ProOne vs Berkey: An Objective, Data-Driven Comparison

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ProOne and Berkey are two well-known manufacturers of stainless steel gravity-fed countertop water filtration systems.

In this comparison review, we’ve put the ProOne Big+ and Big Berkey water filters head-to-head. We personally used and tested the two systems, comparing their differences in contaminant removal, filtration speed, setup and maintenance, and more based on our own hands on, personal experience with both products.

ProOne and Berkey have similar stainless steel, cylindrical designs. They both use gravity to send water through their filters and into the bottom chamber, where it can be dispensed from a spigot. 

Both brands come in at a higher price than some of the competition – especially Berkey – but you get a good bang for your buck. They have both been tested to remove hundreds of contaminants, and both have decent filter lifespans, the convenience of portability, and good customer support. But they do have some important differences to note, which we’ve discussed in this review. 

📊 Our Testing Data

Below, we’ve shared the 6 main criteria we used to test and rank the ProOne and Berkey water filters, and how the scores compare for each system.

FactorProOne Big+Berkey
Contaminant Reduction8.448.25
Filtration Rate7.507.50

The below table shares a detailed look into the data behind each of our testing criteria, so you can understand how we reached our final scores. 

FactorProOne Big+BerkeyWinner
Overall Score8.568.02Berkey
Health Related Contaminants8.658.60Berkey
Aesthetic Related Contaminants9.906.70ProOne
Performance CertificationnonenoneTie
Filtration Rate0.77 GPH0.75 GPHProOne
Component QualityExceptionalExcellentTie
Component CertificationNSF 42noneProOne
Servicing RequirementsGoodWeakProOne

🚰 Contaminant Reduction

To compare the ProOne Big+ and Big Berkey for contaminant reduction, we conducted our own pre-and-post filtration water quality tests, and looked for official performance certifications for the filters. 

Our Lab Test Results

A big part of our testing was to compare the contaminants removed by the Big Berkey and ProOne Big+ from our feed water.

Both filters can be used to filter city water and untreated water (such as river water, lake water, etc.), so we conducted two tests: 

  • One with our home’s tap water 
  • One with river water from our testing location in Colorado

Here’s the contaminant reduction comparison table, which shows which contaminants were detected in our source water, and the % removal of these contaminants by the ProOne and Berkey water filters. 

ContaminantMeasurementProOne Test 1 Pre-FiltrationProOne Test 1 Post-Filtration% ReductionBerkey Test 1 Pre-FiltrationBerkey Test 1 Post-Filtration% ChangeProOne Test 2 Pre-FiltrationProOne Test 2 Post-Filtration% ReductionBerkey Test 2 Pre-FiltrationBerkey Test 2 Post-Filtration% Change
E. coliCFU/100mlNDNDNDNDNDND150-100.00%NDNDND
Total ColiformCFU/100mlNDNDND150-100%750-100.00%NDNDND
Total THMsPPB0.03520.01869-46.90%27.040-100%NDNDND0.03520-100%

Both filters received very similar scores for contaminant reduction, but Berkey ultimately came out on top thanks to its slightly higher score for removing health-related contaminants from city water.

Health-Related Contaminants

We scored the Big Berkey and ProOne Big+ in two sub-categories for contaminants with health effects: 

  1. Their ability to remove the contaminants with health effects detected in our city water
  2. Their ability to remove bacteria (our main concern and priority for targeting) from our river water sample
Our City Water Test

The Big Berkey got a slightly better score than the ProOne Big+ for removing health-harmful contaminants from city water. 

We awarded Berkey’s score based on two tests (we averaged the scores obtained from both tests to come to the final overall score for health-related contaminants). In test 1, the Big Berkey did a great job at completely removing lead, copper, disinfection byproducts, barium, and manganese concentrations from our water, and reducing cobalt by 3.23%.

