grayl geopress and ultralight press bottles sitting on a stump side by side

GRAYL Geopress Purifier Gets an Ultralight Upgrade: Geopress vs. Ultrapress Review

Looking for an efficient water purifier but don’t want extra weight or bulk? Good news: GRAYL just slimmed down its eponymous water filter bottle into an ultralight option.

The GRAYL Geopress is one of the best options out there when it comes to water purifiers made for backcountry or travel. And now GRAYL has added a lighter version for the weight-conscious backcountry enthusiast.

The GRAYL Geopress and GRAYL Ultrapress ($90) both use electroabsorption and activated carbon to purify water. And they both protect against heavy metals, chemicals, and viruses in addition to common protozoa and bacteria.

Simply fill, press down, and drink. Unlike chemical or UV filtration, there’s no waiting around — purifying your water takes only a few seconds.

I’ve tested each one, but I spent an extra month testing them side by side to see how they compare and which might be the better purifier overall.

GRAYL Geopress vs. Ultrapress: What’s the Difference?

grayl geopress and ultrapress

GRAYL definitely took customer feedback to heart with the creation of this new bottle. The No. 1 complaint from customers that we’ve heard and observed is that it’s bulky. Naturally, GRAYL is fixing that with the Ultrapress version.

The differences lie in the details. The original GRAYL Geopress has a 24-ounce capacity with a 3.4-inch width and weighs 15.9 ounces without water. And the GRAYL Ultrapress carries 16.9 ounces with a 3-inch width and weighs 12.5 ounces dry. Because of this difference in volume, the filter cartridges are two different sizes.

The other slight differences are in the design. The Ultrapress dropped the cap leash for weight reasons, and it has a slightly smaller (albeit 90-degree adjustable) carry handle.

Testing the GRAYL Geopress vs. Ultrapress

In testing both purifiers, I didn’t notice a huge difference in speed. I tried each filter multiple times, from a fairly clean source and then a less clean source. I also found that the smaller surface of the Ultrapress didn’t mean it was harder to filter — the flat surface of the top might even be easier to grip. The top of the Geopress feels more clunky to me.

Here are the results from a time test in the field:

  • Ultrapress: 30 sec to filter 0.5 L
  • Geopress: 50 sec to filter 1 L

For context, I had the cap on, and I opened it half a turn to vent air. I was using the filter press on a surface about hip-high. It may have been faster if I had pressed down on the ground. So filter times may vary depending on your method.

It’s also worth noting I’ve used the Geopress more than the Ultrapress. So the lifespans of my two cartridges are at different places in their utility.

The Ultrapress works for up to 150 L, and the Geopress for 250 L — both roughly 300 to 350 presses — before the cartridge needs to be replaced.

GRAYL Ultrapress Review

Overall, I really loved having the ultralight version for shorter backpacking trips with one to two people. It’s definitely easier to fit into a pack pocket, and the updates to the cap are better in my book (namely, the adjustable handle).

If you know you’ll have frequent water sources, why not carry a lighter bottle? In our opinion, a filter bottle should never be your only water storage, as you should carry another bottle or bladder for storing purified water.

So it doesn’t really matter that the Geo has more volume. If you want a purifier that can handle the dirtiest water and you’d rather carry less weight, the Ultrapress is the way to go.

Shop the GRAYL Ultrapress at REI

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.