematic water filter review process that helps me narrow down the large list of options into something more manageable for me and useful for you.
All our water filter reviews go through some version of this process because it allows us to provide comprehensive reviews you can count on.
Please feel free to read more about our research methodology and how we review water filters.
However, if you’re brand new to the world of water filters, and specifically gravity water filters, check out our buying guide to help orient yourself and then come back to the product recommendations.
If you already know your way around, here are our top picks for gravity filters:
Best Overall Gravity Filter
The ProOne BIG+ is the best gravity water filter on the market. It removes more than 200 contaminants, including chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, PFAs, and fluoride.
It’s also got a great warranty, sleek design, and a reasonable price compared to the competition.
Who it’s for
The ProOne BIG+ is for you if you use city water (aka municipal water) and want an easy-to-use, low-maintenance countertop water filter for a great price.
It’s ideal for families or groups of four people or fewer.
If you frequently need fresh drinking water while hosting outdoor parties or camping, this gravity filter, thanks to its size and rugged design, is a great option.
You can use this gravity filter on well water, but it sort of depends on what’s in your well water.
If there are PFAs, herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals in your well water, the BIG+ can remove some of these. It will also tackle trace amounts of iron and sulfur.
But if you have nitrates or hard well water, this is not your solution.
If you’re a private well owner looking for a filter, I suggest you check out my review of the best whole-house filters for well water.
Why it’s the best
The ProOne BIG+ is the best overall gravity water filter because it combines functionality with affordability.
Multistage filtration combines to remove over 200 contaminants often found in city water, including but not limited to chlorine, PFAs, VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, lead, arsenic, copper, fluoride, and more.
This filter, unlike others, includes a fluoride filter by default. Others require a separate purchase.
If you want to keep the fluoride that’s added to your water, you’ll want to check out some of the other filters on our list.
The size of this unit is perfect. It’s nine inches in diameter and just under two feet tall. The included wire stand adds about six inches to the height, so consider that if you plan to fit it beneath your top cupboards.
Speaking of what’s included, the ProOne Big+ comes with a spigot. Most other companies charge extra for this.
The 3-gallon tank is good for four people, assuming every drink is a little more than the recommended half gallon per day.
You can use it with larger groups, but you’ll have to plan for refilling time because one tank probably won’t get you through the day.
Installation takes just a few minutes, and maintenance is easy. You just have to change the filter out every 1200 gallons.
If you fill it once a day, that’s not quite once per year. If you fill it twice per day, you’ll need to swap it out once every six months.
To give you some added peace of mind, these filters come with a five-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Tough to beat that.
Some things to keep in mind
As with any product, there are a few catches you should keep in mind about the ProOne BIG+.
Probably my biggest complaint is the flow rate.
All gravity filters are fairly slow, but this one has a flow rate of just 0.5 gallons per hour, assuming you use one filter.
That means it’s going to take around six hours to fill the entire thing.
The easy solution is to just fill it after dinner before everyone goes to bed and it’ll be ready in the morning.
Still makes it an unideal unit for large families or groups.
If you do run out during the day, there likely won’t be time for it to fill again before you need to use it.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be completely full before you can access drinking water. But if you get into a situation where you have to constantly add water, you kind of lose the convenience factor.
You can solve this by adding more filters. Each filter improves the flow rate by 0.5 gallons per hour. So, if you add two (the max), you can cut the total fill time to just two hours.
Lastly, if you want to know how much water is in your tank without having to lift it up, you’ll need to spend some extra money on a glass sight spigot.
The ProOne BIG+ is my top choice for best overall gravity water filter. It’s super effective against a wide range of city water contaminants, looks great, and requires almost no maintenance.
It’s a perfect solution for families or groups of four people or fewer.
Sure, the flow rate could be a little better. But as long as you don’t try to get more out of it than what it’s designed to do (max. four people), you should be good to go.
If you’re ready to love your water with an excellent gravity filter, get the ProOne BIG+ now.
Best for Small Groups
Waterdrop 2.25 King Tank Gravity Water Filter
The Waterdrop 2.25 King Tank Gravity Water Filter is the top choice among smaller gravity water filters.
It boasts the same filtration capabilities as the ProOne BIG+ in a more compact design that travels well.