But 1.4 PPM of aluminum was detected in our filtered water – significantly higher than the EPA’s MCL of 0.2 PPM. We suspected that aluminum oxide was leaching from the Berkey fluoride filters, which use activated alumina filtration media and also only reduced our water’s fluoride by 50% (Berkey claims up to 99.99%). 

That’s why we tested the Berkey again, and in our second test, ensuring that we followed the priming and installation instructions very carefully, there was just 0.69 PPM of aluminum detected in our filtered water, and all fluoride was removed. 

The ProOne Big+’s score was awarded based on a single test. Like Berkey, ProOne’s filter completely removed lead, copper, aluminum, and manganese from our city water. It also removed 100% fluoride without the need for additional filters.  

However, unlike Berkey, the ProOne Big+ didn’t eliminate disinfection byproducts. Total THMs were only reduced by 47%, and chloroform by 56%. 

Some contaminants also increased post-filtration – barium by 116%, sulfate by 69%, strontium by 56%, and sodium by 36%. Bromodichloromethane (another disinfection byproduct) appeared post-filtration when it wasn’t present in our unfiltered water. We had a similar issue with Berkey, too – potassium and sodium both increased, and at first, we weren’t sure why.

We spoke to the chemists at the lab, and here were their explanations for why we might have seen this happen: 

  • There were actually trace levels of bromodichloromethane in the influent water, but it had already dissipated into the air by the time we took our pre-filtration sample.
  • The water we used to prime the filters contained higher concentrations of the contaminants that increased post-filtration (sulfate, barium, etc.), so there wasn’t an issue with the filters themselves.
Our River Water Test

Both Berkey and ProOne got top scores from us for their river water treatment. 

Both removed 100% bacteria from our water – the Berkey system eliminated total coliform (a type of bacteria that can be an indicator of harmful bacteria strains) and the ProOne Big+ eliminated total coliform, E. Coli, and Enterococcus (these last two weren’t detected in the water when we tested the Berkey on a separate occasion). 

Good to Know: Berkey has since revoked their claims that their filters can remove microorganisms. 

Aesthetic Contaminants

The ProOne Big+ got a better score than the Big Berkey for removing aesthetic contaminants because Berkey’s aesthetic score from the first test (when the filters leached aluminum oxide into our water and increased its pH to 8.7) pulled down its overall score. 

Both systems eliminated the chlorine in our water (there was around 0.5 PPM in our city water), which we anticipated given that both filters use a form of activated carbon in their filter media.


Performance certifications are a great way for manufacturers to prove that their filters are capable of removing contaminants from drinking water. 

Unfortunately, while ProOne and Berkey both have third-party test results, neither system is officially certified by the NSF/ANSI, IAMPO, or the WQA. 

That means we have to trust the third-party testing data, which doesn’t quite give us the reassurance of an official certification.

🚦Filtration Rate

The ProOne Big+ and Big Berkey are both gravity filters, so their filtration rates are measured in gallons per hour (GPH). 

We timed how long it took to filter water through both systems, then gave them a score based on how their filtration rates compared to the average for gravity-fed systems. 

The table below compares the filtration rate for the ProOne Big+ with the Big Berkey’s filtration rate in gallons per hour. As you can see, both systems filtered water at pretty much the same rate.

ProductFiltration Rate ScoreFiltration Rate
ProOne Big+7.500.77 GPH
Berkey7.500.75 GPH

💲 Upfront Cost

At the time of publishing this review, the ProOne Big+ costs $229.95 with one 7-inch filter included. The price increases with the number of filters you go for, and the filter sizes. The most expensive model costs $379.95 and includes three 9-inch filters. 

The Big Berkey costs $447, including the upfront cost of two Black Berkey filters (a pair of fluoride filters costs $99.99 extra).

Berkey’s price has jumped up recently (it was previously around $370), but the exact price depends on the Berkey distributor you buy from. 

The ProOne Big+ is the most affordable to buy upfront. You’ll spend around $70 less than for the Berkey even if you go for the most expensive model.

