Alexapure vs Berkey: An Objective, Data-Driven Comparison

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Berkey and Alexapure are best known for their cylindrical countertop water filtration systems, made from stainless steel.

Based on our objective tests and subjective analysis of both systems, we’ve shared this head-to-head review, comparing the Big Berkey and Alexapure Pro across a number of key performance criteria.

Our first impressions were that these two filter brands are pretty similar: both use gravity filtration and offer similarly-sized systems to remove a similar set of contaminants.

In our testing, both systems generally impressed us with their contaminant removal abilities, but the Berkey fluoride filters leached unacceptable levels of activated alumina into our water in test 1. Alexapure’s filter did a poor job of removing fluoride from our water but effectively reduced or removed most other contaminants. With both Berkey and Aleapure, certain contaminants increased post-filtration, and we’ve explained our theory for this later. 

📊 Our Testing Data

We consider 6 testing criteria when ranking and reviewing water filters. We used these criteria to test and compare the Alexapure and Big Berkey systems, and their scores are highlighted in the table below. 

Contaminant Reduction9.348.85
Filtration Rate8.0010.00

In this next table, we’ve shared the data behind each of our testing criteria in more detail. Our final scores for each filter are based on this data combined. 

Overall Score8.938.60Alexapure
Health Related Contaminants9.709.30Alexapure
Aesthetic Related Contaminants9.906.70Alexapure
Performance CertificationnonenoneTie
Filtration Rate1 GPH2.6 GPHBerkey
Component QualityExceptionalExcellentAlexapure
Component CertificationnonenoneTie
Servicing RequirementsGoodWeakAlexapure
Costs$0.59/gallon (one filter)$0.13/gallon (four filters)Berkey

🚰 Contaminant Reduction

To compare the contaminant reduction abilities of Alexapure and Berkey, we conducted our own at-home testing and looked for official performance certification data for the systems on NSF, IAMPO, and WQA directories. 

ContaminantMeasurementUnfilteredAlexapure Post-Filtration% ChangeBerkey Post-Filtration% Change
Total THMsPPB0.03520-100.00%0-100.00%

Our Lab Test Results

We’ve conducted unfiltered-vs-filtered water quality tests for both the Berkey and the Alexapure  filters.

Here are a few things you should know about our testing:

  • We used Tap Score, a laboratory water test kit, to test our water quality when using both filters. Tap Score has strict sample-taking guidelines that we followed to ensure we got the most accurate results possible.
  • We tested the Berkey with our city water twice, and combined and averaged the scores to obtain Berkey’s overall performance score. 
  • Both Berkey and Alexapure claim their systems can be used with non-potable water, so we also tested both of them with an untreated river water sample.
water testing with tap score
Our City Water Test

The Alexapure Pro got the slightly better score for removing contaminants with health effects from our city water. 

Our unfiltered water contained chloroform and THMs, two disinfection byproducts that were likely present due to a reaction between chlorine and organics in our water. It also contained traces of aluminum, lead, copper, and manganese, as well as sodium, sulfate, barium, and chloride. 

Post-fitlration in the Alexapure Pro, 100% of lead, chloroform, THMs, aluminum, copper, and manganese were removed.

Contaminants in Unfiltered City WaterAlexapure Pro Removal Percentage (%)
Total THMs100%
Alexapure pro contaminants fully removed

The system also reduced 6% sodium, 16 sulfate, 43% barium, and 1% chloride. 

Alexapure pro barium reduction
Alexapure pro sulfate, sodium, and chloride detection

Several contaminants actually increased in concentrations in our filtered water, including fluoride, magnesium, calcium, and strontium. Silver and potassium also appeared when they weren’t present before.

Contaminants detected post filtration with alexapure part 1
contaminants detected post filtration with alexapure part 2

We spoke to the lab and determined that this anomaly was caused by us using 100 gallons of a different water source to prime the filters, resulting in traces of these contaminants entering our filtered water. We don’t suspect an issue with the filters. 

In our initial test of the Big Berkey, it performed similarly to the Alexapure Pro, eliminating disinfection byproducts, copper, lead, and manganese from our water. It also removed 100% barium and reduced cobalt by 3.23%. 

Contaminants in Unfiltered City WaterBerkey Removal Percentage (%)
Total THMs100%
Contaminants removed by berkey
Contaminants removed by berkey lead and manganese

But our filtered water contained 1.4 PPM of aluminum, much higher than in our unfiltered water and exceeding the Tap Score HGL of 0.6 PPM. Our only theory for this outcome was that aluminum oxide was leaching from the Berkey fluoride filters, which use activated alumina filtration media. These filters had also only reduced fluoride in our water by 50%, which didn’t match up to Berkey’s claims of up to 99.99% fluoride removal. 

