Berkey vs Sawyer Water Filters

Choosing a water filtration system can be daunting with all the options available on the marketplace. We've made it easy by comparing the Berkey with the competition so that you can see side by side results to help you find the best water filter system for your home.

For this comparison, we will look at the Sport Berkey Water Filter with the most comparable model from Sawyer Water Filters, the S3 Foam Filter. 

Berkey vs Sawyer water filters

How Sport Berkey Works

The Sport Berkey is a gravity-fed water filter system that is great for on-the-go. It removes over 200 contaminants including bacteria, pesticides, viruses, chloride and heavy metals including lead using a Sport Berkey Filter. Like other Berkey water filters, this water filter uses the same technology as a Black Berkey filter and is made up of granular activated carbon. This filter prevents bacteria growth and keeps the good minerals in your water. Berkey Filters, when tested at state and EPA accredited laboratories, exceeds NSF/ANSI 53 standards. The BPA free bottle takes moments to filter by squeezing the bottle and the water filtering through the straw. The Sport Berkey comes with six-month defect warranty.

How Sawyer S3 Foam Filter Works

The Sawyer S3 Foam is a water filter and purifier that works best for emergency situations. It uses foam absorption technology to remove contaminants including bacteria, pesticides, viruses, and heavy metals including lead. The silicone bottle meets EPA filtering standards and takes ten seconds to filter the water by squeezing the bottle in an alternating motion. Then the clean water can be dispensed in a container through the filter. Sawyer offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Sport Berkey vs Sawyer


The Sawyer S3 costs $89.99 from the start, which is nearly three times more expensive than the Sport Berkey. Sawyer has a cheaper model, the Sawyer S1, but it is still nearly twice as expensive as the Sport Berkey. The Sawyer S3 lasts up to 400 refills and the Sport Berkey is the same if you average the amount of questionable and municipal water source refills. So for 400 refills, it would cost one cent to refill the Sport Berkey and two cents for the Sawyer S3.

One great benefit of the Sport Berkey is that the filter is separate from the bottle. That means you only need to replace the filter when it hits the end of its lifespan instead of replacing the whole system. However, since the Sawyer S3 filter is built within the system, you have to buy another system after it hits that lifespan limit. If you were to price this out for 2,000 refills, the Sawyer S3 would cost $449.95, or 22¢ per refill, and the Sport Berkey would cost around $115, or 6¢ per refill. This can all vary depending on where you buy your Sawyer product as prices are inconsistent.


The Sawyer S3 is the most expensive of the Sawyer Select Water Filters and Purifiers, but that is because it has the best filtration performance. While some numbers are shared online, Sawyer does not post lab test results like Berkey  does, so while the filter quality looks similar online, there isn’t definitive data on how it compares to Berkey water. In terms of environmental waste, the Sawyer S3 is a disappointment since it has to be replaced every 400 refills.

Bottom Line

There are numerous downsides to purchasing the Sawyer S3 ranging from price, filtration transparency, environmental impact and more. The Sport Berkey works great for everyday use, emergencies or traveling and doesn’t require extra costs for better filtration capabilities. It’s the best solution for you, your wallet and the planet. 

Purchase your Sport Berkey today for a convenient, on-the-go water filtration system.

Sport Berkey
Sawyer S3 Foam Filter
Cost $46 $89.99
Recommended Number of People for use 1 1
Price Per Refill (400 refills) 1¢ 2¢
Capacity 22 oz. 20 oz.
Filter Max Lifespan

Average: 400 refills

Questionable Water Source: 160 refills

Municipal Water Source: 640 refills

400 refills
Replacement Filter Cost $24.00 N/A
Lead % Removed >99.9% Not Specified
Chlorine % Removed
Not Specified
Chromium VI % Removed >99.8% Not Specified
Chloroform % Removed
Not Specified
Copper % Removed >99.9% Not Specified