Let’s find the best water filter for our kitchen. Today I’m going to take you on a scary expedition as I recreate the steps I took to research water filters and find the best filter for my wife and me.
In this article, we’ll look at whether or not investing in a Big Berkey is a good idea right now, the pros and cons of the Big Berkey, as well as some options on less expensive water filters.
You know you’re a blogger; when you spend so much time researching a product, you can’t bring yourself to close those browser tabs without recording your research for a blog post. That’s what I’ve done here while searching for the best water filter, along with a few of the rabbit holes it took me down.
What Type Of Home Water Filter Are We Looking at?
To be clear, I’m researching “sink counter” gravity-fed and pitcher-style water filtration systems here. I was looking for the best water filter for our home that’s somewhat portable and within our budget.
I’m not ready to compare whole-house water filtration (Reverse Osmosis) systems yet. Honestly, it’s not even on my radar right now.
I’m also not looking for a home water distillation system, but I might soon research a countertop water distiller. They do look promising.
This research isn’t for portable water filters for hiking or our packs.
Originally, a pitcher-style water filter wasn’t on the agenda, but… well, read on.
I don’t link to any single filter here, other than the brand I purchased, because I cannot possibly buy and test each brand or type mentioned.
I’m sharing the research I did to determine the best water filter for my family. Whether or not to buy a Big Berkey water filter for our home. I spent hours doing my own research, and I figured I could save you some time by sharing what I found.
You’ll also notice I’m not linking to the Big Berkey, affiliate link, or otherwise, because I’ve found there are so many different places to buy this water filter, Amazon may not be the best place to purchase. How many sites do you see that level of honesty? 😊
Do I Need A Big Countertop Water Filter?
First, is a home countertop water filtration system a good idea right now? For me, the answer is a resounding YES. Or maybe. Maybe not. I definitely need something.
I Don’t Trust City Water
I do not trust the city water that is literally piped in from Detroit, twenty-five miles from here.
I don’t live far from the Flint, MI water crisis, where over a five-year period (2014-2019), 100,000 (6,000 – 12,000 children) Genesee County and Flint, Michigan resident’s city drinking water was contaminated with lead and possibly Legionella bacteria (Legionnaires’ disease).
This was and is a huge deal. Thousands of children are now at risk of lower intelligence, IQs, and an increased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Many people in the government and people in power, from the Michigan Governor on down, were charged with felonies and misdemeanors.
People died. People resigned. People went to jail. Taxpayers spent billions of dollars trying to fix the danger. Things being what they are today with the rich and powerful, most responsible walked away unscathed. Typical.
Here’s the biggest takeaway in my mind – How many years were these people drinking contaminated water before anyone knew it? Before anyone warned them about it?
We use city water in our home. We don’t drink water straight from the tap, and we probably wouldn’t even if we were on well water. We also don’t have an expensive whole-house reverse osmosis water filtration system. We were using a HydroBlu Versa Flow DIY counter-top water filter. I just wanted an upgrade. The Big Berkey was my starting point. Where do you stand on water filtration needs?
My Personal Research On A Countertop Emergency Water Filter
Okay, here’s where I might make a few preppers mad. Sorry, but if I can’t speak from my heart, I’d delete this blog. I understand the Big Berkey is the gold standard among our prepper community. I cannot just recommend a product based on other people’s feedback.
I have to do my own research and actually use a product before it earns my endorsement. So where’s that leave us?
The Big Berkey Countertop Water Filter
As far as the research, without relying on the trillions of Berkey resellers and affiliate marketers, there’s very little independent research I could find. Here’s what I’ve found from waterfilterlabs.com (Which is part of the Natural News Network and seems to offer the Big Berkey water systems either through their own store or as an affiliate). Oy vey.
