1. Home
  2. Buying Guides
We are reader supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

ZeroWater vs Berkey Water Filters: Which Produces the Healthiest and Tastiest Water?

If a gravity water filter has managed to grab your attention, it means you’re looking for a safe water filtering system that all household members can use. We’re breaking down ZeroWater vs Berkey water filters to see which one is better.

Zerowater vs berkey water filters

It can be challenging to choose between these two brands when it comes to buying a gravity water filtration system.

So we decided to make things easier for you by comparing the two water filtering systems to see what they offer. Hopefully, this will help you make a wise decision for your family.

ZeroWater vs Berkey Water Filters: Comparison Chart

Here’s an overview of the main features found in ZeroWater and Berkey water filters.

ProductBerkeyZeroWater
FilterBlack Berkey elements5 stages
Capacity2.25 gallons10 cups
Contaminants removed+20023
Filter lifespan6000 gallons3-5 months
WarrantySystem and Parts - Lifetime
Black Berkey elements - 2 years
90 days
PriceCheck priceCheck price

What is a Gravity Water Filter?

A gravity water filter is a type of water filtration system that removes contaminants and viruses from drinking water. It’s usually made up of two containers that sit on top of each other.

The top container has a spigot or output hose, allowing you to conveniently access the filtered water. Meanwhile, the bottom container holds the unfiltered, contaminated water.

As you direct filtered water into the top container, it will run down through the filter medium and drip out of the bottom spigot or hose to create safe and clean drinking water.

The main benefit of using a gravity water filter is its simplicity. You don’t need an elaborate whole-house water filtration system or even a faucet water filter to get immediate access to healthy drinking water.

There are different types of gravity water filters, but the contaminants they can remove are essential. Some filters are more thorough than others, and some may even remove viruses.

Filtration Elements

Travel berkey

Let’s take a closer look and compare the filtration elements of Berkey and ZeroWater gravity water filters.

Berkey Filtration Elements

Berkey gravity water filters come with two different filtration elements: black and white.

Black filtration elements remove chlorine from tap or well water. Meanwhile, white filtration elements reduce toxic chemicals found in agricultural runoff or industrial waste sites; they also reduce viruses and bacteria by 99.99%.

A Berkey gravity water filter is fantastic because it removes fluoride, nitrates, nitrites, arsenic, chromium-6, and other heavy metals found in tap water. And it offers an optional fluoride filter kit for an additional cost.

Furthermore, this system uses two types of elements with activated alumina as the main media for removing organics. Arsenic removal is one of its benefits since it can also eliminate hydrogen sulfate, sodium fluoaluminate, iron oxide/hydroxide, calcium carbonate scale build-up, and other sediments.

ZeroWater Filtration Elements

ZeroWater gravity water filters have two types of cartridge elements: ion exchange and activated alumina.

Ion exchange renders minerals harmless by exchanging sodium ions for hydrogen ions, creating alkaline filtered water.

Plus, these pellets reduce TDS (total dissolved solids) by 15 ppm (parts per million), making it excellent for people who drink well water with high levels of magnesium fluoride or manganese sulfate.

Meanwhile, activated alumina removes contaminants by trapping them within its porous structure through absorption and adsorption. It also prevents minerals like calcium, zinc, and magnesium from entering the water.

Contaminants

Both Berkey and ZeroWater gravity water filters deliver exceptional results when it comes to filtering out contaminants from drinking water. However, there are a few things that make each brand stand out from the rest.

What contaminants does a ZeroWater pitcher remove?

ZeroWater pitchers have been specially designed to filter out 23 types of contaminants:

  • Metals: antimony, arsenic-3, arsenic-5, asbestos, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium-3, chromium-6, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, selenium, silver, thallium, zinc.
  • Inorganic non-metals: chlorine, cyanide, fluoride, nitrate, nitrite.

The combination of ion exchange and activated alumina enables the water pitcher to produce clean, fresh-tasting drinking water you can conveniently store in the refrigerator for refreshing cold drinks.

The absence of heavy metals like mercury and lead is another bonus, making it ideal for families with small children.

What contaminants does a Berkey gravity water filter remove?

Berkey gravity water filters can remove more than 200 contaminants, including:

  • Metals: aluminum, antimony, barium, beryllium, bismuth, cadmium, cobalt, chromium 6, copper, iron, lead, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium, zinc.
  • Inorganic non-metals: viruses, pharmaceuticals, fluoride, bacteria, glyphosate, chlorine, arsenic, monochloramine, e. coli, endocrine disruptors, nitrites, haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes, PFCs/PFAS (PFOA and PFOS).

Berkey is more efficient than ZeroWater and other brands at eliminating contaminants since the activated carbon media handles chemicals like herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides. Plus, it can block cryptosporidium parvum and giardia lamblia cysts.

Compared to ZeroWater, Berkey is slightly more effective at removing lead and chromium-6. And it outperforms most other brands by blocking double as many contaminants simultaneously, including viruses and heavy metals.

