So you’re looking for the best water bottle with filter for travel? When it comes to choosing the right one it’s important to focus on the details.
But first off a warning – not all filter water bottles do the same job. You might even be surprised to know that the vast majority of filter water bottles won’t actually make your water safe to drink.
The fact that you’re looking for a water bottle with built in filter suggests that you want to improve the quality of what you’re drinking. And if you’re planning to take it on your travels that means it’s gonna have to work pretty hard.
When you’re drinking from unfamiliar water sources, whether at home or abroad, it’s best to take strong precautions. And while many places have tap water that’s perfectly safe to drink, it may still make you ill.
This is because water quality and content varies widely from place to place. It’s treated differently, contains different minerals, salts, metals, and originates from different sources. There are different chemicals added such as fluoride or chlorine.
All of these things make a huge difference to the flavour profile of tap water. But they could also upset your stomach if it’s not used to that content, however “harmless” it is.
Short on time? Click here to go straight to our choice for the best water bottle with filter for travel.
Best Water Bottle With Filter for Travel
We’ve been travelling full time since 2015. In that time we’ve discovered how important clean, safe water is. We know what makes a good water bottle with filter for travel and what doesn’t.
Unlike a lot of the posts that you might read on the best water bottles with filters for travel, we’re taking a different approach. After thorough testing and research, there are actually only 2 bottles that we believe are up to the job.
They are also both reasonably priced, particularly when compared to lots of other models that are far inferior. So rather than list everything on the market, we’re simply narrowing it down to these two. We’re 100% confident that you can’t get a better water bottle with filter for travel.
Travel Water Purifier Bottle or Travel Water Filter Bottle: What’s the Difference?
There are literally hundreds of travel water filter bottles on the market. Because of this it can get confusing trying to figure out which is best for you.
Most travel water filter bottles are designed to simply alter the taste, smell, and reduce the amount of chlorine present.
This works great with tap water that you know is safe to drink. So if you’ve done the research and are certain that’s the case then you should be fine with just a filter water bottle. Something Like the LifeStraw would probably be sufficient.
However, perhaps you’re going somewhere with questionable water standards. Or it could be that you plan on filling up from sources other than a tap. Or maybe you just want the peace of mind that what you’re drinking is absolutely safe wherever you are.
For this you’re going to want to purify your water rather than just filter out any bad tastes or odours. That’s where a travel water purifier bottle comes in.
The best water purifier bottle will do everything that a water bottle with filter for travel does. It will remove any bad smells or tastes and reduce chlorine. But it will also go one step further.
A travel water purifier bottle is able to eliminate a whole host of hidden nasties. These include bacteria, protozoa, parasites, and the real biggie, viruses.
This means that you are able to drink from virtually any water source with no worries about getting ill. When you’re out adventuring this is not only a massive money saver but could be a life saver.
Reasons to Use a Travel Water Filter Bottle
1. Safe Drinking Water
The first and most obvious reason for using a water bottle with filter for travel is to ensure you’re drinking safe water. But you need to be sure that the one you choose is going to cut the mustard for your destinations.
For example if you’re out in the wild then rivers or lakes are a fantastic option for providing your water. But you can’t be certain that the water is safe to drink. Regardless of how clear it may look, it could contain all kinds of stuff that you don’t want to ingest.
This goes for tap water in many countries where standards aren’t as high as what you’re probably used to. Locals might drink it and be fine, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK for you to guzzle down.
2. Reduce Plastic Waste
The second most important reason to use a water bottle with filter for travel is to help reduce plastic waste. Single use plastic water bottles are one of the largest contributors to the current global plastic crisis.
When you’re travelling, often bottled water would be your only safe option. However, with a travel water purifier that’s not the case. By not purchasing bottled water you’re helping to stop the quickly developing environmental crisis caused by discarded plastic bottles.
3. No Dodgy Bottled Water
Another scary fact about bottled water is that often you may not be getting exactly what you bargained for. A third great reason for using a water bottle with filter for travel.
There are loads of stories of unscrupulous people selling bottled water that has essentially come out of the tap.
Not only is this a huge waste of money for you, but it could result in you becoming extremely ill. Because it’s been bottled illegally, there are zero health and safety standards adhered to.
