Are you preparing for the apocalypse? Or are you just prepping your hiking bag for a new adventure? Don’t forget to take a bottle of water purification tablets to come along the way and provide you with safe drinking water. But do you not know which are the best water purification tablets?
Luckily for you, we are here to assist you. We understand the importance of having something useful and practical with you on your international travel or long hiking. Our job is to test and provide you with helpful water purification tablet reviews to ease your mind.
Once again, we’ve tested some of the products on the market and give you the information, plus a helpful buying guide to learn more about this type of product. Read on, and you’ll learn what to look for in purification tablets and what not to.
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Who Needs Water Purification Tablets?
Since water purification tablets are small and lightweight, they are often included in survival and emergency kits. They are also used widely by the military ever since World War II because of their effectiveness and convenience.
However, who else needs such a water purification method? What is the practical use of water purification tablets?
If you live in an area where natural disasters occur often and you’re preparing survival kits, then you need water purification tablets. You may make several emergency kits to keep in different places – your home, your car, your workplace. Add a bottle or package of tablets in each kit. It’s even better if you can have more than one type of water filtration and purification solution so check out our other guides and reviews.
Camping or Backpacking
If you love spending time outdoors, and you’re in the wild for days or weeks, you need these tablets. They are easy to carry, easy to use, and effective at making your water healthy for drinking and cooking. For another way of having safe water while camping, you can check our reviews on filtered water bottles for camping. If you are more of a domestic person, though, our list of instant hot water dispensers might just be the thing for you.
Why You Should Consider Buying Water Purification Tablets
Water purification tablets are no exception to the rule that everything has advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of purification tablets:
The main benefits of using water purification tablets:
- Water purification tablets are lightweight, simple, portable, and convenient to use.
- When they are appropriately stored, many types of tablets remain effective for years.
- They are convenient. Unlike other purification techniques, such as boiling, filtration, or ultraviolet radiation, water purification tablets require no special equipment, power, or fuel to use.
- Protection from Bacteria and Viruses
Drawbacks of Water Purification Tablets
- Water purification tablets do not remove sediment or chemical pollutants, for that you need to filter the water.
- Prolonged use of tablets may lead to health issues.
- Not as effective as boiling the water. But boiling the water is not always possible, so the tablets are a great alternative.
Best Water Purification Tablets Comparison Chart
Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets With PA Plus
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Mightie Company Worlds #1 Water Purification Tablets – Aquatabs
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Ef Chlor Portable Water Purification Tablets
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Aquatabs AQT100 Water Purification Tablets
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Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets
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Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets
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Best Water Purification Tablets – Editors’ Choice
We’ve prepared short and comprehensive reviews for you to check out. Here are the products in no particular order.
1. Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets With PA Plus
What can be better than a bottle of water purification tablets? Two bottles, of course. Portable Aqua offers a package with two bottles – one with germicidal water purification tablets and one with PA plus. Both bottles contain 50 tablets each.
You get a bottle with tablets that cleans the water and a bottle with tablets that removes the bad taste. You may use one or the other, and they don’t need to be used together. So when you travel, you may use only one type of tablet, depending on the water in the area.
The bottles are smaller than expected, but this is good when you need to fit them in your travel bag. Keep in mind that the water tablets don’t filter the water, so if you can, you should only use them on filtered water.
- Perfect for travel, and hiking – as they filter as little as one liter.
- Quick shipment as advertised, up to 2-3 days.
- They are used by military organizations.
- The tablets are effective against bacteria, including Giardia lamblia.
- Takes up to 35 or more minutes to purify the water.
- You need two tablets to purify only one liter.
2. Mightie Company Worlds #1 Water Purification Tablets – Aquatabs
Advertised as the world’s number one water purification tablets, the Aquatabs say they are the only tablets that have the NSF 60 certification.
Not having the instructions straight on the box is a little inconvenient because they can easily get lost. The tablets are small for their individual packaging and a bit hard to get out. You might even break a few tablets just by trying to get them out of the package.
Otherwise, the tablets work great. They don’t leave chlorine taste in the water, which we suspected they might. The water might taste like tap water, but at least the tablets kill the bacteria in it, so it’s safe.
The individual packaging is convenient as you can store them in several places or give to other members of your family to have. The tablets are in a paper bag that can easily get wet, damage the tablets, and make them unusable.
