What Does A Berkey Water Filter Do?

The Truth About Berkey Filters: Why They’re Not Right for Iowa

Blog, health, and fitness Some of you may be familiar with the Big Berkey, which is one of the water filtration products available from Berkey Filters.Berkey claims to be able to remove over 95 percent of heavy metals and 99.9 percent of dangerous germs from water, however their filtering technique is not quite as comprehensive as you might expect.You should examine these factors if you or someone you know currently uses a Berkey filter and why you should switch to Crystal Clear Water now.

Berkey is prohibited from selling in Iowa

While Berkey claims that they are unable to sell in Iowa owing to the state’s license costs, they are really barred from doing so because Iowa requires firms to validate the purifying claims they make, and Berkey has refused to comply with the state’s requirements.If they are unable to back up their own claims of eliminating over 95 percent of heavy metals and 99.9 percent of pathogenic bacteria, how many potentially dangerous chemical compounds and germs are you actually ingesting through Berkey filtered water in the first place?At Crystal Clear, we are firm believers that transparency should not only be observed in water, but also in the filtering processes itself.We believe in the accuracy of our purification data, which is why we state them as facts rather than claims.So you’ll never have to question what’s in your water again, we deliver periodic water filtration reports with reliable data.In addition, Crystal Clear has been allowed to sell in the state of Iowa for more than 40 years, according to the company.

  1. Whether you reside in Des Moines, Ottumwa, Cedar Rapids, or Waterloo, we’ll transport the highest-quality water to your home or office, or we’ll install a cutting-edge filtration system in your workplace or home.

Berkey filters don’t remove nitrates

Nitrite and nitrate concentrations in drinking water must be controlled since they can cause major health concerns, particularly in babies.Berkey’s claim of being able to remove 95 percent of nitrites is not viable owing to the environment and type of filtration used.A lot has been written recently about nitrates in the local press because of the ongoing litigation Des Moines Water Works is pursuing against three counties in northwestern Iowa.Water purification at Berkey is accomplished using carbon filtration; however, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the only treatment procedures proven to remove nitrate from water are ion exchange, reverse osmosis, and electrodialysis.Crystal Clear bottled water has no nitrites or nitrates and is completely safe to drink.You should inquire about our home filtration system if you reside in the Des Moines region and are worried about the amount of nitrate in your drinking water.

Berkey filters are slow and inconvenient

The fact that Berkey devices filter water into pitchers slowly means that cool, refreshing water is not always instantly accessible when you need it.Aside from that, the pitchers are large and take up a lot of room in your refrigerator or on your counter top.With a water system from Crystal Clear, you can enjoy cold, crisp water anytime you want it.The cooler will be installed in your basement and will be able to be pumped straight into your refrigerator, producing purified ice cubes.We will also install a dedicated tap for drinking water.

Berkey filters require unnecessary maintenance

Berkey filters must be cleaned on a regular basis in order for them to function properly.It is necessary for those who possess a Berkey device to remove the filter and scrape it with a scouring pad in order for the product to operate correctly.This type of cleaning has the potential to introduce hazardous germs into the filter, which would reduce its efficiency.In fact, every attempt to clean the filter may actually result in the creation of an unclean environment for the drinking water you use.Simple to operate, Crystal Clear’s water coolers and home filtration systems need little maintenance.Give us a call if you want clean, great-tasting water delivered to you.

  1. All of your queries concerning water quality and our filtration systems will be answered promptly by our knowledgeable staff.

What exactly does a Berkey Water Filter System filter out? 

