Welcome to our Nikken Water Filter vs Berkey comparison guide. We’ve had the pleasure of reviewing both of these water filtration systems in the past, and now we’re bringing you our head-to-head comparison to show you why these two filters are very different.
By the end of our guide, you’ll know for sure which filter is better for you. Let’s start with a head-to-head feature comparison chart before moving onto our analysis & buyer’s guide. In our analysis, we list the key differences between these two systems.
|Model||Nikken PiMag Waterfall||Big Berkey (BK4X2-BB)|
|Filter Life||Filter Cartridge: 235 gallons
Mineral Stones: 1 year
|3,000 gallons per filter|
|Filter Media||Silver-Impregnated Activated Carbon, Silica Sand, Alkaline Mineral Stones||Activated Carbon + 5 Additional Types of Media|
|Capacity||Top Tank: 1.32 gallons
Filtered Water Tank: 1.45 gallons
|2.25 gallons (Filtered Water)|
|Flow Rate||.5 gallons per hour||3.5 gallons per hour (2 Filters)|
|Dimensions||16.65” Tall x 12.8” Deep x 8.9” Wide||21″ Tall x 8.5″ Diameter|
|Weight||6.6 lbs||7 lbs|
|WQA/NSF Certified||Yes (NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, 372)||No (Third-Party Tested to Meet NSF/ANSI 53)|
|Makes Alkaline Water||Yes||No|
|Negative ORP (Antioxidants)||Yes||No|
|Warranty||1-Year Limited Warranty||6-Month Warranty|
Nikken Water Filter vs Berkey: Buyer’s Guide
In the following sections, we discuss each consideration to make about these two systems before you buy and how they’re different. Let’s start with maintenance.
There are mixed reviews for the Berkey regarding maintenance. We saw more than a handful of owners having trouble with the filter, where it stops working every couple of days.
The Black Berkey filters or “purifiers” need to be primed before you can use them. The common complaint we see is people needing to fiddle with the filters every couple of days to get them to work.
This process can require shaving the Black Berkey filter with a vegetable peeler.
The Nikken PiMag system requires little to no maintenance. To avoid algae growth inside the tank, we recommend placing the PiMag away from direct sunlight. Other than that, the system is easy to clean, and filter changes are a breeze.
Below, we share a maintenance video for the Nikken PiMag system to give you an idea of how to change the filter, mineral stones, and clean the unit:
Below is a video demonstration of how to use a vegetable peeler to activate a clogged Berkey filter:
Berkey vs Nikken Filter Life and Replacement Filter Cost
In the battle of filter life, Berkey certainly wins (if you receive a filter that doesn’t clog). Each Black Berkey filter lasts for a whopping 3,000 gallons vs the silver-impregnated carbon filter in the PiMag that lasts up to 90 days or 235 gallons.
Click either image below to check the current price for a set of replacement filters for each unit (left side is Berkey, the right side is PiMag):
PiMag Water vs Berkey Water: Which Tastes Better?
The PiMag Waterfall recreates water in nature, and in our opinion, makes some of the most delicious filtered water in the world. It achieves this through the use of silver-impregnated activated carbon to first remove impurities.
Once the water passes through the carbon filter, it moves through a layer of silica sand before meeting the alkaline mineral stones in the filtered water tank.
The mineral stones naturally boost the pH of the water to between 8.5 – 9.5. Most people prefer the taste of alkaline water over slightly acidic or neutral water.
The Berkey filter focuses on contaminant removal before taste. Expect PiMag water to taste significantly better than Berkey Water. The Big Berkey is best for survivalists and people who have heavily contaminated water to start.
If you have standard municipal water, chances are the Berkey filter is more than you need.
Alkaline Water vs Berkey Water
To make this point clear:
- The Berkey water filter system is not an alkaline water filter.
- The Nikken PiMag is a countertop alkaline water filter.
However, the Berkey filter does not strip essential minerals from your water. Since it leaves alkaline minerals intact, you should not experience any significant pH change between your unfiltered water and Berkey filtered water.
The PiMag system makes alkaline water with a consistent pH between 8.5 to 9.5, which is the sweet spot for experiencing the many alkaline water benefits.
- Recommended Reading: Does the Berkey water filter system make water alkaline?
WQA and NSF/ANSI Certifications
When purchasing a water filter, we recommend buying filters that are certified by the WQA or NSF International to meet or exceed NSF/ANSI Standards. NSF Standards 42 for chlorine reduction and 53 for lead removal are two of the most common Standards to look for when buying a drinking water filter.
The PiMag Waterfall has a Water Quality Association Gold Seal of Approval and is tested to meet NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, 372.
All of the lab results and test results for the Black Berkey filters are third-party tests. Berkey does not directly certify its equipment through the WQA or NSF International. For some people, this is a dealbreaker, while others don’t mind.
Berkey does post is lab test results on its site, but we still wonder why the company refuses to have its equipment NSF certified. For this reason, the states of California and Iowa prohibit the sale of Berkey systems inside state lines.
While we do think the Black Berkey filters work quite well according to owner reviews and lab test results provided by Berkey, we find it strange that Berkey says they won’t get the proper certs because it’s “very expensive.”
In our opinion, Berkey is a big enough company with enough cashflow to obtain and maintain these certs just like a long list of other water filtration companies, including Nikken.
Portability is another important factor to consider before you buy. Obviously, the Nikken PiMag Waterfall is more of a hassle to lug around than a Berkey water filter.
The Berkey comes in several sizes, while the PiMag is one size.
The Berkey is better for outdoor enthusiasts who want a reliable water filter to use while camping or in the RV. Remember, the Berkey filter has the ability to turn untreated water into purified water. The Nikken PiMag filter can’t do that, nor was it designed to.
Nikken PiMag vs Big Berkey Price Comparison
The popular Big Berkey costs considerably less than the Nikken PiMag. The larger Berkey systems cost roughly the same or more than the PiMag Waterfall. Depending on which size Berkey you choose, the system may or may not cost more than the Nikken PiMag.
We recommend jumping back to the feature comparison chart and clicking the buttons below each system to check the current lowest price for each.
The Berkey system is the more powerful water filter built to purify both municipal and untreated water from lakes, rivers, and streams (it won’t turn salt water into freshwater aka desalinate). The Nikken PiMag is made for people who want to enjoy the taste and health benefits of alkaline water.
If superior-tasting water is what you’re after, then choose the PiMag system and enjoy the delicious flavor of alkaline antioxidant water for less than you’d pay for bottled alkaline water.
Who wins the battle of the Nikken water filter vs Berkey? There is no clear winner. We recommend considering each point in this guide before you buy. We’re confident that our guide will lead you to the best decision for you and your family.