- Very lightweight packing, compact, easy to store, and easy to use.
- With the individual packaging, you can take as many tablets as you need, not all 200.
- They don’t leave a bad aftertaste in the water.
- One tablet only treats 0.75l.
- Be careful and check their expiration date.
3. Ef Chlor Portable Water Purification Tablets
This product treats the most amount of water at once among all on our list. The package holds ten tablets, and each purifies 5 gallons. But there’s the option to choose a package of 100 tablets. You can choose that one if you travel or hike often.
The tablets are effective against most known bacteria, viruses in water from various areas with unsafe water. They are perfect for purifying stored water for emergencies so that the entire family can drink safe water.
It takes the tablets 30 minutes to dissolve and purify the water. They may leave an almost unnoticeable taste to the water. Using them is pretty straightforward; put the tablet in the water, stir and wait 30 minutes, and the water is ready to drink.
The packaging says they are safe to handle, but still, you should make sure not to ingest them or touch your eyes after touching the tablets.
- These tablets can be used for sterilizing baby bottles and hospital disinfection.
- The tablets can be used in a water rowing machine to keep the tank clean.
- If you can check the expiry date before purchasing them. They might arrive with a shorter end date than they should have.
4. Aquatabs AQT100 Water Purification Tablets
This product comes from Aquatabs, and it’s a package of 100 tablets said to purify 100 quarts of water. The company has been on the market for over twenty years, which means they know their water purification tablets well. The effervescent tablets kill microorganisms that cause diseases and are effective against Giardia protozoa.
The tablets arrive individually wrapped, which is good because the unused amount doesn’t spoil. But they are wrapped two in one package, which if you’re not using the second one, you can easily lose it. Plus, the entire packaging is poorly done – only in a plastic Ziploc bag with the instructions and a business card. They could have made it a little better.
The brand says you can use their tablets even for sterilizing surgical instruments and baby bottles, which is a great advantage for water purification tablets.
- The tablets are gluten-free.
- The tablets can be used in any container – glass, plastic, or metal.
- Each tablet is 8.5 mg per tablet, each is enough to purify 1 liter of water.
- The expiry date might not be five years, as advertised. Ask before you purchase the tablets.
5. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets
The Katadyn Micropur water purification tablets are only 30 in the packet and are more expensive than the rest on our list. However, there’s a good reason why. These tablets are the only ones from our list that treat the most common parasite found in untreated water in the world – cryptosporidium.
Overall they are useful and a must-have when hiking. Of course, you can add them to survival kits, and the individual packaging allows you to prepare multiple kits with them.
The expiration date is hard to notice – it’s on the individual packaging of each tablet. But if you’re looking for highly efficient water purification tablets for your trip or because you live in a dangerous area, these are definitely worth buying. They have a standard shelf life of five years, so there is no need to replace them often.
- The tablets treat cryptosporidium as well as the common bacteria, viruses, and Giardia.
- The individual packaging makes them convenient to use without coming into contact with your skin.
- These tablets need 4 hours to work and give you drinking water. Not fast, but it’s necessary to kill the cryptosporidium, which other tablets do not treat.
6. Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets
This is the Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets, which come in two options – package of 20 or 30 tablets. The active ingredient is chlorine dioxide, which treats cryptosporidium, but it takes up to 4 hours to do so.
The tablets are packed conveniently – in a box and each tablet in a small individual package. It is a lot more convenient than being in a bottle. With one purchase, you can stock a couple of emergency bags, first-aid kits, or take only a couple of tablets on a hike or a trip.
If you plan well, you can use the tablets to treat the water overnight and have a fresh batch or batches of water the entire next day. You can safely drink water from rivers, streams, or lakes with these tablets because they are very efficient. They are a bit expensive, but when for all they offer, they are actually very cost-effective.
- You can use them to treat wounds.
- Suitable for more regular use than iodine tablets.
- The tablets improve the color and the taste of the water.
- The biggest disadvantage is that the product might arrive with a very short expiration date. Check the stock before you buy the tablets.
How Do Water Purification Tablets Work?
Water purification tablets work by dissolving an active ingredient into the water and thus killing pathogens, bacteria, and various microorganisms that carry water-borne diseases. Some of the diseases that can be treated are E.coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium. Also, having purified water means no digestive problems during your international travel, or hike in the mountains.