The Big Berkey black ceramic elements (With arsenic/fluoride add-on elements) beat many other water filters when it comes to toxic heavy metals and elements with radioactive isotopes. The test results compared the following filters:
- Big Berkey black ceramic elements with arsenic/fluoride add-on elements
- Zen Water Systems Alkaline Water Filter
- ProPur Water Filter with All-in-One Filter Elements
- Crystal Drop Water Filter
- Doulton Water Filter
- Pur water filter
- Brita water filter
- Seychelle water filter
- Culligan water filter
- Mavea water filter
- WaterMan Mini water filter
- ZeroWater water filter
Big Berkey Water Filter Pros & Cons
Big Berkey Pros
- Filters only the water you want to filter.
- Amazing reputation.
- Beautiful – looks great.
Big Berkey Cons
- Counter space
- Expensive filter replacements
ZeroWater Filter – Second Best?
ZeroWater Filter – It looks like the ZeroWater water filter is a close second to the Big Berkey but at a much lower initial cost. I haven’t broken down the math, but I’m guessing that, even though the ZeroWater pitcher filter’s filter lifespan is MUCH shorter, it’s an easier buy for most preppers today.
Here’s an interesting news report, even though it is being shared on ZeroWater’s YouTube channel.
Doulton – Another Option? I’m waiting on a couple of responses from dealers within the US, but the Doulton 6L SS Gravity Filter & 2 ATC Super Sterasyl® Complete System seems similar to the Big Berkey but a lot cheaper. At least it’s cheaper in the UK.
Update I never did receive a reply from either one of the Doulton water filter dealers. That was disappointing but not unexpected. It’s a UK product that doesn’t ship to the US, and there are few options here. If I lived in the YK, Doulton might be a nice Big Berkey alternative.
Want More Test Results? Okay, also from waterfilterlabs.com are the Glyphosate water filter lab test results. I gained from these test results that gravity filters are probably the best filters for emergency water, followed by water pitcher filters.
💦 Impressive – The clear exception to that is the ZeroWater pitcher filter, which outdoes many of the gravity countertop filters. Again, that short lifespan.
And the Sports Bottle water filters? Sadly, they look little more than a feel-good purchase that you shouldn’t trust your life with. I know, I’ve bought a bunch too. Live and learn. I’ll still carry one in my EDC bag as a convenient water container and backup filter to the Sawyer Mini.
Conclusion And What I Bought
Obviously, for us, it was a choice between the Big Berkey and the ZeroWater pitcher filter. While I believe the Big Berkey is a better water filtration system, I went with the ZeroWater pitcher water filter. Other than the initial cost, which is way less, here’s why:
- It’s just the two of us living here right now, my wife and I. A huge countertop filter seems a little overkill for the moment.
- We’re sadly inadequate on counter space, especially alongside the sink.
- The ZeroWater (The name makes no sense until you start using the filter and testing the filtered water) also filters what we’re mainly concerned with, including lead, pesticides, herbicides, mercury, chlorine, fertilizers, and rust.
- While the filter lifespan is WAY shorter than the Big Berkey, replacement and container cleaning should be slightly easier with the ZeroWater.
- I LOVE that we can keep the pitcher in the refrigerator.
- I can stock up on replacement filters at four for $50 – $12.50 apiece at the time of this post. I can get that below $10/each if I buy a dozen at a time.
I’m a prepper, so I bought two ZeroWater filters.
The 7-cup, while small, is the perfect size for my wife to handle. I mean, I could handle it if it were a 55-gallon drum. 🤣 We’re storing the 12-cup pitcher filter for a SHTF (emergency) situation – eventually with at least a dozen spare replacement filters.
I almost went with the ZeroWater 23 cup pitcher, but that should sit on the edge of the sink, just like the Big Berkey. As I mentioned, we’re short on counter space, but I wanted to mention if it works for you. ZeroWater also has a beautiful 40 Cup Ready-Pour Glass Dispenser.
Product review coming shortly. We’ve been using the ZeroWater 7-Cup Water Filter Pitcher for a little over a month now, and it’s working nicely. I want to see how long the filters last while applying a little filter-saving trick I learned in my research before I’m ready to recommend the ZeroWater fully.
Check out this DIY water filter video I ran across: DIY Big Berkey Style Water Filter System with 5 Gallon Buckets (for 1/4 the cost).
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