Sawyer Mini vs. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System review

On your next hiking or backpacking trip, you can save a lot of weight and space by taking along your own water filtration system. The Sawyer Mini and the original Sawyer point one squeeze water filters are two systems with a few differences you need to consider before you buy one and head out on your next trek.

Quick comparison: Sawyer Mini vs. Sawyer Squeeze

 Original Sawyer
Our Best Pick
Mini Sawyer
Ideal for backpacking
Photo
SizeWiderPocket-sized
Weight3.25 oz. (slightly damp)1.8 oz. (slightly damp)
ConfigurationVaries, depending on attachmentsStraw, 16-oz. bag, filter
Pore Size0.10.1
Life Expectancy1,000,000 gallons100,000 gallons
BagsInterchangeableInterchangeable
UsageLarge-volume, stationary applicationsIn-line
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
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Size

First, the Mini is obviously smaller than the original. It’s quite a bit skinnier and will fit in your pocket better than the original. That’s important because, when you’re hiking in the winter, you want to avoid having your filter freeze. The Mini can be put into your shirt or pants pocket and kept closer to your skin. Another idea is to roll it up in your sleeping bag to keep it warm.

The original is too large to comfortably fit in a pocket, so it stands to reason that it is more likely to freeze than the Mini if you are out hiking in winter.

Weight

Additionally, the weight on the Mini is significantly less than the original Sawyer. With no moisture, the Mini weighs about 1.3 ounces, and it is about 1.8 ounces when it is a bit wet. In grams, that’s about 50 grams, slightly damp.

The original Sawyer weights quite a bit more at 3.25 ounces, or about 92 grams, when it is a little wet. You save a significant amount of weight going with the Mini instead of the original.

Bags

Moving on to the bags for the Mini and the Sawyer original, you don’t have to worry about whether or not a particular bag will work for either system as the bags are used interchangeably. The threading on the ends are the same.

The bags come in 16, 32, and 54 ounces, so, no matter the amount of water you need to filter and the type of system you have, you can buy bags that work with any situation or either type of filter.

Configurations

When you buy the Mini, you get one 16-ounce bag and the filter and a backflush system that you can use with either type of filter. You also get a straw attachment that lets you drink right out of a water source.

If you go with the original Sawyer, you have two choices of configuration. In the past, there was only one choice – three bags at 16, 32, and 64 ounces.  You can also buy the original with one bag, like the Mini, and you’ll also get extra parts that allow you to attach it to a five-gallon bucket for times when you need to filter large volumes of water. The configuration also comes with an adaptor that attaches to the sink so you can filter from the top backflush syringe to clean the filter.

Now, if you’re looking for something that’s better at in-line systems, the Mini is probably the way to go. You can hook it directly onto tubes and have a gravity system with tubes, or you can hook it right into a hydration system either through a DIY application or systems that integrate the Mini so you can filter as you go. You can also buy kits that turn the original into an in-line system, but the Mini will make this a lot easier to do. There are lots of ways you can set up systems for whichever system you use.

Pore Size

In both systems, the size of the pores in the filter is the same: 0.1, which refers to the micron size of the pores. They catch more things like bacteria, cysts, and protozoa that can make you sick than the 0.2 and 0.3 backpacking filters out there.

No backpacking filters are going to get rid of viruses, so if you want to do that, you need to get a chemical treatment system. Viruses usually aren’t a problem in North America and Europe, so that is something to consider.

You can get tighter than point one microns, but they are also not available in portable backpacking filters. Zero point one is as high of a filtration level as you’re going to see in backpacking filters.

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy for the Mini is 100,000 gallons, but it is ten times longer for the original. For the average backpacker, 100,000 gallons is plenty.

How to Use

The basic idea of both of these systems is to find a water source, screw on the filter, fill up the bag, flip it over, and drink right out of it or squeeze it into a bottle. If you have the in-line system, you just suck on the drinking tub.Or you could put the straw right into the water source, and drink right out of the stream.

Standing Water

Some people may say that if you’ve only got standing water, you’re in trouble, but that’s not really the case. You can carry a water bottle with the cap on and the bottom cut off. It’s compact and lightweight. Scoop water out of the puddle, pour it into the water bag, and filter as you usually would.

Backflushing Syringe

A backflushing syringe comes with the original Sawyer, as mentioned earlier. You get clean water out of a cup or bowl, hook it up in reverse order of the flow and you just squeeze. If the filter’s full, clean water comes out in the opposite direction. You use this for both systems, and that’s how you clean it. You don’t really need it except if you are out on a longer trip. You can just clean it at home.

Bag Breakage

Also, some people say that the bags break, but they usually never do, unless you squeeze the bags too hard. The earlier bags may not be as strong as newer ones, but rolling is easier on them all than just squeezing hard. The water doesn’t come out any faster when you squeeze as when you gently roll up from the bottom of the bag.

Verdict

In the end, if you’re needing a stationary, high volume filter, the original is way to go. The Mini works fine for most backpacking trips, and it’s significantly cheaper.

Breana
 

Chief editor here at Sky-Liners, Breana is a former expat and outdoor enthusiast who grew up on camping, hunting, and hiking. If she could live anywhere, it would be a tree fort in the woods. For now, she's surviving on weekly hiking trips and monthly mountain breaks. You can read more about Breana's adventures on her blog at 3rdCultureWife.

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