SteriPEN vs Filter: Which One is the Better Option? 

Planning a camping trip, but still haven’t found a safe drinking source? Well, we have the perfect article to help you out with that. Here we put two of the best SteriPEN and filters to the test.

So, which one’s the best option, SteriPEN vs Filter?

SteriPEN and filter are both great water purifiers. However, their filtration techniques vary a lot. Now the SteriPEN uses UV lights to purify the dirtiest waters. On the other hand, Filters clean only the bacterias from clean water. Comparatively, filters can purify more water compared to SteriPEN over its lifespan. 

Like the overview, you’re seeing? Well then, we have a tough fight among them detailed down below. Scroll through to know all about it!

Mythbusting: Does the SteriPEN Really Work?

Yes, SteriPEN works very well. Especially when it is used correctly! The SteriPEN aqua UV water purifier is one of the best water filtration devices.

Moreover, it reduces the bacteria count by 99.99% and the spore count by 99.57%. Also, the  UV filter disinfects the water from almost every kind of organisms

Quick Overview

Before starting the detailed comparison, let’s go through a quick overview of the two products. As the name suggests, the SteriPEN looks like a pen. The filter on the other hand looks like a Sawyer water filter. Plus it’s easy and simple to use.

And just like you need the best sleeping arrangements like sleeping bag or wool blanket to have a great camping trip, it goes the same with filters. 

Let’s have a basic rundown of the two products.

Filter TypeUV PurifierSegmented Filter
Weight3-6.7 oz. (depending on the model)2 oz.
UsageUp to 8000 litersUp to 100,000 gallons
Speed90 sec/literNA
Number of Treatments1
Container Size1-5 litersNo need for a container

This was the quick comparison, now let’s get to the nerdy details.

The Nerdy Details: Steripen UV Purifier vs Filter

Well, we’ve had somewhat of a basic idea of these two filters. So let’s now get into the nitty-gritty details.

What Type of Water Can it Decontaminate?

Knowing about the type of water both products can decontaminate is imperative. Because it lets us know the limits of these filtrations systems. So check out which one takes the lead on this segment.

Steripen UV Purifier

SteriPEN is intended for use and is most effective in clear water. However, SteriPEN has been shown to reduce contamination in cloudy water as well. Hence making this a great traveling product.

Also, there is an added benefit of SteriPEN backpacking. That is, it can filter your water for safe drinking, it’s lightweight and easy to carry.

So, does SteriPEN remove viruses?

Yes, SteriPEN removes viruses. It uses a short wave of germicidal UV light to purify water. This disrupts the DNA within bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Hence renders them unable to reproduce, and therefore are harmless.


Filters are also effective in getting rid of dirt and foreign objects from the water. Hence it gives you safe and clear water.

 Depending on water filter quality, It can filter clear water as well as dirty water. This is an affordable traveling accessory that ensures the utmost water filtration on the go.

Now, this filter is great at what it does. However, it has difficulties filtering out small microscopic organisms like bacteria and viruses. This is why it’s better to use this filter on clear water sources where there are minimal bacterias.  

Winner: As you can see SteriPEN takes the lead on this aspect.

How Safe is it?

While camping, you want to have the cleanest possible water you can get. So let’s now get into the details of which one takes the lead here. 

Steripen UV Purifier

SteriPEN uses a UV purification and filtration system. This helps to kill almost 99.99% of foreign bodies within the water.


So, are UV light water filters safe?

Yes, UV light water filters are safe. The process of UV filtration when used correctly can kill up to 99.99% of harmful bacteria and viruses in water. However, it can only be used in clear to slightly cloudy water. As within those parameters, the light can work effectively.


These portable water filtration systems are very safe to use. They can purify water using various filtering layers. Thus, giving you the best drinking water. Moreover, present-time filtration systems can filter out almost all types of bacterias.


However, they don’t use the UV filtration system to clean the water. That’s why the process is a bit less comparatively.

Winner: In this round, the SteriPEN wins again!

How Fast Can it Filter or Purify Water?

If you’re in the wilderness, you usually need quick access to clean water. This is just like between Hexamine and Trioxane, you’d want the best. So let’s have a comparison on which one’s the best.

Steripen UV Purifier

SteriPEN has a very effective and fast filtration time. It can work at 48 seconds per 500ml  flow rate. Plus a SteriPEN can filter up to 8,000 liters within its lifespan. So that’s gonna last you a long time.


This variation of outdoor water filtration systems has a good filtration time as well. The water is filtered via the suction created while sipping through the system. Here the waster cleans at a rate of 1 minute per 1.7 liters of water. So we can see that comparatively, this is a much slower process.

Winner: Here, SteriPEN again takes the lead!

How Much you Can Purify or Filter?

Knowing about how much water you can pass through in one charge or at a time is important. Head over to the section to explore more about the winner.

SteriPEN UV Purifier

SteriPEN can filter about 50 liters of water in one charge. This means that they can filter over 8000 liters of water within the filtration period.

Moreover, like all other water filters, this also provides you 1000 gallons of water within its lifespan.


