Go Berkey VS Travel Berkey – What’s the Difference? [Chart]

Berkey water filters are an excellent gravity water filtration system that requires no power or plumbing to run.

There are several variations of the Berkey to choose from which can get confusing. These systems are not cheap so you want to make the right decision before purchasing.

In this article, I compare the Go Berkey VS Travel Berkey so you know exactly which system to buy for your water filtration needs.

Let's dive right in!

Go Berkey VS Travel Berkey graphic

Go Berkey VS Travel Berkey Product Comparison Chart

Comparing the Go Berkey and the Travel Berkey

Although there are similarities to these two products, there are several big variations you will want to consider before making your final purchase.

Portability and Application

The Go Berkey and the Travel Berkey are built for different applications.

Although the Travel Berkey is small, it's not quite small enough for hiking and backpacking. It is still portable enough to take with you on vacations, road trips, and camping trips.

The Go Berkey is meant to be portable enough for all of the above applications and also is small enough for hiking and backpacking trips. When backpacking, you need a reliable, yet small enough, water filtration and purification system. This Berkey system fits the bill.

Comparing the different sizes of Berkey water filters

Water Capacity and Gallons Per Hour

The Travel Berkey works well to provide clean drinking water for 1 to 3 people a day. Note that the storage capacity is 1.5 gallons yet the gallons per hour is 2 gallons. So you will need to empty the storage capacity in 45 minutes to get that optimal gallons per hour.

You can set up your Travel Berkey at your basecamp and everyone can fill up their water bottles and bladders within an hour or two.

The Go Berkey is good for an individual, possibly two people if you plan out your water filtration timing.

The Go Berkey storage capacity is one quart; there are 4 quarts to a gallon. The Go Berkey will filter at one gallon per hour. Therefore, you will need to empty the storage capacity every fifteen minutes to get the optimal one gallon per hour flow rate.

This could compensate for two people's drinking water's needs within 2 hours so long as you empty the storage capacity in fifteen-minute increments.

Height and Diameter

The Travel Berkey stands at 19 inches by 7.5 inches which is just a little shorter than the standard 40L backpacking pack. It is too big to reasonably fit into a pack.

However, the Travel Berkey does nest into itself which brings it down to 12 inches. Even if you break it down, it's still too wide to work in a 40L pack when considering all the other items you will be packing.

Comparing a Travel Berkey to a 40L backpack

The Go Berkey stands at 14 inches and is much slimmer at 4 inches. It could reasonably fit into a 40L backpacking pack. There are other options for water filtration that are smaller than the Go Berkey which I cover in my emergency water filtration article.

Comparing a Go Berkey to a 40L backpack

Filter Longevity

Since the Travel Berkey is larger, it will filter more water and can hold the fluoride filters. Therefore, you will get cleaner water and more of it over the lifespan of the filters.

The Travel Berkey will give you 6,000 gallons of water before having to replace the filters.

The Go Berkey only uses one filter element and does not have room for any fluoride filters. The Go Berkey will give you 3,000 gallons of water before having to replace the filter.

Price Comparison

Although the prices fluctuate, the average difference is that the Travel Berkey is about 40-50% more expensive than the Go Berkey. You also need to consider the price of the filter changes. The Travel Berkey has 4 filters if you choose to utilize the fluoride filters. The Go Berkey only has 1 filter to replace.

Product Overview:

Travel Berkey Water Filter with 2 Black Berkey Filters and 2 Fluoride Filters

  • Complete Filtration and Purification System
  • No moving parts so no breaking down
  • Additional Fluoride Filters remove Impurities
  • Difficult to assemble
  • Can drain slowly
  • Rubber washers and stoppers should be replaced

Berkey water filter systems are known among homesteaders as being an excellent solution to clean drinking water without having to use plumbing or electricity.

The Travel Berkey is a perfect size for one to two people per day and doesn't take up much counter space. This makes for a great water drinking solution in small spaces or to travel with.

This particular system comes with four filtration elements - 2 Black Berkey filters and 2 Fluoride filters. This will give you 6,000 gallons of clean drinking water, just note that the fluoride filters need to be changed more frequently.

The Travel Berkey is not the easiest to set up. Figuring out the washers, stoppers, and configuration of the filters is not explained very well by the manufacturer. I suggest watching this video on how to set up your Berkey system:

Users also have experienced cloudy water. This could be due to the filters not being primed properly before use. Please make sure to prime your filters correctly!

You can watch this video on how to prime the Berkey filters:

You may also notice a funny taste to your water, this could be from the rubber stoppers and washers. You can easily change these out if you have this problem.

If you have slow drainage, you may need to flush your filters out. You do not want to run heavily sedimented or cloudy dirty water through the Berkey. You can use a prefilter to clean up your water before running through the system.

Overall, the Berkey isn't perfect, but it's a great fit for having an autonomous clean drinking water system that you can use in your home or take with you on the road.

Product Overview:

Go Berkey Kit Includes Sport Berkey Water Bottle, Filter, and Carrying Case

  • Lightweight portable purification system
  • Fits into compact carrying case
  • Breaks down to 10" in height
  • Some users report of leaks
  • Can drain slowly
  • Slow customer support

The Go Berkey Kit is great for hiking and backpacking trips that require an ongoing source of filtered and purified water but needs to be compact and light enough to fit into a pack.

The top chamber collapses into the bottom chamber, breaking down the unit to only 10" which fits nicely into a backpack. It comes with a BPA free water bottle that all fits nicely into an included vinyl bag.

Do note that the unit can be overfilled which makes some people believe it is leaking from the top. Leave a good half inch from the top to avoid side leakage.

Just like any other Berkey, people report very slow drainage. This can be due to not priming the carbon filters properly, not maintaining the carbon filters, or using water that is too dirty. Luckily, these filters can be cleaned if they get too clogged up.

This system is too small to fit in a fluoride filter, so be mindful that if you filter tapwater this contaminant will still be in the water.

Product Link

This particular kit comes with a priming tool which is a great item to have, making filter priming much easier than without one.

Overall, most users are very happy with the quality and convenience of their Go Berkey.

You can find the Go Berkey instruction manual here.

Go Berkey VS Travel Berkey: The Bottom Line

The Travel Berkey is meant for using in the home, road trips, and camping trips. It works great for setting up at camp for several people to fetch water from. It works well for a few people yet is still small and light enough for portability.

The Go Berkey is meant for camping, backpacking, and hiking. The filtration system will fit into a large backpacking pack, although there are more compact filtration systems out there meant for backpacking.

Overall, each system is excellent. Depending on how much money you want to spend and what you are using it for will dictate your final purchasing decision.

A Special Note on Water Filtration and Purification

When you are traveling, especially abroad, you need to have a filtration system that both filters and purifies water. Very few travel systems on the market will remove both bacteria and viruses.

You do not need to be as concerned about viruses in the water in countries with good sewage systems, but when traveling to third world countries, viruses in the water are a major concern.

The Berkey system is one of the few traveling autonomous systems that will remove both viruses and bacteria from drinking water.

I have written a comprehensive guide to filtering and purifying water off grid. I suggest you check it out so you are informed of how to be safe while drinking non-municipal water sources.

I hope you have enjoyed this article on Go Berkey VS Travel Berkey! I work hard to compile all this information so you can make a better informed decision on your purchases.

If you are interested, I have created an in-depth article on gravity fed water systems which will give you more information about how these systems work and so forth.

If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to leave below!

Hello, I am Regina, the creator of Maximum Off Grid!

I created this website to help others learn about becoming more self-sustainable in an uncertain world.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you have.

Have a beautiful day!

Regina C.

Shungite Stone Benefits: Get the REAL Facts! [Case Studies]

Shungite Stone is as unique as it is mysterious. Its origins are unknown and its physical properties are mystifying.

Although Shungite is quite plentiful now, there is a single finite source and it will eventually be depleted.

I stumbled upon Shungite while searching for different ways to purify water without chemicals.

I was astonished to read that this stone can purify water naturally! I also read that it can block electomagnetic frequencies (EMFs), and it also has powerful healing properties - Hmmm.

These are some bold claims, I thought. Can a stone really have all of these capabilities?

I started to research and found a few websites that spoke about these claims, but none had any evidence to really back it up.

I decided to dig deeper, and through much time researching, I managed to find scholarly articles, patents, and videos that do offer compelling evidence that the claims of Shungite are in fact proven!

