A Review of the British Berkefeld Water Filtration System

Review By Jason in Virginia

I recently purchased and received a British Berkefeld Water FIltration System, and here is a general run down on my thoughts and experiences with it thus far.

Pre-Purchase and Purchase

I did quite a bit of research on water filtration systems prior to purchase. Water had been a continuous source of concern, a hole in my preps, if you will, for some time. I had 10 packs of 24 count bottled water stored and rotated, but I knew that was woefully inadequate for any extended SHTF scenario.

It seemed a cruel irony, considering that 75 yards from my front door is a canal, but I wouldn’t consider that potable water by any means. I had to have a means of securing drinking water that wouldn’t take up too much space.

The Berkey turned out to be the perfect solution. It’s reliability is well-known, its reputation is strong, its results unquestioned. Unfortunately, for me, its price tag was also prohibitive. Every where I checked the units were, minimum $225.00. You know how many bullets and instant mashed potatoes I can buy for $225.00???? I was discouraged.

Alas, sometimes what we are looking for is right under our nose. One Saturday afternoon, while conduction my daily visit to thesurvivalistblog.net on my smart phone, I noticed an ad in the lower right corner. LPC Survival. Hmph, never heard of them. 1 click later, and lo and behold, I am staring at the British Berkefeld Water Filtration Filter. A quick glance at the price has my eyes about shoot from there sockets. $184.99, free shipping.

Being the natural sceptic that I am, I called the 800 number. It was picked up on the second ring by a person, not an automated system. Awesome. I asked Jeff (the Berkey Guy, you should give him a call) a few questions about the differences in the Berkey Black filters and the Ceramic filters, just as friendly and as personable as if I were talking to him over a ball game in the local bar. He was straightforward and honest, asked what my concerns were, and pointed me to the British Berkefeld. It’s just my wife and I, my concerns aren’t heavy metals, get the 2 ceramic filters model, he says. You can always upgrade filters later if you decide. Done Deal.

Receipt and Installation:

Shipping was reasonable fast, and certainly a value for free. I received an e-mail the Monday after ordering thanking me for my order, and saying I would receive it in 5-7 business days. It arrived in 4 business days. Can’t beat that. Installation is a snap. Simply wash down the filters and prime them.

You do this by running water through them directly from the tap to ensure that they do not get air-locked. Then run the stem of the filters through the holes in the upper chamber, making sure the rubber washer is seated properly. Secure it with the wingnut on the other side. Then install the spigot using the other two included rubber washers in the bottom chambers. Pour your 2.5 gallons of water in the upper chamber and let the party start. It really is Obama Proof.

Sidenote: Be sure to follow the enclosed instructions on disposing of your first 2.5 gallons of filtered water to condition the filters.


I tried it with my local tap water, which I NEVER drink. It has a terrible metallic taste, but the tap water filtered through the Berkey was crisp and delicious. Better than bottled water, in my opinion. Then I tried it in the local canal water, and, though I noticed the filtration process took a little longer, the water was also excellent (yes, I was scared when I took my first sip). So I highly recommend a Berkey water filter to everyone. It’s portable, and effective.

It’s definitely a more expensive prep item, and it doesn’t have a trigger or go bang (I too was disappointed when I saw this shortcoming), but not every expensive prep can be as sexy as that new Taurus Mill Pro .45… (and that review is coming soon 🙂

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Thanks Jason, this too has been a concern of mine until I read your review. I will give Jeff a call today. Thanks again.

  2. I could not afford the Berkey… So I looked around and found the Monolithic Ceramic Filter, by the British Baptist Men’s organization. It was tested by John Hopkins and is used in their missionary work around the world. It appears to be just as effective and it cost me $24.00 when I bought it… You have to supply the Buckets (food grade plastic). Price has gone up but it’s still under $50.00.

  3. Correction: Texas Baptist Men’s organization

  4. Thanks Jason!

    I’ve been looking at MD’s idea on building your own with the Berkefeld filters but haven’t gotten that far. This is on my ‘get it’ list. I’m saving but it’s a big chunk for something that doesn’t keep away zombies or blue helmets. They almost seem like a coupon to me, given the costs at other sites, looked at the site (thanks for the link) and saved in fav’s.

