AquaRain Water Filter Review – Worth Your Money?
If you’re looking at ways to get clean, clear, great-tasting water without installing an under-sink or whole-home system, you will probably be looking toward AquaRain and its competitors.
The AquaRain water filtration system is gravity-driven, meaning it does not need plumbing or electricity to give you clean, clear water. But does this gravity water filter actually work?
In this AquaRain water filter review, we’ve done the research, and we’re going to break down what the AquaRain does, how it does it, and how well it does it. This way, you can figure out whether or not you want to spend your hard-earned money on it.
AquaRain is a Schell City, Missouri company that opened its doors in 1998. Since then, they have put a few gravity-driven water filtration systems on the market, but the ones that are available at the time of publication are the AquaRain 303 and 303 plus.
The difference between the two models is the inclusion of the sight faucet upgrade, which allows you to see the water level in the lower chamber of your filtration unit.
What Does The AquaRain Do?
The AquaRain gravity water filter removes all sorts of harmful contaminants from your water so you can rest assured that the water you are ingesting is clean and clear, even if drawn from a lake or river, or an unknown source during an emergency.
It is meant to be a countertop filter home unit or used for camping or for disaster preparedness.
Here are the specs on the AquaRain gravity water filter:
- Weight 13 lbs
- 75” x 9.75” x 22”
- 3-gallon capacity
- Water filter life of up to 10,000 gallons
- Filters up to 0.5 gallons per hour
- Heavy-gauge stainless steel housing
- Easy assembly
- Includes cleaning pad and end of life gauge
Why Are The Filters So Good?
The filters make this system what it is. Without any chemicals or plumbing, the natural force of gravity is used to pull water through the ceramic-shelled, granular activated carbon filters.
Also, it doesn’t require any batteries or electricity to operate. So, if you are a camping enthusiast, or live in an area where you may need to shelter, it could be a good choice for you for clean drinking water.
Water is drawn down through the submicron cultured ceramic filter, which removes dangerous organisms such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Salmonella, and Typhimurium.
The water then travels through a concentrated bed of granulated activated carbon which removes chemicals such as pesticides and carcinogens like chlorine compounds while improving the odor and taste of the water.
The carbon bed contains self-sterilizing silver, which prevents bacterial growth in your water filter. The flow rate is going to depend entirely on the quality of water you are filtering. The more brackish the water, the slower it will move through the filtration system.
These filters are meant to be cleaned and reused up to 100 times. When you purchase an AquaRain 303 or AquaRain 303 plus, you will receive a filter scrubbing pad as well as an end-of-life gauge for the filter.
With each cleaning, the filter reduces in size somewhat, and it is important to know when you need to purchase a replacement. If the gauge fits around the filter, it is time to purchase a replacement.
Clean, drinkable water filters into the bottom chamber, where there is a spigot to dispense the water.
With the add-on of the sight glass faucet, you will be able to see when your water level is getting low and you need to top-up, which is important because it does take some time for the water to filter through to the bottom chamber, especially if it is particularly silty or has other, larger particles in it.
Here are some specs on the filters:
- Filter life is up to 10,000 depending on the quality of water filtered
- Filters up to 0.5 gallons per hour
- Filters are 8” x 2” each
- Comes with three filters, and instructions on how to block off remaining holes to use one filter only.
- Each filter can be cleaned and reused up to 100 times
- After 100 gallons you will need a fluoride add-on if you want to continue filtering fluoride out of your water
- Leaves healthy electrolytes and minerals in the water
- Removes chemicals and dangerous organisms
- Self-sterilizing silver in granulated carbon core prevents bacterial growth
As with any other purchase that is expensive and/or that you are going to be relying on, it is best to read the fine print. AquaRain’s warranty is pretty straightforward. They offer a three-year limited warranty on the system in its entirety, provided it is not used improperly. That being said, there have been varying reviews of AquaRain’s customer service.
The most common customer complaint is that the lower chamber splits spontaneously, and while some customers have reported a positive experience with customer service, others have said that their experience has been much less satisfactory, with customer service representatives saying everything from “that’s a very uncommon problem” to denying any knowledge of recorded purchases or refunds.
Okay, But Should I Buy An AquaRain?
A gravity filter can do its job very well, and there are many, many different brands on the market. In this section we’re going to discuss some of the pros and cons of the AquaRain model, and look at some customer reviews, so you can get a good idea of what others’ experiences have been with this product.
