Designed to provide clean drinking water when urban sources are contaminated or uncertain, the Sawyer Tap connects directly to a sink, water hose spigot or other sources to clean up to 500 gallons per day without the use of disposable filters.
The Sawyer Tap is built from the same proven technology as their other filtration systems, such as the squeeze that we’ve reviewed previously and still use. The filter itself can be repeatedly backwashed and reused after filtering hundreds of gallons of water. removing the need to purchase and replace the filter itself. It includes multiple adapters to connect to most taps, indoor and out, and has a hose to provide flexibility to connect it to low or hard to access spigots. The filter is stated to be able to remove bacteria, protozoa, E. Coli, Giardia, Vibrio Cholera, Salmonella Typhi, Leptospirosis, and microplastics. It weighs about 4 ounces and retails for $40.
Using the filter is generally quite simple. Connect the proper adapter to the tap or spigot, slide that connector into the lipped filter opening, and gently open up the water source until water is flowing through. Just careful to not apply too much water pressure as the filter can pop off. The only real consideration is to ensure the “flow” arrow is pointing the right direction and the seals are fitting well, and that is about it.
I had a lot of success finding sources (at least in North America where I am testing it) to connect it. Outdoor and indoor, I was usually able to find an adapter that would work with whatever water connection I was using. I did manage to find two challenging situations, one where the outdoor spigot was too low to the ground to physically fit the filter, and another indoor kitchen tap where the threading was unique and incompatible, both pictured. However, I was able to get each to work with a little finicking, wedging the adapter in at an angle on the spigot that was too low to the ground and by simply pressing the rubber seal up against the incompatible tap, forcing a seal that was good enough to get water through at low pressures. I had some leaking but the hose was long enough to move the source away from the clean water container, avoiding contamination. These were both outlier situations. When the adapters all fit as intended it is incredibly simple to use.
The flow of water is surprisingly good, providing plenty of water for cooking in just a matter of seconds. Large pots take a bit longer, generally with a minute or two required for something like a pot of spaghetti, but still rather quickly considering. The flow will eventually decrease (or pop the filter off if you’re pushing it a bit) but this just signals it is time to backwash the filter, which is as simple as pushing known safe water through the filter backwards, which is essentially the same process in reverse.
My only real complaint comes from the fact that I occasionally needed adapters that simply don’t seem to exist. Having a way to connect a hose to a spigot, that hose to the filter, then another hose to the water source would be extremely helpful in tight spaces. This would also provide a way to get the clean water supply further away from the source, which would be great if using a damaged spigot that sprays water when turned on (which I did run into). There is also the mild inconvenience of needing to generally hold the filter in place while in use to keep it from popping off. This isn’t always the case, but with some connections the filter doesn’t provide a lot of support on its own, so it must be held on by hand in place. This is fine if you’re doing small amounts of water, but if trying to filter water for several families at once, or for many families throughout the day, holding it in place can be a bit tiring.
Still, having this potentially life saving device on hand for disasters (think damaged water lines, flooding, contaminants in the water) or for simply traveling to new countries or even states, instantly makes any minor complaints I have about the device a non-consideration. I always found some way of making it work, it is very affordable, extremely flexible and it is a nearly infinitely reusable filtration system that is absolutely taking up permanent space on my shelf, and quite possibly a slot in my car as well. Clean water sources can fail at any time for many reasons, even in the most developed of cities, and these are events that can rarely be seen coming. Having this on hand will someday be extremely useful, be that for keeping my family safe at home or to keep myself safe while traveling to other countries. It’s reliable, light-weight, and something I consider a necessity for basically anyone. A couple tweaks and a few accessories could make it near perfect, but even as is it is a fantastic offering that can and likely already has saved many lives.
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I want to extend a huge thanks to Sawyer for providing this product for review. We couldn’t do it without their help.
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