This is my ultimate guide to Shungite stones. I never call anything ultimate unless I can seriously back up this claim.

In this article, I discuss the origins and chemistry of Shungite, scientific findings of Shungite's properties, the benefits of Shungite, any known side effects, a buyers guide to Shungite, and the future of this amazing miracle stone!

Let's get right to it!

What Is Shungite?

Shungite is an anomalous stone of organic origin that is comprised of carbon. Pure Shungite looks similar to pyrite, but with a silver tone instead of gold.

Pyrite vs Shungite

The stone in its purest form is quite brittle and can chip easily. It would not be suitable for faceting.

Shungite stone gets its powerful properties from an unusual carbon structure known as a fullerene. I will go into detail about fullerenes later in this article.

The origins of Shungite stone

Shungite was discovered near the small village of Shunga, which is how the stone got its name. Shunga is located in the Republic of Karelia, a part of the Russian Federation.

Although there are traces of Shungite found in a few other locales throughout Russia, the Zazhoginsky deposit is the only place where Shungite exists in vast reserves.

This vast deposit of Shungite weighs in at a whopping 35 million tons and is being mined out at a rate of 200 thousand tons per year.

Several hundreds of years ago, Lake Onega had become renown through the local villages for its extremely pure water that had the ability to heal. Kings and queens would come and go throughout history, opening and abandoning thermal spas through the centuries.

Shungite has been forgotten and discovered for many cycles throughout history.

The most recent re-discovery was in the 1930s as the water from Lake Onega was tested for medical uses. The lake had a resurgence in popularity in the 70s as a thermal spa had opened once again.

Still, Shungite has only become popular in internet searches over the past couple of years.

The geology of Shungite stone

Shungite formed at the ripe old age of 2 billion years. There are many hypotheses about how Shungite was made.

The most adopted theory is that Shungite was created by the sedimenting of rich organic materials of primitive life forms into mud and silt.

These organic sediments accumulated into the Karelian craton that was rich in brackish water.

The organic material compressed with the mineral-rich brackish water into the craton and got heated up from the geothermal activity from below. This transformed the material through petrification and into what we know as Shungite. This process was also responsible for the creation of the molecular structure known as fullerenes.

An intriguing yet less popular hypothesis is that Shungite was formed from a meteor crashing into the earth. What is interesting about this idea is that there is evidence that a meteor did crash in close vicinity to the lake just a little earlier than Shungite was formed.

An even less popular opinion is that Shungite was made by lightning strikes. The reasoning for this idea is that lightning strikes actually create fullerenes, but since the amount made by lightning is so minuscule, this hypothesis is mostly discredited. It is an interesting notion nonetheless.

The different types of Shungite stone

There are three types of Shungite that all have a different appearance. The reason for the difference is the quantity of carbon the stones possess.

Type I Shungite - Elite Silver Shungite

This is the purest form of Shungite at a concentration of 98%.

The stone has a silvery semi-metallic sheen to it and can flake fairly easily.

Only one percent of Shungite in existence is Elite Shungite.

Composition of Elite Shungite

98% Carbon

0.9% Nitrogen and Oxygen

0.3% Hydrogen

0.8% Ash Content

Type II Shungite - Black Shungite

This type of Shungite is made up of 50-70% carbon.

This stone is a matte black mineral. It can be shaped and polished easily and is used to make EMF blocking discs and countertop pyramids.

Composition of Black Shungite

50-70% Carbon

3.5% Nitrogen and Oxygen

6.7% Hydrogen

3.3% Ash Content

Type III Shungite - Gray Shungite

This type of Shungite is made up of 30-50% carbon.

This stone is a matte gray mineral. You will not run into gray shungite on the retail market, it is used for industrial applications.

Composition of Gray Shungite

30-50% Carbon

3.5% Nitrogen and Oxygen

6.7% Hydrogen

3.3% Ash Content

56% Silicon Dioxide

8% various oxides and dioxides

Shungite and Fullerenes

The reason Shungite has such powerful properties is because of the carbon complex known as a fullerene. What is a Fullerene? The fullerene is a fairly recent discovery. It is a form of carbon that links together 60 carbon atoms into the shape of a soccer ball. The fullerene got its name from the scientist Richard Buckminster Fuller. He actually built a life-size replica of a fullerene without even realizing it!

Fuller with his geodesic dome is shaped exactly like a fullerene!

What is highly interesting is that a fullerene molecule is completely hollow. This hollow nature allows for all sorts of toxin and radio wave absorption.

Fullerenes have been used in nanotechnology to create nanotubes. These carbon molecules have been replicated in laboratories to create synthetic fullerenes.

However, these manmade fullerenes cannot be remotely compared to natural fullerenes as natural fullerenes are filled with unique gases, liquids, and minerals inside its hollow dome.

Fullerenes have extremely potent properties on electromagnetic fields, absorption of toxins, and on human health.

Shungite Benefits

As you can see, Shungite stone has some seriously unique properties that other carbon materials do not possess.

Because of these unique attributes, Shungite offers up some powerful capabilities that almost seem magical but are actually backed with scientific evidence - evidence that I will provide below in each section.

Shungite stones for water purification

The International Journal of Advanced Scientific and Technical Research released a compelling research paper on the influence of Shungite on water. The research was conducted by the Scientific Research Center of Medical Biophysics located in Bulgaria and the Biotechnology department of Moscow State University of Applied Biotechnology located in Moscow.

This is what they have found.

Due to its unique porous structure, Shungite adsorbs 95% of contaminants when coming into contact with its surface.

The types of contaminants that Shungite removes through adsorption are:

  • organochlorine compounds
  • phenols
  • dioxins
  • heavy metals
  • radionuclides

The types of contaminants that Shungite removes through absorption are:

  • oil
  • benzene
  • phenol
  • pesticides
  • chlorine
  • ammonia
  • heavy metals

Shungite has the ability to oxidize organic substances that are absorbed on the surface. Although this process is not entirely understood by scientists, Shungite is proven to be a powerful antioxidant and removes free radicals 30 times more effectively than activated carbon!!!

Free radicals formed during the treatment of water with chlorine and other chemicals have a negative impact on human health.

This table shows the performance of radical removal in water treated by Shungite:

Shungite has Antibacterial Properties

Shungite has strong bactericidal properties that efficiently disinfect drinking water from harmful bacteria.

It has been observed in this same study that Shungite eliminates pathogenic saprophytes and protozoa. Shungite performs a near complete removal of e.Coli from 2300/Liter of cells down to 3/Liter of cells.

Shungite does work best in conjunction with Zeolite and activated carbon.

Shungite Water Benefits

So what exactly are the benefits of drinking Shungite water? After all, we have fancy filtration systems and chemical products that cleanse our water of viruses and bacteria. Why even bother with the extra step of making Shungite water?

As we learned, Shungites contain fullerenes which trap harmful chemicals and compounds within its hollow center. In return, Shungite deposits positive elements such as oxygen, magnesium, and calcium.

Fullerenes also have a powerful antioxidant effect which cleanses the body of carcinogens.

Because of the detoxifying effect of Shungite water, you can use it to boost your metabolism which can help you lose weight.

Water from Lake Onega has been used for thousands of years throughout mankind's history as a powerful detoxifying element. You can use this water for washing your face, making tinctures, using in teas and various drinks.

You can also add some Shungite to keep your aquariums clean and even use in ponds.

Making Shungite Water

Shungite filters water best by passing water over the surface of Shungite stones.

You will need:

A pitcher (preferably glass)

8 cups of water

8 ounces of Elite Shungite Chips

Step 1: Rinse Shungite chips thoroughly

Step 2: Place Shungite chips into pitcher

Step 3: Fill pitcher with water

Step 4: Let sit for 24 to 72 hours (Do NOT place lid on pitcher, the water needs oxygen to work)

Step 5: Enjoy your cleansed Shungite drinking water!

Although there are Shungite Type II chips available, I recommend purchasing Elite Shungite chips only for water purification. I found these authentic chips available on Amazon to purchase:

Product Link

How to Clean Shungite Stones

Shungite chips need to be maintained once a month for maximum performance. They also need to be replaced periodically, about every six months to one year, or as needed.

  1. Mix 4 cups water with one tablespoon lemon juice.
  2. Place Shungite chips in water.
  3. Let sit for 8 hours.
  4. Pat chips dry on a towel.
  5. Place Shungite chips in sun for three hours, flipping over halfway through.

