Countertop water filtration units are an excellent solution for households with an unsafe water supply because these units are ultra-efficient, easily accessible, and easy to maintain.
The main competition in this category is between Alexapure and Berkey, whose products are among the most effective and popular countertop units on the market.
The brands’ flagship products, Alexapure Pro Filtration System and Big Berkey, are both gravity filters, and they look similar, which makes deciding between them challenging.
But despite their similarities, these devices remove different contaminants and have different filtration capacities. Additionally, they come with different warranty options, price tags, and sizes.
Let’s compare all of these specifications to help you learn what you get with each brand’s flagship product.
Alexapure is a brand that excels in producing affordable water and air filtration units. It’s an American company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, so its products are 100% made in the United States.
The brand manufactures air humidifiers, emergency water storage kits, survival spring water filtration devices, and water pitchers. Still, its flagship product is its countertop gravity filter, Alexapure Pro.
The key to the brand’s success with this product is the filter media it employs.
Alexapure comes with an AlexaPure Pro Genuine Filter. This is a gravity filter, which means it’s designed to lengthen contact time by allowing the water to seep through it for hours to get thoroughly filtrated.
In addition, the filter features a unique blend of different water treatment technologies:
- Ionic absorption — Attracts contaminants with an ionic structure and traps them in long-lasting bonds. The contaminants it targets include mineral salts (calcium, magnesium, fluoride, and chloride) and heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium).
- Silver-infused ceramic shell — A relatively new filtration technique, with research starting only in 2020. Yet, it’s one of the most efficient technologies employed in gravity filters for destroying microbiological hazards like bacteria and viruses.
- Carbon block — The most common filtration method in the world, utilized in almost all water filtration products. Typically, it reduces sediment and aesthetic nuisances such as taste, odor, color, and chlorine. With activation, catalyzation, or granulation, it can be adjusted to also remove chemical compounds like herbicides, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.
With these technologies, Alexapure Genuine reaches a 99.9% reduction rate in removing most contaminants.
Additionally, Alexapure Genuine meets the National Sanitation Foundation standards:
- NSF/ANSI 42 (for chemicals and aesthetic nuisances)
- NSF/ANSI 53 (for hazardous heavy metals)
- NSF P231 (for microbiological health threats)
A List of Alexapure Water Filtration Products
Alexapure has three water filtration units in its catalog:
- Alexapure Pro Water Filtration System: It’s the brand’s most popular product — a countertop filtration system that uses a proprietary gravity block. Usually, the system comes with one Genuine filter, but it can house four different filters. If you want to filter water faster, you can add extra filters. A really convenient feature for big households.
- Alexapure Pitcher Water Filter: The brand’s 10-cup water filter pitcher is one of the most expensive pitchers, with a price tag of $69.95. But it’s also one of the most impressive ones — it filters heavy metals, chemical compounds, aesthetic nuisances, and microplastics. It’s a really robust product, as you’ll see for yourself if you take a look at any of the four different performance data sheets that list what it removes and with what reduction rates. But we should warn you that its filtration capacity of 100 gallons (1-2 months) is below industry standards. For an average family of four, its filter life equals three weeks more or less.
- Survival Spring Personal Water Filters: Survival water filters are excellent for travelers who hike in areas where the only water sources are unregistered water springs and surface water like ponds and rivers. No matter how clean these water sources seem, they can still be infested with bacteria and viruses due to human or animal waste. The Alexapure survival filter effectively removes the most prominent microbiological threats (E. coli, salmonella, legionella, giardia, and cryptosporidium). It also has a 300-gallon filtration capacity, equaling months of safe travel for a lonely hiker.
Berkey is a family business from Pueblo, Colorado. The company was founded in a garage in the 1990s, but it has come a long way since then — it now has dozens of warehouses and thousands of employees, providing water filtration solutions to many American citizens across the country.
Their steady rise to success is in large part a result of their commitment to innovation, which has yielded the Black Berkey Elements — their proprietary filtration technology.