    Their price will let me get to it faster. I’ve really been worrying about this one. I’ve got 200 gallons of stored water but in a TEOTWAWKI it’s just not enough to keep my family and neighbors (know they’ll come) going.

    • Debbie, cheaperthandirt has filters spigots very affordable. I bought 2 sets plus extra candle filters.

  5. JP in MT says:

    I also have a Berkey water filter. I ended up with a Royal because when I went to order a Big Berkey, they we out and upgraded me at no additional cost. Now that I have increased the number of people that may “show up” at my door I’m glad I got the bigger one.

    I also had a great customer service experience. I posted their response before on the difference between the black and white filter elements. The response was quick and friendly. I really liked that. They gained another positive customer with that email.

  6. Jason & MD,

    I cannot thank both of you enough for this positive review on a great system. I had no idea about this review, and I really appreciate you posting it. I will check the comments on this review and answer any questions that I can.

    Jeff – The Berkey Guy

    • Tinfoil Hat says:


      Thanks for the great experience. Love the Brit Berk!

    • Bam Bam says:

      Jeff, The Berkey Guy,

      Could you possibly answer two questions: what is the difference between the Big Berkey and the British Berkfield? What is the difference between the ceramic filters and the black filters? Oh, and a third question, can the British Berkfield be purchased with the black filters?

      • Differences between Black Berkey Elements & White Ceramic Filters:

        White ceramic filter elements:
        Last anywhere between 2000-3000 gallons per set of 2.
        They reduce Chlorine up to 90 percent.
        They remove Pathogenic Bacteria to 99.99 percent, according to the tests at Spectum Labs in Arizona.
        Easy to clean, as the filter collects contaminants on the outside of the filters. Just brush on the outside of the white ceramic filters.
        Contains an inner core of carbon, but not as powerful at removing contaminants than the black berkey elements.
        Does not remove any viruses from the water.

        Black Berkey elements:
        Last about 6000 gallons.
        Last about 2-3 years or more, but based on usage.
        Made of coconut shell carbon, the superior class of carbon.
        Cleaned by back flushing or priming the filters, which involves pushing water through the filters backwards.
        The black berkey elements absorb many of the contaminants, so that is why they need to be primed every 3 months.
        Removes almost all the contaminants the white filters will remove, but to a higher level.
        It removes pretty much all of the chlorine, 99.999999%, and VOC’s, to the same level. Has been tested by the same lab as the white ceramic filters, and the tests show that the black berkey elements remove contaminants to a higher level.
        Removes some viruses to non-detectable levels.

        We personally use a Royal Berkey with 2 Black berkey elements. We recommend people purchase the black berkey elements, but the white ceramic filters are still good filters and have been around for over 100 years in Britian.

        The White ceramic filters are 7″ or 9″ in length. The 7″ filters are the only ones sold in Britian, as the 9″ are custom made for New Mellenium Concepts, the creators of the black berkey elements. The 9″ filters are only sold in the USA.

        • Jeff – Thanks for all the great information, you have cleared up many misconceptions on the part of a great many people and it is certainly appreciated. I purchsed a set of the 9″ black filters but have set them back for use in the event of crisis in which my well might become compromised. I researched filters for months prior to deciding on the Berkey black filters, but this is the first time I have heard of the need to ‘back wash’ them periodically. I just rechecked the included instructions (I obtained them from New Mellenium – product date 3/11) and found no mention of this. Could you possibly elaborate on this ‘priming’ – the procedure to follow, how often it should be done, do’s & don’t’s, etc. I am aware of the priming to be done prior to inital use, but not of priming to ‘clean’ the filter. Thank you for you time and assistance.

  7. SurvivorDan says:

    Wow! Nice work Jason.
    I often ramble incoherently about being a desert dweller and my water woes. I have a canal nearby and count on boiling water from it. Even though I know it may have pesticides, excrement and other farming effluvium in it. Can’t boil out heavy metals. Will get on that website and check out the specs. Thanks.