Who it’s for
The Waterdrop 2.25 King Tank Gravity Water Filter is for you if you live alone or with just one other person and you want a lower-profile countertop gravity water filter that can remove all the bad stuff from your city water supply.
It could also work as a backup filter for families who like to travel because it is more compact and travels more easily than some of the other filters we’ve reviewed.
I would not recommend it as the primary filter for groups of three or more because the smaller tank will run out too quickly and takes time to refill.
Why it’s the best
The Waterdrop 2.25 King Tank Gravity Water Filter is the best gravity water filter for one to two people because it offers the same filtration capacity as all the other gravity water filters I’ve reviewed.
In total, it can remove more than 200 contaminants from city water, such as chlorine, chloramine, PFAs, VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, lead, copper, arsenic, and more.
The size of this unit is what really stood out to me. It’s two inches shorter in diameter than the ProOne BIG+ and just four inches shorter, but it really makes a difference on your countertop.
If it’s just you and one other person in your home, this more compact design is a real plus.
It’s also great if you want to take it somewhere.
The top chamber can nest inside the bottom one, cutting the whole unit down to half the size so you can fit it in your car and bring it camping or to your kids’ sporting events.
Waterdrop also includes the glass sight spigot as part of the initial package, which makes it super easy to know how much water is in the chamber and when it’s time to refill.
This is also a super low-maintenance unit.
The company claims it has a 3,000-gallon lifespan, but this is difficult to verify. The actual lifespan depends on usage and your water quality.
We’re confident it can easily last one year.
No matter what, I recommend swapping it out after a year. There will likely be some sort of bacteria buildup inside the filter and the media may be depleted.
One considerable bonus is that because it’s smaller than most other gravity water filtration systems, it’s cheaper than the other options on this list.
If you’re unsure if this is the right gravity filter for you, take advantage of the 30-day money-back period and try it out worry-free.
Some things to keep in mind
I’ve said this a few times, but I just want to be clear: The tank is small.
At only 2.25 gallons, it’s perfect for one to two people. If you try to use it for more, you’ll have to refill it multiple times a day and wait a few hours each time for it to fill up.
Also, another issue I had with the Waterdrop 2.25 King Tank Gravity Water Filter is its one-year warranty.
These gravity filters are pretty standard in terms of their design and construction, so there’s no reason why they should just break.
But it’s our policy to favor products with longer warranties, and this one falls a bit short.
Get the Waterdrop 2.25 King Tank Gravity Water Filter if you live alone or with one other person and you want an effective, affordable, low-maintenance gravity water filter.
It’ll remove all the bad stuff from your water and give you 2.25 gallons of fresh, delicious drinking water every single day.
Best for Large Families and Groups
Crown Berkey Gravity Water Filter
The Crown Berkey Gravity Water Filter is the best choice for a gravity water filter if you need it for a large family or group.
It has a six-gallon tank that’s good for anywhere from 6–10 people and lots of space for more filters to increase the flow rate.
Who it’s for
The Crown Berkey Gravity Water Filter is for large families or groups. It’s more expensive, but it’s one of the largest gravity filters on the market. It eventually pays itself off well, especially if you’re buying bottled water.
It could certainly work for smaller families or groups who don’t want to worry about filling their filter as often as with other models.
Cost would be the only reason not to do this. Berkey filters are much more expensive than the competition.
Why it’s the best
The Crown Berkey Gravity Water Filter earned this top spot because of its size and flow rate.
The standard configuration, with just two filters, runs at 6 gallons per hour, meaning you can fill the entire thing up and filter it in just an hour.
If you want to shell out some more money and use eight filters, the flow rate increases to a whopping 26 gallons per hour.
This means it would only take 13 minutes to filter the entire thing.
The filters come as a package of two, so you can choose between two, four, six, and eight filters. Each set increases flow rate but also the cost.
Of course, the Crown Berkey is also excellent at filtration.
It uses three-stage filtration that includes a sub-micron sediment filter, activated carbon, and a proprietary mystery media that filters out a bunch of chemicals.
We don’t love that we can’t find what’s actually in there, but the filter passed all the tests and the data is good.
Berkey filters also look really nice. They use a higher-grade stainless steel than some of the competition, which produces a pretty impressive shine that will make this look great on your counter.
