Top 10 Portable Water Filters Reviewed and Rated

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
LifeStraw
Test Winner: LifeStraw
Amazon Link
The world is not what it was. We’re sure there was a time, before industrialization when you could drink from open streams and rivers without worrying about chemical pollution or cholera in the smallest sip. But in most places, those days are gone and everywhere you look it’s water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. And truly, unfortunately, that can include the water that comes out of your tap. So with that in mind, we think that you should invest in a portable water filter. We don’t need to tell you why: Because the body can go weeks without food, but try going without water and… in 3 to 4 days you DIE! Lead in the pipes, or poor planning leaves you far from a clean water source. Here is our list of the best portable water filters.

Standout Picks

LifeStraw water filter
You can’t beat the award-winning Lifestraw for ease of use, portability, and longevity. Considered to be the best portable water purifier since 2005, it continues to help the world get fresh, clean water.
Amazon Link
$14.34
Sawyer Products Mini
Options for the customer is always a good thing, which is exactly what makes this Mini Water Filtration System so good. There is something for everyone with this package whether you’re an individual or a group.
Amazon Link
$20.32
Katadyn Vario Water Filter, Best Portable Water Filters
The Katadyn was an easy addition to our list for a few reasons, but most importantly because it simply outlasts most of the other products on our list. Fitted with three different filters the Katadyn is going to be able to provide up to 50-thousand liters of clean water that has had all offending particles and chemicals removed. It’s also incredibly easy to use and with the microtubing, clean water can be pumped directly into your favorite water bottle.
Amazon Link
$90.98
Platypus Gravity works, Best Portable Water Purifiers
Make Gravity work for you and you’ve got a pump built to make life easier for you. This is a simple concept dirty water bag goes on top, gravity moves it through the filter and collects in the lower bag. It seems simple enough, and it works. And it’s surprisingly fast delivering over 2 liters of water in less than three minutes. There is, of course, the need for a tree or you’re going to be stuck doing a scarecrow pose while you wait for clean water but you could have worse problems.
Amazon Link
$106.99
Survivor Filter PRO
Looking at the Survivor Filter Pro-LE as something different would be the correct choice, as its powerful filtration system works hard to make water fresh. It’s small enough to go with you anywhere yet powerful enough to handle big tasks.
Amazon Link
$69.95
Etekcity portable water filter
Compact and extremely useful, the Etekcity Portable is a must-have companion for any hiker. It handles dirty water like a champ and turns it into fresh drinking water within minutes.
Amazon Link
$19.29
Grayl Water Filter
This was engineered and built with the outdoor adventurer in mind. It has an award-winning two-step design that allows you to safely clean fresh water from anywhere in the world in just 15 seconds. It’s easy to use and protects against pathogens, chemicals, and heavy metals.
Amazon Link
Aquamira Frontier Max, Best Portable Water Filters
This isn’t so much a system as a really good stand-alone filter. That’s okay because it’s a really, really good filter. This system promised to filter almost everything, including tiny viruses out of your water and if you’re in really sketchy parts of the world, or even in your own backyard that can be valuable. And don’t worry too much about it not being a whole kit as this filter will adapt to whatever collection bags you have pretty easily.
Amazon Link
$49.95
Survival BPA Free
Keeping things simple, this one is a favorite among hardcore hikers. This is about as light a water filter that you can get without losing effectiveness.
Amazon Link
MSR MiniWorks EX
A little bit of manual labor goes a long way with the SR MiniWorks EX Microfilter. Its basic functions are all you’ll ever need to get clean, fresh filtered water.
Amazon Link
$99.95

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

Filtration is the top thing that we judged these by. Their filtration process is the most important thing to look at since they are mostly outdoor tools. That means they’ll be dealing with much tougher water than what comes out of a faucet or other home area. In this area, we looked at how many stages there were in the filtration process while also looking at how many things the product removed from the water.

Extra points were given if it did a good job on taste and odor, although that particular part was difficult since both are based on the source of water. More stages don’t equal better filtration, so we looked at the quality over quantity method with the stages in the portable filter. Smaller products like the LifeStraw were quite incredible with their stages, even managing to outdo some of the larger choices on the list.

