The Best Water Filter Options

The best water filter options for healthy drinking water

I get a lot of emails and facebook questions about the healthiest options for drinking water and best water filters. To be honest, this is something I’ve been researching in depth for years, and am only now writing about it since I’ve finally been able to try all of the options.

Finding the healthiest and most nutrient dense food options is extremely important, but to some degree, finding the best water options can be even more important! Some sources of water can contain hundreds of chemicals and many of these chemicals can be more easily absorbed from water than from food.

What’s In Your Water?

If you are drinking tap water, the answer to that question is 300+ chemicals and pollutants, according to research from the Environmental Working Group. Among these contaminants are:

  • Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) such as pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. These chemicals are found in most municipal water sources and even in well and other sources due to agricultural run-off and contamination. Research links certain VOCs to damage in the reproductive system, liver, kidneys and more.
  • Heavy Metals like lead and mercury are found in some water sources and have been linked to any health problems.
  • Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are chemicals that may mimic or interfere with the normal hormones in the body and these chemicals are being found in increasing amounts in the water supply. From this testimony before a congressional committee on the issue: “Over the past fifty years, researchers observed increases in endocrine-sensitive health outcomes. Breast and prostatic cancer incidence increased between 1969 and 1986 ; there was a four-fold increase in ectopic pregnancies (development of the fertilized egg outside of the uterus) in the U.S. between 1970 and 1987 ; the incidence of cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) doubled in the U.K. between 1960 and the mid 1980s ; and there was an approximately 42% decrease in sperm count worldwide between 1940 and 1990 .” These chemicals are known to affect animals when they enter the water supply as well.
  • Fluoride:  This is perhaps the most controversial of the contaminants in water (if something like water contaminants can be controversial!) because it is purposefully added to the water and there is much heated debate about the benefits/harm of this. Anyone who listened to the Heal Thy Mouth Summit is well aware of the potential dangers of Fluoride thanks to Dr. Kennedy, but the short is: If fluoride has any benefit, it would be directly to the teeth, as drinking the fluoride has not been statistically shown to increase oral health at all. Additionally, fluoride has been linked to thyroid problems and other disorders when consumed internally.

So what are the options for those of us not interested in drinking a chemical cocktail every time we are thirsty?

Bottled Water:

Bottled water has started falling out of favor lately and with good reason. Mark’s Daily Apple did an in-depth analysis of why, but bottled water is not a good option for several reasons:

  • Chemicals from the plastic bottle itself can leech into the water
  • In most cases, the water itself is no different than tap water
  • Bottled water costs more in many cases that drinking tap water
  • Water bottles are a major source of consumer waste each year!

Verdict: Not the best option on price, taste, or health so I skip it. That being said, having a bottle of water is very convenient, and there are some great sustainable options. Glass and steel water bottles are my personal favorites!

Pitcher Water Filters

Pitcher water filters like Brita use Granulated Activated Charcoal to remove some contaminants. They are less expensive than other filter options upfront, but require frequent filling (especially for large families) and cartridge replacement (making them more expensive in the long run). Since the carbon is not solid, it does not remove all toxins though these filters will improve taste.

Pitcher filters will reduce chlorine, but are not effective at removing VOCs, heavy metals, endocrine disruptors or fluoride. This category also includes faucet mount external filters, which use the same technology.

Verdict: Better than nothing, but doesn’t remove the worst offenders and is somewhat costly to use compared to other options.

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Reverse Osmosis filtration uses a membrane which removes many contaminants from water. It is usually paired with a Granulated Activated Charcoal filter to remove chlorine and many mount under the sink and have a holding tank. The semipermeable membrane separates many contaminates (which usually have a larger particle size that water) from the water and rejects a large amount of water in the process.

The result is a waste of several gallons of water for every gallon filtered and many naturally occurring minerals (including calcium and magnesium) are also removed from the water. We used this type of filter for a long time but added trace minerals back in to the water to replace the ones that are filtered out. It does remove a large amount of contaminants but is not the best option, in my opinion.

Pros: Removes a large amount of contaminants. Many unites are stored under the sink and have a simple spigot over the counter for getting the water. Does reduce arsenic, asbestos and heavy metals. Does remove fluoride.

Cons: Wastes more water than it produces. Does not reduce VOCs or endocrine disruptors. Requires adequate water pressure to work so it is not usable if home water supply is cut off. Takes up to an hour to filter one gallon of water and filters need to be replaced regularly. Removes necessary minerals from the water.

Verdict: Certainly better than a lot of options out there and does remove fluoride, but not the best due to its waste of water and costly filters.

Distilled Water

The distillation process uses heat to cause the water to become steam. The steam rises and moves to a cooling chamber where it turns back into liquid, leaving behind many contaminants. This type of filtration reduces large particles like minerals and heavy metals but does not remove endocrine disruptors or VOCs since they vaporize at equal or lower temps that water and rise with the steam. It does effectively kill bacteria.

Pros: Removes a large amount of contaminants. Does reduce arsenic, asbestos and heavy metals. Does remove fluoride.

Cons: Does not reduce VOCs or endocrine disruptors. Home distillation systems are often large and expensive.  Use a large amount of electricity and will not work in power outages. Removes necessary minerals from the water. Long term use can cause mineral deficiencies.

Verdict: Better than bottled water, but definitely not the best option out there, especially for home situations.

Solid Block Carbon Filters

Recognized by the EPA as the best option for removing chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and VOCs. Quality carbon block filters will remove chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, fluoride (with filter attachment), heavy metals, nitrate, nitrites and parasites. Most are gravity based and can safely transform any type of water into safe drinking water including rain water, pond water and even sea water (though these types of water will clog the filters much more quickly and are not ideal!) It will even filter water with food coloring to create clear water (yes, I tested it…)

This is the option that we use now and my only complaint is that it does take up counter space. The advantages are that it is gravity based and will work even without electricity or running water. While these types of units can be more pricey that pitcher filters or other filters up front, they seem to be the least expensive in the long run and require the fewest filter replacements (a big plus for me!). These types of filters also don’t remove naturally occurring minerals from the water, making it the best tasting filtered water option, in my opinion.

Using a filter calculator, I’ve determined that the specific system we use won’t need to be replaced for over 20 years with our current usage (though I’m guessing our usage will increase as the kids get older).

The most common type of this filter is the Berkey and it comes in many sizes for different uses. It can even be used camping to filter river water for drinking! (Tested this too and it saved one of my brother in-laws from Giardia when other members of his group got it while camping)

Pros: Filters VOCs, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, nitrates/ites, bacteria, parasites and other chemicals. Very inexpensive per gallon cost and infrequent filter replacement. Great tasting water. Doesn’t require electricity or water pressure to work. Portable options can even be used while traveling.

Cons: Does require counter space and does have to be manually filled (not a big deal for us, we just fill at night and we have plenty of water the next day). More expensive up front.

Verdict: This is what we personally use now and we have several different sizes in home and office and for travel. With our family size, the biggest unit with the most filters is a great option, but there are size options for any group size. From my research, this is the best option for removing contaminants without removing necessary minerals.

I’ve found places locally that carry Berkey Filters (Carbon Block) and they are also available online.

Other Notes:

Other water treatment and filtering options that I didn’t evaluate in-depth are:

  • UV Filters which does kill bacteria and parasites but does not reduce other types of contaminants and is not feasible for home use.
  • Water softeners which add sodium to the water to reduce calcium and magnesium (thus “softening”) but does not filter or remove contaminants.
  • Ceramic filters which do remove some contaminants but which are in many cases comparable on price to block carbon filters and which do not remove as many contaminants
  • Water ionizers/alkalizers which I’ll be addressing in more detail soon, but which Dr. Weil does a good job of explaining here and  which this article elaborates on.

What type of water system do you use? Do you drink tap water? Is water filtration a priority for you? Share below!

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Reader Comments

    • For me too. I’d read about the Berkey on another site and there seemed to be quite a few complaints about the spigot and questions about whether it really does the filtering it claims to do. Anyone know what kinds of research have been done on Berkey filtered water?

      Also, apparently, there is a video instructing you how to make your own Berkey; then you’d just need to buy the filter.

      I was planning to look into the reverse osmosis option, so I’m glad to have this opinion. Thanks!

      • I’ll try to find the studies I found in research and link the article above. YOu can definitely make your own, but all the ones I saw use plastic, and I wanted a plastic free option so we went with the Berkey…

        • Thanks for the information. Your blog didn’t specifically say that carbon block filters remove endocrine disruptors – just want to double check if they do. Thank you!

        • I found a YouTube video on how to make a Berkey type filter with two stainless steel stock pots. (Apparently some have stainless rivets and some have aluminum- so check.) This seems almost as easy as the plastic and a lot safer. Hetcher is the name of the video maker.

      • Hi Katie …. We recently moved out to California which means we are faced with some major water issues like water shortages, and high levels of lead, nitrates and arsenic in our water which obviously means we need SOME sort of water filtration. I came across your article while we were researching water filters and looked into some of the ones you mentioned. I (like several others on your site) liked what you said about the Berkey … no waste and good filtration.

        The problem I ran into with it was that we can’t use it out here in California. They don’t have a lead free certification which prohibits them from selling in CA. I talked to one of their reps and was surprised to learn that they actually have NO certifications, they have done some independent testing but haven’t ever tried to get NSF certifications which most filtration systems have. She said she thought it was because of the cost but it definitely made me wonder about it!

        After weeks of looking and calling different companies we finally found one here that sells an ion exchange system (LINX Drinking Water Systems) that does everything we needed it to do. Certified to remove our list of contaminates and there is no water waste which is what we need since we have water bans quite often here.

        Anyway, thanks for all the great information in your post, we are now drinking our fill of water without any worries =)

        • Hi,

          You are right, they have no certification at all, and the University Of Phoenix where they claim they were tested is not a real University it is an online one.

          This company is a complete rip off of the British Berkefeld gravity machine. They were the North American distributors but they have since started making their own with carbon filters instead of ceramic. Beyond their own exaggerated claims, there is no evidence at all that their carbon filters do what they say. They are cheaply made in China and numerous people have had problems with them breaking. Many have also sent their water for lab tests and the results were not good.

          At some point someone is going to get seriously sick or die by filtering water that is not going to be as safe as they claim. I was going to buy one of these till I stumbled upon that research. They are apparently importing them this side of The Pond now, even though the original is still available. It’s all very odd.

          If you are going to buy one of these machines, buy the original British Berkefeld – that DOES have the necessary certification and is still used today by the British Military and in disaster zones. The machine and the ceramic filters are manufactured in Britain not China, so have the required UK safety standards. Ironically, most ripoff clones of something are usually much cheaper than the originals except in this case – the British Berkefeld is almost half the price of the clone! Figure that one out!!

          If you already have a Berkey (the American version) then exchange the carbon filters for the ceramic (just google for Doulton ceramic filters, they will sell them on Amazon – get the ATC if you can, as they also filter heavy metals). Unlike the fake claims of the carbon filters (and the claim that they only need to be replaced every 11 years), ceramic filters have stood the test of time, have genuine certification, but need to be replaced every 6-12months, though some people manage with them for a few years if they take care of them. Depends how dirty your water is to start with. Ceramic filters are fairly cheap so it’s not a big deal.

          You can also use the Flouride filters with either machine, though I’m not sure how effective they truly are. I know of somebody with an American Berkey sent the water for lab testing flouride and it was something like 30 parts – when it was 36 parts in his tap water (or however the measurement is rated). In other words, it didn’t reduce it by very much at all.

          • Meant to add: the ‘red dye’ test American Berkey are fond of – it has no scientific basis AT ALL – it is pure marketing spiel.

