If you’re looking for a complete Royal Berkey Water Filter System review to help you decide whether it’s worth the investment, let me help you out. We’ll look at the full picture, from the features and pros to the cons (because no matter how great something is, there are always drawbacks, and it would be dishonest to say otherwise). I promise, even though I received a complimentary system to try out, I’ve really taken my time getting to know it before writing this and I only share my own real thoughts. 🙂
Royal Berkey Water Filter System Review
First, let me apologize for my less than stellar photos. This baby is hard to photograph! Stainless steel always is, though. So, ignore the reflections (like me bundled up in my winter coat or my dog trying to figure out why the camera is out but there are no treats for her). Here’s a professional pic directly from The Berkey so you can have at least one really good idea of what it looks like.
Okay, now, a tiny bit of back story. As you may know from previous filter reviews, I have cruddy water. While it’s not unsafe, it tastes like rotten eggs thanks to the sulfur vein running next to my well (at least that’s what I’m told, I don’t understand why my water is gross and my neighbor’s is great). We use bottled or filtered water for everything. Drinking, making coffee, even cooking. Well, at least any type of cooking where you can taste the water (soup, for example).
I’m sure you can imagine just how much money we spend on bottled water. Even if I just get the $0.35 fill-up from the little machine outside the grocery store, it adds up. Plus, it’s a pain to lug gallon upon gallon of jugs into the house. The worst part, though, is when I realize we’ve run out at 10PM at night and won’t have any good water for coffee the next morning!
Long story short, a good water filter system isn’t just a convenience. We’re not being picky or prissy or “oooh, tap water is out to get us” type people. We literally cannot drink our own water. Period. I mean, I guess if we were dying of thirst, it probably wouldn’t kill us. However, I couldn’t keep it down long enough to find out because it tastes so gross.
All of this is important, because later on we’re going to address the question of whether the Berkey Royal is worth the cost. Spoiler alert- it is to me. However, we’ll discuss some tips on deciding whether it is for you. First, though, let’s talk features, pros, and cons.
- 3.25 GALLON CAPACITY- The portable Royal Berkey Purification System effortlessly purifies water for about 2-4 people each day. Add additional Black Berkey Purification Elements (the Royal Berkey System can hold a maximum of 4) to increase the flow rate. The system is just 23” tall and 9” in diameter.
- POWERFUL PURIFICATION- Berkey systems equipped with Black Berkey Purification Elements purify water—not just filter it—by removing greater than 99.999% of viruses and greater than 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria, while also removing or dramatically reducing protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium), trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals (including arsenic, lead, mercury, chromium), pharmaceutical drugs (including caffeine, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Progesterone, Triclosan),
- ECONOMICAL, LONG-LASTING- A pair of Black Berkey Purification Elements lasts for up to 6,000 gallons before needing replacement. Each additional pair of elements (sold separately) adds an additional 6,000 gallons of purification power to your system. Black Berkey Purification Elements average just 2 cents per gallon of purified water.
- INDEPENDENT TESTING- Berkey by NMCL uses several independent third-party labs to test a broad range of potential contaminants and conducts Extreme Testing for lead and PFCs in order to show the effectiveness of our Black Berkey Purification Elements.
- DRINK CONFIDENTLY VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE- No electricity, tools or plumbing required. Travel the world, prepare for emergencies, and take control of your family’s everyday drinking water with your Berkey gravity-fed water filtration system with Black Berkey purification elements. Enjoy delicious, nourishing water from the leader in gravity-fed water solutions.
Royal Berkey Water Filter Features & Pros at a Glance
If you want to follow along and see exactly what the Royal Berkey is, start by checking it out here. Don’t balk at the price just yet. Remember, we’ll talk more about that in a few minutes. Here’s a rundown of the features and pros:
- The Royal Berkey can hold about 3.25 gallons of water.
- While it’s tall when in use (see cons below), the top chamber does nest inside the bottom when you need to take it on the go or store it. Size in that case is just over 15″
- Made with “highly polished AISI 304 stainless steel”
- Only 8lbs when empty
- Comes with 2 Black Berkey Purification Elements, but can hold up to 4.
- With 2 elements, it purifies up to 4 gallons an hour (with all 4 elements, that amount doubles)
- Each filter purifies about 3,000 gallons before it needs to be replaced. With 2 elements, that means up to 6,000 gallons.
The most important “pro” for me, though, is the taste. Actually, make that lack of taste. I put stinky sulfur water in and get 100% taste-free crystal clear water from the spigot at the other end. It doesn’t get much better than that!
What do the Black Berkey Water Filters Remove?
The Berkey has a complete list of all the things their filters remove on the product’s page, but here are a few highlights.
- Fluoride – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
- Viruses – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
- Pathogenic Bacteria – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
- Lead – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
- Arsenic – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
- Iron – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
- Mercury – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
- Chlorine – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
- Pharmaceuticals – Removed to greater than 99.5%.
- Pesticides – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
- Heavy Metals – Removed to greater than 99.1%.
Again, this is an abbreviated list. Other things include Uranium, BPA, and other nasty stuff.
Even the best products in the world have their downsides, and the Royal Berkey isn’t an exception. While the pros far outweigh the cons, I feel like it would be dishonest not to mention them.
- It’s nearly 2 feet tall (23″), so it can be challenging to find a place to keep in in a small home. I currently have it on my wood stove, but when it’s time to use that, I’ll need to find it a new home.
- Super heavy when full. A gallon of water weighs 8 lbs, so about 3 gallons plus the system’s own weight equals roughly 32 lbs. Since I can’t leave it near my sink, I have to lug jugs of water back and forth to it.
- Filters are fairly pricey. However, considering they last for years, they’re actually more budget-friendly than other smaller filters.
- The filters can be tricky to prime. I had a really hard time and actually thought I was going to have to ask for new ones. After watching a few YouTube videos, though, I finally got them to work.
Is the Royal Berkey Worth the Cost?
Let’s address the elephant in the room: the cost of the Royal Berkey. At over $300, it’s definitely among the pricier water filters. Is it really worth it, though? To me, yes, it is. Let me explain why.
Bottled water costs me, on average, $7 a week. That right there is $364 a year. So within the first year, the it pays for itself. Let’s round up and say that I go through 400 gallons a year. In that case, the Berkey would actually SAVE me money.
Okay, now let’s talk filters. At 400 gallons a year, my two filters would last me roughly 15 years. Let’s just pretend that they only end up lasting me 10, though. I mean, now that I’m not buying water, I can actually drink more of it and splurge by making more water-based soups, teas, and such. Basically, I wouldn’t have to buy anything beyond the initial investment for a decade.
That first year is a wash, since it pretty much evens out. So, long run, the Royal Berkey would save me over $3,000! Plus, I have total piece of mind because I never have to worry about running out of good water again.
So yeah, totally worth it!
However, if you feel like it’s out of your price range, or you don’t need THAT much filtered water a year, they do have smaller models. On the other hand, if you need even MORE water filtered, they have larger models, too! You can find them on their website, or use the table below to get them on Amazon. The Royal Berkey is highlighted so you can compare prices.
Learn more about the Berkey Royal and other water filter systems on The Berkey website.
Last update on 2020-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API