Don’t Waste Your Money On These Travel Water Filters

Travel Tips , Travel Water Filters
Survivor Filter
A good travel water filter means you can drink the water anywhere

Should you get a Lifestraw or a Sawyer travel water filter? How about neither? Some popular water filters didn’t make our top 6 travel water filters and you might be wondering why, well we have our reasons! And surprisingly it’s not because we are meanies and hate on random products.

 

Travel water filters that do work

We absolutely love water filters for travelling! It means less plastic waste from buying plastic bottles and we can get clean water wherever we are, unless we somehow get ourselves stuck in a desert.

 

On this page I have used affiliate links. This means we make a little pocket money if you buy anything through the links we have given. Don’t worry, it won’t cost you a penny and we will never suggest buying pants products and have done comprehensive research to pull this together.

 

We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 travel water filters (that work brilliantly!) and our recommended travel water filter is the Survivor Filter Pro.

 

 

Popular travel filters we don’t think are worth your money

 

Lifestraw Mission Travel Water Filter

travel water filters
Photo from Portable Water Filters

Filter type: Gravity / squeeze filter

 

Why isn’t the Lifestraw Mission good enough?

Lifestraw Mission is a popular travel water filter. But we don’t think it’s up to scratch, although it filters down to 0.02 microns it doesn’t have a carbon filter to reduce chemicals and heavy metals.

 

Also users report very slow filtration rates and leaky valves which can lead to cross-contamination as well as loss of efficiency. It’s a no from us!

 

Lifestraw Flex Travel Water Filter

Travel water filters
Filter type: Straw / squeeze filter

 

Why isn’t the Lifestraw Flex good enough?

Whilst the Lifestraw Flex is better and filters out more nasties than the Lifestraw, Lifestraw Go and Lifestraw Universal.  It’s still not quite up to scratch.

 

The Lifestraw Flex will not filter out viruses as it only filters down to 0.2 microns. This means you could get something really nasty like Norovirus. It does have a carbon filter though. Also Lifestraws tend to only have a limited filtration capacity (compared to other filters) before the filters need replacing. Read more about Lifestraw’s limitations on their own website.

 

We aren’t the biggest fans of straw filters, as they tend to not be that good. We have included one straw filter in our top 5 though, the Survivor Filter Straw. The reason the Survivor Filter Straw ranks in our top 6 is because it filters down to 0.05 microns and has a larger filtration capacity for the carbon and the ultra filters.

 

 

Sawyer Select S3 Travel Water Filter


Filter type: Bottle filter

 

Why isn’t the Sawyer Select good enough?

It will filter out viruses and heavy metals (yay, no Norovirus!). However you only get 240 litres before having to chuck away the WHOLE bottle (except for the pre-filter). This is wasteful as well as expensive.

 

The earlier models (Sawyer Select S1 and S2) provide more filtration capacity. But do not filter out as much, so are non-starters.

 

The bottle is filled with foam inside so you can only fill about 60% of the bottle’s capacity, meaning you have to carry out the process several times to fill another bottle – a bit weird and not that helpful. And the foam will stay wet after using it, meaning it will weigh more when lugging it around (up to 2x according to a field tester).

 

According to user reviews, material from the foam comes out when you squeeze the water through, which isn’t great and can also clog the first filter. Some user reports suggest it takes a lot of effort to squeeze very little water out.  It just sounds a bit faffy and not that great.

 

 

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System


Filter type: Straw / squeeze filter

Why isn’t the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System good enough?

Some Sawyer products have an impressive filtration capacity, and this one can filter up to 455,000 litres (more even than the trusty Survivor Filter!). And the Mini only weighs 57g. 

 

But we don’t think this can weigh out the cons. This travel water filter only filters down to 0.1 microns so doesn’t remove viruses (which puts you at risk from nasty things like Norovirus).

 

Further, this one doesn’t have a carbon filter either. Some reviews say it gets easily clogged and suggest it takes a lot of effort to squeeze very little water out.