            Seriously peeps, do some more research and send your water off to be tested if you want to be sure. However a search online will reveal others who have done so (see Amazons reviews as well).

            Most people are using tap water to filter but if TSHTF and they must use less clean water from streams or ponds, they will have a worrying confidence in those filters that simply is not warranted.

          • University of Pheonix is a real accredited univerisity with campuses, there is one about an hour away. I personally have no experience with them since their prices are far above those of good state colleges.

      • I bought the Berkey filtration system about 3 months ago and I love it, no more having to run to the store for nasty bottled water, and expensive water. I primed it when I bought it and Im thinking its time to prime it again since its getting a bit slow, keep in mind it is a bit slow to begin with because it has a great filter system I also bought the fluoride filters so mine has two filters on each side to clean my water. I highly recommend this product and Im going to be buying the travel one so I have water on the go, also look into Mercolas glass water bottles with screw on caps or any glass travel bottles, I use them 24/7

        • Rebecca, I have a Berkey for more than five years, and I have looked for a way to ‘prime’ our filter. I have no idea where to look, ask, or read about priming the back filters. One seller in Texas says he takes it outside and hooks it up to a garden hose, but never says anything about connectors etc. Can you point me in the right direction. We live in Germany and Berkey is not as hot an item like in the UK and the US.

          Thanks, Paula

          • Paula: Berkey now offers a device to “Prime” the black filter elements. I Have one and it works well. It can also be used to “Clean” the filters when the time comes. Didnt cost much either from what I can recall. Less than 20USD.

    • We’ve used the LINX Drinking Water System for the last several years and it produces AMAZING water. I had never heard of if but when we bought our Sub-Zero refrigerator the appliance shop recommended it to us. The Reverse Osmosis systems don’t have enough water pressure to support an ice maker in our fridge but the LINX system does. The best part is that it is truly a high-efficiency water filtration system, there is virtually NO water waste, it filters out chlorine, fluoride and all the other nasty stuff in our water but you can adjust the amount of minerals you want left in. They call it Dial a Taste … it is seriously the best drinking water I have ever had and would highly recommend it.

      • Could you give an idea of what the LINX system costs? Their website wants my contact info for a quote. Thanks!

    • Hi WM, what are your thoughts on whole house water filters? I came across one on the GAPS Australia website and thought it looks like a good option?

      • I’d like to know your thoughts one whole house filters as well. Don’t want to bathe in VOCs either…

    • Seychelle Water Filtration is the best…. they provide filter bottles to Service men and women who need to get water out of mud puddles. The EXTREME filter even takes out radiation.

      • I’ve been using the Seychelle filters for years now and highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for an emergency water filtration system. I use it for camping as well as my Emergency supplies in case of disaster. I simply can’t say enough good about them.

      • Hi
        please advise where can I buy those Seyshell Filters and how do they look like?
        Any photo ?

        Are they same as Solid Block Carbon Filters ?

        Best Regards


    • I think this forum has lised all diffrent type of water purification except Ozone. Is there any reason or its not a good option.

  1. Currently we have an RO system paired with a water softener. The water softener is mostly to save our pipes, because the water in our area is super hard. Recently we have discovered that the RO makes our water more acidic than tap water, which was alarming. I’m curious about what the solid carbon block does as far as acidity, since our entire family runs on the acidic side, and we think it might be causing some of our health problems.

    • You will have to test the pH of your original source water and then test the pH of the water after the filter. From the testing that I have done It may and in most cases it does cause it to be a little more acidic.

    • This is a non issue as RO water is only mildly acidic (similar to rain water). By the time the water reaches your stomach it will then become acidic due to the acids in your stomach.

    • when you say it makes the water more acidic that complete crap. what they mean is it takes everything out of the water which is its job. the acidity is in your own body . which is why people who drink coke and eat fast food die young. alkaline your body natures way by eating green vegetables. rainwater has no minerals in it, i don’t hear people complaining about its acidity.

      • Hmmm….I see a lot of older people who are still around who drink coke and eat fast food, so they don’t necessarily die young. But people with diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable diseases do cost us a lot by putting a huge burden on the health care system….

        • How rude are you. We pay for health insurance to cover our illness just like we do for auto insurance The medical field is just a hungry professional industry for taking more than they put out!!! Example. My doctor ask me if I smoked. Well go figure a charge on my bill for that hummmmm … Ever look at a hospital bill maybe you should … Wrong billing codes services added on!!! The system created this expensive foot land not us!!!

    • PH going into the Berkey was 6.5 and came out at 7.8. That was with town water. Now I use rain water and haven’t checked.

      • Thanks for the direct answer. This is very helpful as I am considering the Berkey as we have had to stop using our nice RO system due to the high acidity. The acidity is not a huge issue for the body but it is for the teeth. Once my enamel wore away, my teeth became nearly translucent on the lower half. It unfortunately took me a while to realize it was the reverse osmosis water that was doing. Our RO water tests at 4.5 and our tap at 6.0. Remineralizing drops and even alkaline drops had almost no effect. Thankfully, the process has begun to reverse somewhat with great care (following much of the Mama Wellness post on remineralizing teeth!)

        • What water are you having now, and how is your enamel? I bought a Berkey 1 1/2 years ago, and the enamel started falling off my teeth a few months after purchasing. It made me wonder if the minerals were getting stripped with the Berkey and causing my problem. Did you get the Berkey? And did your teeth heal?

    • invest on a good home water purification system. it will benefit your family’s health and safety. we also use Reverse Osmosis water system which is really the best as it can remove contaminants such as arsenic, nitrates, sodium, copper and lead, some organic chemicals, and the municipal additive fluoride.

  2. We use the AquaSana system for our drinking water and I like what it filters…but I am looking for a whole-house filter that will filter the water that we use to water our plants and that we bathe in. Do you have any good recommendations for that? I don’t want just a showerhead filter because I fill the tub with the spigot for our daughter’s bath. Thank you! :)

  3. Santevia! It’s a ceramic filter on top, which does a prefilter, then goes through a carbon filter, then through several layers of different mineral stones to naturally filter it and put back minerals, then into the holding tank which also has mineral stones in it. So it’s completely filtered, and then has minerals put back. I got it on sale for $100 and then about $100 a year for replacement filters. It’s also small, with the holding tank only taking about 2 gallons, so I have to refill it usually twice a day. Also it’s plastic, and their ceramic model is crazy expensive. But if you’re broke and in serious need of a good filter, go for it. Our rental house has rusted pipes so we definitely needed it despite the downsides. I’d take a bit of plastic leaching over rusty water.

    • The Santevia looks EXACTLY like my Nikken filter, same exact thing, just different brand. I always loved the water we get from it, it tastes amazing. We got it on eBay and we get filters from Nikken directly.

      • I was thinking the same thing when I saw the Santevia. Looks so much like Nikken`s former PiMag Water System. My friend has had the Nikken PiMag for several years and we were thinking of getting it because the water tastes great. Then when we went onto Nikken`s website recently we saw a completely different system. We listened to a video featuring their top representative who said they had to redesign their filter system because a few other companies copied their system as Nikken had not had a patent on the PiMag at that time. Now their new product is patent-pending. Good for them.

  4. So, after reading about the alkaline water, I’m curious about some of the claims. Your body is capable of neutralizing the food that comes into it. I buy that, but can that neutralizing process cause damage to your body? Like, if you eat too much acidic food, will your body actually draw from its most plentiful calcium source, bones, to neutralize the food, and in turn cause osteoporosis? I’m simply looking for the truth, and I’m getting very annoyed at all the made up junk that’s out there.

    • You have the right idea Krista! Everyone’s body has buffering a buffering system that has to maintain a certain pH. For example your blood pH can not fluctuate outside the parameter of 7.34 to 7.46 pH which is slightly alkalined or you would die. There are more acidic factors in our environment that cause our body to work in overdrive to neutralize and maintain the ph. All processed foods are acidic. Most meat dairy and cheese is acidic. Cofee’s, tea, soda and sports drinks and most bottled water and well water is acidic. Pharmaceuticals, air pollution, chemicals in our environment are VERY acidic and stress causes a lot of acidity in our body as well. So the more we keep our body alkalined the less our body has to work in overdrive to balance it out. And yes, acidity usually lacks and depletes minerals from our body so it can cause osteoporosis and other contributing factors. “Alkalize or Die” by Theodore Baroody is a great book that gives a lot of information. When it comes to water I choose Kangen water but not just because it’s alkalined but mostly because of the antioxidants and the micro-clustering which really allows the water to penetrate at a cellular level instead of sloshing around in you stomach like regular water. We have seen some pretty amazing things the water helped with in my whole family and people I have shared it with. I hate seeing these negative things on the internet to from people who have not researched or tried the water. It is more to it than just being alkalined.

    • Yes that is 100% true, however the only only way for the body to neautrulize the blood is to draw phosphate out, so the calcium phosphate from our bones is used.. We use the phosphate but have no use for the calcium so it is excreted from our bodies

  5. Thank you for writing this post!!! I have lately felt more and more frustrated in trying to figure out the water issue. This is so helpful, as always! :-) What do you do as far as baths for your kids? We currently just use tap water, but that is beginning to concern me; If it helps the body to soak in epsom salt, it has to hurt the body to soak in fluoride and chlorine…would love to know your thoughts on this.

    • Definitely… this is another topic I’ll be covering soon. We have Berkey shower filters on our showers and I use the shower to fill the tub most of the time (not the most convenient) though I’ve heard rumors of a tub filer in the works…

      • Their shower filter removes just free chlorine. Most cities now in US have chloramines added, which clog up carbon filters very quickly. I am also wondering, if their other filters are effective for chloramines as well.

        • The local water company told me that chloramines are used mostly in the western part of the US. From what I have read, Vitamin C water filters can remove both chloramines and chlorine.

          • It is true, that many of them are on the West Coast, but not only. Here is the list on one website:
            And it is growing each year. I understand, that vit. C does bind with chloramines and make them less toxic. I suppose we could add it to the water, but it would still clog up carbon filters very quickly and possibly make them ineffective for cleaning out other things as well.

  6. O man, I was just thinking that we needed a better filter than our pitcher but didn’t want to delve back into the research, which was so confusing last time. Will be looking into the solid block carbon filter. Thanks!

  7. We live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and have well water. Do you think our tap water would still have contaminants? We are 8500 ft high, out in the woods, about 10 minutes from the nearest small town.

    • I would like to know this answer as well. Although we do not live in the Rocky Mountains, we live in the Appalachian foothills, I am also on well water with a very deep well. We are currently only using a sediment filter.

      • Actually, people who use well water should be very careful, and should have it tested. Well water can be much worse than tap water, and can contain lots and lots of contaminants, such as E. Coli from nearby animals’ feces, VOC’s, methane, and even radioactive elements, such as Plutonium. I don’t know where these people live in the Rocky Mountains, but I know of two families who found Plutonium in their well water, who live in the foothills just west of Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility.

        Guess I’m lucky. I drank mountain spring water from different sources in Colorado for years, and have been drinking tap water for several years. My city tests for everything, and other than chlorine and flouride, our water is good. And just so very slightly hard that it’s nothing to worry about.
        See if you all can sign up for emailed water reports from your city. Probably many people would be surprised that their water is better than they assume. That’s because the EPA now requires cities to filter out many contaminants. Not so with well water. With well water, you’re on your own, and should definitely have it tested every six months or so.

        I would not buy a system that takes out most of the minerals. Minerals in water are good to have.

        • My ND was concerned that we were on well water. I was happy that we had well water. She said most of the people she sees with cancer are on well water. We get ours tested and it is high in calcium manganese and iron but nothing else. After 8 years we’re still trying to figure out how to get more minerals out! We bought a Mercola well system. It’s not doing enough. I was surprised to see that some of the parts said Aquasana. It is easy to get the water tested and so worth it!

