Can You Use a Water Filter Pitcher for Emergency Preparedness?

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Wondering whether a water filter pitcher is suitable for disaster preparedness?

In this article, we’ve shared everything you need to know about using a pitcher filter jug in emergency situations

📌 Key Takeaways: 

  • You can use a water filter pitcher for disaster preparedness, but there are better alternatives for this purpose. 
  • The benefits of water filter pitchers for emergencies are that they’re portable and compact, they don’t require electricity or water pressure, they’re affordable, and they’re easy to use. 
  • The setbacks of water filter pitchers for disaster preparedness are that they don’t guarantee potable water, they can’t filter turbid water, and they can only filter small batches of water. 

🔍 What Is A Water Filter Pitcher?

Before we look at the possibility of using a water filter pitcher in disaster preparedness, we need to understand how this filtration device works. 

A water filter pitcher is a pitcher jug that’s separated into two compartments. Water can only enter the main bottom compartment of the jug by traveling through a filter that sits beneath the top compartment. 

To use a water filter pitcher, you simply fill it with water, then wait for the water to filter into the bottom compartment. You can then pour from the pitcher to fill a glass or a bottle. 

Water filter pitcher

💧 Can You Use A Water Filter Pitcher For Disaster Preparedness?

You can certainly use a water filter pitcher for disaster preparedness. However, this filter type isn’t the very best option for using in an emergency situation. 

To understand why, you need to imagine a scenario in which you might need to filter your water. Perhaps a natural disaster has compromised the quality of your tap water or cut off your water supply altogether, and, in a worst-case scenario, your only option is to drink water from a natural, untreated source. 

In this scenario, most water filter pitchers won’t necessarily make your water safe to drink because they’re only designed to be used to filter treated water sources. 

The sediment and turbidity in your water could clog the filter surface, bacteria and algae could multiply inside the filter membrane, and tiny pathogens could easily slip through the filter pores and end up being ingested by you and your family. 

The best water filters for disaster preparedness are flushable filters with very small pores that can trap even the smallest pathogens and can be backwashed to clear the filter surface and prevent clogging, making them suitable for long-term use. 

🤔 What Type Of Water Filter Pitcher Is Best For Disaster Preparedness?

If we had to pick any type of water filter pitcher for disaster preparedness, we’d choose one of the best water filter pitchers for well water

Well water filter pitchers have filter media that’s specifically designed to remove smaller contaminants, like pathogens, or designed to remove as many impurities as possible. 

However, even with a well water filter pitcher, we’d still recommend pre-treating your water in advance. There are a couple of ways to do this: 

  • If you think your water has a chance of being contaminated with pathogens, boil it for two minutes, then let it cool before filtering it in the pitcher. Or, if you can’t boil your water, add purification drops (which you can also buy for your emergency preparedness stash). 
  • If your water looks turbid or has visible particles of sediment, dirt, sand, or other debris, filter it through a coffee filter to remove these particles. If you don’t have a coffee filter, use a clean t-shirt, sock, or another item of clothing to filter your water. 
Water filter pitcher for disaster preparedness

✨ Benefits Of Water Filter Pitchers For Disaster Preparedness

Let’s look at some of the top benefits of using a water filter pitcher for disaster preparedness. 

Don’t Require Electricity

Whether you want to prepare for the possibility of flooding, an earthquake, war, severe weather, or any other disaster, you need to account for the potential for a lack of electricity in any of these scenarios. 

Water filter pitchers are a good solution for accessing clean water when you don’t necessarily have a usable electricity supply. Pitchers don’t need electricity to filter your water – they use gravity filtration, which is slower but produces guaranteed results. 

You can take a water filter pitcher to any location that has a water supply, whether you have a nearby usable power outlet or not. 

Don’t Need Water Pressure

A similar benefit of water filter pitchers is that they don’t need to be powered by water pressure. 

Some water filters, like under-sink and whole-home filtration systems, are hooked up to a water line and rely on water pressure to send water quickly through the filter stages. 

As we mentioned, pitcher filters use gravity, which causes water to flow down through the filter and into the pitcher jug. That means you don’t have to install or connect a pitcher at your water line, when, in a potential emergency situation, your home’s water supply might have been cut off. 

Slow gravity filtration process

Portable Solution

Because a water filter pitcher doesn’t need power or water pressure, you’re free to take it anywhere that you may have to travel to in a disaster – whether that’s to a nearby safe space, another part of the country, or another part of the world. 

Water filter pitchers take just seconds to set up: simply put the pitcher on a flat surface, attach the top water chamber, fill it with water, and secure the lid. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of disassembling and assembling a complex filtration system every time you need to move locations. 

Small And Compact

Following on from the above benefit, a water filter pitcher is small and compact, making it ideal for fitting in a backpack or a reusable bag, storing in the trunk of your car, or stashing in a suitcase while you’re on the move. 

If you have a cupboard in your home that you dedicate to disaster preparedness, you should be able to fit a water pitcher amongst your other items without taking up too much space. 

Small and compact design of a water filter pitcher

Reliable Long-Term Filtration

You can’t ever predict how long a theoretical emergency might last, but it’s wise to be prepared for more than a single day of disruption. 

