Sawyer Squeeze and Sawyer Mini Water Filters
Sawyer Squeeze Point One and the Sawyer Mini Water Filters

The Sawyer Squeeze Point One and Sawyer Mini Water Filters are the most popular water treatment and purification systems used by backpackers today (approximately 40% use them according to a recent survey).

  • The Sawyer Squeeze Water Treatment System (which includes 2 x 32 oz. water reservoirs, a cleaning syringe, etc.) comes with the fatter Sawyer Point One water filter, so-named because it has a 0.1 micron absolute hollow fiber membrane filter that removes 7 log (99.99999 percent) of all bacteria like salmonella, cholera and E. coli, and 6 log (99.9999 percent) of all Protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
  • The Sawyer Mini Water Treatment System (which include a 16 oz. water reservoir, a cleaning syringe, etc.) comes with the thinner Sawyer Mini water filter, also a 0.1 micron absolute hollow fiber membrane filter, with the same filter bacteria and protozoa removal efficacy rates as the Sawyer Point One, listed above.

How can you decide between the two? It really depends how you intend to use them: as an inline filter with a reservoir, as a gravity filter, in a squeeze system, or directly attached to a bottle.

Many hikers replace the Sawyer reservoirs with transparent ones because its easier to see how full they are.
Many hikers replace the Sawyer reservoirs with transparent ones because its easier to see how full they are.

I’ve used both of these Sawyer filters for years, on hundreds of day hikes and backpacking trips, and recommend the following:

  1. If you want an inline filter on a reservoir hose, use the Sawyer Mini Water Filter. In this configuration, you put “dirty” water in your reservoir and suck it through through the inline filter, spliced into your hose. The Sawyer Mini has hose compatible connectors on the two ends that make this configuration possible.
  2. The same holds for a gravity filter configuration, where you’d position the Sawyer Mini on a hose between a “dirty” reservoir and a “clean” reservoir.
  3. If you carry water bottles or a reservoir and want to refill them with “clean water”, use the Sawyer Point One water filter. In this configuration, fill a reservoir with “dirty water”, screw on the filter, and squeeze the water through the filter into your “clean” bottles or reservoir. The flow rate of the Sawyer Point One is much faster than the Mini because it has a bigger diameter and more surface area. It also needs to be back-flushed less frequently to improve the flow rate.
  4. Sawyer provides a mouthpiece and a cap to protect the cleanliness of the Sawyer Point One filter and the Sawyer Mini filters, so you can screw the filters onto a reservoir or water bottle and suck on them directly to get a mouthful of water. But, I’ve never found the caps to stay on reliably, increasing the risk of cross-contamination. Your mileage may vary.

My preferred method is #3, squeezing water from a “dirty” reservoir to “clean” water bottles. For this, I prefer using the Sawyer Point One filter.

What have your experiences been with these two different water filters?

Disclosure: The author purchased the products discussed is this article with his own funds.

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