berkey water filter

Berkey vs. ZeroWater – Which Is a Better Water Filtration System?

These two filtration systems have a lot in common, but they also have a lot that differentiates them.

The Berkey system is a comprehensive water filter that removes as many contaminants as possible. These include protozoa, inorganic minerals, trihalomethanes, heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, VOCs, perfluorinated chemicals, petroleum products, rust, sediment, silt, and even radiological waste.

With several rigorous, independent, third-party lab tests, Berkey has earned an international reputation as one of the market’s most effective water filters.

Berkey filters work via gravity. Your Berkey dealer provides you with a large apparatus with two compartments/chambers: one for pouring the unfiltered water in and one for dispensing the brilliantly clean, fresh water.

Berkey filters come in all sizes, from a sports bottle to 5 different countertop stainless steel units ranging from 5 liters – 22 liters capacity.  While they are a significant investment, they are worth it because of their consistent results, average 5 year filter lifespan, reviews, and customer satisfaction.

ZeroWater is another brand of water filtration. According to its website, ZeroWater filters remove 99.6% of contaminants. They do so through a five-stage filtration process that ZeroWater has patented. It claims this 99.6% figure is higher than any leading water filtration brand.

ZeroWater has also been certified by the NSF (National Science Foundation) to reduce PFOA/PFOS, lead, and chromium. They include a TDS meter that you can use to test the water’s purity and safety constantly.

The ZeroWater filtration system works differently from the Berkey system. It operates from an ion exchange mechanism. This mechanism is one of the most common filtration methods. This scientific process isolates the ions from the contaminants and removes them by exchanging them with other benign, more preferential ions. Through this, ZeroWater maintains that it can remove heavy metals and other toxins in the water it filters.

water purifier

Berkey Purification Systems

Types of Berkey Water Filters

There is a vast selection of Berkey water filters to choose from, depending on your needs and the size of your household, team or business (up to 150 people!). These include:

  • Shower filters
  • Travel Berkey Water Filter
  • Big Berkey Water Filter
  • Royal Berkey Water Filter
  • Imperial Berkey Water Filter
  • Crown Berkey Water Filter
  • Berkey Light Water Filter
  • The Go Berkey Kit
  • Bundle: Travel Berkey and Stainless Steel Water Spigot
  • Bundle: Big Berkey and Stainless Steel Water Spigot
  • Bundle: Royal Berkey and Stainless Steel Water Spigot
  • Bundle: Imperial Berkey and Stainless Steel Water Spigot
  • Bundle: Crown Berkey and Stainless Steel Water Spigot
  • Sport Berkey Water Bottle

How Berkey Systems Work

Berkey systems work through the natural force of gravity. There is an upper chamber – into which you pour the water – and a lower chamber – into which the filtered water goes that gets pulled down after its contaminants are removed.

Advantages of the Berkey System

Berkey boasts several advantages to its filtration system. Berkey filters remove 99.99% of contaminants in water, compared to ZeroWater’s 99.6%. They are tested by third-party labs. In addition, they have superior longevity, lasting thousands of gallons (depending on which type you choose). Their process is dependable and simple.  That’s over four years of worry-free water.

Berkey filters are also highly economical, making the cost of a liter half a cent or a gallon of water less than three cents. Berkey filters are also highly adaptable and flexible. Emergency relief workers use them to transform non-potable water into pure drinking water.

Families use them for everyday purposes, and some even store their Berkey filters away in case of a drought, fire, or other emergency. With its range of sizes and uses, Berkey stands out as one of the market’s most effective water filtration systems.

ZeroWater Purification System

The ZeroWater purification system is completely different from the Berkey system. Using ion exchange, it filters water through an organic chemical process. In this way, it is a bit more complex than gravitational filtration.

Types of ZeroWater Filters

There are even more ZeroWater filtration products than Berkey ones. They include several shapes, sizes, and functionalities:

  • 22 Cup Ready-Read™ 5-Stage Water Filter Dispenser
  • 12 Cup Ready-Read™ 5-Stage Water Filter Dispenser
  • 10 Cup Ready-Pour™ 5-Stage Water Filter Pitcher
  • 20 Cup Ready-Pour™ 5-Stage Water Filter Dispenser
  • 6 Cup 5-Stage Water Filter Pitcher
  • 30 Cup Ready-Pour™ 5-Stage Water Filter Dispenser
  • 12 Cup Ready-Pour™ 5-Stage Water Filter Pitcher
  • 10 Cup 5-Stage Water Filter Pitcher
  • 5-Gallon Water Cooler 5-Stage Filter System
  • 7 Cup 5-Stage Ready-Pour™ Water Filter Pitcher
  • Different-sized packages of Premium 5-Stage Replacement Water Filters (up to 16)
  • 10 Cup Ready-Pour™ Round 5-Stage Water Filter Pitcher
  • ExtremeLife™ Faucet Mount Water Filter System
  • Hand-Held Filtered Shower Head with Magnetic Base by Culligan
  • Wall-Mounted Chrome Filter Shower Head by Culligan
  • EcoFilter Replacement Filters – 2 Pack
  • Shower Head Filter Replacement Cartridge by Culligan
  • ExtremeLife™ Faucet Mount Water Filter Replacement – 1 pack
  • Total Dissolved Solids Meter – TDS Water Tester
  • 40 Cup Ready-Pour™ Glass 5-Stage Water Filter Dispenser
  • EcoFilter 10-Cup Water Pitcher
  • Subscription bundles
  • 8 Cup Round 5-Stage Water Filter Pitcher
women holding glass of water

How ZeroWater Filtration Works

Here, we’ll go a little more in-depth about the ionic exchange process. Ion exchange (IX) is a reversible process that uses resins to remove harmful contaminants. These resins are simply intermediary polymers that facilitate the IX.

Activated carbon is another element in the IX filtration process. This is the main material in the filter which attracts the contaminant and dispels it into the filtrate.  

Advantages of ZeroWater Systems

With a high contaminant removal rate, an eco-friendly line of products, and the utilization of a simple, proven system to generate clean water from the tap, ZeroWater filtration is an effective system. It also includes a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter; you can constantly check the filter’s progress in removing contaminants.

Comparison and Conclusion

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the Berkey and ZeroWater systems.

Gravitational filtrationIon exchange and activated carbon
High longevityShorter shelf-life
Several products for individuals and groups of all sizesAn abundance of different product options, but none for groups as high as 150 people
Highly effective at removing all contaminantsAlso highly effective at removing all contaminants, but at a slightly lower rate than the Berkey system
Emergency usesNo emergency uses

Recommendations for Specific Use Cases

The Berkey system can adapt for basically any environment (yes, even as a sports bottle!). It is often used in emergencies on the field in crisis zones and at home to store away in case of fire or other natural disasters. It can serve families of any size and groups of up to 150 people.

The ZeroWater system is ideal for individuals and families.

Conclusion: We Prefer Berkey

While the ZeroWater system has some impressive benefits, it is a pitcher water system and is thus in its own class. It’s hard to compare that to the Berkey system, which has many uses and functions and stands in a category all on its own. Shop Berkey water filters at!

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