What is the Best Home Water Filter System

droughtIn this post, you will discover what is the best home water filter system. Having a reliable way to filter water at home can save your life during a city-wide emergency.  Topics covered include suitability for urban survival, how long the system will last and how clean it can get your water.


After shelter, water is your highest survival priority. It is said that you can survive up to three days before dying of dehydration, but in reality, you will be feeling the effects of your lack of water in less than a day. Your mind will no longer be sharp and your decisions will become suspect. You will likely experience headaches, constipation, dizziness, mood changes, and cramps. After that, things get serious: fever, delirium, vomiting, and unconsciousness. So, yeah, water is really important and you should be drinking as much as eight glasses of clean water every day – that’s about a half gallon.

In modern cities, we usually take clean water for granted, yet our water supplies and water treatment plants are extremely vulnerable. In times of war, terror attacks, disasters, corruption, and/or social breakdown the local water supply can become unreliable at best and poisonous at its worst. While you can buy water today relatively cheaply at any convenience store in the city, supplies will dwindle and costs will rise exactly when you are at your most vulnerable. This is why the urban survivor always prepares ahead- rather than waiting for reality to bonk them on the head.

How thirsty are you?

How clean is your municipal tap water? The authorities are not keen on telling you. I had a friend from a small town who could not keep his tropical pet fish alive. After many deaths, he went back to the pet store from the Big City to complain. The pet store owner correctly guessed my friend’s hometown. It turned out that his small town water supply was full of arsenic and the fish couldn’t tolerate it. My friend had been drinking the unfiltered tap water for years and he had never known this important fact. And let’s not dwell on what happened to the Detroit water supply.

While it would be great to store a week’s or a month’s worth of water in your apartment or house, many people cannot afford the cost or find the space for such vital supplies. What you need, aside from a roof over your head is a water filter system that transforms nearly any source of water into clean, healthy potable water. The system also needs to work without electricity for those emergency times when the power grid is down. Additionally, it should be small enough to fit into a typical city apartment, yet provide enough water for the family’s daily use. Finally, this filtered water should be as safe as possible and economical enough to fulfill everyday hydration needs. The only water filtration system that meets all these requirements is the Big Berkey. This is why it remains one of the most powerful and popular water filters available, year after year.

Here is a video review of the Big Berkey by tylertalkstrash

Suitability for Urban Survival

Big Berkey Water Filter

The Big Berkey doesn’t take up much room on your countertop and can be placed in any room because it does not require electricity or a hook up to the local tap. In fact, the Berkey doesn’t have any machinery that can break down. Rather, it is a gravity fed, two-container system. After it is set up correctly, you pour water into the top which contains two or optionally four filters and wait for the water to be filtered down into the bottom container which can store 2.1 gallons of pure, clean water. The filtration rate for two filters is about a 3.5 gallons/hour, but dirtier water will take longer to filter. Since the Big Berkey is made of shiny stainless steel, it will last for years and look good at the same time.

Just how clean is Berkey water?

The Big Berkey doesn’t just filter the water, it purifies water. That is a technical standard which means it removes over 99.99% of viruses and bacteria, such as E. coli, Cryptosporidium, Salmonella, Giardia, Dysenteria, and Vibro Cholerae. It also removes 99.9% of many heavy metals such as lead, nickel, chromium, copper, mercury. The Big Berkey also contains removes fluoride and arsenic from your water. Furthermore, it removes bad odors, tastes, organic solvents, herbicides, and pesticides. As a bonus, it removes alpha and beta radiation from your water – I suppose you should clean or even change your filters if they start to glow in the dark! It will not remove salt or other healthy minerals, so don’t fill the Big Berkey with ocean water. The bottom line is that few if any home water filters will get your water any cleaner. Soon, you will get used to the taste of clean, healthy water and never want to go back to tap water or even the commercial mineral waters available for purchase.

water filter system

How well does Big Berkey do in a survival situation?

Many people have youtube videos in which they collect river water or even ditch water, strain out the sticks and clods, and then pour the undrinkable solution into the Big Berkey. Every time – clean fresh drinkable water comes out.  So, in a survival situation, if you can find water and get it into your Big Berkey, you will meet your hydration needs. Period. And, if you need to relocate, one container can fit into the other container for easy storage and travel. As a testimony to its reliability, many off-the-grid homesteaders rely on a Berkey as their main water filter, even for water that was captured running off of tar shingles. This water purification system will absolutely turn Detroit’s problematic water into clean Berkey water.

How long will the Berkey System last?

The stainless steel shell comes with a lifetime guarantee. A pair of black Berkey filters will last for 6000 gallons. So if two people each drink the government recommended .5 gallons a day, they will need replacement filters in 6000 days or 16 years. But, once you get used to Berkey filtered water, you will likely want to cook with the filtered water as well – experience shows that additional water use cuts the filter lifetime to 8 years. The Big Berkey system also comes with a second set of white filters which remove the fluoride and other heavy ions. These white filters only last a third as long. If the water filtration slows down, the filters may be dirty. You can remove the filters and clean them with a toothbrush or ScotchBrite pad. At any time, you can test if your filter is working correctly by adding some red food coloring, 1 teaspoon/gallon, into the top of your Big Berkey.  If the filter is fine, it will remove the red dye from the water. No other home filtration system can do that!


Both for everyday usage and emergencies, the Big Berkey is the best water purification system available for the urban survivor. And for the rural survivor, too. Berkeys are sold in various sizes, so if the Big Berkey doesn’t meet your needs, you may find another size that will. Choosing clean, healthy water is a no-compromise decision. Buy a Berkey and survive.

Well, that’s what I think. Now it’s your turn to comment.

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2 Responses

  1. Prabakaran says:

    Hi Peter!
    Big Berkey water filter looks awesome. It looks as if it is built for Indian conditions. Moreover, the powerless (electricity) Use is an added advantage. The most positive part is the life of the filter. Since it is an Amazon Product should be having shipping facility to India. At the moment, the filter which we have at home is powered and creates problem frequently and I will try to buy this product.
    Thanks for your great review.

    • Peter Barban says:

      Yes, the Berkey system is perfect for India. I believe that the basic system was invented by English missionaries who lived overseas, over a century ago. I have one at home that I have used for about 6 years. I have an electric filter in my office and its filter does not last as long and is more expensive. The only downside is that the Berkey is a gravity fed system, so you have to wait for the water to filter down before you can drink it. But the upside is that the slower filtering means that more of the junk has more time to filter out.

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