You only have 3 days to live unless you can get access to clean drinking water. This means that drinking water has to be part of your survival kit.

Yet as we all know, not all sources of water are safe for human consumption. And that’s precisely where the need for the best survival water filters kicks in.

With one of these, you can roam the entire world fully assured that you’ll never run out of clean and safe drinking water. How cool is that?

Well, the next few paragraphs contain reviews of our top favorites. Plus, we’ve provided you with a buying guide so you can make an informed and independent choice.

Top Water Filter For Survival in 2021

To help you save time, below is a quick comparison table with the ratings we’d give to each one of our top 10 water filters. Keep scrolling for the detailed reviews of each one of them.

Product Name





Sawyer Products


Lifestraw GO


MSR Miniworks EX


Katadyn Hiker




LifeStraw Universal Bottle


MSR Trailshot


MSR Guardian


Grayl Ultralight


1. LifeStraw

If you are looking for a budget-friendly survival water filter that would still come in handy when the situation calls, the Lifestraw water filter is here for you.

To start with, it is lightweight at only 2oz plus is slim and compact such that it would fit into your dry bag easily.

Besides that, it features hollow fiber membrane filters that make the water extremely safe for drinking by removing parasites and bacteria.

Even better is the flow rate of 1.7liters per minute that lets you drink the water straight from the source.

Lastly, the filter does not need batteries to operate.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight and compact
  • EPA-approved


  • Only filters small quantities of water at a time (not ideal for heavy commercial use)

2. Sawyer Products

Another product that we believe is good value for your money is the Mini water filtration system by Sawyer products. The item is designed to ensure that your outdoor expeditions, such as hiking and camping, do not turn chaotic due to lack of drinking water.

What makes this gadget worth investing in? Well, for starters, the filtration system features a 0.1-micron hollow fiber membrane that is effective in eliminating 99.9% of the pathogens and bacteria from the water.

On top of that, it has a compact design so that it fits into your hands nicely as well as in your backpack.

As if that is not enough, you could attach the mini water filter to disposable water bottles and drinking pouches.

The filter is also easy maintenance to give you peace of mind.


  • Lightweight and compact
  • Can be used with hydration packs and disposable bottles
  • You could use the long suction for drinking directly from the water source


  • Too small for some users

3. LifeStraw Go

With the 2-stage activated carbon filtrated system, this filter bottle aims to make the water that you fetch from the pond or river to be entirely safe for drinking by your family. This it does by eliminating all bacteria and debris from the water.

Besides the bacteria and chemical elements, the fiber membrane also helps in eliminating odors from the water.

And to ensure that everything remains safe for you, the bottle has a food-grade silicone mouth opening to make it appropriate for human beings.

Last but not least, the bottle is designed to be entirely leak-proof.


  • Easy to use with no batteries required
  • Food-grade construction
  • Removes odors as well


  • The capacity is a bit low

4. MSR MiniWorks Ex

The main feature that makes the MSR Miniworks stand out from other water filters is its construction. With the carbon and ceramic elements, this is a unit that is built to last and is ideal for heavy-duty and continuous use. 

You may also like the easy disassembly of this filter, whereby you do not need any tools for the job. Further, it is relatively easy to clean.

Do you doubt the filter’s effectiveness? Well, we hope that the fact that the filter relies on a combination of a filter and purifier for enhanced virus protection succeeds in calming your nerves.

We also liked the filter’s odor-eliminating property that makes the water fresher and comfortable for drinking.


  • Built to last
  • Affordable
  • Comes with a lifetime limited warranty


  • Bulky

5. Katadyn Hiker Microfilter

Everything about the Katadyn Hiker points towards simplicity. From the use to the maintenance, this is a unit that is designed to give you an easy time as you use it.

However, being simple does not make it inferior as the filter has a rugged construction to make it durable and visually appealing.

The katadyn Hiker is also lightweight, so that it does not become an inconvenience for you when you are on the move. 

On top of everything is the 0.2-micron glass fiber that helps in eliminating debris, bacteria and odors as well to help maintain the water’s fresh taste.


  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight
  • Well-made


  • Not leak-proof

6. SteriPen

This is a filter that uses a lot of advanced technology to help you make otherwise unsafe water to be suitable for drinking.

Let’s start with how the filter uses UV light to limit the germs’ ability to reproduce and thereby becoming harmful to your health.

Then, the SteriPen Filter features a user-friendly OLED display to alert you on various aspects such as the battery status, the treatment status and volume, among others.

Another thing we liked with this product is that it is USB-rechargeable and therefore saves you from the costs of purchasing replacement batteries.


