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If you are an avid explorer, camper or simply someone that likes to spend time in the wild then water purification tablets are an essential tool to have, as water is a must-have for a person to survive with the average person only being able to survive between two days and a week without water while they can survive without food for weeks depending on the weight of the person.
In the wild, it may seem that water is in abundance, although this may technically be true there is a big difference between water and water that you can drink without becoming ill. Thankfully using water purification tablets you can remove the dangerous bacteria that will make you sick within hours, in this article we are going to be reviewing the top 6 best water purification products as well as going into detail about how to use water purification tablets and how to choose the right type for your needs.
Best Water Purification Tablets
- Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets With PA Plus
- Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets
- Purogene Drinking Water Treatment and Water System Sanitizer
- Aquamira – Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment Drops
- PURINIZE Trace Mineral Water Purification Solution
- Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets
The Potable Aqua Purification tablets are sold in two bottles that each have 50 tablets inside, with the product being marketed for being effective at killing a parasite known as ‘giardia lamblia’ which is found in untreated bodies of water with the parasite being particularly infamous for its ability to survive inside the human body by living in the intestines where it continues to reproduce.
Apart from being able to treat water that contains giardia lamblia, the Potable Aqua purification tablets are able to deal with other species of bacteria and parasites.
- This product also claims to come with no iodine taste or cause a change of color to your water after it has been treated, although not a lifesaving feature this is a bonus feature that is welcomed.
- Furthermore, the product is recommended by the manufacturers for a wide variety of activities such as camping, hiking, and traveling with the small size of the bottles allowing them to be easily transported everywhere you go without any worries.
- Additionally, it only takes a 5-minute wait before your water has been purified after using the Potable Aqua water purification tablets.
- Used by emergency services and also the military.
- Two tablets are able to effectively treat up to 1 liter of water making it a potentially life-saving product.
- Glass packaging can break very easily when you are traveling or hiking for example.
One of the best-known water purification tablet brands in the industry that has been a firm favorite for emergency services around the world for an estimated 20 years with 3 billion gallons of water being treated using this product every single year.
Moreover, the Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets are ideal for all types of emergency situations and natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, and tornadoes for example. This product is also very fast-acting with only a 30-minute wait required for the water you treating to be purified.
- Fairly fast purification of the water that is being treated by this product.
- A product that has been on the market for a very long time which should reassure you that it is effective and high quality.
- Good value for money with 100 purification tablets included in a two-pack of this product.
- After applying this product to the water that you are going to drink there is no strong aftertaste.
- The packaging is reportedly not very durable which can lead to a lot of problems especially if you are going to be traversing rough terrains where you required durable equipment.
A product made using chlorine dioxide meaning that it is safe to drink with no need to worry about any health implications from putting this product into your water. This water treatment and system sanitizer by Purogene is advertised with a diverse set of uses such as cleaning water systems as well as treating dirty water outside.
On top of all these, the manufacturers of this product have the environment in mind, with this water treatment solution being biodegradable and not causing any damage to the environment around it.
- It is estimated by the creators of this product that a 32-ounce bottle of this product is able to treat 480 gallons of water.
- Safe to use even if concentrated.
- Instantly purifies the water, saving you a lot of time in the process.
- Approved by the EPA regulatory body for being safe to use in water that you are going to consume.
- Although the water treatment solution does not cause any harm to the environment, the plastic packaging that this solution is stored in will as plastic takes a very long time to biodegrade.
Another chlorine dioxide product on this list, the Aquamira Water Treatment Drops claims to remove bacteria from your drinking water that is both dangerous to your health and also causes odors. Additionally, the water treatment drops themselves do not cause any change in the flavor of the water.
Another great feature of this water treatment product is that it has a very long shelf life giving you good value for money and freedom to use when you need it.
- Approved as safe to consume in water by the EPA regulatory body.
- Apart from cleaning the water from dangerous bacteria, this product also improves the overall taste of the water.
- Made from plastic so there is no risk of it shattering easily.
- Able to kill dangerous organisms in the water such as Cryptosporidium.
- It takes a much longer time to neutralize the bacteria in the water compared to most other products on this list.
- Plastic packaging bad for the environment
This water purification solution by the Purinize brand stands out from most of the other products on this list as it does not contain any chemicals instead it is made using only natural ingredients. It is able to remove over 250 different types of contaminants that you may find in your water.
Apart from being able to kill bacteria in your water, this product also has the ability to reduce the nasty odors of your water.
- Made from only natural ingredients which are great for the health-conscious consumers out there.
- One bottle of this product is able to treat up to 15 gallons of water.
- Very lightweight so you can bring with you everywhere that you go without any problems.
- Due to the salt contents of this product, it does not have an expiration date.
- No bad aftertaste after application.
- A 60-minute wait after you have applied this product to your water.
- Plastic packaging is not good for the environment so even if the bottle becomes empty you will have to keep it with you until you return home or find a recycling bin.
