Sawyer Squeeze vs. Mini

person throws away red water bottle

You don’t want to bring one gallon of water on your every adventure, do you? With a personal water filter, you don’t need to carry a heavy water container. Having a reliable water filter frees up some valuable space on your backpack.

Having a reliable method to filter water when hiking and backpacking is crucial. A water filter is an effective and quick way to have clean water on-the-go since there won’t always be a freshwater source during your trips.

The Sawyer Squeeze and the Sawyer Mini are two excellent water filter options. They are manufactured by a trusted brand – Sawyer. Both of these water filters are very lightweight and durable. This will give you the confidence that you need in order to enjoy your trips, knowing that potable water is just around the corner.

To learn more about these two water filters, let’s see what they have to offer. Along the way, we will have an in-depth comparison between these two filters so you know which one to choose. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Overview of Sawyer Squeeze and Sawyer Mini

When comparing two products from the same brand, it’s important to have a quick comparison before going to an in-depth review. Having an idea which one will best suit your needs can help you make a better decision. In this comparison table, you’ll see what factors to consider between Sawyer Squeeze vs. Mini.

ProductDimensionSizeWeightFilter Pore SizeFilter LifetimeIncluded ContainerFlow RateUsagePriceLink to Amazon
Sawyer Squeeze

9.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches (24.13 x 10.16 x 8.89 cm)Wider3.2 ounces0.1 MicronsLifetime Warranty1 or 3 pouches2.0 liters per minuteLarge-volume, stationary applications$-$$Shop now at Amazon
Sawyer Mini

4 x 3 x 8 inches
(10.16 x 7.62 x 20.32 cm)
Pocket-sized3.52 ounces0.1 Microns100,000 gallons16 ounce1.1 liters per minuten-line$Shop now at Amazon

Sawyer Squeeze vs. Mini

We’ve broken down the main differences between Sawyer Squeeze vs. Mini. The following factors below will help you determine which one of these two filters you should pick. For many backpackers, the main factors that must be considered are size, weight, effectiveness, as well as price. But that’s not all. Things such as Flow Rate, Filter Lifetime, and Filter Material should also be considered if you’re serious about your next adventure and want to get the most out of it.

sawyer man hike
via @sawyerproducts on Instagram

Pore Size

Pore size is an indicator of the size of harmful particles that a water filter is designed to get rid of. It is the most important factor because having a pore size that is too large won’t filter out waterborne bacteria and protozoa through.

Both Sawyer Squeeze and Mini come with the same 0.1-micron pore size. This pore size traps more harmful elements such as protozoa, cysts, and bacteria than 0.2 or 0.3 water filters such as Lifestraw and Katadyn Hiker. However, keep in mind that viruses won’t get filtered out unless you get a chemical treatment system.

Flow rate

This factor indicates the volume of water that a filter can process over a certain amount of time. Flow rate is a crucial factor if you don’t want to spend hours sitting at a water source just to fill up your bottle with 1 liter of water. When it comes to flow rate, the Sawyer Squeeze has an advantage because it can filter 2 liters of water per minute. While the Sawyer Mini can only filter 1.1 liters of water per minute.

Weight

The weight of Mini is significantly less compared to Sawyer Squeeze. Without water residue, the Sawyer Mini weighs about 1.3 oz. When it has some water left on it, it weighs around 1.8 oz. Meanwhile, Squeeze weighs a little bit more at 3.25 oz when there’s some water residue on it.

We all know that the overall weight of our backpacking gear is very crucial. In fact, some hardcore backpackers are known to get rid of the handle of their toothbrush to lighten their load. Even though this sounds a little bit too much, each and every ounce adds up. So, saving weight when on a trip is one of the keys to an enjoyable and successful experience.

sawyer drink woman
via @sawyerproducts on Instagram

Size

The Sawyer Mini is smaller than Squeeze. It is skinnier and can easily fit in your pocket, which is important when you’re hiking in winter to avoid it getting frozen. Mini comes in at 5 inches by 2 inches. On the other hand, the Sawyer Squeeze is a little bit bigger at 5 inches by 3 inches. But generally, both filters are backpack-friendly and won’t really take up that much space.

