When it comes to water purification for emergency, survival, disaster relief, or outdoor adventures, the best portable water filter may prove to be your best ally. When you plan to spend a few days in the wilderness and drink water from a forest stream, boiling the water may be an easy way to remove bacteria.
Nevertheless, as we recently showed you, water distillation and water purification are two completely different things. Moreover, professional water distillation is more complex than just boiling a cup of water over your campfire. In case of emergencies, catastrophes, or outdoor adventures in really harsh and unsafe environments, you need the best portable water filters you can pack.
How Did We Choose Each Best Portable Water Filter for this List?
Portable water filters come in many shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common – they are versatile enough to be of aid no matter if you take a hiking trip or you want to keep your family safe during a disaster. To come up with this list, we tried to select a few items from all popular portable water filters types. Moreover, we spent hours researching them, talking to users, seasoned hikers, and even manufacturers.
So let’s see today the best portable water filter for each of your needs regarding clean, safe, drinkable water for you and your loved ones!
|Product Name||Type||Filter||Filter Life||Material||Removes||Best For|
LifeStraw Steel Portable Water Filter
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|Straw||2-stage carbon & hollow fiber membrane||264 gallons||Stainless steel||Bacteria, protozoa, odor, taste, other contaminants||EDITORS’ CHOICE: Top eco-friendly|
LifeStraw 1.0 Portable Gravity Water Filter
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|Gravity||0.02 micron filtration system||4750 gallons||Food grade plastic||Chlorine, chemicals, bacteria, protozoa, viruses||Disaster relief|
Katadyn Hiker Pro Portable Water Filter
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|Pump||0.2 micron carbon & glass-fiber||400 gallons||Food grade plastic||Bacteria, protozoa, chemicals, etc.||Outdoor harsh conditions|
Purewell Portable Water Filter
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|Pump||4-stage 0.01 micron carbon filter||793 gallons||Food grade ABS & silicon tube||Bacteria, protozoa, tap water contaminants||International travel|
Sawyer Products Mini Portable Water Filter
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|Pouch||0.1 micron squeeze filter||100,000 gallons||Food grade plastic||Bacteria, protozoa, microplastics, etc.||Filter life|
Which is the Best Portable Water Filter? Our top 8 Choices’ Reviews!
Best For: EDITOR’S CHOICE – TOP ECO-FRIENDLY
LIFESTRAW STAINLESS STEEL PORTABLE WATER FILTER
- Food-grade stainless steel straw portable water filter
- Replaceable carbon capsule for 2-stage filtration
- Filter life: 264 gallons
- Removes: 99.9% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoa, chlorine, organic chemicals, odors and bad tastes
- Product dimensions:9 x 1 x 1 inches; 4.2 ounces
- Eco-Impact: Excellent
Why Choose the LifeStraw Stainless Steel Portable Water Filter?
Meeting FDA standards, surpassing the EPA’s guidelines in water filtration capabilities, and providing humanitarian aid, the LifeStraw Stainless Steel portable water filter should become a part of anyone’s emergency supply kit. Moreover, it also makes an excellent choice for survivalists, outdoor adventurers, and international travelers. Also, remember that For each LifeStraw you purchase, the company provides safe drinking water for children in underdeveloped communities for one entire school year. But let’s see other reasons you should consider this product:
- Lightweight and easy to use and carry;
- Slim and slick design;
- The replaceable activated carbon capsule reduces chemicals such as chlorine as well as organic compounds (pesticides, herbicides, etc.);
- Requires no batteries, pumping or waiting.
|Best portable water filter from an eco point of view||May feel bothersome because some suction is needed|
|Excellent price for the features|
|A grab-and-go water filter for all needs|
Consider this product as a stainless steel eco-friendly straw allowing you to drink from any river or stream you encounter in your adventures. Moreover, consider it as a slim, slick, almost weightless travel tool to allow you to drink safe, clean water no matter where you travel in the country or abroad. Top it with an excellent price, a just humanitarian cause, terrific tech specs and you have a portable water filter to rely on effortlessly.