ProductInitial PriceFilters IncludedAdditional Filter PriceTotal Price (with 2 filters)
ProOne Big+$229.951$60$289.95 (G2.0 filters)
Big Berkey$4472$99.99$447

📐 Design

There were a couple of factors that influenced the design scores that we awarded to the Berkey and ProOne systems: 

  • Our opinion on component quality after using the systems ourselves
  • Whether or not the systems were certified for materials safety

You can see the design scores we assigned to Berkey and ProOne, and the individual scores they received for component quality and materials safety, in the following table. 

ProductDesign ScoreComponent QualityMaterials Safety
ProOne Big+10.00ExceptionalCertified
Berkey7.80ExcellentNot Certified

ProOne got the higher score overall in this category due to its higher scores for component quality and certification. 

Filter Models

There are currently 6 models in the Berkey filter range: 

These are all stainless steel units, with the exception of the Berkey Light, which is a BPA-free plastic model. 

berkey sizes
Berkey options

ProOne currently sells 3 models in its countertop gravity filter range: 

propur sizes
ProOne options

The Traveler+ and Big+ are made of stainless steel, and the Big II is made from BPA- and PVC-free plastic. 

FeatureProOne Traveler+ProOne Big+ProOne Big IIBig BerkeyTravel BerkeyRoyal BerkeyImperial BerkeyBerkey LightCrown Berkey
Holding Capacity 2.25 gals3 gals2.5 gals2.25 gals1.5 gals3.25 gals4.5 gals2.75 gals6 gals
Production Rate.5 gal/hour.5 gal/hour.5 gal/hour3.5 gals/hour2.75 gals/hour3.5 gals/hour5.5 gals/hour3.75 gals/hour6.5 gals/hour
Initial Filter Set123222222
Maximum Filter Slot233424648
Good forUp to 3 peopleUp to 4 peopleUp to 5 peopleUp to 4 peopleUp to 3 peopleUp to 6 peopleUp to 10 peopleUp to 6 people20+ people
Container MaterialStainless steelStainless steelBPA- and PVC-free plasticStainless steelStainless steelStainless steelStainless steelBPA-free plasticStainless steel
Spigot MaterialStainless steelStainless steelBPA- and PVC-free plasticPlasticPlasticPlasticPlasticPlasticPlastic
Dimensions (inches)8.5 x 20.59 x 22.759.25 x 218.5 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 Weight4 lbs6.5 lbs6.5 lbs7 lbs6 lbs8 lbs10 lbs6 lbs10 lbs

Component Quality 

The components in the ProOne Big+ and the Berkey are almost identical, which meant they looked and felt super similar in quality. Both systems are made using 304 stainless steel, which means no risk of plastics or BPA leaching, and they felt sturdy and pretty indestructible. 

Both being made from stainless steel, the ProOne and Berkey models shouldn’t rust. We saw a few Amazon customer reviews for both products that mentioned rusting, but we have no way to prove that these reviews were legitimate and not produced by competitors. 

What let the Big Berkey down was its use of a plastic spigot. The ProOne Big+ is almost completely plastic-free and comes with a stainless steel spigot, but Berkey’s included spigot is plastic – you have to pay more to upgrade to a stainless steel component. 

Filter Materials

While they remove similar contaminants, the ProOne and Berkey filters are not made from the same materials. 

The ProOne Big+ uses ceramic filters with an activated carbon core. These are both widely used in water treatment systems and are made from safe, natural materials. 

Propur proone filters

The Black Berkey filters are made from activated carbon and five additional media (all undisclosed apart from ion exchange resin). Again, both of these materials are commonly used in the water treatment industry and are considered safe for their purpose. 

The Berkey fluoride filters are made from plastic housing that contains activated alumina. Although these filters leached much lower levels of aluminum oxide into our water in our second test, we remain uncertain about their safety, given the severity of the leaching that occurred in test 1. But it’s possible that the filters we received initially were faulty. 

berkey replacement filters

Materials Safety Certification

Manufacturers can obtain certifications for component quality to demonstrate to customers that their water filters are made from safe materials. 

ProOne’s G2.0 filter elements have an NSF 42 certification, proving that they conform to material requirements (this is unrelated to the NSF 42 certification for performance).

Unfortunately, the Big Berkey doesn’t have any materials safety certifications, so ProOne wins in this category.

⚙️ Setup

We tested the setup process for Berkey and ProOne by timing how long it took us to get the units ready for use, and the ease/difficulty of setup. 

Our setup score and setup time for the Berkey and ProOne units are shared below. 

ProductSetup ScoreSetup Time
ProOne Big+8.50Less than 30 minutes
Berkey6.501 hour and 20 minutes

ProOne was the winner again in the setup category. Setup took us less than 30 minutes, and – what made setup significantly easier – the filters don’t need priming, so we didn’t have to waste time or effort priming them ourselves. We just had to hold them under running cold water and scrub them with the included scotch brite pad for a couple of minutes prior to the install (a process which took around 7 minutes).

We found all the parts we needed for the setup, including a plug, wrench, spigot and knob kit, and sponge with scouring pad, in the box. 

Setup for the Big Berkey took much longer because we had to prime the filters before we could use them – and this was super time-consuming. 

Setting up the body of the unit took just 20 minutes, but priming all 4 filters took an hour, and we struggled with the process. We found it almost impossible to get a seal with the tan priming washer on our faucet, and the blue priming nipple only works well with older faucets. You can’t use either priming method if you have a modern faucet, like those that pull-out or have sprayer handles. 

🔧 Maintenance

We obtained the maintenance scores for Berkey and ProOne by combining their scores for servicing requirements (based on the ease of maintenance) and maintenance costs (based on our own calculated cost-per-gallon for the filters).

See the maintenance scores we awarded the Big Berkey and ProOne Big+, and their servicing requirements and costs, in this table. 

ProductMaintenance ScoreServicing RequirementsCosts
ProOne Big+8.75Good$0.41/gal
Berkey 8.50Weak$0.13 gal

The ProOne Big+ once again outshone the Big Berkey in this category, mainly because of the difficulties we had with priming the Berkey filter replacements. 

Servicing Requirements 

The main maintenance requirement for the Berkey and ProOne systems is replacing the filters. 

For the ProOne Big+, the replacement filters didn’t need to be primed – we just had to scrub them under cold water. Removing the old filters and screwing the new ones inside the top water chamber was easy. 

For the Big Berkey, we found the actual task of replacing the filters easy. But again, we had to prime the filters, which was a hassle.

Berkey also recommends cleaning the Black Berkey filters using a Scotch Brite pad every 3-6 months, or when their rate of filtration slows down. This was an extra task for us to remember, but it at least meant that we could extend the life of the filters and avoid having to prime a set of new filters for as long as possible. 

Both units need to be cleaned with hot soap and water weekly at least, which you might find a bit tricky if you have a small kitchen sink (the chambers are still pretty big even when separated). 

Maintenance Costs

Berkey redeemed itself slightly when it came to maintenance costs. The cost per gallon overall for both Berkey filters is $0.13/gallon (the Black Berkey elements cost $0.034/gallon for a pair and the fluoride filters cost $0.09/gallon). 

We’re putting a lot of trust in Berkey, here – the 6,000-gallon lifespan for a pair of Black Berkey elements seems almost too good to be true, especially compared to similar countertop water filters, which have much lower filter lifespans. 

Our calculated ongoing cost per gallon for each 9-inch filter in the ProOne Big+ was $0.41/gallon. This is still cheaper than average, but doesn’t match up to Berkey’s claims. 

We’ll update this section when we’ve tested the Berkey and ProOne units for long enough to replace the filters, so we can comment on how long the filters actually lasted and how this affected their cost per gallon. 

