The Top 5 Backpacking Water Filters

Having a trusty water filter by your side is one of the best things a backpacker can pack in his or her arsenal. Backpacking water filters are rarely used as main sources of water when you are hiking or backpacking – they need some time to filter the water, but more importantly – you are not always hiking near to accessible water sources. So, bringing some drinkable water with you is always a must, that much should be clear (we covered some suitable water filter bottles in another article).

However, having a water filter with you is always a great idea – it helps you conserve your water resources by utilizing nearby natural water sources, and – more importantly – gives you the security that even if some accident occurs and you are forced to spend more time in the wilderness than you planned initially – you’ll be fine.

Outdoor Water Filtering

A good backpacking water filter is of a high enough quality to work with any source of natural water, be it a crystal clear stream or creek, or a small, muddy lake. Such a filter will make sure that no bacteria, heavy particles or metals will enter your body, regardless of the water source. It will also have a high enough volume to last you for a lot of different hiking and backpacking trips and will quickly become one of your most trusted companions.

How do we pick such an item, however? As it is a fairly new technology, it’s completely understandable for a lot of people to still be unfamiliar with it. So, to help you out, below we’ve listed the best backpacking water filters we could find online. If you are thinking of taking a trip to the wilderness soon, give them a look.

​Winner: ​​​​​​​Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

​​To start things off on the right foot, here we have the Sawyer Mini water filtration system. This water filter impresses with its incredible filtration capacity – 100,000 gallons! A filter like that can literally last you a lifetime. Whether you are backpacking, hiking, camping, or in an emergency like a hurricane or a cyclone – with this portable water filter you will always have clean, fresh and healthy drinkable water at your disposal, as long as there is a source of natural water nearby.

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System



​The filter also comes with a collapsible water bag which you can use to store water and drink it through the filter on the go. The same can be achieved with any other container or bottle.

The convenience and large capacity of this item aren’t intended to make up for a lack of quality too - this Sawyer straw is a 0.1 Micron filter that will protect you from 99.9% of all waterborne bacteria, protozoa or other contaminants. E.coli, Salmonella, cholera, giardia, cryptosporidium, fluoride, and chloride – anything with a size of 0.1 Micron or more is guaranteed not to enter your body with this filter.

Runner-Up: ​​​​​​​​LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

​​As you might have guessed, there was no way to make a list like this without including a LifeStraw. This award-winning water filter is one of the key products that made portable water filters so popular. It comes with a collapsible bag as well - you can use to store water while you are hiking or backpacking and drink with the straw directly from it.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter



​The LifeStraw has a more modest filtering capacity of 1000 liters or 264 gallons, which is typically enough for 400 – 500 days of drinking for a single person. However, for backpacking needs this is also plenty as it can be enough for dozens upon dozens of backpacking or hiking trips.

And as you would expect from a high quality water filter, the LifeStraw removes 99.9% of all waterborne bacteria that is of 0.2 Micron size or bigger. With a LifeStraw you needn’t be bothered by things like E.coli, Salmonella, cholera, giardia or cryptosporidium. It also impresses with its high filtration speed, which makes it easier to drink directly from the source.

​Doesn't remove bacteria and protozoa with a size of between 0.1 and 0.2 microns. 

Etekcity ​​​​Portable Water Filter Filtration Straw

​​This next portable water filter comes to us from Etekcity. As with our previous two entries, this item would make a great addition to any backpacker’s inventory. It has a filtering capacity of 1500 liters which is enough for about 500 – 700 days for a single person – more than enough for countless backpacking trips. This product can filter water from any natural source like streams or creeks and give you the peace of mind that it doesn’t matter how dirty or muddy they are.

Etekcity Portable Water Filtration System



​The Etekcity straw purifier operates with a 3-stage advanced filtration system. It includes a pre-filter, an antibacterial activated carbon filter and a 0.01 Microns hollow fiber UF membrane inline filter. This helps it remove up to 99.9% of all waterborne bacteria such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli as well as 99.9% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium. With it you also get a foldable water pouch for collecting water for later use, a longer straw that attaches to the filter, and a syringe for cleaning the straw and extending its life – everything a backpacker needs from a water filter.

