Which Filter Elements Should I Choose?

So you're thinking about buying a Berkey water filter but confused about the different filter element types? Don't worry, the information below will help you understand the different filter types, their abilities, strengths and weaknesses.

Berkey filter elements come in two different filtration classes:

  1. Filtration Class
  2. Purification Class

The filtration class removes contaminants down to Bacteria level. This is ideal for filtering mains water supply and rainwater tank water. The Purification class removes contaminants down to Bacteria level and even lower down to Virus level. Purification class is a better standard than Filtration class and is designed to treat mains water, rainwater tank water and also raw untreated fresh water from creeks, dams and ponds.

Berkey filter elements come in four different options:

  1. White Supersterasyl Ceramic Filtration Elements
  2. Berkey Earth Filtration Elements
  3. Black Berkey Purification Elements
  4. PF2 & PF4 Fluoride and Heavy Metal Reduction Elements

We also supply ProPur ProOne® G2.0 Water Filter Systems and Alkaline & Fluoride Reduction Elements but we'll discuss these later.

 

1. White Ceramic Filtration Elements

The White Ceramic Filtration Elements that are supplied in Berkey water filter systems are made in the UK by Fairey Ceramics and are often called Doulton water filter elements. These are designed to sit in the top chamber. These are made from natural ceramics and have the following benefits:

  • Designed to meet Filtration Class
  • Have an Absolute filtration rating (defined as >99.99%), equivalent to 0.9 microns. 
  • Made from 100% natural ceramic elements.  They do not add anything to the water being filtered and the natural healthy mineral remain.  
  • Contain trace elements of silver, which inhibits microbiological growth on the filter.
  • Rated for 3000 litres or when cleaning is ineffective. Up to 6 months lifespan.

They can remove: 

  • Pathogenic Bacteria such as E-coli, Salmonella, Legionella, Cholera, Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid), Shigella, Klebsiella: >99.99%
  • >99.99%; Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and other cysts
  • Chlorine (taste & odour); (2ppm): >96%
  • Turbidity: >98%; Rust, Silt and dirt
  • Lead; (150ppb) 99.2%

They have some disadvantages such as:

  • Should be replaced every 6 months as the activated carbon within can develop harmful bacteria once it has reached maximum absorption.
  • Are not as effective in removing contaminants as other filter elements on the market as they are designed to meet the filtration class, not exceed it.
  • They are old technology. Ceramic filters have been in use for over 100 years and they work so well they are still in use today however newer technology such as the Berkey Earth or Black Berkey Purification Elements can be more effective.

2. Berkey Earth Filtration Elements

The Berkey Earth Filtration Elements that are supplied in Berkey water filter systems are a proprietary formula comprised of Diatomaceous Earth, granulated activated carbon and other media components, designed to exceed filtration standards. They filter out the same and more, contaminants than White Ceramic Supersterasyl Filtration Elements and are the most powerful gravity-fed element in the Filtration class.

These are designed to sit in the top chamber and have the following benefits:

  • Designed to exceed the Filtration Class
  • Have an Absolute filtration rating (defined as >99.9%), equivalent to 0.9 microns. 
  • Proprietary formula comprised of Diatomaceous Earth, granulated activated carbon and other media components.  They do not add anything to the water being filtered and the natural healthy mineral remain. 
  • Rated for 11,300 litres or when cleaning is ineffective. Up to 3 years lifespan

They can remove: 

  • Bad odours and taste
  • Chlorine
  • Detergents
  • Bacteria
  • Chemicals
  • Herbicides 
  • Pesticides 
  • VOC's
  • THM's 
  • Heavy Metal
  • Cloudiness, silt and sediment. You can filter creek, river and dam water 

They have some disadvantages such as:

  • They must be replaced at least every 3 years.
  • Are not as effective in removing contaminants as other filter elements on the market. The Black Berkey Purification Elements can be more effective.

 

3. Black Berkey Purification Elements

The Black Berkey Purification Elements are made in the USA by New Millenium Concepts who is the manufacturer of Berkey Water filter systems and accessories. These are designed to sit in the top chamber. These are made from coconut husk and have the following benefits:

  • Designed to exceed the Purification Class. The Black Berkey Purification Elements filter out more contaminants than elements in the Filtration class which includes White Ceramic Supersterasyl Filtration Elements and Berkey Earth Filtration Elements.
  • Have an Absolute filtration rating (defined as >99.9999999%), equivalent to better than 0.1 micron.
  • Made from natural coconut husk.  They do not add anything to the water being filtered and the natural healthy minerals remain.  
  • More powerful than any other gravity filter element currently available.
  • They are called "Purification" elements because they are more powerful than filters in the "Filtration" classification and are therefore in the next, higher level of classification.
  • Rated to 11,300 litres or when cleaning is ineffective. Generally last 3-5 years and often longer. Some users have reported 10 years or more.