🏢 Company

In this category, we compared Berkey and ProOne as companies, including their shipping and returns policies, and the warranties they offer. 

Important note: Berkey filters aren’t sold directly by the manufacturer, so in this category, we rated one of the most popular Berkey distributors:

In the below table, we’ve shared our company scores and the individual data that helped us to reach these scores for the Berkey and ProOne water filters. 

ProductCompany ScoreWarranty LengthShippingReturns
ProOne Big+8.905 years Free shipping on orders over $69.95 to the lower 48 states30 days
Berkey9.10LifetimeFree shipping on orders over $99 to the lower 48 states30 days

Berkey did better overall, offering a longer warranty than ProOne. 

Warranty Length 

ProOne warrants its water filters for 5 years (excluding the filter elements or media), while offers a lifetime warranty for Berkey systems. Both warranties are pretty good here, but has the best offering.

Shipping offers free shipping to customers who spend over $99 and live in one of the lower 48 states. Customers in Alaska, Hawaii and Canada must pay a shipping fee. 

Similarly, ProOne offers free shipping for orders over $69.95 by US-based customers. There’s a shipping fee for orders to Hawaii and Alaska, and deliveries to Canada may be “subject to duties and taxes”.

That puts Berkey and ProOne on even ground for shipping. 


Both Berkey and ProOne offer a 30-day returns period, so again, they got the same score in this sub-category. 

⛔️ System Setbacks & Flaws

While there are lots of good things to say about Berkey and ProOne, we did note some setbacks and flaws for the units that are important to mention. 

ProOne Setbacks

  • Not performance certified – ProOne hasn’t got its filters officially certified for their contaminant removal abilities. 
  • Overflow risk – Continuing to add water to the top chamber when the bottom chamber is full will cause water to leak out of the seal between the two chambers. 
  • Didn’t eliminate disinfection byproducts – In our testing, the ProOne Big+ only reduced the disinfection byproducts in our water by around 50%.
  • Fewer models/sizes available – The stainless steel ProOne systems only come in two sizes, with one additional plastic option. 
Proone big+

Berkey Setbacks

  • Expensive – Berkey is one of the most expensive stainless steel water filter brands we’ve come across. 
  • Overflow risk – The Berkey units have the same overflow risk as the ProOne models.
  • Plastic spigot – Berkey filters come with a plastic spigot, and you have to pay if you want to upgrade to a stainless steel spigot
  • Not certified – Berkey isn’t certified for performance or materials safety. 
  • Needs separate fluoride filters – Unlike the ProOne Big+, the Big Berkey doesn’t remove fluoride with its main filter. There are separate fluoride filters that need replacing on their own schedule.
  • Aluminum oxide leaching issue with PF2 filters – We had issues with the PF2 fluoride filters leaching aluminum oxide into our water.
Big Berkey water filter sitting on countertop

🆚 ProOne or Berkey Which One’s for You?

Ultimately, both the Berkey and ProOne water filters have advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you’re looking for. 

The ProOne Big+ is Most Ideal For:

Anyone who wants to filter untreated water, since the ProOne Big+’s ceramic filter media is a proven method to reduce microbiological contaminants and our testing data supports this.
Folks who want to remove fluoride from their drinking water without the potential for aluminum oxide leaching. This is something we experienced with Berkey that you WON’T experience with ProOne because the system doesn’t use activated alumina media. 
People looking for a more affordable upfront countertop water filter that just uses one type of filter (no extra fluoride filter) and comes with a stainless steel spigot (no extra spend on upgrade).

We Recommend the Big Berkey if: 

You want the most comprehensive solution for city water that may contain disinfection byproducts. Note: we recommend using the Black Berkey elements ONLY due to our issues with the fluoride filters.
You prefer a filtration system with a long filter lifespan that should require the least amount of maintenance. 
  • 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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