10 Best Portable Water Filters (Review) in 2021

Brad Robinson
Written by
Last update:

It’s no secret that water quenches your thirst, makes food taste better, and keeps you hydrated. It’s also essential for basic survival.

But what happens when your water is laced with harmful chemicals? How can you possibly enjoy a nice, refreshing glass of water without worrying about harmful chemicals found in your faucet water?

NameCategoryProduct
LifeStraw Personal Water FilterBest OverallLifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Etekcity Water Filter Straw Camping Water Purification Portable Water Filter Survival KitBudget PickEtekcity Water Filter Straw Camping Water Purification Portable Water Filter Survival Kit
Platypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter SystemUpgrade PickPlatypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter System

1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Our rating: 9 / 10

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Great for emergency preparedness
  • Durable
  • New and improved micro-pump
  • Worth the amount

The best portable water filter is the LifeStraw primarily because it is affordable and can save your life when you’re in the wild.

It’s an ideal choice for hikers and campers who want to be prepared for an emergency situation. The water filter is a key item to add to your emergency kit.

You can also rely on it for travel and emergencies, like natural disasters when you can’t drink water from the tap or your faucet.

2. Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Needs to be cleaned regularly
  • Not ideal for off-the-grid situations in remote regions

If you want to filter water without it going through a pump, the Sawyer Mini is a good option. This handy filter extracts water through two filtration steps: One catches tiny particles and the other larger ones, producing clean water that you can use for drinking, cooking, and more.

In the case of fast-moving water, the Sawyer Mini is not the best option. And in the case of slow-moving or no running water, you can’t use the filter. These are both unfortunate scenarios with no workaround.

The filter does not require a pumping motion. Instead, you squeeze the water through the filter. The downside is that you have to squeeze water through the entire filter, wasting some of it. It’s not that much, but if you are literally dying of thirst, this could add up to a lot. A helpful tip is to pre-fill your container with water to make the task of squeezing the water through the filter much easier.

3. LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water Purifier

Our rating: 8 / 10

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water Purifier

Check Price on Amazon

The LifeStraw is one of the best known filters, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a durable piece of equipment you can carry in your pocket, which is a useful feature for emergency preparedness or as an addition to your bug-out bag. It’s very difficult to damage, and it requires no electricity to use.

This one is also a great choice for hikers, campers, and travelers who want a filter that they can use anywhere.

The LifeStraw is a simple design, so you won’t have any trouble assembling it. It doesn’t come with anything special, so you’ll have to add your own drinking flask. It pairs well with mason jars and other one-liter bottles.

4. Etekcity Water Filter Straw Camping Water Purification Portable Water Filter Survival Kit

Our rating: 8 / 10

Etekcity Water Filter Straw Camping Water Purification Portable Water Filter Survival Kit

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • It’s very portable, making it ideal for outdoor use or survival situations.
  • The filter is pretty fine, so it’s suitable for most uses, even for drinking and cooking.

5. Katadyn Vario Water Filter

Our rating: 8 / 10

Katadyn Vario Water Filter

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Portable and light weight
  • Replaceable filters
  • Easily hang-able and can be attached to a backpack
  • Can purify gallons of water

The long-lasting Katadyn Vario Water Purifier is a portable water filtering system, ideal for hiking and camping, or even as a lifesaving device in an emergency. The purifier utilizes two different methods of filtration in one package: ceramic and ion-exchange. Both methods develop clean and safe water.

A ceramic cartridge comes with replacement filters, which makes the system easy to maintain when you’re in the woods. The two parts of the filter are separately housed and the cartridges slide easily into place. This also allows you to easily backwash the filter. Because the cartridges are so easy to replace, they are ideal for home emergency use.

With the Vario, you can eliminate the risk of drinking dirty water and prevent potentially-crippling waterborne diseases. It provides double filtration, with two completely independent methods to clean your water, and is designed to be versatile, so you can filter any water source. In addition to providing an ample supply of drinking water, it can also purify water for washing, flushing and other uses.

6. Survivor Filter PRO

Our rating: 8 / 10

Survivor Filter PRO

Check Price on Amazon

This filter is lightweight and is made from BPA-free material. It can filter out up to 100,000 liters of water. It has three stages of filtration.

You can attach this water filter to your own water bottle if you like, and it can be used with the Survivor Filter PRO or by itself.

You can use this to filter water after you filter it through reverse osmosis or through a different filter.

7. Platypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter System

Our rating: 8 / 10

Platypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter System

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Efficient
  • Easy to drink from

There are many people that purchase this filter system because of its capacity and popularity. However, another noticeable element of the system is its appearance, which looks like a big plastic bag. This is to be expected of its materials, though. The bag is constructed of Polyurethane-based materials that are durable and dependable but are not as attractive as the stainless steel filters from MSR or MSR Elixir.

