Gravity filters have been around for years, and traditionally they've been used mainly by survivalists. But as problems with the safety of our water supply have grown, so has interest in this kind of water filtration. They're not just for preppers anymore!


Why are gravity water filters so popular?

Because they're simple to use and can give you a fresh supply of clean drinking water any time and any place. They're great for everyday use and for emergency situations, and most are highly effective at removing contaminants.

"But," you might be wondering, "How can I know which one is the best?"

You could spend hours online trying to figure out which one to buy. Or, you can just read this article. I've already done all the hard work for you!

I've gathered together loads of information about four of the most popular countertop gravity filters - how they work, how they compare in price and size, and how well they remove contaminants from drinking water.

By the time you've finished reading, you'll be able to make an informed decision about which of these models is the best gravity water filter for you.

Comparison Table: Best Countertop Gravity Water Filters

**This table is best viewed in horizontal orientation on mobile devices.**


Lower Chamber Capacity

Filter Life

Removes Fluoride?


Check Price

Big Berkey

Berkey water filter

2.25 gal

3-5 years for Black Berkey filters;

6 months for fluoride filters

yes, with PF-2 filters added

1 year on system & fluoride filters;

2 years on Black Berkey filters

ProOne Big+

Propur ProOne Big+

3 gal

1 year


Lifetime on system;

1 year on filters

Alexapure Pro

Alexapure Pro water filter system and replacement filter

2.25 gal

5 years


30 days

Zen Water

Zen Water gravity filter

4 gal

1 year for ceramic filter;

6 months for 5-stage filter



Contaminant Reduction: Berkey vs ProOne (Propur) vs Alexapure vs Zen Water

The most important question to ask when choosing a gravity water filter is this: How effective is this water filter in reducing contaminants in drinking water?

After downloading all the available third party lab test results I could find, I made a table (below) so we can compare how well the systems perform. 

I picked out about 40 contaminants that would be somewhat recognizable to most people. One problem you run into doing this comparison is that identical tests were not run on each of the systems. If they had been, this would be a whole lot easier. 

Disclaimer: I'm not a scientist. I'm a consumer, just like you. But we can read, and we have brains, so we can take the information that's available and try to make a reasonable choice.

The numbers in the table tell you how much the contaminants were reduced during the test. For example, if it says "glyphosate 75%", that means 75% of the glyphosate was removed, and 25% remained after filtration.

Where you see "n/a", that means there was no data available for that particular contaminant. But, that doesn't necessarily mean that the filter can't reduce that contaminant.

Gravity Filters Contaminant Reduction Table

Note: Sodium fluoride, hexafluorosilicate, and fluorosilicic acid are all forms of fluoride found in drinking water.

Gravity Water Filter System Mini Reviews

Big Berkey (most popular gravity water filter)

Berkey is by far the best known and most popular brand of gravity filters. This is a brand that my family and I have been using for many years.

The "Big" Berkey is just one of several available sizes. It's made by New Millenium Concepts, a company in Texas.

The filter elements themselves are manufactured in the US, and the stainless steel housing is assembled in the US. 

Berkey water filter

Get your Big Berkey, accessories, and filter replacements at

It comes with two Black Berkey filter elements, which are made of coconut shell carbon plus a proprietary blend of five other media.

black Berkey filters

Black Berkey filters 

By themselves, the Black Berkey filters will not remove fluoride. If you want to get rid of fluoride, you can buy optional PF-2 fluoride filters to add to the system. 

The fluoride filters use activated alumina to remove the fluoride.

Berkey fluoride filters

Berkey PF-2 fluoride filters

Berkey filters have gone through extensive testing by independent labs, and are very effective at removing most kinds of contaminants. They only seem to fall short in the removal of glyphosate, an herbicide found in products like Roundup.

Big Berkey Quick Summary

My Rating: 5/5

Dimensions: 8.5" diameter x 19.2" high

Filter Life: 3,000 gallons, or about 3 to 5 years for Black Berkey filters; 1,000 gallons, or about every 6 months for fluoride filters.

Biggest Complaints: Filters must be primed before using; plastic spigot (can purchase stainless steel replacement separately).

Best Features: Effectively removes all kinds of contaminants; removes fluoride when PF-2 fluoride filters are included; sturdy stainless steel housing; can purify any kind of water except salt water; long filter life.

Warranty: 12 months on System and PF-2 filters; 2 years on Black Berkey filters.

For more information, see my in-depth review of the Big Berkey

See also The Berkey Water Filter Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for information about the different sizes of Berkey filters and how to choose the right one.

You can often find good deals on Berkey filter systems, accessories, replacement filters, and bundles at The Berkey, an authorized Berkey distributor.

Click here to check the price of Big Berkey at The Berkey.

ProOne Big+ (best gravity water filter for lead removal)

ProOne gravity filter with stand

Pick up a ProOne Big+ at

Next up is the ProOne Big+. This is just one of several sizes available from ProOne USA and is comparable to the Big Berkey. 

ProOne is one of several Berkey water filter competitors. It used to be called the Propur Big, but the company changed its name in January 2021. The housing has been slightly modified, but the filter technology is the same.

With this filtration system, you can get one, two or three filter elements - your choice. They're silver-infused ceramic on the outside with a granular activated carbon base medium on the inside. Made in England, by the way.

Unlike the Berkey, ProOne doesn't need an extra filter for fluoride. The ProOne G2.0 filter does it all.

ProOne G2.0 filter element

ProOne G2.0 filter

The housing is made of stainless steel (polished or brushed) and is assembled in the US. But, it has a stainless steel spigot instead of plastic. 

As an added bonus, the ProOne Big+ comes with a 6-inch stainless steel stand to make dispensing easier.