  • Berkey water filtration systems are capable of removing more than 200 pollutants. We’ve put our filters through rigorous testing and discovered that our technology far exceeds industry standards. Berkey is capable of removing pollutants from A to Z. Tests on Berkey filters go above and beyond industry norms, with laboratories approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and state governments to conduct tests that exceed the EPA and ANSI/NSF (Standard 53) protocols. According to the test results, Black Berkey Purification Elements (also known as Black Berkey Filters) raise the system from a water filter to a water purifier since they eliminate 99.9999999 percent of harmful bacteria (9-log decrease) and 99.999 percent of viruses from the water. Arsenic Yes, Berkey is capable of removing 99.9 percent of arsenic. Learn more about the element arsenic. Learn what it is, how it is caused, and how to get rid of it. Bacteria Yes, Berkey is capable of removing 99.9 percent of all bacteria. The pathogenic bacteria and surrogates Raoultella terrigena, Bacillus atrophaeus (Anthrax Surrogate), and Salmonella Enterica are examples of pathogenic microorganisms. Cadmium The answer is yes, Berkey filters out 99.7 percent of Cadmium and its toxic byproducts. Chlorine Yes, Black Berkey Filters remove 99.9 percent of chlorine, and Berkey Shower Filters remove 95 percent of chlorine, according to the manufacturer. Learn more about the element chlorine. This includes hazardous byproducts such as haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes, among other things. Chrome 6 Yes, Berkey eliminates 99.8 percent of the chromium 6 found in water. Learn more about Chromium 6 by visiting its official website (aka Hexavalent Chromium). Learn more about the hazards of this substance and how it may get into your drinking water by reading this article. E. Coli is a kind of bacteria. Yes, Berkey is capable of removing 99.9 percent of E. Coli. Escherichia coli (also known as E. coli) Endocrine disruptors are substances that cause the body to produce hormones that are harmful to the body. Yes, Berkey eliminates 99.9 percent of all endocrine disruptors from the environment. Interested in learning more about Endocrine Disruptors? You’ll understand why we encourage using glass water bottles when you’ve finished reading this. Fluoride Yes, Berkey Fluoride Filters are capable of removing up to 97 percent of fluoride from municipal drinking water. Glyphosate Yes, Berkey eliminates Glyphosate, which is the primary active element in the widely used herbicide RoundUp. Acids containing haloacetic acid Yes, 99.9 percent of all haloacetic acids (HAA5s) have been eliminated from the water supply. Find out what Haloacetic Acids, commonly known as HAA5s, are and how they work. Heavy Metals are substances that are toxic to humans. Yes, Berkey can eliminate 99.9 percent of all heavy metals from the environment. Aluminum, antimony, barium, beryllium, bismuth, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, chromium 6, copper, iron, lead, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium, and zinc are only a few of the elements that are present. Lead Yes, Berkey is capable of removing 99.9 percent of lead. What exactly is lead? What exactly is the harm? What is the source of the contamination in your water? In fact, Berkey is capable of removing more than 99.9 percent of all germs in a single pass. Including the following: total coliform, fecal coliform, and E. coli. Minerals No. We don’t want to eliminate minerals from the water! Learn more about why beneficial minerals are left in Berkey water and how they benefit the environment. Zinc is not included in this list (see below). RELATED: Is it safe to consume distilled water? Monochloramine Yes, Berkey eliminates 99.9 percent of monochloramine from the environment. More information about Monochloramine may be found here. Nitrates Berkey does not remove Nitrates since they are a mineral and cannot be removed. More information may be found here. Nitrites It is true that Berkey eliminates more than 95 percent of nitrites. Pesticides and Volatile Organic Compounds are two types of volatile organic compounds. Yes, Berkey eliminates 99.9 percent of all pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Products derived from petroleum Yes, Berkey is capable of removing more than 99.9 percent of all petroleum-based substances. Gasoline, diesel, crude oil, kerosene, mineral spirits, and refined oil are among the products available. PFAS and PFCs are two types of persistent organic pollutants. The Berkey system does, in fact, remove 99.9 percent of all PFAS and PFCs. What do the abbreviations PFAS and PFC mean? Pharmaceutical Drug Contaminants are substances that are found in pharmaceutical products. Yes, Berkey is capable of removing 99.9 percent of all medications from water supplies. A number of medications are included in this category, including: Acetaminophen, Caffeine, Carbamazepine, Ciprofloxacin HCl, Erythromycin USP, Trimethoprim, Bisphenol A, Diclofenac Sodium, 4-para-Nonylphenol, 4-tert-Octylphenol, Primidone, Progesterone, Gemfibrozil, Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium, and Yes, Berkey is capable of removing 99.8 percent of trihalomethanes from the air. Learn how trihalomethanes (such as bromodichloromethane, bromoform, chloroform, and dibromochloromethane) are formed and why they are found in the majority of the United States’ drinking water supply in this video. Malware Yes, Berkey successfully eliminates 99.999 percent of all malware, considerably exceeding industry norms. In fact, because Black Berkey Filters eliminate viruses at such a high level, they are regarded to be a water purifier in their own right. Find out more about the differences between a water filter and a water purifier by reading this article. Zinc Yes, Berkey is capable of removing 99.9 percent of zinc. Minerals, on the other hand, are typically left in, which is an exception. Look for a specific pollutant that Berkey is capable of removing. RELATED: Does Berkey Water change the pH of your water? Does Berkey Water soften hard water? Does Berkey Water soften hard water?
  • See Test Results
  • What is NOT removed by Berkey?
  • What is NOT removed by Berkey?

The Berkey Filter

Have you ever heard of a device known as the Berkey Filter?Are you interested in learning more about the science behind it and how it functions?Do you believe Berkey’s statements about his abilities?There is a good chance that you have seen the Berkey filter crop up in your Facebook or Instagram feed.There has been an increase in the popularity of this filtration unit; as a result, we wanted to share some information with you about the Berkey.Continue reading to find out more about our opinions on the Berkey.

  1. NOTE: We gathered information from both the main manufacturer’s website and the website of the major Berkey reseller in order to compile this report.

Article at a Glance

  • For those who like to have the main concepts of this post condensed into a few important key points, here they are: It should be noted that the Berkey Filter is not NSF-53 approved.
  • However, while the Berkey Filter asserts that it exceeds the criteria of NSF-53, this is not the case.
  • One of the laboratories utilized only passed 2 liters of water through the Berkey before testing, although NSF-53 would have required them to put 6,000 litres of water through the filter and THEN test the water.
  • Despite Berkey’s claims, the company is not certified to remove any of the pollutants it claims to be able to remove, and the industry does not accept the company’s filtering technology as a genuine approach to remove many of the toxins it claims to be able to remove.
  • When you look at the toxins that the Berkey Filter claims to eliminate, it appears that it is too good to be true – and it is.

History of the Berkey Filter

Berkey Filters began operations in Colorado in the late 1990s.Manufacturer New Millennium Concepts, Ltd.(NMCL) is responsible for the creation of Berkey.Starting with the Big Berkey, they eventually expanded their product range to include six distinct systems in total.They are now predominantly an online-based corporation, with a dealer network of other online businesses that offer their products alongside their own.


The NSF Standard 53 certification is a no-go since Berkey has not yet received certification from an impartial, third-party testing body such as the NSF.They say that their testing have proved that they meet or surpass the criteria of the National Sanitation Foundation, although they have not yet been certified.A significant water filtration firm such as Berkey should not be reluctant to have its products recognized by a credible organization, but they appear to consider it less than vital – we disagree.Certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) with the Gold Seal – NO – The Water Quality Association is the industry standard for water purification equipment certifications.The WQA gold seal has not yet been awarded to the Berkey filter due to a lack of certification.

Water Tests

  • In fact, if you go to the Berkey website, you will find that they claim to have had multiple tests done by EPA-accredited labs and universities: ″The Black Berkey filters have been tested by several EPA-accredited laboratories, including the Department of Toxicology and Environmental Science at the University of Phoenix, Spectrum Labs, and the Department of Toxicology and Environmental Science at Louisiana University.″ It was discovered via the thorough testing conducted by this company that the Black Berkey Purification Elements considerably exceed EPA and ANSI/NSF (Std. 53) procedure.″ It is actually not possible to see the results from any of these departments or laboratories. The only exams available on their website are those from the following categories: ENVIROTEK LABORATORIES – Website

It’s worth noting that both Envirotek Laboratories and Analytical Services have been ″certified″ by the NELAC Institute, which is an interesting distinction.

