Sawyer Tap Filtration System Review

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🧾 Overview

Traveling abroad for work or play is always a cause for excitement – and the last thing you want is to spoil your trip by drinking contaminated water.

Our bodies are used to the tap water we drink in the US, which has been treated to remove bacteria, protozoa and other pathogens that may make us sick. In other countries, water contains a higher level of these contaminants. While the locals can tolerate the quality of the water they’ve been drinking since childhood, it’s likely to have an adverse reaction when a non-local drinks it.

Luckily, there’s a solution for safely drinking water while you’re abroad – and it doesn’t mean having to buy enough bottled water to see you through your stay. The Sawyer Tap Filter is a portable water filter that can be attached to a kitchen faucet or outdoor spigot to provide you with clean water when you need it most.

This lightweight filter is perfectly sized for stashing in your backpack and taking with you on your trips around the world. It offers high-performance filtration, removing biological contaminants and making your water safe to drink.

💡 Specifications/ What’s Included

  • 0.1 Micron Absolute Hollow Fiber Membrane Tap Filter
  • Threaded Spigot Adapter
  • Backwash Adapter
  • Tap Gurage
  • Tap Adapter for other Sawyer filters
  • Extension Hose
  • Longevity: Up to 500 gallons per day
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Filter material: Hollow Fiber Membrane
sawyer tap filter included parts

🚦 Performance & Filtration Rate

The Sawyer filter is made from hollow u-shaped tiny tubes that provide a thorough 0.1-micron absolute filtration (the same used in their MINI filter). You won’t get a better performance if you’re looking for pathogen removal, as most filters don’t have a small enough micron rating to remove the likes of bacteria and protozoa. 

Because you can attach the Sawyer filter straight onto a faucet, it’s powered by water pressure, which gives you immediate access to clean drinking water – no waiting around before you can have a drink. You will need to backwash this filter, however, to prevent blockages and maintain a high water flow rate.

sawyer tap filtration system

🧫 Contaminants Removed

The Sawyer tap filter’s top priority is to remove harmful pathogens from water, not to improve its taste. Because the filter has tiny 0.1 micron pores, it’s capable of removing the smallest pathogens that are often missed by general water filters, including bacteria (leptospirosis and salmonella), cysts (giardia and e.coli), and protozoa (typhi). The filter meets the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency’s) standards for removal of these contaminants. 

You can’t remove viruses with this filter, but it’s highly unlikely that any tap water source in the area you’re visiting will contain viruses. Always check before you drink if you’re visiting a developing country. 

sawyer tap filtration system extension hose
Using the extension hose

👌 Ease of Use

The Sawyer is a great solution for anyone who’s looking for convenience. Many filters for pathogens rely on gravity filtration and require connecting up to special bags and tubes, but the Sawyer simply acts as an extension on the end of a faucet. 

It’s easy to use the Sawyer filter – you just attach it to a faucet or hose bib spigot and switch it on as usual. The water will flow through the filter, through the tube and into a clean container or bottle of your choice. 

Being small and lightweight, you can keep the Sawyer in your backpack or purse and take it out whenever you need it. Once you’ve set the filter up once, you don’t need to do it again – all you’ll need to do is attach it to whichever faucet you come across for drinking. You don’t even have to attach the included hose if you don’t want to; simply connect the filter to the end of your faucet and hold a glass or bottle directly underneath.

sawyer threaded spigot adapter
Threaded spigot adapter

🔧 Installation & Maintenance

The Sawyer tap filtration system isn’t designed for permanent installation at a single faucet. Instead, it’s intended for installing at various faucets to provide a temporary filtration solution as and when needed.

This filter is compatible with any standard faucet between 17 and 20 millimeters in diameter, so it’s pretty versatile – just make sure that you don’t turn the water on too high, as a pressure of more than 40 PSI might damage the filter fibers. 

There’s limited maintenance required with the system, as there’s only one filter, and it doesn’t need changing frequency. Like many portable filtration solutions, the filter will need to be backwashed to remove lingering contaminants, prevent blockages, and keep it working at its best.

To do this, you’ll need to attach the backwash adaptor to the filter and attach it to your faucet in the opposite direction that you would usually. Switch on the faucet and let water flush through the system and down the drain.

Using the filter with a threaded spigot
Using the filter with a threaded spigot

📆 Filter Longevity & Replacement

An individual filter is capable of filtering around 500 gallons of water per day (which you’ll probably never need it for, given that the average person drinks half a gallon per day!). If you look after the filter and use it properly, you’ll be able to use it for more than 10 years. Note that the shelf life is 10 years, so even if you only use the filter on one-off occasions, it’ll still need replacing after a decade.

backwashing the sawyer tap filter system
Backwashing the Sawyer tap filter

🔔 Pros & Cons

👍 Pros

  • Small and portable – The Sawyer is lightweight and small enough to comfortably fit in a flight bag. 
  • Convenient filtration solution – Being able to attach the filter directly to a faucet offers a no-fuss, low-effort clean drinking water solution. 
  • Thorough filtration  – With 0.1 micron pores, the Sawyer meets EPA standards for the removal of bacteria, protozoa and cysts.

👎 Cons

  • Doesn’t remove viruses – If you’re looking for a filter that can remove viruses, the Sawyer filtration system won’t do it for you. 
  • For faucets only – You won’t be able to take the Sawyer on a backpacking trip in the wilderness if you won’t have access to a faucet. You can’t use this filter to treat water from lakes or streams

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  • 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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