 

 

Sawyer Micro Squeeze Travel Water Filter

SAWYER Micro Squeeze Filter

Filter type: Straw / squeeze

 

Why isn’t the Sawyer Micro Squeeze good enough?

Again, this travel water filter only filters down to 0.1 microns so it doesn’t remove viruses and it has no carbon filter.

 

Reports suggest it is hard to fill the dirty water bag and that you need to use another container. A lot of reviews suggest it leaks around the connecting points, with some users suggesting it is often difficult to get water out and can be slow.

 

 

 

 

Sawyer Gravity System


Filter type: Gravity filter

 

Why isn’t the Sawyer Gravity System good enough?

This one again doesn’t come with a carbon filter. You can opt for the 0.02 micron filter version although the few times I checked it was out of stock with Sawyer. Otherwise there is only the 0.1 micron filter which doesn’t remove viruses…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katadyn Gravity Water Filter

Travel water filters

Filter type: Gravity filter

 

Why isn’t the Katadyn Gravity good enough?

The Katadyn Gravity filter only filters down to 0.2 microns which doesn’t remove viruses and it doesn’t have a carbon filter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katadyn Be Free Gravity Filter

KATADYN BEFREE water filter

Filter type: Gravity filter

 

Why isn’t the Katadyn Be Free Gravity Filter good enough?

This is Katadyn’s new gravity filter. Sadly, it only goes down to 0.1 microns and only filters 1,000 litres so there are better products on the market.

 

 

 

Katadyn Hiker Pro

Katadyn Hiker Pro travel filterFilter type: Pump filter

 

Why isn’t the Katadyn Hiker Pro good enough?

This water filter does have a carbon filter, which is a win. However, it only filters down to 0.2 microns and only has a capacity of 1,150 litres, which is limited considering other options on the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katadyn Combi Filter

travel water filterFilter type: Pump

 

Why isn’t the Katadyn Combi good enough?

Again, it’s great the Katadyn Combi Filter has carbon filtration. However, it still only filters down to 0.2 micros. The Combi has a better filtration capacity than the Hiker Pro (above), as it has a capacity of 50,000 litres for the main filter and 400 litres for the carbon filter. However, when Survivor Filters filter down to 0.01 microns and LifeSaver Filters go down to 0.015 microns Katadyn is out of the running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter

Travel water filters

Filter type: Gravity filter

 

Why isn’t the Platypus GravityWorks good enough?

This travel water filter only filters down to 0.2 microns which doesn’t remove viruses and it doesn’t include a carbon filter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MSR Guardian Purifier

MSR Guardian Water Filter

Filter type: Pump Filter

 

Why isn’t the MSR Guardian Purifier good enough?

It filters down to 0.02 microns so gets out some viruses, but Survivor Filter filters down to 0.01 microns. This filter does not have a carbon filter, so doesn’t help remove chemicals and heavy metals, odours and tastes. Also it only filters 10,000 litres vs. Survivor filter’s 100,000. Whilst it self-cleans and has fast flow rate (2.5 litres per minute), it is heavier than both Survivor Pro and X. 

 

It is ridiculously expensive ($350) compared to other better brands,  which offer far more for much less money. Despite its huge price tag, the build quality is a bit suspect. User reports suggest varying issues from leaking O-rings, to the handle snapping and it getting easily clogged.

 

There is a cancer warning on its own website (?!). And it is way too big for travel. 

 

 

 

MSR Trailshot Pocket Sized Water Filter

Travel Water Filters

 

Filter type: Pump Filter

 

Why isn’t the MSR Trailshot Pocket Sized good enough?

It only filters down to 0.2 microns so doesn’t take out viruses. Reviews report it being slow, sometimes not working after a few days and people experiencing various issues in the field with it (e.g the filter clogging easily). It takes 60 pumps to do 1 litre of water. 

 

There is a cancer warning on its own website. It doesn’t have a carbon filter. 

 

 

MSR Miniworks

Filter type: Pump filter

 

Why isn’t the MSR Miniworks good enough?

