User Review: MSR MiniWorks EX
Price Paid: $89
Have only used this 2 times outdoors since a couple of months ago for my day hikes. Couple of points of what I was looking out for in a portable filter.
1. Smallest possible filtration pore size, easy field maintenance
2. Didn't want a vertical pump handle, felt it is was a weak design
3. Speed is not an issue, option for pre-filter
4. Good filtration life, washable AND REUSABLE ceramic cartridge (no point in using non reusable filter cartridges which cause more rubbish for the environment)
Taken apart it is designed simple with nothing easy to lose if you are cleaning it out in the field, except for the one way valve in the inlet of the pump - if you had to look for something to loose. I usually filter clear waterfall water, but silt is still present - no problems since.
The Miniworks comes with a sponge pre-filter which doesn't work much more than to stop large stuff getting in like sand. I bought a MSR Siltstopper which I fitted to the intake hose to stop fine sand and silt from getting into the main filter. This setup has worked so far and I do not see any silt in the main filter but I am sure this effects the overall pump rate which would probably be faster without the Siltstopper. Other options include using a cloth as a prefilter at the intake or let the water sit in a pail until the silt settles to the bottom, but I think the Siltstopper makes the most sense in terms of convince and ease of use.
Couple of reviews says this filter gets clogged fast - but you must consider what kind of water are they filtering (heavy silt and tannin kills the filter) and also if they left the inlet hose on the surface of the water source or at the bottom to suck up gunk like a vacuum. More over I would be more worried if the filter NEVER clogged up because that could mean it has not been filtering much out of the water you are drinking or is cracked. ALso this is a portable filter not an industrial one do not expect it to flow like your house tap, faster filters either have bigger filter pores hence filter less, have bigger filters or use non replaceable cartridges.
I like the fact that is has a carbon depth filter to filter chemicals, though how effective this is is questionable. I also wish that the ceramic was silver impregnated to stop bacterial growth. Overall the filter has done its job and did not get me sick.
I would highly recommend it.