Best Water Purifiers Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Water, water everywhere as the old saying goes, but not a drop to drink. It's not just about the desert anymore, these days it can be hard to fully trust the water coming out of your tap. And if you think it's going to get better, think again. We're in for some serious water woes in the future because there's less and less of the stuff to go around. And while we're not preppers here at GH, we're certainly like to be prepared for anything. that's why we're huge fans of water purifying systems, for your home, for the outdoors, just get one!. The main reason being: humans can go weeks without food, but only a few days without water. So when things really, truly go south, keep one of our water purifiers handy.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
Easy to clean
Packs down small
Fast water flow
- Survivor PRO
- Lifestraw Family 1.0
- Aquamira Water Drops
- Steripen Adventurer Opti
- Alexapure Pro
- Lifestraw Mission
- Express Water Reverse Osmosis System
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Water Purifiers
1. Survivor PRO
Easy to clean
Packs down small
Fast water flow
Short outlet hose
Plastic construction doesn't feel as sturdy
Believe it or not, the Survivor PRO is similar in size to the other Survivor outlined, while offering the ability to purify water for multiple people. At a flow rate of 17 ounces per minute, and a lifespan of 100,000 liters for pre-filters and 2,000 liters for the carbon cartridge, this works great for backpacking, group camping, etc. The PRO also boasts the ability to reduce heavy metals by 95%, in addition to viruses, staph, and bacteria.Read more
0.01 Micron Filtration
This system is no joke, purifying down to 0.01 microns due to TWO UF Membrane filters and a carbon cartridge. The dirtiest of water comes out clear, tasty and safe to drink in a time-efficient manner.
Three Ways to Use
Either put the tube straight into the water source to drink, pump into the provided cup, or pump into any water bottle or hydration pack for portability.
Cost and Value
Compared to the other pump purifiers outlined, the Survivor PRO is on the low end for both price and weight, making it a good option for solo or group usage without breaking the bank.
2. Lifestraw Family 1.0
Very clear instructions
Removes unpleasant odor and taste
Solid, quality construction
Comes in a sealed container for long-term storage
Bulky for backpacking
Slightly slow flow rate
Lifestraw has gained a strong reputation in the water filtration business throughout the years. Unlike most popular single-user straw, the Family removes bacteria, protozoa, AND viruses, making it an all-star purification system for even the sketchiest water sources. This gravity system is great for group backpacking, long-term camping, or at home as an emergency backup.Read more
With a long-lived filter, the Lifestraw Family boasts the ability to serve a family of 4 for 3 years on just one cartridge. The included cartridges are also easy to remove and clean.
Removes up to 0.02 Microns
This surpasses the EPA standards for water purification, which is why this is a popular choice for families in third world countries or areas with contaminated water sources.
Cost and Value
For a gravity system, the Lifestraw Family surpasses the competition with being an affordable option for larger groups and long-term use, or as a lost-cost option to store in case of emergency.
Comes with a bag to store water
Easy to store anywhere
Comes with 5 prefilters
Easy survival tool
Hard to draw water
Long cleaning process
Etekcity makes the top ten due to its compact design being able to catch down to 0.1 microns, something most larger purifiers cannot claim. It can produce up to 1500 liters, and come with a plunging system to backwash and clean. The flow rate may be too slow for producing large quantities at once, but this works good for solo hikers, day trips hunting or fishing, or in an emergency kit.Read more
0.01 Micron Filtration
For the compact design of the Etekcity, the ability to remove 0.01 microns is amazing. While it will clog up faster the dirtier the water is, the filtration will give you peace of mind that you get only the best water in your mouth.
In addition to the straw itself, included is a small bag for water storage, a hose for pumping out of the water source, a cleaning syringe, and a long straw for easier drinking.
Cost and Value
As the second cheapest option outlined, the Etekcity works best as a single-user survival purifier, or as a day-use water purifier to cut down on water weight in your pack.
Works in seconds
Different colors to choose from
Easy to store on a backpack
No chemicals used
Only cleans 16oz at a time
Can be hard to push down button
These days, people are looking for tools that serve a dual purpose to help save space. The Grayl purification system does just that. Hidden within a seemingly normal water bottle, the Grayl takes up no additional space. Perfect for hikers, hunters, and travelers alike, the purifier cartridges are good for about 40 gallons; that's enough to last a few months on average.Read more
Three Purification Technologies
Two-layers of ceramic fiber to provide a strong base, a mesh filled with positively charged ions to magnetically attract impurities out of the water, and activated carbon to absorb gross tastes and heavy metals, leaving you with pure water.
The big draw for the Grayl system is that your bottle can serve as your full purification system. There is no more searching around in your bag or carrying some extra in your pocket to get clean water. All you do is fill your cup and press the button.
