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Berkey vs Pur: Which one is the best in 2021?

By Austin Armstrong April 13, 2021

Berkey vs Pur: Which one is the best in 2021?


When it comes to quality drinking water, the time has come to get serious. Gone are the days of purchasing cheap plastic pitchers that only filter out the most basic of contaminants. To purchase a water filter for your home is to invest in your health. And that means spending more initially. The good news is, if you buy the right system, you will actually save money over the long term.

To show what we mean by this, we have chosen to compare two brands’ best filters. For Pur, we selected Pur’s Faucet Mount Water Filtration System. According to Pur’s website, this filter has more to offer in the way of removing toxins and other contaminants from your municipal water supply. And they're about as affordable as any filter that comes with Pur’s other products. 

For Berkey, we chose their Black Charcoal Filtration Element. It’s the main filter used in all of Berkey’s systems, and is highly effective. These filters are more expensive, and last a long time if properly cleaned from time to time. 

If you want to know more about which product is better, we must compare them on performance, cost, utility, and intangibles. We do indeed select a favorite between these two products. But we invite you to read to the end, as our answer might surprise you. 

Berkey vs. Pur: What Contaminants Do They Remove?

In order to compare the filtration efficiency of Pur’s Faucet Filter and Berkey’s filter, we consulted the product information found on the company websites. Pur’s website lacked specific data pertaining to filtration efficiency for most contaminants. But we included the data that they had to offer.

The following is a side-by-side comparison of the two products:

 Filtration Efficiency (%)
Contaminant The Water Machine Brita Filter
Flouride 99.9 n/a
Bacteria 99.9999 n/a**
Coliform and e-Coli 99.9
Viruses 99.999
Lead 99.9 99
Arsenic 99.9 n/a
Iron 99.9 n/a
Mercury 99.9 96
Chlorine 99.9* 99
Trihalomethanes (THMs) 99.8* n/a
Chloramines 99.9* n/a
Pharmaceuticals 99.9* 94.0
Acetaminophen 99.9 n/a
Ibuprofen 99.9
Naproxen 99.9
Atenolol -
Carbamazepine 99.9
Meprobamate -
Phenytoin -
Trimethoprim 99.9
10 other drugs 99.9 n/a
Petroleum Contaminants 99.9*
Benzine - 96.0
Ethylbenzene - n/a***
VOCs 99.9* ***
Methylcyclohexane-Methane 99.9* n/a
P-Dichlorobenzene -
Tetrachloroethylene - 96.0
Bisphenol-A 99.9
4-para-Nonylphenol 99.9
Pesticides 99.9* 92.0
Endrin -
Carbon Tetrachloride -
Atrazine 99.9 92
Simazine - 92
Linuron -
Metolachlor -
Heavy Metals 99.1
Aluminum 99 n/a
Antimony 99.9 n/a
Barium 80 n/a
Beryllium 99.9 n/a
Bismuth 99.9 n/a
Cadmium 99.7
Cobalt 95 n/a
Chromium 99.9 n/a
Chromium-6 99.85 n/a
Copper 99.9 n/a
Iron 99.9 n/a
Molybdenum 90 n/a
Nickel 99.9 n/a
Vanadium 87.5 n/a
Zinc 99.9 n/a
Uranium 97 n/a
Gross Alpha Emitter 98.7 n/a



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.

** Certain Pur retailers offer a disclaimer on their website stipulating that one should not put water into the filter known to be at risk of contamination from pathogens.

*** Although specifically named as a filtered contaminant, Pur does not indicate the percentage that it filters.

ª Although Berkey does not make specific claims about filtering microbial cysts, it does remove 99.999% of Bacillus Atrophaeus, which is approximately one-tenth the size of a Cryptosporidium cyst, the smaller of the two microbial cysts named by Pur.

¹ Pur claims to filter 92% of “certain pesticides”, but only names two that it filters at 92%.

² Pur claims its filters remove 94% of “certain pharmaceuticals”, but doesn’t specify which ones by name.

³ Pur identifies “pollutants” as a category of substances its filters trap, but only names two chemical compounds that it filters at a specific percentage.

⁴ Pur claims to filter 99% of microbial cysts, but only names 2 kinds.

As you can see from this comparison, Berkey’s charcoal element is in a completely different class of product than Pur’s Faucet Filter. Because it can purify at the molecular level, Berkey is not considered a filter, but rather a water purification system. The standards for water purification are much higher than for filtration, and Berkey’s filter meets those standards. It removes toxic chemicals, as well as pathogens, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, etc. If you are choosing one of these two products based on quality drinking water, there is no debate here. Berkey is better by far.

