Updated on December 29, 2023


Created on September 27, 2018

LifeSaver Cube

This is a 5 L water storage container with a built-in ultrafiltration membrane and activated carbon filter to treat drinking water.

Developed By
  1. Lifesaver
Tested By
  • BCS Laboratories
  • Oxfam
Content Partners


Product Description

The LifeSaver® Cube is a 5 L portable raw water storage container with an ultrafiltration membrane and activated carbon filter for drinking water treatment, designed by Icon Lifesaver® Systems, Ltd. to remove viruses, bacteria, and protozoa and for families who are away from a mains water supply or for emergency response use by aid organizations and governments.

Target SDGs

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)


Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Lifesaver directly through its online page and response to disaster events in collaboration with organizations such Oxfam and the UK Department for International Development.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Manufactured by LifeSaver in the UK.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Users can obtain the product from online distributors and the manufacturer's webpage. Icon LifeSaver also works with international organizations, charities, and governments including DFID & Oxfam to help distribute Lifesaver technology.

Distributions to Date Status

2,300 units have been distributed by Oxfam in South Sudan as of August 30, 2016.

Target use case

Individuals and households

Manufacturer-specified flow rate (L/hr)

60 L

Bacteria reduction

6 log

Type of membrane filtration


Virus reduction

4 log

Protozoa reduction

3 log

Heavy metals and/or arsenic reduction


Maximum recommended influent turbidity level (NTU)


Effluent turbidity levels (NTU)


Material of construction


Safe water storage capacity (L)


Manufacturer-specified lifetime volume (L)

5,000 L

Design Specifications

The LifeSaver Cube is designed to be portable and robust. The water is forced through the 15-nanometer filter via pressurization produced with a built-in hand pump in the cap. The activated carbon filter for chemical residuals is designed to filter 100 liters and will last 1 month. According to the instruction manual, the membrane cartridge has FailsafeTM technology that prevents any water from passing through the filter once it has reached the end of its service life.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Contact the manufacturer

Replacement Components

Activated carbon filters and membrane filter cartridges are available from the manufacturer.


All parts are replaceable with a maximum membrane cartridge lifespan of 5,000 liters or 4.5 years for a family of 5 filtering 3 L of water per day. At the end of the life of the membrane cartridge, no water will flow and a replacement cartridge is required. The LifeSaver Cube includes a 2-year international warranty.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

The filter is designed to filter 5,000 L  under conditions with low turbidity while removing 99.99% of viruses, 99.9999% of bacteria, and 99.9% of cysts.

Vetted Performance Status

The Cube was evaluated by BCS laboratories for virus, bacteria, and cyst reduction. Oxfam field tested the Cube and reported on logistics of distribution, ease of use, and design drawbacks as experienced in South Sudan.


No specific known safety risks. Potential hazards include the consumption of unsafe water that can lead to gastrointestinal problems due failure to follow use and maintenance instructions of the user manual.

Complementary Technical Systems

Also a pre-filter is recommended for turbid water, as increasing turbidity lowers the flow rate of the Cube to 0.5 L/min and lower at greater than 5 NTU. Safe water storage container for treated water and optional activated carbon filter to remove chlorine, taste and odor.

Academic Research and References

Agus McBride, 2016, “LIFESAVER CUBE Oxfam’s Experience in South Sudan”, OXFAM.

Betts, Al. and Bloom, L., 2014, Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art, Ocha, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Acquistapace, A., Bastable, A., Lay, J. F., McCubbin, C. N., and Vahanian, A., 2018, “Household water lilters and waterborne epidemics: a case study from South Sudan,” Loughborough University.

Bessant, J., Trifilova, A., and Rush, H., 2016, “Case studies of humanitarian innovation, XXVII ISPIM Innovation Conference – Blending Tomorrow’s Innovation Vintage”, Porto, Portugal.

“LifeSaver Cube,” LifeSaver, 20-Apr-2017. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/product/lifesaver-cube/

“LifeSaver Water Purifiers sent to Indonesia,” LifeSaver, 05-Oct-2018. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/news/lifesaver-water-purifiers-sent-to-indonesia/

“Lifesaver Cube: Oxfam’s experience in South Sudan,” Oxfam Policy & Practice, 22-Jun-2023. Available: https://policy-practice.oxfam.org/resources/lifesaver-cube-oxfams-experience-in-south-sudan-619051/

“Department for International Development,” GOV.UK. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-international-development

“Goal 6,” Sdgs.un.org. Available: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal6

“LifeSaver Cube,” LifeSaver, 20-Apr-2017. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/product/lifesaver-cube/

“Portable Water Purification,” LifeSaver, 31-May-2018. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/

M. Pritchard, “Water container,” 20150041383:A1, 12-Feb-2015.

“LifeSaver Cube,” LifeSaver, 20-Apr-2017. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/product/lifesaver-cube/

“Product Manuals/Test Results,” LifeSaver, 22-Jun-2018. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/info/product-manuals-and-test-results/

Iconlifesaver.com. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/108457.004-ICON-LifeSaver-Revised-Cube-Manual-FINAL.pdf

“Contact,” LifeSaver, 07-Jun-2018. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/contact/

“LifeSaver Cube Replacement Cartridge Foil Sealed,” LifeSaver, 21-Apr-2017. [Online]. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/product/cube-replacement-cartridge-foil-sealed/

“Product Manuals/Test Results,” LifeSaver, 22-Jun-2018. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/info/product-manuals-and-test-results/

“U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” US EPA. Available: https://www.epa.gov/home

“Product Manuals/Test Results,” LifeSaver, 22-Jun-2018. Available: https://iconlifesaver.com/info/product-manuals-and-test-results/


Compliance with regulations

Meets an adaptation of NSF Protocol 231 for microbiological water filters based on recommendations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Evaluation methods

Filters have been tested by a third-party in the laboratory and Oxfam in the field for Bacteriophage MS2 (ATCC 15597-B),Bacteria Raoultella terrigena, MS-2 Bacteriophage, and Fluorescent microspheres.

Other Information

Lifesaver Cube User Manual. Lifesaver has other products including the Lifesaver bottle, emergency preparedness packs, Lifesaver jerrycan, and Lifesaver C2.

Comments from the Community


  1. Anna_Advisor says:

    – The line “It is sold online by LifeSaver and distributed by Oxfam in South Sudan” seems to be one example of where it was implemented, but this shouldn’t appear in the Product Description.
    – Minor, but I would change “Online for USD115” to be consistent with how prices are listed across other porducts

  2. Anna_Advisor says:

    – “End of life indicator (yes/no): Yes. The filter will automatically stop working after 5,000 Liters have been filtered”: I find this hard to believe… how does that happen? Does it measure that volume of water, or does it clog after a long time and then you’re supposed to stop?

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