Which Water Filter Do You Have?

which water filter

The results are in! Based on our preparedness demographic, scroll down for the list of most popular water filter brands that people have:

A drinking water filter is a highly recommended preparedness item for anyone and everyone!

Clean, pure drinking water is essential for healthy living. Even an ordinary ‘Brita’ style water filter in your fridge is a water commodity asset!

As most of you know, there’s quite a variety of water filters out there. Lots of factors that you might consider when choosing a water filter.

Some factors may include:

– Filter media type
– Effective minimum porosity
– Tabletop vs. Portable
– Overall size, weight
– Form factor (functional design)
– Gravity fed vs. Pump pressure or suction
– Direct drinking vs. reservoir or hose to external
– Daily use vs. emergency or occasional use
– Ease of use (if it matters)
– Filter maintenance & Replacement
– Cost

So here’s the question that I asked our readers:

Which water filter (or filters) do you have?

and / or

Which water filter (filters) would you like to have?

I have tabulated the results below.

Here is the list of most popular water filters based on input from comments:

1. Lifestraw (portable straw)

2. Berkey (Travel Berkey)

3. Sawyer (mini)

4. Katadyn (Hiker Pro)

5. Brita (Brita Best Seller)

6. PUR (PUR attach to faucet)

7. Seychelle (pitcher)

8. Alexapure
9. AquaRain
10. Doulton
11. Platypus

popular water filters


  1. Big berkey for in the house
    Couple Katadyn hand pumps
    Platypus 4.0 gravity
    Sawyer products small hand helds for JIC
    Only one we use now is the berkey and basicly put potable water in it,
    But have the rest where i can find them easy, i think the filters, TP, big bag of firestarting stuff are my most important supplies that i keep track of

    1. I have a travel Berkey and a Katadyn. Your post made me realize that I have no idea where the Katadyn filter is – haven’t seen it since I moved.

  2. I’ve got the LifeStraw in my bag. When I was still in the Army, I had one in my survival kit as well as a MSR Sweetwater. One thing I found out pretty quick though is that it doesn’t matter what kind/type of filter you have, it’s useless if you can’t find water to use in it. It’s always good to brush up on water procurement methods too (e.g., solar still, bags around green leaves, etc.).

    Trying to save up money for a Big Berkey for the house but being a student sucks and I’m watching every penny. As soon as I get the cash, one is going up right next to th coffee maker.

    1. NCinSoCal
      You can receive free food grade buckets from the larger bakeries. Clean them out with paper towels, then use Dawn dish soap to remove the food particles. Especially if you receive one with the fake butter inside. Wash and rinse the buckets two times to make sure you have removed all the food. Go on line there will be an instructional class(utube) on how to make a water filtering system out of those buckets. It will get you by until you can purchase a nice Berkey. Living in So Cal, I would recommend you do it sooner than later with all the preservatives that are put in that water system.

      1. Yes and sand gravel and charcoal in soda bottles are inexpensive for the time being. On youtube of course. Charcoal at aquarium supply stores and I hate say Amazon.

  3. we have a life straw for a bug out bag
    im learning ways to filter water with stuff that around we live in a suburb so theres lots of stuff that can be used in need be

    1. kevin;
      I would agree with Nailbender (I do at times hehehe)
      BUT I also agree with you to a point, finding a way to “pre-filter” mud would be a smart thing to do, it would greatly increases the “life” of the filters.

  4. Big Berkey that sits on the counter for daily use; I use the Black Carbon Filters and have 2 extra sets
    Sawyer Mini in each Vehicle and in BOB, GHB, plus one at work (just cause); they are cheap for the insurance you get.
    A side note, get one and try it out, make sure you know how to use it, just remember once used the unit may hold water for awhile, so do NOT let it freeze, it WILL break it (don’t ask me how I know, though it was dry).

    I agree locating water to filter may be a HUGE problem, learn where resources are.

    1. Locating water is a huge problem,
      Locally, most of the heaviest populated areas are also the driest, theres lots of water, streams etc, but are nowhere near the areas with heavy populations. Our area tends a little towards the dry side as well, harder to predict when our wet season will be, but catchment will fill a lot of the need, provided one has storage, there are people around us and we also have a reservoir, but unfortunately that also makes us a target, damned if you do damned if you dont

  5. The best money I’ve spent on preps, hands down, without doubt, was for my Big Berkey. As I recall, I gave around $250 for it with 2 extra filters (total of four) and they threw in two sports bottles with filers. This was over three years ago. The price scares off many folks initially, but in my opinion it’s the cheapest option on the market. Here is why: I filtered every glass of water that I and my family has drank in those three years and have yet to replace the first two filters. Granted, I’m filtering tap water with little foreign material in it, but even so, my son uses a Brita pitcher for his drinking water and has replaced his filters probably 10-15 times during the same period (and his Brita filter filters little if any of the pathogens and carcinogens that the Berkey does.
    When considering purchasing a water filtration/purification set up, consider the cost over the long haul, not just the initial cost. Pay attention to the filter life expectancy (how many gallons it will filter before requiring replacement) and efficiency removing heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, odors, and bad tastes. Berkey’s cost per gallon of filtered water is hands down superior in the long run in my opinion.
    If at all possible, sacrifice if you have to, fight the urge to go cheap, and buy a Berkey. Have the peace of mind that you can render just about any water source safe to drink. This design was developed to render some of the most foul water imaginable safe to drink. One of the best, most cost effective purchases I’ve ever made

    1. Yes and I bought the Berkey Lights for both of my boys on ebay from a authorized seller in Colorado. Her seller name is oneromanticrose. Paid $232.00 at that time. There is usually a deal.

  6. Travel Berkey, black filter spares.
    Each GHB has a Sawyer Mini and Lifestraw.
    Stored emergency gear has a Sawyer Mini and Lifestraw.

  7. We also have the Big Berkey as well as life straws and Sawyers mini’s.

  8. Berkey. I saved up until I could afford it. I believe it popped in at around $500 by the time I bought all the spare parts, filters, fluoride filters, and what-have-you. But I have two extra sets of fluoride filters and four extra sets of black, along with a stainless spigot if the plastic one breaks. The first set of filters is still great, so I figure we’re set on filters for a good 20 years. :) If SHTF hits, 2 years, but in that case we’d better have something else set up within two years or we’ve got more serious problems.

    1. “We’d better have something else set up within two years or we’ve got more serious problems”

      Aint that the truth!
      Honestly, if its something that severe, i doubt ill be around anyway

      1. I doubt I will be either, but the people I love might be. I prep for the survivors.

  9. As a side note for those with the Big Berkey, my wife really disliked taking up counter space with the unit in the kitchen. I found a solid oak four bar stool for five bucks at a flea market. It’s seat height of 30″ made it the perfect freestanding support for it. The spigot is just below waist high for dispensing water, the top is about mid chest level for easy filling. We have never moved it from it’s original location against a kitchen wall. Works well for us.

    1. They have a really helpful stainless stand now that is very helpful.

    2. That’s exactly what we use with our Big Berkey. A bar stool from Walmart. Perfect height.

  10. My wife and I are set up the exact same way with a extra life straw in each glove box. The other thing is to scout around your area and know were every water source is. Rivers,lakes,streams,ponds even stock ponds if that’s what it takes to survive. The Sawyers came as a bonus in prepackaged deals from ReadyMade Resources. Love those folks as they always have a deal and extras.

  11. We have live straws, the homemade water system with food grade buckets, an a Seychelle water filter for purifying radio active water. Seychelle’s can be found on Amazon, that is where I purchased ours–JIC.
    We need to upgrade from the life straw to a mini system for dh’s requirements, household would like to have a med or large Berkey.

    1. I picked up the Seychelle water filter bottles at the LDS food pantry. About 1/2 the price of anywhere else.

  12. We have a Big Berkey. Had to save up awhile but it was worth it.

  13. Sawyers in the vehicles. A couple of thousand paper coffee filters and the SE chlorine generator. I do need to figure out a good funnel setup for the paper filters. Well water is the best I have ever had and doesn’t need filtering.

