Filtered water bottles are becoming a must-have piece of travel gear. Giving you access to safe drinking water from almost any source, these bottles lessen your dependence on single-use plastics which protects the planet and your wallet!
Before I started using a travel water purifier, I’d spend hundreds of dollars on bottled water across an extended trip! ? These days, I spend less than 10% of that!
The money I’ve saved by using a filtered water bottle for travel has allowed me to backpack for longer, go on amazing tours and even opt for nicer accommodation. While the initial outlay for one of these bottles feels like a lot, the money you save on the road more than makes up for it!
So, whether you’re sourcing drinking water from a stream or a hostel tap, we’ve listed the best filtered water bottles for you.
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Best Filtered Water Bottles: Quick Answers!
Best All-Round Filter Water Bottle
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Best Filter Water Bottle for Travel
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Best Budget Water Filter Bottle
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Best Filtered Water Bottle for Hiking
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Longest Lasting Filter Water Bottle
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Best Non-Purifying Filter Water Bottle
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Best Purifier for Travel in Europe
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Best Filtered Water Bottle With Straw
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What’s the Difference Between a Filter and a Purifier?
Before we dive into the best filtered water bottles, it’s worth knowing the difference between a filter and a purifier.
At the most basic level, a water purifier offers more protection than a water filter. Filters remove bacteria, protozoa (a large single-celled organism) and particles from your water. Purifiers go one step further by removing viruses as well.
For more detailed information about filters and purifiers, jump to the ‘what should you look for when choosing a travel water bottle’ section of this article.
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The Best Water Purifiers for Travel
- Best for: Drinking from taps or any water source close to human populations.
- Removes: 99.9% of viruses, protozoa, heavy metals, minerals and organic or inorganic particles.
Grayl GeoPress Water Purifier – Our All-Round Favourite Purifier!
- Easy to use
- Grayl are market leaders
- Well-Trusted — Grayl are market leaders in purifying water bottles. Their bottles have been used on every continent for all manner of adventures and journeys. They offer a 10-year guarantee on the materials and workmanship of everything they produce. 10 years! ?
- Easy To Use — To purify water with the Grayl GeoPress, simply fill the outer part of the bottle with dirty water, reattach the inner and press it down using the rubber pads. You need to put quite a lot of force through the bottle, so find a flat, stable surface to do this on. Water is forced up through the filter and stored in the clean inner section of the bottle. The process can be uncomfortable on your hands if you’re filtering a lot of water at a time.
- Fast — The GeoPress can purify 710ml of water in less than 10 seconds. Its patented OnePress technology takes a little more effort than other filters but once you’ve got the technique down, it’s easy enough. Each filter can purify 250 litres of water before it needs replacing. You don’t need to keep track though, over time the purification slows down. When you notice it’s taking about 25 seconds to filter the whole bottle, it’s time to replace the filter.
- Rugged — The bottle itself is made from hard BPA-free plastic. It’s durable enough to survive a 10-foot fall onto concrete, while full of water — so it’ll handle the rigours of travel. The rubber grips help protect the bottle from drops but they make it hard to slide the bottle into a mesh side pocket, and other tight spaces in your backpack.
- Environmentally Conscious — Grayl is currently working on a zero-waste recycling process for their filters. As well as producing little waste, Grayl is a member of 1% for the planet which helps fund thousands of environmental projects across the globe.
- One of our readers said: “I used the Grayl bottle throughout my travels in India and Nepal, and can say I never got sick. I drank tap water… although I didn’t quite go as far as testing it in the Ganges haha! Would highly recommend checking it out!”
Grayl UltraPress Water Purifier — Best Purifier for Travel
- Smaller size
- Small capacity
- Filter only lasts 150 litres
- Grayl UltraPress — The UltraPress is essentially just a smaller, more compact version of the GeoPress. By making the bottle just fractionally smaller, Grayl created a much more travel-friendly option. The biggest complaint with the GeoPress is its bulkiness, and while the UltraPress isn’t a small bottle, it’s much easier to get into your backpack!
- Smaller — The overall capacity of the UltraPress is just 500ml, meaning you can’t carry much water with you for a day out. However, pair it with a collapsible water bottle you can decant clean water into and you end up with an excellent water purification and carry system.
- Filters — Everything about the UltraPress is smaller than the GeoPress, including the filters. They have a shorter lifespan too, only purifying around 150 litres before they need to be replaced. They’re a touch cheaper which helps make up for this but it’s you’ll need to take multiple filters with you if you’re travelling for an extended period.
