Survival Water Filter Reviews: 8 Best Water Filters 2019


Best Water Filter Review

8 Best Survival Water Filters 2019

 

Introduction

Make sure you always have a reliable source of clean, drinkable water with a survival water filter.

This can come in handy when you’re out hiking, camping, or for emergencies, like when a natural disaster strikes. A good water filter can really be a life saver.


Our Top Picks

Mike’s top pick

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle With Integrated 1,000-Liter LifeStraw Filter

The only built-in straw filter on our list, this filter is convenient and portable. It comes in a variety of colors and can filter a whopping 1,000 liters of water.

The replaceable filter uses two filtration levels: a hollow fiber membrane filter then a carbon filter. The filter can be replaced.

The filter in this bottle removes 99.9% of bacteria, including E. Coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium oocysts.

Pros:
• Variety of color options
• Convenient and easy to drink from since filter is inside bottle

Cons:
• Bigger than some other filters because of the bottle it comes in

Amazon Button to Buy LifeStraw Go Water Bottle With Integrated 1,000-Liter LifeStraw Filter

Premium pick

Katadyn Vario Water Filter

This filter is at least 2x faster than the other filters on our list.

It has three filtration levels, which help prolong the life of the filter and ensure 99.9% of harmful bacteria is removed.

This filter is equipped with extra features, such as it’s dual piston technology which make hand-pumping easier. It also has setting options for fast or slow pumping. If you want clean water fast, select fast pump, but if you want to save the filter, the slow pump option works best.

A 6.5” in length and 15 oz. in weight, it’s also very portable.

Pros:
• Pumping water is easy
• Fast Filtration speed: can filter around 8 cups of water in one       minute
• Setting options to control speed of water filtration and prolong the life of the water filter

Cons:
• Heavier and larger than some other filters

Amazon Button to Buy Katadyn Vario Water FilterValue pick

Survival Hax Water Filter Straw with .1 Micron Purifier for Camping and Hiking Bottle

This filter straw works just as well as the others on the list, and comes at a great price. It has a coconut-activated charcoal filter that removes 99.9% of bacteria and parasites from water.

It also comes with other great features, like a whistle, a mirror, and the hose of the straw can be used as a tourniquet for first aid.

Pros:
• Can drink water directly from source
• Extra features like whistle and signalling mirror

Cons:
• More awkward than a built-in filter or pump

Amazon Button to Buy Survival Hax Water Filter Straw with .1 Micron Purifier for Camping and Hiking Bottle


Table of Contents

Introduction

Our Top Picks

Mike’s Top Pick

Premium Pick

Value Pick

Table of Contents

Comparison Table

Product Reviews

Additional Information

Buyer’s Guide In Finding The Best Survival Water Filter


Comparison Table

Pump Type

0.2 Micron

15 oz.

6.5" in length

Up to 2.2 liters per minute

Straw Type

0.1 Micron

22 oz.

7" in length


Straw Type

0.1 Micron

3.52 oz.

8" in length


Straw Type

0.01 Micron

2 oz.

Not Specified, "pocket sized"


Pump Type


16 oz.

4" in length

1 liter per minute

Straw Type

0.2 Micron

23 oz.

9" in length


Gravity Type

0.02 Micron

25.6 oz.

11 x 9 x 4.5”

.17 liter per minute

Pump Type

0.2 Micron

32 oz.

9 x 8 x 3”

1 liter per minute


Best Survival Water Filters Review 2019

Katadyn Vario Water Filter

This portable pump water filter has a hand-pump that requires minimal effort. It’s 6.5” in length and weighs 15 oz.

It works by pumping water through three different filter levels.

The first is a glass fiber filter that removes bacteria. The second, a ceramic pre-filter, is a disc that can be removed and cleaned. This filter also helps prolong the life of the active charcoal (carbon) filter that comes next. The charcoal or carbon filter is replaceable and helps remove chemicals and pesticides, helping give the water a more neutral taste.

This water filter provides clean water at a fast rate: it can filter up to 2.2 liters of water per minute. That said, there is also a slow setting on this water filter that filters water at a slower rate but can prolong the life of the filter.

