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Berkey vs Aquatru: Which one is the best for 2021?

By Austin Armstrong April 13, 2021

Berkey vs Aquatru: Which one is the best for 2021?


If you’re reading this, you are probably in the market for a water filtration system for your home, and want to see how these two products fare in a side-by-side comparison. There are four main categories for evaluating water filtration systems: Performance, cost, utility, and intangibles. Performance and cost are the two main areas we explore in this comparison; we’ll cover the other two later. We encourage you to read to the end, as the conclusion we come to might surprise you.

Berkey vs. Aquatru: What Contaminants Do They Remove?

The most important category to consider when comparing filter products is filtration efficiency. Both Aquatru and Berkey provide hard data on their respective websites that show how well they filter out specific contaminants. We used that data for this side-by-side comparison. No company tests for every possible contaminant. However, you can get an overall sense of which product cleans water better.

n/a - Manufacturer provided no percentage for what portion was removed

* Berkey reduced chemicals in these categories to undetectable levels. Although some of them were specifically tested for, none were found.

The Results

In evaluating the results of this comparison, we can see that Aquatru does filter out a significant number of contaminants. Their website identifies 83 different contaminants that their filter removes at a specific level of efficiency. Let’s look a bit more closely at how these contaminants are classified. 


Almost all of the contaminants that Aquatru claims to filter can be assigned to two different categories: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and pesticides. Many of these contaminants are no longer used in the USA, having been discontinued decades earlier because of their impact on the environment. Also, many of these toxins fall into similar categories. It’s very possible that Aquatru discovered that if its filter can remove one compound, that it would likely be able to remove all other compounds with a similar molecular structure. It seems they were correct. 

In other words, Aquatru can “pad its list” by listing several similar chemicals that its filter can remove. However, there are certain categories of materials that are not represented at all. Consider heavy metals, for example. Where is iron? Or Mercury? Aquatru makes no claims about filtering certain heavy metals.

Meanwhile, the Berkey filter removes entire categories of compounds. It purifies your water from petroleum products, pesticides, VOCs, pharmaceuticals, chloramines, trihalomethanes, and others. Interestingly, at the time that the tests were run, after filtration the levels of contaminants were so low that they didn’t even register on standard purity tests. That kind of purity is truly rare among consumer-grade devices. Aquatru cannot make the same claim. Although it boasts that it is a “water purification system”, it comes up way too short in this side-by-side comparison.


Berkey’s charcoal filter does not make claims about removing microbial cysts. And Aquatru does. This is more because Berkey never tested for microbial cysts, not because it doesn’t filter them. Consider: Berkey filters 99.999% of all viruses, which are about 1/100 the size of the most common microbial cysts. Also, Aquatru only tested for three species of microbial cyst (Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica and Cryptosporidium). These species measure about 4-10 microns in size, making them about the same size as most bacteria. And Berkey boasts a stellar record of removing bacteria; it filters out 99.9999999% of them. 

To Aquatru’s credit, it is certified to filter 99.99% of the three aforementioned microbial cysts. And that’s a good start; it’s better than nothing. However, Aquatru makes no claims about its ability to remove bacteria or viruses on its website. That’s a major red flag. One of the key reasons for purchasing an in-home water purification system is to protect your household from water-born pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. If you’re going to purchase a system - and especially if you’re willing to pay top dollar for one - you may as well be sure that it will do what you expect.

In Conclusion

Regardless of what category you look at, Berkey’s charcoal filter simply outperforms Aquatru. There is no comparison. Even in the areas where Aquatru really shines, Berkey shines much brighter. If you are asking yourself which of these two products is better at filtering your municipal water, Berkey wins this comparison, hands down.

Models and Costs

Cost Comparison: Berkey vs. Aquatru

In comparing the costs associated with these two systems, we chose the Big Berkey Water Filter from Berkey’s product line. Aquatru only has one system, but it uses three different kinds of filters. We include this information below.

Big Berkey Water Filter $278.00
Replacement Filters $120.00
Countertop Water Purifier $449.00
Replacement Filters (7-filter set, a 2-year supply) $159.90
Replacement Pre-carbon Filter $24.90
Replacement Carbon Filter $34.90
Replacement Reverse Osmosis Filter $54.90 

For an accurate comparison of long-term cost, we need to include the cost of replacement filters. To know this, we need to consider how long these products’ filters last. We list that information here:

Berkey’s charcoal filters (1 pair) 6000 Gallons (approx. 11 years)*
Aquatru’s 2-year Filter Set 1200 Gallons (approx. 2.1 years)*

Now let’s crunch some numbers. 

When you purchase the Big Berkey, it comes with a set of carbon filters that will filter about 6000 gallons of drinking water before you have to replace them! You will have some minor maintenance to perform, but they will provide about 11 years of filtration.

