In this Berkey water filter review, I discuss why it has become an essential part of our kitchen kit and everyday lives. I also share what makes the Berkey water filter special in comparison to others on the market and where you can buy one of your own.
Disclaimer: I do earn an affiliate commission on this post. However, I only write posts about products I truly believe in, and actually paid out of my own pocket to try the Berkey myself.
Why I bought a Berkey Water Filter
Remember the movie Erin Brockovich? She helped a small town in California struggling with health issues due to run-off from a local energy company. I don’t know about you, but when the movie was over, I assumed that’s all it was…a movie.
Turns out, that’s not true. In fact, chromium hexavalent is actually in our local water supply – along with hundreds of other contaminants like arsenic and haloacetic acids (formed when chlorine is added to water). These contaminants in our drinking water can be linked to causing cancer and even interfere with the body’s hormones. This means water from your tap that you drink, use to rinse your produce and cook with may actually be causing more harm than good.
That’s why nearly a decade ago I invested in a Berkey water filter and now cannot imagine life without it. However fast forward to today, there are so many water filters on the market. From reverse osmosis to facet filters what is so special about Berkey water filter? Let me explain…
What is a Berkey Water Filter?
The Berkey water filter is a freestanding water purification system that provides healthy drinking water for the family home. As the Berkey water filter is gravity-fed this means it can be used without electricity which is ideal in emergencies (or now with rising energy costs.) Side not on the topic of emergencies, the Berkey filter can actually filter water from any source. This includes streams or rivers which again, is an advantage during natural disasters and emergencies.
Berkey water filter is actually classed as a water purifier. This is because it exceeds the industry requirement which is to remove at least 99.9% of pathogenic bacteria and reduce viruses by 99.9%. More importantly, the Berkey filter does this without the use of chemicals such as iodine and chlorine.
In order to purify the water, the Berkey water filter uses microfiltration and ionic absorption. While this sounds complicated, it essentially means the filter is a combination of micro-pores that trap harmful contaminants, so you are left with only the best, purified water. With our bodies made up of around 60% water, it is vital the water we consume is providing us with the minerals and nutrients we need while leaving out the toxins we don’t.
What Does The Berkey Water Filter Do?
The Berkey water purification process sounds complex but put simply you pour water from almost any source into the upper chamber and by the time it reaches the lower chamber you will have pure, healthy drinking water.
In order for this to happen the system relies on Black Berkey Filters which work on three principles: absorption, adsorption, and microfiltration as mentioned earlier. These unique methods are what make the Berkey filter qualify as a water purifier as opposed to just a filter.
How to Check Your Water Quality
I did a search for the water quality in my town of San Diego, California and the results are what ultimately made me choose to get a Berkey Water Filter years ago.
I was floored by the number of contaminants in our water, including arsenic, trihalomethanes (like chloroform and bromoform), haloacetic acids (formed when chlorine is added to water), and chromium hexavalent. Many of these contaminants are known carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) that we were unknowingly drinking, washing, and cooking with.
Don’t just take my word for it however, you can test the quality of your own water supply by simply entering your zip code here. The results will demonstrate that the drinking water currently being consumed by your family may be causing more harm than good and further solidifying why a Berkey water filter is an everyday essential.
What does the Berkey filter out?
The filters in the Berkey system are called Black Berkey Filters or Black Berkey Elements. They have been tested by accredited independent, EPA-approved labs to filter more than 200 typical contaminants found in tap water and freshwater. You can find the Berkey test results here.
You can actually take a look at the extensive list of contaminants that the Berkey filters out in comparison to other popular filters. In particular, the Berkey water filter has the ability to remove or reduce viruses as well as parasites, harmful chemicals (for example, herbicides and pesticides) as well as detergents, organic solvents, cloudiness, sediment, heavy metals, and even odors.
Yet the crazy thing is, that they are able to leave the beneficial minerals that our bodies need to function at their best. Some would call it magic.
Talking of magic, the Black Berkey water filters even managed to remove red food coloring from water they are that effective. All without eliminating any essential minerals. As far as I know, there is no other water filter that can do this on the market today.
What does the Berkey filter not remove?
After reading the long list of what it filters out, you’ll be correct to question what does the Berkey filter not remove? Don’t worry, thanks to the filter’s unique design, only harmful heavy metals and contaminants are removed. All beneficial minerals will remain in your water which isn’t always the case with other filtering systems that use reverse osmosis or distillation for example.
Is there a better filter than Berkey?
As someone who has used it daily for almost a decade, I have yet to find a better filter than Berkey. However, don’t just take my word for it, the science backs me up. Compared to other filters on the market, the Berkey filters out the most contaminants. For example, if you were to compare the Berkey vs Brita, the Brita pitcher filter only reduces mercury, copper, cadmium, chlorine, and zinc.
