Updated on January 4, 2024


Created on August 27, 2015

Tulip Table Top Filter

Tulip Table Top is ceramic water filter for households, schools, and small offices.

Developed By
  1. Basic Water Needs
Tested By
  • Basic Water Needs
  • Malawian Ministry of Water
  • Waterlaboratorium Noord (WLN)
Content Partners


Product Description

The Tulip Table Top Water filter is a two bucket system. Dirty water is poured into the upper container and filters through the ceramic candle filter into the bottom bucket where water is stored safely until it is retrieved from a tap in the lower bucket.

Target SDGs

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Household, Public Sector Agencies

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Basic Water Needs works with local partners in Ethiopia, Zambia, Ecuador and Guatemala. NGOs, commercial networks, national, regional and community entrepreneurs.

Competitive Landscape

Direct competitors include CeraMaji, Arcifiltro, and Silver Filter.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Ceramic candle filters are manufactured in China using diatomaceous earth, nano silver, and activated carbon. Production location is India. Many international agents import the candles and assemble them locally.

Intellectural Property Type

Select Type

User Provision Model

The filter can be ordered from the Basic Water Needs (BWN) website or local agents in various countries worldwide. Basic Water Needs partners with local entrepreneurs, NGOs and other organizations to establish local distribution networks. Individuals can contact them if they wish to purchase locally. The product is also available online.

Distributions to Date Status

Including filter models in addition to the Table Top model, roughly 500,000 Tulip units have been distributed. Correspondence with manufacturer

Type of filter

Ceramic candle filter

Primary material of construction

Clay, nano silver, activated carbon


Manufacturer claims silver (disinfectant) in filtered water protects against re-contamination.

Manufacturer-specified flow rate (L/hr)

~3 (3-5 hours to filter 10 L).

Bacteria reduction

4.5 (99.995%)

Virus reduction


Protozoa reduction

>4.5 (>99.995%)

Heavy metals and/or arsenic reduction


Maximum recommended influent turbidity level (NTU)

This filter has been tested under various turbidity levels (8 – 806 NTU) depending on country tested. See tests here.

Effluent turbidity levels (NTU)

~0.13 – 5. Removes ~99% turbidity.  Turbidity levels vary depending on country tested. See tests here.

Maintenance schedule

Clean ceramic with toothbrush or cloth when flow rate is slow; if flow rate not improved, clean with round scrub pad and rinse.

Manufacturer-specified lifetime volume (L)


Safe water storage integration

10 L

Design Specifications

The Tulip Table Top is a two bucket system. Water is poured into the top container, filters through the ceramic candle filter into a safe storage container. There is a tap for dispensing treated water.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Filters are cleaned by scrubbing the ceramic filtering element with a cloth to remove accumulated particles. For more information, see the user manual.

Replacement Components

BWN ensures there are sufficient spare parts available. They can be found through local supplier or through contacting the manufacturer.


~7,000 liters per candle filter, or until filter diameter less than indicated by tool.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

Capable of removing 99.995% bacteria, >99.995% protozoa, and 99% turbidity. Flow rate is 2-3 Liters per hour.

Vetted Performance Status

The Tulip Technology has been tested both internally and externally by several agencies. Amongst those are the Waterlaboratorium Noord, Environmental Monitoring Service and the Malawian Ministry of Water. Additional test results can be found here.


Clean the filter when the flow rate reduces.

Complementary Technical Systems

Water supply source

Academic Research and References

“About – Basic Water Needs,” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/about-2/

“Distributors – Basic Water Needs,” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/distributors/

“Goal 6,” Sdgs.un.org. Available: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal6

bwn, “Tulip Technology in Top 100 innovations,” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/tulip-technology-in-top-100-innovations/

“FAQ – Basic Water Needs,” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/faq/

“Tulip Water Filter – Basic Water Needs,” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/tulip-water-filter/

“Downloadfiltermanuals – Basic Water Needs,” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/downloadfiltermanuals/

“Tulip table top water filter manual SAFE WATER, GOOD LIFE,” Ivykickstarter.com. Available: https://www.ivykickstarter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Tulip-Table-Top-Full-Manual-English.pdf

Compliance with regulations

The water surpasses WHO standards and is in Tier 3 of WHO criteria for HWTS products

Evaluation methods

Quality assurance tests include laboratory analysis to determine microbial removal and contamination. Test results available here.

Other Information

Nominated for 2014 Best Existing Partnership Award

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