Berkey vs Reverse Osmosis Review : Which Is The Best?
Berkey countertop water filters are among the most well-known low-cost water filtration options. Berkey devices do not require a water or electricity supply, making them suitable for usage in a variety of cases.
They are reasonably priced and require little installation or upkeep. Berkey’s filters are an excellent solution for consumers who want to drink clean water without having to buy single-use water bottles.
However, for those looking for the most thorough contaminant removal, Berkey purification filters, despite being advertised to eliminate more than 200 toxins, may fall short. Reverse osmosis filters 95 to 99% of total dissolved solids (TDS) in drinking water.
It is believed that there are residues of hundreds of contaminants in the drinking water of the ordinary home, and a reverse osmosis system can remove the bulk of them.
In this post, we will compare Berkey vs reverse osmosis. We will dive into each water filter system to demonstrate how they work, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each system. Hopefully, this review can provide you with a better understanding of the filtration system to install.
Why? This is due to the fact that having more than one filter system installed in your home would be inconvenient.
Comparing Reverse Osmosis Filter vs Berkey
Berkey purification systems are countertop filtration systems that steadily channel water over time. Berkey’s units are spherical and hollow, shaped like large tin cans and made of silver stainless steel. They are made up of two chambers, one on top of the other, with a combination of Black Berkey purification components isolating the two.
When water enters the Berkey’s top chamber, it flows through the Black Berkey purification elements, which trap pollutants and allow pure water to pass into the lower chamber. Because they are not connected to a water source, the Berkey systems do not use water weight control to constrain water through the components. They instead rely on gravity to channel tap water at a slower rate.
Reverse Osmosis filters are designed in the exact opposite way as Berkey: they are connected to a water supply, commonly beneath a kitchen sink, but sometimes at a home’s water supply point. Typically, the systems include a pre-stage sediment filter, an activated carbon or carbon block filter, and a post sediment filter.
RO systems are distinguished by their reverse osmosis membrane. Water is driven through this membrane, which has tiny pores that only small water particles can pass through. Chemicals, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are too big to pass through the membrane and are flushed away with the wastewater.
Removing Contaminants with Reverse Osmosis or Berkey System Water?
While reverse osmosis systems provide more complete filtration, the Berkey system still provides a high level of pollutant removal, particularly for a countertop water filter. Both kinds of filtration remove typical contaminants such as heavy metals, chlorine, VOCs, pesticides and herbicides, as well as microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
Pathogenic bacteria such as e-coli and giardia are not removed by some reverse osmosis systems. This is why many reverse osmosis systems incorporate an ultraviolet (UV) light designed to kill bacteria, or they use a carbon post filter to handle bacteria removal.
However, in a UV environment, if the water is turbid, shaded spots in the water can prevent some bacteria from being exposed and killed. Furthermore, if the UV lamp is installed prior to the bladder tank, germs can proliferate in the bladder tank itself. If this tank is not disinfected on a regular basis, it might become a source of bacterial contamination.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the leftovers of dead bacteria can be found in the filtered water of the system that uses a UV lamp.
Berkey water filters remove pathogenic germs to a log 7 degree and keeps them out of your drinking water. Log 7 represents a bacteria removal rate of 99.9999%.
However, a reverse osmosis filter can be used to treat surface, ground, and brackish water in both small and high flow applications. An RO system uses simple methods to provide clean and safe drinkable water, which is why certain industries have chosen this technology.
There is, however, a problem with RO systems. Reverse osmosis, on the other hand, removes beneficial minerals from water, such as calcium, potassium, iron, cobalt, and manganese. As a result, if anyone in your home does not eat a well-balanced diet and you do not re-mineralize your RO water, they are at risk of mineral deficiency.
The filters that come standard with all of the berkey water filter systems are specifically intended to leave the beneficial minerals in the water to avoid this harmful cycle of bodily demineralization.
