Did you know that, in order to survive in common environments, the only things that you need are oxygen and water? Given that oxygen is practically free for the taking anywhere in the world, you’ll just have to worry about water – or, in short, keeping yourself hydrated.
However, as you may know, drinking water from the wild can easily put someone on their death bed, depending on the region/country they were in. In such cases, you will need a product capable of purifying all types of water. In other words, you’ll need the best water purification tablet out there! Naturally, water purification tablets can be used even in tap water, especially if you think that it might be slightly contaminated. Basically, such tablets ensure that you drink healthy, safe water wherever you are.
Therefore, without any further ado, let’s jump straight into it! First off, we have some water purification tablet reviews, after which we’ll try to answer every question that you may have on your mind when it comes to such tablets!
Who Needs Purification Tablets and Drops?
Water purification tablets were created to benefit communities that don’t have access to clean and potable water. Here are some of the practical uses for water purification tablets and drops:
Fast Backcountry Travelers
Travelers from or in remote areas do enjoy their good-old mechanical filters like filtered water bottles or water filter pitchers. However, most of them would rather stay light in terms of equipment and rely on water purification tablets.
For example, people that handle on-foot transportation of goods, mechanics, farmers, and such would obviously want to keep their luggage at minimum weight. With the help of such tablets, they don’t even need to pack water when leaving for the day.
Victims of Disaster and Communities in Developing Nations
After a disaster – or in a developing world – water usually needs to be purified instead of just filtrated. This is so that the viruses that spread to humans through human waste are killed for good. Naturally, basic filters and filtration processes can’t do this.
On top of that, NGOs that operate abroad can easily supply certain countries with water purification tablets, given the way they are packaged – they can be labeled as non-hazardous goods.
As you may know, many remote villages throughout the world lack the typical infrastructure required for water treatment. In such places, water purification tabs are probably the best and only way to share the advantages of chlorine/iodine with those that cannot enjoy them.
On top of that, a steady supply of water purification tablets to such areas will improve the health of the community and decrease the risk of certain diseases to be transmitted to visitors and such.
Basically, something as simple as a water tablet will not only provide people with water safe to drink but will also drastically improve their health – and even increase their life expectancy due to the clean water they drink.
Defense Forces, Peacekeeping, and More
Given that you can never know when disaster strikes, military units – including NATO and peacekeeping forces – rely on water purification tablets when needed. For example, even airplanes and marine vessels have a supply of such tablets on board.
After all, as military, you might get stuck in a remote area with no access to potable water.
In short, something as tiny as water purification tablets have a major impact on global health. Such products can provide people all over the world with safer drinking water, as well as with healthier living conditions.
Top Benefits of Water Purification Tablets
It is extremely important that people consume fresh and pure water daily. However, in today’s world, where contaminated water is one of the Earth’s big issues, it can be hard for someone to find truly pure water.
For example, not even the bottled water that we buy from convenience stores is as pure as the companies selling it claim. This is probably because roughly 3% of the world’s water is drinkable!
Therefore, it goes without saying that water purification tablets are important and come with benefits for anyone who wants to consume fresh, pure water!
As you already know, these tablets clean water by getting rid of harmful viruses and bacteria that cause most water-borne illnesses – salmonella, dysentery, cholera. The chemical substances that these water purification tablets use – as highlighted above – are highly efficient when it comes to clearing the water of pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and parasitic elements.
For example, chlorine and iodine can neutralize giardia, E. coli bacteria, as well as cryptosporidium. These bacteria can be found in water that has been contaminated by animal feces. On top of that, water purification tablets will actually keep the water pure for a long time, as their active substance does not allow any further microorganism growth in the water.
Highly Mobile and Portable
You could fill your pockets with water purification tablets and have enough to provide a family with pure, clean water for a couple of weeks or so. Obviously, the best thing about these tablets is that you can carry and use them anywhere, without needing additional machinery, ingredients, and such. You simply dip a tablet into water, shake the bottle, and then let it sit. Having a couple of water purification tablets with you, wherever you go, ensures the fact that, no matter how bad the water is there, you will still remain hydrated!