  8. SurvivorDan says:

    Googled it. I’m not awake yet but other than a reference to (MTBEs/1200 gal) I can’t find the gal/filter specs. ?

  9. Caoimhin says:

    I to have gone with they Monolithic Ceramic Filter. Great article by the way. I am making up the Monolithic filters and buckets as gifts for family now. I put 2 filters in mine so my cost is just over $50. I would like to get the Berkey but just can’t afford it right now as I try to stock up on ammo and silver. A mad rush to buy guns and ammo is happening I am blown away how fast stuff is selling. I would also love to be able to build a Monolithic Dome home for my retirement retreat. Those babys will stand up to most anything. FEMA is giving grants in Tornado Alley to build them as tornado shelters. After filtering the canal water did you still add clorox?

  10. When I first started to get serious about prepping a year and a half ago I purchased the travel berkey which came with the berkey sport bottle for free for $139, don’t remember where I ordered it from. I got the travel which collapses to the size of a large juice can and has a black carry bag because of the price and since it was just me alone that I was buying for. I put the sport bottle in the get home bag and figure since I now have water stored and a source close buy and many different ways to make it potable the berkey will be a good backup. I do plan to get some of the monolithic filters and make a bucket system also remember one is none and two is one plus the travel berkey is by my bug out bag and will be easy to carry if bug out is needed. Now I am playing around with making a solar still out of some buckets and see how it works since it is pure distalation and will take care of heavy metals, pesticides or anything else that can contaminate water, you can even purify your own urine with one.

  11. Bam Bam says:


    Thank you for the review. I am planning on purchasing a some kind of Berkey in the next month. So your review was both timely and helpful.

  12. Thanks PJ! You are always there with an extra tidbit for me!!!

  13. SheepDog says:

    I have used the Big Berkey for years and have had a very positive experience with it. The only negative I can think of is I got a couple/few of the filters back when they had an issue with the adhesive that held them together.

    I did learn a great positive from it since I was down to one filter candle and did not feel like opening a new set of filters up when I learned that using one filter candle reduced maintenance and had plenty of flow for several folks living day to day with it as their water source.

    After that experience I have run a single filter ever since and would only use multiples if I was dealing with a big crowd since it is quick and easy and does a great job for me.

    I would recommend buying a couple of spares for it since stuff seems to happen with daily use. A spare spigot has come in handy when someone broke my first one off with careless material handling. Also a couple spare filter hole plugs are useful since I run only one filter and have also had one of them crack on me when taking everything apart for a good cleaning.

    The spares are cheap enough to keep a few of everything likely to break in a zip lock back handy for when something goes wrong.



  14. Since JoJo and I live in a RV storage is limited. Large quantity of water was out of the question.Since there is a 3 to 4 acre pond within 100 feet of the door I ordered a Berky Light from LPC, Jeff the Berky guy.
    Service was excellent. Shipping was fast.

  15. We have had our BERKEY for over 2 years now and replace the filters yearly. Our city water full of chemicals as most are so we have the black units and the flouride unit also. The taste is great and I highly recommend it. I would trust it with any water source.

  16. I didn’t really care to invest in the stainless steel that make up the containers for these filters, so I bought two of the black Berkey filters (the heart of the system) for $107.00/free shipping. You can make up a very functional and durable water filter by using two plasitc buckets of the same size, placing one above the other. Each filter is supposed to treat up to 3,000 gallons, although of course it depends on the quality of the water to be treated and the amount of pre-filtering (coffee filter, bandanas, etc) done. This way you can tear down the water filter and remove the black Berkey filters for transport if the need arises, and you need to keep bulk and/or weight down. These filters are the top of the line, even removing food coloring from the water by way of demonstration. One thing to keep in mind is that these need to be handled with some degree of care as they can be broken if dropped or frozen (while containing water). Good luck!

  17. riverrider says:

    awesome job tin. even got THE MAN to log in! too cool. glad you got h2o covered as well.

