How Long Does A Berkey Take To Filter Water?

by Jay | Updated on July 31st, 2023

Are you in search of an effective, easy-to-use water filtration system? Perhaps you’ve heard about Berkey water filters, but you’re unsure of how quickly they can purify your drinking water. If so, this blog post is tailored to help you understand the advantages of a Berkey water filter, along with its filtration speed.

How a Berkey Filter Works: Your Key to Clean Water

A Berkey water filter is a masterstroke of convenience and efficiency in water purification. It operates solely on the principle of gravity—eliminating the need for electricity.


Here’s a breakdown of its functionality: the upper chamber of the Big Berkey filter contains the water source, and as gravity works its magic, the water is drawn into the filter elements. These elements, made of a micro-porous material, successfully remove contaminants from the water.

Housed within a light-proof stainless steel container, the water becomes devoid of particles, chemicals, and other undesirables as it trickles into the lower chamber. The result? Clean, safe, ready-to-drink water for you and your family.

Meet the Berkey Family: Pick Your Perfect Match

Berkey offers a variety of water filters, each designed to cater to different needs. The Big Berkey and the Imperial Berkey are the two primary types.

The Big Berkey is a spacious countertop water filter holding 8.5 liters, equipped with two Black Berkey Purification Elements.

The Imperial Berkey, its larger cousin, holds up to 16.5 liters and can house up to four elements, promising even more efficient filtration.

For smaller homes or those who prefer a compact solution, the Travel Berkey and the Big Berkey are perfect. These compact versions hold 2.25 liters and come equipped with two Black Berkey Purification Elements. Whichever model you choose, Berkey ensures that you enjoy clean drinking water with minimal effort.

How Long Does Berkey Take to Filter Water?

The filtration speed of a Berkey water filter can range between two hours to ten complete system flushes. This variation depends on several factors including the number of filters installed, water temperature, pressure, and the capacity of the Berkey model in use.

For instance, a system fitted with two Black Filters can filter up to 3.5 gallons per hour when filled to the top. Furthermore, it might require up to 10 system flushes before the water is completely free from cloudiness (manufacturing dust).

The Big Berkey Water Filter, in particular, is popular for its impressive filtration speed, making it a favorite among large families.

How Long Does It Take to Filter 4.5 Gallons of Water?

Filtering 4.5 gallons of water can take up to an hour if you’re using a fully loaded Big Berkey equipped with two Black Berkey purification elements. However, this time frame can extend if the water source is heavily contaminated.

Temperature and contamination level of the source water can significantly impact the filtration speed. But don’t fret—filtration time can be expedited by pre-filtering your water or adding more elements to your Berkey filter.

Factors Influencing Berkey Filter Flow Rate

Several factors can impact the flow rate of your Berkey water filter, including filter type, chamber size, and the water’s initial condition.

  • Temperature: Water temperature can dramatically influence filtration speed. Ideally, the water should be within 59-77°F (15-25°C) for optimal filtration. Colder temperatures could double the filtration time.
  • Pressure: Water pressure also plays a significant role. Low pressure could lead to slower filtration, while high pressure speeds up the process.
  • Number of Filters: A higher number of filters translates to faster filtration. For instance, a Big Berkey with two filters can filter about 3.5 gallons per hour, while one with four filters can manage about 7 gallons per hour.
  • Berkey Capacity: The size of your Berkey model affects filtration time. For optimal performance, it’s important to fill it with the recommended amount of water.

Regular maintenance and cleaning are also essential for efficient filtration. So, keep your Berkey filters primed and clean to ensure safe and quick delivery of drinking water.

Filling the Upper Chamber: A Simple Process

Filling the upper chamber of your Berkey filter is a breeze. Just ensure the stems of the purification elements are submerged, let them soak for about an hour, and then fill the chamber to the brim. As filtration continues, you may notice a slow down in flow rate—potentially taking up to 24 hours to filter a full tank. If this happens, make sure your filters are primed and clean.

Speeding Up Filtration Time: Handy Tips

To boost your Berkey’s filtration speed, make sure the filters are properly primed, clean, and free of air pockets. If your filters are lagging despite these measures, consider replacing them. Regular maintenance and proper storage when not in use also contribute to optimal performance.

Maintenance and Cleaning: Essential for Optimal Performance

Regular cleaning of your Berkey filters and stainless steel chambers ensures efficient operation. Berkey recommends cleaning the Black Berkey® Elements every six months and the stainless steel chambers monthly.

Conclusion: Clean Water Is Just a Berkey Away

In summary, Berkey water filters provide an effective solution for safe, clean drinking water. With various sizes available, you can pick the one that best suits your needs. With proper care and maintenance, your Berkey filter will serve you for many years, delivering clean water quickly and efficiently.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."