Berkey test 1 fluoride & aluminum detection

We decided to redo our test with a new set of fluoride filters, making sure to meticulously follow Berkey’s priming and installation instructions. Much less aluminum was detected in our filtered water this time – just 0.069 PPM, which was still a 32% increase but well within the HGL.

Berkey aluminum detection test 1 vs test2

 And better news on the fluoride front: 100% of this contaminant was removed this time around.

Berkey test 1 and test 2 fluoride detection

As with the Alexapure Pro, we noticed a couple of contaminants – this time sodium and potassium – increased in our post-filtered water. Again, we think this is due to the quality of the water we used to prime the filters, and we’re not concerned about the filters themselves. 

Our River Water Test

Alexapure and Berkey both got the highest score in our river water test because they removed 100% of all the bacteria present in our water, and this was the outcome we wanted. 

ContaminantMeasurementUnfilteredAlexapure Post-Filtration% ChangeUnfilteredBerkey Post-Filtration% Change
E. coliCFU/100ml150-100.00%NDNDND
Total ColiformCFU/100ml750-100.00%150-100.00%

The Alexapure countertop filter water system has third-party testing to remove bacteria, viruses, and cysts (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium). This is because it uses ceramic filters – in this 2019 Environmental Systems Research efficiency study, ceramic filters were evaluated to remove an average of 86.3% total coliform and 87.6% E. coli. 

Alexapure pro e. coli, enterococcus, and total coliform

Berkey has recently revoked similar claims for its systems, but in our testing, the Big Berkey did remove bacteria.

berkey total coliform detection

Aesthetic Contaminants

The Alexapure Pro beat the Big Berkey by a mile when it came to aesthetic water quality. 

Our unfiltered city water contained around 0.5 PPM of chlorine, an aesthetic contaminant that’s common in treated public water and gives it a chemical, “swimming pool” taste and odor. 

The Berkey and Alexapure systems both use activated carbon media in their filters, which is well known for its effectiveness in removing chlorine and its associated tastes and smells. 

But Berkey’s score for removing aesthetic contaminants was much lower than Alexapure’s despite their matched chlorine reduction abilities. The activated alumina that leached into our water in test 1 affected its aesthetic quality by increasing its pH to 8.7, which is why Berkey’s overall aesthetic water quality score was poorer. 


We prefer when manufacturers offer performance certifications as proof that their filters can remove contaminants as they claim. 

Unfortunately, Berkey and Alexapure only have third-party testing to NSF Standards, and none of them have obtained NSF, IAMPO, or the WQA certifications for their filters. That meant they both got lower scores in this category. 

🚦Filtration Rate

Berkey and Alexapure countertop filters use gravity filtration, and both hold up to four filters. The more filters that are used in the systems, the more water can be filtered at once. While this doesn’t increase the filtration speed of each individual filter, it does mean that you can access filtered water faster.

For both systems, we timed how long it took to filter a gallon of our water. We used this data to determine their average filtration rates in gallons per hour (GPH)

The table below highlights the filtration rates of the Big Berkey and Alexapure Pro.

ProductFiltration Rate ScoreFiltration Rate
Alexapure8.001 GPH
Berkey10.002.6 GPH

The Big Berkey had the slightly faster filtration rate of 2.6 GPH, using the two black filters and two fluoride filters, while the Alexapure’s filtration rate measured 1 GPH with just one filter.

Pouring water to alexapure pro water filter

That made the Big Berkey the fastest option, although it’s worth noting that we only used one filter in the Alexapure Pro, so we could double the rate of filtered water production if we used the system with two filters.

💲 Upfront Cost

When we got the Alexapure Pro for our testing, it cost around $280.00 and included a single filter. You can buy the unit with two filters for an extra $120.

The Big Berkey costs $447, including two Black Berkey filters. The fluoride filters cost an extra $99.99 for a pair, so Berkey definitely isn’t the cheapest option – you pay more for the Berkey name. 

You might find the Berkey systems sold at different prices by different Berkey distributors. We used, one of the most popular Berkey distributors, to obtain our pricing information.

