Berkey Water Filter Review: Choose the Right Unit and Learn How To Use It

In this Berkey water filter review, we will cross-compare the most popular models while providing some basic education on the system so you can confidently get started with your Berkey journey today.

In addition to providing a perfectly neutral flavor and saving money long term, the Berkey water filter removes hundreds of toxic elements from your water such as parasites, bacteria, heavy metals, and man-made chemicals. This system is not just a filter, it’s a heavy-duty purifier. You can purify water from your sink, a stream, rainwater, and beyond! 

Here is a quick comparison of each of the major Berkey models for sale. I’ll break down the specifics of each one for you later on in the article. When you pick the right water purification system for your home, you’ll have the highest quality water with minimal effort.

Travel Berkey System

Best For Campers & RVs

The Travel Berkey System is a perfect choice for those with a smaller home and for those who want to bring their Berkey with them on camping and RV trips. It has a 1.5-gallon capacity, is suitable for up to 4 people, and can purify approximately 2.75 gallons an hour. 

Berkey Light System

Best For Moving Around Easily 

The Berkey Light water purification system is cheaper and more lightweight than the stainless steel versions. It’s made of shatter-resistant non-BPA copolyester that is safe and sturdy enough for several years of usage. It’s the only Berkey system that is translucent, allowing you to regularly check on your water levels for easy refilling. 

This kit includes 2 standard black filters as well as 2 fluoride filters. It has a 2.4-gallon capacity, can provide abundant daily water for 2-6 people, and filters about 3.75 gallons of water per hour when used with all 4 filters. 

Big Berkey Water System 

Best For 2-4 People

The Big Berkey Water System is the most popular Berkey filter and is perfect for an average-sized family of 2 to 6 people. It is also quite portable and the top of the unit can be placed inside the bottom for more space-efficient travel. 

This stainless steel filter holds about 2.25 gallons of water and can produce up to 7 gallons of water an hour with all 4 filters placed in the container. This kit comes with 2 black Berkey purification elements. You can just use these, or buy 2 additional black filters or 2 fluoride reduction filters.

Royal Berkey System 

Best for 3 – 4 People

The Royal Berkey System is perfect for larger families and those who don’t want to fill the Berkey every single day. A family of 2-4 people would only need to fill this unit every 2-3 days, making it a perfect choice for those who don’t want to keep tabs on their water levels each and every day. 

This stainless steel item has a 3-gallon capacity and can purify up to 8 gallons of water an hour with 4 filters attached to the unit. This kit comes with two Berkey filters and you can upgrade to 4 for an additional cost. 

Crown Berkey Water System

Best For 6 – 30 People

The Crown Berkey Water System is the largest unit available in the Berkey line. It can hold up to 6 filters and can purify up to 26 gallons of water per hour. With 2 filters installed, it can filter up to 6.5 gallons per hour. It’s holding capacity is 6 gallons. This system is easy to expand with filters for larger events, such as family reunions and other large nature-based trips. It’s also an excellent choice for community spaces.

This kit comes with 2 black filters and 2 fluoride filters to get started. 

Berkey Sport Filtered Water Bottle

This 22 ounce Berkey Sport Bottle is a perfect way to have purified water on the go. It’s great for use on hiking trips, camping trips, road trips, and while at the office. It uses the fame filtration materials as the larger Berkey purification filters, so it can stand up to non-treated water from ponds, lakes, and more. 

When using raw untreated water, the filter can provide approximately 160 refills. It can purify about 640 bottles worth of water when using tap. The plastic bottle is made from a BPA-free medical-grade polymer. No pumping is required and the water bottle is lightweight and compact. 

Berkey Inline Shower Filter

This unique Berkey product is great for reducing contaminants on your skin. It reduces up to 98& of chlorine and other contaminants that are damaging to your skin and hair. It’s incredibly easy to install and the filter can quickly be placed between your shower arm and most showerheads. It fits standard half-inch fixtures and can purify 2.5 gallons of water each minute. 

Each Berkey shower filter cartridge can last for approximately one year, purifying up to 30,000 gallons. 

What Is A Berkey Water Filter?

anatomy of a Berkey water filter

A Berkey water filter is a large stainless steel water vessel that’s used for filtering drinking water. Berkey filters use two methods to remove contaminants from water. The first, gravity filtration, uses the principle that water flows from the higher to the lower concentration of a substance.

