Queen Victoria commissioned John Doulton to produce one of the earliest Doulton-branded ceramic water filters back in 1835. Fortunately for us, ceramic water filters do a fantastic job at removing bacteria and other contaminants from drinking water. And they’re still used to this day.
The best ceramic systems produce high-quality water and have long-lasting filters. But also have a design that matches the situation you will be using them in.
Best for Taste
I started using water filters over seven years ago. In that time I’ve used every filtration type and tested over fifty different models.
From this list, I found the best ceramic water filter system for most people is the AlexaPure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System.
Below, I’ve also reviewed six other systems that may be suitable for you based on your needs. These include countertop systems, portable models for vacation, and even for emergencies.
Seven Best Ceramic Water Filter Systems
- Alexa Pure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System (Best Overall)
- Zen Water Countertop Filtration and Purification System (Best for Taste)
- Crystal Clear Double Undercounter Water Filter (Best Undersink)
- DIY Gravity Water Filter Kit by SHTFandGO (Best for Emergencies)
- Doulton Household Gravity-Fed Water Filter (Best for Outdoors)
- AquaCera HCP Counter-Top Filter System (Best Space Saver)
- Katadyn Vario Water Filter (Best for Hiking & Survival)
If you’re looking for more general information about ceramic water filters don’t forget to check out our buyer’s guide below.
Let’s get filtering!
In this article:
- Our Seven Top Ceramic Water Filter Systems Reviewed
- Advantages & Disadvantages of Ceramic Water Filters
- [Buyer’s Guide] Everything You Need to Know When Buying A Ceramic Water Filter
- Final Thoughts
Our Seven Top Ceramic Water Filter Systems Reviewed
The main focus of each of our ceramic water filter reviews are: filtration quality, use-case, flow-rate, filter life span, capacity and design.
Best Overall Countertop RO System
- Type: Countertop Gravity-Fed
- Filtration type: Gravity-block core with hybrid ceramic shell
- Capacity: 4.5 gallons
- Flow Rate (1 filter): Around 2 gallons/hour
- Flow rate (4 filters): Around 9 gallons/hour
- Ceramic filter life span: 5000 gallons
- Dimension: 22.5 in. H 8.25 in. W cylinder
The AlexaPure Pro is the best ceramic water filter overall. It has the classic stainless-steel style most people look for in a ceramic water filter. It looks fantastic, has a huge capacity, and a single filter could last up to three years!
AlexaPure is the most trustworthy and reputable brand on our list. Their independent third-party test results show that this filter removes up to 99.9999% of over 200 different water contaminants. These results are all publicly published on their website .
We loved that you can add up to a total of four filters to the AlexaPure Pro. This provides you with a flow rate of over nine gallons per hour with a lifespan of over 20,000 gallons. So as long as you keep it topped up, even the largest of families won’t need to worry about running out of filtered water.
I was shocked at how light the system is once empty. I checked on my bathroom scales and it was just over 3kgs. If you’re a renter or move around for other reasons you’ll have no trouble carrying it to its new home.
Putting the system together was straightforward. The instructions provided are clear and concise. First, unpack the tank and the filter. Then insert the rubber plugs into the holes inside the tank. Add the filter and tighten. It took me around fifteen minutes.
Some users have complained about a slow flow rate, and how often it clogs. If you are used to taking water directly from the faucet then any water filter will feel slow. Actually, I found the flow rate is very competitive with this type of system. As for clogging, I can only assume these reviewers were using very dirty water. Not something this system is capable of. If your source water is dirty, you’ll need to consider a system with a pre-filter.
Overall – this is a fantastic system. It looks great, filters quickly, and can be used by either a large family in a kitchen or as a portable system.
Best for Taste
- Type: Countertop Gravity-Fed
- Filtration type: Ceramic, Remineralize & Far-Infrared
- Capacity: 4 gallons
- Flow Rate: Around 1 gallon/hour
- Ceramic filter life span: 1000 gallons
- Dimension: 13 x 13 x 22 inches
The Zen Water Vitality’s eight-stage ceramic water filter dispenser adds back minerals to produce healthy, great-tasting drinking water. We also found it to be well-designed. Perfect to sit on any kitchen countertop. It’s priced extremely well too.
