It is unbelievable but water can contain over 2000 different contaminants, including viruses, bacteria, parasites, and chemicals. These contaminants can cause serious health problems like kidney disease, cancer, or even death. This is why it’s so important to have the best portable water filter with you whenever you go camping, hiking, or backpacking.
We’ve reviewed 30 portable water filters and chose the best 10 products. Our favorite is the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System. In our detailed review, we considered the main filter types and stages as they determine the effectiveness of the filter. We also looked at the capacity, as you don’t want a filter that needs to be replaced too often, this is why we included several models with up to 100,000 gallons capacity. The filtration performance is crucial, and we only included products that can remove most impurities (lead, chlorine, calcium, magnesium) in the water. Lastly, we also considered the weight and size as you want a compact and lightweight filter that’s easy to carry around.
More features: 0.1-micron filtration, kit includes mini-filter, 16 oz. pouch, drinking straw, cleaning plunger
The first thing you notice is that the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration system is tiny. It fits your backpack easily, and it is lightweight so that it won’t add an extra burden. The filter fits standard bottles, which makes the filtration process simple.
You can rely on the product to filter out protozoa, bacteria, and even cysts. That is because the item is equipped with a 0.1-micron filter. The result will always be clean water of decent taste that is arguably much better compared to using purification tablets. Due to the absolute filtration, this is a great portable water filter for survival enthusiasts. Although it is not the fastest filter out there, you can rely on it to turn any water into drinkable quickly.
The manufacturer used premium materials to ensure that the product lasts for a long time. The filter meets the EPA standards when it comes to removal rates, and it can process up to 100,000 gallons of water. Drinking through the straw requires a bit of effort, but you probably won’t mind that in emergency situations. Overall, the item features a great value for the money and a long-term investment.
More features: 400 mL/min, kit includes foldable water pouch with D-type hook, extension straw, syringe, inlet mouthpiece, four cotton pads, pre-filter
Etekcity Water Filter Straw might come at an affordable price, but it still delivers admirable results. The advanced filtration design starts with a 0.01-micron inline membrane. The product also features a pre-filter system against big contaminants, as well as an ion-exchange resin and activated carbon mixture. That implies the fitter will remove bacteria and protozoa, but also heavy metals, chlorine, and unpleasant odors.
A single straw has a 1,500L capacity, which ensures it will serve you for a long time. Please note that you get the cleaning equipment, but read the instructions before using it. Maintaining the filter is crucial to its longevity and consistent water quality. The system is rather quick, and it will deliver approximately 400 milliliters of water per minute.
The product is EPA and FDA compliant, and a German Institute also controlled its quality. The materials are durable and long-lasting, but the water bag could of better quality. However, it will serve when you need to store some more water to go. The extension tube is very useful when the water level gets low, and you can’t reach it.
More features: up to 1 L/min, compatible with a variety of wide-mouth water bottles, 50 Aquatabs included
MSR MiniWorks might be the best portable water filter for camping when taking the entire family on a trip. The product might not be the smallest in its category, but its performance exceeds all expectations.
The manufacturer implemented a pump to accelerate the filtration process as much as possible. The result is a device capable of delivering one liter of drinking water per minute. If you want to make water as clear as possible, make sure to use Aquatabs, which are included in the package. With the 2,000-liter capacity of the filter, you will get fantastic results. Fortunately, the carbon core is replaceable to maintain consistent filtration results.
The product utilizes a 0.2-micron filtration system to eliminate bacteria, sediments, and other particles, but also bad odor and taste. The addition of activated carbon ensures to keep chemicals away from the water you drink. The unit is simple to use since all you have to do is to attach the bottle or a water container to fill them. The device looks cool and features a modern design with the black color dominating the exterior.
More features: BPA-free 23 oz. bottle, silicone mouthpiece, leaves zero aftertastes, comes with a latch
LifeStraw Go is a portable drinking water filter with a two-stage system for efficient sediment removal. The manufacturer promises that the product will remove 99.9% of bacteria, protozoa, and other undesired chemicals present in waters from streams, lakes, and other sources.