It also features “dual-piston” technology, which means you don’t have to work as hard to pump your water.

This filter comes with a pre-filter, travel bag, and cleaning pad.

Pros:
• Fast filtration speed: can filter around 8 cups of water in one minute
• Setting options to control speed of water filtration and prolong the life of the water filter
• Pumping water is easy

Cons:
• Heavier and larger than some other filters

Amazon Button to Buy Katadyn Vario Water Filter


Survival Hax Water Filter Straw with .1 Micron Purifier for Camping and Hiking Bottle

This filter straw works by filtering water through a coconut-activated charcoal filter that removes 99.9% of bacteria and parasites from water.

You can attach it to the end of a water bottle that has dirty water and drink directly from the straw or pour clean water into another vessel. You can also drink directly from a water source, like a river or lake.

It can be a bit awkward to get close enough to a water source to drink from it so it’s less convenient than the Katadyn Vario Water Filter.

Other features include a whistle, which can scare away bears and other wildlife, a mirror that can be used for signalling in emergencies, and the hose of the straw can be used as a tourniquet for first aid.

Pros:
• Can drink water directly from source: no bottle required
• Extra features like whistle and signalling mirror

Cons:
• More awkward than a built-in filter or pump

Amazon Button to Buy Survival Hax Water Filter Straw with .1 Micron Purifier for Camping and Hiking Bottle


Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

Like the Survival Hax Water Filter, this is another straw filtration system. However, this product comes with a water bottle that fits the filter, but it works in exactly the same way. 

The straw sits on the outer part of the water bottle, not inside. Since it’s made specifically for this bottle, the straw screws on perfectly. The straw is made to fit any standard drinking bottle, so if you prefer a different bottle, that option is available.

This is the lightest filter on our list so far at 3.52 ounces.

99.9% of bacteria like salmonella, cholera, and E.coli will be cleaned from your water using this filter.

This filter is capable of filtering around 5 to 10 gallons of water without being “backwashed,” a method of cleaning. This is when you force clean water through the drinking end of the straw. This can be done out in the wild, too.

Pros:
• Lightweight
• Comes with a water bottle made for the straw filter

Cons:
• Drinking from a straw attached to the outside of the bottle makes drinking a bit awkward

Amazon Button to Buy Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System


Life Defender Survival Water Filter

This BPA and chemical free straw water filter has the smallest micron rating yet, at 0.01. Like the others, it filters 99.9% of harmful bacteria.

This is also the lightest filter on our list so far, weighing in at 2 oz.

It’s available in solid blue or camouflage, making it the first on our list to have different colour options.

Like the Katadyn Vario pump water filter, this filter has three different filtration levels: Hollow Fiber Membrane, coconut-activated carbon, and antibacterial beads.

This product comes with a neck strap, so you don’t have to worry about dropping it when drinking out of a natural water source.

$1 of every filter is donated to support water.org, a non-profit organization that helps bring clean water to people around the world.

Pros:
• Can drink water directly from source: no bottle required
• Neck strap helps prevent dropping straw while it’s in use
• Different color options
• Lightweight

Cons:
• Drinking from a straw attached to the outside of the bottle makes drinking a bit awkward

Amazon Button to Buy Life Defender Survival Water Filter


MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

We’ve added another water pump filter to our list, and this one is the smallest yet. It pumps less water per minute than the Katadyn Vario Water Filter pump, but it is smaller in size.

Though it’s smaller, it is heavier, at 16 oz. (about 1 lb.). It’s around the same price as the Katadyn Vario Water Filter. The pump water filters are so far the most expensive on our list, but they’re also the fastest and probably least awkward to use.

Again, like the Katadyn Vario Water Filter pump, this pump has two different filtration levels: carbon and ceramic. The ceramic filtration helps prolong the life of the filter.

This filter is compatible with most standard water bottles.

Pros:
• Small for a pump water filter

Cons:
• Heavy
• Pumps water through filter slower than comparable model

Amazon Button to Buy MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter


LifeStraw Go Water Bottle With Integrated 1,000-Liter LifeStraw Filter

This is the only built-in straw filter on our list. This straw filter sits inside the water bottle, which comes in a variety of colours. The filter is replaceable, and replacement is recommended after 1,000 liters of water have been filtered through.