The micro-ceramic filter pore size range from 0.2 to 0.9 micron. Which can trap sediment and other large debris. It also reduces chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and other contaminants.
The system has a four-gallon capacity and a flow rate of a gallon per hour. We found this was more than enough for a small family of four, re-filling once per day. Fill up in the evening before bed and you’ll have plenty of filtered drinking water for the following day.
The Zen Water uses a dome-shaped ceramic filter cartridge. This lasts for around 1000 gallons. This compares well to other similar filters. A regular family using the system for drinking water would need to change the filter around once per year.
This system produces clean, crisp tasting water. I’d guess this is due to the minerals that the filter adds back during the mineral sand filtration stage.
Filtered water can often start tasting stale after being stored for several days. The Zen Water still tastes great after almost a week. This is due to the Maifan Mineral Stones which also increase the alkalinity of the water too.
Some users have recently reported leaking spigots. But these have been replaced by the manufacturer’s excellent customer service in a couple of days. Others comment that the system is slow, but this is to be expected with this kind of water filtration system.
Not a fan of the stainless steel design of the AlexaPure? Or you’re looking to add back minerals for taste or health benefits? Then the Zen Water Countertop Filter is an excellent choice.
Best Undersink Ceramic Filter
- Type: Undercounter / Undersink
- Filtration type: Ceramic + KDF / GAC
- Flow Rate: 0.75 – 1 GPM (Gallon Per Minute)
- Filter life span: 12,000 gallons
- Dimension: 16 x 14.5 x 7 inches
The Crystal Clear is one of the few under-sink ceramic filters on the market. It made it to the top of our list as it’s fast, has a long filter lifespan, and connects directly to your normal drinking water supply.
The Crystal Clear Double Water Filter has two separate filter cartridges. A Doulton Syerasyl ceramic pre-filter and a KDF/GAC water filter cartridge. Together these candle filters remove sediment, chlorine, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and other common contaminants.
This is the fastest flow rate (1GPM) of all the ceramic water filter system models in this article. It means you can fill up a large drinking water jug in a few seconds compared to hours with some gravity-fed models.
These candle filters can treat 12000 gallons. This should last most households for around three years with regular maintenance. Make sure to regularly wash the ceramic filter candle to increase the time between replacement filters.
In taste tests, users reported a big improvement over both their regular unfiltered drinking water and bottled water. Several owners also said they preferred the Crystal Clear to their Brita water filter.
As an under-sink filter system, this model is a little more difficult to install than others. However, dozens of online reports say how helpful and effective the manufacturer’s customer service are.
With a basic understanding of plumbing and piping, most people should be able to install this themselves. If you’re not experienced, a reliable plumber will have the job finished in no more than two hours. To its
If you need an under-sink model. We highly recommend the Crystal Clear.
Best for Emergency Water Filtration
- Type: DIY Gravity Filter Kit
- Filtration type: 0.2 micron Ceramic Filter + Pre-filter sock
- Flow Rate: 0.5 gallons per hour
- Filter life span: 1000 gallons
- Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 5 inches
Every home should have a SHTFandGO Gravity Water Filter Kit in case of emergency. The kit allows you to make your own emergency ceramic water filter system if your regular water filter fails. Or for when your tap water supplier gives a ‘boil your water’ warning.
The SHTFandGO Gravity Water Filter Kit is great for an emergency drinking water situation as it’s so quick to put together. I’d estimate most people could do it within thirty minutes. And all you need is a couple of regular household tools and two food-grade water buckets.
It has a .2 micron silver-impregnated ceramic filter element. This will help to remove bacteria, giardia, cysts, and other pathogens at 99% efficiency. The silver acts as a ‘bacteria stack’ which means you get extra protection from bacteria.
In the event of an emergency, you may need to use surface water (although it is not recommended in normal times). So this DIY filter system also contains a Micron Sock pre-filter with a pore size of 10 microns. This will remove any large sediment or other debris before the main ceramic water filter does its job.
You’ll be able to filter over 1000 gallons before looking for replacement filters. There’s also an included scrubby for cleaning the filter. This is handy for maintenance and extending the water filter lifespan.
As with most gravity systems the water flow is quite slow. But in an emergency, I think you’d accept that.
