Author Topic: Which Berkey Should I buy  (Read 8716 times)

nelson96

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Which Berkey Should I buy
« on: March 28, 2012, 01:09:39 PM »
We have been thinking about getting a water filter (have never had one before).  Don't know much about them but the Berkey brand comes recommended to me. . . .  Which model should I buy?

Here are my conditions and concerns:
1.)  Family of four
2.)  Using well water that "appears" to be clean and low mineral, and tastes good (surrounded by commercial farming community, worried about contaminants)
3.)  Main use will be for home
4.)  Will also take it camping
5.)  Will intend to use it in SHTF scenario (maybe multiple families at BOL)
6.)  How long do filters last (I realize this is relative to use)

Offline Adam B.

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 02:27:58 PM »
I bought the Stainless Big Berkey (I think that's the model)... It is the stainless version that is comparable in capacity to the "Berkey Light"

A good friend of mine has the Berkey Light and they are definitely more durable than you would think they are from the photos, but the stainless ones are designed so that the top portion can be flipped upside down and stored in the bottom portion for transporation, and stainless just looks much nicer.

I got a package on Ebay back at the end of 2010 that came with the Stainless Big Berkey, (it is about 1.5 to 2 gallon capacity) — and also came with 2 black berkey filters, 2 of the Flouride PF2 filters, and a sight glass spigot.

They also give you the regular spigot with the package, so if the sight glass spigot breaks (my son is constantly moving it and I think eventually someone is going to F it up) — you have a backup until you can get another one.

I don't remember what I paid but it was the best deal I could find for sure.

The black elements last a very very long time. I forget how many gallons, but I think I have a few years before mine need replaced.

The PF2 flouride filters don't last as long, maybe 500 gallons? I still haven't replaced the ones I have yet, but I might replace those this year sometime. The water still tastes awesome.

I had to see one in person before I would buy one and it took a long time before I saw someone with one to check it out.

My son had high lead content in an early blood test so I bought one the next day. Next doctor checkup, no detectable lead in his system so that was good enough reason for me.

I am in a family of 4 people and we use it for both cooking and drinking water. It takes quite awhile to filter a couple gallons of water, so we constantly fill up empty plastic jugs and store them, or keep them in the kitchen for cooking purposes.

Hell, just last night on that Doomsday Preppers show I saw the couple filter the water out of their HOT TUB with one of them and then make hot chocolate from the water they filtered...

I've never done the food coloring test, but I've seen videos of it on YouTube where people who seem legit have done it and showed the results.

If I knew someone I didn't like owned one I would try taking a leak in one to see if came out clear underneath but you won't see me doing that to my own anytime soon ;-)

They are pretty bad ass though. I've had this one for over a year and the steel cleans up great and looks brand new whenever I wipe it down.

The ONLY complaint I have is that the PF2 filters thread onto the threads of the black filter elements and you have to be VERY careful because they do not sit tight, and turning them too many times you can rupture the PF2 filters, or screw up the black element filter threads.

I would strongly recommend thread tape wound around the black filter elements before putting the PF2 filters on, which I didn't do myself but will when I take it apart for a cleaning sometime.

Also, "priming" the filters the first time is a bit of a pain (they give you instructions) — but important. I find that once you run a gallon or two through the filter, enough standing water remains at the bottom of the top portion that the filters do not need to be primed again. If you don't prime them, the first few gallons you filter will take FOR-EV-ER...

They still take forever after the fact, but I can get a glass of water out of the bottom within 15-20 minutes of pouring water into the top.

You drink some Berkey water for long enough and you won't drink anything else. You will be able to taste the nasty crap in just about any other unclean water source you come across after you get used to drinking the clean water these things put out.

Offline Adam B.

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 02:30:33 PM »
The stainless berkey I have also has the ability to have 4 filter elements for faster results, and the more filters you use, the longer they last as you are dividing up the filtering task amongst 4 filters instead of 2.

However, I am not sure if the plastic Berkey Lights can use 4 filter elements.

After using this for over a year I have no need for extra filter elements, but if I had one of the giant berkeys I would probably want to consider that.

Offline slingblade

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 02:32:11 PM »
I bought a Berkey Light.  It works fantastic however I wish I had gone with the stainless model.  I actually got the bright idea to put it in the dish washer to clean it one time and partially melted it AND the stainless just looks better.  Get 4 filters vs 1 or 2.  It will process water a lot faster with more filters. 

nelson96

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 02:52:37 PM »
Thanks for all the feedback guys, very helpful.  So many choices and I can't decide on which one.  I think I'll go with the stainless for sure, but don't know which model and can't really decifer what the "real" differences are between the Travel, Big, Royal, Imperial, Crown, and British are . . .  I think I'm leaning toward the "Big" but even that one has a lot of options to figure out.

http://www.directive21.com/big-berkey-water-filters.html

How do you know if you need the Flouride PF2 filters, what do they do?