Best Travel Water Purifier
If you’re looking for a great water bottle with filter for travel then there are plenty of options. However, if you decide to go for a travel water purifier, your options are more limited.
Most have bulky mechanisms that take lots of manual work to function, or require batteries. These are completely impractical for everyday travel when you just want to be able to fill up your bottle and go.
Because of this, there are currently only two models that make the grade to be considered the best water bottle with filter for travel.
That’s not to say you won’t find plenty of other options available that will purify your water. But these two are by far and away the most convenient and the only ones that we’d use for everyday travel.
These Water-to-Go bottles are our our top pick for the best water bottle with filter for travel overall. We’ve been using them ourselves for over 2 years, and we love love love them. In fact they accompany us wherever we go, home or abroad.
What’s so great about them? They have the most complete technology available meaning everything that can and should be filtered, is.
The Water-to-Go Filter
The filters themselves are where the magic in this travel water purifier lies. They’re made using NASA technology and uniquely combine 3 filtering techniques.
The technical bit goes a little over my head, but the important takeaway from it is this. They remove 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants including bacteria, viruses, water borne disease, protozoa, heavy metals, and harmful chemicals. Check out the full scary looking list here to see exactly what they will eliminate from your water.
Usage and Lifespan
Water-to-Go bottles are really simple to use, and unlike most water purifiers don’t have a mechanism or require batteries. All you have to do to use them is activate the filter by soaking it in water for around 15 minutes.
After that you can simply drink from the bottle like a normal sports bottle. The flow rate is a little slower than your average sports cap but we’ve not found that an issue.
The filters last for three months or 200 litres of water filtered. But unlike with other filters, they still carry on working to filter out the dangerous elements after this.
The bit that stops working is the carbon which removes the taste and odours from your water. So it’s feasible that you could use it longer than three months, though this wouldn’t be recommended.
To replace the filter you simply unscrew it and screw a new one in. The outer casing can then be recycled and the inner filter is biodegradable, perfect for composting.
They come in two sizes – 50CL or 75CL – and various colours for you to choose from. For travelling, we’d suggest the larger capacity 75CL bottle is more suitable. It allows you to fill up less which can be helpful when there aren’t many water sources around.
It will also fit perfectly in the side pocket of your backpack or daybag making it easy to carry around. The ergonomic design makes it easy to hold and drink from with its indented handgrip.
The Water-to-Go bottles are made from durable, BPA-free plastic and are extremely rugged. We’ve had ours for over 2 years in which time they’ve been up mountains, on multi day treks, and all over the globe.
We’ve dropped them, bashed them, and generally put them through their paces on a daily basis. And they’re still going strong with no signs of wear and tear.
The 75CL bottles are dishwasher safe although we find them simple enough to just clean them by hand. They have a large opening when you unscrew the lid which helps this.
Simply unscrew the cap, remove the filter and give them a good scrub. It’s best to clean the cap quite regularly as it’s the only bit after the filter. Bacteria from your mouth, surrounding environment etc. could collect there.
Some other filters have issues with things growing on them or getting clogged up. However this has never occured with our Water-to-Go bottles and we’ve used them in some pretty questionable water.
While they are incredible and we trust them to keep our water safe, they have a few minor limitations.
Water-to-Go bottles aren’t designed to be squeezed or poured. It is possible to squeeze water out of them but it’s a little difficult and comes out at a slow rate. Because of this they really are only for drinking from.
Why is this significant? Well if you need to purify water for other uses, for example to cook with, this isn’t your best bet. That said, we’ve never really had an issue with this.
Another minor complaint about the Water-to-Go bottle is that the drinking spout can leak if they’re not kept upright. It’s not an issue when they’re in the side pocket of your backpack. But if you were to chuck it inside your backpack you’d soon find your stuff a bit wet.
This is frustrating but we’ve found ways to work around it, and as long as you remember it’s fine.
The Water-to-Go bottle is ideal for everyday usage for drinking water. Its hassle free technology makes it easy to simply fill up and drink from virtually any source with no worries.
No pumping, no waiting, no batteries. This means that filling up in places where you’re unsure about the water quality takes just seconds.