Looking at the contaminant reduction table, you can see that it's quite good at removing contaminants. In some cases, it's a little better than Berkey, and in others, it's not quite as good. The main area where it's not as good is in the reduction of radioactive substances.

Of all these brands, ProOne is the best at removing lead. It's also the only one that has been tested for microplastics. Lab test results published in September 2017 show a 99.99% reduction in microplastics. 

Suggested Reading: Should You Worry About Microplastics in Your Drinking Water?

Because the numbers are so close, I've rated both the Berkey and ProOne at 5 out of 5. To me, it's really a toss up.

ProOne Big+ Quick Summary

My Rating: 5/5

Dimensions: 9.25" diameter x 22.75" high

Filter Life: 12 months

Biggest Complaints: Knob on lid is hard to install; not great at removing radioactive contaminants.

Best Features: Effectively removes most contaminants, including fluoride; filters don't need to be primed; sturdy stainless steel housing and spigot; can purify any kind of water except salt water.

Warranty: Lifetime on stainless steel parts; 12 months on filters.

See also my detailed review of the ProOne filter. It includes information about the various sizes available.

Alexapure Pro (cheapest stainless steel gravity filter)

Alexapure water filter

Alexapure  - above average filtration at a lower cost. Get yours at My Patriot Supply.

The Alexapure Pro is another gravity filter system that's similar to Berkey and ProOne. It's less expensive, though.

The main part is stainless steel, and it has a plastic spigot.  

Alexapure comes with a single carbon block filter encased in a hybrid ceramic shell. You can add more filters for a faster flow, if you like.

The filter element is made in the US, and the housing is made in India. It's manufactured by an American company called Alexapure and is sold through several online retailers.

According to the lab test results, the Alexapure is pretty much on par with Berkey and ProOne. It does a great job removing most contaminants, including fluoride and radioactive substances.

It's a bit weak in lead reduction, though - only 96.4%. That doesn't seem too bad, but keep in mind that, according to the EPA, there is no safe level of lead in drinking water. That's because lead bioaccumulates in the body.

And this is the main reason why I rated Alexapure a little lower than Berkey and ProOne.

Another thing that bothers me is that there is essentially no warranty on this product. You can return unopened products - no questions asked - within 30 days. Other than that, there is no guarantee. They say, "After 30 days, or for products already opened, we will review your return request on a case-by-case basis."

I think most people would prefer a more specific guarantee. I certainly would.

Alexapure Pro Quick Summary

My Rating: 4/5

Dimensions: 9" diameter x 21.5" high

Filter Life: 5,000 gallons, or about 5 years

Biggest Complaints: Not great at removing lead; no warranty.

Best Features: Effectively removes most contaminants, including fluoride; filters have long life; sturdy stainless steel housing; can purify any kind of water except salt water

Warranty: 30 day return policy on unopened products.

For more information please see my in-depth review of the Alexapure Pro.

The Alexapure Pro is also available from My Patriot Supply. It's always worthwhile to take a look. Sometimes they have special sales.

Zen Water 4 Gallon Filter System (best gravity water filter that adds minerals)

Zen Water filter

Filter and mineralize your water with a Zen Water gravity filter system from Amazon. 

Finally, we've got the least expensive of the filters in this review: the Zen Water System Model 4G-MP. This is the smallest of the available Zen Water systems.

It's different from all the other filtration systems we've looked at, in a couple of ways.

First, the body is made of BPA free plastic instead of stainless steel. That means that it's not nearly as sturdy.

Second, it does more than just filter. It also mineralizes and magnetizes the water.

Water goes through five stages in this system -

  1. Filtration: It starts out with a ceramic filter, which you can see in the top part of the unit in the image.
  2. Purification: Next, the water goes through a purifying silver infused activated carbon filter and ion exchange resin.
  3. Mineralization: The water goes through layers of Far Infrared balls, silica sand, and mineral sand and stones. This adds calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium to the water. It's also supposed to improve your metabolism, memory, and blood pressure, among other things.
  4. Preservation: Mineral stones in the holding chamber help to keep the water fresh and pure.
  5. Magnetization: At the end, the water is dispensed through a magnetized spigot. This may boost your immunity and improve your overall health.

Zen Water makes the claim that the filters in Zen Water Systems effectively reduce over 99% of bacteria, chlorine, herbicides, pesticides and hundreds of other man-made chemical(s).

This could very well be true, but they have not published any lab test results that would back up their claims. I have requested information from them, but they haven't replied.

They do state on their website that the filter does not remove fluoride. So that's settled.

Also, the Zen should only be used with potable water - in other words, treated tap water.

Water Filter Labs (a division of Natural News) at one time conducted a test on the Zen Water filter. They only tested for heavy metals, though, and the test results are no longer on the website. Those results are included in the contaminant reduction table above.

There's no warranty to speak of on this system. They only guarantee that the system will arrive free of damage and defects, or you can return it within 30 days.

The lack of a warranty and especially the lack of lab test reports to back up the company's claims are why it's the lowest rated of the bunch.

It is going to make your water taste better, and it will remove some contaminants. Plus it's not that expensive. So if you want to spend the least amount of money possible on a decent filter, this might be the one for you.

Zen Water System Quick Summary

My Rating: 2/5

Dimensions: 12.5" diameter x 22" high

Filter Life: 1,000 gallons, or about 1 year for the Ceramic filter; 500 gallons, or about 6 months for the 5-stage filter; 3 to 5 years for the mineral stones.

Biggest Complaints: Doesn't remove fluoride; algae tends to grow in the bottom chamber; very slow filtration rate; cheap plastic spigot.

Best Features: Inexpensive; looks nice; raises pH of the water; easy to use.