Performance Difference : Berkey Filter vs Reverse Osmosis
Because they are gravity water filters, the Berkey purification elements filter water more slowly than reverse osmosis filters, which provide a more instantaneous drinking water solution. When it comes to speed, the Berkey systems take longer to thoroughly filter water — the 2.75-gallon Berkey, for example, takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes to filter a full chamber of water.
However, if you have the patience to wait for a Berkey filter to do its job, you will be extremely pleased with its water quality results.
Berkey purification systems have been independently evaluated by scientists, providing assurance that the Berkey elements can remove all contaminants claimed by the manufacturer, including heavy metals, fluoride, chlorine, fluorine, and other dangerous pollutants. They do this without eliminating beneficial minerals from the water, such as calcium and magnesium.
Though the performance of Berkey’s filters genuinely lives up to the company’s claims, it would be advantageous for Berkey to receive an NSF certification for pollutant removal, which would help put an end to the disputed internet reviews saying that Berkey is a hoax.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
When the performance of Berkey and reverse osmosis are compared, reverse osmosis comes out on top. If your home’s water pressure is sufficient – at least 40 PSI – you shouldn’t have to wait more than a second to receive clean water.
When you turn on your faucet, the water that flows through your plumbing will pass through the reverse osmosis system, producing the filtered water that comes out of your faucet.
In general, reverse osmosis systems can provide high-quality performance in terms of efficacy. The best RO systems can remove up to 99.9% of pollutants, including pesticides, herbicides, viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, sediment, sulfate, arsenic, turbidity, hardness, and TDS. Many reverse osmosis water filtration units are NSF certified to remove these toxins from tap water as well.
One thing to keep in mind about RO systems is that they produce filtered water in a relatively wasteful manner. The only major performance drawback of the systems is that as water is pumped through the RO membrane, contaminated effluent is dumped down a drain. If you want to keep drinking tap water at the same level, RO filters may not be for you.
Installation of Reverse Osmosis and Berkey Water Filter Comparison
The Berkey system, on the other hand, is inferred for the lamen and does not require any ability. After receiving a Berkey, the total time spent preparing and gathering is approximately 10 – 15 minutes.
The Berkey is standalone and works independently of your plumbing, allowing you to relocate and install the system wherever you like.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
The installation of an RO system is not difficult, but you will need someone who is either nearby or has some plumbing knowledge to do the task. A few companies will do this for free, and some RO systems are DIY.
This is determined by the size of the system, the company, and any contracts made.
Models & Upfront Costs Between Berkey vs Reverse Osmosis
Berkey systems are reasonably priced for drinking water filter solutions. The Berkey comes in a variety of sizes, and the larger the size, the more expensive it is.
A Berkey countertop device with two included Berkey purification components costs between $250 and $360. There is also the option of purchasing a water filter together with the other two Berkey purification components for an extra $100.
Here is a list of the systems that are available:
- The Travel Berkey (1.5 gallons)
- The Big Berkey (2.25 gallons)
- The Berkey Light (2.75 gallons)
- The Royal Berkey (3.25 gallons)
- The Imperial Berkey (4.5 gallons)
- The Crown Berkey (6 gallons)
Berkey’s Big and Royal Berkey systems are intended for small to medium-sized families, while the Crown and Imperial Berkey systems are intended for large families. The Berkey Light is a less expensive alternative to the Big Berkey and the Royal Berkey, and Berkey’s Travel version has a portable design that is ideal for traveling.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Reverse Osmosis systems are among the most expensive water filtration options available. They typically range in price from $300 to $1,000, with some exceeding $1,000 — notably whole-house RO systems.
An RO system, on the other hand, is a terrific buy, and you might be able to locate one for under $250.
Under-sink RO systems and whole-home RO systems are the two basic types of Reverse Osmosis systems. The following are some well-known reverse osmosis systems:
- Waterdrop G3 Reverse Osmosis System
- NU Aqua Tankless Reverse Osmosis System
- NU Aqua 7 Stage Reverse Osmosis System
- Pentair-Pelican PRO-RO Reverse Osmosis System
Under sink RO systems connect to the cold water pipe in the storage area beneath a kitchen faucet.