The Filtration Process of the Berkey (According to Berkey)

  • The Black Berkey Purification Filters are the heart of the Berkey filtration system. They are available in two sizes: small and large. Here’s what they have to say, taken directly from their website: In addition to micropores, which trap harmful contaminants such as bacteria, the element’s filtration media contains a revolutionary material with adsorption and ion exchange properties that essentially attract molecules and viruses to the media, preventing them from passing into your drinking water. Another page delves a bit more into the meaning of this: Because the element is formed of more than six different media types, all of which are compressed closely together to form routes of extremely small pores, the element’s first line of defense is that it contains more than six different media kinds.
  • As a result, these pores are tiny enough to be classified as ″microfiltration,″ which is an industry-standard term for filtration down to (0.1 to 2.0) microns.
  • A unique adsorption and absorption property of the medium is also claimed to be utilized in the creation of an ionic barrier.
  • It is possible to remove heavy metals from water by using an ion exchange method, in which the molecules are electrically bound to the medium
  • Finally, they assert that because the medium is moved through by gravity, the longer contact time results in higher filtering
  • this is in accordance with their claims.
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Claims of the Berkey Filter

  • What first drew my attention to the Berkey filter was the number of pollutants it promised to eliminate. This product promises to remove a long number of pollutants, but it also claims to remove many of those contaminants at a rate of 99.99 percent or higher in many cases. Viruses, pathogenic bacteria, trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals, microorganisms, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds are just a few of the pollutants that have been identified.

That’s a significant number of toxins it promises to be able to eliminate.Several pollutants are stated to be eliminated at Log Reductions of 4, 5, 6, and even 9 on the Berkey web page detailing the filtration standard, according to the company.Do you understand what it means to have a log 9 reduction?It signifies that they are stating that the pollutant has been reduced to 99.9999999 percent of its original level.Another page on their website claims, ″For example, our systems have been tested for the removal of hundreds of contaminants, including heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, pathogenic bacteria, and viruses.″ They also claim, ″Our systems have been tested for the removal of hundreds of contaminants, including heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, pathogenic bacteria, and viruses.″ In order to evaluate the Berkey’s technology and filtration processes, we must first determine the capabilities of those technologies and filtration methods.

Capabilities of Berkey Filtration Methods

The Berkey Filter is at the heart of this; the filters are referred to as the Black Berkey by the industry.The Black Berkey’s composition is made up of ″a carbon composite combining high-grade coconut shell carbon blended with a proprietary combination of five additional types of media,″ according to the manufacturer.This is all of the information we receive from Berkey.As a result, we can only hypothesize about what those five other media are.Wire Cutter published an intriguing post regarding the Berkey Filter in which they conducted various testing, which included cutting apart the Berkey filter.

The following is what they discovered: According to Wire Cutter, the internals appeared to be made of carbon fiber with ion exchange resin infused throughout them.Here are a few snippets from the Wire Cutter piece that you might find interesting: In our opinion, none of the tests we’ve cited here—not ours, nor the New Millennium-contracted testing by Envirotek or the Los Angeles County lab—come close to the rigor of the NSF/ANSI tests.For the avoidance of doubt, neither we, nor Envirotek, nor the City of Los Angeles, replicated the whole NSF/ANSI Standard 53 methodology, which is used for gravity-fed filters such as the Black Berkey.

In the same way that we did, (Envirotek) produced his test solutions in accordance with NSF/ANSI Standard 53, but he did not subject the Black Berkeys to the rigorous testing required by the standard, which was 6,000 gallons of contaminant solution through a series of filters.Additionally, he noted that the filters performed exceptionally well on lead in his tests, which is consistent with our own findings.His findings were that the filters ceased reaching the NSF removal criteria after around 1,100 gallons of filtering, which is scarcely more than a third of the claimed lifespan of the Black Berkey filters of 3,000 gallons or less.Separate EPA methodology was adopted by Los Angeles County, which consisted of passing just single 2-liter samples of challenge solutions through the filters.

  • Unlike us or Young, the county discovered that the Black Berkey filters effectively eliminated chloroform to its test standard, in this case by greater than 99.8 percent, to less than 0.5 ug/L from a starting concentration of 250 ug/L, in its case by greater than 99.8 percent.
  • Are you paying attention to what I’m saying?
  • ″The Black Berkey filter element has undergone thorough testing at state- and EPA-accredited laboratories and has shown to far surpass EPA and ANSI/NSF (Standard 53) standards,″ according to Berkey.
  • When it comes down to it, the tests they use to validate their ″contaminants eliminated standards″ do not even come close to exceeding the NSF 53 protocol.
  • Berkey’s actions are analogous to a car company claiming that their new vehicle achieves 95 miles per gallon (mpg).
  • Meanwhile, in the fine print, it is stated that the sole mpg testing were conducted when the automobile was sliding downhill to maximize efficiency.
  1. It is completely false in every way.

Log Reduction

  • Log reduction is also mentioned on Berkey’s website. Log reduction is a sort of filtering measurement that is commonly used. An indicator of how much a contaminant’s concentration has dropped is a reduction in concentration. As an illustration: 1-log reduction indicates that the concentration of the contaminant has been reduced by 90%
  • 2-log reduction indicates that the concentration of the contaminant has been reduced by 99 percent
  • 3-log reduction indicates that the concentration of the contaminant has been reduced by 99.9 percent
  • 4-log reduction indicates that the concentration of the contaminant has been reduced by 99.99 percent

And so forth.In addition to claiming to eliminate viruses with a better than 5-log reduction (99.999 percent), the Berkey Filter asserts that it destroys harmful bacteria with a greater than 6-log reduction (99.999 percent) (99.9999 percent ).Another page on their website states that harmful bacteria has been reduced by a factor of nine (99.99999 percent ).Pharmaceutical distillers, as a point of comparison, only claim a 4-log decrease in toxicity (99.99 percent ).Furthermore, Reverse Osmosis systems, which, in conjunction with distillation, produce the purest water available for household usage, claim a 1- or 2-log decrease in water hardness (90 percent -99 percent ).

(Please keep in mind that we also deploy 4-log reduction systems that eradicate viruses throughout the house.)

