|Item Weight||9.02 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||8.5 x 8.5 x 19.25 inches|
|Item model number||BK4x2-BB-PF-2|
|Is Discontinued By Manufacturer||No|
|Size||2.25 Gal Big Berkey|
|Color||Basic Berkey w/4 Filters|
|Item Package Quantity||1|
|Flow Rate||2 Gallons per Hour|
Big Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System with 2 Black Berkey Elements and 2 Fluoride Filters
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- Includes Big Berkey stainless steel housing (Upper, Lower, Lid and spigot etc.), 2 Black Berkey Filters, and 2 Fluoride Elements.
- Holds 2.25 gallons of purified water. Designed for home use for 4 to 16 people
- The Big Berkey is made with High Grade 304 Stainless Steel and measures 8.5"D x 21"H when assembled
- Each (1) Purification Element has a lifespan of 3,000 gallons. That's 6,000 gallons for a two-filter system.
- Each (1) Fluoride Filter attaches onto the stem of the Black Element, as a post filters, and can filter up to 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters).
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INCLUDES: Big Berkey stainless steel housing (Upper, Lower & Lid), 2 Black Berkey Filters, 2 Fluoride Elements, 2 Hole Plugs, 1 knob, 1 easy flow spigot, and 1 set of easy to follow assembly instructions. When drinking water that’s been filtered using a Berkey purifier, you can rest assured that your water is clean and safe for consumption. In fact, Black Berkey purifier elements are far more powerful compared to competitors’ water filters. When tested Berkey water filter elements removed 100% of pathogens, allowing them to be classified as purifiers rather than simply filters. The included two (white) Berkey fluoride filters attach to the bottom of the Berkey Purifiers and hang in the lower chamber. Berkey fluoride filters reduce the amount of fluoride in your water UP TO 95%. Each Fluoride filter has a lifespan of 1,000 gallons and each purifier can filter up to 3,000 gallons. The Big Berkey is constructed from High Grade 304 Stainless Steel, and can accommodate up to four Berkey Purification elements and four Fluoride filters, however only two of each are included with this package.
From the Manufacturer
The versatile Big Berkey system is the ideal system for use at home with small or medium sized families, travel, outdoor activities or during unexpected emergencies. This powerful system purifies both treated water and untreated raw water from such sources as remote lakes, streams, stagnant ponds and water supplies in foreign countries, where regulations may be substandard at best. Perfect for everyday use, outdoor activities and a must in hostile environments where electricity, water pressure or treated water may not be available. The Big Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance. Constructed of highly polished 304 stainless steel, the system comes complete with four purification elements and utilizes the latest technological advances. This system has a storage capacity of about 2.25 gallons (8.5 liters) and when in use it stands 19.25" in height with a diameter of 8.5". The upper chamber nests within the lower chamber for transport and stands only 13" in height. Configured with four Black Berkey purification elements the system will purify up to 7 Gallons (13.3 liters) per hour.
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I have been a nutritionist for about 30 years and I believe water is one of the most complex and difficult problems to our health to solve because of how badly we have allowed our municipalities to harm our local water supplies. (I have more options and better solutions available to me to treat cancer and heart disease than for cleaning up our water.)
Popular thought regarding the best filtration has changed over the years -- once distillation was thought to be the best; then we learned long-term use could have damaging effects on many aspects of health, including the bones. Plus the addition of chloramines made it impossible to distill the water 100% without adding an extensive charcoal filter; and the evaporative moisture released into the air during distillation is a toxin in itself. Few people realize it is important to distill water in a garage or away from your living environment. Does the industry purposely keep this information secret to avoid hurting sales? I'm sorry to say it would not surprise me since this is one very large, sneaky, and often unethical industry.
Then Reverse Osmosis became the rage (I used RO myself for more than a decade). But RO has its drawbacks. One being the plastic-lined tanks which leach harmful endocrine disrupting plasticizers right back into the water you just purified. I did some research on this awhile back and learned you cannot get an unlined stainless steel tank, even if you are willing to pay more for stainless steel. (Ahh, then there are the metals from SS to be concern about - nickel and chromium specifically - that leach into liquids. Yes, they actually do. Studies show only distilled water does not leach. Just another dirty little secret from a different industry, but this is a topic for another discussion.) I found the RO industry rather secretive regarding what type of plastic is used in the liners (at least that was my experience a few years ago). All plastics are harmful but some are worse than others. Plus, RO removes the minerals. At one time it was recommended to add a pinch of Himalayan or Celtic salt (Mercola still recommends this disputed practice). We now know this does not provide the same heath benefits as natural mineralization. The argument that the minerals in water are too difficult to assimilate has also been debunked. These mineral do in fact provide many benefits; as does the natural flow of water. Structured water is a result of water that has been allowed to flow with natural curves (like a river) and has been shown is studies to be the healthiest. My son told me about someone developing a vortex system that supposedly reinstates the water's natural structure as found in nature. I am not too optimistic about this. It will probably be very costly and we are rarely able to recreate nature. Just my thoughts - perhaps it will prove otherwise.
