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You never know what is going to happen. While it’s easy to take clean water for granted, the reality is that there are many situations where it may not be available. From wars to natural disasters or other emergencies, water is always needed and not always in supply. Having a way to filter your water could mean the difference between life and death. That’s where a survival water filter comes in. It takes fresh water from most available sources and it purifies it so that it’s safe to drink, cook with, or use for bathing or cleaning. If you keep reading, you’ll find more about the best survival water filter options on the market.

According to the United Nations, every person needs between 5 and 13 gallons of water each day. This covers the water that you might need for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. It may not seem like much when you have a faucet, but when the water is out or you’re living in an area without clean water, a survival water filter is invaluable. Survival water filters are used for areas without access to clean water, during natural disasters, and even during camping trips and other situations in the outdoors.

In the following sections, we will look at the best filters for survival situations. No matter which you choose, each of these survival water purifiers will produce clean water that is free of the majority of bacteria and is safe to use and consume.

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Quick Picks for the Best Survival Water Filter of 2020


Our Research


Our Picks for the Best Survival Water Filter

We look at a variety of important factors when determining what would make our best survival filter list. Starting off with hands-on tests, we spent hours trying out a variety of survival water filtration systems. This gave us a chance to figure out what worked best and what didn’t live up to their claims. We also utilized verified, third party survival water filter reviews to find out what other users felt about each product. Finally, we took into account manufacturer and product information when making our final selections. You can learn more about survival water filtration systems in the sections below.


Top Overall: MSR MiniWorks

MSR MiniWorks

Key Features: Connects to water bottles; rated to remove bacteria, protozoa and more; meets NSF standards

Price Range: $$

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The MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter will work for outdoor trips, hiking, survival situations, and emergency preparedness. In short, if you need clean water and you’re not near a faucet, this is a good option for you. The MSR MiniWorks includes a replaceable ceramic and carbon filter. Together they remove bacteria, particulate, organic compounds, and protozoa. This leaves you with fresh, clean water that is free of smells and funny tastes. It’s just crisp, clean water.

You can connect your filter to many wide mouth water bottles. You can also use standard hydration bladders. Both of these options are sold separately. Fresh water is cleaned at a rate of one liter per minute. The MSR MiniWorks is lightweight at just one pound. It has a storage bag included, which is convenient for storage or carrying with you when camping.

Each filter cartridge is replaceable and will treat up to 2,000 liters (528 gallons) of water. Up to 99.99% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa are removed in the filtering process. The MSR MiniWorks also meats the NSF protocols set in place concerning bacteria removal. Click here to learn more.


Budget-Friendly: Sawyer PointOne

Sawyer PointOne

Key Features: Rated to remove bacteria and protozoa; adapters for various uses; several accessories for versatility

Price Range: $

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Sawyer Products is a name that many outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists are familiar with. They make a number of great survival water filtration systems and the Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System is no different. As a budget model, this is a robust option that would be perfect for mission trips, survival situations, and even a basic camping trip.

The PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System offers some of the highest filtration levels available today. More than 99.99% of both bacteria and protozoa are removed during the filtering process. A 32-ounce pouch is included for personal use. It can also attach to bucket and faucet adapters for higher volumes of clean water.

Everything is easy to use. It’s all laid out with clear installation, maintenance, and cleaning instructions. All you need to use the Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System is included in the package. You’ll have the screw-on filter, a collapsible pouch, two replaceable drinking spouts (pop-up), a bucket adapter kit, a faucet adapter, a filter hanger, and a syringe filter cleaner. Other than a bucket, you’re all set to filter small or large volumes of water. Click here to learn more.


Luxury: Platypus GravityWorks

Platypus GravityWorks

Key Features: Easy to use; high capacity; no pumping required; great reviews; packs away small

Price Range: $$

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The Platypus GravityWorks 4L is a high-capacity survival water filtration system. It’s perfect for a small group or family and covers everything from camping to survival situations. All of the EPA and NSF guidelines have been met with this survival water purifier. The Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 will remove as much as 99.99% of bacteria. It also removes 99.9% of protozoa, including E. coli, salmonella, and other harmful contaminants.

Like other gravity filters, most of the work is done for you. You won’t to handle anything. Once the water is in the reservoir your work is done. You just hang the bag of fresh water on a tree limb or another high spot and the water passes through the filter and the clean water is placed in the second bag. The Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 can filter four liters (1 gallon) of water in less than three minutes.

The Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 survival water purifier comes with a 4-liter dirty water reservoir and a clean water reservoir that’s the same size. You also get a hollow-filter microfilter, shutoff clamp, hoses, and a storage sack for safe keeping. The kit weighs less than 12 ounces, which makes it easy and compact for carrying. Click here to learn more.


Importance of Survival Water Filters

By now you’ve probably already realized the importance of a good survival water filter. It could save your life. While many people think of portable water filters for camping and other outdoor activities, a survival water filter can protect you during natural disasters, weather events, and just about any time when you lack access to clean water. They are particularly helpful in mission and charity work, when they are taken to countries that lack clean water. If you do not have the current luxury of a working faucet, a survival water filter will keep you in clean water until you have water access again.

Here are some other ways a survival water filter can benefit you:

Flavor – Water doesn’t always taste the same. Depending on where you are and where the water is coming from, you can get a different taste or flavor in every situation. A water filter cleans your water, but it also allows for a more consistent, better tasting water. While having clean water is the most important thing, the ability to make the water taste better is an added benefit.

Safety – Having access to clean water can mean the difference between life and death. You can go without food if you have to, but without clean water you could get sick or even die within days. In a survival situation you need to be able to take water where you find it and filter it to make it usable. Even fresh water that looks clean could have viruses, chemicals, or various forms of bacteria. The only way you’ll know is if it makes you sick and then it’s too late. A survival water filter will ensure that you get the water you need without any of the contaminants.

Peace of Mind – In a true survival situation you may have to be worried about dozens of things from maintaining your safety to any number of other issues. Most survival water filters are created with this in mind. They are often lightweight and/or easy to transport and they are simple to use. If they are needed for an emergency, they take seconds to get working and provide clean water within minutes.


How We Chose

It took some time to determine the best survival water filter. We looked at many products and spent hours testing a variety of brands and types of survival filtration systems. During this time, we also took into account things like brand recognition, reputation, and product descriptions and claims. We finished up our hands-on research by looking at third-party survival water filter reviews to find out what other users had to say.

Filtration Technology – Not all survival water filters work the same way. Some are gravity fed and will provide larger quantities of water in minutes. Others might be as small as a water filter straw and can be placed in water and consumed instantly as it passes through the filter before getting to you. When testing the products, we considered how they were filtering water, how long it takes and how much water you get in that time, and how the water looked and tasted after filtering.

Brand Reputation – In a survival situation you’re going to need a water filtration setup that you can trust. We considered brands that people use time and again because their products are made well, they offer warranties, and their product claims can be proven and trusted. Several brands are well received for making products you can trust, and we found first-hand how well these and other products worked.

Price – Unfortunately, price is going to be a factor for a lot of people. With this in mind, we tried to offer a wider range of options with luxury and budget-friendly options. Luckily, there is an abundance of survival water filter options and there is something in most price ranges that can help to keep you protected in an emergency. While we did consider the actual price, we also considered how long it would last, the price of replacement parts, and whether or not the price matched the quality of the product.

Value – Most survivalists will tell you that you should have more than one type of survival water filter. When choosing the ones for you, we looked at the overall value of the filter. We looked at how the products were made, how easy it was to get replacement parts (if needed), and how long the product would last. We also considered the product claims in relation to our findings and the findings of survival water filter reviews.

We’re here to help if you still need help finding the best water filter for survival kits. Feel free to leave us a comment or check out our guide of the best water filters for more information!

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