As mentioned before, you don’t need anything else, but a tablet and a container filled with contaminated water. If you pick the common-use water purification tablets, you can have pure, freshwater ready to drink in 30 minutes.
You can even prepare for the time you think you’ll be needing water. For example, if you are on a hiking trip and have your meal planned at a certain hour, you can start the water treatment process 30 minutes before that. Or, if the tablets you are using take longer to treat the water, you can just let the container sit overnight and, when the morning comes, enjoy a fresh cup of coffee made with pure, safe-to-drink water! In short, you can say goodbye to filtration, boiling, or ultraviolet radiation!
Emergency Disaster Relief Operations
As mentioned above, a disaster will make it hard for rescuers to bring water supplies with them. Moreover, depending on the severity of the disaster, people may not have access to any sort of potable water.
Therefore, it is obvious how helpful water purification tablets can be in such situations. Even the dirtiest of ponds can become a viable source of water when you have such a tablet with you!
Best Water Purification Tablets Comparison Chart
Mightie Company Worlds #1 Water Purification Tablets
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Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets
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Potable Aqua Water Purification Treatment
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Aquatabs AQT100 Water Purification Tablets
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Aquamira – Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment Two Part Liquid
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Expedition Research LLC TAC-H2O Water Purification Tablets
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Best Water Purification Tablet Reviews – Top Picks
1. Mightie Company Worlds #1 Water Purification Tablets
The first product on our list comes with a 4.5-star rating and with the “#1 Best Seller” label on Amazon. The Mightie water purification tablets are effervescent and capable of killing microorganisms that can be found in water.
For example, these tablets can make water safe enough to prevent typhoid, cholera, dysentery, as well as other water-borne diseases. It takes thirty minutes for a tablet to make water clean.
Each package comes with 100 tablets that are sealed and can last up to 5 years. Reportedly, these tablets are the only ones enjoying an NSF 60 certification and a formula that has been approved for routine use by the WHO.
- Clean water ready in 30 mins
- Pack of 100 tablets
- NSF 60 certification
- 5 years of shelf life
- For both emergency and continuous use
- The paper packaging can easily get wet and damage the tablet.
- One tablet can treat only 0.75L.
2. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets
The second product is Amazon’s Choice in terms of purification tablets and comes with a 4.5-star rating. The water purification tablets from Katadyn are effective against all sorts of microorganisms, being able to render all type of water drinkable.
You can choose a 20- or 30-tablet pack. Unlike the previous entry, these tablets are labeled as being able to treat 1 liter of water.
On top of that, the manufacturer claims that the water won’t have any gross lingering aftertaste or unpleasant taste after being treated with these pills. Naturally, the product meets all of the EPA microbiological water purifier test standards.
On the other hand, it seems that these tablets may be a bit slow, as it takes them up to 4 hours to fully and effectively treat 1l of water.
- Ideal for camping, fishing, hunting, travel, and emergencies
- Effective against all sorts of microorganisms
- Can treat up to 1l of water per tab
- Fresh tasting water
- 4-hour treatment time for full effectiveness.
- Some users complained that the instructions are far from being clear and intuitive.
3. Potable Aqua Water Purification Treatment (50 Tablets)
The tablets from Potable Aqua are the top choice when it comes to water purification tablets. Unlike our previous entries, these tablets come in a bottle – count of 50 – and are labeled as germicidal. Reportedly, a single tablet can make water bacteriologically suitable for drinking in just 35 minutes.
These are also effective against Giardia lamblia if used accordingly. On top of that, the manufacturer states that these water treatment tablets are used by emergency organizations and the military worldwide. Keep in mind that they are not intended for continuous use but for emergencies and such!
- Effective against Giardia lamblia
- Can treat up to 1 liter of water
- Used by the military
- Ideal for emergency response and preparation, hiking, and travel
- You need to use two tablets for 1 liter of water.
