Reviews

Best Portable Water Filters: Decontaminate Your Drinking Water

An ideal portable water filter eradicates pathogens and particles from drinking water

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

  • Product Network

    17 Products

  • Clock

    9 Hours

  • Reviews

    13 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

PUBLISHED ON October 19, 2019

Water is necessary when camping or hiking, but you usually can’t carry a lot of it at one time. That is why you need a portable water filter. This device purifies natural water, eliminating all pathogens and particles and rendering it safe for consumption. In this guide, we picked the best three portable water filters on the market.

  • Best Overall
    Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filter System
    Summary
    Summary

    This kit is designed for hikers, fishers, scouts, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. With a 0.1 micron filter, this device can remove 100 percent microplastics and 99.999 percent of bacteria in the water. Additionally, it has a lifespan of up to 100,000 gallons.

    Pros
    Pros
    It features a built-in and removable push/pull cap for easy water removal. It is also small, easy to carry, and backed by a lifetime warranty. This kit comes with a collapsible, reusable pouch for easy packing.
    Cons
    Cons
    Some users claim that the squeeze bag leaks. Also, the water flow is very slow for some users. Finally, the kit is very expensive compared to others on this list.
  • Best Value
    Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System
    Summary
    Summary
    The Sawyer water filtration system is an economical gadget ideal for hiking, scouting, and other outdoor activities. It features a 0.1 Micron inline filter that traps 99.99 percent of protozoa and bacteria.


    Pros
    Pros

    It measures just two ounces, making it lightweight for traveling. It is cheap and comes in a variety of colors. What’s more, it is easy to use and filters up to 100,000 gallons.

    Cons
    Cons
    It does not remove any chemicals or heavy metals. Some users claim that sucking water from its straw is very difficult.


  • Honorable Mention
    LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
    Summary
    Summary
    This reusable LifeStraw bottle filters water while you drink it, making it good for backpacking and camping. It features a LifeStraw hollow fiber membrane filter that removes 99.99 percent of waterborne bacteria and protozoa.
    Pros
    Pros
    Its two-stage activated carbon filter eliminates any odor and chlorine. It filters water without using any chemicals or batteries. Additionally, it is durable and lightweight.


    Cons
    Cons
    It does not filter lead and other heavy metals. It does not come with any extra filters. Also, some users claim that the bottle leaks when not in an upright position.


Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Tips

  • When buying a water filter, look at the micron size. This is a measure of how efficient the filter is. Filters with the smallest micron sizes are the most efficient at filtering impurities in water.
  • Also, examine a filter’s weight and size. Although most portable filters are small, some are very heavy, depending on the material used to make them. Ensure you purchase the most convenient size, especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast.
  • Other factors to consider include the cost of the gadget, ease of use, efficiency in filtering different pathogens, and the speed of filtration.

FAQs

Q: How do portable water filters work?

A: Portable water filters have a replaceable cartridge that contains layers of permeable material. Water is made to pass through this filter, and contaminants such as mercury, lead, iron, dust, protozoa, and most bacteria are filtered out.

Q: How should I maintain a portable water filter?

A: Some maintenance practices include washing your portable water filter with hot water to kill bacteria every time you use it. During the winter, keep your kit at body temperature to ensure it does not freeze and become ineffective. Also, remember to replace the cartridge when necessary. 

Q: How can I tell if my water filter needs replacing?

A: First, check its lifespan rating. If you have achieved the gallons it is rated to filter, then it's time to replace it. Also, be aware if the flow rate drops significantly. The filter gets clogged with particles, and if the speed of filtering drops, you have to replace it.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a portable, reusable, and durable water filter that will make your camping worthwhile, consider the Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filter System.

On the other hand, if you need an economical unit that will still keep impurities out of your drinking water, we recommend the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System.