Durability

Many water filter manufacturers fail to mention durability. It’s crucial since the whole unit and replacement filters must be sturdy enough to last for years. Fortunately, we know a thing or two about the durability of ZeroWater and Berkey water filters:

Berkey

It contains four filter elements: two fluoride elements, a purification element, and a KDF/GAC. Each can be replaced individually.

The main housing unit is stainless steel, making this water filtration system more durable than others. Furthermore, the manufacturer provides a lifetime warranty on all parts except for normal wear and tear.

ZeroWater

ZeroWater pitchers and dispensers are not as durable, so they are unlikely to last for years; stainless steel is not part of the used materials.

On top of that, the base, lid, and reservoir are cheap plastic, likely to break down easily when dropped. Although the company offers a limited 1-year warranty, this only covers defective items with visible damage upon delivery.

Models and Upfront Costs

Berkey light gravity fed water filter

Let’s take a closer look at the Berkey and ZeroWater models and upfront costs:

Berkey

All Berkey gravity water filters are stainless steel except for Berkey Light, which is BPA-free plastic – a cheaper solution for individuals on a budget.

Big Berkey is the most popular product on this list, ideal for medium families. Here are all models:

In terms of costs, Berkey is on the expensive side. Prices start at $274 and go up to $407.

ZeroWater

ZeroWater has more options than Berkey when it comes to shapes, such as cylindrical and rectangular. They offer multiple sizes, too. Here are the models:

As far as upfront costs are concerned, ZeroWater is cheaper than Berkey. Prices start at around $20 and go up to $70.

Filter Lifespan and Replacement Costs

Next, we’re going to inspect how much time each of these filters will last and what the replacement costs are.

Berkey

A reason why Berkey water filters are so expensive is the impressive filter lifespan. Travel Berkey has the smallest capacity at 1.5 gallons, while Crown Berkey has the biggest capacity at 6 gallons. However, you can increase the capacity to a whopping 6000 gallons by adding more filters.

A set of two carbon composite Black Berkey filter replacements that remove over 200 contaminants costs $148 and can be cleaned up to 100 times. Meanwhile, a set of two Berkey Fluoride water filter replacements that last for 1000 gallons, remove up to 97% of fluoride and attach to Black filters costs around $70.

Considering how rare you have to change the filters, the price is worth it. Besides, you might be able to find bundles of Black Berkey and Fluorite Filters at a cheaper price – around $218.

ZeroWater

A pack of two ZeroWater replacement filters costs around $33, but you can save money by purchasing multiple filters. For instance, a set of 16 replacement filters for ZeroWater costs $160.

Certifications and Warranties

ZeroWater has a number of certifications to its name, including the NSF/ANSI Standard 53 and 58. Plus, it’s PVC-free and offers a 5-year warranty on pitchers and replacement filters.

On the other hand, Berkey is certified by WQA (Water Quality Association), UL (Underwrites Laboratories), FDA, EPA, NFSI (Non-Food Sanitation Institute), SCAQMD (South Coast Air Quality Management District). In addition, it offers a lifetime guarantee for all parts except for corrosion or normal wear and tear.

Unfortunately, Berkey is not certified by NSF, which is likely to put off many potential customers.

The Advantages of Berkey Water Filters

Big berkey gravity fed water filter

Now we’re going to take a look at the advantages of Berkey water filters, such as:

Unmatched Filter Lifespan

The capacity is impressive and can be extended by using more than one filter type. Moreover, you can use extra filters with fluoride removal features. Lastly, they’re completely made from stainless steel, ensuring durability and long service life.

Largest Water Capacity

Whichever model you pick from Berkey’s lineup, you will get a massive filtration system to serve water to many people over a reasonable time frame.

As already mentioned above, this makes them suitable for big families or homes with many regular guests. The Berkey water filters are sturdy, compact, and easy to transport.

Fantastic Water Taste

The combination of Berkey’s purification methods produces a remarkably fresh water taste, so you don’t have to buy bottled water anymore.

And there are many positive reviews online, proving that many people love their product and recommend it to others.

The Disadvantages of BerkeyWater Filters

Now we’re going to explore some of the downsides of Berkey water filters, including:

Initial Upfront Costs

The initial cost of Berkey water filters is pretty high. And, if you want to extend the capacity with fluoride removal capabilities, you’ll end up paying more.

Although, if you buy a complete set of Black Berkey elements and a Fluoride filter, the price drops significantly.

Significant Water Capacity Loss

The Black Berkey elements may require frequent cleaning and maintenance, which could result in a significant water capacity loss.

Possible Product Defects

Unfortunately, Berkey water filters have been recalled in the past due to pumping issues. According to the company, these problems were resolved in later models.

Bacteria Growth Opportunity

Berkey water filters don’t have a self-sterilizing feature, so they can grow bacteria when maintained incorrectly. This can be a pretty big issue for people looking for the most sterile water filtration system.

No NSF Certification

Berkey is not certified by NSF, proving that it doesn’t meet certain standards for water filtration systems. While this is unlikely to be an issue for many people, some may see it as a complete deal breaker and refuse to buy this product.