Is it worth getting it with the "water level view spigot"?

nelson96

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2012, 03:51:45 PM »
The ONLY complaint I have is that the PF2 filters thread onto the threads of the black filter elements and you have to be VERY careful because they do not sit tight, and turning them too many times you can rupture the PF2 filters, or screw up the black element filter threads.

I finally found where to view the description on the elements, so I anwered my question on the PF2, but now I am confused about where/how to use them. . . .  Adam, you had mentioned that they screw on to the black filters.

My confusion is that it appears the Big Berkey has ports to use 4 filters and given that you can buy a package that includes two black and two PF2 filters (using the 4 available ports), how is that going to purify correctly?  If you screw the PF2's on to the black filters, what about the 2 empty ports?  :o

Offline Adam B.

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 05:29:38 PM »
The empty ports are sealed with rubber plugs.

Offline AnonPrepper

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 05:55:10 PM »
I think everyone covered all the pros and cons, I ended up getting the "big" due to family size and the price point. It's definitely a great thing to have around the water is great that comes out of it and it took a couple uses to get the charcoal taste out of it so id suggest if its for a shtf scenario plan on using it for awhile before you store it. We use ours 50% of the time, we have well water that's very clean so we don't "need" it on a day to day basis but when we ordered it we did get it with the 4 filters but only used 2 of them and kept the other 2 as backup in case something breaks on the filters that we have in the unit.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 06:15:10 PM »
. . .  I think I'm leaning toward the "Big" but even that one has a lot of options to figure out.

http://www.directive21.com/big-berkey-water-filters.html

How do you know if you need the Flouride PF2 filters, what do they do?

Is it worth getting it with the "water level view spigot"?

I have a two element "Big," and it's just right for my household of 3.  I also like the fact that in a pinch it can be expanded to four elements – like if a bunch of friends descend on my place on hurricane day+2 and I'm needing to filter 7 gal/hr to keep everybody hydrated in the un-air-conditioned late August heat.  (damn, that'd be a lot of water, but it's good to have the capability)  (that reminds me, got to order a couple more cartridges)

About the fluoride filters, well, they take out fluoride.  Lots of cities add it to drinking water, supposedly to promote strong teeth.  Just do a web search on fluoride and your town's name, should pop right up.  Here's a very mild starter article on fluoride toxicity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoride_toxicity

(While we're on the topic of fluoride, can anybody recommend a web article giving the real low-down on the stuff?  OK, back to the questions.)

Back to the last question, "Is it worth getting it with the "water level view spigot"?"  Yeah, I think so.  I try to let my filter go nearly empty before refilling so that the entire filter gets wetted each time, and pulling the top half off all the time to see how how much water was left got old fast.  It's not an essential accessory, but it is really nice to have.

nelson96

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2012, 06:23:58 PM »
Thanks again to all.

Back to the last question, "Is it worth getting it with the "water level view spigot"?"  Yeah, I think so.  I try to let my filter go nearly empty before refilling so that the entire filter gets wetted each time, and pulling the top half off all the time to see how how much water was left got old fast.  It's not an essential accessory, but it is really nice to have.

I thought the same thing too, as soon as I realized that you had to take the top half off to see the reservoir.  But thanks for the reinforcement.

Offline theberkeyguy

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2012, 08:52:56 AM »
Thanks again to all.

I thought the same thing too, as soon as I realized that you had to take the top half off to see the reservoir.  But thanks for the reinforcement.

I just want to thank all those who took the time to answer the questions here.  We would personally recommend the Big Berkey or Royal Berkey System.  Please also let me know if you have any more questions, as I really appreciate what others did to help answer your questions.

theberkeyguy

Offline jmoran92

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Re: Which Berkey Should I buy
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2018, 10:01:40 PM »
We have been thinking about getting a water filter (have never had one before).  Don't know much about them but the Berkey brand comes recommended to me. . . .  Which model should I buy?

Here are my conditions and concerns:
1.)  Family of four
2.)  Using well water that "appears" to be clean and low mineral, and tastes good (surrounded by commercial farming community, worried about contaminants)
3.)  Main use will be for home
4.)  Will also take it camping
5.)  Will intend to use it in SHTF scenario (maybe multiple families at BOL)
6.)  How long do filters last (I realize this is relative to use)


It depends on how many people will be using it. As for me, 6-8 people use our water filter so we use Crown Berkey.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 05:20:33 PM by Mr. Bill »