If you are looking for more water filtration options, check out my article on whole house well water filtration systems and also my guide to gravity fed water filters.

Shungite EMF Protection

Some people may be misled into thinking that Shungite blocks EMFs through metaphysical energies, but the reality is that Shungite has unique electrical properties due to its naturally conductive nature from the fullerenes.

I have read several articles about Shungite being touted as an EMF blocker, but no one seems to provide any scientific sources that Shungite can indeed block these frequencies.

I have taken the time and scoured scholarly articles and patents to find actual scientific evidence that Shungite has unbelievable electromagnetic absorbing powers and am sharing them with you today.

Let's dive into the research that supports the theory that Shungite can actually block electromagnetic frequencies!


The Science behind Shungite's EMF Blocking Properties

The best way to present my scientific findings on this subject is to go case by case.

My first case study is patent #US5640705A. This patent has been filed for utilizing fullerene carbon molecules to contain radiation from nuclear waste.

This nuclear waste containment system is comprised of fullerene carbon layers that prevent nuclear radiation from leaking out of the containment vessel.

nuclear containment vessel

Although there is a ton of information in this patent, if you look up the "Detailed Description" section, you will find this:"C60 is the only single-layer Fullerene molecule that will completely contain high energy ionizing radiation. Under specific temperature and pressure conditions, C60 can completely absorb the five main types of harmful, high energy, ionizing radiation; namely, alpha, beta, gamma, X-ray, and neutron radiation."

The natural state of a fullerene present in Shungite is the 60 molecule structure. As stated in the quote, this type of fullerene carbon is capable of absorbing the five main types of harmful radiation.

This is because the natural fullerene works as an absolute vacuum as it is hollow on the inside. This vacuum filters out impurities in water along with absorbing electromagnetic frequencies and radio waves.
My second case study is a scholarly article released by Scientific Reports #5619 (2014).

In this experiment, carbon nanotubes were utilized to create a Radar Absorbing Material (RAM) to block radar stealth technology.

The study has shown that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have excellent electromagnetic wave absorption performance due to its unique structure and extreme electrical conductivity.

Carbon nanotubes are created by fullerenes, which as we know are naturally present in Shungite.

We can then deduce that since carbon nanotubes are extremely efficient at blocking radar waves, the natural form of the fullerene has the power to absorb these waves as well.

My third case study is another patent JP2003243878A from Japan.
The invention in this patent is the development of a coating on a circuit board that blocks electromagnetic interference (EMI).

The invention uses a layer of Shungite (referred to as Shun Gaito) along with other layers of carbon to absorb EMI.

The patent claims that out of all the carbon materials used, the Shungite offers the best performance to eliminating the most EMI.

I have also found a couple of videos that show Shungite blocking EMFs in action:

If you feel you need more evidence, I suggest looking up "Shungite radiation absorption" in Google Scholar and Google Patents. It will give you several more case studies pertaining to this topic.

Does Shungite protect from EMF?

After all of this research I have provided, I feel comfortable saying that yes, Shungite does, in fact, protect you from EMF.

Now, you do need to be your own judge and come to your own conclusions. I recommend that if you are sensitive to EMF to purchase a piece of Shungite for wearing or placing in your own home and see if you experience any improvements.

I do have my own personal example of the EMF protection that Shungite provides. I purchased several pieces of Shungite for my mother as she is highly sensitive to EMF. She actually gets dizzy spells and really bad mood changes from heightened EMF.

Ever since she has been wearing her Shungite (which she wears 24/7) her symptoms have greatly improved.

Product Link
Elite Shungite is brittle and cannot be drilled through, but a wrapped Shungite pendant does the trick.

Product Link

These EMF neutralizers can be stuck on anything (router, TV, microwave, etc.) and have excellent reviews.

Product Link
The pyramid shape is excellent for emanating EMF neutralizing waves and can be placed anywhere in the home.

Product Link

This is a cheap (yet reliable) EMF reader so you can test how many EMFs are emanating from your devices and also to help place your Shungite.

Shungite Healing Properties

As we all know, human beings are powered by electricity. Our neurons in our brains function by receiving electrical signals from cells. Our hearts beat from an electrical charge emitted by cells that cause a contraction.

A lesser known metascience, known as bioenergetics, explores human energy fields and the relation our energy has with the world around us.

Our bodies release an energetic field, known as the vital field, that interacts with our environment and ripples away from us like waves.


  • Life is an energy intensive process
  • It takes energy to move a muscle, breath, heal wounds, even to think
  • We emit an energetic field around us that interacts and is influenced by our environment

A person's vital field can vary greatly depending on the health of the person, the level of consciousness, and also influences from the environment.

We can also have a direct effect on our vital field by the food and drink we consume, where we hang out and who we hang out with.

Our vital field strives to stay in a state of homeostasis, a state of balance. However, it wouldn't surprise me that most (if not all) human beings that live in modern day society across the world are in a state of bioenergetic imbalance due to modern lifestyle choices and the bombardment of electromagnetic frequencies.

This is where Shungite comes into play.

Shungite and the Vital Field

Measurements of a person's vital field can be measured, and a study done on Shungite in relation to bioenergetic research has been performed. This study, done by Regina Martino (a bioenergetic researcher) has found that Shungite can actually increase our extending bioenergy field.

So what do these results mean?

Health Benefits of Shungite Stone:

1. It balances our bioenergetic field. A balanced energy field can remedy dysfunctions in the body, such as persistent and recurring illness, tiredness, depression, dullness, and any type of issues that can occur from energy imbalances.

2. It gives us protection from negative energies. As our vital fields become balanced and centered, a natural positive energy is restored in the body. Shungite can also absorb negative energies, much like it can absorb impurities in water and radiation.

3. It blocks us from EMFs. As we went over above, Shungite is scientifically known to block electromagnetic disturbances. As we are bombarded from every corner with radio waves, our vital energies become imbalanced and shrink. Shungite works to restore our energy field and protect us from these invasive waves.

4. Shungite does not take on a negative charge. The natural structure of the fullerenes in Shungite creates a vacuum that does not allow for taking on any negativity from frequencies, vibrations, and human emotions. The state of Shungite will always stay intact, no matter what it encounters.

If you have feelings of general malfeasance, have unexplained exhaustion, emotional or mental issues, lethargy, feelings of uneasiness, and anything to do with a potential energy imbalance in the body, Shungite can assist in restoring your well being.

Product Link

If you are interested in researching more about this topic, I suggest purchasing Regina Martino's Book, "Shungite: Protection, Healing, and Detoxification".​

Product Link
You can make Shungite powder into a paste and use to treat muscle inflammation and improve blood circulation.

Product Link

These Shungite and soap stone cylinders are used by holding one in each hand while meditating for harmonization and balance.

Product Link

This Shungite infused cream can restore, revitalize, and detoxify your skin.

How to Tell if Shungite is Real

Although fake Shungite is not a common problem, there have been reports of fake Shungite on the market. If people can make money at it, there will always be counterfeits! Luckily, there are very easy ways to circumvent this problem.

First, always buy from a reputable seller. I suggest purchasing solely from Karelian Heritage. I personally have purchased all my Shungite either directly from their online shop or from their official Amazon shop.

Second, you can conduct an extremely easy test to ensure your Shungite is real!

Shungite Authenticity Test

Shungite is naturally conductive. Therefore, we can perform a simple test to prove if Shungite is real.

You will need:

Light Bulb


Two wires (preferably copper)


Place one wire on the positive side of the battery and one on the negative side of the battery. Place wires onto the bulb. The bulb will light. Now place the Shungite in between bulb and one wire. The bulb will still light if the Shungite is real. Easy!

Are there side effects of shungite stone?

Technically, there are no known side effects, but people may experience some energy disturbances from the stone. These could possibly be:

  • Insomnia
  • Too much energy
  • Increased pulse
  • Increased blood pressure

These side effects are directly related to the enormous amount of energy that Shungite can deliver to you. Remember how we talked about the expansion of the vital field?

This may be a very new and energetic sensation, and because of that, you may want to rotate wearing your stone until you get used to the extra energy.

I hope that my guide to Shungite has answered all of your Shungite questions. If you have any additional questions or comments, please leave below.

Hello, I am Regina, the creator of Maximum Off Grid!

I created this website to help others learn about becoming more self-sustainable in an uncertain world.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you have.

Have a beautiful day!

Regina C.

