Big Berkey Water Filter Review

Welcome to my Big Berkey water filter review.  So I’ve been wanting to find the best water filter for myself.  I always try to research all my options before making a big purchase because I never want to be stuck with something I don’t like.  I looked at plenty of reverse osmosis systems and distilled systems along with counter top gravity fed systems as well.  So after a lot of going back and forth, and comparing the specs of the systems, I decided that the gravity fed Big Berkey water filter was the best water filter for the performance it offers and also the price point.

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Why didn’t I Choose Reverse Osmosis Water or Distilled?

  • Well, the problem is Reverse Osmosis and distilled water is that the process strips out minerals and leaves the water reactive looking for something else to leach onto.  When the water molecule is isolated, like in this case, the nature of the water molecule is slightly polar.  One popular remedy to this stripping issue is to mix a pinch of sea salt with your R.O. water to reintroduce minerals back to the water.
  • Another issue is that R.O. water purification systems and distilled units have trouble filtering out bacteria.
  • Read more here & the WHO supported report on R.O. water.
  • Reverse Osmosis systems are expensive, the maintenance is expensive, and they aren’t portable.  If you move to a different house, you are leaving your R.O. filtration system behind.

Big Berkey Water Filter Review

The Big Berkey water filter can be found at the BEST price here at their official store. You receive a lot more support and guidance if you buy from their official store and their prices tend to be better than other places.  I consider it a good rule of thumb to buy directly from a company.  You generally receive better service and better quality controlled products.  This is partly due to items having an increased risk of getting damaged when they transfer from middle man to middle man.

What I love:

So Powerful that it’s classified as a purification system  –  I was quite surprised when I read this.  Purification standards are much higher than filtration standards.  That’s how powerful the Berkey filter elements are.  It does pretty much everything without stripping important minerals from your water.

See the water test results here for the black filter elements and fluoride filter elements.

The Berkey water filter removes:

  • Fluoride – this is a highly toxic chemical that shouldn’t be in anybody’s water supply.
  • Viruses, Microorganisms, Parasites, Cysts, and Pathogenic Bacteria – You can take water from an outdoor stream and purify the water with good results.
  • Chlorines and other VoCs – These are toxic chemicals that the city puts into the water to sanitize it.
  • Heavy Metals – Everything from Lead, Mercury, Aluminum, Copper, Uranium etc.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Testing is finding prozac in the water supply and traces of lithium

To make my choice even more confusing, there are a ton of copy cats out there who are imitating the Berkey such as Propur One, Alexapure, Crystal Drop, etc. I almost decided on an Alexapure since it was about $200 ($50 less), however the Berkey filter beats out all of the gravity fed filters out there in terms of performance and purity and paying the extra $50 was a no brainer in my opinion.

water filter effectiveness removal of toxic elements - big berkey, zen water, propur, crystal drop

Dedicated Company – A lot of people don’t take this into account. This company is not a fly by night company jumping on a trend.  The company has been an originator in this niche of water filters where a lot of companies are copying them.  I guess you can say that imitation is the highest form of compliment.  They are always looking to improve their product.

Filters last a long time – The filter capacity is 5000 gallons per filter which lasts about 4-5 years with normal use.  I don’t have to go to the store anymore and buy plastic gallons of water that most likely have BPA or BPS in them.

Cost Effective – The water costs 1.7 cents / gallon (this is figured just using the filter elements which cost about $85 – $100).  You can pick up a Big Berkey water filter for about $250 – $280.  I highly recommend getting the add on fluoride filters which are only a little bit more.  Think about it this way, the plastic gallon jugs of water you buy at the store cost roughly  $1 / gallon.  If you use 5000 gallons, that’s $5000 you just spent in water.  If you used the Berkey.

No More Buying BPA / BPS Water Jugs at the Store –  Thank goodness… And if you didn’t know BPA and BPS are estrogen mimickers. In other words, they mimic and spike your estrogen.  Some people have speculated that this is one of the reasons why women are having so many productive issues.

No Electricity to Run it / Gravity Fed – Perfect for camping or any survival situation where you might not have access to electricity. It’s really a necessity for any emergency preparedness plan.

Great Tasting Water –  I was pretty surprised with the taste.  It’s some of the best tasting water that I’ve had.