Lastly, Berkey offers a lifetime warranty on its products, which blows all the other options on this list away.
Some things to keep in mind
The only thing that prevents us from putting the Crown Berkey Gravity Water Filter and other Berkey filters higher on this list is price.
I have no problem recommending more expensive products that work better. After all, this is our drinking water we’re talking about. But these do go a bit above and beyond.
For example, at the time of writing, the standard Crown Berkey with two filters was around $600. That’s more than double the competition and the performance is similar.
If you add all eight filters, you’re looking at around $1,000.
Again, if you have a family of six and drink only bottled water, or you’re using this for large groups, the costs eventually even out. That’s why I put it on the list.
But if you’re just a family of four looking for a great filter, other options won’t hurt your wallet quite as much.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Berkey specifically states that its filters should not be used with a water softener. This is because water softeners exchange hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) for sodium.
Something in Berkey’s mystery filter media must react with this sodium since the company says it will clog the filters. But it also says that if your water is hard you may need to clean the filters periodically with vinegar to remove scale buildup.
In general, slightly hard water is not a concern and the minerals inside can actually be good for you.
However, if you have moderately to very hard water, it will cause all sorts of other problems around the house, such as scale buildup on fixtures and appliances, streaks and stains, poor lathering of soap, and skin irritation.
If you want to remove these issues, a Berkey filter might not be for you. The other gravity filters on this list don’t have this issue. You could also opt for a whole-house water filter and softener combo, which would deliver soft, clean drinking water to the entire home.
For large families or groups, the Crown Berkey Gravity Water Filter is a truly excellent option.
It’s more expensive than other gravity filters, but it’s also one of the largest out there. And it does look great and come with an impressive lifetime warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee.
If you’re ready for crystal clear drinking water for your entire family, pick up the Crown Berkey Gravity Water Filter now.
Best Portable Gravity Filter for Camping
MSR Gravity Flow XL
The MSR Gravity Flow XL (10 liter) is the choice for you if you’re a camper or hiker and want to bring a compact filter with you that will remove bacteria, parasites, and particulates from wild water sources.
Who it’s for
The MSR Gravity Flow XL is for hikers, campers, horseback riders, scout troops, and anyone else who needs access to clean drinking water while out in nature.
It’s for you if you like to go out into the woods and drink water from the local stream.
However, since it can’t remove chemicals, it’s best for those who go far away from cities and camp in the backcountry where they are unlikely to have industrial contamination.
Why it’s the best
The MSR Gravity Flow XL is the best for two reasons: size and flow rate.
The bag itself can hold 10 liters of water. That’s enough for five people to drink all day, or more if you just need it at night after hiking or doing something else.
It’s also enough if you need it for drinking and cooking, which you often do when out in the woods.
The size is also great because it means fewer trips to the water source, which sometimes isn’t that close.
With a 1.75-liter-per-minute flow rate, it takes 10 minutes to fill it, which is not going to be as fast as your faucet at home. But it’s pretty close. And you’re in the woods, remember!
As far as filtration, the Gravity Flow XL removes 99.99% of bacteria and protozoans, the main concern with drinking water from wild streams or lakes.
The way the bag is designed, sediment falls to the bottom and stays out of the filter and your bottle.
It’s also made from top-quality plastic built to be used outdoors.
I am also a big fan of the hanging strap. You can sling the bag over a tree and people can grab water as they need it.
This also makes it easier to use since it needs gravity to work. Putting it up high ensures the fastest flow rate.
Some things to keep in mind
The big thing to keep in mind is that the MSR Gravity Flow XL does not remove viruses. This shouldn’t be a major concern for most people.
But if you’re going to be drinking from sketchy water supplies, you might want to spend extra for a filter that will remove viruses.
It also doesn’t remove chemicals because it doesn’t use activated carbon. For backcountry water sources far from cities and industry, this isn’t a concern.
But if you want to drink from the river that runs through your town, I wouldn’t use this filter.
Speaking of money, the biggest knock on the Gravity Flow is that it’s kind of expensive.
You can get cheaper filters, but they’re not as big, not as rugged, and don’t have hanging straps.