  • USB-rechargeable
  • Easy to use
  • Decent battery life


  • Poor customer support

7. LifeStraw Universal Bottle

LifeStraw makes it to our list again, and this time it is the universal water filter, which is a two-stage filter that features a replaceable microbiological filter that removes 99.9% of the waterborne bacteria and parasites. 

The water filter bottle is perfect for outdoor activities such as travelling, hiking and camping. We could attribute this suitability to the lightweight design, as well as the versatility that this bottle offers.

All the materials used in making the different parts of this bottle are food-grade to make the unit safe for holding drinking water for human beings.


  • A two-stage filter
  • Lightweight
  • Recyclable


  • Not ideal for day to day use

8. MSR TrailShot

If you are a hiking enthusiast, here is an option that you should think about. Do not worry about its odd design since it does not affect the filter’s functionality. 

Let’ s start with the long hose that makes it possible to drink the water directly from the source without dipping your nose in the water. On top of that is the handle that also works as a pump so that you could drink water from the device effortlessly.

The filter needs about a minute to filter a liter of water and can filter up to 2000 liters per filter. In the end, the water should be free from 99.99 % of the impurities it originally had.


  • Lightweight
  • Enables you to drink directly from the source
  • Allows for one-handed operation


  • Capacity suited for only one person

9.  MSR Guardian

Just as the name suggests, the MSR Guardian is a water purifier that can withstand heavy-duty use besides being impact and freeze-resistant.

One factor that makes this filter the ultimate survival filter is how fast it operates with the capability of working on 2.5 liters per minute.

And to add icing to the cake, this purifier has a self-cleaning mechanism at every stroke.


  • Eliminates water-borne viruses
  • Can work in freezing temperatures
  • Self-cleaning


  • The water does not taste that great

10. Grayl Ultralight

To wrap up our list is the Grayl Ultralight, which is by no means an inferior option. It is lightweight at 16oz and compact too, to make it portable and ideal for use on the road.

The filter is designed to remove waterborne bacteria and chemicals, and in about 15 seconds, your drinking water should be ready.

It is relatively easy to use with the only requirements being filling the filter up with water and then pressing the top down.


  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Fast


  • Pricey

How To Choose An Ideal Survival Water Filter

If you want to save time and energy in your search for the appropriate survival water filter, you need to narrow down your search. The best way to do this is by paying particular attention to several factors that would boost your chances of landing the best item.

1. Ease of use

The emergency you are in has complicated life enough. What would be the use of getting a water filter that would add to this complication?

Therefore, the ideal purifier should be easy to use without the need for manuals to guide you through. On top of that, check out for filters that do not need batteries to run.

2. Portability

When we talk about portability, we are talking about the size and weight of the water filter. A lightweight and compact unit is crucial in ensuring that your backpack does not become a burden that wears you down in the situation that you are facing.

3. The Group Size

You should also think about the number of people whom you are stuck with in the emergency that also need clean drinking water.

If you are alone, a filter straw or a lightweight inline filter should be enough to serve you.

On the other hand, if you are in a larger group, a small pump filter would be perfect since it can provide the drinking water at a faster rate. Further, a larger group means that you have extra hands to undertake the pumping operation.

4. The Water Source

Some water sources such as glaciers and cold springs are less contaminated, and therefore basic water filters are sufficient for them.

On the other hand, water sources that are close to farms and cities are probably heavily contaminated and may need further treatment to make them safe for drinking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following questions and their response should put you in a better position to make an informed choice next time you go out shopping for the ideal survival water filter.

What are the top brands of survival water filters that I am likely to come across?

The top water filter brands in the market include LifeStraw, Katadyn, Sawyer, MSR, Aquamira and Renovo. All these have a reputation for producing high-quality products that are up to the task.

How do I get the best survival water filter?

You can get the best item by paying attention to several factors, which include the ease of operation, durability, portability, speed, portability and the number of people that it would be serving.

If you keep these aspects in mind, your chances of landing the ideal survival water filter would have significantly improved.

Is price an essential factor to consider?

Well, it all depends on you. If you are looking for something simple, you do not need to spend a lot on the filter. However, if you are looking for advanced features, you should be prepared to spend more on the product.

Final Thoughts

Water is life, and you simply cannot do without it. Should you find yourself in a dire situation where safe drinking water is not available, a survival water filter would help you transform contaminated water into safe water for drinking.

Even though all the products on the list are high-quality, the one that we settled on as the best is the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. This is a budget-friendly product that is lightweight and compact, plus it is also straightforward to use.

It does not need batteries to operate, and this makes it ideal for emergencies.

We hope that our article has given you all the information you need so that you could have an easy time finding the appropriate device for the job.