Warranty: 30 day return policy if damaged or defective on arrival

If you like the idea of an alkaline gravity water filter, you might want to check out the Santevia. It's similar to the Zen, but it removes fluoride. Read my in-depth review of the Santevia Alkaline Water Filter System.

Gravity Filter FAQs

Are Berkey, ProOne and Alexapure filter elements interchangeable?

Yes, the Berkey, ProOne and Alexapure filters, along with most other brands of stainless steel gravity filter systems, are interchangeable. 

Just keep in mind that ProOne and Alexapure are all-in-one filters, but the Berkey requires an additional PF-2 filter if you want fluoride filtration

How do gravity fed water purifiers work?

Gravity filters are the simplest kind of water filters out there. There's no plumbing involved and you don't need electricity to use them. You just put unfiltered water in the top, and gravity pulls the water downward through the filter element(s) and into the holding chamber. All of these countertop models have a spigot for dispensing the filtered water.

Do gravity filters remove beneficial minerals?

No, these gravity water filters don't take minerals out of drinking water. Filtration methods that do remove the good minerals are reverse osmosis and distillation

What are the benefits of gravity filters?

  • great tasting water for drinking and cooking
  • portable - easy to take with you when you travel, move, or go camping
  • don't have to be connected to plumbing
  • don't use electricity
  • don't take out the good minerals
  • good for emergency situations
  • most can filter water from streams, ponds, pools, etc.

What are the disadvantages of gravity filters?

  • have a slow flow rate
  • have to refill by hand

What kind of maintenance do you have to do on a gravity water filtration system?

The only maintenance you need to do is cleaning.

You'll need to take the filter elements out every now and then and give them a good scrubbing with plain water. After a while, they'll need to be replaced altogether. And, of course, you'll want to keep the housing clean. You can clean that with just a little soap and water.

Can gravity filters remove chloramine?

Some gravity filters can remove chloramine. The ones in this review that specifically claim to remove chloramine are:

  • Berkey
  • ProOne
  • Alexapure

For more information about chloramine, please see Chlorine vs Chloramine in Drinking Water: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?

Conclusion: What is the best gravity filter? It's a Tie!

All of these filters are going to make your water taste good. That's a given.

But in terms of structural integrity and effectiveness in removing contaminants, I think that Berkey and ProOne are tied for number one

Second place is Alexapure. It's almost as good as Berkey and ProOne, but it doesn't do nearly as good a job of removing lead. Plus there's no stated warranty.

Third place goes to the Zen Water system. It makes a lot of claims about how great it is, but there isn't much proof. But if you just want a cheap filter that will make your water taste better, then the Zen might be the ticket.

Click here to shop for the best gravity water filters at Amazon.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in a comment below, and I'll get back to you asap.

Last Updated on January 20, 2024

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  1. Very nice read and thank you for putting this together, I googled Santevia vs Berky as I stumbled upon the Berky online as I was looking for new filters for my Santevia gravity 5 stage plus ceramic. Seems quite similar in look and filtration to the Zen.

    Santevia did release an all-glass unit but seems the ceramic filter is missing on this one. I feel the ceramic filter is a great feature as it tends to turn brown in my area ( between cleanings)

    I am going to assume the Zen filter is on par with the santevia so because of this article I will upgrade to the Berky as I am looking for a non-plastic housing system.

  2. We have an Alexa Pure that we have had for years but only used a short time before moving. It has the one filter. Are you saying that I could buy filter that are for the Berkey or Pro One and they would fit the Alexa Pure? Thank you

    1. Hi Carol! Yes, that’s correct. Just be sure to check the size of the filter element to be sure that it’ll fit your system. I know ProOne has different heights of filters – 5, 7 and 9 inch.

  3. This helped a lot, I was also hoping that you had looked into 4Patriots- Patriot Pure Ultimate Water Filtration System, any information on it?

    But this will help me make a decision-Berkey is out of my budget area, it's nice to know there are other options.

    1. Hi Susan! No, I haven’t reviewed Patriot Pure. If you can compare the features and contaminant reduction ability with Berkey or ProOne, that would help you make a good decision.

  4. Although Alexapure's site and Amazon page used to say their filter would last for 5,000 gallons, and they also used to say you could gently clean the exterior of the filter to restore flow (a labor I've had to repeat every 2 weeks for years), they have NOW DRASTICALLY changed their stance. They now write on their website and on their Amazon shop that their filters are good for ONLY 200 gallons – and – then you should throw them out. This is extremely disquieting. They did not notify me as a buyer that they changed policy. I have had these filters and unit for years – and now I learn that it probably is no longer removing the dangers I bought it to remove. You may want to investigate Alexapure's official change from 5,000 to 200 gallons. They refuse to explain why they changed – loss of 4,800 gallons of water is a big deal. I'm looking at ProPur / ProOne instead now if I can find proof of their test results and certifications. Berkey is too concerning for their lack of transparency on testing.

      1. So, this is what has changed – their website now specifically states that the lab testing was done up to 200 gallons. That doesn’t mean that the filter will only last that long. I also didn’t see them stating that the filters should be discarded after 200 gallons.

    1. Hi Leo! Here’s the information I have from the manufacturers about where they are made:

      Berkey – The black Berkey filters are made in the USA. The stainless steel housings are assembled from US parts and imported parts. None of the parts are made in China.

      ProOne – The filter element is made in England. The system is made from imported and domestic components and assembled in the US.

      Alexapure – The filter elements are made in USA, and the stainless steel housing is made in India.

      I haven’t been able to find out for sure where Zen is made. I suspect it is made in China.

  5. I was really hoping AquaCera would be in this list of comparisons. I am also interested in which filters remove Manganese, which does not appear in the list of contaminants. Do you have any additional information on either topic?