When considering this particular product, it is important to note the difference between the two systems it comes in. One is made for personal use while the other is used for a group. The difference between the two lies in the design of the product and the amount of water it is able to filter. The personal one has a capacity of 2 liters, compared to the group size that can filter up to 4 liters. However, the large water filter can get very heavy very quickly.

The benefit of the larger filter that may not be immediately obvious is that it allows you to filter water from a larger body of water. This is a crucial element in both a survival situation and when you’re camping with a large group to consider. The smaller filter will have to be refilled.

8. LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles

Our rating: 8 / 10

LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles

Check Price on Amazon

This one is the smallest of the LifeStraw family. While some may say the small size makes it not suitable for big hiking groups, we think it is actually a good size for one person.

The LifeStraw Go Traveler’s size makes it great for traveling. The small size also allows you to carry it with you almost anywhere. The filter elements for the three colors are different. Inside the bottle are two rechargeable lithium batteries and a specialized electronic chip.

Once you fill up the LifeStraw Go Traveler, you’re good to go for 750ml (approximately 24 ounces). The cap is designed in such a way that it preserves a portion of water you didn’t drink.

9. Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filtration System

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filtration System

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Great for backpacking

The Sawyer Squeeze is hands down the best portable water filter on the market today. It is the lighter and more economic version of the popular Sawyer filter. The Sawyer Squeeze is perfect for light backpacking trips, camping trips, hiking trips, and travel trips. It is also excellent if you just want a filter that you will only need to carry around with you day to day for your family.

The Sawyer Squeeze comes with a 32-ounce pouch that collapses and stores conveniently. The pouch is made of food-grade heavy-duty polyurethane to ensure the best seal and comes with a handy black carrying pouch.

This filter comes with an ultra-fine micron filter. It has a lifespan of 100,000 gallons. There is a more expensive model called the All-in-One version of the Squeeze that comes with a small bottle where you can store clean water while filtering it.

10. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

Our rating: 8 / 10

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Performs well even when neglected
  • Cleans itself when rinsed clean
  • Gravity feed filter that works well

This filter is great in that it’s super easy to use. It requires only a small amount of back-and-forth rocking to get the water flowing.

All you really have to do is fill it up, follow the instructions (basically hang it from your shoulder and pour water in the top), and start enjoying the cleanest tasting water you’ve ever had while outdoors.

There are other water filters that are a bit smaller and lighter, but the dependability and durability of this one is phenomenal. You can pretty much neglect it and it will live on. The care that’s needed after use is minimal as well. Just give it a quick rinse with clean water and it’s good to go again.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best portable water filter?

While other outdoor gear rentals will replace the filter, you will still need to filter your water to ensure its purity. But you might want to consider being pro-active and purchasing a unit yourself. Portable water filters are made to filter water efficiently in a short time, but not all portable water filtering systems are created equal.

Filtration technology has had to catch up with the demand for safe drinking water. But one thing is consistent: water filtration is a necessity in backpacking. The best filter will be easy to use, quick, and effectively eliminate harmful elements. Read on to discover the best portable water filter for you.

What is the best water filter on the market?

There are literally dozens of portable water filters on the market, each with their own pros and cons. Here are our top picks for the best portable water filters in the market today, ordered by price. We’ve also included a handy table at the end of this guide, so you can quickly compare all the portable water filters side-by-side.

What is the best emergency water filter?

Water filtration portability is what you should be looking for when selecting a water filter as you do not know what the conditions will be like when disaster strikes. If you are having to walk long distances try to purchase a filter that is small and lightweight and can be carried over long distances. You may also have to carry it for some time if you have to flee a place or if a storm is coming and the power could go out. You will have to make sure it is small enough for you to carry.

What water filter removes viruses?

What water filter removes lead?

The best water filter is sold by Big Berkey and it offers great filtering capabilities. Check it out.

But if you really want to get one that doesn’t require filters, then you should look at the gravity water filter. They might be little more expensive to buy, but they don’t require any filters. However, if you are looking for a water filter that removes lead you should look at reverse-osmosis water filters.

They require you to install them professionally, but they will eliminate the lead and any other foreign contaminants from the water. Of course, they are a lot more expensive, but they will last much longer, and they don’t require any filters.

Conclusion

Since a lot of people do not have the time or room to store a traditional water filter, we decided to come up with a list of the best portable water filters the marketplace has to offer.

We checked out durability, size, ease of use, and ease of cleaning for each water filter in our reviews. The top 10 portable water filters we have chosen have everything you could want in a portable water filter. We hope you enjoy the reviews!

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
LifeStraw Personal Water FilterBest OverallLifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Etekcity Water Filter Straw Camping Water Purification Portable Water Filter Survival KitBudget PickEtekcity Water Filter Straw Camping Water Purification Portable Water Filter Survival Kit
Platypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter SystemUpgrade PickPlatypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter System