Like lakhs of urban Indians, do you use RO water purifiers?
If you do, then are you:
Tired of routine visits every 3 months by the service guys for some reason or the other?
Tired of burning a hole in your pocket over electricity costs?
What if there was a cheaper alternative to RO filters, that provided safe drinking water just as well?
What if you could save upto 7,000 Rs by reading this article and making a smarter decision?
Interested? Then read on.
Table of Contents
Best Non-Electric Water Purifiers In India
- #1 Tata Swach Cristella
- #2 HUL Pureit Classic
- #3 Tata Swach Silver Boost
Let’s get this out of the way first:
The degree to which RO removes contaminants cannot be replicated using a gravity filter. Using a RO is unnecessary in most situations. In fact, RO purifiers even remove essential minerals and make the water acidic as a by-effect of the process.
You can get safe, healthy drinking water using gravity water filters, just as easily. This list contains only those gravity water purifiers that kill ALL water borne contaminants. These are viruses, bacteria, cysts and protozoa. We have consciously excluded other gravity filters that do not do the same
This is not to say that RO purifiers are bad. In fact, it’s time to address those two issues we mentioned earlier. You should not buy a gravity filter if:
- The TDS or Total Dissolved Salt level in your water supply is high (less than 500 mg/L)
- Heavy metals such as lead, iron, mercury, etc are present in your water supply.
If you are unsure whether your water supply is hard, you can check using a TDS meter. They’re quite cheap and worth the investment. You can make an informed decision on what type of water purifier to buy. If the TDS level is more than 500 mg/L, go for an RO purifier. Otherwise you can save yourself some money and go for one of our recommendations below.
Gravity filters basically have a physical membrane that obstructs bacteria, protozoa, and viruses from passing through. Depending on the pore size of the filter, it may or may not filter out all of the above mentioned water contaminants.
We also have a special technology filter recommendation called HUL Pureit Classic that purifies using chlorine.
Now, without further ado, here are our recommendations on the best non electric water purifiers in India:
- Conveniently built, all parts can be washed separately and sun dried, unlike some other purifiers like Pureit.
- Dummy proof design, just follow the color labelling on the water filter to fill water accordingly.
- Effectively removes viruses, bacteria, protozoa and cysts from water.
- Spare Swach filter bulbs(free mesh included) available online on the Tata Swach website and Amazon as well.
- Not the most well built product, doesn’t have a pleasing finish. Of course, this is a subjective metric and some users may not feel the same way. It just depends on what you’re looking for.
- Tata Swach top mesh spare part not available online. You would have to buy through the Tata service team.
Tata Swach Cristella is the second iteration of a gravity filter built by Tata Research, Development and Design Centre(TRDDC). The first one, called Sujal, was launched in the wake of the 2004 Tsunami. The filter membrane was made up using rice husk ash(by heating rice husk with pebbles and cement). The result was an imperfect filter though, which could filter out particulate matter, and remove color and odor, but couldn’t kill bacteria and viruses which are smaller in size. Tata Swach Cristella overcomes that issue as well.
Tata Swach consists of an upper and lower chamber. The impure water is poured into the upper chamber, which passes through a micro-mesh which removes visible particulate matter and then the Tata Swach filter bulb following which, the purified water filters out into the lower chamber.
The upper and lower chamber have a capacity of 9 L each. The manufacturers have water level indicator for understanding the amount of water you should pour into the filter.
Lower chamber has 3 colors in the following order-red, yellow and blue. Upper chamber has them in reverse order. Look at the color of the indicator level in the lower chamber and fill upper chamber to corresponding color to avoid overflow.
If you add more water, the container will simply start leaking/ overflowing. This is not a product defect, just that water should not be added more than capacity.
What is Tata Swach Bulb and how to use it?
Tata Swach Bulb is made using proprietary TSRF technology. It is formulated using rice husk ash impregnated with silver nano-particles. The rice husk ash contains activated silica and carbon. According to this article at Centre for Science and Environment, Activated silica reduces turbidity in water and carbon removes non-polar compounds, such as pesticides and fertilizers. The silver nano-particles inhibit bacteria, protozoa, cysts and virus growth.
The bulb also has a red life indicator fuse that indicates it how long you can use the bulb for. In the image above the fuse is the small white cylinder sandwiched between two red ones. As the filter is used, you will notice the white part being eaten up slowly by the red fuse parts until the fuse turns entirely red. This means that the filter needs to be changed.
