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Berkey Water Filters vs Distillation

In a follow up to our article Berkey water filters versus reverse osmosis systems, we will review a comparison of the Berkey systems and distillation systems. There are some similarities in the performance results of reverse osmosis and distillation, so we recommend you read the initial comparison first as a foundation to this article.

Beneficial Minerals in the Water

Just like reverse osmosis systems, distillation strips out the beneficial minerals from the water making it an acidic, "hypotonic" solution. To reiterate the danger of this, the repetitive drinking of mineral free water will cause a leeching of bodily minerals as part of the body's natural mechanism to achieve homeostasis. Over time, depletion of minerals in the body will occur and can result in negative health consequences. We recommend adding a trace mineral supplement to the water post-distillation.

The Black Berkey filters that come standard with all our Berkey water filter systems are purposefully designed to leave the beneficial minerals in the water to avoid this dangerous cycle of body demineralization.

Power Required

Distillation requires power for the filtration process to occur. This will have an impact on your electricity bill, but also leave you stranded in the event of a power outage.

The Berkey water filters require no power to operate as they are gravity fed.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Distillation systems need to be soaked and cleaned with vinegar solution to remove the scale. The frequency of this cleaning will be determined by the mineral content of the water. This can range from cleaning the system after every other use to every other week.

The Black Berkey water filters last 6000 gallons per set of 2 and typically 5 years or more before replacement is needed. The fluoride filter needs to be replaced every 2 years or 1000 gallons. As for maintenance, we recommend washing the lower chamber of the system with soap and water once per month.


Not including cleaner costs, a typical distillation system will cost 35-50 cents per gallon to operate.

The Berkey water filter costs less than 2 cents per gallon and since it does not require electricity, there are no added energy costs.


Typically, the taste for distilled water is regarded as flat due to the lack of minerals in the water. This can be improved by added a trace mineral supplement to the water post-distillation.

The taste of Berkey water is regarded as very good unless there is an abundance of ionized minerals in the source water that negatively affect it. Our customers tell us daily how much they enjoy the taste of their berkey water.

12 thoughts on “Berkey Water Filters vs Distillation”

  • isabelle mikus-klemm
    isabelle mikus-klemm January 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

    what exactly does your filtering system filter out??
    I cannot find this info on your website: I am looking to filter out chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, pesticides, fungicides, pharmaceutical residues and anything else that should not
    be in drinking water.
    I take it your filters are for drinking water only and that you do not have whole
    house filters altho I see you have shower filters.
    I also want to know how your filters work. Please provide me with more information.
    Thank you
    Isabelle Mikus-Klemm

    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Isabelle -

      Details can be found here:


      and here for the black berkey filters:



  • Ken Auge

    is it better than my Nikken Aquapour?

    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Ken -

      You would need to do a side by side comparison of the systems. Here we have some other comparisons that you may be able to use to compare to the Nikken.



  • Rich

    To clarify: Could you please list which specific minerals you mean in the article above when you say, "beneficial minerals"? (ie, those particular minerals that are stripped out by distillation, yet left in by Berkey filters)


  • John

    Dan - How does the filter differentiate between healthful minerals and unheathful minerals or metals? I have hard water, very high in iron. HAve a whole house filter. After filtration the TDS is 150. How much would the berkey filter reduce the 150 TDS?

    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi John -

      The media used in the filters only targets the chemicals, heavy metals, and bacteria. If that 150 TDS represents all mineral content, than the Berkey would not reduce this below 150 as it does not target these minerals.


  • robert

    inorganic minerals are poisins so why keep some dirt poisons in your water?? it does not make sense/ take out all poisons reply soon/thank you

    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Robert -

      I'm not sure where you read we keep in inorganic minerals. The filters are designed to leave in the beneficial minerals, which would be potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc. A list of what the black berkeys remove can be found here:



  • Beth Brown

    We have in chlorinated well water. Is the berkey suitable for us?

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