- Super sanitary stainless steel body is press-formed without seams or welds
- Meets NSF standards
- Meets requirements of USEPA Cyst and Bacteria water purifier
- Comes with an end-of-life filter gauge as well as a scrubbing pad
- Filters can be cleaned up to 100 times before end of life
- Filter life of up to 10,000 gallons
- Filters 0.5 gallons per hour
- Approximate cost per gallon $0.012
- Has a manufacturing fault that sometimes causes the lower chamber to split
- Spotty customer service, some good reviews, some bad
- More expensive than similar products
- Heavier than similar products
It’s always good to reserve judgment a little bit when reading reviews because you never know what the exact circumstances are if the product has been stored or used improperly, for instance.
Many of the positive reviews AquaRain has received on Amazon.com include kudos for this proudly all-American small business, specifically because they are that: a proudly all-American small business. Even though that may be a selling point, it does not mean that they are a superior brand.
The reason we want to give an overview of reviews is to show you what you can expect from your purchase if you do decide to go with the AquaRain model.
- One reviewer stated that the AquaRain provides the “sweetest water on earth!” This reviewer has well water and uses his AquaRain as an at-home filter.
- Another reviewer states that he filters about two gallons per day, and uses it for cooking and drinking water and that he has had it for 8 years and is just now needing to replace the filters
- Another reviewer used her AquaRain system after a strong storm left her tap water brown and cloudy. She said that the water came out clean and great-tasting after filtering. She also packed it into her car to take with her across the state, and she said that reassembly was fast and simple, and the system worked just as well everywhere she went.
- Yet another reviewer has had his unit for 12 years and has not needed to do any upkeep on it other than cleaning his filters twice. He is still using the original filters
- Three different one-star reviews on Amazon.com state that the bottom of the container split, and with a quick google search the customers found that this is a common occurrence. All three of these reviewers state that their experience with AquaRain customer service was less than satisfactory, with the customer service representative stating that the splitting was a very uncommon problem and offering no refund.
- One two-star reviewer actually heard a metallic “twang” and saw his AquaRain move about an inch. When he investigated, he saw a split about an inch long in the lower chamber. He was able to provide a receipt and was able to obtain another lower chamber, as it was still under warranty.
Basically, all the negative reviews come from the splitting of the lower chamber. Additionally, there are some reviews that state that customer service is denying that this is an issue, while others state that they had no problem getting a replacement.
The AquaRain 303 seems to be a solid choice, whether you intend to use it as a countertop filtration system, for disaster preparedness, or for camping. The filters seem to have a very long life, and most customers report positive results with their water.
What is AquaRain’s filtration speed?
The AquaRain 303 can filter up to one gallon per hour, according to AquaRain, but most literature suggests half a gallon per hour. AquaRain advises that in order to reach this maximum filtration rate, the filters need to be fully wetted with relatively clean and clear water. They recommend keeping the upper vessel full until maximum filtration speed has been met by refilling every 15 to 20 minutes.
How long do the filters last?
There have been varying accounts of how long the filters last, and it really matters what kind of water you are filtering. The official word from AquaRain is that the filters can be cleaned over 200 times if care is taken while cleaning. The carbon interior is manufactured to outlast the ceramic shell, but AquaRain does state that there are certain water sources that could exhaust the interior of the filter. If the filter life gauge fits around the filter, it is time to replace it.
How do I clean the filters?
This is directly from the AquaRain site: “The ceramic elements are very easy to clean. You simply remove them from the upper container, and while holding the threaded end of the filter upright, brush lightly downward toward the end cap. After you have lightly cleaned the surface, simply rinse and reinstall the element . Occasionally it will be necessary to lightly abrade the surface with the supplied green pad to restore full flow rate, perhaps after 3 to 5 brush cleanings.”
Can the system be stored?
The system can be stored as long as all the components are completely air-dried. The lower container is designed to fit into the upper container in order to save space during storage.
How big is the AquaRain?
The AquaRain is about 22” high and 9.75” in diameter. It weighs about 13 pounds and has a 3-gallon capacity.
Can the AquaRain filter saltwater?
The AquaRain is not designed to remove minerals such as salt from water. It leaves healthy minerals such as calcium and magnesium in your water if they are present in the unfiltered form.
Can the AquaRain filter fluoride?
The AquaRain will need a fluoride filter add-on if you would like to filter fluoride from your water.
Does the AquaRain soften water?
The AquaRain does not soften hard water, as there is no ion-exchange, it simply removes unhealthy contaminants from the water through its gravity filter.
Can the AquaRain be used for both municipal and well water?
Yes, the filter is designed to be used with many different water sources, including both municipal and well water.
River, lake, pond, and stream water are all acceptable water sources, and the AquaRain literature advises that in emergency situations, even swimming pool water is an acceptable source. They advise against using water sources that are near agricultural run-off sites, as these sources may be high in salinity and that will interrupt the flow rate of your filter.