LifeStraw Review


Reviewed by:
On November 27, 2012
Last modified:March 7, 2017


When Introduced in 2005, Time Magazine named LifeStraw the “Best Invention of 2005.” In 2008, it won the Saatchi and Saatchi Award for “World Changing Ideas. Once you have bought and used a LifeStraw, you'll know why. These are awesome! They are small (9" x 1"), light weight (2 oz) and will fit into a jacket pocket, hung from the neck, any type of backpack or suitcase - even a toiletry bag.

LifeStraw filters down to 0.2 microns in size! This removes virtually all the bacteria (99.9999%) and protozoa (99.9%) from contaminated water. However, you should be aware that it will not remove viruses and organisms smaller than .2 microns. As long as you keep this in mind and use it accordingly, it is one of the best portable water filters you can buy - especially at the low low price of $19.95 - that on its own is amazing and it is good for 1000 liters of water.

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It Is So Small – How Does The LifeStraw Work?

The LifeStraw water filter is a small tube with patented filters inside (hollow fiber technology) and will remove organisms down to 0.2 microns. It is one of the easiest to use, even for small children. You place the filter end into the water you wish to drink and suck through the other end (nipple) – almost as easy as drinking through a regular straw!

The reality is not to far off. Yes, you use it the same way as a straw, but you do have to suck a little harder. When dry, it takes a few good draws on the straw to get it going, but, after that it is not to bad – kinda like sucking up a McDonald’s milkshake through a straw (or any thick milkshake). As you get closer to the end of the LifeStraw life expectancy it gets more difficult to suck water through, but only as it gets close to the end of its life cycle (1000 liters).

Watch This Video For a Quick Overview of The LifeStraw Water Filter:

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What Does The LifeStraw Actually Filter Out?

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LifeStraw filters remove virtually all the bacteria (99.9999%) and protozoa (99.9%) from contaminated water, and reduces muddiness/cloudiness by filtering out sediment particles. The most common bacteria and protozoa it removes are as follows…


  • Campylobacter
  • Escherichia coli
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • Vibrio cholerae


  • Cryptosporidium Parvum
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Giardia lamblia (“Beaver Fever”)

As you can see, it filters out some of the most common threats you are likely to face in many countries – That’s not bad for such a small water filter that only costs about $20.00

That said, you should be aware that “Currently”, The LifeStraw does not filter heavy metals or viruses less than 0.2 microns, and will not desalinate water. If your plans include trips to countries where there is a high probability that water will, or could contain viruses, and similar contaminants, the LifeStraw is not the best option (have a look at my Lifesaver Bottle review instead).


What The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Cannot Do:

LifeStraw Family – Click To Enlarge

As noted above, it is limited to filtering of particles larger than 0.2 microns. It is also important to keep in mind that this is a “Personal” water filter intended for drinking water only. There is no way to filter water for use in cooking or cleaning etc. since the water is drawn by the mouth suction and swallowed directly thereafter.

That said, The “LifeStraw Family” is due to hit the market soon and it is a huge improvment over the LifeStraw Personal and will provide cooking and cleaning water. It is much larger and designed for use in homes and base camps. It will filter water down to 0.02 microns which will effectively filter out at least 99.999 percent of bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and parasites. It will filter 18,000 liters of water.

When I can buy one, I will definitely do a full review (really looking forward to it). Pricing on the LifeStraw Family is expected to be very reasonable compared to other options and brands – in the $100 range – at that price, I just have to find out if it is durable and good quality – or not.


How Do You Clean The LifeStraw?

This is the easiest of all water filters to clean – suck in clean water and then simply blow water back through the LifeStraw, it’s that easy! I personally rinse mine off every once in awhile with a bleach water solution just as a precaution (just the outside, not through the filter or inside the unit).

If you plan to store your unit after use, suck clean water into the unit and blow it out a few times first. Allow to dry for a day with caps open before putting it away.


LifeStraw Specifications:

  • Size: 9″ (22.5 cm) long x 1″ (2.5 cm) wide
  • Weight: 2 ounces (56 grams)
  • Materials: Impact resistant plastic and patented filter system
  • Life Expectancy: Will filters up to 264 gallons (1000 liters) of water. Will vary subject to the quality of water
  • Shelf Life: 5 years – if kept at moderate temperature and does not freeze.
  • What’s Included?: Comes with a neck/wrist lanyard, and a cap for the mouth piece nipple, and end piece (filter end).

You may notice that your LifeStraw will indicate a life span of 3 years, this has been updated to 5 years with recent changes to the internal design and filter process. Impact resistance? Lets just say you should be able to drop it 20ft on to hard ground and still be able to use it – not bad.



In my opinion, this is a must have water filter. It is very small and inexpensive – ideal for traveling, hiking, camping and anywhere else that space and weight are important. You can easily keep these stored in a kitchen drawer, car glove box, survival kit for emergencies.

Overall, I did not really notice any plastic or chemical taste – maybe a little when brand new and used for the first time but I don’t think you will notice anything after sucking a few gallons of water through it.

Besides what it can do and its small size, what I like the most about the LifeStraw is the price! At $20, you can afford to buy 3 or 4 and use them for camping, backpacking and for your survival kit. That’s what I did. One for each of my kids, 4 for the survival kit and 3 for hiking and fishing trips.

Overall, If your expectations are in line with what the LifeStraw is capable of, it is one of the best water filters you can buy for the price!

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About Author

Henry Reinders is a moderate prepper with interests in water conservation, environmental protection and sustainable living. Henry brings over 30 years experience as a renovation & building contractor, gardener, part time inventor and avid outdoorsman.

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