Whilst most other products by MSR don’t have carbon filters, this one does. However it only filters down to 0.2 so doesn’t take out viruses. And only filters 2,000 litres before needing the filter replacing and it takes 85 pumps to do 1 litre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter

Filter type: Gravity filter

 

Why isn’t the MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter good enough?

It only filters down to 0.2 microns so doesn’t remove viruses. The MSR Autoflow filters 1,500 litres before the filter needs replacing, however other brands can filter far more litres and remove viruses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survivor Filter Active Filtration Bottle

SURVIVOR FILTER ACTIVE Filtration Bottle

 

Filter type: Bottle

 

Why isn’t the Survivor Filter Active Filtration Bottle  good enough?

It is so disappointing to put one of the Survivor Filter products in this section. We are normally big fans of Survivor Filter products, with 3 of their products rating highly in our best travel water filters blog. However, this product only has a carbon filter, so doesn’t remove viruses (although still removes bacteria, parasites, protozoa, heavy metals, chemicals, tastes and odours). 

 

There are some pros to the Survivor Filter Bottle though, including a fast filtration rate of 2 litres per minute and it has a larger capacity than a lot of bottles (900ml).

 

Unusually for Survivor Filter, the filter does not last long and will ‘only’ filter 426 litres. This sort of capacity is standard for a carbon filter, but Survivor Filter’s other carbon filters last for 2,000 litres for the Survivor Filter Pro and 1,000 litres for the Survivor Filter Straw

 

 

Water-To-Go Bottle

Filter type: Bottle

 

Why isn’t the Water-To-Go Bottle good enough?

This bottle is apparently designed using NASA technology, but is a similar set-up to the Grayl bottle, which is one of our top water filters. Like the Grayl it falls down in the sense that the filters need to be changed regularly. The 500ml bottle only filters 130 litres and the 750 ml filters 200 litres. Replacement filters are £10 and you’d have to carry a fair few if travelling for a long time.

 

The biggest issue with the Water-To-Go bottle which means it can’t make our top 6 is that a lot of people have complained its hard to suck the water out and it leaks, potentially leaking contaminated water which can get onto the nozzle where you drink from. 

 

If you want a bottle like water filter, the LifeSaver Liberty trumps both the Water-To-Go-Bottle and even the Grayl bottle.

 

Fakes and knock offs

It takes a lot of time, money, research and expertise to develop a good water filter. Recently there has been an explosion of fakes and knock offs on the market. We wouldn’t recommend going for any of these, often they don’t have the evidence to back up any scientific claims and in the end, you don’t want to risk getting sick.

 

RUNACC pump filter: Claims it filters 10,000 gallons but only does 2,000 litres. Only goes to 0.1 microns so doesn’t filter out viruses. Made by a company which doesn’t specialise in water filtration, which is always a red flag. A number of issues with build quality reported. 

Mountop bottle: Reckons it filters to 0.01 microns, but I couldn’t find evidence. Only filters 1,500 litres and the website doesn’t work. 

EJEAS: Looks the same as Mountop. Claims it filters down to 0.01 microns and even uses the same pictures as Mountop, but I couldn’t find nothing verifiable and the manufacturer’s website doesn’t even list it. 

WenderGo: Again, looks like another fake and copy of a water filter by a reputable company.

ENONEO: Dodgy looking photoshopped pictures. Looks of the same ilk as WenderGo. 

 

Everything you need to know before you buy a water filter for travel

Find shopping for travel water filters confusing? It can be. There are just so many options available and it’s unclear which features you should or shouldn’t be looking for. We compiled a guide on everything you need to know before you buy a travel water filter, including what nasties you need your travel water filter to take out to avoid getting sick. Don’t waste your money on sub-standard travel water filters when there are some exceptional ones out there.

 

Best travel water filters

Okay, so we’ve had a good criticise of the above travel water filters. But which ones really work? We’ve compiled a list of our top 5 travel water filters:

Top 6 Travel Water Filters That Actually Work (Comprehensive Guide)

 

 

 

 

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