Other water purification claims have emerged such as blue solar water. This is where regular tap water placed in a cobalt blue bottle and left in the sun for a few hours will become purified and restructured. Maybe, maybe not. I have never been able to find studies or any before and after testing results. My son purchased a beautiful blue cobalt water bottle so we did a home experiment where we tested the before and after pH. The alkalinity of the water did increase slightly. I wondered if this was because if you leave water out for a few hours the chlorine will evaporate anyway and maybe this had an effect. But my son pointed out that the bottle had been filled almost to capacity and it was capped the entire time. But nothing can be based on pH alone. All tap water is around 7% pH which is alkaline. Unfortunately muni water treatment centers add ash, that's right, coal ash. They are adding it not because they are concerned about human health (obviously quite the contrary) but only to protect their pipes.
Finally there is the problem with fluoride removal. None of the standard filtration systems are really as adept at removing fluoride as they claim. Remember that their tests are conducted or paid for by the manufacturers themselves under ideal conditions that include running the tests on only brand new filters, using exact water pH and flow rates, and other variables that are all but impossible for the customer to replicate in daily use. This is the one of biggest secrets of the industry. They want everyone to believe we will all obtain the same results that they advertise when this is fairly unlikely.
The fluoride in the water is perhaps the biggest threat to our health and especially our children. Researchers at Harvard and other respected research facilities have repeatedly proven that fluoride damages our neurological systems. This damages brain development in children and causes ADD, ADHD, lower IQ and developmental delays; and fluoride has been directly linked to cancers, especially bone cancer. All the while it does nothing to protect your teeth. In spite of this irrefutable information, water municipalities continue to not only add it to our water, but some water districts are actually increasing the amounts used while others are adding it for the first time. This is due to pressure from, and favor given to, the large chemical corporations.
Fluoride is a toxic waste derived from residual soot in the smoke stacks of aluminum manufacturing plants. This soot once cost manufactures a small fortune to dispose of as hazardous waste until a brilliant sociopath found a way to convince our government to add it our drinking water. WE became their human toxic waste disposals. We actually pay these sociopaths to poison us since it is our tax dollars paying for the fluoride added to our water.
Independent studies on fluoride removal are far and few between since most are conducted by-and-for the various filtration industries and are therefore highly suspect. But the few independent studies available have shown the only dependable way to remove fluoride is through distillation. It should be noted that Gerson (Dr. Max Gerson's cancer protocol) recommends distillation as the only acceptable filtration system for this very reason. But I have already mentioned the problems with distilled water. Short term it's okay (like highly alkalized water).
I finally tried the Berkey gravity water filtration with the fluoride filters. I liked that Berkey provided stainless steel construction as an option to plastic (being cognizant to transfer the purified water quickly into glass bottles before it collected heavy metals from the SS).
The Berkey removal rates of >95-99% for most chemicals and metals including fluoride are, as mentioned above, subject to idealconditions. Berkey customers have had their water tested before and after filtration which is not a cheap endeavor (lucky for Berkey and ALL filtration manufactures, right?). Their results differ from Berkey, most notably in fluoride which seems to show about a 50-60% removal rate at best.
I spoke with Berkey about these fluoride removal discrepancies and they insisted you cannot get an accurate removal rate by testing your home water before and after Berkey filtration. Seriously? In other words, they said we must ignore whatever test results we get as they are somehow inaccurate. Their arguments include: the types of fluoride added to water systems differ. (These might include fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride) and Berkey tests fluoride removal by starting with pure water to which a specific type of fluoride has been ADDED, then run through the Berkey. So no real life tap-water testing was done.
Next they said these test results differ because the water pH levels, and the water flow-rate through the filters at the time of the test, likely do not meet the “ideal” circumstances as reflected in Berkey’s published tests. I asked if the “ideal flow rate” wasn’t already designed into the Berkey systems. If so, then flow rate should not be a problem – no matter who is conducting the test. Berkey surprised me when they answered that they did not manufacture the Berkey with any kind of optimized flow rate; so flow rates will vary from unit to unit. Basically Berkey can't be bothered to make a system with the ideal flow rate for maximum fluoride removal. They also could not tell me what the ideal flow rate was for their testing purposes. (As an herbalist who also makes tinctures via a percolation method, I know this is a very easy thing to measure – basically just tell us how many drips per minute.) But this is apparently proprietary information and something Berkey would rather we not question.
