my berkey water filter

Big Berkey® Water Filter Review (What You Need To Know)

M.D. Creekmore Gear Reviews 7 Comments

my berkey water filter

My Big Berkey Water Filter…

Everyone knows that having clean potable water is one of the most important elements of survival. Breathable air, shelter in inclement weather, and clean drinking water are the survival priorities and in that order.  A healthy adult can go for several weeks without food but only a couple of days without hydration via clean drinking water.

I have a full-length article here that goes into great detail about water storage and purification. After you finish reading this Big Berky Water Filter Review go read that article. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you did and while you’re looking around the site go read my prepper food checklist for detailed food storage advice. 

When stockpiling supplies and gear for TEOTWAWKI it’s important to spend wisely. I see far too many preppers who spend far too much on guns and tactical gear and not enough on the basic necessities of survival like food, a good water filter, and medical supplies… and don’t forget training…

That’s another area that many skips over is training. You can have all of the cool tactical gear and top of the line medical supplies stored away but if you don’t have proper training in how to use those items effectively then when the chips are down and the balloon goes up then you’ll shit out of luck.

But I digress… let’s get back to the topic of this article and that’s the Big Berky Water Filter and why it’s one of the best investments that you can make when prepping for survival and bugging in. 

I’ve owned and used a Big Berkey Water Filter for years since 2011 to be exact, and I haven’t had any issues what-so-ever and it’s my number one choice for a water filter to be used at home or at a bug out location. Don’t get me wrong there are other filters and brands that work just as well, however, most are simply copies of the original Berkey design. So, why not just go with the Berkey in the first place.

The black Berkey filters are extremely effective at removing pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, chemical contaminants, and impurities. The filter elements have an indefinite shelf life and will filter at least 3,000 gallons of water before needing replacement. My extra filters are stored in zip-lock bags inside a small plastic tote.

When you buy a Berkey Water Filter it comes with 2-black purification elements, 2-sealing washers, 2-wing nuts, 1-priming button, and instruction sheet. 

Easy to Assemble

Reading about “purification elements” and priming buttons might sound complicated at first but it’s really simple and quick to get it all set-up and going. After you do it once you’ll be scratching your head at how easy it all actually was.

Black Berkey Filter Elements

Black Berkey Filter Elements…

I’ll be posting a video on my YouTube channel (Prepper Gear Lab) in a couple of days going over how to set up a Berkey Water Filter but for now, I will outline the steps below. 

  1. Wash your hands before proceeding to ensure that contamination of the filter components does not take place during assembly. 
  2. Remove parts from their protective packaging. Be sure to check the contents against the contents list to ensure that you have everything needed.
  3. Prime the Black Berkey filter elements (see the illustration below).
  4. Place the large sealing washer over the threaded mount of the Black Berkey purification element.
  5. Place the threaded mount into the hole in the interior base of the upper chamber.
  6. Secure the filter element in the base of the chamber by screwing the wing nut onto the threaded mount. Repeat #3 and #4 until all elements have been installed.

To prime your filters, use the steps below:

prime berkey filter

Once you have your Berkey filter assembled with the filters primed and in place (the Big Berkey can use up to four filter elements which makes it possible to filter water more quickly when compared to using fewer filter elements), it’s time to fill the upper chamber with water. Fill to just above the top of the filter elements and allow all of the water to filter into the lower chamber.

Once all of the water has filtered into the lower chamber open the spigot and let all of the water run out into the sink or other suitable location. This step is to flush the filter elements of any dust or anything that might have been trapped inside the elements.

Once this is done setup is complete and you’re now ready to refill the upper chamber to begin the purification process. It’s that easy.

Big Berkey Filter Specs:

  • Canister built from highly polished 304 stainless steel
  • Diameter: 8.25”
  • Fully assembled height: 19.25”
  • Height when packed for transport: 13”
  • Holding capacity: roughly 2.25 gallons (8.5 liters)
  • Rate of production:
    • 3.5 gallons (8.5 liters) per hour when using two Black Berkey®️ Elements included with the system
    • When using the maximum number of four Black Berkey®️ Elements the system can accommodate, the Big Berkey®️ can filter up to 7 gallons (26.5 liters) per hour.
  • Removes a range of metals, plastics, chemicals, and more from nearly any source of water (learn more about the contaminants that the Berkey®️ system removes from your drinking water)

The Bad… But No Longer An Issue.

Way back in 2010 there was an issue with some of the Black Berkey Filter Element being defective. It was an issue with the seal between the actual filter and the plastic end that attaches the filter to the chamber via the wingnut. But that was 10 years ago and it’s a non-issue. 

I bought my Big Berky Water Filter from my friend Jeff at USA Berkey Filters, he has some of the best prices with free (and super fast) shipping. And if you prefer to order your Big Berkey Filter through then you can do that too… Just click here to check the price and order through

Interesting links for more information…

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below… if you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll answer as quickly as possible.

Comments 7

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  1. No self respecting prepper would be without one of these and extra filters too. Its a great system for home or a base camp.

  2. MD,

    You really should check out the AquaRain 404 model. It works on the same principle as the Berkey but has superior filtration/purification and is made in the USA. I’ve been using mine with zero problems for 11 years now. Several friends of mine who have Berkey’s now use AquaRain filters in them. Here’s a link for you to check them out.

    1. Post

      I don’t know about the “superior filtration/purification” but I already own the Big Berkey and it’s worked well and continues to so I don’t see any point in changing (buying) another filter system.

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