I mentioned in my Drinking Water Storage: 55 Gallon Barrels vs Sure Water Tank post that I really want need to store enough potable water in the event some prolonged calamity disrupts our domestic water supply. Redundancy is the mantra in SHTF preparedness, so having hundreds of gallons of water stored in my basement is one thing, but it’s important to have another layer of water security. Water is life.
Best SHTF Water Filter
I live within walking distance of a good sized river that offers easily accessible H2O 9 months out of the year (12 months if I chipped through ice), so that offers a layer of security to some extent, but my property does not border the river and it’d be an uphill climb from the river to my house which would make hauling water a real chore… maybe I should buy a bucket yoke before I need one… better yet, maybe I should buy one for the kids.
That is probably not the best plan for a SHTF scenario, so what I needed to find was the best SHTF water filter out there. I needed something that would filter out drinking water contaminants and keep me and my family safely hydrated.
Assuming the catastrophic event was one that still allowed me to walk freely about, the river itself is a “redundant” water supply. What happens when I get it back to my house, however? How do I make sure it’s potable and the family won’t get sick with Giardia? I could boil it, but that would require precious fuel. In my opinion, a gravity fed water purification unit like the Berkey products is ideal. You just pour the water into the top and wait for it to come out clean on the bottom. No electricity or heating fuel is required.
Best SHTF water filter? Quite possibly.
Berkey Water Filter Size Comparison
We are going to look at six different Berkey water filter products here to compare capacity and to see which might serve you best.
|Berkey Product||Capacity||Purchase Link|
|Travel Berkey||1.5 Gallons||Amazon|
|Big Berkey||2.25 Gallons||Amazon|
|Berkey Light System||2.75 Gallons||Amazon|
|Royal Berkey||3.25 Gallons||Amazon|
|Imperial Berkey||4.5 Gallons||Amazon|
|Crown Berkey||6 Gallons||Amazon|
We have municipal tap water. Its quality is closely monitored, but though I wouldn’t look like it if you passed me on the street, I have some granola/hippie tendencies. Specifically, I know that fluoride is great for preventing cavities, but… fluoride added to my drinking water? Fluoride in toothpaste is great, it’s in direct contact with my teeth. I brush and spit it out. It just seems, and I’m sure there is data that proves otherwise, that adding it to drinking water is a bit much.
Why I Chose a Big Berkey
It’s actually not that I’m too concerned about it impacting me, I’m thinking more about my kids. We buy a lot of organic juice for the kids to drink, which is a bit more pricey than alternatives, but it’s not loaded with nasty corn syrup and food coloring. In order to both stretch our dollar and prevent them from drinking too much juice, we usually dilute the juice with water.
Now, with the Big Berkey on-hand, we can filter out the fluoride, arsenic, and a whole pile of other stuff from the water we add to their juice. I opted for the Big Berkey because it had the most practical applications for my family size and – let’s face it – these units are nice, but they don’t come cheap. The Big Berkey was a healthy balance between size and cost.
Unboxing the Berkey
My first thought upon receiving the product was “THIS is a ‘Big’ Berkey?” It packages very small, see here:
It packages small, because the 2 parts store inside one another to reduce the storage size by 50%. If you wanted one on hand to have in your SHTF storage supply room, the Big Berkey won’t take up much space.
Note the Baroness figure sitting atop the unit for size comparison. The Sport Berkey, sitting next to it, is a great addition to any bug out bag.
It is possible to make your own Berkey filter for less money. You can buy Berkey replacement filters and then you get few food grade buckets to sit atop each other (like the Berkey), buy a spigot, drill holes in the buckets so the filters will fit between the two and a hole for the spigot.
Gravity takes care of the rest. You would have to pay extra if you wanted the fluoride/arsenic reduction elements and Sport Berkey, however.
Had I just been looking for a SHTF water purifier, I would have strongly considered building my own, but like I said, when I spend good money on a preparedness product, I like it to be something I can use every day, not just in a tough situation. The Big Berkey, as you can see, is attractive and looks nice sitting on your kitchen counter.
Two purification elements will 6,000 gallons of water! Granted if you dump a bunch of swamp water in the top it’s going to clog up much faster, but in a situation like that, you’d want to screen the water as much as possible first. The fluoride (and arsenic) reduction elements that I chose for this unit are good for 1,000 gallons.
THAT is why I bought a Big Berkey – to remove what I believe is unnecessary fluoride in our drinking water AND to further secure the equipment needed to ensure a potable water supply during difficult times. I can also easily pack the unit for camping trips in remote areas. What’s not to love?