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ZeroWater vs LifeStraw (2022): Comparing Water Filter Pitchers

Drinking tap water in the country is generally safe and clean. Some would even say it’s good-tasting. If you want an extra layer of protection, however, then you might want to get your hands on a water filter pitcher. Easy to use and affordable, water filter pitchers are becoming staples in many homes. They’re also effective in filtering total dissolved solids (TDS).

ZeroWater and LifeStraw are just two brands worth considering. Both offer an expansive catalog of water filtration products with impressive resumes. LifeStraw’s pitcher comes in 7-cup and 10-cup capacities with a filter that can last for a year. On the other hand, ZeroWater boasts NSF-certified filters anchored on an innovative 5-stage filtration system. Which one should you get?

ZeroWater vs LifeStraw Comparison Chart

ModelZeroWater Water Filter PitcherLifeStraw Home Water Filter Pitcher
 
PriceCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price at Amazon
Volume10 cups7 cups, 10 cups
Filtration TechnologyPour-through 5-stage filterLifeStraw Membrane Microfilter, LifeStraw Activated Carbon + Ion Exchange Filter
Filter LifespanUp to 20 gallonsUp to 264 gallons (Membrane Microfilter), up to 40 Gallons (Activated Carbon + Ion)
BPA-FreeYesYes
Reduces LeadYesYes
Removes Bacteria and Parasites—Yes
Removes TDSYesYes
With Free TDS MeterYesNo
SpigotYesNo
Dimensions11.63 x 5.93 x 11 in11.25 x 5.8 in (7-cup); 12.6 x 6.3 in (10 cup)
Weight3.75 lb1.4 lb (7-cup); 1.8 lb (10-cup)

Design and Capacity

Both ZeroWater and LifeStraw pitchers are compact, portable, and eco-friendly.

ZeroWater vs LifeStraw Water Filter Pitcher
Compared to the ZeroWater (left), the LifeStraw pitcher (right) has a narrower yet taller profile.

One of the draws of water filter pitchers is that they’re compact and portable. This is true for both ZeroWater’s 10-cup pitcher and LifeStraw’s 7-cup and 10-cup pitchers. ZeroWater’s product is about 11-inches tall and over 11-inches wide, including the handle. Its filter runs almost its height and is securely connected to the cover. The pitcher also weighs a little under four pounds.

In contrast, the LifeStraw pitcher sports a flat-top cone shape. Its 10-cup model is 12.6 inches tall, while the 7-cup variant is closer in height to the ZeroWater pitcher. Both LifeStraw sizes weigh under two pounds, which is considerably lighter than ZeroWater. They also come in different color styles, including White, Aqua, Grey, and Cobalt.

ZeroWater’s pitcher is made from BPA-free plastic. The LifeStraw pitchers, on the other hand, are available in BPA-free plastic and glass designs. However, the glass variant only comes in a 7-cup size. Its colors are also limited to White and Cobalt.

The ZeroWater pitcher is slightly easier to use around the home than the LifeStraw. ZeroWater’s product features a comfort-grip handle and a spigot underneath it. Thanks to the spigot, children and the elderly can dispense water without having to lift and pour the pitcher.

Filtration Technology

ZeroWater and LifeStraw use different types of filtration technology.

ZeroWater vs LifeStraw Water Filter Pitcher Filtration Technology
A closer look at the five-stage filtration on the ZeroWater (left) and two-filter system on the LifeStraw (right).

Underneath the unassuming design of these pitchers is their innovative filtration system. In ZeroWater’s case, 5-stage filtration technology is applied. The first level of the pour-through cartridge is a coarse basic filter that removes visible contaminants. Next, ZeroWater uses a foam diffuser to tackle suspended solids. This also prepares the water for the next filter stages.

The third level of ZeroWater’s filter is a multilayer activated carbon and reduction alloy. It’s a fancy-named layer that removes organic contaminants while also stopping bacteria from growing. It rids your water of the smell and taste of chlorine, too. This is followed by an ion-exchange resin that removes metals and nonmetals. Finally, an ultra-fine screen and non-woven membrane clear your water of any fine particles left.

In contrast, LifeStraw uses a two-filter system. The first filter is LifeStraw’s Membrane Microfilter. It’s a hollow fiber membrane that employs technology similar to kidney dialysis. With a pore size of 0.2 microns in diameter, this layer helps remove bacteria, parasites, and plastic. It’s capable of filtering out sand and silt, too.