They can remove: 

  • Pathogenic Bacteria such as E-coli, Salmonella, Legionella, Cholera, Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid), Shigella, Klebsiella >99.9999%
  • Viruses; >99.999%
  • >99.99%; Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and other cysts
  • Chlorine (taste & odour); below lab detectable levels
  • Rust, Silt and dirt; below lab detectable levels
  • Lead; below lab detectable levels
  • Trihalomethanes - Removed to >99.8% 
  • Chromium: 99.9%

They have some disadvantages such as:

  • Higher cost price.
  • Due to the incredibly small pore size they must be 'primed' before use.

 

4. PF4 & PF2 Fluoride and Heavy Metal Reduction Filter Elements

 

The PF4 and PF2 Filter Elements are designed to used in conjunction with either the White Ceramic or Black Berkey filter elements. They filter out fluoride and certain heavy metals that the White Ceramic and Black Berkey elements are unable to filter. The number one reason they are purchased is to remove fluoride from mains water. These are designed to sit in the bottom chamber. They must be connected to a White Ceramic or Black Berkey filter. They cannot be used on their own. Please see below:

PF4 Elements:

  • For use only with White Ceramic Supersterasyl Filtration Elements or Berkey Earth Filtration Elements
  • 6 month lifespan

PF2 Elements: 

  • For use only with Black Berkey Purification Elements
  • 12 month lifespan

The PF4 & PF2 shell is made from safe, non-leaching Polypropylene #5, that is BPA-Free. The PF4 & PF2 reduction elements, are designed to adsorb the following unwanted elements most commonly found in drinking water:

  • MTBE (Methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether) > 95% reduction
  • Fluoride >95% reduction (best results at a more neutral Ph)
  • Lead >99.9% reduction
  • Arsenic
  • DBCP (Dibromo-chloro-propane)
  • THMs (trihalomethanes)
  • Herbicides & Pesticides
  • Heavy Metal ions

Please note that PF4's must be replaced every 6 months and PF2's can last up to 12-18 months. 

 

ProPur ProOne® G2.0 Water & Fluoride Alkaline Filter Elements:

We also supply ProPur ProOne® G2.0 Water Filter Systems and Alkaline & Fluoride Reduction Elements which are made in the USA by ProPur USA and are the second generation of their filter elements. These are designed to sit in the top chamber. These are made with an advanced manufacturing technology which combines silver impregnated white ceramic with AquaMetix™ media for reduction of fluoride and other heavy metals eliminating the need to have two filters to remove fluoride such as the Berkey systems. They have the following benefits:

  • Designed to meet Filtration Class
  • Have an Absolute filtration rating (defined as >99.999%), equivalent to 0.45 microns. 
  • Made from silver impregnated white ceramic with AquaMetix™ media. They retain the natural healthy minerals and add healthy alkaline minerals to the water being filtered and reduce fluoride at the same time.  
  • Increase the alkalinity of the filtered water for healthier water that is more easily absorbed by the body.
  • Contain trace elements of silver, which inhibits microbiological growth on the filter.
  • Rated for 3000 litres or when cleaning is ineffective. Replace every 12 months.
  • Lower price for fluoride reduction compared to Berkey systems.
  • Comparable in performance with Berkey Elements in the Filtration Class.
  •  

They can reduce or remove:

  • Pathogenic Bacteria
  • Fluoride, up to 95%
  • Pesticides including Glyphosate
  • Chlorine (taste & odour)
  • Turbidity
  • Rust, Silt and dirt
  • Lead
  • Herbicides
  • Chloramines (ammonia with chlorine)
  • Monochloramines
  • Hydrofluorosilicic acid (the latest form of fluoride not covered by other fluoride filter brands)
  • Sodium hexa fluorosilicate and more

They have some disadvantages such as:

  • They must be replaced at least every 12 months as the fluoride removal will reach maximum absorption.
  • Are not as effective in removing contaminants as Black Berkey Elements
  • Generally filter at a slower rate than Berkey filter elements.

 

If you would like to talk to one of our friendly staff, please contact us.

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