If you love backpacking, camping, and trekking, you should be looking for the best portable water filter. As when you go places, it might be hard to locate a clean water source, and that can be a problem. We need to stay hydrated wherever we are. It is why it’s crucial to find a portable water filter that works simply and straightforwardly to supply us with clean, fresh water. However, it can be daunting to choose one without a clear idea on the top picks on the market. This guide is for you! Read for the top 12 picks, each with distinct features and qualities. Let’s get started.
- Best Portable Water Filter Reviews
- 1. Sawyer Products Water Filtration
- 2. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
- 3. The Survivor Filter PRO
- 4. Katadyn Vario Water Filter
- 5. The LifeStraw Family Water Purifier
- 6. MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter
- 7. The Etekcity Straw Water Filter
- 8. LifeStraw Bottle with Filter Straw
- 9. Sawyer Products Water Filter
- 10. Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter
- 11. MoKo Portable Water Purifier
- 12. General Ecology Xle Elite Purifier
- What Is A Portable Water Filter/ Who This Is For
- How Does It Work
- What Are The Different Types Of Portable Water Filter
- Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Best Portable Water Filter Reviews
1. Sawyer Products Water Filtration
Sawyer lets you experience the lightest and most compact system to use, literally. The Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System weighs in at only 2 ounces but delivers heavyweight performance.
Considered as one of the most compact filters available on the market, it is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. But you’d be surprised by how well it performs, its flexibility, and ease of use. It can even let you drink straight from a lake or stream by merely using a straw that comes with it, making it the perfect on the go water filter.
Its thick hollow fiber membranes with small inner diameter make them 75 percent stronger than other membranes and allow fast flow. It uses a topnotch 0.1-micron filter that removes 99.99% of all kinds of bacteria and protozoa. It is very convenient to use. Just fill your water bottle or the included reusable pouch, screw the filter to it, and start sipping. Its screen can be attached to most water bottles.
The MINI Water Filtration System lets you do a little bit of maintenance by using a cleaning syringe to backflush the filter. It is a neat feature for removing sediments from the screen and helps make the device last for a long time while maintaining its high flow rate. Sawyer claims that the filter can be back washed continually to restore up to 98 percent of its flow rate.
2. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter was designed with emergencies and natural disasters in mind. It basically acts like a straw that you simply immerse into a source and drink. It incorporates the same innovative features in modern water filters like having no moving parts and requiring no batteries, but it also basically needs zero maintenance.
It is built to be sturdy, durable, light, and compact at only 2 ounces. It can be easily stowed away into a pocket or backpack without worrying too much about breaking the device.
This water filter uses a 0.2-micron filter that can remove 99.99 percent of bacteria, other parasites, and microplastic from water. The filtration membranes are made of hollow fiber that is chemical-free. Performance is on par with leading filtration systems, as it can transform dirty water to clear and filter bacteria that cause some of the most common illnesses from drinking filthy water.
It excellently eliminates pesticides along with all other harmful compounds. One cool feature of the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is its activated carbon capsule, which reduces chemical contents and toxic organic matters, thus improving the taste and eliminating bad odors.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has no replaceable parts. It can filter up to 264 gallons of water (1,000 liters). It is equivalent to the average amount of water a person drinks in a year. After that, it will stop filtering, and you simply discard it. Backflushing it to clean the filter requires merely blowing water back out.
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has a beautiful portable water filter bottle that houses a two-stage LifeStraw filter. This option lets you dunk the bottle in any water source and sip through the mouthpiece. It also gives you the convenience of storing clean water or sharing it with others.
3. The Survivor Filter PRO
The Survivor Filter PRO uses a triple filtration system with a 0.01-micron filter that removes bacteria, parasites, chemicals, heavy metals, and even viruses. The company claims it holds the record of being the best independently tested filtration level available on the market, and backs it up with an impeccable consumer satisfaction rating including every online portable water purifier review.
The Survivor Filter PRO was tested to remove 99.99 percent of bacteria and protozoa (Parasites, Giardia, Cryptosporidium), 99.99 percent of the virus Phi X-174, and 99.5 percent removal of Lead and Mercury. These numbers place the Survivor Filter PRO on top of the competition along with an unmatched ability to remove heavy metal compounds. The company says its carbon filtration is 20 times more efficient than the ones on the market and even dares you to ask for copies of its test results.
Sure enough, the performance of the Survivor Filter PRO does not disappoint. Its flow rate is super-fast at 17 oz per minute, making this water filter perfect for the whole family.
