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Which LifeStraw is best?

You can go for weeks without food, but without water, you might not survive beyond three days. If you enjoy hiking and camping, this makes a tool like a LifeStraw essential.

A LifeStraw is a portable water filtration system that can make nearly any natural source of water, such as a lake or stream, safe to drink from. LifeStraw Go 2-Stage Filtration Water Bottle is the best option for most people because of its convenient size and impressive filtration capabilities.

What to know before you buy a LifeStraw

A brief history of LifeStraw

Vestergaard was founded in 1957. The company made linings for vests and jackets. Over the years, Vestergaard evolved to focus on humanitarian aid. In 1994, the company began working with The Carter Center to develop a mesh filter that could remove Guinea worms from drinking water in Africa and Asia. Vestergaard’s success led to the invention of the LifeStraw, a water filter straw that can transform dirty water into safe drinking water as you drink. Today, LifeStraw has a range of water filtration solutions that can benefit individuals, households and small communities.

How a LifeStraw works

Every LifeStraw product has a membrane filter. This filter contains hollow fibers that are similar to the technology used in kidney dialysis. The fibers are filled with microscopic pores that are only 0.2 microns in diameter. This is small enough to remove 99.99% of bacteria, parasites and microplastics. Some of LifeStraw’s products use a membrane filter with pores that are only 0.02 microns in diameter, which is small enough to filter out viruses.

In some models, the company adds an activated carbon filter. This type of filter absorbs contaminants. It can reduce chemicals and improve flavor.

What to look for in a quality LifeStraw


One of the biggest differences between models is the size of the water reservoir. At the small end, a LifeStraw is used to drink directly from the source water. On the large end, the company has a community-sized option that holds 13 gallons of water. For household use, you can get a LifeStraw that holds 10 cups, while a 22-ounce option is best for personal use.

Filtration method

There are two options for filtration: manual and gravity. With a manual LifeStraw, you must suck the water from the reservoir up through the filter. On gravity models, the reservoir is above the filter so gravity can do the work for you.

Filtration capabilities

There are six types of impurities that LifeStraw can filter from your water. They are bacteria and parasites, microplastics, turbidity, chemicals, lead and viruses. Not all LifeStraws filter out all impurities, so you must choose the LifeStraw that has the filtering capabilities you need.

How much you can expect to spend on a LifeStraw

LifeStraw products have a wide price range. A three-pack of LifeStraw personal water filters costs $20, while a high-capacity water filtration system costs $395. Most people can find a suitable LifeStraw product for under $40.

LifeStraw FAQ

What is the shelf life of a LifeStraw product?

A. The company states there is “no shelf life for an unused LifeStraw.” However, once used, you must replace the carbon filter after two months.

How much pressure should I feel when drinking through a LifeStraw?

A. Drawing water up through a LifeStraw requires about as much effort as it takes to drink a smoothie. This is the best way to gauge how well your LifeStraw is working. If you feel increased resistance, that means the filter needs to be backwashed or replaced. If you feel no resistance, stop using your LifeStraw and replace the filter immediately, as it may be damaged.

When I use my LifeStraw, it makes a bubbling sound. Is this normal?

A. No — if you hear a bubbling sound when using your LifeStraw, it means there is a problem. Luckily, this problem is easy to fix. Before drinking through your LifeStraw, press the filter firmly into the lid, screw the lid onto the bottle, and raise the mouthpiece until it is vertical. This should stop the bubbling sounds.

What’s the best LifeStraw to buy?

Top LifeStraw

LifeStraw Go 2-Stage Filtration Water Bottle

LifeStraw Go 2-Stage Filtration Water Bottle

What you need to know: For people who enjoy having fresh water on the go, this 22-ounce bottle is a great option.

What you’ll love: This portable water filtration system removes bacteria, parasites and microplastics from your water. It can also reduce chemicals. The BPA-free bottle is conveniently sized so you can carry it while hiking. 

What you should consider: The water you are drawing up through the straw also passes through a filter. This makes sucking more difficult than some expect.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top LifeStraw for the money

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

What you need to know: This is the original LifeStraw. It is the product the company is best known for.

What you’ll love: This LifeStraw has the most compact design. It is only 9 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. It can remove up to 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites. The filter is suitable for up to 1,000 liters of water.

What you should consider: To use this LifeStraw, you must get down on your knees or stomach to be close enough to drink from your water source.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Worth checking out

LifeStraw Flex with Gravity Bag

LifeStraw Flex with Gravity Bag 

What you need to know: If you go on a camping trip, this option is excellent because it holds up to 3.7 liters of water.

What you’ll love: You can fill the gravity bag up at a stream and bring it back to camp so you have fresh water all day long. The filtration system removes bacteria, parasites and microplastics while also reducing turbidity, chemicals and lead.

What you should consider: You must be careful using this product outdoors in colder temperatures. Water that freezes inside your LifeStraw Flex can damage it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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