Frequently Asked Questions

Water Filtration

Our water filter technology really separates us from the rest of the pack. Below should be everything you need to get your question answered. If not, let us know so we can add it here for others to see as well.

I would like to purchase a Sawyer filtration system, but how do I know which system I need?

Filtration for IndividualsIf you are looking for a filter you will be using for yourself, the following products will be best for you needs.The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is our newest and most popular filter. The Mini weighs just 2 ounces and filters up to 100,000 gallons! You can drink directly from the Mini, attach it to Sawyer Squeeze Pouches, use inline on a hydration pack, or attach it to the top of almost any bottled water? How about that for versatility? And like all Sawyer Filters; they are backflushable almost indefinitely. That means no expensive cartridges to replace, ever. (SP128, SP124)The Sawyer Squeeze Filter – This is the simple, portable, lightweight system that won Backpacker Magazine’s Editor’s choice in 2012. The threaded filter is also very versatile and also comes with a Million Gallon Guarantee. It is perfect for backpackers who want clean water fast without adding much weight. (SP129, SP131)All-in-One Filter – This versatile system is based off the popular SP131 – Sawyer Squeeze Filter. This system includes a screw on filter, a 32 oz pouch for portability, a faucet adapter to filter tap water, and everything you need all to use it as a bucket gravity filtration system. This is perfect for individual use, groups, and emergency preparedness kits. (SP181)Personal Water Filtration Bottle – This is a simple bottle system that comes with a back-flushing syringe. Perfect for traveling to areas where you do not trust the water. (SP140, SP141, SP142)2 Liter Gravity Filtration Systems – One of Sawyer’s time-tested favorites, the Sawyer 2 Liter water filter system will simplify your backcountry to-do list. Simply set it up, and let gravity do the dirty work. No tedious pumping, just set it up and gravity to the work for you. In the time it takes you to turn around and unload your pack, you’ll have clean, fresh water waiting. These systems are available in a single and dual bag setup. (SP161, SP162)Filtration for GroupsIf you are looking for something that can provide a larger amount of water for a group of people, the following products will be best for you.4 Liter Gravity Filtration Systems – No more pumping or chemicals needed. Simply set up the Sawyer water filtration system, and let gravity provide you with 4 liters of fresh, clean water in about 3 minutes. Available in a 4 Liter Single Bag System and in a 4 Liter Dual Bag Complete System. It is good for camping or hiking and longer distances with larger groups or where water is less accessible. (SP183, SP184)All-in-One Filter – This versatile system, also mentioned above for individuals, is based off the popular SP131 – Sawyer Squeeze Filter. This system includes a screw on filter, a 32 oz pouch for portability, a faucet adapter to filter tap water, and everything you need all to use it as a bucket gravity filtration system. This is perfect for individual use, groups, and emergency preparedness kits. (SP181)Portability vs. StationaryWhether you are filtering on the go or sticking around a while, we have something for everyone. Our bucket filters, when applied to larger buckets, may be better for keeping in one location, while our Squeeze filters are light and always ready to go.Kid FriendlyAnyone can use our filters. They are low maintenance and light weight which is perfect for kids going on trips to summer camp or to see the world. They are very easy transport and use.

Does the Sawyer filter remove taste, chemicals and heavy metals from water?

TasteThe Sawyer filter removes taste that comes from bacteria, dirt, and green matter.ChemicalsThe Sawyer filter does NOT remove iron, sulfur, other chemicals, or simple compounds. Taste can be masked by using flavor additives like Gatorade or crystal light (filter needs to be cleaned immediately after using them).Heavy MetalsThe Sawyer filters are not made with charcoal. While other portable filters have charcoal, they lack in amount of media and adequate dwell time. Therefore, they only remove small amounts of heavy metals, pesticides, etc. (when used in real life applications). Try using better sources of water, if possible.

Are the filters and purifiers tested and approved?

Our filters and purifiers have been tested by independent and qualified research laboratories according to EPA standards for water filter and purifiers.

Do you have more information about Sawyer’s Label Claims and Warranties?

We have independent lab tests using EPA protocols and information about our filters and their warranties available on our Downloads Page.

How long does the filter/purifier last?

Since the filters and purifiers can continuously be backwashed and re-used they have an extremely long life. The filter/purifier membrane may never need to be replaced, however when the flow rate slows or the filter clogs, simply backwash the unit with the provided backwashing device to clear out the pores.

