My relatives will be travelling in North America, UK, and Hong Kong. For environmentalism, they do not use bottled water, and need a water filter that:

  1. removes chemicals, metals, and pathogens. They will always boil any filtered water as extra precaution.

  2. can be transported (i.e. no installation or plumbing changes needed)

  3. are not jug/pitchers (e.g. BRITA, Mavea, Pur) because 'They can reduce chlorine, but they are not the best home water filters for removing VOCs, fluoride, heavy metals and endocrine disruptors.'

These should be non-electrical (question for electrically powered filters here)

  • 1
    Please do use a favor and edit your question from negative requirements to positives ones: what specifically do you want the filters to filter out ('chemicals' in the title is too broad)? I also fail to see why jug or pitcher filters are excluded by definition; it's the filtering agent that does the work, not the container type.
    – user40521
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 19:04
  • @JanDoggen The main question is posed positively in the title: are there portable water filters without electricity that filter chemicals, metals, and pathogens?.
    – user13759
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 19:10
  • As you can see, I've edited down your question quite a bit, removing extraneous details and commentary, in hopes of getting a response. You can undo, if you wish. I've also voted to close your second question, as it's not relevant until you get an answer to this.
    – Giorgio
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 20:19
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    What sort of water sources will they be filtering? How portable does the device need to be? From the places you mentioned, the vast majority of tourists won't encounter places where the water needs to be filtered. Those that do would be doing backcountry hiking, where the size and weight of the device are very important (and this question might be more suited to outdoors.stackexchange.com, eg. Will any filter/pump purifier last through longer hikes?). Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 22:16
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    @Timere: If they're staying in "cities and hotels" in the places you mentioned, then there is absolutely nothing to worry about regarding water quality, and attempting to do your own treatment is a waste of time, money, and energy. In my opinion. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 9:06

3 Answers 3


First of all, why not just use bottled water?

Anyway, I'll assume you have some good reason not to. For example, if you travel to a lot to places where you don't drink the tap water, you'll save money in the long run by purifying it yourself. However, it's inconvenient to carry a purifier around while traveling. On the positive side, it's cheaper, and better for the environment in the long run than buying bottled water. However, you might want to do some maths on how long that long run needs to be for this to make sense.

Reverse Osmosis removes metals, chemicals and microorganisms from the water.

You can find a portable Reverse Osmosis system. It's similar technology to what I've described in a related answer, only more compact and portable. Portable RO systems can run on the mere water pressure of taps.

Here's a system sold at Amazon US. It requires no electricity. It's particularly advertised as being portable and suitable for travel. I'm not advocating (nor discouraging) buying this particular product, I'm including it as proof that portable RO systems do exist. RO is one of today's most trusted and widely used methods of water purification.

  • @ZachLipton Because they harm the environment?
    – user13759
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 20:22
  • @ZachLipton Yeah, most travelers will prefer just using bottled water. Dragging an RO system around is certainly inconvenient. In order for this to be economical and practical, you have to: 1. Be someone who travels quite frequently to places with poor water and stays there for extended periods of time. 2. Be the type of traveler who just goes to a single location and stays there for weeks/months. In that case you might not mind having an RO system in your luggage. And in that case, it's probably also OK that you have to fill up your bottles in the house.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 20:28
  • This is not portable and weighs at least 5kg after using it the first time. RO systems also require pressure to operate. --- nb. is it really necessary to post amazon links here? Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 21:27
  • @life-on-mars That is per definition portable.. Inconvenient, yes. Buy you can fit that in a normal suitcase. Pressure can be found in any water tap. .
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 7:20
  • @Revetahw That is not a definition but promotional language. The filter system you advertised here is a set of generic modules originally designed to be installed in a fixed place. It also requires to be connected in a way that assures enough pressure is contained. Given the weight of the system and the nature of the OP's travel plans, it is unlikely that the system can be used at all. The provided connector does not usually fit on taps found in various shapes in hotel rooms. It's "portability" is severely restricted and probably meant to be used within one home or perhaps camping sites. Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 10:42

At the risk of being flagged "not an answer" I am going to ignore your overly-broad and perhaps-unsupported worries of "chemicals and metals" and concentrate on pathogens.

While it may seem impossible, devices exist that use batteries (you can charge them typically with any USB charger) and that remove pathogens - bacteria, viruses, protozoa, etc - without heating the water or leaving a taste. They operate on UV light, which is a great sterilizer. One manufacturer sells a number of models that can easily fit in a pocket, for less than $100. My only affiliation is that I bought a different model from that manufacturer and am very happy with it. I used it throughout the Pacific, in places where the hotel told us to treat the water (boil for 20 minutes, one place said), and never had any water-related issues. A family member took it through Asia and stayed healthy in places where the water was known to be untrustworthy. You can easily use it for days on a charge, it's not plugged in while you use it, and there's no concerns about power adapters or the like since it's just USB.

You treat about 500ml of water at a time - a mug or glass - and it takes 90 seconds. I wouldn't want to treat a bathtub, but for the volumes you're likely to drink it's fine. It's so small you can take it into a restaurant and treat the tap water they serve you. It's easy and it works.

  • 1
    Kate, the OP asked for non-electrical filters and this was edited out. I have edited it back in (pending approval). He/she also has a question for electrically powered system. Please move this answer there.
    – user40521
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 6:13
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    The water where I am currently has an extremely high concentration of the chemical hydrogen hydroxide, and I believe filters are not sufficient to remove all of it. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 12:31
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    @hippietrail - Try one of these. They can remove almost all chemicals from the container if your choice.
    – CMaster
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 12:41
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    @Fiksdal Oops, yes. coleparmer.co.uk/Category/Vacuum_Pumps/6902
    – CMaster
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 16:01
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    @hippietrail DHMO kills thousands every year. Surely you want to ban this dangerous chemical from the water supply? Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 20:41

My two cents: There are multiple filters out there, some of which will filter out viruses, some that will not. There are many factors to consider with any system: size, cost, capability.

As you state your parents want to filter before boiling I think that the following link has information on filters that may apply to the situation: one of many online filter reviews

Also, here is a page on hiking/camping drinking water from the US centers for disease control Guide to Drinking Water Treatment and Sanitation for Backcountry & Travel Use

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    backpacking water filters (which I use when backpacking) do not clear chemicals or metal. You answer would be better if it made that clear, and perhaps listed some names of search terms rather than just a link. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 0:12
  • The page in the link clearly states what each system can and cannot do. Are answers supposed to preclude the reader from having to, well, read the information in the linked page? Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 11:14
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    NZKshatriya: Actually, it's indeed better to include relevant information in the answer itself. The link is your source, but valuable information should be included into the body of the answer. (If quoting short passages verbatim, use the "quotation" markup.) @KateGregory
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 11:20
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    Good to know, will remember that from now on. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 12:31
  • @NZKshatriya You may even consider improving and expanding this particular answer.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 12:43

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