Tata Swach Bulb also has an inbuilt auto shut off mechanism wherein the filter shuts off automatically when the bulb’s life is finished. This means that if your Tata Swach fuse turns completely red, your filter will stop working, and even if you pour water into the upper chamber, it will not pass into the lower chamber.
The bulb also contains a detachable micro mesh at the bottom for further filtering out any remaining impurities.
The filter takes about an hour to purify 4-5 L of water.
- Change the bulb in either of the following conditions, whichever comes first:
- When the in built fuse indicator turns fully red.
- When the filter has been used for purifying ~3000L(stated lifetime by Tata)
- After ~6 months usage for a family of five(irrespective of the status of the fuse)
- Advisable to change upper mesh and microfilter along with the bulb.
- Advisable to keep a spare upper mesh, microfilter and bulb at home.
- Whenever you notice them getting dirty, wash upper and lower mesh under running water or scrub with a clean toothbrush.
- Multiple users online claim spare parts not available in retail outlets as claimed. However, they are easily available online(we checked Amazon and the Tata Swach website). Best to get a spare Tata Swach bulb and mesh online from Amazon or the Tata Swach site.(The mesh comes free alongside the Bulb!)
- The Swach filter bulb may get clogged due to air particles being trapped inside it, due to which the filter won’t work. This happens during usage and is a normal occurrence. A simple procedure to solve this issue is to use a bellow, for backflushing the air out of the bulb. Exact instructions are laid out on page 22 of the user manual.
If you like the Cristella but feel it is too big for your needs, you could look at the Tata Swach Smart. Same technology and filtration but in a smaller body, having a total water filter capacity of 15 L (Has a purified water capacity of 7.5 L)
We really like this one. It’s the sleekest, most modern looking gravity water purifier in our lineup. And it’s got a proprietary purification technology called Germkill that’s much different than the conventional gravity water filters! In fact, it’s not exactly a gravity filter. We’ll call it a hybrid gravity-chemical filter.
- Very sleek design and sturdy build.
- Kills viruses, bacteria, cysts and protozoa.
- Is the only manufacturer to put up it’s certification data online! Major points to them for transparency!
- Easy maintenance. Spare Germkill kits and pre-filter microfiber mesh available on Pureit website as well as on Amazon.
- The actual technology behind the product is not very intuitive. Even after 2 hours of online research I could barely find much information from HUL about their proprietary Germkill Kit.
The Pureit Classic consists basically consists of a four stage filtration system.
Stage 1: A microfiber mesh that removes all the visible dirt particles such as mud, sand, silt, etc.
Stage 2: An activated carbon ‘trap’ filter that removes pesticides, organic chemicals as well as parasites.
Stage 3: A programmed Germkill processor that chlorinates the water.
Stage 4: Another carbon filter called ‘Polisher’ to remove chlorine and odor from the water.
In case you need spares, the last 3 purification stages are sold together in a single Germkill Kit and the microfiber mesh is sold standalone.
On the exterior body, it has a Germkill indicator attached, that works similar to the Tata Swach fuse, by showing a red indicator of the filter’s expected life. Once the indicator is fully red, the filter automatically shuts off and stops working. At this point, the Germkill kit should be replaced.
After the tap water passes through the microfiber mesh and activated carbon ‘trap'( that’s the terminology used by HUL) filter, all sediments and pesticides, organic chemicals, parasites(cysts and protozoa) are removed.
Next, the Germkill processor gradually releases chlorine into the water. This stage is supposed to kill all the viruses and bacteria.
In the final stage, another activated carbon filter called the ‘Polisher’ is used to remove the chlorine from water and improve taste and odor.
Same as any other filter in this lineup. Pour in your tap water into the upper chamber and filtered water will collect in the lower chamber.
Some user reviews say that the water tastes like chlorine for the first few uses, but starts tasting normal after that.
HUL officially recommends filtering water in the container once and throwing it away before starting normal usage, but if you’re concerned about the chlorine, you should do this at least 2-3 times before drinking from it.
It has a total 14L capacity. Upper chamber can hold 5L and lower chamber can hold 9L. This makes the filter well placed to be used by a small family of 4-5 people.
Pureit claims that you can fill the 9L lower chamber to capacity in 1.5-2 hrs. It depends on the how dirty your tap water is basically. The more contaminants there are, the longer it’ll take to filter. But it should not take longer than that.
