LifeStraw vs. Sawyer: Which is better?

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LifeStraw vs. Sawyer: Which is better?

The most important thing you need for survival is water. And in the realm of preppers, two filters stand out, the Lifestraw and Sawyer.

These two filters are often compared side by side, but which is better? In the article below, I give a side-by-side comparison to see who comes out on top. So let’s get right to it!

Filtration Type & Capacity

Although both filters have their similarities, the most significant difference between the two is their functionality. The Sawyer Mini filtration system has various ways to be used, it is versatile and can easily adapt to any situation on ground.

On the other hand, LifeStraw is just that, a drinking straw. It filters out dirt and other harmful substances, especially if you drink out a river or lake. Fill up a water bottle or container, stick in the straw and straight from it.

The Sawyer and LifeStraw are very similar infiltration capabilities. However, Sawyer stands out in efficacy. Compared to its counterpart, the Sawyers pore size is 0.1-micron pore size, while the LifeStraw comes in at 0.2. Although both products are up to EPA drinking regulations, the Sawyer superior in water filtration.

Unsurprisingly, the Sawyer with better water filtration technology is better at removing harmful products. Based on third-party lab research, The Sawyer removes “99.99999%” of all bacteria: salmonella, E. coli, cholera, and “99.9999%” of all protozoa: giardia and cryptosporidium.


In this category, the Sawyer beats out the LifeStraw. The Sawyer has been ranked to filter an average of 100,000 gallons of water while the LifeStraw can only filter about 1,000 gallons, which is significantly less than the Sawyer.

One thing to note is, although LifeStraw’s lifespan is limited to 1,000 gallons when compared to Sawyer’s 100,000, it is a significant improvement from its previous 264 gallons.


The LifeStraw is 9 inches long and 1 inch wide, while the Sawyer is 5 inches long and 1 inch wide. Both water filtration devices weigh 2 ounces.

So in terms of portability and ease of carry, these filters are about equal.


The LifeStraw, as previously said, allows you to drink water directly from the source without the risk of ingestion of hazardous particles. On the other hand, the Sawyer is a filter, not a straw.

A removable straw, a sipping pouch, and a cleaning plunger are included with the Sawyer. In addition, the Sawyer may be used as a pre-filter system or as an in-line for hydration packs. Furthermore, the Sawyer Mini includes a 28 mm thread, which allows it to attach to most regular water bottles. With the Sawyer Mini, there is certainly more adaptability.

Speed & Efficiency

The LifeStraw is as light as the Sawyer, but it’s also a lot longer. With a length of roughly 9”, you won’t be able to fit it in your pockets. It’s still neither large nor heavy, so you can say it’s rather easy to transport. However, I can’t disagree that the Sawyer is more practical.

It’s critical that your water filter works quickly; if you’ve already been without water too long and come across a source, you’ll need it right away. That is indeed why some are hikers like the Sawyer: it cleanses water quickly because it doubles as a straw and a filter. When sucking, there’s hardly any resistance, and it’s just as effective when used as a gravity straw.

LifeStraw, on the other hand, isn’t in the same league. But here’s the thing: it was made to function just like a straw filter, so it takes a little longer to work. Because it takes time to filter the water, you may experience some difficulty when sucking. The outcome, however, is always the same: clean, drinkable water.

Ease of Use

The Sawyer comes built with a squeezable pouch; it can be hooked up to any disposable water bottle and common hydration packs. This means you are not limited in the range of water options . Just attach the sawyer and turn it to perfectly filtered water. It can also be attached to the hose the hydration pack provided you have bought the need accessories.

The LifeStraw is a lot longer than the Sawyer, and unfortunately can’t be attached to a bottle or hydration in your bag. However, you can try to pass it through the opening. Note that this isn’t convenient and there is a risk of the bottle of water spilling all over your bag.

And because you can’t put it away with the filter inside, you’d have to keep it in your hand the entire time. Alternatively, you may remove and re-insert the filter anytime you want a drink — yep, that’s a pain.

The Sawyer Mini also comes with a 7″ plastic tube, making drinking through the filter much simpler. In terms of simplicity and ease of use, it is unquestionably the victor.


A water filter’s pricing is just as significant as any of its other characteristics. What good is the world’s finest, lightweight filter if it costs your entire month’s salary?

The good thing is that this is not the case. Each of these water filters is cheap, costing around $20. When you look at the packages and deals, the LifeStraw is the best value – a pack of three filters will only cost you roughly $53. Sawyer Mini does not come in a three-pack, but it does come in a four-pack. And that package would set you back more than $80 – four separate filters would be less expensive than the package.

However, unless you want to surprise your pals, you won’t need them. And, when it comes to the pricing of a single water filter, the fact is that they are nearly identical and offer good value for money.

Difference Between LifeStraw and Sawyer

Considering that they are both lightweight, durable ways of filtering water, there is where the comparisons end. There are a lot of differences between these two water filters. The Sawyer has a 0.1-micron filter as opposed to the LifeStraw which houses an 0.2-micron filter. Now, some people will ask “which is better?”

