5 Best Water Filters for Preppers [2021 Guide]

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5 Best Water Filters for Preppers [2021 Guide]

There is an overwhelming choice of water filters for preppers nowadays, which makes finding the best one a challenge. They range from those designed to remove almost 99.99% of bacteria and protozoa/cysts to those that go a step further to remove viruses too.

While removing contaminants is an indispensable feature, the size and weight of the water filters also matter, especially in bug out situations. On one side, we have Sawyer MINI and Lifestraw Water Filters, which are incredibly lightweight and portable. Then we have prepper favorites like the Big Berkey, which is bulkier and more of a home option.  

Either way, we are going to review some of the best water filters for every kind of situation. So, let’s get right to it!

Best Water Filters for Preppers

When we talk about water filters for preppers, there are many options available. Each has its pros and cons depending upon the situation. Let us walk you through the best filters for each situation.

Sawyer Filters

Sawyer offers a wide range of water filters to help you prep up correctly for a grid down situation. We have Sawyer MINI, Sawyer Squeeze, and Sawyer PointZero. We will explore them one at a time.

Sawyer MINI

Sawyer MINI
31,336 Reviews
Sawyer MINI

  • Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and International travel, and emergency preparedness.
  • Removes 99.99999% of all bacteria.
  • High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces
  • Attaches to included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs
  • Filter rated up to 100,000 gallons; Includes one Sawyer MINI filter, 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and cleaning plunger

The Sawyer MINI is multipurpose—ideal for backcountry use, outdoor recreation, hiking, or SHTF event. If you’re preparing your bug-out bag, this is a great option because it of its size and weight. Some of its highlighting features are:

  • Absolute Micron Rating (AMR): It has a hole of 0.1 Microns to filter out most bacteria and protozoa
  • Life expectancy: With a rating of 100,000 gallons, the Sawyer MINI water filter can surely last long
  • Size: 1.38″ (35.1mm) in diameter, making it one of the tiniest water filters in size
  • Weight: 1.34oz

Sawyer Squeeze

Sawyer Squeeze
6,249 Reviews
Sawyer Squeeze
  • Lightweight, Easy To Use Portable Water Filter Removes Harmful Bacteria,...
  • High-Performance 0.1 Micron Absolute Inline Filter Fits In The Palm Of Your...
  • Built-In And Removable Flip Top Sports Cap; Spray Water Straight Into Mouth...
  • Includes Two Reusable 32-Oz, Bpa-Free Collapsible Pouches That Roll Up...

The Sawyer Squeeze is more of an enhanced version of Sawyer MINI. This water filter boasts a similar micron rating as MINI but has a longer life. Here are the notable features:

  • AMR: With a 0.1 Micron rating, its hollow fiber filter can remove 99.99% bacteria and protozoa
  • Life expectancy: The Sawyer Squeeze has a rating of 1 million gallons; that’s roughly a lifetime guarantee
  • Size: 5.75″ (146mm) in length.
  • Weight: 2.45 oz

Sawyer Point Zero Two

The Sawyer Point Zero Two is, in my opinion, the best of the lot. It can give out 170 gallons of clean water per day, and is ideal for removing viruses. This outstanding feature makes it the best among the Sawyer filters. It is ideal for bug out or bug in situations. The other highlighting features are:

  • AMR: It has a 0.02 Micron rating which exceeds the EPA standards for the removal of microorganisms, including viruses, bacterias, protozoa, and cysts
  • Life expectancy: It has a rating of one million gallons
  • Size: 6.25″ in length
  • Weight: 13.6 oz


  • While Sawyer MINI and Squeeze remove contaminants such as bacteria and protozoa, Point Zero provides an absolute filtration with its 0.02 rating.
  • Sawyer MINI and Squeeze have a hollow membrane filter, and Pint Zero Two has an open membrane purifier.


  • Heaby
  • Expensive
  • The hollow membrane filter in MINI and Squeeze does not protect against viruses.

Katadyn Filters

Katadyn filters are well-known when it comes to water filters for preppers. The Swiss company has a long history of producing well-built water filters that can last long and dish out clean water at a rate of one quart/min.

They are lightweight and easy to carry, thus ideal for on-the-go adventures. The main downside is the ability to remove viruses.

