Portable water filters must be more than just small and light. They must also be dependable and long-lasting to allow for worry-free transportation. The greatest ones will also be adaptable, allowing you to use it in a variety of ways depending on your needs.
Unfortunately, they can also be quite costly. It’s not practical to buy many and try them out to discover which one you like best, which is why we scoured the stores for as many portable water filters as we could. After that, we put them to the test to discover which ones were worth their salt. The 10 reviews that follow compare ten of the best.
Summary of The Best Portable Water Filters for 2021
Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Portable Water Filter
Multiple filtering options
LifeStraw Portable Water Filter
Reliable and effective
Survivor Portable Water Purifier
Removes mercury and lead
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System
Compact and lightweight
BOTTLED JOY Portable Water Bottle with Filter
Filters to 0.1 micron
Top 10 Best Portable Water Filters
1. Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Portable Water Filter – Best Overall
The Sawyer Squeeze filter is our recommendation for the best portable water filter because of its backcountry dependability and portability. This filter is easy to take anywhere, weighing only three ounces and having a footprint small enough to fit in your pocket. It’s quite adaptable, and depending on the situation, it can filter your water in a variety of ways. You can squeeze your water through the filter and use it to fill a clean receptacle using the accompanying roll-up pouches. Our preferred way is to attach it to a water bottle and sip the contaminated water through the filter. This was the quickest and easiest technique, but it can also be used as a gravity-feed system or an in-line filter for a hydration pack like a Camelback.
Every 1,000 gallons or so, most filters should be replaced. The Sawyer Squeeze only needs to be back-flushed once per 100,000 gallons to keep filtering pure water, giving it the longest lifespan of any filter we’ve observed. During our testing, it survived many weeks of all-day use on the trail, but if exposed to cold enough temperatures, it may freeze and break.
- Multiple filtering options
- Lightweight and compact
- Susceptible to freezing
2. LifeStraw Portable Water Filter – Best Value
Portable water filtration might be pricey, but not with the LifeStraw personal water filter. This filter is ideal as a back-up or when you require a lightweight filter. It’s a relatively light filter, weighing only two ounces, albeit it’s a little bigger than other filters like the Sawyer Squeeze. It comes with a neck-string so you may wear it around your neck, but we just put it inside our packs because it’s so tough and small.
The LifeStraw’s only flaw is that it requires you to insert it into your water source, which might be difficult on the go. There is no way to pump clean water through it so that you may take it with you. That said, it’s the greatest portable water filter for the money because it’s so compact, portable, and dependable. This is something you can slip inside a pack and forget about, knowing it will be there when you need it.
- Reliable and effective
- Have to put the straw in the water source
3. Survivor Portable Water Purifier – Premium Choice
We found that all of the water filters we tested removed 99 percent of germs and protozoa. Viruses, on the other hand, are an entirely other issue that most of these filters are unable to address. The Survivor Filter PRO, on the other hand, screens out 99.999 percent of viruses and staph infections. In addition, it removes 99.5 percent of mercury and 93 percent of lead, a feat that none of the other filters on this list can claim. The Survivor Filter PRO is the one to look at if you’re looking for the best in portable water filtration. Naturally, you can expect to pay a higher price for its stronger filtering capabilities.
You may expect a device with such astounding capabilities to be large and unwieldy. Although it is larger and heavier than many of the other filters we tested, it is by no means a giant. It’s about the size of an outstretched hand and weighs only 8 ounces. It will still fit into any backpack or emergency bag without taking up too much room or weight. It’s also tough enough to be thrown in with the rest of the gear, and Survivor Filter backs up their products with a lifetime warranty.
- Removes mercury and lead
- Filters viruses
- Durable and reliable
- Lifetime warranty
- More expensive
- Larger and heavier
4. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System
The Sawyer MINI water filtration system is a smaller, more adaptable, and effective version of their Squeeze filter, which received our top spot and highest recommendation. Unfortunately, the MINI didn’t quite live up to its older brother’s expectations. Despite this, there are still a lot of positive aspects to this filter. It’s one of the most portable filters we’ve encountered, weighing only two ounces and fitting in the palm of your hand. It may be screwed onto the top of a water bottle, squeezed through with the provided collapsible bag, or even drank through the filter like a straw with the tube that comes with it.
The MINI can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water and is simple to backflush in the field. Our only major complaint is that there wasn’t enough flow to meet our requirements. It takes far too long for this gadget to filter enough water. We didn’t feel like we had enough flow with the MINI to screw it onto the end of a bottle the manner we prefer. As a result, we recommend sticking with the Sawyer Squeeze, which received our highest rating.
- Multiple options to filter
- Compact and lightweight
- Doesn’t get enough flow
5. BOTTLED JOY Portable Water Bottle with Filter
With the BOTTLED JOY water bottle with filter, you’ve found one of the most cost-effective methods to have clean water wherever you go. It’s one of the most affordable portable filters we evaluated, despite the fact that, unlike straw-style filters, it comes with a bottle so you can transport your water. Despite its modest price, this is a high-quality 2-stage filter that filters down to 0.1 microns, which is comparable to much more expensive ones. It will, however, only filter 55 gallons before needing to be refilled. Depending on how much you expect to use your portable filter, the savings you obtain from this product may be offset.
Though we enjoy that the bottle comes with this filter, we wish it had a little more capacity because it can only hold 17 ounces. There aren’t any other uses for this filter, so you’ll be using it only in this bottle. These issues ultimately prevented the BOTTLED JOY water bottle and filter from receiving a top-three rating.
