You can’t go far without stumbling across the Berkey vs Propur debate in the water filtration industry. Fierce competition between these two companies created two exceptional water filtration products for consumers.
To help you make the best decision for your household, we will compare Propur vs Berkey in four domains. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with either water filtration system.
Design & Capacity Comparison
Berkey and Propur both use gravity filtration systems, but the companies approach things a little differently. Water filtration is a complex process with multiple components, but we can give you a basic idea of how Berkey and Propur accomplish it.
Berkey and Propur use an upper chamber with purification elements on top of a lower chamber. The purification elements filter unwanted particles from the water and send it to the lower chamber for you to drink.
There’s no electricity involved, so you can use these systems at home or take anywhere from the ballfield to the campground. Both Berkey and Propur use stainless steel containers, making them resistant to typical water-related damage, like corrosion and oxidation.
Design Differences: Berkey vs Propur
Though these systems feature similar designs, there are a few unique aspects to consider in terms of design. The main difference is the type of filter used by each company.
Berkey uses its Black Berkey filter elements in every system. Some of the more efficient water filtration elements on the market, Black Berkeys, were tested independently in EPA-approved laboratories and exceed standards set by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
Propur uses its ProOne filter in all gravity-based filtration systems. It has also been independently tested and carries an Environtek certification. Propur’s ProOne filter also meets EPA standards and can be used to filter water from almost any source, including rivers, ponds, and lakes. ProOne filters include silver to prevent bacteria growth.
Of note, Propur also provides a ProOne Slimfit filter for their smaller travel filtration systems. The Slimfit uses the same technology as other ProOne filters but in a smaller package.
If appearances matter, you may want to take a look at Propur’s selection. While Berkey uses essentially the same design and material for all but one of their gravity filtration systems, Propur got a little more creative.
Berkey uses stainless steel and a minimalistic design for most of their systems. The only exception is the Berkey Light, which uses blue BPA-free food-grade polyester and has a slightly more contoured body.
Propur opted for a similar minimalist design, but they offer a selection of finishes. The Water Pitcher, Scout II and Big II use BPA-free plastic, while the Traveler+ and Big+ come in brushed or polished stainless steel.
Additionally, Propur offers a selection of convenient accessories for many of their designs. You can add-on helpful tools, including stands and travel bags, or upgrade your spigot.
It’s tough to do a Propur vs Berkey water filter comparison without considering the capacities available. Berkey offers a slightly wider range of sizes to choose from, but not by much.
If you go with Berkey Filters, you can choose from six different system sizes. As noted above, they all look essentially the same, except for the Berkey Light.
- Travel Berkey, the smallest of the group, holds 1.5 gallons
- Big Berkey holds 2.25 gallons
- Berkey Light holds 2.75 gallons
- Royal Berkey holds 3.25 gallons
- Imperial Berkey holds 4.5 gallons
- Crown Berkley is the largest at six gallons
Propur caters to the smaller sizes with filtration systems as small as 52 ounces to accommodate one person on the go. You can choose from five ProOne options:
- ProOne Water Pitcher holds 52 ounces
- ProOne Scout II uses the ProOne Slimline filter and handles up to 60 ounces
- ProOne Traveler+ holds 2.25 gallons
- ProOne Big II holds 2.5 gallons
- ProOne Big+ is the largest at 3 gallons
The whole point of water filtration is to remove contaminants from water for healthier, better-tasting H2O, right? You probably want to know how effective each system is, including how fast they work.
Black Berkey filter elements can remove more than 200 contaminants. You can see the full list here, but some of the most important contaminants on the list include viruses, pathogenic bacteria, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides.
Propur’s ProOne filters also eliminate more than 200 contaminants from water. The complete list is here, but the results are similar to Berkey’s. That said, the Black Berkey filter seems to filter just a bit more.
It may seem a strange point to compare, but if water filtration takes too long to deliver clean water, it’s not entirely effective. Since these are two high-quality water filtration systems, there’s not much difference here, but it depends on your setup.
Berkey claims that a Big Berkey with two Black Berkey filters can filter 3.5 gallons of water per hour. Keep in mind that the Big Berkey uses two filters, and the process slows as the amount of water goes down.
Propur notes that one ProOne can filter three gallons of water in six to seven hours. That sounds significantly slower, but you can expect faster speeds if you add additional filters.
Cost & Lifespan
It isn’t easy to make a comparison of Berkey vs Propur without talking about cost. There is an upfront cost involved with any water filtration system, but you also want to consider how long you can expect the components to last. If a system is cheap but needs to be replaced every six months, it’s probably saving you much.
Pricing for the initial systems varies by size for both brands. You can also expect to see different accessories and add-ons.
Berkey water filters cost between $250 and $360 for just the system, two filters, and the System Pro Kit. You can opt to add on extra filters, fluoride filters, a stand, or other add-ons for an additional fee.
Propur’s ProOne systems range from $69.95 up to $224.95 depending on size and housing style. The Traveler+ and Big+ include one filter, stainless steel spigots, and non-slip pads. The Big II includes a plastic spigot. Additionally, you can choose to purchase filter upgrades, stands, travel bags, or spigot upgrades.
With proper care, you shouldn’t have to replace the housing because they are all rather durable. That said, you may have to replace some parts aside from the filters to improve your experience and the life of your water filtration system.
Replacement Filter Costs
No matter how well you take care of your water filtration system, you eventually need to replace the filter cartridges.
Black Berkey Replacement elements cost $120 for a set of two. Every Black Berkey filter element has a lifespan of 3,000 gallons, which equates to less than 2 cents per gallon for the filter. It can be cleaned up to 100 times with a 3M Scotch-Brite pad.
Propur’s ProOne filter replacements cost between $39.95 and $79.50 for one, depending on the size of the element you select. On the lower end, the smallest ProOne filters last around six months, while the larger ones can last up to a year. The ProOne Slimlines range from $44.95 up to $54.95 and last between six and eight months, depending on the size.
We couldn’t do a proper review of Propur vs Berkey water filters without considering input from existing customers. Since they both come highly rated, it wasn’t difficult to find information on either company.
Berkey has thousands upon thousands of customer reviews on their site and across other sites. Indeed, it’s difficult to weed through the comments to find complaints or downsides.
Most of the comments note that people love the taste and how they feel after switching to Berkey filters. Several reviewers report that it’s better than using bottled water in taste and environmental impact. Of note, users suggested purchasing the optional fluoride filters stating that they are worth the cost.
Though Berkey seems to try, no product is perfect and two minor complaints came up several times. First, the initial setup can be challenging if you just use the paper instructions. The suggestion is to watch one of the many installation videos available.
Second, people reported smelling and tasting rubber. Suggested remedies include swapping the rubber washers for silicone ones and upgrading to the stainless steel spigot.
Propur remains a popular choice because it’s affordable and portable. We found a lot of comments about the value for the price, which is slightly lower than Berkey.
There isn’t quite as much feedback for Propur as we found for Berkey, but the responses are similar. Many reviewers comment that it’s versatile because they can use their Propur water filtration system almost anywhere, and with nearly any water source.
Many people note feeling better after using Propur for their water. Others comment about how convenient it is for outdoor events and excursions.
We did find a few complaints. A handful of reviewers noted issues with rusting despite Propur using stainless steel. There were also a few comments about the top tank not draining completely. It’s not a huge problem, but you need to empty that leftover water before refilling it.
The Bottom Line – Berkey vs Propur
In many ways, debating Berkey vs Propur is a toss-up. If you’re on a budget and need a cheap, effective water filtration system, then you may want to go with Propur. However, Berkey may be worth the slightly higher cost because the systems filter out just a little more.