ProductInitial PriceFilters IncludedAdditional Filter PriceTotal Price (with 2 filters)
Alexapure Pro$2801$120$400
Big Berkey$4472$99.99$447

📐 Design

We evaluated two factors to award Alexapure and Berkey’s design scores: 

  • Their component quality (based on our own experience using the systems)
  • Materials safety certifications (whether or not we could find these certifications for the systems)

We’ve shared the individual scores we assigned to the Alexapure Pro and Big Berkey, and their overall design scores, in the following table.  

ProductDesign ScoreComponent QualityMaterials Safety
Alexapure Pro8.40ExceptionalNot certified
Big Berkey7.80ExcellentNot certified

Alexapure got the better score in this category because of the slightly higher overall quality of its components. 

Filter Models

Alexapure only sells one stainless steel countertop gravity-fed filtration system: 

Berkey’s gravity water filtration system range is more extensive: 

berkey sizes

Most Berkey systems are made from stainless steel, and their only difference is their water holding capacity. The Berkey Light is the exception – it’s Berkey’s “affordable” option and is made from BPA-free plastic.

If choice is what you’re after, Berkey will serve you much better than Alexapure. But we think the 2.25-gallon size is actually the best size for most families, holding enough drinking water to supply the average family for a whole day without taking up too much room. 

FeatureAlexapureBig BerkeyTravel BerkeyRoyal BerkeyImperial BerkeyBerkey LightCrown Berkey
Holding Capacity2.25 gallons2.25 gallons1.5 gallons3.25 gallons4.5 gallons2.75 gallons6 gallons
Production Rate1 gal/hour3.5 gals/hour2.75 gals/hour3.5 gals/hour5.5 gals/hour3.75 gals/hour6.5 gals/hour
Initial Filter Set1222222
Maximum Filter Slot4424648
Good forUp to 4 peopleUp to 4 peopleUp to 3 peopleUp to 6 peopleUp to 10 peopleUp to 6 people20+ people
Container MaterialBrushed/matte stainless steelStainless steelStainless steelStainless steelStainless steelBPA-free plasticStainless steel
Spigot MaterialStainless steelPlasticPlasticPlasticPlasticPlasticPlastic
Dimensions (inches)8.25 x 22.58.5 x 8.5 x 217.5 x 7.5 x 199.5 x 9.5 x 24 10 x 10 x 27 9 x 9 x 2211 x 11 x 34
Unfilled Weight8 lbs7 lbs6 lbs8 lbs10 lbs6 lbs10 lbs

Component Quality 

The Alexapure and Big Berkey units have similar designs, but the Berkey system uses a few more plastic components than Alexapure. 

The Big Berkey has a polished stainless steel finish, while the Alexapure Pro has a matte steel finish. We personally prefer the Alexapure Pro’s finish – it blends in better with our kitchen and is easier to keep clean because it doesn’t show fingerprints as much.

unboxing big berkey

Both systems feel rigid and sturdy, and they held up well in our testing – apart from some scale buildup inside the chambers, they looked almost unused by the end of our testing period. Note: we’ve read a few customer reviews on Amazon that claim the chambers have rusted or corroded, but Amazon reviews are easy to manipulate and we can’t confirm the legitimacy of these claims.

The Alexapure Pro got the best score from us because it comes with a stainless steel spigot. 

Alexapure Pro unboxing

Berkey, on the other hand, provides a plastic spigot, although you can upgrade (at an extra cost) to a stainless steel version. We wish Berkey systems came with stainless steel spigots as standard – we’d prefer to limit our filtered water’s contact with plastic as much as possible. 

Design Flaws

There was one main design flaw that we noted for both the Berkey and Alexapure systems: there’s no way to view the water level in the bottom chamber without taking the system apart. 

That meant we had to guess how much water to add to the top chamber based on the rate of water we were using from the bottom chamber. The issue here was that filling the top chamber when the bottom chamber was full caused water to leak out of the seal between the two chambers – something that happened to us while using the Big Berkey.

You can buy a water level spigot or sight spigot that’s compatible with these countertop systems – some Berkey distributors also sell an official Berkey glass sight spigot. They come at an extra cost, of course, but we think they’re worth the investment to avoid the hassle of overflows. 

Filter Materials

Berkey and Alexapure filters are made from different materials.

Berkey’s main gravity filters are called Black Berkey elements, and are made up of 6 different media types, including a coconut shell carbon media and ion exchange resin (the other media aren’t disclosed). 

berkey replacement filters

We also wanted to remove fluoride from our water (the CDC estimates 72.7% of the US population on public water supplies also have access to fluoridated water, and we personally choose to remove this mineral from our own water supply). Berkey sells PF2 filters separately, which have a plastic casing and contain activated alumina media.

