Best Water Purification Tablets

When we experienced climbing Everest Base Camp in 2019, we assumed that our guided tour would be providing bring water purification tablets. We quickly found out otherwise and thankfully we met different hikers on the way back who provided us some.

From this mildly-stressful experience, we learned 2 things:

1. Never to forget taking water purification tablets on a trek again, and 2.

  • every brand of water purification tablet tastes and works different.

    Before we jump into our favorites, we have to emphasize here that these tablets are not for everyday use for a prolonged time. A more long-term and more cost-effective alternative would be to bring along a water bottle with filter, but for shorter trips, water tablets are the way to go. Here are our top recommendations to stay healthy and hydrated on any trip.

    Best Water Purification Tablets

    What are the Best Water Purification Tablets?

    We have compiled for you the top 6 Best Water Purification Tablets in 2024. In this article we go through the products that we have used ourselves, checked what other users thought about them and we ranked them accordingly.

    With years of experience with tablets for water purification and having used several water purification tablets you can trust our review.

    Moreover, you can scroll to the end of this review to see our mini buying guide as well as the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about water purification tablets.

    1. Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets

    Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets
    Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
    Tablet Quantity: 30
    Amount of Water Treated: 1 tab / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
    Purification Time (Minutes): 240

    The Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide water purification tablets are excellent for creating drinking water for future use. It needs 4 hours to be effective, so it is not best if you need a drink immediately. On the plus side, it is excellent for killing a wide range of bacteria and viruses, so you can use it for any source of water.

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    • Has a pleasant taste
    • Can work as a wound disinfectant
    • Most users say it has no aftertaste
    • Long shelf life
    • Kills more viruses and bacteria than some others


    • Takes 4 hours to clean

    2. Potable Aqua Water Purification Tabs

    Potable Aqua Water Purification Tabs
    Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
    Tablet Quantity: 50
    Amount of Water Treated: 2 tabs / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
    Purification Time (Minutes): 35

    Another great product by Potable Aqua is their water treatment tabs. While it may have a slight aftertaste, you can solve this problem by using water flavoring. The biggest difference from the previous options is that these only take about 35 minutes to be effective. One tablet is good for one quart of water, so this pack will last you a while. Just be warned that you may have a slight chlorinated aftertaste.


    • Large capacity
    • Easy to use
    • Only takes 35 minutes to work


    • May have an aftertaste
    • Premium pricing

    3. Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets

    Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets
    Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
    Tablet Quantity: 50
    Amount of Water Treated: 2 tabs / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
    Purification Time (Minutes): 30

    Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets clean all types of bacteria, so your water is safe to drink immediately after dissolving. It works for water from various sources very effectively. Another great thing is that it is quite affordable and usually costs under $10 depending on where you purchase. However, it may change the water color to orange/brown, which can look a bit worrying and stain your bottle, so be mindful.


    • Iodine-based
    • Cleans water from all sources
    • Very affordable
    • Water ready to drink quickly


    • May stain the water/container with orange/brown color
    • Bottle can rust if humidity gets inside

    4. Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets

    Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets
    Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
    Tablet Quantity: 30
    Amount of Water Treated: 1 tabs / 2 quarts (1.9 L)
    Purification Time (Minutes): 30

    One of the best things about the Aquatabs water purifying tablets is that they take only 30 minutes to kill most of the bacteria and viruses found in your water. It does use chlorine, so avoid popping them in water that may already have it. These tablets are safe for stream, lake, or even stored water. The company has a charity program running, so for every pack you buy, a certain percentage provides water for marginalized areas. The tablets also dissolve quite fast in the liquid, and they can be used for a while as one tablet is good to clean two quarts of water.


    • Works effectively against all forms of water
    • Only one tab cleans two quarts of water
    • Sodium based
    • Affordably priced
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    • Short shelf life
    • May have chlorine aftertaste

    5. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets

    Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets
    Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
    Tablet Quantity: 30
    Amount of Water Treated: 1 tab / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
    Purification Time (Minutes): 240

    If you have water from a source that you don’t trust, then these Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Tablets are the best bet. They are military-grade, which means that they work better than most on the market. Every pill is safe to use for one liter of water. Unfortunately, just like the Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide water purification tablets, they take up to 4 hours to dissolve properly. However, I found out that it is usually best to allow the tablets a little more time for better taste, even up to 6 hours.


