Big Berkey Water Filter System Review


In my opinion, the Big Berkey Water Filter has it’s own benefits in portability as well as quality. However, slower flow rate and constant cleaning are not very pleasant. It is RECOMMENDED if you are renting a place which was unable to install a water filter. The Berkey is definitely better than a water pitcher.





Berkey is a small company mainly produces portable indoor water filters for homes, offices, and outdoor activities. There have been questions surrounding Berkey’s indoor water filters because they are banned in California and Iowa.

This Berkey water filter review will discuss the key features, pros & cons, and why it was banned in the two states.

Big Berkey Water Filter Overview

Berkey is a portable water filter that can quickly move around the house. The filtration is performed inside the stainless steel container once you fill it with tap water.

It uses gravity to force the water to pass through the filtration cartridge stored in the storage tank.

Berkey Features

Capacity and Size: Berkey water filter comes in different sizes and capacities. They cater to all use cases, from hiking or camping to small office usage.

In general, the concept and functionality of all models are the same.

The larger the system, the more cartridges can be inserted to speed up filtration. Crown Berkey can handle up to a maximum of 8 cartridges at once.

Berkey Sizes

State of The Art Filter: Berkey claims its filter exceeded the NSF/ANSI Standard 53. Their Black Berkey filter has been tested in an EPA-approved laboratory.

The result came with a long list of water contaminants filtered by Black Berkey. Berkey claims it is the most extended list ever seen in the industry.

It raised the standard of filtration in the water filter industry.

Pathogen Removal: Pathogenic bacteria removal is one of its selling points, making Berkey stand out from its competitor. It claims to have 100% removed pathogens to a non-detachable level.

Traditionally, the pathogen is only capable of being removed by UV light. The Black Berkey can remove without using a UV light in the system.

No Tubing and Portable: All Berkey water filters are gravity-fed filters that don’t require any connection to pipes. With that, no tubing is attached to the system, and can be anywhere in the house.

It free up the space near the sink where conventional countertop water filters are located.

Filtration Capability

The primary filter for all Berkey systems is the Black Berkey filter.

Black Berkey is a microporous filter containing pores less than 2nm in diameter. It is a cleanable purifier that filters off bacteria, such as pathogens and viruses, in the water.

PF2 Fluoride Filter: This filter mainly absorbs fluoride, arsenic, and some of the heavy metal ions in the water. We rated this system as a great water filter that removes fluoride.

Berkey claims it can filter up to 99% of the top 20 contaminants shown below.

Simple Installation

Before the installation, rinse your Black Berkey filters for 20 seconds on the tap as a start.

Since there is no involvement in drilling and connection from the pipe, you need to screw on the two Black Berkey with the optional PF2/PF4 fluoride filters on your Berkey.

You can refer to the setup video below on the installation process.

Replacement and Maintenance

It doesn’t require frequent replacement of the filters. Since the Black Berkey is re-cleanable, it can last longer. The suggested replacement schedules are shown below:

A pair of Black Berkey: 6000 Gallons
A pair of PF2 Filters: 1000 Gallons or 2 Years

Annual Maintenance Cost: $80 

Lifetime Warranty With Conditions

Each Berkey comes with six months limited warranty on manufacturer defects.

However, you will be eligible for Berkey Care Lifetime Warranty if you register when you first purchase your Berkey (limited to Travel, Royal, Big, Imperial, and Crown only).

Besides, the Black Berkey filter comes with two years prorated warranty on manufacturer defects in 6 months intervals.

Drawbacks of this system

Frequent Cleaning: One of the leading customer complaints is the regular cleaning required for the Black Berkey. This is due to it affecting the flow rate of the system. Learn more on how to clean your Berkey filter.

Berkey is a gravity-fed filter, and the flow rate is slower than a pressure-led filter. It is suggested that you fill up your Berkey when it is empty, not when thirsty.

Although portable, the Berkey can sometimes be a bit bulky, which took up a lot of space.

Why is Berkey Banned in California?

California requires all indoor water filters to pass through the independent third-party agency test, such as NSF, before it is eligible to sell in the state.

Although Berkey complied with the request to obtain the NSF Standards 42 and 52, the state requested a high cost in maintaining the certification in California.

After thorough consideration, Berkey decided to withdraw from selling in California.

However, there are a handful of items that Berkey is allowed to be sold in the state:

  • Travel Berkey – 1.5 Gallon Stainless Steel Portable Water Filter
  • Berkey Light – 2.75 Gallon Non-BPA Plastic Portable Water Filter
  • Sports Berkey – Non-BPA Plastic Sports Bottle
  • Go Berkey Kit – 0.25 Gallon Stainless Steel Water Filter with Sports Bottle.
  • Filter replacements such as Black Berkey, PF-2, and PF-4.
  • Replacement parts for all products.

For more details, check out our latest post on why it was banned.

Pros & Cons

+ Great filtration by removing Pathogen and Fluoride
+ Comes with different sizes
+ Portable and Durable
Slow flow rate
Banned in some US states

FAQ on Berkey Water Filter

How long do Berkey water filters last?

The lifespan of a Berkey water filter can range from 3-6 months. The lifespan depends on how often and long the filter is used. Most people will use the filter for up to 6 months, but the longer they use it, the longer it will last. Check out our tips to improve the lifespan of your Berkey water filter.

How to buy a Berkey water filter in California?

You can buy a Berkey water filter in California. However, the only option is Travel Berkey and Berkey Light. If you want a Big Berkey, you can get someone outside of California to forward it.

How to wash the Berkey water filter?

To wash the Berkey, place the Berkey into a container filled with warm water (not hot) and allow it to soak for a couple of hours. Change the water when needed. Be sure to remove the rubber seal and rinse it under running water before you put it back on the filter.

How to maintain a Berkey water filter?

Berkey filters are straightforward to maintain. To do this, you must first remove the filter and place it in a bucket of water. Then, gently wipe down the inside of the filter using a clean towel. Next, remove the filter from the water and dry it off the outside of the filter with another clean towel. Finally, replace the filter in the same position where it was removed. You can then begin your filtration process.

Is Berkey a Scam?

In my opinion, Berkey is not a scam. It is just the rules and regulatory issue that prevents it from selling in two of the states. You can visit their website for the full lab certification.

Our Verdict: RECOMMENDED! 

Berkey is one of the best gravity water filters in town. Although it was banned in Iowa and California, we still recommended this filter based on the reasoning below:

  • Filtration Quality: Their quality cartridge, Black Berkey, can remove the top 20 significant contaminants of up to 99%. Furthermore, its filter can remove pathogenic bacteria without using a UV sterilizer.
  • Portability: It is hugely portable, like a water pitcher, which can quickly move around after filling the storage tank.
  • Reasonable Annual Maintenance: Considering the capability of removing contaminants, the replacement cost is relatively reasonable for such a great system.
  • Lifetime Warranty: It comes with a lifetime warranty on the Berkey system against manufacturing defects and two years on the Black Berkey Filter.

We hope this Berkey water filter system review will clear some of your doubts regarding this filter. Check out the link below to find out why people love this filter.

Find Out More

Big Berkey Water Filter

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