Brand Comparison

Berkey Water Filter Brand Review

Learn if these popular products offer a clean water solution for your home.

by Matt Moran

According to the EPA, some common sources of contaminants in our drinking water include industry and agriculture, human and animal waste, treatment and distribution, and natural sources.

One way to combat these contaminants is by using water filters for your family. They remove harmful chemicals by running the water through a mesh or charcoal filter before you drink it.

In this buyer’s guide, we will check out the Berkey line of water filters and how they can help cleanse your water so that it’s safer for you to use.

Preview

Product

Capacity

Filter Life

Check Price

Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter with 2...

Big Berkey

2.25 gallons

6000 gallons

Berkey Shower Filter with Massaging Shower...

Berkey Shower Filter with Massaging Shower Head

2.5 gPM

20,000 gallons

Berkey Black Berkey Purification Elements...

Berkey Black Combo

6,000 gallons

6,000 gallons for Black Berkey and 1,000 gallons for PF-2

Durable 22 Oz. Sport Berkey Water Filter...

Berkey Sport Filtered Water Bottle

22 oz

100 gallons

Berkey PF-2 Fluoride Filter (Set of 2) - Fits...

Berkey PF-2

1,000 gallons

1,000 gallons

Travel Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter with 2...

Travel

Berkey

1.5 gallons

6,000 gallons


Why Choose the Berkey Brand?

Purification Elements

  • Microfiltration Technology
    Each Berkey filter is made of six different medium types constructed in a compact mesh with microscopic pores. These pores filter out all of the pathogenic bacteria and other pollutants found in water.
  • Absorption Technology
    Every filter contains a unique ionic absorption layer on the exterior that allows the pores to block harmful viruses and metals but allow water to pass through. The harmful metals found in drinking water are extracted through an ion exchange process that traps them.
  • Gravity-Fed Filtration System
    This type of system uses gravity to transport water through the filter and into your glass. It consists of an upper and lower chamber. Since it uses gravity, it doesn’t require any additional plumbing to be installed.
  • Removes 99.9% of Contaminants
    According to Berkey’s outside testing, their water filters remove 99.9% of contaminants from water. The microfiltration system removes harmful pathogens, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
  • Filters Fluoride and Arsenic
    Berkey water filters can filter out many contaminants, including fluoride and arsenic, which are two major groundwater pollutants. Berkey uses 4 PF-2 filters that can be installed in the lower chamber.
  • Removes Chlorine and Chloramine
    These two substances can be highly effective at killing bacteria in drinking water, but they have their own risks associated with them. Berkey filters remove chlorine and chloramine along with any other harmful bacteria.

Replaceable Filters

Each Berkey water purifier comes with replaceable filters to easily remove the old ones and put in a new one. Berkey recommends changing them every 6 months to ensure that our drinking water is being filtered properly. 

Portable Design

Berkey offers different sizes to accommodate different needs. They can all be easily placed on a counter or other surface and moved from place to place when empty. They also have a Berkey water bottle that is easy to take on the go.

Long-Lasting Usability

These water filters should be replaced about every 6 months, depending on usage. The actual Berkey container will last nearly a lifetime if you remember to change the filters and rinse it out every so often. 


6 Best Berkey Water Filters Reviewed

1. Big Berkey

Best Berkey Water Filter

Dimensions

8.5 x 8.5 x 19.25 inches

Capacity

2.25 gallons

Filter Life

6000 gallons

Certification

None

Contaminants Removed

Protozoa, trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, VOCs, petroleum products, perfluorinated chemicals, rust, and silt

If you are looking for the original home water filtration system, this may be the best option. We chose the Big Berkey as the best Berkey water filter. It comes with a medium-size capacity that will suit the average family. It can fit on a countertop or table.

This Berkey model comes with a capacity of 2.25 gallons, a good medium-size water filter for the average household. It comes with two Black Berkey Purification Elements that allow for up to 6000 gallons of water to be purified. You can add additional Black Berkey sets to increase the filtration life.

If you add additional Black Berkey elements, then it will increase the flow rate as well. This Berkey water filter removes 99.9% of all harmful elements that are found in your drinking water. It can remove all types of bacteria, heavy metals, and even pharmaceutical drugs.