What Berkey Says About Reverse Osmosis

Berkey has published an essay on their website in which they compare Berkey filters to Reverse Osmosis.One of their primary arguments is that Reverse Osmosis eliminates beneficial minerals from water, which is harmful to the body.They assert (and with good reason) that reverse osmosis eliminates minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, cobalt, and manganese from drinking water.But there’s a catch…Berkey claims to be able to remove the following toxins according to their filtration parameters page: Cobalt (more than 95 percent); copper (more than 99.9 percent); iron (more than 99.9 percent); zinc (more than 99.9 percent); manganese (more than 99.9 percent) If you want to understand more, read our article on ″does reverse osmosis remove beneficial minerals from water″ to find out!

Reverse Osmosis

The capabilities and promises of reverse osmosis have convinced us that it is a reliable method of purification.CERTIFIED NSF-58 reverse osmosis systems are available for purchase.This is the certification for reverse osmosis systems and is much more strict than the NSF standard 53.When it comes to drinking water filtration, reverse osmosis produces the purest water possible, and the science behind this claim is sound and scientifically supported.Check read our page about reverse osmosis to discover more about the advantages of this water purification technique.

In Conclusion

Even while the thought of purchasing a cheap, simple canister that can remove a wide range of pollutants at a high level of reduction seems extremely enticing, the science simply does not support such promises.There is no other filter that employs similar technology to the Berkey filter that has been certified or that promises to remove the quantity of toxins that the Berkey filter does.The Berkey does not have any certifications.

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What is a Berkey Water Filter System?

The Berkey water filter is a highly efficient, standalone water purification device that is meant to supply drinking water for regular usage as well as in an emergency situation.Because it is gravity-fed, it does not require any electrical power.Any type of water may be poured into the top chamber of the unit, and by the time it reaches the bottom chamber, it has transformed into the cleanest, healthiest water available: Berkey Water.What exactly is included with a Berkey purchase?

How do Berkey Filters Work?

The Black Berkey Filters, also known as the Black Berkey Purification Elements, are the main powerhouses of the Berkey system, and they are the most expensive. They operate on three separate principles: absorption, adsorption, and microfiltration. Absorption is the most common principle. These techniques are integrated and mixed to create a one-of-a-kind filtering process.


The material from which the Black Berkey Filters are constructed serves as the first line of protection against pollutants.All of the media types used in each cylindrical filter are combined into a highly compact matrix comprising millions of tiny holes.Each cylindrical filter is made up of a mixture of more than six distinct media types.The surface of the filter elements has a microscopic pattern that has millions of small pores that allow water to pass through.This allows the water to pass through the filter elements.

Due to the small size of these holes, contaminants are unable to physically flow through them.These micropores also travel through the filter shell in a tortuous pattern called as a ″tortuous route,″ trapping even the smallest harmful bacteria, cysts, parasites, sediment, and sedimentary minerals as they pass through.It is identical to the legacy filters, such as the ancient Royal Doulton or the British Berkefeld, in this stage of the Berkey purification process.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, there are many more toxins to contend with than only bacteria to contend with.Agricultural and industrial activities can pollute water with contaminants such as heavy metals and volatile compounds, necessitating the use of more sophisticated treatment methods than microfiltration.What exactly does Berkey eliminate?


The ion exchange technique that Berkey employs for this phase in the filtration process is unique.This procedure is analogous to leaving an unsealed box of baking soda open in the refrigerator to absorb any strange odors that may have accumulated.It is possible to remove heavy metal ions (chromium, lead, or copper molecules) from water by using an ion exchange process, in which they are attracted to and converted by electrically connecting to a medium.Ions are molecules in which the number of electrons does not equal the number of protons, resulting in an imbalanced molecule.Because molecules try to restore equilibrium, they are attracted to other molecules that have a charge that is equivalent to their own.

The ions in the Black Berkey filters attract pollutant molecules, which is why they are so effective.All of these molecules are absorbed by and irreversibly bound to the filter, ensuring that they never make their way into the drinking water in the Berkey’s bottom chamber.


Adsorption acts in a similar way to surface tension in that it creates an ionic barrier.The barrier spanning across the micropores prevents water pollutants, such as submicron viruses, from entering the system since the pore size is smaller than the barrier itself.Berkey filters take use of the electrostatic charge of viruses to attract them to the walls of the tunnels in the ″tortuous route″ of the filter, where they are trapped.Small viruses are held against the surfaces of the filter in a manner similar to static cling and are never allowed to escape.Because of its capacity to eliminate viruses from water, Berkey has earned the distinguished label of water purifier rather than merely a water filter.

Other water filters are unable to do so without the addition of harmful chemicals such as iodine or chlorine.

Exposure Time

Finally, because to the gravity flow nature of a Berkey, molecules in water can take many minutes to move through the filter components, whereas molecules in other filtration systems can pass through in fractions of a second or less.In contrast to typical pressured water filtration technologies, the extended contact time between the water molecules and the filter medium results in significantly higher removal rates of dangerous water contaminants than is possible with conventional pressurized water filtration.

Berkey water is better water.

The Berkey has passed independent laboratory testing, allowing it to be classified as a water purifier rather than simply a water filter.The term ″water filter″ refers to a product that removes harmful germs to a level more than 99.99 percent of the time.The higher grade of water purification necessitates the eradication of 99.9999 percent of harmful microorganisms by the water purifier.Independent testing has revealed that Berkey water complies with NSF/ANSI standard 53 for reductions in heavy metals such as mercury and lead, disinfectant byproducts, parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as dichlorobenzene, trichloroethylene, and MTBE, as well as radon and pesticides.Several distinct scientific processes are used by Berkey Water Filter Systems in order to create drinking water of unrivaled purity.

Technology that is both powerful and simple to use.Simply pouring water into the upper chamber of a Berkey Water Filter System is all that is required for it to function properly.The lengthy filter life allows for the production of filtered drinking water at a cost of cents per gallon.

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Microfiltration, adsorption, and absorption are procedures that have been in use for many years and continue to function efficiently.Find out more about the purification of water.