RapidPure Purifier+ Bottle — Best Purifier With a Straw
- Lid fits all wide-mouth bottles
- Efficacy drops off towards the end of the filter's life
- Advanced Technology — RapidPure’s Purifier+ Bottle features a combination of UltraCeram and OpenPore technology. These remove 99.9% of viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. The wide pores allow for a decent flow rate and rely heavily on adsorption to remove nasties from your water. Think of the UltraCeram tech working like a magnet, attracting all the invisible wee beasties towards it and away from your drinking water. ?
- Easy To Drink From — Drinking from the straw top lid is much easier than with other straw-style filter bottles. The high flow rate means you don’t need to suck much harder than with a regular straw. The lid fits onto any wide-mouthed (2.5in/63mm) bottle, so you can turn your Nalgene or Hydroflask into a purifier too!
- Safe — The filter has a lifespan of around 340 litres (75 gallons) but this can be less depending on your water source. Over time, the flow rate will slow down. When it becomes too hard to suck water through, it’s time to replace the filter. However, it’s recommended that you don’t use the filter past 300 litres due to the efficacy dropping off. Another safety feature is the bottle’s mouthpiece. It flips down to prevent leaks and ensure it doesn’t come into contact with dirty water. The filtration membrane even works after being frozen, a trait most portable filters don’t have, although it won’t survive a string of freeze-thaw cycles. Finally, the activated carbon filter ensures your water always smells and tastes fresh.
- Tough and Lightweight — RapidPure’s Purifier+ Bottle is made from Tritan Plastic. It’s durable and free of BPA and BPS. At 200g, it’s also lightweight, meaning it won’t take up too much of your baggage allowance! There’s an insulated steel version of this bottle but it’s heavier, more expensive and holds less water.
- Price Range: $$
- Best Feature: Fast flow rate
- Feature To Improve: The filter needs to be replaced often if used as a purifier
- Automatically tells you when the filter needs replacing
- Must be primed before use (check instructions)
- Longevity — The LifeSaver Bottle is long-lasting. The 4000UF version can purify 4000 litres of water before the filter needs replacing. The 6000UF model can purify, you guessed it, 6000 litres! There’s an indicator and automatic shut-off to let you know when the filter needs replacing. Although it’s money well spent, the LifeSaver Bottle is the most expensive bottle on this list and is a large initial outlay.
- Pump Action — To use the LifeSaver Bottle, turn it upside down and unscrew the bottom. This is where you add the dirty water. Reattach the bottom and give the plunger a few pumps. This forces dirty water through the filter, removing bacteria, viruses, cysts and parasites in the process.
- Dual Filters — As well as the purification filter, the LifeSaver Bottle features an activated carbon filter. This removes bad tastes and smells from your water. It should be replaced every 250 litres but that’s not a requirement for safe water – it only affects the taste and smell.
- Tough — The LifeSaver Bottle is built to last. It’s used by militaries and humanitarian groups across the world. The BPA-free hard plastic bottle can easily deal with an extended backpacking trip!
- Liberty — LifeSaver also produce a slightly smaller bottle called the Lifesaver Liberty. This bottle is also pump action but comes at a lower cost than the original. Plus, it’s easier to slip into your backpack!
- Price Range: $$$$$$
- Best Feature: Longevity of filter
- Feature To Improve: The cost
Water-to-Go 75cl Bottle – Best Budget Choice! 15% Off With Code “backpacker”
- Well priced
- Simple to use
- Slow flow rate
- No way of knowing when the filter needs replacing
- Simple Design —The Water-to-Go bottle purifies water to the highest standard, removing protozoa, bacteria, viruses and heavy metals. Simply fill the bottle with water and drink through the mouthpiece. The straw-style filter requires a lot of sucking, and the flow rate is super slow, but for the price, this bottle is an excellent choice!
- Updated Design — The old pre-2020 Water-to-Go bottle had issues with leaking around the lid and mouthpiece. But as of 2020, the lid has been fully upgraded and Water-to-Go now offer a leakproof guarantee with their bottles.
- Filter Lifespan — The filters in the Water-to-Go bottle have a short lifespan. They need to be replaced every 200 litres to ensure your water is still being effectively cleaned. If you’re travelling for a couple of weeks, you’ll be fine but any longer and you should take spare filters. Thankfully, replacement filters for the Water-to-Go bottle are relatively cheap. The main downside is that there’s no automatic shut-off for the filter. When you start to notice the taste or smell of your water changing, it’s time to replace the filter. The old filter can be fully recycled at home by following the simple instructions that come with the bottle.
