Clearly Filtered vs Berkey: Which is Best in 2024?

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When it comes to non-intrusive filtration, Clearly Filtered Water is best known for its filtering bottles and pitchers, while Berkey’s infamous countertop filter has been a customer favorite for over a decade.

Both Berkey’s countertop water filtration systems and the Clearly Filtered water filter pitcher are the same in concept: they use gravity filtration to remove contaminants including lead, chlorine and chemicals from city or well water at home. But each has its own features that may swing your ultimate decision one way or the other when choosing which of the two water filters to invest in.

📖 TL;DR Clearly Filtered vs Berkey: Which is Better?

While both Clearly Filtered and Berkey offer some of the most thorough filtration money can buy, Clearly Filtered pitchers are initially cheaper and more portable. However Berkey filters are more durable, don’t require as much attention and will cost less over the long run.

If you want a small, portable filter Clearly Filtered pitchers are your best bet. But for most folks who are looking for a long term investment in their water quality, Berkey is best.

⚖️ Comparison Chart

Clearly Filtered Water PitcherAquagear Water Filter Pitcher
ProductClearly Filtered Water Filter PitcherBig Berkey
Contaminants Reduced360+200+
Holding Capacity10 cups2.25 gallons
Filter Lifespan100 gallons/ 4 months3,000 gal./ cartridge
Annual Cost$140 – $2703,000 gal./ cartridge
Buying Options
Discounts 10% off at 👉 Get coupon

💡 Filter Comparison

Clearly Filtered Filters

Clearly Filtered’s water filtration system is particularly unique in that it uses Affinity Filtration, the brand’s trademarked process that uses a dual-technology approach to remove more than 270 impurities.

These activated carbon filters have a unique structure which forces water to pass through the media at different angles, twisting and turning on its journey from top to bottom, instead of just passing straight down. This gives water a longer contact time with the media, which allows for a more thorough removal of impurities. Affinity Filtration is more advanced than a typical activated carbon filter as it removes the likes of fluoride and chromium-6, which are commonly found in water and difficult to filter out.

Clearly Filtered Pitcher Replacement Filter
Clearly Filtered Pitcher Replacement Filter

Berkey Filters

Berkey’s Black Berkey water filtration elements are much more advanced than a typical carbon block alternative, and can eliminate a high volume of impurities, including chemicals and heavy metals. You can use up to 4 filtration elements in a single Berkey system, which uses gravity to filter water.

There are 6 different types of filter media inside the Black Berkey elements, offering multiple stages of contaminant removal in the same system. The filter’s coconut shell media uses adsorption to trap impurities across its surface area and prevent them from passing through its tiny pores. Berkey’s elements sit between the top and bottom chamber of the Berkey countertop water filter, and when the system is in use, clean water can only get into the bottom chamber once it has passed through the filters.

berkey replacement filters

🧫 What Contaminants Do They Remove?

Both Clearly Filtered and Berkey can get reduce an impressive number of contaminants, like lead, chlorine, arsenic, and pharmaceuticals, with Berkey being able to eliminate more than 200 impurities, and Clearly Filtered beating that with its ability to eliminate 270 impurities. Both filters can eliminate chlorine and lead, two common impurities, and both can also remove fluoride, which is a rarity amongst all water filtration systems, and it’s clear from these figures that both can produce clean water that tastes good enough to tempt you to ditch the bottled water.

To see the full list of impurities removed by Berkey and Clearly Filtered, click the links below.

🚦 Performance Comparison

Clearly Filtered Filters

Clearly Filtered has a performance advantage, because every stage of filtration you’d look for – including fluoride removal – is included inside a small, single filter. It’s much more thorough than other brands, removing contaminants including toxic chemicals and metals – but it still leaves the beneficial minerals, which is a big bonus.

The Clearly Filtered water pitcher has a good design, allowing you to pour filtered water out of the spout while there’s still unfiltered water in the reservoir, which holds half a gallon of water when full.

This is a useful feature, as it can take between 15 and 20 minutes for water to pass through into the holding reservoir, and as for one gallon of water, it would take more like 40 minutes – and you’d have to first pour the filtered stuff out of the water pitcher and add more water to do this. In this way, though the system is designed differently from the Berkey, you can access tap water for drinking in the same way, without having to wait for the filtration process to finish before you can do so.