Berkey Filtration Test Results

Take a look at the technical specs and performance results.

Does Berkey Remove Minerals?

Learn more about the healthy minerals found in your drinking water.

Do Berkey Filters Change Your pH Level

Berkey may adjust the pH level of your water based on its composition.

Do *NOT* Buy Until You Read This Berkey Water Filter Review

The most recent update was made on August 17, 2021.A ″Berkey Water Filter″ is becoming more popular than ever, but is it really worth the money?While on my own personal hunt for the ultimate answer to clean water, I stumbled across a TON of technical material, which inspired me to launch this blog to share my findings.With all of this in mind, it becomes tough to make a selection because you aren’t sure what a water filtration gadget will truly do.All of the technical language not only confuses, but it can also be frustrating (trust me, I’ve been there myself).

As a result, this review will be intentionally devoid of jargon.I also personally own and use a Big Berkey Water Filter-2 in my house, so most of what I’m saying is based on my own personal experience with the product.

Berkey Water Filter Review: 7 Weird Reasons Why It Is Effective

1. What Does Berkey Water Filter Remove? A lot.

This particular model of filter truly eliminates hundreds of impurities from your drinking water, including any form of bacterium or parasite that you would encounter on a regular basis in your home.But there’s more to it than that.While the Berkey water filter removes the obvious (such as bacteria), it also removes heavy metals such as mercury and lead, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), harmful compounds such as chlorine, chrome-6, and benzene, as well as other contaminants (think Erin Brockovich).If your water filtering requirements include the removal of prescription medications and pesticides, the Berkey is capable of eliminating these substances at levels more than 99.99 percent of the time.

2. Berkey Has a Fluoride Filter

I’ve written extensively on how local governments frequently add items like fluoride to the public water supply, which I believe is unethical. Anything appears to be an attempt to enhance the dental and oral hygiene of the general public, however if you wash your teeth on a regular basis, you won’t need this.

Does Berkey remove fluoride? Yes.

Fluoride is not removed by the majority of filtering equipment. The Berkey water filter, on the other hand, does. In fact, it contains unique capabilities for this purpose, as well as filters that remove arsenic from the water (another no-no in your drinking water).

3. Save On Electricity Bills With The Berkey

Many countertop water filters require a water pressure system in order to function properly, which might necessitate the use of power in some cases.A filtration system that relies on power will result in increased utility costs.Berkey filters, on the other hand, are gravity fed!The lack of water pressure, and even power, eliminates the need to be concerned about these issues.All you have to do is pour water into the top chamber, and the water will be filtered down through the system.

By the time the water reaches the bottom chamber, it has been entirely filtered, cleaned, and disinfected, and it is safe to drink.

4. It’s Portable. Enter The Berkey Travel Water Filter…

When I went on vacation with my pals, I brought my Berkey water filter along with me.Because it does not require energy, wires, or a plumbing system, it can be transported virtually anyplace.Apart from being ideal for vacations, it is also ideal if you ever find yourself in an emergency circumstance such as a storm, earthquake, or even a zombie breakout.At the very least, if the worst case scenario occurs, you will not have to worry about access to safe drinking water.

5. Berkey Water Filter Saves Money In the Long Run

The Berkey water filter is incredibly cost-effective to operate.Of course, the initial outlay might be a little steep.To give you an example, the Berkey 2 gallon model costs around $250, which appears to be a lot of money, but consider this: the two filters that come with the 2 gallon model will purify approximately 6,000 gallons before they need to be replaced.To put this into perspective, if you drink 10 gallons of water each week, it will take you approximately 11 years before you will need to replace your filters.All of this will be accomplished for less than 2 cents per gallon of gasoline.

In comparison, most water filters only last 3-6 months on average.

6. Berkey Is Easy To Use

The fact that the Berkey water filters are so simple to operate is another of my favorite aspects about them.Just add water, that’s all there is to it.Keep in mind that you do not need to link them to a plumbing system, connect them to an existing water supply, or connect them to power.It comes with a valve, which makes turning it on and off as simple as turning on a faucet.Furthermore, because it is constructed of stainless steel, it is much easier to clean than other materials.

7. Versatile Capacity / Sizes (Berkey Light, Travel, Big and Crown)

This is, without a doubt, one of the most advantageous aspects of Berkey water filters.It has a reservoir that can hold up to 2.5 gallons of water and filters around 3.5 gallons of water each hour, making it a very efficient filter.This makes it an excellent choice if you have a large family or simply want something large enough to avoid having to refill it frequently.Despite its large capacity, it is nevertheless highly portable and not difficult to move if, for example, you want to take it on vacation with you.It is simple to dismantle and nestle the top chamber into the bottom chamber of the unit.

As a result of being tucked in this manner, the total item only stands 13 inches high and will not take up much space in your luggage.As if that wasn’t enough, they are also available in a variety of various sizes.Everything from the ultra-portable 1.5 gallon Travel Berkey to the massive 6 gallon Crown Berkey is available.

Berkey Water Filter SCAM?

Berkey is definitely a trustworthy firm that manufactures high-quality water filters; so, where does the problem of a Berkey water filter SCAM originate from?Berkey, on the other hand, had a significant jump in demand within a short period of time, resulting in a flood of re-sellers flooding the market to assist meet the increased need.Unfortunately, many of these re-sellers did not always operate with integrity, resulting in a large number of negative reviews on the internet.This has become such a problem that Berkey themselves have posted a statement on the subject on their website.To prevent falling victim to the ″Berkey water filter scam,″ make sure you get your device directly from the manufacturer.

They also have the most competitive pricing, which are often cheaper than those found on Amazon.

…Even More Reasons To LOVE The Berkey Water Filter

  • Natural News Water Filter Labs awarded Berkey the highest possible rating for eliminating pollutants in 2014.
  • Berkey filters outperform the ANSI/EPA NSF criteria in terms of filtration. Because of this, they are regarded to be water purifiers rather than merely water filters
  • they can filter water that is unfit for human consumption in third-world nations. The Red Cross, Peace Corps, UNICEF, and missionary groups are examples of organizations that make use of this technology.

