PortaWell Review: The Ultimate Portable Water Filter

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We’re on the hunt for the best off-grid emergency preparedness water filter. There have been a lot of questions raised about other prepping alternatives, so we went out and scoured the market for the most effective emergency filtration system.

To push the PortaWell review to the limits, we ran raw untreated river water through the system and took a before and after water sample to send off to a 3rd party certified lab to analyze. This allowed us to determine the filtration performance using unbiased laboratory data impartially.

What Is A PortWell?

The PortaWell is a portable water filtration system that uses a two-stage cartridge filter design to purify water using a 12-volt power supply. It is a high-volume water source for off-grid and emergency preparedness situations. The system is designed to remove pathogenic bacteria, cysts, heavy metals, VOCs, chlorine and more. 

Water Production Rate40 – 60 Gallons Per Hour
Power Source12 Volt Battery
Filtration Stages2-Stage Filtration
Filter LifeCeramic Up To 10,000 Gallons
Carbon Block Up To 1,000 Gallons
Warranty1 Year Warranty

What We Like About The PortaWell

  1. It Is Completely Off-grid: The Portawell water pump is powered by a standard 12-volt battery and requires less than 35 watts to operate. Even with a small 8 aH battery it will run for over an hour and provide 60 gallons of drinking water off one charge – which is an insane amount of production. Additionally, you can get a 12-volt solar panel that will recharge the battery in under 5 hours for a truly sustainable and off-grid water supply. 
  1. Get Water On Demand: Because it operates with a pump, it’s 10x faster than a traditional gravity filter where you need to wait hours for a few gallons of water. This also means it replaces the need to store large quantities of clean water or carry around a large container filled with water.  With the PortaWell, you get a week’s worth of drinkable water for an entire family in under an hour.
  1. Easy Portability And Storage: The 5-gallon bucket makes a compact package for portability but also for easy storage. Everything fits within the bucket and weighs less than 10 pounds so it’s easy to carry on the go. 
  1. Customizable Filtration:  The nice thing with the Portawell is you can order it with different filters for different use cases. The system uses a dual filtration design with two 10” filters and it comes with three high-performance filters so you can mix and match depending on your needs. However, since there may be other water contaminants that require different setups, PortaWell also offers two additional filters to choose from depending on your needs.

Drawbacks With The PortaWell

  1. Doesn’t Come With A Battery: The system does not include a battery to power it out of the box. This is not a deal breaker, but make sure you have a battery that is compatible. If not, you will need to pay a little extra to pick one up at the local hardware store.
  2. Best For Off-Grid Uses:  The PortaWell shines in emergencies, camping, or off-grid uses. It is not ideally suited for everyday home use. If you need something for tap water filtration, a more traditional countertop water filter is a better option.

How We Tested The PortaWell

For the testing process, we collected raw, untreated, river water to simulate a real emergency scenario. The sample water was pretty nasty with sediment and insects floating around.  Using that water, we sent one lab sample directly to the lab without any treatment.  

Next, we ran the collected river water through the PortaWell starting with the Ceramic Filter and the NanoCeram filter.  Then we swapped the Ceramic Filter out with the Carbon Block filter to run the water through again.  After the second pass through the system, we collected our treated water sample to see how the PortaWell performed at purifying it.  

The test kit we used is specifically designed for untreated surface water like lakes, ponds, and streams. It is analyzed for dozens of contaminants including bacteria, heavy metals, fertilizers, and industrial chemicals.

The Lab Test Performance Results

The Portawell exceeded my expectations and performed exactly how you would want it to in an emergency situation. Below are the lab test results if you want to review them in detail.

See the lab test results:

  • Untreated Lab Test Results: gosimplelab.com/5VvcGTpppe
  • Filtered Lab Test Results: gosimplelab.com/hVz95lPMC5

The biggest issue encountered with the untreated river water was bacteria. It contained a huge concentration of 45 CFU per 100 milliliters.  Fortunately, the PortaWell system was up to the task and completely removed 100% of the bacteria. 

The EPA maximum contaminant level goal for coliform bacteria is zero because they can be harmful even at very low levels.  Bacteria are the number one priority to completely eradicate in your drinking water source during an emergency situation. These bacteria are found when the water is contaminated with animal waste and can cause severe illnesses impacting the gastrointestinal and blood systems. 

Other issues in the river water included nitrate from fertilizers that came in at about 2 PPM.  Again, the PortaWell was able to reduce this by about 50 to 1 PPM. 

There were also small amounts of iron in the river water sample that were completely removed from the filtration process.  

Lastly, there were small amounts of aluminum and magnesium in the river water which were unchanged in the filtered water sample. 

PortaWell Review Final Verdict

Overall I would definitely recommend the PortaWell.  The filter performed exceptionally well and it has a lot of benefits that make it more attractive for true emergency preparedness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the PortaWell work for everyday use?

Yes, the PortaWell can work for everyday use, however, it is not designed for it. The system is ideal for off-grid uses like camping or emergency preparedness.

What contaminants can the PortaWell remove?

The system is designed to use filters that remove 100% of cysts, 99.99% of pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals, chlorine, and volatile organic chemicals.

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