Berkey Water Filtration Systems and How to Check Your Water's Contamination Levels

*Affiliate links, including those from, may be present in any of my posts. You can read my policy in more detail at the bottom of this post.

I'm seeing a shift in our culture towards living a more natural lifestyle and I think it's great! More and more people are concerned about what they put on their bodies as well as in them. If you're on a journey towards a wellness lifestyle, then clean water really needs to be at the top of your list. Our family has found that having a Berkey Filter is an excellent choice for clean water. It's a gift that we don't take lightly and we've been able to enjoy Berkey filtered water for the past 7 years now. 

Our family is much larger than it used to be and we choose Berkey water not only for drinking but also for cooking and especially for brewing our own homemade kombucha. (It's even a good idea to fill your essential oil diffusers with filtered water so you're not circulating chemicals and toxins in your air.) And please strongly consider a shower head filter because when you take a hot shower your pores are more open and receptive and you don't want to take a "shower" in chemicals especially considering your skin is your largest organ.

As our family has grown to include 8 members now, the amount of water consumption has also grown so we needed the largest Berkey available. We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with Berkey to bring you this review. As I mentioned, we have been Berkey users for the past 7 years so you can rest assured that all opinions in this post are true and original to us. 

What We Reviewed

For our family of 8 we needed the Crown Berkey which holds 6 gallons of water and retails for $360.00. It is the largest Berkey water purifier and can accommodate 2 - 8 Black Berkey Filters and Fluoride Filters.  Keep in mind that  adding additional Black Filters will speed up the filter time. With 2 Black Filters this system is best for daily use for large families of 6+ people.

We have found over the years that our kids drink more water because it is easily accessible for them versus our previous Brita water filter which truly didn't filter that much and had to be stored in the fridge. We currently keep our Berkey on a beautiful wood "butcher block" style carter that we picked up for just a few dollars at a garage sale a couple of years ago. This provides a sturdy, yet easily accessible place to keep our Berkey. However, a stainless steel stand is available on the Berkey website. 

Each Berkey is made of stainless steel and comes with two Black Berkey purification elements (expandable to eight in the Crown) which have a lifetime use of 6,000 gallons of water and will filter 1 gallon of water per hour, 2 chambers, lid, a spigot and rubber gasket base (stainless steal upgrade available), and 4 blocking plugs. The Berkeys have an upper and lower chamber that operate using gravity to filter the water that is placed in them. Gravity forces the water through the filters into the lowest chamber which holds only purified water.  If you live on city water I highly recommend adding the fluoride filters as fluoride is extremely toxic.  

To give you an idea of what a Berkey is capable of filtering, check this out:

"This powerful system purifies both treated water and untreated raw water from such sources as remote lakes, streams, stagnant ponds and water supplies in foreign countries, where regulations may be substandard at best. Perfect for outdoor activities and a must in hostile environments where electricity, water pressure or treated water may not be available.
This system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance." 

What's In Your Water?

How do we know what we need to filter out besides bacteria, cysts and parasites? Well, the EPA is required to run reports on drinking water and to list the contaminates that are over the legal limits. You can run a report for your own zip code/water source at

What did we find for our water? In our area there are two contaminants that exceed the legal limitChromium (hexavalent) is 6.3 x EWG's health guideline and Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) is 229 x the EWG's health guideline. Both of these individually have the potential to lead to cancer. Additionally, the synergistic affect of these chemicals together along with pharmaceuticals and other contaminants can cause even more harm. If you're curious about what's in your water, pop in your zip code in the ewg link and see what you find.

Now you know why our family has chosen a Berkey filtration system for the past 7 years. It's so important to everyone's health but especially babies that are developing in utero and small children whose organs are still growing and developing. 

If you're considering a Berkey, here is a table that can help you make a decision based on the needs and size of your family. 

SystemRecommended #
of People
Holding Capacity
in Gallons*
Max Number
of Filter Elements*
Flow Rate**
(gallons/hr - full expansion)
Travel Berkey1-31.522.75
Big Berkey1-42.2547
Berkey Light2-52.7547.5
Royal Berkey2-63.2548
Imperial Berkey4-8+4.5616.5
Crown Berkey6-12+6826

My husband did a comparison between the Brita and the Berkey (as if you could really compare the two, but just so you know).

  • filter good for 2 months
  • 2 qt capacity
  • plastic
  • filters are $6.58 each ($39.48 per year)        
  • hard for kids to use themselves (heavy when full) 
  • much smaller so requires frequent filling
  • basic only filters chlorine taste and odor

  • set of 2 filters good for 6,000 total gallons (8 years at 2 gallons per day)
  • $120 for 2 filters - $15.00 per year for 8 years
  • slow to filter, but can speed it up by adding additional filters (comes with 2, can have up to 8 depending on your Berkey size)
  • option to filter out fluoride and arsenic 
  • up to 6 gallon capacity 
  • must clean it once a month
  • stainless steel
  • easy for kids to help themselves 
  • Berkey removes 200+ unsafe contaminants

Our Berkey even goes on road trips with us because we have no idea what kind of water we'll encounter wherever we're staying. It's THAT important to us!

I hope that I've been able to answer a lot of your questions about a Berkey filter but also to share with you why filtered water is so important. It's definitely an investment worth making! Buy your Berkey here.

Be sure to check out my "Bee Kind" nature based character development unit and my ebooks as well: A Wife's Guide to Studying ProverbsTopical Devotions for Pregnancy and Early Potty Teaching. Or, if you're looking for a way to get 30 raw fruits and vegetables in your diet every day, contact me here

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This post may involve product that was received in exchange for a review or contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation should you choose to make a purchase. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Thank you for your support of Purposeful Homemaking.

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