- Lightweight — The Water-to-Go 75cl bottle weighs just 138 grams when empty. It doesn’t take up much of your baggage allowance and is easy to cram into your bag.
- Sugarcane – As well as the Classic 75cl bottle, Water to Go produce the Sugarcane bottle. The plastic used in its construction is made from sugarcane and is fully recyclable alongside conventional, petrochemical-based plastics. The sugarcane is sourced from Bonscuro registered farms, meaning they abide by sustainability practices concerning greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, biodiversity and workers’ rights. The bottle uses the same purification system as other Water to Go bottles so removes more than 99% of contaminants from your water. The only downside is its size. At 55cl, it’s a little smaller than the Classic Bottle!
- One of our readers, Charlotte, had this to say; “I use a Water-to-Go bottle and it’s amazing! Have used it to drink tap water all over India, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia so far. Saved me so much money and plastic. I even filled it from streams and waterfalls while hiking!”
- Price Range: $$
- Best Feature: Leakproof guarantee – your money back if it leaks
- Feature To Improve: No auto-shutdown or indicator on the filter
LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis
- Huge capacity
- Feels futuristic AF
- Water must be clear for it to work
- No mechanical filter
- UV-C — Unlike other water purifiers on our list, the LARQ Movement PureVis Bottle doesn’t rely on mechanical filtration to make clean drinking water. Instead, the bottle bombards water with UV-C light. This high-energy wavelength of light destroys 99% of bacteria and viruses in your water, making it safe to drink. However, this doesn’t affect the taste and smell of your drink.
- Cleaning Cycles — Once the LARQ Bottle is full of water, screw the lid into place and press the button on top. You should see a ‘breathing’ blue ring appear around the top of the lid. This means the bottle has entered cleaning mode. For the next 60 seconds, UV-C rays will bounce around inside the bottle, cleaning your water. If you’re in an area with particularly bad water, you can activate ‘Adventure Mode’ by double tapping the button. This offers a 3-minute blast of UV-C light. The bottle also automatically self-cleans throughout the day. Every couple of hours a short burst of UV-C light keeps your water as fresh as possible!
- Size — Compared to a normal water bottle, the LARQ Movement Bottle is large. However, for a water purifying bottle, the capacity to size ratio is excellent. The largest model can hold 950ml. There is also a smaller 710ml version and insulated models which have a small capacity.
- Battery — The main downside of this bottle is that it must be kept charged. The battery lasts around a month of normal use but if you use adventure mode a lot, this is reduced to around two weeks. It’s also worth noting that when the battery needs replacing, you need to buy a whole new lid which can be quite pricey!
Top 3 Travel Water Bottles With Non-Purifying Filters
- Best for: Drinking from water sources away from human populations. Backcountry hiking or trekking. Try to use fast-flowing water sources if possible.
- Removes: 99.9% of bacteria, protozoa, minerals and organic or inorganic particles. Some also remove heavy metals and bad odours when combined with carbon filters.
- Does not remove: Viruses, particles smaller than 0.2 microns.
- Simple to use
- LifeStraw are very eco and socially conscious
- Not for use with tap water
- Straw can be hard to drink through
- LifeStraw — As one of the most well-known water filter companies, LifeStraw have been market leaders for years. The LifeStraw Go is their entry-level filtered water bottle. The hollow fibre filter removes protozoa, bacteria and particulates. Whilst the accompanying carbon filter removes heavy metals, bad tastes and odours. Remember though, the filters do not remove viruses.
- Durable —The Lifestraw Go is built to last. With its hard, BPA-free plastic construction, the bottle will comfortably handle extended backpacking trips. It’s available in 650ml and 1-litre models.
- Filter — The filter can be removed, enabling you to give the bottle a thorough clean. If you’re in an area with safe water, removing the filter allows you to use the Lifestraw Go as a standard water bottle, saving the filter’s efficiency for when you need it. The main filter lasts around 4000 litres before it needs replacing. The carbon filter will need replacing every 100 litres but as this only affects the taste and smell of the water, you can use the bottle safely without replacing the carbon filter.
- Other Models — Lifestraw also produces the Flex, which includes a collapsible bottle, as well as the Lifestraw Universal which can be attached to any bottle.