To me, this one is worth the extra cash. Just know that cheaper options are available (see below).
If you’re a hiker, camper, or hunter, and need a solution for water filtration while out in nature, the MSR Gravity Flow XL is a great option.
It’s large (10L), rugged, fast, and comes with a hanging strap and bag clip for extra convenience.
As you plan your next hiking or camping trip, get the MSR Gravity Flow XL before you go.
Royal Berkey 3.25 Gallon Gravity Water Filter
Berkey is a household name in the world of gravity-fed drip filters. They’ve been around for a few decades and make excellent products.
I included one Berkey product above, the Crown Berkey, since it’s one of the largest and fastest flowing gravity filters on the market. It’s a great choice for large families.
Berkey’s standard model, the Royal Berkey 3.25 Gallon Gravity Water Filter, is an excellent gravity filtration system, but it’s just too expensive for me to include in my list of the best of the best.
The other products I have reviewed also have around a 3.25-gallon capacity (give or take) and do pretty much the same thing. They also have some included add-ons that increase the value even more.
Yes, this Berkey filter removes over 200 contaminants, and yes, it’s made from durable stainless steel, but these are standard gravity filter characteristics.
You’re really just paying for the Berkey name.
Some might say this is worth it. After all, Berkey products do come with a lifetime warranty. But for me, the other products I’ve reviewed do the same thing and offer better value.
If you absolutely must have a Berkey though, I totally understand.
The other thing to keep in mind is that this filter, like all Berkey filters, can’t be used with a water softener. If you have hard water and want to soften it, this filter might not be the best option.
Doulton Stainless Steel Gravity Filter System
The Doulton W9361138 Stainless Steel Gravity Filter System looks a lot like a Berkey, but it’s not.
Doulton has been making ceramics and water filters for a little more than 170 years, and the quality is unmatched.
What held these filters off my best-of-the-best list was that it only comes in three sizes, with the largest being 3 gallons.
Having said that, it does have a 1.5-gallon option, which is great if you want something portable that you can take with you camping or if you need a filter for a boat or RV.
Also, despite being of higher quality, Doulton filters are rather modestly priced.
Something else that held this filter back, though, was its flow rate, which is around 0.5 gallons per hour maximum.
Other filters I reviewed were this slow, but they had additional filter options to help speed things up.
Still, this is an excellent filter that won’t disappoint.
Katadyn Gravity BeFree Water Filtration System
Earlier, I recommended a gravity water filtration system ideal for camping, but I said it was a bit expensive.
If you want something a bit more affordable, check out the 3-liter Katadyn Gravity BeFree Water Filtration System.
They’re similar in design, but this filter is smaller.
The Katadyn design is unique, featuring three separate one-liter bags. One is for dirty water and the other two are for clean water.
The idea is you fill one and empty it into another and then repeat so that you have two liters of clean water.
In theory, you could empty the bag into a bottle or something else to get more water out of the filter.
This is less convenient than the 10-liter option I reviewed above, but it’s also about half the price.
If you need something to take camping and you want to save a few bucks, this is your best bet.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a gravity-fed water filter, look no further. The ProOne BIG+ stands out for its effective filtration, sleek design, warranty, and overall cost.
All in all, after an extensive research process, I’ve managed to create this conclusive list on which I am sure you will find the ideal gravity water filter for you.
Once you do find that filter, get ready to enjoy some delicious clean water without the waste or cost of bottles.
Given the importance of effective water filtration and the wide range of products on the market, researching and reviewing the best gravity water filter requires a systematic approach that uses both qualitative and quantitative data.
At Drinking Water, we use a seven-point research methodology to test all our products.
You can read all about how we review water filters, but here’s a summary of what’s involved:
The first step in any water filter review we do is to make sure the design of the product we’re examining aligns with its purpose.
This might sound obvious, but water filtration is a very specific industry. To make money, manufacturers will often try to sell products designed for a specific purpose for a wide range of uses.
This doesn’t usually work and is the first step in our extensive process of elimination.
Learn more about the use analysis stage of our reviews.
The next step is to dive deep into the filter technology used in the filter we’re reviewing.
Again, the water filtration world is one of exact science. It’s pretty easy to spot unsupported claims, and if there’s some new technology out there, there’s also research to support it.