The great thing about water filter pitchers is that their filters last 2-3 months and can be swapped out for new filters throughout the year, making them an effective and reliable solution for long-term filtration. 

If you want the reassurance of consistent results, a water filter pitcher is a good option to consider. 

Affordable Filter Device

You might not want to spend a fortune on a water filtration solution that you plan to use solely for emergencies, and (hopefully!) will never need to use at all. 

Water filter pitchers are affordable, costing around $40-$80 upfront on average, so you don’t have to break the bank to make emergency preparations. 

You can also stock up on replacement filters to keep you going for a year or two, costing less than $100 for a batch. 

Affordability of water filter pitchers

⚠️ Setbacks Of Water Filter Pitchers For Disaster Preparedness

There are a few setbacks of water filter pitchers that you should also be aware of if you’re considering using a pitcher for emergency preparedness: 

Can’t Filter Big Batches Of Water

A big disadvantage of water filter pitchers is that they can’t filter big batches of water. 

If you’re on the move and need to filter as much water as possible from your guaranteed water source, or you have a big party of more than 4 people, a water filter pitcher may restrict you. 

You can only filter around 6-12 cups of water at a time, depending on the pitcher size. So, if you have a big party or you need a lot of filtered water, fast, you’ll have no choice but to wait for the pitcher to filter one batch of water, then pour the filtered water into a separate container, refill the pitcher, and start the process again. 

Don’t Guarantee Pathogen-Free Water

As we mentioned earlier, not all water filter pitchers remove pathogens from water – and even those that do may be unable to guarantee pathogen-free water that’s safe to drink

Some microorganisms, like viruses, are so tiny that they can slip through even the smallest filter pores. So, even if your pitcher filter is able to remove larger bacteria particles, you may still be at risk of getting sick if your water contains viruses. 

For this reason, we recommend also boiling your water to kill any microorganisms before letting it cool and passing it through the water filter pitcher – but, of course, boiling water may not be an easy option in an emergency situation. 

Can’t Be Used To Filter Turbid Water

Another setback of water filter pitchers is that they can’t be used to treat turbid water. 

If you’re facing a disaster or an emergency, you may not have guaranteed access to fresh, non-turbid water.

The majority of water filter pitchers are designed to filter tap water, which has been treated by water utilities to remove sediment and debris. 

If you put sediment-rich water into a pitcher, the sediment will clog the filter almost instantly. You can’t backflush a water pitcher filter as you can with dedicated emergency preparedness filters, which means the filter will be rendered useless once it becomes too clogged for water to flow through. 

Different levels of turbidity in water

❓ So, Should You Use A Water Filter Pitcher For Disaster Preparedness?

While we think water filter pitchers have their benefits and are certainly better than nothing when it comes to disaster preparedness, they’re not the very best solution available. 

A water filter pitcher is unlikely to protect you from all the contaminants you may find in a compromised water supply. 

Your best bet is to look for a water filter that’s designed specifically for treating contaminated or untreated natural water bodies, making it ideal for use in emergency situations. 

🔄 Alternatives To Water Filter Pitchers For Emergency Use

Now you know the pros and cons of water filter pitchers for disaster preparedness, you might want to consider some alternative filters that are better suited to this purpose. 

Filtered Water Bottle

For folks looking for a personal water filter for emergency use, a filtered water bottle is the best alternative to a water filter pitcher. 

Filtered water bottles have built-in filters that can remove microorganisms in contaminated water. Some bottle water filters can also remove chemicals, heavy metals, and other common pollutants and impurities

We recommend the Grayl Geopress or Ultrapress for emergency use, since it removes bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, as well as chlorine, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and more. 

grayl ultrapress water filter bottle parts

Pump Water Filter

A pump water filter is a good alternative to a water filter pitcher for families looking to quickly filter big batches of water. 

Some pump filters are electricity-powered, but others are solar-powered or simply operated by hand pumping, so you can use them regardless of where you’re located and whether or not you have access to power. 

Pump water filters have a few different types of filter media, including sediment filter, carbon filter, and ceramic filters. Some pump filters have several filter cartridges that you can swap out depending on your situation and what you want to filter. 

Pump water filter

Squeeze Filter

If you prefer a versatile filter that can be used with water bottles, containers, storage bags, and more, a squeeze filter is a great choice. 

To use a squeeze filter, you attach the filter to a bottle or the included squeeze bag, then squeeze the bottle or bag to send the water through the filter and into your mouth. You could also point the nozzle at a bucket or container if you wanted to make a batch of water to save for later. 

Like the other emergency filters we’ve mentioned, squeeze filters use a filtration media that can remove contaminants as small as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans

Drinking filtered water from a squeeze filter

📑 Final Word

Water filter pitchers are ideal for filtering municipal water at home, but if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation where your clean drinking water supply is compromised, a water filter pitcher won’t provide the comprehensive filtration that you need. 

Filtration jugs are better than nothing – but we recommend investing in a dedicated emergency water filter if you want to best prepare for a possible disaster. 

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