Chances are if you keep up with the news even marginally, you’ve recently witnessed the tragic effects of natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires. In fact, they’re almost impossible to ignore, particularly if you live in areas that are more prone to these kinds of occurrences. It’s an unfortunate reality that natural disasters are on the rise and with that, it’s important to be aware of emergency gear that could potentially save your life in case you find yourself in the middle of a crisis. One of the most vital supplies you should always have on hand is drinkable water, proven by the fact that the bottled water industry generates an astonishing 100-billion dollars worth of revenue every single year. Below is our overview of the different water filtration devices that you’ll be glad you have on hand when disaster strikes.

We’ll get into the pros and cons of some of the best water filtration and purification systems available on the market shortly, but first, let’s address what exactly water purification is, what differentiates it from filters, the different types of devices you’re likely to come across, and the benefits to our body’s that using these kinds of filtration devices has.

How Is Water Purification Different From Water Filtration?

You might hear these terms used interchangeably, but they’re used for slightly different purposes and their distinction is important. When a water source goes through purification, it generally means it has been cleaned and cleared of all and any bacterial, viral, parasitical or other biological contaminants that may be present, but this does not include those of the chemical variety. That’s where water filters come in.

Water filters are designed to help remove chemical impurities such as mercury, lead, chlorine and more. They also aid in hindering the growth of bacteria like algae, or fungi, but only purification is wholly capable of removing such contaminants.

Skip right to the reviews, or dive into nitty-gritty details and techniques of purification right below.

Bottle of water
Bottle of water

What Are The Different Kinds of Purification?

There are five main types of water purification processes that are commonly used to filter the water sources you use today: RO, UF, UV, Activated Carbon and Alkaline or Ionizers. We have outlined the differences below.

Reverse Osmosis

RO water purifiers utilize a technique known as Reverse Osmosis. In the process, water is passed through a semipermeable membrane under immense pressure to remove any metals that may be present such as arsenic, mercury, nitrates or fluoride. Often used in homes and offices, RO requires electricity to function so it can be costly to upkeep and tends to waste a lot of water in their use. In addition, they cannot kill bacteria or germs.

Ultrafiltration

UF water purification, or Ultrafiltration filters, are similar to RO purifiers but their membranes tend to be a little larger which makes them more efficient at removing dirt, germs and other bacteria. Unlike RO’s, they do not require electricity to function, are relatively low maintenance and cost-effective, and due to the simplicity of manual cleaning, tend to be long lasting making them a popular choice in the consumer market.

Ultraviolet Technology

UV purifiers use what is called Ultraviolet technology to purify their water sources. They utilize UV radiation in order to remove bacteria, germs and viruses, all without removing the important dissolves salts that the human body uses. They also don’t alter the taste or odor of the water, nor do they make the water more acidic as is a common side effect of RO purifiers.

Activated Carbon Filters

Sometimes referred to as pre-filters or simply carbon filters, Activated Carbon Filters are used to remove large particles like silt and sediment. They work by absorbing the particles and are able to reduce and remove chemicals like chlorine, thereby improving both the taste and odor of the water source.

Ionizers and Alkaline

Alkaline and Water Ionizers use a process called electrolysis. In this instance, water is passed over electronically charged plates and separated into Alkaline and Acidic streams. The result is a softer tasting water that is lower in acidity, something that is often sought after due to its ability to improve the quality of human skin.

Survivor Filter PRO

Survival Filter Pro

When tested, the Survivor Filter Pro showed a removal rate of 99.9% with regards to bacteria, viruses and staph, a 99.5% removal rate for mercury and 93% removal of lead. This surpasses the EPA standards for water filters and as such should not be taken lightly. It can filter up to 17 ounces a minute making it an ultra-fast purifier. Included with the device are a hose clip, zipper carry case, a larger tubing option and an attachable cup so it’s always ready for your on-the-go filtration needs.

