I believe everyone should be filtering their water. I think it is the quintessential first step on the journey to health.
If you’re looking for a way to filter your water, and you're considering getting a Berkey water filter, I explain in this post why I decided to buy one, and why I now consider Berkeys to be the absolute best water filter on the market, and why I don't use anything else.
My First Berkey
I got my first Berkey water filter back in the summer of 2011 when our first child was 4 years old. We had moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas where we were renting an apartment. We were sick of paying state tax in California and wanted a lower cost of living.
We needed a new water filter after we moved, and after much research, I decided on a Berkey. In this post, I'll explain why I chose a Berkey water filter, and why, 11 years later, it's still the only water filter I recommend.
The Berkey is Perfect For Renters
When we moved to an apartment about a decade ago, I had been lugging jugs of purified water home from the grocery store.
I can’t live without filtered water. In addition to using filtered water for drinking, I also use filtered water for cooking. I only use filtered water to make chicken, beef and fish stock, and herbal iced tea and herbal infusions. We also use filtered water to make coffee, and I even use it to boil or steam vegetables (I cook my rice and beans in broth).
We lived on the fourth floor, and carrying gallons and gallons of water upstairs was not exactly fun. I knew I needed to get a water filtration system, sooner rather than later.
If you are renting like we were, and you don’t want to install a water filter, the Berkey is a great solution. There is nothing to install and you can take it with you. It’s also great for camping, or RV road trips if you’ll be cooking a lot.
The Berkey for Emergency Preparedness
I’ve been thinking a lot about emergency preparedness lately. I guess this is something that happens to you after you have kids. I want to know that if anything ever happened, we could survive. Water is the most important thing you need in an emergency. You can live a lot longer without food than you can without water.
I realized that even if I have a reverse osmosis system in our home, it won’t do me any good if the water gets shut off due to an emergency.
For me, having a Berkey gives me peace of mind. I also have rain barrels that I collect water in. But even if you don’t have stored water, you can literally filters swamp water in a Berkey.
The Berkey Filters Out Fluoride
Filtering out fluoride has always been really important to me when considering a water filter. Fluoride is a neurotoxin. It also causes problems with hormones, as fluoride is damaging to the thyroid gland.
Read my post, Top 10 Dangers of Fluoride to learn why we need to avoid fluoride in water.
I used to think the only way to filter out fluoride was through reverse osmosis. But after I looked into it, I found out that the Berkey also filters out fluoride.
Please note: You do have to order extra filters for fluoride. The regular black filters that come with the Berkey do not filter out fluoride.
When you’re ordering your Berkey, make sure you add the white PF-2 fluoride filters in addition to the standard black filters that come with the Berkey. (Note: These are currently out of stock but you can sign up to get an alert when they are back in stock.)
Berkey Water Filters vs. Reverse Osmosis Filter
Prior to the Berkey, we had a reverse osmosis filter. Reverse osmosis filters are good, and I do recommend them. However, it's not always a good choice for renters because it has to be installed under the sink.
The other thing I don't like about reverse osmosis filters is they take all the minerals out of the water. The Berkey takes out all the contaminants but it leaves in the minerals – which is what you want.
If you use a reverse osmosis filter, you have to add back minerals, which is not convenient to do, since the water comes out of the tap. This is the main reason I have stuck with the Berkey for over a decade.
Berkey Filters Last a Long Time
The other drawback to reverse osmosis systems is that you have to change the filters pretty frequently and of course, that costs money.
With the Berkey, the black filters that come with it last for approximately 6,000 gallons (of course, this greatly depends on the starting water quality).
The filters are also easily cleanable with a toothbrush/scouring pad to help extend the life. The white PF-2 fluoride filters need to be replaced much more frequently; those generally last for 1,000 gallons.
According to my calculations:
If I refill my Big Berkey once per day, which is typically what I do, the black filters that come with the Berkey will last for over 7 years. The white fluoride filters will last a little over a year (about 14-15 months).
The black filters cost only $166, and the fluoride filters cost only $84.
That means I'm only spending $24 per year, or $2 per month on the black Berkey filters. And $6 per month on the fluoride filters.
