The Buyer’s Guide to The Best Portable Water Purifier

When buying portable water purifiers, there are plenty of things to consider. I personally have tried multiple portable water purifiers in the past few years, and there were a lot of wrong purchases along the way. I’m into portable water purifiers because my family spends a lot of time outdoors. We go hiking, fishing, biking, and other types of outdoor sports together. Thus, portable water purifiers are really handy for us. I will be discussing which portable water purifier is best for each type of situation. Plus, I will also be discussing its different features. So without further ado, here are some of the best portable water purifiers together with their pros and cons.

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Product Name

Rating

1

via amazon.com

The Lifestraw Personal Water Filter

4.6/5

2

via amazon.com

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

4.6/5

3

via amazon.com

HydroBlu Versa Flow Light

4.5/5

4

via amazon.com

Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter

4.2/5

5

via amazon.com

Survivor Filter

4.3/5

1. The Lifestraw Personal Water Filter

Perhaps the most impressive portable water filter is the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter. It is great if you are into hiking or camping. It is mainly used for emergencies as well. Camping equipment can be quite heavy. However, the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter weighs only about two ounces, and you can easily bring it anywhere. The product also has a microfiltration membrane which removes most if not all of the waterborne bacteria and parasites. My nephew Clark caught Giardia intestinalis before. It’s a kind of diarrhea caused by parasites, and we suspected it’s due to the unclean water he’s taken, so I told her mother, my sister, to always go for personal water filters when they take a trip. The product prevents you from consuming microplastics as well. Plus, for about fifteen dollars, you already have a lightweight water filter which has been verified by NSF, US EPA, ASTM. You can even rely on this for your child’s safe water consumption for the whole school year. I'd say it might be the best of the lot.

So what are the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter’s pros and cons?

Pros

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    Lightweight and compact
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    Removes most of the waterborne bacteria and parasites
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    Removes microplastics
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    Verified and tested by NSF, US EPA, and ASTM
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    Can filter up to 4000 liters of water
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    Easy to use
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    No batteries needed
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    Inexpensive
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    Effective for trekking and camping

Cons 

  • Cannot transport clean water
  • You must drink directly from the source
  • The water does not flow easily

2.  Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

My next best pick is the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System. This portable filter is also lightweight and portable. The hollow fiber membrane in the filter removes most of the waterborne parasites and bacteria. You can easily attach it to a drinking bottle or a pouch that comes with the portable water filter. There are two pouches and straws included when you buy the product. It can also filter about 540 gallons of clean water a day or 100,000 gallons. The portable water filter is easy to clean and does not need frequent replacement of cartridges as well, which is pretty convenient.

The pros and cons of Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Pros

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    The price and quality are good
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    Removes a wide range of bacteria and parasites
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    Portable and great for outdoor activities
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    Filters water quickly
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    Can store water 
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    Filters 540 gallons of water a day
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    Easy to use and clean
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    You can drink directly from the water source
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    Has 2 reusable water pouches and straws

Cons

  • The water bags are not the best quality
  • Small water bags
  • The hollow membrane is a bit fragile

3. HydroBlu Versa Flow Light

The HydroBlu Versa Flow water filter has a gravity system and comes with a water bottle. I thought that a hand pump type of water filter is hard to use especially for kids. However, to my surprise, the Versa Flow is actually kid-friendly. I gave it to my niece as a gift, and it’s really a great deal. The gravity filter can be used directly on the water source or squeeze the water directly onto the portable filter. You can also put it in line with a hydration bag. If you use the bottle with a straw or the inline filter, it becomes a complete water filter system. One thing I find great about this product is that it's versatile. Plus, you won't need to buy additional equipment for filtering water. 

The Pros and Cons of HydroBlu Versa Flow Light

Pros

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    Versatile
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    Easy to clean
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    Has a Micron Hollow Fiber which removes most of the bacteria and protozoans
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    Fair Price

Cons

  • Takes a while to set up

4. Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter

Camping or hiking can be a real challenge, and a trusty water filter system can come in handy. The Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter is a pump water filter system. It is specifically designed to be easy to carry and lightweight. So, if you are into hiking, I highly suggest this product to be part of your hiking or camping kit. This is one of my favorites. The product is also easy to store and clean. Plus, it effectively eliminates protozoans and bacteria that contaminate the water. It can treat two thousand liters of water before it needs to be cleaned again.

So what are the pros and cons of Katadyn Hiker Water Filter?

