Lifestraw vs. Sawyer Mini

Are you having a hard time choosing between Lifestraw vs Sawyer Mini? Well, you don’t need to worry now because we’re here to lend you a hand. In this article, we will tell you everything that you must learn about these two filters. We will give you a detailed comparison, and ultimately reveal which of these two is the better choice.

One was engineered to aid serious hikers out there to have clean water wherever they go. The other one was made to help provide clean water to individuals in developing countries around the world. But overall there can only be one winner in terms of size, weight, speed, efficiency, ease of use, filters, lifespan, maintenance, pricing, and of course the better option.

So, without further ado, let’s determine the winner between Lifestraw vs Sawyer Mini Water Filter.

Read on!

Why Do You Need A Water Filter?

The worst thing that could also probably happen is if you and your buddies ran out of supply which can be dangerous. In this particular instance, you don’t have any other choice but to get some clean water from a natural water source. But, is it potable?

A lot of dedicated hikers out there are aware that it can be quite hard to spot a potable source of water. Even if you see a river or stream that seems really clean, you’ll never know that there are no harmful bacteria or toxins in it.

Infections such as Cholera, Salmonella, and E. Coli tend to strive in water. They could cause salmonellosis, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, and diarrhea. Ultimately, if you ingest such harmful bacteria, your life could be in danger. Other harmful elements such as micro-plastics and protozoa (e.g. cryptosporidium and giardia) can also put your health at risk. All these things make purchasing a water filter worthy of your time and effort.

lifestraw river
via @obrattsev on Instagram

Now, let’s go about Sawyer Mini vs Lifestraw. These two versions of filters actually operate in almost the same method. Both of them purify water, eliminate harmful elements, and make any source of water completely safe to consume.

This also means that you can practically drink rainwater without worrying about infections. However, keep in mind that it might not taste that great.

Furthermore, it is very crucial to remember that neither Lifestraw nor Sawyer Mini Water Filters can keep out viruses. Thus, even if you are using any version of the Sawyer Filter Mini or the Lifestraw, be very cautious of the water source so you can get potable drinking water.

As simple as it sounds, those are the reasons why you need these tools for water filtration. So, let’s discuss the features of Sawyer Water Filter Mini vs Lifestraw. Along the way, we will try to find which one is the better filtration system to bring in your adventure. As we mentioned in the introduction, we will discuss the following features:

  • Size & Weight
  • Speed & Efficiency
  • Ease of Use
  • Differences in Their Filters
  • Lifespan
  • Maintenance
  • Pricing

That said, let’s get started and dive in!

Sawyer Mini vs. LifeStraw Overview and Differences

Before diving into Sawyer vs. Lifestraw’s respective features, let’s try to compare first their basic specifications.

 Sawyer Mini


Dimensions5” x 1”8.7” x 1” x 1”
Weight1.6 ounces2.08 ounces
Filter Pore Size0.1 microns0.2 microns
Filter Lifespan100,000 gallons1000 gallons

If we analyze each of these two water filtration system’s specs, we can see that the Sawyer Mini seems to be in the lead. This particular version of a water filtration system comes with a better filter. In addition, it is much more portable compared to the Lifestraw filter.

Well, the match is not yet over. Read on to see if Sawyer Mini can take the lead all the way or if Lifestraw has better overall value in providing drinking water.

Size & Weight

filter size

If you’re looking to buy a personal water filtration system and plan to bring it to your adventures, the one you should get is something that comes with great portability. With a size of just 5 inches long and a weight of 2 ounces (0.127m and 0.06kg), the Sawyer Mini is your best bet when it comes to size and weight factors. This filter can effortlessly fit right into the palm of your hand.

Sawyer Mini won’t get in the way of your adventure because you can simply put it in the pocket of your pants or in the side pocket of your backpack. You don’t have any reason not to bring it on your adventures because you’ll always find enough space for it to fit along with your water bottles.

In particular, weight is very crucial to consider when it comes to water filters because you’ll be carrying it most of the time. And as we’ve mentioned, the Sawyer Mini comes only with a mere weight of 2 ounces, which is very lightweight for a water filter.

On the other hand, Lifestraw is also pretty lightweight. However, the problem lies with its length because it is around 9 inches. With such size, you won’t really be able to fit it in your pocket which is a disadvantage.

For the most part, the Lifestraw water filter is still quite convenient to bring around because it is not heavy or bulky. But then again, this round goes to Sawyer Mini.

Speed & Efficiency

filter speed and efficiency

Keep in mind that having a water filter that works fast is a huge advantage when sourcing drinking water. And this is the reason why having a water filter with great speed and efficiency is essential

And in this factor, Sawyer Mini is the best option because it works both as a straw and a filter. This means it can purify water pretty quickly. It is as efficient as a gravity filter because you will not experience resistance at all when you are using it.

Unfortunately, the same thing can’t be said for Lifestraw since it was mainly engineered to serve specifically as a straw filter. With Lifestraw, you’ll feel a significant amount of resistance when you are sucking because it takes time to filter the water.

But regardless of Lifestraw’s slow performance, the output will always be the same – purified water for safe drinking.

Ease Of Use

For the most part, there are a lot of approaches to using Lifestraw and Sawyer Mini filter systems. You can use both of them as straws. Simply submerge one end to a water source, and produce clean water out at the other end. With such tools, you’ll be able to drink directly from a hydration bladder, a glass, from a water bottle, and even from a pond.

But when it comes to versatility, the Sawyer Mini is a better option because it is incorporated with a squeezable pouch. Sawyer Mini can be integrated into most hydration packs and disposable water bottles.

This implies that you can fill your hydration pack with any kind of water source you can spot. Simply link the Sawyer Mini to the opening and drink purified water.

