16 Easy Homemade Water Filter Ideas
Whether you’re looking to live off grid, go camping, or just plain don’t want to spend a fortune on an expensive water filtration system, you should consider making one of your own.
You can use a variety of materials to make them, from buckets to 2-liter soda bottles, and use a wide range of filtration materials.
Each of the tutorials below is easy to follow and inexpensive to make. Some are even great for making with the kids while you’re stuck at home for most of the time during these crazy quarantine times.
Berkey Homemade Water Filter
This tutorial takes you through the easy steps of building a Berkey-style homemade water filter. Ultimately, the brand products are containers to hold the purification elements – and this homemade version is spot on, save on the seal between the top and bottom chambers.
To make this filter, you’ll need some food grade buckets for this practical, emergency system. You’ll also need a spigot, and some purification elements. The designer for this simple option specifically recommends getting the Black Berkey Purification Elements.
The link provides you with the steps of how to make, as well as a PDF with the instructions for easy printing. It’s a great option for keeping the supplies and instructions together with your emergency supplies.
Plastic Bottle Water Filter
Here’s another simple, much smaller water filter system you can make at home. It’s a lot smaller than the Berkey system, and costs even less, so it’s a great one to keep on hand in your cabinet for filtering your city drinking water or well water.
The supplies are already probably all on hand and putting it together is super easy. The instructions are easy to follow, and as always, Wikihow provides you with plenty of images and comments to help guide you through the process.
2-Liter Bottle Filter
For a thorough but easy water filter made from supplies you probably already on hand, this handy little water filter is a great option. You need a 2-liter bottle like you’d get soda in, some gravel, fine or coarse sand, cotton, coffee filters, and 2 rubber bands.
Putting this filter together is pretty easy and won’t require a lot of time or materials. You can probably even do this project with your kids. The tutorial is easy to follow and provides photos to help make sure you know what you’re doing.
DIY Bio Sand Drinking Water Filter
If you’re more of a visual learner, you’ll want to check out this DIY water filter system in video form on Youtube. It uses bio-sand to filter your water to give you lovely, pure drinking water. The narrator of the video explains how the low-tech, easy-to-build system works.
The filter uses sand and gravel to filter. All the other materials are simple and inexpensive as well. The video is pretty fun, too, so the kids might enjoy doing this as a project during the lock downs. It’s very easy to copy.
DIY 2-Stage Home Filter
Here’s another filter you can learn to make from a video. This is a two-stage filter made from very easy to come by materials. Admittedly, the video doesn’t explain a lot, but it’s easy to understand anyway. Just about anyone can make it.
This filter uses carbon filtration and distillation. It’s a heated water purification form. According to the introduction, it will filter out 99.99% of impurities. It doesn’t need electricity, either. Plus, you’ll have drinkable water in under a minute.
This is great for emergency situations or when you’re out camping.
Tree Branch Water Filter
We thought this was an interesting filtration system. It’s a super low-tech option that’s actually made out of a tree branch. It will filter through four liters of water a day and removes dangerous contaminants like 99% of E. coli bacteria and produces the fresh drinking water.
The filter was created by a team at MIT, uses a small piece of sapwood. It contains xylem tissue that transports the sap through the tree.
The materials make this a great option for rural communities with an abundance of trees and less of the pure water. It’s low-cost and efficient.
Via Energy Seek
Bucket Style Water Filter
If you like the idea of using food grade buckets for a water filter system, you can easily make this one for way less than systems you’d find available online or at the store. In fact, the creator says they spent only $30 building the whole thing.
The tutorial gives on ideas on where to find the buckets (without paying for them), the right kind of spigot kit you might want to snag, and how to build the filtration system to provide your family with clean drinking water.
Diatomaceous Earth DIY Water Filtration System
Here’s another easy-to-make water filter plan. It uses diatomaceous earth, a clear plastic bottle, and some other reasonably easy to come by supplies, including a coffee filter and non-toxic glue.
The instructions are easy to follow for anyone. It could make for a fun project for the kids, both to make it and to watch it working. It has the fine grain sand layer and a charcoal layer to provide thorough filtration. The various stages of construction provide multiple stages of filtration.
The filter is suitable for using in a range of situations, including and especially at your home turning city water into something more drinkable. The filtration gets rid of chemicals and debris.
