Big Berkey Water Filter Review – Is It Worth It? Lately I’ve been catching myself reading a lot of survival stuff, more specifically about water filtration. I think that at some point in the near future, the grid will shut down for a substantial period of time, and water will become even more important than it already is.

Before I go any further, I wanted to make clear that I am NOT connected with Berkey in any way. I just use their stuff and I like it. All righty, where were we?

Enter the Big Berkey. It’s rugged and gorgeous, and it gets the job done. The standard Big Berkey comes with two Black Berkey filtration elements, with the option to expand the unit to four in order to speed up the process.

Further, the optional Berkey PF-2 Arsenic/Fluoride reduction elements can be added on to make the system even more thorough.

Berkey shows that their filtration elements can remove all the nasty stuff like pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites while reducing harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, and VOCs without removing beneficial minerals.

What’s not to like about this thing? Well, installing the spigot can be a pain. Be careful when installing that you tighten it pretty good, but take caution as it’s made of plastic. I wonder why this isn’t metal. Anyway, when you fill up the unit for your first time, set it in your sink. That way, if the spigot leaks, you won’t have water all over your countertop and floor. Happened to me!

“Priming” the elements is really easy and takes less than 5 minutes to do all of them. Priming basically means you flush out the filters of any process dust, so you need to discard your first full batch of water as it tastes metallic.

My suggestion would be to get the Big Berkey or perhaps a larger size depending on how many people you live with. I’ve never run out of Berkey water in a day, but I’ve come close.

These things are a little expensive, but when you factor your health and safety in there, as well as being able to filter rainwater, pond water and the like, it can’t be beat.

A simple alternative can be designed with just two 5 gallon food grade buckets outfitted with Berkey elements. You’ll save at least $100 and have a 5 gallon capacity…not bad! I built one to have as a backup system just in case.

Check out this link to see my video on how to build your own water filter:

Again, this is a great system and I definitely recommend getting one of these for your home…safe, clean drinking water is super important, and this should ensure you have just that.


26 Replies to “Big Berkey Water Filter Review – Is It Worth It?”

  1. hey tyler, thanks for the nice review. how about chlorine? i'll definitely get the fluoride filters as well. thanks.

  2. 2 things I don't like about the Berkey….. plastic filters basically sitting in your drinking water…. the quality of the filters are also not that great as they've been known to come apart in the tank….. also I don't like that I can't get a straight answer on whether or not a Berkey filters out monochloramine which is used in lots of cities in the US. I know it filters out chlorine but monochloramine is much harder to get out, it is also a lot more dangerous.

  3. Hi, Tyler, I've read through the comments but do not see the answers for two questions I have:
    1. Do you have to let the Berkey empty out before refilling it, or can I top it off when it gets down to about half a gallon? (Or a gallon, or 2 gallons, etc.)
    2. Can I pour a drink from it while it's still filtering the remainder of the water, or do I have to wait for it to finish filtering all the water?

  4. sooooooo, you filter your water and then drink the red bull drink on your refrigerator? That makes sense.

  5. Great review! Correct me if i'm wrong but did you say you drink the entire thing every day? So you consume 2 gallons (over 7 liters) of water per day???

  6. I saw information on this first when watching videos from Tinyhouse Prepper, Bill Keller, who bought one. He had soem recommendations on it as well. One important thing he said is that you need to flush the filters with clean water each time you use it., so the extremely tiny holes of the filters are clean before use. And – offcourse – you need to do that with clean water! Are you familiair with this procedure, and what is your experience?

  7. Haha great review. You sound exactly like my friend Trevor…same speech pattern, same inflections, same laugh even, lol. Must be ISTP ;D

  8. filter does not kill, virus, it can't. rain water… tons of virus, just rolling the dice…

  9. The white filters in the bottom, if i thread them to much how would I be able to tell if i puncture the screen? Mines aren't that loose. thank you

  10. Hi Tyler – thanks for the video. Question: I'm debating between the Big Berkey and Royal Berkey (next size up). The questionnaires are telling me the Big Berkey should be enough but I heard you say in the video that you kind of wish that you had gotten the next size. It would be for 2-3 people and we plan to use it for drinking, cooking, and cleaning produce. What would you recommend? Thanks!

  11. I have 2 of the black filters in a unit.. and I ONLY put it pre-filtered water I get from the local carwash. THey start with town filtered/treated water… which is probably a bit better than well water… but anyway… the carwash says they filter it down to 5 microns and double charcoal filter it and UV radiate it… either way I buy this water and put THAT THEN through my Berkey… best water ever…


    but they say the filters are good for like 22,000 liters or whatever and 8 litres per day flow rate… but I can tell you that these filters FOR SURE plug up after awhile. I've had mine from about 2 years say 40 litres per month… do that math…

    that's my only complaint… now I fill the top chamber at night and 7 hours later only maybe 2 litres have flowed through and THAT is given that the filters have FULL contact with the water… a half filled chamber would take like 24 hours jsut to make 2-3 litres…. JUST SAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. using mine for 3 years or so. when you buy this, spend the money and get the flouride filter

  13. Thanks for reading survival stuff! We love our Big Berkey (and it is a prepper's favorite.) Yes, we use  our Big Berkey for our coffee and we get a perfectly balanced ph. Get ph strips and test them. Happy Prepping!

  14. Do you know what the Berkey does NOT filter out?  I mean, can you use it on water from a natural stream?   Also, how long do the filters last before they need replacing?

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