User Review: MSR MiniWorks EX
Source: received it as a personal gift
Reliable, easy to use, works with Nalgene bottles and MSR dromedary bags, filter lasts a dang long time.
- Field maintainable
- Easy to clean
- Long lasting filter
- water tube pinches at top
- slower than other filtration methods
- potentially expensive filter replacement
Traveled to quite a few place with this thing and quite satisfied. We stole this filter used from my girlfriend's parents who had it for something like 10 years. We pumped water for probably a total of 40 days or so since we've had it for the last few years, and it's on its first filter. I've heard other people say the filters last forever, and so far this seems to be true for us.
Field reliability is a big factor in our outdoor gear choices and we trust this filter, so that says a lot for us. It's easy to maintain and clean in the field when it clogs, and since it uses the ceramic filter you don't have to carry an extra filter — you just scrub it with a little sponge they provide, run some fresh water on it, and pop it back in. This is pretty huge for us.
Some things we have experienced and have heard others have as well: it can be slow pumping water, and is generally slower than other pump filters (and a lot slower compared to other filtration/sterilization methods like steripen, which is battery operated or Miox). So sometimes the pumping gets really old, and I do feel like it's pretty slow.
Also the water tube pinches really easily at the top, and you essentially have to keep it unpinched while pumping, which is kind of a pain. I happened to buy some MSR dromedary bags, which screw onto the bottom of the pump. If i didn't have these bags, or a Nalgene to screw onto, I could imagine how pumping water could be a huge pain with this pump since you'd have to grip whatever you were pumping into between your legs or something...this could be an issue with any pump I suppose, I don't know how other companies handle that.
MSR has top notch customer service and has sent me free parts for stoves and this pump when I lost them (for example there is a very small ball that is held by a spring in the pump assembly — good luck not losing that if you take the pump apart). As with other products, I really like that MSR sells replacement parts separately — every part on the pump can be easily replaced if it breaks, and that's what stands out about MSR products generally for me (sure there are other companies you could say this of).
I also just picked up a used one for ten bucks in a used gear store, and bought several parts to make it whole, for a grand total of 15 dollars with a filter that still has life in it. Buying MSR products used is a pretty solid purchase.