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Lifestraw Review: Is This Water Filter Really That Good?

In this Lifestraw review, I want to share my personal experiences with using this water filter which includes tests I ran, the pros and cons I noticed, what I found others saying about it and if this product can actually do what’s supposed to which is help you get clean drinking water from almost any (unclean) source.

Quick info on the Lifestraw water filter:

  • Name: Lifestraw water filter.
  • Price: $17.
  • Does it work? Yes! I have 2 Lifestraws and will explain my results below.
  • Average reviews: The ones I’ve seen are 4.5 out of 5.
  • My rating: 4.7 out of 5.
  • Recommended? Yes. This is a very inexpensive product that has immense value in what it can do which is help you get clean drinking water from almost any source and I do recommend getting at least 1 straw (but there are some drawbacks as I’ll explain below). I actually own 2 of these exact same products and my experiences with each one is very different.

Note: Lifestraw is actually a large company that has many different water filters, but this review focuses on their most popular which is the small straw people use for outdoors which is this one:

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  1. The Lifestraw filter works.
  2. The good one I have only takes 2-3 sips to get water out of.
  3. It’s pretty inexpensive + has massive value.
  4. I think it’s an awesome product to have and an essential thing to bring on a hike.
  5. The reviews for this are also good.
  6. It’s very light and easy to carry on pretty much anything (even your pocket).
  7. I’ve seen tests done on the Lifestraw by people braver than me (testing it with extremely unsafe water) and after running through this filter, the water was clean (It was even tested under a microscope!).


  1. In my experience, not every Lifestraw is the same (some take a lot of sips to use, so it’s a massive lung workout).
  2. The Lifestraw I have which takes 10+ sips to use gives me a headache because of all the inhaling I have to do.
  3. When exhaling to get the water out of the filter, that also requires a lot of effort to make sure it’s cleaned out.
  4. You can’t really store the water, it if you do need to get water out of it, it’ll be in limited amounts.

How does the Lifestraw work?

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There’s 2 parts to this:

  1. How the Lifestraw works.
  2. How to use the Lifestraw.

1) Let’s first talk about how the Lifestraw works:

It’s simple. Basically this straw has a thick filter inside it. When water goes through the straw, it obviously goes through this filter and further it goes through it, the more and more whatever bad stuff is in the water gets cleaned out. 

2) How do you use it? 

That’s also simple. You open up both ends of the Lifestraw, put it in water for about 10-15 seconds, then take multiple sips (breath in hard) to get the water up and through the filter, then to your mouth. I’ve got 2 of these Lifestraws and I’ve found that the number of sips it takes to get the water depends on the type of Lifestraw you get. 

  • 1 takes me 2-3 sips. 
  • The other takes 10 or more sips.

Once you’re done using it, you have to exhale through the Lifestraw to get the remaining water out of the filter so it doesn’t become stale inside the Lifestraw and so that you can reuse it in the future. 

My experiences with using the Lifestraw:

As a hiker, I decided to buy the Lifestraw (1 in the beginning) as a backup as I’ve been in situations before when I got lost in the woods and was running out of my main water source. The intent was just having an extra way to get clean water from natural sources if my main ones ran out and though my go to emergency in those situations is drinking water from a spring or stream, that is often not easy to do on the hikes I go on.

For example, hikes in Utah as well as hikes in Arizona rarely have that kind of water and even when I do explore places with like the Catskill Mountains that have more forests, running water and so forth, the kind of water there is often dirty and likely filled with stuff I wouldn’t feel comfortable drinking unless it was boiled or in this case, filtered through products like the Lifestraw.

Details on what I experienced with my first Lifestraw (I’ve had it for a few years):

I’ve had very mixed experiences with the 1st Lifestraw I got. Here’s what happened:

  • The first few times I used it, it took about 3-4 sips to get water through the filter, and it worked fine.
  • I used it a few times over several years and found that overtime it became harder to use (10+ sips to get the water out in some cases).
  • I recently used it again, made sure I used it correctly. The first time it took 10+ sips to get water out, but the second time it only took 2-3 sips.