After looking at all of the stages, we paid attention to how much water was held with the product, and also looked at the lifespan of each individual filter. Without taking pricing into consideration, this was one of the most influential criteria on the list. Lifespan varied from 1500 liters to a couple of gallons, so there was a lot to take in with individual products. The only thing that was consistent across the board was how the size of the filter was closely related to how much it filtered.

This isn’t 100% accurate, but it was safe to assume that smaller products filtered less water than the larger portable options on the list. We put filters with the highest quality stages at the top, and then looked at how much water they filtered per stage. Most of the filters had similar lifespans, so only a few made a difference when ordering them by how soon they needed to be changed.

Portability

Portability was complex since all of the products on the list hit this criterion well. The standout in this category was the LifeStraw, which really had no equal when pairing its portability with the other criteria we selected. It could be placed in a regular pocket, a feature that we considered the ultimate in portability.

Since it is separate from the other products in this regard, our true portability test took place with the #2-10 spots. We looked at the best possible way to order the list by size without putting too many restrictions on bigger products that provided better filtering. The end result is a nice balance of portability and features for the remaining nine spots on the list.

Ease of Use

Ease of use was also based on the remaining nine spots since the LifeStraw was the simplest to use. We looked at ease of use based on how an average user would handle the product for the first time. That means user-friendliness for absolute beginners was rated higher on the list. Using the unit and changing filters was a big part of what made up the ease of use.

Filters that jammed up or required too many steps were left off of the list. All of the remaining caused little to no problems when being used, even in high volume situations. Those that had extra steps were rated high only if they included good instructions. We had no trouble ordering the list in this format since the majority of the portable filters on the list were made to keep things simple. Even options that required the user to manually pump the water was very well done in their design.

Speed

The speed at which the water goes through its stages of filtration popped up on our radar for a very good reason. When you’re in a rush, the last thing that should hold you up is getting water filtered. Back when water filtration was first introduced, it used a slow drip method that would take upwards to a half an hour to get a justifiable amount of water.

The selections on the list that we reviewed are quicker, and more importantly, they give you more water in a shorter amount of time. Going by these criteria, pump-based were pushed further down the list while the quicker methods were bumped up. Shorter waiting times are always encouraged with filtered water if it doesn’t affect the quality.

Value

Can you imagine a situation where you find yourself in a place with lots of water but you are unable to use it because drinking it could kill you? Well, many people who live in places with a reliable supply of fresh and clean water can easily take this precious resource for granted because it is always at their disposal. Ask anyone who has ever been stranded in a place with water that they could not drink and they will tell you how important a water filter is.

Even though the initial amount of money you will spend to buy the water filter will be more than the cost of a bottle of disposable water, you will find that in the long run, having a portable one works out cheaper. Consider the number of bottles of water you drink per day and multiply that by the amount you spend on each and you will see that you are spending a lot on your drinking water.

Apart from being cheaper in the long run, they will also save the environment. What do you do with the plastic containers after you finish the water in them? The more responsible throw them into a bin near them yet many will just throw them anywhere that’s convenient. Even when thrown into the bin, the containers still need to be managed through proper waste disposal. If used in the veld, the plastic can be left there and chewed by animals which could easily lead to death.

10 Best Portable Water Filters

1. LifeStraw

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$14.34
LifeStraw water filter
Amazon Link

You can’t beat the award-winning Lifestraw for ease of use, portability, and longevity. Considered to be the best portable water purifier since 2005, it continues to help the world get fresh, clean water.

Portability
You really can’t beat the Lifestraw in terms of size, as it is lighter than a smartphone and can even fit in your pocket. With the sealed bag that it comes with, you’ll have it ready to go anytime, anywhere. Picking up a couple of these and putting them in your backpack won’t take up any room at all.

Features and Specifications
Each straw filters up to 1000 liters of water, allowing you to use it for a long period of time with no worries. It also only weighs 2 ounces so you'll barely notice it on you.

Cost and Value
Low priced and portable, you just can’t deliver a better product. It’s been used for years by millions worldwide and continues to be the best available. LifeStraw stands alone at the top and continues to be a great choice for getting the most out of the bad water.

Amazon Link
$14.34

2. Sawyer Products Mini

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$20.32
Sawyer Products Mini
Amazon Link

Options for the customer is always a good thing, which is exactly what makes this Mini Water Filtration System so good. There is something for everyone with this package whether you’re an individual or a group.