This is considered one of the best ceramic water filters among the survival and preparation community. This is because the SHTFandGo filters have a very long shelf life so can be stockpiled for the future.
It’s also extremely cheap when compared to a countertop ceramic water filter like a Berkey or Zen. Although don’t forget you’ll need to buy a couple of extra buckets at around $10 each.
Best for Outdoor Vacations
- Type: Portable Gravity fed
- Filtration type: 0.9-micron ceramic candle
- Capacity: 4.2 gallons
- Flow Rate: Around 4.2 gallons/day
- Filter life span: 5000 gallons
- Dimensions: 12.6 x 16.5 x 12.8 inches
The Doulton water filter system is fantastic for outdoor use or on a camping trip. It’s lightweight, portable, and durable. So you can throw this in the back of your van without worrying about breaking it.
The system uses two Doulton Sterasyl filter candles. These remove suspended solids and pathogenic bacteria down to 0.9 microns.
Other portable water filtration systems have a small capacity and are only suitable for a single person. So I love that this water filter can produce over four gallons of drinking water per day. Enough for most small families.
A potential downside is that the lids of the buckets are very difficult to get on. And then also difficult to take off again. I assume this is to prevent leaks but it’s worth considering if you’re not feeling strong.
Overall the Doulton Household Gravity-Fed Water Filter is way cheaper than other better-looking branded alternatives.
So if you’re looking for a budget, no-fuss, system for your vacation this is the one we recommend.
Best Space Saver
- Type: Countertop faucet-connected
- Filtration type: Carbon-infused ceramic (0.3 – 0.6 microns)
- Flow Rate: 0.3 gallons per minute
- Ceramic Filter life span: 600 gallons
- Dimension: 13 x 13 x 22 inches
I’m a big fan of the AquaCera as it saves a ton of space, has a great design, and connects directly to the kitchen faucet.
Installation is super-easy. Just connect the diverter valve to your faucet. However, this isn’t compatible with pull-out faucets. So consider another option on this list if you have those.
The AquaCera HCP then sits next to your kitchen sink. So no need for regular filling like with gravity-fed systems.
At 0.3 gallons per minute, it’s pretty quick. Only the Crystal Clear under sink filter is faster! No long waits as with other systems.
It has a 10-inch Cermatix filter to which can remove contaminants including dirt, bacteria, cyst, chlorine, VOCs, and lead. This can be replaced with any other standard 10-inch filter candle.
When you do need to replace the filter (after 600 gallons), the process is extremely easy. Just remove the cover and twist in the replacement.
I also think the minimal white design makes this the best-looking water filter on this list.
A smaller negative is that the unit does tend to drip for several minutes after. This is only a minor annoyance to me but could be a big problem for others.
Go for the AquaCera if you want a separate faucet with a fast flow rate for your drinking water.
Best for hiking & survival
- Type: Portable Ceramic
- Filtration type: Ceramic + Activated Carbon
- Capacity: 2.5 Liters
- Flow Rate: 2 Liters Per Minute
- Filter life span: 500 gallons
- Dimension: 16 x 12 x 4 inches
This is a fantastic portable water system for hikers, climbers, and campers. It’s the kind of product that you hope you’ll never need. But for that one time when you do need it, it will save your life.
Once you’ve filled up with water, the filtering process is activated by pumping the water from your water source into your bottle.
If you found yourself stranded without water, all you’d need to do is drop the input hose into a stream or river. Then start pumping the water system into your bottle or other water storage receptacle.
The system has three filter levels. A ceramic pre-filter, a glass fiber filter, and activated carbon. Each level serves a different purpose but will leave you with odor and contaminant-free water.
I like that the input hose is a good length. This means you can use it to collect water from below you without needing to lean down over river banks or cliff edges. One downside is that it gets dirty and can clog up quite quickly. So you’ll need to take it apart and clean it regularly.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Ceramic Water Filters
Ceramic water filters are one of the oldest filtration types. And also some of the most well-studied. Here are the benefits and drawbacks.