- Price Range: $$
- Best Feature: Fits very well into external water bottle pockets
- Feature To Improve: Prone to small leaks
Katadyn BeFree — Best for Hiking
- Excellent flow rate
- You need to take care of the filter
- Not good for tap water
- Collapsible — The Katadyn Be Free bottle folds down super small and weighs less than 70g, including the filter — astonishing for a 1-litre bottle! Being able to squash it down so much means you can fit it into even the fullest backpack.
- Filter — Katadyn’s EZ-Clean Membrane filter is much more compact than those in other filtered bottles. It needs changing the filter every 1000 litres but will only last this long if you look after it. You need to clean the filter regularly by shaking or swishing it through clean water to dislodge any stuck particles.
- Flow Rate — The squeezable bottle means you can filter large amounts of water quickly, with a flow rate of 2 litres per minute. Just force water through the filter by putting pressure on the bottle. You can then store clean water in another container, or drink it straight from the Be Free.
- One of our readers had this to say; “4 months in SEA with Katadyn BeFree HydraPak and I haven’t bought a single plastic bottle. The best thing is, if you don’t want to use it, it doesn’t take up any space!”
- Price Range: $$
- Best Feature: Lightweight and collapsible
- Feature To Improve: The soft bottle takes some getting used to
ÖKO Original With Level 2 Filter
- Good capacity
- Hard to pack
- Not the most durable bottle
- Big — The OKO Original Bottle is available in two size options, 650ml and 1 litre! A filtered water bottle that holds a litre of water at a time is a real treat. However, this does make the bottle harder to get into your backpack when not in use!
- Filter — The Level-2 filter is compact and does a good job of removing pathogens and particles from your water. Ensure you get the right filter with your bottle. The Level-1 filter only affects the taste and smell of your water. And remember, neither filter removes viruses! The level two filter needs replacing every 450 litres. On an extended trip, you need to carry extra filters. Thankfully they’re some of the smallest and cheapest filters we’ve seen!
- Water.org Supporters — As supporters of water.org, ÖKO is helping bring clean water to millions of people across the globe. By choosing this product, you will be directly helping those without access to safe drinking water.
- Price Range: $
- Best Feature: Stylish design
- Feature To Improve: The filter lifespan is very short
How Do You Care for Your Filtered Water Bottle?
- Each bottle comes with different instructions on how to prepare and maintain the filter, so it operates at full efficiency. Read these instructions carefully. You don’t want to waste a filter because you’ve clogged it or not primed it correctly.
- As a simple rule, most filters will need to be cleaned out regularly by either backwashing (forcing water at pressure back through the filter) or by running a few litres of clean water through them.
- Most filters only work when they’re wet, so you’ll need to prepare them, as per the manufacturers’ instructions.
- Remember to carry spare filters (if necessary) if you’re travelling for long periods, otherwise, your filter bottle becomes nothing more than an expensive waste of plastic.
- Do not filter saltwater, juice, or any other kind of drink, unless your filter is specifically designed to do so. Normal filters cannot handle this. They will get clogged up and stop working quickly.
What Should You Look for When Choosing a Filter Water Bottle for Travel?
When it comes to choosing the best filtered water bottle, there are a few key things to bear in mind.
The 3 Different Qualities of Filtered Bottles
The type of bottle you need will depend on how and where you’ll be using it. Does it need to remove viruses? Or will you get by just removing bacteria, particles and protozoa from your water?
The answer to this question will dictate the quality of the filtered water bottle that you require.
Low Quality ‘Water Softener’ – Designed to Improve Taste Only
Some filtered water bottles are designed simply to just soften the water by removing harmless minerals. This affects the taste of your water but won’t remove any nasties.
The Camelbak Groove or Bobble Classic are examples of this kind of filter. They’re honestly no good for travel — especially if you’re worried about the quality of the water. Bacteria and viruses slip straight through a water softener.
Medium Quality ‘Water Filter’ – Designed to Remove Particles and Some Bacteria (Not Viruses)
Better quality filters such as the LifeStraw GO will remove minerals, particles, protozoa and even bacteria.
If you want a filtered water bottle that’s suitable for wilderness trekking, this is the one for you. As long as you’re away from large groups of humans or animals, a filter that removes bacteria, parasites and protozoa is perfect. This makes water filters ideal for long hiking or camping trips, especially if you’ll be drinking from rivers or lakes.
High Quality ‘Water Purifier’ – Designed to Remove Particles, Bacteria AND Viruses
Finally, the most effective type of filter is the water purifier. If you are going to be drinking from sources close to human populations, be it rivers, lakes or even from the tap, (we got sick in Goa, India from brushing our teeth with contaminated tap water!) then you’ll need a top-quality purifier.
The human body is an amazing breeding ground for viruses and we spread these everywhere we go. Somewhat surprisingly, hotel water tanks can be some of the most infested places! Viruses are much smaller than bacteria or protozoa so slip through all but the finest filters! Bottles such as the Grayl GeoPress will remove bacteria, parasites, protozoa and particulates, PLUS any viruses within the water.
Look for water bottle filters that have a pore size smaller than 0.1 microns for the best protection.
Some water filter bottles are made of softer, more flexible plastics which are light and can be rolled up small. Although they save weight and space they may not be as durable over the long term as more rugged alternatives.
Metal bottles are also increasing in popularity but these are not as common as their plastic counterparts due to their weight and price.
Glass bottles with filters are available but these aren’t good for travel. They’re heavy and fragile. We’ve yet to see or test a glass filtered water bottle that would be suitable for backpacking!
Be aware not all plastic bottles available are BPA-free
Bisphenol A or BPA is a chemical used in the production of plastics. Although safe in small amounts, larger quantities of BPA’s can mess with hormones and are linked to heart disease, fertility problems and impotence.
Different Types of Filter
The Straw Filter
The most common type of filter is the straw filter. Water bottles that include a straw filter are usually made of hard plastic and have a mouthpiece. By sucking on the mouthpiece, you draw water through the straw filter. By the time it reaches your mouth, it will be clean and safe.
Many of these straws are removable. So if you are somewhere with safe drinking water you can take out the filter and just use the bottle. This preserves the life of the filter.
The main disadvantage of these bottles is the effort required to suck water through the filter. It sucks when you’re really thirsty — excuse the pun…
Yeah, it’s a laborious process, but it’s much better than the alternative: the dreaded traveller’s diarrhoea!
The Gravity Filter
Gravity filters usually involve filling a reservoir with water and leaving it to drip through the filter of its own accord. Whilst they work more slowly, they allow you to filter large amounts of water with very little effort.
They’re great for groups, or if you need to filter a large amount of water at a time.
The Squeeze Filter
Squeeze filters are very similar to gravity filters but rather than letting physics do the hard work, you need to squeeze the water through them. Some filters come with their own water bladders or collapsible bottles. Others can be screwed onto a normal plastic bottle.
The Pump Filter
Pump filters require a different level of effort depending on the product but are generally easier than straw filters. They require you to force water through the filter using the attached pump.
Alternatives to Filter Bottles
In recent years, products such as the Steripen or Larq Self Cleaning bottle have burst onto the market. Using UV light, these products can kill viruses and all but the hardiest bacteria swimming around in your drinking water.
The downside is that they don’t remove sediment, colouration or bad odours from the water. Although they prevent you from getting ill, your hydration experience might not be a tasty one.
You also need to remember to keep the batteries on these devices charged, so you don’t get caught out. These products can be combined with simple carbon filters to change the taste and smell of the water.
Chemical treatments such as water purification tablets are some of the most effective treatments on the market.
Like the Steripen, they will kill off all but the hardiest of microorganisms but won’t be able to remove heavy metals or particulates from the water.
They also take much longer to make the water safe, 15 minutes is the minimum recommended time but this can stretch to 4 hours depending on the quality of the water.
It’s a good idea to carry a packet of these as a backup when travelling as they weigh very little. They can be packed away with your toiletries and will save you if you’re in a pinch!
Round Up of Filtered Water Bottles for Travel
Choosing the right filtered water bottle for travel comes down to several factors but the most important is whether you need a purifier or just a filter.
Regular filter bottles remove bacteria, protozoa and particles from your water. They often make the taste and smell of your water more pleasant too. Purifiers remove all of the above as well as viruses!
Our favourite water purifier for travel is the Grayl UltraPress. The GeoPress is also an excellent choice but as long as you have another bottle to decant clean water into, the smaller UltraPress is a better choice.
The best purifying bottle for travel in Europe or other developed nations is the LARQ Movement Bottle PureVis. For hikers, the best water bottle with a filter is the Katadyn BeFree and our favourite non-purifying bottle is the LifeStraw Go!
Do you travel with a filtered water bottle? Let us know which is your favourite in the comments below!