Best For: DISASTER RELIEF
LIFESTRAW FAMILY GRAVITY PORTABLE WATER FILTER
- Award-winning product used by over 13 million people worldwide
- Provides clean drinking water for a family of 4 for 3 years
- Filter life: 4750 gallons
- Removes: 99.9% viruses, 99.9% bacteria and 99.9% protozoan cysts to 0.02 microns, chlorine, other contaminants
- Product dimensions: 11 x 9 x 4.5 inches ; 1.15 pounds
- Eco-Impact: Excellent
Why Choose the LifeStraw Family Gravity Portable Water Filter?
We chose this product because it is the best portable water filter for disaster relief and major emergencies. Imagine being stranded due to a natural catastrophe and wondering how to survive the situation in the lack of clean, safe water until the authorities arrive. Well, this gravity water filter comes with a solid reputation and impressive capabilities. Here is why you should consider it:
- No batteries to replace, no moving parts to wear out, no running water or piped-in water supply;
- No expiration date on the product;
- Surpasses EPA standards for water purifiers;
- All raw materials are FDA compliant or equivalent;
- Flow rate: up to 3.17 gallons of water/hour;
- Comes with easy-to-clean pre-filter and purification cartridge; also included a red bulb for backwashing filter.
|Best portable water filter for emergencies and disaster relief||You should handle it with care as it is fragile|
|Perfect for homes, medical clinics, travel, outdoor adventures, preparedness & survival|
Nobody likes to think about becoming the victim of a natural or man-made disaster, but we should all consider preparedness. This portable water filter promises and delivers safe, clean water in any emergency situation. Lightweight, easy to use, and requiring little to no installation, the gravity water filter will be your friend in need and indeed no matter where you are or what you do.
Best For: OUTDOOR HARSH CONDITIONS
KATADYN HIKER PRO PORTABLE WATER FILTER
- The field cleanable filter protector screen extends the life of the cartridge in challenging conditions
- Transparent design allows you to see the filtration working
- Filter life: 400 gallons
- Removes: 0.2 micron filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria and protozoa (Giardia & Cryptosporidium), etc.
- Product dimensions: 3 x 3 x 6 inches; 11.2 ounces
- Eco-Impact: Good
Why Choose the Katadyn Hiker Pro Portable Water Filter?
Carry this durable 11-ounce water microfilter in your backpack and you will not worry about clean water no matter what unbeaten path you take in your travels and adventures. The product also features a field-cleanable filter protector screen, designed to expand the life of the cartridge in challenging conditions. But let’s see other reasons why this water filter is so compelling:
- The 0.02-micron glass-fiber filter media is designed for high output with little effort;
- Comes with a prefilter and a deluxe carry bag;
- The core activated carbon filter improves the taste and reduces chemicals in the water you intend to drink;
- Compatible with hydration bladders;
- Made in Switzerland by a company providing gear to the military, health organizations, and outdoor sports professionals.
|Best portable water filter for extreme outdoors afficionados||You should clean it often as it may clog|
|It connects directly to your hydration pack with 1/4” drink tubes and water bottles|
|Can also filter water from any source, not just natural ones|
Spending most of your time outdoors means taking precautions. While water in rivers and streams may not contain heavy metals or other scary contaminants, you should be wary of bacteria and protozoa. Fortunately, this portable water filter will accompany you every step of the way, in the harshest conditions, keeping you refreshed and healthy. An excellent choice for military personnel, outdoor pros, and humanitarian organizations, as well as individuals beating the unbeaten paths.
Best For: INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
PUREWELL PUMP PORTABLE WATER FILTER
- The special anti-skid rubber on the sides and bottom of the pump helps maintain a firm and sturdy surface while using it, while also increasing the product’s durability
- Use directly from a fresh water source, pump into the attached cup, or pump into any portable hydration device/pack
- Filter life: 793 gallons
- Removes: Bacteria, protozoa, tap water contaminants
- Product dimensions: 6.69 x 3.14 x 1.96 inches, 15.5 ounces
- Eco-Impact: Good
Why Choose the Purewell Pump Portable Water Filter?
Did you ever read a tourist brochure describing a perfect vacation destination with the amendment that you should never drink tap water there but buy bottled water? And have you ever found yourself in a city where the tap water would genuinely deserve some professional water filters? Well, the next best portable water filter on our list is the Purewell. A pump that promises you clean, safe, great-tasting water no matter where you travel in the world for pleasure or business. Let’s see why you should consider it!
