Top Berkey Water Filter System Complaints

Top Berkey Water Filter System Complaints

Thinking about buying, but wonder what the the main customer complaints on the Berkey Water Filter are? We list the key concerns shoppers and customers have around buying a Berkey. Weigh the options, and see if the Berkey is the right Water Filtration system for you (we think it is)! 

Replacement filters are expensive

At $166 per set of replacement filter elements, Black Berkey are a larger upfront cost than many water filters, however, their long-term use should be taken into account. A good way to compare apples-to-apples it to look at the cost per gallon.

Often filters with less expensive replacement cartridges are considered less expensive, why pay $166 for a Black Berkey Filter when you can pay $5 for a Brita filter?  The price picture, does become more clear, when you compare "in-expensive filters" on the same level as the Berkey. As you can see the Brita & Pur are both substantially more expensive to filter water (6-8.5 times more). Not to mention, both Brita and and Pur remove less than the Black Berkeys. 

Filter  Big Berkey Brita 10C Pitcher Pur Faucet Filter
Cost Per Gallon
Less than 3¢
12.5 ¢
17 ¢
Filter Life
4-6 Years
6,000 Gallons
1-2 Months
40 Gallons
2 Months
100 Gallons
Filter Cost for 6,000 Gallons $166 $750 $1,020

Larger systems are very large and don’t fit well on kitchen counters

Like other filters, ceramic filters consist of a porous material with pores large enough to permit water to pass through, but small enough to exclude many contaminants and some microorganisms. Because they are hollow, candle filters can be filled with media to make up for some of what the ceramic shell doesn’t catch. When the pores become clogged, ceramic filters can be scrubbed clean a certain number of times before they need to be replaced.

The Berkey comes in six different sizes ranging from 19” - 31” high and 7.5” - 11” in diameter, all of which use the same powerful Black Berkey Filters. If you plan to place the Berkey under a cabinet be sure to measure available height and depth, most often the Big Berkey (20” tall) and Travel Berkey (19” tall) systems will fit under cabinets. Additionally, the typical depth for counters is just over two feet at 25” which will accommodate all six of the Berkey systems. Check out the chart below to view the different sizes, and find which is best for your home. 

 Travel Berkey
GallonsBig Berkey Water Filter
 Berkey Light
 Royal Berkey
 Imperial Berkey
 Crown Berkey
Travel Berkey
7.5"D x 19"H
Big Berkey
8.5"D x 21"H
Berkey Light
9"D x 28”H
(with 6” stand)
Royal Berkey
9.5"D x 24"H
Imperial Berkey
10"D x 27"H
Crown Berkey
11"D x 31"H

Slow flow rate

Berkey systems do filter slower than the typical filter, however, this is because of the extremely dense media used for the filter elements which remove substantially more contaminants than the other filters. Flow rate can be increased by adding more Black Berkey filters, typically additional filter elements will cut the flow rate in half.

Another factor to consider is the Berkey is a gravity water filter. Meaning, the force of gravity pushes water through the filter. As the water filters from the top chamber, the amount of water and gravity lessens causing the flow rate to slow, unless continually filled.

We do not recommend continually filling unless in an emergency situation where the system will be continually emptied, in order to avoid overfilling.

Finally, it’s important to always fill your system to the top of the filters, to ensure even wear, as well as clean off the clogged outer layer on a regular basis; approximately every six months, or as flow rate slows.

Frequent Cleaning

Just like any other appliance, the Berkey does require some cleaning. It’s key to understand the Berkey filtered water you are storing and drinking is free from disinfecting and preserving chemicals, like chlorine, present in tap water. For this reason, we recommend cleaning the chambers, parts & pieces approx. every month. Monthly cleaning ensures the water you are filtering is stored in and dispensed from a clean container and spigot.

Due to the dense structure of the filter elements, the Black Berkey remove substantially more contaminants (200+) than other filters, and also need to be “cleaned”. It is important to understand the contaminants removed from your purified water are trapped in the outer layer of the Black Filter media. After continued use the Black Berkeys’ outer layer becomes clogged with removed contaminants. This can be easily remedied, by removing (aka cleaning) the outer layer of the Black Filter which will increase the flow rate - back to brand new! Cleaning the Black Berkey Filter elements allows for their long-term use, up to 6,000 gallons.