We liked that this Big Berkey filter is a great medium-size model. It was easy to move around, and it sits nicely on the countertop without taking up too much space.

According to Johnathan’s review,

This filter gives you peace of mind knowing it is filtering out heavy metals as well as excess fluoride. Not only that, it delivers pure great tasting water from the tap, with no aftertaste.

Pros
  • Medium-size canister for small families
  • Suits most kitchen decor
  • Includes pro kit for priming
Cons
  • Does not come with extra purification elements

2. Berkey Shower Filter with Massaging Shower Head

Best Berkey Shower Filter

Dimensions

7 x 4 x 4 inches

Capacity

2.5 gallons per minute

Contaminants Removed

Chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, iron, iron oxide

Filter Life

20,000 gallons

The water in your shower is likely dirtier than you think. Certain chemicals in your shower water can cause dry skin and hair loss. We chose the Berkey massaging shower head as the best Berkey shower filter. It connects to most standard size shower arms.

This Berkey shower filter comes with a massage setting so that you can enjoy your shower even more. It flows at the standard 2.5 gallons per minute rate. This shower filter can be threaded onto your shower arm with a simple twist motion. It will last for approximately 20,000 gallons, which is equivalent to about one year of use.

This massaging showerhead removes about 95% of chlorine. This harmful chemical can cause dry skin and hair damage. It can also be inhaled in an enclosed shower space. The Berkey showerhead also removes iron and hydrogen sulfide.

We liked that this Berkey shower filter came with a massage setting. It was easy to install and started working immediately.

As Aretha noted in her review,

I love my new Berkey filter. It was easy to install and the water is already making great improvements to my skin.

Pros
  • Includes a 6-month warranty
  • Removes 95% of chlorine
  • Lasts for up to 20,000 gallons
Cons
  • Cannot replace filters within the unit

3. Berkey Black Combo

Best Berkey Water Filter Combo

Dimensions

10.3 x 7.6 x 10.3 inches

Capacity

6,000 gallons

Filter Life

6,000 gallons for Black Berkey and 1,000 gallons for PF-2

Contaminants Removed

Protozoa, trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, VOCs, petroleum products, perfluorinated chemicals, rust, arsenic, fluoride, and silt

While most Berkey filters come with their standard black filters, not all of them come with the additional PF-2 filters. We chose this model as the best Berkey water filter combo. It includes two Black Berkey Purification Elements as well as two PF-2 purification elements.

This Berkey model comes with four different filters that will filter almost every toxin out of your drinking water. The Black Berkey filters, which are the same as those listed on our top pick, are used in tandem to remove heavy metals, bacteria, and inorganic minerals.

The PF-2 Berkey filters work to remove arsenic and fluoride, two of the most harmful elements found in our drinking water. The Black Berkey filters will last for about 6,000 gallons. The PF-2 filters will need to be replaced after 1,000 gallons.

My team and I thought that this Berkey water filter was one of the best options for reducing harmful arsenic and fluoride in your water supply. We liked that it included four filters. One downside was that it doesn’t come with a Berkey canister.

As Jess exclaimed in her review,

The Berkey filter with the added fluoride filters have given me the cleanest, purest water I have ever tasted.

Pros
  • Includes Black Berkey and PF-2 filters
  • Filters fluoride and arsenic
  • Easy to replace
Cons
  • Does not come with a canister

4. Berkey Sport Filtered Water Bottle

Best Water Filter Bottle

Dimensions

11 x 2.5 inches

Capacity

22 oz

Filter Life

100 gallons

Contaminants Removed

Toxic chemicals, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, trihalomethanes, detergents, pesticides, herbicides, chlorides, pharmaceuticals

If you're looking for a model that you can take on the go with you, this may be the best option. This Berkey model is the only one on our list that is a travel size sport water bottle. We chose the Berkey Sport as the best water filter bottle. You can take it on a hike or to the gym with you.

This Berkey model comes with a 22 oz capacity so that you can drink purified water on the go. It comes with a smaller version of the Black Berkey filter that eliminates harmful toxins and heavy metals.

It features a replaceable filter that should be changed every 100 gallons for municipal water and every 25 gallons for water coming from a questionable source. The Berkey Sport water bottle comes with a flip action top that can also be used to clip onto a backpack. The bottle itself is BPA and BPS-free.