Gravity Fed Water Filter: What It Is and Why You Want One

I love gravity fed water filters! Why? Because they require no plumbing or electricity to run.

This makes gravity fed water filters a completely autonomous system that is perfect for off grid living, removing toxins from municipal water, and are handy for boil orders and emergency filtration situations.

In this article, I go over the three best gravity water filters available on the market.

I also cover pretty much everything you need to know about these systems from off grid use to filter maintenance and more.

Let's get started!

Best Overall:

Royal Berkey Water Filter

  • Filters and purifies water removing 99.99% of bacteria and viruses
  • 3.25 gallon capacity at only a 9" diameter
  • Additional element can remove flouride
  • Rubber stoppers and washers make water taste funny. Replace if needed.
  • Filters can clog up quickly
  • Will not ship to CA or IA

The Berkey water filter systems are well known in the off grid community as one of the best drinking water solutions.

Although there are varying sizes, I like the Royal Berkey water filter as it provides enough water for 2-4 people per day, but still remains very compact.

There has been extensive testing on the output quality of the water and the company touts itself as the most powerful gravity filter currently on the market.


The Berkey calls their filters Black Berkey Elements. These water filter elements remove:

Fluoride - 99.9%

Viruses – 99.9%

Pathogenic Bacteria - 99.9%

Coliform and e-Coli - 99.9%

Pharmaceuticals - 99.5%

The Berkey also removes lead, arsenic, iron, mercury, chlorine, chloramine, pesticides, etc.

The Berkey can remove fluoride with an additional element which is called the Berkey PF-2 elements.

The company publishes its testing results that show all the contaminants removed. You can find this list here.

Users have reported that the unit is well manufactured and sturdy, although I do recommend to immediately upgrade to the stainless steel spigot as the plastic one can break.

As with any product, there are concerns and drawbacks.

The first problem is the rubber stoppers and washers. Users complain that it makes the water taste rubbery. I am surprised that the manufacturer would even use these elements and I suggest trading them out.

Another problem is the slow rate of filtering. Some users report that their filters clog up within days of use. This is a typical water filtration system problem if water has a higher level of sediment, especially from well water and off grid systems.

I strongly recommend getting a whole house prefilter to clear up sediments and debris before running water through this unit.

The instructions are written poorly; someone remarked that it seems like a non-English speaker wrote them. I noticed this on their website as well.

Because of this, many users have turned to YouTube for step by step instructions. I recommend this instructional video:

One final note that I want to make about the Berkey:

I have noticed some people saying the Berkey is a scam and that their test results have been doctored. People question why Berkey will not comply with Iowa and California lead certifications. They have addressed this issue in this article that does a decent job addressing the claims.

Although there are some with strong claims against Berkey, I cannot find any credible evidence that can be held against them. Other than the usual low reviews that practically all products get from defective systems to leaks, the majority of users have had a great experience with the Berkey.

Overall, I recommend the Royal Berkey water filter for their powerful purification process to remove virtually all bacteria and viruses from their water. I also like that the unit is made of high-quality materials.

Berkey makes lots of different sized water filters which can get confusing. I have written an article about Go Berkey VS Travel Berkey to clarify the differences to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Best Bang for Your Buck:

Propur Big Countertop Gravity Water Filter System

  • Upgraded elements can filter out microplastic
  • No priming of filters required
  • All-in-One filter removes contaminants and fluoride
  • Mixed customer support
  • Users report of rust
  • Some reports of top compartment not draining all the water out

The Propur Big countertop gravity water filter system rivals the Berkey water system as its new ProOne G2.0 filter elements can remove viruses, bacteria, and cysts from water. This upgrade makes the system capable of both filtering and purifying water in the wild.

The filters do not require priming which is a huge plus as some people have struggled with this finicky process.

Propur Big leaves good minerals in the water so the flavor is spot on. The micro-pore ceramic filters are also infused with silver that prevents the growth of bacteria.

Another thing I like about the Propur is that the fluoride removing element is infused with the main filter so you don’t have to purchase an additional filter. However, because of this, the filters need to be changed out more often.

Propur touts that their filters can remove microplastics. What is a microplastic, you ask?

According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that break off into the environment. These pieces leach out chemicals such as phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA).

Sounds like stuff I don’t want in my water!

Propur’s ProOne G2.0 series “all-in-one” filters are NSF/ANSI -42 certified and you can find their in-depth water testing reports here.

Unfortunately, one common issue is the reports of the unit rusting after a few months of purchase. This doesn’t seem to be a widespread problem but it would make me think twice about buying it.

I have also read reports that customer service is non-responsive. I do think the company has worked to remedy this issue as more recent users have had good customer support. Therefore, I rate it as a mixed bag.

Overall, there are things I do love about the Propur Big countertop gravity water filter system such as the microplastics removal, built-in fluoride filter, and the use of silver for bacteria prevention. Just keep a lookout for any signs of early-onset rust.

Best Value:

Santevia Water Filter

  • Good product for the low price point
  • Minerals oxygenates the water
  • Magnet in the spigot activates water
  • Does not remove viruses
  • Setting up can be difficult
  • Short warranty timespan

I like the concept of the Santevia water filter as it infuses water filtration and purification with holistic elements. That being said, Santevia does not remove viruses. This is not as much of an issue in first world countries as viruses are rarely present in water, but is something to consider.

According to their website, the water filter can reduce many contaminants, including:

  • Flouride
  • Chlorine
  • Heavy metals
  • Microplastics

It does run through a .3 micron ceramic filter so many toxins will get caught in the filtration process. It does not specify how much will be removed, however.

The filter has a built-in fluoride remover and will also remove microplastics, which is impressive.


Another perk is that the filter alkalizes the water, inputs minerals, and runs the water over a magnet to energize the water.

Although the company claims to be independently tested by NSF 43 and 51 standards, I could not find these reports published, which is questionable.

The setup of the filter is pretty complex, so be prepared for a project.

I also found reports of algae and cloudiness buildup. This can be alleviated with periodic cleanings with vinegar and baking soda.

Overall, the Santevia water filter provides a different approach to filtering water but doesn't stand up as strong against the Berkey and Propur.

Part Two: Information about Gravity Water Filter Systems

How Does a Gravity Water Filter Work?

A gravity container filter uses the force of gravity instead of water pressure to filter water. This eliminates the need for plumbing and electricity, which is great for an emergency or off grid situation.

The container is separated into an upper and lower chamber. Water is poured into the upper chamber and flows over the water filters to collect into the lower chamber.

The main filtration element that gravity filters are known for is the porcelain filter. Unlike standard porcelain, gravity water filters use specialized porcelain that has micro-fine pores so the smallest of viruses can be removed.

Because these types of filters can capture contaminants including bacteria, viruses, and cysts, water from wells and the wild can be drunk after being filtered through these units.

Each system does vary and will have different types of additional proprietary filters installed.

Benefits of a Gravity Water Filter

The biggest benefit to these filters is being able to take water from the wild and make it drinkable. Just be sure to prefilter water so you don’t gunk up your unit with too much debris or sediment.

These units work well in a survival or emergency water situation. If your water gets shut down or you only have access to untreated water, these filtration systems can provide you with accessible drinking water without having to boil or use chemicals.

You do not need electricity or plumbing for this filtration system to work.

The filters come in various shapes and sizes which can accommodate being placed on a countertop and are easily transportable.

The water tastes wonderful; odors and bad tastes are completely removed.

Drawbacks of a Gravity Water Filter

The flow rate is pretty low on these filters. The typical gravity fed filter can provide from 2 to 6 gallons a day.

You do need to refill these filters manually, so make sure to keep on top of topping it off.

You will need to calculate how much drinking water you need before purchasing a unit. Make sure to see the output of these filters so it can match your family’s water usage.

There will be additional filters that will need periodic replacing and replacement parts can be expensive.

Pitcher Water Filter vs Gravity Fed Water Filter

You may be wondering if a standard water pitcher, such as a Brita or Zero Water pitcher, would work to get your drinking water clean enough.

The bottom line is that these pitcher filters are not going to be tough enough to filter water from the wild.

This is because these filters are not designed to eliminate bacteria and viruses, only sediments and chemicals.

However, pitcher water filters work decently enough to filter water from municipal sources.

Product Link

I personally use the Zero Water Pitcher Filter in my camper when I am on a municipal source. I like this pitcher because it comes with a PPM tester so I can see how much contaminant is being filtered out of my water. I typically get .001 PPM readings after running through this filter; in one area my municipal water was reading at 112 PPM! Gross!

