The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Sawyer Micro Squeeze Review

This filtration system is the perfect personal use solution for water treatment.
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Price:  $28 List | $27.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, fantastic performance, durable, versatile , lightweight.
Cons:  Clogs easily with lots of sediment, bags break.
Manufacturer:   Sawyer
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 6, 2019
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 20
  • Water Quality - 20% 8
  • Durability & Maintenance - 20% 4
  • Treatment Time - 15% 6
  • Weight & Packability - 15% 8
  • Ease of Set-Up - 15% 7
  • Ease of Filtration - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Sawyer Micro Squeeze is a good on-to-go system that recently lost its Editor's Choice status. Of the Sawyer products, it's the second-smallest system. It stands out because, like other Sawyer Squeeze products, it is lightweight with a quick filtration rate. It can access a plethora of water sources and comes with a straw, the filter, a syringe for cleaning, and a 32-oz collapsible water bottle. Not only that, but the filter can easily screw onto a conventional water bottle, making it highly adaptable. While it's a great option for personal use, other Sawyer products offer better flow rate and reliability, losing its Editor's Choice status this testing period.


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Price $27.95 at REI
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Pros Inexpensive, fantastic performance, durable, versatile , lightweight.Fast, easy, hands-free filtration, large volume, storageEasy to use, fast flow rate, collapsible, lightweightLightweight, adaptable, easy to use, lifetime guaranteeLightweight, great price, durable design, fast flow, high volume filtration
Cons Clogs easily with lots of sediment, bags break.A little expensive, can't gather from shallow sources, clogs with heavy sedimentLacks durability and reliabilityNot great for group use, better if you replace the bagsDoesn't filter out viruses, no additional storage reservoir
Bottom Line This filtration system is the perfect personal use solution for water treatment.A fast and easy to use gravity filter perfect for dynamic duos, solo travelers, and groups.Our favorite lightweight on-the-go filtration system.Simple filtration that is light and reliable with a lifetime guarantee.The best value gravity filter on the market.
Rating Categories Sawyer Micro Squeeze Platypus GravityWorks Katadyn BeFree Sawyer Squeeze Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L
Water Quality (20%)
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8
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8
Durability & Maintenance (20%)
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6
Treatment Time (15%)
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8
Weight & Packability (15%)
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Ease Of Set Up (15%)
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Ease Of Filtration (15%)
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Specs Sawyer Micro Squeeze Platypus... Katadyn BeFree Sawyer Squeeze Katadyn Gravity...
Type of Filter Squeeze, in-line, on-the-go Gravity filter Squeeze & on-the-go Squeeze, in-line, on-the-go Gravity filter
Time to Treat One Liter (Timed Test) 1.5 minutes 52 seconds immediate 40 seconds 64 seconds
Measured Weight (entire kit -- oz) 3.8 oz 11.5 oz 2.1 oz 5.7 oz 11.7 oz
Storage Capacity Varies 4L 0.6 L Varies 6L
Removes Bacteria? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Removes Protozoa? (Cryptosporidium, Giardia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Removes Viruses'? No No No No No
Removes Chemicals? No No No No No
Removes Heavy Metals? No No No No No
Removes Particulates (sediment, microplastics)? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Filter Pore Size 0.1 micron 0.2 microns 0.1 micron 0.1 micron 0.2 microns
Advertised Flow Rate Varies 1.75L/min 2.11 liters per min 1.7L/min 2 L/min
Dimensions 15.5 x 6 x 1 in 9.4 x 3 in 9.05 in x 2.73 in 11 x 6 10 x 6 x 2.4 in
Filter Media or Active Ingredient Hollow Fiber Hollow fiber Hollow Fiber Hollow Fiber Pleated glassfiber
# of liters/galloons per lifetime 378,541 liters/100,000 gallons 1,500 liters/396 gallons 1000 liters/264 gallons 378,541 liters/100,000 gallons 1,500 liters/396 gallons
Water Bottle Adapter Yes No Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Micro Squeeze provides a high rate of flow to readily provide you with fresh, clean water free of bacteria and protozoa. It doesn't protect against viruses but offers stand-up versatility as a 3-in-1 filtration system. Use it like a straw or squeeze filter, or plug it into your favorite in-line hydration bladder or gravity set up — all of this for a great price and fantastic longevity.

Performance Comparison


At pothole arch  we utilize the Sawyer Micro to gather water from an unpredictable puddle formed from showers just the day before. A great application for this on-the-go filtration system that we can't help but boast about.
At pothole arch, we utilize the Sawyer Micro to gather water from an unpredictable puddle formed from showers just the day before. A great application for this on-the-go filtration system that we can't help but boast about.

Water Quality


Utilizing a hollow fiber filtration system with 0.1-micron pore size, it filters out everything from bacteria to protozoans including Giardia and Cryptosporidium. You can take water from some of the nastiest sources in North America, and expect good, clean water. This filter cannot eliminate viruses, so be aware that it can't protect while traveling internationally where this is problematic.

On the right we see the Sawyer Squeeze filtration system to provides great water protection.
On the right we see the Sawyer Squeeze filtration system to provides great water protection.

It removes particulates from clear water sources and Sawyer claims that it exceeds EPA standards. During a taste test, we learned that it also makes water quality better, enhancing the taste of our tap water! In clear water sources, you can expect this filter to work well with backflushing after every use. In water sources that contain lots of sediment, like in the Colorado River (one of the world's most turbid rivers), the filter clogs easily after a few filtrations. What's important is ensuring that you carry the backflush syringe that will clear out the filter after every use.


