Sawyer MINI Water Filtration System

7.9
7.9 score
[Editors rating (7.9)] = (Gearweare.net) score (7.9)/10

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Editor rating: 7.9 / 10
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Editor’s Conclusion
The Sawyer Mini water filtration system is a popular mini-filter among those who hike in remote places and for long distances. Good for quick access to water in springs, rivers, lakes and shallow puddles. It is capable of filtering out particles bigger than 0.1 microns. As with the majority of water filters, this model does not filter out viruses.

This compact filter is capable of cleaning around 100,000 gallons. Being lightweight is a big plus for hikers on long trips into the wilds. It gets the job done and only weighs just under 2 ounces.
Sawyer MINI Water Filtration System Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Compact

Light

Versatile

Good one-person filter

Budget price

Cons

Flow rate a little slow

Needs regular back-flushing

Attention to pouches, they can burst if too much pressure

Key Features

Snap Shot Specs

Weight little under 2 ounces
Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 inches (13.5 x 3 cm)
Filter design, tiny hollow fiber membranes
Filter 0.1 microns
Filters 100,000 gallons
16-ounce squeeze pouch
A syringe for back-flushing
Straw attachment


Filtering Capabilities

With a 0.1-micron filter setting, the Sayer Mini does filter harmful bacteria, protozoa and even micro-plastics. This system can't filter viruses. However, it does filter sediment and requires regular back-flushing to keep a good flow.

The Sawyer Mini has not been designed to tackle any heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides. Therefore, it is sensible to look closely at water sources and check for contamination. If you're hiking well away from cities or factories, natural water sources tend to be safe.

This model is good for removing the after taste of green matter in water, dirt - sediment and bacteria. It filters in water sources heavy with minerals and metals; keep in mind that the water tends to look a little murky after filtration. Still, it's safe enough to drink.

Despite being a small 2 ounces, this filter is good for 100 000 gallons (370 000) liters. You will, at times, notice the filter performance waning and regular back-flushing fixes this issue.

Ease of Use

It features a small, easy to handle two-ended design: one end for dipping into dirty water, the other for clean drinking water. To be sure which end is the clean end, an arrow is featured on the side of the filter and points to the clean end.

This model is fine for lakes, rivers, springs and puddles. The pouch performs best in flowing water and is usable for all other water sources. A great tip is to blow into the pouch and inflate, this way it's easier to fill with water.

Attach the filter to the pouch, hold the whole unit upside down and gently squeeze the pouch. The clean end of the filter can be used to fill a drinking bottle.

This model has an attachable filter straw which means you can directly dip the filter in a river and drink directly through the filter and straw.

User feedback mentions that a few people have used the filter as a gravity system. They attached a hose to the filter dirty end and suspended it below a large water container. This, of course, works but is time-consuming.

Required Maintenance

The makers point out that the 0.1 microns filter is very effective and this positive performance means it needs regular cleaning.

When using this system, the telltale signs are a slowing down of the flow of water. This will happen when you need to back-flush and bring the system back to peak performance.

A syringe is provided with the filter and it's easy enough to use for cleaning. Using a syringe full of clean water, press it to the clean end of the filter. Use a good level of force with the syringe to flush out the filter. A good tip for this model is the back-flush it before you set off on a trip.

Water Flow Rate

A number of users point out that they can hit a liter of filtered water in around 90 seconds but more users say it can take up to around 115 seconds. It really does depend on how often you carry out maintenance and clean out the filter.

The makers have a nice recipe that works for removing mineral build-up in the filter which standard back-flushing cannot remove. Mix vinegar with hot water and carry out a couple of flushes with this mixture - it's good for removing a build-up of minerals.

When the filter is kept clean, the flow rate of clean water is good for a filter of this size.

The Water Pouches

As with all good products, there has to be a con, nothing is perfect. The Sawyer pouches are good for purpose of design, but don't apply too much pressure.

Where some users go wrong is over squeezing with the hope of increasing the water flow rate. This is a situation where you gradually get to know the durability of the pouch and how to use it.

Once you figure out what levels of pressure to use, durability for the water pouches is ok.

Smart Water Bottles

Investing in a smart bottle will have its benefits, even if it means carrying a little extra weight.

For hikers not keen on using a water pouch, investing in a couple of budget-price water bottles is an option. You could carry one clean water and one dirty water bottle.

Freezing Weather

If you are out in the wilds in freezing weather, it's best to take precautions with this filter. The makers do warn via their website that if it gets frozen, it is rendered useless. At night, keep the filter close to you in the tent. During a freezing weather day, carry it in your pocket so that your body heat stops it from freezing.

Comparison to Similar Water Filters

The first comparative point to consider is that Sawyer has a strong presence in the market for various water filters. The best-known models are the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System and another Mini, the Sawyer SP2304 Dual Threaded Mini Water Filtration System.

For ease of use, The Mini filter is very good but do remember maintenance - regular flushing. This is a highly efficient filter so it is expected to start getting clogged.

Comparatively, mini filters are neck and neck for performance. The extra straw feature is useful and this compares equally to the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter (in terms of using a straw with a filter).

The Sawyer Mini comes at a budget-friendly price and it does the required job within its purpose of design. We can compare and find better small filters such as the Katadyn Pocket Water Filter but you are looking at a higher price for more performance, functionality and durability.

Sawyer has a good reputation to maintain and this is reflected in their range of filter systems which compare favorably against other budget models.

Verdict

The Sawyer Mini Walter Filtration System does a good job of filtering when you consider it is a mini-filter at a very buyer-friendly price.

The filter does need regular cleaning but that's due to its high efficiency. We especially like the versatility of this product (a straw option, drink via the filter from a pouch, fill up a bottle or even create your own gravity system).

The durability of the filter for cleaning around 100.000 gallons has been established among users but do remember to do regular maintenance. Durability for the pouches is fine so long as you do not overdo using pressure.

The pros are good, the cons are minimal.