Versatility

Both of these filters come with collapsible pouches. And you can attach them directly to their drinking pouches for easy use. The pouch and filter can also be utilized together to supply an empty container with water. Their difference when it comes to versatility is that Mini comes with an attachable straw, which makes drinking water more convenient. On the other hand, the Sawyer Squeeze comes with a larger pouch, which some experienced backpackers prefer. In particular, Squeeze is ideal for a group of backpackers.

Lifespan

The lifespan of Sawyer Squeeze and Mini is measured in the amount of water that can pass through the filter until you have to replace it out. In particular, the Sawyer Mini can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water. As for the Sawyer Squeeze, the brand didn’t mention any number but only a lifetime warranty. But many verified customer reviews say that Squeeze can last for years before becoming completely unusable.

The lifespan of a water filter mainly depends on how well it resists backflushing and how much you use it. If you’re looking to do a lot of camping and backpacking, then we recommend getting the Mini because you’ll have a good estimate of how long it will last.

sawyer drink dog
via @sawyerproducts on Instagram

Container

Containers determine the amount of water that you can filter with each use. Meaning, the larger the container, the more amount of water you can filter. The container size is just actually a matter of personal preference. What’s important is you have a bottle to store in your water after you filter it. When you buy a Sawyer Squeeze, you’ll have three options of containers: 16 oz., 32 oz., and 64 oz. pouches. If you choose the Sawyer Mini, you’ll get only a 16 oz. container.

Hollow Fiber Filter

When it comes to various filter technologies used in backpacking, the hollow fiber membrane offers a lot of advantages. This type of fiber is made up of hundreds of tiny tubes that are assembled together to make a filter matrix. The walls of these tiny tubes are loaded with tiny pores that effectively capture pathogens inside.

These pores are too tiny for harmful microbial elements to pass through, except for water. You don’t need to choose between Sawyer Squeeze and Mini when it comes to this factor because they are incorporated with the same technology.

Filtration Technology

The filtering technology that Sawyer uses for its water filters is what makes their product stand out. This technology is called Absolute Micron Filtering Technology, which offers exceptional water filtration.

It operates by utilizing U-shaped micro-tubes to push water through tiny pores that trap harmful elements and other pollutants, so only clean water will come through.

Both Sawyer Squeeze and Mini have a filtration rating of 0.1 microns, which effectively rids of 99.99% of bacteria, which include cholera, E.coli, and salmonella. These two filters also easily eliminate 99.99 of protozoa like giardia and cryptosporidium.

sawyer backpack hike
via @sawyerproducts on Instagram

Configurations

If you get the Sawyer Mini, you’ll get one 16 oz. bag, the filter, as well as a backflush system that you can utilize with either type of filter. Choosing the Mini also gives you a straw attachment that allows you to drink right out of a water source. Meanwhile, the Sawyer Squeeze gives you two choices of configuration. You can buy the Squeeze with one bag, and you will also get additional parts that will enable you to attach the filter to a five-gallon bucket just in case you want to filter large amounts of water.

If you want a water filter that is better at inline systems, then we highly recommend the Sawyer Mini. You can attach it directly onto tubes, or you can attach it right into a hydration system so you can filter while on the go. Of course, you can also purchase kits that can turn the Sawyer Squeeze into an inline filtration system.

Price

The price is the one main difference between Sawyer Squeeze and Mini. And the latter is the more popular choice in terms of price.

The Sawyer Mini is cheaper than the Sawyer Squeeze. This is the reason why it’s a favorite for many thrifty hikers out there who don’t want to pay for more than what they need. But overall, the price difference is not that much.

Product Reviews – Sawyer Squeeze vs. Mini

Now that you know their main similarities and differences, it is time to start choosing.

Sawyer Squeeze

Whether you want to go backpacking or camping, this water filter will guarantee you have access to potable water in any backcountry. The Sawyer Squeeze comes with optimal versatility and exceptional filtration. It just weighs 3 oz., and it is very easy to use and fits in the palm of your hand.