Aquatru however, uses three different filters that each last for a different duration before they must be replaced. These filters are: 1) The pre-carbon filter, 2) the reverse osmosis filter, and 3) the carbon filter. The pre-carbon filter will process about 300 gallons before replacement. The reverse osmosis filter will process about 1200, and the carbon filter will process about 600 gallons. That means if you want 1200 gallons of water, you will need 4 pre-carbon, 2 carbon, and 1 reverse osmosis. That’s 7 filters!

Fortunately, the designers of this system considered how to overlap these filters’ life cycles evenly to ensure that you can replace certain ones halfway through the lifespan of the others. Knowing this, if you want 6000 gallons of water, how many extra filters will you need to buy? The Countertop Water Purifier comes with a complete set of filters (i.e. one of each type). So you will need four 2-year combination packs, plus 3 more pre-carbon filters, and 1 more carbon filter to complete another 2-year set. To get a total of 6000 gallons out of your system, here’s what you will have to purchase:

Aquatru Countertop Water Purifier $449
4 replacement filter (2-year) packs (@ $159.90) $639.6
3 pre-carbon filters (@ $24.90) $74.7
1 carbon filter (@ $34.90) $34.9
TL $11198.2

By comparison, the Berkey list looks like this:

The Big Berkey (includes 1 set of filters) $278


Essentially, your one-time purchase of the Big Berkey system will save you $920.20 over the first eleven years you own it. And remember - that’s for a system that provides a higher quality of filtered water. If you are choosing a system to buy based on which product will save you the most money, Berkey has Aquatru beat - and it’s not close.

Pros and Cons


Aquatru’s countertop water purifier utilizes three components in an effective system: pre-carbon, carbon, and reverse osmosis. These different filter components combine to remove a variety of different impurities at a specific percentage, and their system performs better than many of its competitors. Aquatru’s system does require some maintenance, as one must change seven filters every two years. The system needs power to operate, making it less ideal in a power outage scenario. Finally, the system is expensive, especially over the long term. For the price, it just doesn’t provide the quality of water that is ideal for home use. 


By comparison, Berkey’s purification systems (any of them) beat Aquatru both with respect to short-term system costs and long-term replacement filter costs. It also purifies water to a much higher standard. Both systems are long-term investments. Berkey’s products are gravity-fed, making them ideal in a crisis. Berkey’s design is simpler, making it easier to clean. Berkey beats Aquatru in pretty much every area.

Which one should I buy? Berkey or Aquatru? Neither one! Buy The Water Machine!

At this point, you might be confused. Didn’t this page just come to the conclusion that Berkey is the superior product? Absolutely. Berkey is indeed superior to Aquatru. In fact, Berkey outperforms just about every product on the market, except one - The Water Machine.

The Water Machine filters all the same contaminants as Berkey, to the exact same percentages. However, there are a couple of important differences: cost, utility, and flavor.


Remember our comparison from earlier? Check this out:

Big Berkey Water Filter $278.00
Replacement Filters $120.00
The Water Machine
The Water Machine $299.99
Replacement Filters $74.99

What do you notice? The Water Machine does cost more. But it holds 3 gallons of water compared to Big Berkey’s 2.5 gallons. This makes it comparable in size and cost to the other systems in Berkey’s product line. The real difference here is the
cost of replacement filters.

The Water Machine charges $42 less per pair of filters than Berkey. However, The Water Machine company also gives you a free pair of replacement filters every time you find four new customers for them. In other words, if you do a little marketing for them, they make sure you never have to spend another dime!


Both Berkey and The Water Machine use a gravity-fed design. However, Berkey’s products are either made of metal or plastic. These are more difficult to clean, and won’t last as long. The Water Machine is made of two tanks of hammered glass. This design makes it much easier to see when it is time to clean the tanks. And it also makes them easier to clean. 


When you store water in a plastic tank, sooner or later it will start to taste like plastic. Anyone who has ever purchased plastic bottled water in a store can tell you that. When you store water in a metal tank, you can likewise end up with a metallic taste. 

Because Berkey relies on plastic and metal for their designs, the filtered water will sit in one of these two kinds of tanks. Not so with The Water Machine. The Water Machine is made of glass, and it will taste fresh no matter how many days you leave it sitting around. If you like your filtered water to taste fresh, the choice is obvious! Choose The Water Machine!

The Water Machine is your Best Option for Pure Drinking Water, Bar None

If you are interested in buying a water purification system for your home, one that does not require electricity to operate, cleans your water to a higher standard than anything on the market, costs less over the long term than its competitors, and produces fresh-tasting clean water every time, then choose The Water Machine! Visit our product information page to learn more about this amazing system, and add it to your shopping cart. Five years from now, you will still be saving money and enjoying fresh, clean water.

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