  14. We’ve been discussing water filters in the context of disastrous long term events. My decision to buy my Berkey set up was predicated by the fact that our county wide water system regularly issues “boil orders” due to water line breaks, purification issues due to both mechanical and human error. Just as frequent power outages that comes with living remote prompted me to purchase a big, reliable generator, the frequent interruptions of a safe water supply made reliable home purification a necessity. That’s everyday reality for some, we don’t have to wait for catastrophe to justify the expenditures. I’m sure others here have the same challenges with utility reliability.

    1. Dennis;
      Hence the ongoing discussion that a SHTF does not necessarily mean a HUG Pile of Manure coming in contact with an Air Circulation Device; it could simply be that same Pile of Manure hitting the Water System.

  15. Bought the Royal Berkey a few years back. If budget allows definitely get the glass sight spout. It is the same you see on a commercial type coffee urn. Worth it. Of course the Berkey Light is clear. My youngest son, 37, was really surprised how good the water is. Have water tabs, small Berkey filters and a Pur filter on the faucet for rinsing veggies and cat water. Of course my well, sorry I still get excited when I look out the window and know it is there.
    Per Ken’s survey water was number one for all concerned.

    1. Mrs.USMCBG;
      Would also recommend the ‘Stand’, makes it a LOT easier not having to hang the spigot over the side of the counter.

    2. When I first bought my Berkey a friend came over with her daughter. Of course the little girl wanted a drink, so I gave her one out of the Berkey. She chugs the whole glass, gasping for breath, and asks for more. She emptied 3 glasses before she’d had enough. I think children and animals have an instinct for what they need.

      1. Ken, I didn’t buy the sight glass spigot when I first purchased. I experienced a couple of unexpected “overflows” of the lower reservoir before I developed the “touch” of estimating the water level by slightly tipping the unit and judging the amount by feel. Now I can come within a few ounces every time. I no longer have the better spigot on my list of “must haves, but it’s still on my list of “like to have.”

  16. Some might needed distilled water. Lehman’s sells a stove top distiller. Distilled is also needed for the food grade peroxide.

    1. Mrs. USMCBG,
      Even tho Food Gade Peoxide calls for distilled water ,. we are using it with our filtered water., bucket system.. with no side effects. We have well water(ie.. no flouride or chlorine needed or wanted)., and it is higher in Iron than my DH likes, so we filter water for most internal needs. He is the picky one, and is sensitive to tastes and smells…in everything….ie.. Iron content that is acceptable ot me, he is “not cool” with. a home made distiller can be fashioned effectively,with a pressure pan and some copper tubing.. … a collection bottle , Looked at the solar still just too much.. for my pocketbook… the freeze dryer would come before that..

  17. Curious does anyone have experience with the UV light filter/cleaners?

    1. @Mrs.USMCBG
      We do — we’re on a well. We bought a UV system when we first moved to our place because our first water test failed due to e.coli. With a 3-week old, a 2 1/2 yr old, and a 10 yr old, we didn’t want to subject our kids to bacteria in their water. The UV light is contained in a stainless box and water, on demand, passes through the box via a clear hose, getting exposed to the UV rays.
      We never had any e.coli issues that we were aware of. We dismantled it about 6 years ago because the lights are about $100 to replace.

  18. Big Berkeley for the house with black filters and the white fluoride filters. Extra filters in storage. Need to get a new spigot to have on hand. Best money I ever spent on preps. Sawyer mini in vehicle GH bags. MSR filters in the 3 day (or longer) BOB.

  19. – Lifestraws in the bags, Sawyer mini in the vehicles. Commercial RO system under the kitchen sink, well that has been in service for around 30 years. Back-up pump if needed (manual), Set of filters for 5-gallon buckets if necessary. Set of replacement filters and knowledge of how to replace RO filters if needed. multiple 5-gallon buckets and wagon if necessary. at least 30 other wells accessible in 5-mile area. Creek about 15 miles away. chlorine generator if needed. Still working at it.
    – Papa S.