    1. Hi Gina! Apparently, AquaCera no longer makes the stainless steel system that I reviewed here: My Review of the AquaCera Gravity Water Filter That’s why it’s not in this list. The filter elements are available, though.

      Regarding manganese – Looking through lab test results I have downloaded, I see that: ProOne reduces manganese by 99.7%, AquaCera CeraMetix by 97.6%, AquaCera Aquametix by 99.9%, Alexapure by 99.9%, and Berkey by 99.9%.

  6. Thank you for an excellent comparison of gravity water filter systems. The two top ones are both quite expensive. I was wondering if purchasing one of the competing brands for the stainless steel unit and then using the better filters would be a viable option.

    1. Hi Diane! Yes, the filters for most stainless steel systems are interchangeable. Just be sure to check the height of the filter you want to purchase to make sure that it will fit.

  7. This information is very useful and it's much appreciated.

    If you run water through the filter 2 times, and it removes 90%+ of contaminants, would running water through twice essentially ensure 99%+ of contaminants would be removed? Also, do the units listed, or do any gravity units, remove bacteria and/or viruses?

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Larry! Berkey, ProOne and Alexapure do remove bacteria and viruses. The specific species they have been tested for are included in the Gravity Filters Contaminant Reduction Table in the post above.

      As for your question about running it through twice – no, I don’t think it works that way.

  8. (Side Note) Yes, the Black Berkey filters have been tested to remove glyphosate to below lab detectable limits of >75%, which was the limitation of the testing equipment. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is a non-selective herbicide that was discovered in 1973 and commercially produced in 1974.

  9. You mentioned that Berkey does not remove glyphosate, which shocked me since I had assumed that it did by looking at all their test results and didn't realize glyphosate was not listed. But then I looked at the other filtering systems you named and you didn't say anything about whether they filtered out glyphosate or not. I'm very interested if any of the other top ones do filter out glyphosate because that is a main concern nowadays. Your quick response would be very much appreciated as I am trying to decide if I need to change my recommendation to my sister as she is finally willing to purchase a Berkey. She's finally realizing she shouldn't use reverse osmosis filtering.

    1. Hi Susan! You are mistaken that I said that Berkey does not remove glyphosate. It is included in the contaminant reduction table(75%). I also mentioned in the description that it “falls short” in the removal of glyphosate, meaning it’s not close to 100%. Perhaps I wasn’t clear.

  10. I loved reading all the info on those water systems.What a great research, thank you. That is the perfect infos I needed before choosing and purchasing my filtering system. Do you know if Berkey has fixed the clogging issue of the carbon filters yet ? I am a single person and I'd prefer a smaller size unit and I deduct than the Pro One Traveler is likely the best unit for me, filtering fluoride as well as micro plastics and not needing priming.
    Now i'd also like to have a shower water filter ; besides Berkey do you know any other company offering such a product ? Thank you so much.

    1. ply. It was right here that I read a report from ET on June 9, 2022 having a problem with replacement Berkey filters after using them for just 1 week. And on May 12, 2022 Hunter Wolf reported having an issue with 2 filters and he could not get it resolve .and also Crystal on January 21, 2021`reporting Berkey black filters failing after 2 months. So this makes be wanting to stay away from Berkey and choose either Pro One or Alkanatur from Spain. What do you think would be the best choice? After reading more about the shower filter the ProPur feels like a better choice. Thank You.

      1. OK, I see what you’re referring to. Again, I’m not aware of ongoing, widespread failure of Berkey filters. When you asked, “Do you know if Berkey has fixed the clogging issue of the carbon filters yet?”, it seemed to me that you were implying that this is a known problem affecting all Berkey filters. As with any product, you will hear people complain about occasional defects, and those often get more attention than the fact that most Berkey customers are satisfied with the product.

        I’m not familiar with the Alkanatur, so I can’t give you an opinion on that.

    1. Hi, Michael! The Berkey, Alexapure, and ProOne filters are interchangeable. Most brands of the stainless steel gravity filters have the same size holes for the filters.

  11. My family and I have used the Berkey Water Filter System for years and years. We never had a problem with their filters until about 6 months ago when I bought replacement filters. I followed the directions as directed as usual. The Berkey worked for a week and stopped filtering. I cleaned and primed them again. They worked for a few days then back to not working. I started having to clean the filters about every week, never had to do that before. I filed a complaint, the company asked me if I followed the directions. If I did the red dye test. We went back and forth with them to no avail. So I bought another two Berkey filters, same thing and last week I purchased another set(my third in 6 months at $104.00 for the set). Installed them this past weekend, its been less than a week and the new filters have stopped filtering again. This is not right. I am changing systems and filing a Better Business Bureau complained against the company. Something is not right!

    1. Wow, E.T., I’m sorry you’re having this problem. I’m curious – what company have you been buying the filters from?

    2. I am having issues with my new filters as well! I am here researching alternatives. I will never buy the filters again! Once a nut stopped screwing properly and Berkey wanted me to pay $10 to replace it. I ordered a black filter and flouride filters and was mailed two black filters. One of those was chipped at top and must have a defect because my water is just flowing through it and not even being filtered! I emptied, verified screws were tight, watched water drip through slowly, but here I am. I have had my Berkey for seven years and was pretty happy but quality control has clearly diminished!

      1. Hi Amy! Have you been dealing directly with the manufacturer (New Millenium Concepts) or a dealer?

  12. We have had a Berkey for years, we have 4 of them with never an issue. Spent thousand on filters too. So, we loved…loved their product. For the most part its great. However, We received two filters damaged and they did everything they could to weasel out of replacing them even though we provided photos. It was a nightmare. Recently our Big Berkey filters stopped working. The customer service reps blamed our water company, blamed us, and again did everything they could to get our of helping us. We also spent hrs trying to rectify it. I am getting an Alexpure or some other filter for all my Berkeys for now on.

