clear glass of water

Berkey Water Filter Review: Pros, Cons & FAQ’s

Are you researching water filters so you can have clean, pure drinking water? Let me help! Here’s a helpful Berkey water filter review where you’ll find the benefits, pros & cons so you have all the info you need to make the best choice for you and your family.

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Let’s dive in!

If you’re interested in creating a healthy home and find yourself in the market for a counter-top water filter, I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are significant problems with both city water and well water.

The general water supply in the United States is often contaminated with unwanted pollutants and methods of sterilization.

This leaves us with poor-quality water, that smells and tastes bad and that could potentially impact health.

People often choose to use bottled water for these reasons but, this method of ingesting ‘cleaner’ drinking water also comes with problems such as leaching chemicals from plastic, pollution, and the quality of the drinking water may not be any better than your local water!

However, another safe and environmentally friendly option for clean drinking water is to use a high-quality water filter.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Why Filter Your Water?

There are several reasons to filter your water.

If you are using traditional tap water, there is a significant amount of additives and contaminants that make your water far from 100 percent pure.

These include:

  • Chlorine and  chloramines – used to treat municipal water
  • Flouride (in some municipal water)
  • Pharmaceutical contaminants
  • Pesticides
  • Trihalomethanes (from refrigerants and solvents that commonly pollute water supplies)

Some of these contaminants and additives are designed to make your water ‘safe’ to drink.

Other contaminants are by-products from several industries that sometimes accidentally pollute our water supplies. They are not considered dangerous enough (or simple enough)  to remove. 

Filtering your water is even more important if you are spending time living off-grid or if you’re looking for peace of mind when assessing water needs for emergency preparedness in case of natural disaster.

The water source you have available may have microorganisms- such as viruses and bacteria -that would need to be filtered out before you can safely drink the water.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple and safe solution to have water free from additives, pollutants, and microorganisms?

Introducing the Big Berkey water filter system…….

What Is The Big Berkey Water Filter?

Berkey water filter

The Big Berkey water filter is a high-quality option for filtering your water to get rid of many contaminants very efficiently and effectively. (Just an FYI- there are various sizes available if the Big Berkey doesn’t fit your needs!)

It is a gravity water filter made up of an upper and a lower chamber with a filtration system dividing the two.

Water is placed in the top chamber where the force of gravity draws the water through the filters, cleaning the water and removing unwanted contaminants.

Once the water has gone through the filtration system it flows into the bottom chamber where it is stored until you are ready to drink. 

Berkey Water Filter Benefits

Excellent At Removing Contaminants

The Berkley water filter system is one of the best on the market at effectively removing contaminants from your water. Test results show that the Big Berkey system removes up to 99.999 % of the main contaminants you will find in your water supply as well as water found in outdoor environments.

Ease Of Installation And Maintenance

Berkey water filters are really easy to install!

These gravity-fed filters sit on top of your counter and store your purified water for you.

It does not need to be plumbed into your housing water system so there is no technical experience or complicated instructions needed to start using this filter.

It also works without electricity, so you don’t need a power supply!

You do need to do some preparation steps before using the black Berkley filters, but this step is very basic and simple. Your filter should come with instructions or you can also find lots of resources online to show you how.

It’s also extremely easy to maintain. Cleaning it out regularly and priming/replacing the filters now and then is all it takes.

The Best Option At An Affordable Price

While it may seem that the upfront cost of the big Berkey water filter is an investment, for the excellent job it does, it’s actually very reasonable. 

This is especially true when you compare it to other water filters on the market. You invest in this water purification system once and it will last a very long time.

Filtering your own water at home is actually a lot cheaper than the total cost of many basic supermarket jug filters that would be needed to filter the equivalent amount of water.

They may cost less per filter but don’t last anywhere near as long and are not as effective.

Leaves Important Minerals

In addition to all the bad stuff, unfiltered water also contains minerals.

Minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, iron, and zinc are all present in normal water and are beneficial and necessary for good health.