Clearly Filtered’s water filtration system has been tested by an accredited third-party laboratory for proof of high-quality performance that meets NSF standards, but it would be more reassurance to the customer if the brand had an NSF/ANSI certification.

Brian pouring filtered water from Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher

Berkey Filters

Performance is something that Berkey also excels in, and the brand’s filtration systems are a firm favorite amongst customers looking for a simple yet effective means of filtration. They’re designed for use with any water source, including well water, and their flow or speed of filtration isn’t affected by a higher concentration of impurities. This makes them much more effective than a typical carbon-based or carbon block filter at producing high-quality clean water.

However, like Clearly Filtered, the Berkey filter can’t work as quickly as a filter that’s connected to electricity, as the only force it uses to power water through the filter is gravity. There’s no denying that Berkey does a thorough job when it comes to filtration, but, being a gravity-fed filter, it’s definitely not the fastest filtration solution out there. It takes a Berkey system with two elements around an hour to produce 3.5 gallons of filtered water, or 20 minutes to treat one gallon.

The only thing that lets Berkey down is that, like Clearly Filtered, it doesn’t have an NSF certification to act as proof of its performance. Berkey has been claiming that its products are independently lab tested to meet NSF standards, but we now know these claims to be false. So, the filters don’t have an NSF certification, and nor are they tested to NSF Standards by a third party. An NSF certification would establish Berkey’s commitment to quality and safety and give the Berkey filter that extra bit of credibility.

Discover how Berkey measured up in our third-party laboratory analysis in the table below.

ContaminantMeasurementTest 1
Test 1
% ChangeTest 2
Test 2
% Change
Total ColiformsCFU/100mL150-100%NDNDND
Total THMsPPB27.040-100%0.03520-100%

💲 Models & Upfront Cost

Clearly Filtered Models

Clearly Filtered offers a single gravity-fed water pitcher filter model, made from BPA-free plastic. You can buy upfront with a three-pack of replacement filters (costing around $200) and a 6-pack of replacement filters (costing around $350). You can also buy the pitcher and a single filter for $75. Additionally, the brand sells:

  • Water bottles of multiple sizes and styles, costing between $40 and $50
  • A 3-stage under sink filter, costing around $500
  • A refrigerator filter, costing around $135
  • Several shower head filters for fixed and handheld showers
clearly filtered products
Clearly Filtered Product Line

Berkey Models

Berkey comes in a range of different models, which all have the same cylindrical shape and vary in size. Every one of Berkey’s models are made from stainless steel, with the exception of the Berkey Light, a penny-saving model that’s made from BPA-free plastic. The Big Berkey tends to be the most popular option that suits the average customer; it costs less than $300 and includes two Black Berkey filter elements.

The range of countertop water filters currently offered by Berkey is as follows:

berkey sizes
Berkey Models

📆 Filter Lifespan & Replacement Costs

Clearly Filtered

Clearly Filtered’s water filters last 4 months, giving them a better-than-average per-gallon lifespan for filters of their kind (most water pitcher filtration systems have filters that last 3 months, aside from Brita’s longlast filtering cartridge, which has a 6-month lifespan). They need to be replaced after every 100-gallon amount of water. Comparing the filters vs Berkey water filter elements, they have a lower lifespan, making them a worse value per gallon – though the replacement filters cost less, at $45 for a single element. With that said, you would still get a much better deal with Berkey’s offering.


The filter life of the Berkey elements is a big selling point for the brand, with two filtration elements lasting for 6,000 gallons of water If you’re an average, medium-sized family, you should get at least four years of use out of the filters before they need to be replaced, making this system a better value per gallon of water. Most Berkey systems can actually fit up to four filter elements, which you can do to double the filter life of all four elements in the system. In this case, it would last for eight years, not four, making it an even better value per gallon of clean water produced.

The Berkey elements aren’t the cheapest investment, costing around $120 for two, but their lifespan makes that a fair cost to pay. It costs $240 for four filters, which is a great investment considering they should last for around eight years.

Brian removing the upper tank of Big Berkey

💬 Customer Reviews & Complaints

Clearly Filtered

The Clearly Filtered water filter has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, and customers are generally happy with their clean water quality after filtration.

