D.I.Y Home Made Berkey™ Style Water Filter
You Can Save $100's With This Easy DIY Project

The Berkey Water Filtration System is arguably the best home filtration system in the world, for producing potable water from a variety of sources. Berkey filters are gravity filters that use cleanable micro-permeable ceramic filter elements. These filters are extremely effective, long-lasting and require no electricity. But the trouble is, they are expensive.

However, you can save around $225 or more by making your own Berkey-like System.

This article will guide you through the construction of a filter system, equivalent in performance to the Imperial Berkey which is a 17L system, that sells for about $400 here in Australia. Total cost of this D.I.Y project will be around $175.

For this Project, you will need the following components:

  • Two 20L White Maxipail Plastic Food Grade Buckets With Lid (Bunnings $14 each)
  • A pair of Black Berkey filter elements (you can order from TruWater $129 + $9.50 packing/postage)
  • A food grade spigot (the kind used for water coolers is perfect. (On eBay $4.37 postpaid)


Drill two 1/2" holes in the bottom of the upper bucket
and two matching holes in the lid of the lower bucket.

Drill a hole (to match the threaded size of tap - 16.5mm in example
above) in the side of the lower bucket toward the bottom. Make
sure that the hole is up just far enough for the spigot to clear
when the filter is sitting on a flat surface.

Assemble the lower bucket by installing the tap and the lid with holes.

Install the filter elements in the upper bucket through the holes in the bottom.

Assemble the filter by placing the upper bucket on the lower. Be
sure to line up the holes so the tubes extend through the lid of
the lower bucket. Place the remaining lid on top.

To use the filter, fill the upper bucket with water and wait. If you are starting with dry elements, it will take quite a while before the water starts dripping into the lower bucket. It takes up to several hours for the clean water to drain into the lower bucket. This process can be sped up considerably by frequently topping off the water in the upper bucket. This maintains maximum pressure on the elements.


  • The specifications of the Black Berkey elements can be found here:
    http://berkeywater.com/BerkeyLight/BB_Purification_Elements.html  (USA website)
  • MaxiPail (Australian Made) make these white, food grade buckets in the following sizes: 1, 2, 5, 11 and 20Litres.
  • You could save money if you can source free buckets from a grocery store, bakery, or restaurant.
  • Check out the Doulton Ceramic Filter range... they may be cheaper than Berkey.
  • Depending on the quality of your water source, the ceramic elements will eventually become clogged with the filtered solids, which remain on the outside of the filter, reducing the rate of flow.  Therefore, it is important to prefilter through a dense cloth (tea towel, etc) if your source water is particularly cloudy. The ceramic elements can be (gently) scrubbed clean with a ScotchBrite. The Black Berkey elements last for about 11,350 litres each (22,700 litres for the pair). That's a lot of water!

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