There are few things more perfect in this world than a cup of cool, crisp water. Although it might seem like something that is widely available and unremarkable in most aspects, the truth is clean water isn’t always easy to come by. From heavy metal and plastic pollution to bacteria, pesticides, and toxins, waterways in the U.S. are laden with well … lots of things that are bad for you. U.S. tap water is known as being some of the safest in the world, but there are still many threats to our water supply.
Water quality reports indicate that 45 percent of U.S. streams, 47 percent of lakes, and 32 percent of bays are polluted. In 2016, a study from Harvard found dangerous levels of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), two industrial chemicals that have been tied to cancer, hormone disruption, and other health problems, in the drinking water of over six million Americans across 33 states. Most of us still remember the massive 10,000-gallon chemical spill that occurred in 2014 inWest Virginia’s Elk River, which left 300,000 people without water. Not to mention the devastating impact that lead pollution has had in the community of Flint, Michigan. And, according to the Water Quality Project, over 73 different kinds of pesticides have been found in U.S. groundwater that eventually ends up in our drinking water – unless it is adequately filtered.
With all of this in mind, you might be a little uneasy about that water pouring from your tap, but before you go for a plastic water bottle (which spells a whole host of other environmental concerns), there are many products that can help. The first step in identifying pollutants in your water is having a test done. All municipal water systems are required by law to publish water quality test results annually, you can also request to have a private test of your water done to check for common pollutants. (It’s also important to note that only around 18 percent of bottled waters disclose quality reports that include contaminant testing results.) Some people choose to install high-tech water filtrations in their homes to reduce pollutants, but if you’re looking for an easy, on-the-go solution to get filtered water, there are many products you can turn to.
Whether you’re looking to get a little piece of mind from your home’s water or are an avid camper who is looking to have fresh water while in the wilderness, here are a few options that might work for you. It’s critical to note that if you’re experiencing serious water pollution, it’s always best to consult a professional – but if you’re just looking to reduce pollutants for water on-the-go, try these products.
1. IDEAPRO Emergency Camping Personal Water Filter Straw Purifier
This IDEAPRO Emergency Camping Personal Water Filter Straw is a great tool to have on hand if you’re an avid camper or hiker. According to the description on Amazon, with a double filtration system, this handy and portable straw has the capacity to filter up to 1,500 liters of water, eliminating harmful contaminants including coli bacillus, legionella, heavy metal ions, chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOC), organic, and insect contaminants. It can be used on collected rainwater, tap water, unfiltered reservoirs, ponds, rivers, and lakes. For the price of $19.99, you get the straw as well as a foldable water pouch, extension tube, pre-filter, and backwash device. IDEAPRO does warn that the straw will not filter out chemicals.
2. Etekcity 1500L Emergency Camping Equipment 3-stage filtration
This Etekcity portable water filter is light and easy to transport. The purifier has been tested by the TüV SüD Institute and meets EPA Water Quality Standards. The pack includes a pre-filter, antibacterial activated carbon filter and 0.01 Microns hollow fiber UF membrane inline filter that removes 99.9999 percent of waterborne bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli and removes 99.9999 percent of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium. While most of the reviews of this product on Amazon are positive, a few people commented that it takes a long time to filter the water. You can get one of your own for around $15.
3. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
The LifeStraw works just like other straws work, meaning you can place it right into the water source – be it a stream, pool of rainwater, etc. and drink clean water. This product removes minimum 99.9999 percent of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and surpasses EPA standards for water filters It also Removes minimum 99.9 percent of waterborne protozoan parasites and filters to an amazing 0.2 microns. It also filters up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water without using iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals. Reviewers are saying it’s an easy and portable solution – some have even used it for over three years before the filter stopped working. You can pick one up for around $20.
4. Nakii Long-Lasting, Wide-Spout, Portable Water Filter
This portable Nakii water filter can easily be placed on top of cups or pitchers to provide filtered water. According to Nakii, this filter effectively reduces 97 percent of chlorine, mercury, rust, sediment, and suspended particles, eliminating unpleasant colors and odors in water. It also reduces hardness and limescale, to ensure your water is healthier and fantastic tasting. Each filter lasts for around 150 gallons of water. Reviewers say it is a great portable filter and is great for filtering large quantities of water. This filter goes for around $23 on Amazon.
5. Soma 6-Cup Water Filter Pitcher
Soma is the only water filter with 100 percent plant-based filtration system that uses coconut shell carbon. This sleek filter comes in both a six and ten cup version and reduces chlorine, mercury and copper in water. One reviewer explains that the filter is WQA (Water Quality Association) tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53. This standard focuses on heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury and selenium), inorganics (fluoride and nitrate plus nitrite) and volatile organic chemicals (chloroform surrogate as well as individual organic chemicals). This filter and pitcher cost $29.99.
