AquaTru vs. Berkey – What To Look For In A Water Filter or Purifier

Access to clean water is a human right – but tap water, even in America, can be riddled with contaminants. One of the best ways to protect you & your family: invest in a high-quality water purifier… but all filters are not created equally! So, what’s the best water purifier/filter for your area? What’s the best portable water filter? What’s the difference between AquaTru vs. Berkey? Why should you avoid bottled water? What’s one of the best water purifiers on the market?

I’ve got you covered! Keep reading for more.

Best Portable Water Filter

Photo courtesy of Sasha Mazzuca – with permission [1]. (Note: This article contains affiliate links, meaning In On Around will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me maintain the site. As always, I value full transparency & only work with brands I love and trust.)

How Do You Know What Kind Of Water Filter You Need?

First, look at what contaminants are actually in your local tap water. You can do so by checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Tap Water Database with your zip code! You can also have your home tap water tested by a trusted professional, especially if it’s from a well or if you’re in a rural area. These certified labs (which you can find on the EPA’s website) usually costs between $20-150 for a full report on water contaminants. If you can, get your water source tested!

Next, understand the different types of filters/purifiers. There are pros and cons to each type of filter.

The Top 3 Most Popular Filters

  • Activated carbon filter
    • Pros: Reduces foul taste, odor, VOCs, lead, mercury, disinfection byproducts, PFAS, heavy metals
    • Cons: Can’t remove arsenic, fluoride, nitrate, perchlorate
  • Reverse osmosis filter
    • Pros: Removes arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, perchlorate, PFAS, heavy metals (most contaminants)
    • Cons: Wastes a lot of water!
  • Ion exchange filter
    • Pros: Reduces nitrate, fluoride, sulfate, arsenic
    • Cons: Does not reduce the levels of many contaminants.
Difference Between Water Filters

Photo provided by: EWG

There are also full home filtration options, which filter the water as it comes into the pipes. These are usually expensive and can sometimes lead to issues with bacterial growth in the plumbing since chlorine is removed. To echo the comments from EWG, it’s best to use a point-of-use filter [2]. If you have a full home filtration system, I would still recommend using a point-of-use filter for your drinking & cooking water.

Water Purifier Versus Water Filter – What’s The Difference?

A water purifier removes protozoa, bacteria, AND viruses. A water filter removes protozoa and bacteria, but NOT viruses. This is why a purifier is superior to a general filter.

What Substances Are Commonly Found In Tap Water?

… and much more.

Many of these substances, like perchlorate, PFOA, and algal toxins are not federally regulated… meaning they can be found in tap water. Just because the water is allowed to flow through the pipes, doesn’t make it safe. Lead was banned from plumbing systems in 1986, but many lead pipes still exist & pollute our water system.

What About Water Distillation?

Reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, and water distillation are different forms of water filtration, however, RO water is significantly more purified. With water distillation, the water is boiled and the steam is collected. While this can remove some contaminants, it isn’t nearly as effective as a three-stage purifier. Water distillers aren’t technically “filters.” Water distillers can also take more time than other filtration systems.

Safe Water Best Practice Tips

  • Remember to regularly check the status of your filter! Is it clean? Does it need replacing? Nasty bacteria can grow on them if they’re not properly maintained.
  • Carry filtered water in safe bottles, like glass or stainless steel (like Soma or BKR).
  • Drinking safe water is so important for everyone, but especially if you’re pregnant, nursing, or raising children.
  • Use filtered water whenever possible, even if the water will be boiled (like during cooking)!
  • Oftentimes a filtered water bottle, “survivor filter,” backpacking water filter, or a water filter straw can help filter out some contaminants, but not nearly enough. Instead of a water bottle filter, opt for a high-quality at-home purifier when possible.
    • I personally opt for the best at-home filters, instead of Sawyer products, mini water filtration systems, Lifestraw, or others.

Why Should You Avoid Bottled Water?

Unless it’s an extreme emergency situation, it’s best to avoid bottled water for these reasons:

  1. PET plastics (which are used in water bottles and marked with a “1” on the bottom) contain endocrine-disrupting harmful contaminants or chemicals, like phthalates, that can leach into your water. Not to mention, these plastics are absolutely horrible for the environment (86% becomes litter). [6,7]
  2. It is not always safer. The US government does not regulate that bottled water must be safer than tap. Bottled water does not always mean it’s filtered from toxins!
  3. Bottled = more expensive. On average you spend about 3,000 times more on bottled water than you would have otherwise spent on filtered tap water. [8]
  4. It’s more energy-intensive. Bottled water is shipped in trucks all over the country. It’s estimated about 17 million barrels of oil are required to produce enough plastic water bottles for America annually – yikes. [9]

The Best Portable Water Filter/Purifier On The Market

It very much depends on the contaminants in YOUR water. There are pros & cons to activated carbon filters AND reverse osmosis technology filters (RO system). It’s important to have your water tested for contaminants. You can also look up information on your water here.