The second, microfiltration, uses a unique ultra-fine mesh filter that removes contaminants such as bacteria and protozoa, and even viruses.

What Does The Berkey Water Filter Remove?

The Berkey water filter removes 99.9999% of the harmful bacteria and 99.9% of the pathogenic cysts that cause the most common waterborne illnesses. It will also remove heavy metals, chemicals, and radioactive particles. Here is a list of additional tap water contaminants that the Berkey filter can purify:

  • Heavy Metals: chromium, cobalt, arsenic, selenium, cadmium, mercury, thallium, lead
  • Pesticides: inorganic compounds manufactured for large-scale agriculture
  • Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds: chemicals found in paints, solvents, sealants, cleaning products, refrigerants, adhesives, aerosols, and smogs.
  • Inorganic Non-Metallics: natural and man-made chemicals that are used to treat potable water such as ceramics, silicates, and gemstones. 
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs: these often dissolve and re-enter the water supply through the sewage system and include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium.
  • Petroleum: kerosene, gasoline, mineral spirits, and other oils can enter potable water sources.
  • Microorganisms: Due to contact with fecal matter, potable water can contain bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. 

How To Prime Berkey Filter

Before you can begin using your Berkey Water Filter, you must first “prime” it. This process is necessary to give the water a path through the filter media.

How Long Do Berkey Filters Last?

picture of 4 Berkey filters

A single Berkey filter is designed to last at least 1,000 gallons and last up to 2,000 gallons. 

Berkey Filters are guaranteed to last for 1000 gallons or 2 years, whichever comes first.

How To Clean Berkey Systems

berkey water filter in my kitchen

Cleaning your Berkey water filter system is very important to ensure that it continues to work at full capacity. Cleaning also helps to avoid potentially harmful microorganisms from forming in the system.

Cleaning The Chamber

To maintain the cleanliness of your ceramic Berkey filter, run plain water through the system.

If you have hard water, you may notice a white powder build-up on the outside of your system. This is normal, but you should still clean it regularly. To clean your entire filter system you need to remove the top lid and scrub the inside of the upper chamber with a non-abrasive sponge then rinse it with clean water.

Cleaning The Filter

In order to clean your Black Berkey Purification Elements, follow these steps:

  1. Prevent contamination by washing your hands before you get started.
  2. Remove the top chamber and place it upside down on a solid flat surface.
  3. Unscrew the filters out of your Berkey system.
  4. Hold the filter under the faucet with the exit hole pointing upward.
  5. Scrub the surface of the filter for several minutes with a 3M Scotch-Brite Pad. This will remove the outermost layer of the filter.
  6. Rinse the filter with water and place a finger over the hole to prevent contamination
  7. Re-prime the filter before reassembling the system.

Choosing A Berkey Water Filter Stand

While many people prefer for their Berkeys to sit on their countertops, others may need a stand for easier access and more counter space. Here are some ideas for stands that may work well for your home:

Berkey System Table Stand

These 6-inch tall stainless steel wire stands are a perfect fit for most Berkey systems. They come in 4 different sizes that are designed to fit the Travel Berkey, Big Berkey, Royal Berkey, Imperial Berkey, and Crown Berkey models. They have rubberized non-slip feet, making them safe for all ages. 

Adjustable Bamboo Berkey Counter Stand

This Berkey stand can accommodate any size Berkey System due to its adjustable height and width. It can expand from 7 ¾ inches wide to 11 ¾ inches wide. Vertically, you can flip the stand to raise your spigot 7 or 9 inches tall. This height is perfect for most standard size glasses to fit under which means you won’t have to place your Berkey filter at the edge of a counter or table to fit a cup under it. 

Water Dispenser Wooden Floor Stand

This space-saving floor stand is wide enough in diameter to fit any Berkey unit and is a perfect way to place your water in any area of your home. It’s lightweight and easy to move but sturdy enough to hold the weight of your Berkey full of up to 7.5 gallons of water. Assembly takes less than 15 minutes, making this a quick project for any level of building experience. 


pouring a glass of water

Berkey filters are wonderful purifiers that can improve the quality of your family’s life while saving money in the long term. When investing in the Berkey water system that is best for you, it’s important to consider your space needs, budget, and style preferences. I hope that this Berkey Water Filter review has helped you to take the next step towards having a Berkey system of your own! 

Love your water filter? Leave your own Berkey Water Filter review in the comments below! 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *