If you’ve looked into gravity filters, you’re sure to have come across both Berkey and Propur (ProOne) – which was formerly known as ProPur. They’re two of the most well-known brands in water filtration, but you’re probably wondering which is best.
That’s where we come in.
We’ve picked the most popular gravity filters from each brand and compared them on all of their specifications to determine who makes the best gravity filter.
Table of Contents
Final Summary – Berkey vs Propur (ProOne) – Which Should You Get?
Because of its durability and lower cost, we believe the Big Berkey is the better gravity water filtration system despite the fact that it doesn’t filter out quite as many contaminants as the ProOne Big+.
Overall, when you look at the capacity, certifications, and filtration rate for each product, they’re very similar but Berkey takes the crown because of the better bang for the buck.
|ProOne Big+||Big Berkey|
|Filtration Rate||3-4 hours per cycle||3.5 gallons per hour|
|Capacity||2.75 gallons||2.25 gallons|
|Certifications||NSF/ANSI 53, 42, and P231||NSF/ANSI 53 and 42|
Berkey vs Propur (ProOne) Gravity Filter Overview
We picked the best gravity filter from each brand to represent them and go head-to-head: the ProOne Big+ Water Filter and the Big Berkey Water Filter.
We’ve broken down each product and compared them on points like contaminants removed and filter type, capacity, filtration rate, and price to determine which one is the best.
The Big Berkey uses the Black Berkey filters, which combine activated carbon from coconuts with microfiltration and ion exchange. There’s a proprietary blend of five other types of media as well as the carbon composite that works to reduce or remove over 200 contaminants.
The ProOne Big+, uses the ProOne G20.9 filters, which use ceramic impregnated with silver and AquaMetix media to likewise reduce or remove over 200 contaminants. The AquaMetix media is a proprietary blend of activated carbon media and ion exchange resin.
Overall, the filters are very similar for these 2 units and they both remove the same amount of contaminants.
The ProOne Big+ has a 2.75 gallon capacity and is rated for a 4+ person household. It’s 22.75 inches tall and 9.25 inches wide, and comes with a 6-inch stand that you can put the filter on.
On the other hand, the Big Berkey has a slightly lower capacity at 2.25 gallons, and is similarly rated for a household of up to 4 people. The Big Berkey is 19.25 inches tall and 8.5 inches wide.
Overall, the ProOne has a slightly larger capacity but they are both similar enough.
The Big Berkey has been independently certified for NSF/ANSI standards 53, which means it reduces heavy metals with negative health effects, and 42, which means it improves the taste and odor of water.
In comparison, the ProOne Big+ has also been certified for NSF/ANSI standards 53 and 42, as well as standard P231 which means it reduces microplastics.
Now let’s dive into the specifications of each gravity filter system and look at who performs better when it comes to contaminants removed, durability, and other criteria.
Both ProOne and Berkey boast an impressive number of contaminants removed with their filters, and the chart below details how they compare when filtering different classes of contaminants:
|Big Berkey Number Removed||ProOne Big+ Number Removed|
|Volatile Organic Compounds||54||54|
|Heavy Metals (Including Lead)||17||16|
|Inorganic Non-Metallic Contaminants||7||11|
|Alpha Radiological Particles||13||7|
|Beta Radiological Particles||12||7|
|Fluorinated Organic Acids||9||9|
|Contaminants with Emerging Health Effects||3||15|
The ProOne Big+ is the winner when it comes to the total number of contaminants removed, even though they don’t filter any petroleum products. ProOne also removed large amounts of calcium, which can help remove some of the hardness from water. It does not work on magnesium or potassium, however, so don’t expect it to work like a true water softening system.
On the other hand, Berkey didn’t filter out as many microorganisms but worked better on radioactive particles. Berkey makes a separate fluoride filter that can be purchased as an add-on to the Black Berkey filters, and this boosts the amounts of fluoride the system removes for those who are on a municipal water supply.
For a full breakdown on the exact contaminants and the percent they are reduced, you can see ProOne’s filter specifications here and Berkey’s filter specifications here.
The best filter for your water is ultimately going to depend on what’s in your water. If you don’t have the extra contaminants that the G20.9 filters out, it won’t matter if you go with that system.
You can purchase a water quality test kit to determine exactly what contaminants are in your specific water supply.
