Is The Big Berkey The Perfect Water Purifier?


A few years ago a buddy and I spent a few days on the AT trail. Long story short, we were not prepared from a water standpoint. While my personal Lifestraw seemed like the perfect water purifier, we found out a personal device does not do very well for 2 people.

After that trip, I fully understood why water is considered Blue Gold and vowed never to be caught waterless again. That hiking experience is the main reason why I bought a Big Berkey for the house.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable Water Filter System

The only way to make sure that the water that you drink is free of contaminants and will not make you sick is to use a water filter system. If you like to travel and camp, then you will want to make sure that you buy a portable system so that you can take it with you.

Anyone who wants to hike, camp, or prepare for grid problems will benefit from having the perfect water purifier with them. It’s essential that you opt for a portable water filter system if you know that you are going to be leaving home and want to take your filter system with you. I know that having a portable system makes camping easier, but if you’re going to use your system at home, then you do not need one that is portable.

Make sure that you consider a few things before making your purchase. It’s vital that you research how often the membrane or filter will need to be cleaned, what kind of warranty there is on your new product, and how quickly you will be able to filter water.

Presenting the Big Berkey Water Filter System – Is This the perfect water purifier?

One of a family of Berkey water filters, the Big Berkey is able to hold 2.25 gallons of water at a time. It will quickly purify drinking water for an average family and can remove viruses, chlorine, bacteria, and other contaminants from drinking water.

Big Berkey Stats

Berkey states:
  • The Big Berkey is their most popular system
  • Perfect size for 2-4 people
  • Constructed of a polished 304 stainless steel
  • Overall height is 21 inches when assembled
  • 2.25 Gallon (8.5 Liters) Capacity
  • Flow rate of 3.5 Gallons per hour with 2 elements
    • Flow rate increases to 7 Gallons per hour with 4 elements
Big Berkey comes with:
  • 2 Black Berkey purification elements – but can expand to 4 –
  • 2 chambers
  • Lid
  • Spigot
  • Rubber gasket base
  • 2 block plugs
  • Additionally, you can install in the lower chamber up to 4 PF-2 Flouride & Arsenic filters

Big Berkey PF-2 Flouride & Arsenic Filters attached in the lower chamber

When you buy the Big Berkey, you will receive two black Berkey elements to get your system up and running right away.

Big Berkey Black Berkey Elements installed in top chamber

  • Able to filter water from many sources
  • Gravity fed system works, even without electricity
  • Offers stainless steel water filtration and comes with lifetime warranty on stainless steel parts and hardware
  • Fluoride-filtering filters, the PF-2 filters, have to be purchased separately
  • High start-up costs initially
  • Chunky design doesn’t fit well into many kitchens
  • The drinking water spigot is made of plastic

Features & Benefits

Can be Used with All Types of Water Sources

This water filter is able to filter not only your tap water but also water from outside. I love that you can easily filter water from ponds, streams, and rivers without worrying about its drinking quality. This means that you can use this filter system during a flood or hurricane without fear. You should expect clean and pure water filtration.

This System Is Incredibly Portable

The Big Berkey can easily be taken with you while hiking or camping. Being able to bring your water filter system with you on trips will give you peace of mind. I enjoy the multiuse options because you can use this system in your home and then pack it into your car with you. Due to its size, it’s not any trouble to take it with you while on a trip. But if it does seem a little too big, check out the 1.5-gallon Travel Berkey instead.

This also means that in an emergency you will be able to bring your Big Berkey filter with you. Because it doesn’t take up much room, it is easy to store it in your car when you need to leave your home in a hurry.

This System Is Easy to Assemble

Assembling a Big Berkey system is easy. Additionally, once you know how to clean Berkey post, you won’t have any worries about contaminated water. There are some different Berkey sizes that you have to choose from, but using the right size filter ensures that your system works correctly.

Can Remove a Large Number of Contaminants

Unlike other types of filtration systems, the Berkey systems do a much better job at removing contaminants from your drinking water. This means that they remove not only bacteria and viruses, but also parasites and chemical contaminants. I like that this system doesn’t remove the necessary minerals that your body needs. This means that it eliminates the bad stuff without removing essential minerals.