- Allows you to drink safely from water fountains at parks, airports, hotels, at school or city tap water in the country or abroad;
- A super-fast flow rate of up to 58 ounces/minute;
- 4 filter stages with 0.01-micron accuracy featuring: Medical Grade PP Cotton, Coconut Shell Activated Carbon, High Quality Activated Carbon Fiber, Medical Grade Hollow Fiber UF Membrane;
- Replace its carbon filter and you can reuse the device for yet another 790+ gallons of clean safe water;
- Comes with 3 month money back/replacement guarantee & 24 months product defect free replacement warranty.
|Best portable water filter for all travelers||The hose connections to the unit should be a bit tighter|
|Compact, lightweight, easy to use|
|Excellent guarantees from the manufacturer|
Now you can drink water from any source and enjoy a healthy, safe activity, be it travel, hiking, outdoor exploring, and so on. Of course, the Purewell portable water filter also works great in cases of emergency or preparedness scenarios. All in all, given its excellent price and features, you can just take it and keep it close for any situation. A must-have in any household!
Best For: FILTER LIFE
SAWYER MINI PORTABLE WATER FILTER
- It attaches to the included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, etc.
- You can use the straw to drink directly from your water source
- Filter life: Up to 100,000 gallons
- Removes: 99.9% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. coli), 99.9% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium), 100% of microplastics
- Product dimensions: 4 x 3 x 8 inches; 3.52 ounces
- Eco-Impact: Good
Why Choose the Sawyer Mini Portable Water Filter?
With up to 100,000 gallons filter life at an incredible price, the Sawyer Mini straw portable water filter is an excellent choice for anyone concerned about drinking unsafe water. Receiving a handful of independent tests and certificates from third parties, the Sawyer Mini is the best portable water filter to carry in your pocket no matter where you go. But let’s see the other features you may enjoy!
- Perfect for everything from camping with the kids to traveling abroad;
- The package includes a 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and cleaning plunger;
- The filter features U-shaped hollow fiber microtubes that trap contaminants while allowing decontaminated water to freely pass through at a high flow rate;
- For longer filter life, you should backwash and sanitize the filter after every outing;
- Keep in mind that this portable water filter does not remove chemicals, dissolved solids, or viruses – although the latter are not likely to reside in water.
|Best portable water filter for impressive filter life||Outstanding price for the quality|
|Small, lightweight, goes everywhere|
Fitting in the palm of your hand and allowing you to drink directly from a water stream, let alone a pack/pouch/bottle, this product is perfect for any member of the family to use. From kids going camping to adults hiking or taking frequent business trips, everybody shows high levels of enthusiasm when it comes to this product. The price is outstanding, not to mention the filter life and overall performance.
Best For: ALL-PURPOSE USE
ETEKCITY PORTABLE WATER FILTER
- The 3-stage filtration system includes includes pre-filter, activated carbon filter and 0. 01-micron hollow fiber UF membrane inline filter
- Tested by the TÜV SÜD Institute, meeting EPA Water Quality Standards, FDA compliant to ensure maximum quality and safety
- Filter life: 396 gallons
- Removes: 99. 9% of waterborne bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. coli), legionella, heavy metal ions, chlorine, VOC, organic and insect contaminants
- Product dimensions: 1.22 X 6.3 inches; 2.08 ounces
- Eco-Impact: Good
Why Choose the Etekcity Portable Water Filter?
We listed this product because we, together with many others, consider it to be the best portable water filter for all-purposes. By this we mean that you can keep it at home for emergencies, take it with you when you travel, carry it around when embarking on an outdoor adventure, teach kids how to use it when they travel or go to camp, have it around for any situation. There are not many portable water filters to deal with heavy metals in water, but this one does! To make sure you understand why the enthusiasm when it comes to this product, let us tell you more about its features!
- The pre-filter safely provides extra filtration when water is more turbid or contains organic or any insect contaminants;
- Package includes water purifier, foldable water bag, extension tube, pre-filter, backwash device, and user manual;
- The kit also contains a longer straw to attach to the filter so you can drink directly from the water source and a syringe to use to clean the filter and extend its lifetime.
|Best portable water filter for all ages and purposes||Some say it is a bit hard to use at its full potential due to design|
|Small and compact|
|Excellent removal of contaminants|
Given the price and this little filter’s capabilities, we think you should give it a try. Surely, if you have more severe clean water needs, you should focus onto other portable water filters that address more serious emergencies. Nevertheless, if you want a simple, affordable, and all-purpose water filter, this one is for you! It will not give you much trouble, but it will cleanse your water of contaminants in the blink of an eye!