- Filter and bottle together
- Filters to 0.1 micron
- Small capacity
- Only one filtration option
- Needs replacing every 55 gallons
6. MSR MiniWorks Portable Water Microfilter
MSR is known for producing high-quality, dependable outdoor gear that can withstand the rigors of living in the backcountry. We had high hopes for their MiniWorks EX Microfilter water filter, however it was held back by numerous major flaws. For starters, it’s a monster, easily the largest of all the portable filters we examined. It’s also the heaviest, weighing in at a pound and a half. It’s also one of the most expensive types, despite the fact that the changeable filter can only treat 2,000 gallons before needing to be replaced. The pump itself will last a long time, but you’ll need to replace filters on a regular basis if you use it frequently.
The MSR MiniWorks EX filter is designed so that you may pump water from any source, through the filter, and into a clean receptacle. To make this easier, it comes with connectors that allow you to pump directly into bottles and hydration bladders. Filling a large bladder takes many minutes at a flow rate of one liter per minute, thus this can be laborious. It is, nevertheless, dependable, as evidenced by a lifetime warranty.
- Replaceable filter
- High flow rate
- Heavy and bulky
- Can’t be used on the go
- More expensive
7. Etekcity Portable Water Filter-Straw
The Etekcity water filter straw is a small, lightweight straw-style filter with a small roll-up water bladder that allows you to carry water and consume it through the straw attached to the bladder’s top. In theory, this is a fantastic idea that combines exceptional portability with the ease of a quick fill and carry. In reality, filling the bag is difficult due to the small hole and inability to maintain pressure in the bag. This could be overlooked if we could drink enough from the bag, however this filter has poor flow when compared to the others we examined. We were sick of squeezing water into our mouths! We believe you would have a difficult time if this was your only source of safe water.
Although the Etekcity filter is inexpensive, it is inconvenient and has caused more frustration than it has saved. Worse, the filter only lasts 1,500 liters before it needs to be replaced.
- Very affordable
- Small and lightweight
- Short lifespan
- Low flow rate
8. SteriPen Adventurer Opti
The SteriPen Adventurer Opti had a great concept, but it didn’t turn out the way we had anticipated. 99.9% of dangerous germs, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa are killed by this little ultraviolet water filter. All of this is excellent, but it only lasts for 8,000 gallons before needing to be replaced. This costs several times more than some of the straw-style filters we examined. Replacing such a costly item on a regular basis isn’t particularly cost-effective.
If you want it to work, you’ll need to maintain CR123 batteries in it. This entails battery replacement, as well as the risk of dead batteries failing you at a key moment. Most of the other filters have battery-free functioning, which we prefer. The last issue we had was with sediment. Dirt and other sediments are filtered out when you use any filter that pushes water through a filter. You’ll have to deal with the silt in your mouth if you use the SteriPen. We thought the fact that it also functions as an LED flashlight was cool, but it wasn’t enough to preserve this UV filter.
- Kills viruses
- Doubles as an LED flashlight
- Requires batteries
- Limited lifespan
9. Platypus Water Filter System
The Platypus GravityWorks water filter system is built to perform all of the heavy lifting for you. Filling a bottle of water is now simple, albeit time-consuming. Simply fill the reservoir with water from your source, hang it from a suitable branch, and let gravity to drain the water through the filter and into your waiting bottle or bladder. With a filtration rate of 1.5 liters per minute, it’s not too slow, but the filter only lasts 1,500 liters in total.
You’ll also need to locate something to hang it on that’s the proper height, which can be problematic in some situations. We enjoy that it takes the majority of the effort out of the equation, but we’d rather pump the water and finish the job than sit and wait for gravity to do it for us. Overall, the Platypus GravityWorks water filter system is a good filter, but we don’t think it’s as convenient or as beneficial as the other filters we tried.
- No pumping required
- So expensive
- Needs replacing after 1,500 liters
- Slow to fill
10. LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
One of our major gripes with the LifeStraw is that it requires you to place it in your water source, which is cumbersome. The filter also makes it impossible to transfer water. The LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle, on the other hand, solves these issues by providing both a LifeStraw and a bottle to carry and drink from. While this fixes our greatest issues with the LifeStraw, the bottle costs more than the filter itself.
The filter will still need to be replaced after 4,000 gallons, but the bottle will endure for many filters. It includes a 23-ounce capacity and a food-grade silicone mouthpiece that is BPA-free. We simply do not believe it gives sufficient value for the price. For a similar price, there are lots of different filters on the market with higher carrying capacities or more diverse filtration technologies.
- All-in-one solution
- Small carrying capacity
- Needs replacing every 1,000 gallons
When you need to rely on your portable water filter, you can’t afford to have it fail and put you in a dangerous scenario. To make sure it doesn’t, we’ve put as many of these portable water filters through their paces as we could and produced reviews comparing them. Our best picks were dependable, convenient, and highly portable, and we’re confident in recommending all three, which we’ll summarize again so you don’t forget. The Sawyer Squeeze, which weighs about three ounces and fits in the palm of your hand, was our overall favorite. It can also be used as a gravity-fed system on a water bottle, in-line on a hydration bladder, or on a water bottle.
Our second-place recommendation is the LifeStraw filter, which we believe offers the best value. It’s dependable, reasonably priced, and just weights two ounces. Finally, the Survivor Filter PRO is our top recommendation and the ideal option when you require the most advanced portable water filtration available. It can also filter out viruses, mercury, and lead, something that only a few other portable water filters can do.