Cost and Value
On the lower end of the price range, this purification water bottle is cheap enough to buy for the whole family or multiple for yourself. With a few different color schemes to choose from, the Grayl is a sure thing for clean, tasty water.
Smaller than similar competing products
Rids water of nasty flavors
Can attach to water bottles
Comes with extra cartridges
Slow water flow
Water bottle threads can leak depending on the brand
The Survivor is a great device for the lightweight backpacker, international traveler, or in an emergency kit. Weighing 3.5 ounces, and only 7 inches long, this personal purification device can fit just about anywhere. catching down to 0.05 microns, the Survivor has been proven to remove bacteria, staph, and viruses. The replaceable system lasts up to 264 gallons (with 5 extra pre-filters included in initial shipping). You can either attach this to your own water bottle or purchase the two canteens specifically designed for this device. Backed by a lifetime warranty, it is obvious why this came in as Editor's Choice.Read more
Easy Long-Term Storage
Due to the non-oxidizing material used, the Survivor can be stored in survival/emergency kits for long periods of time. In addition, instructions are included on how to easily clean and store.
Use as Straw or Canteen
You have the option to use this as a straw and drink straight from the water source, or attach it to a water bottle and use it as a canteen for a faster water flow rate and easy portability.
Cost and Value
The Survivor ranks as one of the lowest costs of the top ten purifiers reviewed. For the durability, longevity, and ease of use it presents, it would be a great gift for anyone, for many uses.
6. Aquamira Water Drops
Can treat any volume of water up to 30 gallons per bottle
More cost-effective than similar products
No taste effect
Doesn't remove sediment
Takes 4 hours to treat viruses
Aquamira has quickly moved up past its competitors to become one of the most trusted treatment drop systems on the market. Now, they have become a favorite among long-distance backpackers, international travelers, and those who want a backup system or compliment to other filtration devices. While drops do not remove particles, these drops do neutralize odors and taste, and can hardly be counted as extra weight in your pack.Read more
Four Year Shelf Life
This, in combination with the ability to purify up to 30 gallons per treatment kit, makes a great option for either a sole source of purification or as a backup system in case of failure with your purifying system.
While treatment drops do not remove particles in the water, the chlorine dioxide actually works to neutralize the tastes and odors of water.
Cost and Value
Aquamira ranks as Best Value while holding its own against other competing water treatment drops due to neutralizing bad taste, holding a long shelf life, and being more reliable than systems with many different parts.
7. Steripen Adventurer Opti
Kills everything in 90 seconds
Water resistant base
"No setup" easy use
Water sensor doubles as a flashlight
Purifies up to 8,000 liters
Can't use on small-mouthed bottles
Can only purify one liter at a time
The Steripen Adventurer Opti has been created with the true adventurer in mind. Meant to be used with a wide-mouthed water bottle, UV technology kills everything in your water as you stir the stick around for 90 seconds. Using batteries you can get at almost any store, it requires very little maintenance to use and store. The LED light serves as both a "ready" indicator for your water and a flashlight. It also comes with a carry case that can be attached to your belt or outside your pack for easy reach.Read more
Runs off of Batteries
This really comes down to personal preference. For those who would rather go to the store and purchase the proper batteries instead of ordering expensive replacements online and having to wait for them to arrive, this is a convenient alternative. You can use rechargeable batteries as well.
Kills Everything Fast
Unlike water treatment tablets, which can take hours to kill viruses, the Steripen kills everything within 90 seconds, giving less wait time between you and your water. The LED light informs you when your water is safe to drink.
Cost and Value
As the only competitive water purifier of its kind, Steripen has managed to keep costs low for this device. Many travelers have chosen Steripen for the simple setup and practically no maintenance.
8. Alexapure Pro
Stainless steel construction
pH of water is a bit high
The Alexapure Pro Water Filtration System purifies water from nearly any source into healthy, clean, and safe drinking water. Paired in the system are an unprecedented super-filtration system from a gravity block core and a hybrid ceramic shell. The combination achieves high-efficiency.Read more
The Alexapure system beats many of its competitors in the water filtration arena. The groundbreaking filtration system is designed to provide contaminant-free water. It removes 99.99 percent of impurities including heavy metals, VOCs (Volatile Organic Contaminants), disinfectants, cysts, and bacteria. The large capacity ensures never running short on clean drinking water. Alexapure is perfect for places with and without power because it requires no electricity. Replacement cartridges are simple to install. The system’s spigot provides instant safe water access. Capacity and flow rate can be increased by connecting additional systems.
