Katadyn Vario Microfilter Review

Are Katadyn Vario Microfilters reliable for treating water while hiking?

Read this honest, Vario Water Filter review to learn if it’s worth buying.

The Vario Water Filter is an interesting Katadyn model. This is especially true when you do some research on its positive and negative sides.

On the one hand, the it has amazing innovations that made me want to leap right out of my seat with pure, joyous enthusiasm.

And then I’d read on, and discover these really terrible things about it that made me crinkle my brow and groan with frustration.

Basically, the pros of the Katadyn Vario Microfilter are out of this world and the cons are beyond bad.

Katadyn Vario Microfilter Review

The Vario water filter is such a unique product that I’m tempted to give it a test drive, but I just don’t think the good outweighs the bad with this one.

Let me get into a bit more detail about both sides of the argument, and then you’ll see what I mean. I’m certainly not going to buy this one (I already have the perfect water purifier for me), but if you’re looking to buy a new filter, maybe take a look at what I have to say.

Then you can make up your own mind. I mean, really, no one can tell you what to spend your money on. Just see this Katadyn Vario review as a kind of diving board from which you can jump into your quest for finding your own perfect water filter.

Katadyn Vario Microfilter Review: The Good

Okay, you ready for this?

This the only water filter on the shelves that you can adjust to meet the immediate needs of your hiking conditions. Yeah, you heard me.

There are two different modes you can use when treating water:

  1. Fast Flow – You can use this to pump up to two quarts of water a minute. This setting bypasses the ceramic filter and just uses the pleated glass fiber filter and charcoal insert, which takes care of some biological bad boys and the nasty taste you get from chemicals in the water. Basically, this mode acts like a Brita water filter, and you can make water fast.
  2. Long Life – This one takes longer to pump your water (one quart per minute) but it uses both the ceramic filter, the pleated glass, and the charcoal insert to create some great tasting, super clean water.

katadyn vario microfilter

The Vario Microfilter’s Different Parts

Honestly, the Vario Filter’s split personality makes it almost worth the price.

A lot of sporting good and camping equipment manufacturers out there talk about how innovative they are, when really they’re just carbon-copying each other’s stuff.

But Katadyn has shown with the Vario that they truly are innovative.

And speaking of price, the Vario Microfilter is only about $80. For that price you could get the Katadyn Guide which has a life service of 200 gallons per filter, or the Vario water filter which lasts 1,000 gallons.

I think the choice there is obvious.

It’s also super light weight (under a pound) and only 6.5 inches tall, making it incredibly portable. This is a great portable water filter option for lightweight backpackers that count every ounce. This, as we all know, is very important in a water filter.

These are all really great features so far, right? Right.

Then why, you ask, am I not so hot about it?

Let me tell you:

Katadyn Vario Microfilter Review: The Bad

Like the Guide and Hiker Pro models, the Katadyn Vario water filter seems to have a reputation for breaking easily.

Part of me thinks that these portable water filters that cost less than $100 are all designed to break at the slightest touch so that you will constantly have to buy a new one.

Another part of me thinks that customers who complain about busted housings or inlet connectors need to take better care of their equipment.

But without having used this microfilter myself, I can’t be certain.

All I know is that a lot of people are finding the Vario to be poorly made. And I don’t think that all of them are treating their filters without care.

There are also widespread reports of leaking problems. Seriously, I found gripes about water leaking from the filter on just about every website that offered Katadyn Vario reviews.

A leaking filter in a water treatment device is bad news all around, and if you’re trying to make drinkable water in freezing conditions, a leak can even be fatal.

katadyn vario microfilter

Do you see what I mean now?

Like other Katadyn water filters, the good aspects about the Vario water filter are really good.

But the bad bits make you take a second look.

On my second look would I buy the Vario by Katadyn? The answer is yes.

While Vario reviews are not 100% positive, it’s a versatile water filter that is lightweight, can filter for groups of 2-5 with the flip of a switch, and has a cheap price tag.

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