Such a form of water purification was used even back in World War II to provide soldiers with safe drinking water. However, back then, there were tablets and drops given to the soldiers that were only good for three days after the bottle was opened. The tablets back then were chlorine-based and worked well until becoming obsolete due to their short lifespan.
Years after that, the first halazone tablets with short lifespan have been replaced in that use by sodium dichloroisocyanurate. They work by slowly releasing a source of chlorine in low concentrations at a slow and constant rate into the water.
Types of Water Purification Tablets
Currently, on the market, you can find a wide range of these tablets from different brands. Some are less known, some are well-known brands that offer other types of water purification and filtration options, too. They are differently packed, and they come at different tablet counts so you can easily find an option that fits your needs.
But the main difference in the tablets is the main ingredient that they use to purify the water. Here are the types of water purification tablets:
Iodine can kill many but not all of the common pathogens found in water. It needs between 30 to 50 minutes to fully do its work and kill most of the microorganisms in the water. It takes about 50 minutes or an hour for iodine tablets to kill Giardia and only 30 minutes to kill E. coli. But keep in mind that it is ineffective against Cryptosporidium. Often, the water may have iodine after taste, but it is safe to drink it. Some people may experience some side effects to the iodine in water purification tablets. For example, pregnant women, women over 50, or people with specific health problems should consult their doctor before using iodine water purification tablets.
Chlorine is most effective in eliminating viruses and bacteria that cause dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid, and even cholera. The process is called chlorination, and it takes 30 minutes to treat the simple bacteria, and about 45 to 50 minutes to eliminate Giardia. The chlorine is not effective against Cryptosporidium either. Chlorine is safe to drink in water, and even most municipal water treatment plants worldwide use it to disinfect the water before releasing it for mass use.
It reflects the water purification tablets’ price making them more expensive than iodine and chlorine tablets because of its superiority over them. This chemical kills the most common viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms contained in any untreated water, but it is also effective against the Cryptosporidium protozoa. That being said, such tablets have a long waiting period because they need 4 hours to do their job. This period is required in order to kill the Cryptosporidium. The water will be cleared from the rest of the bacteria before that and can drink it. However, if you’ve invested your money in chlorine dioxide tablets because they can remove the Cryptosporidium, you will want to wait 4 hours and then drink your water.
For most of the tablets, regardless of their active ingredient, additional neutralizing tablets can be purchased. Such tablets can be used to remove smell and taste from the water caused by the purification tablets. You may check our home water test kit reviews and get one to test the water yourself.
What Are Water Purification Tablets Side Effects?
Most tablets are labeled for emergencies, and some are also advertised for hiking and traveling. All of the water purification tablets on the market are for occasional use only. None of them were made, intended, or advertised as being for regular or daily use.
That being said, water purification tablets are safe to use on rare occasions, during emergencies, and when they are used in the right proportions. As we mentioned above, iodine tablets might have some side effects on people when used for an extended period of time. And they should be taken with caution and only after a medical person has given permission to people with thyroid problems, pregnant women, or women over 50, and people who are susceptible to thyroid issues.
Chlorine and chlorine dioxide tablets might be better for people who fall into the groups mentioned above. But again, they shouldn’t be used in extended periods of time and must be used at the right proportions.
Overdosing the water with any type of tablet might have adverse effects on your health. After all, you are dissolving chemicals in your water and ingesting them.
How to Choose The Right Water Purification Tablets?
Choosing the right water purification tablets for you can be based on a couple of factors:
Water purification tablets’ price is based on the number of tablets in one package and on the active ingredient. Chlorine dioxide tablets are more effective and more expensive than iodine and chlorine. But when your health is at stake, you should invest in the top product. The brand name might also play a role in the price.
As we said, there are three main active ingredients in water purification tablets. Some tablets have different amounts of the active ingredient per tablet, so pay attention to that as well.
Some tablets come in bottles, some come in individually wrapped. The latter is considered to be more convenient to use and to carry. But it’s up to personal preference. Additionally, some companies offer packages of one bottle plus a second one with neutralizing tablets that remove taste and smell from the water.