Installing Berkey fluoride filters
Berkey PF2 filters

Alexapure’s filter elements are made from coconut shell carbon block, with a hybrid ceramic filter shell.

The key difference between the Berkey and Alexapure filters is that the Alexapure filters use ceramic media, while Berkey filters are not ceramic filters. The other difference is that the Alexapure filters are supposed to remove fluoride, so they don’t need separate fluoride filters (however, they did not remove fluoride in our own water testing; see the Contaminants Removed section), while Berkey sells separate filters specifically for fluoride removal.

Holding an Alexapure Pro water filter element
Alexapure gravity block filter

Materials Safety Certification

Manufacturers can also obtain certifications for materials safety, which provides official proof that their filtration systems are safe for their intended purpose. 

We couldn’t find proof of materials safety certifications for the Alexapure Pro or the Big Berkey, so both got the poorer score in this category. 

⚙️ Setup

We also noticed a difference between Berkey and Alexapure when it came to the filter setup and assembly process.

Here are the scores we awarded to the Alexapure Pro and the Big Berkey based on how long they took to set up, and the complexity of their setup processes.  

ProductSetup ScoreSetup Time
Alexapure9.0030 minutes
Berkey6.5060+ minutes

Alexapure was the winner in this category – it was much faster and easier to set up than Berkey. 

It took us around 30 minutes to assemble the Alexapure Pro.

This included:

  • Inserting the unit base into the slip-resistant ring
  • Inserting the spigot into the base
  • Attaching the filters to the upper chamber
  • Attaching the top handle onto the lid

Our filters had been pre-primed and arrived in a sterile plastic bag, which was undoubtedly the biggest bonus of the assembly process that saved us so much time. We could just attach the filters and fill the unit with water straight away.

The Big Berkey took much longer to set up due to the time-consuming filter priming process. Assembling the system was a 12-step process and took us just over an hour, including the time it took for priming the filters.

We had to:

  • Attach the knob to the unit lid
  • Prime the filter elements
  • Connect the filter elements to the upper chamber
  • Attach the spigot
  • Attach the upper chamber on the lower chamber

Our Berkey filter system came with a Priming Button – a small, tan-covered, circular washer. We had to attach this to the threaded stem of our black Berkey element, then press the washer against our faucet and send cold water through the element. We needed to repeat this process for each filter element to prime them all. 

Brian holding the top water tank of Alexapure Pro

We found the priming process time-consuming and a hassle. Berkey sells a silicone faucet Prime Rite™ primer that’s supposed to make the process faster, but it’s sold separately at an extra cost.

🔧 Maintenance

We assessed Alexapure and Berkey’s maintenance requirements and ownership costs to rank them both in this category. 

The table below highlights the maintenance scores for both systems. 

ProductMaintenance ScoreServicing RequirementsCosts

Berkey did slightly better in this category because of its lower ongoing maintenance costs, even though we found the Alexapure Pro easier to maintain. 

Servicing Requirements 

For both systems, replacing the filters was the main servicing requirement. 

The Alexapure Pro replacement filters were also shipped to us pre-primed, which made maintenance super easy. We could install them and start using them straight away.

Berkey filters needed to be primed using the same process as the initial filters, which meant that maintenance was time-consuming and annoying. 

We also had to clean the filters with a Scotch Brite pad every 3-6 months, or when the filtration speed decreased noticeably. We recommend doing this if you want to avoid replacing the Berkey filters for as long as possible (and trust us, you do!).

To keep the stainless steel chambers free from sediment and scale, we cleaned them with warm water and soap about once a week in our kitchen sink. You’ll find this a bit of a hassle if, like us, your kitchen sink is quite small, but it’s not a tricky job. 

Maintenance Costs

Berkey had a significantly lower maintenance cost than Alexapure. 

We calculated that the ongoing cost of the Alexapure Pro, assuming we were using just one filter, was $0.59 per gallon

Berkey had a much lower ongoing cost of $0.13/gallon for all four filters. We calculated the costs of each pair of filters, which were:

  • Black Berkey elements: $0.034/gallon
  • Fluoride filters: $0.09/gallon

That makes Berkey the more affordable option in the long run, while Alexapure is just slightly costlier than average when we compare it to the other countertop water filtration systems we’ve tested. 