Many types of water purifiers on the market, such as reverse osmosis systems and distillation filters, remove all the bad stuff as well as all the good minerals. 

The Berkey system uses a different filtration system that leaves the good minerals behind while removing very small particulate contaminants.

This is an excellent feature of the Berkey filter that many other systems don’t have.

Just one more good reason to consider a Berkey!


One of my very favorite things about the Berkey water filter system is that it can be used in many different settings.

From home use to traveling around in your RV – you can use this water filter system very easily in either situation.

It’s one of the best water filters to take if you travel and are concerned with how your water tastes and if it is free from chemicals.

The Berkey Go or Travel Berkey would be ideal for travel!

Superior Filtration

Due to it being a gravity system, the water has an extended time going through the filters.

The longer contact with the filters means more contaminants are removed from the water making this a really effective method at improving water quality. 

Drawbacks Of A Berkey Water Filter

With so many benefits, it’s hard to imagine any drawbacks.

But, like anything, there are a few things you should know if you’re considering a Berkey water filter.

Filtration Takes Time

With some water filters, especially ones that rely on water pressure, you can get your filtered water almost instantly, as it comes out of the tap.

However, gravity filters can take up to 2 hours and 45 minutes to filter 2.75 gallons of water.

Not A Whole House Filter

Due to its capacity and time for filtration, this is only really suitable for drinking water.

It would be impractical to use this for other things like baths, showers, and cooking food and you just wouldn’t be able to filter enough water in a reasonable amount of time.

Remember To Fill Up

With this water filter system, you need to have a little pre-planning.

Not much, but some planning all the same.

You need to remember to check how much water level and fill it up accordingly.

An important and useful time to check is before bed. Fill it up and while you’re sleeping the Berkey does its magic.

You will wake up with clean water in the morning!

Berkey Water Filter FAQ’S

Still have a few questions? No problem, I’ll try to answer them here 😉

What exactly does the Berkey remove from your water?

The Berkley water filter removes:

  • > 99.9 % of inorganic minerals such as chloramine and chlorine
  • 99.99% pathogenic bacteria and viruses
  • 99.5 % of pharmaceutical contaminants
  • up to 99.9 % of petroleum contaminants
  • Bisphenol-A (contaminant from plastic)
  • pesticides and herbicides
  • heavy metals
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Trihalomethanes
  • Flouride

How efficient and effective is it?

Berkey filters are extremely effective at removing most contaminants.

Most contaminants are removed to 99.99% efficiency and the rest are mainly removed to at least 97% efficiency.

This makes it one of the best water filter systems on the market. 

How does it filter your water?

The main way this system improves water quality and produces clean water is by using specialized water filters. They are called Black Berkey elements or filters.

The black Berky filter elements contain several different media types that are layered together in a matrix-like fashion. This creates millions of extremely tiny and fine pores.

The pores are small enough to filter out some of the tiniest contaminants such as viral particles. Ionic exchange is another process these filters use to capture heavy metal and inorganic minerals.

The filters are also able to physically absorb some contaminants that wouldn’t be captured through the pores or ionic exchange.

The black Berkey filters are designed so that water molecules take time to pass through the system and almost all contamination is removed to improve water quality and produce clean potable water.

How often do you need to replace the filters?

Each filter element is able to filter 3000 gallons before they need replacing.

These water systems can take up to four filter elements but function well on 2.

So your Berkey will need changing after using between 6000 and 12000 gallons. 

Depending on water usage and the number of filters you use they will need to be changed every 3 years (with a 2 filter system) to 6 years (with a 4 filter system).

Can I repair the Berkey filter if something goes wrong?

You don’t necessarily have to replace your filter system if something goes wrong with it (which is very unlikely). 

You can buy additional filters or other necessary parts separately in order to fix or repair anything that may go wrong with the system.

Though this is unlikely as these systems are extremely durable and well built.

How effectively does it reduce fluoride added to municipal water supplies?

Some local governments add fluoride to the water supply.