    • Definitely have your water tested. Well water is usually great but there can be contaminants like arsenic in the ground that can make you sick over time.

    • It definitely does! Have you seen the chemtrails in the Denver area?! That goes right into the ground and thus your well water.

  8. The Berkey system now has me very interested. I didn’t realize there were other options besides RO for removing fluoride. Does the system initially come with the filters, or do you have to buy them separately from the beginning? Also, how long does it take to filter the water? Is it a slow process, or relatively quick?

  9. We just bought a Berkey with our tax refund! I’ve wanted one for years!!!

    It’s been about a week and I notice my kids and husband are drinking more water, which is a great plus. The water tastes fresh and pure.

    We bought a Royal Berkey and are happy with it for a family of 4. My suggestion would be to go one size up from the chart that says how many people it’s for. I already don’t notice it on the kitchen counter in our small kitchen.

    We are big campers and now looking into the travel one. I use the water bottle but still feel funny about putting tap water into it. I really hope that little filter in the water bottle works!!!

  10. I’ve done a thorough check and cannot find a carbon block filter system in the UK that is stand alone. The closest I can find is a stainless steel ceramic system. I am wondering if buying a ceramic is a better choice than just staying with bottled water? Sigh…

  11. Would the Berkey reduce calcium content at all? We have very high calcium content (and who knows what else) and would love for our tea kettle (for instance) to not be totally calcified.

    • We have very high calcium too and started with carbon filters in our berkey, they lasted well over a year, but at $80 to replace them (when they should have lasted nearly 5 years with our usage). And despite following Manufacturers cleaning instructions the carbon filters began to filter slower & slower until it took several days to filter a gallon of water, so we switched to the ceramic filters and have had no more problems.

  12. We have a BigBerkey & love it. The water is so clean tasting. I am always concerned about what’s in our food & water which is what le

  13. We have used the Berkey system for three years and we love it. We do have well water but the well head itself can have contaminantrrs in it occasionally so we feel that the Berkey is good insurance. If you ever use muddy water in the Berkey, do a rough filter (through cloth) first to save the filter life 😉

  14. Hi Katie, I’ve done a lot of research & was looking at Berkey as well. The only concern I have is the bad batches of filters that I saw numerous complaints about. Have you had any issue with yours?

    • When I had my health food store a few years ago, Berkey had a defective batch of filters. They explained to me what happened in the factory and said they would replace any defective filter. They made good on their word and replaced any defective filter that my customers brought back. Not to worry with this company.

    • We have a Berkey and we did get a few bad filters. They replaced them at no charge to us and we’ve not had a problem since. Other than that, we’ve been very happy with it.

    • we recently tried the Berkey (our city water has a distinct taste due to a variety of minerals. the Berkey reduced the taste about as much as a Brita. .. and we couldn’t even find anywhere that said specifically what the filters were made of for the Berkey.. if you try to dig out information, you won’t find it on Berkey filters; shady!

      • we have since gotten rid of it. can’t express enough the sketchiness of Berkey products. i think anyone who promotes them is a dealer or something. for real.

        • look on the website and show where it says they are carbon block filters (or on any of the packaging for that matter). the filters are just described as “mixed media”. if any water would put a test to the quality of this product, it’s ours. and the so-called “test” to see if it’s purifying (with the food coloring), all it takes is charcoal to do that job. just because it removes food coloring does not mean it removes any of the stuff it claims to do (which they cannot provide any proof or test results of). hmmmmmm.

          • Their online rep. on the site just told me the black filters are made of “high grade coconut”. not really sure what to think about this?

  15. thanks for sharing this research and helping my family’s project to find better water! how do you think the nikken pimag aqua pour compares to the berkey? it’s a gravity system with an additional bed of mineral stones. is this beneficial or just fluff?

    • My naturopath was very concerned that I was on well water and said that most of the people she sees with cancer have well water. I’d def. have it tested once a year and see how it is. Ours had too much manganese, calcium and iron and we use a whole house filter from Mercola. It’s not doing enough and I want to stop drinking it so we’re (I’m) still trying to figure out what to do.

      • For well water, you might want to consult any company in your area that can provide a backwash sediment filter between the well and you home. For example, see

        Downstream of the backwash sediment filter, you can further purify with a drinking water filter.

        Good luck!

  16. Does the Berkey filter also remove the endocrine disrupting chemicals you mentioned. I recently read an article about all the OCP’s that are accumulating in our water supply and was horrified. Not something I would have ever thought about! Thanks for sharing this!

  17. There are countertop distillers available on Amazon for $100. I’m planning on getting one since I live in an apartment so can’t install anything. I figure eliminating fluoride from my drinking water is the most important thing.

      • I have been looking all over the website for the Berkley and I can’t find how they get the fluoride out! There are only a handful of ways to get fluoride out, and if they use one of the outdated ways then I won’t bother getting a Berkley. Kate I know you research things very very well, and was wondering if you know, could you let me know? Thanks!

        • This is what I found from the manufacturer when I was researching options “The media used to extract the fluoride and arsenic is activated alumina. Since fluoride is a by-product of aluminum production, fluoride has a natural affinity to recombine with activated alumina making it an ideal extraction media. We are not chemists but will communicate our understanding on the subject. Both nutritionist and lab technicians have informed us that aluminum and alumina are two separate animals. Aluminum can cross the blood brain barrier and cause problems with the brain whereas alumina is inert. It is our understanding that alumina is oxidized aluminum. Aluminum is regulated whereas alumina is not for example, alumina is the material used for making the paste in toothpaste. At any rate, when testing for aluminum in water, most tests cannot distinguish between aluminum ions and oxidized alumina. Since we are not chemists, we tested the effluent from the filters and included that information in our brochure. While we were not required to do so, we felt that it was important to disclose to our customers what our results were so that they would have the necessary information to do further research on the issue should they desire to do so. We think it was significant in the test we conducted using the combination of Black Berkey® elements and PF-2 elements there was a net reduction in the tested aluminum content of the source water vs. the purified water. Again that test did not distinguish between aluminum and alumina. The bottom line is that the media utilized is oxidized alumina and not aluminum.”

    • I just bought the ProPur water filter. I find the water tastes strange. Kind of sulphur or fishy taste at first. Is this normal? Is is the mineral content of the filters? I did flush the system twice like the instructions said. They say that the ph is 9.5. Is that too alkaline?

      • I just bought a ProPur also and have made the exact same observation. Slightly fishy taste to the water after rinsing the filters and then two complete cycles. Did this issue go away for you guys?

  18. Can you link to the minerals you were adding to your previous filtered water? Our watershed is pretty light on mineral content and I’d love to supplement our water since I tend to crave bottled mineral water.

  19. I’m curious why you went with the black filters instead of the ceramic? I’ve read the pros and cons of both and can’t decide which one I want and trust your judgment. Also, how have you notice the PF-2 effecting the lower tank? I’m wondering if I should buy a size bigger than what I was looking at since those filters take up tank space.

    • I bought the size up than they suggested and I was glad I did… I haven’t noticed the fluoride ones affecting tank size, though they do slightly slow down water flow, so it is good to have the extra space. From what I’ve researched, the black filters take out more toxins than the ceramic, though I think both can be a good option…

    • I addressed alkaline water briefly at the end, but I haven’t found those options to be necessary or as high quality. We actually tried the alkaline water for a while to test though…

  20. We are looking into getting a water filter with our tax money (next few weeks) and didn’t get back nearly as much as we hoped, so we need to stay hopefully under the $300 range for this specific area….. At first, from my research, I heard so many good things of Reverse Osmosis systems, but now this Berkey sounds amazing! Very nice article…. I’m a little confused from all of the options on their website… Ceramic/Stainless Steel/etc, and different filter sizes/options… What would you suggest for a family of 4 (one’s a baby right now =) ) – we usually go through about 6 gallons a week…. Hopefully more as I’m trying to cut out soda,tea, etc for myself lol

  21. I use the Tap Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Reverse Osmosis Filtration System which claims to re-mineralize the water. It was an expensive investment, so for me I’ll be keeping it. I’m thinking I will add a whole house water filtration system to filter the VOCs (before it gets to the RO system) and it will also serve to filter out chlorine and other chemicals from shower, bath, sink water.

  22. I was excited to read about the Berkeys……. but I cannot have one that sits on the EDGE of a counter to use…… why do they make them this way. I need it out of the way at the BACk part of a counter. Any suggestions?

    • The problem is that most are so tall, they have to sit at the front as they also won’t fit under the cabinets. We keep ours right next to our sink and it works, but I’ve also seen people put them on a small cart or table somewhere in the kitchen. If you have the height, you could also put it up on something to make the spigot higher so it could sit at the back of the counter…

  23. This is great! Not even as expensive as I thought it would be.
    How often do you need to change the Berkey filters/How many gallons before it need changed? Also, they have regular filters and ceramic I think… What filters do you use?

    • I have the crown with 4 filters and according to the calculator on the website, it won’t need to be changed for over 15 years even for our family of 6. We use the regular filters with the fluoride add-ons…

      • It’s just me and my roommate so we were going to get the Crown with the two filters it comes with and two of the fluoride ones. We calculated it to last us at least 9.5 yrs.
        My question is: Do the fluoride filters go in the same holes as the filters you’re using or do they go in separate holes?
        I know the crown has 8 places for filters so we’ll be fine, but I was just wondering how it’s done.

        • They actually connect to the carbon filters. It will make sense when you see them, but the black filters are in the top part, and the fluoride ones are below them in the bottom part…

  24. Hi Katie! Thanks, I was one of the people that asked you about this, and I really appreciate your experience and thoughts. I am interested in the Berkey. Do you know if it could be placed on a floor mounted stand like this one?

  25. I use the Tap Master Jr. It’s pretty affordable and also filters out a lot of chemicals including fluoride(which was a large reason why I switched filters before.) The taste of the water is really good too and I’ve never had an issue with the company or filters.

  26. Thank you SO much for this post! I’ve been researching too, but only recently, and found the info commercially oriented and the scientific info overwhelming! We recently had treatment plant water lines put in our area, but had the option to remain on well water (even though we still have to pay for line installation :( ) Love our well water, but still have concerns re: farm run-off, etc. Will definitely look into the Berkey system for our home.

  27. We love your post all the time. Thank you for a lot of information. We have RO system under the sink and use for all my cooking. When we go out to eat or traveling we bring the PurifiCup with us to protect our self from getting sick. We just found out this NEW portable unit and very useful. Love it!

  28. My family has been using Berkey water purifiers since 1999. We currently use the 6-gal Berkey now because we use so much water! Our original 2-1/2-gal Berkey has only had the filters changed once. I used to have a health food store and sold them there. Love them!

  29. Would I need the fluoride filters for well water? I’m most concerned about pesticides in our water since we are in farm country.

  30. Berkey cannot ship larger units to California because of an ambiguous lead law. We just ordered one and are having to ship it to relatives in Colorado, then have them ship it to us. I hope it is worth it…

  31. Thank you for all the awesome info and recipes! What’s your opinion if the kinetico k5 RO and whole house system? We are doing the 30 days test and would love to get your opinion. We are clueless but want to improve our drinking water for our children. Thanks!

  32. What do you know about Enagic water filters? We have one because my husband used to sell them before we moved. Are they good? I’d rather not have to buy a new filter if it’s not necessary….