Katadyn BeFree

Katadyn BeFree
1,088 Reviews
Katadyn BeFree
  • 0. 1 micron water filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria 99. 9999%...
  • Collapsible 0. 6L hydrapak soft bottle flask packs down small to fit in...
  • EZ-clean Membrane is simple and easy to clean by simply shaking or swishing...
  • Filters up to 1, 000 liters of contaminated water without using chemicals...
  • Stay clean drink nozzle keeps the mouthpiece clean and sanitary...

This one is an ideal companion for your adventure travel and survival situations. The Katadyn BeFree water filter is light, portable, and easy to use. Here are some of its features:

  • AMR: It has a pore size of 0.1 microns to clear out bacteria, protozoa, cysts, and other sediments.
  • Life expectancy: It has a rating of 264 gallons of water capacity.
  • Size: 3″ in length.
  • Weight: 2oz

Katadyn Hiker Pro

Katadyn Hiker Pro
1,133 Reviews
Katadyn Hiker Pro
  • Proven protection against bacteria and protozoan cysts down to 0.2 micron...
  • Activated carbon in the core of the filter improves the taste and reduces...
  • The field cleanable filter protector screen extends the life of the...
  • Long-time trusted option for backpackers with it's ultra-light 11oz,...
  • Transparent design allows you to see the filtration working

Hiker Pro is also a lightweight and compact water filter ideal for backpackers and hikers. Some of its notable features are:

  • AMR: The hole of 0.2 microns glass-fiber filter helps clear out bacteria, protozoa, and cysts.
  • Life expectancy: It also comes with a rating of 264 gallons.
  • Size: 3″ in length
  • Weight: 8 oz.

Katadyn Pocket Filter

Katadyn Pocket Filter
397 Reviews
Katadyn Pocket Filter
  • Water preparation-Type: water filter
  • Water preparation-Applications: Filters
  • Process-Kind: Filter

We can call the Katadyn pocket filter a mini beast when it comes to throwing out dirt from water. Ideal for usage in a small group of people, the next time you are on an adventure trip with your pals, there is no worry about clean drinking water. Some key features of this filter are:

  • AMR: It has a 0.2-micron ceramic depth filter.
  • Life Expectancy: It has a rating of over 13 thousand gallons.
  • Size: 9″ in height.
  • Weight: 19oz.


  • Inexpensive
  • Good water filtration capacity.
  • It is an ideal choice for off-grid living.


  • It doesn’t filter out viruses.

Big Berkey Water Filter

Big Berkey Water Filter
2,973 Reviews
Big Berkey Water Filter
  • 2.25 GALLON CAPACITY- The portable Big Berkey Purification System...
  • POWERFUL PURIFICATION- Berkey systems equipped with Black Berkey...
  • ECONOMICAL, LONG-LASTING- A pair of Black Berkey Purification Elements...
  • INDEPENDENT TESTING- Berkey by NMCL uses several independent third-party...
  • DRINK CONFIDENTLY VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE- No electricity, tools or plumbing...

The Big Berkey line produces some of the most well-known water filters for preppers. They use a gravity-fed filtration system to clean out the contaminants and make even the dirtiest water worth drinking. Let’s have a closer look at its specifications:

  • Purification: 99.9999% of bacterias and viruses.
  • Life expectancy: The purification elements can last up to 6000 gallons of water.
  • Size: 8.5″ in length and 19.25″ in height.
  • Weight: 109.12oz.


  • Efficient purification of water with up to 99.999% removal of bacterias and viruses
  • One of the best water filter options available when it comes to quality
  • It can store 2.25 gallons of water
  • Ideal for families


  • Pricy

LifeStraw Water Filters

LifeStraw Water Filters
95,436 Reviews
LifeStraw Water Filters

  • 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 cryptosporidium)
  • Removes microplastics
  • 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

LifeStraw Water Filters are popular water filters for preppers that can comfortably fit in the pocket. They are ideal for emergency & survival scenarios since you can drink directly from any water source, if necessary. With 99.9% water filtration, it removes bacteria, protozoa, microplastics, and other harmful agents.

  • AMR: It uses 0.2 microns hollow fiber filter to remove microorganisms
  • Life expectancy: It has a rating of 1000 gallons of water capacity
  • Size: With a length of 8.66″ and a height of 0.98″, it is one of the tiniest picks.
  • Weight: 1.6oz.


