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How to Make a Ceramic Water Filter? – DIY in 5 Easy Steps

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

how to make a ceramic water filter

Ceramic filters are one of the most sought-after domestic filtration systems today because they are economical and inexpensive compared to other filtration systems. These filters use a media that allows water to penetrate through many tiny pore openings and remove turbidity and microbial contaminants.

Learning how to make a ceramic water filter may seem like an intimidating task, but this tutorial will help you get your DIY ceramic water filter project off to a great start. Scroll down and discover how you can turn a simple bucket into a homemade water filter today!

Table of Contents

What Will You Need in This Tutorial


For starters, you need to know the fundamental components of a ceramic filtration system: the filter cartridge and the vessel/housing that will encapsulate it. We can use ceramic filters in various applications at home; they can be gravity-fed, countertop, or under-sink.

But today, I will be teaching you how to create your own DIY gravity water filter. As the name suggests, this filter uses the force of gravity to push down water as it filters it. This ceramic filtration system consists of two chambers: the upper chamber and the lower chamber.

The upper chamber stores the contaminated water, and the lower chamber contains the already-filtered water. If you’re a beginner DIYer, this project may seem like a lot of work, but don’t overwhelm yourself because it’s easier than you think. You can do this in under 30 minutes with the minimum materials :

1. Food-Grade Buckets


There is no need to spend loads of money to buy special pieces of equipment; you would only need two large food-grade buckets with lids. These supplies will serve as the storage receptacle of the water.

It’s like building a DIY Berkey water filter, but the difference is that you’re improvising an eco-friendly filter out of the buckets. You can purchase them from grocery stores, home improvement retail shops, or any local food markets.

How do you know if a bucket is food-grade? Typically, most buckets have a “food safe” or “food-grade” tag, so it will be easier for you to tell if it’s safe in one look. You can also see a cup and fork symbol, which depicts that the bucket is safe for food storage.

Another way is to look for the label that indicates the plastic material used to manufacture it. The best food bucket I recommend is HDPE, code #2. HDPE stands for high-density polyethylene.

The Food and Drug Administration approves the use of HDPE for food contact. They are also safe for potable water applications because they are BPA-free. Plus, their resins have excellent resistance to corrosion and exhibit low water/moisture absorption.

Other FDA-compliant food-grade plastics include the following: Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET-PETE (Code 1); Polyvinyl Chloride, PVC (Code 3); Low-density Polyethylene, LDPE (Code 4); Polypropylene, PP (Code 5); and Polystyrene, PS (Code 6).

The digit stamped between a triangle of arrows determines the recycling number. Generally, #1, #2, #4 and #5 are considered relatively food safe.

2. Ceramic Filter Cartridge


The ceramic filtration system isn’t complete without the filter itself. There are two common types of ceramic filters available in the market: candle and dome.

Both filters usually have 0.2 microns, making them effective killers of protozoa and bacteria from water. I prefer using ceramic candles because, given the size, dome filters are well-suited for countertop applications.

3. Spigot


You would need one plastic water dispenser spigot to give you access to treated water. You can easily install it onto the lower bucket after drilling a hole from the outside. Make sure to look for a BPA-free spigot with a food-grade label to ensure safe drinking water.

4. Drill and bits


Prepare the drill and bits to kick-start the construction of your DIY ceramic filter. You should use a drill with ½ inch and 3/8-inch drill bits. This combo kit will help you create a hole in the thick walls of the bucket effortlessly.

5. Cheesecloth

This item is optional, but I highly suggest using a Cheesecloth to filter out large debris and other suspended solids. This cloth is similar to pre-filter socks used to case the dome filters for the same purpose. You will have to wrap this around the ceramic candle to catch all macroparticles efficiently.

5 Easy Steps to Make a Ceramic Water Filter


Now that you have the essential tools, Let’s get started! Follow these five quick and easy steps to make your DIY ceramic filtration system :

Step 1. Prepare the buckets

Wash the newly-bought buckets and dry them thoroughly to ensure that there is no lingering dirt. Using your drill and bit, make a hole in the center of the upper bucket’s bottom surface (bucket 1). Then bore a hole through the lid of the lower bucket (bucket 2).

Make sure that the hole aligns with the bottom hole of the upper bucket. Next, drill another hole at the bottom of the lower bucket (bucket 2) to open a slot for the spout. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to properly insert the spigot.

Pro Tip: It is vital to pick the right bucket size to provide a sufficient water supply for your family. A standard 5-gallon bucket can deliver 12-15 gallons of filtered water per day. Generally, one person needs one gallon of water each day. Hence, a 5-gallon bucket will be enough for a family of 5.

Step 2. Insert the ceramic filter cartridge inside the first bucket

Grab the ceramic candle and gently install it in the upper bucket (bucket 1). You can do this by placing the nipple or the threaded part of the filter through the hole. Make sure that the filter fits securely to avoid leakage.

Pro Tip: Use a nut to lock the filter in its place.

Step 3. Cover the ceramic candle with cheesecloth

You would need several layers of cheesecloth and wrap it around the filter and fully encase it. This trick will effectively strain the sediments and other dissolved particles. Hence, it will prolong the service life of the filter.

Step 4. Stack the buckets

Stack the upper bucket (with the filter inside) on top of the lower bucket. The filter’s nipple should pass through the hole of the lower bucket’s lid.

Step 5. Test your newly-built ceramic gravity filter

If your installation is precise, the stacked bucket system should work accordingly. Slowly turn on the spigot to dispense the first batch of water.

Pro Tip: It will take a while to filter but once it does, discard the first 2-3 batches of filtered water to ensure that all potential residues are removed from the system.


Domestic water filters have grown in popularity nowadays because they offer innovative technologies that help us improve the quality of our tap water. They are inexpensive yet can guarantee an uninterrupted potable water supply.

Make your own tutorial journal to keep track of how to make a ceramic water filter. It will help you retain the straightforward tips and hacks about making a DIY water filter. Do you have any questions or suggestions about today’s topic? Fill them in the comment box below.

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