There are two filtration levels. The first is made of hollow fiber membrane, as we’ve seen many times on this list. This layer helps remove bacteria and parasites. The second filtration level is carbon, which reduces chlorine, other chemicals like pesticides, and improves the taste.

The filter in this bottle removes 99.9% of bacteria, including E. Coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium oocysts.

LifeStraw donates a portion of sales to provide clean water to people around the world.

Pros:
• Convenient and easy to drink from
• Variety of color options

Cons:
• Bigger than some other filters because of the bottle it comes in


LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier

This is the first and only gravity filter on our list, and it works a bit different than the others.

This filter has a vessel that you can hang or hold, and fill with water. The water then runs down a tube (that must be lower than the water so gravity can do its work) and can be distributed through the end of the tube, with an attachment that can be opened or closed.

A hook on the side of the end attachment makes hanging the attachment onto a jug easily.

This filter has won numerous awards, and filters out 99.9% of harmful bacteria, including 99.9% of viruses.

Since it’s less portable than the others, this filter is a good option for the home, in case of emergency.

Pros:
• No effort required

Cons
• Bulky
• Slow to filter water


Katadyn Hiker Water Filter

This is a very compact pump water filter; it’s quite small compared to all the other filters and especially the pump water filters. It can hold 11 ounces of water.

It filters about 1 liter per minute or 50 pump strokes, which is comparable to the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter but slower than the Katadyn Vario.

This filter uses a glass-fiber filter and activated carbon, and doesn’t require backwashing like the Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System. It can be attached to fill standard drinking bottles.

This filter can clean around 750 liters of water without being replaced.

Pros:
• Compact and lightweight
• No backwashing required

Cons:
• Slower filtration rate than a competing model


 What is a water filter?

Most water needs to be filtered (cleaned) in order for us to drink it. This is done by “filtering” or separating and removing harmful bacteria and chemicals from the water.

What Is A Survival Water Filter?

A survival water filter is simply a water filter that is smaller, and more portable, than your average water filter. It’s made for use in emergencies or use outdoors, where there is no clean water source available and is therefore usually smaller, and sometimes more basic than a water filter found in the home.

Why is it Important to Own a Survival Water Filter?

A person needs at least a gallon of water everyday either for drinking, preparing food, or cleaning. You cannot use unsafe water for all of these since they are for consumption and sanitation. Best water filters are essential so anyone can filter their water anywhere.
Emergencies – During emergency situations, expect a shortage of safe water to drink. Ideally, you pack water that will last for 72 hours. However, you will run out of supply later on. Survival water filters may save your life until the rescue or relief goods arrive.
Traveling or camping – Some wanderlust people may find themselves running out of water supply during their travels. With no store or house in sight, travelers are in a tight situation and a backpacking water filter will come in handy. Streams and rivers can be drunk using this filtrating device.

What can’t a Survival Water Filter do?

Survival water filters are great for filtering water in the outdoors or filtering already treated water that goes through our taps. However, there are a few things survival water filters can’t do.

Water filters can’t purify water. This means they can’t remove some strains of virus and dissolved chemicals. See What’s the difference between water filtration and water purification for more info.

Water filters cannot make salt water drinkable. Most filters aren’t able to remove the salt from the water.

 How do water filters work, anyway? 

We need clean water to live. Clean water is hard to come by, and even if you live by a clean source of freshwater, like a mountain stream, your water is likely touched by some kind of treatment or filtration system before it goes through your taps.

If you want to learn more about how water filters work, read our article “How do water filters work?”

Types Of Water Filters

Pump

This water filter uses a hand pump to create the pressure needed to force the water through the filter.

Pro:
• Fast: Filters 1-2 liters is water per minute.

