If you live in an area where water is treated, you may believe your water is good to drink but the water you are drinking may still contain impurities from chemicals; chemicals such as fluoride and or chlorine. Living in the country, where water is gathered from untreated wells or obtained from streams, lakes or other sources, the water you are drinking may contain contaminants such as harmful bacteria and other impurities.
Here are three main filters which I have found to be the best water filter systems for above-ground filtration.
Berkey, Zen Water, and Katadyn Water filter systems
This article reviews and compares the gravity driven countertop water purification systems. Each three, Berkey, Zen Water and the Katadyn are widely popular, especially among Amazon purchasers.
The three are known as the best countertop water filter systems which do not need plumbing nor do they require electricity.
Their features include the following:
- No need to be placed by or near a sink or attached to any faucets.
- Filters very well leaving out microbiological organisms such as harmful bacteria.
- No electricity is required making them perfect for emergency situations.
- No special instructions or connections to worry about.
- They all come in a variety of sizes to fit your personal needs which include portable units.
1. The Berkey Water Filtering and Purification System does not require electricity or plumbing.
This system has two chambers, an upper chamber, and a lower chamber. This system will filter both treated and untreated water from wells, streams, and lakes.
The upper chamber contains two self-sterilizing and re-cleanable Black Berkey filters. These filters are made up of small pores which are too small for harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses to pass through.
This system will eradicate chemicals as well as pathogenic contaminants. Chlorine and bacteria will be eliminated to levels higher than 99.99% but will leave in the minerals which are beneficial to your health.
A big plus for the Berkey system is the ability to reduce fluoride significantly. Over 60 percent of our municipal water is fluoridated. People are looking for ways to filter and eliminate it from their drinking water.
Along with removing fluoride, these specialized PF filters will also remove arsenic content.
The Berkey systems come in several different sizes as shown below.
- Travel Berkey: 1.5-gallon capacity will filter and purify 2.75 gallons per hour. (This is the smallest model, perfect for traveling.)
- Royal Berkey: 3.25-gallon capacity will filter and purify 4 gallons per hour. (Will serve 4 to 6 people.)
- Crown Berkey: 6-gallon capacity will filter and purify 6.5 gallons per hour. (Serves 12 people and up.)
- Imperial Berkey: 4.5-gallon capacity will filter and purify 5.5 gallons per hour. (Serves 4 to 6 people.)
- Berkey Light: 2.75-gallon capacity will filter and purify 4 gallons per hour. (Serves 3-4 people.)
- Big Berkey: 2.25-gallon capacity will filter and purify 3.5 gallons per hour. (Serves about 3 people.)
There is also the Go Berkey Kit which is a portable system which comes with a compact Berkey system, a sports bottle, plus a carrying case. It is great for backpacking, hiking, camping, car, van or RV trips and more.
All of these filter systems except for the Berkey Light are made of high-grade polished stainless steel. Berkey Light is made of a non-BPA copolyester material. All the systems come with two self-sterilizing and re-cleanable Black Berkey filters. Fluoride filters are optional but can be bundled into a purchase.
Manufacturer’s warranty for each Berkey system: a period of six months from the date of purchase. Black Berkey filters have additional two-year prorated manufacturers warranty which means if you’ve used the filters for 6 months, seventy-five percent of the guarantee will still apply which allows you to replace your filter set to twenty-five percent of the normal cost.
2. Zen Water Filtering and Purification Systems does not require plumbing or electricity.
Zen Water’s unique 5-Stage mineral cartridge is comprised of:
- Silver Impregnated Granulated Activated Carbon
- Ionic-Exchange Resin
- Far-Infrared Ceramic Beads
- Silica Sand
- Mineral Sand
Activated carbon has been proven to be extremely effective in the removal of chlorine, odors, radon, solvents, bad tastes, herbicides, and pesticides, harmful organic chemicals plus hundreds of other man-made chemicals found in ordinary tap water.
The carbon is impregnated with colloidal silver to completely disinfect and inhibit the growth of bacteria in the water filter system.
It is treated with oxygen to open up the millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms and is activated with a positive charge to attract negatively charged water contaminants.
Ionic-Exchange resin softens hard water by replacing magnesium and calcium ions found in hard water with sodium ions.
The Zen Water System purifies the water by removing toxin and heavy metal ions and replacing with more innocuous ions such as sodium and potassium.