Filter Lifespan and Durability
The Big Berkey filtration system comes with a lifetime warranty, which means you won’t have to worry about replacing the system down the line. As for the filters themselves, you can expect each Black Berkey filter (the system takes two) to last for 3,000 gallons of water use.
Meanwhile, the ProOne gravity filter comes with a 1-year warranty and it’s going to last about five years before needing to be replaced. This is assuming you clean it regularly, following the maintenance guidelines in the manual. Also, the 7-inch G20.9 filter will only last for 1,000 gallons. You get a slightly longer lifespan with the 9-inch filter at 1,200 gallons.
How fast you go through the replacement filters is ultimately going to depend on your household size and general water use.
For the 7-inch G20.9 filter, it takes 4 hours to filter water through the system. For the 9-inch version, it only takes 3 hours.
For the Black Berkey, the two filters combined go through 3.5 gallons per hour. Reviews for both products state that the flow rate is amenable to their homes’ needs.
The ProOne Big+ with a single 7-inch filter element goes for $219.95, one with a double 7-inch element for $279.95, or one that fits the 9-inch filters for $359.95. The 7-inch filters are $74.50 for one, while the 9-inch filters are $79.50. You can save a bit by purchasing the filters in multi-packs.
With the Big Berkey, the initial cost is $299 and that comes with two of the Black Berkey filters. A set of two replacement filters is $128, and they are generally sold as two-packs.
Costs Over Time
Since the Berkey filters are rated for higher gallons of usage, you’re not going to need to replace them as often which will save on costs down the line.
Let’s say you need to replace two Black Berkeys every four years and two G20.9 filters every year. With the initial price of the unit, you’ll spend $427 over four years on the Berkey products and $836 over the same timer period on the ProOne system.
As you see below, the Big Berkey is a clear winner on price and bang for the buck.
Cost Over Four Years
|Big Berkey||ProOne Big+ with double 7in elements|
|Initial cost of the unit||$299||$280|
|Number of replacement filters needed||2||8|
|Cost per filter||$64||$69.50|
|Total spent over four years||$427||$836|
Types of Models Each Company Offers
Both Berkey and ProOne offer other gravity filter models, and both have a wide variety of other products as well.
Berkey makes five other gravity filters besides the Big Berkey: the Travel Berkey, the Royal Berkey, the Imperial Berkey, the Crown Berkey, and the Berkey Light water filtration systems.
These all use the Black Berkey filters, and the main difference between all of the models is their capacity in gallons. In addition to their gravity filters, Berkey also offers a filtered sport water bottle and two different shower filters.
In addition to the Big+, ProOne also makes the Traveler+, the Big II, and the Scout II countertop gravity filters. The main difference between each of these is likewise their capacity in gallons, and they all use filters with the G20.9 technology. There’s also a water pitcher filter available that uses the same filtration method.
ProOne also makes several other water improvement products. They have a line of whole-house water filter systems, the ProHome filters, that come in three variations: the Standard, which just has the water filter, the Plus, which also incorporates a sediment filter, and the Complete, which adds a water softener as well.
Speaking of water softeners, ProOne also makes a stand-alone whole-house water softening system. They have three different under-counter point-of-use water filters to offer, and two countertop faucet filters as well. Finally, they also make point-of-use shower filters.
Customer Reviews and Complaints
The Big+ has a 4.7 rating on 192 reviews, and the two main customer complaints are that the water comes out tasting funny at times and that the metal housing starts to rust. The Big Berkey on the other hand has a 4.7 rating on 1,503 reviews, and the biggest complaint is of a rubbery taste to the water after a few weeks of use.
Pros & Cons
Here is a summary of the main advantages and disadvantages we found with each gravity filter system:
- Filters more contaminants
- Good filtration rate
- Different filter options
- Certified for 3 NSF standards
- Short filter lifespan
- Customer reviews question durability
- Much higher cost over time
- Still filters high numbers of contaminants
- Good filtration rate
- Can add filter elements if needed
- Certified for 2 NSF standards
- Lower cost
- Lifetime warranty
- Does not filter as many contaminants
- Reports of bad taste over time
- Slightly lower capacity
For a similar quality of filtration, you’re going to spend much less over time with the Big Berkey gravity filtration system.
The ProOne is best for those with the extra contaminants in your water that it filters, but no matter which one you choose you’re going to get one of the best gravity filters for your home.