Here’s what the test report by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says how well Pureit works:
- 99.9999%(log 6) bacteria removal
- 99.99%(log 4) virus removal
- 99.9%(log 3) cysts and protozoa removal
These are amazing filtration rates and they have the certification data online to back it up. Some of the institutes from which they have certificates are:
- London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
- Apollo Hospitals Chennai
- National Environmental Research Engg Institute
- Central Food Technological Research Institute
There are about 15-20 more institutes from which they’ve got their testing done, as well.
All the parts can be disassembled and washed. If you have slight hard water in your area, you may notice some scaling along the insides of the purifier body, but simply washing it will take care of the scaling.
Do not use soap or any sharp object while cleaning the filters. You can backflush the activated carbon filters (polisher and carbon trap) by using a bellow.( Refer to page 18 of the Pureit Classic manual)
Our aim is to provide information on the most comprehensive water filtration products in the market. Any filter that does not filter out ALL pathogens(virus, bacteria, cysts and protozoa) would not have been featured as prominently.
We recommend this product because it takes care of all the pathogens across different filtration stages.
Activated carbon removes cysts and protozoa. This is crucial because the Germkill purifier that uses chlorine cannot kill cysts and protozoa(chlorine is ineffective against their hard shells).
Chlorine, however is great at removing virus and bacteria, as is further elaborated by this article on the Centers for Disease Control and Protection site.
Finally, the final activated carbon filter stage (termed the Polisher) clears out the chlorine and gives tasty, odor free, pure water.
This product has a whopping 27 L of overall water storage capacity. This means that it has a capacity to store 14 L of purified water in the lower chamber and 13 L of un-purified water in the upper chamber. Add to that Tata’s proprietary Silver nanotechnology filtration and the product is a winner!
- Filters out viruses, bacteria, cysts and protozoa.
- Sturdy plastic body, well built.
- Added Microfilter membrane filtration stage.
- Top mesh and Microfilter membrane not available online. Many user complaints of these not being available in retail outlets as well.Tata has made it really hard to maintain this product.
Same as Cristella, the impure water is poured into the upper chamber, which passes through a 3 stage filtration process enters the lower chamber as purified water.
While the absolute capacity of upper and lower chambers is 13 L and 14 L respectively, it is advisable to not fill the upper chamber further when the lower chamber is full to the brim as this may cause leakages.
The filter body is made of sturdy plastic, which we really liked. On the inside, it has the following filtration stages:
- A micro-mesh which removes visible particulate matter.
- Tata Swach filter bulb made using proprietary TSRF silver nanotechnology
- Microfilter membrane
The only addition over the Cristella is the additional microfilter membrane stage which adds a reassurance factor that the water purifier will still filter out bacteria, cysts and protozoa(but not viruses!) if the Swach bulb fails for some reason.
The filter takes about an hour to purify 4-5 L of water.
Same as Tata Swach Cristella
Firstly, it is best to get a spare Tata Swach Bulb , mesh and microfilter membrane from the Tata Swach service team in advance as for this particular Swach model, spares are not easily available online (We checked Amazon and the Tata Swach website). While the bulb is easily available, the mesh included with it is meant for the smaller versions like Cristella and does not fit this product. We could not find the microfilter membrane anywhere online as well
Second, the Swach filter bulb may get clogged due to air particles being trapped inside it, due to which the filter won’t work. This happens during regular usage. You can solve this is 2 minutes by backflushing the air out of the bulb. Exact instructions are laid out on page 22 of the Tata Swach Silver Boost user manual.
Third, similar instructions are to be followed for backflushing the microfilter as well if you notice that water is still not flowing out. You can check the instructions for the microfilter in the Silver Boost user manual as well.
#1 Most of the negative reviews online are about leakage issues in these products. It doesn’t seem plausible at all that so many brands will have such a high no. of defective pieces in the market.
- The issue seems to be due to over-filling the container. While the total capacity of the container might be x litres, it’s capacity of holding pure water will be lesser than x. Hence once the pure water level is up to it’s capacity, filling the container up with more water will cause leakages.
#2 When you assemble the gravity filter, fill the upper chamber to full capacity and let the water purify and trickle down to the lower chamber. Now, drain it completely. You can now use the filter for drinking. You may notice some odor, smell in the first few times you filter water, but this will go after filtering water a few times.
#3 The expected life of these gravity water filter membranes is dependent on the water quality in your area. It will be roughly as per what is claimed by their manufacturers but not exactly same.
#4 Installing these filters is extremely easy. Do-It-Yourself instructions are included in their user manuals as well.
That’s it in our roundup of the Best Non Electric Water Purifiers in India. Hope you enjoyed this guide(It took me ~20 hours of writing and editing to complete this!)
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