PortaWell Review

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🧾 Overview

The PortaWell is a high-volume water filter that can remove cysts, pathogenic bacteria, chlorine, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and more. This filter is ideal for camping and RV trips, off-the-grid living, and emergency preparedness. 


Our Rating

📝 System Specifications

Flow rate40-60 gallons per hour
Included filters1-micron sediment filter
Carbon block filter
0.5-micron absolute ceramic filter
Contaminants removed100% cysts, 99.99% pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals, chemicals, and more
Optional extras50-watt solar panel and cables for solar charging, 12-volt battery
Warranty1 year from shipping
Portawell components

💡 Features

Removes 100% Cysts and 99.99% Bacteria

If drinking clean, safe water is essential, the PortaWell will give you the peace of mind you need, removing 100% cysts and up to 99.99% pathogenic bacteria, making it an ideal method for off-grid water purification.

Energy-Saving Device

Despite yielding around ¾ to 1 gallon of clean water per minute, the PortaWell is energy-saving, using less than 35 watts of energy

Long Filter Lifespans

The ceramic filter has a 10,000 gallon lifespan and the carbon filter has a lifespan of 1,000 gallons. This should give you months of use out of the filters before you need to change them. 

Easy to Transport and Store Water

With a dual-use 5-gallon bucket, the PortaWell makes it easy to store and transport clean water. However, because you can use the PortaWell with any water source, you don’t need to carry around large quantities of clean water. 

Integrated Pump

The integrated pump utilized by the system can provide 10-60 gallons of clean drinking water per hour!

Integrated pump on portawell water filter system

👜 Accessories

Three Filters

The PortaWell is offered with three filters: a 1-micron sediment filter, a carbon block filter, and a 0.5-micron absolute ceramic filter. You can mix and match these filters depending on your filtration needs.

5-Gallon Bucket

The PortaWell comes with a 5-gallon bucket that you can use to store or transport water before drinking. 

12-Volt Battery

The PortaWell needs a 12-volt battery to operate. This battery is sold separately on the PortaWell website. If you prefer, you can buy your own 12-volt battery from a hardware store or online.

50-Watt 12-Volt Solar Panel (Optional)

If you want an easy means of charging the PortaWell’s battery while you’re camping or hiking off the grid, you’ll need the 50-watt solar panel and connection cables. These are available at an extra cost on the PortaWell website

portawell solar panel

🚦 Performance

The PortaWell is one of the most impressive portable filtration solutions when it comes to performance. Because this system is battery-operated, you don’t need to wait around for the unit to filter water with gravity or any other less efficient means of filtration. 

It takes around 1 minute for the PortaWell to filter a gallon of water. In a test carried out by the manufacturer, the PortaWell filtered 2.5x more water than a hand-pumped device within 5 minutes. 

Speed isn’t the only impressive aspect of this filter’s performance. The three filter cartridges provide thorough contaminant removal, tackling bacteria, cysts, VOCs, heavy metals, chlorine, and more. The exact contaminants removed depends on which filters you use, but you can rely on the system to meet your water filtration requirements, whatever they are. 

Portawell in use by lake

📝 Filter Cartridges Info

There are three filter cartridges that come with the PortaWell: a 1-micron sediment filter, a carbon block filter, and a 0.5-micron absolute ceramic filter. What makes this filtration system unique is that there are only two filter housings, so it’s your choice which two filters you use in the system depending on what you’re filtering. 

The two filter housings can take any standard 10-inch filter cartridge to fit your specific needs based on the water being filtered. It’s likely that more filters will be offered in the future, so you can swap out filter cartridges depending on what you’re source water filtering. 

If you need to thoroughly filter your water, you can first use the 1-micron sediment filter in the first housing and the carbon block filter in the second housing, then filter your water again, this time using the ceramic filter in the second housing. 

Check the PortaWell website to see what filters are on offer before you buy the product.

Portawell filter cartridges

1-micron Sediment Filter

The 1-micron sediment filter can remove particulates, including dust, dirt, sand, and rust. This filter should be placed in the first filter housing to prevent large particles from clogging any of the second-stage filters.

Carbon Block Filter

The carbon block filter targets chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, and volatile organic compounds, using adsorption to trap these contaminants in the media. 

0.5-Micron Absolute Ceramic Filter

The 0.5-micron absolute ceramic filter focuses on the removal of bacteria and cysts, making water safe to drink. 

🧫 Contaminants Removed

If you filter water using all three filters, the PortaWell is designed to remove the following contaminants: 

  • Cysts (100%)
  • Bacteria
  • Chlorine
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Particulates
  • Heavy metals

🔧 Assembly & Maintenance

How to Assemble the PortaWell

Assembling the PortaWell is a 7-stage process that you should find easy once you’ve done it a few times over. To assemble the PortaWell, follow these steps: 

  1. Install the filters (you can find more information on how to do so here)
  2. Attach the outlet and inlet hoses
  3. Put the outlet hose into the clean water bucket
  4. Put the inlet hose into the unfiltered water bucket
  5. Attach the power cord to the PortaWell SAE connector
  6. Attach the battery to the power cord using the alligator clamps
  7. Press the switch to turn the system on
portawell diagram

PortaWell Maintenance

The PortaWell contains filters that need to be cleaned and/or changed. 

The ceramic filter has a lifespan of 10,000 gallons, and can be washed up to 30 times. You can renew the filter’s flow rate by using a clean plastic brush or soft scouring pad to brush the outer surface of the filter under running water. This will remove the top layer of contaminants. 

The carbon filter can’t be cleaned, so you should replace this after 1,000 gallons or as necessary. 

PortaWell Storage

When the PortaWell isn’t in use, follow these steps for storage:

  1. Remove the pump and allow water to expel from the housing
  2. Take the filters and filter housings out of the unit
  3. Pour residual water out of the filter housings 
  4. Shake the filters to get rid of any excess water
  5. Leave the housings and filters to air-dry until all the water evaporates
  6. Drain excess water in the tubing between the pump’s outlet and the filter housing inlet
  7. Once dry, return the filters and housings to the unit

🔔 Pros & Cons

👍 What We Like

  • The PortaWell makes water clean and safe to drink, removing bacteria, cysts, chlorine, VOCs, and more. 
  • You can use the PortaWell whenever you come across a water source, so if you’re hiking or camping, you don’t need to stock up on large quantities of water beforehand. 
  • The interchangeable filters let you filter your water based on your own requirements. 
  • It’s much easier and faster to use the PortaWell than a hand-pump, because the system is battery-powered and produces up to 1 gallon of water per minute. 
  • The filters have long lifespans of 1,000 and 10,000 gallons, so you can get plenty of use out of this system before you need to replace them. 

👎 What We Don’t Like

  • The unit needs a battery to operate, but the battery isn’t included in the price of the initial purchase. Solar-charging this system also makes sense, but again, the solar panel costs extra.
  • Although the PortaWell is portable and lightweight, it isn’t small enough to fit in your backpack, so it isn’t as convenient as some emergency preparedness water filters. 
  • If you want to make the most of all three filters, you need to run water through the unit twice, which is more time-consuming. 

🙌 How I Use My PortaWell

I typically use my PortaWell when I’m car camping. I’ll take water from the river and quickly filter it in the PortaWell. It’s fast and convenient and saves me having to stock my car with bottled water. 

At home, my PortaWell is a useful emergency preparedness tool that I can use whenever my city is issued with boil water alerts. Again, this saves having to stock up on bottled water, which can be quite stressful when everyone is trying to do the same thing. 

❔ Frequently Asked Questions

Can you Clean the PortaWell’s Carbon Block Filter?

No. You can only clean the ceramic filter. The carbon block filter isn’t cleanable, and you could end up damaging the filter if you try. 

What Spare Parts Should you Buy with the PortaWell?

The manufacturer recommends buying spare carbon and ceramic filters, as well as spare o-rings for the filter housing, silicon grease, and a chlorination kit.

Does the PortaWell Remove Fluoride?

No, but you can use a standard-sized filter that fits in the PortaWell from another manufacturer if you want to remove fluoride. 

Can you Use the PortaWell for Everyday Use?

Yes, and you can even connect it up to your kitchen sink with some plumbing changes. 

  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

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