The initial filter utilizes a hollow fiber membrane and has a 1,000-liter capacity. However, the activated carbon capsule is only capable of processing 100 liters of water. Fortunately, the capsule is replaceable, although that is an additional investment.
The product itself is made of BPA-free materials, which means you won’t consume any harmful compounds that way either. The straw works like a charm, and it is easy to drink water from the bottle. The capacity is 23 ounces of water, but you can also use bags and other bottles to increase the quantity you process. Be careful of the lid because it becomes prone to leaking after a while if not being closed properly. That could cause problems because both clean and dirty water will leak.
The product is light and doesn’t take a lot of room. You can choose from numerous color designs to match your preferences.
More features: 5 extra cotton pre-filters and 2 canteens are included, lifetime warranty, 200 mL/min flow rate
Are you an outdoor enthusiast that likes to put their survival skills on a test? You can make things easier with the Survivor Filter Squeeze Water Filter Kit. This portable water filter is one of the most efficient ones out there.
It features a 0.05-micron triple filtration. Apart from bacteria, protozoa, and dangerous chemicals, it will also remove heavy metals and viruses. The high ratings received at tests guarantee this product will deliver consistent results over time. However, the default flow rate of 200 mL/min might reduce as time passes.
The pre-filter acts as the initial barrier for harmful substances. The second stage includes a carbon filter to eliminate pollutants and heavy metals. The final phase is an internal filter that works on removing viruses. Please note that the overall filter capacity is 100,000 liters, but the carbon section can only be reused up to 2,000 liters.
It will be easy to pour the filtered water into any other bottle, thanks to its design. The device should last for a long time because the materials used are of exceptional quality. The outer shell is the same material as car bumpers for shock absorption, and BPA-free items ensure that the water remains safe.
More features: BPA-free, comes with a latch, a built-in compass
SurviMate designed a reliable portable water filter bottle with a capacity of up to 1,500 liters. Next, the product offers a detailed filtration system that includes four steps. Apart from activated carbon and hollow fiber membrane, the device comes with cotton and beads filters for improved results.
The filtration accuracy is set at 0.01 micron, which means you don’t have to worry about water quality. However, you can expect it to be a little hard to suck water through the straw, which is normal for these devices.
The bottle itself is made from Tritan copolyester, which is a material that is FDA-approved and doesn’t contain BPA. The product is resistant to heat and shock, which makes it very durable. It also features three color combinations and attractive design. The bottle is fairly lightweight, and it will be easy to store it in your backpack.
The flow rate is at an average level, with 550 millimeters processed per minute. The only downside is that the lid is not detachable, and you need to hold it when filling the product.
More features: kit includes a water reservoir, hose with clip, tree strap, collapsible bottle, filter
The portable water filter designed by miniWell comes with everything you need when you are outdoors. Whether you are camping, hiking, or fishing, it only takes a couple of minutes to get drinkable water with this product.
The flow rate is 600mL per minute, and the system is simple to use even if you are a newbie. You get a reservoir to store dirty water, a silicone hose, and a clip to connect it to a clean water bottle. That bottle is collapsible and can store up to 1,000 milliliters of water. You can even use a tree strap to take advantage of gravity and minimize your time invested in the filtration.
The overall filter capacity is 2,000 liters, but you will need to backwash the system frequently. Fortunately, that doesn’t take a lot of time, and you can use the water from the bottle.
This product is reliable, but it is restricted to 0.1 microns. While that will deal with protozoa and bacteria, extremely tiny particles might still find a way into the clean water bottle.
More features: six filters in the package, removable pre-filter, replaceable activated carbon filter
If you are looking for a small portable water filter, Membrane Solutions designed a suitable one. Additionally, this is the best cameo-like design filter on the market.
The price might seem a bit high, but note that you will get six units in a single package. Each of them can deliver approximately 264 gallons of clean water. You don’t get a clean water bottle, but you can use the straw for drinking directly from the source. The process requires putting the unit in the water and holding it for quick sips. That can become tedious after a while, which is why this product is only suitable for true survivors. However, please note that you should store the product at a temperature below 86F.
