Best Water Filters and Purifiers for Survival

What is the best survival water filter or purifier?

Prepper Water Filters

The ultimate water filter for surviving doomsday has to be the Katadyn Survivor. This device is actually a hand-pumped water desalinator and is often used by military forces as part of their survival gear. The big advantage of this desalinator is that regardless of whether your water source is fresh water or salt water, your survival water needs are met. You may think you can remain in your doomsday bunker if the SHTF and use nearby fresh water sources. But for some emergency scenarios, you should accept that you just may have to evacuate (i.e. comets/asteroids, floods, Yellowstone Supervolcano, ...). The vast majority of Earth's surface water is seawater, so a good desalinator gives you global coverage in terms of where you can evacuate to, and what your water source is. But the Katadyn Survivor is kind of costly, so a more affordable option for desalination would be a non-electric water distiller

The size of microbes a water filter can remove is another factor in considering which one is best. Water filters usually filter out larger microorganisms like bacteria, as well as block microbes down to the largest virus range. Choosing a water purifier will provide you with the greatest safety net of the two types because of the range of microbes removed. The Sport Berkey Water Purifier is the best example in this class.

Cost can also be a huge consideration in determining what the actual BEST survival water filter is. If you don't currently have a way to handle your water needs in a survival situation, then the BEST water filter is the one you can afford TODAY (or as soon as possible). For this reason we consider the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter to be the top, practical water filter for survival since at $20 everyone concerned about doomsday survival or emergency preparedness can get started immediately.

Three Days Without Clean Drinking Water Means Death!

Of all survival equipment, your top priority should be prepper gear to supply clean water for drinking and cooking food. Two quarts of drinking water per day is considered the minimum, and three days without water and you will die a horrible death.

Under ideal conditions with a source of fresh, clean water you could just boil it for 30 minutes to kill any potentially lethal microorganisms and make the water safe. Or again assuming you have clear, fresh water to start with, you could also purify water chemically, or with ultraviolet light. But surviving doomsday will likely be much like war - unpredictable and chaotic - so counting on "ideal" conditions is pure folly.

It is likely you'll eventually have to settle on obtaining water from less than ideal sources (with dirt and/or other contaminates) where boiling just won't cut it. Assuming you at least have access to a fresh water source, the easiest, most cost-effective method of obtaining fresh drinking water at will is using a good survival water filter or purifier (like those below). Since we are preparing for emergencies, we shouldn't count on electric power being available. That's why we'll focus on human-powered (or gravity-powered) water filters.

But if you are like 80% of the people on earth, you also live with 60 miles of a nearly inexhaustable water source - the ocean. Making the overly salty sea water safe to drink isn't any more complicated than for fresh water, but you need slightly better survival gear. The Katadyn Survivor 35 Desalinator below is basically just a water filter, but it's pores are so small that it even filters out salt - making the water it produces safe to drink. Another alternative is using an emergency water distiller which can also deliver drinkable water from many sources including sea water!

Below you will find only the top prepper water filters or purifiers, that made the 5 star review rating.

Lifestraw Survival Water Filter

Lifestraw personal water filter

The Lifestraw personal water filter is the Ford Fiesta of prepper water filters. It is inexpensive, but does its job very effectively. In fact, it filters down to 0.2 microns, which is better than more expensive filters. If you're looking for a personal filtration water device that does an effective job of providing you with clean and safe drinking water, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filtering Straw is truly worth considering. It doesn't cost a lot at a retail price of $19.99 (subject to change), which makes it a real option for people on a shoestring budget.

This survival filter is so good at what it does that it is frequently shipped to Third World countries during natural disasters. It was first invented in 2005, and since then they've improved the product to near perfection. It's able to remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, which places it above the EPA class regulations that dictate how water filters should perform. Waterborne protozoa and parasites get filtered out as well, down to an amazing filtering ability of .2 microns. This leaves you with totally clean water that's safe for human consumption in nearly every situation.

The lifespan of the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is impressive as well. Just one Lifestraw will provide you with 1000 liters (264.172 gallon) of clean and safe drinking water per filter - that's almost a two year supply for one adult! And as far as emergency situations are concerned, you can't do better for the price. The product works well, is very highly regarded in the survivalist community, and it's affordable enough for nearly everyone.

And if you need more proof of the efficacy of this product, consider the fact that Nepal and Cambodia, as well as other Third World countries frequently order these LifeStraw Personal Water Filters by the case. Priced at only around $20, every prepper bug-out bag should include at least one Lifestraw water filter!

Weight: Next to nothing. Filters over 250 gallons of water down to 0.2 microns! Time Magazine 2005 Invention of the Year!