  13. This is a great review. Do you know of any whole house gravity filtration systems Or one that we'd be able to connect to our waterline? Interested because we don't have a great spot for a table top spot. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Katie! No, I don’t think there is any such thing. I think the whole point of gravity filters is their portability. There are other types of filters that you can hook up to your water line and which do a great job of removing contaminants from your water. You could get a whole house filter or some type of under-the-sink filter using carbon filtration or reverse osmosis.

  14. Thanks for organizing all this information. I just wanted to point out that it's not good practice to compare data from different companies unless they use the same testing protocols. It would be interesting to see how these gravity systems compare side by side, but that would require a lot more work.

    Berkey should be removed for making illegitimate claims on the efficacy of their products. There is no way their filters last 3-5 years (or 6000 gallons of water). They actually don't have any results suggesting they last that long anyway.

  15. ProOne Big+, everything provided is of high quality and assembly is very easy. Good quality. The water tastes great! I highly recommend Propur Big.

  16. Super review, Marge. Your hard work is appreciated. I’ve also heard that the tabletop Nikken water filter is good. Do you have an opinion on this one? Many thanks in advance for your reply.

  17. Thank you for all of your hard work! Much appreciated!! I’ve owed the berkey royal for 10 yrs. I used to sing from the hills about them as a company but in the last 3 yrs it’s seemed that the company has lacked in Quality control. My filters used to last almost 2 yrs. I red dye test every 3-6 months. But in the past 3 yrs the black carbon filters have failed me after only 2 months! I called millenium and requested replacements (also making them aware that I had also purchased Flouride filters and hoped they’d be ok) I was sent replacing after replacement ALL OF WHICH FAILED RED DYE TEST ON ARRIVAL. after ten….yes ten replace my sets….and many Videos to prove it wasn’t user error, and arguments with the company After they revealed that they do NOT test returned filters to figure out where it was flawed—I finally got a set that passed the test.
    Ok. I’m good for a few years due to the consumption only being a gallon a day.
    Here we are a year later and one filter is failing. I’m so done with berkey.
    Guess I move on to propur.
    Thank you for your hard work! Ps If you go on to berkey Fb pages there are a ton of other people experiencing the same issues they I did with berkey

    1. Hi Crystal! Wow, that is not cool. Thanks for sharing your experience. I haven’t been using my Berkey since I moved a couple months ago. Maybe I’ll pull it out, buy some food coloring, and do the test. I’m not on Facebook anymore, so I can’t read what those other folks are saying.

  18. Great information. Just starting to look into this and wondering if you have any advice or direction specifically related to well water? We do have a water softner, so I’d have to figure out how to deal with that, as it seems most don’t want to use softened water.

    1. Hi, Brooke! You can use well water in these systems, but it’s generally not recommended because the added salts can clog up the filters prematurely. I’m on well water now, and my last house was also on well water. We didn’t use a water softener for either house. In both cases, the water wasn’t extremely hard, so we felt it was unnecessary from a maintenance point of view – only a little minor mineral buildup that we could easily deal with. I’m also not crazy about the water softening process – exposing the water to resin beads and adding salt. Not for drinking water, anyway. I’d rather drink hard water that’s gone through a filter like Berkey than softened water. You could possibly consult a plumber about bypassing the softener for your drinking water. That’s what I would do.

  19. This is a really thorough review of the systems I’ve seen yet so thank you!
    I purchased a Big Berky last week from Amazon. I needed to watch a YouTube video to figure out how to set up, which took maybe 30 min to do. But after that, it’s perfect. The steel containers are sturdy and the filter really does clean the water better than any other system I have used.

  20. the table created was from 3rd party analysis? Berkey isn’t certified, but ProOne (previously known as ProPure) is NSF/ANSI 42 certified.-at least that’s my understanding and research thus far. If Berkey is so great, why doesn’t it have certification? Anyone can hire a “3rd party lab” but certification is more important.

    1. Hi, Cait! I’m not sure what you mean – the glyphosate removal rate in the table is from the manufacturer’s website. Are you seeing it misrepresented at some other website?

  21. This is great. Thanks for doing this. It is very helpful. Question: don’t silver-impregnated filters leak silver into the water, and isn’t silver toxic?

    1. Hi, Jack! No, silver is not leached into the water. Here’s info about Berkey filters:

      I also asked Propur about the silver, and they told me that the silver used in the ProOne G2.0 filter is infused into the ceramic and does not leach out.

      Here’s the link to a very long paper about silver as a drinking water disinfectant, published by the WHO, if you care to read it:

      I’ll just quote the final sentences:

      While there is no evidence that the use of silver in household water filters has either caused adverse health effects or leached excessive levels of silver into filtered water, the overall evidence base does not indicate that such supplemental use of silver in water filters improves the microbiological quality and safety of the filtered water.

      My understanding is that the silver used in the filters is not intended to disinfect the water, but rather is used to prevent bacteria from growing in the filters themselves. I’m not a scientist, so please don’t take my word as gospel. I’d encourage you to do further research if you’re concerned about it, and let me know what you find out.

  22. I have a Berkey, but will be getting a ProPur as well. I will install the Propur on top of the Berkey (don’t ask how) so that the water will trickle down and be filtered twice by both brands/filters.

    Aside from being too much, taking long, costing much (I believe in investing in your health), does anyone see an issue with doing that? I.e, I’m not stripping the water of its beneficial elements, am I?

    1. Hi, Haris! I don’t see a problem with it, if that’s what you want to do. Neither brand removes minerals, so you wouldn’t need to worry about that.

  23. Hello,
    Do any gravity counter top water filters that you know of remove glyphosates as well? Also, is there any concern that the stainless steel will leech nickel etc. into the water and are there any glass ones?

