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 that mainly produces portable indoor water filters for homes, offices, and outdoor activities. There have been questions surrounding Berkey on its indoor water filters because they are banned in California and Iowa.

In this Berkey water filter review, we 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 be easily moved around the house. The filtration is performed inside the stainless steel container itself once you fill it up with tap water.

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

Berkey Features

Capacity and Size: Berkey water filter comes in different sizes and capacities. They cater for all use cases ranging from hiking or camping to small offices 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 the filtration process. Crown Berkey can handle up to a maximum of 8 cartridges at once.

Berkey Sizes

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

The result came with a long list of water contaminants that were filtered by Black Berkey. Berkey claims that it is the longest list ever been 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 point that makes Berkey stand out from its competitor. It claims to have 100% remove pathogen to a non-detachable level

Traditionally, the pathogen is only capable of being removed by UV light. The Black Berkey is able to remove it 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 it can literally be anywhere in the house.

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

Filtration Capability

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

Black Berkey: It is a microporous filter, which contains pores that are less than 2nm in diameter. It is a cleanable purifier element 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 one of the great water filters that remove fluoride.

Berkey claims that it is capable of the 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 just need to screw on the two Black Berkey with optional of 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 for a longer period. 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 6 months limited warranty on manufacturer defects.

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

Besides, the Black Berkey filter comes with 2 years prorated warranty on manufacturer defects in 6 months intervals.

Drawbacks of this system

Frequent Cleaning: One of the main customer complaints is the frequent cleaning required for the Black Berkey. This is due to it affecting the flow rate of the system.

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

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

Why is Berkey Banned in California?

The state of 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 of obtaining the NSF Standard 42 and 52, the state requested a high cost in maintaining the certification in the state of California.

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

However, there are a handful of items which 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 replacement such as Black Berkey, PF-2, and PF-4.
  • Replacement parts for all products.

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 for how 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. 

How to buy a Berkey water filter in California?

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

How to wash 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 very simple to maintain. To do this, you must first remove the filter and place it in a bucket of water. Then, using a clean towel, gently wipe down the inside of the filter. Next, take the filter out of 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 is capable of removing the top 20 major contaminants of up to 99%. Furthermore, its filter is capable of removing pathogenic bacteria without using a UV sterilizer.
  • Portability: It is extremely portability like a water pitcher which can easily move around after you have filled up the storage tank.
  • Reasonable Annual Maintenance: Consider 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 2 years on the Black Berkey Filter.

We hope that 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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