Pros

  • Fast acting
  • Compact
  • Durable

Cons

  • Needs to be cleaned regularly for optimal performance

Survivor Filter

Survival Filter
Not to be confused with the Survivor Filter PRO above, the Survivor Filter boasts the same remarkable removal of bacteria and viruses as the PRO filter in a sleek, compact and lightweight device that can be screwed into existing bottles and canteens making it a super-compatible and easy to carry alternative. Included with the Survivor Filter is a protective mouthpiece which aids in removing harmful bacterias from the source and it’s said to be reusable upwards of 100,000 liters.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Compatible with existing bottles and canteens

Cons

  • Must be stored in a clean and dry place
  • Needs regularly cleaning for optimal performance

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw

The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has won awards and made a name for itself as a must-carry tool for hikers, campers and emergency events alike. It can filter upwards of 1000L of water and surpasses EPA filter standards. It comes in a sealable bag making it easy to store with your other survival gear.

Pros

  • No batteries required
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Limited shelf-life — 5 years; it’s a quite a lot, but you’ll have to keep an eye on this and make

Portable Aqua Purification Tablets

Potable Aqua Water Tablets

Ready in 30 minutes, the Portable Aqua Purification Tablets are fast acting and ideal for emergency preparedness. Each bottle contains 50 tablets with the ability to treat 25 quarts of water. They’re small, so keeping these on your person is made easy.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Fast-Acting

Cons

  • Slight Iodine taste
  • Last only up to 1 year once the bottle is open, 4 years if unopened

Purinize Water Purifier

Purinzine

The Purinize Water Purifier is a non-toxic, natural filter that is as safe for your body as it is the environment. A single 2-ounce bottle is said to be able to purify upwards of 15 gallons of water and does not lose its potency after opening. In addition, you don’t have to worry about it making your water taste funny as it boasts no unpleasant chlorine or iodine aftertaste. It protects against bacteria, viruses, agricultural and industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and metals making it a great addition to anyone’s emergency kit.

Pros

  • Chemical Free
  • No Expiry
  • Taste-Free

Cons

  • Must be kept between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit in order to not expire

SteriPEN Adventurer

SteriPEN Adventurer Opti UV Water Purifier

The SteriPEN Adventurer is a UV water filtration device that is compact and lightweight, designed specifically for use in the outdoors. While it does need batteries to operate, the water sensor doubles as an LED flashlight making this a handy dual device that would benefit any outdoor traveler. It can be reused up to 8000 liters and boasts no aftertaste due to its chemical-free makeup. More impressively, it has been tested and shown to remove over 99.9% of bacteria and is certified by the Water Quality Association.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Includes LED flashlight

Cons

  • Requires batteries

TrekUltra Personal Straw

TrekUltra Personal Water Filter Straw

Don’t let its size fool you. At only 6.5” tall, the TrekUltra Filter Straw packs quite the punch. This straw uses an iodinated resin to achieve a clear, fresh water free of parasites and bacteria. It exceeds EPA requirements and it’s compact size makes it easy to bring on any adventure. It’s cost-friendly and includes a back-flush kit so you can be sure your straw is ready for action when disaster strikes.

And The Winner Is… Survivor Filter PRO

So what’s the best emergency water filtration device that you should keep on hand for survival in even the direst of circumstances? While they all have their pluses, the Survivor Filter PRO truly lives up to its name. Given its ultra-fast filtration speed and its scientifically backed studies that prove it is able to remove over 99.9% of bacteria and over 90% of harmful metals like mercury and lead, users can drink up stress-free since they won’t be adding any harmful substances to their body with use of it. Additionally, all of the included helpful add-ons that make it easy to use in any situation, such as the handy carry case, attachable cup, and larger tubing option, and it’s built-to-last durability show that the Survivor Filter PRO is definitely a top contender in the survival kit game. All of these properties ensure that and user of the device can rest assured that they’ll be protecting their body from harmful substances every time they need to take a sip. Finally, the ability to use it in three different ways makes it arguably the most compatible device out of all the purifiers we analyzed today.