Before we recommend a product, we vet all the technologies being used in multiple ways.
Learn more about how we do a tech check on all the products we review.
Water test data
It’s not enough to simply analyze the products we review based on their use case and technology. We also rely heavily on data to make sure the filters we’re reviewing can actually do what they claim to.
We collect data from companies and verify it, we get it from independent sources, and we’ll also collect it ourselves when needed, all in the name of finding the truth.
Learn more about how we collect and use water test data for our reviews.
Once we’re comfortable with the functionality of a filter, we start to look at its usability.
The first step is installation. Do you need a PhD to put this thing in? Or is it fairly straightforward?
Needing a professional isn’t a deal breaker, but we want to know what it takes to get a filter up and running.
Learn more about how we do our installation tests.
The cost of buying a water filter does not end when you make your initial purchase.
Filter elements need to be replaced, and these have their own costs.
When we review products, we consider all the money you might have to spend over a 10-year period so you have a complete picture and accurate comparison of costs.
Learn more about how we conduct our cost-of-ownership analysis.
Water filter solutions tend to be expensive, which is why we give priority to products that are built to last.
Another part of this is the warranty. We prefer companies that stand by their products. But warranties can be full of fine print and tough to understand, which is why we do the work for you.
Learn more about what goes into our warranty check.
Customer service test
The last step of our review process is to look into the customer service operation of the companies we’re recommending.
We want to set you up with good people, so we make sure to check before we recommend.
This involves running dummy tests on customer service teams, reading reviews, and talking with past customers.
Learn more about how we do our customer service test for each product.
Before You Buy a Gravity Filter
If you’re brand new to the world of gravity filters, here are a few things you should know.
First, a gravity filter is a type of water filter that uses gravity to work. Duh, right?
Basically, the water starts up high and then trickles down (that’s the gravity), passing through the filter element as it does.
In most cases, these filters look like large water coolers. They have an upper and lower chamber, with the filter in the top.
You will manually fill the top with tap water and then it will slowly drip down into the lower chamber. You attach a spigot to the lower chamber to access water when you need it.
The big advantage of these filters is they don’t require any electricity and are easy to transport. They sit on your countertop, but you can totally bring them outside.
So, the next time you host a barbecue, you can provide your guests with clean, filtered drinking water right out on the patio.
A few things to note about gravity filters:
- Capacity is limited. These filters have tanks and once they’re full they’re full. If you need more water, you need to drain it and fill it from the top again.
- Flow rates are slow. The nature of this gravity filtration means it can sometimes take hours for your tank of clean water to fill. For this reason, it’s super important you get the right-sized gravity filter.
- City water only. While there’s no reason why a gravity filter couldn’t be used to filter well water, the reality is that the vast majority of these products are designed for city users.
Gravity water filters are a convenient alternative to whole-house water filters, which connect to your main water lines and provide filtered water to every tap in your home.
These solutions tend to be more expensive, but they do improve the quality of your water throughout the house. Gravity filters, on the other hand, only filter what’s inside the unit.
They are also a more sustainable way to get clean drinking water in your home without relying on plastic bottles.
Most people buy a unit that’s large enough to store more than one day’s worth of water for their home.
Then, each night, they fill it before they go to bed. This ensures there’s enough time for the filter to work and enough water for everyone for the entire day.
Now that you have a better understanding of gravity filters, let’s get back to my top choices so you can find the right one for you.
Dive Deeper: In-Depth Water Filtration Guides
If you need more information about gravity filters and water filtration in general, here are some resources to help you:
- Water filter guide
- Types of filters and when to use them
- Best countertop water filters
- Best fluoride water filters
- Best water pitchers
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best gravity-based water purifier?
The ProOne BIG+ is the best gravity-based water purifier on the market thanks to its effective filtration, long warranty, sleek design, and cost.
Are gravity-based water filters any good?
Gravity-based water filters are a great home water filtration solution if you have city water and want to remove a wide range of contaminants with an easy-to-install and low-maintenance system.
Are gravity filters effective?
Yes, gravity filters are highly effective so long as they are equipped with the right filter media.
Nearly all gravity filters on the market are designed for city water, so if you use this type of water, gravity filters can be an extremely effective solution.