Construction and Capacity
The Alexapure boasts construction of stainless steel that is both durable and hygienic. This filtration system is a space saver. The compact device can be placed nearly anywhere in a home. Both raw and pure water capacity is 8.5 liters or 2.25 gallons. A rubber base ring provides a non-slip anchor. The system comes complete with a manual having instructions for assembly. Rubber plugs and the knob assembly are included in the package.
Cost and Value
The Alexapure manufacturer guarantees satisfaction. The avaerage life is 5000 gallons with daily use. The extended lifespan of this one eliminates the need to replace it constantly. One gravity cartridge comes with the purchase. The design allows up to four more to increase the flow rate of pure water without compromising the drinking water quality. By default, stainless steel is easy to clean. Before using the system for the first time, thoroughly rinse the interior with fresh, clean water.
9. Lifestraw Mission
Large storage capacity
No pumping required
Packs down small
Lasts for 18,000 liters
Doesn't work great in stagnant water sources
Doesn't do well in freezing temperatures
As the second Lifestraw product outlined, both being gravity-fed purifiers, the Mission is a flexible, durable plastic purifier coming in either a 5 or 12-liter size. Similar to the Lifestraw Family, the Mission removes down to 0.02 microns and lasts for 18,000 liters. Best for use at base camps and for emergency situations.Read more
5 or 12 Liter Options
While this is probably too slow for on-the-go water fill, it is a good option to keep at base camp for large groups. A lifespan of 18,000 liters (4,755 gallons) is good enough to last for years.
Gravity fed purification systems are a favorite among large groups due to the ability to fill up the bag, open the valve, and leave to do other camp chores while allowing the water to filter down into a clean container.
Cost and Value
While the Mission is more expensive than it's sister product, the Lifestraw Family, it has two different storage capacity sizes and packs down smaller for group backpacking trips. The additional price is worth it for those who want a compact gravity filter.
10. Express Water Reverse Osmosis System
Eliminates odor and taste or heavy metals and chlorine
No need to pre-soak the cartidge
Magnesium technology provides a balanced flavor
Used for hot and cold beverages
Some testers found the flavor requires some getting used to
The Express Water Reverse Osmosis System produces great tasting water for a price that is about half of its competitors. This is a five-stage filtration system that effectively removes as much as 99 percent of contaminants.Read more
The 50 gallon per day capacity is suitable for an average size family. Housing and connections are color coordinated which makes installation and replacing cartridges a snap. It has a flow rate of 0.8 gallons per minute. You can fill a spaghetti pot in no time. Flooding accidents are not a problem. A leak stopper is included. The Express Water Reverse Osmosis System has a five-stage cleaning process made up of an RO membrane and carbon cartridges. The components ensure the water has a Parts Per Million (PPM) of ten or below. Those are excellent results and assure the consumer the system is doing what an RO system is meant to do, purify and clean water.
Reserve Osmosis Filtration
Reverse osmosis works by the water pressure in the plumbing system. No electricity is involved. The entire system and storage tank installation is under the sink. Water goes through a three-prefilter series before it is forced through the reverse osmosis membrane. Clean water molecules are allowed to pass through the system while it blocks contaminants and sends them down the drain. cleaned water goes into The storage tank until the faucet is turned on.
Cost and Value
The RO system is affordable and receives high ratings from consumers who have purchased the system. An extra set of cartridges come with the package. That aspect is value for the money. It is a unique selling point. The device gets a nod of approval because of the customer service provided. Special requests and installation advice are offered. Express Water is an extremely valuable reverse osmosis system for the price.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Most of our systems are going to be ones that you can take with you because we're outdoorsy that way. Also, when you're away from home and away from civilization access to clean water is likely to be your biggest problem if you get into trouble. So, we're looking for systems that travel easy and work well in all kinds of environments.
Ease of Use
We're looking for systems that can be ready to go quickly, the work easily and give great results. After all, as we see it, needing water isn't something you're going to be blase' about, it's going to be something that is suddenly a big, big problem. So we're looking for systems that not only travel easily but are user-friendly and give results without too much headache. The concern here is you get stuck with a complicated purifier, and one that doesn't work for the user. The final result could be water that's not really fit to drink. So when we started testing we leaned towards products that are simple, and effective, and fool-proof.
Now you know you want your water purified - the next step is to choose how you want to achieve this in your home or workplace. There are complete purification systems that can be plumbed into your supply, so you have purified water on tap - however; this is expensive and may not be the best option for you.
Water purifiers are often used in conjunction with extra filtration systems in home units, and are usually available over the counter. They remove the unwanted chemical components found in water, and the purifier is exceptionally effective at reducing bacteria and viruses. Types can vary in a few ways - Countertop purifiers are quick and easy to fit and use, you place it where you want it and attach it to your tap. The water then travels through the tube and the filtration unit and is dispensed through a further faucet on the unit itself. These types depend on a water supply so are not recommended for traveling.