5 / 5 star review

Katadyn Survivor 35 Desalinator / Hand-Pump Emergency Water Filter

Katadyn Survivor Emergency Water Filter

If Lifestraw is the Ford Fiesta of survival water filters, the Survivor 35 by Katadyn is the Cadillac. Unlike most survivalist water filtration devices, the Survivor 35 will both desalinate sea water and filter out viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants. The hand-pumped Survivor 35 will produce over one gallon of water in an hour of pumping - more than enough for an American family. The Survivor 35 is tough enough that militaries around the world use it, so it should be durable enough for your family

If you live near the coast like I do, being able to make fresh filtered water by getting down to the ocean is a necessity. Even if you aren't currently near the sea, you never know which mega-disaster is going to force you towards the resource-rich environment of the sea. Sure a water still can also desalinate water, but fire-powered water stills have one potentially fatal flaw that the Survivor 35 does not. Should the SHTF when people will be deprived of food or water, I fully expect that after about one month (maybe two) chaos will reign and roving gangs will start looking for others that they can take from - Mad Max kind of stuff. In using a fire-powered water distiller you might as well broadcast your location to these gangs because of the smoke produced in the day, and the bright light produced at night. Your fire could literally be a "dead" give-away. But using a hand-pumped desalinator / filter like the Survivor you can sit in your camp and harvest your water supplies in safety.

Although pricey, in my humble opinion this filtration device is perfect for a prepper solution and worth it. The ability to desalinate and filter ample amounts of water from nearly any source (4.5 liters/hr.), in a 7 lb. military-grade unit puts this device at the top of my prepper list.

Weight: 7 lbs - 4.5 liters per hour. *See also the Katadyn Survivor 06 Desalinator. The 06 desalinator costs less than the 35 and is only 2.5 lbs. But it also has just one-forth the output of the 35 (2 hours per person per day just pumping water).

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5 / 5 star review

Sport Berkey Portable Water Purifier

Berkey Prepper Water Purifier

The Sport Berkey is an alternative to the Lifestraw, but is technically a much better "survival water purifier." The Sport Berkey is one of the best survival water purifiers available, and it's definitely a quality product. This one is a portable purifier, and it's able to eliminate 99.9% of unpleasant odors, taste, silt, cloudiness, chlorine, and sediment. The Sport Berkey Portable Water Purifier also removes toxic chemicals such as trihalomethanes, pesticides, detergents, VOC's, and even heavy metals. Pathogens such as Cryptosporidium, E-coli, Giardia, and many other forms of pathogenic bacteria are eliminated through the filtering process as well, leaving you with a safe and sanitary option for clean water no matter where you are.

The key to this portable water purifier is the technology it uses. Using a process called "adsorption", harmful substances are attracted to the micro-porous internal surface area of the filter and then absorbed, preventing any contaminants from finding their way into the purified and safe to drink water within the reservoir bottle.

And because this water purifier is totally portable, you'll find that you can carry it with you everywhere no matter where you are. And there's more - water purification specialists have tested and rated this water purifier as one of the very best, with scientific research and documented tests to back up their reports.

Best of all, the price is affordable enough to make this a grab-and-go option for everyone. So, if you were looking for an affordable option for clean drinking water without a high price tag, this is one of the products you should consider packing in your Bug-out Bag.

And here's an extra tip: Adding a few drops of plain chlorinated bleach or iodine to the water before it gets filtered will eliminate odor, color, and taste. Then, the water gets filtered and the iodine and chlorine is removed too! So easy! It's also very handy for emergency situations too and comes in a sealed waterproof bag for your convenience.

Weighs next to nothing. Purifies 25 gallons of water from really bad sources. Stock up on the 2 oz. replacement filters.

5 / 5 star review

Katadyn Vario Ceramic Water Filteration System

Katadyn Vario Multi Flow Water Microfilter

The Katadyn Vario Ceramic Water Filter is a no nonsense, pump water filtration system which produces up to two quarts of drinkable water in one minute. With the Katadyn Vario Water Filter, you're getting award winning technology that's designed to last you for many years of outdoor water filtration.

The ceramic pre-filter is able to be engaged with just a turn of the wrist, and you'll get two quarts of healthy drinking water per minute from this unit. You'll also notice that the water tastes fresh and clean, with zero impurities left in the final product. It comes equipped with dual piston technology that doesn't use expensive batteries. Simply pump the handle, and the water is pressed through the filtration disc. It's that simple!

It also comes with an adapter base that can attach directly to water bottles or hoses in just seconds. This makes it ideal for not only camping trips and other situations, but also for use around the home when you need a filtration system that can hook up directly to continuous water supplies.

As for the price, it does cost a little more than your average portable water filtration system, but it's also designed to last much longer too. Instead of having to replace your portable water filtering device every couple of months, this unit is a outdoor filtration option that will last you many years under normal operating conditions.

The Katadyn company has been proven to produce top quality water filtration products, and the Katadyn Vario model is built well enough to withstand some abuse. It's ability to filter so much water, so easily, makes the Vario a great, cost-effective prepper water filtering device for any bug-out bag. With a couple replacement filters, this device could provide years of drinkable water for your whole family.

Weight: 1 pound. Filters down to 0.3 microns. Makes up to 500 gallons before filter replacement. 2-pack replacement filters only about $10 ($5 each)

5 / 5 star review

Sawyer SP181 PointOne All-in-One Water Filter

Sawyer PointOne Water Filter

Consider the Sawyer All-in-One as the multi-tool of emergency water filtration systems. This cool gadget can filter water as a straw, or you can fill-up the water pouch and give a squeeze, or use the provided kit to make a gravity fed system. Using the gravity kit - just top-off a five gallon bucket, raise it up, and let gravity bring you drinkable water. And regardless of which doomsday befalls us, it's unlikely that gravity will stop working - so this is a recommended prepper filter. The .01 micron fiber membrane filter removes 99.99999% of bacteria and 99.99999% of protozoa and cysts. The durable ABS plastic housing makes this an ideal option for rough outdoor use, especially when you need a filtration system that won't break or puncture on you easily. The manufacturer, Sawyer, has a 1 million gallon guarantee for this model, and it has one of the highest levels of filtration purity available today.

The Sawyer PointONE Filter is highly adaptable, allowing you to use it with a squeeze pouch, a five gallon capacity bucket, and even with your home faucet. The key to the function of this unit is gravity, as the weight of the water provides the "push" the water needs to go through the inline filter system. It also has a quite impressive yield as far as purified water volume is concerned. The Sawyer Point ONE All in One Filter will provide you with 540 gallons of output per day, making this more than suitable for your day to day water filtration activities. It's even able to accommodate the needs of a storable water project solution, given the high max output capacity.

It's also suitable for emergency situations when water purity is a primary concern. Sawyer also offers several other water purification kits, but according to the reviews, this one is the best overall value for your money. And if you look at the product page for the Sawyer PointONE All in One Filter, you'll find some helpful information that will help prolong the life of the unit and ensure you operate it correctly.

Weights less than one pound. Amazing 0.1 micron filtration. Filters up to 550 gallons per day from fresh water sources. Has a one million gallon guarantee (not that you could call and complain if the SHTF)

5 / 5 star review

Katadyn Hiker Pro

Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filtration Device

Some say that outdoor adventure is all about pushing your own limits for survival, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. For the more casual or seasoned adventurer, getting away into the wilderness can be an exciting experience without the need to struggle for food and water. With the right preparation and proper equipment, an adventure can be, in fact, refreshing. Of course, you need to carry the essentials such as a good tent, a survival knife, maybe a fire piston, and certainly a water filter. You can make fire to keep yourself warm, but you don’t really have to wait for many minutes to boil a liter of water because Katadyn Hiker Pro has that covered.

The water filter works by straining out impurities from water including microorganisms. Bad taste and odor are reduced as well to make the water not only drinkable but healthy. Katadyn Hiker Pro is equipped with an activated carbon filter that removes all impurities sized down to 0.2 micron. Bacteria and any bigger microorganism will not pass through the glass fiber media, resulting in clean healthy water which is safe to drink.

Household water filters are common, but Katadyn Hiker Pro provides filtered walter in a lightweight, portable and rugged package suitable for outdoor activities. Overall dimension measures at 7.6 x 16.5 x 6.1 cm, and it weighs 310 grams. The outer shell is mostly made of plastic and silicone, making it rugged enough to withstand occasional drops and bumps. You also get two hose sets and a bottle adapter.

On the inside, there is the AntiClog pleated cartridge that does all the filtering for you. Despite its small size, the Hiker Pro is designed to filter about 300 gallons (1150 liters) of water. If you are like most people, you don’t really pay attention to the quantity of water you run through the filter, so it is probably best to set a regular schedule for replacement. In case you go hiking, hunting, geocaching, or anything that involves drinking water directly from a stream, you probably need to replace the filter every four months or so (under the assumption that you filter eight liters everyday with it). If you wander around the woods less often, the filter should last longer. Replacement filters are also available.

There is nothing complicated about the Katadyn Hiker Pro. To start filtering, connect the hose (with the smaller end) to the filter, and put the other end of the hose into the water. As you pump the filter, water will come out of the filter; this water is clean and ready to drink. Use the bottle adapter to attach your canteen to the filter as well. Please note that the pump is also small, but Hiker Pro is still powerful enough to generate about one liter of water per minute. It may not be as quick as you expect, but certainly is faster than making fire and boiling a cup of water.

5 / 5 star review