Sawyer Mini Water Filter – How Does It Fare Against The LifeStraw?

Sawyer Mini

The Sawyer Mini kit comes with a number of goodies

When it comes to the battle of the portable water filter, should you go Sawyer or LifeStraw? Which one deserves to be stowed in your bug out or hiking kit?

We’ve always been big fans of the $19.95 LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, it’s an excellent no fuss water filter perfect for taking on your travels into the backcountry or for emergencies situations. In fact, we carried out our review of the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter not too long ago.

However, we recently had the chance to review the $20.30 Sawyer Mini Water Filter and it might have just taken the lead as the top portable water filter of our choice.

Click here to check out and read more Sawyer Mini Reviews on Amazon.com

So how does it compare?

The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has obtained a reputation as NGOs preferred option to assist communities worldwide affected by natural disasters. Winning the 2005 “Best Invention” by Time Magazine, it certainly wins our praises.

Perfect to keep in your bug out kit, stored for emergencies, or to take out hiking, it’s pretty awesome. But is the Sawyer just that little bit better?

We at Sinky Drinky think so and here are the reasons why.

Stronger Filtering Power


You can even drink from your backpack!

So as far as extremely affordable “on the go” water filters go, the LifeStraw’s filtering power has proven to be one of the best on the market, but the level of filtering the Sawyer Mini provides wins out.

While the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter’s hollow fibre membrane technology measures at 0.2 microns, the Sawyer Mini filtering pores are even tinier at 0.1.

The Sawyer removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; and also removes 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium.

In comparison, while the LifeStraw can still be described as ultra-effective in filtering your contaminated water, it has proven to remove only 99.9999% of bacteria, and 99.9%.

Similarly the Sawyer Mini, like the Life Straw, cannot remove viruses. For a portable water filter able to remove the above-mentioned, AND Viruses – check out the LifeStraw Mission.

Click here to check out and read more Sawyer Mini Reviews on Amazon.com

Volume, Volume, Volume


The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Like the LifeStraw, the Sawyer Mini weighs only 2 ounces but it filters a whole lot more. While the Lifestraw filters up to 1000 liters (264 gallons), the Sawyer Mini can filter up to 378, 541.18 liters (100,000 gallons), certainly a couple more camping trip’s worth of filtered water!

The Sawyer Mini is also teeny-tiny – even smaller than the LifeStraw. While the LifeStraw measures 9 inches long and 1 inch wide

It’s More Versatile Than The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Who could of thought you could get any more versatile than the LifeStraw, which you can literally stick in any water source and sip?

Well, the Sawyer Mini can do that and little bit more.

Your Sawyer Mini should come with the following:

The Sawyer Mini itself, which unlike the LifeStraw, comes in the available funky colors of black, blue, orange, green, pink and camouflage

A 7” drinking straw (shorter than the 9” long LifeStraw

A 16 ounce collapsible squeeze pouch

A cleaning plunger

All of the pieces allow you to use the Sawyer Mini in various ways.

The Sawyer Mini comes along with a collapsible squeeze bag, which not only allows you to use it as a water bottle but to transfer water as the Sawyer Mini is able to screw onto the collapsible squeeze bag in addition to standard disposable water bottles.

If needed, you could use the 16 ounce reusable squeeze bag to transfer water into a cooking pot. Just turn it upside down and a squeeze is enough to force the water through the Sawyer Mini and into the awaiting container.

If you think the 16oz bag may be too small, Sawyer also has 32 ounce and 64 ounce pouches available, making it easier to transfer larger quantities of water.

Click here to check out and read more Sawyer Mini Reviews on Amazon.com

How Do You Clean the Sawyer Mini?


All set for the wilderness with the Sawyer Mini

We’ll give this to the LifeStraw – it’s more straightforward to clean. All you need to do is blow hard through the straw, and that’s enough to expel any dirty water and avoid clogging.

With the Sawyer Mini, you will need to first fill the 2 oz plunger with clean water. Attach it to the end of the Sawyer and pump to backwash the filter of any dirty water and debris.

The only concern we have is what if you lose the cleaning plunger? You may be a little stuck then.

Are there any cons?

As mentioned above, the fact that the Sawyer Mini has several pieces increases the chances of you accidentally losing or leaving a piece behind. With the LifeStraw, the straw itself is the one and only piece you need to worry about ensuring is safely stowed away in your bag.

Another drawback is that you may find transferring water through the squeeze pouch a little tedious, although it doesn’t take too long at all. However, at least it gives you this option.

Our Verdict

All in all, we think the Sawyer Mini is pretty fantastic and give it a resounding 8/10.

Not only is it lightweight and extremely portable, but it’s super effective in ensuring you are drinking cleanly from water sources ranging from puddles and ponds to streams and snowmelt.

It filtering mechanism, although it cannot remove viruses, is powerful – and you won’t get much better than this in a personal portable water filter for camping or emergency purposes.

Unlike other filters of its kind, including the LifeStraw, the Sawyer Mini is capable of filtering an impressive amount of water. Although it’s teeny tiny, it can filter a whopping 100,000 gallows, compared to the LifeStraw’s 264 gallons, giving it a much longer shelf-life.

Another major plus is that it’s extremely versatile and you can use it in a number of ways.

Our sole drawback with the Sawyer is that if you’re looking to travel ultra-ultra light rather than  just ultra light, then the LifeStraw might be the preferred option for you.

Click here to check out and read more Sawyer Mini Reviews on Amazon.com