Best For: QUALITY/PRICE RATIO
SIMPURE PORTABLE WATER FILTER
- The 5-stage filtration system features 0.01-micron accuracy hollow-fiber UF membrane & coconut activated carbon
- Manufactured with food grade plastics and FDA-certified BPA-free ABS
- Filter life: 264 gallons
- Removes: Bacteria, protozoa, heavy metals, organic contaminants, etc.
- Product dimensions: 1.2 X 6.7 inches; 3.2 ounces
- Eco-Impact: Good
Why Choose the SimPure Portable Water Filter?
Because it is an offer you cannot refuse. This tiny filter comes with a price many cannot believe and with so many enthusiast reviews, they make things look too good to be true. Well, the SimPure portable water filter is true to its promise of allowing you to access clean, safe water anytime, anywhere, with no effort, and with great benefits. Let’s see more info about this product!
- Flow rate: 15.21 ounces/minute;
- Clog-free and troubleshoot-free;
- To clean it, all you have to do is blow out through the straw to make sure the membranes do not clog;
- Ideal for all family members no matter their age;
- Shelf-life: 5 years;
- 1-year warranty, 30-days money back guarantee, lifetime customer service.
|Best portable water filter for the price/quality ratio||May clog if you forget to clean it|
|Enthusiast customer reviews|
This is perhaps the best portable water filter to try if you are a beginner in the field of water purification and you don’t want to spend too much money upfront for a product you don’t yet fully trust. Given the price, the users’ comments, and the capabilities of this little straw, you will trust it very soon. Ideal for all types of adventurers, travelers, and responsible families who like to keep an emergency kit just in case.
Best For: QUALITY/WARRANTY RATIO
DEERFAMY PORTABLE WATER FILTER
- No batteries or energy needed to operate it
- BPA-free and FDA tested
- Filter life: 1320 gallons/5 years
- Removes: Bacteria, protozoa, other common water contaminants
- Product dimensions: 2 X 5.5 inches; 9.1 ounces
- Eco-Impact: Good
Why Choose the Deerfamy Portable Water Filter?
The last on our list of best portable water filters, we have one that comes with 5-star reviews, an excellent price, long life, and very interesting features. Let’s see some more things about this product, which is also a must-have for families, athletes, campers, hikers, frequent travelers, and everyone else planning an outdoor adventure!
- The water filter straw comes with a thread compatible with 1.1 inches thread bottles, plastic bags, collapsible bottles, pouches or buckets;
- To extend the life of the filter, rinse with clean water after use to avoid clogging; store it in a cool and dry place when you do not use it;
- The package comes with water filter, ball pump with hoses, water bag, pre-filter, storage bag, and user manual.
|Best portable water filter for quality/warranty ratio||None that we can think of|
|Excellent price for the features|
|More than enthusiast customers’ reviews|
The minimal lifespan of this product is 5 years, but you can expand it in case you use the filter only for tap water or outdoor streams. Nevertheless, even if you keep it only for five years, you benefit from full coverage warranty. More people should discover this product, as it is a dream came true for many outdoor buffs, kids, or families completing their emergency kits. Durable but lightweight and capable of cleaning your water of most common contaminants, this portable water filter brings you a lot of bang for your buck!
BONUS: The Best Filtered Water Bottle
Not so long ago, we discussed filtered water bottles and how they can help you give up on plastic water bottles altogether while drinking safe and clean water no matter where you go. Filtered water bottles are the answer to many environmental, health, and practical issues, but for the purpose of this article, we want to present you with only one. We chose it because of its tremendous eco-friendliness level, contaminant removing abilities, looks, and usefulness.
So, let’s see it as an alternative to portable water filters in case you want safe, clean water in a container that will make you stand out of the crowd (and not a pouch or a pump, but a stylish accessory that goes better with your urban activities)!
Lead and heavy metals, chlorine, industrial & agricultural pollutants, PFOA, PFOS, Chromium 6, VOC, giardia, fluoride (20%), Cryptosporidium & 99.99% of tap water contaminants, pharmaceuticals, and herbicides.
