Why a gravity water filter that sits on the counter is ideal for tight budgets, renters, and emergency preparedness with a comparison of the most popular models that require no professional installation.
No healthy, sustainably-focused lifestyle would be complete without a carefully considered water filtration strategy.
If money is tight, you rent your home, or you need a setup quickly with no installation necessary, a countertop gravity water system is an effective technology to consider.
Even if you already have a whole house water system or a comprehensive water filter installed under the counter as we do, a gravity filter is a smart unit to have on hand for emergencies.
This is why the primary reason we have one, in fact!
More about this below.
What is a Gravity Water System?
The genius of gravity water filters is that they work without electricity, battery power, or manual pumping of any kind.
The energy that moves the water through the filters is the most powerful force in the universe. It also costs nothing to tap into…gravity!
All that is needed to operate this type of filter is to pour tap water manually into the top of the unit. The water naturally passes from this upper chamber through the filters under the pressure of gravity into the lower chamber.
At this point, the clean, filtered water is accessible via a spigot on the front of the filter.
There are three main benefits of a gravity water filter.
- Gravity filters are completely portable. Thus, they are ideal for those who rent their home or plan to move in the near future.
- These units require no installation. In other words, you don’t need to call the plumber or be exceptionally handy to get them up and running. Simply unbox, assemble on the counter, and they are ready to use immediately.
- Gravity systems do not need a power source to operate. Thus, they are smart to have one on hand for emergencies. This is the case even if you own your home or already have a more permanent type of water filtration unit.
Our family has a gravity filter, for example, as part of our storm preparedness strategy.
If we lose power, we can still filter our water… even drawing it by bucket directly out of the lake in the backyard if necessary!
The highest quality gravity water filters (this is the model I recommend) are made from high-grade polished stainless steel including the spigot at the bottom.
The filters should be made of ceramic that is impregnated with silver to prevent pathogenic microbial growth.
The technology should also be comprehensive enough to remove fluoride right out of the box without any upgrades.
The filters should be tested and certified to remove not only chlorine, but also vinyl chloride, trihalomethanes like chloramine, fluoride, heavy metals, VOCs, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals like glyphosate.
Radiant Life vs Berkey and Alexapure
When people ask me about gravity filters, I recommend this model as the best value for the money whether you live in an apartment, condo, or single family home.
Those of you who have read this blog for many years may remember that I used to recommend the Berkey about 10 years ago.
I now recommend the more advanced Radiant Life Gravity Filter over the Berkey and similar models like Alexapure for the reasons listed below.
Better Quality Filters
The standard model of the Radiant Life gravity filter removes fluoride from water without the need for purchasing add-on filters.
This reduces total out-of-pocket cost, installation time, and improves the unit’s efficiency.
The good news is that if you already have a Berkey or Alexapure, the Radiant Life replacement filters will fit these models.
The Radiant Life fluoride filters are made of the safest materials and do not use Activated Alumina like Berkey.
Removing a toxin like fluoride with a material that is also toxic like aluminum makes no sense at all!
As mentioned earlier, if you have a Berkey or Alexapure and wish to transition to the aluminum-free Radiant Life fluoride filter, it will fit these models as well.
Priming Not Necessary
The Radiant Life gravity filter does not require priming such as the Berkey red food dye coloring test. (1)
Simply flush water through the chambers and it’s ready to use!
Stainless Steel Spigot
The Radiant Life gravity filter comes standard with a stainless steel spigot versus a plastic or mixed metal option for other basic models.
Lower-quality spigots can degrade over time and possibly flake toxins into the filtered water.
Lower Maintenance Costs
The filters for the Radiant Life model last longer, reducing out-of-pocket maintenance.
For example, Alexapure filters have a capacity of 200 gallons which would require changing the filter every 2 months or less with regular use.
In comparison, the Radiant Life 2 filter model provides filtered water for an entire year, only needing to be changed annually.