Far infrared minerals are known to help promote growth as well as the health of living cells. It ionizes and helps activate water molecules in human blood and cells.
Far infrared is also known to increase the processing enzyme activity in our digestive tract, as well as boost metabolism.
Silica is known to neutralize acidic elements to create an optimal pH balance in the human body. It has excellent absorbent qualities to remove granular impurities as well as suspended solids to provide a brilliant sparkle in water.
With all this, it also helps in maintaining healthy nails and radiant skin.
The mineral sand in the final stage of the cartridge is comprised of over 30 different types of essential healthy minerals, such as calcium, manganese, zinc, and potassium.
Life of Zen Filter is 6 months or 500 gallons, whichever comes first. The filter is designed and also is guaranteed to fit across all Zen Water Models.
Zen Water systems are BPA free, and there are minimal instructions for assembly. It is very easy to put together. There is an upper chamber and a lower chamber.
Water flows from the upper chamber to the lower chamber when filtered. The Zen Water systems come with all necessary filters: a micro-ceramic filter, a multistage mineral filter cartridge, and mineral stones.
Zen Water offers 3 different models depending on your needs.
- Four Gallon Countertop: measures 13 x 13 x 22 inches and weighs nine lbs when empty.
- Six Gallon Countertop: measures 13 x 13 x 24 inches and weighs ten lbs when empty.
- Eight Gallon Countertop: measures 14 x 14 x 26 inches and weighs twelve lbs when empty.
Zen Water is an excellent product, however, it cannot remove viruses nor will it remove or filter fluoride.
Zen Water warrants their water filtration systems to arrive free of damage and defect in workmanship. If problems should be found, the products have to be returned within 30 days. No other warranty shall be provided.
3. Katadyn Water Filtering and Purification Systems does not require electricity or plumbing.
Like the Zen Water System, and the Berkey Water System, the Katadyn does not require electricity or plumbing. It stands conveniently on its own on a counter-top.
This system comes well equipped with a 2.64-gallon water reservoir. Large quantities of water can be filtered with this system.
The Katadyn Purification System can be used with well-water, lakes, streams for it is able to kill off and inactivate harmful microorganisms such as bacteria as well as filter and eliminate chemicals and impurities.
This system is gravity based and is ideal for camping and all outdoor recreational events.
The Katadyn filter systems come in only two models.
The Ceradyn: Comes with three ceramic filters which can be self-cleaned several times.
The Gravidyn: Comes with three combined ceramic and activated filter elements, these filters can be self-cleaned several times. The only difference between these two models is their inner core filtration elements.
The Gravidyn’s inner core has activated charcoal. This helps in the removal of odors, bad taste, and chemical residuals, however, this filter does not last as long as the Ceradyn.
The inner charcoal core of the Gravidyn doesn’t keep up with its ceramic parts, which will require the filtering elements to be changed more frequently than the Ceradyn. The Gravidyn filters are priced a bit lower than Ceradyn filters for this reason.
Note: The pore size of Katadyn Ceramic Filters is 0.2 micron which is capable of removing bacteria but incapable of removing viruses.
Both the Ceradyn and the Gravidyn systems are PBA free made of high-quality durable plastic.
The method for filtration is gravity induced by filling the container and allowing the water to be pulled down as it is being filtered through all 3 ceramic filters.
The Katadyn Water Filtration System comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Also Read: Best Water Softener
Which Filtration System is best?
- All three systems are equipped to work without plumbing or electricity.
- All three systems will filter and eliminate contaminants, chemicals, and harmful bacteria.
However, the Berkey is the only one that will kill viruses. If you are living in an area where you are certain there are no known viruses but you’re looking to filter out bacteria, chemicals, and chlorine, then the Zen Water or the Katadyn Water systems will work out great.
If you are looking to eliminate fluoride in your drinking water the Berkey is the only gravity based countertop filtration system that will provide the specific filters needed for fluoride and arsenic removal. You may bundle these with your purchase as they are optional.
The Berkey Water Filter is made of stainless steel and many people buy this to match their stainless steel appliances.
Each Berkey Filter will filter 3000 gallons of water. When you purchase the Berkey system you are provided with two filters, which will filter a total of 6000 gallons of water!
This feature offsets the initial higher price you are paying, saving you money in the long run by not having to buy replacement filters often.
If you are drinking on average 10 gallons per week; these filters can last up to eleven years without needing replacements. This is a significant deal on savings in the long run.