Our goal is to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Berkey fits perfectly into that. Pure water is a necessity for living and we work hard to stick to a budget. Our Berkey helps us accomplish both of those goals. We hemmed and hawed over a Berkey for a while and finally received our first as a gift, thanks Spencer! We couldn’t be more grateful because it opened our eyes to what clean water really is!
Have you ever tasted water out of your holding tanks in a camper? Not only do they wreak of plastic, but Lord only knows what those tanks look like inside? Have they gotten dry every time? Is anything growing in them? Did a bug crawl in there that one time you left it open for a few hours? It’s nasty to think about. Now imagine you’re drinking that! GROSS!
The one hangup that people seem to have with a Berkey Filter is the price. We’re going to show you how that’s a non-issue. We’ll also discuss the health benefits for the water you’ll be consuming, the ease of traveling with it, and the benefits to reduce your impact of waste. Let’s jump in.
There is an upfront cost for the housing, but it does include your first set of two filters.
Depending on the size that you need it varies from $250 to $350. If you’re traveling, it would cost $250-$300 for an appropriately sized unit. Let’s break this down.
If you spent $249 on a Travel Berkey that included your first set of two filters that could filter up to 6000 gallons of water before needing replaced. You would have spent 4.15 CENTS per gallon. You can’t buy buy bottled water for that cheap, plus bottled water is not clean and creates an absurd amount of waste. If you do the same break down for the Royal at a cost of $305 initially it’s 5.1 CENTS a gallon.
Charcoal filters are currently $120 per set of two. Remember those can filter 6000 gallons per set! After ordering replacement filters your cost is as low as 2 cents a gallon. The cost is minuscule in the big picture!
Unit Sizes & Capacity
The information and prices in the chart below are complementary from BerkeyFilters.com
of Unit w/ 2
|Travel Berkey||2||7.5″D x 19″ H||1.5 Gallons||2.75 Gallons||$249||1-3|
|Big Berkey||4||8.5″D x 21″ H||2.25 Gallons||7 Gallons||$278||2-4|
|Berkey Light||4||9.0″D x 28″ H||2.75 Gallons||7.5 Gallons||$243||2-5|
|Royal Berkey||4||9.5″D x 24″ H||3.25 Gallons||8 Gallons||$305||2-6|
You need to pick the appropriate size so you are filling it up daily to take advantage of the full life of the filters. They need to remain wet to work properly. We started with a Travel size and have upgraded twice. In the beginning you typically use it for drinking water, eventually you use it for all your water.
We presently have a Royal and we couldn’t go bigger and have it fit in our travel trailer. It barely slides under the cabinet, but it’s a great size for the amount of water we use for our family of 4 plus the baby. A fellow RV’er friend gets by with a Travel and makes sure to keep cold Boroux bottles in the fridge. They are also only a family of 3, but they make it work for them.
Water filtration and purification are a fine science. We’ve added links directly from Berkey Filters website to help you find the data you are looking for, but we also want to recap in layman’s terms.
While we refer to our Berkey as a water filter, it’s actually a water purifier. It takes the bad and leaves the good. The purifier elements are so tiny they can remove bacteria and even food coloring from the water while leaving all the beneficial minerals. You don’t realize how much junk is in it until you start regularly drinking purified water. The term #watersnob is an earned nickname and we wear it proudly! Berkey doesn’t just stack up to the competition, but they filter them out!
“The filters were tested with more than 10,000 times the concentration of harmful pathogens per liter of water than is required by industry-standard test protocols. This concentration of pathogens is so high that the water exiting the filters should be expected to contain a concentration of 100,000 or more pathogens per liter (99.99% reduction — the requirement in order to be classified for pathogenic removal). Incredibly, Berkey water filter elements removed 100% of the pathogens. After using the Black Berkey filters, absolutely no pathogens were found in the effluent or were able to be detected. This set a new standard, allowing us to classify all systems containing the Black Berkey filters as purifiers.”
As from Berkeyfilters.com
See the full list of what the charcoal filters remove
Black Filter Filtration Specifications
Ease of Travel
We keep travel days simple. The bottles all get filled the night before we roll and stored in the fridge to cool. The Berkey gets refilled and we use the water the next morning for coffee, tea, drinking, and cooking just as we would on any other day. It’s one of the last things that gets loaded in the truck, right before we roll out. The water in the housing gets dumped on local plants or in the jug we keep on hand for the dogs. We flip the top of the housing upside down and store it in the bottom. The lid goes in the pocket of the door so it doesn’t rattle and we set the Berkey (complete with charcoal filters still attached) on the floor of the truck in front of the baby. If you use the fluoride filters we would highly suggest taking those off and storing them in a reusable zippered bag in the fridge so they don’t rattle against the charcoal filters and potentially crack them. We store the Berkey in the truck so it’s granted the grace of the suspension that it would not receive in the travel trailer. If we will be traveling straight through for multiple days without use we also remove and store our charcoal filters in a bag in the fridge and they ride just fine. I do typically sandwich them (no pun intended) between fruits or veggies and softer items so they can’t bounce as the earthquake goes down the road.
Berkey Filters recently came out with a travel bag to fit any stainless steel sized set-up. You can see the case below, but we haven’t invested in one yet. Don’t let your worry of moving your system stop you from investing in one regardless of if you have the case.
Since the Berkey is gravity fed there is no electricity needed for use. That’s great in remote areas, but for everyday use. There’s no need to power your system with anything other than water.
The housings are stainless steel (with the exception of the Berkey-Light and it’s not our recommended set up anyway) and will last for decades. We suggest filling reusable glass water bottles like the ones below from Boroux. Both of these options eliminate the waste created from single use bottles and plastic filter housings. Full disclosure, there is plastic at the very bottom of the charcoal filter as well as a rubber washer to create a great seal. Being that’s the only waste from this process we can wholeheartedly recommend this to you in good conscious!
Glass Water Bottles
There are very few options of high quality glass water bottles. Berkey Filters carries a great line from Boroux. We prefer those made of pure Borosilicate glass. That means they are made of a hearty glass like your Pyrex dishes. That doesn’t mean I’ve never broken one, but only when the kids helped roll them out of the back of the Suburban onto the asphalt.
The Boroux 1-Liter Glass Water Bottle, as seen above, doesn’t require constant refilling, fits on the top shelf of our fridge and also in a standard cup holder. As a bonus is has a stainless steel strainer inside the cap. That’s great for keeping your fruits and veggies out of your water so there’s no need to chew. it also doubles as a splash guard to control the water flow so the kids don’t dump it down themselves!
They also come in a half-liter size without the strainer if those might be a better fit for you.
If you are looking for a more budget friendly bottle, check out the Boroux Basic. They come in both a set of 4 of the 1-Liter or 6 of the 500-mL sizes and are made of Soda Lime Glass. They aren’t quite as durable as our favorites, but at a fraction of the cost you can afford to break a few if it happens.
Bonus tip: We upgraded to the Water View Spigot. It helps us monitor when the Berkey will need refilled and also gauge if we can fill it a little early so we never run empty. Water all over is a pain in your house, but it can be detrimental in your camper. This investment was well worth it to us!
We Love Our Berkey
We can’t imagine trusting unknown water without it. Not only is it necessary to filter out junk in tap water, but it brings peace of mind to know that while we always need a water source we can turn any water into clean and safe water.