Testing the LifeStraw water filter

LifeStraw Review: We Put This Affordable Water Filter to the Test Leave a comment


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If you happen to’ve outfitted an emergency provide package or go-bag anytime within the final decade, you’ve in all probability at the very least appeared on the LifeStraw. This light-weight, easy, and low-cost blue straw has turn out to be so ubiquitous that many individuals have began shopping for them in bulk, 5 at a time. However how sensible is the LifeStraw in a possible real-world setting, say, in case your municipality’s water provide was compromised otherwise you needed to flee your property throughout a pure catastrophe?

LifeStraw Specs and Options


Laura Lancaster


Water filters work by shifting water by means of very small pores—.2 micron within the case of the LifeStraw—which catches any protozoa or micro organism that may be contaminating the water. There are a variety of mechanisms for shifting water by means of filters. Previous-school fashions use pumps. Newer ones use squeeze baggage, or gravity itself. The LifeStraw makes use of suction—which you provide. Uncap the LifeStraw at each ends, plunk the soiled finish into your water provide, and begin sucking water by means of the clear finish.

LifeStraw Review: We Put This Affordable Water Filter to the Test
Laura Lancaster

The unique LifeStraw can solely be used like a straw, however the Peak Collection straw has a bit extra versatility. The design of the soiled finish means it may be hooked up to a water bottle, or used with a bladder hydration system. Utilizing the Peak Collection Straw in tandem with a water bottle additionally lets you use it such as you would a squeeze-bag system or a gravity filter.

If that is your first time buying a water filter of any variety, crucial factor to notice is that the LifeStraw doesn’t include an hooked up reservoir. If you’re on the go in an space the place water entry is restricted, it’s vital that you just additionally carry a vessel to carry water, such a normal disposable water bottle or a Nalgene. 

Testing the LifeStraw within the Area

LifeStraw Review: We Put This Affordable Water Filter to the Test
Sipping water out of a lake with out pitching headfirst into it proved to be a problem. Laura Lancaster

In a best-case emergency situation, your property nonetheless has operating water, however your native reservoir has been impacted and water should now be handled earlier than it may be consumed. (And everyone knows how boiling water is a drag below these circumstances.) So my first take a look at was to easily hand a glass of water and a LifeStraw to everybody in my household and see what they thought. 

I attempted it out first—I positively wanted a whole lot of suction to maneuver the water by means of the filter, but it surely was simple sufficient to make use of. After a number of sips—the LifeStraw was simpler to make use of after each—I handed it over to my husband to attempt. “It wasn’t that unhealthy,” he mentioned. “The Peak Collection is simpler to make use of.” 

Subsequent up was the three 12 months previous. She was excited to assist (she spends a whole lot of time lately “testing” blankets and pillows in makeshift piles in our front room), however after giving the LifeStraw a attempt for 5 seconds or so, she lifted her head and wailed, “I can’t do it!” Seems the LifeStraw isn’t as household pleasant as I had hoped. “I’m so thirsty!” she continued. Now, this wasn’t an actual emergency scenario, so it was simple sufficient to only take the straw out and let her drink the water usually, however think about if it had been? 

LifeStraw Review: We Put This Affordable Water Filter to the Test
The adults in my take a look at had been in a position to efficiently use the LifeStraw in a managed atmosphere, however younger youngsters, not a lot. Laura Lancaster

Subsequent, we took the 2 LifeStraws on slightly subject journey across the neighborhood. The primary cease was a stream operating out of a slopey wooded space close to our residence. Often within the fall, there’s a gurgling, fresh-smelling stream of water coursing down this slope, however on this explicit day—after an uncommon stretch of dry climate—there was barely a trickle. Worse, it smelled surprisingly anaerobic—a bit like a pile of compost had gone off. 

“I’m not ingesting out of that,” mentioned my husband flatly. Truthful, however science is science so I used to be dedicated to at the very least taking a small sip to see if this was one thing I’d be prepared to do in an emergency scenario.

