We are often asked what's the difference between a Berkey water filter and a counter-top Brita water filter. Our first response is usually an ironic "marketing", but of course the differences run much deeper and a Brita water filter does not compare favorably to the Black Berkey filters on many levels of comparison.
How does a Brita water filter compare to Berkey in terms of heavy metals elimination? A few years ago the Health Ranger published the results of heavy metal removal by various plastic counter-top water filters, the results were not encouraging. The Brita had the following removal percentages: Aluminum -33.9% (Aluminum was actually added to the water by the Brita filter, although this may be an aluminum trioxide which is chemically inert and therefore harmless. We don't know if the Health Ranger lab was able to make this distinction.), Copper 8.6%, Arsenic 12.1%, Strontium 3.6%, Cadmium 6.6%, Cesium 9.5%, Mercury 74.6%, Lead 14.1% and Uranium 10.0%. The Black Berkey filters were found by independent lab tests to remove the heavy metals listed above to a degree of 99% or higher and the radioactive elements listed above to a degree of 95% or higher.
We have not been able to find information regarding pathogenic bacteria removal by the Brita filters as they do not publish any information regarding pathogenic bacteria elimination on their website. This leads one to suspect that bacteriological contamination is either not removed or at such a low level that Brita does not divulge this information. There was a study done years ago in which the bacterial counts were actually found to increase in the Brita filtered water. This is where the Black Berkey filters are in a class of their own and why they are classified as water purifiers as opposed to water filters, the Black Berkey filters remove pathogenic bacteria to a level of 99.9999999%.
The Brita filter cartridges must be replaced every 4 weeks or 100 liters whichever comes first, if the source water is harder than 12 degrees of Clarke hardness then the Brita water filter cartridges must be replaced even sooner. A set of 2 Black Berkey filters can filter up to 22,700 liters. Our replacement calculator allows you to calculate how long your Black Berkey filters will last based upon your own usage.
One might expect the Brita filters to be much cheaper than a Berkey water purifier over a lifespan of 22,700 liters, the opposite appears to be true. At the time of writing (March 2018) the total cost of a Brita water filter is £1130 (€1519), based upon 19 Brita filter packs of 12 filters (£59.50/€79.95 each) and total of 22,700 liters of water to be filtered. The cost of a Big Berkey including 2 Black Berkey filters is £253/€279.