As stated earlier, both filters are almost exactly alike in terms of pore size. Both of which are excellent are stopping bacteria. Here are some of the main differences:

  • Difference In Filter Pore Size

The Sawyer Mini is a slightly better filter since it has a smaller pore size. The Sawyer Mini has a 0.1 micron filter, while the Lifesaw has a 0.2 micron filter.

The Sawyer Mini removes 99.99999% of bacteria, 99.9999% of protozoa, and 100% of microplastics, while the LifeStraw filter removes 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.999% of parasites, and 99.999% of microplastics.

Even though the efficacy percentage of the Lifestraw filter is slightly lower than the Sawyer mini filter, it doesn’t make the Lifestraw a bad buy.

  • Difference In Filter Technology

Another difference between these two water filters is that the Lifestraw has an advanced hollow fibre technology compared to the Sawyer’s Absolute Micron Filtering Technology.

The Lifestraw has a powerful filtering functionality. It employs tiny U-shaped microtubes that trap microorganisms and other harmful substances while allowing water to enter into the micropores during suction.

The Sawyer Mini utilizes a filtering functionality comprising of elongated fibres that prevent harmful particles while allowing water to pass through the micropores.

  • Difference In Versatility

The Lifestraw is designed to function only as an emergency water filtration system for people who are unable to access safe water. In contrast, the Sawyer Mini is designed specifically for people engaging in outdoor activities.

The Lifestraw filter can only be used as a drinking straw that filters out microorganisms when you suck up water from a natural source.

On the other hand, the Sawyer Mini can be used in several ways, as it can be connected to a water bottle or storage bag. This functionality helps to filter larger quantities of water to store them as you proceed on your outdoor trip.

Sawyer Mini

Sawyer MINI

  • 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.
  • 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.
  1. Weight – 3.7 oz
  2. Filter size – 0.1 microns pore size
  3. Strength – Filters up to 100,000 gallons of water
  4. Filtration Technology – Removes 99.9999% of protozoan parasites and removes 99.99999% of waterborne bacteria
  5. BPA-Free


  • Durable and reliable
  • Versatile
  • It wouldn’t cause a hole pocket to buy this flask.
  • Lightweight
  • BPA free


  • Unfortunately, the bag is prone to spoil quickly.

LifeStraw Flask Bottle

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: Removes the smallest microplastics found in the environment (down to 1 micron).
  • 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.
  1. Weight – 2 oz
  2. Filter size – 0.2 microns pore sizes
  3. Strength – Filters up to 1,000 gallons of water
  4. Filtration Technology – Removes 99.999% of protozoan parasites and removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria


  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • BPA free


  • This flask has no storage capabilities

Cleaning the Sawyer Mini & LifeStraw

Storing and cleaning your water filter are the best ways to make your water filter last and work properly over time The Sawyer Mini and Lifestraw are no different. Here are some best practices:


The LifeStraw comes equipped with a cleaning plunger; this makes it easier to maintain. Make sure to sanitize and clean it after every trip/hike. Backflushing will allow your LifeStraw a long time. If you intend to keep it in storage for a while, be sure to clean thoroughly, keep to dry before storing it.

Wash the back of the LifeStraw to clean it. Also, blow air through the straw each time you use it. This is to prevent it from clogging up. When you are done cleaning it, take of the cap and leave the filter to dry.

If you had previously left your LifeStraw in storage for a long time, be sure to rehydrate it before use. Put water into the straw from outside several times to rehydrate it. Note that the LifeStraw does not do well if left to freeze, so keep it away from extremely cold freezing temperatures.


The same instructions go for the Sawyer – make sure to clean after every use and let dry out properly. Blow small amounts of air into it from time to time to prevent the filter from getting clogged. Use a standard bleach solution when backwashing the filter, do this regularly to sanitize it. A single quart of bleach per quart of water is perfect. Be sure to let it dry out when you are done cleaning.

Suppose you get a clogged filter, deep and soak in hot water for an hour or so. If this doesn’t unclog it, soak it in vinegar for 30minutes to an hour. After this time, wash with hot water. If it remains clogged, you will probably need to do this quite a few times.

Just like the LifeStraw, if the filter has been placed in storage for some time, you need to rehydrate it before use. Do this by getting the plunge and pushing clean water from the output end of the filter. Do this severally until completely done. Also make sure to keep this filter from freezing temperatures as it can damage it.

Best Value

The Sawyer Mini is our choice here, even though it is a bit more costly than the Lifestraw.

However, with the Sawyer Mini, you are assured of getting value for money, as it can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water compared to the 4,000 gallons claimed by Lifestraw.

Furthermore, the Sawyer Mini is very versatile and lasts longer. It is designed to keep you going on your outdoor trip, as its filter technology helps to filter larger quantities of water to store them for later use.


In the showdown between Sawyer vs. LifeStraw, the Sawyer comes out on top. If you want to drink directly from natural water sources, then the LifeStraw is perfect. But if you want to fill up your container and still carry more water for your trip, then the Sawyer is your choice.

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