Pros

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    Filters water fast
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    Comes with a straw
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    Durable
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    Easy to set up
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    Water tastes great
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    Comes with a filter
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    Easy to carry and compact
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    Improves the taste of the water
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    Low maintenance
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    Can pump from any water source

Cons

  • Replacement filter can be expensive
  • Inlet Valve tends to pop off
  • A bit on the expensive side

5. Survivor Filter 

This water filter weighs about 100 grams or 3.5 ounces. Plus, the tool can filter seven ounces of water per minute. You can filter 1000 liters of water before the filter needs to be replaced. Though, it varies on the quality of water you frequently filter. Furthermore, you can easily order the replacement parts online. One trick I can give you is to frequently clean the water filters so that they last longer. You can also choose to buy the Survivor filter kit which comes with two heavy-duty Canteens. The filter is about twenty-eight dollars which I think is a great deal considering the quality of the product.

The pros and cons of Survivor Filter

Pros

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    Can remove most bacteria, mercury, and lead
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    Has a cotton sediment filter
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    Easy to carry
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    Comes with two heavy duty canteens
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    Easy to clean
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     Sturdy
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    Easy to store
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    Has three different filters
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    Improves water taste
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    Can drink directly from the water source
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    Parts are easy to replace

Cons

  • Can leak sometimes
  • A bit expensive

Which portable water filter should I use?

Nature has given us plenty of sources of water; the only concern is which filter will make them safe to drink. You should take into account the terrain of your hiking or camping trip. Map out the water sources and determine the best type of filters that can be used on them.

  • Pump Filter

A pump filter works by connecting a hose to a water source. The hose is then connected to a bottle. You will then need to pump as much water as you need. The advantage of these kinds of water filter is that they work well with a shallow water source-- although it can use up a lot of your energy when pumping large amounts of water.

  • Bottle Filter

A bottle water filter works the same way as the French Coffe Press. It has a built-in water filter. Some of them will need suction to bring the water through the filter. Most of these types of water filter can be placed directly into the water source. Though it easy to use and portable, it can process only a limited amount of water.

  • Gravity Filter

As what its name suggests, this type of water filter uses the gravity to filter the water. The gravity forces the water down through the hanging filter. Though it is simple to use, it can't be easily used on shallow water sources. Plus, the filtering process is slower compared to the other types.

  • Straw Filter

Straw filers will allow you to drink directly from the water source. It will remove common contaminants like iodine or chlorine. Most of the water filter straws weigh only two ounces. The only disadvantage of this type of water filter is that it won't allow you to store water. Other than that, it is extremely portable.

What are the benefits of using a portable water filter?

One of the advantages of having a portable water filter is it’s easy to carry. For those who love to go camping or hiking, a portable water filter is a must-have. It gives access to safe drinking water anywhere you go. Most of the portable water filters are lightweight as well which allows you to bring it anywhere with you. 

The second advantage is that most of the water filters are easy to use. It might sound funny, but no one wants to spend their whole camping trip on just pumping water. Water filters make the camping trip a lot easier.

What are the ​​​​features that I should have?

  • Filtration

You have to check the quality of the filtered water you can get. The rule is that the smaller the level of micron, the more contaminants it can filter. 

  • Portability

The best feature that your filter should have is the portability of the water filter. It should be light and small enough that will allow you to carry it anywhere. 

  • Speed

You should consider how long it takes for your water filter to sieve through the water. The higher the flow rate, the faster the output speed. 

  • Pass tests

It should pass EPA standards. EPA is the agency that set the standards that will determine if the water is safe enough for consumption. 

Does it really give you clean water?

A water filter uses a cartridge or an element to remove bacteria, debris, chemicals, and protozoans. Thought these cartridges will need to be replaced from time to time, depending on the water quality. If it is not changed, there is a huge tendency that the filter will clog up which makes the filtering process much slower. 

Yes, it does remove bacteria and harmful elements in the water. However, you must check the quality of your water filter first before using it outdoors. There are typically two types of filters. The first type is the Water purifier which relies on chemicals or ultraviolet light to remove bacteria or viruses. The second type is a water prefilter which removes debris or sediments from the water. Most of the water filters now combine these two types.

What should I do before using a portable water filter?

  • You must separate dirty and clean water containers. It is best to label them to avoid confusion.
  • Read the instructions for the product carefully. Every type of filter has different steps that can help you avoid cross-contamination.
  • Before you start filtering, make sure that your hands are clean.
  • Keep dishwashing areas or toilet at least 200 feet away from your source of water to avoid contamination.

Conclusion

All in all, the product that I find extremely convenient despite its disadvantages is the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter. It allows you to drink up liters of water directly without any filtration time. You also don't have to exert a lot of energy to get safe drinking water. Though you can't store any filtered water, one way to go around this advantage is to store raw water in a container. You can just drink it up with the Lifestraw whenever you feel thirsty. It might be the best companion for ultimate camping or hiking treats.

Lauren Reese
 

I'm Laura. I have a huge passion for hiking and camping. Lying under the star beside the tent and camping fire with my team is the ultimate nature getaway to me. I wish to share my experience during the adventure with you through this blog. Feel free to read my stories and leave some comments if you like.

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