Final Thought On The Big Berkey Water Filter?

When compared to alternative water filters, the most significant disadvantage is the hefty initial investment required.The reality is that this brand is a little more expensive than you may imagine.We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.However, when you consider all of the impurities it eliminates from your water, how long the filters last, and how easy it is to use and transport, it is, in my opinion, well worth the investment.

AquaTru Water Filter

Berkey Water Filter

– Fluoride by 91.8% (WITHOUT extra filters). – Lead 97.5% – Benzene 99.9% – Chlorine 96.6% – Cysts 99.99% – Fluoride by 99.9% (special filters required). – Lead 97.5% – Benzene 99.8%
Available in 1-size only. Available in various sizes.
Plastic materials. Metal & plastic materials.
Number of filters: 3 Number of filters: 2 – 4
Filter methods: Mechanical, Reverse Osmosis & Activated Carbon filters. Filter methods: Black microporous-filters & white fluoride Filters
4-stage filter process. 2-stagefilter process.
Holds a maximum water capacity of 3-quarts. 2.25 Gallons
45.7 x 45.7 x 38.1 cm 19″ High x 8.5″ Diameter
System: 1 year limited warranty. Filters: 2 years; System: 1 year.
Full Performance Data Sheet (AquaTru). NOT PROVIDED

The research

  • Why you should put your faith in us
  • Who this is intended for
  • What we discovered as a result of our testing
  • What it means and why it matters
  • Information contained within the Black Berkey Filter
  • Footnotes

The Wirecutter’s water filter recommendations, which include pitchers and under-the-sink systems, have been under the supervision of writer-editor Tim Heffernan since 2016.Since 2014, we have contracted with John Holecek, a former NOAA researcher, to do air and water quality testing for us.He developed the test solutions and contracted with the independent lab that Wirecutter hired to conduct the tests for this guide and our guide to pitcher filters, both of which were published this year.The lab in question, EnviroMatrix Analytical, is accredited by the California Department of Health Services and performs basic drinking water analyses on a regular basis.A popular choice among those who rely on well water are Big Berkey filter systems, as well as similar systems by Alexapure and Propur.

Well water may contain contaminants (the manufacturer claims that the filter removes an extensive list) that would not be removed by a municipal water treatment plant, making these systems attractive.Berkey also has a large following among members of the disaster-preparedness movement as well as critics of the government.2 And Berkey sellers promote these systems as emergency preparedness tools, with some estimating the number of people they can serve with clean water on a daily basis (claiming up to 170 for the Big Berkey).

Whatever your reason for being interested in Berkey or any other water filters, it is important to note that the majority of municipal water in the United States is clean to begin with.It is impossible for a filter to eliminate contaminants that were never there in the first place, so you may not need one at all unless you are experiencing a recognized problem.According to the device’s maker, Big Berkey can eliminate more than a hundred different pollutants (far more than any other gravity-fed filter we have seen).The filter is not NSF/ANSI certified, which means that it is not comparable to the filters we have tested in the past.

  • Because of this, we decided to do independent testing to see if we could replicate some of the outcomes we had seen with the other filters we had tested previously.
  • According to John Holecek, in order to test these claims, he prepared so-called challenge solutions, ran them through the Big Berkey system (which was equipped with Black Berkey filters), and sent samples of the solutions and filtered water to an independent laboratory (EnviroMatrix Analytical) accredited by the state of California for analysis.
  • He created two solutions for the Berkey tests, one containing a high concentration of dissolved lead and the other containing chloroform.
  • These would offer an indicator of the overall performance of the filters in terms of heavy metals and organic molecules, respectively.
  • As part of the NSF/ANSI certification process, John created challenge samples that met or exceeded the pollutant amounts required for certification (150 ug/L lead and 300 ug/L chloroform, respectively).
  • After confirming that the filters were correctly installed and performing correctly according to Berkey’s dye test, he ran a gallon of contaminated solution through the Berkey and discarded the filtrate, which included the water and anything else that had passed through the filter during the process.
  1. When it came to the contaminated solution measurements, we ran a total of two extra gallon of water through the Berkey, obtaining one control sample from the second gallon, and two samples of the filtrate from the third gallon.
  2. After that, the control and filtrate samples were forwarded to Enviromatrix Analytical for further examination.
  3. For this reason, and since chloroform is very volatile (it ″wants″ to evaporate and interact with the other chemicals present), John added it to the contaminant solution shortly before filtering it.
  4. In the laboratory of Enviromatrix Analytical, the chloroform (as well as any other volatile organic compounds, or VOCs) was analyzed with the use of a gas-chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS).

The lead concentration was determined using an inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) in accordance with EPA procedure 200.8, which was followed.The findings of Enviromatrix Analytical somewhat contradicted and partially validated the statements made by New Millennium.Chloroform removal was found to be insufficient with the Black Berkey filters.

On the other side, they outperformed everyone else when it came to lead reduction.(Full results are provided in the next section.) When we shared the results of our lab with Jaime Young, a chemist and New Jersey state-licensed owner/operator of the water analysis lab (then known as Envirotek) commissioned in 2014 by New Millennium Concepts (the manufacturer of the Big Berkey system) for its own testing of its Black Berkey filters, she was pleased with the results, as was I.3 Young’s findings on both chloroform and lead were supported by ours.

As previously stated, New Millennium has commissioned other tests in the past, including one conducted by the Environmental Toxicology Laboratory, Department of the Agricultural Commissioner/Department of Weights and Measures of the County of Los Angeles in 2012, which does list chloroform (PDF) as one of the contaminants that the Black Berkey was able to remove from its standard (the Environmental Protection Agency, not NSF/ANSI).Because of the toxicological test conducted in 2012, toxicology has been transferred to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health.We contacted the Department of Public Health, which confirmed the validity of the initial complaint.Young’s test, on the other hand, is referred to as the ″latest round″ by New Millennium, and his findings are the most current to be posted on the Berkey Water Knowledge Base, a separate website that New Millennium maintains for displaying its test results.Our independent test methodologies, as well as Young’s and LA County’s, are incompatible with one another.

