The Best Water Filter Options

The best water filter options for healthy drinking water The Best Water Filter Options

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!

Reader Comments

    • Rose says

      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 Youtube.com 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!

      • says

        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…

      • Dorothy says

        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 =)

      • Rebecca Lee says

        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 says

      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.

    • Renae says

      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?

    • Heidi Edwards says

      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.

  1. says

    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.

    • Laura Moretti says

      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.

    • Osmio says

      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.

    • willaim says

      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.

    • Gravlore says

      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.

    • Hannah Tess says

      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. Andrea says

    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. says

    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.

  4. says

    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.

    • Laura Moretti says

      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.

  5. says

    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.

    • says

      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…

  6. Alissa BC says

    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. Mia says

    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.

    • says

      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.

      • Susan says

        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.

    • Amber says

      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.

  8. Amanda says

    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. angela says

    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. Jenny says

    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. Mina says

    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.

    • DaniH says

      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. Deb says

    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. Barb says

    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. Katie Marshall says

    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?

    • says

      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.

    • says

      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.

    • Stacey says

      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!

      • Stacey says

        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.

        • Stacey says

          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.

          • david says

            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. sonja says

    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?

  16. Jen R. says

    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. Marisa Haugen says

    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.

      • Jessica says

        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!

        • says

          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.”

    • Laura says

      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?

  18. says

    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. lizza says

    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.

    • says

      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…

    • says

      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. says

    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. Amy C. says

    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. April says

    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?

    • says

      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. says

    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?

    • says

      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…

      • says

        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.

        • says

          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. says

    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. says

    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. Jen says

    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. Lumiere says

    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. says

    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. Angie says

    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. maggie says

    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. Cas says

    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. says

    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. Gina says

    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 Amazon.com. 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. says

    Berkey filters DO filter out trihalomethanes. They are byproducts of chlorination. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trihalomethane 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. http://www.berkeywaterfilterseurope.com/environmental-toxicology-lab-test-results.html

    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. http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/blog/berkey/berkey-water-filters-cannot-be-shipped-to-california However, due to the wording, the “outdoor” units CAN be sold to CA now, including the replacement black filters. It’s all so silly. http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/blog/california/outdoor-berkey-water-filter-systems-can-now-be-shipped-to-ca

  35. Meghan Bohrer says

    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. says

    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?
    Namaste,
    Chuck

  37. iris bowman says

    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.
    IB

  38. melissa rogers says

    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. Tibor Kollár says

    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. Shelly Thie says

    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. Alice says

    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. Cori Oliver Crews says

    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!

  43. Nancy says

    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.

  44. Amy Rogers says

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

  45. Osmio says

    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.

  46. Tate says

    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.

    • Gabe says

      What errors? You make a general statement like this and then don’t explain what you mean… Completely un-helpful and unproductive comment.

  47. Kathryn K C Covier says

    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?

  48. Ashley Mac says

    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!

  49. Robert Blu says

    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?

  50. Katie N. says

    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?

  51. Lina says

    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.

      • Angela says

        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!

  52. Michael Crochetiere says

    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.

  53. Jemma says

    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?

  54. Terry Carvin says

    ** 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!

    • jake says

      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 (http://tinyurl.com/oq439r3 and http://tinyurl.com/oq439r3)

  55. Shallen N Sorenson says

    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.

  56. Nagesh Dhuri says

    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

  57. Kelsey says

    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?

  58. says

    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!

  59. Dara says

    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!

  60. Annabelle says

    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.

  61. Leslie says

    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?

  62. Leslie says

    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?

  63. Stephanie says

    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.

  64. Ibrahim says

    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.
    PS
    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.

  65. says

    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!

  66. John H says

    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!

  67. Katy says

    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.

  68. Alice M says

    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!

    • Tamara says

      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!

  69. greg chappel says

    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.

  70. Angie says

    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,
    A

  71. MrsD says

    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?
    HELP!!

  72. Deanna says

    Went to Berkeleys website …As far as I can see only Ceramic Filters are listed ..no 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

  73. Cari says

    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. =)

  74. Sharan says

    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.
    Sharan

  75. Solayman says

    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.

  76. Darlene says

    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.

  77. Devin says

    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?

    • Devin says

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

      • Laura Woodworth says

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

        • Devin says

          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.

  78. Amara says

    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!

  79. Laura Woodworth says

    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!

  80. tom says

    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 freedrinkingwater.com) 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.

  81. Emm says

    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.

    • says

      Actually, the research is divided on that. THere is some evidence that it does but the testing is very expensive and hard to get since to be accurate, it must test the entire life of the filter which is a long time for Berkey filters.

  82. Mila says

    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?

  83. J says

    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~ :)

  84. Annie says

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

  85. Dave says

    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.

  86. Sara says

    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!

  87. Ruth says

    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! :)

  88. Laura says

    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?

    L

  89. Jessica says

    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!

  90. Karen says

    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.

  91. david says

    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!
    David.

  92. Kaylee says

    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!

  93. Kalin says

    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:)

  94. Sierra says

    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!

  95. Lana says

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

  96. Jacquelyn says

    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?

    Thanks!

  97. Krystal says

    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. :)

  98. Lori says

    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!

  99. Cris says

    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.

  100. Brad says

    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.

    • says

      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.

    • Brad says

      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.

  101. Ming-San says

    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!

  102. Angie says

    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.

  103. Jenna says

    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?

  104. Michael says

    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…

    • says

      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?

  105. Michael says

    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

    • says

      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.

      • jeanna says

        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

    • Laura W says

      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.

  106. Helen W says

    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! :)

  107. Brandy says

    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!

  108. Kristy says

    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!

  109. maria says

    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 :)

  110. jeannakayy says

    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.. :/

  111. Gretchen says

    Distillation removes virtually all contaminants and results in the purest water reasonably possible. See debunked myths about distilled water (http://www.durastill.com/myths.html). 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 (http://fluoridealert.org/content/bottled-water/). Research and compare manufacturers and distributors well before buying a home water distiller. (http://elingreso.com/2009/02/02/love-water-distiller-review/ and https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByNo0knYDwScSFJ5VThlWDcwY1U/edit?usp=sharing)

    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 (http://www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide) and Consumer Reports (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/water-filters/buying-guide.htm) offer buying guides and ratings (http://thewaterfilterladysblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Consumer-reports-2013.jpg), and NSF offers a list of contaminants and water purification systems certified to remove them (http://www.nsf.org/consumer-resources/what-is-nsf-certification/water-filters-treatment-certification/contaminant-reduction-claims-guide). 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:
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/water-filters/buying-guide.htm
    http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00581/water-an-essential-part-of-life.html
    http://www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide
    http://fluoridealert.org/content/top_ten/

  112. Zen says

    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?

  113. Rebecca Lucas says

    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!

  114. jake3_14 says

    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.

  115. Cindy says

    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.

  116. John says

    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.

    • says

      My affiliate disclosure is displayed at the top of each post http://wellnessmama.com/affiliate-disclosure/ 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 < 1ppm of the fluoride ion in the effluent were typical for the filter media (>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.

  117. Cleo Harratt says

    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.

      • Zen says

        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.

  118. cherie says

    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?

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