How well do you trust your drinking water? Ever wish you could do a little extra cleaning to it, just to be sure? The Big Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System may be what you need. Read all about it in our Berkey Water Filter review below.
Most American municipal water sources are safe to drink right out of the tap. No system is perfect, though, and occasionally harmful elements can infiltrate the piping. Berkey has constructed a first-rate water purification system to take the worry out of your water.
Big Berkey Water Filter Review: The Defining Features
Simple to use
Too tall for some kitchens
Expensive replacement filters
Outwardly, the Big Berkey is quite simple: it’s a pair of stainless steel tanks with a tap at the bottom. They’re tough and easy to maintain, though they may sit a bit high for some kitchen cabinets. At any given time they can hold up to 2.25 gallons of purified drinking water.
Inside is where the magic really happens. The upper tank contains the primary filter, which does the bulk of the work— it removes bacteria, cysts, and certain chemical contamination. The optional second filter (billed as a fluoride filter) is mainly intended to remove fluoride and arsenic.
How well does it all work? The Berkey is one of the few countertop filtration systems to qualify not only as a filter but a purifier. This means it effectively removes 100% of biological contaminants. You can literally put creek water in and get drinkable water out.
Purification does not, however, mean all foreign chemicals are removed. The filter pulls out significant proportions of heavy metals and other minerals, but not all of them. The fluoride filter helps in this regard too, but nothing can give you 100% pure H2O. Berkey will, however, get you closer than almost any other home filtration system.
It’s worth noting that the fluoride filters are optional and often unnecessary. Municipal water is treated with small amounts of fluoride, which can be beneficial to health. These secondary filters are really only needed if your water contains arsenic or excessive amounts of fluoride.
Like anything else in the kitchen, your water tanks should be cleaned regularly. After all, mold that forms in the bottom tank won’t be filtered out. The filters can also get moldy if unused for long. We’re torn on Berkey’s choice of stainless steel— it’s attractive and tougher than plastic, but can occasionally develop rust spots. Polish it periodically to ensure any oxidation is removed.
The black main filters have a lifespan of 3,000 gallons (11,356 liters). After that point they’ll be saturated and must be replaced to continue offering protection. The fluoride filters, meanwhile, are only effective for 1,000 gallons (3785 liters). Neither filter comes cheap, so be aware this will be a recurring cost.