How to DIY A Berkey® Filter?

by AQ Admin on Feb 14, 2023

How to DIY A Berkey® Filter?
Homeowners are constantly looking for ways to make their water safe and healthy for drinking and other domestic uses. One of these ways is the use of Berkey® water filters. Unlike other filtration systems in the market, Berkey® water filters rely on gravity to eliminate harmful contaminants and chemicals from drinking water. They are also versatile for both at-home and on-the-go uses. The longer lifespan of these filters is another reason they are popular among users, especially in the United States.
Despite their great benefits and functionality, Berkey® filters are costly. You may have to pay up to $200 or $400 to get a unit—which is considered unaffordable for most American homeowners. Fortunately, experts have devised DIY alternatives to the stainless steel Berkey® filter systems, which are cheaper and more affordable to set up.
Read on to learn about how to make your own Berkey® filters from start to finish and enjoy healthy, safe drinking water without breaking the bank.

What Are The Requirements for A DIY Berkey® Filter?

Like most DIY tasks, you need unique materials to set up your Berkey® filter. We have outlined the required materials below.

Food-grade Plastic Storage Pails with Lids

The original Berkey® filters are equipped with stainless steel containers. However, these will be replaced by two units of five-gallon food-grade plastic storage pails with lids. These are usually available for sale in popular online stores. You may also get them for free at grocery store, bakeries, or restaurants.
If you cannot get your hands on these storage pails, you can go for stainless steel stockpots, especially if you are big on the stainless steel element. However, you must be prepared to put more effort into cutting the metal. Alternatively, you can use large five-gallon water bottles if you do not mind the slight complications involved.
NB: Avoid pickle buckets because of their offensive and lasting smell. Irrespective of the container type you end up using, ensure they are made of food-safe materials.

Berkey® Filter Elements

For the filtration process, you need two black Berkey® filter elements, often sold in pairs as replacement elements for the Berkey® gravity-fed water filter systems. These filter elements are responsible for removing the typical contaminants present in your raw water. Each of these filters can deliver up to 6,000 gallons before it is due for a replacement.


The role of the spigot in your DIY Berkey® filter is to enable you to keep track of the water level in the lower chamber of your filter system without necessarily guessing. It also helps prevent spillage while the filter is in operation.


When it comes to the tools required for this DIY Berkey® filter, you will need a drill with a 7/16” drill bit to drill a hole into the plastic pail or water bottles, depending on which you are using.

How to Make A DIY Berkey® Water Filter System?

With the list of materials out of the way, let’s get to the steps involved in making your DIY Big Berkey® filter. Click here to watch the video before start.
  • 1. Wash your plastic pails and lids. If you are not using brand-new buckets, we recommend scrubbing them to ensure they are clean.
  • 2. Prime your Berkey® filters before installing them into the pails. To prime the filter, flush each with running water from your tap or kitchen sink. You can also check the filter packaging for specific priming instructions.
  • 3. Drill two holes in the center of the bottom of the plastic pail using the drill, just big enough to fit in both filters.
  • 4. Drill another hole in the side of the other plastic pail using the drill, leaving a space of about 1.5” from the bottom.
  • 5. Insert the filter(s) and the spigot in their respective holes and fasten tightly until they are secure.
  • 6. Place the plastic pail with the filter on top of the other plastic pail with the spigot.
NB: Berkey® recommends running a whole gallon of water through the filters to wash them and remove any residue left in the filters from the factory. You might even run another gallon to ensure everything is fine.

Can This DIY Berkey® Filter Remove Fluoride?

The black Berkey® water filters we recommended above are not effective against fluoride. Hence, users who want to filter out fluoride from their feed water must include Berkey® fluoride filters or its replacement ones. These filters are optional and may not be considered, except if you are sure your feed water contains fluoride.
To add the fluoride filters, screw them onto the bottom of the existing black filters. After this, hang them down into the bottom pail or stainless-steel container. You can find specific instructions for attaching the filters by the manufacturers in the filter packaging.

Where Can You Find Berkey® Filter Replacement?

It is often advisable to buy both the black Berkey® water filter and the Berkey® fluoride filters as a bundle. Compared to buying them separately, a bundle purchase of these filters is easier and more economical.

Aquacrest Replacement for Black Berkey® & Fluoride Filter Bundle

Aquacrest offers a Black Berkey® and Fluoride Filter Bundle as compatible spare parts. The Black Berkey® filters effectively reduce chlorine, sand, soil, rust, sediments, and other impurities in your feed water. On the other hand, the fluoride filter removes fluoride from your feed water while preventing the possible leaching of contaminants back into the filtered water.
The Black Berkey® Replacement Filters (BB9-2) & Fluoride Filter Combo Pack (PF-2) from Aquacrest are made from natural food-grade materials, including activated alumina, granular activated carbon and coconut activated carbon block to deliver efficient purification performance and improved water taste.
The best part? They are affordable, helping you save money while enjoying clean and refreshing drinking water.

What Is The Lifespan of These Filters?

The exact filter life of your DIY Berkey® water filters depends on usage and the particulate matter of your feed water. However, you can get up to 6,000 gallons of water from the black Berkey® filters and 1,000 gallons from the fluoride filters before they are due for replacement.
In terms of size, a DIY Berkey® filter system made from two units of five-gallon buckets has about the same filtration capacity as the Imperial Berkey®.

How to Clean DIY Berkey® Filters?

Like non-DIY filters, cleaning your DIY Berkey® filter is essential. Start by removing any water from the system and detaching the filters. Then wash the containers thoroughly. We recommend using hot soapy water for effective cleaning. Once you are done with the cleaning, replace the filters and fill the container with your raw water.
two people drinking from stainless steel water cups

Making A DIY Berkey® Filter Has Never Been Easier

Most homeowners will enjoy making their DIY Berkey® filter from scratch enjoyable. The materials required are readily accessible and cheap. The process takes about an hour and requires no special tools or prior plumbing experience.
Ready to make your own DIY Berkey® filter? Choose the Black Berkey® & Fluoride Filter Bundle from Aquacrest for a best-in-class filtration experience and an unending supply of safe, healthy drinking water.
*Berkey® is used for reference purposes only.
*Black Berkey® is used for reference purposes only.