  33. We were set to buy a Berkey until the Environmental Working Group put out their filter guide. I emailed them asking why the Berkey was not in their evaluation and they responded:

    Thanks for your interest in EWG’s Water Filter Buying Guide. Water filters vary widely in quality and in what contaminants they will reduce. Consumers need to do their research to make sure they are getting what they are paying for. There are many, many different kinds of water filters with many pros and cons. There is no single best water filter. EWG’s guide is designed to help guide people through the complicated process of choosing the best water filter for them.

    EWG compiled this list based on water filters that are certified by the state of California and/or NSF to reduce at least one kind of contaminant. We also chose water filters that are readily available for purchase on If you know of a water filter brand that you do not see in the database, it is because it is not certified by both the NSP and the State of California to filter out Trihalomethanes. I hope this clears up your confusion.

    – So what are trihalomethanes and does Berkey filter those or not?? I am confused.

  34. Berkey filters DO filter out trihalomethanes. They are byproducts of chlorination. Here is the fairly recent lab test results from the City of Los Angeles showing that they do in fact filter out all those nasty things.

    Berkey is most likely not on EWG’s guide because the filtration systems are NOT sold in CA due to the expensive lead certification red-tape. It makes cost prohibitive for a smaller company like Berkey. You can read more about that here. However, due to the wording, the “outdoor” units CAN be sold to CA now, including the replacement black filters. It’s all so silly.

  35. I have been going crazy the past year trying to find an acceptable filter for my home and am very happy to find this post, so first off thank you!

    I was looking at the Berkey site and noticed that the water gets stored in stainless steel. While this is certainly better than plastic, I often find the taste of water stored in steel to have an unpleasant and bothersome taste. Do you find this at all with the Berkey? I suppose I could store the water in some mason jars after it’s filtered… but that seems like a lot of work. Does anyone have any thoughts on this or ways around it?

    Second question — I’ve read the comments about the “bad filters”… how would we know if the filter was bad?

  36. In the past, I’ve used PUR filters added onto the faucet, but now attempting to figure a better, healthier within-budget solution. thanks for reminding me about the showerhead also. There is so much conflicting info and choices about water filters and alkalizing water. Supposedly, Edgar Cayce recommended alkaline water and diet to cure colds and flus. He recommended using glyco-thymoline to add to water to make it more alkaline. what is the verdict about using mineral stones? I read the articles about not needing to alkalize water also. What is the truth, or closest to the truth? Are there any scientific studies (no agenda) on water filters and alkalizing effects? same with alkaline food?

  37. Hello Katie
    Can you use the berkey with a water softener? I have well water with a softener attached due to hardness in the water.

  38. thank you so much for all you do – I LOVE reading your blog and all the information. I just ordered a big berkey and am spending some time this afternoon making new batches of your lotion, deodorant and toothpaste. I love all your “recipes” and I cannot thank you enough for your help! I don’t even purchase “normal” items any more because I can make them thanks to you (and I feel that they are MUCH healthier for our family). So thank you. I want to give you a big hug, Katie! xoxoxo

  39. UV filter isn’t feasible at home? This is not true, my filter combines solid carbon filter and UV filter, it is economic, it can filter 5000 liters before filter change, I’d recommend is to everyone who is looking for clear water to drink. Please ask if you want to know more details

  40. I boil my water, then let it sit out for 24 hours, then I put it through a Britta filter, then into a glass milk jar with H2O2. I think yours sounds easier.

  41. Can this unit stand on the floor? does it have to be on the counter? Does it hook up to the water system, or is it filled manually? Sorry for so many questions, but I cannot find this information anywhere. I am interested in this but totally need to make sure I can find a place for it.

  42. Do you have any recommendations on whole house filtration systems with a non-salt softener built in? Thanks!

  43. Why the lines through the links? I am very interested in this topic. My 1 year old son has white spots on his teeth which our pediatrician says is due to fluoride. However, we are on city water and can’t figure out why this is happening. Perhaps it is just God’s way of getting us all off of the chemicals in our water! I just want to know where I can purchase this system online so we can try to solve this problem asap. Thanks for all you do!

  44. Great article! I also like the Berkey filters but there are several other options for both countertop and undersink that are reasonably priced. The key is to get a water filter that has multiple stages of filtration but does not remove the minerals in the water.

    Just signed up for your newsletter. Look forward to following your news.

  45. Actually you are incorrect. ZeroWater Pitchers are different because of their 5 stage process. They remove many heavy metals.

  46. Great article. The only thing I wanted to add is that the testing and certification that goes into water filter systems is vitally important. Many systems leach and migrate harmful chemicals into the water. Look for the Water Quality Association Gold Seal to ensure you buy a system which you can be sure does not put chemicals into the water which are known to cause cancer, birth defects and infertility. Also ensure that your tap is lead free. Ensuring you have a system which is tested and certified to the right standard is very important. For example, many filter systems contain carbon. When this is mined it usually contains arsenic. If the manufacturers have done proper due diligence, the carbon is appropriately treated using acid or steam washing and other processes to ensure the arsenic and any other dangerous chemical is removed. There are thousands of products on the market with absolutely no testing or certification at all, which is allowed by law and this really concerns me. Look for the WQA Gold Seal to ensure you get a safe system.

  47. Katie,

    I feel you may have been misguided in your research. You have done a great job of researching the different options, but many contain errors. I just thought you would like to know.

  48. So I’m concerned about water, especially VOCs and nitrates/nitrites. But I just bought a new fridge especially for the in-door water and ice! Now I see that the filter just isn’t adequate enough. And the Berkey means I’m back to making my own ice cubes and keeping water in a pitcher.

    Or have you figured out a better way?

  49. Thanks! Researching water filters can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re looking for one that also filters fluoride. This really helped! I just found your blog and I love it!

  50. I am in final evaluation stage for getting a Berkey and had a few more questions: What do you think about the Fluoride Filters in the Berkey being made of plastic and then sitting in your finished water the whole time? Are the plastic housings on the Berkey Fluoride filters non BPA and non-leaching? Berkey says it leaves the natural minerals in the water – do you think it is still beneficial to use Alkalizing mineral stones in addition in the Berkey system as some have recommended?

  51. I’ve been reading the Berkey reviews on Amazon. Many people complain about the spigot leaking. Katie–Have you had any problems with this? Anyone else on the forum have feedback?

  52. Do you know if the fluoride filters in the Berkeys leach any aluminum into the filtered water?? I’m really interested in getting a Berkey but I’m worried about aluminum.

      • I want to get a Berkey but I am unhappy about the prospect of the plastic fluoride filters touching the water. I am 1 person and am considering the Travel Berkey although I am thinking that if I get the larger size and fill it less maybe the plastic flouride filters will not touch the water. Do you have any comments about the plastic? Thank you for your generosity of time and research!

  53. Hi Katie (my niece’s name!),

    Thanks for the great article. I’m pretty much sold on Berkey for drinking and cooking. We’re two people in an apartment, so we’ll probably go with the Travel or Big Berkey. I’m also in the process of buying two humidifiers for my apartment. In the past, we used the cool mist fan type humidifiers, but the filters/wicks get covered with sediment (lime, calcium?) rather quickly. Replacement filters are a big expense. I’m thinking of going with ultrasonic humidifiers this time. They’re quieter, but they still require filtration (cartridges), especially if one uses hard water. If you don’t use any filtration, you get white dust on your furniture (and probably your lungs). Many people use distilled water in humidifiers. So I’m wondering if the Berkey system (which leaves some minerals in the water) would be an improvement over tap water. I’m trying to avoid bringing in distilled water. Hopefully, the Berkey filtered water would work for drinking /cooking and the humidifiers.

  54. This is a great blog that I stumbled across. I have decided to get rid of our RO filter in favour of a Berkey, however I wondered if you can taste any carbon in the water like you can with other brands of carbon filters?

  55. ** DANGER ** You missed out from the cons of Pitcher Water Filters, deadly disease and molds can grow, such as Hepatitis A and disease and mold harboring bio films which are almost impossible to eradicate, shrugging off strong bleach solutions with ease ! That’s a pretty careless commission I have to say, this article misses the key dangers ! There will always be Idiots who dismiss science and suggest the green slime is just some form of harmless algae, meanwhile many wonder why they have developed IBS or perhaps more incapacitating symptoms. Many diseases, viruses , mold and contaminants are air borne, algae is not.

    As for Reverse Osmosis, well besides not filtering chemical contaminates such as synthetic chemicals like herbicides and pesticides, etc since they are smaller than water molecules, they don’t filter the newest threats of pharmaceutical drugs in our water supply that have been recently discovered. But most of all, healthy minerals (i.e. calcium, magnesium, etc) are removed. This simply leads to a slow death !! Dr. Zolton Rona, author of The Joy of Health, states that “the
    longer one consumes demineralized water, the more likely the development
    of mineral deficiencies and an acid state.”

    I do agree, carbon block combined with ion exchange is not only the cheapest method but ironically the most effective by far!

    • If one eats a nutrient-poor diet, then yes, drinking demineralized water will lead to poor health. If, however, you follow Katie’s diet recommendations, your diet will be chock full of minerals, and those missing from demineralized water won’t matter.

      As far as drinking demineralized water leading to an “acid” state, that’s based on either antiquated reasoning from the 19th century. First is the long-discredited idea that eating meat leads to an net-acid diet. The net-acid idea is also untrue for eating grains, although there are other good reasons to avoid them.

      The body tightly regulates the acid-based balance in the blood within the range of between 7.35 and 7.45 on the pH scale. The body has many elegant mechanisms to counter the effects of *anything* that might move the pH out of this range. For a more thorough debunking of this myth, read Chris Kresser’s 2-part series on it (

  56. There is nothing on here about under the sink carbon block filters or the bone char filters (which remove fluoride). Are these okay? I want something attached to my sink. My counter space is too valuable.

  57. thanks for ur info however i am from mumbai india and find hard to find berkey filters can u suggest any other brand in india

  58. Hi there, thanks for the time you put into writing this. I’m curious though, does it not concern you that Berkey is not NSF certified?

  59. Spring water all the way! Time and labour intensive OR gets you out into nature for some exercise, depends if you’re a glass half full or half empty type of person!

  60. Thanks for the post. My favorite part is the section on bottled water. In addition to the environmental impacts, I always believe it impacts our wallets also. By simply changing the water bottle habit to filtering your own water, you could save a lot of money on the long run. Save on your grocery bills!

  61. Must say that I’m just not sold on the Berkey. I was seconds away from entering my VISA number to pay for it, but something stopped me. I called and spoke to the owner of a distributor in Ontario. Both filters sit in the water you’re about to drink. The fluoride filter attaches onto the end of the black filter, making the water flow even slower. I’m afraid that these filters, being plastic, will eventually leach something into the water, regardless of whether they’re BPA free. This Berkey system needs to be tested and certified by a water purification authority before I feel comfortable enough to buy one. To be honest, the filters look cheaply made, and the fact that the company New Millenium Concepts, the company who supposedly makes them, doesn’t seek any further stamps of approval, worries me. It seems that they sell their Berkeys to distributors who in turn sell them to consumers. I don’t own one and I’m not a competitor, I’m just a consumer that likes to cross their T’s and dot their I’s, before I make a purchase of that size ($400. Canadian, no refunds). Happy to hear all information that would help me to dispel this sense of mistrust that I have for this product. Thank you.

  62. After reading this blog ..We purchased the Royal Berkey system. We love it!
    Thank you for all of the information.
    How do you clean inside the tanks and how often?

  63. Thank you for your recommendation of the Berkey. We ate using the Royal now. We love it. How do you clean inside the tanks and how often?

  64. Great Post! I recently purchased a Berkey system for the flouride-removal option. I decided in 2014 I wanted to try my darndest to de-calcify my pineal gland! Rather unusual resolution, but hey! It’s an important gland! I’d like it if you did an article on ways you personally recommend doing this and why it is important.

