Lifestraw Review: Is It True That The Lifestraw Is Overrated?

The Lifestraw: Your Personal Water Filter Straw

This Lifestraw review is important because water is kind of a big deal. If you have access to clean water then consider yourself very lucky. And if you live in a developed country then luckily there are many ways to get clean water like water filter jugs, reverse osmosis and charcoal filters, but what happens when you’re out in the wild? How do you get clean drinking water when you’re in the wilderness and have zero access to clean water?


Enter the Lifestraw, a small, portable, lightweight, durable, reasonably priced filtration device. You can wear it like a necklace and hang it around your neck. The only difference is that this necklace will provide you with water filtration wherever you go. It has won so many awards and has even more fans writing rave reviews all over the Internet. It is described as “one of the ten things that will change the way we live.”

But does it really filter every possible contaminant? Is it really as usable as everyone says it is? Also, is there a big design flaw that has only ever been spotted by one single blogger online? Let’s find out.

What’s the Lifestraw and How Does It Work?

The Lifestraw is essentially a straw that contains a hollow-membrane filter. It works when you use it as a straw to drink water and it filters the water that passes through. The Lifestraw filtration system removes 99.9% of protozoa and 99.9999% of bacteria through 0.2 micron filtration. The Lifestraw filter can be used for 1000 liters before it needs to be replaced and replacement filters cost about $20 USD.

All this sounds almost downright amazing except that it has its limitations. The Lifestraw is not capable of removing microscopic minerals, viruses or chemicals.

Although having one of these out in the wild is still better than nothing you would need something else to be 100% safe. For instance, you would probably need to consider something like iodine water purification tablets. This would be to make sure that you prevent yourself from being contaminated by any possible water-borne diseases or chemicals.

LifeStraw Review – It Has a BIG Design Flaw

However, in the “infamous” online blog called “The weird problem no Lifestraw review ever seems to mention”. Blogger ‘SnarkyNomad’ talks about the obvious design flaw. The flaw that makes the product impractical for the very purpose it was designed for. He rightly points out that you would need to lie flat on your belly every time you want a sip of water? As shown in the picture below.

Lifestraw Review

What happens when you need to move away from the area with water? The Lifestraw doesn’t give you any options to store it when you walk away from the water? This is indeed a strange oversight from the makers of the Lifestraw.

Why? because this product is very likely to be used in situations when you don’t have constant access to water.

This is unless you have the foresight to have a spare bottle of water container with you. But as SnarkyNomad pointed out in his blog post, this is not ideal as you’ll still need to fiddle around to get access to clean water.

Remember that the Lifestraw has two caps that need to be opened.

The bottle has one cap also meaning that you have to worry about 3 bottle caps in total. And these 3 would have to be opened and closed every time you want to transfer its contents to a bottle.

Read: The Flaw You MUST Know Before You Buy The Sawyer Bottle

There are plenty of raving reviews on Amazon for the Lifestraw. But it is possible that many of them come from people who have never actually used the product. This is because people tend to buy it for emergency situations. And perhaps they also like the feeling of security that it gives them as well as the “idea” of the Lifestraw.

 

Lifestraw Shelf Life

The claim is that the Lifestraw can continue to safely work for around 1,000 liters (which is approximately 264 gallons). To put this in context, it would last for a whole year if you used it to drink water every single day. The Lifestraw’s lifespan estimates has been deliberately underestimated by its makers so it is safe to say that you can use them for a reasonably long period of time without worrying.

 

Lifestraw Review: What To Do If I Need Serious Purification?

For most people and in most situations a good quality water filtration bottle will work just fine. If you are taking part in a recreational hike then a bottle full of filtered tap water is perhaps best. 

Alternatives to the Lifestraw include Water purification tablets, the Lifestraw Go and the sawyer bottle.

However, if the water you want to purify has any potential for virus or chemical contamination then it might be best to avoid it altogether.

Or at the very least take extra precautions.

 

Lifestraw Review – My Conclusion

Is the Lifestraw Overrated?

Mr Water Geek ThinkingThe Lifestraw is generally an OK product with good intentions. Its fans talk endlessly about how durable, portable and effective it is. Of course, in theory it is a great idea. The idea that you can have this small, easy to carry device that instantly transforms dirty water into something clean and drinkable is very appealing.

It could be a potential life saver and has enormous possibilities for places in the world where it is not easy to access clean water.

Before pointing to why this might be slightly overrated, it is important to make a disclaimer. This Lifestraw review is reviewing it from a consumer view point. Not from the perspective of say, an aid agency that is working in a disaster zone. Or perhaps the standpoint of someone who has zero access to clean drinking water in a poor country.

With all this in mind, I would say that it is overrated because the design flaw is hard to look past. The fact that you have to lie down to use it and can’t store any of the water in a portable container is pretty bad.

What ever you do, just make sure to remember that the Lifestraw can not handle chemicals in anyway. Nor can it adequately deal with viral contamination.

This means that you should only really be using it in casual situations. For instance, outdoor recreation and activities like hiking. But NOT to treat severely polluted water. It is only to be used when you encounter water that you are 100% sure is not effected by viruses or chemicals.

All in all I think 2 out of 5 stars (or 40 out of 100) is appropriate.

Read: 3 Big Problems with The Lifestraw Go That No One Ever Talks About

3 Big Problems with The Lifestraw Go

Lifestraw vs Purification Tablets

ProductProsConsPrice Range 
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
- Award-winning.
- Filters water immediately.
- Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria.
- Small and portable.
- Filters 10000 litres (264 gallons)
- No iodine or chlorine smell / after taste.
- You need to lie down flat to use.
- Not practical.
- You need a spare container to store water and make portable.
- Does not remove chemical pollutants or physical particles.
$$
Water Purification Tablets
- Trusted in emergency situations by aid agencies.
- Makes most water safe to drink.
- Typically long shelf life of about 5 years.
- Takes about 30 minutes to work after mix.
- You need to have a spare container to use.
- Does not remove chemical pollutants or physical particles.
- They sometimes have iodine or chlorine smell / after taste.
$$
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