Five of the Best Water Filters
Kevin Felts 07.14.17
Safe drinking water is essential to human life. Without safe water, life as we know it simply can not exist. We all know, when a water source becomes contaminated, things go downhill quick. So, what do you have in place to make sure you and your family have safe drinking water when there is a disruption in the system?
There are a lot of filters on the market. At no time in human history have we had such easy access to clean drinking water, that is unless you live in Flint Michigan.
Let’s take a few minutes and talk about family sized water filter setups.
When it comes to water filtration, there is probably no better setup than the Berkey. However, the Berkey is not without its limits.
There are two different types of internal filters:
Berkey Black – Removes viruses and bacteria.
Berkey Ceramic – Removes bacteria, but not viruses.
I have a Royal Berkey with a four black filter setup. Each filter is rated for around 3,000 gallons. Four filters would provide an estimated 12,000 gallons, depending on the quality of the water water source.
The Berkey works off gravity. Pour the water in the top and gravity pulls the water through the filter.
If you get a Berkey, be sure to replace the plastic spigot with a good quality stainless steel spigot.
A stainless Berkey can be a little expensive. However, being made out of stainless means they are rodent proof. They can be stored at a remote cabin without fear of rodents chewing holes in it.
The filters can be removed and scrubbed for easy cleaning.
A few months ago a buddy of mine and I were talking about water filters. I was explaining that the Royal Berkey would be my primary water filter and that it has an estimated capacity of 12,000 gallons. He snickered a little bit and said his Sawyer Mini is rated at around 100,000 gallons.
After talking to my buddy and reading some stuff on the Sawyer Mini I decided to pick one up. In April 2017 I posted a first impressions article of the Sawyer Mini. Let’s just say I was not impressed with the flow rate. Nor was I impressed with the plastic bag that had to be filled and attached to the filter.
From May 2017-July 2017, the Sawyer Mini has been my primary source of drinking water. Water from a stream that is near my house was run through a pre-filter to remove heavy sediment, such as sand, then ran through the Mini.
The Mini takes several minutes to fill up a one quart water bottle. The flow rate is pretty bad, but it works,
The Sawyer Mini does not remove viruses.
Besides back-flushing, there is no way to clean the filter.
There is an old saying, “Go big or go home.” The Squeeze is the big brother of the Mini. While the mini is rated at 100,000 gallons, the Squeeze is rated at 1 million gallons.
Rather than using the bags, get a water bag and hang it from something. Attach a hose from the bag to the Squeeze, and you have a gravity system. Using dirty creek water without a pre-filter will greatly reduce the lifespan of the filter.
Not everyone likes to sit at home. So, let’s talk about a portable water filter. In the mid-1990s I bought a Pur brandname water filter that looks just like the Katadyn Hiker. That’s because Pur sold its outdoor line of water filters to Katadyn. The replacement filters for the hiker also fit my older Pur filter.
So, with 20 years experience with this filter, I can honestly say it has passed the test of time. It has gone on countless hiking and camping trips over the past two decades, and it still works.
However, the flow rate is poor and the cartridge life is low by modern standards. There are better filters out there and some have a higher flow rate and some are even rated for viruses.
The only reason the Katadyn Hiker is listed, is because my personal filter is 20 years old and still works. It was recently retired and replaced with the Katadyn Vario. The Vario has a water leak problem between the pump and seal, but I think I found a fix for it.
When it comes to personal water filters, the Lifestraw is tough to beat.
- Rated up to 1,000 liters.
- Individually packaged.
- Removes 99.99% of bacteria.
I have a Lifestraw and took it out on a hiking trip in April of 2017. Overall, I was impressed with how easy it was to drip from.
We have talked about everything from home based and group sized filters, all the way down to individual sized filters.
Did we miss anything?
The topic of virus removal is hit or miss. Do you need to kill or remove viruses from your drinking water? If you live in the United States and are not down stream from somewhere that dumps raw sewage into a water source, probably not.
If you are down stream from a city that was just flooded, you may want to address viruses.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the article and feel free to post your thoughts and the topic.