The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is an affordable filtration device that’s easy to carry around but does a good job filtering most waterborne impurities when you can’t readily access a clean water source. It’s best used with a wide-mouth bottle or an open container, but you can also use it to drink directly from a stream.
- Very inexpensive
- Portable and easy to use
- High filtration capacity (1,000 litres)
- You can’t batch filter for later use
- Not ideal for filtering viruses
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a small, lightweight 20z filtration device that lets you filter water on the go. It easily fits into the hiking scenarios, can be used to drink directly from a stream or pond, a wide-mouthed bottle or pretty any container that you might use to carry any untreated water along. While it feels awkward to crouch down a stream or pond and drink from it, the situation can sometimes get dire – happens often during hikes and camping, and the LifeStraw Water Filter really comes handy.
It’s an ingenious little water filter which anyone can use. For one, it’s not complicated and anyone can rely on it to remove waterborne bacteria and other impurities by up to five times over the EPA standards. Additionally, you can filter upto 1,000 litres of water with this tiny filter, after which you can no longer suck water through it. For an impressive design, seamless portability and extended filtration, the LifeStraw Water Filter easily earns our Editors Choice award for basic water filtration devices.
The LifeStraw is an easy to carry filter, measuring only 9 inches long and 1 inch wide, and weighs less that 2 ounces. That’s quite light and portable – about the right size for travel and excursions, compared to other water filters that weighs just over 1 pound. There are filters in the market in the range of $80-120 that can be cleaned and re-used for years on end, but the LifeStraw has a life line of 264 gallons (1,000 litres of filtered water).
That means that if you drink an average of 3-4 litres per day while hiking, this filter will last an average of 250-335 days before it expires. Considering that most of us hike for about 20 days per year, this device is definitely more than adequate for your needs.
Again, it not only suffices for hikes, you can as well use it for emergencies, like if your car breaks down in a remote place, a few of these would be helpful even for a family. The fact that they’re light and affordable adds to more reason to have a few around in your car’s glovebox.
Using the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is quite straightforward. All you do is uncap the ends, insert the bottom end into a bottle or water source and suck the water through the straw. You really don’t have to use lots of energy to get the liquid flowing, it’s an easy fill without lots of work.
In case the filter is dry or hasn’t been used for a while, you’ll have to let the bottom soak for a few seconds (maybe 30-40 seconds) to moisten it before you can use it. When you’re done drinking, gently blow through the filter to drain any excess water and then fasten the caps to the ends. You’ll know that the LifeStraw needs to be replaced once it becomes difficult to suck water through the straw.
We particularly like this filter for its simple design and ease of use. It doesn’t have any moving parts like a pump and it doesn’t use chemicals such as iodine that’s used on most chemical purifiers. Also, it doesn’t use batteries like the SteriPen Adventurer Opti Water Purifier that uses a pair of disposable CR123 batteries, only that it offers extended shelf life of up to 8,000 litres filtration period.
Being inexpensive, you can easily keep a couple of filters where you can easily find them when needed – maybe one at home, in the car, and even in your backpack. While it does look like a very thick straw, it gets a pair of tethered caps that cover the mouthpiece and the bottom of the filter that keep instances of cross-contamination at bay. It comes with a neck lanyard that is very useful when filtering water as it prevents you from misplacing it, or even dropping it into a water source.
Perhaps the only downside you’d find on this filter is the inability to store clean filtered water between uses. You can only sip the water using the straw, but you can’t filter a batch, store and use it later. Other filters like the Sawyer Mini and Sawyer Squeeze allow you to sip or batch water, when fastened onto a soda water bottle or a compatible bottle.
On the other hand, while the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter does a good job filtering out giardia, cryptosporidium, bacteria and up to 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, it doesn’t remove any viruses. If you have concerns of viruses, especially those transmitted in faecal matter, including Norovirus, a water purifier that neutralizes or removes viruses like the Grayl Water Purifier Bottle or Chloride Dioxide Tablets are more recommended options.
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is an affordable filtration device that’s easy to carry around but does a good job filtering most waterborne impurities when you can’t readily access a clean water source. It’s best used with a wide-mouth bottle or an open container, but you can also use it to drink directly from a stream. While it offers an instant option to quench your thirst, we still wish it had a way to batch filter a quantity of water for use afterwards.
Is there a better alternative?
If you need something to use on the go, the LifeStraw Flex offers the best of both worlds; ca be used directly as a straw filter or alongside the included soft touch water bottle that you can carry along. On the other hand, the GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier offers extended filtration to include viruses in a sleek, ultra-portable bottle that you just press and get drinking the filtered water.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter stands out as a great solution for home emergency preparedness or camping where you have lot of water or containers to hold it. It offers up to 1000 litres filtration cycle before you can replace it, and that’s as much as most of can need for camping and occasional home emergency filtration.