  20. We use a large Berkey filter (cant remember which model off hand).

    We also use a Brita pitcher for the dogs; water because one dog was beginning to show signs of kidney problems (they’ve cleared w/ dietary changes). We keep LifeStraws in our GHBs.

    We store extra filters for the Berkey (we use the black) and this Winter, I’m getting another pair of those and also the see-through spigot (we have no extra spigots). One time I overfilled….

    When we gutted our kitchen years ago, we redesigned the entire layout and ordered cupboards for our specs. The lower cupboards and countertop are longer than the upper cupboards along one side. The end-cap lower cupboard is beveled, along w/ the countertop, and it is exactly the right ‘fit’ to hold our Berkey with the spigot facing out towards to side. It wasn;t planned but it’s perfect for the Berkey — kinda out of the way, yet still in the kitchen.

  21. Brita in the fridge for daily use. Tap water is from the town’s wells and tastes really good compared to a lot of places, but it is treated and I like having cold water in the fridge, Katadyn Guide (hand pump) for backpacking and emergencies. I have a couple of replacement filter cartridges in storage. It can also be set up as a gravity fed system. Lifestraw in the GHB.

    If I ever thought that I would need to rely on filtered river or lake water for a long time and replacement filters were no longer available, I would set up a pre-filter system with a cheesecloth or bandana lined strainer, a jelly bag, or a grain bag that I use for my wort, Lots of options to keep those filters from clogging with particulate…

    1. You might want to check info on the brita and see if it takes out the neurotoxin flouride.

      1. Just Sayin’, thanks for the suggestion. The Brita says it “keeps a healthy level of fluoride”. Water report says that we average .58 ppm (point five eight parts per million) of fluoride, from “erosion of naturally occurring minerals” and that “no fluoride is added to the municipal supply”. Does anyone know if this is a high level or low level? I know that many trace minerals are good and necessary in low doses, but toxic in higher doses. Any reliable science on this?

  22. Have black filters in storage too. Always activate them, let dry REALLY well for days, wrap and re package. Clean water is needed to activate.

  23. I’m hoping honesty and open mindness is the normal on this site. With that said, where is your source of water come from? These expensive filters will do no good if city water systems fail or, we lose electricity. then what happens? Yes, I to have store bought expensive filters, plus some very good homemade ones. But, I also have my own water supply that only I control. We have backup electric, diesel, gasoline and hand pumps for supply security.
    What are your backup plans for water security? Stored? eeks, rivers, or haven’t a clue?

    1. stand my ground;
      4 acre spring fed lake within 200 yards, Animas River another 100 feet beyond with full access to both.
      Have just recently installed a 1000 gallon ‘storage’ tank (that’s full) that can be used for drinking or ???
      Well over 200 gallons of container water stored and changed out yearly
      Plus all the filtering I would ever need.
      Additionally I’m on domestic water that’s gravity fed to the community, I understand the ‘main 1 million tank’ is kept above 75% at minimum.
      Water is not a problem even with the fact I live in a desert :-) :-)

      1. NRP,
        thought I had your place pegged on Google Earth from your description, but I do not see a structure big enough to hold all that TP Unless you are completely underground that is!

        1. minerjim;
          Underground dude, underground……..
          Remember the “Cave” comment?

    2. smg,……… Filled 305 gal potable water storage tank w/rain gutter replenishment and demand pump to back charge home plumbing through outdoor faucet. Two year round springs within 250 yds of home and on my property. Free flowing clear water creek within a mile. A caring heart that compels me to share with those who don’t.

      1. Dennis;
        A caring Heart and the willingness to share will get you a LOT of backup when you need it.

    3. – Did not mention above but can and have built slow-sand filters. Also have military training in water procurement/treatment, still remember how to do that. Have a rainwater catchment system for garden, that can be filtered, treated and used for drinking if need be. I wish I had a Berkey but cannot justify the cost right now. My five-gallon buckets system backup will have to suffice. Our well water is actually quite drinkable as is, and well protected from sources of contamination. As a nurse and former Army medic, I expect that I will be seeing, treating and teaching people how to use/build their own water systems if necessary, and caring for those who need help from improper water treatment. Ever consider how much a liter of fresh bleach for purifying drinking water might be worth? How about a slow sand filter system? Is that honest enough for you?
      – Papa S.