Interestingly, the shell of the Survivor Filter PRO is made from ABS material (the same material used on helicopter blades and car bumpers). The filter is made of long-lasting medical-grade Polysulfone. You can expect a very tough, durable device that, when taken care of, should last for a long time.
The Survivor Filter PRO is simple enough to use. You can use it for drinking directly from a water source, using its attached cup or any portable hydration pack. This water filter is not as lightweight and compact as some of the competition but is considerable light and compact and remains to be an option for travel or emergency. It is also one of the few water filters on the market capable of filtering viruses using its 3-stage filtration technology.
4. Katadyn Vario Water Filter
Portable water filtration reviews garner a high score for the Katadyn Vario Water Filter, which performs very well and offers one of the fastest water filtrations available on the market. Use this filter to avoid drinking contaminated water again.
This water filter is a joy to use with its ergonomic handle and silky-smooth operation. You’d be surprised at how quickly the pump filter can crank out clean water. The Katadyn Vario was designed with convenience in mind. Using dual-piston technology, it can pump up to 1 liter per minute. Because of its high flow rate, we recommend it for backcountry family or group travel.
In addition to high flow rate, the Katadyn Vario Water Filter offers a nice feature of setting filtration speed; a fast option which relies solely on the first glass fiber filtration, and a slower speed option which uses a ceramic disc as a prefilter, thereby extending the lifespan of the unit. Even at the slow setting, the water filter can still pump out 1 liter of clean water in just 47 seconds, which is impressive. It features a replaceable carbon filter that reduces harmful chemicals and eliminates bad taste and odor.
This water filter can filter up to 2,000 liters of water before needing filter replacement, which is very good in comparison to other filters in its class. Besides the well-designed pump handle, the Vario seems to be a well-built and durable pump.
5. The LifeStraw Family Water Purifier
The LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water Purifier is no slouch concerning water filters. It is an award-winning filtration system that is used by over 13,000,000 consumers worldwide.
It filters without having to pump or wait for chemicals to react. Yet it eliminates 99.99 percent of bacteria, 99 percent of protozoa and cysts, and most impressively, 99.9 percent of viruses, producing pure water in no time at all. It uses a gravity filter, so all you must do is pour water on it, and in an instant, you get fresh and clean water. It is also lightweight and compact.
The whole unit rolls up into a reservoir and is easy to store. It is truly one of the most reliable water purification systems for camping and hiking, and consumer reports and company reputation can certainly attest to that.
Amazingly, the LifeStraw Family 1.0 can treat 18,000 liters of water before needing filter replacement. It means it can continuously produce safe water for four people for three years. It has a topnotch flow rate of a quarter per minute and can be used to supply for a small group. Not much maintenance is required, as the system does not have any moving parts.
The LifeStraw Family 1.0 is amongst the few filtration systems in the market that can give you and your family peace of mind whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally. You can be sure a vast majority of waterborne pathogens, including E-coli, Giardia, Salmonella, and even viruses don’t stand a chance. It is a real-life saver and maybe the only purifying system your family needs
6. MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter
When deciding which water filters for camping and other outdoor adventures to buy, one must always consider what kind of environment he or she plans to travel to and how frequent it is going to be. The MSR products mini water filtration is one of the best-selling water filters on the market and is designed to be a robust, heavy-duty, long-lasting, and field-maintainable, but still lightweight and compact unit.
It has a rock-solid construction that breaks into four parts that are easy to clean and maintain even on the field. It allows for a proper flow rate restoration without using tools. It is also effortless to use, with a nicely designed ergonomic pump handle.
These products mini water filtration pumps at a respectable rate of 1 liter per minute with its innovative AirSpring Accumulator. They have a replaceable and durable ceramic filter that has a pore size of 0.2 microns that provide safe, taste-free water and removes 99.99 percent of particulates, bacteria, protozoa, and other waterborne pathogens. They have replaceable carbon filter product reduces chlorine, iodine, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals in the water, improving its taste and removing unpleasant odors.
The replaceable filters are rated to 2,000 liters of water, which is good. It equates to the amount of water an average person drinks in 2 years. The system weighs 1 pound and comes with a storage bag. It is compatible with most wide-mouth water bottles and hydration bladders. It has an excellent cartridge replacement indicator.
7. The Etekcity Straw Water Filter
The Etekcity Water Filter Straw Portable Water Filter was designed with the removal of harmful chemicals in mind. As a result, this water filtration system comes with an ion-exchange resin that removes chlorine, iron, THMs, and heavy ions. At the same time, it is aided by activated carbon that makes certain odors and bad taste are eliminated. This portable drinking water filter is perfect for those who want fresh and great-tasting water out of every natural source.
The flow rate of this water filter product is at 400 ml per minute, and its high capacity filter is rated to a respectable 1500 liters of water before replacement. That is equivalent to the amount of water an average person drinks in a year and a half time.
The Etekcity Water Filter Straw Portable Water Filter has an advanced 3-stage filtration process that uses a prefilter to get rid of large sediments. The 0.01 ceramic and carbon filters work their magic to remove all kinds of bacteria, chemicals, heavy metals, and other harmful contaminants.
This water filter product comes with gifts in the form of a foldable 480 ml water pouch that lets you squeeze to get desired flow rate, a 70 cm extension tube, an inlet mouthpiece filter device, a cleaning syringe and some PP cotton pads for long term maintenance
8. LifeStraw Bottle with Filter Straw
The LifeStraw Bottle with Filter Straw filters water instantly while drinking and are very convenient to use. They are great for all sorts of travel, such as camping, hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking.
It uses the same award-winning hollow fiber membrane filter that filters 99.99 percent of waterborne pathogens such as bacteria, protozoa, microplastics, and other harmful sediments while still allowing a high flow rate. It utilizes a 2-stage activated carbon filter that also reduces chemicals such as iron and chlorine, and other harmful elements like pesticides, herbicides, and organic compounds, thereby producing clean, odor-free, and great-tasting water.
These durable and leak-proof bottles with water filters are made of BPA free Tritan, and its mouthpiece is made of food-grade silicone. It comes with a variety of attractive colors to suit all kinds of travelers and outdoor adventurers.
The LifeStraw Go Water Filter lets you store water and transfer to or share with someone. It is convenient and effortless to use, as you can dunk the bottle in any water source and sip through the mouthpiece. It is a very nice upgrade from the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, which is the same water filter but lacks the convenience and versatility that this lightweight water filter bottle offers.
This portable water filtration systems disaster relief is the perfect companion for mountain bikers or any cyclist who doesn’t want to carry a lot of weight but has access to natural water sources. This would easily shed a pound or two for them while being able to replenish as they need it.
9. Sawyer Products Water Filter
The Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filter System is the perfect companion for every trekker, cyclist, backpacker, or just about any domestic and international traveler. Wherever you set your foot, this complete water filtration system will make sure you have access to clean water.
At just 3 ounces, it is one of the most portable and versatile water filters you can find. It can filter up to 540 gallons of water per day and is incredibly simple to use. It has no expensive cartridges to replace, and it can be cleaned and reused. It comes in a collapsible pouch that rolls up when empty, saving valuable space.
Whether you are filtering tap water or water from lakes, streams, and rivers, it makes sure no harmful pathogen finds its way to you or your family. Its comprehensive filtration system removes 99.9 percent of bacteria, protozoa, and microplastics. Cysts that cause Cholera and Typhoid, such as E. coli, have no chance of passing through its pores that are no larger than 0.1 micron. Its water filters contain U-shaped micro-tubes that block the contaminants and allow a desirable flow rate. This reduces the chance of water re-contamination after it is filtered.
To use the product, fill up the pouch with water from any source, screw the filter onto the pouch, and drink directly from the filter. It comes with an easy-to-use drinking pouch and straw that can also be used to drink directly from a water source. It can also be connected to a hydration pack tubing or screwed onto disposable water and soda bottles. Its versatility makes it one of the ideal portable water filtration systems during disaster relief. It can also provide relief to people from places where clean water is hard to get access to.
10. Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter
The Katadyn Hiker Pro water filtration system rolls performance and portability into one, making it one of the best portable water purifiers for travel, and remains to be the best selling microfilter in the US market. It is an ideal backcountry water filter, as its long tube and small intake provides a handy and efficient hand pump. Its ergonomic pump handle is comfortable and very easy to use.
This water filter product is best for personal use. Still, its performance and efficiency make it easy to produce clean drinking water for a small travel group. It can filter 1 liter per minute and is simple to use, with quick-connect fittings compatible with most bottles, vessels, or hydration systems. It also comes with hydration bladders.
The transparent design lets you see the flow of its filtration process. This neat addition also lets you know when the filter is dirty and needs to be cleaned or replaced. Maintenance is a breeze with its cleanable protector screen. Cleaning is easy, just swish the filter protector in the water. It also comes with a field maintenance kit and a handy carry sack. Its weight of 11 ounce and compact size makes it a great option for backpackers.
The Katadyn Hiker Pro uses 0.2-micron filters with cartridges made of pleated glass-fiber that helps purify silt and muddy water and eliminates organisms, such as protozoa. A great feature of this water filter is its activated carbon in the core of its filter that helps reduce chemicals and pesticides in the water, improving the taste as well.