Learn how to clean your Berkey and Black Filters. No need to worry, it’s easy and quick!


Poor product quality reported on Amazon

Amazon is a mega-retailer with millions of sellers, and for this reason, there is a chance some sellers have in the past or are currently selling knock-off Berkey products. Amazon its self is not an authorized seller, however, there are some Berkey authorized 3rd party sellers on Amazon, ie Ikon Goods. You will notice all authentic Berkey products on Amazon are more expensive than products purchased directly from us here. Please note, we cannot offer our warranty to units purchased on Amazon.

No NSF Certification

We stand behind our independent rigorous and extensive testing, rather than obtaining unnecessary and expensive NSF certifications. Berkey Water Filters do not have NSF certification for two main reasons. First, the independent lab tests we have, test for far more contaminants than the applicable NSF certifications. Secondly, the fees for NSF certifications are very cost-prohibitive for what is being tested. Avoiding unnecessary costs helps us to provide the Berkey System and products for the best price. For a more in-depth explanation, please continue reading.

Our independent lab tests, test for substantially more under more rigorous standards than NSF certifications. For example, our tests certify the Berkey as not only a filter but a purifier, which removes both bacteria & viruses, NSF certifications do not!

The two NSF certifications which apply to the Berkey are Standard 42 (aesthetic effects) and Standard 53 (health effects). NSF Standard 42 covers systems “designed to reduce specific aesthetic or non-health-related contaminants such as chlorine, taste and odor, and particulates that may be present in public or private drinking water.” NSF Standard 53 addresses, “systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Lead, Volatile Organic Chemicals, and MTBE’s that may be present in public or private drinking water.”

Our independent tests prove the Black Berkey Filters removal of all the above-listed contaminants tested under both NSF standards 42 & 53 as well as numerous additional contaminants. See below for the removal of each.


 Chlorine Removal: >99.9%

 Cryptosporidium Removal: >99.997%


 Giardia Removal: >99.994%

 Lead Removal: >99.9%


 Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) Removal: Below Lab Detectable Limits

 MTBE’s Removal: Below Lab Detectable Limits

In summary, we’ve decided to avoid additional unnecessary and expensive testing required to obtain NSF certifications. Our test results far exceed NSF standards, and avoiding unnecessary costs helps us to provide the Berkey System and products for the best price. See all Test Results

Unavailable in California

Berkey Systems are available in California! However, it is important to understand that California has established legislation for the sale of indoor water systems, with which we must comply. Under these regulations, California requires that any indoor water treatment system that is sold in the state first be certified by an independent, third-party testing agency, such as NSF, before the system can be considered eligible for sale in California. Berkey has been independently tested by 3rd party labs, and far surpassed NSF standards, see Berkey test results.

Once NSF, or similar independent certification has been obtained, the legislation also requires companies pay high costs, and release proprietary information to obtain and maintain certification with California. In the end, we have concluded that the additional taxes, certifications, and red tape are not an option for Berkey to offer our larger Indoor systems in California, at this time. Our test results far exceed NSF standards, and avoiding unnecessary costs helps us to provide the Berkey System and products for the best price.

 California approved outdoor systems and products are as follows: Sport Berkey, Go Berkey, Travel Berkey, Berkey Light, Black Berkey Filter Elements, Fluoride Filters, and All Replacement Parts.

Unavailable in Iowa

Similar to California, Iowa also has specific legislation related to the sale of water treatment products in the state. Iowa’s legislation requirements for certification are unrealistic for Berkey, at this time.

First the system must be certified by an independent, third-party testing agency, such as NSF. Berkey has been independently tested by 3rd party labs, you can see our test results.

Secondly, Iowa requires companies to pay high costs, and release proprietary information to obtain and maintain certification in the state for every configuration. As with California the additional taxes, certifications, and red tape have created too large of a barrier to offer our Berkey Systems in Iowa. As mentioned previously, the Berkey test results far surpass NSF standards, and avoiding unnecessary costs helps us to provide the Berkey System and products for the best price. We can, however, sell all Filters and Accessories in Iowa.


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