When purchasing a home water filtration system, the options available can be confusing. Many of the popular home water filters vary drastically in price, and one may be tempted to opt for the cheaper product.
But before making any rash online purchase decisions, it is wise to get up to speed with the capabilities of water filter/s you are interested in, as well as the long-term costs associated with each product and compare these before adding products to your online cart and checking out.
Impulsively opting for a cheaper product may not only result in purchasing an inferior product, but it may actually end up costing you far more in the long run.
The Berkey range of drinking water filters fall into the top end range due to their superior design, construction and filtering capabilities. Yet, compared to the ever popular Brita pitcher filters they are quite pricey. But, is all as it seems?
Let's compare two popular filters from these two manufacturers to check out how much bang your are getting for your buck.
Maximum Holding Capacity
Berkey offers a wide range of water filters ranging from the small Travel Berkey filter that are capable of filtering up to 1.5 gallons (5.7 liters) of water at a time to the large Crown Berkey water filter that can filter 6 gallons at a time, meaning that with a Berkey filter on hand you will always have a ready supply of fresh drinking water, no matter where on earth you are. Berkey water filter systems come with a lifetime warranty — always a good indicator that a manufacturer believes wholeheartedly in their product.
The Brita range of water filters for home use are currently available in pitcher and dispenser sizes, and the largest Brita filter is only capable of filtering 80 ounces (0.5 gallons/2.3 liters) of water at a time. So, if you have a thirsty family, you may have to wait a while for more fresh water to be on hand.
Annual Filter Replacement Costs
In many cases, the cost of a water filter system is misleading, as higher running costs can inflate the overall costs quite significantly, and a cheap filter may end up being not so cheap after all.
Good quality water filters that are fitted with superior filter elements typically have a longer lifespan resulting in long-term savings that many consumers don't consider when making their purchase. The cost of replacement filters can quickly mount up over time, so this an important aspect to take into account when choosing a home water filter system.
While the initial cost of a Berkey water filter may be higher than its competition, the cost of replacement filters needs to be factored into the equation. Unlike Brita water pitchers which need to have their filters replaced regularly (every 4-8 weeks), Berkey filters keep doing their thing for years before they need to be replaced. So when it comes to operating costs, Berkey filters are MUCH more affordable.
Below is a breakdown of the costs associated with each (and potential savings if you opt for a Berkey):
- Initial cost: $75.49 for 10 cup plastic pitcher and 4 filter cartridges
- Replacement filters: approximately $5 each
- Filter lifespan: approximately 6-8 weeks or 40 gallons (151 liters)
- Approx cost over 11 years: $385
- Filters heavy metals and pathogenic bacteria and viruses? No
Big Berkey (most popular Berkey size)
- Initial cost: $258 - Big Berkey filter system including 2 x black filter elements (there are both cheaper and more expensive options)
- Filter lifespan: approximately 11 years or 6,076 gallons (23,000 liters)
- Cost of replacement filters: $107 for set of 2 Black Berkey filter elements (Not required for first 11 years or 23,000 litres)
- Cost over 11 years: $258
- Filters a wide range of contaminants including: heavy metals, chlorine and pathogens? Yes
Compared to a Brita water filter, a Big Berkey system fitted with a set of Black Berkey filter elements could conservatively save you $127 or more over the 11-year lifespan of the filter elements, before they would need to be replaced. These are conservative estimates; depending on your water consumption, the savings could be much, much higher. And if you are currently drinking bottled water, switching to a Berkey filter could literally save you thousands of dollars over an 11 year period!
If you are shopping for a water filter, it stands to reason that you want to remove potential contaminants that may be present in your drinking water. It's safe to say, the list of contaminants that can be removed should play an important role in influencing your decision.
Unlike Brita filters, the Berkey water filter systems fitted with Black Berkey filter elements have been tested and proven to remove pathogens (bacteria and viruses) to > 99.9999%, as well as a wide range of hazardous contaminants typically found in drinking water. While Brita filters can remove some common pharmaceutical pollutants, they are not capable of removing many common drinking water contaminants including viruses, and rather are only able to reduce some of these levels. So, effectively many contaminants that are removed by a Berkey, are not removed at all by the Brita, or are still present and just at lower concentrations. So, you must be aware that the Brita is not protecting you and your family to the same degrees as the Berkey.
A more detailed contaminant removal comparison between the Berkey and Brita can be found here.
Verdict: Brita or Berkey?
Brita home water filters continue to be extremely popular, largely due to their affordability. But, when the overall costs together with their filtering capabilities are compared side by side, Berkey water filter systems stand out as being far superior in terms of their affordability and quality.
When you purchase a Berkey you can rest assured you are investing in a top quality water filter that will continue to supply your family with the safest drinking water for years to come without breaking the bank.