Reviews

Bottle Wars: On the Search for the Best Water Filter

I never liked the taste of London tap water, but I just put up with it. The thought of all of those plastic bottles ending up in landfill or polluting our environment made me so sad. But my partner was a fan of mineral water and I was upset to see packs of plastic bottles arriving from the supermarket each week.

It was something we couldn’t agree on. I reasoned that plastic was killing the planet, and was a potential health hazard due to the ingestion of microplastics. He said that tap water could contain all sorts of chemicals, that he hated the taste of the chlorine, and that not drinking enough water was also a health hazard!

Stalemate.

What could I say to that? One of the reasons I never drank enough water is because I didn’t like the taste of tap water either. In fact I often felt dehydrated.  I knew I had to find a solution.

Brita Filters

We’d tried Brita water filters in the past, but they took up quite a bit of room in the fridge and needed constant refilling. The cartridges also needed replacing at least every 12 weeks which produced yet more waste. Although the cartridges could be recycled it made me wonder how many people actually went out of their way to take them back to the store. My main issue was that my Brita jug would start to show signs of mould build-up around the lid components (even soon after cleaning) and it put me off using it.

Under Sink Water Filters

We then considered the filters which fix under the sink, but our kitchen doesn’t have separate taps for drinking and washing up water. This meant that the filters would have filtered all of our water, shortening the lifespan of the filter and making it expensive to maintain.

Berkey Water Filters

Then we discovered the Berkey water filter: a standalone filtration system which can filter water for up to 10 years.  We did a lot of research around the Berkey, which had glowing reviews. We were intrigued; could this filter really live up to the hype?

Not only are Berkey filters vegan friendly (none of the components have been produced using animal products or derivatives), there are Berkey stockists all over the world, so they can be purchased pretty much everywhere.

Why a Berkey?

Berkey filters are said to be able to ‘safely transform any type of water into safe drinking water, including rain water and pond water’. It filters out pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, sediment, sedimentary minerals and heavy metal ions (like lead which can come from lead pipes). For those concerned with fluoride, Berkey also offer an additional fluoride filter which may be added to the units. If you live in the UK, you can find out about fluoride zones using the map produced by DEFRA (2012).

Unlike water distillers and purification technology using reverse osmosis, the Berkey purifies the water whilst still retaining major minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as trace minerals like chromium, copper and zinc, which are important for health.

The Verdict

We’re really pleased with our purchase to date. My partner no longer buys bottled mineral water from the supermarket because our drinking water is now pleasant to drink and I’m staying hydrated. Win! We even done a blind taste test and the smell and taste of chlorine in the tap water sample was really apparent. The filtered water is noticeably ‘softer’, so you don’t get that harsh  feeling at the back of your throat when you swallow.

We chose the smallest filter in the range, the Travel Berkey, which holds 5.7 litres. It’s more than adequate for the two of us plus our dog and cat. As the reported fluoride levels in London appear to be relatively low, we decided not to purchase the additional fluoride filters. We did opt to buy a stand to put the unit on but this isn’t essential if you can situate the unit on the edge of the counter (to accommodate the tap).

The product itself is made of durable stainless steel with two internal filters. We have a traditional ‘country’ kitchen but it doesn’t look out of place. It’s also really easy to clean and use.

The only down side is that we can’t see how much water the base unit contains so don’t know when it’s empty. Thankfully it doesn’t take long to filter once topped up – and if this really is an issue then Berkey sell a ‘sight glass spigot’ to track the water level. The filters are sadly unrecyclable but I personally felt this was outweighed by the 10 year lifespan.

Price and Value for Money

Berkey Filters start from £224 for the travel version. This may seem expensive but when we worked out how much my partner was spending on bottled water this handy filter pays for itself after a year or two. Do the maths for yourself or see my example below:

NHS guidelines recommend drinking at least 1.2 litres a day. You can pick up fairly inexpensive bottled water at the supermarket for around 50p for two litres which works out at £110 per person, per year. If there are at least two people in your household then the Travel Berkey will have paid for itself over within a year. With each set of Berkey filters lasting up to 23,000 litres, this works out as equivalent to over £5000 in bottled water. That’s a whopping 11,500 two-litre plastic bottles!

To find out more about Berkey water filters and to purchase from the UK / EU stockist, see the affiliate link here.

Affiliate Links

Please note that this is independent review, based purely on my own experience and research. We paid the full price for our Berkey and were not asked to provide any recommendations by the company. I’ve been so impressed with the product that I have since signed up to an affiliate scheme. This means that I will earn a small commission, at no cost to you, should you purchase through the links in this post. Any commission I receive helps to me to pay for things like hosting and domain fees so I continue creating great content and helping to spread the vegan message. Thanks to everyone for supporting my work; together we can change the world.

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