Berkey Water Filter Review 2023: Is The Gravity System Worth It?

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Big Berkey Water Filter Review_Big Berkey Water Filter System (2)

Of all the Berkey filter systems, the Big Berkey Water Filter has emerged as an extremely popular water filtration option due to its efficiency and unique gravity fed process that requires no electricity. The style and durability of the Big Berky water filter make it the go to for either outdoor adventures or right on your kitchen countertop. 

The Berkey dawns a stylish 304 polished stainless steel exterior that looks great in any setting.  But also the Black Berkey carbon elements will speedily and efficiently purify the water from tap or outdoor fresh water sources (lakes, rivers, streams). 

In this Big Berkey Water Filter review we’ll go over how the water system works, the filtration performance, and how you can maintain your Big Berkey water filter.

Big Berkey Water Filter

Requires no electricity
Easily transportable
Reduces 200+ water contaminants
Made with 304 stainless steel

What Is A Big Berkey Water Filter?

As the name suggests, the Big Berkey Water Filter BK4x2  has a sizable water capacity. The maximum capacity of the stored filtered water is 2.25 gallons, making it perfect for everyday supply for a family of 3-4 people (or 12 with additional filters).  Despite that, the Big Berkey has a small footprint, taking up very little counter space. The functionality and performance make it versatile in many aspects.  You can use this at home, camping, for RVs, or even for emergency preparedness. The best part, the Black Berkey Filters have been tested to remove 203 common drinking water contaminants. 

Key Features Of The Big Berkey Filter System 

To prove the efficiency and usability of the Big Berkey Water Filter, we’ve put together the prime features of the water filter system.

The manufacturing uses 304 AISI Stainless Steel, which is highly corrosion-resistant and durable. Also, it gives it a shiny and lustrous look to the body.  That said, the total weight is only 7 pounds so the Berkey is easily transportable. 

The Big Berkey Water Filter System’s dimensions are twenty-one inches tall and eight and a half inches wide, providing a vast space to store 2.25 gallons of water. Moreover, the flow rate is influenced by gravity and is 3.5 gallons per hour. However, you can add 2 more Black Berkey Filters (4 total) to increase the flow rate to 7 gallons per hour.

It will take about 2 hours-hours for this filter to purify the water from the impurities – depending on the number of Berkey Carbon Filters – it can take less time. 

The Black Berkey Filters have been tested in both State and EPA accredited laboratories to exceed NSF/ANSI Standard 53.  And it’s all backed by a lifetime warranty!

Big Berkey Water Filter Review_How Do Big Berkey Water Filter Systems Work

How Do Berkey Filter Systems Work  

The beauty of the Big Berkey Water Filter system lies in its simplicity.  Add water from nearly any source in the top chamber: home tap water, lake water, river water – and you will end up with pure drinkable water. 

Gravity is the driving force behind the Berkey filtration process. The force exerting on the water enables it to push it downwards through the Black Berkey filter into the bottom chamber. The higher the pressure, the higher the flow rate is, especially if you add additional filters.

As soon as you add water to the upper chamber, the magic begins. The water flows through the activated carbon filter elements where they react with the impurities present inside the water and eliminate nasty bacteria and impurities. 

The filtered water is retained in the bottom chamber where it is easily dispensed through the BPA-free spigot. 

Filter Performance

Despite the rigorous filtration process from the Black Berkey Filters, it manages to retain the healthy minerals in the water. Also, the simple design of the Big Berkey Water Filter System makes it accessible from just about anywhere. 

The Black Berkey filters themselves have been tested in both State and EPA accredited laboratories to exceed NSF/ANSI Standard 53.  So you can have peace of mind that no matter what your water source is, the end result is safe pure drinking water. 

The impressive aspect is the ability to eliminate germs, and various impurities present inside the water. Whether visible dirt molecules or submicron-level organisms, the Berkey Filter can eliminate them all. According to the test results, Big Berky can remove up to 200+ water contaminants, including pathogenic bacteria, harmful viruses, and chemical substances. It can efficiently eliminate heavy metals like lead, aluminum, barium, mercury, chromium, zinc, cobalt, and more. 

It also removes inorganic minerals that are harmful to human health like chlorine and chloride. Especially with Berkey’s fluoride specific filter the PF2, you can eliminate 99.999% of fluoride from your drinking water. 

Okay, that was a long list!  There’s more than we can cover in this Big Berkey Water Filter review, but a comprehensive list of test results and contaminants removed by the Berkey Filters can be found here: Lab Results

What Is Included In The Big Berkey Kit

Following are the things that you will get within the complete filter package.

