Sawyer Mini vs LifeStraw – Beat the Thirst in the Wild

Sawyer mini vs lifestraw light

People who spend a lot of time in nature know that drinking water is an essential part of every survival kit. What they also know is that it’s impossible to take gallons of water to outdoor trips.

Still, drinking water directly from wells and sources can result in heavy intestinal issues. They could not only ruin your stay in nature but put your health at risk.

This is where a water filter comes in handy, which is why we’ve tested two great such products.

Therefore, in this Sawyer Mini vs LifeStraw comparison, we’re going to present how they function, as well as their advantages and drawbacks.

Battle Sawyer Mini vs LifeStraw

FeatureSawyer MiniThe LifeStraw
Weight2 oz1.6 oz
28mm bottle/pouch compatibleyesno
Bacteria removal efficiency99.99%99.99%
Guaranteed water volume100,000 gallons1,000 gallons

Sawyer Mini Water Filter

Sawyer Mini Water FilterThe Sawyer Mini Water Filter comes as an individual product and as part of the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System. In this product review, we’re going to focus on the filter itself.

No matter if you go hiking, camping or you have a cottage in the country, this filter is a handy item for all sorts of uses.

The first that we realized when we were testing the Sawyer filter is its convenient design and lightweight category. Based on our experience, you can pack this product in any piece of luggage, from a toiletry bag to a hiking backpack. For instance, an average family of four can bring four Sawyer filters with them and they won’t notice that they’re carrying them. Therefore, family adventurers will appreciate its small size.

As for its filtering quality, the manufacturer reports that the Sawyer Mini Filter can remove 99.99% of bacteria from the water of any source. This means that it will keep your stomach safe from Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Giardia, and other microorganisms larger than 0.1 microns.

Still, it’s important to stress out that this filter can’t remove the dissolved metals or viruses, and other chemicals that are physically inseparable from the water. For instance, it won’t turn salt water into potable water

Reasons why the Sawyer Mini filter is perfect for you:

  • Drinking water in nature – From streams and rivers to lakes and ponds, this filter serves as a perfect purifier. What’s more, it comes with a straw that makes it easier to use it that way. We used it to drink water from a local lake and we didn’t have any problems whatsoever.
  • Bottles and hydration pouches – This filter doesn’t only work as a standalone item but it functions well when attached to any standard 28 mm hydration pouch or a plastic bottle.
  • The original water pouch – The Sawyer Mini Filter comes with an original 16-ounce pouch, ideal to take with you some of the last muddy water you met


As for the maintenance, we advise that you backwash the Sawyer Mini Filter after every single camping outing or trip in nature. It’s a simple procedure that includes cleaning it with a plunger tool provided with the filter. Look at this video from the manufacturer to learn tips about how to wash your Sawyer filter:

If it isn’t used for a longer period of time, it should be sanitized and properly stored, in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.


  • Camping-friendly size and weight.
  • Removes a wide range of bacteria and protozoa
  • Attachable to different water containers
  • Practical for different water (re)sources


  • Works better in the gravity mode
  • Doesn’t remove viruses

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The LifeStraw Water Filter

The Lifestraw Water FilterThe other water filter we tried in this trial is the LifeStraw Water Filter.

For starters, it’s a lightweight and user-friendly designed piece of camping equipment. Due to its size and weight, the LifeStraw filter doesn’t take much space in luggage. To be more precise, it fits anywhere, from a jacket pocket to small backpack compartments.

Based on the fiber membrane technology, this filter ensures high protection for all sorts of outdoor environments.

As presented by the manufacturer, it filters 99.99% of waterborne parasites and bacteria.

Furthermore, it can remove the microorganisms up to the size of 0.2 microns. In a head-to-head Sawyer Mini vs LifeStraw analysis, we can see that the former filters the up to 0.1 microns. In theory, this difference won’t play a major role in preventing bacteria go through the filters in each of these products. Each of them will remove bacteria, while none of them will manage to filter viruses.

Moreover, the LifeStraw Water Filter purifies water from microplastics. In some parts of the world, plastic debris poses a greater threat than chemicals in the water. In such environments, this filter will be a practical choice.

Also, we tested it with muddy water and it turned out that it reduces the turbidity of water.

Environments where you can drink via your LifeStraw water filter

  • Outdoor water areas – Feel free to drink from ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. Still, if there are any chemical pollutants in the areas, bear in mind that this filter won’t remove dissolved chemicals.
  • Suspicious tap water – You can pour tap water into a bottle and use the LifeStraw Water Filter to drink from it. This is a practical option in camps attached to a water supply system but in which the quality in water isn’t guaranteed.


When it comes to maintenance, it’s enough to flush back the water from your LifeStraw filter by blowing in it. However, if you’re drinking extremely dirty water, we advise you to do this in clean water, as explained in the video below:


  • A lightweight and package-friendly water filter (weighing only 2 ounces).
  • Removes all the particles and organisms up to 0.2 microns with 99.99% efficiency.
  • Handy for different water areas, as well as tap water


  • Not attachable to water containers
  • Doesn’t remove viruses

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The final verdict

In the direct Sawyer Mini vs LifeStraw battle, our support goes to the Sawyer filter. Both filters are great choices when it comes to filtering bacteria, microplastics, and other debris larger than 0.1 and 0.2 microns, respectively. As explained above, there’s no much difference between these two measures, so both of these products basically do the same thing.

Similarly, none of these two filters will remove viruses or dissolved chemicals from water. Therefore, if you know that you’re going to visit an area with extremely contaminated water, we suggest bringing along some chemical purifiers, in addition to these physical filters.

When it comes maintenance, you can clean and maintain both these filters in a similarly convenient way. However, bear in mind that they need to be cleaned after every use or outing. Also, none of them should freeze because low temperatures can damage the pores and decrease their cleaning performance.

Waterfall | Seaq68

As for the convenience of use, the Sawyer Mini Filter is a multifunctional item that you can attach to different water containers. In addition to that, you can also drink water directly from the source through it. By opposition to the LifeStraw which can just be used like a straw. Another advantage for the Sawyer Mini is its filter capacity of 100’000 gallons compared to the 1000 gallons of the LifeStraw. So, if you’re an adventurer, this is a great all-around option that will meet your needs in different natural surroundings.

Featured image src: josemdelaa