Durability and Maintenance


This filtration system has a very long lifetime, caching in a replacement at around 10,000+ gallons of water. That's approximately 37,850 1-liter fill-ups! While you might have a hard time filtering that much water in your lifetime, it's safe to say that Sawyer does claim an exceptionally long lifetime. That is, however, based on its maintenance that is required.


With the filtration system comes a syringe. Sawyer recommends flushing the filter every time you use it, which isn't hard but does require you to carry the syringe with you in the backcountry. On a fastpacking trip, the filter flow started to slow down. We hadn't plunged the system for just a day and had been among water sources with heavy sediment. Once we backflushed it, it was fine, processing the same rate of water. As a result, make sure that if you buy this, you bring all the pieces along.

A look at all the pieces you get  fresh out of the bag. These pieces are seemingly durable and did well during our testing period of wear and tear.
A look at all the pieces you get, fresh out of the bag. These pieces are seemingly durable and did well during our testing period of wear and tear.

Aside from that, you can't take this filter apart. It seems well constructed with not too many additional parts. The straw - however - is easy to lose. Luckily it's compatible with a conventional thicker straw that you can buy at the grocery store, which is nice.


Overall, this system does well in this category. The bags, sadly, do break after roughly 30-40 uses (in our experience). Given that you don't have to squeeze as hard to increase the flow, like you would with lighter Sawyer products, they don't break as often.

Treatment Time


As an on-the-go filtration system, treatment is instantaneous that works while you drink. You can drink from the filter through the straw, with a squeeze pouch, or with a hydration bladder. In all cases, treatment time is minuscule. If you want to squeeze filtered water into another storage container, 1-L takes 1.5 minutes based on how fast you can collect water and squeeze it through. Ideally, this system is a personal use system suited for solo use. Filtering water for more than one person becomes a timely chore.

Instantaneous...once you fill up the pouch  you can start drinking.
Instantaneous...once you fill up the pouch, you can start drinking.

Weight and Packability


This filtration system is lightweight and easy to pack into a backpacking pack. The entire kit includes a straw, filter, a 32-ounce storage pouch and a cleaning syringe that weighs about 3.80oz. The filter weighs 1.85 oz on its own, making it a super lightweight on-the-go filtration system.


While it doesn't come with an easy to carry case (which would be nice), we put this into a ziplock bag and bring all the pieces with us. The package is smaller than a Nalgene bottle. As a whole system, it works well for a single person backpacking where water sources are plentiful.

This filtration system also works well for on-the-go activities like trail running and mountain biking. The profile is a little fatter than the narrow, making it harder to fit into small pockets, but it fits easily into the main compartment of any backpack. We don't find it very often that we carry our filter in our pockets anyhow.

This fits nicely inside a stretchy running vest pocket. Just don't lose the straw!
This fits nicely inside a stretchy running vest pocket. Just don't lose the straw!

Ease of Setup


Setup is pretty straightforward. Given that it has a plethora of applications, it can also access a plethora of water sources, small to large.

If you find a shallow puddle and need water quickly, attach the straw to the filter or drink from the input end directly. The straw allows you to drink without getting your face right next to the water. If you need to store a little water, you can use the pouch to gather it from medium to large water sources.


If you need to store more water, you can use a hydration bladder. Unfortunately, you need to load your bladder with contaminated water and put the filter inline. Since it has a drinking end on the filter, you need to switch out the bite valve for the filter.

The Micro is pretty adaptable  fitting any bottle with a normal water bottle thread size.
The Micro is pretty adaptable, fitting any bottle with a normal water bottle thread size.

You can also use it with a gravity filter on the end of the line for easy use. If you've lost your pouch on the trail, and happen to find a plastic bottle somewhere, you can affix the threads to the container, and it'll stick. Overall, this filter is easy to set up and very versatile.

Ease of Filtration


Filtration ease in different modes varies. Of all the on-the-go filtration systems, it's one of the easiest to get water from the source into our mouths, which is facilitated by the fatter diameter that can process water faster. Also, the bite valve is big offering an ample flow of water.

In-line  it's pretty hard to drink from. It's probably a function we wouldn't use if we didn't have to.
In-line, it's pretty hard to drink from. It's probably a function we wouldn't use if we didn't have to.

For the on-the-go system, it takes a little effort to get the flow of water started through the straw. This system purely runs on sucking force, but once you get it going, it offers an adequate amount of flow. The bag filtration is the same, allowing you to suck a decent amount of water through while squeezing the bag gently and sucking on the bite valve. We didn't have any issues with this.

The hydration bladder, however, is a different story. While this is a cool adaptative piece, we probably wouldn't use it in reality. Simply because the filter fits on the end and it always seems like it might fall off. Besides, you have to work hard to get water, which we don't like. Overall, this is one of the best on-the-go filtration systems because of how easy it is to suck water through the system.


Value


For the price, you get a killer filter with versatility and impressive performance. The larger version is more expensive, while the smaller version is less expensive. It features similar performance (and is lighter) but doesn't have the same awesome fast rate of flow. Overall, if you seek a killer on-the-go water filter, this is our favorite option.

While exploring misty ocean-side landscapes  the Sawyer Micro is a perfect tag-along  offering instant and safe hydration along the way while traveling abroad.
While exploring misty ocean-side landscapes, the Sawyer Micro is a perfect tag-along, offering instant and safe hydration along the way while traveling abroad.

Conclusion


The Sawyer Micro Squeeze is a cousin to the original Squeeze but is lighter and more packable. It functions as a personal squeeze filter, straw filter, and works with in-line gravity filters and hydration bladders. It offers stellar longevity allowing you to filter 10,000+ gallons of filtration in the cartridges' lifetime, and probably yours. Its Achilles Heel, though, is a flow rate that might leave you wanting a bit more.

Take a drink anywhere you go.
Take a drink anywhere you go.


Amber King