Berkey vs Enagic (Kangen) Alkaline Ionizers

Everyone wants healthy water. Increased pollution and contamination in our modern world has made water products one of the fastest growing sectors in the marketplace. There is a wide variety of devices on the market to clean, filter, purify, and even improve drinking water. With so many claims out there, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction in the advertising. We want to help you look clearly at what is and is not helpful, and necessary in water purification. In the article below, we will be comparing Berkey brand filters to the Enagic line of water products.

Enagic Products

The Enagic company has been around in its current form since 1990. They specialize in what they call Alkaline Ionizers. These products are sold on the premise that water with a high pH (or alkaline water) is healthier and better than normal water. They even have a special term for the water made alkaline by their devices: Kangen Water®.

You can find marketing materials for these machines claiming that drinking Kangen Water® will make you healthier, more vital, and more beautiful. You may even come across testimonials from some of Enagic’s salespeople stating that drinking this water will cure a host of maladies, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. The medical field’s stance on the benefits of Alkaline water is mixed. There are some studies that support that alkaline water could help with some ailments, but most studies support the need for further research.

Berkey Vs Kangen

How They Work

Although the Enagic’s products have a filter in them, their machines cannot properly be said to be water purification devices in the same way as Berkey or some of the other products we explore in our comparison page. First, the Enagic filter elements lightly screen incoming water, under pressure, in a kind of pre-filter. Then, water passes through loose carbon media which absorbs chlorine, VOC’s, and any bad tastes that might be present. This is the extent of the filtration of Enagic’s products.

After going through this fairly basic filtration, water passes into a chamber where it is subjected to electrolysis. Electrolysis, as you may know, is the process of passing an electric current through a liquid (water, in our case) that has ions in it . To achieve this, the water has to be in contact with two conductors that supply the electric current. That could be two electrodes suspended in a beaker of water like you may remember seeing in your high school science class, or two plates with water in between them, such as in the Enagic machines.

Electrolysis can do several things, but what is relevant here, is its tendency to make ions move around (remember, water, even very clean water, has a few ions of various minerals in it). Positive ions go toward the negative electrode (or plate) and negative ions go toward the positive one. Enagic claims that by siphoning off water from around one plate or the other, their machines can produce water that has a greater concentration of negative or positive ions, and thus, a higher or lower pH.

There is some doubt as to whether these machines actually dependably produce water at the pH that they claim to, since this would depend on several variables, including the mineral content of your water.

What They Remove: Engaic

Enagic’s products are designed to be water ionizers and are not geared toward purification, specifically. However, they do have a filter element which does remove larger particulates, VOC’s, and Chlorine (80%).

Pros  Cons
✔ Filtration Speed
✖️ High Cost
✖️Doesn't remove; pathogens, industrial chemicals, or heavy metals.

Berkey Water Filters

Berkey has been making water purification products since the 1990’s. For a generation now, it has been our mission to make drinking water safer by removing contamination. Berkey makes eight different units for home use. You can trust the water quality you get from a Berkey filter because we rely on highly developed filtration technology to make water what it should be: free of harmful contaminants.

Berkey Vs Kangen

How They Work

Unlike Enagic’s ionizing products, Berkey filters purify water. They do this by three methods: absorption, adsorption, and microfiltration.

The Black Berkey filter element is the key component of Berkey filters. Berkey is a gravity water filter, which means that water moves through the filter passively as it drains from the upper chamber to the lower.

The Black Berkey is composed of a sophisticated blend of six different types of filter media, each of which perform a specific type of purification. This media is molded into an outer shell with micropores that are so tiny, they exclude 99.9999% of bacteria, cysts, and parasites. This type of purification is referred to as microfiltration.

Some contaminants can’t be filtered out, of course. Pesticides, heavy metals, petrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals all slip through the pores of a microfilter. Inside the Black Berkey, these contaminants are absorbed into special media using the principle of ion-exchange. The filter holds contaminants sequestered and out of the flow of water.

The remaining common contaminants that Berkey filters eliminate are viruses. Viruses are a common water contaminant and very hard to deal with since they cannot be filtered out and are not absorbed by filter media. The way our filters remove viruses is by adsorption. Adsorption occurs when a static charge attracts viruses onto the media’s surface and essentially glues them there. As viruses travel with water through the “tortuous path” of microtunnels in the filter, the Berkey media grabs onto them using their inherent electrostatic charge and holds them tight. This is not hard to imagine if you have ever seen the old party trick where a balloon sticks to someone’s hair or the way packing peanuts stick to everything. In this way, Berkey filters remove 99.9999% of viruses.

What They Remove: Berkey Filters

Berkey Filters remove rust and turbidity, foul odors and tastes, chlorine, parasites, cysts, pesticides, herbicides, VOC’s, MTBE, and other chemicals, lead, copper, arsenic, and other heavy metals, as well as 99.9999% of viruses. In all, the Black Berkey filters remove over 200 different contaminants from drinking water.

Pros  Cons
✔ Lower Cost (upfront and Cost per Gallon)
✖️ Filtration Speed
✔ More Contaminants Removed

Head-to-Head From the Enagic’s line of ionizers, we have chosen their, “Flagship Model,” the Leveluk SD501. On the Berkey side is the Big Berkey water purifier.

 Features
The Leveluk SD501
The Big Berkey
 Volume
N/A
2.25 gallons
Cost
$3,980.00
$278.00
Contaminants Removed
Chlorine and VOC’s
99.9999% of bacteria and viruses, cysts, sediments, pesticides, solvents, chlorine, VOC’s, and heavy metals
Purification Speed
On demand
Up to 2 Gallons Per Hour
How the Filters Work
Absorption
Microfiltration, Absorption, and Adsorption
Filter Lifespan
1,500 gallons
6,000 gallons
Warranty
5 years
6 month manufacturers warranty. 2 year prorated warranty on filters. Lifetime warranty on spigots, chambers, and hardware.

Besides the fact that the Leveluk SD501 isn’t actually purifying water to any sort of high standard, the price of the machine itself warrants a second look.

Let’s spread the cost of water treatment out over two years at, say, 8 gallons a day. Including the cost of the unit itself and the purchase of the three required replacement filters during that time, the cost of a gallon of water comes out to 72 cents. That is more expensive than bottled water! The cost of Big Berkey over the same period, calculated the same way: 4.6 cents.

The Bottom Line

In today’s marketplace, there are a lot of companies that want to sell you an idea. Berkey is not one of those companies. Our filters don’t ionize water, they don’t give it special, vaguely defined properties, and they don’t transform it into something beyond water. The healthiest water you can drink is water that is simply clean, pure, and free of contamination. If that is what you want, and you want to have it at a fair price, Berkey is the way to go.

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