Is The Berkey Worth The Hype (And Cost)? I Tested The Cult-Favorite Water Filter To Find Out.

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I’ve never owned a water filter – not even a Brita. While I’m not picky or particular about the taste of my water, after reading a few too many articles about the (poor) quality of California tap water, I realized that a high-quality filter would definitely be worth the investment. But where to begin? And how much of an investment should I be willing to make? 

The answer was already in my mind’s eye, so to speak, via the iconic image of the Berkey. I’ve seen the stainless steel contraption on friends’ countertops and probably would have purchased it for the aesthetic appeal alone, were it not cost-prohibitive. It is expensive, but I’m also very serious about my personal health and well-being. So, if a filter really is going to transform the purity of the water I’m drinking, I can justify a high price tag. 

And…after several months spent with the Berkey on my kitchen counter, I can confidently say it’s well worth the investment (and the hype). 

What’s So Magical About The Berkey?

The Berkey is categorized as a gravity-fed water filter, which means that gravity is used to draw source water from the upper chamber through a fine-pored filter down to where it is collected and dispensed from a lower chamber. While the Berkey website gets into granular specifics on how the filter works and the exact contaminants it removes from your water, all I needed to know was that this filter is strong enough to purify untreated water from nature itself – so yes, you can bring a Berkey on your camping trip. That’s a powerful purifier. 

Two Royal Berkeys and the Travel Berkey for scale
Credit: @berkey_filters

I decided on the Travel Berkey, which costs $345 for the full system. I live alone, and the 1.5-gallon capacity is more than enough for the amount of water I consume (and can even filter up to 2.75 gallons of water per hour, if you’re hydrating for a large group). It’s important to clarify here that The Berkey is a water purifier, not just a filter – it makes sense that it would cost more than a Brita. And it lives up to that clarification: the Berkey removes over 200 contaminants, bacteria, and viruses, as well as 100% of harmful pathogens (you can check out independent lab test results on the filters for yourself). Even better, it won’t remove any beneficial minerals – like Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium, and Potassium – found in water that help your body to function properly. Considering my hyper-awareness of environmental contaminants after these last few years spent coexisting with a virus, these specs were encouraging, to say the least. 

The Berkey transforming a gorgeous bathroom into a spa
Credit: @humblepieliving

The self set-up process (which I’ll explain more about in a moment) is rigorous in the most reassuring sense. My Travel Berkey came with vials of red dye as a testing mechanism, designed to verify that the filters are correctly assembled to remove the dye. It’s one thing to know that your water is pure and clean from any environmental contaminants. And it’s another thing entirely to be able to taste the difference – which, comparing this nectar to Los Angeles tap water, I definitely do. 

I Assembled My Berkey And All I Got Was Pure Drinking Water

Setting up my Berkey was, at first, an intimidating task (emphasis on “at first”). The filter arrives complete with two stackable stainless steel chambers, a lid, a rubber ring base, a spout, two filters, and a map of instructions to ensure your water is actually being properly purified. As someone who typically enlists the help of friends to assemble very basic furniture objects, this filter would only impress me if I could assemble it myself with relative ease. 

The Berkey shines for nomadic lifestyles, and blends right in a (dreamy) camper van
Credit: @laurengardenbelle

Because these filters have amassed many loyal lifetime fans, there were plenty of videos across the internet that walked me through each step of assembly (and epic sequels that could account for any maintenance I might need to take care of down the road). The assembly process was definitely simple in retrospect – and didn’t take long – but the written instructions for priming the filters did not make sense to my brain. I found this YouTube video incredibly helpful, and it made the set-up ten times easier. The final confirmation I had done everything right? The red dye test, which visibly proves that your system is fit to filter and purify.

The Test Of Time: Clean Water, For Life

The Travel Berkey making a happy home in my kitchen

I’ve been using my Travel Berkey now for three months, and I can’t imagine life without it. Especially if you’re someone who often buys bottled water instead of drinking tap, or if you find yourself dehydrated (like me) because you’re not eager to drink whatever might be coming out of your sink, it’s worth both the hype and the investment. I also love that it doesn’t involve any power or waste, and seeing that beautiful metal chamber on my countertop encourages me to drink water, especially while working from home.

5 More Reasons To Love Berkey

1. The Berkey has over 18,000 5-star reviews, free express shipping, and a lifetime warranty. Enough said…

2. Each filter has a lifespan that can handle 3,000 gallons. Translation? You’ll only need to replace the filters every 6 years (or less often, depending on how many people are regularly using your Berkey).

3. Minimize waste and save money on the daily: with a Berkey filter, you’ll never need to reach for a plastic water bottle again.

4. A pure aesthetic: The Berkey filter is minimalist and sleek, and looks beautiful on any kitchen countertop. It’ll clean your water and elevate your home decor.

5. Because the Berkey filter doesn’t require electricity, it’s great for both emergencies and travel – so you’ll always have access to clean water you can trust.

Invest in your health: check out the Berkey for yourself.

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