Should I choose a stainless berkey water filter, like the Big Berkey or Royal Berkey, or should I choose a plastic system, like the Berkey Light? This is one of the more common Berkey questions that gets asked by our customers. The answer is... well there is no right answer. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of systems and the customer's final decision will depend upon where their priorities lie. Below are the 6 major factors one should consider.
1. Appearance - Many consider the stainless to be a "sharper" looking system. If you have a kitchen with stainless steel appliances, the stainless system will most likely match better than the plastic. However, the plastic system provides a visual experience allowing the customer to watch each drop of filtration take place. Many customers enjoy this. Advantage: Stainless Berkey Water Filter
2. Cost - The stainless is more expensive simply due to the raw materials used. Steel costs more than plastic. However the housing is the only difference between the two types of systems, and filtration quality is exactly the same. Here's the unit cost per gallon for 3 comparable systems: Berkey Light (2.75 gal) = $84/gal, Big Berkey (2.25 gal) = $115/gal, Royal Berkey (3.25 gal) = $102/gal. As you can see, you get the most gallon for your money with the berkey light plastic version. Advantage: Plastic Berkey Water Filter
3. Viewable Water Level - One advantage of the Berkey Light is that you are able to see the level of water simply by taking a quick glance. This helps you know when it's time to add more water to the upper chamber for filtering. The stainless systems, being opaque, do not have this advantage. However, we do sell an upgraded spigot called the waterview spigot. This has a tube indicator that shows where the water level is, very similar to the waterview spigots used on large tea and coffee containers found at restaurants, hotels, receptions, etc. Advantage: Plastic Berkey Water Filter
4. Portability - The upper chamber of the stainless system flips upside down and nests into the lower chamber of the system. This reduces it's size for traveling by about 35%. The berkey light does not have this nesting capability and thus is a little bulkier to transport. Advantage: Stainless Berkey Water Filter
5. Durability - Both system are designed to be durable. The berkey light is made of a tough plastic and we have many customers who are using their original system purchased more than 10 years ago when it debuted. The stainless is just a smidge thinner than a stainless steel pot, but would dent if dropped or took a direct blow from an object. Similarly, many customers are using their original stainless system they purchased 15+ years ago. Advantage: Neither
6. Safety - Both the stainless steel and the plastic used for the berkey light are made with food grade material. The stainless steel used is a high quality 304 stainless steel and the plastic used is a non-BPA copolyester. Advantage: Neither
Regardless of your choice, we feel you will be happy with either berkey water filter option. We rarely have customers who contact us for a housing exchange, but since they are interchangeable, it should be known that this is also an option if you are unhappy with your decision. We would either refund or charge the difference between the two housings and then charge a warehouse-mandated 15% restocking fee for the returned system.