  24. Seychelle filter bottles and a couple of Sawyer mini’s. And a UV filter on the house.

  25. Just for a reference, the ‘black’ Berkey replacement filter elements each are rated for 3,000 gallons. Typically you get two filters in a Berkey (although you can get up to four).

    So, two filters are good for 6,000 gallons. Let’s say you drink 2 gallons of water a day. A set of filters will last more than 8 years. Not bad…

    If a set of those filters cost a little over a 100 bucks, you’re looking at just 1.7 cents per gallon.

    Berkey BB9-2 Replacement Black Purification Elements, Set of 2

    Note that even a clean pure looking stream out in back of your property may contain organic nastiness that will get you sicker than you’ll ever imagine…

    I have a natural flowing spring (my primary water source) that spews out about 10 gallons per minute year round, but I don’t take a chance. It’s probably fine, but I filter everything through my Big Berkey.

    1. Ken, like you said….”even a clean pure looking stream out in back of your property may contain organic nastiness that will get you sicker than you’ll ever imagine…”

      That’s the exact reason I believe the Berkey system is so invaluable for even folks who believe the fact they are surrounded by clean “looking” water. I have the good fortune to have two fresh water springs some fifty feet lower in elevation than my surrounding property coupled with the fact my property being the highest elevation for well miles gives me some confidence there is no contamination. If I remember correctly it used to be recommended that shallow wells be no closer than forty feet from septic leech lines. The theory being forty feet of filtration and microbial action in undisturbed soil was enough to neutralize any pathogens.

    2. What is your preparations for contaminated water sickness. I think this should go hand in hand with a discussion about filters. I always expect the or at least look at “worst case scenario.”
      Meds like Flaygl, Amoxicillin, bleach, or even the big guns, Cephalexin. These you might want in your meds inventory.
      Giardia, cryptosporidium, and cholera, are gonna be a big problem if you don’t have the first-aid knowledge or meds to treat them. They can kill in as little as 24hrs.!

  26. Backup to be a Biochar, w/zeolite layers,need to get more materals to keep on hand for making, have nouugh to make one now…is a DIY version posted several places….can be varied for specific size containers.
    ..like others could use some extra spigots for filter container bottoms… have 2 long life filters use now for drinking,ice, cooking etc. No known contaminants in our water.. wash rinse with clean water, backflush and use.

  27. A LifeStraw in each kit, along with a Katadyn pump in my kit.
    Two ceramic filter-based systems for the home – a five-gallon one and a two-gallon one.

  28. Shaklee makes a product called Basic H. (don’t know if I can use company names on here). Just a couple of drops in a 5gal pail of water that’s cloudy, and the sediments settle quickly to the bottom. Just siphon off the clean water and run in through your filter.
    Also just plain sand in one bucket, draining through small holes into another bucket, then filter it.. Rain water of creek water that’s flowing or stored properly and fairly clean to begin with.

  29. I have/use two types. Sawyer and Brita. Reasoning: Brita 1) Because the ‘filters’ are inexpensive. Note that I have found them for as low as $2.72 each. 2) Changing filters can be done without having to remember a lot. Sawyer: Simple to use. Mostly common fittings for containers collecting filtered water. Can be back-flushed/cleaned. Drop them and they don’t break. Not expensive.

    My normal procedure: Run ‘unknown’ water through homemade large-stuff filter. (There’s about 64 trillion of these on Youtube.) Boil the water to be filtered. After cooled, run through Sawyer filter. Then run through Brita. So far, after numerous tests I are still alive. And the end product is quite tasty. Or, at least, not noticeably un-tasty.

  30. Life straws and sawyer minis. I would like to get a Big Berky for the house. Still learning lots about filtering water. I have a pond, well water and a small stream not far from the house.

  31. We have several Dalton Ceragravs around the kitchen and baths, and gave one to eachkid ( all 10!). Then we added LifeStraws to all BOB and gave one for each kid and grandkid as Christmas gifts as well.
    Love our Daltons. WWe put Britas into our ice maker lines. We are on a well, so water is pretty good to start.