The Katadyn purification tablets are on the expensive side however they are very high quality with just one tablet being able to treat one liter of water. Purification pills from this brand come with an extra layer of protection that consists of individual packaging for every single tablet.
Furthermore, on average, water that is being cleaned using the Katadyn water purification tablets takes just 30 minutes to be fully cleaned.
- Approved by the EPA regulatory body, and is one of the only microbiological water purifiers approved by the organization.
- Effective against all the major bacteria and parasites found dirty water.
- An extra layer of protection due to every single tablet being individually wrapped so even if the main packaging rips you don’t have any problems as well as having the ability to take just a few tablets with you instead of the whole box.
- Good value for money with 1 pill being able to treat 1 liter of water.
- If the water is very dirty or cold it can take up to 4 hours of waiting for it to be properly cleaned instead of the average waiting time of 30 minutes.
Buying Guide for Water Purification Tablets and Drops
How to Choose the Right Purification Tablets for Me
The biggest thing to consider when deciding which purification tablet is the right choice for you is the main chemical that is being used for the purification process with the three of the most common chemicals being Chlorine, Iodine and Chlorine Dioxide.
Every single one of these chemicals has its own drawbacks and advantages which we discuss in a separate section further down in this article.
For What Type of Occasions Should I Bring Water Purification Tablets?
It is recommended to bring water purification tablets with you if you and your potential companions are planning to go out in the wild somewhere expansive where it is really hot and there is also not a large concentration of humans.
This is because such an environment poses a big risk if you get lost or injured in a way that stops you from being to leave the location that you are visiting, in such cases water purification tablets can save your life.
Of course, these kinds of extreme cases are thankfully very rare but it is still recommended to take water purification tablets with you when go out into the wilderness as it is much easier to carry a pack of tablets than liters of water.
It is also important to note that there are also special kinds of water purification tablets for emergencies such as natural disasters, these products are more expensive but are able to clean the water much faster.
Storing Water Purification Products
Even though the majority of the best water purification tablets out there come with many years’ worth of shelf life, it is still important to store the purification products properly as the shelf life is only reliable as long as the storing instructions are followed correctly. Every product is different so it is recommended to read the label in order to get an accurate idea of all the steps that you need to take in order to maximize the life of your product.
But to give you a few pointers, it is best if you store your water purification pills in a dark, cool location such as a cupboard where there is also very low humidity in order to prevent the products from breaking down over time.
How Are Water Purification Tablets Supposed to Be Used?
Water purification tablets have been designed to be fairly straightforward to use, all you really have to do is to drop the purification tablets in the water that you are trying to sanitize and then make sure to wait the recommended amount of time that it says on the label which is very important.
You need to know the exact amount of time that it takes as for example certain organisms in the water may take 30 mins to eradicate while others may take 4 hours.
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Water Purification Tablets and Drops
Quantity vs Quality
Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation where you can get a good deal by make sure that you do not compromise on quality. It may be tempting to pick the offer that seems the best value for money where usually you have one hundred or more water purification products being offered for a low amount of money.
There is nothing wrong with that as long as they do the job and are high quality, as you may find yourself with a lot of tablets that are weak so you will need to for example insert 2 tablets to clean 1 liter of water while a more expensive but higher quality product can clean 1 liter of water using just 1 tablet.
As stated further above, it is important to know about the ingredients that are used in your water purification tablets as at the end of the day you are going to be consuming the water after it has been treated therefore you need to be aware of the potential health risks or consequences if they happen to exist in the first place.
What Are They Created For?
If you are just an average lover of the outdoors, the standard water purification tablets will work for you. However, if you are for example in the military or in the natural disaster emergency service then will be a good idea to take a look at more specialized options that are able to clean water from dangerous parasites, bacteria and viruses very quickly which is essential as in such serious situations you cannot afford to wait potentially hours for your water to be sanitized.
Ease of Transport (Weight)
Another point that you need to consider is how easy is it to carry around the water purification tablets with you, this type of product is one that should not take up a lot of space or effort to take around with you.
Ideally, the best type of product in the ‘ease of transport’ category is one that you can carry in high quantities without any drawbacks such as being exhausted by the extra weight in your bag or not having free hands to use in order to better traverse your environment.
Related to the ‘Quantity vs Quality’ section above, it is important to take note before you buy a product of what quantity of tablets you need in order to treat say 1 liter of water as this will give you a better idea of how to calculate the cost per tablet and the total value for money without being influenced by cunning marketing tricks.
Ease of Use
Another key feature that you should consider is how easy it is to properly use this product because the more complicated a process it is the higher the chance of you making a mistake and potentially falling ill if the water has not been properly purified from dangerous organisms.
A large part of what makes a product easy to use is the instructions that are included with the product that should include information such as how long you should wait on average for the water to be fully sanitized.
Speed of Purification
The speed of purification can be a dealbreaker in certain situations, for example, it will not make any big difference to a hobbyist camper that they need to wait a few hours for their water to be purified however if you are an emergency services operative on a rescue mission then it is important to be able to clean the water as quickly as possible in order to renourish the injured.