Many customers commented that Clearly Filtered was the best water pitcher out there when it came to removing a broad range of impurities from water without filtering out beneficial minerals.

The biggest benefit of the Clearly Filtered water pitcher for customers was that it removes bad tastes and odors from even the least palatable of drinking water.

Many customers feel, however, that the replacement filters are too expensive considering the fact that they only work at a high quality for a maximum of four months before they have to be replaced. The company would benefit from lowering their filter replacement prices to maintain a loyal customer base and prevent customers from seeking alternative brands that offer cheaper filters that work just as well. A few other customers were also unimpressed with the flow rate of the water pitcher.


Berkey’s filters currently have a 4.7 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, with many customers being impressed that the system can eliminate even difficult to eliminate contaminants.

Despite the fact that Berky has seen some minor changes in design over its years of selling filtration elements, many customers have stuck by the brand since its very beginning, praising Berkey for offering a durable, reliable gravity-fed water filter solution.

Customers are also happy with Berkey’s good range of size options, suited to all budgets.

A complaint that commonly crops up amongst Berkey customers is that the system contains rubber siphons that some people say gives their beverages a rubbery taste. It is possible to fix this issue yourself by buying silicone siphons to put in place of the rubber, but with this being such a common issue, it’s likely that Berkey will fix it themselves soon enough.

☑️ Pros and Cons of Clearly Filtered vs Berkey

👍 Clearly Filtered – Pros

  • More portable option

Clearly Filtered water filters are smaller than Berkey’s offerings, and while this means they can store a smaller amount of water, the benefit is that it’s much easier to take the pitcher with you from room to room, or even out of your house.

  • Removes more impurities than Berkey

Clearly Filtered’s water pitcher system just comes out on top here, removing contaminants including chromium-6 and lead. While Berkey countertop filter system also removes these impurities, they don’t quite eliminate as many impurities as this water pitcher.

👎 Clearly Filtered – Cons

  • Not such a great value for money

If you’re looking for a water pitcher that offers the best value for money, you won’t find it with the Clearly Filtered pitcher. While the initial pitcher is offered at a good price, the replacement filters are quite expensive considering they only last for a maximum of 4 months before you have to replace them.

  • Flow rate is fairly slow

A brand new Clearly Filtered water filter may be quite quick at filtration, but you’re always going to have to wait longer for any gravity-fed water filter.

  • Holding capacity isn’t as high

Clearly Filtered’s top reservoir can only hold half a gallon of water, while the lower chamber holds just over half a gallon of water. Comparing this system vs Berkey, the system can’t hold as much filtered water for drinking.

Brian holding the reservoir with attached filer cartridge of Clearly Filtered Pitcher

👍 Berkey – Pros

  • Larger holding chamber

You can buy Bekey filters in a number of sizes, but they are all much bigger than the Clearly Filtered water filter systems. This means Berkey water filter systems have a higher holding capacity, and require fewer refills over the same period of time.

  • Durable material

BPA-free plastic doesn’t allow for many years of wear and tear like stainless steel does. If you’re looking for a water filter system that will last for many years without deterioration, the Berkey water filter systems are the best option of the two.

👎 Berkey – Cons

  • Not NSF certified

Though Berkey filters have a lot going for them, the systems would be even more tempting to a new customer if they were NSF certified – or at the vesy least tested to NSF Standards – to back up their claims.

  • Not as portable

if you wanted to use the Berkey on your travels, you would have more difficulty than you would with the Clearly Filtered, as all of Berkey’s offerings are bigger and less compact.

🤔 Should I buy Berkey or Clearly Filtered?

So, comparing the Clearly Filtered water pitcher vs Berkey filters, which is best? The two filter systems are so similar in their ability to produce great-tasting clean city or well water that it’ll probably come down to which system you’d prefer in your home. A water pitcher system like Clearly Filtered‘s offering might be better if you’d rather use a more portable drinking water option, while Berkey filters are a more appealing choice if you prefer less maintenance and refills.

Of course, Berkey filters also have the big advantage of being better priced in the long run, making them cheaper per gallon than their competition. That might be enough to convince you that a Berkey system is the winning drinking water option for your home.

  • 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.

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