A glass of water with filter cartridges in the background.

Propur vs Berkey: Which Water Filter is Better in 2021?

Propur and Berkey are two of the biggest names in the water filter industry. They are incredible competitors, yet they both have their own little flair that they add to their products making a comparison list such as this one completely pertinent. They both make great, quality water with their products and that is a great step already. So without further ado, here is a complete comparison guide to these two amazing water filters.

 

General Comparison

 

Propur Big:

  • Filter: ProOne G2.0
  • Filtered Water Capacity: 2.75 gallons
  • Contaminants removed: 200+
  • Filter lifespan: Up to 10 months/ pair
  • Warranty: System & Parts – Lifetime, Black Berkey elements – 1 year

 

Big Berkey:

  • Filter: Black Berkey elements
  • Filtered Water Capacity: 2.25 gallons
  • Contaminants removed: 203
  • Filter lifespan: 3,000 gallons/ filter
  • Warranty: System & Parts – Lifetime, Black Berkey elements – 2 years

 

Two water filters next to a glass of water.

A water filter removes impurities by lowering contamination of water using a fine physical barrier, a chemical process, or a biological process.

 

Filter Comparison

 

Both Berkey and Propur use something known as a gravity filter. A gravity filter uses the power of gravity to pull water through tiny holes in the filter media, trapping contaminants and pollutants and effectively cleaning the water for premium, alkaline drinking water from your faucet. Although both companies use the same technology to build their filters and increase water quality, there are still mention-worthy differences between the two. Berkey’s Black Berkey elements and Propur’s ProOne filter are the two most popular filters from each company, so we will be breaking down differences between these particular two. 

 

Black Berkey Elements

 

The Black Berkey is a gravity filter that consists of 2 sets. Independent lab testing has found that the Black Berkey filters remove 100% of pathogens from water that had 10,000 times the amount of contaminants per liter. These filters have tiny micropores that trap contaminants and remove them from the water that flows into the lower chamber of a gravity water filter.  Berkey also sells a fluoride reduction filter that can be threaded directly onto the Black Berkey elements. They also have a 20,000-gallon shower filter for washing in clean water; and a sport gravity filter that fits in the Berkey water bottle. 

 

Propur ProOne

 

The propur’s ProOne filter is an affordable and easy to use as well as maintain system. It is ideal for treating water found in outdoor lakes and streams as well as in well water, but it can also treat regular tap water just fine. Independent lab testing on Propur’s behalf has found the ProOne filter capable of reducing or removing more than 200 contaminants including volatile oil compounds (VOCs), lead, fluoride, heavy metals, pesticides, sediments, DBPs, chloramines, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and micro-organisms, among other things.  There are also many other Propur water filters: The ProMax filter for countertop and under-counter filters, and the ProOne G2.0 Slimline, a gravity water filter similar to the ProOne that is also used in gravity-fed water filtration units. There’s also an Inline Connect FS10 filter that uses ProMax technology, and a refrigerator filter, and a range of ProMaxTM shower filters. 

 

A glass of contaminated water on a table.

Drinking water may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants.

 

What Contaminants Do They Remove?

 

Both Berkey and Propur advertise that they remove over 200 contaminants from the water, among them some of the common water impurities such as chlorine, lead and VOCs, heavy metals, as well as water contaminants like bacteria, cysts (such as giardia and cryptosporidium), viruses, and algae. Here is a video by the Knowledge Platform about the most common water impurities, in case you would like to learn more about them.

 

Performance Comparison

 

Although both these filters work in very very similar ways, there are some key differences that are worth exploring.

 

Berkey

 

The Black Berkey elements, as mentioned above, can remove more than 200 impurities from the water in your home. It is quite a fast process for a filter that relies on gravity. It comes with two different elements that together can filter water at a flow rate of 3.5 gallons per hour – though as the water goes down, the flow rate also decreases, so you might want to keep topping up with water for a faster job.  There’s room in most Big Berkey filtration units to add another 2 Black Berkey elements. This will double the speed of filtration as well as double the lifespan of your devices. They are NSF certified for Standard 53, which tests and certifies POU or POE systems for the reduction of a significant amount of harmful contaminants from drinking water. 

