Product: LifeStraw Family Water Purifier 1.0
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Filter Life: 18,000 liters/4,755 gallons
Filter Size: Eliminates up to .02 microns
My Rating: 9.5/10
Lifestraw Family 1.0 Overview
The Lifestraw family water purifier 1.0 is designed to give your whole family a source of fresh, filtered water. It uses the same types of filters as the popular Lifestraw personal filter, but applies it to a larger quantity of water.
The main feature of the family size filter is the reservoir that allows you to filter larger amounts of water at a time than the smaller filters. This is just a container, however. The actual filtering occurs in the longer pipe you see to the left in the photo.
Here’s a brief look at how the filter works.
Pros of the Lifestraw Family Water Purifier
This filter is so widely recognized for a good reason. It works. The company has donated thousands of filters to impoverished families in Africa, so there is a great testing community there. While the filters are designed to hold up in difficult situations, they’ll last even longer in North America, where it’s cooler. Let’s look at some of the other benefits:
Look at most family size filtration systems and you’re looking at hundreds of dollars. This filter will set you back less than $100, though prices may flucuate somewhat. In general, it’s around $60-70, which is very affordable for a three year supply of purified water. You can check the price here.
Viruses and Bacteria Are Eliminated
One of the prime concerns in camping or in a survival situation is getting sick. Water can carry a wide variety of viruses, amoebas, and bacteria that could cause a deadly illness. The Lifestraw filter eliminates anything over 0.02 microns, which includes viruses.
Water Is Gravity Fed
There’s no pumping or anything required for this filter, so even kids can use it. Once the water is poured into the reservoir, it filters through using gravity. You do need to hang or mount the reservoir up above the water bottle or bucket you’ll be using to collect purified water, but that’s simple enough. It can even hang from a tree branch.
It’s Easy to Clean
One of the biggest problems with water filters is the difficulty in cleaning them. That can be an issue when you have several gallons going through every single day, especially if the water you’re filtering is pretty dirty. However, the Lifestraw is simple to clean, thankfully, so you don’t need to worry too much about that.
Cons of the Lifestraw Family Water Purifier
Hard to Transport
If you plan to camp or travel on foot with this filter, be prepared for the awkwardness of trying to fit a hard plastic container into your backpack. It’s just not meant to be easily hauled around and is best for staying in one place. If you bug in, then it would be ideal.
For anyone planning to bug out, or who is traveling with this system, I recommend opting for the camping version, which has a collapsible water reservoir.
No Replacement Bulbs
The red bulb on the side of the filter is designed to help lean out the system. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the weakest points in the system and if it breaks, there’s no replacement parts for it. That’s an issue if you’re in a bad spot and need your water filter, obviously.
Doesn’t Filter Metals or Chemicals
While the Lifestraw family filter is great for filtering out viruses, it doesn’t eliminate everything. Heavy metals and most chemicals will go right through this filter. If you are worried about toxic chemicals getting into your water supply, you’ll want to look elsewhere for a filter. For keeping your family safe from disease, however, it works very well.
Reservoir Is Small
The reservoir that comes with the filter holds 2 liters. That’s not really a lot of water and it means that you need to be constantly refilling it throughout the day. It might be a better idea to replace the reservoir with something larger, which many people have done. However, you’d need to be very careful that no contaminants can get past the seal.
The small reservoir may not be an issue for many people, but it seems like it would be easier to set and forget if you could pour a few gallons in and let it filter.
The Practical Test – Does the Lifestraw Family 1.0 Work As Well As It Says?
You can read all the specs in the world and still not be sure whether or not the filter is right for your family, so here are some real life facts. In the field, the filter performs extremely well! However, there are a few things you should know.
First, while the flow rate is stated to be 9-12 liters an hour, it’s usually slower. This does depend on how dirty the water is, since it can take longer for silty water to go through (I’d recommend filtering that through a sieve or cloth first anyway to reduce cleaning needs). Tests in the field have shown it’s more like 4 or 5 liters an hour, which is still plenty of water!
Second, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t position the receiving container right under the reservoir. I don’t know about you, but I am not that great at pouring cleanly and it only takes one drop of contaminated water falling into your pitcher or bucket to contaminate the whole thing and make you sick. Instead, position your container off to one side to avoid this potential issue.
As expected, the filter was pretty awkward to haul by hand. It is just fine if you’re moving around in a car though.
There you have it, a complete Lifestraw family water purifier review. Buy yours here.