Confession: I have Two Water Filters in my Home
I couldn’t decided which water filter to go with: the old school, reliable, well-known Berkey or the new kid on the block Aquagear.
Couple of Things I Wanted
A filter that:
- Removes fluorine, trihalomethanes, chlorine, lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium.
- Reduces filter waste by lasting a long time.
- Looks pretty on the counter top.
Water filters work in a very simple manner: a carbon filter absorbs toxins, minerals, and contaminants. But finding one that met all three of these criteria was not easy, especially because I was specifically looking for flourine to be removed.
Two Brands Came Up: Berkey and Aquagear. I got them both, and here is my comparison and the pros and cons.
Removes fluoride, trihalomethanes, chlorine, lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium.
Both Berkey and Aquagear do this, but Berkey takes a specialty filter that has to be purchased separately from the standard carbon filter. Both work really well and the water comes out tasting clean, crisp, and smooth.
I choose to avoid fluoride because of the risk of fluoridosis in the bones. Trihalomethanes are endocrine disruptors, and no one needs more of that. Chlorine tastes gross, and, through a variety of chemical reactions, forms additional harmful by-products like trihalomethanes and chloroform. Lead also tastes gross aside from it being toxic to the brain, especially in young children. Mercury is toxic to almost every organ system, especially the kidneys. Chromium, in large quantities, may be carcinogenic. Definitely wanted these out of my water.
Reduced filter waste by lasting a long time.
As a former user of Brita filters, one of the things I hated was how often the (very bulky) filters had to be changed. I hated how much space the extra filters took up in my cupboard. So I definitely wanted a filter option that lasted a really long time. Both Berkey and Aquagear have filters that last months instead of weeks. Downside to Brita: there is no timer to gauge how long you have been using a given filter. You have to write it down and keep track. Booooooo.
Pretty on the Counter Top
I do not refrigerate water. Ever. In Chinese medicine, cold water is thought to rob energy from your spleen, slow down digestion, and heat the body. Yes, heat the body. This is because your body has to use energy to warm the water to body temperature before it starts to process it. If you want to cool off in the summer, drink teas and water as hot as you can palate it. This induces sweating and acts as a very effective cooling mechanism. I digress. I don’t refrigerate water, so I wanted a water filter that looks cool on the counter top. In my opinion, Berkey is the clear winner here. That shiny stainless steel makes me smile.
In My Search, I Came Across a Few Other Differences
- Berkey is cumbersome, Aquagear is lightweight. Living in NYC with limited counter and overhead space the Berkey is tough to use.
- When I first posted about Berkey on social media, a lot of people commented that they had a dream to own one. Yes, there is definitely a status piece of the puzzle with Berkey. And with the status comes a price. Berkey is more expensive than Aquagear.
- Aquagear’s marketing is better. Their website is way easier to use. And prettier. The mission and vision of the company is clear. I want to hang out with them.
- Berkey’s customer care is no bueno. Confession: I was too enthusiastic about asking for a Berkey and got two of them for Christmas. Called Berkey to get instructions on how to return a filter without a receipt, as the filter was a gift. They were so little help it was ridiculous. It was almost like I felt guilty for being too excited about their products. They wouldn’t give me a straight answer on how to return the product. I eventually just gave the extra one away just to be finished with the hassle. Update: Berkey actually reached out to me after reading this post and let me know of sweeping changes they are making to their customer care team and I applaud them for recognizing a problem and aiming to fix it.
- While I didn’t intentionally look for a water filter with purpose, Aquagear does have a partnership with Thirst Relief and every purchase of one water filter provides six months worth of clean water to someone in need. Bonus.
One Downside of Heavy Duty Filtration
Whenever you use a high powered carbon water filter capable of removing fluoride, lead, chromium, and other bad stuff you are also removing a lot of trace minerals that are beneficial to the body. Be sure that you are eating tons of nutritious food and taking multiple vitamin alongside your clean water.
Which water filter do you use?
Berkey? Aquagear? Brita? Comment below and let me know your opinion!