Berkey only manufactures countertop gravity filtration units and their shower filter, all of which employ the Black Berkey Elements technology.
Like Alexapure Genuine, this technology brings together many different water treatment methods in one small filter cartridge:
- Microfiltration: Black Berkey Elements consist of six different filtration media in one single cartridge. Although the brand doesn’t disclose what these media are made of, we know how they’re placed inside the cartridge and why. They create a labyrinth with microscopic holes and many twists and turns, what they call a “tortuous path” for contaminants. This is a smart way to prolong the contact time between water and the media, ensuring the filter catches more contaminants.
- Absorption: There are many granules loaded with an electrical charge inside Black Berkey cartridges. These granules attract contaminants with an ionic structure (meaning an electrical charge), such as heavy metals.
- Adsorption: The Black Berkey Elements have adsorptive cartridges that create tension between impurities with an electrostatic charge. These also include viruses because viruses have a negative surface charge.
One downside to the Black Berkey technology is its ineffectiveness against fluoride. However, if you’re interested in fluoride removal, you have the option to add Berkey’s state-of-the-art fluoride filters to your Berkey countertop unit.
Lastly, Berkey holds no NSF certifications. Still, different independent water testing laboratories have evaluated these filters and established their compliance with NSF and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
A List of Berkey Water Filtration Products
Berkey only has one shower filter and six countertop gravity systems in its catalog. Here’s a list of their products and their most noteworthy specifications.
- Berkey Shower Filter: The Berkey Shower Filter has a 20,000-gallon filtration capacity. It filters out odor, color, chlorine, and iron. The filtered water it produces is ideal for hair and skin health.
- Travel Berkey: Travel Berkey is the most compact Berkey countertop unit with its 1.5-gallon filtered water capacity and two filter housings. It’s ideal for small families and singles.
- Big Berkey: The most popular Berkey product, Big Berkey, is an excellent countertop filtration unit for an average family of four. It has a 2.25-gallon filtered water capacity with space for four Black Berkey cartridges.
- Berkey Light: All Berkey countertop units are made of stainless steel, except for Berkey Light, which is made of BPA-free and lightweight plastic. Its 2.75-gallon water and 4-filter housing capacity make it a good fit for families of two to six people.
- Royal Berkey: With its 3.25-gallon filtered water capacity and ability to hold four Black Berkey Elements, Royal Berkey targets families of two to six who want stainless steel units rather than plastic.
- Imperial Berkey: Families of six to ten people can take advantage of the extra capacity of its 4.5-gallon filtered water container. Additionally, for faster filtration, it can hold up to six Black Berkey Elements.
- Crown Berkey: With its 6-gallon water capacity, Crown Berkey is ideal for small offices and large households. It can accommodate up to eight Black Berkey Elements.
Alexapure Pro Water Filtration System vs. Big Berkey
The two brands’ flagship and most popular products, Alexapure Pro and Big Berkey, employ the gravity filtration method and look almost identical. They are both tall and shiny gray, and have a cylindrical shape and a spigot for filling your jug or glass.
Both brands boast that their products remove more than 200 contaminants and provide performance data sheets to back up these claims. Both have a 2.25-gallon filtered water capacity and the ability to hold up to four of the brands’ proprietary filter cartridges.
Despite all their similarities in these key aspects, the two products have some significant differences that could be the deciding factor in your purchasing decision.
Appearance and Size
The main bodies of both countertop units are made of stainless steel, but Alexapure Pro has one advantage. While Big Berkey has a BPA-free plastic spigot, Alexapure Pro’s spigot is made of stainless steel as well. This makes it sturdier and gives it a more sleek look.
Big Berkey, on the other hand, is a little bit more compact. Alexapure Pro has an 8.875-inch diameter length and 21.5-inch height. Big Berkey has an 8.5-inch diameter and 21-inch height.
Their differences in size and spigot material affect the units’ weight. Big Berkey weighs 7 lbs, while Alexapure Pro 8 lbs.