- Thus, 50 tablets can treat only 25 liters of water.
4. Aquatabs AQT100 Water Purification Tablets (Pack of 100)
The tablets from Aquatabs are probably the most popular ones on our list, mainly due to their history in the industry. These water purification tablets have been around for more than 20 years and come for both civilian and military use.
A single Aquatab can treat up to 0.75 liters of contaminated water. After adding the tab into the recipient, you have to mix well for at least 10 minutes and then let the bottle stand for 30 minutes before drinking.
Reportedly, water purified by these tablets will never have an unpleasant taste – great-tasting water consistently. One pack of Aquatabs contains 100 water purification tablets that can be used to treat up to 200 quarts of water.
- They prevent cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and other water-borne diseases.
- Pack of 100 tablets
- They can treat up to 200 quarts of water
- Product with over 20 years of presence on the market
- No cryptosporidium filtering
5. Aquamira – Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment Two Part Liquid
This water treatment solution from Aquamira comes in the form of drops – namely, a two-part liquid. Part A and Part B will collectively kill odor-causing bacteria and then enhance the taste of your stored potable water.
Each Aquamira kit can be used to treat up to 60 gallons of water, making this product very convenient and highly efficient.
Moreover, the product will control the build-up of slime and kill most bacteria. Reportedly, the two-part liquid treatment is ideal for treating water within an RV’s storage tank or any other on-site water storage tanks – for example, camp water systems or cisterns.
- Can treat up to 60 gallons of water
- The product improves water taste
- Kills bacteria and controls slime build-up
- Some customers reported that the packaging – the bottles of liquid – can get damaged quite easily.
6. Expedition Research LLC TAC-H2O Water Purification Tablets
The last product on our list comes with a 4.5-star review as well. On top of that, these Aquatabs come with an illustrated, tri-fold, color manual so that you learn everything you need to about water purification tablets.
Each tablet weighs 49mg and can be used to treat up to 5 liters of water. In total, a single TAC-H2O pack can treat up to 500L of water.
The tablets are safety-heat sealed in a 4-layer, 140-micron thick Mylar pouch. The pouch features a resealable zip-lock, it is sunlight proof, as well as waterproof. It is also compact, rugged, and matte black.
Water treated with these tabs will be ready to drink in as little as 30 minutes.
- It can treat up to 5L of water/ tab
- Safety-heat sealed
- It can prevent cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and other water-borne diseases
- The water is ready to drink in 30 minutes
- Some users reported that the tablets may leave a faint chlorine smell in the treated water.
Water Purification Tablets & Drops Buying Guide
Most people may think that water purification tablets – including drops – are very easy to choose and use. For example, they’ll claim that everything you have to do with such tablets is to dip them into the water, wait as per instructions, and then enjoy your clean, safe to drink water.
However, things are a tad more complicated. Believe it or not, there are more than just a couple of things that have to be taken into consideration when buying water purification tablets.
For instance, choosing a certain brand or type of purification tablets depends on the purpose and way you want to use them. In short, you can’t just simply order a random pack of water purification tablets without doing some prior research. Luckily – we’re here for you!
Here’s exactly what you should remember when buying this type of product;
Things to Consider When Buying Water Purification Tablets
Here are some questions you should ask yourself before getting any water purification tablets;
Are All Water Purification Tablets the Same?
Water purification tablets come with a series of main chemicals that are used in their composition – iodine, chlorine, and chlorine dioxide. Chlorine and iodine are the best choices against the Giardia lamblia parasite, but these chemicals cannot remove cryptosporidium.
On the other hand, chlorine dioxide is highly effective against bacteria, viruses, cysts, as well as cryptosporidium.
Also, while chlorine and iodine come with a smell that may not be favored by some people, chlorine dioxide is not known for any particular smell. This is probably due to its long action time. It takes chlorine dioxide up to four hours to treat water, a time in which odors may evaporate.
