Have you ever been camping or hiking and had to drink from a questionable water source? If you're lucky, it just tasted bad, but if you weren't then you may have wound up with some stomach distress from the little microscopic critters that were swimming around. If you carried the LifeStraw Steel you wouldn't have to worry.
We have previously reviewed the LifeStraw, so when Eartheasy offered to send us one of the new LifeStraw Steel models for review we wanted to see how it worked. Take a look at our LifeStraw Review first, then let's talk about how the LifeStraw Steel is different.
Like the original LifeStraw, the LifeStraw Steel measures 9 inches long by 1 inch in diameter. Instead of being made out of plastic, it has a stainless steel body, which of course makes it heavier - 4 ounces as compared to the original 2. This is still pretty light weight!
The big difference on the inside is that the Steel contains a replaceable activated carbon capsule. The carbon filter is the first stage, and removes some chemicals like chlorine, as well as some pesticides and fertilizers. The second stage, just like the original LifeStraw, has a hollow filter membrane that filters out virtually all bacteria and protozoa. The hollow filter membrane is good for about 1000 liters (264 gallons), but the carbon capsule has a lifespan of about 100 liters (26 liters). However, it can be replaced when it becomes clogged. In theory this may also extend the life of the hollow filter, since you are filtering out particles that it would normally trap.
There are no moving parts to the LifeStraw - no pumps to clean or backflush. You just put the end into the water you want to drink, and drink like you would with any other straw. You can either use it with your water bottle, or directly from the water source. This makes it handy if you don't have a water bottle, or if your water source is very shallow and it would be difficult to fill a bottle.
When you're done drinking, just blow air through the LifeStraw Steel and leave it uncapped so that it can dry thoroughly. It has no shelf life and can be stored indefinitely.
The LifeStraw Steel is more expensive than the original LifeStraw - $54.95 versus $19.95. However, it will give you better water filtration, and with the stainless steel body it seems like it will stand up to much more abuse than the original plastic tube. And I'm sure that once it's reached the end of it's life I can re-purpose that tube for something!
The main drawback to both of these LifeStraws is that they are strictly for one person at a time, and can't be used to filter several cups of water at a time for cooking. If you need that, then you should look at something like the LifeStraw Family.
For every LifeStraw water filter sold, they provide a child in Africa with clean water for an entire school year (by using part of the funds to donate institutional water purifiers to schools in Africa).
The LifeStraw Steel is available from EarthEasy.com, who provided us with one for this review.