The majority of these systems are rather large, with numerous individual water filter cartridges. Their design, which includes a wastewater pipe, makes them difficult to install unless you are a plumbing expert.
Entire home RO systems are essentially similar, but they often have a greater capacity and are put at a home’s water entry point – typically, in a basement or garage, before the water reaches the heater.
An added benefit of the system is the ability to add new components to the system, such as UV lights, which kill all microorganisms in filtered water, making it safer to drink.
Filter Lifespan & Replacement Costs
Berkey’s filtration components have an outstanding 6,000 gallon lifespan per pair, which means that once you’ve set up the system with the introductory components, you won’t have to worry about buying replacements for at least four years.
It is recommended that we consume half a gallon of water every day, which means that if you have a family of four, you should drink approximately two gallons of water per day. When you compare this to the 6,000-gallon life expectancy of the Berkey’s elements, you can see how you won’t have to put any money into the system for a long time after your first purchase.
Given their excellent lifespan, it’s no surprise that the Berkey purification elements are more expensive to replace, costing roughly $120 for a set of two.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
Reverse Osmosis membranes typically last two years before needing to be replaced, thus there isn’t much care necessary for the membranes themselves after the system is set up.
The carbon and sediment filter cartridges that come with the system will most likely need to be replaced on a more regular basis, such as every 6 months or once a year. A Reverse Osmosis System requires more maintenance than a Berkey unit since water filtering is divided into several stages, each requiring its own water filter.
A replacement RO filter costs between $30 and $50. Replacement water filters range in price from $10 to $40, depending on the brand.
Despite the fact that the prices are lower than Berkey’s, when you add them up and consider that they will need to be paid more frequently, Berkey’s filter components end up being less expensive in the long run. When comparing Berkey with RO systems, the former is the more cost-effective option.
Reviews & Complaints Comparison between Reverse Osmosis vs Big Berkey
The majority of Berkey’s customers are pleased with their countertop water filter devices, believing that they function in accordance with the brand’s filtered water claims. Berkey’s Big Berkey, the company’s most popular product, has a good 4.7 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, based on 865 reviews.
Customers like that the Berkey allows them to break their habit of drinking from single-use water bottles, allowing them to live more environmentally conscious lives.
Many users commented on how simple the system is to operate, and that while a fridge filter and a water filter pitcher failed, Berkey’s offering proved effective – especially in houses with extremely hard water. Others complimented the Berkey systems for their capacity to remove fluoride, which is something that not many countertop water filter units can achieve.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Depending on the model, customer reviews for RO filtered water systems are mixed. When comparing Berkey’s countertop filtration option to one of the most popular RO systems, the Waterdrop WD-G3-W, reviews are nearly identical.
Based on their reviews, 633 customers rated the Waterdrop an average 4.7 star rating, with buyers particularly happy with how tiny the system is compared to other RO water filter systems.
Though reverse osmosis systems are harder to install than Berkey’s countertop systems, consumers were generally pleased with the installation procedure, and the majority were able to do so without the assistance of a plumber.
Customers were pleased with the quality of their RO filtered water, with several stating that it tasted as good as their favorite bottled water. Customers that tested their water TDS before and after RO filtration discovered a considerable drop in TDS in water, from hundreds to 20-30.
When it comes to water waste, the Waterdrop is an extremely efficient device that only wastes water at a 1:1 ratio.
Customers did, however, comment that this was a disadvantage of utilizing a reverse osmosis system in general: water waste is unavoidable in the process. Because of the nature of their filtration technology, RO systems are unlikely to ever be able to function without waste water, but customers hope that the Waterdrop will improve to become even more effective in the future.
Berkey vs Reverse Osmosis: Pros & Cons
Berkey – Pros
No need to connect to water or electricity
Berkey’s filtration systems do not require electricity and are not connected to a water supply. This means you may use them anywhere, whether at home, on vacation, or during a power outage or an unforeseen problem with your water supply.