The main reason for purchasing a porcelain gravity water filter when on a municipal source is for emergencies. If you have a boil order you will need additional purification of your tap water. If your municipal water source gets shut off and you have access to wild water, you can use this system to make it potable.

Considerations when Purchasing a Gravity Water Filter

Capacity – calculate how much drinking water your family needs then purchase a filter accordingly.

Flow Rate – Depending on the system will depend on how fast or slow the water gets filtered. Typically, the slower the flow rate, the better the filtering job will be done as the water has to pass through smaller pores.

Contaminants removed – although most filters take out the most prominent contaminants, if you have a special water situation with a particular contaminant you may need to do additional research to make sure that filter will work for you.

Filter Changes – aside, from the ceramic element, there are typically additional filters in the system that will need more frequent changing. Make a note of how often you need to change those filters.

Using a Gravity Water Filter Off Grid

It is highly imperative to prefilter your water before running through your gravity fed water filter. Well water with high sediment levels and water from the wild with debris needs to be cleansed thoroughly or else you will clog your container filter quite quickly.

A simple cheap whole house water filter will do the trick. I recommend if you are pumping water from the wild to build a screen enclosure around the pump to keep larger debris out before running through the prefiltering unit.

Make sure that when you purchase a filter, that it will filter out viruses too. Many filters can catch bacteria, but viruses are so teeny tiny that they can clear through filters that are only built to catch bacteria.

I suggest looking at test analyses for the unit you are looking to buy. I have included these test results in my reviews portion of this article.

Gravity Water Filter Maintenance and Preparation

There is a preparation period for these systems that require a priming process. This process is when the filtering elements become saturated with water. This may take up to a few days to complete, depending on the filter.

Some elements require initial water flow through the filtering elements; these need to be primed with water pressure from your faucet.

Follow all manufacturer directions to make sure you properly prime your filter.

Maintenance is easy for these units; filtering elements need to be cleaned periodically with a water rinse and a wipe down from a wet clean cloth.

NEVER EVER use soap or hot water! Soap will ruin the filters and need to be replaced.

Filters that need replacement will reduce the flow rate. Try to wash out these filters and if the flow rate does not improve it is time to replace them.

I hope you have enjoyed my article about the best gravity fed water filter systems on the market today.

Hello, I am Regina, the creator of Maximum Off Grid!

I created this website to help others learn about becoming more self-sustainable in an uncertain world.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you have.

Have a beautiful day!

Regina C.

The Best Well Water Whole House Filtration System [Guide]

In a perfect world, we would have sparkling fresh and clean drinking water available right to our taps.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Most municipalities use chlorine to remove bacteria, viruses, and cysts from the drinking water.

There are also traces of all sorts of impurities in municipal water, ranging from heavy metals to industrial residues to VOCs.

Using a countertop water filter gets rid of these impurities and that is great for water to drink.

But what about the water we bathe in? Wash our clothes in? Run through our expensive appliances?

All of these contaminants are not healthy for drinking, bathing, or even our plumbing system.

Chlorine makes skin dull and dry, heavy metals and sediments can cause buildup in our plumbing systems and eat away at our expensive appliances. Even our clothing gets damaged from these harsh contaminants!

That is why I strongly recommend a whole house water filtration system.

It will enhance you and your family's overall health and protect your expensive investments - like your plumbing system and appliances.

Living off well water or in an off grid situation? You will need to take extra precautions from heavy sediments and microbes!

Wells and off grid water systems need extra purification

In this article, I will cover the best whole house water filtration system for well water
and off grid systems.

I will also provide valuable information about whole house water filtration systems, potential contaminants, and so forth.

If a whole house filter is a bit too much, you can also opt for a gravity fed water filter. Check out my article about gravity fed water filter systems here.

Read on!

Best Overall:

Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter with Descaler and UV Purifier

  • Filters lasts up to one million gallons or ten years
  • 4 filters rid water of virtually all contaminants
  • Massive warranty coverage for 10 years
  • Installation is complex and will likely require a professional
  • Additional filters require more frequent replacement
  • System is expensive and so are the replacement filters

The Aquasana system is a heavy-duty class water filtration unit as the filters don’t have to be changed out for ten years – or one million gallons.

The one shown above is their most complex model which works for a well water or off grid water system. The descaler removes heavy sediments and the UV light purifier kills bacteria and viruses.

This model also comes with a massive 10 year warranty whereas the competing (and much cheaper) systems usually only come with a 1 year warranty.

The filtration system consists of six stages:

Step 1 - Pre-filter - a must-have filter to remove sediments from well water. If not removed, it will reduce the life of the main filters.

Step 2 - Salt-free conditioner - you won't have to worry about replacing salt!

Step 3 - Rhino filter – This is the filter that is placed at the top of the unit. This filter is what removes the VOCs and chlorine from the water.

Step 4 - Activated carbon filter – this is the large main tank on the unit. It is full of carbon which catches the remaining contaminants such as herbicides, pesticides, and metals.

Step 5 - The post-filter – this is the final, smaller filter that extends from the unit. It catches any final sediments and organic particles that may remain in the water. This needs to be replaced every six to twelve months.

Step 6 - UV light purifier - kills ALL microbes including viruses. A must-have for well water and off grid systems.

Since the main carbon filter is so large, the water gets a higher level of processing compared to smaller filter systems by five to ten times! Users are raving about the superior quality of water.

However, the pre and post-filters do need to be replaced every six months to one year, so it's not entirely set and forget, not to mention the extra expense of changing these filters.

The install kit that comes with the unit is plastic and somewhat generic; I recommend to upgrade to the professional install kit – another expense to tack on.

I am also surprised to see that the instructions for installation are so vague, and you will most likely have to hire a professional installer - yet another expense.

Overall, the Aquasana Rhino is the prime whole house water filter on the market today. I like the fact that you can purchase all the components you need from one manufacturer; this works out to your advantage as everything is covered under their whopping 10-year warranty!

Top Product:

Express Water 3 Stage Anti-Scale Whole House Water Filter

  • Has built in stainless steel housing
  • Pressure gauge mounted on each filter
  • Much easier installation than other systems
  • Only comes with one year warranty
  • May have to replace cartridges more frequently
  • Leaking could be a problem

I really like that the Express Water whole house filter comes with a sturdy stainless steel enclosure so you do not have to worry about building one yourself.

Each filter has a pressure gauge above it so you can monitor the PSI flowing to each one. This is a unique feature that I have not seen on any other models.

The system can handle 100,000 gallons of water before filters need to be replaced, which is typically up to one year of water usage.

The high flow design handles .25 gallons of water per second, that equates to 15 gallons per minute, which is a pretty standard flow rate for most houses.

Each filter housing is connected with industrial bonded high capacity flow connectors and the housing is made of high durability food-grade ABS and PCE plastic.

The unit weighs in at 63 pounds and is 23.5 x 8.5 x 29.5 inches so you will need some good space to accommodate it; these measurements also include stainless steel housing.

Express makes quite a few different whole house water systems with various filters in each one. I chose the anti-scale system as it is the most applicable to well water and off grid water systems. Keep in mind that these filters are not swappable with each other.

You can download their product manual here.

As far as the downsides go, there have been some reports of leakage from where the gauges are screwed in.

Users have also stated that the inlet and outlet pipe can fit loosely, so be prepared to use some Teflon tape and possibly pipe dope to get a good fit.

Overall, this is an excellent whole house water filtration system at the price they offer.

Do note that you will need to use a purification system if you are not on a municipal water source.

Recommended Product:

HQUA-OWS-12 Ultraviolet Water Purifier Sterilizer Filter

This ultraviolet water purifier will eliminate bacteria and viruses in your water which pairs up nicely with the Woder filter.

Just take note that it does require power to run so keep a small backup generator handy in case you lose power.

Best Buy:

iSpring WGB21B 2-Stage Heavy Duty Whole House Water Filtration System

  • 50,000 gallons of filtered water per filter change
  • Strong customer support
  • Minimal reduction in pressure and prolonged filter life
  • Relief valves can loosen during shipping
  • Installation can be tricky
  • Replacement filters are spendy

The iSpring Heavy Duty whole house water filter treats 50,000 gallons of water for 95% of chlorines, sediment, chloramines, chemicals, bad tastes, and smells.

