Best Water Purification Tablets in 2020

When I trekked to Everest Base Camp in 2019, with Lydia, I thought our guide will bring water purification tablets, but he didn’t as he is used to the local water and doesn’t need to use the purification tabs. Thankfully, on the way to one of my dream destinations, together with Lydia, we received various tablets to clean water from travelers who were returning from the trip with excess supply.

I learned 2 things:

  • Never to forget taking water purification tablets on a trek again, and
  • every brand tastes and works different.

I 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 that’s a decision everyone needs to make individually. I prefer to have both, just to be safe.

What are water purification tablets?

They 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.

How do water purification tabs work?

The drinking water purification tablets are dissolved in water, after which they work to kill all bacteria and viruses that could cause illnesses. Many of them 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, they do. 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?

Mostly, Yes. 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.

Do water purification tablets really work?

Yes, they do. However, you should be aware that not all brands are made equal. This is why I have compiled this list of the best water purification tabs. Here you’ll will find different tablets with various active ingredients proven effective in disinfecting water.

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, but make sure to read individual product instructions.

Are water purification tablets bad for you?

The 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 daily. 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.

How many water purification tablets do I need?

How many 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 it is one liter. Always check the package on the indicated quantity of water and never use less than what is written. Do not 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?

This highly depends on your location and where you are traveling to. You should be able to find some in outdoor supplies stores and in drug stores. However, buying 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.

Best water purification tablets

With all the above in mind, I’ll go through and list the best water purification tabs currently on the market.

1. Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲
Tablets: 30/pack
Water treated: 1 tab / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
Purification Time: 4 hours
What We Like
Works against most bacteria and viruses
Stronger formula
Easy to use

See it in your local store:

These water purification tablets for travel are excellent for use when you anticipate that you will need more water later. It needs four 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 use it for any source of water.

Pros

  • Has a pleasant taste,
  • Can work as a wound disinfectant,
  • Most users say it tastes well

Cons

  • Takes a long time to work

2. Aquatabs AQT200 Water Purification Tablets

Specs
Price: 💲
Tablets: 200/pack
Water treated: 1 tab / 2 quarts (1.9 L)
Purification Time: 30 minutes
What We Like
Large capacity,
Affordable,
Works fast

See it in your local store:

I like that water purification tabs come in a large pack of 200, which is excellent for when you’re taking a long trip. The tabs can each clean two quarts of water, so the entire package is can treat up to 400 quarts of water (almost 380 liters). It can be used in water from different sources; however, avoid water that already has chlorine since the pills have this component, and it may be too much. The taste is pretty decent; however, you may be better off some getting water flavoring. It’s used by most emergency response agencies in cases of natural disasters.

Pros

  • Excellent for for long trips
  • It is very affordable
  • Lasts long

Cons

  • Has a chlorine taste

3. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets 

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲
Tablets: 30/pack
Water treated: 1 tab / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
Purification Time: 4 hours
What We Like
Good for questionable water,
Works against microorganisms,
Easy to use

See it in your local store:

If you have water from a source that you don’t trust, then these are the water purification tabs to get. 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, these are not the best if you need to drink immediately. 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.

Pros

  • Excellent for very dirty water
  • It is affordable
  • Tastes better than most

Cons

  • Requires more time to work

4. Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets

Specs
Price: 💲
Tablets: 50/pack
Water treated: 2 tabs / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
Purification Time: 30 minutes
What We Like
Works fast,
Affordable,
Ion-based

See it in your local store:

It cleans all types of bacteria, and 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 mostly costs below $10 depending on where you purchase. However, it may change the water color to orange/brown.

Pros

  • It is iodine-based
  • Cleans water from all sources
  • It’s affordable

Cons

  • May stain the water/container with orange/brown color

5. Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets

Specs
Price: 💲💲
Tablets: 30/pack
Water treated: 1 tabs / 2 quarts (1.9 L)
Purification Time: 30 minutes
What We Like
Works in 30 minutes,
Not much of aftertaste if any,
Very effective

See it in your local store:

One of the best things about these water purifying tablets is that they take only 30 minutes to kill all bacteria and viruses in water. It does use chlorine, so avoid popping them in water that may already have it. However, it is safe to use 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. 

Pros

  • Works effectively against all forms of water
  • One tab for two quarts
  • Sodium based

Cons

  • Middle-range priced

6. Purinize Water Purifier Drops

Specs
Price: 💲💲
Water treated: 20 drops / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
Purification Time: 30 minutes
What We Like
No aftertaste,
Easy to use,
No chlorine

See it in your local store:

One of the reasons I like this option is that it is not in a tablet form. This is excellent since a challenge I have faced when using tabs is that they don’t dissolve easily. The drops form is perfect since it is easy to mix and only takes 30 minutes to kill microorganisms. It doesn’t use chlorine or iodine, one of the most significant contributors to an unpleasant aftertaste.

Pros

  • Easy to mix
  • Works fast
  • Great taste

Cons

  • More difficult to apply the right amount

7. Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tabs

Specs
Price: 💲💲
Tablets: 50/pack
Water treated: 2 tabs / 1 quarts (0.95 L)
Purification Time: 35 minutes
What We Like
Very effective,
Works fast,
Great container

See it in your local store:

While it may have a slight aftertaste, you can solve this problem by using water flavoring. However, it only takes about 35 minutes to be effective. The 50 tablets work well for a quarts of water each.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • May have an aftertaste

Water purifying tablets are a great solution whenever you find yourself without your trusted water bottle with filter. Remember that they are ideal for emergencies only, so you need to find other ways of purifying the water if you’re looking for long term-solutions.

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Cez Krol
Cez Krol
I’m always positive and never bored – there’s just so much more to see and experience! I began my journey around the world in 2011 with just $400 and one-way ticket to Asia. Still going and blogging today. You can typically spot me working on a laptop or rock climbing.
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