How much water can be filtered/purified per day?

The flow rates of the filters and purifiers are determined by a combination of variables:

1. Head pressure (The distance from the top of the water to the filter)

2. How clean the filter is

3. The filter itself (there are slight variations between filters)The PointONE Filter with a 1 foot hose (Model SP180) attached to a standard five gallon bucket at sea level is capable of filtering up to 295 gallons (1117 liters) of water per day.

4. If you increase the head pressure by either lengthening the hose, attaching the filter to a larger container like a 55 gallon drum, or constantly keep the bucket full so the top of the water is as high as possible, this will increase the flow rate.

5. Tap Filter: up to 500 Gallons per day

How often do you have to clean or backwash the filter?

The frequency of cleaning depends on how dirty the water is. With relatively clear water, backwashing may only be necessary every 1,000 gallons whereas with extremely turbid or muddy water, backwashing may be required every 10 gallons. Nevertheless, backwashing is an extremely simple process and takes only a minute.

Will the filter/purifier remove chemicals, pesticides or heavy metals like arsenic?

No.

Will the filter/purifier remove salt?

No.

What do you mean by 0.1 and .02 micron absolute?

Many other filters list nominal or average pore sizes which leave the possibility of harmful pathogens to pass through. By claiming absolute microns there are no variances in pore size on our filter membranes. At 0.1 and 0.02 micron absolute these are true barrier filters so there is no questionable time period whether the water is safe to drink.

What is the difference between the pointONE Filter™ and PointZERO TWO Purifier™?

The pointONE Filter™ has a 0.1 micron absolute pore size and therefore will remove all bacteria and protozoa such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cholera and Typhoid. The PointZERO TWO Purifier™ has a 0.02 micron absolute pore size and therefore will remove all viruses like Hepatitis A in addition to bacteria and protozoa.

How fast should the water come out of my filter?

Flow rates vary depending on how often the filter is used and how well you cleaned the filter. Altitude also affects the flow rates (the higher you go the slower the flow). Routine backwashing and maintenance will always maximize the filter's flow rate and longevity.

Do you ship international?

To avoid any confusion, Sawyer Products is not an export agent. We suggest using AIT Worldwide Logistics. Their Tampa call center office phone number is 813.247.6797. They can provide you with all the export documents you will need and handle the actual shipment for you. You will be their customer and need to contract their services separately from the purchase of the filters. We do not and can not provide the proper document service that is needed for export.However, using AIT Worldwide Logistics is not mandatory. You can use whomever you prefer and Sawyer Products will have the freight ready for their pick-up or we will ship it to their domestic location (at your expense).

Filter Compatibility

On Hydration Packs
The Sawyer Squeeze, Micro Squeeze, and MINIs can be used in conjunction with a 1/4" inner diameter tubing hydration pack. Please see video Sawyer Squeeze with Hydration Pack using Inline Adapter and Sawyer Squeeze with Fast Fill Adapters.

The Sawyer Squeeze Filter with Water Bottles
The Sawyer Squeeze Filter can also be used on water bottles when you are unsure whether or not it is safe to drink the water.

Gravity Systems
The Sawyer Squeeze, Micro Squeeze, and MINIs can be also used in gravity filtration setups.

Can I backwash a BeFree Filter the same way Sawyer Filters are backwashed?

No. Sawyer Hollow Fibers are much stronger than those used by Katadyn so backwashing a BeFree with a Sawyer backwashing plunger will more than likely damage the fibers.

Will the Tap Filter make my water taste better?

It definitely can improve the taste of water by removing high levels of pathogens or particulates in the water; however, this filter was not designed with taste improvement as a top priority. The main priority of this system is to ensure that the water is safe to drink.

How long does the Tap Filter last in use?

Each Tap Filter is capable of filtering more than 500 gallons of water per day. Proper use and maintenance of the filter will allow for this filter to be used for 10+ years.

What is the shelf life of the Tap Filter?

If properly stored in a cool, dry location away from UV exposure, the Sawyer Tap Filter has a shelf life of 10+ years.

What if the Tap Filter is exposed to freezing weather?

If the filter is brand new, there is no risk of freeze damage. However, once the filter has been used or is wet, the ice expansion process within the filter can stretch or damage the fibers to the point where pathogens could slip through. If you suspect your filter has been exposed to freezing conditions after use, we would recommend erring on the side of caution and replacing the system.