A basic filtration system can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water before becoming obsolete. However, this number can vary according to the state of the water you’re filtering. So, if you’re mostly filtering dirty water then the comparison is likely to be much lesser. 

Winner: In this case, the filter takes the lead. As it’s longevity gives it a great edge over its opponent.

If you are in for long trip, here’s our recommendation for filters.

What Containers Does it Work with?

Knowing what type of container it can manage to do its filtration with is relevant. As that lets us know about what appliances we should have with us while traveling.

Steripen UV Purifier

SteriPEN can be used within plastic, glass, ceramic, and metal bottles. Although metallic bottles are prone to block the UV light. Hence this might get in the way of the UV filtration system. So, it’s advised by the manufacturer to use UV-safe metal containers.

Moreover, SteriPEN also makes its own bottles for the filtration device. These SteriPEN bottles are made to make the filtration process much simpler and hassle-free. Furthermore, SteriPEN Nalgene bottles can do a pre-purifying process to make the water much safer to drink.

Mostly, the portable device can filter a liter of water within 90 seconds. Plus, traveling demands space management, and 1-liter is perfect for both of these.


In the case of filters, you can use a filtration system in all kinds of water filter bottles. This is the beauty of a normal filtration system. This means no container limit, hence no extra need for added appliances.

Winner: The clear winner is the filter. As it doesn’t even need any specific containers to work on. 

Does it Work Under Different Bad Weather Conditions?

Bad weather may affect the filtration work as filtering water is a precise process. Let’s see which one bodes well.

Steripen UV Purifier

A SteriPEN is an electric device using batteries. Thus, can work under any weather condition. Moreover, as long as the batteries are charged, it’ll supply you with clean water. This battery-operated system thus makes SteriPEN more flexible to use in such cases.


Similarly, filter systems aren’t susceptible to weather conditions or parameters as well. Plus they have a basic design and have no mechanical or intrusive parts in them. A filter system can be used in any condition. As long as the water it’s filtering is not filled with too much debris.

Winner: In this instance, it’s a tie as both of these are operable in bad condition. However, comparatively, SteriPEN might have a slight edge.

How Versatile is it?

The more versatile the product is, the better compatibility it has. Moreover, it becomes much more convenient to use it in certain outdoor activities as well!

Steripen UV Purifier

The SteriPEN is a great product in terms of versatility. It conversely has a better filtration system. However, it has its quicks when it comes to the type of container that can be used. Such as you can’t use metal as it contradicts the filtration system. 

Moreover, it’s battery-powered, so the pros and cons are up for debate. But nonetheless, it’s the best at what it does. 


The Filter is much easier to use. This can work on any and every container and is durable. However, it can’t filter all sorts of water, this might lag behind a little. But if you’re not using it outdoors it can be a great filtration system.

Winner: Now for outdoor heavy use, SteriPEN has an edge. But for normal use, you should go for the Filter!

What is the Shelf Life?

The longevity of these products is one of the key criteria for making the purchasing decision. You’d always want to buy something that works for a long time as well as works well. So, let’s have a look at the details. 

Steripen UV Purifier

SteriPEN is an electric filtration system made to be long-lasting. It’s got a very respectable shelf life for its cost and can be of use to you for years.

So, how long does SteriPEN last?

One SteriPEN can filter up to 8,000 liters within its lifespan. That can be up to 2-3 years if you’re a very regular traveler. But if you’re not using it on a regular basis, it can last longer!


Portable filter systems aren’t electric like the SteriPEN one. But, they are greatly long-lasting and very easy to use. You just drink the water using a filtration system like you’d sip your drink from the straw. 

Now you might wonder, how long is a backpacking water filter good for?

A Backpacking water filter can basically last you a lifetime. This can filter over 100,000 gallons of water, which might calculate about 40 years. The longevity of this device is this high because it has no mechanical parts that can break down.

Although we’re mentioning the approximate lifespan of this device, it can depend on some factors. For example, in case the filter paper discolors or blackens out, you’ll have to change the filter. Hence, such variables can fluctuate the timespan.

Winner: It’s quite obvious that filter takes the lead on this one by a long range.

Is it Difficult to Use?

No matter you’re outdoors or indoor, a complex mechanized filter can easily discourage you from using that. So, your buying decision will be heavily dependent on this as well!

Steripen UV Purifier

Using the SteriPEN isn’t so difficult at all. It’s a really easy working device. Basically when it’s filtering the SteriPEN blinking red light is a sign. Once the filtration is done, you’ll see the SteriPEN blinking green light. That’ll indicate the water has been filtered and it’s safe to drink.

It’s that plain and simple. 


A filter is the easiest device to use. The mechanism of this is like a straw. So, you’ll have to sip through the filter and drink! That’s all. However, make sure you’re only using clean water for this. 

Winner: By comparison Filter is the easiest to use, so is SteriPEN.

Does it Require Any Special Care & Maintenance?

Maintenance is a major point in which the products need to be good. The durability of the product determines which one is the least problem magnet.

Steripen UV Purifier

Now SteriPEN as its system requires uses 4 AA batteries to clean water. With one charge, you can use the device for 50 liters worth of filtration cycles. This might last up to more or less 10 days of usage.