Potential of Leftover Taste and Smell
Although pretty much all manufacturers of water purification tablets claim that their products have no aftertaste or odor left over after they have been used in the water in reality in the majority of the cases there is a small change of flavor and potentially an odor lingering around.
Use by Date
The use-by date is very important especially if you are not someone that is going to be out hiking or camping every month, the longer the use-by date the more time you have to find the right opportunities to use the products without feeling the pressure of using it up just for the sake of it.
Thankfully all water purification tablets have a very long shelf life as long as they are stored properly.
Finally one of the biggest factors is the overall effectiveness of the product that you are using or deciding to purchase, not all water purification products are able to deal with all types of menacing microorganisms that are polluting your drinking water.
The Major Types of Water Purification Tablets
Tablets That Are Based Around Chlorine
A popular chemical that is frequently used to sanitize swimming pools, although products using this ingredient are affordable there is one major drawback to this product which is that after it has been used to purify your drinking water it will leave the well-known taste of chlorine which is not enjoyable, this can be reduced a bit by opening the lid of the bottle allowing the water to evaporate.
However, it will only weaken the taste and not permanently remove it. Additionally, it is a fairly weak chemical and it is not able to deal with more dangerous organisms found in your drinking what such as Cryptosporidium.
Tablets That Are Based Around Iodine
Iodine is an effective chemical used to kill bacteria and other microorganisms living in your drinking water, however, it suffers from a dip in effectiveness in cold temperatures which causes it to take a much longer time to clean your drinking water.
Additionally, frequent consumption of this chemical can lead to health complications related to your thyroid gland.
Tablets That Are Based Around Chlorine Dioxide
Chlorine Dioxide is often seen as the most effective way to treat dirty water, although it is effective it is important to keep in mind that it takes much longer than the other two major types of water purification tablets.
However, it is all about staying prepared and patient with the longer that you wait the higher the chance of all the organisms that can make you ill are being eradicated from your drinking water. Chlorine Dioxide is even able to kill parasites such as Cryptosporidium.
Which One Is the Best?
Overall Chlorine Dioxide is the best option as it is able to do its job properly even if it can take a few hours. What makes it the clear winner out of the other two chemicals, Iodine and Chlorine are that it pose a health risk to the individuals that consume.
For example, pregnant women should not women consume Chlorine and Iodine as well as the additional risk of consistent use of Iodine causing other health complications.
Are Water Purifying Tablets Safe?
Yes, water purifying tablets are safe, all of them are checked by regulatory agencies that they make sure that the websites are safe to use before they are sold to the public. However, it is important to note that some of the products can cause health complications if consumed very often.
How Long Do Water Purification Tablets Take to Work?
Every water purification tablet takes a different amount of time to work, and it is also dependent on what type of microorganisms you are trying to remove with some microorganisms taking a longer amount of time to fully eradicate compared to others.
Are Iodine Water Purification Tablets Safe?
Iodine water purification tablets are safe to use by individuals who are not pregnant as long as they are frequently consuming water that has been treated by water purification tablets containing Iodine.
What Should I Do If I Accidentally Swallowed a Tablet?
If you accidentally swallow a tablet you must ring your local hospital or poison control services immediately, they will then give you advice and if needed get you emergency assistance.
Water Purification Tablets vs Boiling Water to Treat/Disinfect It
If you are able to start a fire or have access to another type of heat source that can boil the water constantly for at least 3 minutes then it can be a good idea to boil your water in order to disinfect it however if you are trying to survive it is much more efficient in the short term to use water purification tablets.
How Do Water Purification Tablets Work?
Water purification tablets work by killing the different types of organisms that you can find floating around in untreated, which can include a lot of things such as pathogens, bacteria, and viruses to name just a few.
Benefits of Using Water Purification Tablets
- Very easy to carry around with you as they are not heavy or large.
- Straightforward to use.
- Able to quickly kill most bacteria in the drinking water.
What Are the Different Uses of Water Purification Tablets?
- It can be used by military personnel.
- When you are going camping.
- Exploring wildlife areas that you have never been to before.
- Natural disaster relief.
Why Drinking Water From Outdoor Sources Is Dangerous
Drinking water from outdoor sources as the water is exposed to a lot of different ways for harmful microorganisms to get in the water such as through animals and be transported from other bodies of waters such as rivers.
These microorganisms can make you ill if you consume them when they enter your body and for example, your immune system reacts by making you puke which in turn makes you even more dehydrated,
To conclude, there are a lot of different types of water purification tablets out on the market, all of them do a similar job however some are much more effective. First of all you need to consider the chemicals that make up your water purification tablets, as some chemicals such as Iodine can cause lasting damage if constantly consumed.
Additionally, it is better to invest in the higher quality options as even they provide great value for money and will also help make your time camping or hiking with your friends a lot more enjoyable rather than turning the process of purifying your drinking water into a chore.
Wayne is a water quality expert – The founder of Water Filter Data. He has a degree in microbiology and his field of expertise is drinking water. His goal is to allow for clean and healthy water for as many people as possible.