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Berkey Review

Popular water filter system with a sleek design, but its performance and taste fell short of expectations
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Berkey Review
Credit: Berkey
Price:  $408 List
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Manufacturer:   Berkey
By Graham Faulknor and Isaac Laredo  ⋅  Jan 9, 2024
78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 9
  • Contaminant Removal - 60% 8.5
  • Taste - 30% 6.9
  • Setup and Use - 10% 6.7

Our Verdict

The Berkey water filter, a stylish countertop solution, seamlessly blends with any kitchen aesthetic. Its contaminant removal capacity is average, effectively eliminating chlorine, fluoride, copper, and lead, yet struggles with iron and sulfate. The filtered water's taste is average and didn't impress in blind taste tests. With an easy setup and maintenance process, it offers a convenient alternative to traditional pitcher filters. Overall, the Berkey suits most households looking for an alternative to pitcher water filters. To find better options, check out our top-ranked water filters.
REASONS TO BUY
Lots of water storage
Simple design
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Specific placement
Challenging to fill
Berkey Sizing Scheme
The Berkey comes in several different sizes.
  • Travel Berkey - 1.5 gallons
  • Big Berkey (tested here) - 2.25 gallons
  • Royal Berkey - 3.25 gallons
  • Imperial Berkey - 4.5 gallons
  • Crown Berkey - 6 gallons

All sizes utilize the same filtration system. Though we tested the Big Berkey for our review, our affiliate links point to the Royal Berkey, which is one of the most popular sizes and suitable for a 2-6 person household.

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Bottom Line While the popular water filter system looks stylish, its performance and taste did not live up to the hypeIf you have space and are willing to install a one-time system, this is the best way to purify your waterTop-notch filtration and convenience at an affordable price pointA low-cost pitcher that easily produces high-quality waterReduced installation hassle, comparable filtering power, and lowest yearly cost
Rating Categories Berkey iSpring RCC7 ZeroWater 10-Cup 5-... PUR Classic 11 Cup... APEC WFS-1000
Contaminant Removal (60%)
8.5
10.0
10.0
8.3
8.4
Taste (30%)
6.9
7.9
6.6
9.0
7.9
Setup and Use (10%)
6.7
6.5
8.1
8.4
8.1
Specs Berkey iSpring RCC7 ZeroWater 10-Cup 5-... PUR Classic 11 Cup... APEC WFS-1000
Type Countertop single stage filter Reverse Osmosis Pitcher Pitcher 3 Stage under sink
Measured Annual Cost $83.00 $50.00 $57.50 $36.00 $40.00
Measured Chlorine Removal 88% 100% 100% 95% 100%
Measured Fluoride Removal 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Measured Sulfate Removal 30% 100% 100% 35% 39%
Measured Copper Removal 100% 100% 100% 88% 100%
Measured Iron Removal 79% 100% 99% 85% 46%
Measured Lead Removal 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Model 2.5 gal RCC7 10 Cup 11 Cup WFS-1000
Replacement Schedule 6,000 gallons, that equals to be approximately two to five years Stage 1 - 3 every 6 months
RO every 2 - 3 years
Post carbon every 12 months
18,000 mg of dissolved solids; 1-40 gallons 2 months or 40 gallons Every 12 months
Replacement Cost $166 for set of Black Berkey filters 2 year supply for $100 2 for $30
4 for $40
8 for $90
12 for $115
16 for $150
$24 for a 4 pack Stages 1-3 for $40
Pure Water to Waste Water Ratio N/A 2:1 N/A N/A N/A
NSF/ANSI certified N/A N/A 5-stage Ion Exchange water filtration is NSF Certified to reduce PFOA/PFOS, Lead & Chromium Tested and certified by NSF to reduce chlorine, mercury, copper, zinc and other chemical & physical substances. NSF Certified filters and tubing
Follows NSF/ANSI or other cert N/A In strict accordance with American quality standards. Certified to NSF/ANSI 58 N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Berkey is a departure from a pitcher water filter. It resembles a Kilner jar and sits on a countertop or a decorative pedal stool. The sleek stainless steel aesthetics help complement the style of your kitchen, whether you have a modern or rustic design. While this filter is decently fast, you can add more to speed up water filtration.

Performance Comparison


The Berkey allows instant access to filtered water with its gravity-fed design.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Contaminant Removal


Water filters are popular for consumers who are rightfully concerned about water quality and taste, so choosing a filter that can effectively remove contaminants is important. To test the effectiveness of different water filters, we made a sample containing large amounts of chlorine, iron, sulfate, lead, fluoride, and copper. We sent the purified water samples off to Western Environmental Testing Laboratories for analysis. The Berkey underperformed the hype associated with the model as its results were average compared to the rest.

The model removed 88.33% chlorine, 100% fluoride, 30.43% sulfate, 100% copper, 79.37% iron, and 100% lead. Of these scores, only iron and sulfate remained above the standard for acceptable water quality. This filter should provide adequate filtration power for most household and municipal water sources. Other filters will better suit your needs if your local water is particularly high in iron or sulfate.

berkey - the model can support up to four filters to increase speed and...
The model can support up to four filters to increase speed and filtration power. These filters can produce up to seven gallons per hour.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Taste


If your tap water has an unpleasant chlorine or iron taste, a water filter can help to improve this. Taste is subjective; everyone will have different preferences. Some people prefer a mineral taste, while others prefer a neutral taste. To help describe and test the taste, our office team participated in a blind taste test.

The Berkey delivers neutral water, receiving average ratings from our testing team. Its online community flaunts the improved taste over regular tap water, testifying to its ability to enhance water quality. However, despite these accolades, it didn't distinguish itself in our blind taste test.

berkey - the model will improve the taste of municipal water sources. our...
The model will improve the taste of municipal water sources. Our team felt the taste was pretty average when compared to other filters.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Setup and Use


Different water pitchers offer different user experiences, both in setup and ongoing use. Factors to consider include installation procedures, daily use, long-term maintenance, and overall cost. Our test team installs and prepares each filter and then evaluates the setup process and overall user experience. For this metric, we analyze the yearly cost, day-to-day use, and maintenance. The Berkey takes around 30 minutes to set up, has standard maintenance requirements, and has a moderate annual cost.

The Berkey doesn't require any technical skill, but you do need to prime the filters for installation. Priming the filter uses the included rubber adapter to connect the faucet and filter to flush it out. Fortunately, it is a smooth and easy process. It follows standard maintenance procedures, requiring the filters to be changed and then primed every 6000 gallons. The annual cost is higher than a pitcher model but less than other types that use multiple filters. The annual cost of this model is $83 and comprises the replacement filters, which have an impressive life span.

berkey - the berkey is a stylish addition to any kitchen.
The Berkey is a stylish addition to any kitchen.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Berkey?


This model is great if you are tight on fridge space or want a convenient and stylish water filter option. It is, however, quite expensive upfront, given the overall filtration performance and space requirements.

What Other Water Filters Should You Consider?


If you are looking for easy access to water without taking up any fridge or counter space, then look at an under-the-sink water filter like the APEC WFS-1000. It has the smallest footprint of any under-the-sink model due to its tankless design and smaller filter set. But, if you're in need of a water pitcher that can remove nearly 100% of all contaminants, we recommend the ZeroWater 10-Cup 5-Stage Pitcher.

Graham Faulknor and Isaac Laredo