It comes with durable and collapsible reusable squeeze bags that you can simply roll up if they’re not in use, so they won’t need to take up much space in your backpack. Its reusable 0.1 absolute micron squeeze filter can provide potable water from streams, rivers, and lakes. You just need to fill the squeeze bag with water from a water source, screw the Squeeze filter onto the pouch, and start drinking using its removable push and pull cap.

This water filter also comes with an adapter kit that enables you to install it inline on your hydration pack, which is sold separately. Just fill your container with water from a nearby water source and drink safely through the hydration tube. You can also make a gravity water filtering system using its tube straw and mesh carrying pouch to hang the Sawyer Squeeze. You also have the choice to screw it onto a soda or water bottle with a standard threaded mouth.

Lastly, you can clean and reuse it almost indefinitely with no pricey cartridges to replace. If you notice that the water flow starts to diminish, just do a backwash to restore up to 98% of the Squeeze’s flow rate and have fresh, potable water wherever you go.

Sawyer Mini

When it comes to personal use, the Sawyer Mini is one of the most versatile and lightest water filters out there. It effectively filters out harmful particulates, bacteria, and protozoa such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, except for viruses. Sawyer Mini works in many configurations as well. It offers better reliability than other on-the-go filters.

Aside from being nice and durable, it is also easy to clean, but needs a little bit of diligence. The complete kit comes with a syringe, filter, and the 16 oz. bag. The kit will fit nicely into a large ziplock bag. Additionally, its thin profile makes it very portable while backpacking.

This water filter is easy to set up and can be used in various approaches. You can attach its pouch for extra storage, or just use it on its own with its straw. You can also drink directly from the filter if you have a hydration bladder. Just attach it to the end and drink.

With its exceptional versatility, acquiring potable water is not difficult. You can use a standard-sized bottle to fetch some water. Its straw enables you to drink directly from small puddles, but you need to get a little bit closer to the ground. Overall, setting up the Sawyer Mini is very easy. We like how light, versatile, and easy to use it is. It’s a great investment and doesn’t cost that much, and it will surely last for many years of use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Sawyer Water Filters Remove Heavy Metals, Chemicals, and Taste from the Water?

Heavy Metals

Sawyer water filters are not made with charcoal. Even though certain portable water filters are incorporated with charcoal, they don’t have enough dwell time and media. Thus, they are only capable of eliminating small amounts of heavy metals. To ensure safety, always opt to natural sources of water like rivers and lakes.

Chemicals

Both Sawyer Squeeze and Sawyer Mini don’t remove sulfur, iron, and certain simple compounds. If you want to mask the taste, you can use flavor additives such as crystal light or Gatorade. But make sure to clean the filter immediately after using them.

Taste

Sawyer filters get rids of the taste that comes from green matter, dirt, and bacteria.

sawyer woman hike drink
via @sawyerproducts on Instagram

How Do I Take Care of the Filter During Freezing Conditions?

Sawyer filters are safe from freezing conditions if they have never been wetted. But if the filter is wet, there’s no definitive way to determine if the filter has been damaged because of the freezing. That’s why we suggest replacing the filter if you suspect that it has been frozen. If you’re on a freezing backpacking trip, we suggest that you store your water filter in your pocket or anywhere near your body heat. Keep in mind that there’s no warranty for a frozen water filter, according to Sawyer.

Why Is Sawyer Squeeze’s Flow Rate so Important?

The difference between 1.1 liters per minute and 2.0 liters per minute of flow rate may not sound significant. But considering that a water pouch can easily fill up with 4 to 6 liters of water, you don’t want to be squeezing it for 3 minutes just to get all the water out, right?

Keep in mind that all water filtering systems get clogged up the more you use them. On the flip side, gravity filters don’t have this issue because gravity is doing the job. But when it comes to Sawyer filters, you will be doing all the work, and the more they get clogged up, the more squeezing you will be doing.

How to Increase the Flow Rate In Your Sawyer Squeeze or Mini Water Filter?

