Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter Review

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Review of the Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter

As of this writing, there are 494 customer comments and 63 answered questions for the Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter.  I’ve read the customer feedback, and then condensed the results into this review.  I hope that this helps you when shopping for a portable water filter.

Best Features

  • check Pumps water quickly
  • check Features two different modes
  • check Doesn’t weigh much
  • check Screws onto a Nalgene water bottle
  • check Provides, safe, good tasting drinking water

Item Specifics

The Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter remove particles from the water.  It is a glass fiber filter that contains activated carbon which reduces chemicals.  A simple turn engages a ceramic pre-filter, which is what will filter dirty water.  It is produces up to two quarts per minute in the faster flow mode and one quart per minute in the longer life mode.  This portable water filter has a replaceable carbon core that keeps water tasting fresh, reduces chemicals, odors, and toxins.  An adapter base attaches directly to water bottles and output hoses.  To learn more about the company and the portable water filters they make, visit their website at www.katadyn.com.

Pumps Water Fast

The Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter pumps water very fast according to customers.  Compared to other water filters, this is a very fast pump.  Here is what one customer said, “In use, it’s fast and easy and the water tastes good. We filled a dozen bottles in minutes on the trail and were packed and gone in a few minutes more.”

Can Leak Unfiltered Water into Cup

One major problem that some customers dealt with was that this portable water filter would leak a lot, especially when it was in the fast mode.  According to customers, it was the unfiltered water that was leaking, and that water would enter into the cup that you were filtering.  Here is one customer’s experience with the unfiltered water leaking out, “I finally took this thing camping and tried it out with clear river water. My 4 year old boy got sick from drinking the filtered water. It seemed to be leaking out the side and would drip down into my water bottle. I thought the small leak was filtered water and wouldn’t be a big deal. The water had a slight algae after taste to it. I’m sure if the leak were fixed it would be fine.”


This is a lightweight water filter.  If you have enough space in your backpack, this will make a great portable water filter for hiking with.  Here is what one customer said, “I love this filter! I take about 4-6 backpacking trips every year and this filter always comes with me…This filter is light weight and easy to pack just about anywhere.”


Some customers commented that this is a bulky water filter.  However, it is a lightweight filter.  Some felt that it was too bulky to hike with, but the weight was perfect.  If you have enough room in your backpack, you may be able to hike with this.  This customer shared his thoughts, “I will agree with others that it is a bit bulky (it doesn’t present any problems for my pack) but it’s also pretty light, and compared to some of the more compact units, this one produces a lot more filtered water a lot faster. As with most camping products, the buyer should consider the tradeoffs of ultra-small and lightweight vs. lower expense and more usability.”

Has Two Different Modes

A nice feature that this portable water filter has is the two modes.  This allows you to choose which mode will fit your needs (the fast mode pumps faster, but the slow mode as a longer lifespan).  This customer explains about the two different modes and what they do, “There are two modes to chose from, both requiring the cartridge to be turned to a notch that will allow the pump to pump fast (shorter life) or in (long life) mode which pumps slower but gives you better protection. I’ve used it in both modes. When I am confident the stream I am filtering from is clean/clear running I’ll risk using the fast pump mode, but for the most part the confidence of the .3 micron filter in slow mode is what I use mostly.”

Should Not Be Used in Freezing Conditions

It is important that you don’t use this portable water filter in freezing conditions because the water could freeze on the filter, and then the water wouldn’t be able to pass through.  Also, when it leaks the water could freeze on the sides.  This customer explained, “Sometimes it’ll leak out from middle if pump too fast, this can be dangerous if you’re in cold conditions. Also if using in below freezing temps water will freeze over the ceramic filter allowing no water to pass through and a lot more leakage from sides. This is the only water filter I’ve ever used so have nothing to compare it to.”

Expensive but Worth the Price

The price for this portable water filter is expensive, but it is worth the price according to customers.  Although it does have a few flaws, most customers thought that for what you get the price is good.  Here is what one customer had to say, “Yes they are expensive but what price do you place on yourself and your family? So buy extra water filters and when you do use the water filter use a good prefilter like a coffee filter. This quality water filter will save your life because without clean safe water you will die simple as that. So buy yourself a quality water filter like the Katadyn Vario and treat it as if your life depended on it, because it does.”

Filter Won’t Work If the Little Spout Breaks

If the little spout that the hose connects to breaks, the Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter won’t work.  Multiple customers reported that the spout broke and therefore the water filter could not be used.  This customer shares his experience, “All the filters are useless if the little spout the hose connects to breaks. It came highly recommended, but it failed during the second use never to work again.”

Screws onto a Nalgene Water Bottle

Customers liked that this water filter could screw onto a Nalgene water bottle.  That way, they didn’t have to hold the hose and pump water at the same time.  Here is what one customer commented, “I love that the base screws onto a Nalgene water bottle, I can stand next to the water and fill the Nalgene bottle unscrew it and fill up my water bladder with out having to juggle the filter and a hose at the same time.”

Katadyn Water Filter vs Sawyer Water Filter

A lot of the customers who bought this portable water filter also bought the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System.  The Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System is a straw filter, and in some cases can be better than the Katadyn.  However, the Sawyer water filter is slow to suck water out of, whereas the Katadyn water filter is easy to pump.  Many customers wrote reviews on the differences between these two water filters.  Here is what one customer found:

“I have been going back and forth between this and the Sawyer Mini while backpacking and here is some of what I came up with. The Katadyn Vario Water filter is much heavier at 1.3 pounds compared to 5 ounces with my Sawyer Mini (that is with carrying 2, 32 oz bags with the mini).  As long as you have easy access to a water source the Katadyn is easier to use. It can pump out a lot of water very quickly, a Nalgene bottle can screw onto the bottom and the clip on the outlet hose comes in handy for keeping it inside a water bottle. If the water source is in a hard to get to place the Sawyer Mini is a better option, just fill the bags then you can cap them and filter later if needed. The Mini is more work to use than the Katadyn if you’re cleaning a lot of water. The Katadyn is going to take up more space in your backpack than the Sawyer Mini. The Katadyn takes more time to clean after a trip. It’s not difficult to clean but does require a bit of disassembly where the Sawyer Mini just has to be back flushed. From my experience, they both get water clean and tasting good. With the Sawyer Mini, you are already going to have some extra water storage bags, with the Katadyn you can certainly carry more but it’s just gonna add more weight.”


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  • plus Pumps and filters water fast when in fast mode
  • plus Lightweight
  • plus Features 2 different modes


  • close May leak
  • close Expensive
  • close Bulky

Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter Conclusion

The Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter is a glass fiber filter that contains activated carbon which reduces chemicals in water.  This filter produces up to two quarts per minute when in the fast flow mode and one quart per minute in the longer life mode.  It has a replaceable carbon core which keeps water tasting good while reducing chemicals, odors and toxins.  Customers who commented felt that this was a bulky yet lightweight filter.  One of the best assets of this filter is that it pumps water much faster than most portable filters.  If you have room to pack it, the Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter  is a nice filter.

Common Questions

Here are some top questions that I found for people considering buying the Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter.

  • chevron-circle-right Will this portable water filter remove chlorine?  The carbon filter may remove some taste of chlorine, but will not eliminate it in the water.
  • chevron-circle-right Does this filter out bacteria?  The Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter meets industry standards for reducing bacteria at 99.9999% efficiency, and protozoan cysts at 99.9%.
  • chevron-circle-right What is included with this product?  The Katadyn water filter comes with the filters, hoses, prefilter, carry bag, and instructions.

Related Article: Best Portable Water Filter: The Top 10 Reviewed

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