It also is on the cheaper end of the price range in the whole house filter market.

This system has a two-stage filtration process:

Stage one – sediment filter removes contaminants down to five microns.

Stage two - This carbon block filter is made of coconut shell; block carbon is highly effective compared to other forms of carbon as the material is finely ground up and condensed into a block, therefore squeezing the water through the higher density material and catching more contaminants.

For those on well systems, this filter does not catch total dissolved solids. for water that has over 700 TDS, you will need to look into an additional reverse osmosis system.

You will also need a purifier to decontaminate your water for well and off grid water systems. If your water runs high in sediments, I recommend getting their reusable sediment filter as well.

There are some things you should know before purchasing this unit.

It is known that this unit can have leaks. Sometimes the relief valves loosen during the shipping process and need to be retightened. The manufacturer has recognized this as an issue and could remedy the problem within the manufacturing process, but so far this has not been resolved. Just something to be aware of.

The installation can be a bit tricky, so you may have to call a professional to install for you if you do not have plumbing experience. You will need to build some sort of support system to withstand the weight of the unit.

You will need to replace these filters at least once a year which can add up. Many users have reported having to change them out more frequently. If you are on a well system, these filters may clog much faster, depending on the sediment amount in your water. The filters are not cheap to replace, so you might want to consider either buying the sediment pre-filter upgrade or buying a more heavy-duty system.

Support is known to be pretty good as any damaged or faulty equipment gets replaced fairly quickly.

Overall, I think this is a great filtration system with high remarks, I just wish it had a built-in enclosure.

Recommended Product:

iSpring WSP-50SL Reusable Spin Down Sediment Filter/w Siliphos

I highly recommend purchasing this additional prefilter sediment catcher for people on well water systems. It is reusable and flushable and will catch sediments down to 50 microns.

This will keep your main unit from clogging up so quickly and keep your main filters' longevity.

This little filter is also flushable so you can keep reusing it.

Do you need a whole house water filtration system?

Before you spend a bunch of money on investing into a whole house water filter, you will want to ask yourself these questions:

Does your water smell bad? Is cloudy? Have a bad taste?

Does your water have a rusty color?

Is your water being treated with chlorine?

Is your water being treated with fluoride?

Does your well water contain high amounts of sediments?

Is your plumbing building up with sediments?

Are your appliances breaking down prematurely due to sediments?

Are your clothes wearing out and fading quickly?

Are you concerned about bacteria and viruses?

If your water is not all that bad, then don't bother with the expense of a whole house system. They are expensive, not all that easy to install, and filter changes are expensive.

But if your water is compromising your quality of life, then yes, it is worth it.

Bad water affects us drastically, from ingesting harmful contaminants to prematurely ruining our plumbing and appliances.

Municipal water usually tastes awful and is full of bad crap. It's usually no good for drinking, let alone bathing in and using to cook with.

Well water and off grid systems often have to deal with higher level of sediments and needs to be purified.

How Does a Whole House Water Filtration System Work?

A whole house water filter is installed onto the main water line and provides clean filtered water to all the faucets in the home.

This provides many benefits to the plumbing system, appliances, and health of you and your family.

When choosing a filtration system, you will notice some are much more expensive than others.

This is because there are two types of systems: Heavy-duty systems and standard capacity water cartridge systems.

The heavy-duty filtration systems have the best contaminant removal because of the sheer size of filter media that the water gets filtered through. These large filters can last for five to ten years before needing replacement.

Standard capacity water cartridge filters are more affordable and smaller than their heavy-duty counterparts. However, the water filters will need to be replaced more frequently, typically every six months to one year, and they are not cheap.

When choosing a whole house water filtration system, make sure to choose the correct unit that will solve any specific issues you are having with your water.

There are general types of systems that take care of the most common sediments and contaminants and there are upgraded systems that can clean up specific types of contamination.

City water without any specific issues can be treated with a general multi-purpose filtration system. These multi-purpose systems will clean up sediments, chlorine, bad taste and odors, VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, and industrial contaminants.

These specific contaminants could be a variety of different metals such as iron or mercury.

You can also upgrade your system with UV light water purification to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and cysts.

Whole house water filtration system cost

There are multiple expenses to purchasing and installing a whole house water system.

First, you need to purchase the unit. This can range from $150 to $200 for a standard cartridge system with no pre-filter and no UV purification system. This can go to $2,000 for a comprehensive heavy-duty system with filters that lasts for several years.

Second, you will probably need to hire a professional installer unless you are very comfortable with cutting and fitting plumbing. This could be from $500-$2,000 depending on many variables.

Third, you will need to replace filters ranging from 6 months to 1 year. These filters cost $50-$100 apiece and most systems require more than one type of filter. Expect the price to skyrocket for multi-year filters.

It's not cheap by any means but could save you TONS of money if your bad water ruins your water pipes and appliances, let alone considering the health benefits.

Possible contaminated drinking water toxins

The list of contaminants that can be detected in municipal water sources is insane. The Environmental Protection Agency has created a Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) that has hundreds of potential contaminations. (source)

Now, just because the contaminant is on the list doesn’t mean it is detrimental to your health, but there are quite a few to be concerned about.

Some of these concerning contaminants are:

Heavy metals  - chromium, lead, mercury, barium, arsenic, barium, cadmium, copper, selenium, nickel. (source)

Volatile Organic Chemicals – known as VOCs, are compounds that become vaporized such as solvents, cleaners, degreasers, paints, inks, pesticides, dyes. (source)

Trihalomethanes – a potential carcinogen that is created when chlorine that is used to treat water combines with naturally occurring matter in water. (source)

Scale – hard water minerals that leave a deposit in pipes and appliances. Examples are calcium and magnesium.

Well and off grid water systems need to pay special attention to microbial pathogens. You will need to make sure your whole house water filtration systems come with a water purifier as well to kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This is typically in the form of a UV light purification system.

Well water systems may also face exceptionally hard water. This may require an additional layer of prefiltration to catch these sediments so they don't gunk up your water filters.

Benefits of a whole house water filtration system

There are many obvious reasons to install a whole house water filtration system, such as better tasting and smelling water that is healthier for you and your family delivered to every faucet in your entire home.

There are some reasons you may have not considered which may convince you to make the investment:

  1. You will notice that your skin and hair become healthier. Contaminants in untreated municipal water can be absorbed through your skin and damage your hair.
  2. When water evaporates in the shower, VOCs can be released from the molecules potentially contaminating the air you breathe. Whole house water filters remove VOCs.
  3. Your appliances will last longer, and your dishes will be spotless.
  4. The plumbing system in your house will have a longer lifespan as the sediments that cause buildup in your pipes will be removed.
  5. Cooking with clean water produces better flavors and shorter cooking times.
  6. Your clothing will be softer, brighter, and last longer.

Investing in a system will save you money and increase health which will pay for itself over the years.

What to look for when buying a whole house water filtration system

There are a few key factors when purchasing a system that you will want to consider.

Flow Rate

This is measured in gallons per minute. In order to figure out how much GPM you will need from your filter, you need to look at the demand ratings on your appliances.

Typical Water GPM Demand Ratings

  • Showerheads – 3 GPM
  • Toilets – 5 GPM
  • Dishwasher – 3 GPM
  • Washing Machine – 2 GPM
  • Kitchen Faucet – 5 GPM
  • Bathroom Faucet - 1.5 GPM
  • Water Heater – depends on size and type of unit

You do not want to get a filter system with a flow rating under 10 GPM. 15 to 40 GPM is the standard flow rates that most households fall into but take the time to calculate your usage first.

Port size

The size of the port is a critical measurement that you need to take into account when purchasing. The minimal port size you are looking for is 1 inch, even if your current system is ¾ inch. Some large homes may require 1.5 inch ports.

Typically, a 1 inch port will be more than substantial for the average home.

Lifespan of filter

The main factor in filter lifespan is the quality and quantity of sediment running through it. This information will be indicated on the unit and will vary in accordance with the type and size of the filter.


Size of filter

The larger the filter, the better the flow and the longer the filter will last. This is where price comes into play. As mentioned above, small standard capacity filters will need their cartridges swapped out much more often than the large heavy duty filters.

Micron filtration

Your micron blockage needs will depend on if you have bacteria present in your water. The only way to discern this is to get your water tested.

special note for whole house well water and off grid filtration systems

You will need to have a system in place to kill bacteria, viruses, and cysts.