It took quite a lot of tries at squatting down (these LifeStraw fashions within the adverts are clearly extra versatile than I’m) to determine the right way to get the straw into the water with out toppling over, however I finally obtained there. The water was…heat…however in any other case tasted OK. Actually, I’m making an attempt to not assume an excessive amount of about it. 

Subsequent was the lakeshore. That is an lively lake, in all the very best methods—summertime is filled with boats and seaplanes and fishermen and swimmers. But it surely’s additionally a multitude, with the particles from wartime airplane crashes nonetheless hanging out on the backside and common sewage overflows that get piped in when it rains an excessive amount of. It’s the type of lake the place you retain your mouth closed whenever you’re in it, and also you at all times take a bathe afterward.

It was considerably tougher to drink out of the lake than the stream. The light waves made it difficult to get near the water’s edge whereas the rocky seashore was tough to search out my footing in. On this situation, I’d a lot favor to dip a reservoir instantly into the water after which drink from that. However, like with the wooded stream, the water was nice, and I felt nice after ingesting it. 

What the LifeStraw Does Worst

LifeStraw Review: We Put This Affordable Water Filter to the Test
This water supply smelled horrible, however tasted OK due to the filtering powers of the LifeStraw. Laura Lancaster

Whereas testing the very best backpacking water filters, the Peak Collection from LifeStraw simply didn’t stack up in opposition to the likes of MSR, Platypus, Katadyn, and Sawyer. Each the gravity filter and the squeeze-bag filter (that are utilizing comparable know-how) turned slower to make use of over time, and the gravity filter finally stopped working solely. 

However from an emergency preparedness standpoint, the largest drawback with the LifeStraw—each the unique and the Peak Collection—is that it doesn’t filter out viruses. Which means water you drink by means of the straw may nonetheless be contaminated by norovirus or rotavirus (two viruses which might be accountable for meals poisoning). 

Viruses are tremendous small (a couple of tenth of the scale of a micro organism), which is why it’s so onerous for a standard filter to take away them. There are a number of that use activated carbon (Grayl and Speedy Pure are examples right here), which viruses stick with (the technical course of known as “adsorption”). This works fairly properly—though throughout our take a look at of the very best backpacking water filter these tended to clog up considerably quicker than conventional hole core fiber filters, together with the LifeStraw Peak Collection know-how. Additionally they aren’t as efficient at filtering out viruses from water coloured with sediment or tannins, equivalent to my native creek. Another choice is the MSR Guardian, which has pores so small—.02 micron—that they will filter out viruses. However that filter usually runs at about $400, which is about 20 occasions greater than a LifeStraw. 

What the LifeStraw Does Finest

This is likely one of the least costly water filters in the marketplace, so it’s value contemplating in case you are buying in bulk—particularly within the multipacks. No matter your funds, the low price of the LifeStraw means there’s no excuse to not have a water filter in your house or go bag. 

And so they do work as marketed. LifeStraw is accredited by a third-party lab—they even submit their outcomes on-line—to certify that they meet US EPA & NSF P231 ingesting water requirements. When used appropriately, you may belief the LifeStraw to guard you from the likes of Giardia and E.coli. 

Ultimate Ideas

If you happen to’re taking a look at stocking your emergency preparedness package with a number of LifeStraws, it’s value upgrading to the Peak Collection model, as a consequence of its versatility and (comparative) ease of use. But it surely’s additionally value checking to see if one other of the very best backpacking water filters would possibly higher meet your wants. The MSR Guardian, whereas costly, is able to eradicating viruses, whereas the Sawyer Squeeze Mini is barely a few {dollars} greater than the LifeStraw, and comes with reservoirs to scoop and maintain your water whilst you’re on the go. 

The submit LifeStraw Evaluate: We Put This Inexpensive Water Filter to the Check appeared first on Out of doors Life.

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