Another common type of purifier is a gravity type, these stand-alone units need no plumbing and can even work without a municipal supply of water. They work by using gravity to push the water through a purifier system that is capable of removing impurities, they are useful for purification purposes when you’re out on trips and even in emergency situations where your municipal supply is problematic. A super portable way to get your purified water when you’re out and on the go is to get a purification bottle - these work well although they cannot clean larger capacities at any one time.
Also, there are also pitcher purifiers; these easy to use jugs clean the water through cartridges that work with granulated activated charcoal. They can be hindered because they need refilling, need time for the water to run through, and the cartridges may need frequent changing depending on your use.
Another excellent and easy type running along the same lines - are charcoal stick systems. These are reusable and can last for months, they are however not so practical for larger families, but the simplicity of their use makes them ideal for camping trips and other outdoor activities.
Though both distilled water and purified water are by far two of the purest on the market, they are both produced in different ways. Distilled water is achieved by boiling water, trapping the steam and then condensing it back into the water. Although it is generally thought of as suitable to use in your car, your clothes iron, etc.; it is just as pure as purified water. However, because the overall cost of distillation is high - the price of distilled water is often more expensive than purified water. Purified water goes through a process of filtration that serves to remove all the impurities and is less expensive to produce than distilled. The method can make it vastly more accessible to us all and in general terms - it is as good and pure as distilled water. Inherent in both distilled and purified water is the safety and health bonuses, because they are both free from bacteria and a lot of impurities that can cause illness.
The main differences between the two are primarily the first process water goes through to achieve pure status, and the cost to us - the buyers. The main reason for many of us looking for purer water to drink is the result of manufacturers claims that this type of water is better for us than any we can get from a municipal supply. The tap water we drink is safe to drink and is regulated to ensure we are being provided with a good product that won’t cause us any health problems. That is not to say of course, that we all like the water we get from this source, for some the taste is unpleasant. And occasionally there are slight variations in the water due to pipe problems, and possible contaminants from other outside sources.
One of our biggest concerns when it comes to purified water are the safety hazards that come with trying to drink water you find in the wild. Forget the parasites and water-borne illnesses that tend to exist out of doors, but sadly these days we're also worried about sewage and chemical contamination in every spot of water we find in the wild. For that reason, we're leaning towards purifier systems that are idiot proof, and that also protect against a wide range of things biological and chemical that could get you sick or even kill you.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
We're going to say one thing about water purifiers, get the one that's going to solve your particular problem. If you're worried about your tap water, make sure you're getting a purifier that gets the lead out. If on the other hand, you're worried about running out of water when you're hiking in the Atacama well that's going to be an entirely different bird. What we're trying to say is that one purifier isn't going to fit everyone's needs. So dig through our list carefully and think about what's the most likely use of your purifier and act accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do I need a water purifier in my home?
As a rule, all municipal water supplies are tested and pre-treated so they are safe to drink, wash with etc. However, your individual preferences are what decides if you need a purifier or not. They can improve the taste of water, remove any odors and of course impurities, you could weigh up the balance of pros and cons regarding space limitations, cost, how many people you need to take into account who will be using it. Once done, you can decide if you want/need a purifier for your own specific requirements.
q: Isn’t it better just to drink bottled water?
It’s arguably about the true benefits of bottled water, whilst a lot will say they are from natural springs and sources, they may still contain a similar amount of minute impurities as tap water. They cost more than tap water and home filtration systems - and that’s just financially. Some of the bottles can potentially release small plastic molecules into the water, and there is the environmental cost that comes with them too. Plastic bottles, although recyclable, often do not land in recycling but instead in a landfill, in our oceans and do not biodegrade.
q: How can I find out what’s in my water?
Public water suppliers are required to provide a yearly report called the “Consumer Confidence Report”, you should be able to gain access to view this review to see what’s in the water in your local area.
q: If I know what’s in my water, how do I choose an appropriate purification system?
Once you have the facts, you can source specific systems that can target any areas of potential contaminants you want removing. Each product should have in its information guide, the specific qualities listed should be able to give you a better-informed decision.
q: I’ve bought a purification system that uses carbon, what contaminants can it remove?
Carbon filtering is very effective at removing or reducing a great number of contaminants in your water. It can remove up to 81 chemicals from your water, and can actively remove up to 32 identified organic contaminants.
q: I’ve bottled my purified water, where is the best place to store it?
The best place for storage is in the refrigerator, this will help to retain the purity and will be more refreshing to drink.
q: How is water filtration used?
Water filtration is usually completed by tap water (or untreated water) passing through a filtration system, this acts as a blocker and traps the impurities as the water passes through. This is why cartridges need replacing after so much use to ensure optimum results.
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