However, what makes the Berkey special is that alongside its amazing purifying abilities, it won’t filter out the good stuff. Many people believe a filtering system that uses reverse osmosis is better, but these are renowned for wasting water and filtering out the minerals we actually need to keep in our drinking water.
As well as this Berkey water filter review, I recommend you read the direct comparisons of Berkey vs all major filter brands such as Brita, Pur, and Aquatru on their website for extra assurance that it is the healthiest choice.
Does Berkey filters remove fluoride?
The Black Berkey Filters prevent contaminants including fluoride from passing through. However, they have a major job to do so their fluoride filtering abilities gradually decline overtime. If you wish to boost the Berkey’s fluoride filtering abilities you can insert additional filters specifically for fluoride.
Although fluoride is naturally found in soil, water, and even some foods, it is synthetically added to drinking water in an attempt by water authorities to reduce tooth decay. Critics claim that now we have high fluoride toothpaste, the benefits of fluoride in the water supply are unnecessary.
Furthermore, there are several concerns regarding fluoride’s long-term effect on health including issues with bones, neurological development, thyroid problems, and even reproductive issues. Due to this controversy the Berkey fluoride water filter reduces the amount of fluoride in your water by up to 97%.
Berkey Water filter Cleaning & Maintenance
As part of my Berkey water filter review I felt it was important to share a little about the cleaning and upkeep. Before investing in any piece of kitchen kit, I like to know if it’s going to need an extensive cleaning routine, or, worse a load of chemicals to get it gleaming. Thankfully with the Berkey water filter, it’s neither.
As it is constantly filtering water and contaminants, it is important to clean the unit on a regular basis. Ideally, clean the stainless steel chamber once a month and the filters every six months. This will keep the Berkey water filter working at its best.
I recommend you use the specific instructions for your model, but generally the steps for cleaning a Berkey water filter are as follows:
How to Clean Berkey Filter Steel Chambers
- Remove the Black Berkey elements and fluoride filters if using (store them somewhere safe)
- Remove the spigot then simply wash by hand using warm water and mild soap. You could also use Thieves.
- The stainless steel chambers can even be washed in the dishwasher – don’t forget your homemade rinse aid for added shine.
- For best results air dry.
How to clean the Berkey filters
- Once removed, scrub the filters with a soft-bristled brush using clean water only – no soap.
- For stubborn stains or build up you can soak the filters in a mix of white vinegar and lemon juice. Make sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards.
- Once the steel chambers are also clean, reassemble and refill the system with water.
How to Choose the right Berkey filter for your family
Choosing the right Berkey depends on a few factors. Firstly, how many people in your home will be using it? Do you have a large countertop space or will you be storing it elsewhere? Check out the full range of Berkey water filters here, including comparisons of each water filter to figure out what works for your family.
After thorough research, we decided to go with the Royal Berkey which is best for 4-6 people. It’s a great size and isn’t too bulky.
I particularly love that with the Berkey there is no plumbing installation involved and that it doesn’t use electricity so there’s no additional costs. Although we use it on our countertop, it can also be used for outdoor activities and during unexpected emergencies.
For life on the go, I also love the Travel Filter Water Bottle which features the brand’s same microfiltration technology making it ideal for hikes, camping, or use on vacation as it can filter contaminants from sources such as lakes, ponds, and foreign water supplies.
Finally, I’d also recommend the Berkey Shower Filter which reduces chlorine by up to 95%. Not only is this better for your skin, but your bathroom too as scale build-up is also greatly reduced.
Best Place to Buy a Berkey Water Filter
I highly recommend buying the Berkey Water Filtration System direct at BerkeyFilters.com. They are an authorized retailer with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and offer returns and exchanges. They also have a lifetime warranty on the stainless steel filtration system.
Additionally, I believe they are the best place to buy a Berkey filter because you’ll get the support. They have amazing customer service, and so many great tutorials and information on their website to help you.
You can also buy the Berkey Water Filtration System and Filters on Amazon. It’s easy to order on Amazon, but doesn’t have the full support you’d get at BerkeyFilters.com.
To conclude my Berkey water filter review, I think it’s safe to say I cannot imagine life without it. Not only is it a reliable and efficient choice for families who crave safe and clean drinking water, but it is easy to use and durable. While initially, it may sound expensive, my family has used our Berkey water filter for nearly a decade, so genuinely believe it is a cost-effective investment for your health and well-being.
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Did you enjoy this Berkey water filter review? Let me know in the comments if you decide to buy and what you think. You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see what other fun things I’m getting up to.
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