    • Excellent for very dirty water
    • Tastes better than most
    • Uses chlorine dioxide to kill more bacteria than others


    • Takes 4-6 hours to clean
    • Slightly higher price

    6. Purinize Water Purifier Drops

    Purinize Water Purifier Drops
    Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
    Amount of Water Treated: 20 drops / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
    Purification Time (Minutes): 30

    Though this review is all about tablets, we couldn’t leave this option off our list. We actually love this one as it isn’t in tablet form! If you’re tired of dealing with tablets that don’t dissolve easily, try the Purinize Water Purifier Drops. These drops are perfect since it is easy to mix and only takes 30 minutes to kill microorganisms. It also doesn’t use chlorine or iodine, which are some of the most significant contributors to an unpleasant aftertaste. So, you won’t deal with a poor taste with this product.


    • Easy to mix
    • Works fast
    • Great taste thanks to no chlorine or iodine


    • Can be difficult to apply the right amount
    • Not as easy to transport as tablets


    To summarize, we have gone through dozens of water purification tablets and decided that 6 are worth your consideration. Out of these, the absolute Best Water Purification Tablets is Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets which we highly recommend as our overall best.

    If money is not an issue, you can consider Potable Aqua Water Purification Tabs as this is our Premium Pick.

    Otherwise, there’s no shame in spending prudently, Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets is the Budget Option.

    Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

    Questions and Answers About water purification tablets

    What are water purification tablets?

    Water purification tablets are small pills that are used to kill pathogens and microorganisms in water. They come in different forms and colors and are used in emergency cases when you need drinking water and aren’t sure of the source. It can be used in various types of water to clean it, and in some cases, they disinfect the container as well.

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    How do water purification tabs work?

    Drinking water purification tablets are dissolved in water, after which they work to kill many bacteria and viruses that could cause severe illness and symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and rashes. E. coli and Salmonella are just two examples of bacteria that can do this.
    Many of these tablets work quite fast, within five minutes, while others need a bit more time to take effect. Once the tablet dissolves, it ensures that the water is safe to use, and you can drink it without worrying.

    Do water purification tablets expire?

    Yes, water purification tablets do eventually expire. Even when you open a pack of the best water purifying tablets for travel, you need to use it within the time stated on the package. Many of them take between one and two years to expire, so keep watch on that. When you use expired tablets, they may not work properly and lead to poisoning.

    Do water purification tabs kill viruses?

    For the most part, yes, water purification tabs kill viruses. However, not all kill the same ones. Most water purification tablets kill viruses that are found in water. However, the pills that perform well in getting rid of viruses need to be powerful. Chlorine-based purifiers have this effect, so while the taste may not be pleasant, you should consider them. Make careful note of the type of tablet you’re getting, as you don’t want to get the wrong one and accidentally drink contaminated water.

    Do water purification tablets really work?

    Yes, water purification tablets really do work. However, you should be aware that not all brands of tabs are made equal. This is why we compiled this list of the best water purification tabs for you. Here you’ll will find different tablets with various active ingredients proven effective in disinfecting water. Read each option carefully before buying to make sure your choice will kill the viruses and bacteria in the water near your travel site.

    How long do water purification tablets last?

    Unopened water purification tablets for travel can last up to four years, while open ones can last maximum one year only. However, note thst all brands of tablets have different shelf lives. Read the label to make sure your tablets aren’t expired before traveling.

    Are water purification tablets bad for you?

    Water purification tablets are safe for you as long as they are used correctly. However, doctors advise that purification tablets should only be used in emergencies and not regularly. Another thing that you should remember is that they should never be consumed whole as they can lead to poisoning when not dissolved in water first. Use them safely and sparingly on trips and you should be fine.

    How many water purification tablets do I need?

    How many water purification tablets you use depends on the recommended use by the manufacturer. Many companies advise one to use one tablet for one quart of water (0.95 liter) while others require more tablets than that. Always check the package on the indicated quantity of water and never use less than what is written. Don’t forget to bring a travel water bottle with you so that you have a reliable container in which to dissolve the tabs.

    Where can I buy water purification tablets?

    Where you buy your water purification tablets highly depends on your location and where you are traveling to. You should be able to find some water purification tablets in outdoor supplies stores and in drug stores. However, buying them online ahead of your trip gives you more varieties to choose from, and allows you to see reviews from others, like in the case of this article.

  • We want you to know! Some links on this page may be affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from what you buy. 
    It will never cost you extra, or make us bias, but helps us run this blog and occasionally get a good cup of coffee. 
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    Picture of Agness Walewinder
    Agness Walewinder
    Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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