We thought that this Berkey model was ideal for carrying with you to remote locations where you may not have access to clean water.  We also liked that the filters were replaceable. We wish it were slightly bigger so that you can take it on longer adventures.

Pros
  • Replaceable filters
  • BPA and BPS-free bottle
  • Flip action top
Cons
  • Low capacity

5. Berkey PF-2

Best Fluoride Filter

Dimensions

4 x 2 x 2 inches

Capacity

1,000 gallons

Contaminants Removed

Fluoride and arsenic

Filter Life

1,000 gallons

This model is similar to the combo pack that we reviewed except that it does not include the Black Berkey filters. These two filters must be used in conjunction with the Black Berkey filters. We chose the Berkey PF-2 as the best fluoride filter.

This Berkey model is primarily used to filter arsenic and fluoride from your home water supply. Keep in mind that these PF-2 filters can only be used with the Black Berkey filters. The PF-2 filter comes with two easy to attach capsules. They have a filter life of about 1,000 gallons.

The average life for a small household will be about 8 months to 1 year. These Berkey filters are designed to filter most arsenic compounds such as sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate, pre-oxidized Arsenic III, and Arsenic V. These compounds can be extremely harmful.

We liked that Berkey designed a filter that specifically removes fluoride and arsenic. The practice of adding fluoride to city water supplies has been disputed for years. One issue we found was that you have to purchase the Black Berkey filters separately. 

As Kurt stated,

“Happy with my Berkey system and love that I can remove fluoride from my water.”

Pros
  • Filters fluoride and arsenic
  • Filters last for 1,000 gallons
  • Easy to attach to Black Berkey filters
Cons
  • Black Berkey filters need to be purchased separately

6. Travel Berkey

Best Small Portable Model

Dimensions

7.5 x 7.5 x 19 inches

Capacity

1.5 gallons

Filter Life

6,000 gallons

Contaminants Removed

Protozoa, trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, VOCs, petroleum products, perfluorinated chemicals, rust, and silt

If you’re looking for a model that is a step below our top pick in terms of size, then this one may be ideal for you. We chose the Travel Berkey as the best small portable model. It has a capacity of 1.5 gallons, which is ideal for a small family. It can be easily moved and transported due to its compact size.

This Berkey model is similar to the first one that we reviewed only smaller. It can be used for a small family or taken with you on your next outdoor adventure. It comes with two Black Berkey filters that last for a combined filter life of 6,000 gallons.

The Black Berkey filters remove 99.9% of contaminants. The basin comes in a stainless steel design that is BPA-free. It also includes a pro kit for priming the filters.

Our research team thought that this Berkey model was ideal for small families or extended camping trips. It isn’t ideal for large families due to its limited capacity.

After trying water from it at my friend’s house, I was hooked ever since. I am drinking so much clean water every day.

Pros
  • Small and portable for small kitchens
  • Comes with a 6-month warranty
  • Easy to transport on outdoor trips
Cons
  • Not ideal for large families

The Berkey Range Explained

In the late 1990s, a small family-operated company out of Pueblo, Colorado, had one mission; to provide families with a means to clean drinking water. Berkey is now a large corporation, but they still have small family values.

Countertop Water Filters

This is the head of the Berkey range. The countertop models are designed for use in family households. They feature the standard Black Berkey filters, which eliminate 99.9% of contaminants. The PF-2 filters can be added to remove arsenic and fluoride. These models are the most expensive in the Berkey line.

Filtered Water Bottles

Berkey has designed the ideal travel companion with its filter sports bottle. It can be used outdoors or at the gym. It features a smaller version of the Black Berkey filters, which can be replaced. It removes most contaminants and should be replaced every 100 gallons.

Shower Filters

This Berkey model can be attached to most standard shower arms. It removes 95% of chlorine from your shower water. It also removes iron and iron oxide. All of these chemicals can cause dry skin and hair loss.


Comparing Berkey With Similar Water Filter Brands

Berkey vs. Brita

Between these two competitors, Berkey offers larger countertop models. Brita offers small dispensers, water bottles, and sink attachments. The offset cost of a Berkey dispenser is greater; however, the long term cost is less than Brita due to more frequent filter replacements.

