In this article we're going to walk you through 4 easy steps to understand and choose the perfect Berkey Filter System to fit the needs in protecting you and/or your family. Watch this video version also:
Step 1: Understanding the Berkey Gravity Filtration System
Berkey water filter systems have an upper and a lower chamber and work via gravity similar to a Brita, Pur, or Zerowater. Your source water (tap, well, pond, river, etc) is poured into the upper chamber where it's forced through the filters via gravity making its way into the lower, "purified water" chamber. The Berkey difference is a result of it's superior filter ingredients and the extended time each water droplet is in contact with the filters. This allows for high performance filtration results that other systems simply cannot match.
These are counter top systems only, starting from the smallest Travel Berkey at 1.5 gallons (17" height) to the largest Crown Berkey at 6 gallons (30" height). The internal filtration elements, the Black Berkeys and the PF-2 fluoride filters (links list the contaminants removed), work in any of the system housing models we sell. This allows you to achieve the same high quality filtration results for each size system.
There are 6 system sizes in total (below), and all systems come standard with 2 of our newest generation black berkey filters in the upper chamber. The go berkey and sport berkey are also pictured on the right. Larger systems have the capacity to accommodate more upper and lower chamber filters thus increasing the speed of filtration. (See Flow Rate @ Full Expansion)
|System||Holding Capacity||Fully Expanded||Flow Rate @ Full Expansion|
|Travel Berkey||~ 1.5 Gallons||2 Elements(Filters)||~ 2.75 Gallons / Hr
|Berkey Light||~ 2.75 Gallons||4 Elements(Filters)||~ 7.5 Gallons / Hr
|Big Berkey||~ 2.25 Gallons||4 Elements(Filters)||~ 7.0 Gallons / Hr
|Royal Berkey||~ 3.25 Gallons||4 Elements(Filters)||~ 8.0 Gallons / Hr
|Imperial Berkey||~ 4.5 Gallons||6 Elements(Filters)||~ 16.5 Gallons / Hr
|Crown Berkey||~ 6.0 Gallons||8 Elements(Filters)||~ 26.0 Gallons / Hr
Step 2: Choosing a Berkey Water Filter Size
The golden rule for choosing a size is that bigger is usually better if you have the room in your home (kitchen counter, table, plant stand) or storage space. Put simply, the larger the system, the less often you need to refill it, which ultimately translates into convenience. In addition, the higher water volume in the upper chamber increases the pressure that is placed on the filters helping to push water through the filters faster while still maintaining the same high quality filtration results. The differences in cost between the various housing sizes is small when you consider that you will be using the same housing for 10-20+ years. Assuming a person drinks 8, eight ounce glasses of water/day, they will consume approximately 64 ounces/day (1/2 gallon). If you plan to use the system for cooking, you would also want to take this into account when sizing.
Here are some sizing guidelines:
Travel Berkey (1.5g) ~ 1-3 ppl
Big Berkey (2.25g) ~ 1-4 ppl
Berkey Light (2.75g) ~ 2-5 ppl
Royal Berkey (3.25g) ~ 2-6 ppl
Imperial Berkey (4.5g) ~ 4-8+ ppl
Crown Berkey (6g) ~ 6-12+ ppl
Step 3: Choosing Your Berkey Filters
Upper Chamber Filters
As mentioned above, all Berkey Water Filter systems require 2 upper chamber filters to operate and these come standard with each system purchase (2 Black Berkey filters). Increasing the amount of filters utilized in the upper chamber will not improve filtration quality, but will increase filtration speed and the volume of water that can be filtered. For example, increasing from 2 Black Berkey elements to 4 Black Berkey elements will approximately double your filtration speed and double the amount of total life volume that can be filtered; 6000 total gallons to 12000 total gallons.
The Black Berkey filters are our flagship filters removing contaminants to the highest of degrees, and are available with all of our systems. The Black Berkey's also meet high ANSI/NSF log 7 standards as water purifiers and show off their prowess by being able to remove red food coloring from water.
We also now carry the brand new Berkey Earth ceramic filters. (Released Dec. 2015) These are designed to be the best ceramic filters on the market, providing Berkey quality at a lower price point. They are only available with the Berkey Light.
The 3 primary advantages of the Black Berkeys over the Berkey Earths is their ability to remove viruses, a faster filtration rate, and a lower long-term cost for removing fluoride as they use the more cost-efficient PF-2 filters. For a more detailed comparison of the Black Berkeys and the Berkey Earth Filters, please see the Berkey Earth page, or watch this video below.
* Black Berkey last approx 6000 gallons for a set of 2
* Berkey Earth Ceramic Filters last approx 6000 gallons per set of 2
* Older Super Sterasyl Ceramics last approx 1200 gallons per set of 2, or 6 months, whichever comes first. (We no longer sell these filters and they've been replaced by the Berkey Earth Filters)
Lower Chamber Filters (Fluoride and Arsenic Removal)
The lower chamber filters are referred to as PF filters. PF = Post Filtration. There are 2 types of PF filters. The PF-2's are specifically designed to work with the Black Berkeys, and the PF-4's are designed specifically to work with the Ceramic Filters. The PF filters are easily installed by screwing them onto the stem of the upper chamber elements so that they hang down into the lower chamber of any multi-filter Berkey Water Filter system.
PF filters are optional. If your municipality adds fluoride to your water, then adding the PF-2 Filters onto your Black Berkeys or PF-4's to your Berkey Earths would be the choice to make.
* PF-2 Filters (Black Berkeys) last 1000 Gallons per set of 2
* PF-4 Filters (Berkey Earth or white Super Sterasyl Ceramic Filters) last 6 months
Step 4: Understanding the Berkey Assembly
Watch this video of the Big Berkey:
About BigBerkeyWaterFilters.com: We are the largest licensed dealer of Berkey products in the world with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We offer fast shipping, a lifetime warranty on stainless chambers and hardware exclusive only to bigberkeywaterfilters.com customers, and employ a full time support staff dedicated to foster a lifetime relationship with our customers; from helping you choose your first Berkey system to assisting you in maintaining it throughout the years.