 

Propur

Propur’s ProOne offers similarly high quality performance. This filter, however, does not provide an exact list of just how many contaminants it removes from your water. They do feature a third party study on their website that claims they can remove 200 contaminants from your water. When talking about the flow rate, this filter takes about 6 to 7 hours to produce approximately 3 gallons of clean water using 1 filter, which is over three times as long as the Black Berkey elements – however, they do only feature one singular component, while the Berkey filter features two. On the other hand, you do have the option to add an additional filter element to this filter so in the end, there’s not much difference. They also claim to be NSF 42 and 53 certified (ANSI also), for reduction of a range of harmful contaminants including chlorine, taste, and odor. According to Propur’s website, the filter has been tested to these standards, and an independent lab result shows a significant reduction in contaminants – but it does not seem as if the ProOne has an official NSF certification.

 

Models & Upfront Cost

 

Berkey

 

The Black Berkey elements themselves cost $120 for a set of 2, providing water filtration for between 1 and 5 years (depending on daily water usage). However, you do have to buy yourself your own filtration system to use these filters in.  As for their filtration systems, the most popular of the Berkey water filter systems is the Big Berkey, a 2.25 gallon system that costs $278 with 2 initial Black Berkey filters included. You can pay a little extra, $388, for an extra 2 Berkey filters to be included with the system, which will double the lifespan of all filters. This technically means you pay $110 for the extra 2 filters, rather than buying them separately for $120, so the savings are not the most noticeable. This system has a stainless steel body, which combines an upper and lower chamber, connected by the Black Berkey filter elements. All of the Berkey countertop water filters are stainless steel in design, apart from the Berkey Light, which is made from BPA-free food-grade polyester.

 

Here are other types of filtration systems offered by Berkey:

  • The Travel Berkey (1.5 gallons)
  • The Big Berkey (2.25 gallons)
  • The Royal Berkey (3.25 gallons)
  • The Imperial Berkey (4.5 gallons)
  • The Crown Berkey (6 gallons)
  • The Berkey Light, (2.75 gallons)

 

Propur

 

As for Propur, the most popular of their filtration systems in the similarly named Propur Big. This filtration system has a 2.75 gallon capacity and costs $279. This means that the Propur system actually comes out as cheaper rather than the Berkey, with a better price-per-gallon water filtration capacity. Berkey’s countertop gravity water filter range does tend to be more popular, however. Like the Berkey gravity water filters, the Propur’s range of filtration systems are constructed from 304 stainless steel that is resistant to corrosion and oxidation.

 

Here are some other of Propur’s filtration systems:

  • The Propur Traveler (1.75 gallons, $199),
  • The Propur Scout II (0.5 gallons, $69)

 

The ProOne filter can be purchased alone or as a replacement filter at several different prices depending on the filter size you opt for: 5 inch, 7 inch or 9 inch. The 5 inch filter ($69.50) is designed to fit in the Traveler and Scout units, and the 7 inch filter ($74.50) fits in the Big units. Though Berkey has a couple more choices than the Propur, you’re still pretty well covered with size options with both manufacturers, and both offer an option for travel, which can be incredibly useful. 

 

Used and new water filters behind glasses of dirty and clean water.

Not replacing water filters on time can cause them to be covered in bacteria and make them unable to perform optimally.

 

Filter Lifespan & Replacement Costs

 

Berkey

 

You can expect the Black Berkey element to last you for approximately 6,000 gallons of water before you need to replace it. The amount of time this would translate to depends on how much water your family or household uses Imagining that you had 5 family members, all drinking a gallon of clean water a day. Your Black Berkey elements would last roughly 1,200 days, or 3 years and a couple of months. If you use less filtered water than 5 gallons per day, you will get longer out of your elements. Though the elements cost a slightly pricey $120 for a pack of 2, you will only need to pay this cost once every few years.

 

Propur

 

The Propur ProOne filters are sold individually at different prices for different sizes. The smallest 5 inch filter costs $69.50, while the 7 inch filter costs $74.50 and the 9 inch filter $79.50. You can assume that the bigger the filter, the longer it will last. The 5 inch filter lasts for up to 6 months with daily regular use. The 7 inch filter lasts 10 months. Finally, the 9 inch filter lasts 12 months. 

