Big Berkey – Why We Think it’s a Kickass Water Purifier

BerkeyHome (1)We were recently given the opportunity to try out and review the Big Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System (2.25 gallons) and oh boy, were we excited.

Considered one of the heavy weights of the water filtering world, we jumped at the chance to take the Big Berkey out for a test drive.

And we can happily say that it didn’t disappoint. With all of its great features, it’s no wonder it remains one of the most popular water filters on the market.

Big Berkey is a trusted system that harnesses the latest technology to effectively remove the vast majority of contaminants in your water, from pathogenic bacteria and viruses to heavy metals and food coloring. In fact, it remains the only water filtering system available effective enough to remove food coloring from water.

With no batteries or need to run from electricity or a running tap, the Big Berkey is so versatile – it’s easy to place it anywhere. And although it seems a little pricey, at $258, it’s super cost-effective in the long-run.

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So why do we think you should consider the Big Berkey water filtering system for all your hydrating needs?

How Effective Is the Big Berkey?

Berkey-Filter-Giveaway-1To try the Big Berkey out, the only way we could really do it real justice was to find the most stagnant water available.

Just behind my local playground is a pond of stagnant water that I’m always trying to stop our dog from drinking from when we’re out on our daily walks.

Powerful to say the least, the Big Berkey is considered one of the most effective water purification systems available on the market today, removing a whole host of contaminants that you just don’t want floating around in your water and flowing into your or even your pet’s body!

It also remains one of the few purification system that leaves all the good minerals in your water, whilst taking all the bad stuff out.

What puts the Big Berkey in a league of its own is the highly advanced filtering technology that it has developed. Its unique Black Berkey Purification Element is used across all of its systems, and is so effective it can even remove food coloring from your water. It remains the only water filtering system able to do so.

Which baddies does the Big Berkey remove?

Contaminants the Big Berkey removes include:

  • 100% reduction of pathogentic bacteria, cysts and parasites such as e-coli, cryptosporidium and giardia
  • 99.999% reduction of viruses, including MS2 – Coliphage, hepatitis A, hepatitis E
  • 99.99999% reduction of trihalomethanes, including Bromodichloromethane, Bromofore, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane
  • 99.9999999% reduction of inorganic chemicals, such as chlorine, pesticide, herbicide and VOCS
  • Greater than 95% reduction of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, aluminum and copper
  • It also removes and reduces rust, silt, sediment, bad tastes and odors

The system comes with two Black Berkey filters but you can also opt to add two additional filters in order to quicken the pace of purification. These are stored in the top chamber of the system.

I can happily say that I can confidently drink water from that stagnant pond with the Big Berkey.

Can It Remove Fluoride?

Big-Berkey-fluoride-filtersIt’s also worth noting that the Black Berkey elements do not remove fluoride.

However, there is also separate fluoride filter made available by Big Berkey called the PF-2  that can be attached in the lower chamber of the system.

At an extra $30.50, you can purchase the Big Berkey complete with 2 Black Berkey elements and 2  PF-2 fluoride filters.

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How Easy is the Big Berkey to Set Up, Use and Clean?

The great thing about the Big Berkey is that you don’t need a plumber to install it. All you need is your own good self, the instruction manual, and a few minutes.

Your system will come with a couple of pieces ready for quick assembly. These will include the upper and lower stainless steel chambers, 2 Black Berkey Purification Elements (expandable up to 4), 1 stainless steel lid,1 spigot, rubber gasket to protect the base, 2 wingnuts, 2 washers, 1 priming button, and 2 blocking plugs.

Step 1: How to Prime Your Big Berkey

Before using the system, you first need to prime your Black Berkey purification elements. This is because the dry micro-fine pores need to be cleared of the air caught in them during the production phase.

To do this, take the tan colored priming button and simply press the button onto the stem of the purification element, with the smaller end facing the element. Hold the large end of the button against the faucet and then gently turn on the cold water. Let the water fill the cavity of the Black Berkey element. You should see water appearing along the length of the element – allow it to do so for about 5 seconds.

In a few moments your Black Berkey elements are ready to be slotted into the upper steel chamber of the system.

Step 2: Filling your Big Berkey with Unfiltered Water

Simply pour it into the top chamber and then close with the lid to prevent more particles from floating in. Gravity will push the water down through the filtering mechanisms.

Lift the tap and enjoy!

Step 3: Cleaning Your Big Berkey

Cleaning is also pretty easy as well. If you’ve noticed that the flow rate has slowed, you simply need to remove the Black Berkey elements, give them a scrub and then re-attach them.

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How Much Water Can It Purify and Is it Cost Effective?

Ideal for small to medium sized families of up to 4 people, the 2.25 gallon Big Berkey is made of grade 304 polished stainless steel and tough enough to be taken out into the rugged outback and stylish enough to fit seemlessly into your kitchen.

At 21” high, 8.5” in diameter, and 7.5 pounds in weight when empty, the Big Berkey is able to store 2.25 gallons (8.5 liters) of water at a time.

The Big Berkey system can produce up to 3.5 gallons (13.3 liters) per hour, with two black filters, and if you opt for four, then up to 7.0 gallons (26.5 liters) per hour.

Each of its element has an expected life of 3,000 gallons or 6,000 gallons for a set of two. That works out to an incredible less than 2 cents per gallon of water and will save you an arm and a leg in bottled water every year.

Although it appears to have a hefty price-tag, we see the Big Berkey as a worthy investment, with your money recouped after only couple of months.

Transportation is also made easy with the top chamber being able to sit in the bottom one, making the whole system 13” high.

Pick your Perfect Big Berkey

berkey_sizes_1024x1024What we like about Big Berkey is that they come in a range of sizes, making it easy to find the perfect fit for you and your family as well as the situation. You could be looking for the perfect water filter to pack into your suitcase, to sit on your kitchen counter, or for your family of 3 or 1o. You will find it in the Big Berkey Range.

The Berkey range includes:

The Travel Berkey can be packed away into your carry-on luggage and is a great choice if you’re traveling solo or with your significant other. Its compact size makes it ideal if countertop space is limited, in a motorhome for instance.

Click on the links to check out each Berkey on

The Big Berkey is ideal for small to medium sized families of up 4 members. In emergencies however, it can meet the needs of up to 16 people.

A step up in capacity, the Royal Berkey is a great option if you’re looking for a water filter that can also provide enough water for additional needs such as cooking, pets, and watering your plants.

The Imperial Berkey can help meet the needs of much larger groups, for example at a community centre or school.

The Crown Berkey was actually developed post September 2011, to help meet the needs of an even larger mass of people potentially affected by disaster and has been used in hospitals for instance.

All the systems also come with a lifetime guarantee, which we think is pretty awesome. For us, nothing says confidence in a product than a life-time guarantee

Any Downsides?

The only downside we could really come up with is that you need the additional PF-2 filter if you want to filter fluoride from your water as well.

You can purchase these for an extra $30.50 if you purchase the systems inclusive with 2 Black Berkey filters and 2 PF-2 filters on, or they are also sold separately at $39.99 here. 

Our Verdict

We give the Big Berkey a resounding 10/10.

We can’t really fault this water purifying powerhouse. It’s purifying prowess sets itself apart and it’s not only easy to use but saves a lot of $$$ in the long-run.

A great option for those looking for a portable water purifier that you can move from kitchen, to motorhome, or to base camp at a drop of a hat.

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