Customization Options
Colors available are blue, black, green, pink and camo. There are also limited edition colors, and pack options for 1, 2, 4 and special gift packs.

Features and Specifications
This small product can filter up to 100,000 gallons, which is amazing for its size. It also comes with a 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch so you can save some water for later use.

Cost and Value
Depending on which package you decide to pick up, the price will either be low or high. You get more value from the gift packs, so keep that in mind when deciding on which to buy. This is the best bulk deal on the list, with a lot of potentials to work well for groups that go hiking. Compact and easy to use, you’ll be able to enjoy several thousands of gallons of filtered water for years.

Amazon Link
$20.32

3. Katadyn Vario Water Filter

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$90.98
Katadyn Vario Water Filter, Best Portable Water Filters
Amazon Link

The Katadyn was an easy addition to our list for a few reasons, but most importantly because it simply outlasts most of the other products on our list. Fitted with three different filters the Katadyn is going to be able to provide up to 50-thousand liters of clean water that has had all offending particles and chemicals removed. It’s also incredibly easy to use and with the microtubing, clean water can be pumped directly into your favorite water bottle.

Dual Pistons Make It Easy
This doesn’t seem like much but if you’re in a tough spot or if you’re having any trouble getting to your water source the dual pistons make it easy to pull water because you don’t have to put your body weight behind pulling water through the filters. And in a tough spot, it’s all about easy.

Three Filter Technology
A high-performance glass filter, an adjustable ceramic filter and an activated charcoal filter that will take any funky smells out of your water. The thing about portable filters is that you want to be able to trust them to do their job 100 percent correctly and Katadyn just works.

Cost and Value
Not a bad price for the amount of water you’re going to get out of this product. It can provide incredible 50-thousand gallons of portable water before you have to worry about the filters going bad. That’s enough to recommend it in and of itself, but the three filter technology and the micro tubing make it an even better deal.

Amazon Link
$90.98

4. Platypus GravityWorks

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$106.99
Platypus Gravity works, Best Portable Water Purifiers
Platypus Gravity works, Best Portable Water Purifiers
Platypus Gravity works, Best Portable Water Purifiers
Amazon Link

Make Gravity work for you and you’ve got a pump built to make life easier for you. This is a simple concept dirty water bag goes on top, gravity moves it through the filter and collects in the lower bag. It seems simple enough, and it works. And it’s surprisingly fast delivering over 2 liters of water in less than three minutes. There is, of course, the need for a tree or you’re going to be stuck doing a scarecrow pose while you wait for clean water but you could have worse problems.

Great Filter
This filter is going to remove almost anything that might put you in danger, a guaranteed 99 percent filter rate for bacteria and protozoa that might make you sick, and it gets any nasty chemicals out as well. It’s also surprisingly fast so you’ll have clean water in no time at all.

High Capacity System
The bags are big 4 and you can move up to 4 liters of water at a time through the filter system. And they work fast so no need to wait around. And also, the collection bag is part of the kit so you don’t need to have any other collection devices on hand.

Cost and Value
A bit pricey but this is really a set it and forget it system that’s going to give you plenty of water in no time at all with a minimum amount of fuss on your part.

Amazon Link
$106.99

5. Survivor Filter PRO

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$69.95
Survivor Filter PRO
Amazon Link

Looking at the Survivor Filter Pro-LE as something different would be the correct choice, as its powerful filtration system works hard to make water fresh. It’s small enough to go with you anywhere yet powerful enough to handle big tasks.

Dual Membrane Filters
Replaceable and long-lasting, you can reuse it until you pass 100,000 liters. The internal carbon filter is good for 2,000 liters, which is more than enough for the hardcore hiker.

Features and Specifications
This model produces a flow rate of 17 ounces a minute, so if you're in need of some drinkable water fast, this is the model for you. It also features a steel draw-bar for reinforced pumping.

Cost and Value
There is a genuine interest in the price of this product since it is barely mid-range. Considering how well developed it is, buyers will end up getting a great deal at the current price. As long as you keep the unit clean it will last you years of use before needing an actual replacement.

Amazon Link
$69.95

6. Etekcity

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$19.29
Etekcity portable water filter
Amazon Link

Compact and extremely useful, the Etekcity Portable is a must-have companion for any hiker. It handles dirty water like a champ and turns it into fresh drinking water within minutes.

