In many major metropolitan city, the water is treated with a variety of chemicals including fluoride. We wanted to find a water filtration system that would remove these chemicals without spending thousands of dollars on a large system. The Travel Berkey seemed to be the best solution and this is our Berkey water filter review.
Berkey Water Filter Review
Berkey Filters removes chemicals, bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, fertilizers and a long list of additional contaminants from tap water – while keeping the good minerals in. Other systems we found removed all of the minerals in the water (which is unhealthy) but didn’t remove the harmful bacteria and viruses. Bacteria and viruses may not be an issue with tap water, but in a situation where the water is compromised or you need to get it from a stream, pool or other source, the Berkey will purify it.
What We Ordered:
Travel Berkey – It holds 1.5 gallons and fits well in our small kitchen.
What is a Berkey?
When we first stumbled upon the Berkey Water Filters, they seemed very complicated. In fact, they are extremely simple and this is what makes them so good. To break down how a Berkey works, it consists of two main chambers/cylinders. The top chamber is where you pour the water in to be filtered. The Berkey filters (2-4 filters depending on the size of your Berkey) are the heart of the system and proprietary to Berkey (link to the benefits on the Berkey filters). The water will filter through them and into the lower chamber which acts as a reservoir. If you have fluoridated water, you can add fluoride filters which attach in series to the Berkey filters. Once the water makes it to the lower chamber, it’s ready to drink.
Travel Berkey Set Up
In the box the Berkey doesn’t look like much – two stainless steel cylinders, some filters and fittings. Everything is well packaged with a variety of instructions. The instructions are very detailed making set up easy, but time consuming. It took me an hour to setup the Travel Berkey.
The first step is to clean everything throughly. Next is to put together pieces like the water spout and lid. The time consuming task is priming all the filters (make sure you buy the priming tool – made life much easier!). In reading reviews, all of the negative reviews seem to be from people who didn’t properly prime their filters. Once the filters are primed, they fit in to the upper chamber via nuts and rubber washers. To ensure everything is tight and filtering properly, put some red food coloring into the water (one tsp for every gallon). Check the filtered water to make sure it’s clear.
NOTE: When screwing the fittings for the filters onto the upper chamber, they will be saturated with water from priming and will start to drip. This is fine. Just don’t let the filters sit for too long or they will need to be re-primed.
Once the Berkey is assembled, add water and run a few bathes. We noticed that the first couple gallons to come out had a bit of a taste to it, most likely from the filters. We did get the fluoride filters with our Berkey so we could have the best possible water (these aren’t needed if your water isn’t treated with fluoride). I haven’t timed it, but my guess is that when the top chamber is filled with water, it takes a few hours for the water to filter into the bottom chamber.
What We Like:
The water tastes great! We use the water for everything and have noticed a difference in the taste of coffee and tea. We even fill up a few water bottles to take with us when we go out. When I forget to take Berkey filtered water, I notice a difference in the taste of other filtered water.
I can’t talk yet about how long the filters will last yet. Berkey’s website states that you can determine the approximate life of your filter(s). Do this by taking the number of filters in your specific unit (we have two) and multiple that by 3000 and that will give you the total life in gallons that your filters have. With a total of 6000 total life gallons at a consumption of 2 gallons per day, our filters should last about 8 years. At about $100 per set for replacement filters, it’s a good investment.
The Berkey is easy to breakdown and the top portion stores inside the bottom. If you use it in an RV or in an environment where you don’t have a permanent location, you simply need to set it up, filter as much water as you want and take it apart.
What We Don’t Like:
Depending on the size of the kitchen, finding room for the Berkey may be a challenge. Berkey water filters range from 19″-23″ tall. The average space between the countertop and cabinet is 18″. So you’ll need to find an open space with enough height to fill the top portion with unfiltered water.
The filtration rate is fairly slow. That means we need to fill it whenever we take out a lot of water. It helps to fill a carafe so there is water set aside in case you do run out.
The only way to figure out how much water is left is to guess based on the flow rate through the standard spigot (it slows fairly noticeably when the reservoir is almost empty). The other option is to need to buy the Water View Spigot.
It is very easy to overfill the Berkey. This will result in a slow drip coming from the area where the top and bottom chambers connect.
Despite some short comings, we can’t recommend the Berkey water tilter enough. The only things we regret is not buying one sooner. The Travel Berkey works well for us, but if we had to do it again, we would buy the Big Berkey. The initial cost is high, but it’s worth the money considering how long the filters will last. The Berkey also provides peace of mind during an emergency. If the water stops working or is no longer safe to drink, we can safely filter alternative water sources through the Berkey.
If you found this review helpful and decide to purchase the Berkey, please consider ordering through our Amazon affiliate link or Berkey affiliate link. There is no additional fee for the buyer and in return we receive a small percentage of the sale. Thanks for your support! We really appreciate it.
Disclosure: This review represents our own opinions of the products. We were not compensated in anyway for this review and purchased all of the Berkey products referenced with our own money.