If you purchase the essential accessories, you can even attach the Sawyer Mini to the hose of your hydration pack. This means that you will be able to drink water out of the pack while the water filter is still in your backpack. This particular feature is a very convenient aspect of this filter to provide you safe drinking water.

sawyer on bottle
via @jimspell_outdoors on Instagram

On the flip side, the Lifestraw doesn’t really operate in the same approach. The Lifestraw is much longer compared to the Sawyer Mini, which means it doesn’t have the ability to link to a hydration pack or bottle.

Rather, you can instead insert your Lifestraw personal water filter through the opening. However, it’s not really convenient because there’s always a chance of spillage.

Not to mention that you must carry it in your hand most of the time because you can’t put it away with its filter inside. Of course, you can just remove and insert the filter if you like to take a sip. But if you think about it, that’s a little bit tedious and not very versatile.

Furthermore, the Sawyer Mini offers better convenience to drink from the filtering tool because of its 7 inches drinking straw. So, overall, the Sawyer Mini filter is certainly the winner for the ease and convenience matchup.

Differences In Their Filters

You must highly consider the right filters when choosing between Lifestraw and Sawyer Mini, especially when backpacking and camping in the backcountry. The right filter removes harmful elements out of the water.

When it comes to filters and pore size, the Lifestraw comes with a 0.2 microns filter. On the other hand, the Sawyer Mini is incorporated with a 0.1 microns filter. With such little difference, which is better between the mini and the Lifestraw?

For the most part, 0.1 microns and 0.2-micron filters are pretty much the same in terms of pore size. These sizes are enough to prevent bacteria from going through except for viruses. But when it comes to significantly reducing the chances of bacteria or parasites (e.g. giardia and cryptosporidium) going through, the 0.1 micron does it better.

lifestraw in bottle
via @unluggage on Instagram

You should also remember that pores tend to get a little bit bigger the more you use it, thus it’s wise, to begin with, a filter designed with a 0.1-micron filter than a 0.2-micron one.

All in all, the difference in these products’ filters is that the Lifestraw is said to eliminate 99.9% of waterborne bacteria, while the Sawyer Mini is said to get rid of 99.9999% based on each respective website and in Amazon. For many people out there, this difference is a crucial factor when looking for the ideal filtration system.


The Sawyer Mini seems to win this match once again because they claim that users can squeeze 100,000 gallons of purified water in its entire lifespan. On the other hand, the Lifestraw filter can only filter around 1000 gallons of clean water.

However, does volume really matter when it comes to this product’s lifespan? The Lifestraw can last for up to 5 and a half years if it’s used on a daily basis per half a gallon a day. But that is if you also clean it properly every use.

For a relatively cheap Lifestraw, five and half a year is a good value for the money. But all in all, if you compare 100,000 gallons of lifespan capacity to a mere 1,000 gallons, the Sawyer Mini is definitely the winner for this matchup.

Maintaining Your Water Filter

If you don’t want to waste money on getting a new water filter, then you must ensure proper maintenance and cleaning of your current filter. Not to mention that you might only get 200 gallons of purified water if you don’t maintain them properly.

Now, the Sawyer comes with a cleaning plunger for easy cleaning and maintenance. If you don’t want its performance to deteriorate, you must backflush and sanitize it after your adventures. If you don’t have any near future outings and want to store the water filter, then be sure to thoroughly clean and dry it completely.

Of course, Lifestraw has the same rule. Every after use, you must thoroughly clean it and dry it entirely. It would also help to blow air into the filter regularly to make sure that it won’t get clogged.

lifestraw child
via @hikeitbaby on Instagram


This is probably the most crucial factor to consider before even buying a water filter. After all, how can you even get the best water filter and gear if they cost a fortune?

But worry not because water filters are actually not that expensive because the price range is just around $20 to less than $100 on Now, if you want better value for your hard-earned money, then water filters in packs and bundles are the smarter choice. And the Lifestraw excels at that aspect because a pack of three filters will only set you back for only under $60.

On the other hand, the Sawyer Mini doesn’t offer a pack of three but only a pack of four. This particular bundle will cost under $90. If you think about it, it would be smarter to just buy four individual Sawyer Mini than its bundled option.

However, you won’t really need bundles or lots of water filters unless you want to buy them for your adventure buddies. Overall, the Lifestraw is a little bit cheaper than the Sawyer Mini. Nonetheless, they are still both excellent value for your hard-earned money.

swayer on ground
via @generalprepper on Instagram

LifeStraw Vs. Sawyer: Which Is Better?

As you can see from our discussion above, the Sawyer Mini water filter has better performance and rating for most of the factors we talked about. Thus, the Sawyer Mini is the clear winner for this matchup.

However, you must keep in mind that Sawyer Mini was mainly created specifically for hikers. On the other hand, the Lifestraw water filter was engineered to provide drinkable and clean water to individuals in many third world nations.

This is the reason why we can’t completely say that Sawyer Mini is the better choice in different scenarios. Nevertheless, for hiking and other similar activities, it is just fair to conclude that the Sawyer Mini is the better choice.

Furthermore, Sawyer Mini offers better convenience because you can use it to drink straight out of the water source, or attach it to your hydration bladder or water bottle. It also allows you to attach it to the hose of the hydration pack so you can drink clean and safe water without using your hands.

Additionally, Sawyer Mini is also a better option in terms of portability because it has smaller dimensions compared to the Lifestraw water filter. So overall, we recommend the Sawyer Mini to all hikers and outdoor lovers out there.

How about you? Do you know any water filters that can outperform these two? If so, please leave a comment below.

Hope to see you in another review.