  65. Thank you for this treasure-trove of a site!
    As a student, a bulky set-up might not be so practical, in addition to being a strain on a student’s budget.
    I was considering just getting a couple of Berkey’s portable water bottles, and simply filling and using them exclusively thoroughly the day and night.
    My concern is weather or not this alone would be good enough. I see a lot of discussion about additional fluoride filters, and I’m not sure if the bottles are compatible with these.
    Please advise as to the best solution for a frugal, clutter-avoiding student.
    Thanks especially for the toothpaste and deodorant recipes. You can’t imagine how timely and needed my discover of your site was out here in the middle of nowhere as I prepare for a new semester at a new college.

  66. Thank you for sharing! My family has been drinking Nikken PiMag water from the Waterfall, for the past year and a half. Nikken’s been around a long time and has a system that compares to thousand-dollar systems, but affordable for families. The Waterfall is gravity-filtered. It creates alkaline, ion, purified mineral water. My 7-year old son loves drinking water now. I wrote a page on my site about it, if you would like to see :) Thanks again for your great article!

  67. Great article! Stay away from bottled water, it is not as heavily regulated. Just throw a water filter of some kind on your tap water!

  68. Thanks for this article! It’s hard to dig through all the information. I appreciate the research you do. This is my first comment but I’ve significantly improved my health over many of your other articles and DIY recipes.

    Just a note to everyone who is bashing the article and saying they can find something better: you should just go do that then. Nothing is going to be absolutely perfect and some filters are better than others. This system is a whole lot better than just drinking chemical filled tap water and other less effective systems.

  69. Dear Wellness Mama,
    Thank you for your article and the very valuable information you are sharing! It helped me make a choice for our household. I chose the Big Berkey carbon filter and we are very happy with it. The difference in taste in phenomenal (we live in Central Hong Kong). I shall look further to do the chemical tests. Thanks again!

    • Hi Alice,

      May I ask where you purchased the Berkey filter? I also live in Central Hong Kong and so far have only found retailers in the US. Also a little worried about the installation without a local after-sales service.

      Thanks for your help!

  70. What are your thoughts on boiling water? Would that get the job done?

    P.S. – I see that you haven’t answered a lot of intriguing questions/concerns that many readers have.

  71. While researching water filters, I camp across your page and ended up purchasing a Big Berky. Thank you so much for the information! Do you have any information about adding minerals back into the filtered water? It seemed like while I was researching I found something you could add to the bottom urn that leached minerals into the filtered water, but I can’t find it now! Do you use anything or have any information on products like this?
    Thank you,

  72. I really really really want to buy a Berkey…but, I’m having trust issues. Why aren’t they NSF certified? Why can’t they be sold in CA? I’m not sure I believe the “we’re a small company” reasoning. If the Queen, the Peace Corp, and whoever else… buys Berkeys….why can’t they afford to have the appropriate testing done? I’m not trying to bash…I’m just REALLY concerned about my family’s health. I don’t want to blindly believe this company. I’m having trouble finding anyone who has done any testing on their Berkey water after purchase to confirm how clean the water is. (and ‘tasting’ clean doesn’t count
    Again, I sooooo want to buy one. Are they too good to be true? Has ANYONE out there tested their Berkey water?

  73. Went to Berkeleys website …As far as I can see only Ceramic Filters are listed Carbon ones. Can anyone explain or help me with that? They talk about their Black Filters….What’s that? Doesn’t say what they are made of etc… Berkeleys site is very difficult to navigate, with no clear information posted anywhere. Very complicated and definitely turns me off buying from them.

    Many Companies provide solid Carbon filters for both under and above sink and their information is clearer and it is easy to buy from them. With Berkeley I felt like I would loose more then a day navigating thru their more then complicated website…Thanks De

  74. Thanks for all that you do. Do you have a timeframe for your follow up post? Im wanting to take the plunge to buy the Berkey but I would like to read your follow up post first. =)

  75. Thank you Katie and everyone for your comments. I started an online chat with the sales rep at berkey. He pointed out that if i fill the upper chamber while the lower chamber is full, it could leak out from the seam between the two chambers. He suggested that a clear spigot would help me determine when the lower chamber was running low and i could top up. I’m just wondering if this leakage has happened to anyone who owns a unit? I don’t want to keep lifting the lid to check where the water level in the lower chamber is at before topping up and i don’t really want to pay more for the glass spigot. Would love to hear from anyone who already owns one.

    Thank you.

  76. There is no question that a proper amount of water consumption will detoxify your body and add years to your life. Studies have shown that those drinking at least five glasses of water per day were associated with an approximately 50% decreased rate of heart attacks and stroke, compared with those who drank only two glasses of water per day.

  77. Hello Mamma,

    I’m on the search for a water filtration system as well. I contacted Berkey with the following question:

    “Dear Berkey Water System,

    I’m looking for a water filter for my family. We have hard water (and no water softener installed).

    I would like a water filtration system that filters fluoride, chlorine, hazardous contaminants, including heavy metals such as copper, lead and mercury; disinfection byproducts; parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium ; pesticides (including glyphosate); radon; and volatile organic chemicals such as methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE), dichlorobenzene and trichloroethylene (TCE).

    I would like the water to remain alkaline/neutral rather than acidic.

    I am looking for a non plastic spout, and a lead-free glass container to hold the water.

    Please direct me the best way possible. Thank you”

    I’ve been reading a lot about pesticides, specifically glphosate, which is now found in ground water, and is passing through breast milk in feeding mothers. I’ve also read that containing water in a stainless steal container may not be beneficial, as it could leach nickel into the water. I do not want any plastic (BPA or not). They are coming up with studies that even non-BPA plastics still have endocrine disrupter. We’re currently drinking distilled water; however I want to change that, as it’s acidic. Reverse Osmosis is the same (acidic). Mineralizing my water isn’t my primary concern, as a varied and well balanced diet (preferably of non-gmo and organic foods will provide the nutrients my body needs).

    It’s just absolutely crazy that we now have to research SO MUCH about our water supply. But I want to find the best possible solution to drinking the best possible water. As for those living up in the mountains, have your water tested. It’s come about that the water supply is filled with aluminium and barium and possibly now fluoride. I’m not going to debate it, but chemicals are being sprayed daily (chemtrails) and it’s an entirely other concern to add regarding our water supply.

    Adding a little fresh lemon juice and a small pinch of Himalayan salt helps the water become become alkaline if you need that.

    Thanks for any input regarding some or all on what I’ve written.

  78. This has been one of the hardest purchases I’ve ever had to make. I can’t seem to find exactly what I want (which seems so simple). I want a solid block carbon under sink filter that also removes flouride AND has zero waste. Is there such a thing? Most sites don’t specify all those specs. I believe the big guys (rain soft, kinetico, ecowater) do but they all seem to be the old-school car salesmen. The under sink part is simply to get it to our fridge easily so the little ones can have their fill of ice & water. Any suggestions?

    • I went with an solid carbon block, zero-waste RO system (which takes care of the fluoride). Hoping for the best.

      • Devin – can you share what unit you bought? We were looking at the Berkey, but really wanted an under the sink unit. Thanks -Laura

        • Hi Laura, I’m not allowed to post it (I tried shortly after your post). Sorry. So far so good here, good luck in your search.

  79. I am looking forward to your follow up post. It is such a big purchase and I want to make the right decision. I appreciate your time in compiling this post and the update to come!

  80. Hi – I appreciate your informative article! Question: I would prefer an under the sink unit vs the Berkey that sits on the counter. I’ve researched the Multipure system, but wondered if you have compared the Berkey to any under the sink units as far as quality of the water.

    Would appreciate any input you have! Thank you!

  81. Your information on the RO (reverse osmosis) system is incorrect in multiple areas. There is absolutely no waste, at least, not in a home system. How do I know? I hooked mine up, and at no time did I connect any tube or anything to a drain. The water goes from the source to the filters, to a staging tank to the user. No water is wasted.

    Second, your claim that it takes an hour to make one gallon of RO water is misleading. RO systems DO take time to filter the water, but there is a storage tank under the sink that will hold (depending on what size you choose) 5 gallons or more of filtered water. So, it is continiously filtering the water filing up the 5 gallon tank. If you go to the tap and try to get 5 gallons of filtered water, it’s no problem and you can get it immediately. If you want more than 5 gallons of filtered water, or more water than your staging tank can hold, then yes, you would have to wait for it to filter more. However, in the YEARS that I’ve had an RO system, this has never been a problem and I’ve NEVER had to wait on it to filter more water.

    Third, the costly and frequent filter replacement is compeltely wrong. My filters (and I bought my system at cost $20/yr and only need to be replaced once a year. My TDS (total disolved particles), a measure of how much “stuff” is in your water (both good and bad), is pretty high, I think around 900 PPM (parts per million). The higher your TDS, and the more water you drink, the more frequent your filter change. 900 PPM is extremely high, and in a household that drinks A LOT of water, having a once-a-year filter change for so cheap is awesome.

    Lastly, a huge benefit is that you can also connect an RO system to your refrigerator if you have an icemaker or water dispenser. FYI, the RO filter is much better than the filter in the refrigerator, so feel free to just remove that filter in the fridge as it will serve to do absolutely nothing since the water is RO water prior to reaching the fridge.

  82. The only thing about Berkey is that it does NOT filter out chloramines, which is chlorine and ammonia combined. Many public water systems are switching to chloramines because it doesn’t evaporate like chlorine does. Chloramines have been proven to cause bladder and kidney cancers. So far, with my research, I have only found one that is supposed to filter out 97% of choloramines and that is Aquasana. I have the countertop version. It hooks up to the faucet and sets in my windowsill. It doesn’t remove the minerals from the water like RO does either. It’s very affordable and so are the filters.

  83. My son’s (3 yrs old) Naturopath, wants him drinking distilled water because of the benefits you stated above. Should I be concerned about BPA though?

  84. Hi Katie,
    Do you have recommendations for bathroom sink water filter? I have a shower filter as well as drink filtered water from Berkey but am wondering what’s the best filter option for bathroom sink, when I wash my face? Thanks~ :)

  85. What about refrigerator filters? Mine says it reduces a lot of stuff. But would you still buy a different filter for water drinking?

  86. Katiie, have you ever considered the slow sand filter? They are sustainable, very inexpensive and will remove biological contamination from water. A slow sand filter can be put together by just about anyone with a little spare time and some basic skills. There are websites that show how to put one together. Just Google slow sand water filter. We use them here on our well water. They also filter rain water for our garden. Contrary to popular belief, it is not against state law to harvest rain water in any state except Colorado.

  87. Thank you for this wonderful information! My fiance and I bought the Big Berkey based on this information and we absolutely love it and show it off to all of our friends. Thanks again!

  88. Any experience with nasty/stale tasting water or shortened life span of the filters, along with any solutions? Been reading some reviews and I’ve seen a few along these lines. :( We’re GAPS, and I *really* want Berkey to work for us… Thanks for your post and for the future follow up post, whenever life allows! :)

  89. I live outside of the US and came across your page while looking for natural filtering options. I came across a very expensive glass caraffe with coconut husk and silk filter (which won’t ship outside of the US).

    Then, I found the Water Bobble. This is what their website says..
    “bobble uses a carbon filter, a proven, powerful chemical absorbent. as the water passes over the positively charged carbon surface of the filter, the negative ions of the contaminants are drawn to the surface of the carbon granules, where they remain. bobble’s filter is effective at removing chlorine from potable/municipal tap water, which will improve its taste. test results meet or surpass the NSF International Standard 42, the standard that governs public and private drinking water.”