Berkey did answer my question regarding “ideal” pH for maximum fluoride removal – between 5-6.5. They explained that anything above or below will inhibit fluoride removal. Just a side note – according to Wellnessmama dot com the pH of her water going into the Berkey was 6.5 and came out at 7.8. This is thought to be too high for long term use, so you might want to bring the pH down a bit if you are using the Berkey for daily use.
I cannot help but wonder just how many test samples the filtration manufacturers are allowed to run before they get the results they want? It sounds like a lot of tweaking goes into getting the high removal rates advertised. Pharma gets an indefinite number of attempts to obtain results that beat the placebo group. Can we expect water filtration manufacturers to be an exception and play by fair and decent rules? There is little government oversight on water filtration. Of course not, because government would have to admit we need to purify the toxic water they continue to provide.
Another problem I found with the Berkey was in a youtube video I found where they tested the before and after water. It showed the Berkey water resulted in a significant amount of bacteria in the filtered water. Berkey had an explanation for this – was the catching container was possibly contaminated. Fair enough. But the guy who conducted the test appeared to know what he was doing, and I am guessing the lab provided a sterile container specifically for the test. The high bacteria content might have resulted due to the fact that the filters tested in the video were several months old. This is a problem for all filters as they tend to loose function after the first 100 gallons or so. No one tells you this either. These “good for two years” claims only mean the filters are filtering *something* – not that they are filtering at the removal rates advertised.
If you own a Berkey and are concerned about bacteria you could possibly remedy this by putting your water into a copper vessel prior to consuming. These are often sold as Ayurvedic pitchers (make sure they are real copper and not coated with anything). If this interests you then I recommend conducting an internet search to be sure you are doing it correctly. The studies I have seen required a long resting time in the copper vessel - something like 18 hours. Copper (and silver) have natural antimicrobial properties. This is not woo-woo science; scientists are looking for ways to use copper to purify contaminated water supplies in third world countries. As a side note: Be sure to get plenty of zinc. Excessive copper can be metabolized if you get enough zinc. Plus zinc is one of the most overlooked yet important minerals to get, especially where strong bones are concerned. Search for foods high in zinc. (This is a great site: World Healthiest Foods – whfoods dot com.)
In summary of the Berkey review - I tried not one, but two Berkey systems before giving up, the Royal and the Big Berkey. These included the fluoride filters. I had to send both back. The problem was with the fluoride filters. They leaked aluminum! And it was not always easily detectable. Most of these filters probably work properly but what are the odds that I would get two defective sets? The first Berkey (the Royal) seemed okay for the first several weeks until we noticed a cloudy appearance in the water. The days leading up to this I noticed a white coating/powder at the bottom of our glass storage bottles. At first I dismissed this as mineral deposits until the water became visibly more cloudy. This is very disconcerting because we were drinking this contaminated water for several days before we realized there was a defect in the fluoride filters.
The next Berkey I tried (the Big Berkey) created very slightly cloudy water from the beginning. We captured it and after several days the aluminum created a metallic film on the top of the water. We would have missed it had we not known to watch for any change in water appearance and thus compared the clarity of our tap water against the Berkey water. After attempting to purge the filters several times, with the same poor results, we boxed it up and sent it back. There appears to be no way to know when a Berkey might begin to leak aluminum, and you might not notice it right away. This is an unacceptable risk in my opinion. Aluminum is extremely dangerous to your health and difficult to chelate from your tissues and organs, especially your brain. For this reason I would never try another Berkey again, at least not for home use. (It might not be a bad idea to have one on hand, without the fluoride filters, in case the SHTF. I gave the review an extra star for this alone.) I also found it took a crazy amount of time for the water to filter when it was leaking aluminum, so this might be 'a tell'... if it's taking hours to get a gallon of water, look closely at your water for any cloudiness.
So what now? I am back to square one, using plastic bottled spring water for the time being. The plastic leaches toxins so this is hardly ideal. When someone asks what filtration system I recommend my answer from this point on is simple: None exist. Period.
My next step is to begin twice-monthly, maybe weekly, trips to a local spring. We live pretty close to Eldorado Springs in Colorado's Front Range. I have been collecting half gallon glass bottles all year in anticipation of this possibility. Last time I checked it cost about 25 cents/gallon. Not bad. And it is fresh mineral water that has been allowed to run its natural flowing course (for the most part).
Spring water is by far the healthiest choice but to get it delivered in glass bottles runs about $3/gallon which is way too high IMO, especially since our family of four uses >15 gallons per week (including water for cooking and for fresh veggie vinegar soaks). Hint, if you go this route don't clean your glass bottles with bleach like the water delivery services do (another reason to go get it yourself). If you feel the need to disinfect, beyond cleaning with Dr. Bronners organic castile soap (allowing the bottles to dry thoroughly before capping to avoid mildew) then try using something natural like tea tree oil, that is if you can get the residual oil washed out to avid its strong, bitter taste. You could also use a little colloidal silver (albeit this is expensive, but it leaves no bad taste).
