The big name water filter systems are expensive, but there is a way to make a gravity fed water filter system for yourself for a fraction of the cost!
Water filtration systems are expensive, there’s no doubt about that. I once wrote an article about a purchased filtration system that I had to put together myself, that wasn’t that hard to do. It was just slick because it was in a stainless steel housing, which is great if you don’t want to worry about plastics. It’s also on the expensive side because of the housing. But if you’re looking for a budget way to have this same type of filtration system, while using the same filters that give awesome filtration, you can do it yourself for just a fraction of the cost of a name brand system. Some estimates are from around $60-$130 including the filters. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on what equipment or kits you choose to use, etc.
There are a few ways to accomplish this, so I’ll list them so that you can go off and read. While I’ve never built one of these from scratch as I had a full kit, these folks have done it and use it, so I want to connect you to them so that you can learn.
How to make your own gravity fed water filtration system
Watch the video to see it happen
For most of the DIY projects, you need to have 2 5-gallon buckets. You can get them through Home Depot or Lowes or any other place you can get them. While they aren’t technically food grade, the buckets from Lowes & Home Depot will work for this project ;) However, you can usually get food grade buckets for free or cheap from restaurants, donut shops, and grocery stores, just be sure that the lids are with the buckets and aren’t damaged. Can’t hurt to ask!
What you’ll need
- 2 Food Grade Buckets – You can get them through Home Depot or Lowes or any other place you can get them. While they aren’t technically food grade, the buckets from Lowes & Home Depot will work for this project ;) However, you can usually get food grade buckets for free or cheap from restaurants, donut shops, and grocery stores, just be sure that the lids are with the buckets and aren’t damaged. Can’t hurt to ask!
- Water Filter -you can go with a dome filter or 2-4 candle filters, each comes with the rubber gaskets you’ll need. You can use replacement filters form the big names, or you can go with alternatives that work as well if not better
*See this chart for some comparisons)
- Drill and paddle drill bit This is to drill the holes in the top bucket to mount your filters to, plus a hole in the front of the bottom bucket to mount the spigot onto.
- Time – this is a project that shouldn’t take more than two hours to complete.
When choosing a filter, understand that the more filter you have, the faster the system will feed through as its gravity driven. You can use just one filter, but it will take a little longer than if you use 2 or even 4. The candle style filters fit 4 easily into the space of the bucket, but a ceramic dome filter will just fit the one which is a little bigger on its own.
Which Filter do you choose?
Well, that’s a personal choice. I like the ProPur brand, but there are quite a few really good filters out there made just for this, that all filter just about the same way. Some filter out fluoride, others don’t but they have a companion filter to add to it that will. I am partial to ProPur ceramics, myself.
Just Water Water filter kit (which is also sold through Cheaper Than Dirt though out of stock at this time)- this kit comes with all the pieces you’ll need to put your system together. You only need to purchase the buckets. (This link shows you a couple of photos of the system put in place using some of the clear liquid drink containers you can get from Walmart or Target.) (thanks to Joe for giving me the tip about this kit).
Read how Geek Prepper built his own unit
Of course, if you’d prefer to just buy it and get it done already, the ProPur system is $189 for a 1.7-gallon system and $279 for a larger unit. Or go with a Berkey. It’s a great system and if you have the money for it, then it’s a great investment. I love that the stainless steel housing is available from both companies because it’s important to me, but they also have plastic models available which are a little more affordable.
However, if money is tight, you can have a system for around $60-$15o (depending on the filters that you purchase), build it in an hour or two, and begin providing your family with healthier water and a way to purify water in cases of emergency. It’s a win-win!
Have you built your own system? How did it work for you?
Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.
She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.
Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).
Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.
Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.
Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.
She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.