  18. Still have one question with these types of filters, do you or do you not (maybe should one?) treat the water after filtering? Is the filter itself enough to make water safe and drinkable for cryto and such or is the “99.99%” in itself a safe level? Maybe the filter maker can finally answer that for us…

    • You do not have to treat.
      Yes and yes.
      The Berky guy web site will answer all if you read it all..

  19. I’ve been considering purchasing this item for some time now, and this review sealed the deal for me. Great job!

  20. Prepping Preacher says:

    are the Berkey or Berkefeld ceramic filters silver impregnanted..?? the Monolithic ceramics are which is why i went with them and food-grade plastic buckets… not as pretty but just as effective and the plastic buckets can endure a bit more “abuse” if there is a need to relocate them as opposed to potentially banging up the stainless containers…

  21. I have never hear about this water filter system. I have been constantly looking at ones that can be placed on or under the counter top. I also have a thing about water. I never drink water from work. It is so gross. So I bring 3 liters everyday. I also love the taste of fresh water and would really like to try this. Thanks for your review on this product.

  22. I purchased two of the ceramic filters off amazon for around $100 and mounted them in the bottom of a food grade bucket. Water drained through the filters fine, though slowly. I have a second bucket that I will install some bolts in to support the top bucket with filters when I need to filter water. Saved me quite a bit of money I can spend on food.

  23. Cheryl Jackson says:

    Be careful ordering from this company. They have sold defective filters in the recent past. And not only does the company refuse to issue a recall (or even bother to contact you about the problem) but they also will not replace those faulty filters for free 6 months after purchase. So, if you store your Berkey water filter system until a later time when you need it, if you received faulty filters, depending on how long since you purchased the unit, you will only get a partial refund on replacement filters, if any at all. This company will NOT replace their defective filters for free unless it is less than 6 months from purchase. So, if you save your pennies for several years until you can afford them and spend $629 on two Berkey filter systems for your family plus accessories, like I did, and you receive faulty filters, and when you get only 50% off the cost of replacement filters, you will have to spend another $160 (plus return shipping) just to have your systems up and running. That’s not right. Here’s one of many websites discussing this problem: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2843482/posts. You can take a chance that the company has fixed the problem and that all newly manufactured filters are safe, but who wants to take that risk when “defective filters allow untreated water to bypass the ceramic filter element entirely, and put unfiltered water into the lower chamber where only clean, filtered water should be.”

    • Cheryl Jackson,

      First of all I’ve dealt with Jeff at LPC Survival for over four years and he is a long time advertiser with many folks ordering from him through his banner on TheSurvvialistBlog.net and during those years I’ve never had anyone say anything bad about Jeff or his products.

  24. Well, JEFF – THE BERKEY GUY – How do you respond to this serious accusations? I, too, have placed my filters up for use in an emergency situation. I await your answer to these charges. The fact that they were not immdiately addressed has me wondering if there is perhaps some merit to them. MD, have you been able to substaniate or disprove these facts, one way or the other?

    • Mactex,

      If you go to amazon.com and read the reviews from the Big Berkey, many of them are deplorable. From what I have read (and I do not know if this is true), Berkey put out a bad batch of black filters in 2010. Reputable dealers replaced the filters. I do wonder about amazon, though–if you do a search for a Big Berkey, the British Berkfield is actually pictured.

      If M.D. says Jeff the Berkey guy is reputable, he is reputable. And I have yet to read a negative comment from someone here who has bought from Jeff and who has not been satisfied. In fact, I have only read positive reviews about Jeff’s business.

      I read the comment above from Cheryl Jackson. First, I do not know this woman. So I cannot vouch for her. Her opening line reads, “Be careful ordering from this company.” I would ask who she is referring to when she uses the pronoun “this”: is she referring to Jeff’s business, a sponsor of the blog, or to Berkey in general? My suspicion is that there are folks selling counterfeit filters on the internet.