Each recyclable Urban Escape filter replaces 550 plastic water bottles. Made of 100% BPA/BPS-free glass. 100% recyclable filters. Tested against NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, 401, & P473 for contaminant reduction.
How to Choose the Best Portable Water Filter? A Short Guide
We have discussed water filtration many times before, but when it comes to portable water filters, you need to consider a few things before you purchase the one you think best fits your needs. Let’s see together a short buying guide!
Portable Water Filters Types
This criterion is important becausethe different types of portable water filters can help you decide whether you need one or more filters depending on your specific needs. So let’s see them!
- Straw water portable filters: Straw filters, as you saw above, are the smallest and most compact of them all. Some can filter about 300 gallons of water, while others can clean up to 100,000 gallons. Straw filters can fit in any backpack, travel bag, even pocket, making them some of the most versatile filters you can carry during your outdoor adventures or keep in your emergency kit. Their only downside – for some, at least – is that they require some suction from your part and careful cleaning so they don’t clog.
- Pouch water portable filters: These filters are a bit more complex in design, but they are still lightweight and easy to carry in all environments. They feature – just like straw portable water filters – advanced filtration systems based on activated carbon filters and hollow membrane filters that do a tremendous job at keeping waterborne bacteria and other contaminants away from you.
- Gravity water portable filters: Best to use when you travel to remote areas where clean water is not readily available or in case of emergencies or disasters. Bulkier in design, they do have the advantage of providing you with clean and safe water for days if not weeks or months. The downside is that the container above can contaminate the container below if not stored properly. Otherwise, these portable water filters can successfully remove waterborne bacteria and protozoa, some chemicals, herbicides, chlorine, etc.
- Pump water portable filters: Also bulkier in design and relying on a handful of components, pump portable water filters will still find room in your hiking backpack or inside your emergency cabinet. They do a good job in removing the contaminants in the water that make it undrinkable, but you have to clean the entire ensemble often, as the pump, filter, or lines can be breeding grounds for the bacteria passing through the system.
- Filtered water bottles: Small, lightweight, and easy to carry in both urban and wild environments, filtered water bottles work well in offering you clean water whenever you need it. Many quality ones can remove chlorine, heavy metals, chemical contaminants, even bacteria or viruses. Some are even equal in filtering capabilities and eco-friendliness to some of the best portable water filters. In extreme harsh environments, some specialists suggest you should use both portable water filters and filtered water bottles for total safety.
What to Consider When You Pick the Best Portable Water Filter for Your Needs
We have mentioned plenty of features and tech specs on each portable water filter review, but we want to emphasize on some of them, as we consider them essential for an educated purchase decision.
- Filtration capacity – as we said, some filters can clean 200-300 gallons of water, while others can go for thousands or hundreds of thousands of gallons. Before you decide you want a portable water filter to last for 5-10 years, make sure you also take into account the other features.
- Dimensions – they will give you the proper idea of how, where, and how you should use a portable water filter. Smaller ones go great with light backpackers, commuters, frequent travelers, and basic emergency kits. The larger ones – with more stages of filtration and a combination of filters – are more suitable to heavy-weight backpackers and outdoor adventurers, survivalists, and so on.
- Contaminant removal – it all depends on the type of filter, of course, but you should pick the best portable water filter depending on what you need. For instance, you will not find viruses in North American water, but even the clearest forest stream can contain bacteria, protozoa, or man-made contaminants. If you hike or spend time in harsh conditions, you may need a more advanced type of water filter. A gravity filter around the house will help you survive in case of a terrible tragedy like earthquakes, hurricane, floods, etc. For urban situations or camping trips, straw filters are probably the best choice.
- Ease of use – when disaster strikes, the last thing on your mind is reading the instruction manual for your portable water filter. In other words, ease of use – in correlation with your needs – is vital. If you have all the time in the world to enjoy the wilderness, you can spend as many moments as you want with the setup of your water filtration system, but if time is of the essence, pick the straws, the bottles, or the pouches for efficiency.
- Warranty – also an important factor to consider, especially when it comes to more complex portable water filters that might have to save your life.
What is Your Favorite Best Portable Water Filter?
Now that you have seen our choices in the portable water filters department, it is time for you to tell us whether you ever used one of them or feel you might want to try one for your next outdoor adventure. Which is, in your opinion, the best portable water filter? How should it work to best match your needs and exceed your expectations? Let us know in the comment section!