When you are looking at various water treatment options, one of them sticks out of the crowd, which is why we thought we’d provide you a comprehensive LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Review. There are various reasons for which we think this is a valuable piece of gear for any surviving aficionado out there, like its price, craftsmanship, ease of use and general features.
- Award-winning LifeStraw has been used by millions around the globe since 2005
- Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and surpasses EPA standards for water filters
- Removes minimum 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction) and filters to an amazing 0.2 microns
- Filters up to 1000 liters of contaminated water
In point of fact, the LifeStraw was designed to meet the needs of clean water for people living in poor, Third World countries, but now it’s used for various emergencies, camping expeditions or long hiking treks.
Features to Consider When Selecting this Product
There are many characteristics which you should consider when acquiring your survival gear. Some of them are of a general nature, whilst others are particular to the item you’re considering.
That being said, let’s take a quick glance at what the LifeStraw has to offer and why we think it’s a top notch water purifying system.
How well it works
Whenever you’re looking into an outdoor item, make sure it meets its purpose as flawlessly as possible. Since the LifeStraw is a water filter, the obvious role for which it was created is purifying water.
And in this case you’ll find that the LifeStraw works like a charm, getting rid of most bacteria that live in water. It’s even good for filtering protozoa like the much dreaded Cryptosporidium – the one that gives you stomach pain, incessant coughing and watery diarrhea.
On the other hand, the membrane made from hollow fiber isn’t effective against viruses, but most water purifying systems aren’t either. That means you can still get some virally transmitted diseases if you’re planning to use it in a foreign country for example.
Besides this, the LifeStraw works well also because it can purify up to 1000 liters of water, meaning that you can use it for about 18 months of non-stop camping. If you have troubles with it in case it gets full of debris, the only way to fix it is to blow the water back inside it to clean it.
How simple it is to use it
A good item should be complex but not complicated, particularly when it comes to your ability to operate it. As such, the LifeStraw is one of the easy-breezy items in its category, because all you have to do is stick it in the water you want to drink and use it like a straw – it’s in the actual name.
If the water you’re trying to filter is really dirty, filled with all sorts of debris, drinking it may take a little time because it’s harder to filter. However, don’t give up your suction efforts since the flow of water hastens once you get it going.
Another thing to consider is that you should probably drink through the LifeStraw after you have previously collected the water in a cup or a bottle. Trying to drink directly from a puddle or a river can be quite tricky because this water filter isn’t too long. So you’ll have to do real acrobatics in order to reach the water and not get too dirty or fall over the river banks doing it.
But we feel that every real camper carries a water bottle or a cup in their backpack, so that shouldn’t hinder its ease of use too much.
How versatile it is
Being able to accomplish multiple purposes is another feature you should look for in your equipment. For instance some water filters are able to purify bigger amounts of water which you can then store and use as clean water.
You can still collect a few gallons of debris-filled or muddy water in bottles and then use the filter to drink from the bottles. However, you can’t use that water for cooking – unless you plan to suck and spit the necessary water in a pot. Which can be done in emergencies, but it’s still sort of weird to think about.
Besides, if you store contaminated water in a bottle, that contaminates the bottle too meaning you’ll have to throw it away later on.
How fast it helps you accomplish your goals
In the present case, this translates into how fast it can help you quench your thirst with clean water and the answer is: in a jiffy. That’s because you don’t have to pump the water, nor do you have to put chemicals inside it and wait for them to do their job.
Even if you have to wait a bit when the water’s muddier, this waiting period still isn’t very long – just a matter of seconds.
How easy it is to carry
Survival means being able to move around as freely and as fast as possible without being inconvenienced too much by the size and weight of your gear. In this regards, the LifeStraw is compact, not voluminous at all and weighs just 1.8 ounces. That means you won’t even feel it in your backpack, and even a kid can carry it easily.
How much it costs
At only $15.99, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter really gets out its money’s worth since most water filters cost a lot more, and offer mostly the same benefits. The only thing the LifeStraw isn’t too good at is being multi-functional and helping you filter and then store water for many other people to use at the campsite for instance.
But for one person who doesn’t really need cooking or has other means of obtaining cooking water – like boiling it – it’s incredibly useful.
Other users’ opinion
After analyzing all of these features regarding how and why to choose the LifeStraw, it’s time to see what other people have to say about it. As such, we thought we’d give you a couple of different perspectives, seeing that the efficiency oftentimes lies in the eyes of the beholder.
So we’re going to present you LifeStraw through the point of view of the manufacturer, the happy customers and the not so happy customers. After doing all this research we have already formed a great opinion of the LifeStraw, but now it’s time for you to make up your mind.
What the company says
One of the first things that the LifeStraw brand ensures its prospective clients regards this item’s efficiency in various situations, like:
Preparedness and Survival
Whether you’re involved in an urban emergency, like an earthquake, a natural disaster or a survival situation, getting access to clean water is quite significant. As such, you need to drink potable water without worrying that your item doesn’t work because it doesn’t have batteries or because its moving parts have worn out.
Being very small and light at around 8.9 x 1 x 8.9 inches and 1.8 ounces, the LifeStraw can fit in your home emergency kit, in your car or even in your briefcase.
