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Big Berkey Water Filter Review
If you are considering purchasing a Big Berkey water filter you’ll no doubt want to gather information from a real person – I’m real! – to gauge if it’s worth the price tag before parting with your hard-earned cash. I know that’s how I roll. Having used this product myself for a few years I’ll walk you through some my favourite aspects of the Big Berkey. We’ll weigh up the pros as well as the cons for a balanced view so you can decide if the Big Berkey is for you.
Big Berkey Water Filter | Product Overview
Cheapest to place buy: www.osmiowater.co.uk
Size of Container: 8.5 litres
Filter rate: Up to 26.6 litres per hour
Suitable for: 1-4 people
Guarantee: Lifetime warranty
My Rating: 9.5 out of 10
The Big Berkey is portable, freestanding and is considered a water purification system – it is that powerful. Made in the USA from highly polished 304 stainless steel, it’s rustproof with a shiny finish. The Big Berkey comes with two black Berkey elements to purify water for up to 11 years or 23,000 litres of water! Yes, you read that correctly, I had to read that twice too the first time. Having only had my Big Berkey a few years, I can’t comment on that impressive claim but I can say the black elements are still going strong filtering tap water on a daily basis.
Berkey doesn’t just do tap water either, it can purify almost any water source, including raw untreated water from lakes, rivers and even stagnant water. It filters out 99.9999% of nasties including chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides and pathogens providing clean, safe drinking water for the whole family. Meanwhile, essential minerals like magnesium and calcium are left in. Clever!
Perhaps a little pricey but the long-term savings are incredible!
Discovering the Big Berkey was an ‘aha!’ moment for me but I’ll admit – I was a little freaked out by the price at £248. I was using a Brita filter but had become dissatisfied with the ongoing monthly expense of filter replacements. Not to mention it wasn’t removing the nasties I wanted removing (heavy metals, chlorine and pesticides). Bottled water wasn’t doing my bank account any favours either, so to put things into perspective I did some Bottled vs Brita vs Berkey investigation. The results were very intriguing.
The first point to note is the black Berkey filters are capable of providing purified, safe drinking water for up to 11 years! That’s pretty impressive all on its own. Based on this information I did something I loathe. Math. Ugh. I did it so you don’t have to. Let’s take a look at the findings:
When we used bottled water it cost approx £3 a day for 9 litres. Doesn’t sound like much? That’s £84 a month. Or £1008 a YEAR. That’s a whopping £11,088 over 11 years. Yes – 11k -for water. Nuff said.
- Initial cost: £23.99 for plastic jug and 3 filters
- Replacement filter: £5 each
- Filter lifespan: approx 4 weeks or 181 litres
- Cost over 11 years: £660
- Filters heavy metals, pathogens and chlorine? No
- Initial cost: £248 Big Berkey inc black elements x2
- Filter lifespan: approx 11 years or 23,000 litres
- Cost of replacement filters: Around £100 for Black Berkey Elements x2 (Not required for first 11 years or 23,000 litres)
- Cost over 11 years: £248
- Filters heavy metals, pathogens and chlorine? Yes
Over its 11-year lifespan, the Big Berkey could save you around £412 compared to Brita or a massive £10,840 on bottled water! 10k! That’s if you using the black Berkey elements only.
The Big Berkey can remove fluoride and arsenic from your drinking water too using the Berkey PF-2 fluoride and arsenic reduction elements. At £64.99 for two they can be used alongside the Black Berkey elements and should be replaced every 12 months, that’s still going to save you over 10k on bottled water over the same period of time and only cost £55.89 more than Brita. That’s a pretty good deal in my opinion but what do you think of figures? For us swapping bottled water and Brita for Big Berkey was a no-brainer. If the math excites you grab your Big Berkey here!
Perfect for use on the move
We move around a lot and I like to travel so having clean water on our nomadic movements is important to me. Being able to take my Big Berkey on my travels ensures my family always has access to clean, safe drinking water. If there was a zombie apocalypse tomorrow I’d be confident I could access to clean water, although it would be my first time filtering anything other than tap water. With this in mind Big Berkey would likely suit mobile home dwellers, outdoorsy folks and preppers alike.
The downside of the Big Berkey in terms of portability is; it’s fairly chunky. You certainly wouldn’t want to take this on a flight,it’s totally impractical. While the Berkey travels well, if you’re flying and want clean water try a Go Berkey. We borrowed my mother-in-laws Go Berkey to go abroad and it allowed us to avoid bottled water with ease.
Easy to use and low maintenance
No one wants to add complex maintenance routines to already busy lives, myself included. I like the Big Berkey because it’s easy to use and simple to maintain. We fill with tap water then usually filter once overnight and that lasts us all day.
Set up your Berkey according to the instructions and then it’s as easy as this;
- Big Berkey lives on a robust level surface (hubby mounted ours on a corner shelf in the kitchen to save space).
- With a jug or pan fill the top chamber of the Big Berkey with tap water (or your chosen source) and leave to filter (we do this overnight). Two black elements can filter 13.3 litres per hour and four will filter 26.6 litres per hour. The Fluoride and arsenic filters will slow this rate by 15% to 20%.
- Fill your glass with clean drinking water and enjoy!
I wasn’t always a fan of water and found it difficult to drink owing to the strange flavour of tap water. Bottled tasted ok so that was my main source until I found Berkey. I love Berkey water, it’s so easy to drink and I enjoy the clean unflavoured taste. Friends often comment on how lovely the water is too. If you find water difficult to get down it’s definitely worth trying water from a Berkey. It’s good stuff!
Maintaining the black Berkey elements is super easy taking only a few minutes once every 12 months.
- Simply take a medium hard toothbrush or a Berkey cleaner brush (optional) and scrub the black filters down under hot running water. Really scrub em.
- Re-fit the priming button (called Re-priming)
- Replace the filters. Done!
Quick and easy with no messing about, that’s how cleaning should be. If only cleaning the house could be this straightforward!
Getting Water Into The Kids Is Now A Breeze
Do you struggle to get your children to drink water? I know your pain. Before we started using the Big Berkey getting water into my daughter was a chore. Water tasted yucky and totally unacceptable to her palate. I was at a loss that was until my daughter tried some water from the Berkey and bam! She liked it.
Now, getting water into that same daughter has never been so easy! She helps herself and will happily drink it all day. Why? This is why and I quote: “Because Berkey water doesn’t taste funny like tap water”. There you have it, Berkey water, tried, tested and sproglet approved. I have to award additional brownie points for this unexpected perk.
How does The Big Berkey Stack Up? Pros and Cons Summary
- Lifetime warranty
- Great tasting water
- Mobile home friendly
- Easy to use
- Gets water into children who usually think water is “yucky”
- Saves money on bottled water and Brita
- Can remove fluoride and arsenic as well as heavy metals, pesticides and pathogens
- Long life span
- Low maintenance
- Initial cost
- Not particularly attractive to look at
- Plastic tap
Overall, I feel the Big Berkey stacks up well as a solution to clean water on home – whether that’s bricks and mortar or a mobile home. The initial cost is absolutely worth it considering the Big Berkey’s capability to provide you and your family with clean drinking water for over a decade without complex maintenance requirements. Learn more about Berkey here, there’s a comprehensive FAQ if you fancy more reading about these clever systems.
While it isn’t exactly eye candy and loosely resembles an oversized water urn, it is a water purifier, not an ornament. It’s silver so fits with most surroundings.
The Big Berkey does exactly as it says on the tin and is suitable for small families day to day drinking water requirements as well as emergency situations. It’s long lasting and easy to maintain – a must for busy people and families like mine.
The bottom line
I am a believer in this product and I know many others who swear by their Big Berkey. The initial cost may be a slight drawback but considering the long-term savings, Big Berkey is a great investment (it works out significantly cheaper than a Brita and bottled over the equivalent lifespan). And it’s low maintenance. Yay!
The bonus is original Berkey’s are backed with a lifetime guarantee for total peace of mind. In my opinion, it is absolutely worth every penny. You and your family deserve clean untainted water to drink and the Big Berkey makes getting water into children a breeze. If this sounds appealing to you I highly recommend getting your own Berkey. Do you live in Europe or elsewhere in the world? For free delivery in Europe and cheaper worldwide shipping click here. I hope you enjoyed this review. If you have a question, comment or a personal review pop it below. If there is a product you’d like me to review let me know and I’ll try to help you out.