As it’s quite a demanding load on batteries, it’s better to use SteriPEN rechargeable batteries. Using a rechargeable battery is cost-effective and convenient for travel. You can also use SteriPEN replacement batteries when you need a fresh change of batteries. 

Now, a typical AA SteriPEN battery life will be about a year or more. That depends on the use and care of the batteries. Just in case, the battery gets damaged it’s safe to have extras on hand.  So, here are some good quality AA batteries we recommend:

Now you can choose from these options and have yourself the best backup batteries there are.


Filter systems don’t require any special care or maintenance. The simple build of these products makes them durable and long-lasting. Although, sharp debris can rip the filtering papers, damaging the filter. It’s something you should be aware of while using.

Winner: In this case, the filter is the winner. Because it doesn’t even need any special care to work efficiently and well. 

How Durable is it?

The durability of your product will help to make it a better travel companion for you. So, let’s have a look at which one takes the lead in this one!

Steripen UV Purifier

SteriPEN is made of quite sturdy material making it a great option for rough use. However, there’s a chance that the internal parts might get damaged. For example, the UV light emitter, the filter can break. In that case, you need to replace the parts which might add to your cost. 

However, in case you see any sharp particles in the water, it’s better to strain them. In this way, you can increase the lifespan of the filter.


Filter comparatively is more durable than SteriPEN. But they’re also susceptible to sharp objects. As those can tear up the filtering layers and make it inoperable. Nonetheless, it happens rarely and if they do, it’s easily replaceable. 

Winner: The filter is the better one in terms of durability. Because its simple design and build and have no moving parts make it reliable and long-lasting.

Is it Environment Friendly?

Now if you’re traveling to be in nature, it means you’d want to preserve its beauty. Hence these purifiers being environment friendly is important. So, let’s see if they are!

Steripen UV Purifier

The SteriPEN UV purifiers are one of the most environment-friendly products on the market. In fact, the purpose of these products being sold is to help the environment. Using a purifier lets you not carry any plastic or nonperishable water containers. This helps the environment by reducing waste.


There hasn’t been any case regarding water filters damaging the environment. Because these filters and their components are biodegradable. Meaning they don’t pollute the environment. Making them great sustainable products.

Winner: Both products are environmentally friendly. 

What is the Cost?

Now coming on to the most important factor. The cost of the purifiers might be the deciding factor in some cases. Plus cost-to-benefit ratio should be well enough to justify the value of the product.

Steripen UV Purifier

The SteriPEN UV purifier has a range of models. They vary in price due to the capacity and range of features they provide. But all of them are excellent products for their areas of use. They have three popular products on their roster.

The SteriPEN pure+, an entry-level product, costs around $70. Then there’s the lighter and popular SteriPEN ultralight, costing you about $90. And finally, the top tier SteriPEN ultra, which costs approximately $100.


Filter systems are cheaper than SteriPEN purifiers. They range from $15 to $40 depending on the brand and filtration layers. The simple design and cheap manufacturing cost might make it a far better deal for you. 

Summary: The Pros and Cons

Now no matter how good or bad the product is, there’s going to be some cons. These pros and cons can either nake your decision or break it. 

 For example, SteriPEN pros and cons can include the UV purifying method. This has its own advantages and disadvantages.

So, what is the disadvantage of using UV to disinfect water?

UV light is only effective against microorganisms in the water. It cannot remove other contaminants such as heavy metals or man-made substances and products. Thus has a less purification approach.

Now, let’s check on some more pros and cons.

Steripen UV PurifierVery fast
Neutralizes biological organisms
Effective in any weather condition
Doesn’t affect the taste
Battery dependent.
Doesn’t work in all types of container
Isn’t effective on murky water
Cannot neutralize large organisms
FilterSimple design and build
Has incredible lifespan
No mechanical or moving parts
Susceptible to debris damage
Cannot remove microscopic organisms

So, there goes all the advantages and drawbacks, so let’s check out the verdict. 

So, Which One is Better?

In view of function and safety, the SteriPEN UV purifier is the best one to buy. Although it costs more comparatively, its safety and versatility make it a jack of all trades.

So to help you out on the buying process, we’ve recommended some great SteriPEN filters:

But if you’re a casual traveler from cityscape to rural areas, buy a filter for normal use. In the case of a regular traveler, the filter is the perfect companion.

Here are some of the best filters you can choose from:

That’s all about the comparison between these two products!


Can you use a SteriPEN in a metal bottle?

Yes, you can use a SteriPEN in a metal bottle. You can use SteriPEN within plastic, ceramic, glass, and metal containers. But make sure it’s UV-safe built.

Are UV light water filters safe?

Yes. when UV light is used correctly, it is the safest method of water filtration. The filtration should be used only with clear water and cloudy water.

Do water filters remove fluoride?

No, water filters don’t remove fluoride. It’s a natural mineral found in freshwater. To remove fluoride, you’ll need to use the reverse osmosis method.


We hope our comparison between SteriPEN vs Filter helps you to make the best choice for your need. If you’re still unsure about your decision, you can ask help from an expert. This person might help you make the perfect decision. 

Have a great day!