The straw has been tested by the TüV SüD Institute and meets all EPA Water Quality Standards. The pouch itself also complies with the FDA's Food Contact test in accordance with 21 CFR 180.22 to ensure maximum quality and safety.

​It can be hard to draw water from the straw because the filtering process is not very quick.

​​​​​​Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter

​Katadyn also make an appearance with their Hiker Pro water purifier. It is great for any outdoor situation, be it hiking, camping, backpacking or just emergency preparedness. It removes 99.9% of viruses like Hepatitis A, SARS, Rotavirus, as well as 99.9% of disease-causing bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, Cholera, 99.9% of protozoan cysts like Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and various heavy particulates like sediment, silt, many chemicals like chlorine or benzene, and heavy metals like lead, arsenic.

Katadyn Hiker Pro



​It leaves zero aftertaste and completely eliminates bad odors, as well as improves the overall clarity and flavor of the water. It can’t be used just as a straw and works only as a filter, but it can still be filled from natural sources of water and it comes with the added flexibility for being usable in urban environments as well.

​There​ have been reports of a weak water inlet port which may snap after heavy use.

​​​MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter

​​​We’re going to wrap things up with this MSR MiniWorks with an advanced filter. This great pump filter can purify a volume of up to one liter a minute, providing you with a fast and efficient supply of clean drinking water. The MSR makes use of a unique design which makes it easier to pump, filter and collect water than some of the other similar devices on the market. Plus, the filter is all that needs to be replaced, not the pump itself.

MSR MiniWorks Microfilter



​​Additionally, this MSR MiniWorks is highly effective as well – it removes up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses via EPA approved iodinated resin, as well as up to 90% of fluoride and up to 99.9% of contaminants and pollutants found in fresh water supplies. This makes it great not just for tap water but for natural fresh water sources as well – whether you are this MSR water microfilter will be a trustworthy companion through any adventure.

​Some users have found the flow rate to be much lower than claimed.


These are our top 5 suggestions for backpacking water filters. They are all different and serve slightly different purposes, but they are all top notch water filters for your backpacking needs.The last two products in this review are of an entirely different type and may serve you far better than some of the filter straws. We have reflected this in the ratings we have chosen to give. 

If we were forced to choose a single product, we’d choose the Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System for its amazing filtering volume and quality, but as mentioned, the other 4 items on this list are also of the highest quality.

Choosing the best water filter pitcher for your household is important if you want to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from toxic contaminants and other forms of bacteria.


While you may think that your water tastes and smells okay, the likelihood is, it still has a high level of contamination from a huge variety of chemicals. Luckily, today water filter pitchers can get rid of these for you, allowing you to drink, cook, and wash with sanitary water.


To choose the best water filter pitcher, you need to know what is in your water in the first place. You must get your water tested by a professional to establish the levels of chemicals, contaminants, metals, and bacteria in your tap water.


It is only with this information that you’ll be able to choose one that suits your individual needs. If you’ve already undertaken the adequate tests, it’s time for you to look at the various manufacturers and models available to you.


With this in mind, we’ve created this buying guide where you’ll find out more about two of the best large water filter pitchers on the market as well as three small ones.


Not only this, we’ll tell you why it is important that you choose your filtration system carefully while also highlighting some of the key features you should pay attention to when making your final decision.


So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Our Recommendations for the Best Water Filter Pitcher in 2017

Best Large Water Filter Pitcher

Winner: PUR 18 Cup Water Filtration Dispenser w/ 1 Filter

As the name suggests, the PUR 18 Cup Water Filtration Dispenser w/ 1 Filter comes with an additional filter making it extremely good value for money compared to its many competitors.


Made with unique, premium carbon, the filter on this PUR model removes approximately 95% of mercury found in tap water. In addition to this, it reduces traces of chlorine meaning that you will be left with better tasting and smelling water.


This water filter pitcher also removes up to 96% of trace levels of pharmaceuticals, cutting out a huge variety of chemicals from your drinking water. While reducing the number of unhealthy contaminants in your water is its key goal, it does leave a healthy level of fluoride.


In addition to using premium carbon, the PUR 18 Cup Water Filtration Dispenser blends this with ion exchange materials in order to remove unwanted contaminants effectively.


Thanks to its large size, you’ll be able to serve up to 18 people glasses of water, making it perfect for when you have people over for a barbecue or other meal.


Made of BPA-free plastic, the PUR 18 Cup Water Filtration Dispenser is extremely sturdy while also being healthier and more sustainable. And, if that’s not enough, all the PUR water filters are recyclable.


Another reason we have voted this model the best water filter pitcher on the market today is that PUR has really considered every single possible eventuality for their product.


Aside from being sustainable and offering filtration beyond your wildest beliefs, it’s also extremely comfortable to use thanks to its ergonomic handle and easy to fill lid.


With the pour spout cover, you’ll never get particles from the rest of your fridge in your water, leaving you with odorless, clean, and fresh drinking water. It comes in a space-saving, slim design that fits in most, if not all fridges.


And, if all the above doesn’t persuade you, it’s received more than 3,100 customer reviews on Amazon, more than 80% of which are 4 or 5 stars.


Last but not least, you can purchase the PUR 18 Cup Water Filtration Dispenser for $24 on Amazon depending on the package you choose.

Runner-Up: Brita Large 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser and Filter

If the above PUR model doesn’t quite do it for you, we recommend you check out the Brita Large 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser and Filter.


Aside from the fact that it comes in a choice of a very stylish and slick black or grey design, this Brita model is among the most functional and effective filtration systems available.


Firstly, the Brita Large 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser and Filter comes in a space-saving design which means that it can fit in most regular fridges. The UltraMax Water Dispenser tank holds a whopping 18 cups of water, the equivalent to 1.13 gallons of water.


Plus, if you don’t want it in your fridge, it’s square design means that it sits comfortably on any shelf or countertop. While design is important to many, one of its most impressive features is its filtration abilities.


Made of BPA-free plastic, the Brita Large 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser and Filter reduces the amount of chlorine in your water leaving you with crisp, clear, odorless water that tastes amazing.


Aside from chlorine, this Brita model can reduce the number of contaminants, metals, and bacteria found in tap water, including copper, mercury, cadmium, among many others.


One of our favorite features of this model is the filter change reminder. Provided in the form of a sticker indicator, you’ll be able to workout when you last changed your filter, and when it needs to be changed again.


Thanks to its spigot, this water filter pitcher is not only easy to refill but makes pouring guests and loved ones water an absolute breeze. Last but not least, in an attempt to reduce waste, the Brita water filter pitcher can replace more than 300 standard 16.9-ounce plastic water bottles.


If you head over to Amazon, you can choose between the basic model and the one that comes with a Dash button, a wi-fi connected device that reorders your favorite products through Amazon. This is especially helpful when you need new filters for your water filter pitcher.


With a price tag of just under $35, the Brita Large 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser and Filter has received amazing reviews online, with an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars from nearly 700 customers.

Best Small Water Filter Pitcher

Winner: Brita Large 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher with Filter

If you think the two aforementioned water filter pitchers are a bit large for your household, then we recommend you look at the Brita Large 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher with Filter.


Designed for households with fewer people or a lower water consumption, the Brita Large 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher with Filter is large enough to hydrate a small family or couple.


Designed in BPA-free clear plastic, this water filter pitcher reduces the taste and odor of chlorine in your tap water. Not only this, you’ll find lower traces of various metals, contaminants, and bacteria. For example, copper, mercury, cadmium, and various other impurities.


Aside from the fact that Brita has used BPA-free plastic to create this water filter pitcher, it has the capability to replace over 300 standard 16.9-ounce plastic water bottles, thus having a positive impact on the world.


The Brita Large 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher with Filter comes with a filter indicator meaning that you won’t ever have to guess if your filter needs changing or not.


One Brita filter can filter through 40 gallons of water which equates to approximately two months of use depending on the number of people using it in your household.


It comes in a simple, yet classic oval design allowing you to maximize the amount of space you have in your fridge. And, if that’s not enough, it has a soft grip handle making it extremely easy to pour your water.


The lid that comes with the Brita Large 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher with Filter is removable so you can refill it easily without even taking it out of your fridge.


Brita has designed it to be the ultimate everyday pitcher meaning that you can not only drink healthier tap water but also produce better quality infant formula as well as provide your pets with better drinking water.


With more than 4,600 reviews, the majority of which are 4-stars or more, it is no real surprise that we have voted the Brita Large 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher with Filter the best small water filter pitcher on the market at the moment.


Aside from its mound of positive reviews, this Brita model is very reasonably priced at less than $39 per unit, and that includes free shipping to your doorstep if you make your purchase on Amazon.

Runner-Up: Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher

If the Brita model mentioned above isn’t quite what you’re looking for, let us bring your attention to the AquaGear Water Filter Pitcher.


The AquaGear Water Filter Pitcher is among the most sustainably made water filter pitchers available because it is not only made of BPA-free plastic, but is also made in the U.S.


Not only this, the materials used are all 100% FDA-approved food grade, 100% recyclable, and 100% vegan. All its components have been rigorously tested to ensure you receive the highest quality product.


The filter in the AquaGear Water Filter Pitcher not only meets but exceeds NSF Standards 42 and 53 for contaminant reduction. Plus, AquaGear’s filters have been tested in Flint and Michigan for copper and lead reduction.


Known for lasting three times longer than other big competitors in the water filter market, the AquaGear Water Filter Pitcher uses the highest quality filters, producing up to 150 gallons of water each.


In addition to the above, this water filter pitcher removes more than 2000% more bacteria, metal, and other contaminants than other models in the industry.


This model can filter through fluoride, lead, chromium 6, chloramines, mercury, and chlorine, among other hazardous chemicals thanks to its filter’s 2-micron pores.


It also keeps healthy amounts of magnesium and calcium in order to ensure that you still get all the minerals you need from your water. AquaGear is best known for its impeccable customer support, offering all its customers a lifetime guarantee on all their products.


And, if you don’t believe us, read the mounds of reviews stating that they received all the support needed when faced with a faulty product. The company promises to replace products free of charge should they break.


While slightly more expensive than its predecessors at just under $70, the AquaGear Water Filter Pitcher received 4 and 5-star reviews 80% of the time.


With more than 800 reviews and a mound of features, the AquaGear Water Filter Pitcher is perfect for any small household looking for a high-quality filter pitcher.

Alternative: Soma Sustainable Pitcher & Plant-Based Water Filter

If you are looking for a water filter pitcher that is slightly more basic but extremely stylish and among the most sustainably made on the planet, check out the Soma Sustainable Pitcher & Plant-Based Water Filter.


As a certified B-corporation Soma does its best to produce products that have a positive impact on the world.


Because the company believes that healthy water is a basic human right, it has created a water filter pitcher that uses plant-based filters that make water delicious and healthy without compromising on style.


Soma’s filter is made of coconut shell carbon and plant-based casing allowing it to remove chlorine while also improving the taste and odor of your water.


Plus, each filter is effective for up to 40 gallons of water- that’s about two months of usage depending on the size of your household.


Able to hold up to 80 ounces of crisp, clear, and tasty water, the Soma Sustainable Pitcher & Plant-Based Water Filter fits in virtually any fridge and comes in an elegant and slick design that is made of shatterproof BPA-free plastic.


The handle is made of oak giving it a very distinct design compared to other water filter pitchers available at the moment. The pitcher is extremely easy to fill thanks to its lid door which opens automatically.


The Soma Sustainable Pitcher’s filter has been tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 requirements by the Water Quality Association.


If all the above isn’t enough, you may like to know that Soma donates to water projects across the world. These contributions help community-owned projects in developing countries allowing them to enjoy clear, crisp, and healthy water.


Last but not least, the Soma Sustainable Pitcher & Plant-Based Water Filter is very reasonably priced at less than $40 per unit and by purchasing it on Amazon you’ll benefit from delivery straight to your doorstep.