There are two ways to do this effectively: either chemical additives or UV light purification.

I would suggest using a UV light system so you don't have to subject yourself to harsh chemicals. After all, that's the reason you want a filtration system in the first place!

Bacteria range from .2 to 1 micron in width and 1 to 10 microns in length so a 1 micron filter will work to catch these.

However, viruses are much tinier and range from 0.004 to 0.1 microns and will require a purification system in the water system. This is important for off grid water setups and also well systems if the water tests positive for viruses.

Cysts are more resistant to disinfecting processes but range from 2 to 50 microns and can be caught with most water filtration systems (source: WQA.org).

Check out my guide to off grid water filtration and purification for more info on this subject.

How to Install a Whole House Water Filtration System

Depending on the type of filter system you purchase will depend on the level of skill you need with plumbing systems.

Small systems will install relatively easily, but the more heavy duty systems will require some expert knowledge; you may need to hire a plumber to get the job done correctly.

This guide is a generic version to install a simple system and is here to give you some pointers; it is not a replacement for the instructions that come with your kit!

Tools you will need:

  • Bucket
  • Pipe cutter
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Teflon tape
  • Whole house water filtration kit (obviously)
  1. Start by turning off the water supply at the mainline shutoff. Find the lowest faucet on the line to drain the water and pressure in the pipes.
  2. Cutting the pipe. The kit will come with a template so you can mark exactly where you need to cut the pipe. When choosing a placement for the system, make sure that you have easy access to it so you can change out water cartridges.
  3. Install the compression nut and fittings onto the pipe ends and use Teflon tape to get a good seal. Do not over-tighten the fittings; they should be snug but not wrenched on too hard.
  4. Position and install the filter to make sure that the in and out port are facing the correct way. Don’t install backward!
  5. Get the water filter into the desired position and then hand tighten the compression nuts. Once in position and hand tightened, go ahead and tighten with two wrenches.
  6. Now you can turn the water back on. Filtration systems come with a bypass switch so make sure yours is set to be filtering the water.

Changing a whole house water filter

Depending on what model you purchase will depend on how frequent you need to change the water filter.

Every system will have a different set of instructions on how to change the filter, so make sure to keep your instruction manual handy.

Standard cartridge filter systems are easier to replace than heavy-duty systems; This list of instructions is a generic principle for standard systems.

  1. Typically, you need to turn the system on to bypass mode.
  2. The tank will need to be removed from the housing. When doing so, have a bucket underneath to catch any water, if applicable.
  3. Pour out the water from the tank and wipe the inside dry.
  4. Insert the new cartridge, place the tank back onto the housing, and turn the filter back onto filter mode.
  5. Now, turn on one of your faucets and let the water run for a little bit to pass trapped air.


I hope you enjoyed my whole house water filtration systems reviews and that my informative section gave you the knowledge you need to make the right purchasing decision.

I put a lot of time, effort and energy into researching and writing quality articles and making videos.

I sure would appreciate any likes and social shares that you have to give, and feel free to leave me a comment below!

Have a wonderful day!

Hello, I am Regina, the creator of Maximum Off Grid!

I created this website to help others learn about becoming more self-sustainable in an uncertain world.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you have.

Have a beautiful day!

Regina C.

Off Grid Water Filtration Purification Guide [+11 Methods]

There are so many more contaminants in the world than there used to be in the lives of our forefathers.

Widespread contaminants from industrial processes, such as factory farming, have added a ton of toxins into our environment, even into rural areas that seem pristine.

Factory farm waste pits probably leaking waste into groundwater

Animal waste from these factories leech contaminants into the ground. This builds up major toxins, especially nitrate, according to a study done by UC Davis.

Another contaminant from factory farms commonly overlooked is antibiotics. The animals are fed antibiotics in order to grow the animal quickly, not just keep them from being ill.

Antibiotics are excreted and seep into the groundwater, completely altering the microorganism world.

The human boom on the planet that have introduced even more toxins into the water. Lots of bacteria runoff from city streets into rivers and creeks. Even if you live far away from the city, the runoff toxins may still be detected.

Because of this, water filtration and purification must be taken to new heights.

When building your off grid water system, figuring out how to filter and purify your water can be tricky due to the volume of water needed.

Boiling a pot of water on the stovetop simply won’t cut it for all of your living needs like bathing, drinking and cooking.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to get your water filtered and disinfected no matter what the source.

My guide to off grid water filtration will help get you there.

Let's go!

Part One: The Basics Of Water Filtration And Purification​

Filtration vs Purification vs Distillation


Filtering the water removes debris and impurities that can typically be seen with the naked eye. Some examples of this are leaves, sand and living organisms.

Filtering the water is the first step of potability and should remove all the visible traces of murkiness and cloudiness of the water. Filtration does not remove chemicals and viruses, which takes us to our next process.


Purification cleanses the water to the point of removing all impurities that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Some examples of these impurities are viruses, chemicals, E. Coli, and other biological contaminants. In order to be considered purified, the water must have less than 10 parts per million (PPM).


Distillation is the process of capturing the steam off boiling water and condensing it back into a liquid. The residual contaminants stay in the original pot. Distilled water is considered purified as it contains a tiny number of particles at 1 PPM.

There is no difference between purification and distillation; the only difference is the process to reach purity.

Super nice stovetop still

When making a water filtration system, the term is a little misleading. The reason being that water needs to be both filtered and purified to be considered drinkable. Keep that in mind when designing your system.

When it's OK to use Filtered (Not Purified) Water

The additional process of purifying water can be a cumbersome task for use in large amounts. Not everything we do requires purified water, so knowing what can and cannot use filtered only water will help preserve your water purification system.

According to the NH Department of Environmental Services, you can use unpurified water for:

  • Watering your garden, as long as you wash your fruits and veggies before consumption
  • Doing laundry
  • Taking showers, as long as no water is swallowed, or open wounds are exposed
  • Washing dishes, as long as there is a final decontamination process, like a bleach dip
  • Washing hands as long as a sanitary soap or disinfectant is used
  • For watering pets, as they are not usually affected by the same diseases as humans (use precaution)

Part Two: Methods For Off Grid Water Filtration

1. Make an Activated Carbon Filter

An activated carbon filter consists of three layers that water runs through to remove debris and contaminants:

  1. The first most coarse layer is pebble gravel.
  2. The second layer is sand.
  3. And the third layer is activated carbon.

The gravel is placed on top where the water is first treated, removing the bulkiest of material, the sand removes even more particulates, and the final activated carbon layer removes certain metals and chemicals.

Carbon filters act as a great prep for the purification process as it removes bad taste, odor, cloudiness, and many contaminants.

Please take heed that a homemade activated carbon system will not remove bacteria and viruses from the water, as shown in this study by the University of Cornell.

This seems to be a common misconception on the internet.

It's not to say that all activated carbon applications will not remove pathogens; a review published by Science of the Total Environment states that “Carbon nanotube (CNT) adsorption technology has the potential to support point of use (POU) based treatment approach for removal of bacterial pathogens, natural organic matter (NOM), and cyanobacterial toxins from water systems.”

In conclusion, a prefabricated activated carbon filter meant specifically to eliminate pathogens can work to remove some bacterias in water, but will not be able to remove teeny tiny viruses.

Contaminants that a basic activated carbon will filter:

  • Chlorine and chlorinated byproducts
  • Lead
  • Organic chemicals
  • Radon
  • Petroleum products

Contaminants that a basic activated carbon will not filter:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Dissolved metals
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Fluoride
  • Nitrate

A homemade activated carbon filter is a good method to filter your water and prepare it for purification.

One idea for making a large activated carbon filter is to run your water through a barrel system.

Rainwater collecting barrels are ideal and can be connected together. In the first barrel, fill with pea gravel. The second connected barrel gets filled halfway with sand and then activated carbon. A third barrel is for catching the filtered water.

A tank full of activated carbon

This method can be made on the fly in a survival situation as well. As long as you have a plastic container you don’t mind pilfering a hole into, you can layer gravel, sand, and then charcoal into the container.

You can purchase or make your own activated carbon!

Your charcoal can be made by burning hardwoods. Don’t just grab any old chunk of charcoal out of the bonfire; use a metal container that can be sealed and place small chunks of hardwoods inside. The goal is to burn the hardwood without the use of oxygen.

Make a fire around the contained hardwoods and stoke the fire for three to five hours.