As for the filtration system, it features four stages and a 0.176-micron filtration. The water goes through a pre-filter, PP nonwovens for small impurities, activated carbon to remove bacteria, and an ultra-filter to deal with protozoa.
The product is lightweight and so small that you can place it in the chest pocket or wear it hanging around your neck.
More features: BPA-free 34 oz. bottle, includes 63mm cap, backwash syringe, and two replacement straws
Here is another portable water filter designed by Sawyer Products. The company calls him personal because you can carry it in your pocket or backpack. Additionally, it stores enough water for a single person since the capacity is 34 ounces.
The filtration system will eliminate any compounds that are within the 0.1-micron size. That includes cholera, salmonella, E. coli, protozoa, and other bacteria. The product doesn’t require any pumping to get the water out of it. That guarantees minimal effort, and the high flow rate shortens the time to get drinking water.
The quality of water is admirable, as well as its taste. Drinking from the straw feels like using a regular straw, although it might have a distinctive smell the first time using it. The manufacturer secured two replacement straws to prolong the longevity of the product. A small downside is that you can’t pour water from it to other bottles or cups.
The bottle is made of durable BPA-free materials to ensure maximum longevity. You will also receive a backwashing syringe for simple maintenance.
More features: BPA-free 28 oz. bottle with lanyard, made of soft, durable food-grade materials
The first thing you notice is that this portable water filter has a distinctive design. Once you try it, you realize you drink water differently than usual, too. Instead of using suction to pull the water through the straw, you can squeeze the bottle to drink water.
The filtration system gets rid of all contaminants down to 0.2 microns, which makes it suitable for both viruses and bacteria. Apart from the filter, the product also works as a purifier.
The manufacturer used food-grade materials that are very durable and free from BPA and other harmful compounds. However, the bottle might have a distinctive smell out of the box. Fortunately, it will go away after a while.
The compact size of the bottle allows you to put it in a backpack. The strap makes it convenient for carrying around. Lastly, the total capacity of the bottle is 28 ounces of clean water.
A portable water filter is essential because it allows you to count on clean water wherever you are. However, that is only true if you buy a reliable product. If you want to make a smart purchasing decision, check out our buying guide to learn all the details about water filtration systems. We focus on the crucial features of these products and explain how to choose a fitting item. Our guide will also mention the prices, as well as answer the most common questions users might have about these devices. Your search for the most suitable portable water system starts with our guide below!
Are you still having second thoughts about purchasing a portable water filter? If that is the case, we have a list of reasons why everyone could benefit from owning this device!
Here is the list of portable water filter benefits:
The crucial thing to have is patience. You don’t want to rush a decision that might make a difference between being able to drink clean water or not. Whether you are getting ready for camping or a survival journey, we have a list of features to consider for filtration systems.
We will start with filter types, their reliability, and longevity. Your choice also might depend on the contaminants you are aiming to remove, as well as user convenience. Additionally, those features include ease of use, flow rate, and portability features. Here are the main factors to consider during the purchasing process!
Depending on the product, the filtration might have one or multiple stages. The general rule is the more phases, the better. For example, the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter has three filtration stages, but you will also find devices with two and four phases.
Let’s take a look at the most common filter types and stages.
The lifespan of a water filter depends on many factors. The primary is how frequently you use the device, but it also matters how well you maintain it. For example, the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water if maintained properly.
That is rather an exception than a rule since most filters have capacities from 1,000 to 5,000 liters.
Activated carbon filters don’t last as long as hollow membranes and other filters. It is important to check out the product description for more information about the capacity of a particular filter.
The cleaning process shouldn’t be demanding. Most items come with a syringe used to backwash the system to ensure it works properly.
While you are there, don’t forget to check if filters are replaceable. That will increase the overall lifespan of the portable water filtration device. If you notice that the flow rate is not as high as before, that is the first sign of filter degradation.
Portable water filters remove harmful compounds from the water and make it suitable for drinking. That is important when you are camping or hiking through the forest. If you get into remote areas, and there is no water nearby, you can filter the one from a lake or stream.