With nearly 700 customer reviews, the large majority of which are of 4-stars or more, it is no surprise that we consider the Soma Sustainable Pitcher & Plant-Based Water Filter to be one of the best on the market today.

Why You Should Choose Your Water Filter Pitcher Carefully

While you may think that choosing the best water filter pitcher is easy, there are certain considerations you need to make before making your final buying decision, here are some of them:

1- Filtration Time

You should find out how much time your preferred model takes to filter water. If you have a large household, you may find that waiting up to 10 minutes for your next lot of filtered water will be very annoying in the long run.

2- Filter Replacements

Bear in mind that replacing your filter can become quite expensive. We advise that you look into the various filters available.


Buying your filters with your water filter pitcher could save you money in the long run. Also, choosing filters that are not from the manufacturer could mean that you’re not getting all the benefits you originally intended. 

3- Budget

You must establish what your budget is before you choose the best water filter pitcher for your household. While some big brands have models that are very reasonably priced, others are more expensive but also come with additional features.

4- Ease of Installation

Despite the fact that the best water filter pitchers are extremely easy to use, they should also be simple to install.


This means that you should consider how many parts your pitcher has and how long it takes to put together. Typically, models with more parts take longer to put together and are therefore more difficult to use.

5- Ease of Use

You may be wondering what is hard to understand about using a water filter pitcher, but in actual fact, these can be challenging if they do not come with the right features.


You must ensure that your water filter pitcher can be refilled quickly and easily without needing the intelligence of ten men to get it running.

6- Refrigeration

Do you like keeping your water in the fridge? If so, you must choose one that can be refrigerated for colder temperature. If you choose a model that cannot go in the fridge, you will have to pour the water from your pitcher into another bottle each time you want cold water.

Features to Pay Attention to When Choosing a Water Filter Pitcher

Now that you know why you need to choose the best water filter pitcher for your individual needs, there are a variety of features you should pay attention to when making your final decision, for example:


The type of water filter pitcher you choose will completely depend on your household’s individual needs and the type of water you have in your area. For example, if your water is high in fluoride it is important that you choose a model that reduces the amount of fluoride in your water.


While most pitchers filters use carbon in order to absorb impurities and odor1, others have multistage filtration systems that remove a huge variety of contaminants such as chlorine, parasites, lead, bacteria, and other substances such as traces of pharmaceuticals.


While most plastic water filter pitchers are made with 100% BPA-free plastic, others are not. Opting for a cheap plastic model could actually lead to further impurities in your water including microplastics. You could also opt for stainless steel models and even glass ones.


You need to consider the size of your water filter pitcher in order to ensure that it can hydrate your entire family. If you buy a pitcher that is too small you may find that you have to refill it very regularly which is not only time consuming and frustrating but also expensive in the long run.


Simply put, the amount of water you and your loved ones drink will hugely influence the size of pitcher that you need. You also need to be sure that your pitcher fits in your fridge if opting for a larger model.


While manufacturers can tell you that they have tested their filters against contaminants and other unhealthy substances, you should also check that your preferred model has been tested by independent organizations such as NSF International2 or the Water Quality Association.

Filter Change Indicator

Some water filter pitchers come with filter change indicators which means that instead of guessing when your filter needs changing, there will be a mechanism that tells you.


This can come in the form of a removable sticker or a timer. Typically, these filters last anywhere between 1 and 3 months depending on usage and the quality of the filter itself.


Despite the fact that many modern water filter pitchers are not expensive, it is important that you opt for a model that comes with a warranty in case you find that your filter is not doing its job properly.


Normally, water filter pitchers come with at least a 90-day warranty, however, more expensive models come with a one-year warranty or even lifetime warranty depending on the manufacturer.


The products mentioned above are all fine models that have been tried and tested by thousands of consumers across the world suffering from various water problems.


That being said, you should always consider which contaminants are affecting the water in your location. You should also know how much water you want to filter on a daily basis as well as your budget.


If you want a water filter pitcher that can hydrate a large household or family, we suggest you opt for the larger PUR or Brita model mentioned above. On the other hand, the other three models are great for smaller households. 



Leave a Comment: