We so casually turn on our faucet and expect clean water to come out. We flush our toilets, wash our hands, use water for cooking and for watering the lawn without a thought.
But if there’s anything we have learned from all the disasters that have happened in our country last year, it’s that we should not take clean water for granted. It doesn’t take a big disaster to dirty our water. A few days ago, in Atlanta, they had a boil water notice for thousands of its residents. I imagine few of them knew what to do when a boil notice goes out.
It is recommended that we store one gallon of water per person, per day, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that we can take dirty water and make it drinkable for a family if we need to?
So, how do we get clean drinking water for us and our family? One way is through a water filter straw.
How to select the best straw water filter
If are looking for something portable, light and dependable, straw water filters are it. They look like a giant, fat straw! Just put it in your water source and start sucking. This is not your regular simple sip straw. It will take more effort to get your water through it, but you’ll know for sure that it’s safe to drink.
When the water enters the straw, it goes through a series of filters that remove contaminants. The bacteria and parasites are too big to pass through these filters so the water that comes out is clean.
You will see these straws have a micron number on the package or advertising. A micron is the average size of the openings in a straw filter. The smallest is a 0.1-micron opening. So, anything bigger that will not be able to pass through. The other most popular size is 0.2 to 2 microns. Basically, the smaller the micron rating, the more it will filter out.
The straws that have a 0.1-micron rating are:
- Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System– This filter fits in the palm of your hand and is rated to filter up to 100,000 gallons of water.
- Etekcity Water Filter Straw– The filter kit comes with a foldable water pouch for collecting water, a longer straw to attach to the filter, and a syringe for cleaning and lifetime extension
- Life Defender Survival Water Filter– BPA Free and Chemical free. This straw provides a reduction of heavy metals and chlorine.
Usually, the straws will have a flow rate number. The higher the number, the faster the water comes out. Straw filters have a small opening, by nature of the design so the flow rate will be lower than larger filter containers. When comparing, remember to compare the type of filter, like a straw to others in the same category.
Survival water filters were designed to be easy-to-use, portable and lightweight. They do vary slightly in their length, weight and how many gallons of water the filter can clean.
Advantages and disadvantages of straw water filters
The main advantage of having a straw water filter is that it simply removes all sediment, debris, bacteria, protozoa, and parasites from your water. No one likes smelly or nasty tasting water! The straw water filter leaves your water tasting as water should. Five years is the average lifespan for these straws. Chances are, they will be good when you need them.
Additionally, these filters are lightweight, inexpensive, and don’t add too much bulk or weight to an emergency kit or bug out bag. Purchasing one per family member isn’t going to break the bank.
Some of the disadvantages to water filter straws are that over time the holes in the membrane can occasionally become clogged with dirt, sediment, and bacteria. The filters do need to be changed. Some filters are not great at removing pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and chlorine. Read the packaging for details about this before you purchase. Sometimes water passing through a new straw can taste a bit chemically. It is only the first few sips, but it is something you should be aware of.
There are so many places that these straws need to be stored. Consider getting straws for your family and putting them in:
- bug out bags
- your “get home from work bag”
- glove compartment in your car
- boat or RV
- church or community center that you attend
- a gym bag or diaper bag
- first aid kit
- camping gear
- travel duffel/luggage
TIP- Since water is absolutely vital for survival, don’t overlook adding multiple ways to filter and purify it. Click here learn about the many ways to have clean drinking water.
When an emergency happens you will need clean water before you need food. The elderly and little ones will be the first that really depend on water for survival. Evaluate your situation and check out the links above. Find a portable water straw that will best fit your situation. Remember, you don’t need to be in the backwoods to have a water emergency. It can happen in your own city.
TIP- Have you ever wondered how often should you rotate water storage? Or how much to store? Read here what experts say on these topics.
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7 thoughts on “How to Choose the Best Straw Water Filter For You”
the heavier the particulates are in the water the more it may be necessary to pre-filter using a t-shirt or something like that. The first one I tried 20 yrs ago, I drank from a mud puddle. the filter worked great, but after 2 swallows the filters were clogged and useless after that.
Great advice. If overnighting, and you have a container, it is also possible to let the water settle overnight. Then use the straw to drink clear liquid from the top.
I remember reading the journal of Clark from Lewis and Clark. They took water from the Platt River and left it overnight in a cup. In the morning the bottom half was mud! And that was in the early 1800s before man-made pollution.
Have you tried the Pure2Go Water Purifier which is in the form of a straw. It both filters and purifies the water so you don’t need to boil the water or add chemicals. Just google Pure2go It made by a company [Florida based] that’s been in the water purification business for over 50 years. All branches of the US Military use them and thousands have been sent and used in Cuba, Puerto Rico etc after the disasters there. The product meets and exceeds International standards for water purifiers. It’s now being sold in Europe and already French, British and German military have bought the product. FYI unlike filters the straw does not fur up after use and kills Bacteria, Cysts and Viruses.
The MiniSawyer comes with a bag for collection and a syringe to backflush with clean water as well. And can screw onto most standard-size water bottles so you can filter the water into a bottle for carrying, not just suck water up and go.
Good point Thomas. The more you can prefilter the longer your primary filter will last.
I was considering the Sawyers but I have seen online posts that state that the Sawyer do not actually meet the specified filtering levels & a few posts about complete failures after very little use.
Some online posts recommend buying a pack of coffee filters to use as disposable prefilters.
While I have a pair of Katadyn Combi physical purifying filters, I have been wondering about buying one or two of the units that make a sterilising solution out of standard salt.
The Portable Aqua Pure & the H2Go are the units which are an updated version of the old MiOx units used by the military.
Many people have thyroid problems so they can’t use Iodine based solutions & bleach etc breaks down over time so having a simple pocket sized unit that can provide large amounts of a chlorine based solution seems a good idea. Long term iodine solutions are not recommended for people even if they do not have a thyroid problem.
BTW, I got the the Katadyn Combi units because they are very long life & they can be used as a normal pump type unit or as a bench top filter if you need to. While they are normally a pump system, an accessory unit screws into the base & connects the filter to a faucet with a hose. The water pressure then does all the work without any pumping. The filter itself is an extremely long life ceramic filter & there is a chamber to add carbon granules for chemical removal. The accessory gives a quick & easy alternative to boiling if town water supply is still operating but is contaminated.
If true about the Sawyer, that’s disappointing. I’ll have to check with the company to find out more. Katadyn has an excellent reputation also. Thanks for the info.