Having clean water is a necessary part of living a healthy life. People that lack access to clean water have much shorter life expectancies than those that do. During an emergency or survival situation, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to filter water before using it.
Which water filter you need will depend on how you are going to use it. The best water filters (or purifiers) are these:
- Home Use: Big Berkey
- Bug Out Bag: Sawyer Mini
- Large Groups: Sawyer Point Zero Two
The filters mentioned above have long track records of safe use and have been widely reviewed. Having these filters (and using them properly) should help you and your family stay safe from waterborne illnesses.
Best Water Filter for Home Use: Big Berkey
Berkey is one of the biggest names in water filtration. Berkey filters are used by preppers, survivalists, restaurants, and many others to remove contaminants from all types of water sources. I use mine to remove the nasty “chemical swamp” taste of my local tap water. (My baby’s doctor keeps one in her office as well.) However, Berkey filters are capable of removing much more.
Black Berkey filtering elements are actually considered “water purifiers”. This is because they are capable of removing sediment, bacteria, viruses, and even many chemicals from water. Youtube is filled with videos of people running all sorts of puddle and creek water through their Berkeys and it comes out completely clean. I haven’t subjected my Berkey to that sort of testing. Ours stays on the kitchen counter and I figured my wife wouldn’t be too happy if our filter caused the kitchen to smell like a pond.
Berkey Filters come in various sizes, but they all work the same way. One reservoir sits on top of the other. The top reservoir holds the filtering elements and the unfiltered water. Gravity pulls the unclean water through the filters, and clean water drips into the bottom reservoir. This allows Berkey water filters to run without electricity. You can pour clean water into a glass by using the spigot at the bottom of the filter.
I have the Travel Berkey, but now that we have a baby, having a larger system, like the Big Berkey would be useful. The Big Berkey is the most popular model and holds 2.25 gallons of water.
Best Water Filter for a Bug Out Bag: Sawyer Mini
If you need to bug out, there is a limit to how much water you can carry with you. Water weighs a little over 8 pounds per gallon, so it can get heavy really fast. Although your bug out bag (and vehicle) should have some water, you will need a lightweight but effective water filter to replenish your supply.
The Sawyer Mini is one of the best tools for this purpose and is what I keep in my bug out bag. The filter itself weighs only 2 ounces, which is basically nothing. Although it is small and light, it definitely packs a punch when it comes to filtering ability.
The Sawyer Mini can remove contaminants as small as 0.1 microns. This is small enough to remove almost any type of bacteria or protozoa in a water source. The filter also has a useful lifespan of up to 100,000 gallons. This is thanks to its ability to be backflushed using the included syringe. Simply fill the syringe with filtered water and force it through the filter’s output. This will flush out larger particles, extending the life of the filter.
When you buy a Sawyer Mini you will also get a squeezable water bag, backflush syringe, and a straw attachment. The water bag is threaded to connect directly to the filter allowing you to drink water from it as its filtered. The threads on the Sawyer Mini are also compatible with some store-bought water and soda bottles. The straw connects to the input side of the filter so you can use the filter to drink water directly from a source such as a pond. A cap covers the drinking end of the filter to keep it clean when not in use.
The Sawyer Mini is available in different colors as well as multipacks.
Best Water Filter for Large Groups: Sawyer Point Zero Two
The Sawyer Point Zero Two is an excellent choice if you need to provide water for a large group. It can filter up to 170 gallons of water per day. I know of missionaries who have used this system or something very similar while doing ministry work in remote locations.
The Point Zero Two is a gravity-fed filter that can be installed on a bucket using the included hardware, however, you will need to purchase a bucket separately. The kit also includes a faucet adapter which allows you to filter water directly from your tap. This is especially useful during boil water notices.
The Sawyer Point Zero Two is constructed of ABS plastic and has an absolute rating of 0.02 microns, meaning it will remove almost all bacteria, protozoa, and even viruses. Like other Sawyer products, the Point Zero Two can be backflushed to clean the inside of the filter, giving it longer service life.