Which works out to $8/month for both filters. Or $96 per year. This costs a lot less than buying bottled water.
Berkey Water Filters vs. Zero Water
I will have to write a longer post about this but I am not a fan of Zero Water filters. Mainly because they are very overpriced compared to Berkeys and you have to change the filters way too often. Even more expensive than Reverse Osmosis.
Do Zero Water filters work? Yes, they do. But you have to change the filters constantly and the filters are not cheap.
The cheapest you can get Zero Water filters is the 12 pack at $150, which is $12.50 per filter.
I bought a Zero Water filter and personally tested it at home. My filter only lasted about a week. After that, it still tested fine, but the water started smelling like rotten eggs. I only found this out because my son started complaining about the water in his water bottle. I thought the water was still good – but it wasn't.
If you go to the Zero Water website, they have a chart showing you how long the filters last. It will filter anywhere from 8-40 gallons of water, depending how polluted your water is.
If I had to replace my filter at $12.50 every single week, that would cost me $50 per month, or $600 per year.
When you do the math, it is not worth it. You will save substantially by going with a Berkey. The Zero Water would cost me 6 times more to use.
The Berkey vs. an Alkaline Water Filter
You can spend $4,000-5,000 on a more high-end filtering system that filters out fluoride and makes "alkaline water".
I do not recommend an expensive alkaline water system for two reasons:
- Alkaline water filters are overpriced. There is no reason to spend $5,000 on a filter when you can get a Berkey for 10x less. The biggest and most expensive Berkey is only going to run you around $500. Then all you have to pay for is filters, which is not very expensive. (I'll cover the cost of that in a second.)
- Alkaline water is not necessary. If you think about it, you don't really need alkaline water. Nor do you even want it.
Why? Because your stomach contains hydrochloric acid, which is highly acidic. God designed us with highly acidic stomachs on purpose.
When you consume foods that contain parasites, bacteria and other toxins, the stomach acid will kill those things.
Making your stomach less acidic is actually problematic. They are now finding that acid reducing drugs like Prilosec cause cancer and other health problems due to an overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach.
For this reason, I do NOT recommend alkaline water. You don't want to make your stomach less acid.
Which Berkey Should You Get?
When it was just the 3 of us, before my son was born, we ordered the Big Berkey, which is perfect for a small to medium-sized family family (1-4 people). It filters 2.25 gallons at a time.
I was surprised at how small the Big Berkey actually is.
I’ve heard people say that they think the Berkey takes up too much room on the counter, but this is just not true. It is tall and narrow so it doesn’t take up a lot of room. I love having my Berkey on the counter — I think it’s pretty.
Bigger is better, because you have to fill it less often. But you may want to get a smaller one if you don't have a good place for your Berkey in your kitchen.
If you have a larger family, I recommend getting at least a Royal Berkey – or larger.
At some point, I will upgrade to a bigger Berkey. I love my Berkey!
Choose the Right Berkey for Your Family
Here are all the models – choose the one that is best for your family:
Travel Berkey: for 1-3 people; filters 1.5 gallons
Big Berkey: for 1-4 people; filters 2.25 gallons
Berkey Light: for 2-6 people, filters 2.75 gallons
Royal Berkey: for 2-6 people; filters 3.25 gallons
Imperial Berkey: for 6-10+ people; filters 4.5 gallons
Crown Berkey: for 8-12+ people; filters 6 gallons
Note: The Berkey you order will come with 2 black filters. The only other thing you need to get is a pair of white Berkey Fluoride Filters. You don't need these if you
Order a Berkey Water Filter
Why I Don't Recommend Ordering a Berkey Water Filter on Amazon
I personally would not order a Berkey on Amazon because of the issue of counterfeit Berkey products.
The company I work with, Big Berkey Water Filters, is the best. I have known the owner, Dan DeBaun, for over a decade now and he's a good, honest guy.
When you order from them, they will take care of you. They also answer the phone when you call, which Amazon does not!
Here's my affiliate link to order a Berkey water filter.
And your purchase using my affiliate link helps me keep blogging.