Home Product Reviews 3 Cheaper Berkey Water Filter Alternatives

3 Cheaper Berkey Water Filter Alternatives

by Gabriel Gregoire

There might come a time when you wish you had some Berkey water filter alternatives. Imagine it: you’re in the middle of a true SHTF situation, going overland on a fire road that you know will open onto a more navigable but still little-known dirt road. You have a couple of extra tanks of gasoline strapped to your tailgate, but you have your family with you. That means you need fresh, clean, water, and a lot of it.

Your properly stored water at home won’t help you here.

Say you come to a small wooden bridge. Great news, the stream beneath the bridge is a source of fresh water! But wait a minute. You don’t know who’s upstream or what they’ve been doing in that brook. They could have bathed in it using soaps and shampoos that you don’t want to drink the residue of, or they could have even dumped waste into the clear running stream. What if there’s a boil-water order you don’t even know about?

That’s when you need a water filtration system. One that works at the capacity you need for yourself, your spouse, and a kid or two, and one that was affordable at the time you bought it, which was hopefully before bug-out time, because after that, who knows? Amazon probably won’t deliver to GPS coordinates without an address attached, even by drone, and that’s assuming you could even stay in one location to wait out the two or three-day shipping time.

So, as is the case in most prepper situations, it’s good to start out prepared. And that means buying your water filtration system today. And yes, Berkey is a household name in that milieu, but who else is out there? Can you establish your SHTF water filtration system without breaking the bank?

Are You Paying for Just the Berkey Name?

As American preppers, we’ve been fed the line about freedom of choice our whole lives. But is the choice between McDonald’s and Burger King really freedom? Between Pepsi and Coke? No. They’re just burgers and cola, respectively. No one gets to say, “Super size it,” when the burgers you’re cooking come from the venison you just killed that afternoon.

We’re talking about survival. And in a survival situation, we here at the Homestead and Prepper don’t think you should be paying extra money just for the prestige of a given name. Which is to say, Berkey isn’t the be-all, end-all, just because of the value of their name. There are several other Berkey water filter alternatives that can claim similar results.

Those other brands are what we will speak of here. Not only that, but also a departure from the idea that a water system has to sit on a counter for a given number of hours or days. Because to step away from the name is to step away from the concept. What if you need your alternatives to Berkey water filtration to be mobile?

If You Want Stainless Steel

If you feel secure that you’ll have a household post-collapse, one with a kitchen with its countertops, a stainless steel model may still be for you. One example of such is the ProPur ProOne Big +. This water filtration unit is similar to the Berkey, but with a big discount off the base price, $219 to $278. This is a stay-put system that boasts a long list of contaminants that it’s able to defeat to bring you potable, clear water. The spigot is stainless steel too, in case you don’t trust plastic to do that job. For alternatives to Berkey water filtration, you could do a lot worse.

propur proone big+
The ProPur ProOne Big+

However, you’d be sacrificing easy mobility. No one wants to lug a twenty-pound, two-foot-tall water system around from place to place, in the case of a SHTF situation when you’ve gotta go.

So, mobility. In this hypothetical SHTF situation, you need to be mobile. There are no countertops upon which to rest a stainless-steel purifier and wait for it to do its work. You’re on the run, whether it be from uprooted urbanites who want your resources, or from straight up zombies. It could happen.

So other materials have to come into question. In honor of that eventuality, here we will set forth two fabric-based and portable filtration systems: Xpor and Lifestraw.

LifeStraw

The LifeStraw in action.

As advertised on their site, LifeStraw offers a BPA-free, portable and suspendable filtration system that rings in about a hundred and twenty bucks. What do you get for the money? Well, let’s start with a 99.99% or better rate of eliminating viruses, bacteria, and microplastics, with that last being a serious concern today, when you can practically walk from Los Angeles to Hawaii on the ocean-drift garbage island.

So say you get a LifeStraw Mission filter, you’re on the run, mobile, and you hang it from a broken or sawed tree limb and feed the water from that aforementioned stream into it. You get a filter rate of 3.1 gallons per hour, enough to supply a small group with potable, cooking-ready water.

And the filter the unit comes with is supposed to provide up to 4,755 gallons before needing replacement. Have you heard of kidney dialysis, the medical procedure that removes foreign agents from the bloodstream? The LifeStraw water filtration system works on a similar principle: dirty water passes through membranes that only allow molecules of 0.2 microns in diameter to pass through, blocking the vast majority of anything that could make you sick.

Add that to the benefit of the unit’s being collapsible and a lot lighter than a countertop stainless steel filter, and you get definite bang for the buck.

Xpor

The FUNDANGO Xpor is a unit made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coated nylon, with a flow rate of up to one liter (about a quart) per minute, with convenient backpack straps and a shower head in case bathing is required. And it will be. Ask a homeless person what they miss the most, and the answer will be, “A hot shower whenever I want one.”

And if you’re mobile in a SHTF situation because you’ve had to leave your homestead, you are technically homeless. You’ll likely find that the Xpor unit is even finer than the LifeStraw, with only a 0.1 micron aperture in the filter. That means pure, particle-free drinking, cooking, and bathing water.

xpor system
The Xpor system.

The Rest of the Pack

A cursory Amazon search will reveal several other contenders in the water-filtration category, like Katadyn, Epic, and more. The main thing is to calculate how well your money will be spent, in terms of impurities removed, rate of flow, and considerations like portability. If you do your homework, you can walk away with a highly effective system that will help keep your family alive in a post-collapse situation.

For a basic comparison, check out the following chart:

Product and Purchase LinkFiltration RateVirus ReductionLifetime GallonsPrice
Big Berkey3.75 gallons per hour99.999%6,000$$$$
ProOne Big+(unlisted)(unlisted)6 months’ worth with 4 users$$$
LifeStraw Mission3.1 gallons per hour99.999%4,755$$
FUNDANGO Xpor Dry Bag15.8 gallons per hour(unlisted)792$

What Berkey Water Filter Alternatives are Sold Out?

Yes, it’s a fact, the manufacturers and distributors of high-grade water filtration systems aren’t famous for always being in stock. I recommend using this article and your own research to find your ideal filtration system, attempt an order, and if they’re sold out, go for your second choice. It’s sort of a function of your level of SHTF paranoia.

If you are afraid the whole system will collapse as soon as tomorrow, then yes, go ahead and order what’s in stock. But if you have a little faith in the system and you want what you want, wait for stock to replenish and get your number-one choice. What we care about here at Homestead and Prepper is that you end up equipped and prepared.

Have you been through the water-filtration choice gauntlet? Something to share? By all means, post in the comments below. In the meantime, here’s to pristine H20 for you and your family.

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