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Sawyer Squeeze Review

A simple filtration system that will provide a lifetime of filtered water for your backcountry needs.
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Price:  $50 List | $40.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, easy to use and compact, lifetime guarantee
Cons:  Difficult to treat multiple people's water, hard to fill filter bags, filter bags can break
Manufacturer:   Sawyer
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 19, 2018
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 20
  • Reliability - 25% 8
  • Weight - 20% 9
  • Treatment Capacity - 20% 6
  • Speed - 15% 9
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8

Our Verdict

After taking another look at this time-tested product, the Sawyer Squeeze has stood the test of time and still holds up against many of its competitors in this crowded market. We love the Squeeze's simple design that is easy to use and backflush in the field. It delivers clean, tasty water into our parched mouths instantly or fills our containers quickly. It is an ounce heavier than its little sister, the Mini, and a little bulky, but has a slightly better flow rate and takes longer to get clogged before needing cleaning.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The extremely popular Sawyer Mini's big brother the Sawyer Squeeze still works great and comes with a lifetime warranty. This filter is a great choice for your backpacking needs!

Performance Comparison


The Sawyer Squeeze provides instant drinking water.
The Sawyer Squeeze provides instant drinking water.

Reliability


The Squeeze filters out everything you should worry about living in your water in North America, including that pesky bacteria, cryptosporidium. It also filters out any dirt or particulate with its small .1 micron filter size, unlike chemical treatments like the Katadayn Micropur MP1 which will not filter out particulate, but does treat for viruses. If you're traveling to an area where you think there may be viruses in the water you'll want to use a combination of a filter like the Squeeze and chemicals to treat for viruses. The MSR Guardian will do both but is very expensive.

Our main concern in this category with the Squeeze is that its bags seem to be its weakness. They are not super durable, can tear and can be over-tightened which will cause leaks in the o-rings. We recommend bringing a spare bag or bottle along in case this happens. The Sawyer Squeeze also cannot be frozen and must be replaced if it is suspected that it has been. This just means being careful with your filter and putting it close to your body in sub-freezing temperatures and in your sleeping bag at night. Most of the filter models we tested cannot be frozen.

Ease of Use


The Squeeze is extremely intuitive to use. Just fill up the bag, screw on the filter and you're good to go - squeeze away to drink or fill another vessel. Once the filter starts getting clogged it can be more laborious to squeeze the water out of the bag. We recommend taking the time to back flush the Squeeze with the included syringe often to avoid frustration and getting "pumped" when trying to get water through the filter.

The Sawyer Squeeze set up in "gravity" mode. This system seems less efficient than other gravity filters with larger reservoirs.
The Sawyer Squeeze set up in "gravity" mode. This system seems less efficient than other gravity filters with larger reservoirs.

The easiest filters to use are the gravity filter models we tested like the Platypus Gravityworks filter. Sawyer has included a way that you can jury rig this model into a gravity filter. It works fairly well, but the mesh bag that is included needs a stronger string to hang by, ours promptly broke. Also, because the bags are small you can still only filter a small amount at once and need to refill the bag often so this seems to negate the usefulness of a gravity filter where you can just fill the reservoir and go about other business.

We were impressed with the rate of flow in gravity mode.
We were impressed with the rate of flow in gravity mode.

The small string meant to hang the mesh bag in gravity mode immediately broke.
The small string meant to hang the mesh bag in gravity mode immediately broke.

Weight


The Sawyer Squeeze is one of the lightest filter units in this review after the Mini and the Aquamira Frontier Max. It weighs in at 3oz for the filter with an additional .5 ounce per bag, .7 ounce for the syringe and 1.1 ounces for the mesh bag and adapter tube for the gravity filter system.

Treatment Capacity


Sawyer gives this filter a lifetime warranty and does not specify how many liters the filter can treat. The Mini has a 100,000-gallon lifespan. These are both pretty good specifications. The limiting factor for the Squeeze is the included bags. They are only 1L in size so require frequent re-filling if you're trying to treat a large group's water for the day, which is time-consuming. However, if you have all the time in the world, you could use this filter forever (with lots of backflushing) and it would keep on trucking.

It is more time consuming to fill many bottles  and the bag gets more difficult to squeeze when it's clogged after filtering lots of water.
It is more time consuming to fill many bottles, and the bag gets more difficult to squeeze when it's clogged after filtering lots of water.

Speed


You can have instant drinking water through this filter! If you're trying to fill many bottles of water for a group, as we mentioned above, the process will be much slower. The bag only holds 1 liter at a time so you'll have to fill it up from the source repeatedly. The more the filter is used, the slower it gets until you're able to thoroughly backflush it. The Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L was the fastest of the bunch filtering a liter of water in 40 seconds - with no squeezing!

Best Application


The Sawyer Squeeze is a great choice for a personal backpacking water filter. This may be a better choice over the Mini for an extended backcountry trip as you won't have to backflush it as much. It's not great for filtering large quantities of water and instead, we'd recommend a gravity filter like the MSR Autoflow.

Amanda Fenn drinking out of the Sawyer Squeeze. Though this filter is light and long lasting  it is awkward to drink from and not very conducive to filtering water for a group of people or for cooking while camping.
Amanda Fenn drinking out of the Sawyer Squeeze. Though this filter is light and long lasting, it is awkward to drink from and not very conducive to filtering water for a group of people or for cooking while camping.

Value


The Squeeze is a decent value at $40. It comes with 2 bags, the mesh bag, and hose for the gravity system and the cleaning syringe. We think the Mini is a slightly better deal retailing for $25.

Conclusion


This filter is becoming a new classic on the trail. We think the Sawyer Squeeze is a simple to use product that gets fresh, purified water into your mouth quickly! If you're trying to decide between the Squeeze and the Mini, the Squeeze has a slightly higher flow, a lifetime guarantee and will treat more water before it gets clogged up. This means it could be a better choice for extended trips, as it comes with an included second bag as well.


Jessica Haist