      • Cheryl Jackson says:

        I’m sorry–I wasn’t trying to defamate Jeff. In fact, I kept his name out of my post, to protect his reputation. I meant, be careful buying products from the manufacturer of the Berkey water filter systems-New Millennium Concepts Ltd. The problem with faulty filters started in December 2010, and at this point, a year and a half later, replacements are not being offered. I suspect the company has probably lost too much money replacing them. It really is a serious issue–people’s health is at risk. I, personally, drank a lot of not-so-filtered chlorinated water because of this. I knew the water didn’t taste that great, but I thought the taste was as good as it got when filtering chlorinated water. From all that I have read about others’ dealings with New Millennium Concepts (Berkey systems manufacturer) — and my own experience — I would not buy anything from them again. I think I will make my own water filter system, just to be safe, following directions from an article on M.D.’s website.

  25. Cheryl Jackson says:

    Yes, M.D., I probably bought my Berkeys through an advertisement on your page, or maybe on NaturalNews.com. At any rate, I did not mention Jeff’s name at all—I believe he is a reseller of the Berkey systems—and I intentionally kept his name out of my post, even though I bought mine through him. Jeff is completely aware of this problem. (I have recent emails from him stating that I must pay to ship the defective filters back to the company and I will receive a prorated discount on new ones, based on how long it’s been since I purchased them (mine have been in storage and never used for over a year; I will get a 50% discount on new ones).

    So, what do you want proof of?

    The company admitting they sold faulty filters (by posting it somewhere on their website but not contacting the people who bought them—what good does that do?)

    MANY people have suffered the same as I. It is all over the web. The following statements were made on http://www.morethanalive.com/Black-Berkey-purifying-elements

    July 12, 2011 at 6:39 pm reply?
    I’ve used these filters for years and quite happily so – until recently. Four out of four filters have failed within a month of installation with the base separating from the filter. While I like the specifications of these filters, they have proven unreliable. I plan to use the white ceramic filters instead – not my first choice but I’ve grown weary of buying filtered water with my Big Berkey sitting forlornly on the counter.

    November 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm reply?
    One of my black Berkey filters separated from its base after six months.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm reply?
    DO NOT BUY…my first filters worked ok, but the second set detached from the base only after 2 months of use. And even more distrubing is that when they detached from the base you can see that they are held together by apoxy or some type of glue that is gobbed in there to hold it together, DIRECTLY coming into contact and sitting in the same water it is supposed to purify!!!

    December 4, 2011 at 12:21 am reply?
    My first set of filters lasted over two years of daily use. The second set of filters detatched at the plastic base after 6 months. The glue or adhesive seemed to be poorly applied. I am trying to search for a safe adhesive to re- attach the plastic bases back on the filters. I think I will purchase the white ceramic ones, and hopfully have better luck.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:43 am reply?
    I found one of my Black Berkey filter elements laying in the bottom of the top chamber this morning. Closer examination shows that it had not broken off, but simply came unattached as many other users have said. It’s a very, very poor design at best. The white glue/epoxy/(whatever) that attaches the filter medium to the base was NOT evenly dispersed at all. It appears to be a manufacturing defect. We’ve only had the Berkey Imperial for 7 months and filtered maybe 400 to 500 gallons. I am extremely disappointed !!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm reply?
    About 2 years ago, I too, had the filters separate from the bases after the first couple months of use. I had to contact the Berkey folks directly. They replaced the filters (after prorating my usage – which I think is wrong, but I digress). The new filters have worked fine ever since. As a matter of fact, I cleaned the filters for the first time since I installed them.
    Several months later, I was told that there were two bad batches that were manufactured. It’s a little worry some that people are still seeing this issue.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:52 am reply?
    so yeah i got a big berkey and ended up with 4 of the defective filters. i really didnt want to deal with the hassle of returning them, so i went to home depot and purchased a 4 dollar tube of clear silicon caulk. that did the trick, and they have lasted for months now. originaly they lasted a month. now they are still rolling along givin me good water.

    E Harris
    January 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm reply?
    I found this letter from the manufacturer on the internet about the separation issue. Looks like there were 2 bad batches and you can tell if your elements are among the bad ones by looking at the date of manufacture.