 

Customer Reviews & Complaints

 

Berkey

 

Berkey seems to be one of the most positive reviewed products on the internet. The Big Berkey currently has a 4.6-out-of-5-star rating on Amazon, based on nearly 800 reviews. People commented that they were happy with the quality of the water container, and appreciated the fact that it helped them to live a more plastic-free lifestyle. Many users also complimented Berkey’s optional fluoride filters, which can be purchased at an additional price and attached to the Black Berkey elements filters. Since most water filters do not actually work to filter out fluoride, this can be a smart addition to your current setup. Here is an article from Medical News Today on the effects of fluoride.

The biggest negative thing, according to reviewers, seems to be that the Berkey gravity water system has a sort of rubber smell and taste that some users. This is likely caused by the Berkey’s rubber washers and stopper. In case you do find yourself thinking the same thing, you can always replace the rubber washers and stopper with silicone ones. Berkey also sells a stainless steel spigot which can be used in its place that will not give your water a rubbery taste. This should guarantee you some great tasting water. You can find these listed online.

Another negative point about Berkey’s system is that it can be difficult to set up, since the instructions that come with the product do not feature a good diagram showing the exact valve placements. However, you can find installation videos online that will likely help you install these products yourself.

 

Propur

 

Propur’s Big Gravity water filter has an identical Amazon rating of 4.6 stars. There are, however, less people that reviewed Propur, 168 to Berkey’s 800. As with the Big Berkey, customers praise the Propur for being able to provide them with clean water and a plastic bottle-free alternative for drinking water, giving their tap water a much better taste. Some customers also commented to say they were feeling much better health-wise after switching to drinking contaminant-free water from the Propur, which is fantastic to hear.

Many users pointed out the importance of carefully following the instructions when setting up the Propur filter, including cleaning the filters before connecting them. The biggest complaint about Propur’s water filtration system is that they have been reported to rust, despite being stainless steel. It is unclear whether this is an issue with the metal within the filters themselves or a lack of cleaning issue.

 

Pros and Cons of Berkey vs Propur

 

Berkey – Pros

  • Stainless steel build
  • Filters can be cleaned
  • Filters out an impressive range of contaminants
  • Relatively portable
  • Optional fluoride reduction

 

Berkey – Cons

  • Needs refilling regularly
  • Expensive upfront cost
  • No NSF certification

 

Propur – Pros

  • Cheaper than Berkey
  • Removes fluoride at no additional cost
  • Portable options

 

Propur – Cons

  • Filters don’t last as long
  • Doesn’t remove as many contaminants
  • Questionable quality of “stainless steel”
  • Takes longer to filter water

 

A person holding two water filter cartridges.

In addition to filter price and performance, its water supply capacity, size, and convenience should also be considered.

 

Should You Buy Propur or Berkey Filters?

 

Essentially, it all comes down to personal preference. The best water filter really depends from person to person and household to household. It mainly depends on whether you are willing to pay a bit more for some higher quality, or you would rather pay less for something that might not be as well made. When it comes down to it, the Propur is essentially a lower-cost version of the Berkey, capable of removing fewer contaminants and with a potential rusting issue in some units – but otherwise near-identical.  Both are fantastic, commendable competitors in this field and have their own merit.

Now that you have all the information in order to make an informed decision, you should see what would likely be best for your home. In terms of brand recognition and volume of customer feedback, Berkey comes out on top. In terms of affordability, Propur comes out on top. Basically, if you want a cheaper option, Propur is your best bet. But for most people, Berkey is better quality.

 

Bonus tip: Check out this fun video on the inside workings of a water filter!

 

 

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Joshua Perkins

Joshua Perkins

Joshua spent ten years as a water systems technician in California before settling down with his wife and two young children in Nashville in 2018. Through all of his experience, he learned the benefits and shortfalls of so many different types of water filtration systems, from pitchers to whole-house installations. He started Water Filter Authority in 2019 to empower other families to make the right decision for their long-term health and wellness.