Three Stage Advanced Filtration
It’s surprising that one of the strongest filters on the list comes from the smallest item. Several contaminants are eliminated in the filtration process with the pre-filter, carbon filter, and UF membrane inline filter.

Features and Specifications
For such a small water filter to be this powerful is amazing, and it will definitely get the job done with 1500 liters of water per filter. It also includes extension straw, a syringe for cleaning, and a water pouch.

Cost and Value
This is one of the lowest-priced filters on the list, so is very customer friendly. With all of the extras thrown in with the original purchase, this may be the best filter to consider as a gift.

Amazon Link
$19.29

7. Grayl Water Filter

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Grayl Water Filter
Amazon Link

This was engineered and built with the outdoor adventurer in mind. It has an award-winning two-step design that allows you to safely clean fresh water from anywhere in the world in just 15 seconds. It’s easy to use and protects against pathogens, chemicals, and heavy metals.

Two Step Design
Grayl is known and trusted by outdoor adventurers around the world and is an industry leader when it comes to innovation and dependability. This canteen features the company’s patented one-step design in which your body weight is used to push the water through the filter to produce safe and clean drinking water. You simply, fill, press, and drink.

Extra Protection
This item has been tested and used on freshwater sources all around the world and goes beyond just removing protozoa and bacteria. The filter cartridge uses three technologies to remove more than 99% of disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoan cysts.

Cost and Value
This is a great item for those outdoor adventurers looking to live off the land. It can also come in very handy during emergency situations when there is no potable water available. It’s a good idea to have one at home just in case.

Amazon Link

8. Aquamira Frontier Max

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$49.95
Aquamira Frontier Max, Best Portable Water Filters
Aquamira Frontier Max, Best Portable Water Filters
Amazon Link

This isn’t so much a system as a really good stand-alone filter. That’s okay because it’s a really, really good filter. This system promised to filter almost everything, including tiny viruses out of your water and if you’re in really sketchy parts of the world, or even in your own backyard that can be valuable. And don’t worry too much about it not being a whole kit as this filter will adapt to whatever collection bags you have pretty easily.

Easy to Carry
We like the Aquamira because it comes in such a small package that it’s easy to carry with you wherever you go. The Unit is small enough to fit in a backpack or even a pocket if you need it to and you can just use it as needed.

Easily Adaptable
The adaptors that come with this filter mean it’s going to be pretty easy to hook them up to any tubing or water pumps you might have. They’ll even adapt pretty easily to a funnel or whatever you’re water’s coming from.

Cost and Value
Because it’s just the filter this model comes in really cheap. So if you already have the best portable water filtration system or some other equipment and just need some extra protection this product is a great choice.

Amazon Link
$49.95

9. Survival BPA Free

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Survival BPA Free
Amazon Link

Keeping things simple, this one is a favorite among hardcore hikers. This is about as light a water filter that you can get without losing effectiveness.

Simple Use
Fill a bottle with dirty water and attach the end to the filter, squeeze the bottle or suck on the straw at the end and you’ll get clean water as a result. It can even be used on-demand with a lake or river.

Features and Specifications
This will remove 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, giving you peace of mind when drinking with it. You’ll find a use for this beyond its filtration abilities which are already top-notch on their own, including a mirror, compass, and tubing.

Cost and Value
This is one of the lowest-priced filters on the list, but also one of the hardest to use. The value of this model will come down to the experience level of the user. All of the extras included with this filter are a real bonus and extend the bells and whistles of the product.

Amazon Link

10. MSR MiniWorks EX

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$99.95
MSR MiniWorks EX
Amazon Link

A little bit of manual labor goes a long way with the SR MiniWorks EX Microfilter. Its basic functions are all you’ll ever need to get clean, fresh filtered water.

Fast And Efficient
The AirSpring Accumulator allows the user to pump up to 1 liter a minute. That’s pretty fast for manual filtering, and all without missing vital compounds in non-filtered water.

Features and Specifications
This features a 2000 liter cartridge life which will go a long way if you are only using it for outdoor adventures. A water bottle adapter is included so you can save some for later as well.

Cost and Value
For the number of contaminants that are removed from the water, the mid-range price seems about right. And with a long filter life, the value doubles instantly. With the high filter rate and a minimal amount of work to get clean water, buyers will be pleased with this purchase.

Amazon Link
$99.95

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