Best Water Bottle With Filter for Travel Overall: Water-to-Go
GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier
The GRAYL Ultralight is a close runner up for the best water bottle with filter for travel. It’s very similar to the Water-to-Go travel water filter but has a few key differences. Some of these may appeal to you while others may put you off, but it’s a worthy contender.
The filter technology is similar to the Water-to-Go bottle, but the way that it works is completely different. It’s more similar to a coffee press where you push the water through the filter, and so require a bit of effort.
The GRAYL Filter
Similarly to the Water-to-Go bottle, the GRAYL filter removes 99.9% of contaminants. These include bacteria, viruses, water borne disease, protozoa, heavy metals, and harmful chemicals.
GRAYL filters also have 3 mechanisms which I suspect are basically the same technology as the Water-to-Go. Even if they do differ slightly, ultimately they do exactly the same job. They remove anything harmful as well as making the water taste great.
Usage and Lifespan
Using the GRAYL is pretty simple, but does require a bit of elbow grease. Firstly you unscrew the lid, pull the filter out and then fill the outer vessel up to the fill line.
Next you put the filter back into the outer vessel and force the filter through the water. The easiest way to do this is by placing it on the floor and using your body weight. Make sure it’s on a hard, flat surface that’s stable. Then put the heels of your palms onto the press before leaning onto it with your upper body.
To make it a bit more comfortable you can actually partially screw the lid back on. This gives your hands something to rest on instead of just the rim of the filter. Just make sure it’s not fully tightened as that will create a seal making it virtually impossible to push down.
Once the filter hits the bottom of the outer vessel, your water is filtered, purified, and ready to drink. This takes around 15 seconds. You can then fill up other vessels, guzzle it down, or screw the cap back on and throw it in your bag.
GRAYL filters last for 150 litres, slightly less than the Water-to-Go, but unlike the Water-to-Go they must be replaced promptly. The reason for this is that the mechanism becomes more difficult to use once the filter has run out.
The time to squeeze the bottle’s filter mechanism down will double to around 30 seconds.
The GRAYL only currently comes in a single size which purifies around 50CL of water at a time. This is a bit on the low side at just under half a litre. However, the fact that you can pour it into other bottles could negate that depending on how you plan to use it.
The bottle comes in a range of 4 colours which all look pretty cool. Size-wise it’s perfect to pop in the side pocket of your backpack or day pack. It’s also got a handy plastic loop on the lid. This can be clipped to a carabiner or used to tie it onto your bag.
The Grayl is made from strong plastic – a mix of polypropylene #5, food-grade silicone and ABS food-grade plastics. This makes it extremely durable and ready to withstand the rigours of daily travel.
Cleaning the GRAYL is straightforward but you have to disconnect all of its parts. Most of it can go in the dishwasher but it’s just as easy to wash it all in some warm soapy water. The filter itself can be rinsed but shouldn’t require cleaning as such.
The GRAYL is a fantastic piece of kit but does have a couple of drawbacks to be aware of.
The main one is that it takes a bit of force to get the water through the filter.
It’s also got a relatively low capacity at less than half a litre. However, as mentioned earlier it’s possible to fill other bottles from it which could help to get around that issue.
The GRAYL is better suited for instances where you need to purify more than just your drinking water. For example, if you’re camping or hiking and you need water for cooking then the GRAYL is ideal. It’s also good in situations where you need to purify larger quantities of water because you can easily fill up other vessels from it.
Best Alternative Water Bottle With Filter for Travel: GRAYL
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Regardless of what kind of getaway you are planning, one of these two options will undoubtedly be the best water bottle with filter for travel for you. But making sure you’re drinking safe water isn’t the only sensible planning step to take before you travel.
We never go anywhere without travel insurance – and neither should you. You need to make sure you’re adequately covered in any situation that may arise. Our preferred insurance company is World Nomads, they take a no nonsense, upfront approach. Get a quick quote below:
Looking for more essential travel gear? Check out these posts below:
- The Best Water Bottle With Filter for Travel 2019
- Best Packing Cubes for Backpacking 2019
- The Best Towel for Travel 2019
- Best Rainy Season Clothes For Backpackers
- 13 Brilliant Free Travel Apps You Shouldn’t Set Off Without