Since the LifeStraw has a proficient filtration system which is able to remove almost all bacteria and protozoa, or at least 99.9999% of them, you will feel more at ease filtrating water from abroad countries if you don’t trust its potability. The most common bacteria and protozoa which infect water and which the LifeStraw has efficiently proven to filtrate are: Salmonella, E-coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
Hiking and camping
With a weight of below 2 ounces, this item is perfect for hikers and campers, who can drink both from a bottle or directly from the contaminated water source which may be a stream, a puddle or a pond. That being said, it’s a fast way to getting access to clean water seeing as you don’t have to pump or wait for a thorough chemical cleaning.
Hunting and fishing
This type of camping trips require minimal equipment, so the LifeStraw makes it possible for you to leave at home excessive water supplies, relying solely on the water you filtrate on the run.
Other appraises of this product are made by the company regarding its:
The LifeStraw brand states that it’s the most trusted name in filtration, seeing as it’s used by millions of people around the world. These people range from outdoor aficionados to humanitarian aid organizations, all of which are very satisfied customers.
Moreover, LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is distributed globally for humanitarian aid and it has proven itself useful in various major natural disasters like:
- The Haiti
- The Pakistan
- Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
But another type of recognition stems from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, an organization who has given its seal of approval for the LifeStraw product, seeing as it respects all the rigorous standards required for water filtration systems.
- Filters 1000 liters of water.
- Removes 99.9999% bacteria.
- Removes 99.9999% protozoa.
- Uses advanced 3-micron hollow fiber membrane technology.
- It doesn’t need chemicals or bacteria.
- The materials it’s crafted from render it very light.
The company says that these materials are so high quality, that they make the product highly efficient.
Besides, they say the craftsmanship with no additional moving parts make it resistant and easy to use.
This item has various parts:
- Hollow fiber membrane that traps the pathogens inside.
- The end through which water enters.
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is used by opening the cap, inserting its end in water and sipping clean water through the mouthpiece. Once you stop drinking, you should blow back through the mouthpiece to expel dirty water and flush the filter membranes.
Opinions from Happy Customers: Pro & Cons
Some prefer the LifeStraw even if they have to drink the water as they go, because it’s less capacious and doesn’t weigh that much either. One user even mentioned that during his latest trip in the Rocky Mountains he drank fresh water from every stream, lake or snow patch without sensing any difference in taste or getting ill afterward.
The only disadvantage users attribute to this product is the initial suction it needs before the flow of water starts running. This repeated suction at high altitudes in the mountain leaves you out of breath pretty fast, unfortunately.
Other users appreciate the price and the fact that LifeStraw is quite handy and very easy to use. Not to mention that other models tend to go way over $100 which is quite expensive, especially if you’re just a casual hiker. The only warning here is that the LifeStraw doesn’t fit inside a bottle with a narrow mouth. Even though its description says this water purifier is 1 inch wide, it does have a plastic cover on its bottom that protects the filter, making it wider.
So, both the occasional and the frequent hikers like the LifeStraw very much, and even if they have had some minor inconveniences with this product, they still gave it a 5-star rating.
Opinions from Unhappy Customers
- Some users have difficulties using the filter and some swear they couldn’t manage to get the water flowing through the LifeStraw, although they tried the best they could. However, many fail to read the instructions and don’t know that the LifeStraw has to be submerged in water before using it. Otherwise it won’t work.
- Another user says the product they received was defective, seeing as it got detached from the lanyard and fell into the river they were trying to drink from. That ruined it completely. The reason for this mishap noted by the current reviewer was caused by the item’s two plastic hooks that connect to the filter, but face down. That makes the filter fall off very easily. Still, the product is designed to be easily unhooked so you can have easy access in an emergency situation.
- According to certain users, the company’s client support is not as good as expected. For instance, contacting the company for further explanation or a refund didn’t work, as they didn’t return their call.
- There are users out there who consider the LifeStraw filter to be a pretty flimsy product, especially when compared to others. And their main concern is that the filter won’t behave as advertised in the wilderness because of the flimsy construction. However, this is only based on the first impression and not on thorough testing.
What We Say
It’s obvious that each brand has to praise their own products and after reading the company’s description of the LifeStraw you can really taste the honey. However, since this product is EPA approved, that has to mean something.
Besides, the good customer reviews are overwhelming. Looking at the customer reviews this product has on Amazon, the first thing that pops is that its total score is 4.7 out of 5 from almost 5000 people. In fact, 93% of them rated the LifeStraw with 4 or 5 stars, which says a lot of its qualities.
However, at a price of just about $15, and extremely positive reviews from satisfied customers all over the Internet, we can surely understand why the LifeStraw is an extremely beloved piece of gear. Apart from the price, there are other characteristics which obviously recommend it, like its small size, very light weight and ease of use.
Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about it needing chemicals like other water purifying systems, nor does it operate on batteries which you would have to change at certain times. Since it’s not built from too many elements, especially not ones which can move or be replaced, it’s very resistant and can withhold various damages.
And last but not least its overall capacity of purifying about 1000 liters of water, all the while filtering out efficiently even particulates are further qualities which really take the cake, thus making LifeStraw one of the best items in its category.