6. Aquaovo Alter Ego Frio Personal Water Filter Outdoor
The Aquaovo Alter Ego Frio is a stainless steel, thermal insulated, personal water filtration bottle. It filters both urban contaminants from tap water such as PCB’s, fluoride, lead, arsenic, chlorine, aluminum, and radon, as well as lake or river-borne organisms like giardia and cryptosporidium. Reviewers recommend this bottle as a good emergency “go” bottle. These bottles are at a much higher price point, totalling in at around $62 on Amazon.
7. Bobble Water Bottle
The bobble is a reusable bottle that filters water as you drink, using a replaceable carbon filter. The carbon removes chlorine and organic contaminants. This particular device is intended for municipal tap water – so you shouldn’t use it to filter any other type of water. One filter equates to 300 single-serve bottles. You can get a bobble for $10.25.
8. GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier [+ FILTER] BOTTLE
The GRAYL Ultralight is powered by a patented electroadsorptive media, which removes submicron pathogens and inorganic contaminants. The filter removes 99.9999 percent of viruses (such as Hepatitis A, SARS, Rotavirus and 99.9999 percent of disease-causing bacteria (like E. coli, Salmonella) as well as and 99.999 percent of protozoan cysts (e.g. Giardia). It takes around 15 seconds to get purified and filtered water. This bottle is also on the more costly side, at around $59.50.
9. LifeStraw Go Water Bottle
The LifeStraw Go Water Bottle is a great, on the go way to stay hydrated and ensure you’re getting the highest quality water. Utilizing the LifeStraw technology which filters out 99.9999 percent of waterborne bacteria and 99.9 percent of waterborne protozoan parasites, this durable bottle is great for camping or long trips. At $40, this is a more expensive filtration system, but reviewers on Amazon seem to think it’s worth it.
10. LifeDefender BEST Water Filter Camping Bottle
The LifeDefender filter water bottle utilizes a chemical-free 2 stage coconut activated carbon filter can effectively filter 99.999 percent of common bacteria, heavy metal ions, chlorine, and other organic contaminants. It comes as a BPA-free water bottle that is durable and easy to transport. As an added bonus to this bottle, for every bottle sold, $1 is donated to Water.org. You can get your own for around $35 on Amazon.
Lead image source: Vladimir Miloserdov/Shutterstock
Thanks for informative review. For traveling, backpacking, camping and hunting the portable water filter is a must to get clean drinking water. Clean water is not very easy to get, or it is difficult to carry necessary amount of water you needed. The company may be understood the problems, and for this reason, they have made different portable water purification system. I maintain a site fir water filtration named eWaterPurifier. You will love this too-https://www.ewaterpurifier.com/best-portable-water-filters-reviews/
I couldn\’t get on with either the grayl or lifestraw. the 2 brands i use are watertogo and livesafer (both british companies). the watertogo bottle is the best for every day us, it literally filters out the lost, super light and cheap! I use lifesaver for extended camping trips, bit pricier but good for cooking with!
I use the Zero Water filtration system, both at home, and on the go. About a year ago, I was looking for a better counter-top pitcher system. I came across some comparisons, and this one was really helpful:
I did some more research, and ended up buying the Zero Water 12-cup pitcher, and the travel cup with a straw. They\’re both convenient, affordable, and well constructed. I buy the filters in bulk,and share the packages with my friends to keep all of our costs down. As far as effectiveness, Zero Water is almost on par with the Berkey system, for a tenth of the purchase price. The maintenance cost is considerably lower as well. Zero Water pitchers and filters are NSF certified, #42 and #53
Both my Zero Water pitcher and travel cup are manufactured with BPA free materials (including the straw), both come with a filter, and the pitchers come with an easy-to-use tester for TDS (total dissolved solids). Only the smallest of their pitchers doesn\’t have a built in spigot at the bottom of the handle. I\’m not limited to a small pitcher for weight, and the spigot is incredibly convenient to use. Water is filtered very quickly, and tastes wonderful. I use it for almost all of my cooking and drinking uses.
I\’ve gifted several friends with a Zero Water system, both in the Coeur d\’Alene, ID area, and in Cranbrook, B.C. Most of them were using Brita at the time. It\’s a cheaper filtration system, and it\’s mass-marketed, but, it\’s a poor system. My friends were all surprised at the amount of TDS in their water, and that was in both older and newer homes, in rural areas and cities. They were also very pleased that the Zero Water removed TDS to nothing !
I mostly get my minerals from my food. The water in my house is only at 29-30 TDS, and tastes just fine right out of the tap. I still drink it from time to time.
I live close to Cranbrook, and it has disgusting tasting water. Even if you leave the water in an open container, there is still a residual smell and taste of chlorine and something metallic. I have a dear friend who moved there from my community, and I immediately gave her a Zero Water counter-top model. She\’s in her early 60\’s and is a foster mother to a girl under the age of 4. Jane uses the water for all of her cooking and drinking. And, it\’s really great that Cara can get her own water from the spigot any time, and enjoy it