Straw

Straw water filters use hollow membrane technology to filter water. Water is filtered when passing through tiny spaghetti-like tubes that have holes in the sides, allowing water, but not contaminants, to pass in and out of the tube and out of the water filter. (Source: Outback Water)

Pros:
        • Light-weight
        • Small
        • Fast: Water can be drunk immediately from the source

Con:
        • Can be awkward drinking directly from water source

Built-in Water Bottle

Most often built-in water bottle filters use charcoal to filter water. Charcoal works like the hollow membrane technology: charcoal is a spongy substance with lots of tiny holes that allow clean water to flow through, and contaminants to be trapped inside.

Pro:
        • Can collect and filter water

Ceramic

Ceramic water filters work in much the same way as the straw and built-in water bottle filters. The ceramic material is spongy with tiny holes that trap contaminants and allow clean water to flow through.

Pro:
        • Last for a long time

Con:
         • Bulky and inconvenient

Gravity Filters

When water is poured into a gravity filter, the gravity helps the water to pass through the pre-filter down to the hollow membranes inside that filter the water (Read about how the membranes work above, in the straw filter description). By the time it reaches the other end, the water is already clean and safe to drink.

Pro:
        • Doesn’t require pressure to work

Con:
        • Speed: this filter is pretty slow compared to the others

What’s the difference between water filtration and water purification?

Whether or not a water filter can purify water or simply filter it depends on the micron rating it has. The smaller the micron rating, the better, because that means the filter can remove smaller microns than it could with a larger rating.

Water filtration focuses mostly on removing impurities in the water by literally filtering or straining the water. Water purification focuses on removing all harmful biological contaminants, pathogens, and chemicals from the water.

Boiling is the most common type of water purification.

It is important to note that water filtration does not remove some variants of viruses as well as diluted purification chemicals would. Filtration alone cannot be relied upon to make the water very safe to drink.


Buyer’s Guide In Finding The Best Survival Water Filter

Finding a survival water filter that fits your needs can be a bit overwhelming: we’ll tell you everything you need to know to pick the water filter that’s best for you.

Here are the most important things to consider when searching for the best survival water filter:

  • Portability
  • Micron rating
  • Maintenance
  • Filtration speed
  • Convenience
  • Taste quality
  • EPA standards

Portable

Water filters need to be portable: we don’t want to be carrying around the water filters that we have in the fridge at home. Since you’ll likely be using your water filter when you’re out on adventures, packing it around in your backpack. It’s best to have a lightweight and compact water filter.

Micron Rating

A micron is a measurement for the average size of holes in a filter. The smaller the micron rating, the better, because this means less bacteria can flow through so the water will be cleaner. This is an especially important thing to consider if you’re drinking from a water source like a river close to a city or a lake.

Usually water filters have about 0.1 micron sized holes. Bacteria range from 0.2 to 2 microns in size.

Maintenance

If your water filter seems like it’s not filtering water very well, it probably needs to be cleaned or replaced. This happens especially quickly when you’re drinking from water sources with more sediments (like rivers) or with more bacteria (like lakes).

When water filters become clogged with sediment and bacteria, they no longer work properly. Some water filters have three stages of filtration, each of which helps filter contaminants and prolong the life of the filter.

Filtration speed

A water filter with a high flow rate will be able to collect and filter water quickly. Large filters, like those in your fridge, usually filter water more quickly than a portable water filter.

However, some portable water filters are instant, including straw filters.

Convenience

How convenient each type of water filter is will depend on how and where you’re using your water filter. It also depends on personal preference and circumstances. For example, if you have bad knees, a straw water filter may not be your best bet, since it may require that you crouch down on your knees for an extended period of time to drink the water.

See below for the different types of water filters to get a better idea of what you might be looking for.

Taste Quality

Organisms and chemicals in water can make it taste funny. This “funny” taste is actually a good indicator that the water isn’t clean. The taste of clean water is more neutral: this is how your water should taste after going through a filter.

EPA Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency dictates the maximum amount of contaminants allowed in the water. This standard is followed by public water systems and ensures the water is safe to drink.


Are you getting ready to start a new adventure? Mike’sGearReviews will help you with your check list: Do you have an EDC Flashlight? Did you get your hiking pants? How about the fire starter?…and you can also read our Zombie Survival Guide, because… you never know!

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Katadyn Vario Water Filter
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star