Do you drink water? Unless the world has fallen into the hands of a race of internet article-reading robots, the answer is undoubtedly yes.
It’s the one thing that unites us all. Whether you like it with ice and a twist of lemon, straight from the tap or frozen into cubes in a glass with Bourbon, we all need it to live. And to ensure we live, long healthy lives – we need a lot of it.
But just how safe is the water you’re drinking?
It might not be as safe as you think. Many water systems in the U.S. don’t reach the required standard of safety and up to a staggering 20% of private wells are pumping out contaminated water. The number one pollutant in U.S. water systems? Run-off from farms. Yuck!
But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s actually remarkably easy to ensure your family aren’t drinking contaminated water.
There are two main ways to effectively make sure the water you’re drinking is safe. The first is to install a “whole-house water filtration system”. This involves hiring professionals to fit it and can work out to be very costly and time-consuming.
But fear not. The other option is much easier. Simple kitchen-top water filters can make even the dirtiest water safe to drink.
Today, we’re comparing two giants on the market: Alexapure Pro vs. Big Berkey.
But which is the best for your family?
Let’s dive in and find out.
Alexapure Pro vs Big Berkey – The Quick Comparison
We’re putting these two water filtration heavyweights head-to-head. Let’s see how they weigh up.
Aesthetics – A slight advantage for Alexapure Pro
Both the Alexapure Pro and the Big Berkey use gravity to filter the water and so have no need for a power source. This makes them ideal for off-grid living or camping, but they’re also perfect for home use as well.
No one wants a big ugly machine out on their kitchen counter, so which of these is the nicest aesthetically?
Well, there’s not an awful lot in it.
These are both well-designed, sleek machines of similar sizes.
They are both made of stainless steel and would fit in well with most kitchen designs. The Big Berkey has a more polished finished, while the Alexapure Pro has a brushed finish.
Both machines are designed to be easily portable, so neither one is going to take up too much space. The Alexapure is a little smaller than the Big Berkey, but with only five inches in it, it’s not much of a difference.
Neither the Alexapure nor the Big Berkey come in any additional colours, so if you’re looking for something that pops, you’re out of luck.
Both have simple, black plastic spigots and handles and both are embossed with the company logo.
There really isn’t much difference in the appearance of these machines.
To me, the Alexapure looks more modern with its brushed finish and would undoubtedly better compliment the design of many modern kitchen appliances.
The Big Berkey’s polished finish makes it look a bit more traditional – think a wood cabin in a mining town – so it’s really down to your personal aesthetic.
Ease of use – Alexapure takes it for their easy-fitting filters
Both the Big Berkey and the Alexapure Pro are designed to be easily portable and both are very light, weighing only 3.1kg each.
They both work to a similar design – you fill the top chamber with the water that you want to filter, it works its way through the filters which remove the impurities and fill up the bottom chamber with purified water.
The Alexapure Pro has a large handle on its top lid, which opens to wide hole. Filling it with water is simple and water doesn’t need to be boiled before it goes in. If you’re using this off-grid, it might be a good idea to strain the water first, just to make sure not large bits of mud or grass clog up the filters.
The Alexapure comes with one filter pre-installed but has space for up to four. The more filters that are installed, the faster it will work. Installing new filters is simple with them just sliding easily into the ports.
Initial assembly of the Alexapure is very easy, you simply put the top chamber onto the bottom one and it's ready to start filtering.
Equally simple is getting the clean water. Just flick the handle on the spigot and collect your purified water.
While the filters don’t need to be primed before insertion, it’s recommended that you run at least one full chamber through at least every two days to stop the filters from drying out. If you’re not going to be using it for a while, you should take out the filters and store them in a ziplock bag full of water.
The Big Berkey has a very similar design and also doesn’t call for any major preparation of the water before filtration.
It fits together in much the same way as the Alexapure, although some users complain that the filters can be a bit annoying to fit.
The Big Berkey comes with two filters pre-installed, beating the Alexapure’s one.
What impurities do they remove? – Very close but Big Berkey wins
Both of these filtration systems use their own brand of water filter. There seems to be minimal difference in the effectiveness of the filters, though, with Alexapure claiming to remove 200 different impurities and the Big Berkey just beating it slightly with 203.
Both the Alexapure Pro and the Big Berkey claim to remove:
- Heavy metals such as lead
- Insecticides and pesticides
- Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs
- Dangerous chemicals such as Chlorine
- Drugs and pharmaceuticals including Caffeine, Acetaminophen and antibiotics like Ciprofloxacin
While the Big Berkey claims to remove slightly more impurities, this isn’t backed by any third party and Berkey is not NSF certified. This said, they have had an independent test of their claims, the results of which can be found in the link above.
The Alexapure Pro is also, unfortunately, missing that desired NSF certification, although they too have laboratory results which you are able to view at the link above.
Additional features – Alexapure wins for built-in fluoride filter
The Berkey does come with an additional filter, which speeds up the rate of filtration. The filter can be pricey and run very slowly with only one installed, so this is certainly a consideration.
The Alexapure, when stocked with 3 additional certified filters, has a slightly faster filtration rate than the Big Berkey which is also worth considering, especially if you are planning on using them for camping or in emergency situations.
It’s possible to buy Berkey filters that are specifically designed to filter out Fluoride, so if that’s an issue that affects you, it’s something to think about.
On the other hand, Berkey’s filters last on average 1000 gallons longer than Alexapure’s, which will certainly save you some money in the long run.
But really, in terms of heavy duty gravity filtration systems, these are both at the top of their game, offering significantly better filtration than anything else on the market.
Pricing – Big Berkey’s longer lasting filters give it the edge
The cost will obviously vary depending on where you buy your filtration system from, but there’s very little difference in it.
The Big Berkey is usually a little more expensive (in the region of $20 – $30 more), but it does come with an additional filter.
The filters can be quite expensive so this is certainly worth considering. The Berkey’s filters also have a significantly longer lifespan than Alexapure, so overall the Big Berkey works out to be the better deal.
Why buy the Alexapure Pro?
The Alexapure Pro is a high-end water filtration system, capable of making even hostile water sources drinkable and nutritious.
It’s arguably the better looking machine, which if you’re buying for home use will be an important factor.
While the filters may not last quite as long, they can still process 5000 gallons of water (to put that into perspective, the average human drinks 182.5 gallons a year), so they will last a long time.
The Alexapure is also capable of filtering water faster which, in a life or death situation, could make all the difference.
Why buy the Big Berkey?
The Big Berkey is the best-seller on the market. It’s popularity means that it is much easier to find replacement parts and filters (and also cheaper) than it is for the Alexapure Pro.
I may think the Alexapure has the edge in terms of aesthetic design, but the Big Berkey is by no means an eye-sore. If you’re buying this for an off-grid cabin or even a traditional wood-finished home, the design of the Berkey would add some old-world charm.
In the end, there isn’t a huge amount of difference between these two filtration systems. Both will get rid of just about anything you don’t want your family consuming, but the Berkey’s Fluoride-specific filters may well be the deciding factor for some of you.
The Big Berkey’s position as market-leader also makes it the better option, in my opinion. Ease of finding replacement parts and filters is something that really shouldn’t be overlooked and, honestly, for the Alexapure Pro, it is quite difficult.