Gravity Operated Means That it Can Be Used No Matter If You Have Electricity or Not

Because this is a gravity operated system, it can be used even when the power goes out. I like that it doesn’t rely on plumbing or water pressure to function. This is one of the reasons why the Big Berkey is so beneficial in an emergency situation, as you are unlikely to have power or running water. No matter the conditions, you will be able to filter your water so that you have clean and safe water for drinking and cooking.

Reliability Matters

Berkey systems are known all over the world as being very reliable. Other water systems are not known to last very long. As long as you take care of your system and clean the filters on a regular basis, you shouldn’t have to worry about it being reliable. Relief organizations from all over the world rely on the Berkey systems in over 140 countries to ensure that they can provide people with clean drinking water. Unlike other types of US home filter systems, the Big Berkey can be used in many conditions for long periods of time.

Social Proof

After reading reviews online, I was able to find some rather positive user reviews. These all provide more information about how helpful this system is and the way it can be used to provide clean drinking water with minimal hassle. Check out some great reviews that I found.


Propur Big Water Filter

While this filter system holds a little bit more water than the Big Berkey, it otherwise looks very similar. Made of either brushed or polished stainless steel, it is perfect for either daily or emergency use.

  • Can filter water from any source
  • Uses three filters, but can be expanded for four
  • Needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent rusting

Check out this product as an alternative to the Big Berkey.

Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System

Able to remove more than 200 water impurities, this filtration system uses a filter with a block core and a ceramic shell. The performance of this system will vary depending on water conditions.

  • Add up to three more filters for faster filtering
  • Made of stainless steel
  • Gravity powered

This is an excellent option for users who want something other than the Big Berkey, so check it out.

Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration and Purification System

Combines five systems into one to magnetize, alkalize, filter, purify, and mineralize your water. Removes impurities, chemicals, and bacteria from your water.

  • Does not require plumbing or electricity
  • Made of BPA-free plastic
  • Includes: five stage mineral filter, micro ceramic filter, and maifan mineral stones

Make sure to consider this product as a great alternative.

My Review of the Big Berkey Water Filter System

I bought the Big Berkey with the optional PF-2 fluoride and arsenic filters from Amazon. I picked this size because I have a family of 4 people so I thought it should be sufficient. Unpacking the system I noticed the quality of the 304 stainless steel. It feels solid. It also has a nice look to it probably as a result of the polishing process. The only issue was with the plastic spigot. While it doesn’t feel cheap, it’s not what I expected from a well put together unit. Fortunately, Berkey offers a water level spigot, but it’s still plastic. Or, aftermarket metal spigots can be found pretty easily.

I did purchase the Berkey Stainless Steel Wire Stand and I can’t recommend it enough. Now we have 6 ½ inches of clearance to pour into cups or containers

With the wire stand, the unit stands around 27 inches tall.

And the girth is just over 27 ½ inches.

Which does not take up to much counter space in our kitchen. Check it out!

Putting the Big Berkey Together

Assembly was pretty easy. Especially with the abundant videos from Berkey available on Youtube. In less than an hour, I had everything cleaned and put together. I made sure to wash the two chambers and parts in hot soapy water. The charging of the water filters was probably the most stressful part, only because I’d never performed the process. But after holding the filter under running water from the sink while using a supplied gasket to force the h20 through the filter I was ready to move onto the next step. Next time, I’ll probably pick up this Black Berkey Primer to make the job easier.

You should dispose of the first few batches of water that run through your unit after charging the filters. The instructions recommend this step.

The PF-2 elements that filter fluoride arsenic were connected onto the bottom of the Black Berkey elements. They keep in the bottom chamber.


I’ve had my Berkey for about 3 months now and it is used daily. While I hope I never need it for a grid down situation, I sleep better at night knowing I have it. Regarding the cost, I actually feel from a long-term perspective the unit is affordable. Yes, shilling out a couple hundred is never fun. But after the initial investment is over the confidence gained from having a clean and pure water filter exceeds any cost.

I have not had any issues with mine as of yet. The water quality is clean and the taste is pure.

I do plan on purchasing a different spigot here soon though. I’ll update when I have one. I hope this review helped you. Of course, if you have any questions let me know. You can email me, or leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Stay Safe

Ratings: 100%

About Author

GDT’s advice, information, and recommended tools ensure your preparedness in emergency situations. We’re thinking ahead and preparing now

Leave A Reply