  • Removes bacterias, microplastics, parasites with 99.9999% efficiency
  • Reduces turbidity
  • Highly portable
  • Ideal for camping and hiking
  • Inexpensive


  • It does not remove viruses.

Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter

Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter

  • High-capacity, gravity-fed, hollow-fiber water filter system is ideal for group and family camping, outdoor adventures, and emergency preparedness.
  • Meets all EPA/NSF guidelines for removal of 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, including giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, salmonella, cholera.
  • No pumping required.
  • Includes 4-liter dirty water reservoir, 4-liter clean water reservoir.
  • Replaceable cartridge filters up to 1,500 gallons; made in the USA.

Do not worry about clean drinking water in large quantities in off-grid living conditions with the Platypus GravityWorks. The gravity-fed filtration system works perfectly to ooze out 1.75 liters of pure water every minute and almost 1,500 liters of water before needing to be replaced.

Here’s a look at some of its features:

  • Filtration: It removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, including giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, salmonella, cholera
  • Life expectancy: It has a rating of 1500 gallons
  • Size: Its length is 13.2″ and height is 5.8″.
  • Weight: 11.5oz.


  • Highly portable
  • Capable of storing 8L of water
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use


  • It does not remove viruses and other chemical components.

These are the five best water filters for preppers to help them cope in any survival situation. Next up is the method to choose the correct water filter.

How To Pick The Right Water Filter

While searching for the best water filters for preppers, you may stumble upon various items. But it would be best if you considered every factor before hitting that buy button. Here’s a small guide to help you choose the right one.

Micron Rating

It indicates the filtering ability of the water filter—micron rating 0.1 means the water filter can remove contaminants of the size of 0.1 microns. The smaller the pore, the higher is the filtration.

  • 0.1 Microns means the filter can remove 99.9999% bacteria and 99.9% protozoa/cysts.
  • 0.02 rating means the filter can remove 99.99% of viruses, too, as they are 100 times smaller than bacteria.

Also, keep a note of micron rating, if it’s nominal or absolute.

Filter Flow Rate

Another vital metric to keep in mind is the flow rate. A powered system can produce filtered water at a much faster rate than a gravity-fed system. Depending upon the situation you need the water filter for, you can choose it.

Gravity-fed systems can pump out 1 to 4 gallons of water every hour. In contrast, powered systems can pump out the same quantity in a minute. But powered systems are more expensive than the former.


Water filters for preppers come in all sizes to ensure they always consume clean water. If you need it for your bug-out bag or off-grid living, you would not want to bulk your load. The water filter should be easily portable. However, for everyday use or use among many people, you can go for a more oversized option.


Again, it all falls upon your discretion. If you’re ready to shell out big bucks, you can bring in a water filter that does everything. For economical ones, there’s always a cheaper option available. Water filters for preppers come in different price options to choose from a diverse range.

Types of Water Filters

Tap water may not always be safe for direct consumption. Various bacteria, protozoa, viruses, sand, and other contaminants reside in the water and make them unsafe for drinking. Here we will look at different types of water filters for preppers for comprehensive emergency preparedness:

Carbon Filters

The United States Environment Protection Agency (US EPA) considers carbon filters an effective option to clear chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and volatile organic compounds. They are of two types: solid block carbon filter (more effective) and granulated activated carbon (less effective).

Some benefits of using carbon filters are:

  • The porous filters remove contaminants efficiently. Keeps the salts and minerals of water intact.
  • They are easy to maintain and replace.
  • They do not burden your wallet.

Ultraviolet Filter

This is the more advanced form of filtration and can eliminate viruses, disease-causing pathogens, bacterias, molds, and other microorganisms. The UV treatment can remove the highly infectious hepatitis virus too.

Some of the benefits of UV Filtration System are:

  • Effective against disease-causing pathogens and hepatitis virus
  • Produces safe to consume water

Reverse Osmosis Filter

Save yourself from water-borne diseases with the reverse osmosis filtration system. The RO filter can remove bad taste and odor along with contaminants. Thus, it delivers completely safe and healthy drinking water to hydrate yourself.

Some benefits of Reverse Osmosis Filters are:

  • It prevents you from water-borne diseases
  • Eliminates terrible taste and odor


The best water filters for you is really a matter of preference. Do you live near the woods or a river? Are you smack in the middle of a city? Is your city prone to power outages or natural disasters?

Either way, we hope the information we provided has helped you to make an informed decision for you and your family.

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