Intend to Use
The reason you want to buy such tablets is also essential when choosing the right ones. Do you need them to keep for emergencies, do you need them for travel or hiking? Think in terms of convenience – will you have 4 hours to wait for the chlorine dioxide tablets or only 40 minutes? Do you need an entire bottle, or can you bring only a couple of tablets on your hike? Remember that the best portable water filters are a good alternative for campers and hikers and are worth considering.
If you are someone who is in any risk group of having side effects, talk to your doctor before buying.
FAQ About Water Purification Tablets
What is the shelf life of water purification tablets?
The most common shelf life of such a product is 4 or 5 years. However, it may vary from brand to brand, and it’s essential to check the expiry date on the product before purchasing it, especially if you’re buying the tablets for stocking up an emergency bag.
Can I use water purification tablets if I’m pregnant?
Yes, you can. But make sure to read the instructions and proportions carefully and do not use them for extended periods of time. Be especially careful with iodine-based tablets and iodine levels during pregnancy. Also, the chlorine dioxide-based are better for more regular use if you have to use them for a more extended trip. Talk to your doctor before using such a product.
Do I have to do any other form of disinfection or filtration to the water?
Another form of disinfection can be boiling the water before using the tablets. Other disinfection is not necessary. Filtering the water before using the tablets is recommended. Even if it’s through a piece of cloth and only removes the significant contaminants from the water.
What do I do if the water purification tablet is broken?
It will still work. Just put the pieces into the water and stir to dissolve them. Wait the appointed on the packaging time and drink the water.
Does the water temperature matter?
The tablets dissolve faster in lukewarm water. But they can work in warm and cold water unless it’s otherwise specified on the instructions. Do not confuse the dissolving of the tablet with being done. The tablet may dissolve in 5-10 minutes, but you still need to wait at least 30 minutes before drinking it so the active ingredient can do its job.
Can the purified water be stored?
Once purified, the water will last as long as regular water, which is about six months without additional treatment. Just keep the purified water tightly sealed from outside contaminants. If you need to store it for a long time, you might want to purify it again before drinking it.
Differences Between Water Purification Tablets and a Life Straw
It mostly depends on personal preference, which product to use. But both types of water purification means have their benefits and drawbacks.
Both are small and easy to carry in a backpack. But a life straw must be carefully treated and packed neatly as not to break it accidentally. While tablets, especially the ones packed individually, can fit in the smallest pocket and survive.
It takes at least 30 minutes to drink water treated with tablets. A life straw gives you pure water right away.
A life straw gives you drinking water when you want it, as much as you want at the moment, only where there’s a water source. Purification tablets allow you to have gallons of pure water at any place, simply because you bring your purified water in a bottle with you. A couple of people can drink at once from a bottle of purified water, whereas everyone needs an individual life straw to have fresh water.
The most optimal decision is to have both when you’re in the wilderness. Especially if your tablets require four hours to purify the water completely.
Safety Tips for Using Water Purification Tablets
One should keep these products in an unreachable place for children. At the same time, make sure to keep them far away from your medicine to prevent ingesting them by mistake.
Water purification tablets ingredients can be very irritating if used inappropriately, excessively, or when swallowed whole. Any of these can result in immediate and even severe irritation. Affected areas can be the mouth, throat, and stomach. It can lead to burning, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Iodine-based tablets can have delayed and body-wide effects if used for a prolonged period of time.
Overall, overdosing and poisoning on the chemicals in water purification tablets depends on many factors. Such are the person’s age, overall health, the type and amount of chemicals that were ingested.
Wash your hands after touching the tablets to prevent accidentally touching your eyes, mouth, nose, and irritating them.
You should seek immediate medical help if you experience any of the above problems.
At the end of our article and water purification tablets reviews, we can hope that we’ve helped you understand how the products work, why they are good to have, and how you should use them. Also, of course, we hope that we managed to help you make the right decision for yourself and your family.
Having clean and safe water is imperative for our survival. For more water filtration solution methods, such as efficient water ionizers, please visit our homepage. Water purification tablets give us a very convenient and easy to use water disinfection method. They can be used in emergency situations where the freshwater sources have been cut off or contaminated. Additionally, while traveling abroad or hiking, and the clear water is scarce, these purification tablets can help keep yourself hydrated without getting stomach issues.
It’s hard to say which are the best water purification tablets on the market. But now that you know more about them, we aren’t worried about you.