Each type comes with its own advantages and disadvantages that we’ll discuss a bit later.
Are Water Purification Tablets fit for Any Kind of Trip?
Obviously, water contamination levels are different – depending on the location you are in. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about bacteria cysts, for example, every time you come across contaminated water.
Given the above, you will see certain water purification tablets that can be used for hiking and casual camping trips. However, you will also see tablets that are recommended only for hazardous situations – when the water is muddy and has a lot of sediments, for example.
How Are Water Purification Tablets Meant to be Stored?
As mentioned above, water purification tablets come with a shelf life of five years – this applies, of course, if they have not been opened. Once the bottle or main packaging is opened, the purification tablets need to be properly protected or they may lose their effectiveness.
When buying water purification tablets, make sure that the container they come in can be tightly sealed after being opened. On top of that, the container should offer minimal protection against high temperatures, air, light, and humidity. Also, after opening the package, you should use the water purification tablets in less than a year.
How Should I Use Water Purification Tablets?
We mentioned earlier that water purification tablets come with three active chemicals as their main ingredients. Obviously, those chemicals affect the way you are supposed – or not – to use such tablets.
It is well known that these tablets represent a very practical solution in terms of water purification only if they are properly used! For instance, you should not purchase iodine-based tablets if you suffer from thyroid complications, if you are pregnant, or if you have iodine sensitivity. On top of that, these tablets should be used for a maximum of six months as they will fill your body with too much iodine if used for longer. They may also cause thyroid problems after extended use.
Lastly, water purification tablets are not meant to make the water look or taste better – they only purify it. If you want tablets that improve the taste or the look of the water, then you will have to search for those with extra ingredients.
Water Purification Tablet Features and Specifications
As emphasized above, you won’t just buy a random pack of water purification tablets. You will have to look into their features and specifications and then make a choice based on your needs.
In this respect, let’s take a look at some of the most important features and specifications of water purification tablets:
Number of Tablets in a Pack
Naturally, the more tablets the better, but make sure that the high number doesn’t decrease the quality.
Water purification tablets can contain TGHP – Tetraglycine
Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate, and Chlorine Dioxide.
The time it takes one tablet to treat water usually ranges from 30 minutes to 4 hours. Make sure to always follow the instructions and wait as long as needed for the treatment process to complete.
For example, certain tablets might be better against Cholera, while some against Giardia, and so on. Different types of contaminated water will come with different risks. Ensure that, before your trip, you purchase the water purification tablets ideal for the location you are visiting.
As mentioned above, there are tablets meant for hiking and travel, tablets meant for emergency use, tablets meant for military use, as well as tablets that can be used continuously.
Some manufacturers will require you to add more than one tablet for effective water treatment. Most brands will have you add two tablets to 0.75 or 1 liter of water.
Some tablets come individually wrapped, making them maintain their 5-year shelf life, while bottled tablets have it reduced to one year after the bottle is opened.
For example, let’s say that you wish to add water purification tablets to your emergency kit. In this case, you will have to consider a different array of factors than you would if you’d need these tablets for a camping trip.
This is why, before buying the product, it is very important that you choose it carefully. After all, you wouldn’t want to be stuck in the wilderness with a bottle of water purification tablets opened one year ago. No – you would want individually wrapped tablets that have their 5-year shelf life intact!
Main Types of Water Purification Tablets
We promised you that we’d talk more about the types of water purification tablets. So, as you remember, these tablets can contain one of three main chemicals:
- Chlorine Dioxide
The first two – chlorine and iodine – are ideal against the Giardia lamblia parasite. The last chemical (chlorine dioxide) is highly effective against bacteria, viruses, cysts, as well as cryptosporidium – unlike chlorine and iodine tablets.
The tablets that contain this chemical are widely used for water purification purposes. One of their biggest downsides is the fact that the water they treat can easily get contaminated again if left in storage for too long.
On top of that, they also leave an aftertaste of chlorine. You can get partially rid of it by leaving the bottle open and letting it evaporate.
