Filtering Water With a Survival Filter Needs The Very Best You Can Afford – Here They Are…

Outdoors Magazine is reader-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

 The Best Survival Water Filter

When things go bad and the SHTF, many of use will need to bug out to another pre-determined location to escape whatever event is unfolding. I’m going to assume you’re got a go-bag or bug out bag ready for action and now you are looking for the best survival water filter to provide adequate and ample drinking water during and after the event.

Today we’re going to compare top 3 best water filters for survival, they are:

  1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
  2.  Sawyer
  3. Survivor filter

Before we do that, let’s take a look at the features you need to understand before choosing a water filter that will keep you alive.

Bacteria Filters Capabilities

Water filters are rated using microns, which is the rate at which sediment are filtered out of the water. The table below shows the various levels that microns are measures in:

Particle Size (microns)
Beach Sand 100 – 2000
Human Hair 70
Household Dust 40
Bacteria 3
90% of all contaminants 0.5 – 2
Viruses 0.0005

With a survival filter we want our filter to fall into the category of “90% of all contaminants” or 0.5 to 2 microns.


A water filter will only be useable for a limited amount of contaminated water. What I mean by contaminated is anything from a body of water such as a stream, or pond, river or lake or even a small puddle.

As the filter is used, the tiny holes in the filter get clogged up which makes the filter less reliable. After so many uses, they will need to be replaced.

We recommend choosing a filter capable of filtering at least 1,000 quarts of water as a bare minimum, anything more than that is great.

Top 3 Survival Water Filters Reviewed

1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness, 1 Pack, Blue
  • Removes Bacteria & Parasites: The Microfiltration Membrane Removes 99.999999% Of Waterborne Bacteria (Including E. Coli And Salmonella), And 99.999% Of Waterborne Parasites (Including Giardia And...
  • Removes Microplastics: Removes The Smallest Microplastics Found In The Environment (Down To 1 Micron), And Reduces Turbidity Down To 0.2 Microns
  • Rigorous Testing: All Claims Are Verified With Laboratories Using Standard Testing Protocols Set By The Us Epa, Nsf, Astm For Water Purifiers
  • Long Lifetime: The Microbiological Filter Will Provide 4,000 Liters (1,000 Gallons) Of Clean And Safe Drinking Water With Proper Use And Maintenance
  • Make An Impact: For Every Lifestraw Product Purchased, A School Child In Need Receives Safe Drinking Water For An Entire School Year.Bpa Free Materials

First up the LifeStraw. It is capable of filtering water and bacteria to 0.2 microns and it can handle up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water.It is claimed to remove up to 99.9999% of all waterborne bacteria, rendering even the dirtiest water, safe to drink after one pass through the filter.

Tech Specs

  • Micron Level: 0.2
  • Capacity: 1,000 litres

Our Thoughts

The Lifestraw is designed to be a ‘straight from source’ water filter meaning you drink directly from the pond or water source you have located. Some may find this off-putting having to get so close to a ‘less than desirable’ possibly stagnant water source.

If this is you, then I would consider the Sawyer which allows you to grab water in a pouch before filtering. That said, as a handy and compact survival water filter the Lifestraw is one of the best on the market.

2. Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Sawyer Products SP128 Mini Water Filtration System, Single, Blue
  • Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and International travel, and emergency preparedness
  • High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
  • Attaches to included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use the straw to drink directly from your water source
  • Removes 99.99999% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. coli); removes 99.9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium); also removes 100% of microplastics
  • Filter rated up to 100,000 gallons; Includes one Sawyer MINI filter, 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and cleaning plunger. Before initial wetting- Filter is safe from freezing...

The Sawyer Mini can handle filtration down to 0.1 microns and it comes with a flush syringe which is to be used once your water flow rate starts to slow down from your filter. This allows you to back-wash the filter and clear out any debris and free up the ceramic filter inside.

Tech Specs

  • Micron Level: 0.1
  • Capacity: unstated

Our Thoughts

This was the first survival filter I purchased, primarily because I liked the idea of the backflush system and the design on this filter. The squeeze bags it comes supplied with (x2) are great for grabbing and carry water whilst on the go, which makes this suitable for hiking as well as a survival situation.

What’s more is the Sawyer is so damn small and easy to slip into your pocket you barely notice it is there.

3. Survivor Filter – Reusable Water Filter

Survivor Filter Personal Water Purifier Survival Straw - Lightweight and Easy to Use Camping and Hiking Water Filter - Filters 99.999% of Tested Virus, Bacteria and Parasites - Portable Water Filter
  • Survival Straw - This water purification straw can be used at any fresh water source, with any 28mm threaded bottle. Keep it as a bug-out emergency water filter or camping water filter.
  • Reusable and Cleanable - The only portable water filter straw with filters that can be cleaned and used again, lasting up to 264,000 gallons thanks to the tripple filtration.
  • Testing Standards - A BPA free water purifier straw for camping. It removes 99.999% of tested Virus, Staph, Bacteria and Protozoa, as well as 89% Mercury and Lead, according to NSF/ANSI Standards.
  • Compact And Easy To Use - Weighing 3.5oz, this is one of the lightest and most compact water filters on the market, making it the perfect water filter for camping, hiking and backpacking.
  • Lifetime Happiness Guarantee - Our philosophy is that every customer is for life. We'll fix, replace, or refund any product for a lifetime, no questions asked.

The Survivor Filter can filter down to 0.05 microns, so when compared to the lifestraw, which is rated to 0.2 and this is 0.05, it definitely has great filtration power.It can also handle up to 1,000 gallons which is the same as the Lifestraw, however it is a little bit more expensive.

Tech Specs

  • Micron Level: 0.05
  • Capacity: 1,000 gallons

Our Thoughts

Of the three survival filter straws on offer, the Survivor Filter has the best filtering capacity at 0.05 microns. Which means that 99.99% of all water born pathogens and bacteria are wiped out with this filter.

What’s more, the 1,000 gallon capacity (approx. 3,800 liters) far outweighs the capacity of the other two.

Our Comparison

When it comes to price, all three of these filters are on par with each other. It’s when we start to look at the micron levels and filtering capacity when things start to take shape.

Since Sawyer doesn’t offer a guideline as the life span of their filter, but they do offer a back-flushing solution which does extend the lifespan, combined with the ability to carry water in the supplied pouches and not have to drink directly from the source. We give our top spot to the Sawyer Mini Filter.

2nd place goes to the Survivor Filter. If you’re looking for durability and sustainability then this is the one for you. It has both increased capacity so will likely last a little longer and also the bacteria filtering capabilities are greater. I hope you like our review about the best survival water filter.

Spread The Word

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest