I have always been a promoter of the Berkey water filter. I write about it from time to time and include references to it whenever the topic comes up in a blog post. This time I want to address its cost. It’s not cheap. Is it worth it?
Hey, I get it… the thresholds of how much money that someone is willing to spend is often relative to one’s income or ‘extra’ money on hand. That makes sense. There usually are alternatives that cost less. If they fulfill the need ‘good enough’, then great. No issue with that.
There are several sizes of the countertop / tabletop Berkey water filter. They range in price from the mid $200’s to the mid $300’s (as of this posting). Like I said, they’re not cheap. In fact, the Berkey may be the most expensive countertop water filter of its kind.
If someone is simply looking to buy a good drinking water filter, they could spend about $25 and get a Sawyer Mini (for example). Although it’s a small portable filter, it will get the job done. Unlike most other cheaper filters, the Sawyer element, incredibly, is rated to 0.1 microns! Though it’s not a countertop type stand-alone reservoir filter for higher volume household convenience.
Why would someone spend 10X more for a Berkey water filter? Okay, let me try to answer that…
Convenience, Quality, Longevity of the Berkey Water Filter
Convenience of the Berkey Water Filter
The purpose, or intended use of the Berkey is for household convenience. It’s a holding tank for several gallons of safe purified drinking water with a spigot for quick access. Perfect for in the house or even a RV or “at the camp”.
Refilling is simple and easy. Lift the top cover, dump in more water. Done. It doesn’t take too long for gravity to work the water from the upper chamber – through the filter elements – into the lower reservoir.
High Quality Components of the Berkey
It’s not complicated. There are two stainless steel chambers (upper and lower), the filter elements, and a water spigot.
Stainless steel won’t rust. And it’s thick enough in this case to be solid and sturdy.
Obviously the heart of any water filter system are the filter elements. The ‘Black Berkey’ purification elements are the core of the system.
They filter 99.9999% (a 6 log10 reduction ) of bacteria and 99.999% (5 log10 reduction) virus. That’s incredibly good.
(Black Berkey purification elements test results source)
How Long will the Berkey Water Filter Last?
Purification elements: Each filter element will purify 3,000 gallons. The smallest Berkey filter has two elements, so that’s 6,000 gallons! If you consumed two gallons a day, that’s 11 years before filter element change!
Stainless steel chambers: My oldest Berkey is at least 10 years old or thereabouts. I can tell you that it looks as new as the day I bought it. Still shiny, no rust whatsoever. Perfect.
Is the Berkey Worth It??
Personally, yes, I believe it’s worth it. General cost analysis for 6,000 gallons of water run through a Berkey is initially about 5 cents a gallon based on a $300 investment. Thereafter it’s less because you only have to buy replacement filters (works out to about 2 cents a gallon).
I cannot overemphasize the importance of safe purified drinking water. Even if your current water source is considered ‘safe’, the extra assurance of filtering it before it goes into your body is reassuring, and important!
I live with well water. Actually it’s spring water. I know there are organics in it, so not only do I filter it when it comes into the house (inline filter membrane), but I filter ALL of my drinking water with the Berkey.
For the sake of preparedness, in my opinion it’s tough to beat it within its class.
If you’ve read this far…
If you have actually read this far, here are some links for further reading about the Berkey:
Related articles on MSB:
Have a look at the Berkey for yourself: