The Berkey is expensive, but is it worth it?

The Berkey Water Filter is Expensive – Is it Worth the Money?

I have always been a promoter of the Berkey water filter. I write about it from time to time and include references to it whenever the topic comes up in a blog post. This time I want to address its cost. It’s not cheap. Is it worth it?

Hey, I get it… the thresholds of how much money that someone is willing to spend is often relative to one’s income or ‘extra’ money on hand. That makes sense. There usually are alternatives that cost less. If they fulfill the need ‘good enough’, then great. No issue with that.

There are several sizes of the countertop / tabletop Berkey water filter. They range in price from the mid $200’s to the mid $300’s (as of this posting). Like I said, they’re not cheap. In fact, the Berkey may be the most expensive countertop water filter of its kind.

If someone is simply looking to buy a good drinking water filter, they could spend about $25 and get a Sawyer Mini (for example). Although it’s a small portable filter, it will get the job done. Unlike most other cheaper filters, the Sawyer element, incredibly, is rated to 0.1 microns! Though it’s not a countertop type stand-alone reservoir filter for higher volume household convenience.

Why would someone spend 10X more for a Berkey water filter? Okay, let me try to answer that…

Convenience, Quality, Longevity of the Berkey Water Filter

Convenience of the Berkey Water Filter

The purpose, or intended use of the Berkey is for household convenience. It’s a holding tank for several gallons of safe purified drinking water with a spigot for quick access. Perfect for in the house or even a RV or “at the camp”.

Refilling is simple and easy. Lift the top cover, dump in more water. Done. It doesn’t take too long for gravity to work the water from the upper chamber – through the filter elements – into the lower reservoir.

High Quality Components of the Berkey

It’s not complicated. There are two stainless steel chambers (upper and lower), the filter elements, and a water spigot.

Stainless steel won’t rust. And it’s thick enough in this case to be solid and sturdy.

Obviously the heart of any water filter system are the filter elements. The ‘Black Berkey’ purification elements are the core of the system.

They filter 99.9999% (a 6 log10 reduction ) of bacteria and 99.999% (5 log10 reduction) virus. That’s incredibly good.

(Black Berkey purification elements test results source)

How Long will the Berkey Water Filter Last?

Purification elements: Each filter element will purify 3,000 gallons. The smallest Berkey filter has two elements, so that’s 6,000 gallons! If you consumed two gallons a day, that’s 11 years before filter element change!

Stainless steel chambers: My oldest Berkey is at least 10 years old or thereabouts. I can tell you that it looks as new as the day I bought it. Still shiny, no rust whatsoever. Perfect.

Is the Berkey Worth It??

Personally, yes, I believe it’s worth it. General cost analysis for 6,000 gallons of water run through a Berkey is initially about 5 cents a gallon based on a $300 investment. Thereafter it’s less because you only have to buy replacement filters (works out to about 2 cents a gallon).

I cannot overemphasize the importance of safe purified drinking water. Even if your current water source is considered ‘safe’, the extra assurance of filtering it before it goes into your body is reassuring, and important!

I live with well water. Actually it’s spring water. I know there are organics in it, so not only do I filter it when it comes into the house (inline filter membrane), but I filter ALL of my drinking water with the Berkey.

For the sake of preparedness, in my opinion it’s tough to beat it within its class.

If you’ve read this far…

If you have actually read this far, here are some links for further reading about the Berkey:

My recommendation where to buy your Berkey Water Filter:

The Berkey Guy (authorized dealer)

Why You Should Buy A Berkey Water Filter From The Berkey Guy

5 Accessories for your Berkey Water Filter

Black Berkey – Red Dye Food Coloring Test

How to Clean Berkey Filter Elements

The Smallest Berkey Tabletop Filter

Water Purifier or Water Filter?

A Survival Prep ‘Must Have’

Have a look at the Berkey for yourself:

Big Berkey

Travel Berkey (1.5 gallon)

Big Berkey (2.25 gallon)

Royal Berkey (3.25 gallon)

Imperial Berkey (4.5 gallon)

Crown Berkey (6 gallons)


  1. I think they are well worth it, there are copy cats out there that are cheaper, but personally would rather stick with the original.

    Fresh, clean potable water is #1 on the list

  2. I have one of the Big Berkey filter systems, I also got the Sight Glass and Stand for it. Well worth the extra few bucks. I would also suggest purchasing a spare set of filters, ya never know.

    To the best of reasons for owning the Berkey, besides all the obvious reasons that have been listed hundreds of times…….

    It looks really cool sitting there on the Counter……

    Get one, it’s a good investment.

  3. Love my Berkey, have the Royal with sight and stand.

    If you are on city water and budget allows get the Fluoride/Arsenic reduction filters. Fluoride is NOT good for you. Worried about teeth, it is in toothpaste.

    The water will be even clearer and better. Will filter slower at first then gets back up to speed so to speak.

    The Berkey Light is inexpensive. It is the one I bought my boys. My oldest son the eye roller, did not set his up. Youngest son likes his a lot.

    Have 3 sets of filters back activated and dried. Water in your area will affect the longevity of the filters.

  4. There’s a gazillion ways to make water safe to drink. There is no way, in the long run, that’s better, or more economical than the Berkey system. Without doubt, the best money you’ll spend in prepping, hands down.

    I spent a little over $200 (I know there more expensive now, but still a bargain) for my Big Berkey, 4 filters, with two sports bottles and filters as a bonus, probably six years ago. Haven’t used the second set of filters yet. still on the first two, and we drink only water that is filtered through the Berkey.

    Many folks balk at the “high” price. If I get another six years after I replace the originally installed filters, I’ve furnished my family with purified drinking water for about $18 dollars a year, average.

    1. Tango
      Check out
      St Paul Mercantile
      They have knockoffs, a bit cheaper but in my opinion not as good, i have bought from them,

  5. Tango,

    While the whole Berkey units are top quality, you can make your own set up. The filters are the heart of the system, and this is where the “copies” come in. They sell substantially cheaper than the original Berkey filters, look almost identical to the original, and usually sell as “Berkey style” filters.

    Aquafresh is one look-a-like. They might be good filters, I don’t know, but I trust Berkey. They last so long, I can’t see myself taking the chance just to save $25-$30, but that’s just me.

    Remember, a Yugo looked a heck of a lot like a VW Rabbit.

    1. Dennis,
      Just like a chevy is also a pickup truck like the Ford! But they aint called “Super Duty” for nothing

      1. Tommyboy,

        Had both over the years. All of them were good pickups. Had a Duramax 4wd with the Allison transmission which was probably the best I ever had. Got a Silverado 1500 4wd now, 8 years old and already got 45,000 miles on it. Doubt I’ll ever buy another before I wear out first.

        Nephew bought a new Ford King’s Ranch. Heck of a pickup. Got me thinking, but I don’t guess I’ll spend 12 times what I gave for my first home to buy a new pickup.

        1. True words D
          I sometimes cant believe how expensive trucks are now.
          Was just poking at that NRP feller with the Chevy joke,,, my first wheels was a GMC so theres a special spot in my head for them,,,

  6. My feeling is that potable water is an absolutely number one priority in our self-reliant preps. . Life without potable water just won’t be pleasant nor last too long . The Berkey was one of our first investments as we moved into the ” lifestyle” . I recommend one .

  7. While I don’t like some of Berkey’s past action (or rather inaction) water filters are a must-have thing.

    I have a Doulton filter (very much like a Berkey) a few Katadyn Pocket Filters and a few Sawyer ones.

    I I would place a quality water filter close to the top thing to have. And also get several extra elements for it.

    Water filtering is not an area where scrimping on price should be done.

  8. Has any independent lab tested the claims of Berkey? Yes, I have one and have used it for years.

    1. I agree Jed. My own independent (home) lab results have been excellent ;)

      That said, I have a link up in the article referencing lab test results of their filter elements – sourced from New Millennium Concepts, Ltd., the source company of Berkey water filters.

  9. Not planning on buying the “cheaper one”, just asking who makes them. Never seen any advertised– maybe there is a reason.
    I buy the best I can afford.
    Thanks for the info

  10. I have a Big Berkey with spare filters. Its a worth while investment for now and SHTF.

  11. A couple of 5 gallon buckets and the proper all you need. A more effective water purification system can be built for far less. I would not waste the money.

    1. @Ision, Please back up your claim about a “more effective” purification system for far less. I’m challenging you, yes, but not in a bad way. I would like to here your comparison.

  12. Water purification is a must. Water is easy to contaminate. when you are on city wAter, you are at higher risk. Get a good filter and use it now.

    Our water at house is city and quality went straight down and nasty when state told town they had to change the source. No longer safe to drink and always discolored. We use filter always at house

    Farm has well with wonderful water thankfully.

  13. I sort of look at it from the standpoint of which prep I will need / use the most.

    I still have a generator from Y2K and have never used it because I have not needed to.

    The Berkey water unit I have, I use every day and have used for 7 or 8 years now. I am very pleased with this water purification unit and have recommended it to many over the years.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. A quality water filter is used every day whereas other preps are less likely to be usable on a day to day basis – though important nonetheless…

  14. Has anyone purchased a Berkey and have it arrive damaged? And, if so, were you able to get it replaced?
    I’ve been debating for months, but tend to over-read reviews and such. Saw commentary suggesting that if one arrives dented up, you are SOL – can’t return it, Berkey doesn’t respond to issues, etc.
    Since much of the “prepper” kind of products I have purchased come out of Utah and I am on the other side of the U.S., half the time things DO arrive bumped up.

    So I was then waiting for the water filtration system on 4Patriots, thinking it has got to be similar in function. Finally asked and their systems won’t be in stock until at least May.
    Thanks for any experience/input.

    1. @JustATY,
      For your hypothetical question, ask “Jeff” (use his contact-us page) over at USABerkeyFilters. He will tell you the “what if” scenario should it happen to you if you order from him. Tell him that I recommended you to ask him. Thanks.

      1. Thank you, Ken. That would have been one of follow-up questions.
        I have seen a few different links here that seem to be two different sellers so wasn’t sure on which to follow.
        I will bookmark the above.

        1. JustATY –

          I bought mine through Jeff. The funny part was I bought one of his Blemished units because I could get a bigger one cheaper. I have yet to find the blemish though. The unit came perfectly wrapped and there isn’t a ding or a scratch anywhere on it that I can find.

          So even as a less than perfect unit supposedly, it arrived in perfect shape. I’d order from him again without hesitation. And as a side note, it came in handy last week when we went under a Boil Water Notice after not having water due to the winter storm. The black elements remove the need to boil altogether, which was nice.

        2. Thank you for sharing. If electricity was also out, I am sure the not having to boil was a benefit.

          Guess I am a little wary because I’ve received many cans of long-term food recently with dents on seams and get differing opinions from employees of one particular company (“should be fine” – for that kind of $, I expect more than a maybe).

          I just sent a message on the site Ken linked and mentioned Jeff as I wasn’t sure how many individuals read the incoming questions.

    2. Mine arrived in perfect condition. With that said, on various pages I see an awful lot of “anti-Berkey” advertisements disguised as reviews. Take those out of the equation and the negative reviews are much lower.

      There seems to be a group out there that is determined to destroy Berkey as a company. They will go so far as to state that the lab results are “impossible,” or that claims made by the company are false, and then go on to advertise for their preferred brand.

      1. Thank you, Lauren. I DID notice that on Amazon, I think it was, and wondered if that was the case or if it was reviewers paid by a competitor.
        Where we live rather stinks for several reasons, but we do have lakes within walking distance. (Well, I grew up by a great lake, so I joke they are ponds to the hubby, but I am sure I would be very grateful if needed.) We have a well, too, but I do not have faith that the generator would do much to run that very long. I’d like to add to my water options.

  15. For a berkey filter (just carbon filter- not carbon plus reverse osmosis) costs $160. And they do not last 2 years. We are two adults using 1 to 2 gallons a day and the taste of the water declines after 6 regular algea cleanings because it can grow on a filter submerged in open water so long. For an Apec Reverse Osmosis system, under counter plus great faucet, 90 gallon capacity per day with 3 gallon tank of ready to use water, you pay $388 tax inc. replecement filters cost $80-100 per year.
    So how is a berkey justified? Reverse osmosis is pretty good. Plus we can add a mineral adding filter, or take the highests quality trace mineral supplements, why try to keep what the city water has, or what some filter adds back in? But you can buy the mineral adding unit, about same cost for unit as a 6 stage. 6 stages! 2 of them of the 6, and each is larger than a Berkey.

    This year Berkey doubled filter prices…right at the start if the pandemic. This doesnt sound like a friendly environmentally conscious company to me now.

    Plus no Berkey testing by outside 3rd party testers. But would they beat Reverse Osmosis? We know it would not.

    We all seem to land on the 4.9 rated Apec systems. This is what I found after having Berkey for 5 years and now looking around when filters prices doubled plis our water taste was not consistant. It was worth paying to start with a new team.

    Also, our counter is clear now, no more water pouring to fill, small spills, small dents or scratches to shiny outside of Berkey.

    Berkey was good if you want to leave water out for your clients or visiting waiting room guests. Sits there, independant. Yes you can take it with you to filter lake water. I know we are all doing that, so stay with berkey if you like.

    Thank yoi, was fun getting this off my after spending $500+ 3 filter changes with Berkey chest. Get an Apec, I just did.

    1. Alper Sungur:
      Thank you for the advertisement for the Apex Reverse Osmosis system.
      When you’re ready to toss the peice of junk Burkey in the trash let me know, I’ll send you a shipping address.

      PS: good luck with the Apex when the “Under the Counter” water pressure drops to zero and you actually need to filter that “Lake Water”

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