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Berkey Water Filters vs Berkey Water Purifiers

Interest in home water treatment products such as Berkey filters has grown tremendously over the past 15 years. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy for consumers to know whether or not a particular product will actually be as safe and effective as the manufacturer claims at reducing various contaminants from your water supply. This is where the NSF, a international public health and safety company, plays a critical role.

The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is an independent testing laboratory that performs comprehensive testing and certification of filtration products. In order for a product to earn "certification" for reduction of a contaminant, it must be able to reduce a specific amount of that contaminant. Certification is voluntary and costly, so it is important that the consumer looks to see if a product is certified, or has lab testing from an accredited NSF lab testing facility.

Contaminant Removal Levels

One critical filter feature that sometimes gets overlooked is the level to which the filter removes contaminants from the water. For carbon filters, focusing on the pore size has some value, but the most important statistic is at what degree this filtering occurs. For instance, there is a significant distinction between water filters and water purifiers.

A water filter like the ceramic berkey filters must remove pathogenic bacteria at the 99.99% level, also known as log 4. They would be classified as a water filter.

On the other hand, a water purifier (like the black berkey elements), must be able to demonstrate a 99.99999% reduction in pathogenic bacteria, known as log 7. This is a much stricter standard, and NSF certification and/or NSF certified lab testing results allowing for a purifier rating gives confidence to the consumer that they are getting a high quality water purifier.

If you are interested in water purification, double check to make sure the manufacturer and/or seller is not just throwing the word "purifier" around as it does have technical significance.  All berkey systems using the black berkey elements are water purifiers.  NSF certified lab testing results for the black berkeys can be found here.

As a general starting point, look for filters labeled as meeting NSF/ANSI standard 53. This standard applies to point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) systems with a focus on removing bad tastes, odors, and chlorine. Standard 53 certified filters substantially reduce many hazardous contaminants, including heavy metals such as copper, lead and mercury, disinfection byproducts, parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, pesticides, radon, and volatile organic chemicals such as methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE), dichlorobenzene and trichloroethylene (TCE).

The black berkeys meet these NSF/ANSI 53 standards.

Big Berkey Water Filters - For the Love of Clean Water

2 thoughts on “Berkey Water Filters vs Berkey Water Purifiers”

  • Dennis Empapimmita
    Dennis Empapimmita December 18, 2008 at 2:26 am

    First of all congratulation for such a great site. I learned a lot reading article here today. I will make sure i visit this site once a day so i can learn more.

    Reply
  • Wholesale Mulberry bags
    Wholesale Mulberry bags September 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Grateful to the author's share. Interesting things - and helps me understand the differences better.

    Reply
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