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Berkey vs Brita: Which Is the Better Water Filter?

By Jeff Wise April 18, 2022

Want to provide the cleanest water to your household? While the bottled water industry would have you believe their products are the only options, many people want to avoid single-use plastic to help the environment. Using a water filter for your tap water is the most economical and environmentally-friendly choice for the cleanest water.

But what kind of filter is best? The two most famous brands are Berkey and Brita. The choices on the market might feel overwhelming, but you should look for a water filter that has the science to back up its claims.

Both a Berkey water filter and a Brita water filter offer their own benefits. Read on to learn why water filters are essential and compare the popular Berkey vs. Brita brands to find the right filter for your needs.

Berkey vs Brita: Which Is the Better Water Filter?

Why Water Testing Is Important

Before you start shopping for a water filter system and comparing Berkey vs. Brita, you must know what the quality of your tap water is. Different filters remove different types of contaminants. Getting your water professionally tested lets you know exactly what kind of treatment your water supply requires to make it as pure as possible.

Well, water requires testing to ensure there are no microorganisms like bacteria and parasites present. There are a few times in the year that are best for testing the well water quality. These are:

  • Early spring
  • During the fall rainy season
  • After a drought
  • After a flood
  • If the well hasn't been used for a while

Shallow wells are more likely to get contaminated and require more frequent testing.

City and municipal water sources also benefit from testing. Chlorine, barium, and copper are common contaminants found in city water sources. Also, old buildings may have leaky pipes that contribute to rust or other unpleasant impurities.

Why You Need a Water Filter

The water that comes out of our tap often contains impurities such as minerals, dirt, or chemicals that make its color and smell unpleasant. Plus, untreated water with microscopic organisms is unsafe to drink. Adding a water filter system to your water source ensures your drinking water is safe for consumption.

People have used water filters since 2,000 BC! Records from ancient Greece and Egypt show water getting filtered and strained through sand or gravel. Luckily for us, modern technology utilizes this same kind of idea, with advanced systems that get far more impurities. 

Take a look at how adding a modern and effective high-quality water filter provides an ideal, pure taste!

Decrease Mineral Content

Most minerals are good for us and we need them in our daily diet. When too many minerals are in our drinking water, it often has a metallic taste. Too much iron discolors the water and causes clothing stains.

High levels of calcium leave residue on dishes and build up in the building's pipes. Minerals, like calcium, are also hard on hair and skin, causing split ends and dry, itchy skin. Using a good system, like a Berkey water filter, reduces minerals to soften water.

Removes Harmful Bacteria

Bacteria that cause diarrhea and other illnesses are found in water. If your water source comes from an untreated well, it is especially important to filter it. A high-quality water filter uses micro and nano filters to remove pathogens, making it safe to drink.

Decrease Chlorine Levels

City water is usually treated with chlorine to kill the bacteria found in water. Chlorine is effective in treating pathogens but it has a strong smell and taste. This unpleasant side effect is removed with a proper filtration system.

Lowers Chemicals

Modern farming and gardening chemicals, such as organic pesticides, are water-soluble. This means they break down and show up in our drinking supply. High levels of pesticides may cause chronic health issues, so lowering exposure is crucial for a healthy home.

Berkey vs. Brita Water Filter

Both a Berkey water filter and a Brita water filter offer a way to get cleaner and better-tasting water. But does one brand offer more benefits than the other? Here's how a Berkey water filter vs. Brita compares.

Water Filter Style

The Brita water filter brand offers water purification with a gravity-style filter. This means it is gravity-powered, with water flowing down through the filter chamber. Brita's coconut shell and carbon filters grab contaminants as the water passes through into the chamber below.

Brita filters are plastic jugs that are designed to sit in the fridge to stay cool. They come in various colors and sizes and take about 10 or 15 minutes for the water to filter through.

On the other hand, the Berkey water filter brand uses filters they call Black Berkey Purification Elements. These are also gravity-fed technology and are often paired with fluoride filters. The Big Berkey, at 2.25 gallons, might take around two hours to fully finish filtering.

Berkey water filters are designed to sit out and offer larger sizes than Brita. Berkey's are made from stainless steel, providing a stylish and plastic-free alternative.

Water Filter Capabilities

Brita offers different price points and styles of gravity-led filtration. For the various styles, the Longlast+ is their most powerful filter. The filter is reported to decrease contaminants, including chlorine, lead, asbestos, and mercury. Brita's Standard filters five contaminants, including copper and zinc. 

Longlast+ filters are good for 120 gallons of water. Standard filters last around 40 gallons. For usual household use, this is about two months.

The Berkey brand also offers a selection in size and styles for household or office use. Every style uses a Black Berkey filter. While the price-point of a Berkey vs. Brita is much higher, the Berkey decreases or removes 200 contaminants to the Brita's eight!

These include:

  • Heavy Metals: aluminum, lead, mercury, copper, etc.
  • Prescriptions/Over-Counter Drugs: Ibuprofen, Caffeine, Bisphenol-A
  • Pathogens: parasites, bacteria, viruses
  • Chemicals: pesticides, detergents, solvents

Plus, these filters get designed to last for 3,000 gallons of water! This is a considerably longer replacement time, with many more contaminants getting filtered out.