And because none of them adhere to the NSF/ANSI standard, we don’t have a common reference point for comparing the outcomes of the experiments.The conclusion is that our overall assessment of the Berkey system does not substantially rely on the results of our tests.key system The Berkey has enough concerns with simplicity of use and expense that we would recommend a standard gravity-fed filter pitcher above it to the vast majority of our readers, even if it can do all of the functions Millennium claims it can as a filter.We also disassembled a pair of Black Berkey filters to examine their construction and seek for proof that they feature ″at least″ six separate filtering components, as claimed by the company’s marketing department in its advertising.The Berkey filters, despite the fact that they are bigger and denser than filters from Brita and 3M Filtrete, appear to have the same filtration mechanisms: activated charcoal coated with an ion-exchange resin.

  1. The Berkey filtration system is a type of gravity-fed water filter that falls into a broad category.
  2. Using gravity, these basic machines extract source water from an upper chamber and pass it through a fine-pored filter; the filtered water is collected in a lower chamber from which it may be distributed.
  3. One example is the usage of filter pitchers, which is a frequently utilized and successful technique.
  4. When tested on lead-contaminated drinking water, the Berkey filters demonstrated excellent effectiveness.
  5. Their reduction of lead levels from 170 ug/L to just 0.12 ug/L in our test was considerably more than the NSF/ANSI certification criteria of decreasing lead levels from 150 ug/L to no more than 10 ug/L or less.
  1. However, in our chloroform test, the Black Berkey filters worked badly, decreasing the chloroform concentration in our test sample by only 13 percent, from 150 ug/L to 130 ug/L.
  2. The NSF/ANSI standard calls for a 95 percent decrease in turbidity, from 300 ug/L to 15 ug/L or below.
  3. (Our test solution was mixed to the NSF/ANSI standard concentration of 300 ug/L, but because of chloroform’s volatility, it quickly forms new compounds or evaporates, resulting in a concentration of 150 ug/L at the time of the test.) However, because the tests conducted by Enviromatrix Analytical also detected additional volatile organic chemicals that chloroform can produce, we are convinced that the results are correct.) When Jaime Young, a New Jersey-licensed water analysis engineer, completed the most current round of testing for New Millennium Concepts, she discovered that the Black Berkey filters had poor performance when exposed to chloroform as well.
  4. New Millennium Concepts, on the other hand, says that the Black Berkey filter eliminates chloroform by 99.8 percent, bringing it ″below lab detectable limits.″ This claim is made right on the box in which the filters are packaged.
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That figure appears to be based on tests conducted by the Los Angeles County laboratory in 2012.Berkey Water Knowledge Base (which is linked to from, but is not a part of, the company’s main website) contains the findings of the company’s water testing.I want to be quite clear about this: We, Envirotek, and the City of Los Angeles did not recreate the whole NSF/ANSI Standard 53 process, which is utilized for gravity-fed filters such as the Black Berkey.For our part, we had our laboratory conduct testing after the Black Berkeys had previously filtered many gallons of challenge solution that had been prepared to NSF/ANSI standards.However, in order to receive NSF/ANSI certification, gravity-fed filters must first pass through twice their rated capacity of challenge solution before being tested—in the case of the Black Berkey filter, this is 6,000 gallons.

To put this result in context, our top-ranked gravity-fed water filter, by Brita, is officially NSF/ANSI certified for lead removal, which means it fulfills the complete Standard 53 process for lead removal on challenge solutions at twice the rated filter capacity.Jaime Young, like us, prepared his test solutions in accordance with NSF/ANSI Standard 53, but he did not subject the 6,000 gallons of contaminated solution through the filters that the Black Berkeys would have been obligated to do under the Standard 53 methodology in its entirety.Additionally, he noted that the filters performed exceptionally well on lead in his tests, which is consistent with our own findings.His findings were that the filters ceased reaching the NSF removal criteria after around 1,100 gallons of filtering, which is scarcely more than a third of the claimed lifespan of the Black Berkey filters of 3,000 gallons or less.Separate EPA methodology was adopted by Los Angeles County, which consisted of passing just single 2-liter samples of challenge solutions through the filters.Unlike us or Young, the county discovered that the Black Berkey filters effectively eliminated chloroform to its test standard, in this case by greater than 99.8 percent, to less than 0.5 ug/L from a starting concentration of 250 ug/L, in its case by greater than 99.8 percent.

  1. This filter’s inconsistent results, when compared to those from the two laboratories commissioned by Berkey, made us hesitant to endorse it, especially since there are other independently certified choices available that put all these unresolved doubts to rest completely.
  2. Overall, our testing experience reaffirms our recommendation that water filters with NSF/ANSI certification be used, which the Berkey does not have.
  3. This is due to the fact that NSF/ANSI certification criteria are extraordinarily demanding, as well as transparent: Anyone can read them on the National Science Foundation’s website.
  4. The independent labs that are authorised to conduct NSF/ANSI certification tests are themselves subject to stringent accreditation requirements..

The NSF person we contacted with while researching this guide informed us that it would cost well over $1,000,000 to do certification testing for all of the contaminants that New Millennium Concepts says the Black Berkey filters remove from water.New Millennium claims that NSF certifications are superfluous and that the company’s inability to afford the testing is another factor for the lack of testing.Although the Big Berkey has excellent overall filtering performance, it has enough practical shortcomings that we would recommend one of our other water filter recommendations before recommending the Big Berkey based on these considerations alone.In comparison to our suggested filters, the Berkey system is significantly more expensive to purchase ($260) and maintain ($109 for a set of replacement filters) than any of the filters we recommend.

  1. The Berkey, on the other hand, is huge and conspicuous, in contrast to our suggested filters.
  2. Despite the fact that it is intended to be placed on the countertop, its height of 19 inches means that it will not fit under many wall cabinets, which are normally located 18 inches above the countertop.
  3. Moreover, because it is too big to fit in most refrigerator layouts, keeping water cold in the Berkey is problematic, although this is easy to achieve with our filter pitcher selection.
  4. New Millennium Concepts sells a 5-inch stand or base that makes it easier to put glasses under the Big Berkey’s spigot, but it costs around $30 more than the standard stand or base.