After using a Sawyer filter for a couple of times, you will notice that its flow rate is slowing down. When the flow rate gets worse or when you need to put a lot of squeezing on the water pouch to filter the same amount of water, you should start backflushing your Sawyer filter.

All Sawyer water filters are incorporated with a plastic syringe that links to the outlet of the water filter. This plastic syringe is used to backflush the filter. Just fill the syringe with clean water, push it into the outlet of the water filter, and just push the plunger of the filter down.

By doing this, you’ll flush the water backward through the filter, and you’ll clear out any particles or debris that are clogging up the water filter.

sawyer woman river
via @sawyerproducts on Instagram

How Often Do I Need to Backflush My Filter?

We suggest backflushing your water filter when you are ready to start using the filter again before prolonged storage, and when the flow rate starts to diminish—backflushing the water filter after the storage is also a great way to moisten the filters and restore its original flow rate.

Do I Always Need to Use a Water Filter?

If you want to guarantee the cleanliness and safety of your water, you must always use a water filter. Even if the water seems potable and clear, there might be some harmful microelements in it. And if you drink from contaminated water, you might get certain diseases such as Giardia and Norovirus.

Even water sources that are free from any human pollution are not safe because they might also be contaminated with animal feces or certain bacteria. So just to be safe, always use a water filter.

The Filter Has Little to No Flow, How to Fix It?

The first method that you can apply is called “Initial Wetting.” In this method, just make sure to slowly squeeze the water through the water filter. This will give the filter fibers time to completely saturate. The initial flow rate may look slow, but it will gradually increase as the fibers get damp. This method normally takes around one liter of water.

The second method is backflushing, which we already discussed above. Backflushing is by far the most common method when your filter has little to no flow at all. The next method is called “Sanitation.” Sawyer highly recommends sanitizing first the water filter before storing it. To sanitize the unit, start by backflushing the filter, then apply a fragrance-free bleach solution through the filter. Just air dry it and store it in a cool, dry place.

sawyer mountain drink woman
via @sawyerproducts on Instagram

How Often Do You Need to Clean or Backflush the Filter?

It depends on how dirty or pristine the water is. If you’re always getting water from clearwater, backflushing may only be needed every 1,000 gallons. As for muddy water, backflushing may be needed every 10 gallons. But still, backflushing is a very simple process and will only take a few minutes.

How Long Does the Filter/Purifier Can Last?

Because the purifiers and filters can be backflushed continuously, they come with an extremely long lifespan. The membrane of the filter may never need to get replaced. But when the filter gets clogged up or when the flow rate diminishes, just backflush the water filter with the right backflushing device to clear out the clogged debris.

sawyer river man hike
via @sawyerproducts on Instagram

Conclusion

So, which one is better? Answering which one comes out on top between Sawyer Squeeze vs. Mini is a little bit tricky. Considering that these two water filters are almost identical in many ways, most people will be drawn to the Sawyer Mini due to its lower price, which is actually the biggest difference between the two. Of course, both of them are excellent choices, and you can’t go wrong with either one of them.

The Sawyer Mini is a perfect companion for your camping checklist. It is very effective at trapping harmful microelements, it is economical, and light. Similar to Sawyer Squeeze, it also ensures 99.99999% protection against protozoa and bacteria. On the other hand, the Sawyer Squeeze weighs almost twice than Mini. It’s a little bit bigger when it comes to dimensions too. If you are into price more than any factors, then the Sawyer Mini is for you.

However, if you want a better flow rate, then the Sawyer Squeeze is a better choice as it only takes 30 seconds to fill your bottle, while Mini can take 1 minute and 30 minutes to fill a liter of a bottle. Having a faster flow rate is very helpful, particularly when camping with your friends or family. Aside from that, Sawyer Squeeze doesn’t need frequent backflushing, and it’s not that prone to clogging.

All in all, if weight and price are your main concerns, then the Sawyer Mini is the clear winner and your best choice. If ease of use and larger water volume are your priorities, then you should opt with Sawyer Squeeze. Keep safe and filter your water every time!