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Berkey Water Filter Scam Is An Urban Myth!

Now Hear This:  talk of a Berkey Water Filter Scam is marketing baloney.  In fact, it’s a great system for many situations (but not for everyone), as we’ll explain briefly below.

There are four reasons that people might be asking about a possible Berkey water filter scam. 

But the headline got people’s attention.  So, you’ll notice that we start right out by telling you there is no Berkey water filter scam.  If you would like to get your information straight from the source, this will take you directly to the Berkey website.

So what’s the deal? First, a brief explanation of how the Berkey system works.  The simpler versions of the system look a bit like the Sparklets or Arrowhead water coolers, only taller, with the plastic bottle on top and the spout below.  Basically, it is a refinement of an old European design, where water drips from an upper reservoir, or container, through an exceptionally effective filter cartridge into a lower reservoir of purified water.  So these containers sit one on top of the other with the filter at the bottom of the upper container (Actually there are two such filters to double the speed of filtering and together they provide just under 4 gallons per hour in the standard-sized units).  In a way, it is a much bigger and better version of our Brita filter pitcher that we keep in the refrigerator.  

As with a coffee brewer, you pour the water in the top, and awhile later it has dripped down, clean as a whistle.  The company makes several models ranging in capacity and materials.  Some are intended for camping use, which we consider to be the best application since you must manually fill the upper chamber (something you may not want to be doing all the time at home).  And of course the system is particularly great for rural or use in countries where water quality and available funding is an issue.

There are numerous other filters that can be used, but the main filter is called the Black Berkey, which uses 6 different materials to create such effective filtration that it can remove food color from water, and is rated as a purifier, not just a filter.  So the amazing effectiveness of such a simple system comes from the filters, and that could contribute to the notion of the Berkey water filter scam nonsense.  The company is understandable tight-lipped about the exact design of their filters.

The Black Berkey filter has a life of around 3,000 gallons, but since there are two used at a time, the total capacity is therefore 6,000 gallons.  Filter replacement is around $100 (Berkey also makes a ceramic filter that is somewhat more durable than the Black Berkey filter cartridge; it costs less but has a shorter life).  They also make add-on filters to handle the removal of arsenic and fluoride if that’s an issue; extra cost around $60 to $100.

You can see that these are great filtering systems; for under $300 you can buy a device that will filter a great deal of water to very high levels of cleanliness.  It is necessary to fill them manually and that is a bit of a detriment to their marketability no doubt.  So perhaps the idea of a Berkey water filter scam came from somebody being surprised that the system does not fill automatically from the water pipes in the house.

According to the company website, the cost is around $0.02 per gallon, which compares favorably with other types of filtering systems.  Although the water is not quite as clean as if run through a reverse osmosis unit, the cost is much lower.

The next source of reports about a possible Berkey water filter scam could be that they are not legal in the state of California.  A new law passed in November of 2009 requires manufacturers of all water filter and purification systems to comply with a bunch of disclosure steps to show there is no lead in their products.  The Berkey folks apparently have proof that their systems include no lead or any other dangerous substances, but the actual process of complying with the California law requires various certifications, the cost and effort of which make it not worth selling in this state.   I won’t bore you with the details, which are on the company website; reading their explanation and being aware of the many difficult regulations that apply to businesses in this state, this is not justification to make any claims about a Berkey water filter scam.

Finally, if you see other websites crying out about a Berkey water filter scam, watch and observe that they will not actually provide any evidence to support such a claim.  In fact they want you to buy a system from them.