Note: Our ongoing cost calculations are based on the manufacturers’ projected filter lifespans. We’re a little skeptical that the Black Berkey filters will actually last up to 6,000 gallons for a pair. We plan to use the filters until they need to be replaced, so we’ll update this review based on how long they actually lasted and the difference this made to their ongoing costs. 

🏢 Company

In this section, we put Alexapure and Berkey head-to-head to compare their warranty, shipping, and returns offerings.

We’ve shared the company scores for both brands in the next table.

ProductCompany ScoreWarranty LengthShippingReturns
Alexapure8.651 yearFree shipping regardless of the order spend to the lower 48 states30 days
Berkey9.10LifetimeFree shipping on orders over $99 to the lower 48 states30 days

Berkey’s unbeatable warranty offering gave it the best overall score in this category. 

Note: Berkey isn’t sold directly by the manufacturer, so we compared Alexapure with popular Berkey distributor in this section. 

Warranty Length 

Alexapure’s warranty is on the lower end – just 1 year – while warrants its systems with a lifetime warranty. 

We haven’t reviewed any other stainless steel countertop water filter that has a warranty that even comes close to the warranty, and it’s by far the better offering in this category.


All Alexapure products are shipped for free to the lower 48 states, regardless of the order spend.’s free shipping also extends to all customers in the lower 48 states, but only for purchases over $99. If you spend less than this (on, say, a cheaper Berkey accessory), you’ll have to pay a shipping fee. Berkey ships to Canada, Alaska, and Hawaii, but there’s a shipping fee for these regions regardless of the order spend.

That makes Alexapure the better company for shipping because there’s no minimum spend for free shipping. 


Both Alexapure and offer a 30-day returns policy, so their scores are equal in this category. 

⛔️ System Setbacks & Flaws

When we were testing the Alexapure Pro and Big Berkey, we identified a few setbacks and flaws that we want to discuss here.

Alexapure Setbacks

  • No official performance certification – The Alexapure filters aren’t performance certified – they’re only supported by third-party testing to NSF Standards.
  • Only comes with 1 filter – We wish the Alexapure Pro came with 2 filters upfront, like the Berkey system.
  • Overflow risk – There’s a risk of overflow between the top and bottom filter chambers if you continue to fill the top chamber once the bottom chamber is full.
  • Didn’t reduce water’s fluoride concentration – Given that Alexapure claims up to 97% fluoride removal, we were disappointed to see that in our own testing, no fluoride was removed from our water. We’re planning to redo our test to see if we were just dealing with a temporary issue first time round.
  • Only one size available – We didn’t like having only one unit size to choose from, especially since Berkey offers units with a capacity of up to 6 gallons for large families.
Alexapure Pro on countertop

Berkey Setbacks

  • Plastic spigot – The Big Berkey comes with a plastic spigot that’s less durable and more likely to crack or leak over time. 
  • Overflow risk – We identified the same overflow risk if we overfilled the top chamber in the Big Berkey.
  • No official performance certification – The filters aren’t officially performance certified, and there’s been some controversy over Berkey’s contaminant removal abilities.
  • Separate fluoride filters required – We didn’t like having to spend more money upfront on separate filters for fluoride removal.
  • Aluminum oxide leaching issue with PF2 filters – Our fluoride filter elements added aluminum oxide to our water (although this issue wasn’t repeated when we followed Berkey’s specific priming instructions).
  • Expensive – Berkey filters are more expensive than other stainless steel water filters.
Big Berkey water filter sitting on countertop

🆚 Alexapure or Berkey: Which One’s for You?

We think there are a few situations where the Alexapure or Berkey system might be better for your needs. 

The Alexapure Pro is Ideal For:

Folks who want a water filtration system that can address all contaminants, including fluoride, without the need for a separate filter. In our testing, the filters didn’t remove fluoride, but we think this was caused by our own actions and not by the filters themselves.
Anyone who prefers the Alexapure Pro’s matte steel finish compared to the Berkey’s polished steel finish. 
People who want to fast-track their filter setup and maintenance processes and avoid the time-consuming filter priming process.

Opt for the Big Berkey If:

You’re happy to spend a bit more money upfront on a well-known brand name. 
You’re keen to save money in the long run with filters that (reportedly) have a very long lifespan. 
You want the reassurance of a lifetime warranty. 
  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

  • Laura Shallcross
    Senior Editor

    Laura is a passionate residential water treatment journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Print Journalism and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. Over a span of 5 years she's written on a range of topics including water softening, well water treatment, and purification processes.

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