Will the Tap Filter fit my faucet?

Hopefully! We designed these adapters to fit on most standard faucets domestically and internationally. Due to the wide variety of taps on the market, we cannot guarantee that this filter will fit on your specific model. If you are unsure if it will, please send us photos and measurements of your tap. We will happily explore making other size adapters based on the feedback we receive.

When should I clean my Tap Filter?

We recommend routine maintenance to maximize the filter’s flow rate and longevity. By regularly backwashing the filter with more pressure than when filtering water, you can restore up to 98.5% of the filter’s flow rate.

Is the Tap Filter dishwasher safe?

No, it is not. We recommend backwashing and air drying the filter before storing.

Are there any water pressure restrictions to consider?

Yes. For threaded faucets, we highly recommend using the Threaded Spigot Adapter to make sure the filter pops off of the tap before the fibers are damaged from excessive pressure. Excessive pressure can absolutely damage the fibers.

Can I attach my MINI filter directly to a spigot?

No, we do not recommend attaching filters directly to spigots or faucets. The filters are designed to handle up to 20 psi of pressure and attaching the filter directly to a water source with a higher water pressure can damage the fibers.

How do I prevent my pouch from bursting?

Sawyer filters have very strong fibers (see Fiber Strength Study) and are capable of handling up to 40 PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) of pressure. When clean, Sawyer Filters only need 1 to 2 PSI of pressure to flow freely. As the fibers collect particulates, the pressure to move water through will increase as the particulates create barriers to water flow.Sawyer pouches are designed to handle up to 7 PSI of pressure before bursting. This in most cases allows for a large amount of water to be used before filter cleaning is necessary. Therefore the pouches will not burst so long as the filters are reasonably clean. However most people are capable of generating much more than 7 PSI of pressure and so if the filter is not clean, the pouches are more likely to burst when squeezing too hard. The more particulates in the water the sooner a filter will clog and need to be cleaned.Sawyer’s new light weight soft pouches offer the same bursting strength of 7 PSI as the heavier legacy pouches. The new light weight pouches are just as strong as the thicker legacy pouches but are easier to squeeze because the softer material offers less resistance. With a lower pouch resistance the 7 PSI burst limit is reached more easily.To protect your pouch – maintain a clean filter and be aware of pressure build up against a dirty filter.

Are there any long term storage instructions for the Select filter or purifier?

You can store the bottle with either the Micro Squeeze filter or included white cap screwed on top of the bottle. The proprietary ingredients in the foam will make sure that your foam does not grow bacteria or develop an odor. Please do not compress these systems for long term storage. Store your bottles fully expanded to ensure that you do not inadvertently shorten their life.If you want to dry out your bottle for packing weight reasons (it can save approximately one ounce), store in a dry room with the lid removed and the moisture will eventually evaporate out. Be aware that after you dry the bottle out, your first bottle will produce much less water than normal since our foam is hydrophilic (meaning it attracts water) and will want to hold onto some no matter how hard you squeeze. Repeat steps for first use when you want to use your filter again.

How do I store this Select filter when not in use?

The foam inside the bottle is meant to be stored fully expanded to achieve the advertised lifespan of the system. To do this simply unscrew the Micro Squeeze filter and let air back into the bottle after you are done filtering water. The foam will naturally compress in size over the life of the system but if the foam is stored compressed for long periods of time, the foam can be permanently deformed. Long term compression can shorten the life of the foam filter/purifier. We recommend storing your Select system filled with water. When possible, use distilled or non-chlorinated water. Storing the bottle full will help prevent mold from growing on the walls of the bottle while it is not in use.

How do the Select filters and purifiers remove the heavy metals, viruses, chemicals, and pesticides?

The Foam Adsorption Technology used in these systems was developed with a partnership with Foamulations LLC to now be able to safely remove contaminants like heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, and viruses while also improving taste and odor. Adsorption filtration is the process in which molecules adhere to the surface of the adsorbent foam membrane. This highly advanced filtration and purification process, combined with our 0.1 micron absolute filter will ensure that any and all particulate or pathogens above 0.1 microns are filtered out of your water, including bacteria, protozoa, cysts, dirt and sediment.

How much water can I expect from my Select filter or purifier?