On the other hand, iodine-based tablets are believed to be more effective in warmer water. If you use them in cool water, the tablets should be left to react with the liquid for about 30 minutes.
Keep in mind that these tablets leave an aftertaste as well. However, instead of waiting for it to evaporate, you can use vitamin C to neutralize the smell after the purification process is completed.
Naturally, people suffering from thyroid issues should avoid using this type of tablet!
Chlorine Dioxide-Based Tablets
Probably due to the fact that it is a compound chemical, chlorine dioxide is known as the most efficient chemical that can be contained within a water purification tablet. Chlorine dioxide-based tablets can destroy a wide array of microorganisms.
Moreover, chlorine dioxide is used in cities for water purification!
Tablets with this chemical can destroy viruses, bacteria, as well as cryptosporidium. Their main downside is the fact that chlorine dioxide takes much longer to treat water – up to four hours.
Chlorine vs. Iodine Debate – Which One Is Better?
Let’s start by ruling out chlorine dioxide, the chemical we talked about earlier. Despite the fact that it takes a very long time to treat water, this element doesn’t really have other downsides. Naturally, while effective against cryptosporidium, it can’t deal with cholera and typhoid, for example, as iodine and chlorine can.
In this respect, let’s find out even more about these two last chemicals and about the “war” they are fighting with each other.
The Two Chemicals
Unlike the best salt for water softeners, water purification tablets have two primary chemicals that they use to purify water – either iodine or chlorine. These two are used mainly because they are lightweight, easy to use, and low cost. The big debate between the two is caused by the fact that both chemicals can affect and severely damage our health if not used responsibly and safely.
As mentioned, many times so far, iodine is the perfect ally – in water purification tablets – against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. However, cold weather makes iodine take more time to purify water.
On top of that, iodine has been proved to absorb into the debris and dirt that are naturally found in water. This means that the dosage meant for treating water will always vary.
Moreover, iodine should be used for short-term purposes only, as extended use can cause thyroid problems and damage one’s health for a long time. Obviously, a lot of people do not like the taste iodine leaves behind, which is probably the main reason why people head towards chlorine.
The second chemical purifier is chlorine bleach, which uses a process called chlorination to make debris and dirt settle to the bottom of a water-filled container. As a result, the water will be visually clearer.
It is advised that people should use unscented household bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite for treating water. The Red Cross mentions that, when you use bleach to purify, you should add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir, and then let the recipient stand for 30 minutes. Then, if the water is not accompanied by a slight odor of bleach, you should repeat the dosage and let the container stand for another 15 minutes.
This method comes with a lot of drawbacks. For example, if the bleach is more than six months old, it may not be potent enough to disinfect. On top of that, chlorine is known to be a highly poisonous chemical. Adding too much to water can cause internal organ damage, illness, and even death.
The Results of the Debate
Now, you can clearly see why chlorine dioxide exists. It is seen by some as an alternative to the quite unhealthy, so to speak, iodine and chlorine. For instance, iodine should not be used by pregnant women. At the same time, we don’t think that someone would use water treated with chlorine if they were pregnant.
Therefore, they choose the middle path and settle for a 4-hour long purification process where the risks are somewhat diminished.
Dangers of Drinking Water in the Wilderness
Regarding most aspects, the wilderness is not as we see it in movies. When thirsty, you can’t just kneel near a river and start drinking water.
What would happen if you do this?
- Any surface water – rivers, streams, and lakes comes with parasites and bacteria. These can – and most certainly will – contaminate the water you may use for eating, drinking, and recreation.
- Drinking untreated water that you come across in the wilderness can cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and even fatigue that can last up to several weeks.
- You may be exposed to and infected with cryptosporidium.
- You may be exposed to and infected with the giardia lamblia parasite.
In short, if you drink water in the wilderness, you will most likely have to interrupt your trip and go to the hospital as soon as possible, depending on what happens to you.