Personally, I like a reverse osmosis system the best, like AquaTru. AquaTru offers an under-the-sink model, as well, which is extremely convenient! They are NSF-certified and remove contaminants. It does, however, require electricity to use and the water storage is in plastic (so make sure it’s kept out of the sun). They also have excellent customer service.

If you’re looking for an activated carbon filter, Berkey Filters is one of the best. Personally, I also have the Big Berkey model (which holds 2.25 gallons). You only need to replace the main carbon filters every 6000 gallons (the filter lifestyle can last 6+ years). Berkey does not require electricity (it’s gravity fed, aka a gravity filter), so it can be a great option in emergency situations or when traveling. I love how the Berkey is made from food-grade stainless steel.

… The winners are clear!

For reverse osmosis filters: AquaTru (this is a discount link)

For a shower filter: Aqua Bliss

For a bath filter: Crystal Quest

For activated carbon filters: Berkey Filters – Update: Berkey Filters has closed down.

  • I personally think using a Travel Berkey can be a great way to filter water on-the-go.
  • As of 1/14/21, I no longer recommend the Berkey fluoride/arsenic add-on filters. If improperly set up, they can potentially leach aluminum oxide into the filtered water. The fluoride filters only work optimally if the water is a certain pH (pH of 5). Oftentimes, tap water has a higher pH, which can reduce the efficacy of the fluoride filters.
  • Berkey also occasionally has a “scratch and dent” sale, where certain Berkeys are sold at a discount due to minor factory blemishes. You could end up saving some cash!
    • Want one for the office too? They offer a Travel Berkey that filters 1.5 gallons – perfect to take with you!

These are the best portable water filters and purifiers available on the market. The purification element works! If you’re looking for a water filtration system, definitely check these out.

AquaTru vs. Berkey – The Pros And Cons

As you can see, there are many pros and cons for both filters! It all comes down to your priorities and the contaminants in your local water supply. Both are great options!

After using the filters for many months, these are the pros & cons that I’ve found:

Berkey FiltersAquaTru
Filtration QualityGreatBest
Filters Fluoride?No, only with add-onYes
Filters Nitrates?NoYes
Cost~$300-500 (with discount)~$199-350 (with discount)
Water WasteLess ✅More
Filter Change SensorNoYes
Ease Of CleaningHarder To CleanEasy To Clean ✅
Ease Of SetupTakes TimeEasier
MaterialsStainless Steel ✅Plastic
TasteLighter Stronger
Requires Adding MineralsNo Yes
Requires Electrical OutletNo (Gravity/ Flow)Yes (Pump)
Size Of TankLarger Smaller
LeakingNone Minimal
Flow Rate/ Speed Of FiltrationSlowerFaster

As always, I will continue to update this pros/cons list over time, as the filters age.

AquaTru vs. Berkey – Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the below FAQs to learn more!

Is tap water safe?

Water purifier

Tap water can contain a host of contaminants, including pesticides, bacteria, chlorine, fluoride, copper, and more. It is better to drink filtered tap water.

Should you avoid drinking bottled water?

Water purifier

Bottled water is not only more expensive, but it is not always filtered or safer. The United States does not regulate that bottled water must be safer than tap water. Bottled water does not always mean it’s filtered.

What is the difference between a water filter and water purifier?

Water purifier

A water purifier removes protozoa, bacteria, AND viruses. A water filter removes protozoa and bacteria, but NOT viruses. This is why a purifier is superior to a general filter.

What are the different types of water filters?

Water purifier

There are many different types of water filters including activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange.

Do you use a water filter or water purifier?

You deserve the best drinking water available. Let me know below! You can watch our web story here.


Want to read more? Check out my other articles here!

Information on AquaTru vs. Berkey: CDC, Berkey Filters, NRDC, EPA, NY State, Harvard, Business Insider, Consumer Reports

Copyright In On Around LLC 2021 © The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration), therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided by this website should not be used as individual medical advice and you should always consult your doctor for individual recommendations and treatment.

About Catherine Power

Catherine Power is the Founder and CEO of In On Around. She is a Harvard-educated Ingredient Safety and Environmental Toxins expert. Catherine has a background in Food Science, Personal Care Quality, and Regulatory Compliance.

4 Responses

Leave a Reply

Please Rate

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

in on around logo
Welcome to In On Around®️

In On Around is your one-stop shop for the latest holistic health, non-toxic living, and clean beauty information. Learn to take control of what goes in, on, and around your body. Check out our natural living blog posts!

Browse by Category
Shop Pact Today.