    And, of course, there are many retailers in Europe for this. Have you tried it? What do you think?


  90. Hello. Thank you for your post and continued research on this issue. I just read “The Drinking Water Book” by Colin Ingram, and he says that carbon block water filters accumulate pollutants inside the filter.

    “Like most filters, carbon filters accumulate pollutants within the filtering medium. This creates two potential problems. The first is that changes in water pressure can cause accumulated pollutants to break away and cause some unlucky person to ingest a large dose of pollution. The second drawback is that the inside of a carbon filter provides a supportive environment for the growth of certain kinds of bacteria. While these bacteria are not known to cause any disease symptoms, no one knows for sure how ingesting them affects human health… …allow the filtered water to flow for about thirty seconds before using it. This procedure should be repeated whenever the filter is unused for more than a few hours.”

    Have you come across this information? Do you do anything to combat this besides changing the filter when it’s time? Thanks!

  91. This is an interesting topic about water filters I have a kangen water machine that filters out chemicals and flouride and keeps the minerals it changes the water to alkaline. I can really tell the difference I would never drink tap water due to all the contaminants. I’m very happy with my machine it only takes up a small amount of space and sits on the counter top.

  92. Hi!
    Thank you Katie so much for this post. It is so good and rare, and really so needed. It’s so hard to understand what’s the best water system out there – websites are shady and no real good impartial reviews.
    I was really impressed by the Berkey too. Its performance sounds amazing.
    I have a few items that still trouble me though:
    – people say that carbon filters breed bacteria. many vendors then put UV component after the carbon filter, in order to eliminate that bacteria. Berkey doesn’t have one – should this be a problem?
    – I can’t see where in Berkey’s website they mention the filters are solid block carbon filters. I’ve asked their online rep., and he said the filters comprise of “high grade coconut shell. They have microns of 24 ,26 nanometers”. This is not mentioned anywhere in the website plus I’ve never heard of coconut filters anywhere before.
    – They don’t have NSF certification, even though they claim to far surpass standard 53.

    What do you guys think of it? other than Berkey there are so many options that I almost feel I’m drowning :)

    Thanks a lot in advance for any reply!

  93. Thank you so much for this post! I feel empowered to make an informed decision about what water filter will be the best option for myself and my family. I do have one more question about filter options… do you know about or have suggested resources for learning about binchotan charcoal water filters? It seem like a simple solution to filter drinking water as well as bath water until I’m ready to invest in a Berkey. I haven’t been able to find any information about binchotan and would appreciate any direction. Thanks!

  94. Thank you for this post! I’ve been debating what water system to get for our home, and was leaning toward an ro system. However, it wastes a lot of water and we plan on moving in a few years so we decided on a Berkey. Glad I came across this post! Your blog is my go to place for all things health and wellness now:)

  95. This post is very informative!
    I live in the city and every body says that the water here is safe to drink from the tap which I (kinda) believe but the taste is what turns me off to it so I have bought many water filtration pitchers in the past to make the taste and odor go away. The only thing with my past water filtration pitchers (mostly Brita) is that they were made out of plastic. I just didn’t like the water sitting in the plastic carafe for hours at a time, along with throwing away (aka recycling) the expired filters since it is just so much waste.
    I recently discovered a water filtration pitcher brand called Soma and it is everything I was looking for in a water filtration pitcher since it not only makes the water taste great, it is also made out of shatter resistant glass and has a biodegradable filter!

  96. PureEffect Filters is the best filter for me and my family. It perfectly filters water and is the best filter I have ever tried

  97. Hello Wellness Mama!

    I am looking into getting a water filtration for everyday use (water kefir and kombucha) but it looks like Berkey requires an additional filter to get rid of fluoride. If this is the case, do you use the fluoride filters as well?
    My other option is clearly filtered, which doesn’t require additional filters for fluoride. If you have a chance, can you check these out and provide your opinion on the two?


  98. Great post!!
    We use the Santevia countertop system and love it!! I can’t believe how much better our water tastes and how much more my family will drink. :)

  99. We’ve had a Berkey for 3 years now and love it. For our family of 5 we fill it several times a day because we also cook with the water. We didn’t get the largest size (the royal) but I wish we had. Regarding fluoride removal, we have a friend that installs RO systems and asked him about the Berkey because we wanted to have the water tested for fluoride. HE said he didn’t need to test ours because he’s tested them in the past. With a newer fluoride filter attached, (0-9 months old) it removes 30% of the fluoride. Better than nothing and it also removes arsenic, but not the best. He said it’s great for removing all the other bad stuff in water, from his testing. Berkey claims the fluoride filters are only good for a year anyhow, and ours gets stuff growing in it at that point so we replace it then. Fluoride is a small molecule and hard to remove from water. Hope this helps!

  100. Question about Solid-Block Carbon Filters. I currently have an at-home steam distiller. Love it, but yes, totally agree with you about mineral loss. You didn’t mention it, but did you find if carbon filters are somehow able to leave minerals in the water? Many thanks.

  101. Purified water is very important. We have a Kinetico RO water filter and a carbon whole house filter. Our dentist had the drinking water tested for fluoride levels and found that the levels were very low. The filter is doing its job. We have been very pleased with it. We have not written about it on my wife’s blog yet, but intend to in the future. It is essential to raising healthy children.

    • We used to have that exact one, but when I tested the water with an at-home test, it didn’t have the same mineral content as the original tap water did. It was a decent filter, but I didn’t like how much water was wasted.

    • It sounds like a pretty good one. I would like to know what the 7 stages are specifically. A few of the keys to a good system are – minimum of 5 stages, quality American craftsmanship, good technical and parts support in future and 3rd party testing of filtration. Based on our research we ended up with a high quality system that was installed by a local company who is available for additional filters. Be sure the filters are readily available for whatever unit you decide on. This is an important decision to make regarding the health of your family.

  102. Hi Kate,

    Thanks so much for your blog, it was very helpful.

    I have a question: I live in Hong Kong too and am considering buying a Berkey. Do you know where they’re sold in HK? I’d like to be able to speak to a local distributor/retailer rather than buying online, since I live in a tiny flat with a tiny kitchen sink and am not sure it can install successfully. If you have any contact details for HK Berkey stores/distributors, I’d appreciate it.

    Many thanks!

  103. Can you please answer the questions about refrigerator filters? I feel like many, many people have a filter on their fridge and I, at least, would really like to know if I can buy one to put in there and not waste that function of my kitchen. Currently we buy the standard PUR filters but I would be willing to upgrade if I can find a decent one that filters out most of the contaminants listed.

  104. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve been searching safe drinking water and filtering options and found the Berkey website just minutes before finding your page. The information you’ve provided really helps explain all the options available. I’ll be purchasing the travel size Berkey which uses two filters. Can I use one Fluoride filter and one black Berkey filter? Or do I have to use two of the same filters at once?

  105. So after reading this whole loooong article I find that your recommended H2O filter is this Berkey which appears to be some big ass water tank that will NOT fit under or on top of counter (so WTF do you put it?) AND you have to manually pour water into it every day WTF? Do you think that everyone has extra square footage in their house just a place some big bulky huge water tank someplace in their kitchen so they can access water? What a waste of time reading this whole thing to find out this is what you’re recommending. You have no credibility at all in it in my opinion…

    • I’m sorry you didn’t find it useful, but it is the exact one that I have sitting on my counter and which my family uses everyday. Obviously you have to decide for yourself based on your own circumstances, but to say my review has no credibility because the filter won’t fit on your counter is a extreme, don’t you think?

  106. no I don’t think my comment is ‘extreme’ at all, I think your article is asinine for proposing that folks put a large water tank on their kitchen counter as if everyone has LOTS of extra space in their kitchen for this…what a waste of time and really bad advice…I think you need a different perspective on how real people live

    • Well, I guess your opinion is your own, but I stand by the article. I recognize that what I suggest will not work for everyone. I am sorry that the filter option that I find works best for my family and my space does not work for you.

      • He wouldn’t be so judgemental if he cared more about the water quality. The only reason I didn’t already have it is because of the price, not the size of the tank…and now that I know that ZERO water filter removes FLUORIDE and chlorine…… well, I guess I don’t need to save up for it anymore :) because for my personal opinion on water quality, my needs are being met

        • I wrote Zero water before and they told me they don’t filter out fluoride. I don’t think Aquasana either and I wrote Doulton and I think they are working on it.

    • Michael, I am living in a 25′ RV while I travel for work. I am still getting a Berkey. Why? Because I am sick of disgusting water in most communities and tired of dragging a dozen gallon water jugs to a water “store” every week or so to get water to cook with, drink, and wash dishes with. Yes, it will take up space (I have zero counter space – it will sit on a tray on one side of the dinette bench). It will, however, be worth it.

  107. I read this article few months ago and we bought 1 x Big Berkey here in UK and now it’s been 2 months non stop usage in my home and we absolutely LOVE it! Thanks so much for this advice :) And also… we did some compare online and this seems to be the most cost effective system around as it last for 7-10 years! We all drink from it and our dog too! :)

  108. Howdy!

    Nothing like being late to the party!
    My question is do you recommend any type of filter for the fridge water system? Or do you bypass that entirely? Has your entire house been set up with the Berkley system? Or just the kitchen?

    I must admit I’m an avid follower and have recently started making some big changes in my young families life, my 18 month old loves Kombucha, he calls it pop, which is fine by me! And he is loving the bone broth. I just got some Water kefir started on the counter this morning. I’m wanting to make a Ginger Bug, as my little guy’s tummy has been bothering him, we are getting rid of Grains, in our house. You are such an eye opening woman. I applaud you and literally search your blog at all chances I can get. Sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start for the most health impact.
    Not to mention I’m getting ready to submit a huge order for Mt. Rose Herbs.

    Looking forward to so many more blog posts from you and hopefully a book, soon!!

    Best Regards!

  109. Thank you for this post! Super helpful as I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and wanted to invest in cleaning up our water. The Berkey option is awesome since we are renting. I just bought the Big Berkey with fluoride filters!

  110. I am looking for the perfect water filter for our drinking water at home. I’ve was almost convinced about the Big Berkey, but I am getting a little suspicious that they are not certified by e.g. NSF. I have looked at the New millenium concepts and it does not seem like a trustworthy certified dealer.

    Im not trying to be negative, I would just really like to find a water filtration that is living up to their words but also have have proof of it. Why are you so founded by this Big Berkey, like why do you think its so great other than it taste great? Have you done any research or got your water tested?

    Thank for your great work :)

  111. So, there’s tons of comments I haven’t read thru them all.. have you heard of/tried the zero “pitcher” water? Similar to Brita but they claim to be better. Ours came with a wand that you test the water, but all it reads is a number (of contaminants?). Our tap water read about 145, Brita (what we used prior) read 95, and Zero water read 0 (go figure lol) So I’m curious if you have any idea about this filter system? It says it’s 5x filtered I believe, but it’s been a while since I read the packaging. Any clue??? We’ve been hoping we’re avoiding fluoride..or at least reducing it.. :/

  112. Distillation removes virtually all contaminants and results in the purest water reasonably possible. See debunked myths about distilled water ( Commercial distilled and filtered water is $0.88-$1.29/gallon (versus $0.22-45/gallon for home distilled), contains phthalates leached from being stored in plastic, and requires packaging materials. Furthermore, commercial filtered water is often no more “pure” than tap water. However, if you’re on the go, here is a list of fluoride content in bottled water by brand ( Research and compare manufacturers and distributors well before buying a home water distiller. ( and

    Another option is water filters, but the most effective (i.e. remove fluoride) require professional under sink or water line entry installation and result in 3-5 wasted gallons of grey water per one gallon of purified water produced. Nevertheless, the Environmental Working Group ( and Consumer Reports ( offer buying guides and ratings (, and NSF offers a list of contaminants and water purification systems certified to remove them ( There appears to be some controversy over the politics of NSF certification, but I still wonder why a company that claims to make an excellent filter would not make the effort to get certified?

