water being poured into glass

Berkey Water Filter Review: Real Talk From a Berkey Owner

Water filtration has become an essential aspect of our lives, ensuring that our drinking water is clean and safe from contaminants. One popular option for home water filtration systems is the Berkey water filter.

water being poured into glass

Known for its impressive performance and longevity, the Berkey water filter has garnered a lot of attention from users and experts alike.

The Berkey water filter system, particularly the Big Berkey model, boasts of its contaminant removal capabilities and sleek design. Let’s evaluate the efficiency, cost, and convenience of the Berkey system to help figure out whether it’s the right choice for your home.

Berkey Water Filter Overview

History and Background

The Berkey Water Filter has a long-standing history in the water filtration industry. Designed to provide clean and safe drinking water, the company focuses on making their systems accessible and versatile, including in emergency situations where clean water may not be readily available. Over the years, Berkey has gained recognition for its commitment to producing high-quality water filters that cater to a wide range of customer needs and preferences.

Product Lineup

The Berkey water filter lineup has a variety of models designed to provide filtered water for different user needs. Some of their popular products include the Big Berkey, Royal Berkey, and Travel Berkey. These water filters differ in size, water capacity, and filtration capabilities, but all utilize the Black Berkey filters – known for their impressive lifespan of up to 3,000 gallons and tested by a third party lab to reduce more than 200 contaminants.

Each model is designed for specific user and space requirements. For example, the Big Berkey Water Filter is recommended for families, as it can provide clean drinking water for up to four people. Meanwhile, the Travel Berkey is designed for individuals or couples who travel frequently and need a portable water filtration solution.

In addition to the different models, Berkey offers accessories such as stands, spigots, and replacement filters, allowing users to customize and maintain their water filtering systems efficiently. The company has established a solid market presence with its range of efficient and easy-to-use water filters, providing peace of mind and great-tasting water to numerous customers worldwide.

Key Features

Filtration Technology

The Big Berkey water filter utilizes a combination of powerful filtration technologies, including Black Berkey purification elements and optional fluoride filters. These filters work together to remove impurities such as bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and chemicals, providing clean and safe drinking water.

Capacity and Size Options

Big Berkey offers a variety of size options to accommodate different household needs. The standard Big Berkey system has a 2.25-gallon capacity, which is suitable for a small family, while larger systems like the Royal Berkey and Crown Berkey, offer even greater capacities for larger families or groups.

The compact Travel Berkey is a smaller option for individuals or couples. It’s what I use on a day to day basis. It is also a good option if you want take your clean water supply with you wherever you go rather than lugging a lot of pre-filtered water or relying on the local supply while traveling.

Durability and Materials

The Big Berkey water filter is constructed from high-quality stainless steel, ensuring longevity and durability. This material is also resistant to rust and corrosion, making it a reliable choice for long-term use.

The filter elements themselves, such as the Black Berkey purification elements, are designed to be long-lasting and can filter up to 6,000 gallons of water before needing to be replaced. This extends the lifespan of the system, reducing the overall cost of ownership over time.

Performance and Effectiveness

Contaminant Removal

The Big Berkey Water Filter system is known for its impressive contaminant removal capabilities. The Black Berkey filtration system has been tested and proven to be highly effective at removing various contaminants from water, making it a popular choice for everyday water purification. According to Water Filter Guru, Berkey checks their box for contaminant removal.

Some of the contaminants that Berkey filters can remove include bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and chlorine, among others.

Filter Lifespan

One of the key features of the Berkey water filter system is the longevity of its filters. The Black Berkey filters have an impressive lifespan of up to 3,000 gallons per filter! This long lifespan not only saves money in the long run but also results in less waste from frequent filter changes.

Flow Rate

The flow rate of the Big Berkey Water Filter is considered satisfactory for general household use. While the flow rate varies depending on the number of filters installed, the system generally has a consistent flow rate that allows you to obtain clean water in a reasonable timeframe.

Installation and Maintenance

Setup Process

Setting up the Big Berkey water filter is straightforward and easy. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Unpack the system and make sure all components are present: upper and lower chamber, lid, spigot, filter elements, and rubber plugs.
  2. Assemble the filter elements by connecting the bases and the wingnuts.
  3. Insert the filter elements into the lower chamber, and secure them with the wingnuts from the inside.
  4. Install the spigot into the lower chamber by attaching the washers and nut, then tighten by hand.
  5. Place the upper chamber onto the lower chamber, and fill with water.

The system should now be functional and ready to purify water.