Water Filter Capacity

Both Brita vs. Berkey offers a good selection of various sizes. The Brita filters designed for household use range from 6-cups to 12-cups for standard sizes. Because it doesn't take very long for the water to flow through the gravity-led filter, this size works for easy refilling throughout the day.

Although, for households with large water consumption or homes that require filtering cooking water, the 12-cup maximum of a Brita pitcher won't cut it.

The Berkey water filter brand provides more options for sizes. The smallest is the Travel Berkey at a 1.5-gallon capacity. The largest is the Crown Berkey, holding 6 gallons of purified water!

Both brands offer portable sports bottles for filtering water on the go.

Water Filter Costs

The introductory Brita models start at a budget amount for the Metro water pitcher. This is a 6-cup capacity with a Standard filter. Their Cascade Stream model is the largest pitcher and retails for less than fifty dollars.

Replacement filters for the Standard filter come in 3-packs. The premium line, Longlast+, sells for nearly twenty dollars for a single filter.

The initial investment for the Berkey water filter system is higher than a Brita jug, but it lasts so much longer and provides a greater reduction in contaminants. The Travel Berkey sells for just over $400 and comes with two Black Berkey Element filters. The 3.25-gallon Royal Berkey sells for around $520 and the largest model, the Crown is priced at around $650.

Because the filters last for 3,000 gallons, they don't require replacing very often. Replacement filters sell around $166, so you'll save money in the long run compared to how often Brita filters wear out.

Water Filtration Ease of Use

Because the Brita system is small and only holds a few cups of water at a time, it is easy to refill. Most of the models have a removable lid that comes off when you place the pitcher under the tap. Some models are built to refill without removing a lid.

While refilling a Brita pitcher is easy to do, it does add an extra step to access your clean, filtered water in the fridge. For people with reduced mobility or strength, lifting and pouring a full water pitcher may provide difficulties.

On the other hand, Berkey water systems sit upright in a stable position. You access the pure, filtered water with a spigot. This makes accessing the water simple for all ages and abilities. No heavy jugs to carry or pour.

Berkey systems get assembled with two stainless steel chambers. The top chamber gets filled with the tap water and it filters through to the bottom chamber and comes out through the spigot.

Berkey units come with a red dye that gets used during the initial setup. The filters remove all color from the water and this ensures that the unit is set up correctly. Great for providing peace of mind that all impurities are getting filtered!

Regular Maintenance of Water Filters

All appliances require regular cleaning to keep them at their best. Brita pitchers must be hand washed regularly and kept away from direct sunlight. They are not dishwasher safe. 

Brita filters and pitchers are recyclable through their recycling program. Old products must get mailed to their headquarters. Packages must have a minimum of weight for sending back to recycling.

Clean the Berkey water system once a month for regular maintenance. The unit is easy to take apart and the stainless steel chambers are safe to place into the dishwasher. Handwashing with a drop of bleach kills any harmful pathogens before reassembling them for use.

Because Berkey filters catch heavy metals and poisons such as arsenic and asbestos, the filters are not recommended for recycling.

Brita Water Filter Pros and Cons

Brita water filtration systems are certainly less money for initial investment. This might be a strong feature for deciding which product is right for you. But, cost shouldn't be the only factor when choosing the safest water for your household.

Let's breakdown the pros and cons of Brita filters:

Brita Pros:

  • Budget-Friendly
  • Fits in the fridge
  • Good for single or couple-size family
  • Filters out common heavy metals and chlorine
  • Filters are recyclable

Brita Cons:

  • Made of plastic
  • Need frequent replacement
  • Small water capacity
  • Can't remove pharmaceuticals
  • Can't remove pesticides and other chemicals
  • Recycling used filters is time-consuming

Now, let's look at the other major brand in gravity-led water filtration.

Berkey Water Filter Pros and Cons

Berkey water filter systems have a higher initial cost but provide delicious and contaminate-free water. Their large size suits a household with children or with large water consumption. Berkey's stainless steel construction is great for those looking to reduce their plastic use.

Here is the breakdown of the pros and cons of Berkey water filter systems.

Berkey Pros:

  • Removes or decreases 200 contaminants
  • Maintains healthy levels of minerals
  • Long-Lasting filters
  • Large capacity for average household use
  • Made of stylish, safe stainless steel
  • Offer secondary filtration options

Berkey Cons:

  • Higher initial purchase cost
  • Takes up counter space
  • Requires longer refill time
  • Filters not recyclable

Both Berkey and Brita provide cleaner water, but only one treats 200 contaminants!

Choose a Berkey Water Filter For Your Needs

Choosing the right water filter system requires learning what your water purification needs are. Knowing that the Berkey vs. Brita system removes hundreds of contaminants compared to Brita's eight is a big selling feature. Choosing a stylish and safe stainless steel purification system also reduces your plastic consumption, something that keeps your purchase environmentally friendly.

Best of all, many of the popular Berkey systems are on sale today! Shop the sale now and give your family clean, pure water.


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