Filter out a wide range of contaminants
Berkey’s filtration elements are among the best available for a tabletop water filter today. They filter an unusually wide range of contaminants, including fluoride and bacteria, which are not treated by conventional countertop water systems.
Berkey – Cons
Not NSF certified
Berkey’s systems have a significant drawback in that they are not NSF certified to remove pollutants from water. Though all of Berkey’s water filter solutions are individually tested by an independent manufacturer, obtaining NSF certification would greatly assist the company in gaining the trust of a new consumer.
Reverse Osmosis – Pros
Very thorough filtration
Reverse osmosis systems are among the most thorough filtration methods available. There isn’t much a reverse osmosis system can’t remove, making them perfect for use in homes with particularly high TDS levels in water.
Long-lasting and durable
The average RO system can last 10 to 15 years if the filter components and RO membrane are changed as suggested. The filter elements themselves are also long-lasting, lasting between 6 months and 2 years.
Reverse Osmosis – Cons
In general, you should expect to pay more for a RO system than you would for one of Berkey’s countertop filtration alternatives. You should budget for several water filter element changes, which will be increasingly regular.
Water is always wasted during reverse osmosis as an unavoidable byproduct of the process.
Beneficial Minerals Are Removed
Minerals that are beneficial to humans are eliminated from water along with all the bad stuff during the RO process.
Conclusion: Which Should You Get?
Drinking directly from your tap water or well water may not be safe for you and your family. As a result, you need to install a water filtration system in your home to remove pollutants and hazardous bacteria from the water.
While the thought of purchasing a low-cost, simple canister that can remove various toxins with a high level of reduction sounds enticing, the science simply does not support the claims. Some of the most common water purification systems are Berkey and reverse osmosis systems.
You can select which one to install based on your preferences. However, when comparing Berkey vs. Reverse Osmosis, we choose Berkey since it removes 99.9999 percent of germs while leaving vital minerals in the water.
The Berkey filter is difficult to surpass in terms of value for money. If you have the space for the Berkey in your kitchen, etc., we believe it is a no-brainer for individuals who want the highest quality filtered water at a low lifetime cost of use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a good alternative to reverse osmosis?
Berkey water filter devices are an excellent substitute for a reverse osmosis system. The first and most important reason we advise utilizing a Berkey is the quality of the water. It purifies by removing over 99.99% of viruses, harmful bacteria, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and numerous other pollutants while retaining essential minerals.
The elements used in the systems such as the Big Berkey and Royal Berkey models are as effective as Reverse Osmosis Systems. This is owing to its one-of-a-kind structure.
The Berkey purification elements are made up of small pores that catch dangerous pollutants. The filters contain a new substance that attracts molecules and viruses due to its adsorption and ion exchange properties.
What is reverse osmosis water?
The method of forcing water across a semipermeable membrane using a high-pressure pump is known as reverse osmosis. The end product is clean water that is free of chemicals, germs, and minerals. While this may appear to be a benefit, it can equally be a drawback.
When you remove the bad from your water, you also remove the good. Minerals including iron, potassium, calcium, cobalt, and manganese are no longer available. If the consumer does not eat a well-balanced diet and does not re-mineralize the water, they are more likely to suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
According to a World Health Organization study, using RO water for cooking results in a significant loss of all essential nutrients in foods such as vegetables and meat. This can amount to a 60% loss in magnesium and calcium, a 66% reduction in copper, a 70% reduction in manganese, and an 86% reduction in cobalt.
What is the difference between Big Berkey and Royal Berkey?
The only difference is their size. Big is 2.1 gallons while the Royal is 3.1 gallons.
Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Bacteria from Water?
Yes, reverse osmosis systems are designed to provide clean water by filtering water to remove any harmful bacterial. The average pore size of a RO filter is 0.0001 microns. Hence, it is important to know your water sources as common bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli are usually present. Thus, you should invest in getting a reverse osmosis system as the choice of your filtration method.