    The highest Consumer Reports rated water filter, the Multipure Aqua RO (the only Multipure filter NSF certified to remove fluoride) costs $605 including shipping. The basic Durastill 8 gallon manual fill water distiller costs $517 including shipping from The Water Distiller Store.

    I absolutely support whatever choice people make for their own water purification systems, I just thought I would add this information in case people want it to help make an informed choice, since it took me about 20 hours to find it all.

    Additional sources not already listed above:

    • Thank you for your research. It is well-founded, with links to trust-worthy, scientific sources.
      This is exactly what I need.

  113. I was researching through the different types of filters and brands and came across this site.
    Whoah, so many comments and types of filters and features!

    Seems like it is more about Berkley and less about other filters and brands.

    By the way, have you heard or review about this brand called Puritii filter?
    It claim to be NSF certified, and also filters bacteria, viruses, chemicals etc.
    It also claims to filter fluoride which not many brands out there does it.

    Do you still continue to look into other new brands and filters and do a comparison as well?

  114. I am amazed at how many comments this post has gotten. Obviously, water filtration is a huge deal to many of us mamas (and papas)! I feel the need to add my two cents worth to this conversation. We have had a Linx Drinking Water System for several years now and it is AWESOME … We too were concerned about all the contaminants our drinking water had coming from the tap plus the addition of chlorine and fluoride, which we DIDN’T want in our water. This system filters out exactly what we want out and leaves in exactly what we want in, plus it is certified in California whereas many water filtration systems aren’t. It’s obviously hard to find the RIGHT system, (as attested by so many comments to this post) and can be hard to filter through all the “propaganda” and “advertising” out there. I’m just glad we found the right one for our family and hope all you other mamas and papas can too!

  115. There have been R.O. systems on the market for quite some time that use multi-stage filtering, which includes either a carbon block or carbon block + polyphosphate filter, as well as sediment filters in addition to the R.O. filter itself. Omnipure makes such a system. Home Depot sells the Home Master Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System, which uses *7-stage* filtration, during which calcium and magnesium are added back to the water.

    Unless you live in an area with high-priced water or stringent usage rules (e.g., mandatory reductions due to drought), there’s no need to use just a carbon-block filter and take up valuable counter space.

  116. I am a long time sufferer of kidney stones and have recently read that drinking distilled water may be beneficial to me. These systems look great, but so many “add the minerals back in”. Any thoughts on the negatives of drinking distilled water and any recommendations on a system that doesn’t add the minerals back to the water? I would prefer an “on the counter” system.

  117. Bare in mind that the owner of this website profits each time you buy at Berkey Filters when going from the links in this page, there should be a disclaimer.

    Carbon block filters will not remove almost any fluoride in water after the first use and the attachments will remove a maximum of 30%. Your best bet if you want to remove fluoride is reverse osmosis.

    • My affiliate disclosure is displayed at the top of each post and I’ve always disclosed that some links on my site are affiliate links and that I make a small commission from them while the price is still the same for anyone who purchases through my link. Berkey filters are cost effective filters and from my research, they do remove a really high percentage of fluoride “Testing was performed with a flow rate of less than 11 liters per minute per cu.ft. of the Berkey filtering medium at 20 – 30 parts per million (ppm) of the ion in the solution liquid. Results of 95% reduction). Under optimum laboratory conditions, effluent concentrations of less than 50 part per billion (ppb) were readily achieved which equates to a >99.75% reduction.”
      Reverse osmosis is an alternative, but minerals need to be re-added, and often a plumber is needed to install and they can be out of the price range for many people.

  118. Hi there, i have found this article very useful as i am wanting to purchase one of these for our home, am fed up of the chlorine tasting water. I live in the UK, do you know of a filter that i can get from here as it seems that the Berkey is only available in America. I’ve looked online but feel quite confused and clueless about the best options!

    Thanks, Cleo.

      • Basically go for carbon block (pre and post if possible) filter, with sediment filter and fluoride filter. the essential basic 3 filters, and finally for health and wellness, add an additional alkaline filter.

  119. We currently have a Berkey, and love it. We recently moved, however, and we need to filter and/or soften our whole house. Any recommendation for a whole house system?

  120. Indian consumers may visit to know the Right water purification technology suited to the type of water they get in their homes/offices.
    You may compare various brands of water purifiers on this portal.

  121. Hi Katie, i read another review of the berkey recently and the reviewer found the filter it to become clogged after a while, i was wondering if u have experienced this at all? Thanks

  122. The link for “we personally use” is not working. Could you just mention what it is? Thanks for your important work!

  123. Hi Katie
    Thank you so much for all the information. I read that carbon filters will only remove some contaminants for the first 50 litres of water or so. And that’s the period when they are tested to prove their efficacy. What do you know about this?
    Thank you

  124. Hi Katie – Wellness Mama,

    I was watching a video from Dr. Mercola, and he mentioned that if you DO happen to get a water filter system to make sure you get the NSF certified brands.

    Is the Berkey system NSF certified? Is it a Carbon block filter type of unit? What other water filter system are similar to the Berkey unit?


  125. I use inline flters with kdf.Removes metals,etc but is pricey. For drinking,I use bottled water since I view the water quality on the website of the company.

  126. Loved this review…wondering why filter says “Fluoride” – is that because it filters out fluoride (almost seemed like it has fluoride in it, from the name?)

  127. Would you give us the references, please, that state that “In most cases, the water itself is no different than tap water.” I have been unable to find anything to back this up. I have found references for research that show that 44 percent of bottled water starts out as tap water. But that’s different, because in a lot of cases, it is then put through extensive purification processes. That’s why I am interested in your research, because as far as I know, water run through a purifier is a *lot* different than tap water… which is why you’re running an article on water purifiers, I believe.

    Also, would you please post your reference that Black Berkey filters are solid carbon block filters?



  129. What do you think about water quality test kits? I’ve been shopping around have found kits (cheap, on Amazon) that say they test for: “bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrites/nitrates, chlorine, hardness, and pH”. This seems to leave out some of the biggies talked about here.

  130. We live near a river bank in Citrus County Florida a have a sallow well. The water is filled with iron and sulfur and I am sure a few other things too. The iron levels are so high that our water looks more like tea or even a weak coffee drink. When I let the water sit for a while it gets very orange and you can see the oil like substance floating on the top.

    When we first moved in the bathtub, sinks, and toilet were all super stained with orange rust color which with hard work over time we were able to clean up but only after getting a strong filtration system in place. The system worked great for about 6 months and then we started to have issues where the water would start to look and smell bad again. They would come out tinker with the system and it would seem right as rain again but only for a short while and again they would have to come out. this has been going on for almost 2 years now and I am starting to wonder if we got the right system or not. I have been told by them that we need to upgrade our bladder tank and well pump and that it will take care of the issues because the system needs more water pressure to work right. All seems hokey pokey to me but where we live we are limited to what type of a system we can use to fully clean our water, or so I have been told.

    This is all new to Me as this is the first time i have lived on well water. If anyone might have some suggestions I would appreciate it as I would like for My family to enjoy life with good clean water they can drink worry free right from the kitchen faucet, should it even be possible?

    Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

  131. More confused after reading all this. First I live in California, we have well water, my father-in-law loves using weed killer and has for YEARS and I was told by health practioner that I have glysphate so now what are my options. We live in small modular with hardly any counter space.

  132. After looking into water filters because of my new baby, I found that MANY filters claim to remove a lot but are not certified by NSF. A lot of the ionizer filters only remove choline and chloramines. The best filter I found was a system by WaterChef. It is amazing and certified!!

  133. Your article states that in most cases, the water itself is no different than tap water. Can you cite some references for this, please? I find it hard to believe that *most* bottled water, after having gone through purification, filtering, etc., still has the same levels of, for example, chlorine, that tap water has in it. If you want us to put faith in your statements, please avoid this kind of broad untruth.

  134. Are there any bottled water brands that may be safe(r)? I travel a lot, move a lot, so things that need installing aren’t always very practical. I’m also wondering how the US water compares to that of other countries…? Hmm there must be an infographic around somewhere…

  135. I recently read somewhere that it’s dangerous to consume distilled water for long periods because it can pull essential minerals out of the body. Do you have any research to support this? Thanks!

  136. I’m confused I read distilled water removes it all and reverse osmosis filters out a lot. Could you include studies that show that these systems don’t do this because I read different things on the filters and it’s confusing. Also the NSF website I think does mention that these filters do remove a lot.

    • I’m not sure which filter you are asking about. The 14-stage does remove a lot to make sure all contaminants are gone, but it replaces the minerals. There is a number you can call on their site and their water engineer can answer specific questions.

  137. Thanks Berkey are the best. We use it all the time. We don’t drink normal Tap water here in London Uk anymore. We have the Big Berkey in our home as you recommended them.

  138. I’m looking into getting one of these. According to Berkley’s site you have to buy an additional optional filter (PF-2) if you want to filter Fluoride, Arsenic, or Heavy Metals. Those are the things I’m most interested in filtering! Their site says their unit doesn’t filter those out with the standard filter. Apparently that secondary filter requires much more frequent replacement (1,000 gallons). Do you have that optional filter installed?

  139. Thanks for a great article! I have found two Berkeys? Big Berkey and Berkey? I am trying to see if they are the same company but it appears not. Confusing. I know you link to the Berkey water. Do you know anything about Big Berkey?
    Thank you

  140. We have been using a 2 five gal. bucket system for about 3 months to filter out city water, we use 2 ceramic 4*4 domes with activated charcoal affixed to bottom of the the dome filters, works great, a one half micron sock filter, 16 inches by 6in. is used to pour in first bucket we cut a 6 in. hole in the top lid for the sock filter, cover hole and filter with a clean cloth to keep out bugs .These are food grade plastic buckets .

  141. Hi Kate!

    Your blog is close to my heart! Just wondering which Berkey your family bought. I went to the website and there’s the Big Berkey, the Royal Berkey… I want to buy the one you guys have – with the solid block carbon filter – I just can’t tell which one to get! Please let me know what to buy! I live with my dog but I have a big family close by and want to be able to provide water for them too <3

    Thanks for all the work your doing to keep your family safe and healthy and for sharing it with the world. I appreciate it!!!

  142. I was just reading about a countertop model (we live in an RV) by clearly filtered. Has anyone tried this? They also make a filtered showerhead.

  143. I came across your blog while researching content for my website. Very accurate and well written. However, one thing I did want to point out, is whether it is true that solid block carbon filters are very effective, the best water filter to use at home is one that combines both solid block carbon and UV light. With the combination of both technologies you are able to eliminate a higher number of potentially dangerous contaminants. I distribute the product, so if you are interested in getting more info or if you want my website ( which gives several educational videos) just let me know. I will not post my website info as I don’t want to be perceived as a spammer or pushing my agenda. However, I did want to clarify that there are filters in the market that combine both solid block carbon and UV light at a reasonable price. It is what I use at home!

  144. What can I use in the new 2.0 Keurig coffee maker. They say no r/0 filter, no distilled water, no tap water. They recommend natural spring bottled water (Arrowhead, Crystal Geyser, etc.) Can something like a Brita work? Is there something better than a Brita?