    1. Hi! If you refer to the Gravity Filters Contaminant Reduction Table above, you’ll see that Berkey, Propur, Alexapure, and AquaCera all remove glyphosate. Propur removes the most (100%) and Berkey the least (75%). I haven’t heard of any issues with stainless steel leaching nickel, and I don’t know of any glass gravity filters.

  24. As a consumer, I’m an avid researcher (grilled into me as a PhD student), so I’m studying all the purifiers on your list and find them very impressive, but wonder why Radiant Life purifiers are not on your list? I read the specifications on their website and are greatly impressed.

    Could you kindly share your opinion about the Radiant Life one too please? When I originally went to Berkey’s website to buy their system, I found they are completely out of stock due to the current coronavirus panic, and Berkey’s website does not state when they will get more inventory in. It is my understanding that the stainless steel material in most, if not all, of these companies’ water purifiers is made overseas and that, no doubt, is a big factor in not knowing how long it will take to get new shipments of material with the current quarantines going on internationally. I checked with Radiant Life and they currently have some still in stock. So I’d appreciate your feedback on Radiant Life as well. Thank you so much for your “Safe Healthy Home” website!

    1. Hi, Lisa! Much as I’d like to, I haven’t been able to review every single water filter out there. I will add Radiant Life to the list, though. From what you shared, it is worth investigating.

  25. Thank you for this info. I have been overwhelmed with how to examine water filters. It’s all about health. And now I’ve come across another filter/water system…Kangen Water? Do you have any direction or thoughts on that?
    At this point it seems that the Berkey is for me, but how do you determine which one to purchase? My household is a one-person home with heavy grandchildren visits [ ; ) ]. Some days would be heavy water usage, other days not so much. And what do you need with a Berkey…does it not come with a spout? And people also seem to complain about “priming” the filter. Can’t even imagine what that is. So I kinda would like a little help with the functioning / usage needs and what do you know about Kangen…if at all possible.
    Best to you, and again, thank you for your post.

    1. Hi, Nada! I think you’ll find the answers to all your questions about the Berkey in my posts that are specifically about Berkey. You can find them here:

      Berkey Water Filter Buyers Guide

      Top 25 Questions About the Big Berkey Water Filter – Answered!

      Most likely the Big Berkey would be a good size for you. A comparison of all the sizes is in the first article above. There’s nothing additional you need to buy unless you want to filter out fluoride. Then you would need to buy the fluoride filters. Priming is just flushing out the filters with water before you use them the first time. It’s not such a big deal now because they have a new device that makes it much easier.

      I have heard of Kangen water, which ionizes water to make it more alkaline. I’m personally not sold on the idea that alkaline water is really any better for you.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Oh my goodness Marge. Thank you so much for the links…and the homework. I will meditate on what you’ve given and go from there. Best to you and have a great day / week!!

    1. Hi TLQ! I assume you’re referring to the Berkey PF-2 fluoride filters. Here’s what Berkey Filters has to say about that:

      Our PF-2 filters reduce fluoride and arsenic in your water using the media aluminum oxide (aka activated alumina). As a consumer, it’s important to know that pure aluminum and aluminum oxide have vastly different characteristics. Pure aluminum is water-soluble, it is highly reactive and it is associated with negative health effects. By contrast aluminum oxide is not water-soluble; it is inert, is very stable and is not associated with negative health effects. To learn more about aluminum oxide and separate fact from fiction, view the link here.

  26. Hi,

    Thanks so much for all this information. My question is how to compare reverse osmosis filter with a countertop one. I can do I either but which one is better? Thank you!

  27. Hi,

    I just got a water softener, and it wasn’t possible to leave a tap unsoftened for drinking. Are there any filters you would recommend to remove any extra sodium from the water? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Kim! To remove sodium, you’ll need to use a reverse osmosis system or a water distiller. The other types of filters don’t take out sodium or other minerals.

  28. Hello Margie,

    What do you think of the Emergency Gravity Unit with 2-4 Ceramic Ultragrav Metalgon Filters by CWR? How well does it compare to Berkey and Propur?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi, Paul! I’m not familiar with that product. I took a quick look at it online. It looks similar to Propur. I would want to see lab test results before considering purchasing it.

  29. Hi Marge

    What do you think of the Ultraceram filter? I’m interested in it because it fits the Stefani Aquaramic, which I already have, but which does not remove fluoride.


  30. I have used Zen Water filter for 13 yrs now. It is a great system. I live out in the country and our water is horrid. The ceramic filter and 5 stage filter system, removes the nasty taste and smell of the water to where it is equal to any bottled water you can buy. I would recommend it to anyone needing to make their tap water taste good.

  31. Dear

    This is just a note of gratitude. Many, many, thanks for your site and the information you provide. It is an excellent public service. I realize you do it selflessly and simply for the joy of helping others maintain perfect health.

    You helped me decide which filter to buy for the family. I grew up in the third world where gravity water filters are a way of life. Fast forward forty years, after living in several states in the U.S., I have tried electric water distillers (short lived and expensive), faucet filters (not as effective), bottled water (inconvenient, expensive, and unregulated). I finally decided to try gravity filters. Our last residency was in Philadelphia where the aquifers are contaminated with PFAs, and now we live in SC, where I thought the water was safe, until I discovered the utility company adds fluoride. Water is the source of life, but it can take it away from you. I am glad I found your site.



  32. Is there not any company that sells similar equipment for a more realistic price ?
    I mean: It’s 2 stainless steel buckets and a lid with holes in it.
    Also: The solid Carbon Block filter (Berkey) seems extremely over-priced.
    I bet the whole thing costs less than $20

    Surely there is another brand out there that sells it’s similar shaped stainless steel buckets for a more friendly price ?