I recommend you check out the site below to see if there is a spring near you. It is surprising how many natural springs are located across the US. You can also check the latest test results here. You want to avoid using a spring near commercial agriculture as the water might be high in pesticides and metals; similarly, avoid springs near shooting ranges - these are high in metal contamination including lead from days past when they allowed lead shot.
A little research and travel time might lead you to the best source of drinking water you'll find. We all deserve clean, healthy water. I'd love to hear the experiences of others in their search for pure water. :-)
findaspring dot com
Update: I learned that springs who charge for their water are required to also "treat" it. In the case of Eldorado Springs water (which is also bottled and trucked to different areas of the country) it comes out of a machine near the source (no telling what type of plumbing is used which could be toxic PVC piping) and the water is irradiated. This includes the bottled Eldorado water sold in the stores, as probably is all bottled water. So the purest source is likely to be from a spring that provides free water since they are not under federal laws for selling water.
My biggest concern getting water out of any machine is the likelihood of bacteria. These machines never get cleaned and who knows who or what has touched the spigot? (And this goes for the free springs as well.) My recommendation is to transfer your drinking water into pure copper vessels and let it sit at least overnight before drinking. But then you also want to make sure you are getting enough zinc in your diet. Zinc will balance and help remove any potential copper excess. (Talked about above.)
So I guess unless you are fortunate enough to have your own naturally flowing spring on your property we are going to have to make compromises and do the best we can with what is available. Meanwhile we should work on voting in government representatives who are not controlled by large chemical corporations.
Update #2, May, 2017: Update May, 2017: I wanted to post another view on disinfecting your water if you are getting it out of a spring spigot or a grocery store machine, and an update on the potential risk of using a copper vessel to hold your water.
Even though copper is an essential mineral, there is always the danger that too much could build up in the body. As I mentioned in the review, zinc and copper balance each other and help prevent an overload of either, but if you are not getting enough zinc in your diet then you might have to resort to using chemically-derived supplements and this includes most forms of zinc supplements. I only supplement with zinc when I am fighting an infection. If you chose to supplement with zinc then I recommend using a food-based supplement, or zinc L-methionine. Zinc picolinate should be avoided because picolinic acid is a derivative of pesticides.
Kids are always at higher risk for imbalances so use caution. (It’s great if you have a doctor who will check your levels.).
2020 update: Please note, I am primarily using the Amazon app and it doesn't display comments so I apologize that I haven't been able to follow these in some time.
Our unfiltered tap water was generally acceptable by the lab with the following notable exceptions:
1. Arsenic: 2.5 parts per billion (ppb) - lab considered this reason for "caution"
2. Uranium 238: 3.1 ppb - also "caution"
3. Aluminum: 94 ppb - caution
4. Fluoride: 0.8 parts per million (ppm) - EPA has not established levels for this category
Here are our results with the Big Berkey (using 2 black filters and 2 fluoride/arsenic filters):
1. Arsenic: less than 1 ppb - lab considers "acceptable"
2. Uranium 238: less than 1 ppb - acceptable
3. Aluminum: 19 ppb - acceptable
4. Fluoride: 0.4 ppm (I wonder if we used 4 fluoride filters instead of 2 if the fluoride would be removed completely)
Items of note, the lab that tested the water is a professional lab (not a home kit) and there are three levels of interpretation: acceptable (safe), caution (consider filtering) and unacceptable (contact municipality and consider alternative sources). The lab uses ICP-MS method to test the water.
Hope this helps. Disclaimer: I have no relationship to the company....I just wanted to know whether or not the filters work!
Although I did not do any scientific testing, my taste tests between tap and filtered are definitely in favor of the Berkey. I have a standing reminder on my calendar to disassemble and clean it with soap and water once a month and I haven't had any problems with gross water or rust. Is it my favorite chore? Absolutely not, but it's totally worth the time to have clean and easy water filtration for the next month.
Pro tip: the filtration slowed waaaaayyyyyy down and after about 8 months the water would just sit in the top half of the Berkey and take hours to filter. I used the rubber washer on the black filters to "re-prime" them (like you do during first assembly) and the filtration was fast and amazing again! Now I prime them during the monthly cleaning and haven't had any trouble since.
Top international reviews
Gravity filter produces water that tastes as good as any bottle water, if not better.
Give up the plastic bottles!
This product should be storming the UK market.
We absolutely love our Berkeley.
Pricey first investment, but filters last years so worth the investment.
Der Filter soll sogar Meerwasser und Flusswasser in tropischen Regionen trinkbar machen können.
Habe den Filter in der Küche stehen und erfreue mich jedesmal aufs neue wenn ich mir ein Wasser zapfe.