After the initial break in process, every bottle should produce 20 – 22 ounces of water depending on how efficient you are at squeezing the water out of the bottle.

How often should I backwash my filter?

We recommend backwashing your filter when you flow rate begins to diminish, before prolonged storage, and when you are ready to start using your filter again. Backwashing your filter after storage is a great way to re-wet the filters and restore the flow rate before use.

I just got my Select system, why is it damp?

The bottles are pre-activated during the manufacturing process to shorten the steps for your first use and your system may be a little damp when you first open it. There is no need to be alarmed here because the system is treated with a proprietary material that keeps bacteria and mold from growing. This proprietary material allows you to store water in your bottles as long as you want without bacteria growing or affecting the life of your filter.

Is there anything special I should do the first time I use my Select filter?

Yes. The first time you use your bottle, there may be some loose adsorption material that got knocked loose during packaging and shipping. It is not harmful but if it is not rinsed out it could be enough to slow the flow rate down to the point where the Micro Squeeze filter will need a quick backwash. The residual material also has a remote chance of leaving a metal-lic taste until the Select Foam has been fully rinsed with the initial use instructions below. Please note that this initial rinsing process does not count against the total number of uses.To avoid this:Fill the bottle up halfway with water, screw on the Micro Squeeze filter, and make sure the white push pull cap is closed on the Micro Squeeze.Squeeze the bottle at least ten times to work the water in and out of the foam. Some of the water will absorb into the foam so take the micro squeeze off and then fill the bottle to the max fill line.Reinstall the Micro Squeeze filter, squeeze the bottle at least ten more times, and then take the Micro Squeeze filter off.With the Micro Squeeze filter removed, turn the bottle over and roll up the bottle tightly to force all of the water back out of the foam. You should not need to repeat this initial step. You are now ready to start using your new filter.

Should I remove the entire cap when filling the bottle?

No. The silicon bottle is hard to reseal if you loosen the black reducer cap. This is why we recommend only filling through the smaller opening where the Micro Squeeze™ filter attaches. If you take the reducer cap off you will need to get it to seal again before using it. Without a good seal, unfiltered water can leak out and could contaminate your drinking water.

What is Adsorption?

Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions, or molecules from a gas, liquid, or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent.

Can I freeze the filter?

While we have no proof that freezing will harm the filter, we do not have enough proof to say it will not harm the filter, therefore we must say that if you suspect the filter has been frozen, to replace it — this is especially true with a hard freeze.

How do I care for my filter during freezing weather?

Filter is safe from freezing temperatures if it has never been wetted.After initial wettingWhile there is no definitive way to tell if a filter has been damaged due to freezing, Sawyer recommends replacing your filter if you suspect that it has been frozen.During tripsIf you are in freezing temperatures, we recommend that you store your filter in your pocket or close to your person so that your body heat can prevent freezing. THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR A FROZEN FILTER.

My pouch seems to be leaking water (holes in seams), how do I prevent this from happening in the future?

It is usually not the pouch causing the leak, it is usually the filter. Either the filter was not completely wetted at first point of use or too much pressure has been applied to pouch during filtration process. Be sure to slowly squeeze the water through the filter, giving the filter fibers time to fully saturate. The initial flow rate may seem slow, but will increase as fibers become wetted.Back Flushing ProcessBack flush your filter (better and more often) using your syringe. You cannot hurt the filter fibers, so please be FORCEFUL in your back flush process. When using the syringe, do not be gentle, it will only form paths of least resistance instead of blowing out the particulates that may be trapped in your filter.Filter ApplicationDo not over tighten the filter on the pouch. Over tightening can cause the o-rings to embed into the threads or lodge into the opening of the pouch. If the o-ring is out of place you may not a have a tight seal and water could leak out the bottom of the filter. Please watch our video on Important Squeeze Filter Tips to better understand how to care for your squeeze bags. Until you learn the perfect balance of force and cleaning, we recommend bringing a backup pouch with you on your trip.Torn PouchesBefore the pouches leave the factory, they are 100% air-tested. While they are rugged, these pouches are not indestructible. They tear as a result of too much pressure being applied. This happens when water is forced through the filter too fast or when your filter needs cleaning, which creates more resistance. Do not squeeze the pouch hard or wring the pouch. Torn pouches are not covered under the warranty.

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