The Advantages of ZeroWater Water Filters

Zero water 40 cup

Now let’s see where ZeroWater scores over Berkey:

No Extra Costs for Activated Carbon Replacement Filters

There’s no need for extra filters to remove specific contaminants. ZeroWater does it all by default, which saves you lots of money in the long run.

Efficient Filtration System

ZeroWater filters are highly performant at eliminating dangerous chemicals, heavy metals, and waterborne parasites.

At the same time, they don’t alter the purified water’s taste or odor. And you might be able to notice the significant decrease in turbidity, making the filtered water look clear and pure.

Excellent Customer Service

Even though there are fewer customer complaints compared to Berkey filters, ZeroWater has always been quick in resolving issues; their customer service is fantastic.

The Disadvantages of ZeroWater Water Filters

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to consider before buying ZeroWater water filters:

Size Issues

Some customers have complained about the small capacity of their pitchers, so the filters must be replaced often. However, you can always check out larger models if this is something that worries you. Moreover, they don’t hold as much water as Berkey’s containers.

Availability Issues

It can be challenging to find replacement filters for ZeroWater pitchers and dispensers in local shops. It annoys those who prefer non-online shopping.

FAQ

Discover more helpful information about ZeroWater and Berkey water filters:

Water filters

Does a ZeroWater filter remove fluoride?

Yes, a ZeroWater filter removes fluoride from contaminated water, along with chlorine, cyanide, nitrate, nitrite, and other impurities.

Does Berkey remove heavy metals?

Yes, Berkey can remove heavy metals, depending on the model. For example, Big Berkey is the only model with a PF-2 fluoride filter, which eliminates up to 95% of fluoride in water without changing the taste or odor.

Where can I buy ZeroWater replacement filters?

You can easily find replacement filters for your ZeroWater pitcher online. Otherwise, there are many authorized retailers who sell them at reasonable prices while offering convenient shipping.

Can I use ZeroWater filters if our municipality has high levels of chlorine?

Yes. You should know that ZeroWater filters are designed not to tolerate exposure to chlorine because it may damage them over time. However, they should lower chlorine levels well enough until you make arrangements with your local water company.

Is ZeroWater filter BPA free?

Yes, all the components used in making ZeroWater filters are BPA-free.

What contaminants can Berkey remove?

Berkey removes dozens of harmful substances like herbicides, pesticides, chloramines, chlorine, and heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, or cadmium. It depends on the model.

How do I use a ZeroWater tester?

Add water to your pitcher or dispenser and wait for several minutes. Then, insert the testing strip into the water and observe its color to figure out whether or not it’s drinkable.

How often should I change ZeroWater filters?

You should replace ZeroWater filter cartridges every 40 gallons or 150 liters to ensure optimal water purification. Or you can replace the pitcher’s compartment when there are visible wear-and-tear signs.

Can I get sick if I use the Berkey system with heavily chlorinated water?

No, since Berkey filters can remove chlorine from water. Nevertheless, you should avoid drinking chlorinated water since it may have traces of heavy metals and other harmful substances that Berkey can’t eliminate.

How does Berkey remove chlorine?

Berkey filters use activated carbon media to remove chlorine and other chemicals from drinkable water.

What’s the best way to clean Berkey filters?

Flush the filters with white vinegar and water after every few gallons filtered through the system. Each Berkey model has slightly different cleaning instructions, so check them out online or in your user manual before proceeding.

How does ZeroWater remove fluoride?

ZeroWater uses ion-exchange resin in its multi-layer filtration media to attract fluoride like a magnet due to its negative charge (regular water has a positive electrical charge).

This process reduces fluoride to manageable levels while still allowing healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium, and sodium to pass through.

How long will my ZeroWater filter last?

The lifespan of a ZeroWater filter depends on how many gallons or liters you want to filter through it. You can tell that your cartridge is getting worn out if there are noticeable color changes in the water after filtering.

Ultimately, each pack comes with good enough filters for 40 gallons or 150 liters of purified water.

Can I drink water containing high levels of lead?

Yes, Berkey filters can purify lead from drinking water. But the water is not completely safe for pregnant women and children under 5 years old because these groups are more sensitive to this contamination.

Verdict: Which Is Better between ZeroWater and Berkey Water Filters?

Both Berkey and ZeroWater are similar in performance and water filtration mode. However, their differences make them suitable for people with different needs.

Both brands remove heavy metals like lead, mercury, chromium 6, arsenic, and cadmium from drinking water. In addition, they can eliminate chloramines, bacteria, germs, viruses, pesticides, and herbicides, among others.

Berkey water filters are compatible with any water quality, but they can be difficult to maintain. On the other hand, Berkey is better at removing contaminants, thanks to its multi-layer filtration media.

Overall, we would recommend choosing Berkey over ZeroWater unless you need really pure water and don’t mind paying more money for the occasional replacement filters.

What’s your take on ZeroWater vs Berkey water filters? Let us know in the comments below!

You can also learn the differences between Clearly Filtered and Berkey water filter pitchers.