Filtration Technology and Contaminants Removed
Alexapure Pro and Big Berkey have their proprietary technologies: Alexapure Genuine and Black Berkey Elements. Although both technologies have similarities, such as the fact they employ ionic absorption and remove more than 200 contaminants, they don’t perform the same.
Let’s take one of the most common and dangerous contaminants, lead, as an example. Alexapure’s ionic absorption removes only 96% of lead, while Big Berkey reduces lead by at least 99.9%, according to the report by Envirotek Lab.
Big Berkey is also superior to Alexapure Pro in removing hexavalent chromium. While the former reduces this carcinogenic heavy metal by 99.9%, the latter has a 98.7% chromium reduction rate.
But Alexapure Pro takes advantage when it comes to fluoride. With Big Berkey, you need to install Berkey fluoride filters for fluoride removal. Alexapure Pro’s Genuine filters already reduce fluoride by 97%.
Filtration Capacity and Maintenance Requirements
The maintenance requirements for a cylindrical countertop gravity system consist of cleaning the water containers regularly (i.e., dusting them with a soft cloth once every week or two) and replacing the filters.
Since both units have 2.25-gallon containers and similar sizes, they are comparable when it comes to cleaning.
However, when it comes to filter replacements, the distinction between the two is drastic.
Black Berkey Elements come in two-cartridge packs, and that’s how the brand intends you to use them. A two-cartridge Big Berkey setup has a filtration capacity of 3,000 gallons, equalling clean water for one to two years. You can double that number by upgrading to a four-filter setup.
Alexapure Genuine, on the other hand, comes with a one-cartridge setup and has a filtration capacity of 200 gallons. A family of four would only get one or two months of use before they need to replace the filter. If you also use filtered water for cooking and not just for drinking, you’ll need to replace the Alexapure filters more frequently.
Warranty and Price
In terms of warranty, Big Berkey is the clear winner, as it has a lifetime warranty.
Alexapure doesn’t offer any warranty at all. However, both products come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Of course, Big Berkey’s overall superiority comes at a higher price — $367. Alexapure Pro is comparatively more affordable at $279.95.
That being said, while a two-cartridge Black Berkey Elements setup with a 3,000-gallon filtration capacity costs $166, an Alexapure Genuine replacement filter with 200-gallon filter life costs $120. The dramatic difference between their filter lives and the small difference in their replacement filter prices makes Big Berkey the more economical choice in the long run.
Big Berkey is superior to Alexapure Pro because it has better contaminant reduction rates, an exceptional filtration capacity, and a lifetime warranty. It’s a more economical investment in the long run, too.
|Alexapure Genuine with ionic absorption, silver-infused ceramic shell, and carbon block
|Black Berkey Elements with microfiltration, absorption, adsorption, and prolonged contact time
|NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, and P231
|Filtration capacity (avg.)
|200 gallons / 1-2 months
|3,000 gallons / 1-2 years
|Diameter: 8.875 inches, Height: 21.5 inches
|Diameter: 8.5 inches, Length: 21 inches
|Replacement Filter Price
Alexapure Pro and Big Berkey are their brands’ flagship products. Both countertop units rely on gravity filtration to remove more than 200+ contaminants and have stainless steel bodies. Both are of a similar size, too.
However, when it comes to the specifics of contaminant reduction, Big Berkey proves superior to Alexapure Pro thanks to its better reduction rates for common and hazardous contaminants such as lead and chromium.
Moreover, at 3,000 gallons, Big Berkey has a far better filtration capacity. That number is only 200 gallons for Alexapure Pro, meaning you’ll need to replace its filters once every month or two.
Another win for Big Berkey is that it comes with a lifetime warranty, while Alexapure offers no warranty at all. Lastly, although Alexapure Pro seems more affordable at first glance, its low filtration capacity and the fact that its replacement filters don’t last as long and aren’t significantly cheaper than Big Berkey’s make it less economical in the long run.