If you don’t have access to a hospital or water purifying system, then you may experience pain, nausea, watery diarrhea, severe coughing. These are only a couple of the things you will have to go through if you drink water in the wilderness!
How Do Water Purification Tablets Work?
The magic behind the water purification tablets is not that complicated – after all, we’re not talking about the best water recirculating pump. They basically just dissolve into water and move on to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses. Let’s get into some details a bit!
- As specified above, chlorine and iodine are the most effective agents that can be used in the water purification process.
- Once in the water, these ingredients will deactivate the protozoa, viruses, and bacteria that they find.
- Before you add the tablets to the water, it’s important that you take out the larger particles/debris that you see. In short, deal with some water filtration.
- Then, you have to add the tablets, which will soon start to dissolve into water.
- Once they have completely dissolved, the manufacturer will require you to shake the recipient for around 10 minutes before letting it sit.
- This is so that the active ingredients in the tablets – iodine and/or chlorine – are evenly spread within the liquid.
- On top of that, make sure to leave the cap a bit open so that, when you shake, a portion of the solution washes the lid of the bottle, as well as the cap. This will ensure that bacteria/viruses from within the bottle, from the lid, and from the cap are killed in the purifying process.
- After you let the container sit, the bacteria/viruses will soon be killed, and all of the impurities will float down towards the bottle’s bottom – depending on the type of tablets that you use.
As you can see, water purification tablets don’t work on rocket science! It’s simply the chlorine/iodine that does such a good job at cleaning, treating, and purifying water.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it safe to use water purification tablets?
These tablets are designed to treat water and kill any harmful microorganisms that make water unsafe to drink. In general, water purification tablets are labeled as safe to use. Included water purifying chemicals are safe for your health. However, it is highly recommended that you follow the instructions they come with closely. Pay attention to how you store them, as well as to the dosage you use.
- How long do I have to wait for a tablet to treat my water?
Even if you have the tablets ready to use with you, make sure to always bring the instructions as well, especially if you have a hard time remembering them. Tablets can take as much as four hours – or even more – to properly treat water, depending on their active chemical ingredient. However, it is known that some of the best tablets are fully effective 30 minutes after they’ve been submerged into contaminated water. Once again, make sure to read and respect the instructions at all times when using this product.
- Why buy water purification tablets when I can boil water to treat/ disinfect it?
Naturally, bringing water to a boiling point is sure to kill most microorganisms and, ultimately, make water safe to drink. However, keep in mind that, in order to boil water, you will need a recipient that can resist fire, fuel, as well as the ability to start a fire. In the end, boiling water may cost you more than a pack of water purification tablets. On top of that, long-term use of boiling can damage the environment. Moreover, cooled boiled water comes with no residual disinfectant, meaning that it can be easily re-contaminated.
- What should I do if I accidentally swallowed a tablet?
If you or someone else accidentally swallows a water purification tablet, they should drink a lot of milk – or safe, potable water if milk is not available – and seek medical advice as soon as possible.
The tablets are not toxic and won’t harm your health. Naturally, it is still better to see a doctor and make sure that everything is ok.
Water purification tablets come with a lot of benefits for all of humanity. However, as you can see, the best water purification tablet is really the best only if it can protect you from the things you’ll have to face in terms of bacteria and viruses.
This is why you should do your research properly before buying any tablets. You can, for example, refer to our water purification tablet reviews and buying guide to make a list of the best tablets for you.
If you are unsure as to what type you should buy, you can always see your doctor and ask them for advice. In fact, if you suffer from certain medical conditions that could be influenced by iodine or chlorine, it is highly recommended to consult your doctor as they can probably recommend some water purification tablets that will not interfere or worsen your existing condition.
Lastly, make sure that every bit of water that you drink is pure, healthy, and properly treated. Even if you feel like you could drink an entire ocean, let the water purification tablets work for you and patiently wait for your freshwater!
We have also covered the comparison of distilled and purified water in our informational posts for those who are curious.