  • A Stainless-steel lid with a handle
  • 2 Black Berkey Element Filters 
  • Two Upper and Lower AISI 304 stainless steel chambers
  • A BPA-free plastic spigot  
  • The assembly kit contains two wing nuts, two washers, a button, a stopper, and a rubber gasket.
Big Berkey Water Filter Review_Big Berkey Water Filter System

What Berkey Water Filter System Sizes To Choose

Even though the focus of this Big Berkey Water Filter review is on that context, there are several Berkey Water Filter Systems that fit any need and are generally the same as the Big Berkey just with different water capacities.  There are many different Berkey sizes to choose from, here are some helpful tips regarding the other model options.

The compact Travel Berky is the best Berkey water filter system for road trips, camping, or RV journeys. You store up to 1.50 gallons of purified water and carry it around due to its compact volume. Moreover, you can receive 20 bottles of distilled water every hour based on its flow rate.

If you’re looking for filters with a massive capacity of water storage, the best Berkey water filter with large capacity is the  Royal Berky, Imperial Berky, and Crown Berky. Depending on your purchase model, they can store up to 6 gallons of water. Also, they come along with 2-8 Black Berky and Fluoride Filters to speed up the filtration process.

On the flip side, if you’re searching for a high-quality polyester composed filter, you should choose Berkey Light. It is recommended for a family of 2-6 people as it has a capacity of 2.75 gallons.  The Berkey Light is the best BPA-free plastic Berkey water filter if you want something other than stainless steel.  

Lastly, Berkey makes a filtered water bottle option that is the best Berkley for backpacking and hiking.  We review the Berkey Sport filtered water bottle in more detail here. 

Big Berkey Water Filter Review_Different Size Berkey Models_What Berkey Size
Filter TypeNumber Of PeopleCapacityFilter ElementsFlow Rate
Sport Berkey1 Person Bottle22 Oz1 PortableImmediate
Go Berkey1 Person1 Quart1 Element1.00 GPH
Travel Berkey1-4 People1.5 Gallons2 Elements2.75 GPH
Big Berkey2-4 People2.25 Gallons4 Elements7.00 GPH
Light Berkey2-6 People2.75 Gallons4 Elements7.50 GPH
Royal Berkey4-6 People3.25 Gallon4 Elements8.00 GPH
Imperial Berkey6-10+ People4.5 Gallons6 Elements21.50 GPH
Crown Berkey8-12+ People6.00 Gallons8 Elements26.00 GPH


Different Types of Berkey Filter Elements 

The functionality and the purification are varied based on different elements. Here are the necessary aspects of the three different filter elements by Berkey Water Filters.

Black Berkey Filters

Black Berky is EPA-approved by eliminating over 200 contaminants. Despite being tested 1000-times the actual concentration of pathogenic bacteria, the efficiency remained the same. It comprises activated coconut shell carbon combined with five more effective elements that can even remove food coloring from the water without destroying the beneficial minerals. The life span of each Black Berkey filter  is more than 3,000 gallons (6,000 per pair), which is more than three years of purified water supply.

PF2 Fluoride Filters

Yes, the traditional Black Berkey carbon filters remove 99.9% of fluoride, but if you are suffering from ultra high levels of fluoride concentration, this is your best option. The Fluoride reduction filter elements are specifically designed to target excessive fluoride present in your drinking water. With PF2, you can eliminate 99.999% of it efficiently. The lifespan of each PF2 is 1,000 gallons, which means it can last up to a year or more based on the quality of water supplied to it. Moreover, it also removes arsenic oxides and cations from the water. 

Berkey Earth Filters

The gravity-fed water filter element possesses microfiltration technology. The filter is manufactured using activated carbon along with other media items. It targets the harmful chemical substances, bacteria, VOCs, pests, and THMs and purifies the water up to 99.9%. Like the Black Berky filter element, it too has a lifespan of 3,000 gallons and fully functions for more than three years. It is compatible with Arsenic reduction and comes in the size of 7-9 inches. The benefit to the Earth Filters is they are significantly less expensive than the popular Black Berkey filters.  

How to Assemble The Berkey Water Filter System  

You can effortlessly assemble the Big Berky water filter by following these simple steps.  There is also a great video from Berkey Water Systems on assembly here.

  1. Initiate the process by removing the screw from the nob and attaching it to the lid.
  2. Insert the beveled washer onto the threaded area of the spigot, then adjust the tap on the bottom by rotating it anticlockwise.
  3. Now insert the remaining part of the washer on the spigot to lock it in place.
  4. Now start installing plugs on the chamber. Remember that both white and black plugs are installed on the inside of the upper chamber.
  5. Now start priming the Berky elements.
  6. Attach the filter elements inside the upper chamber with the help of a washer.
  7. After hand-tightening the filter using wingnut, place the upper chamber on the lower section.
Big Berkey Water Filter Review Assembly_Big Berkey Water Filter System

Filter Element Priming Process 

It is crucial to prime your Berky filter elements to increase the speed of purification. Following is the list of steps you need to follow to prepare the filter elements for cleansing.