11. MoKo Portable Water Purifier
The MoKo Portable Water Filter meets the highest safety standard raised by WHO by using a 3-stage filtering system. Its super compact size and incredibly low weight of only 2.1 ounces make it a perfect outdoor adventure companion.
This water filter has a decent flow rate of 600 ml (0.13 gallons) per minute, which is perfect for solo use. It is ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities or emergencies. It can immediately provide safe, great-tasting drinking water without iodine, chlorine, or other harmful chemicals.
The MoKo Portable Water Filter works by first removing large contaminants such as silt and algae and sediments. Then its advanced activated carbon shell filter gets rid of chlorine, iron, and other harmful chemicals. Finally, its 0.01-micron hollow fiber UF membrane filters 99.9% of bacteria, waterborne pathogens, and other organic compounds, producing pure, clean, and healthy water. These steps comprise its 3-stage filtration process, making it a must-have survival gear for outdoor campers, hikers, or mountain bikers.
Although it is small enough to fit in your pocket, its robust, aluminum body construction and a backflushing filter will make the MoKo Portable Water Filter last for a long time.
12. General Ecology Xle Elite Purifier
The General Ecology First Need Xle Elite Purifier is a complete water purifier system that is durable, compact, and lightweight, and provides ease and convenience of use. Its Structured Matrix 3-stage purification technology ecologically removes all kinds of contaminants such as bacteria, cysts, and viruses. It also gets rid of chemicals like pesticides and herbicides, thereby eliminating unpleasant tastes. This water filtration system is one of the few out there that can filter out organic compounds down to the virus level.
These General Ecology First Need Xle Elite water purifiers are easy to use and maintain. Its Cleanout Port feature makes it possible to clean the canister without having to remove hoses or reverse the flow of water. It also features an ergonomic handle for comfort and easy grip when pumping. It offers a long inlet hose for convenience and consistent flow. It comes with a handy storage bag, a self-cleaning prefilter, and a gravity kit allowing hands-free purification.
This filter has a fast flow rate of 1.89 liters per minute so you can enjoy pure, great-tasting water in no time at all.
What Is A Portable Water Filter/ Who This Is For
Many types of portable water filters are available on the market. But what is it? A portable water filter is a convenient and handy filter that you can bring outdoors. It works simply, so people who love backpacking use it, especially when going into places where clean water is scarce or isn’t readily available.
Fishers and hunters use a portable water filter because it allows them to hydrate as they go, so they don’t need to worry about getting clean water supply. It is also for the wilderness backpackers that enjoy their time in the wilderness but want fresh water to hydrate. If you’re spending much time outdoors, you should use this portable water filter that can let you have a significant drinking water amount in no time and that gives them that drinking water in a few minutes.
People who enjoy hiking and trekking should also use a water filter. It will provide them with that instant supply of drinking water even with the use of a straw filter. Some of these can easily fit into their pockets or carry in their hands.
Car campers and recreational vehicle owners want to clean a large amount of water in minutes. They use either pump filters or gravity filters that can give them a high-water output, giving them that hydration all the time.
People who enjoy day hiking also bring a portable water filter that lets them pack and travel light. They don’t need to bring bottles of water, so they choose filtered water bottled or straw filters. On the other hand, portable water filters are also for city hikers that want a ready supply of clean water. They can filter and clean water as they go. Many of them choose a pump filter that they can use for group hiking. Some choose a straw filter or a bottle filter if they travel solo.
How Does It Work
It does not work in a complicated manner but is easy to use. It works to filter debris, protozoa, sand, silt, and even tiny microbes, depending on the model selected. However, it might be clogged for repeated use, so it needs replacement or cleaning. If you’re looking for a reliable portable filter for your adventures and outdoor activities, you might want to get started in the selection process using the reviews we’ve featured earlier in this guide.
What Are The Different Types Of Portable Water Filter
The next thing you might want to know about portable water purification systems is their types. As you know, by now, you can find so many water filters on the market that you can use for backpacking, hunting, fishing, trekking, and hiking. There are also those that fit people who love car camping. To give you a reference, here are some of the most common types of portable filters to find on the market.
These portable water filtration systems are the most common and handy solutions to find. As the name suggests, these filters look like straws. They also work like straws. However, you should be as close to the water source as possible to use it so that you can draw in the water through it. Many of these filters use a hollow fiber membrane as the filtration component. They are woven tightly so that water should pass through the layers before reaching the filter straw from where you will be sipping water on. The holes in these fibers are small, but the fibers are porous.