A Filter For the Future – Award Winning Student Project
Of all the filters, this is probably the most unique and creative we came across. It was designed by a student as a “futuristic” design for student contest. Just by looking at the photos of the project, you can see why the project won. It’s really quite amazing.
The project can filter gallons of water at a time instead of ounces like most of the other homemade filter systems. So, if you want to build a water filter that works for the whole family, this is truly a great option. It’s also kind of pretty and definitely interesting looking, so you won’t mind keeping it around.
The story behind the project is interesting as well, with views of nationality and citizenship through a fictional storyline in which water has become a privatized industry. For an interesting read while you prep your project, read about the creative ingenuity of the student who designed the whole thing.
If you’re into camping or are looking to live off the grid, this budget-friendly DIY water purification system is a really great option. It provides you with potable water at a price just about anyone can afford.
This project takes raw water and processes it so that it’s safely consumable by humans – drinking, cooking, and bathing.
This particular design can be modified, too, by installing multiple filters to rid water of a variety of contaminants. Ideally, have your water tested before using this purification system so that you know exactly what contaminants you need to dispose of from your water. It will be expensive, but completely worth it.
Via Water Purifier
Off-Grid Water Filter
This is a short video about making a water purifier for your off-the-grid lifestyle. It’s a completely “human powered” pump option (meaning no electricity, so an actual green filter option for your home!), and it’s easy to build.
The video isn’t the most in-depth thing you’ll ever watch, certainly, but it’s easy to follow along and figure out how to apply the methods to making the filtration system.
4-Stage Homemade Water Filter
Here’s another video tutorial for making a homemade water filtration system. It works basically the same way that a countertop or pitcher purification system does, engaging gravity as the water moves downward to power the filtration.
The top layer removes the largest particles in the water – such as gravel and large debris – as well as larger particle contaminants. The lowest level of filtration, the coffee filter layer, finishes off the rest of the process by grabbing onto the less visible particles and keeping them from getting into your drinking water.
The tutorial is pretty thorough on the process as well as why each stage is important and what and how it does its work.
Whole House Water Filtration System
If you need to filter the water in your entire home, this plan is a great option. It will save you some money while providing you with clear, pure drinking water.
The tutorial article gives a thorough description of every step of the process as well as what you’ll need to build the filtration system. The steps include getting your water tested first, the components you’ll need to make, the supplies you’ll need to build it, and how to put it all together.
Water Filtration Project for Kids
While we’re living in this crazy world filled with quarantines and problems that are keeping us home, you might want to make this water filter project with your kids at home. They’ll not only be kept occupied with an interesting project, but they’re learn some very interesting things.
You’ll need some very easy to come by supplies – a cardboard box, bowls, water, dirt, and wool yarn – and a printout of the instructions for the kids to follow along.
We’d recommend doing the project step-by-step, explaining what each part of the project does. Set up everything on a large table you won’t need to use for a while and start work on the project. It will take a bit before the kids see results, but once they do, it’s pretty fascinating, even for grownups.
Via How Stuff Works
Tuna Can Water Filter
Once you’ve eaten some tuna from the cans, you can make this interesting DIY water filter. It’s easy to build and it helps to keep tuna cans out of the landfill. And if you have one of those can openers that dulls the edges once you cut, the kids could even help build this fun little filter.
It’s a very easy to build option, and perfect for hiking and camping. You’ll find easy to follow instructions on Youtube. Just gather up the supplies first and follow along.
$5 No Carbon Emergency Filter
This final option is a small, easy option that won’t cost you more than about $5 to build. It doesn’t require any carbon, either, which is great for folks on a tight budget and needing something creative. In fact, it was originally designed for use at a Rhino refugee camp in Northern Uganda.
The filter uses gravel, sand, charcoal, and buckets. The video is both interesting to watch and easy to follow along with how to make the filter. The water starts out murky and comes out clean. It’s truly a wonderful option for using where water just isn’t clean.
Easy to Make Water Filters
No matter your budget or your needs, there are many options for how to build a water filter at home. In fact, these homemade water filters are often better than the ones you could buy at the store, and decidedly less expensive.
We’d recommend you watch the various videos and read the tutorials thoroughly to determine which option is best for you.