Stainless Steel looks beautiful – Well Crafted – This filter looks great in any setting.  The stainless steel will match well with all of your other stainless appliances.  If you don’t have stainless appliances because those are reserved for the yuppies, then this filter will give you some extra pizzazz in your kitchen.

Travel Friendly / Take it Anywhere –  The Big Berkey is the perfect size (2-4 people) – Not too big, not too small. You can take it on a camping trip or take it over to a friend’s.  I was pretty surprised the box it was shipped it, it was relatively small.  The nice thing about the Berkey systems is that the top and bottom containers stack on top of each other when they are completely broken down.

Filters Out Fluoride – 60% of U.S. cities fluoridate their water. Ironically, water fluoridation is hailed as one of the greatest “public health” achievements of all time.  The body doesn’t require or need fluoride and is a danger to your health.  Most cities fluoridate their water with Hydrofluorosilicic Acid, a highly toxic chemical (Here’s the MSDS).  Even if your city does not fluoridate the water, fluoride will most likely still be present due to general pollution and calcium fluoride found in nature.

Cleaning / Maintenance – I thought that I would have to rinse this out every day, but the directions say that I should wash it every month.  Just for good measure, I rinse everything out every week.

No Rust – Despite some reviews, there has been no signs of rust at all.

Large Capacity of 2.5 Gallons – This is definitely enough for 1-4 people.  If you never want to run out of water, just replace the water you take. See the tips section below.

Decent Filter Rate – The water filters most of the water within 4 hours.  I just dump water in at night and it’s their in the morning.

Standing up - Big Berkey Water Filter full view

Next in my Big Berkey Water Filter review I’ll discuss the things I didn’t like.

What I didn’t like:

There isn’t a whole lot that I don’t like about this water filtration system.  Here are a few minor complaints.

Water sits in the bottom of upper reservoir – This isn’t a big deal, but not all of the water is filtered that goes into the top compartment.  There is about 1-2 inches of standing water because the water is too low for the filter elements.

Priming of Filters – Priming should take about 10 minutes, however, I had some issues with the Fluoride filters giving me a murky white. Overall, the priming took about 30 minutes for all filters and testing it out.  It really wasn’t that long, however, it was pretty messy getting water everywhere, guess that will be my bath for the day.

That sums it up for this portion of my Big Berkey water filter review.  I’ll go ahead and discuss some tips next.

Berkey Water Filter Tips

TIP #1 – Constant Supply of water – This is a pretty slick trick that always keeps your Berkey full of water.  Whenever I want a drink of clean water, I replace whatever I take. I fill up a glass of tap water and dump it into the top filter and then I pour myself purified water.

TIP #2 – Read the directions – Just because you think you’re a boss, doesn’t mean that you should skip over directions.  You might miss something important like, “You can damage your filters if you use hot water”.

TIP #3 – Prime Pumps Long Enough – Make sure you prime the white fluoride pumps long enough.  I thought I primed them enough, however, when I began filtering my first batch of water, I noticed that the water was incredibly murky.   If this happens to you, it’s from the fluoride filters not being primed enough.

TIP #4 – Low Water Pressure – This might be caused by 1 of 2 things. First, there is not enough water in the reservoir.  The higher amount of water you have in your reservoir, the higher the hydro-static pressure is thus giving you more water pressure through your spicket.  Second, make sure that you don’t have a vacuum going on.  The two containers might be creating a seal between each other and it needs to be vented.

TIP #5 – Don’t try to filter Warm or Hot Water – This will damage the filter as stated in TIP #2.

TIP #6 – Storing Water – If you leave the water sitting in the stainless steel container for lets say 3-4 days without any movement, it will develop a slight metal taste from the stainless steel.  Not a big deal, however, if you want to store your water, you should store your water in a glass container and place it in the fridge OR drink more water consistently so you don’t let the water sit.

I hope my Big Berkey water filter review helped you out in choosing your next water filter system.  I performed a massive amount of research and comparison.  I always hate buying subpar items and I am beyond content with this water filter system.

The best place to get your Big Berkey water filter system is at their official store here. They have great costumer service, great prices, and if you have any problems at all, they are quick to help you out.  If you are looking for the best under the counter systems, check out this Reactual.