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Home » Water Filtration Systems » Lifestraw Review

Lifestraw Review

By: Craig Smith
Last Updated:
Our Review

Hollow fiber membrane technology5

Extreme portability5

Easy to use4.5

Removes 99% of bacteria4.5

Meets US EPA and NSF P231 bacteria removal standards4

Overall Rating



  • Hollow fiber membrane technology
  • Extreme portability
  • 1000-gallon useful life
  • Removes 99% of bacteria


  • Does not remove viruses
  • Cannot store the water that it filters
  • Can take some effort to pull water through it
Lifestraw Review

There are many reasons why you might choose a particular type of portable water filter. Here is a model that is worth considering if you are looking for a portable water filter that is convenient to use and easy to take with you just about anywhere.

That makes it very appealing to many and it’s one of the reasons why the Lifestraw is among the most popular portable water filters that are made.

These are also the reasons why I decided this portable water filter was worth taking a closer look at.

What can you expect from my Lifestraw review?

I will give you a general overview of the product, its good & bad points, and talk about its highlight features and what users have to say about it.

All of this information will help you to decide if it’s a good portable water filter choice for you.

Overview of Lifestraw


When it comes to the best portable water filters, you simply cannot get any more portability than what the Lifestraw offers you. It is the lightest and most compact portable water filter that I have come across. Adding to its appeal is it’s also very easy to use.

It’s a product that’s made by a company called Vestergaard that got its start back in 1994 by developing water filters for use in Africa that can remove dangerous Guinea worm larva.

The company evolved its filtering technology over the years and this led to the creation of the award-winning Lifestraw in 2005.

This portable water filter has the ability to not only clear dirty water but also removes almost 100% of the bacteria and parasites from the water that passes through it.

A trait that should not be easily overlooked when looking for a portable water filter for survival, emergency, or remote water source use scenarios.

It’s also a water filtration device that instantly produces filtered water, lasts a long time before having to discard it, and is very reasonably priced for what you get from it.


  • Hollow fiber membrane technology
  • Offers extreme portability
  • 1000-gallon useful life
  • Removes 99% of bacteria
  • Meets US EPA and NSF P231 bacteria removal standards
  • No waiting time
  • Weighs less than 2-ounces
  • Purchase supports the company’s global give back program
  • Easy to use


  • Does not remove viruses
  • Cannot store the water that it filters
  • Can take some effort to pull water through it
  • Cleaned by blowing into it
  • Not saltwater compatible

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What to Consider Before Buying a Portable Filter

I highly recommend that you consider these traits and characteristics of a portable water filter before making a purchase:

  1. Intended use
  2. Unit size
  3. Weight of the product
  4. Portability
  5. Ease of use
  6. Portable water filter cost/Cost of replacement filter media?
  7. Filtration flow rate
  8. Water storage capacity
  9. Does it use replacement filters? Cost of replacement filter media?
  10. Filter longevity
  11. Attached 3rd party certifications (ANSI, WQA, NSF)

Main Features and Benefits of the Lifestraw Portable Water Filter

Here is what I feel are the most desirable features of this highly-rated portable water filter:

Hollow Fiber Membrane Technology

Why does hollow fiber membrane technology work so well to filter water? It starts with the fact that it’s very similar to the types of filters that are used in kidney dialysis machines. You can imagine how effective that type of filtration has to be.


It will filter out water contaminants that are as small as 2-microns in size. That enables it to 99.99% of the harmful bacteria and parasites that pass through it. This includes commonly found bacteria such as E. Coli which is something that you don’t want to mess around with.

This product also has been certified to meet the US EPA and NSF P231 standards for the removal of bacteria and parasites. A complete list of the types of bacteria and parasites this portable water filter almost completely eliminates can be seen in the photo below.

Lifestraw Filtration Performance Sheet

The Lifestraw is also very effective when it comes to removing all different types of sediments (silt, sand, Turbidity) and microplastics.

Extreme Portability

If you do a lot of remote camping and trekking, you have probably heard some horror stories about the water filtration setups that people typically bring with them.

Most of these involve some type of gravity-fed water filter that’s not that easy to pack and adds a little extra weight to what you have to carry.


You certainly do not have to worry about those things after purchasing the Lifestraw. It comes in a package that only weighs around 2-ounces. Its compact 9” x 1” x 1” size means it can easily be placed in a backpack or even a larger-sized pocket too.

Easy to use

Do you want a portable water filter that is almost instantly ready to use?

Well, this does not get much better than with the Lifestraw. That’s because all you have to do is remove its caps on each end, dip it into your water source, and then suck through the straw portion of it.

It will nearly instantly produce filtered water that is much safer to drink than it was before it passed through the device.

Social Proof & Review Consensus

If you don’t want to factor in my opinions on this portable water filtration device, then at least consider what those that have purchased it and tried it out have to say about it.

On the plus side, users state that the water it enhances is very clear and tastes surprisingly good. Most users, including military members, also state that they exhibited no ill effects for several days after even drinking from some pretty questionable water sources.

Detractors of this product state that it can be hard to pull water through it when sucking on the straw and in some scenarios, you have to lie down close to a water source to use it. 

Others have said that if the Lifestraw is not cleaned well after each use, these tend to clog up fairly easily.

My Final Opinion of the Lifestraw Portable Water Filter

On my list of portable water filter characteristics that you should consider when shopping for one is ‘intended use’.

So, if you are looking for a portable water filter to use during remote outdoor adventures or for storing for survival or emergencies, then the Lifestraw checks that intended use box in a big way.

Is it a perfect portable water filter? No, it’s not. It has its faults such as not being able to eliminate most chemicals and viruses from water and the filtered water it produces cannot be stored for later use.

This product also takes some effort to suck water through it and blow into the device to clean it.

With those things being said, it does accomplish two main goals when filtering freshwater or other remote water sources. This is the removal of almost all of the sediment and bacteria from the water that is pulled through it.

Given this, its excellent portability, and its very reasonable price, I don’t think that the Lifestraw is a product that you can go wrong with by purchasing.

Photo of author
Craig Smith
Craig got his start in water working in the swimming pool and spa industry. Water treatment would grow into his main career but he ended up working in the pool industry for over 26 years where much of his time was spent balancing the water in customer's swimming pools and installing water filtration equipment. Craig offers an abundance of water treatment knowledge after helping homeowners get pure water for 26 years.

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