below are from an email conversation between the guru and me. My words have
been removed, and his have been edited slightly for flow, since it was originally
a private conversation. It’s posted with his approval.
I don’t personally recommend the much
vaunted "British Berkefeld" (Big Berkey) filtering unit for a
number of reasons that go beyond the significant number of complaints regarding
leaking, stripping of threads on the filters, filters that are not certified,
filters that come apart, and flow rates that are not accurate. As a
filter unit to use in a short-term emergency it would be significantly better
than nothing even with its shortcomings and lack of true
portability. But it is convenient and looks good in a kitchen in an
old-timey way. But 100% guaranteed potable water is not assured with the
Berkeys, regular certifications are lacking, and warrantee is limited.
Sawyer filters/purifiers are
certified, do work, and complaints are minimal, usually only related to flow
rates due to use of muddy/filthy water and misuse. Important details,
test results, and certifications are available and not hidden (as they are on
the Berkey site).
Sawyer's Point Zero Two
"bucket" purifier is rated highly and it is accurately described as
needing regular (perhaps daily) reverse flushing if the water is
muddy and filthy with sediment — simply pouring the dirty water through several
layers of cloth, like a t-shirt, significantly improves the time between reverse
Clear water can be purified for
days before reverse flushing. AND the Sawyer Point Zero Two filters remove
99.997% of viruses, 99.99999% of bacteria, and 99.9999% of
Protozoa/Cysts. FINALLY, they have a lifetime
replacement guarantee on the filter.
Being a "bucket"
purifier, it looks only as pretty as your bucket ... if you want pretty, use a
stainless steel milk bucket. Otherwise a plain old 5 gallon plastic
bucket works just fine and costs a lot less. For the cost of the Berkey,
you can make three "bucket" filters with three Sawyer "bucket
kits" (bucket not included; use your own).
I recommend having the Point Zero
Two "bucket" purifier for long term emergencies,
setting it up in a semi permanent spot when needed (but still moved
with ease). Or get their two-bag Point Zero Two system for backpacking
and "bugging out".
The PointOne Sawyer filters are
ideal for use if you choose to pre-chlorinate or use water from
clear(ish)-running streams or fresh lakes, etc., where no sewage or dead
animals are present ... which is 95% of the United states. Heck, even their
PointOne systems remove 99.99999% of all bacteria and 99.9999% of all protozoa,
plus Sawyer's certified 0.1 micron absolute filters remove bacteria and
protozoa at a higher rate than accepted EPA guidelines.
The PointOnes are ideal to carry
in a small pack, pocket, or a featherweight fanatic's backpack.
I'd stake my life and health on a
Sawyer Point Zero Two purifier if it came down to SHTF, and have never had a
bad result with their PointOne filters when "boondocking" or remote
camping. Oh, one thing to be aware of on (both the Berkey
black filters and) the Sawyer PointZeroTwo purifiers ... they should be
"primed" to get a good flow going.
For my Sawyer, I used the
big horse syringe that came with it, using the reverse flush method with
potable water, and while it took a bit of time it allowed the flow to get
started immediately. Otherwise, with a dry filter, it will take ten to
fifteen minutes for the filter to flow and bubbles to leave the housing ... be
sure to keep the filter below the supply, but have its output end pointed up
until it flows without bubbles. Remember, the flow will not be fast, but
will slowly purify at about 3½ gallons an hour from a low-head five gallon
bucket (80+ gallons a day) , or around 4½ gallons per hour from a 55 gallon
drum (100+ gallons a day) of water. © 2014