This comparison is similar to the previous one in that Berkey offers larger capacity models. The largest Pur model only filters about one gallon. Berkey countertop models can filter up to 2.25 gallons. They both remove heavy metals and pharmaceutical contaminants. Berkey removes more harmful pathogens according to their studies.

Berkey vs. Aquasana

Both of these companies offer shower water filters that remove chlorine and other heavy metals that damage skin and hair. Berkey has a longer filter life of 20,000 gallons, but the filters are not replaceable. Aquasana shower filters are generally cheaper than Berkey.


How to Prime & Install Berkey Water Filters

Once you receive your new purification unit, you will need to set it up properly. The Black Berkey filters and optional PF-2 filters need to be primed.

This process will ensure that you get the best flow rate from your Berkey. Follow these guidelines below for priming your filter.

  1. 1
    Place the washer, wing nut, and priming button on the Black Berkey filter.
  2. 2
    Place the tan priming button up against your kitchen sink faucet. Ensure you have a tight seal.
  3. 3
    Hold the priming button onto the faucet firmly while slowly turning on the water tap. Let the Black Berkey filter fill up with water until there are beads of water soaking through the filter.
  4. 4
    Let the filter soak with water for about 10 seconds.

Cleaning Berkey Water Filters & Maintenance

After you start using your Berkey unit, you'll need to clean it approximately every 3 to 6 months, depending on use. Follow these instructions to properly maintain your Berkey water filter.

  • Remove the Black Berkey purification elements from the dispenser.
  • Hold the filter underneath a running faucet with the exit hole facing upward.
  • Use a new kitchen sponge to scrub the exterior of the filter. Never use soap or detergent when cleaning your Black Berkey filter.

Berkey Filters Coupon Codes & Where to Buy

My team and I strongly recommend purchasing only legitimate and genuine Berkey products and filters. We found that the best options for purchasing are from Amazon or Berkey’s official website. Both of these websites provide genuine Berkey products from only certified dealers.

Berkey will occasionally run sales on their website. They are currently offering free shipping on orders over $49 in the United States. Berkey also has a page on its website that allows you to purchase scratch and dent sale items. The factory blemishes will not affect the performance of your Berkey water system.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is a Berkey water filter made of?

The Black Berkey water filters are composed of carbon, high-grade coconut shell, and a proprietary blend of five other substances.

Why does my Berkey water taste bad?

The most common reason is that you did not prime your Berkey filter enough. You should follow our instructions above for priming your Berkey water filter. If the bad taste persists, then prime the filter a few more times. Another reason might be that it is time to replace your filter.

How often should I change my Berkey filters?

A set of two Black Berkey elements will last about 6,000 gallons. Depending on how often you use your system, Berkey recommends changing the filters every 7 to 10 years. You can check out Berkey’s calculator for assistance.

Do Berkey water filters make water alkaline?

Yes, the alkalinity in your drinking water will increase slightly with the use of Berkey water filters. Since the filters reduce the number of acidic chemicals in your water, the water pH level is increased.

Why is Berkey water filter illegal in California?

California passed a law that all large in house water filtration systems must be certified by NSF standards. Berkey’s independent testing labs ensure that the standards are exceeded, however. If you live in California, then you can purchase the smaller Berkey units.

Are Berkey water filters safe?

Yes, Berkey’s independent lab results indicate that their water filters are safe for use. They remove 99.9% of harmful chemicals in your household drinking water.

Do Berkey water filters remove fluoride?

The PF-2 filters from Berkey remove fluoride and arsenic. The standard Black Berkey water filters do not remove as much fluoride.

How should I store my Berkey purification elements?

Your Black Berkey water filters can be stored within the Berkey tank for extended periods with or without water. If you have a set of replacement filters that you do not need to use yet, we recommend storing them in a cool and dry place.


Conclusion

In this article, we have tested and reviewed the Berkey range of water filters. We have also provided you with tips on maintenance and priming.

Berkey may be a great choice for people who don’t want to have to change their filters often. Our top pick goes to the Big Berkey system sine it is the ideal size for most households.

Matt is a freelance writer, English graduate, and keen traveler from the UK. As a generalist writer, he enjoys writing about pretty much everything.  When he isn’t writing, he’s usually drinking coffee or planning his next big adventure. He also runs his own blog all about digital nomad life, Remotely Working.

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