Filter Replacement

Big Berkey water filters generally require replacement after a prolonged period of use. Many other gravity filters need replacements within 3 to 6 months, but the Big Berkey has a longer-lasting filter. It’s essential to monitor your water quality and replace filters when necessary. The manufacturer suggests that slowed filtration indicates the need for cleaning. Eventually even after cleaning it won’t return to a good flow rate and will need to be replaced as it provides physical filtration.

Cleaning and Troubleshooting

Cleaning a Berkey water filter system is important to keep it in proper working order. It’s vital to clean the stainless steel chambers regularly to prevent mineral buildup.

To clean the filter elements, follow this simple guide from Berkey Filters:

  1. Remove the upper chamber and empty it.
  2. Unscrew the filter elements and remove them from the upper chamber.
  3. Use a soft brush to gently scrub the filter elements, avoiding abrasive materials that can damage the filters.
  4. Rinse the filter elements thoroughly with clean water.
  5. Reassemble the system and fill it with water to ensure proper functioning.

If you encounter any issues or need more help, refer to the user manual or contact Berkey Filters for support.

Pros and Cons


The Berkey water filter offers a number of advantages for users. It is considered a water purifier, as it is capable of removing 99.999% of viruses and 99.9999999% of pathogenic bacteria, providing clean and safe drinking water. This helps ensure you always have access to drinking through the day to make sure you are drinking enough water.

Constructed from stainless steel, the Berkey filter is durable and BPA-free which makes it long-lasting as well as healthy. (Mine doesn’t even have a ding after several years of use.) Additionally, the filter’s large capacity and gravity-fed design make it an attractive option for those with limited space, as it does not require a dedicated installation or electricity to function.


Despite its impressive performance, the Berkey water filter system has some drawbacks. The system lacks independent certification, making it difficult to compare its efficacy to other available options. Moreover, the system is generally more expensive and less convenient to use than other alternatives. Personally I find even the Travel Berkey takes up a lot of kitchen space.

Some customers have also reported rusting issues with the stainless-steel construction, which can be a concern for those seeking a long-term, durable filtration system.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Many customers have shared their positive experiences with the Big Berkey water filter. Checking Amazon reviews confirms customers praise for its excellent filtration capabilities and ease of use. People also mention the improved taste of filtered water compared to tap water, which isn’t unique to Berkey filters.

Furthermore, a user who has been using the Berkey water filter for over 8 years shares that their family continues to rely on the system due to its consistent performance and high-quality filtration. They also appreciate its adaptability to different environments from RV living to off-grid locations.

The majority of reviews are positive and it gets my personal vote as well.

Comparisons to Alternatives

As a shopper considering a water filter system, it’s essential to compare the Berkey water filter to its competitors on the market. In this section, we’ll briefly cover two popular alternatives to help you make an informed decision.

Alternative: Alexapure

The Alexapure water filter system is another popular gravity filter contender. While sharing similarities with Berkey in design and functionality, there are slight differences to consider. Here are the key features of the Alexapure:

  • Uses a single filter element, which reduces costs but may affect filtration rate.
  • Claims to remove 99.9999% of contaminants, on par with Berkey filtration.
  • Lower price point than Berkey filters, making it a more affordable option.

Alternative: Propur

Another notable alternative is the Propur water filter system. Similar to the Berkey and Alexapure systems, Propur utilizes a gravity filtration process. Some key aspects to consider when comparing to Berkey are:

  • Offers different sizes and options, allowing for customization to fit individual needs.
  • Uses ProOne G2.0 filter elements, which are silver infused for inhibiting bacterial growth.
  • Competitive price point, providing an alternative for budget-conscious shoppers.


Does the Berkey Condition Water?

The Berkey is not a water softener, it is a water purifier. Trying to use it as a water softener can shorten the lifespan of your Berkey filter.


The Berkey water filter has garnered a significant amount of positive feedback from long-term users, proving its efficiency and effectiveness in providing clean, safe drinking water. The Berkey water filter is more than just a filter; it qualifies as a water purifier, which is indeed a huge advantage.

Its ability to transform even murky pool water into clean drinking water demonstrates its capabilities, as seen in a YouTube video. For those seeking a reliable source of clean drinking water for their homes, the Berkey Water Filter stands out as a great option. When people were buying up toilet paper and hand sanitizer I was glad to have a purifier on hand should I need it.

Based on numerous reviews and real-life experience, the Berkey water filter proves to be a top choice for those looking to ensure the quality and safety of their drinking water. With its water purifying capabilities and ease of use, investing in a Berkey water filter is a good decision for any household with the space in their budget and kitchen.