Sawyer Micro Squeeze vs. Original Sawyer Squeeze
Nov 21, 2018 at 1:26 pm #3565173Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
In this video, Dawn and I give the new Sawyer Micro Squeeze and the original Sawyer Squeeze an out-of-the-box test run, and compare the two in size, flow rate, and package inclusion. We also nearly freeze our fingers off collecting water, and Dawn gets distracted by multiple dogs. The Micro Squeeze is Sawyer’s new filter for 2018, not to be confused with the two-ounce Sawyer Mini, which has a slower flow rate than the Sawyer Squeeze.
Here’s our rundown of the Sawyer Micro Squeeze compared to the original Sawyer Squeeze. More details on the filters below.
Sawyer Micro Squeeze
Weight: Two ounces
Longevity: Up to 100,000 gallons
Kit includes: Sawyer Micro Squeeze, one 32-ounce pouch, a drinking straw, cleaning coupling so you don’t have to carry the plunger, spare gasket.
Weight: Three ounces
Longevity: “Lifetime,” which presumably means until you lose it.
Kit includes: Sawyer Squeeze, two 32-ounce pouches, inline adapter so you can plug it into the hose of your hydration bladder (requires surgery on the hose), gravity tube and bag for filtering at camp.
Sawyer Micro Squeeze Details
The Sawyer Micro Squeeze works the same way as the original, with a .1 micron absolute filter (hollow fiber membrane), which holds microfibrous tubes that trap the bacteria and prevent them from contaminating the drinking water.
The Micro Squeeze comes with a new type of pouch, made of softer and lighter material, which is more flexible as well. Durability has been an issue with the original pouch, so we’ll see how this one holds up. The opening is redesigned as well, which should make it easier to fill from standing water sources.
Both filters have the push-pull cap so you can drink right from the filter. They also thread onto standard water bottles.
Like the Squeeze, the Micro Squeeze shouldn’t be allowed to freeze, and Sawyer recommends backflushing after every trip, as the flow rate will slow down after repeated use.
So What Do We Think?
The main difference with the Micro vs. the original is that the Micro is one ounce lighter and more compact than the original, while still maintaining essentially the same flow rate. The new bag is also softer and more durable, and we love the cleaning coupling so you can backwash the filter with a bottle if you don’t want to carry the plunger.
I’d recommend either the original Sawyer Squeeze or the Micro Squeeze for long-distance backpackers. I used the original on my AT hike, and have found Sawyer’s filters to be easy to use, durable, and capable of a fast flow rate as long as they are backflushed periodically. Some people opt for treatment drops to avoid the hassle of filtering, but hollow-fiber membranes take care of grit and silt along with the harmful bacteria, and I’ve always found non-crunchy water more pleasant. And yes, some people choose not to filter or treat their water, but we do recommend treating water in the backcountry. Better safe than sorry. Giardia sucks.Nov 21, 2018 at 2:32 pm #3565178JCHBPL Member
Looks like a good “upgrade” from the original Squeeze.
I’ve constructed a gravity system around the Sawyer “black” filter that ships with the SP-140 Personal Water Filtration Bottle and am quite happy with it. The built-in nipples make attaching tubing easier than the threaded adapters required to incorporate the Squeeze or Micro Squeeze. Should the SP-140 filter need to be replaced, the Micro Squeeze looks like a potential replacement at a $10 savings.Nov 28, 2018 at 4:26 pm #3566290
I live and hike in FL
Without heavy pre-filtering the Sawyer Squeeze will, many times, not even filter 1/5 of a quart before cloggin.
I e-mailed Sawyer (They replied within minutes!) and they said that the Squeeze has the most fibers from their filter line. I may switch to the Micro and my pre-filter, which will probably weight the same as the Squeeze. Just adding info to the discussion.Nov 28, 2018 at 4:55 pm #3566292Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Maybe that’s not a good strategy
I rarely filter heavily silty water and yeah, the Squeeze clogs up quickly.
Particles that are much bigger than the pore size will be filtered by a pre filter, but they are so big they don’t clog up the pores. Particles that are a little bigger than the pore size is the problem, but they won’t be filtered by the pre filter.
One strategy is to let the water settle. The silt will mostly drop to the bottom. Then carefully filter with the Squeeze without disturbing the settled silt. This works with glacier silt, I don’t know about Florida swamp water.
