I wish I could get everyone to read my back catalog, but with internet articles that is usually not the case. One of my first comprehensive deep dives into the whole water thing was back in 2014. And most of the stuff in there is still relevant today. Since then I have shared my successes and failures with storing rainwater, and provided calculations for just how much water you really get from rain. Again, most of my links are still viable, and it is a great start to gain a perspective on what it takes to build your own water supply. I am currently working on a complete rainwater collection system again, and will share that when it is finished.
For this article, forget all of that for now. Water filtration is about using the water you have, not the water you wish you had or plan to have. No matter where you are, there is always water around somewhere. You have to be able to carry it and filter it so that you can drink it and cook with it. That is where finding the right water filter is so important, and there is no shortage (as usual) of misinformation and sales pitches to distract you from the important facts.
Back in that first article I found a water filter that I have shared with people since. It is by a company called Just Water. How I found that filter was by digging and digging and digging, through OEM suppliers and various NGOs who supplier water filters to 3rd world countries. I found that they don’t use Berkey filters, nor do they use Brita pitchers. They almost universally use this little known product that is better than all of them, at a fraction of the cost.
And I’m sorry but I have to take an aside here. As many of you know by now, I’m not really nice to people in the comments, and there is a reason for that. Go take a look around at the “big” prepper Youtube channels, and even the truthers out there. Many of them are hawking Berkey, because they pay a pretty good commission in their affiliate program. Since 2013 I have been the only guy or girl out here turning people onto the most affordable way to prepare for what was at that point already inevitable. I have yet to find evidence that any survival blog or discussion forum had any mention of calories per dollar, Mormon food, or perimeter alarms that use a .22 rimfire blank before I dug that stuff up. Nuff said.
This filter is one of those things. I thought I had done a feature on it at some point, but I apparently didn’t, so you had to find it buried in that article. Back then there were a lot of retailers though, so I guess I figured people could find it on their own. You could get two of them on Amazon for $80, and there were people selling full bucket systems on Ebay for under $100 as well, with two filters. The Trump era changed all of that. Most companies that had been making a living on prepper stuff just went poof as America slipped back into complacency. I even stopped working on Prepping 101, because honestly nobody cared anymore.
Now here we are, and if you have been scrambling to figure out your water situation, this filter is your best bet. There is a full product spec sheet on it, and even a few independent lab reports on their website product page. Officially it filters down to .2 microns, but that is only half the picture. In the middle of the Just Water filter you can hear a layer of carbon shaking around, and that carbon is a proprietary formula that removes, or mostly removes, a lot of soluble chemicals and gasses. The ceramic on the filter is also treated with colloidal silver, which I covered recently as well.
There are now copies out there that look just like the Just Water filter, but while they seem to be the same thing, they are not. I am going to do a head to head with the filter you see on the table in the video, the Korea Ceramic. but I can tell you that I already cut it in half with a chop saw, and there ain’t nothing in there. So it’s great for certain applications, and with some colloidal silver on hand is probably fine for river or pond water, but…well, no for this article.
Just Water does not have an ecommerce website. They only have a phone number. The owner actually still uses a Yahoo email. But as with almost everything for this column these days, I have arranged for Star & Bullock Hardware to become a retailer, and of this writing they have several dozen left in stock.
Beware of Amazon and Ebay sellers who appear to be selling the same thing, but do not specifically say that this is the Just Water product. They are buying the Korea Ceramic, or worse, the Chinese knockoffs, and selling they at the high prices of the real deal.
To build the system in the video I got a couple of plastic buckets from Walmart for $5 each, plus the lids for under $2 each. They are HDPE, and they will not leech chemicals into your water. Effectively they are just as good as stainless steel or office water bottles.
The filter goes into the top bucket, dome up. I prefer the original dome design because you get the full benefit of the filter at a low water level. Just Water does now make the stick filters, but I think that was just because people asked about replacing the stick filters in their Berkey systems. If you have a constant flow, you can fit more stick filters into bucket next to each other than you can the dome filters. but otherwise I see no benefit to them at all.
Cut a 1/2″ hole in the bottom of your bucket. Then point the filter down, out of the bucket and screw it on tight.
Then cut a 3/4″ inch hole in the side of the bottom bucket for the spigot and screw that on. I decided that the washers go flat sides out so that the concave side plugs the hole from both sides. I think they make it like that so if you use a 1″ drill the seal will still work fine.
That’s it. Just Water gives you the filter, the spigot, the washers, and a sock for the outside of the filter.
The sock is to pre-filter larger particulate, and it is a really good, washable filter itself. The sock will give you more time between scrubbings of the filter itself.
When your flow starts to slow, you can backwash the filter by installing it upside down. This is not terribly important, but it may extend the life of your filter.
To bring the filter back to “new,” you simply scrub the outside lightly with a green kitchen scrubbie. Do it as light as you can, and don’t use sandpaper or the heavy abrasive type of pad. Just Water says you’ll get a year or so, but that is relative of course. If you have really dirty water and keep it filtering all the time, obviously the life will be cut shorter than that. You can use the filter until you break through the shell.