Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System Review

912DmlWlmL. SL1500

Review of the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System

As of this writing, there are 4,404 customer comments and 336 answered questions for the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System.  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 Weighs only 2 ounces
  • check Fits on many different kinds of bottles
  • check Comes with a drinking pouch
  • check Removes 99.99999% of all bacteria
  • check Will filter 100,000 gallons of water

Item Specifics

The Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System is great for hiking, camping, scouting, traveling, and emergency preparedness.  This high performance filter fits in the palm of your hand.  It weighs only two ounces, and has a 0.1 Micron hollow fiber membrane inline filter.  The Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System attaches to an included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or you can use the straw to drink directly from your water source.  This portable water filter removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli.  It will also remove 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium.  The water filter is rated for up to 100,000 gallons of water. 

Great Price

Some portable water filters are around $100, so the price of this water filter is really good compared to other water filters.  A lot of customers were happy that they could find a portable water filter at such a cheap price.  Here is one of the comments left from a satisfied customer, “Prior to using sawyer filters, my main source of water while camping was from a rather expensive Katadyn unit. I’m still not sure which filter is more convenient, but considering the price difference and the simplicity… there’s no excuse for someone who spends time in the outdoors to NOT have one of these…for the price, it’s too easy to have one in regular use, and a spare unused one at home in case of emergency needs.”

Don’t Tighten the Filter to the Pouch Too Tight or It Won’t Work

Be careful when screwing the filter onto the pouch, because the pouch O ring can become damaged.  According to customers, this is a flaw that the company knows about but hasn’t told customers on the packaging.  Just be aware of it and be careful when using it.  Here is one customer’s experience, “Works well and was able to get clean water on the Appalachian Trail. Please note that if you tighten the pouch end too tightly it will cause damage to the O Ring (washer) and your sawyer mini will fail. It was incredibly easy to do and I almost was without clean water as a result. Sawyer is aware and this is a known issue but has not put any language about it on its packaging. I was able to fix it on my own but a couple more tries and it could have failed completely.”

Better Than the LifeStraw

The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a well know portable water filter.  According to customers, the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System is much better than the LifeStraw.  Here, a customer shares his thoughts on the differences between this filter and the LifeStraw, “I owned the LifeStraw for years and it served me well sipping from mud puddles to streams. But that was all I could do with it. And now I have used the Sawyer SP128. Hands down the Sawyer WINS! LifeStraw will only do 10,000 gallons, which is a lot I agree. But in a STHF or any disaster scenario which would you want, a little or a lot? The Sawyer is more compact (half the size) and will do a whopping 100,000 gallons of defense against all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli; all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium. These things are small, but very nasty and they are can put a Major hurting on you in field! You do not want that! The Sawyer SP128 kit includes a 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and cleaning plunger, the other is just a straw. And ANY plastic pop bottle 120z to a liter will screw into the Sawyer.”

Hard to Suck Water Out Of

According to customers, sucking water out of this water filter can be difficult.  Although not all portable water filters are easy to suck out of, customers thought that sucking water out of this filter was much more difficult than it should be.  Here is what one customer had to say, “Sucking water through it was a chore. It’s reasonable and goes okay, but it takes effort. It’s not like drinking water from a drink with a straw in it. I didn’t expect it would, but if you really wanted to fill up on water you would get pretty tired. I would compare it to blowing up a good size air mattress with your mouth. It’s takes time and it’s tiring.”

Lightweight and Compact

This is a very lightweight and compact portable water filter.  The filter weighs only 2 ounces, which is very lightweight compared to some larger pumps.  Some customers said that all of the contents could fit into a sandwich bag.  Here is what one customer had to say about the size of this filter, “If you are looking for a small, light,compact, and most importantly easy way to filter your water, look no further. Sawyer makes an EXCELLENT unit that won’t break the bank…At first, I was skeptical of course. Who would think that you can turn brown, dirty water into clean, perfectly safe water with just such a small, affordable filter? But rest assured, this filter is a powerhouse and continues to go above and beyond.”

The Included Straw Is Not Heavy Duty

This water filter comes with a straw that is meant to help you easily drink from cups of water.  According to customers, the durability of the straw is not that great.  It can easily rip and become damaged.  An easy fix is to keep a few other fast food straws nearby, but still it would be nice if the included straw was more durable.  Here is one of the comments, “The straws are not great, but are a standard size so you could keep a few extra fast food straws around in case this one rips and use it. I think the straw won’t be used as much as the filter and bag combo, though.”

Great for Emergencies

The Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System is great for emergencies of when you run low on safe drinking water.  Many customers used this water filter only for emergencies, while others bought two so they had one for emergencies and one for everyday life.  Here is what one customer had to say about this product, “These Sawyer mini filters are really the best way to go whether for emergencies, hiking/camping, etc. Their size make them easy to carry, the flexibility make them excellent for different situations, and their lifespan easily make them worth the money. I primarily use mine with a couple of Smart water bottles to filter spring water when solo hiking/camping, but also carry them in day packs and the like when with the family.”

Filter Can Become Damaged If Frozen

Be careful when hiking/camping during the winter with this filter, because the filter can easily become damaged in the cold weather.  If you hike with it, it is recommended to drain out all water and keep the filter in your pocket or wrapped around something warm.  A customer explained it in this way, “Make sure you get -all- of the water out of it before it gets anywhere approaching freezing. If you’re going backpacking in the winter/cold temps it’s not a bad idea to tuck your sawyer filter in your sleeping bag with you, as the filter freezing is the easiest way to bust one.”

Lasts a Long Time

This portable water filter will filter up to 100,000 gallons if taken care of properly.  Not many portable water filters will filter that much water.  This is definitely a nice feature that this water filter has.  Here is one of the comments left about its lifespan, “For emergencies, we’re told we should have one gallon of water per person per day. Using this filter, at 100,000 gallons that would be a 264 year supply for one person. I don’t know about you but I’m not going to live that long. So, I think it’s safe to say this is a life time filter.”


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  • plus Price
  • plus Long lifespan; can filter 100,000 gallons of water
  • plus Lightweight


  • close Straw may break
  • close Hard to suck water out of
  • close Damage can occur if you tighten the filter to pouch too much

Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System Conclusion

The Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System is made for hiking, camping, scouting, traveling and emergency situations.  This filter is small enough to fit in the palm or your hand.  The weight is only 2 ounces and it is made to attach to standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs or the included drinking pouch.  You can also use the straw to drink directly from your water source. Bacteria such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli will be removed.  It is also made to remove 99.9999% of all protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium.  The filter should be able to filter up to 100,000 gallons of water.  Some negatives to this filter are that it may be hard to suck the water up out of the straw according to customers and the filter can become damaged if frozen. Some people commented that this filter is better than the Life Straw.  So all in all, the price is good and most of the feedback was positive for this portable water filter.

Common Questions

Here are some top questions that I found for people considering buying the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System.

  • chevron-circle-right How much does the entire filtration system weigh (including straw, pouch, filter, etc.)?  With all of the included items weighed in together, it weighs in at about 4 ounces.
  • chevron-circle-right Where are these water filters made?  They are made in Safety Harbor, Florida.
  • chevron-circle-right Do I need to replace the filter?  No.  You clean the filter by back flushing it out so it doesn’t need to be replaced.  To back flush it, run a standard bleach solution (fragrance free) through your filter (one cap of bleach per quart of water).  Let the filter air dry and then store in a cool, dry place, or store wet and clean before using.

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

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