Maybe you have to bring the backflush syringe. That weighs 1.2 ounces.Nov 28, 2018 at 6:58 pm #3566305Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Filters and clogging – I spent about 3 years working at Coulter Scientific Instruments developing particle size instrumentation. Below is a graph of glacial sediment.
A Sawyer filter is rated at 0.1 micron. From the interweb “An old cotton sari, folded, creates a smaller effective mesh size (approximately 20-μm)”. Let’s assume that this is similar to a bandanna.
BTW, 1 thousandth’s of an inch is 0.001” is 1 mil is equal to 25.4 microns. So even pre-filtering with a bandanna would remove best case particles that are 200 times bigger than the Sawyer filter. Pre-filtering with a bandanna will have some effect but it will be minimal. My 2 cents.Nov 28, 2018 at 7:50 pm #3566325
Thank you Jerry and Jon.
I think in FL we are dealing with Algae and plant debris (besides agricultural runoff…) in our “Swamp tea”. I carry a coupler and back-flush my filter often. In some areas I need only back-flush every few quarts, but lately, I’ve clogged the filter almost instantaneously. Many report good results with bandanas, which I have not tried. My last outing I used a paper coffee filter. That became clogged after 1/2 a quart, so it took 2 filters for one quart. That process was quick (once I stopped trying to get 1 qt through the coffee filter), and the water that was pre-filtered flowed through the Sawyer Squeeze almost like tap water. My guess is I’m dealing with big particles, as the coffee filter supposedly filters in the 5-10 um. Water is a big problem in FL in the summer. I need 6 to 8 quarts a day to stay alive… Less in winter.
I hope this adds to the Sawyer info, and does not hijack the original post. If so, I apologize.
AriNov 28, 2018 at 8:13 pm #3566331Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Good info, actual experience is better than theory : )
If there’s agricultural runoff, then there can be weird chemicals. An activated carbon filter would help with that.Nov 28, 2018 at 8:54 pm #3566337Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
I think in FL we are dealing with Algae and plant debris
Another concern would be post trip maintenance. Once you get plant material in the filter body I would think that not only back flushing but treatment ( as in bleach) would be imperative as well. Biofouling could easily kill a filter. My 2 cents.Nov 28, 2018 at 9:09 pm #3566341
Thanks Jerry. I completely agree. I tried to make some that were light and had replaceable filter media option, but so far my efforts (as nice as they look) are not working. I have not tried my last attempt – the simplest of all so… My next test will be just adding the media (some, not all) from a Britta Filter (They have more than just activated charcoal) into a 1 qt plastic bottle, and then just having a cap with bug netting to keep the media in the bottle. Can’t get simpler than that!. (I re-in-force the bug netting with some stronger mesh so that it will not fall apart).Nov 28, 2018 at 9:16 pm #3566342
Agree 100% with post trip maintenance. I always clean and sanitize my filter after every hike. I do mostly short section hikes, so I clean my filter the same day/night that I return and let it dry before storing it. Same with the bags/bottles. I just like knowing that my equipment is dependable and in good shape.Apr 11, 2019 at 8:01 pm #3588331Winston WBPL Member
Darwin just had his micro fail.Apr 11, 2019 at 8:47 pm #3588337
I did a short section of the Florida Trail, but this time carried the Sawyer Micro. Here are my thoughts (Disclaimer – these are subjective views, with no side to side comparison, etc.)
I spent 3-2/3 days hiking. I filtered water from the side of a dirt road in a prairie, from the Kissimmee River, from a lake at Three Lakes WMA and a few other places. I pre-filtered all the water using a round paper coffee filter. One coffee filter filtered 1-1/2 liters in one area, and only 1/2 liters at the lake.
I found that the Micro seemed much much slower than the original. The last time I used the Sawyer Squeeze with a coffee pre-filtered the flowrate was very high. The Micro with pre-filtered water required more pressure on the feed side and even then was quite slow in comparison. For my next hike I’m going back to the old full size filter. Again, I did not do side by side comparison, but these are my observations. One good thing about the Micro is the forced rest time :-).
Ari.Apr 11, 2019 at 11:29 pm #3588377Adrian AdamsSpectator
@adrianadamsLocale: Northern Arizona
I know this isn’t most people experience but I found the flow rate of the Micro to be very slow out the box. I switched to the Original Squeeze and am very happy with the flow rate. I threw away my Micro, it was that bad.
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