This post was updated on Oct 21, 2017, with all new content.
If you searched out this post you probably know that fluoride is a poison that does all kinds of nasty stuff to your brain and body. If not, click here. Otherwise, let’s get on with it.
Berkey vs. Propur vs. Alexapure
Probably the three biggest names in gravity-fed water filters are Berkey, Propur, and Alexapure—with Berkey being the most well-established. All three make excellent water filters and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. They’re exceptional at removing contaminants; and even the most expensive of the group is still reasonably priced, and much cheaper to buy and maintain than other types of systems, such as reverse osmosis. But how do they stack up against each other? That’s what I aimed to find out!
Speaking of prices, I used to have a really nice breakdown of costs over time…but many retailers get very angry when you start throwing prices out there (especially retailers that might remind you of a South American jungle). Rather than having to deal with lawyers (not from the jungle company, but yes that has happened) I’ll leave you to find prices on your own.
Both Propur and Berkey make systems in various sizes, but for this comparison I looked at systems with holding capacity around 2.5 gallons: the Big Berkey, the Alexapure Pro, and the Propur 304 Big.
Also noteworthy: because of state regulations, the Big Berkey cannot be shipped to Iowa or California. California….don’t get me started. The state requires MTBE (a known carcinogen) to be added to their gasoline; but if a product contains even an almost undetectable amount of something they don’t like, then it can’t be sold there. However, if that exact same product is made IN California, then the company can just pay a small fine and sell sell sell! Sorry. I’m getting wound up. Anyway if you live in California or Iowa, your buying decision just got a little simpler.
I put together some comparison charts to make things easier.
While I don’t provide any prices, click on the product names in the headers to see what they’re currently selling for at some fine online retailers. Also, there should be some banners down below that show what they’re currently going for on Amazon.com.
Notice the Propur filters have a maximum life of 12 months. This can be good or bad. The good side is that you can use 6 gallons of water every day and not reach their maximum capacity in a year. Fill it up twice a day (5.5 gal) and don’t worry about it—no need to try and guesstimate how many gallons you’ve used—just change them out once a year….simple. The bad side is you have to buy new filters every year….and they’re not cheap.
Another thing to notice: Berkey requires the addition of special filters for fluoride and arsenic. And while the main filters last a very respectable 6,000 gallons per pair, the fluoride filters are only good for 1,000 gallons per pair. That means you need six pairs of fluoride filters for one pair of main filters! Not only does that get expensive, but it’s a lot more maintenance than the other systems.
In the following chart I show what you would need to buy in order to maintain these systems over a 5 year period. First, I show what you would need if you use 6 gallons of water per day. That would be the most efficient use for the Propur, since its filters max out at 12 months or 2,400 gallons. Second, I show what you would need if you use 4.5 gallons of water per day. That would be filling up the Alexapure or the Berkey twice a day.
I think 4.5 gallons per day is the more reasonable scenario for most people. Notice in that scenario the Alexapure Pro doesn’t require any filter replacement. In fact, you wouldn’t reach their maximum capacity until early in the 7th year! Meanwhile the Big Berkey requires a change in main filters and 8 extra pairs of fluoride/arsenic filters.
That’s great. But how well do they filter?
They all have certified lab tests listing HUNDREDS of contaminants. Those can all be found on their respective websites. I’ve just listed a few here that I thought were interesting.
Gross Alpha is a group of radioactive isotopes including uranium, plutonium, polonium, and a few others.
Like I said earlier, these are all excellent water filter systems and their overall performance is very similar. But here are a few takeaways:
- If your overriding concern is fluoride, and you don’t mind the extra cost and maintenance, you should probably get a Berkey. The others are really good, but Berkey is the best; and it should be—it has extra filters for fluoride, after all.
- If you have problems with lead in your water, then Alexapure might NOT be your first choice—even though it’s far and away the most inexpensive system in most scenarios.
- If you’re suffering from lead contamination AND glyphosate runoff, then I would highly recommend you get a Propur…unless you also have radioisotopes in your water. But if you have radioisotopes in your water…..you should probably move.
One more chart for your consideration: Warranty
The Propur is generally going to be the most expensive (plug in the numbers on your own) and so it helps that it comes with the best warranties of the group. The filter warranty is only 1 year, but the filters are only supposed to last a year. That essentially means the filters have a lifetime warranty—although the lifetime warranty on the stainless steel system is more significant. Consider also that it comes with a stainless steel spigot, not a plastic one like the others.
The Alexapure and Berkey both have 1 year warranties on systems. The Alexapure extends that 1 year warranty to include the filters, while Berkey gives a 2 year warranty on the Black Berkey main filters and a six month warranty on the fluoride/arsenic filters. If you’re using your Berkey regularly, the fluoride filters probably don’t last much longer than six months anyway. Berkey does, however, list some interesting warranty-voiding no-no’s: using water from a dehumidifier; using water that has been treated with softeners; also, running red food coloring through the fluoride/arsenic filters.
The Final Word
Berkey has been around the longest, has the strongest reputation, and probably filters water faster than the others….and the finish of the stainless steel is gorgeous. But it requires a lot more filter swaps than the others. However, if you don’t need or want the extra fluoride/arsenic filters, then it is extremely competitive on cost with the Alexapure. Otherwise, it’s too expensive and maintenance-heavy for my tastes.
Propur stands behind their 304 with a lifetime warranty, which is very impressive. It’s also a winner for someone who values the convenience of once a year filter changes without having to keep track of gallons. But while it’s long term cost is still modest in the world of water filtration, regularly priced it’s much more expensive than an Alexapure.
Which brings us to our best over all: the Alexapure Pro.
As I’ve said several times, these are all excellent water filters; but the Alexapure gets the job done at a fraction of the cost of the other systems (in most scenarios, that is…run the numbers for yourselves). And to help you run those numbers, below are the current prices on Amazon. Keep in mind that the Alexapure Pro is nearly always priced to include only ONE filter, the Propur Big is commonly priced with 1 OR 2 filters, and the Big Berkey is usually priced to include TWO filters. Also the Alexapure filters are usually sold separately, while the others are usually sold in pairs. You’ll have to do some of your own homework here.
Products from Amazon.com
Price: $169.99Was: $197.00
Price: $89.99Was: $97.00
>>For a great discount on the Alexapure Pro visit MyPatriotSupply.com
Your preferences may be a bit different than mine; but for my money, the Alexapure Pro is the hands down winner. I hope this has been helpful in you making your own decision.
And please leave us a comment, if the Spirit so moves you.