Thus, the maintenance cost for Alexapure is roughly 6x the cost of Radiant Life’s gravity water system.
Have you considered adding a gravity filter to your repertoire of home health technology? After suffering through an extended power outage and worrying whether we had enough drinkable water, I would never be without one!
If you are in the market for a gravity filter and are considering Radiant Life’s model, coupon code HEALTHY10 will take 10% off your order.
HEALTHY10 will also take 10% off Radiant Life’s highest-quality replacement filters that will fit Berkey and Alexapure too.
(1) How to Do the Berkey Water Filter Red Dye Food Coloring Test
Is there a taste difference between the Berkey water and the RadiantLife water?
Also, do both the RL and Berkey test to see if they remove vinyl chloride? I thought I saw something recently that only a carbon based filter could remove the vinyl chloride.
And, does the RL work on pond water, etc. like the Berkey claims to?
Is a set of two radiant life replacement filters the only ones you need to use in the Berkey
Thank you Sarah,
When I googled Berkey I found this https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/big-berkey-water-filter-system/ where they say that the Berkey is not NSF certified and the other tests done on Berkey might be vague and not as vigorous as NSF. What do you think of the testing aspect? Do you think that Berkey removes all the stuff that it claims to remove?
When I contacted a different filer manufacturer before they told me that they do not get NSF certification because it is very expensive. Is it true? I got the impression that NSF is kind of like the FDA where having the FDA stamp is not very trustworthy.
I would love to get RL but I am in Canada. I will ask them but the shipping will be probably expensive. Then I have the exchange rate. While there are Berkey distributors in Canada.
I don’t know how honest Berkey is about what they claim…. all I can say for sure is that their fluoride filter uses aluminum and the quality is overall much lower than Radiant Life according to my analysis.
Today I read this article of yours. Thank you for it.
You mostly compared the RL with the Berkey brand. The only negatives given about the Alexapure (which I own) was that 1) the filters need changing every 2 months (while the RL filters last about a year) and 2) Alexapure model didn’t have a stainless steel spigot…….yet when I went to their website today, it says the spigot IS stainless steel, along with the tank lid, plus top, and bottom tanks.
I would have liked to have seen you do a comparison of the differences between the Alexapure Filter vs Radiant Life’s. From their website, the “Alexapure® gravity block filter with hybrid ceramic shell” features: ” 1) Proprietary gravity block with ionic absorption technology 2) Silver-infused ceramic outer shell
3) Verified* filtration capacity of 200 gallons.”
I’m waiting to hear back from Alexapure customer service team as to whether or not there is an aluminum component in their ceramic filters (and yes, they filter out fluoride without needing an extra filter) and to verify that their spigot is all stainless steel with no mixed metal components.
Why? I’m trying to decide if the Alexapure filter is better quality(as I decided when choosing it over a Berkey system) than the Berkey, and as just as good as the RL ceramic filters…….or if I really need to buy and use the RL filters you talk about. You’ve given me much food for thought.
It is my understanding that the Berkey (which I have had for 10+ years but I use RL filters in it) and Alexapure basic models do not have a stainless steel spigot. You can get this, but it is on the more expensive models. The stainless spigot is standard for Radiant Life.
Thanks for the article, Sarah! Nice reminder of why (based on your recommendation) I switched over to Radiant Life’s countertop system several years ago. I liked it so much I bought a second one for the cabin and retired the Big Berkey– my son used to call it the “Big Workey” because of all the filter change-outs, testing, etc, –plus, the fluoride filter add on (the main reason we bought it) never really worked and produced cloudy water–two tries later, and the company’s best explanation was “this happens sometimes. ” So, with this article today, I learned I can use the Radiant Life filters in the Big Berkey!!! Thrilled! I can put that big paperweight back into service. Just ordered a set of two Radiant Life filters for it, and used your nice coupon too. Thanks again, Sarah.
So glad the information has been helpful to you!