For Black Berkey Elements: 

  1. Fetch the priming button from the box. Place it on the threaded stem of the Black Berky element.
  2. Grab the threaded stem between two fingers and press it against the faucet.
  3. Then slowly turn on the cold water to let it pass through it.
  4. After some time, you’ll see water molecules escaping from the outside of the element.
  5. Wait for 5 seconds to prolong the process. Repeat the same steps until all elements are primed.

For PF2 Fluoride Elements:  

  1. Wash the exterior side of the filter element using mild dish soap.
  2. Remove the blue caps from each end of the filter.
  3. Align the purging button on top of the filter end.
  4. Press the button against the faucet. Please wait for some time as the water gradually starts flowing inside it.
  5. After some time, you’ll see water coming out of the other end of the element. This way, you will clean all the manufacturing dust or residue.
  6. Repeat the same process on the other end of the element until clear water comes out.
  7. Note that the filter might get heated up while priming, so use cold water only.

Big Berkey Maintenance  

As part of our Big Berkey Water Filter review, we didn’t want to overlook ongoing maintenance.  Maintaining the filter is very crucial to increasing its lifespan. It is best if you could clean it weekly or at least every month. The delay in the filtration process is also a clear-cut sign that you need to clean the Big Berky Water Filter.

Initiate the process by disassembling the components of the filter system. Now use a scrub or brush to clear out the impurities stuck at the outer layer. Also, a potato peeler would be ideal for peeling out the stubborn water contaminants until you’re satisfied with the cleanliness. Now re-prime the filter element by following the priming process mentioned above and reinstalling it.

For hygienic purposes, try washing the lower chamber with mild dish soap timely. Also, use clear water to rinse it to ensure no soap residue remains on the surface of the chamber. Moreover, if you have a hard water supply in your house, clean the spigot (tap) quickly by immersing it in vinegar. On top of it, you can re-prime the filter elements to ensure that filtration is speedy like guaranteed.


Here are some pros from our Big Berkey Water Filter review and why we give it our nod of approval.

  • The filter’s simple design enables you to assemble and disassemble it for easy cleaning
  • The 304 AISI Stainless Steel construction is durable while very visually attractive
  • Since the filter uses a gravity fed system, it doesn’t require any electricity
  • The Big Berkey Kit comes with two activated carbon elements. 
  • Eliminates 200+ water impurities and harmful microorganisms while lasting up to 3,000 gallons per filter
  • The Big Berky 2.5-gallon water system stores up to 2.25 gallons of water 
  • Is compact and can easily fit on your kitchen’s countertop and tight places    


  • The replacement filter system can get expensive over time
  • Because of the metallic body, you cannot see the amount of water present in the system
  • The frequent re-priming of the system can require time and attention

FAQs For The Big Berkey

Frequently asked questions for our Big Berkey Water Filter review:

How long do Berkey Filters last?

On average, the replaceable Black Berky filters last over six years or 3,000 gallons per filter. However, it can vary depending upon the quality of water supplied to it. Highly contaminated water tends to decrease the efficiency of the filter. So, it is best if you provide fresh water to it.  The stainless steel outer components have a lifetime warranty, however. 

Why are Berkey water filters banned?

There are a few reasons why the Berkey water filters are banned in the states of California and Iowa. One of them is that they are not NSF certified. The state of California requires indoor water filters to be NSF certified, however, the company has determined the fees and taxes required to obtain such a certification is far too high.  

Are our Berkey water filters worth it?

According to the Berkey water filter system lab results, the efficiency and performance of the filter are unmatched. The lab results prove that it can eliminate 200+ highly contagious impurities. Also, they are compact but have a large storage capacity with an impressive purification flow rate.

Do Berkey filters remove fluoride?

The Berkey Fluoride filters consist of a set of Fluoride Reduction filter elements specifically designed to eliminate fluoride up to 99%. In addition to it, it also removes other heavy metals present in the water.

Do Berkey filters remove lead?

Yes, the included Black Berkey filters remove 99.99% of lead and other heavey metals.

How long can the water sit in the lower chamber after being filtered?

If the water is sitting in the lower chamber for more than 3-4 days, then it is suggested that you discard the water. You should also dump the water that comes out of the filter for one minute as it might also be sitting in the filter for 3-4 days.

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