The 7 Best Gravity Water Filters
For clean, safe water, on a hike or at home, you need the best gravity water filter. As the name implies, this device works by allowing gravity to drain unfiltered water through a filter into a holding chamber (for pouring or drinking). At-home versions have either spigots or spouts for countertop and pitcher-style versions where those intended for outdoor use — think camping or backpacking — are lighter, easier to carry, have a hanging feature, and can fit in a bag.
Overall, it's best to go with BPA-free plastic options.
Both styles filter water, but it's important to consider what exactly these filters catch. Most remove chlorine, mercury, copper, bacteria, but some can even remove heavy metals, like lead. How long the filters last before a replacement can help cost-effectiveness and is particularly important for outdoor options when you can't run to the store to buy a replacement filter.
Consider capacity, which depends on how many people will need clean water as well as the filter's flow rate. Gravity water filters don’t require pumping or squeezing, just time since they depend on gravity rather than pressure. A faster flow rate, especially when backpacking or camping, can be convenient.
Note that purification is not entirely the same as filtering, there's a notable difference in the resulting water. Filters get rid of waterborne pathogens (think bacteria like E. coli and salmonella) found in most North American water sources. Purifiers, however, capture viruses too small for filters — this is more of a concern in water with known human activity. You'll see one purifier in the list below.
With all this in mind, it's time to shop for the best gravity water filter for you.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.