    March 3, 2012 at 9:34 pm reply?
    I bought a Royal Berkey in May 2011 and within 3 months both my original charcoal filters detached from their bases (More Than Alive was awesome and arranged to have those filters replaced for free). This afternoon my wife mentioned she was tasting chlorine again so I looked inside the Berkey and see one of the filters is detached from its base. So… 6 months for that one? In 9 months, 3 out of 4 filters have detached from their bases. I thought to look on this site to see if anyone else might have reported this problem. Sorry to hear of others having this issue, but at least I know I wasn’t the only one to have a bad experience. Or two bad experiences, I should say.
    I also think it’s pretty lame that it appears I need to pay a fee to get replacements? I haven’t looked too much into it so I hope I’m misunderstanding something. And while I understand the concept of pro-rated replacements, these filters are supposed to last me 2.5 – 5 years and they fail within a few months. Berkey, if you are acknowledging a manufacturing defect in your products, the least you can do it stand by them and issue free replacement filters. I’ve had 2 experiences this past year with manufacturers acknowledging product defects that have replaced them for free (companies like Apple and JBL… well not like them… those actual companies). AND I bought both of the replaced products… 5-6 YEARS before they were replaced. My iPod wasn’t even broken… Apple replaced it as a precautionary measure. By contrast, Berkey is acknowledging a defect with some of its filters. This should be a full blown recall of your filters, IMO.
    At this point I have ZERO faith in Berkey but I already wasted so much money on you, what’s another $50 in the hopes that MAYBE you figured out how to make a simple filter stick to its simple base. Well played Berkey… you already have $400 of my money, what’s another $50? I sure hope my shower filter isn’t a placebo filter.
    I’m going to get replacement filters and if these separate I might just upload a YouTube of me taking a baseball bat to my Royal Berkey. Maybe I can at least get my 15 minutes of fame out of this. Maybe I’ll create a video series on how many ways you can kill a Berkey.
    But seriously… I just want my $400 investment to last a while, but at this point I’m just hoping for 2 years.
    Also want to note… I know this isn’t a Berkey site and I want to say More Than Alive has been pretty good to work with. So this isn’t a bad review of More Than Alive, just Berkey. I normally don’t write reviews but I’m hoping to save someone some grief. My wife is pregnant with our 4th child and we’re about to embark on a strict diet for our entire family and one of the things they really warn against is consuming chlorinated water. So this couldn’t have come at a worse time. $300 filter system taking up counter space needlessly, and now I need to raid the store of their bottled water supply.

  26. Cheryl – I for one would like to thank you for bringing this issue to our
    attention. It is clear from the statement from Berky Filters (IE)(http://www.berkeywater.com/Element.pdf) that there have indeed been some filters made, and sold, with major defects. Without you having made me aware of this I would have continued to have depended on these filters as my main source of obtaining potable water in the event of an emergency, as they sit on my shelf awaiting just such a situation, untried and untested. I did not get the impression that you were attempting to soil anyone’s name or reputation, merely making us aware of a potentially fatal (in my case, at any rate) situation. The effect this may or may not have on any one person’s or business’s reputation will be decided by the manner in which these defective filters are made good. Mistakes happen in all aspects of business – the way in which the mistake is rectified is what determines how the person or company is viewed by the consumer, and will determine what my actions will be in regards to filing complaints and/or kudos with the proper agencies. Thanks again for speaking out and sharing this information.
    Mac Tex

    • Cheryl Jackson says:

      You’re welcome, Mac Tex. Thanks for the support and I’m glad the information helped you to see a potential major problem in your preps. One poster somewhere else suggested not relying on any premade water filters, and making your own system instead, which I need to look into. I’m also thinking about figuring out a way to use my defunct stainless steel Berkey containers for solar cooking/heating. If you’re in TX you get a lot more sun/heat for trying this than I do in MT. 🙂 Take care and good luck with all your preparedness and surviving whatever befalls us.

  27. you definitely need the bottom fluoride spf-4, i have the filter with top 4 and 4 bot spf-4

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