- Made from natural materials
- Proven to reduce bacteria
- Doesn’t filter out minerals
- Accessible and easy to buy
- Long-life filters
- Easily cleaned
- Low costs
- Not as effective against viruses compare to other water filtration methods
- Gravity ceramic filters can have a slow flow rate
- Ceramic can break easily if dropped
- Doesn’t reduce TDS (total dissolved solids)
Everything You Need to Know When Buying A Ceramic Water Filter
Since John Doulton invented the first water filter, thousands of form factors and filter types have been developed for sale. This section will help you understand which kind of ceramic water filtration system (also known as a porcelain water filter) is best for you.
Ceramic Water Filter Form Factors
Where, when, and how do you expect to be using your ceramic water filter?
Here are the main types explained.
Countertop Gravity-Fed Ceramic Filter System
Choose a countertop unit if you are planning to use your ceramic water filter for your drinking water every day.
Most models don’t take up much space. And if you place one close to your kitchen sink, you’ll be able to quickly fill up the tank.
Our favorite countertop gravity-fed filter is the Alexa Pure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System.
Countertop Faucet-Connected Ceramic Water Filter
If you’re lacking in space then this is a good option. Faucet-connected filters sit right next to your sink and are usually very small.
Large families may prefer a kitchen faucet-connected water filter as you don’t need to fill them up.
Installation requires the use of some tools and may be too difficult for some. Those less skilled at home improvement may want to consider a standalone countertop gravity-fed ceramic water filter instead.
Portable Ceramic Filter System
These gravity water filter systems usually look less attractive than the countertop models. This is because they are designed for portability and taking with you on outdoor vacations.
Portable ceramic filters are usually two buckets or boxes stacked on top of each other. As they’re so simple and durable, this kind of filter system is great for camping or road trips.
Undercounter Ceramic Filters
These filters save space as they slot right under the kitchen sink. This is also great if, like me, you prefer to keep your countertops clear of clutter.
An under-counter ceramic filter will require some installation. So make sure you know what you’re doing and have the right tools.
Outdoor / Survival Ceramic Water Filters
These are extremely popular with hikers and mountain climbers. They’re light and compact, and often feature a strap or handle so that they’re easy to carry.
Portable filters like these could get you out of a sticky situation, or even save your life!
Ceramic Filter Types Explained
Ceramic filters come in various shapes and sizes. But mostly, they all do the same thing. If you’re buying a replacement ceramic filter you need to make sure it is compatible with your system.
Ceramic Filter Candles
These are long thin filter candles that range from around 7 – 10 inches in length.
A 7-inch ceramic filter candle can have a lifespan of around 3000 gallons. Whereas the 10-inch candle filter cartridges can have lifespans of up to 5000 gallons or more.
You may notice that some candle-type filters are white and some are black. Black ceramic filters usually have activated carbon impregnated into the surface. These are better at removing lead and other heavy metals.
Ceramic Dome Water Filters
These are very common for countertop filters and emergency systems as they’re small and compact. They usually filter from 0.2 – 0.5 microns.
Silver Impregnated Ceramic Water Filters
You’ll find both dome and candlestick ceramic filters with silver impregnated into the surface.
The silver stops bacteria from replicating.
Activated Carbon Ceramic Filters
Activated carbon is either inside the filter or impregnated into the ceramic surface. Charcoal is very porous and can capture lead, pesticides, and heavy metals.
A pre-filter sock slides over the top of a ceramic water filter. These are particularly useful when you are using surface water (from lakes, rivers, etc.).
A sock will help to remove any large particles and contaminants before the water passes through the filter.
How Many Microns Should A Ceramic Water Filter Be?
Generally speaking the lower the micron rating the better your drinking water will be filtered. We recommend 0.2-micron filters for the best quality.
A 0.2-micron filter should remove at least 95% of contaminants that are 0.2 microns or bigger. This includes water contaminants like sediment, grit, cysts, and bacteria.
Depending on the model you choose, a ceramic water filter can be a big investment. And if you plan to use it for your everyday drinking water, it’s worth buying quality.
We found that the Alexa Pure Pro is the best system for most people.
The Alexa Pure Pro is made by one of the most well-known and trusted manufacturers. it looks great in the kitchen and is perfect for average to large-sized families. It’s also a good choice as a portable system.
Some people have specific needs like needing an under-sink model, or a water filter for emergencies. If you fall into one of these categories, scroll back up and read the relevant review for your situation.