Cost Comparison: Berkey vs. Pur

Here are the costs for the two systems.


Big Berkey Water Filter 278.00
Replacement Filters 120.00


Faucet Mount Water Filtration System 19.99
Faucet System Replacement Filters (2-pack) 19.64

To properly evaluate these products with respect to cost, we must take into account how long their filters last:

Berkey’s charcoal filters (1 pair) 6000 Gallons (approx. 11 years)*
Pur’s Faucet Mount Filter

100 Gallons (approx. 2.2 months)*

* assumes that owner(s) use 1.5 gallons/day

When you purchase one of Berkey’s purification systems, it comes with a pair of filters that will last for 6000 gallons. That’s about 11 years. To use your Pur device for 11 years, you would need to purchase 59 replacement filters! Here’s the cost breakdown:

Pur Faucet Mount Filter (includes 1 Filter) 19.99
59 replacement filters (bought as 30 pairs) 589.20
 Total 609.19

By comparison, The Big Berkey Filter looks like this:

 Big Berkey (includes 1 set of filters) 278.00

What are we saying here? When you purchase the Big Berkey filtration system, you will save $331.19 over the alternative. To use Pur for the same amount of time (11 years), you will end up spending more money in replacement filters than you would if buying two Berkey systems. And remember, Pur makes an inferior filter! Besides that, you will have to come up with some kind of counting system that enables you to keep track of how many gallons you have poured into the filter. Every 100 gallons, you have to change the filter.

Pros and Cons


Pur offers an affordable filter that will remove a significant percentage of some of the most basic contaminants. For $20, you can put a basic system on your faucet, and purchase two replacement filters for it for about the same price. But then you will have to keep track of how many gallons you have poured into it to ensure that you will get the useful life out of it. Then you have to keep buying the replacement filters. That’s a lot of waste - a waste of money, and materials that are difficult to recycle. 

Besides the inconvenience of changing filters all the time, keep in mind that your filter simply isn’t in the same class as Berkey at removing contaminants from your water. Why would you spend more money for a product that is less effective, and more time and energy-consuming? That’s not a good purchase.


Berkey does have a significant upfront cost: The Big Berkey system costs $278. However, it comes with a pair of excellent charcoal filters that will last for 11 years! You will have to spend a modest amount of effort cleaning the filters occasionally. But that is hardly comparable to the effort required to purchase and change countless filters over the life of your system, as you would with Pur.

Remember - you’re buying a water filter to provide quality drinking water for your household, and to protect their health over the short and long term. You will use this water for making tea and coffee, for your household plants, for washing food, and for cooking. Using it means minimizing exposure to environmental toxins, heavy metals, and pathogens. And you’re doing this with a system that will save you money over its useful life. So, of the two systems, Berkey has Pur beat in cost and performance, as well as overall utility.

Which product should I buy? Neither! Buy The Water Machine!

By showing you the benefits of Berkey’s system in comparison to Pur, you should have a sense of the superiority of a quality filtration system. But what if I told you that you could have a similar system that provides the exact same standard of filtration, with a higher quality design? The Water Machine uses a gravity-fed design, and charcoal filters to purify the water. The filters filter out the exact same contaminants at the exact same percentages.

Easy to Clean

However, unlike the Big Berkey filter, The Water Machine is made of hammered glass. Not only does it have a distinctive visual appeal, the glass design is easier to clean, and easier to inspect for dirt, grime, etc. So it’s easier to know when to clean it. 

No Metal Taste

Like the Big Berkey, The Water Machine has an upper and a lower tank, and the water drains into the lower tank. However, because the lower tank is made of glass, there is no chance that your filtered water will develop a metal taste from sitting in the filtered tank for a while. 

Significant Savings

The Water Machine costs slightly more than the Big Berkey, at $299.99. However, it holds more water, making it comparable in size and price to the other systems in Berkey’s product line. The key difference however, is the cost of the replacement filters

Although Berkey and The Water Machine are nearly identical, The Water Machine charges $78 for a pair of replacement filters, while Berkey charges $120 for the same set. That’s a savings of $42, every time you replace the filters! Not only that, but you can get a free pair of replacement filters every time you find four people to purchase The Water Machine!

Save Yourself the Trouble, Buy The Water Machine!!

Hopefully at this point, you understand which product won the Berkey vs. Pur comparison. The answer? Neither one! The Water Machine beats them both! 

Order The Water Machine today, and start enjoying the cleanest, most refreshing water available. We’re willing to bet that many years from now, you will still have The Water Machine, and you’ll be telling us that it was one of the best investments you have ever made.

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