Many of the membranes are made with holes with 0.2 microns in size. In this case, the parasites, viruses, and bacteria are larger than the holes so they will not be able to pass. They will just be trapped for effective filtration.
They are larger than straw filters are, but they are still handy. They can fit into your backpack without taking much space. In terms of its mechanism, you need to connect the lead line into the water source, and then connect the other line to the recipient. To draw the water, you need to use the pump with which it comes. Some filters use ceramic, but others use fiber filters.
Others use any of these filtrations plus an activated carbon filter/block activated carbon. These pump filters work by offering a mechanical filtration, preventing the contaminants from getting into the water you’re drinking. The contaminants are blocked. It can also block the asbestos that can get into your drinking water. On the downside, these filters might not be able to filter some bacteria, which can be small to pass through the filter. Thus, they will reach your drinking water.
These filters are also a personal water purifier of choice for many people who love the outdoors. They can be useful even if you don’t want to filter water for drinking. This bottle can be used as an ordinary water bottle, too. But when you’re in a place where water is unhealthy or unsafe, you can just the filter cartridge back to filter the water. These filters make use of fiber filters to filter the water, but then, some others use block activated carbon filter.
Another common filter, gravity filters are chosen by emergency preppers, trekkers, hikers, and campers because they’re simple to use. They don’t require constant water supply or electricity to work. They are for those who frequently travel in remote areas where you cannot find clean water. Most likely, these filters are engineered with two different containers, which are put above each other. You must put water in the first container in these portable water filter systems. The water will then pass through the filter medium before it ends up in the next container. Many of these systems also have a tap that you can use to refill a bottle or another recipient.
These models operate on batteries, so you might have to spend higher on their cost. But then, these filters are perfect for filtering down parasites and bacteria. They can also improve the taste and smell of the water and can work fast.
Just like when buying the best portable water purifier, you might also be thinking of ways on how to select the right filtration system that fits your preferences, needs, and purpose. As said, you can find so many of these filters on the market. Comparing which one will match your needs can be hard without comparing the different filtration systems on the market. It is why we have prepared a handy guide to use as a reference.
This feature is one of the most important when picking a portable filter. You must pick one that is handy that you can fit in your pocket or backpack, or hold with your hand, depending on what your preference is. You can go ahead and compare the different filters we’ve featured earlier to determine the most portable one to fit your preferences.
Speaking of portability, you must pick a filter that is lightweight so that you can bring it conveniently in backpacking, hiking, trekking, hunting, or fishing. Avoid filters that will pose discomfort to carry around when traveling. It is why you need to consider the weight when figuring out which filter to buy. Check for those that are compact, small, and handy. However, you should also note that the design can affect the weight of the filter that you’re buying. It might also vary based on its construction material and filtering mechanism.
Take note that the filter can remove the contaminants from the water source, but the rate will depend on the model that you have chosen. For example, some portable filters can produce some ounces every minute. On the other hand, some faster models can clean as much as 20 ounces of water at the same time as others can.
Know that cartridges have their lifespan. It just means some might last longer than the others can. Some can be used for months, but others only for weeks. Nevertheless, you can find those that can filter at most 264 gallons of water, while the others will be able to clean at most 100,000 gallons of water.
You should also take note that not all portable filters are easy to use. That is why you should look for those that come with detailed use and priming instructions. You must also find those that are very simple to use, such as that allowing you to use a straw to draw in water, such as straw filters.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the most trusted portable water filter brands?
A few of the most trusted brands around are LifeStraw, and Sawyer Products, among the rest, featured earlier. You can go ahead and check them out to ensure that you’re dealing with a proper manufacturer that knows how to offer satisfaction to their users.
Can a water filter remove viruses?
In many cases, a filter can remove waterborne bacteria and protozoa. However, they are not designed to get rid of viruses. What is, it is a water purifier. It can work in removing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
What is the best water filter bottle for travel?
There is no specific answer to this question because people may have different preferences. You can go ahead and compare the various features that these portable bottle filters can offer to check if they satisfy you.
How to care & clean?
All filter cartridges have a lifespan. They need replacement from time to time, depending on their condition. But for any specific care and cleaning instructions, you must read the specifications page for your guidance.
Where to buy?
Find these water filters from Walmart, Home Depot, Amazon, and Lowes. They are also on the websites of the manufacturers of the specific filters. Other places to buy include RVing stores and other specialty shops.
Hoping you have learned from this guide on how to choose the best portable water filter along with the things that you need to consider when comparing your options. Check out the top 12 picks on the market so that you can figure out which among them has the characteristics and qualities that will work for your needs. Buy the right portable filter for camping, backpacking, fishing, or hunting today!