    1. Hi, James! Did you check the prices on all of the systems in this post? They do come in at different price points.

      The Berkey filter elements aren’t cheap, but keep in mind that they last for 3 to 5 years. So, although the initial investment might seem high, over the long run you’re not paying much at all for clean water. Certainly much less than buying bottled water or even using other types of filters that require frequent filter replacement.

  33. Berkey’s are so bad that California won’t allow the sale of them for home use. They leave arsenic among other things in the water. Many of their filters and plugs leak and allow untreated water to pass through. If you put food coloring in the top tank and you end up with any of that color in the bottom, you need to contact them for replacement and then test what they send you.

    1. Hi, Mindy! Some Berkey products are available in California, but not all are. And the reason is not because they’re “so bad”. If you want to read the explanation, I’ll refer you to the FAQs at It has to do with California’s onerous certification requirements. Berkey Filters states, “Although our extensive testing is sufficient for 49 states in the US, it is currently not acceptable for residents of the state California.”

      Also, “Only sales of the following outdoor systems and products are now available to customers in the state of California: Sport Berkey®, Go Berkey®, Travel Berkey®, Berkey® Light (With or without LED lights), Black Berkey® Filter Elements, PF-2 Fluoride Filters, and All Replacement Parts.” So apparently all the replacement parts and filter elements themselves are approved.

      I would be interested to know why you say that “They leave arsenic among other things in the water. Many of their filters and plugs leak and allow untreated water to pass through.” Is this something that you experienced? I would think that if there is a problem with a particular system, it is due either to user error or a defective part(s). If the latter, then I would contact the manufacturer for a replacement.

    1. Hi, Feddy! I’m not familiar with that brand (Rainfresh), but taking a quick look at their website, it looks like it probably does a good job removing biological contaminants from water. It appears to not have a carbon filtration component, though. There’s no mention of it at all in the description. Without carbon, it can’t remove chemical or organic contaminants. So, it seems to be limited in what it can do. That’s my first impression, anyway. I don’t know where you’re located, but it looks like it’s not available in the US – only Canada.

  34. Hi Marge –

    This is a detailed and comprehensive comparison. Kudos! I just wanted to point out that the 75% removal rate for glysophate is due to the limited sensitivity of the equipment, and that the actual removal rate may be much higher. New testing with more sensitive equipment should clear this up. The removal listing rates and some of these caveats are detailed on the bio link.


  35. Need help with the fluoride. My city says it adds hydrofluorosilicic acid(HFS) to add fluoride to our water. So once added is it considered fluoride in the water at that point or is it still hydrofluorosilicic acid(HFS)? Do I understand your chart is suggesting ProPur would be the better selection for my city?

    1. Hi, Lex! HFSA is a form of fluoride, and it’s the one most commonly used in US fluoridation programs. Unfortunately, it has been shown to contain significant amounts of arsenic and to leach lead from plumbing. 🙁

      The chart reflects the data that I collected from the various manufacturers’ published lab test results. Propur and Alexapure show individual results for each of the 3 forms of fluoride, while Berkey and Aquacera have a general “fluoride” reading. I’m not sure why they did it this way. It could be that they just combined the three forms and took an average, but I’m just guessing.

      I like having the specific numbers like Propur and Alexapure have done. I do think that Berkey and Aquacera reduce HFSA, but if you want to be absolutely sure that your specific issue is being addressed, then I’d say go with Propur.

      Thank you very much for your question. I am going to see what I can find out about exactly the forms of fluoride that Berkey and Aquacera have been tested for.

  36. PS to my recent comment re: AquaCera– The cream-colored ceramic model, not available on Amazon, is available at the website. There’s an option for “Imperial Cerametrix filters” at a higher price.

    1. Cerametix does everything that Aquametix does, plus it reduces biological contaminants. Imperial sized filters are 2.75″ in diameter and offer higher flow rates and longer life than the Slimline filters. That’s why they’re more expensive.

  37. I’m so happy to find your blog–especially to find out about the AquaCera ceramic gravity water filter! The Berkey sounds great, but I had reservations about using stainless steel for water filtering and storage, based on several articles I’ve recently read online about #304 Stainless Steel (used for Berkey) and most other stainless steels, that leach nickel and chromium into cookware, etc. The Amazon link you provided for AquaCera shows only one ceramic model that’s “unavailable, don’t know when/if it will be available again”. I found the company that manufactures these:; they have a blue stoneware model with two “Aquametrix quickdrip filters”. Does this look comparable to this other model on Amazon? (they’re closed on the week-end). Wondering if additional filters need to be added, as in the Berkey, for maximum fluoride filtering? Thanks for your input!

    1. Hi, Barbara!

      Yes, it’s too bad there aren’t any of the ceramic versions on Amazon right now. The link that you mentioned is actually not the manufacturer. It’s a distributor. The manufacturer is Aquacera, and you can buy the stoneware models from them as well. Here’s the link: It looks like the price is the same.

      Yes, the blue stoneware version is the same as the one on Amazon. Just a different color. The Aquametix filters reduce fluoride, so you don’t need any additional filters.

      In case you didn’t notice, I have a separate post reviewing the Aquacera in detail. I think it’ll answer any questions you might have. You can read it here:

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad I can be of help!

  38. I read your article. Very informative. However, I am looking for a smaller gravity filtration system that’s around a gallon that would go on my counter and or refrigerator. The ones you featured here are too big. One that doesn’t remove all healthy minerals as Zerowater does. Is there something like that? Thank you!

    1. Hi, Alex! The Berkey filter comes in a small size called the Travel Berkey.

      You can find it at Berkey Filters here

      or at Amazon here

      If you want fluoride filtration, you would need to buy the additional PF2 fluoride filters.

