The Sawyer Mini – Excellent Filter But The Water Pouch is Very Disappointing!
The Sawyer Mini Water Filter is a very solid water filter capable of filtering down to 0.1 microns. It Will filter out Bacteria, Protozoa, E. Coli, Giardia, Vibrio cholerea, Salmonella Typhi, Leptospirosis.
It is only 2 oz. and just under 5.5 inches long by 1.25 inches in diameter, making it ideal for backpacking, bug out bags or anywhere space and weight is at a premium. The only part of the Sawyer Mini System that I did not like is the water pouch – more on that shortly. I am impressed with the quality of the main filter, function… and the flow rate was excellent!
Sawyer claims it can filter 100,000 gallons of water but I have to assume that is fairly clean water one might find in the wilderness of North America – not overseas.
To put that claim into perspective, you would have to filter 5 gallons a day for about 55 years to reach this volume of water – unlikely most people will still have their Sawyer Mini 50 years into the future, even 10 years for that matter.
The Sawyer Mini Water Filter is very popular with 4100 reviews and average rating of 4.7
Sawyer Mini Overview Video
The video below covers all the basics of the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System – what it can do and what it can’t. Please Note – you will not see her fill the water pouch in this video and I will discuss this shortly
Sawyer Mini Water Filter Specifications
Lets start with the basics, what can the Sawyer Mini Water Filter protect you from and what are it’s limitations. According to Sawyer, all their water filters meet or exceed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended removal rates.
Lab Results For Sawyer Mini Water Filter
Independent lab results verify the Sawyer Mini filter removes 99.99999% of ALL harmful bacteria including E.coli, salmonella, and bacteria which causes cholera and typhoid. Removes 99.9999% of protozoa such as cryptosporidium and giardia.
Need more information? Download the full lab report here
The video below is real test results and a great testimony to how effective the Sawyer Mini is at filtering bacteria, in this case E.Coli and Coliform
FROM SAWYER DOCUMENTATION:
Sawyer water filters use Hollow Fiber Membranes, a technology developed for kidney dialysis. Our filters are comprised of tiny “U” shaped micro tubes that allow water to enter into their cores through tiny micro pores. The pointONE Filter’s™ pores are so small (0.1 micron absolute) that no harmful bacteria including those which cause Cholera , Typhoid and E. Coli, protozoa, or cysts can get through. The filter attains the highest level of filtration available today exceeding US EPA standards for drinking water.
The Sawyer Mini cannot filter viruses, heavy metals and chemicals. If the source of water you plan to filter contains these, you’ll will need an alternate type of water filter or purifier (Note: some types of contaminated water cannot be safely filtered).
Sawyer Mini Pro’s & Con’s
I really do like the Sawyer Mini but I do have to say that I would only use it with reasonably clean sources of water e.g. rivers, streams and lakes in wilderness areas of North America. I don’t think I would use it overseas, industrial areas, or water sources near cities and suburbs – and to be fair, it is not made for toxins and contamination you would find close to cities or heavy industry.
SAWYER MINI PRO’S
There is much to like about the Sawyer Mini. it is compact, easy to use and works as advertised. Here are the main features I liked…
- Very small and durable plastic shell
- Excellent Flow Rate! using a water bottle I filled an 8 oz. glass in 5 seconds. Mini could easily be used to produce water for cooking in addition to personal hydration.
- Low Price – Good value and capability for the money.
- Works very well with straw and hydration pack – minimal suction required to get good flow of water
- Versatile – can be used with other products with the same thread size as typical water bottles and tube systems.
- Zero leakage when screwed onto water bottle. NOTE: Do not over tighten, it does not need to be too seal properly!
- Using clean water, I did not notice any plastic or chemical taste
- Tested good on local stream water with clear results and good taste
- Easily cleaned via back washing with supplied plunger (its really just a syringe)
SAWYER MINI CON’S
- The water pouch that comes with the Sawyer Mini is Useless, difficult to fill and made from stiff plastic
- Supplied syringe to clean Mini is bigger than the Mini itself. Be prepared to allow extra room to pack this syringe. Although it works, It does not fit tight to the nozzle on the filter and does leak a little (by the way, only use filtered water for cleaning the Mini!)
More On The Sawyer Water Pouch
First, if you watched the video above, you might notice she does not fill the water pouch on camera – and I would say it is because it is just too damn hard to do! Sawyer should have redesigned the bag before including it with the Mini!
The included water pouch for the Sawyer Mini was very disappointing. It is a cheap rigid plastic bag that is nearly impossible to fill. This is not unique to Sawyer, there are many companies using this design – for the most part they are poorly made and difficult to use!
In bold text, instructions on the Sawyer packaging read; “TO AVOID BREAKING YOUR POUCH: Do not squeeze the pouch too hard or wring the pouch.” – Seriously? Do not squeeze to hard? Do not wring the pouch (you probably couldn’t anyways). How about changing the pouch design and material so this type of warning does not need to be included with the instructions?
I should also point out, the pouch only has a small opening (7/8″) to fill it with water. besides being almost impossible to fill, the other problem with this is how one is to go about cleaning or drying it.
From what I can see, you would need to fill it with a tap and add a tiny amount of bleach to rinse and clean it. And because the pouch lays flat it would take a long time to dry. I see the pouch as a perfect breeding ground for bacteria if contaminated water remains in the pouch and wet. Not at all practical for the intended use.
All that said, for an average price of $19.97, you can’t expect the the quality of the pouch to be great. However, I think Sawyer would have been better off to not include the pouch – it cheapens the kit as a whole and the rest of the Sawyer Mini System is very good!
The Sawyer Mini Is Versatile & Adaptable
The Sawyer Mini uses industry standard bottle threading on the filter so it can be used with a variety of readily available water bottles. It works very well with the Smart Water brand of bottle. The nozzles will work with most tubing with 1/4″ ID (but check and test tubing before you actually go on a trip to make sure everything is compatible).
As an example of how the Sawyer Mini System can be changed up, have a look at the video below showing a few personal modifications.
In addition to this, the Sawyer Mini can be used with hydration packs/bladders and even some gravity feed bags. but be sure to check if everything fits first as there may be some products that will require adapters of some sort – be it homemade or store bought.
Sawyer Mini Water Filter Summary
Overall, I really like the Sawyer Mini water filter. It appears to be well made and the flow rate is excellent. In fact the flow rate is what I like most about this filter considering the 0.1 micron filtration. 5 seconds to fill an 8 oz. cup is very good.
I gave the Sawyer Mini 4 stars due to the poor quality water pouch. If this pouch was not part of the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System I would easily give it 5 stars!
As noted above, the included water pouch is useless. If you like this feature, I would recommend trying one from an alternate source. But that said, the bottle and straw work so good, there is really no need for the pouch. If you buy the Sawyer Mini accept that the water pouch will likely end up in the garbage.
It seats very nicely onto a standard thread water bottle and did not leak (even after tightening and loosening the filter about 100 times). After cleaning the Mini, it did not leak but if you plan to put it in a back pack or anywhere you don’t want water, it might be an good idea to keep it in a zip lock bag or waterproof container – just in case.
The straw that comes with the Sawyer Mini is okay but you may want to find one a little longer with slightly softer rubber or food grade silicone. The straw works fine but just feels like it may not stand up to extended use (that is an assumption). It is one of the easiest water filters I have used to suck water through and I am sure you’ll use the straw feature at various times.
I like the Sawyer Mini enough that I have since bought more… one for the truck, another with my camping equipment, one more for the bug out bag, and 2 spares.
I personally would not use the Sawyer Mini overseas where any threat of virus contamination exists… However, for the lakes, streams and rivers of North America it is an excellent water filter!
Where To Buy?
Amazon typically has the best stock and lowest prices on the Sawyer Mini.