You can make activated carbon on the oven too!

Once complete, the hardwood should be a deep black.  This can be crumbled into smaller chunks to place in your makeshift water filtration container. Do mind that you still need to purify your water for any potential viruses.

Note: Only use cold water through an activated carbon filter.

2. Dig a hole in the ground

This method is technically considered a crude form of a well. If you have access to a water source, such as a stream, river, lake, or creek, digging a hole near the water source will allow for the ground to filter out a large amount of debris and particulates.

Start by digging a few feet from the water source. Dig straight down until you hit water. The deeper you dig, the cleaner the water will be.

You could also use a wellpoint in your dug hole. Dig a good deep hole, place your wellpoint in the middle, then fill it with gravel and sand. The sand and gravel should help filter the water even further.

This method can work well in a survival situation as well. Although the digging process would be difficult, once the well is dug, you will have access to decently filtered water.

Keep in mind that the water will still need to be purified.

 3. use a ceramic container

Will a typical ceramic gardening pot filter water? It sure will, as long as you completely plug the hole on the bottom!

A ceramic water filter works by utilizing its tiny pores to filter out contaminants in the water. The water will slowly work its way through the pores and drip into a catching container. This makes for an inexpensive way to filter water.

Although a basic ceramic filter will remove bacteria, it cannot remove viruses and chemicals as these particulates are too tiny even for the tiny pores of the ceramic to catch.

You could filter large amounts of water through a scheme of huge ceramic pots, although I don’t think this method would be nearly as functional as a large activated carbon filtration system or a well.

But, if you are in a pinch and have very murky water, you could set up a ceramic system to get that water cleaned up.

Prefabricated ceramic containers are specially designed to remove chemicals and viruses that normal ceramic will not. Silver is added to eradicate viruses and activated carbon is added to remove chemical contaminants.

Part Three: Methods for Off Grid Water Purification

Once your water is running clear and is free from odors and discolorations, its ready to run through a water purification system.

You can install a whole house purifier if you want purified water at every faucet, or you can use a purifying container system that you have to fill manually.

Every water system is unique so choose what best fits into your life and accomplishes your water goals.

1. Purchase a Whole House Water Filter and Purifier

Technology has come a long way and whole house water filters have become accessible and affordable for most situations.

If you are in an off-grid situation, installing a whole house system is an ideal solution. Just make sure to stockpile filters and have a backup water system in case SHTF.

You are already off grid so you are likely pretty handy at this point, so installation will be a cinch. Install your whole-house water filtration system by your water shutoff valve in a place that also has easy access for changing filter cartridges.

Premeasure everything before cutting into your preexisting piping according to manufacture specs. Don’t forget to include any valves and connecting fittings into your measurements and turn off your water!

If you are interested in products, check out my guide to whole house water filtration systems. 

Special Note on whole house water filtration systems

Make sure that your whole house system has a component to also purify water.

Typically, a UV light purification system is used for purification in conjunction with a whole house water filtration system.

If your water has a lot of sediment, you may want to look into a pre-filter as well to not clog up the expensive filtration elements.

2. UV light Water Disinfection System

Yes, UV light does disinfect water! How cool is that! An ultraviolet water purifier uses a particular light wavelength to kill viruses, bacteria, and pathogens by destructing the bonds of its DNA. This includes salmonella, E. Coli, and listeria. The light also eradicates mold.

The UV system is manufactured to easily install in your plumbing system. It is not large and cumbersome, rather most UV systems will fit under your household sink.

UV treatments have no residual effects. What do I mean by this? Once the water has passed through the system, the treatment is complete. If the UV system fails to kill all the pathogens, there are no other means of those pathogens to be eradicated.

You could use a secondary form of pathogen eradication, like running bleach or chlorine through your system. These chemicals have a residual effect of killing pathogens.

UV bulbs need to be replaced yearly to be effective. Hence, there is really no way of telling when your water is being fully treated or not. If your bulb becomes less effective before that year is up, you are putting yourself at risk.

Consistent testing of your water is recommended. Purchase a water testing device to ensure that your UV light system is working as it should. These are pretty cheap and worth the peace of mind.

The plumbing around the UV system should be copper, as plastic will degrade from the light shining on it.

UV systems also require electricity so keep that in mind when placing your system. Since the bulb needs to be replaced, you will need easy access to your purifier as well.

A less technical, but just as effective, way of using UV light to purify your water is to put your water in a glass container and place it in full sunlight.

3. Sterilize your water in the Sun

Placing water in a clear container in direct sunlight will sterilize it within six hours. Although plastic can be used, I don’t recommend it as the UV light will eventually degrade it. A clear glass container is ideal.

You could purchase a few of these and line them up in a place that gets full sun. Make sure to keep track of which ones have been in the sun long enough.

The main complication of relying on this source of purified water is if the sun decides to not come out for a while. A secondary method of purification will be needed just in case.

You may not have access to direct full sun; partially shaded stippled sunlight cannot be relied upon to do the job. However, this is one of the easiest and cheapest methods of sterilization that requires no mechanics or electricity.

4. Purchase a large gravity-fed water filtration container.

A tabletop purifier is a container that needs to be filled manually. This is a good choice for when your water has already been filtered for use and just needs final purification.

One of the most popular tabletop purifiers is the Berkey water filter system. Berkey uses several systems for purification including microfiltration, adsorption, and long contact flow rate.

Berkeys can purify any water that is clean enough, so if your nearby creek has clear water, you can run it through the Berkey without prior filtering.

Although store-bought pitcher water filters are good for removing contaminants, they are not designed to remove bacteria and viruses and should only be used with municipal water.

You can read more about these on my gravity fed water filter guide.

 5. Use chemicals

Although adding chemicals to purify our water is not what we really want to do, it does the trick and might be a good temporary solution before getting a healthier water system installed. The two main chemicals used for water treatment are iodine and chlorine bleach.

Iodine – Iodine must be stored in a dark bottle as light will degrade its efficacy. Note that some people are highly allergic to iodine and cannot use this method. For liquid 2% tincture of iodine, add 5 drops of iodine per quart of clear water. Add 10 drops of iodine per quart of cloudy water. Princeton EDU

Chlorine Bleach – a typical household bleach free of dyes, perfumes, and additives will work to purify water. Cloudy water needs to be filtered before using the bleach method. Use 1 tsp of bleach for 5 gallons of water. Mix the solution thoroughly and let stand for a minimum of 60 minutes before drinking. WA Dept of Health

You can also get chlorine tablets specifically engineered for purifying water.

Even if you have a purification method set up, I recommend having a chemical method as a backup if your primary purification system goes down.

6. Make a stovetop still

If you want super pure sediment-free water, then a stovetop still will do the trick.

You will need a kettle for boiling, a long tube, and a container for the final water. Copper coiling is the ideal tube of choice.

Attach the copper tubing to the spout of the kettle and place the catching container so the water drips in. The boiling water will create steam and the copper tubing will condense the steam back into water; the catching container collects the drops of water emptying from the coil.

7.  Boil water

Boiling water is a go-to method for purification.

8. Shungite for water purification

Ever heard of Shungite? If not, then its time you did.

Shungite is a rare and extraordinary mineral that can be found in only one part of the entire world: Karelia, Russia.

It is believed that Shungite originates from a meteor that crashed into the earth since it is only found in this one area and is in high concentration.

Elite Shungite is shiny with a silvery finish

Shungite comes in many purities but Elite Shungite is 98% pure fullerene carbon. What is fullerene? It is a unique carbon structure that consists of a hollow cage of atoms that happens in extreme rarity in nature. Since the fullerenes are hollow, Shungite can absorb all toxins and impurities in water.

Shungite also removes free radicals in water 30 times more effective than activated carbon!

I am so fascinated with this stone that I wrote an entire article about Shungite; I provide scientific evidence supporting the claims of what Shungite can do from water purification to EMF protection and healing. Check it out!

You can also read more scientific evidence in the International Journal of Advanced Scientific and Technical Research scholarly article.

I sure hope you found my article on off-grid water filtration and purification helpful.

It takes me a lot of work and research to compile this information; it would be my privilege if you share this article with your friends and family that could use this knowledge.

If you have any questions or comments about these topics, please leave me in the comment box below!

Hello, I am Regina, the creator of Maximum Off Grid!

I created this website to help others learn about becoming more self-sustainable in an uncertain world.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you have.

Have a beautiful day!

Regina C.