  32. PS We also have year round running creek and an additional well with great water….so, we keep 1100 gallons in a cistern handy for gravity flow into the house. That gets sanitized as needed. Great for showers, toilets etc when the power is off.

  33. We use a reverse osmosis 4 stage (6 micron) fiber/carbon/fiber/buffer filter with UV light for drinking water. Well water for everything else. Solar back up power for the pumps.

  34. I have a Lifestraw in the car get home bag, a Sawyer mini in the BOB, and a PUR hand pump filter (Mom wanted it for the Y2K panic, kept it and bought a new cartridge late last year), and ~16 gallons of bottled water. Living in the Puget Sound region of Washington (Edmonds/Lynnwood area) I don’t get too worked up about water. Between rain and local creeks there is plenty of water. Only a matter of being able to clean/filter/store it. Now, if I ever move to the East side do the state where the Relations are water may be a different matter (plenty of irrigation canals, but stay up stream of Hanford).

  35. I have (3) Aqua Rain table tops, and a 4th set of 4 filters, (5) Lifestraws, and a Katadyn. I’ll make prefilters for the tabletops when the time comes that I need them using 5 gallon buckets, T-shirts, coffee filters, bonded fish tank filter pads, and then 100 micron and 50 micron fish tank filters and carbon packets that I have plenty of.

  36. I have the Lifestraw family from a vendor on this site. $75 and it covers enough to get us through for the unexpected with drinking water at 4750 gallons and can be cleaned for further use. I figure pre filtering will extend the life when it is needed. For everyday drinking water we use bottled and some quart size travel bottles from Costco.

  37. PRO PUR with extra filter elements. 4 life straws, 4 Seychelle purifier filter bottles, a Katadyn Pro Hiker set up to pump into my hydration pack.. Also keep plenty of purification tablets around. Have another little back packing filter I carry hunting but can’t remember the brand.

  38. For the home, we have an Alexapure sitting on a small waist high table. We have two Sawyer All in One units for home emergency use – they can do one million gallons each. Also bought lots of coffee filters for pre filtering when bringing water from year round large creek or pond. We have hundreds of gallons of stored water for use as needed. Also store pool shock with the formula for mixing. We started using the Alexapure because town water was iffy once the state got heavily involved in telling town how to manage it. The stainless is easier on the prying eyes than trying to explain the Sawyer All in One with the white buckets.

    Each safety bag has Sawyer minis with additional plastic fold up water containers and coffee filters. This is the unit we gift to friends and relatives for their safety bags. Some of those that have received the minis use them regularly because they camp and backpack.

    I like that the Sawyers have been used extensively in third world countries so it has been through the real use testing and is still chosen by those who do this work. And their price is reasonable.

  39. Sawyer mini in pack,with a bucket set up to use it as a gravity filter at home.

  40. Katadyne filter with ceramic element. I can afford one now and the price dropped years ago. When I was living off grid in the 1980’s I used a First Need water filter with the big heavy, blue charcoal filter. I bought a new filter element for each year I worked and lived off grid. In cold weather, I boiled snow down for water and poured the resulting water through a coffee filter to remove some of the glacial silt suspended in the snow. I stayed away from the red or yellow snow. I was at altitude so I boiled my water for several minutes.

  41. Berkey filter, Lifestraw, purification tablets, Seychelle Filter with extra filters, Survivor Pro Filter & extra carbon filter, Shungit stones, pool shock, Survival Still non-electric water distiller.

    However, the biggie that I don’t have is water, and land for that matter, because I’m a retired full-time RVer with not enough income to buy land.

  42. I’ve got the Alexapure Pro. I use daily for drinking water and extra filters in storage for emergency use. For the price and the amount of things it takes out I think it’s the best.

  43. I have a ceramic filter from the original Berkley company in England and made my own vessel out of 4″x24″ PVC. The filter has been in since 2016 and I have found it will clean up very well with a scouring pad, no soap of course.

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