This is a review for my Big Berkey / Doulton water filtration system. I live in California and was informed by Berkey that they can only ship the smaller units to California due to a lead-free certification that Berkey did not yet have. They could only ship the travel size or the plastic one because those were supposed to be for travel/outdoor use.
The Travel Berkey would be too small for my family and I did not want plastic because some people said they had a problem with mold growing inside it. I wanted the stainless steel housing.
I read a review on the Berkey website from someone who lived in California and had bought a Doulton stainless steel housing without the filters and put Black Berkey filters in it. I emailed both Doulton and Berkey and they both assured me that the two were compatible. I ordered Doulton’s Aqua Cera SS4 (has holes for 4 filters) from www.freshwatersystems.com and four Black Berkey filters from www.berkeyfilters.com.
I have set it up and it all fits and is operating just fine. The water has good taste and the stainless steel is beautiful. Just be sure to prime the filters first to purge the air bubbles, otherwise the water will have a hard time filtering through. (They come with a gasket-looking thingy that attaches to your faucet to prime them) Also be sure to throw out the first batch of water because it has a metallic taste from the first run through the filters. I had a problem with a leaky spigot at first.
No matter how tightly I turned the inside nut it would leak between the housing and the gasket. This was a common problem in the reviews on Berkey also. I called Doulton directly and was told to install the spigot “upside down” and screw the nut on the inside as tight as I could. Then, holding the nut on the inside, give the spigot a half turn so the spigot points down as it should. Evidently this little extra tork makes the difference because it has not leaked since.
Customer Service at Doulton was excellent. They picked up the phone right away and gave me a clear solution. Berkey customer service was excellent also. They e-mailed me promptly when I asked about compatibility with Doulton. Black Berkey filters sure are pricey but after doing a lot of research on water filters I was convinced they are the best.
Also, if you are filtering water that is not too dirty, such as tap water, these filters could last for ten years. I would advise you to e-mail Doulton and Berkey yourself before you buy just to make sure compatibility has not changed since I made my purchase.