That water will have waterborne protozoa and bacteria, such as giardia or E. coli. Most filters will remove 99.9% of these contaminants. Depending on the system’s quality, the product might also be capable of dealing with other toxins. For example, the SurviMate Water Filter Bottle is a great choice if you want to eliminate heavy metals from the water.
It is important to get rid of bacteria, protozoa, toxins, heavy metals, and any other contaminants before you drink the water. If you drink water containing harmful compounds, you risk stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and other serious illnesses.
Portable water filters might have an instant flow rate, but most of them require a bit of patience to have a sufficient amount of drinking water available. The manufacturers usually use millimeters per minute as a measurement.
The average flow rate is anywhere from 300 to 600mL/min, which is the rate of the miniWell Portable Water Filter. In rare cases, the rate can go to one or two liters per minute. Those products are suitable portable water filters for camping because they secure clean water for multiple people quickly.
The reason why filters can only produce a limited quantity of water every minute is that it takes time to pass the water through all phases of filtration. That is why you want to look for the best balance between filtration and quality. A bit of patience might be worth it if your water is of better quality and taste.
Are the best portable water filters user-friendly? That seems to depend on the product since some require more effort to process the water and make it drinkable.
The most common way of consuming water from a backpacking water filter is by using a straw. The product might come with a bottle, collapsible bag, or another container for storing water. Straws might require various suction power. While some need you to suck on the straw hard, others apply squeezable technology, such as the Seychelle Water Filter Bottle.
Water filtration devices can also use the gravity-fed extraction method. These units utilize gravity to process water. You get a strap to tie them for a tree or another place, and that’s where your role finishes. Have some patience, and you will get filtered water without making an effort. Alternatively, some devices use pumps that you have to activate manually. Each time you press the pump, you push the water through the filters.
Portable water filters are compact-sized, which makes them suitable for carrying around. However, their size can still significantly vary. For example, some products might come with a bottle that takes a significant amount of space. Alternatively, some devices include a collapsible water bag that takes minimum room when not in use. You should also consider the space required for additional equipment, such as the backwash syringe, hose, etc.
As for the dimensions of the water filters itself, they rarely exceed ten inches in height. Also, they don’t have to be wider than a couple of inches.
Depending on the compactness of the unit you choose, you can wear it hanging on your neck, carry it in your pocket, or use a strap to place it on the belt.
Apart from the size and look of your device, you should also consider its weight. The good news is that portable water filters are usually light. Their weight might vary from two to over ten ounces. The devices themselves are light, but another consideration is their weight when loaded with water.
The bottle capacity might vary from as little as 8 to over 30 ounces. While it is nice to have a generous quantity of water available, that also increases the overall weight of the unit. If you plan to carry it around in your backpack, consider every ounce. The other items are already heavy, which is why you should avoid adding extra load with your water filter.
Portable water filters are compact devices, and their sheer size means they cannot be incredibly expensive. However, the price will still vary significantly between affordable and premium models. The Etekcity Water Filter Straw is a genuine bargain deal, and these items frequently remain under $20.
If you are ready to pay more than $50 for quality products, you can go for an option that includes multiple straws, such as the Membrane Solutions Water Straw Filter. Alternatively, you can go for a premium unit like the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter. That type of units won’t only eliminate bacteria and protozoa, but also viruses and other contaminants.
The important thing is that you ensure the product delivers good value for the money invested. Start by considering the features, quality of materials, and filtration stages. Compare that with the price, and see whether it is a worthwhile investment. That is a great way to ensure you invest your cash smartly.
The only thing left is to remind you of our top portable water filter choices.
Our favorite is still the Sawyer Products MINI Filtration System. It meets all expectations, and it’s also a durable and reliable product you can count on in case of an emergency. Apart from eliminating a wide range of harmful compounds, it also delivers water of admirable taste.
The Etekcity Water Filter Straw is a great choice for all those looking for bargains. It features a three-stage filtration for efficient contaminant removal. The product is also easy to use, and it will deliver a decent quantity of water per minute.
Finally, you can also try the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter. It is a premium pick for those who are looking for plenty of clean water every minute, which makes it suitable for camping.
Ultimately, the best portable water filter is the one that meets your expectations. That should be your leading consideration when choosing your favorite model!