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Best Portable Water Filters

Updated on April 1, 2013

Take a Portable Water Filter With You Wherever You Go

Whether you're hiking, camping, traveling abroad, a personal water filter is handy for making sure the water you're drinking is safe and tastes good. The World Health Organization (WHO) says 80 percent of all travel diseases are caused by contaminated drinking water. You can avoid these problems with a good water filter and purifier. Here are some of the best portable water filters currently available. They're easy to use, easy to carry and will help ensure your health while you're traveling or enjoying the backwoods.

(Image from Amazon)

Best Rated Portable Water Filters - Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter

If you're serious about your water filtration, the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter is a bit on the pricey side, but it gets the highest ratings from customers at both Amazon (where it's rated 5 out of 5 stars with over 60 reviews) and (where it's rated 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 30 reviews). Katadyn's silver-impregnated ceramic element and .2 micron filter is effective against bacteria and protozoa and has an optional carbon filter that will allow you to drink water for almost any source. And with a capacity of 13,000 gallons, you shouldn't be needing another portable water filter for quite a long time.

Katadyn Water Microfiltration - For Backpacking, hiking, camping, or emergency water purification, Purify up to 13,000 gallons
Katadyn Water Microfiltration - For Backpacking, hiking, camping, or emergency water purification, Purify up to 13,000 gallons

Product description: Made of heavy-duty materials, the Pocket features a silver-impregnated ceramic element that's effective against bacteria and protozoa even in extreme conditions. Unlike disposable filters, the ceramic element can be cleaned several times, even in the field. More importantly, the element filters all microorganisms larger than 0.2 microns (0.0002mm), producing clear, drinkable water no matter where in the world you are. The pump also includes an improved, round pump handle for better ergonomics and an outlet hose that attaches to water containers with a single clip.


MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter - Another top-rated portable water filter

Another personal water purifier that gets high marks from numerous customers on Amazon and is the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter. This device can filter 2000 liters before you'll need to get a replacement cartridge, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. It earns a 4.5 out of 5-star rating at Amazon and 4 out of 5 stars at REI. It's a little heavier than the Katadyn (1 lb. for the MSR MiniWorks vs. 20 oz.for the Katadyn), so if weight is more of an object than price, the Katadyn is still the filter to beat.

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter
MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter

Description: The MiniWorks EX microfilter is MSR's worldwide best-selling microfilter, delivering long-lasting, field-maintainable water filtration in demanding environments. Engineered for frequent and heavy use, it utilizes the company's workhorse Marathon EX carbon/ceramic element to ensure clean, reliable, and taste-free water. Thanks to its innovative AirSpring Accumulator, it's capable of pumping one liter per minute and the flow rate can be renewed easily and repeatedly in the field--no tools required. It's lightweight and compact and, most importantly, been proven reliable by thousands of adventurers just like you.


SteriPen AdventurerOpti Water Purifier - Extremely lighweight water purification in seconds

The SteriPen gets good reviews on both Amazon and REI and also earned a 2011 Editor's Choice Award from Backpacker magazine. Unlike the filters above, the SteriPen doesn't filter particles, so it won't help remove sediment from, say, river water, but it does purify your drinking water by using UV light to kill 99.99% of protozoa, bacteria and viruses.

SteriPEN Adventurer Opti UV Water Purifier
SteriPEN Adventurer Opti UV Water Purifier


- SteriPEN eliminates over 99.9 of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause water-borne illnesses

- Fast--Purifies 16 oz of water in 48 seconds or 32 oz in 90 seconds

- Light--The SteriPEN Adventurer Opti, 6.1 long, weighs only 3.6 oz. with 2 CR123 lithium batteries (included

- Optical water sensor doubles as handy LED flashlight


More Personal Water Filters - Plenty of choices for every budget and need

The best portable water filter for you will be the one that has the features you want at the price you can afford. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for every type of traveler and adventurer. Here are some other personal water filters and purifiers to take along on your journeys.

Compare prices on portable water filters at BizRate

Portable Water Filters on eBay - Find great deals on the best water filter for you

You can buy almost anything on eBay, including water filters. If you don't want to take the chance of losing an item in an auction, look for products marked Buy It Now. You can buy these immediately at a fixed price.

Katadyn Pocket Water Filter in Action - See this portable water filter in action

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What Do You Think Of These Filters? - Please share your reviews and comments

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    • profile image

      bianxiu89 4 years ago

      Portable water filter is real good product for outdoor sporters.I buy the Diercon portable water filter that is also very better,and popular in China.

    • profile image

      bianxiu89 4 years ago

      Portable water filter is real good product for outdoor sporters.I buy the Diercon portable water filter that is also very better,and popular in China.

    • profile image

      berkeyworld 4 years ago

      This type of water filter helps traveler a lot. They can carry it everywhere they go. I came to know more about portable water filters from your post. Thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've read great things about Katadyn products and I've been researching this topic quite a bit. I think I'm going to try to get a filtration system for home use first though. Great reviews, thanks!

    • markkeeler profile image

      markkeeler 5 years ago

      I have used the same MSR for 25 years and never had any issues.

    • belinda342 profile image

      belinda342 5 years ago

      Sounds like a handy item for emergency preparedness too.

    • tntkik lm profile image

      tntkik lm 5 years ago

      Nice presentation Lisa.

      I used once the Katadyn portable filter owned by a friend of mine in Africa, amazing equipment, feels safe to drink water wherever in the world. I wish I owned one but price still a bit high for me.

      Take care,