Water Filter Straw Less than $30 Buyer’s Guide 2021

by Dr. Jonathan Doyle - Updated March 31, 2021
It’s the season of the year, people start to head out to the wilderness for outdoor activities. Besides planning and spending time in natural places, it is important to ensure the safety of every of your step and sip.
How to access clean drinking water outdoors is a big thing you need to deal with. For RV trips, store the filtered water in your RV water tank that can meet your water needs on the road. However, for outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking or camping, carrying bottled water or hydration packs on the trip would be a big burden.
Fortunately, in most situations, a water filter straw can meet your needs for clean drinking water outdoors especially where water resources are abundant.
In order to help you choose a water filter straw that works best for you, we’ve chosen four best-selling water filter straws from the market as examples to discuss the differences between them.

Water Filter Straw for Camping, Hiking, Travel, Survival and Emergency Preparedness by Waterdrop

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Sawyer Mini

Etekcity Water Filter Straw

Unit Price ★ £12.99 $29.95 $24.95 $18.99
Included Container ★ 21 oz water pouch / 16 oz water pouch 16 oz water pouch
Lifespan ★ 100,000 gallons 1,000 gallons ★ 100,000 gallons 396 gallons
Stage ★ four stage one stage one stage ★ four stage
Filter Media ★ pre-filter fabric activated carbon UF membrane polyester membrane UF membrane UF membrane ★ pre-filter ion-exchange resin activated carbon UF membrane
Pore Size 0.1 micron 0.2 micron 0.1 micron ★ 0.01 micron
Removal of Large Particles Yes Yes Yes Yes
Removal of Bacteria and Protozoa Yes Yes Yes Yes
Removal of Chorine Taste and Odor ★ Yes No No ★ Yes
Removal of Heavy Metals and Chemicals No No No ★ partially removed
Weighs 4.23 oz ★ 2 oz 3.5 oz ★ 2 oz
Item Size(inch) 9.6 x 4.41 x 1.6 ★ 8.66 x 0.98 x 0.98 4 x 3 x 8 7.09 x 5.12 x 1.89
Thread Diameter 28mm 28mm 28mm 28mm

What is a water filter straw?

As the name suggests, the water filter straw is a compact, portable water filtration device that uses an ultrafiltration membrane to filter out harmful substances in water, allowing you to drink water directly from outdoor water resources anytime.
A person walking by the river holding a water filter straw in his right hand and a water pouch hanging on his backpack
Beneficial from the UF membrane, the water filter straw could effectively remove most of the large particles, bacteria and Protozoa in water. Some filter straw paired with other filter media, like carbon filters or resin, could additionally remove other substances like chlorine taste and odor, chemicals, as well as heavy metals.

How to choose the right water filter straw?

While choosing a water filter straw, many customers may get confused as the options are similar from different brands on the market.
The one from the best brand may not be at the best price, with the longest lifespan but not with the smallest frame. The unique features and qualities of each product make them special.
If you want to decide which one is the best, take the factors below into consideration and find the one best fit for your needs.
A male and female squashing down with a water mug and water pouch holding in the female’s hands

Filtration Efficiency

Water filter straw usually uses hollow fiber UF membrane with pore size between 0.01 to 0.2 micron to filter water, by which harmful substances larger than the pore size would be removed.
Generally, the smaller the pore size, the more kinds of harmful substances would be removed.
In our review, the Etekcity Water Filter Straw has the best filtration efficiency of 0.01 micron, but the downside is that you may find it hard to suck water out because of the filtration accuracy.
The most often used membrane pore size for water filter straw is 0.1 micron——which ensures a high filtration efficiency as well as fast water flow.

Lifespan

The service life for different water filter straws may vary, from hundreds of gallons to hundreds of thousands of gallons, which means you can use it from several months to years.
Three females holding mugs and chatting by the vehicle with a water bag hanging on the side
Water filter straws with a long lifespan can be used to service a group of people, such as the Sawyer mini and Waterdrop water filter straw, which could serve up to 100,000 gallons of water. The Waterdrop filter straw has a gravity bag to easily create a gravity filtration system and provide enough clean water for the whole group.
However, if you just use it personally, you can absolutely choose the LifeStraw personal water filter or Etekcity water filter straw, which is enough for the use of one person.

Weight and Size

You should also take the weight and size of a water filter straw into consideration. The weight and bulk of each water filter straw are different according to their design, filtering technology, and construction materials.
A person holding a water filter straw in the right hand with a water gravity bag in the left hand
One thing you need to notice is that the size and weight of the filter straw are closely relevant to its lifespan. Normally, smaller and lighter devices tend to have a shorter service life. On the contrary, bigger and heavier devices tend to have a longer life.

Filtration Stage

If you check the construction of each water filter straw, you will find they are not the same.
Some water filter straws like LifeStraw personal water filter and the Sawyer mini take a simple filtration stage that only uses UF hollow fiber as the filter media.
However, there are also water filter straws that take multi-stages which also ultilize filter media like activated carbon filter, resin, etc. besides UF membrane, such as the water filter straw from Waterdrop and Etekcity.
Is multi-stage better than single-stage?
Normally, although the UF membrane does have a super fine pore size, it cannot effectively remove bad taste and odor, as well as most chemicals and heavy metals in water.
However, carbon blocks could remove chlorine and other bad taste and odor by process of absorption, and resin could reduce heavy metals and chemicals by way of ion exchange.
Thus, a multi-stage water filter is usually recommended if the water resource you are dealing with is not ideal. For example, the water has a bad taste and odor or has a risk of being contaminated by heavy metals or chemicals. If the source water fairly good, then a single-stage water filter straw is enough.

FAQ

1. Can I attach a water filter straw with water bottles?

Most water filter straws in the market have a thread diameter of 28mm, and you can screw it to any standard plastic water bottles, bladders or water bags with the same thread diameter.

2. Can I use the water filter straw to filter seawater?

No, the water filter straw doesn’t remove salt and TDS from water, thus it cannot make seawater drinkable.

3. Do I have to backwash the water filter straw?

Some water filter straw needs to be back washed after use in case the filter gets clogged, which would prolong the life of your water filter straw and exceed the water flow. However, some may not need backwash. Check your user manual for reference.

Conclusion

As you could see in our water filter straw buyer’s guide, finding the one that works best for you is not a hard thing once you know what you are looking for. It is the method of how to choose but not the exact product that matters.
Hope your outdoor trip will be a lot easier with the right water filter straw. And if you are also looking for an RV water filter, read our RV water filter buyer’s guide for reference.

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