  39. Great review Marge! Thank you for taking the time to put this all together. Like you we are long time Berkey users but finding our Royal does not provide us with enough filtered water. I had decided before reading your article to replace our filters with the Propur, and after reading still have the same opinion. Think we will add a second unit, perhaps Berkey Crown with Propur filters to meet our gardening needs. We live in the midwest with lots of “agricultural byproducts” in our well water. Thanks for your research!

  40. Thanks for this info. When you say that you can’t filter salt water, I assume that does not include “saltwater” pools, which convert salt into chlorine. Is that correct?

    1. Hi, Jeff! That’s a great question, and I don’t know the answer. But I’ll try to find out and will reply here when I do.

      1. I contacted New Millenium Concepts (manufacturer of Berkey filters), and here’s what they said:

        We do not recommend using salt water pool water on the Berkey® System, as those high levels of sodium can clog the purifiers very quickly, as well as a substantial amount of salt could pass through the system.  This is because our Black Berkey® Purification Elements are designed to allow healthy minerals (including sodium) through them.

    1. Hi, Kim! My understanding is that yes, they are interchangeable. You might want to contact Berkey directly and ask them. I’m sure they’ll know!

  41. I bought a AquaRain system about 5 years ago. At the time Berkey’s we’re having filter leaking problems that they knew of and continued to ship the faulty ones. From your recent reviews am assuming this has been corrected.
    So, my question is are the filters interchangeable between systems? Or will Black Berkey Filters fit my AquaRain?

    1. Hi Keith! From what I have read, Berkey, AquaRain, Propur, and Alexapure filters are interchangeable. I can’t 100% guarantee that, but that’s what it looks like to me.

      And, yes, Berkey did correct the problems with the filters years ago. I was one of the customers who received defective filters, and I had it replaced. They reached out to customers to let them know about it. The problem has been corrected.

  42. Hi, have you heard of the AquaCera Stoneware gravity water filter system? If so, what do you think of it? I am considering between this and the Berkey. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Eva! Yes, I’ve heard of AquaCera but I haven’t reviewed it yet. It’s on the list. 🙂 But from what I know, it is a good quality system. If you were to buy one, I’d recommend using the CeraMetix filter for maximum contaminant reduction. It’s as good as Berkey for some contaminants, but not quite as good for others.

      For anyone else who might be interested in the Aquacera, you can check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

      1. Hi Marge! Thanks for including a mention of AquaCera. I’d be happy for you to get a unit to play with to include in your next updated comparison test. The CeraMetix were updated earlier this year and now the core is the AquaMetix block which is significantly better than the granular form we used to provide.

  43. Hi Jay, I’ve been using this system for about 1 year:

    I absolutely love the taste of the water, no longer buy bottled water, and would like to get a 4 or 6 gallon system that will enable me to cook with the water as well. I’m sure there are health benefits but I would think I’d need to be more consistent in using it when cooking as well. No turning back for me.

    1. I asked the manufacturer if filtering with the Propur G2.0 filter changes the pH. This was the reply: “We cannot guarantee any changes in pH for this filter.”

  44. Thanks, Marge, for this informative and well-written article.

    Today I spoke with someone at Propur regarding Proone G2.0 filters. That person was NOT a TechSupport rep and the information I received is somewhat confusing. I hope you can clarify; if not, I’ll dig deeper and try to report back. =]

    To be clear, the G2.0 differs from the earlier “SlimLine” version. The newer G2.0 design has a blue base (not gray). Apparently the G2.0 last longer and provide faster filtration. IF I understand correctly…

    Sources of confusion:

    1. Is the USEFUL LIFE of the filter measured in terms of TIME (months) or in VOLUME (gallons)? My conversation with Propur suggests the filter should be replaced 6 MONTHS after placing it in service – regardless of how much use (how many gallons) it has filtered… That doesn’t sound right at all.

    2. I still don’t understand the benefit of buying a LONGER filter. 5in, 7in and 9in filters are available, and the longer filters are supposed to provide a longer useful life…MAYBE. I don’t understand why, unless the larger filter simply provides greater surface area which takes longer to “clog up” or “wear out” or whatever. Do you know how these filters’ capabilities are diminished?

    3. I see some online sources (YouTube, Amazon user reviews, etc) saying the filters can and should be CLEANED every six months or so…using some kind of mildly abrasive surface, but I’m not sure of the details, and failed to ask the Propur rep. Do you know if they can be cleaned to enhance function and/or extend useful life?

    My primary concern is FLUORIDE, but the more I learn about “drinking water” the broader my range of concerns becomes.

    1. Hi, Tom! Thanks for your great questions and for sharing your what you learned when you called Propur. Let me try to answer your questions.

      1. The useful life of the filter is measured in volume. I actually got an answer directly from Propur a few months ago. I asked how many gallons each filter is good for. The answer was “On average about 700-1200 gallons per filter. Really depends on the specific water chemistry of the source water.” At their website, it says that they recommend replacing the filters every 6 to 12 months, depending on which size system/filters you are using. This is a recommendation. I suspect they say that because most people aren’t going to be aware of how many gallons of water they’re using. They also say that you can tell when you need to replace the filters by a change in the smell, taste or flow rate. (That is, assuming you scrub your filters periodically.)

      2. The different length filters are for different size systems. For example, the Traveler model uses a 5″ filter, and the King uses 9″ filters.

      3. I think you could say that the filters should be cleaned to enhance both the function and useful life. Dirt and other junk from the water will build up on the exterior surface of the filter and slow down or prevent water from being drawn into the filter. Keeping them clean will result in a faster flow rate. And if you never clean them, they’ll get to the point where they won’t work at all, even if they’re not technically at the end of life.

      Not sure if you saw it, but I do have a separate, more detailed review of the Propur filter here.

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