Next, LifeStraw applies an Activated Carbon + Ion Exchange Filter. However, instead of granulated carbons, LifeStraw’s carbon filter uses a special formulation made from fiber. Meanwhile, the ion exchange filter captures dissolved ions in the water. This helps reduce heavy metals like copper, mercury, and lead during the filtration process. It also rids water of chemicals like chlorine, improving its taste and odor.

Performance

ZeroWater filters heavy metals and chlorine better than LifeWater. However, LifeWater can also reduce microbiological and industrial pollutants.

ZeroWater is NSF-certified for removing different contaminants (left); before and after results using LifeStraw (right).

Based on lab results, the ZeroWater protects against over 20 contaminants while LifeStraw protects against over 30. ZeroWater was tested for its performance filtering both metals and inorganic non-metals. LifeStraw, on the other hand, was tested for heavy metals, chemicals, and several pollutants. You can check the LifeStraw results here.

ZeroWater’s pitcher removes an average of 99.6% of all dissolved solids. When it comes to removing lead, it can filter up to 99.9% of the contaminant compared to 96.35% using LifeStraw. As such, the ZeroWater pitcher is the only pour-through water filter NSF-certified for reducing lead.

The ZeroWater pitcher also performs better than the LifeStraw at tackling mercury, chromium, cadmium, and copper. Nonetheless, LifeStraw’s pitcher more than meets the NSF standards for filtering these heavy metals. If you’re concerned about chlorine, the ZeroWater delivers a 99% filtration rate compared with LifeStraw’s 97%. Again, both rates are above NSF standards.

Where LifeStraw edges out the ZeroWater is in removing microbiological pollutants. ZeroWater does not provide data on clearing bacteria and parasites from water. LifeStraw reports a minimum average reduction of these pollutants of 99.999%. Both the 7-cup and 10-cup pitchers can also reduce pharmaceutical and industrial pollutants.

Filter Life and Replacement

LifeStraw’s filter replacements last longer than ZeroWater. However, you do have to replace two filters compared to ZeroWater’s single cartridge.

ZeroWater vs LifeStraw Water Filter Pitcher Filter Life
Both ZeroWater and LifeStraw pitchers are designed for everyday use.

ZeroWater shares that its five-stage filter is rated for up to 20 gallons. However, the filter’s life span will depend on actual usage and on the number of TDS that have to be filtered from your tap. The standard replacement you get from ZeroWater is a two-pack kit that retails for $32.99. You can also purchase 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, and 16-packs. The more you buy, the cheaper a single cartridge costs.

LifeStraw’s filters last longer than ZeroWater’s. The LifeStraw Membrane Microfilter can clean up to 264 gallons of water. That’s about one year. On the other hand, its Activated Carbon + Ion Exchange filter lasts 40 gallons of water or 20 months.

The LifeStraw membrane filters are available in single, two, and three-pack options. You can also get a full-replacement kit, which includes the Home cartridge. Meanwhile, the LifeStraw carbon and ion exchange filter replacements are available in single-unit up to 20-pack options.

Verdict

ZeroWater performs better at filtering heavy metals and chemicals. LifeStraw, on the other hand, cleans pollutants better, while also enjoying a longer filter lifespan.

Choosing between the ZeroWater and LifeStraw Home can be challenging. Both are affordable water filter pitchers with strong performance. However, ZeroWater is the better product for filtering heavy metals. In fact, it’s the only pour-through filter with NSF certifications. If you’re particular about removing contaminants like lead or mercury from your tap water, then ZeroWater is the right choice.

While LifeStraw doesn’t reduce as many heavy metals as ZeroWater, it does tackle more contaminants overall. The LifeStraw home can reduce pharmaceutical and industrial pollutants, for instance. It’s also effective at removing 99.999% of bacteria and parasites. LifeStraw does cost a bit more than the ZeroWater. However, its two-filter system lasts longer than ZeroWater, so you’ll spend less on replacements over time.

FAQs

đź“Ś How long do LifeStraw filters last?

The LifeStraw Membrane Microfilter can last for a year. That translates to about 240 gallons of water. The LifeStraw Active Carbon + Ion Exchange Filter, on the other hand, lasts for two months and filters 40 gallons of water.

đź“Ś Is ZeroWater healthy?

Yes, ZeroWater is a healthy and safe option for filtering your tap water. It’s the only pour-through filter that is NSF-certified at reducing several heavy metals.

đź“Ś Does LifeStraw really work?

LifeStraw really works. Lab results show it meets most minimum requirements for filtering contaminants in your water.

đź“Ś How long is the warranty on the ZeroWater?

ZeroWater water filter pitchers have a 90-day warranty.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.