This has just been a very strange experience and I’m not sure if it’s because I got a bad Lifestraw or perhaps I didn’t submerge it enough in the water, but this led me to get a 2nd one.

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What happened after I got my second Lifestraw:

With all the confusion I had with the 1st Lifestraw, I decided to try and get a 2nd just in case. This one proved to be “better” as it only takes 2-3 sips to get water out of it and so far I’m very happy with the results, but I’m keeping the first one just in case. 

Lifestraw tests (Basic and extreme examples):

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I’ll start with the tests I ran (very basic):

To be honest with you, they were very basic in that I only used it in water I knew was clean. While it works to get the water through, the truth is I’m not brave enough yet to use it in the kind of water I know is likely to not be clean or contaminated with something, but I’m keeping in on me during my hikes as a “last resort” if that ever comes up. 

The most extreme Lifestraw test I have seen it run through (with success):

I’ve seen multiple videos and sources where people used this filter in dirty water, but the best example of how legit this product is comes from a video I saw where someone:

  1. Literally put the Lifestraw in bacteria contaminated water.
  2. Ran it through a hose and into another cup, where the water that came out was totally clean.
  3. And to add to it, that filtered water was tested under a microscope and showed no bacteria was there anymore. Here it is:

That is what sold the Lifestraw for me and why I’m keeping both. For me, I’m going to do my best to not ever have to rely on it for those kinds of situations by making sure I bring essential things with on every hike to avoid that kind of scenario, but my Lifestraws will still be there just in case. Click here to get the same Lifestraw.

Cleaning the Lifestraw water filter (4 options):

  1. Although Lifestraw can be used to filter 10,000s of gallons of water, there may come a time where it will require you to change/clean the filter and for that you can actually remove the filter from inside the Lifestraw and clean it manually. 
  2. Another option is to just do a filtration test on the filter meaning if you have a scenario where you used it on dirty water, you can later use it in clean water to run that through the filter, then exhale it out, then repeat that process several times to get rid of the bad water there.
  3. The last option is to just change the filter or get another Lifestraw.
  4. Lifestraw also has another recommendation for cleaning the filter which is a bit more advanced (details on cleaning the Lifestraw filter).

How are Lifestraw reviews? What I found:

Most of the reviews on this product come from Amazon and they are extremely positive (4.5 out of 5 with 10,000+ ratings). You can see Amazon reviews for the Lifestraw here. Combined with other sources I’ve found online, the overall consensus is that the Lifestraw works and is legit. 

More questions on the Lifestraw:

What are the drawbacks of Lifestraw?

One of the drawbacks of the Lifestraw is that you can’t really store the water you get from it and you need to drink it right away. Another one is that it’s very tough in my experience to exhale all of the water out after you’re done using it. 

Does Lifestraw need to be cleaned?

Eventually yes. In my experience the more often you use the Lifestraw, the more likely the filter is to get clogged up and it is recommended to clean or replace it overtime. 

Conclusions on the Lifestraw water filter:

I’m very confident that the Lifestraw works and this is mostly due to the positive reviews, plus extreme tests that I’ve seen people run it through with very positive results in every single case. Today these 2 Lifestraws come with me on every hike I do and they easily fit in my hiking backpack, alongside other essential supplies. Having this on product on me also makes me more comfortable knowing that I can use it anytime and pretty much anywhere if I have an extreme situation where I need to use it.

But at the same time, that personal experience in having 2 identical Lifestraws giving me 2 different results makes me want to be a bit more careful and only have it as a last resort tool. Plus the effort it takes for me to exhale all the water out after I’m done with it is insane and leaves me exhausted (And I’m an athelete, so imagine how difficult it has to be). All this being said, if you use the Lifestraw personally or have questions about this water filter, let me know below!


Lifestraw is a lightweight product that you can use to get filtered water anywhere.

Product Brand: Lifestraw

Editor's Rating:

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