Water filters provide access to drinking water quality, but how do I find the most suitable filter for me?
Generally speaking, there is no such thing as "the best water filter", because they all fulfil the same basic function, the removal of pathogenic germs (bacteria & protozoa) from the treated water.
The following questions should help in choosing a filter:
What quality could existing water sources be?
Clear, flowing water (rivers, streams, springs etc.):
-> Hollow fibre filter, glass fibre filter or ceramic filter.
Stagnant, muddy / algal / sediment-rich water (lakes, ponds, pools, floods etc.):
-> Preferably ceramic filters, as less susceptible and easy to clean.
How many people will/could use the filter?
-> Consult the flow rate or reservoir volume of the filters.
-> It is a sensible investment to carry at least 2 filters in groups of 2(+) people.
(This prevents failure and allows water to be treated in parallel).
What additional features should the filter have?
-> Taste improvement: Prefer filters with integrated activated carbon or available activated carbon adapter.
-> Virus filtration: Prefer filters with an additional virus stage.
How do the products differ in price?
-> Equipment: Depending on the product, I get only the filter or I also get spare parts and other accessories.
-> Spare parts: Due to their design, some filters require more or more frequent replacement parts or need more maintenance than others.
-> Durability: Long-lasting products require durable materials such as metals, while plastics break or brittle more easily.
How high should the convenience factor be in use?
-> Hand-pump filters allow water on demand, are flexible to use and mobile, but require effort.
-> Gravity/Drip filters enable water to be extracted by gravity on the side without any effort (semi-mobile).
-> Squeeze filters such as the 0.6/1.0L BeFree allow flexible use on site, are extremely light and require hardly any space.
What options are still available to me in case of an unexpected defect of the device, how much do I depend on clean drinking water?
-> It is a sensible investment to carry at least 1 additional water treatment product (chemical disinfection, stove, UV pen, additional filter).
-> For longer trips - especially in different areas - it makes sense to stock up on spare parts ahead of time.