If you want to remove fluoride, the Berkey water system does this. However, you need to buy Berkey fluoride filters that connect to the bottom of the black filters in order to actually filter out this chemical.

*There have been some who have tested their water and found that fluoride has not been removed as well as they had hoped. From what I understand there are a number of reasons this could occur (faulty filters, overall water quality, age of filters at the time of testing, etc).

If you have questions or concerns about this issue I would definitely suggest calling and talking with the company to get more information.

Will using a Berkey water filter improve the taste of my water?

Many people look into buying a filter because they don’t like the taste of their water.

The unpleasant taste is usually caused by some of the undesirable contaminants in water.

As the Berky water filter removes almost all of the contaminants you will usually find that the tase of your water will improve significantly.

What is the capacity of the Berky water filter system?

The Big Berky water filter holds a capacity of 2.75 gallons in the upper chamber as well as the lower chamber.

This means the water is suitable for daily usage for 1-4 people. Perfect family size.

If you have a bigger family than this, you may want to look into different sizes like the Royal Berkey filter system to keep up with demand.

Can I use the Berky water system in an emergency situation?

In a situation where you may only have access to limited and contaminated water, the Berkey system will filter out pathogenic bacteria and viruses making it safe to drink.

It should hold enough water for several people over a few days (if water limits for each person are in place).

Has the Berkey water system been tested to verify its claims?

Yes, all the Berky water filters including the big Berky water filter have been rigorously tested to make sure they filter out what they claim to do.

You can see the lab results here.

Can the Berkey water system remove microplastics?

While the Berky hasn’t specifically been tested to see how well they remove microplastics we can say that it is possible the filters will do so.

As the Berky water filter system can remove particles as small as viruses and microplastics are larger than viruses it’s likely that the filters will be able to remove microplastic contamination.

However, we can not say this with certainty.

How is a water filter better than using bottled water?

While many people will choose to use bottled water to drink cleaner water that tastes and smells better, it can come with its downsides.

Depending on the brand some bottled water is no better than your average tap water.

They are also more likely to contain microplastics from the plastic bottles leaching into the water.

On top of this, buying plastic bottles that only get used once is adding to the enormous and growing global plastic and microplastic pollution problem.

Choosing to use a Berkey water filter manages all of the problems posed by using plastic bottles of water.

They help reduce excess plastic pollution by reducing the need for them (by giving you improved and clean water) as well as potentially removing microplastics that are already contained in the water.

How can I take this water out with me?

You can easily use one of the Berkey water bottles to take good clean and pure water out with you.

However, you can also use one of their Berky sports bottles which filters water for you when you’re out and about.  You can use whatever water you have access to and have the ability to improve its quality.

How does the big Berkley compare to reverse osmosis filters?

When looking into water filters, some of the most common you will come across are reverse osmosis filters.

These are both popular and common in the water filter market.

However, while they are effective at removing contaminants in the water they do so very quickly using pressure. This means that a lot of water is actually wasted.

Berkey filtration takes its time to allow for very effective water filtration.

Another reason you may prefer the Berkley gravity-fed filter system over a reverse osmosis system is that it leaves behind the beneficial minerals described earlier in this article.

Reverse osmosis filters remove pretty much all of these, leaving water void of any of the good minerals that are contained in normal water.

My Berkey Water Filter Review

Would I buy another Berkey water filter? I definitely would.

For me, having clean water is one of the most important parts of creating a healthy home and eliminating toxins in our everyday life.

One of the things I love about this countertop water filter is that it can fit in with whichever lifestyle you have.

From living in a normal house to traveling around in an RV, or even living off-grid-this water filter can fit your needs.

We actually pack our Berkey up and take it with us in our RV when we go camping!

Not only is this water filter great for many lifestyles and locations, but it is cost-effective and an investment that will last for years.

The Berkey water filtration system really makes having improved, clean, and pure water in your home (or wherever you are) easy and affordable.

Interested in other easy ways to improve the health of your home & family? Check out these articles!

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