What’s inside the Black Berkey Filter

The majority of gravity-fed filters remove pollutants from water using two distinct types of materials.Inorganic chemicals such as petroleum-based fuels and solvents, numerous insecticides, and many medications can be adsorbents, or chemically bound to, activated charcoal.When used in conjunction with a water treatment system, an ion-exchange resin can effectively remove many dissolved metals from water by exchanging toxic heavy metals (such as lead, mercury, and cadmium) for lighter, essentially harmless ones (such as sodium, which is a major component of table salt).Both of our top-rated pitcher filters (from Brita) and under-sink filters (from 3M Filtrete) are built in this manner.However, retailers make claims about the materials used in the Black Berkey filters, such as this one from TheBerkey.com: ″Our Black Berkey Purification elements are composed of a proprietary formulation of more than six different media types, including high grade coconut shell carbon, all constructed into a very compact matrix containing millions of microscopic pores.″ New Millennium Concepts does not disclose the materials used in the Black Berkey filters.

The Black Berkey filters we tested looked to be made of an activated charcoal block impregnated with an ion-exchange resin, as we discovered when we broke apart a pair of them.Mr.Young confirmed the validity of this finding.

How long can I store Berkey water in my refrigerator?

The following are two questions that people regularly ask regarding Berkey® water purifiers:

  1. Can water remain in my Berkey system for an extended period of time before I must refill it?
  2. What is the best technique for storing Berkey water and how long can it be stored for?

The following responses have been supplied by the producer of Berkey systems and filters in order to provide the most accurate answers to these questions: Can water be left in my Berkey system for an extended period of time before I need to refill it?After three days, we recommend that you replace your Berkey water bottle.In frigid environments, the duration of the treatment might be prolonged to a week.This is a cautious estimate to be on the safe side.The reason for this is because when you filter your water, the chemicals that prevent bacteria development are eliminated, which is beneficial.

Bacterial growth can occur more quickly in situations with higher relative humidity.What is the best technique for storing Berkey water and how long can it be stored for?The amount of time that water may be stored is determined by how well it has been treated.

When utilizing the Berkey Biofilm Drops, it is possible to preserve water for up to 5 years at a time.It is advised to use 16 drops (1/2 tablespoon) of chlorinated bleach per gallon of water when storing items for an extended period of time.Bacterial growth will be inhibited by either treatment.When you’re ready to utilize the water, purify it with your Berkey system before you do so.

  • When storing items for a short period of time in a plastic storage container, it is OK.
  • It is preferable, however, to use a glass container that has been sterilized.
  • We recommend that you store your water in a cold, dry environment.
  • To place an order for Berkey Biofilm Drops, please visit this page.
  • To receive special offers on Berkey Biofilm Drops, as well as other Berkey water purification systems and Berkey filters, make sure to subscribe to our exclusive email newsletter.
  • It’s completely free, and it offers exclusive deals to members alone.
  1. You can sign up for our newsletter by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.

Choose From the 8 Best Water Filters in 2022 to Fit Your Lifestyle

Learn more about our process, which includes independent research, testing, and review of the best products before making recommendations.If you buy something via our links, we may receive a commission.The use of water filters not only helps to improve the flavor of your water, but they also protect you from impurities such as rust particles and potentially harmful contaminants such as bacteria and lead, among others.Sure, bottled water is widely available as a quick and (initially) inexpensive option, but water filters are more sustainable—and can save you money in the long term.There are, however, countless types of water filters available on the market, each differing in what they remove from your water.

These include under-sink filters, faucet attachments, whole-house filtration systems, pitcher filters, and more.While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all filter solution, we help narrow down the list of the best water filters based on your needs.Each item included in this roundup has either been certified by the NSF, a health and safety standards testing company, or tested and certified by an independent third party to meet NSF standards.

″Be sure to do your due diligence as a consumer and compare filters and replacement cartridges,″ says Rick Andrew, Director of NSF International’s Global Business Development.″If something seems too good to be true, then there is a good chance it may be a counterfeit.″ Do keep in mind the CDC notes that no filter can eliminate all contaminants, and many are specialized.To discover what pollutants need to be eliminated, licensed laboratories can test water from private wells or cisterns; for consumers who obtain water from their city, a Consumer Confidence Report is provided annually with the water bill.Here are the best water filters on the market.

  • Final Verdict The APEC Top Tier 5-Stage Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System (view at Amazon) earns our top spot because of its five-stage filtering system and simple installation.
  • Plus, most reviewers praise how clean and smooth the resulting water tastes.
  • If neither under-sink filters nor pitchers are options, try the Pur PFM400H Faucet Water Filtration System (view at Amazon); it’s attractive, effective, and you don’t need tools to install it.

What to Look for When Buying a Water Filter

By Marshall Bright


According to Rick Andrew of NSF International, a health and safety standards testing business that certifies water filtration systems, there are two primary reasons to install a water filtration system: first, it is environmentally friendly.Water filters for drinking water in the United States are more likely to be used to enhance flavor or remove hard minerals and protect pipes, as hard water (i.e., water with a high mineral content) can cause buildup in pipes and water fixtures and eventually lead to pipe failure.Although there are instances when a system that can filter out toxins such as lead or man-made compounds is desirable, it is not always the case.If you have well water, ancient pipes, or live in a region where drinking water is dangerous, you may require a water filter to remove pollutants such as lead or real particles such as sand from your drinking water.In the event that you use city water, you may check the yearly water reports to discover what sorts of toxins are present in your water supply.

Even though your municipal water is clean, it is possible that you have aging pipes that are allowing toxins to leak into your water.The addition of a water filter can aid in the removal of these contaminants.Filters that are approved to eliminate chlorine, for example, can also help to promote hydration by making water more pleasant to drink.

Independent Certifications 

In part because good filtration is so vital (and because it’s so difficult to detect whether or not it’s functioning), certification is one of the few ways to be absolutely certain that your water filter is actually eliminating the impurities it promises to be removing on its box.The

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