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Water Purifiers Vs. Water Filters: Which One Is Better for Your Needs?

What’s the Difference Between a Water Purifier and a Water Filter?

Simply put, the key difference is in the level of protection that these two water treatment devices provide against microorganisms that can be harmful and are typically found in backcountry water sources. Usually, a water filter will remove waterborne bacteria and protozoa, but not viruses. The portable water purifier survival experts use also removes viruses on top of bacteria and protozoa, thus offering a higher level of protection.

Their Benefits

Tackling viruses has always been tough for water treatment devices, simply because they’re much smaller than bacteria and protozoa. They’re too small for the filters to catch, and they just slip through the filter media. Up until recently, you had to use chemical treatments, or boil the water to deactivate the viruses. However, today there are various advanced mechanical pump purifiers that provide a convenient way to remove the viruses just like the protozoa and bacteria in one easy step. A portable water purifier survival experts claim to be a great piece of equipment to have on your trips.

When Should You Use a Water Filter?

While purifiers offer superior protection against harmful microorganisms, they’re oftentimes considered overkill for some kinds of trips. If you’re travelling in the backcountry, a filter will be good enough to provide you with clean drinking water. In these pristine landscapes where there’s barely any human traffic, the main threats you’re up against are protozoa and bacteria. Viruses are oftentimes species-specific, meaning that they’re mainly transferred through the feces of other people. That being said, where fewer humans move around, the risk of viruses is lower. Make sure your water filter can handle backcountry-type water. Some filters are designed to only remove the unpleasant taste from tap water.

When Should You Use a Water Purifier?

Water purifiers should be used when you’re travelling to less-developed areas, where sanitation and water treatment infrastructure is poor. You might also want a purifier when venturing through your local backcountry area and notice people aren’t practising proper hygiene near the water supplies, like the local lakes or rivers. Some of the most common waterborne viruses are Hepatitis A and Norovirus. If you have a water filter, you can fight the viruses by adding a purifying agent after the water has been filtered of bacteria, protozoa and particulates like dirt. Tablets are a great back-up purifier to any filter, rendering the water safe to drink. But using a purifier doesn’t remove particles like dirt, which is why many people use mechanical pump purifiers. These purifiers are designed to physically remove contaminants. Since exploring the backcountry is becoming increasingly popular, the risks are also increasing and this is where purifiers come in very helpful.

The Best Water Treatment for Different Scenarios

If you’re travelling in the Australian wilderness, you’re going to need at least a water filter. While boiling the water can do the trick, it’s not really an effective treatment alternative. Pump water filters are a great solution as they help you filter large amounts of water quickly, allowing you to pack your daily dosage needs in just a few minutes.

If you’re a trekker or a hiker who doesn’t like carrying a large backpack when exploring terrain, you can use a straw or a bottle filter. These filters are small enough to fit in any backpack. In fact, they’ll also probably fit your pockets, or you can just carry them in your hands.

If you’re a caravanner and are accompanied by family and friends, you’ll need something that’s capable of cleaning large amounts of water. The ideal types of filters for the job are pump or gravity filters. Both have great output and are ideal for multiple people.

If you’re a day hiker who’s travelling light, you can get a filtered water bottle or straw that can fit in a small and compact backpack. And if you’re an urban hiker who ventures in parts of the world that don’t have easy access to clean water, you need to purify your water as you go. Pump filters are great for this purpose if you travel in a group, and bottle filters and straws are great for those travelling alone.

At the end of the day, if you can afford it, having multiple options is probably the best solution. But also, having just one option is far better than having none. So, make sure you pack a purifier or a filter on your next trip outside of the urban jungle to make sure you have access to safe drinking water at all times.


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