I confess I didn't do TOO much research on Berkey before purchasing; I was looking for a replacement for our Brita system and a friend had done some exhaustive research and recommended Berkey. Imagine my surprise when the package showed up, I read the fine print, and realized I'd purchased water filters that I expect to last my husband and I ELEVEN YEARS at our current rate of usage. I wish I had bought one years ago. The water tastes amazing, the filtering is actually meaningful and not just cosmetic, and the setup was a breeze thanks to the brand's videos on YouTube. Everyone should have one. And for what it's worth, it also looks gorgeous in my farmhouse-style kitchen. Thanks so much!! I'll be buying a smaller size for travel. Oh and for what it's worth, we opted to get one size larger than what was recommended for our family size, since we do a lot of cooking and canning and many times need many quarts of water at once. In retrospect, we probably didn't need to size up after all, so I'd say that you can trust the recommendations on this site as far as size goes.
It was a bit of a process to get everything connected and get it all ready for drinking but omg it makes the water taste so clean! It is wonderful! There is simply not a more affordable alternative that takes out ALL the junk from polluted city water. We are impressed with the Royal Burkey. I would NOT go smaller for two people. Its perfect!
We have private well water that is very high in iron. Water turns orange within 5 minutes of hitting the air and tastes very "bloody" or some say like "metal". We were tired of buying cases of bottled water. It was becoming very expensive, my recycling bin was always overflowing, and lugging so many heavy cases into the house was becoming overwhelming; not to mention trying to find somewhere to store them and many times, water was sold out in store! After checking every review we could, we decided the Berkey, in the long run, would make sense in every aspect. The water is orange on top, but the water comes out crystal clear, fresh, and sweet tasting. Name brand water tastes horrible now compared to the Berkey filtered water. Best investment ever!
We recently moved into a house on well water that smells VERY strongly of hydrogen sulfide (sulfur), which as I understand it is relatively safe but to me completely unpalatable. After a lot of research I settled on a Berkey, even calling the companies that do their testing to make sure they were real tests. I haven't tested the filtered/purified water since our well water was tested to be safe from bacteria but I can say it takes out the sulfur smell and taste.
The frustrating part: it clogged within three weeks. I performed a red dye test and it passed, and was helpful because it showed me one of the white plugs was leaking. But after 2 1/2 weeks of probably 5 gallons per day it slowed to an occasional drip when it got down to about a gallon in the upper chamber. I removed the filters and scrubbed them down with a non-abrasive scotchbrite pad. That sped it up a bit, but it's still very slow. I assume I need to scrub a little more. I'm planning on getting a pre-filter of some sort since I found a coating of sediment in the upper chamber. I have to pull my water from before the water softener (I believe according to Berkey softened water going through the black elements voids their warranty) so it has no filter from the well. I had to do it a second time about 2 weeks later, too.
Otherwise, I would recommend it- with the caveat that it could be doing nothing other than changing the taste (and the taste is very good). But at some point I decided to trust the posted tests and various YouTube reviews.
Both of the black elements came with small chips (maybe 1/4" by 1/8" off the top edge of element) that I figured didn't matter, but it did annoy me.
I highly recommend the sight glass to go along with it.
I fill it to the top every time so I get the most filtering capacity out of as much of the filter as possible. I wish they would make them able to flipped - add a second outlet on top and have a plug for it. Otherwise the bottom half of the filter gets used mu...
This is a great system for a family of 4 or 5 people.