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Big Berkey: Your Guide To Gravity-Fed Water Filters

by Jefferson Ebasan November 15, 2021 6 min read

If you don’t trust your tap water, you’re not alone. In fact, over 60 million Americans choose to avoid drinking from the tap altogether.

Fortunately, you can always take matters into your own hands and filter water for yourself. While there are many popular options to do this, let’s talk about Big Berkey gravity-fed water filters and find out if they’re right for you!

How Does the Big Berkey Water Filter Work?

Of course, you want to know that our water is safe to drink. Before purchasing a water filtering system, it’s best to have an understanding of how the filter works. Let’s avoid any surprises and talk about how they come upon purchase.


Berkey filters won’t overwhelm you with excessive complex equipment or materials, but they still come with everything you need to get started. When you buy a Berkey unit, this is what you should expect to come with it.

  • Stainless steel filter unit - This is the container that you will keep on your countertop. They come in different sizes and styles to match your needs and tastes.
  • Starter elements - Berkey uses specific filtering elements that have undergone testing in an EPA-approved laboratory, proving they are effective at removing viruses and other pathogens. You will also have two filters included in your purchase.
  • User manual - Here, you will find all of the necessary information about your particular unit, including how to set up, how often to change the filter, and more.
  • Warranty- Warranties for Big Berkey products will last between 6 months and 2 years, depending on your purchase.

There will be other small attachments and components involved in the kit. This will include 2 washers and wingnuts, a priming button, a rubber gasket (to protect the base), and two blocking plugs.

Although, only a small amount of assembly will be required. All you will need to do is attach the elements into your filter unit and prime the elements with water to begin. A detailed description of how to do this will be found in the user manual but the process is very straightforward. 

Don’t be surprised if the priming water comes out discolored, as this is only to be expected. Once the water starts dispensing as clear, it is ready for safe drinking use!


Berkey water systems filter water using a dual filtration system that lasts for up to 6,000 gallons. Purchasing extra filters in advance is a good idea if you have extra storage to spare, but it is unlikely you will need them for anywhere between 6 months and a year.

Since these are gravity-fed water filters, there are no pumps or loud equipment involved. All you have to do is pour water into the top. If you have a sprayer hose attached to your sink, then this will be no problem at all.

Alternatively, you could add an automatic pump to the top of your system so that you never have to refill it, offering you the best of both worlds; both automation and quality. However, it is easy to monitor the level and fill it up when needed.


Price and Further information about a Berkey Water Filter


Why Choose Big Berkey?

Berkey has built a reputation for its water filtration systems being some of the best of their kind. In terms of gravity-fed filters, there are common problems with some of the mainstream brands.

For example, there is no comparison between plastic and stainless steel when it comes to the longevity, durability, and safety of water storage. Everybody knows the taste of plastic in their water.

Another common issue is that filters are difficult to predict in ordinary filters. Common filter pitchers won’t have the same guarantee of quality and filter attachments for your faucet aren’t enough to prevent certain pathogens and toxins.

Also, Berkey’s filtering elements are all lab-tested to ensure that they work exactly as advertised, so you know that you are getting a quality product. However, those aren’t the only groups offering quality reviews.

Customer Satisfaction

Overall, customers’ testimonials show a clear trend, that Berkey water systems work as designed and last for years to come. 

Reading online reviews for specific products is always a wise investment of your time before making a purchase, and throughout all of Berkey’s filtering products, reviews indicate high quality and customer satisfaction.


Save Money

Some people may think the price tag is a little high, but they are missing the bigger picture. There are plenty of water solutions out there, but few will allow you to continuously filter your water with such minimal upkeep.

Purchasing 5-gallon plastic bottles of prefiltered water is expensive to maintain, not to mention how heavy they are to carry inside and install. The Big Berkey will remain stationary on your counter and you will continue feeding it water for free.

Of course, a filter is cheaper over time than replacing bottles. Although, buying filters for other systems will add up over time. This is especially true if you need to replace them every 1 to 3 months. 

Moreover, if you’ve ever heard of the phrase “buy once, cry once”, this is a perfect example. Your first filters are included with the purchase and you won’t need new ones for a while. Over the long term, you can’t beat the price.


Unlike buying a cheap filter from a department store, you can purchase a Berkey water system to fit almost any need. This includes models that work for up to 6 gallons, as well as personal travel filters that hold up to 1.5 gallons.

The standard Big Berkey holds 2.25 gallons in storage at a time and weighs 7 pounds when empty, which is fairly light for a large stainless steel container! For a family of 3, this means that you will only have to fill up your container once every couple of days, in most cases.

Although the system is large enough to hold such a large amount of water, it comes in a convenient size of only 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) in diameter and 19.25 inches (49 cm) tall, meaning it won’t take up much space on your counter.


We already discussed the system’s performance, but there’s one significant benefit of the Big Berkey that we haven’t mentioned. The performance of the actual elements. Believe it or not, well over 99.9% of the following are effectively removed:

  • Viruses
  • Pathogenic bacteria
  • Chlorine
  • Pharmaceutical drugs
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy metals
  • Trihalomethanes

For a gravity-fed filter, that level of quality is hard to beat.

No Power Needed

For a “simple filter”, the Big Berkey performs comparably to its electric counterparts without the need for plugging in. This saves money on your utility bill, prevents excessive noise, and allows you to access clean water in the event of a power outage.

Last year’s extreme winter outages in Texas, as well as other parts of the country, should serve as a reminder to prepare for the unexpected. If your water system relies on electricity, having a backup could potentially save your life!

Berkey: More info, prices etc.

Downsides of Big Berkey

All good things must come with a price. For example, large particles are known to clog the system, but if you aren’t filtering mud from your backyard, then this won’t be an issue.

Also, you will need to purchase additional filters for fluoride/arsenic removal. This is not a concern for those who are filtering tap water in most of the US or Canada. However, if you are using questionable water sources, then you will have to purchase these filters separately.

Finally, if you are in a rush and your system is empty, then you will have to wait for the filter to do its job. Gravity-fed water filters are not known for their speed. However, if you choose the Big Berkey water filter, you will have over 2 gallons (and up to 6) ready at all times, which means that you won’t run into that issue.

If you can handle those sacrifices, then the Big Berkey is a high-quality filter for the price with lenient warranty options if you change your mind or if the product doesn’t meet your expectations!

Is Big Berkey the Best Gravity-Fed Water Filter?

All in all, if you’re looking for the best gravity-fed water filtration system, you will have a difficult time finding a better product than the Big Berkey. You can choose any size system you want and expect it to work as advertised, offer you safe drinking water at all times, and last you for years to come. Stay up to date with our latest product reviews and feel free to contact us with any questions!



Jefferson Ebasan
Jefferson Ebasan

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