  145. After researching water filtration systems at the end of 2010… wherein I was in the fight of my life with a near fatal blood cancer… I came across this blog post of yours recommending the Berkey System. I was absolutely sold and started doing everything in my power to save every penny to purchase it. Because of my financial situation post-cancer and post-chemo… it took me until now to get my long desired Berkey. I bought the fluoride filters and the shower filtration mechanism as well. I am so sad to report that after being so careful with the set up protocols… paying close attention to starting with sterile hands and thoroughly washing/rinsing every piece of the system… and thoroughly priming each filter for over 3 minutes each, etc… seriously went overboard on purpose to leave no stone unturned… my water tastes awful. I ran the food coloring test and it seemed to remove the dye with no problem. However, I did the test with the fluoride filters removed (as instructed), and set the black filters over two clear, glass drinking glasses in an effort to determine which (if any) of the filters were problematic. While no red dye came through, one black filter did filter the water at a rate of over 2.5 times the rate of the other filter. In other words, one glass was filled to the top while the other glass was barely half way filled. Next, I set the two “red-dye” filtered water glasses next to another clear drinking glass of non “red-dye” Berkey filtered water with a last clear glass of pure, distilled water next to all three Berkey filtered water glasses. The Berkey filtered glasses were cloudy in comparison to the distilled water glass. There was a significant “tap water” taste to the Berkey water too. One I cannot get myself past. I have always had a problem with drinking water due to an aversion to the taste. I have always been able to tell filtered water from tap water and from bottled water. And the Berkey I’ve dreamed about for so long has let me down hard. I am over-wrought especially from the lack of good customer service I am not receiving from the company I purchased the system from as well. Long story there… but bottom line is I don’t want a refund… I want the delicious tasting water I was promised. I need this water to taste delicious. I’ve waited over 4 years for this goal and now all Berkey suggests is that I return the system because they have no idea why the water is cloudy and tasting like tap water. They refuse to replace what might be faulty filters. They are giving up without even trying to help me figure out what might be wrong. They feel if it passed the food coloring test, than it is working fine. They are refusing to take into consideration the fact that the two filters were filtering at an alarmingly different flow rate… or that the filtered water was significantly cloudy in appearance. Any advice? I am affectionately known as “Girl Of Peace”, but am seriously not feeling up to my namesake at this time. Please help if you can… Many thanks.

  146. Katie-
    Do you use 2 or 4 carbon filters? What is the difference? How do you know that it is working properly? If I fill it up everyday and drain it everyday, how long is it expected to last, well I guess where did you find the filter calculator?

  147. Also, after researching more, do you use like 2 fluoride and 2 black filters or how do you use your filters? Thank you!

  148. Thanks for having a post,i just ordered berkey 2 days back,after booked i see articles i in late 2010 and early 2011 filters have faulty,then i contacted to seller he told me they already discarded this filters.

    I stay in qatar and want to know whether berkey remove sand in water.

    How i check that filter is working fine except redwater test.

  149. i just bought berkey and now how i know that is not faulty which was in 2010 and there is no manufacturing date

  150. Great article! We are currently researching options for a water filter for a seasonal/lake home. I was all set to go with a Berkey until I talked with a rep that informed me that we would need to dry out the filters every time we left the house for more than a few days to prevent the growth of bacteria. This would obviously not work as we are back and forth all summer from the lake. So now I’m back to researching. We looked into an RO system but don’t want to invest so much right now. In your opinion, what is the best option for a water filtering pitcher? I’m wondering if maybe our best option is to fill jugs from our home RO system and bring them with us. Thanks so much!

  151. invest on a good home water purification system. it will benefit your family’s health and
    safety. I bought filters from this Seller on Amazon ( and they work great. I just ordered a
    replacement system and i’ll let y’all know the quality when i get it!

  152. Your “reasons to avoid bottled water” make zero sense.

    ” Chemicals from the plastic bottle itself can leech into the water” Not if they aren’t left in the heat: left at room temperature the likelihood of chemicals leaching is less than what you’d get from the water lines delivering water to your house.

    “the water itself is no different than tap water”, not if you buy a brand that you have researched as to their source for the water. Better yet: bring your empty bottles to a multi-step filtering machine such as those found in Whole Foods market, and for pennies a gallon get completely filtered water.

    “Bottled water costs more in many cases that drinking tap water”, not if you do what I just said!

    And the worst one: “Water bottles are a major source of consumer waste each year” How DARE you expect us to feel GUILTY for trying to maintain our HEALTH! Do you really think big corporations make any effort to recycle their millions of tons of waste? My little few pounds of plastic per year compare to THAT? How unfair, to expect consumers to jeapardize their own health by drinking plain tap water, just so they don’t “waste a few pounds of plastic per year”.

    This article makes no sense. Simply refill your water bottles at a public ultra-filtering machine. They are in several major grocery store chains. Look for them.

    • Actually, they have shown that even if water bottles are not in heat, the plastic can leach. Additionally, I agree that public filtering machines are great, but why not use a reusable glass or steel bottle. You’ll save even more money over the long run, and avoid waste. I’m not trying to make anyone “feel guilty” about trying to maintain health, but plastic waste is a major source of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the water supply and ground water, so it is a big deal.

  153. Charcoal is carbon when it is treated with oxygen, it works as activated carbon. This process removes tiny pores of the charcoal which adsorbs the chemical impurities. It is basically used in the water purifiers to remove chemical impurities like chlorine.and other carbon based chemicals.When the water is passed through the activated carbon, it blocks the chemicals from moving further thus resulting in water free from carbon related chemicals.

  154. Oh, how I wish I’d read this post before I bought my water filter.
    I’d had 2 types of water filter pitchers (along with expensive replacement filters) but wanted a larger, more effective unit.
    Just a month ago, I purchased (pre-ordered) the supposedly up and coming ‘best’ water filter. They were selling on pre-order at 50% off the December selling price, and even at that it cost $175 (and I don’t need to be spending even $17.50) plus another $20 shipping; but from all the information they provided, I was hooked! Unfortunately, it’s non-refundable, so I’ll have to stick with it; AND it was pre-order so now I have to wait until late December for my water filter. Oh well, Merry Christmas to me!
    It is a reverse-osmosis countertop system, but after reading your review, I’m not too sure it’s as great as the company claims! The filter is called “AquaTru Reverse Osmosis Water Purifier” and you can compare to your review of the RA water filters at their site: [No. I have no affiliation with this company. I’m just a consumer]

    Thank you for the informative review!

  155. We use a Kinetics K5 plus reverse osmosis system. It has 4 cartridges, two are solid block carbon to remove most of the impurities, the third is an RO membrane that gets all the rest of the contents out. The last filter is a mineral filter that puts some of the good stuff back in like calcium/magnesium. When it comes to waste water it’s efficient too. It wastes only half the amount of water it produces, so .5L waste for every 1L produced. Non-electric, 10 year guarantee!! Best on the market :)

  156. Just wondering your thoughts on spring water. We have easy access to great tasting spring water and I always thought it more natural then bottled or tap water. Can the Berkeley filter spring water as well?


  157. @Janice dyje — In my humble opinion, if I had spring water, my first reaction would be to consider myself fortunate that I didn’t have to bother with any kind of purification. Then I would get it tested to see just what was in it. Then, if the tests come back acceptable, back to the first reaction! Even if it wasn’t that acceptable, I would count myself fortunate because a high powered filter like the Berkey would last a very long time on such clean water.

  158. You have done all of the research I have done, But I dont see anything about EA “Estrogenic activity” All Plastics leech it out in varying degrees, Google it, I wanted to find out if the Berkeys have been tested for EA’s Testing for this, for this is as Important or More so than BPA’s Have these Filters or water that has been filter through them been tested for EA “estrogenic activity”?

    All plastics leech estrogens or EA’s into food/water. Theses are Not Good Estrogens that women naturally produce, these EA’s are the main cause of all the Cancers and health problems today, When Our food goes into plastic storage containers, Plastic Bags, water bottles. I want to make sure these do Not produce or Leech any EA’s Estrogen into water I am trying clean up. I have Blood tests done for estrogen level, mine is high and the cause is Plastics of all kinds The BPA safe Plastics are the Worst for Leaching the Highest amount EA’s

  159. Someone asked you about the Zero Water system. Have you checked it out and/or do you have an opinion on this one?

  160. Hello, just wondering how you are still liking your Burkey? I’ve been doing a lot of research and would really like to get one but have read so many mixed reviews. It would be a bit of a sacrifice for us, so I want to make sure I am getting a quality product.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      We have had our Berkey since mid-May. I will share with you some things I’ve learned since buying it. We are pleased with our Berkey, and feel good about our decision to buy it, but I would have appreciated knowing some of these things beforehand.

      We bought the Imperial size, which has been sufficient, for the most part, for our family of eleven. We sometimes have to fill it mid-day, but usually just at night. It is important not to get one too big, because you want to be emptying it and re-filling it every day, or two days at the most. If water stays in the base for three days or more, it can start to grow bacteria.

      You have to clean it every month to keep it from growing things, and to remove or prevent mineral build-up. It’s kind of a project because you have to take everything apart, and clean and dry everything thoroughly, being careful to keep it clean as you put it back together. It takes me 45 minutes to an hour.

      The stated capacity is not the amount of water you will end up with in the bottom tank. This is because the top filtering part never fully empties. The Imperial says it holds 4.5 gallons, but when we refill it, we have never put in more than 3.5 gallons, and usually just 3. There is always 2-3 inches of water in the top that doesn’t filter down for lack of enough pressure.

      If you overfill it, which happens if there is still water in the bottom and you fill up the top completely, it will leak out between the two tanks. We found that out the hard way! To prevent this you either have to purchase the sight glass spigot, or lift the top tank to see how much is in the bottom.

      Our customer service experience has been good. We purchased the Big Berkey at first and realized we needed a bigger size. We were able to exchange it, only paying return shipping for the first one.

      Hope that helps!

  161. Hi Katie,
    I am still looking this system over. Not having the NSF certification is ok as long as their testing is good and it looks good.
    I wanted to let you know that a crock stand should work well with this and free up counter space as the Big Berkey doesn’t fit under my cupboards.
    Here is a like to one on ebay. They have others that cost a bit more and are hardwood…. not sure if this one is.

  162. Katie,

    Thank you for your insightful articles on water filtration systems (and many other topics as well).

    I would like to know if there are any concerns about the safety of the stainless steel used in the Berkey water systems. According to Dr. Joe Mercola (, “stainless steel can expose you to carcinogenic nickel. ” While his article was primarily about the safety of cookware, he makes a point of avoiding stainless steel n other contexts too (such as stainless steel thermoses, stainless steel orthodontics such as braces, etc.).

    I will look forward to reading your thoughts on this. Thank you.

  163. I’m looking for information on the Zero Water pitcher filter too. (Because I can’t afford the Berkly right now.)

  164. Has anyone ever heard of the Pure Effects filter? They add calcite mineral and zeolite in their filter to raise the ph naturally. Their filter doesn’t take away minerals like reverse osmosis, but they add those two minerals to naturally raise the ph. Any thoughts about this?

  165. Hi!!, we live in a small communtiy in Queeensland Australia, we have recently had our water tested and it is terrible, We’ve contacted a water purifying company and they say we need a water softener and because then our water will be unusable because of the salt content we’ll then need a reverse osmosis unit which they will have to build for us to our specific needs the total cost is in excess of $5000 so I’m wondering if there is a cheaper way to go. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. cheers

  166. Do you know where is the carbon in the carbon filter from? White charcoal or Binch?-tan is a charcoal is produced in Japan and I am concerned about radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear accident. Thank you.

  167. Thanks for the helpful tips! I’m a big fan of the Nikken Waterfall– we’ve had it since 2012 and wouldn’t choose any other water filter. It removes so many impurities and replaces all the stuff that’s good for the body. Delicious too!

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