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It’s no secret: Water is necessary for survival. Most of us get our water from faucets or bottled sources. But what happens when you venture off the beaten path--or when life takes a sudden turn?
Water purification tablets kill harmful microorganisms and prevent dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and other water-borne illness. They’re essential for hikers, climbers, and backcountry adventurers who brave the wilderness and international travelers who explore new locales.
Individuals who live in areas prone to natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes also experience greater peace of mind knowing they can purify drinking water.
Aquatabs Mightie Company World’s #1 Water Purification Tablets help to prevent dehydration and water-borne illnesses. Take a cue from the preppers and secure your supply of the best water purification tablets on the market.
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Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets
Aquatabs Mightie Company World’s #1 Water Purification Tablets are the world’s top-selling, best water purification tablets, and the World Health Organization approves them for routine usage.
How we conducted the test:
We got a team of evaluators and tried a number of products from different brands to see which will give peak performances according to specific purposes. We also logged in the number of hours that we spent in testing the models.
21 PRODUCTS TESTED
Top Choices on the Market
Best Water Purification Tablets Reviews 2020 (UPDATED)
1. Aquatabs Mightie Water Purification Tablets
Fast-Acting and Awesome Taste
Users attest to the lack of a tablet taste. This is due to Aquatabs’ unique purification formula: No iodine equals more safety and improved taste. It also makes these tablets suitable for people with iodine allergies or thyroid issues. These tablets purify water in 30 minutes, making them among the fastest-acting purification tablets on the market.
Long-Lasting and Safe
Aquatabs are the only water purification tablets approved for routine use by the World Health Organization and have an NSF 60 safety certification. They come in a light-proof, water-resistant pouch for a maximum shelf life of up to five years. This makes the product an ideal choice for thru-hikers who need their water cleaning tablets to last through shipment and storage between cache points and restocking centers.
These tablets are frequently given to disaster-stricken populations as humanitarian aid. Areas affected by tidal waves, hurricanes, and tornados can safely rely on Aquatabs Purification Tablets to keep stricken communities hydrated and free of disease.
- Five-year shelf life
- Light-proof and water-proof packaging
- Only water purifying tablets approved for continuous usage by the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Travel-friendly pack of 100 tablets
- Great natural taste
- More expensive than some other brands on the market
2. Aquamira - Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment Drops
Compact and Lightweight
Thru-hikers and endurance adventurers don’t want to lug around heavy gear or supplies. If you’re wondering how to purify water in the wild, these drops offer incredible on-trail practicality. What makes the Aquamira drops such a popular option for adventurers is the slim, compact bottle that slides easily into a backpack and is so light you’ll forget about it when you’re not using it.
Long Shelf Life
These drops boast a shelf life of up to four years from the date of manufacture. If stored correctly in a cool, dry location, Aquamira-treated water lasts for up to five years on the shelf. Each 60 ml Aquamira purification bottle can effectively treat up to 60 gallons of water. That’s one ml of Aquamira per gallon.
Chlorine Dioxide-based Formula
Chlorine dioxide is effective against more viruses and pathogens than iodine-based treatment solutions. It also targets cryptosporidium, which can produce painful intestinal illness.
- Cost-effective and inexpensive
- Perfect for thru-hikes and long adventures
- Amazing shelf life for both the drops and treated water
- Targets cryptosporidium--something chlorine-only and iodine treatments cannot do
- Unsuitable for humanitarian aid as the Aquatabs, as they are not WHO-approved for long-term use
- Some reviewers mention that the bottles are not constructed of durable plastic
3. Potable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification Tablets
Good Shelf Life
Potable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification Tablets in unopened bottles remain effective for approximately four years, while tablets in open bottles remain effective for one year. This makes the tablets a fantastic choice for thru-hikers, backcountry hunters, frequent travelers, and for emergency usage. Buy a bottle of these tablets to have in your pantry in case of an emergency or add them to your backpack.
These tetraglycine hydroperiodide tablets purify water in approximately 35 minutes, making this purification system both fast and effective against bacterial diseases such as giardia lamblia. They’re also easy to carry around while hiking or traveling, as they come stored in a compact bottle that fits discreetly into any pack or utility vest.
Large Tablet-to-Water Ratio
A large tablet-to-water ratio means you only need two small tablets to purify a liter of water. It also means you have to carry fewer tablets while on your backcountry adventure.
- Fast-acting solution for substandard water
- Great shelf life
- Compact bottle suitable for hiking and traveling
- Better tablet-to-water purification ratio than many other brands
- Unsuitable for individuals with iodine allergies
- Unsuitable for extended usage--the manufacturer suggests a six-week limit
- Strong iodine taste
4. Coleman Potable Aqua with PA Plus Chemical Water Treatment
One Pack Treats 24 Quarts
Each two-pack of Coleman Potable Aqua water purifying tablets treats up to 24 quarts of water. The tablets from the white bottle purify your water, after which the tablets from the yellow bottle are used to remove the iodine for an improved taste and color. Your water is ready to drink within 30 minutes of beginning treatment.
This is an excellent option for adventurers on a budget. It’s also great for people who have other filtration systems but are looking for low-cost back-up water purification. After all, it never hurts to be prepared with several water-filtering options when you’re out in the backcountry.
The compact bottles are easily stored in the side pocket of your backpack, your fishing tackle box, or in an emergency go-bag. You won’t have to worry about lugging around a bulky filtration system or carrying vast amounts of emergency water stores. Keep the bottles stored together as you need both components to purify your drinking water adequately.
- Inexpensive compared to other brands
- Excellent tablet-to-water purification ratio
- Compact and lightweight
- Iodine remover included
- Iodine removal agent takes away the strong iodine taste, but it can still leave the water tasting musty
5. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets
Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate Dihydrate
While it only offers moderate protection against cryptosporidium, neither iodine- or chlorine-only-based treatments target cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidium is one of the most common parasites in third-world countries. It can be especially painful for the immunocompromised, so paying a little extra for chlorine dioxide is well worth the money.
Chlorine dioxide is more effective than iodine-based treatments or chlorine tablets for drinking water. Each tablet treats one liter of water and kills more giardia and targets more viruses than other conventional iodine-based tablets. However, it does take four hours for the chlorine dioxide to clean the water.
Unlike many other options on the market, chlorine dioxide tablets work to reduce both the taste and odor of substandard water without adding a nasty aftertaste. Just make sure you wait until the entire four-hour purification process is over. If you drink the water before the purification process is complete, the chlorine may harm your stomach.
- More effective against viruses than iodine-based options
- Improves the taste and odor of substandard water
- Targets cryptosporidium, a common and dangerous pathogen
- Convenient and compact
- Long wait time for water purification
- Slightly more expensive than iodine-based treatment options
- Not recommended for continuous use longer than six weeks
6. Potable Aqua Purification Tablets with PA Plus
Effective Against Giardia Lamblia
Each of these water purification tablets contains 8 mg of tetraglycine hydroperiodide, which is released into the water when used as directed. These tablets are effective against giardia lamblia, protozoa, viruses, and bacteria, which dramatically reduces your risk of water-borne illnesses while traveling or adventuring.
Removes Iodine Taste
The follow-up tablets cleanse the water of iodine, meaning you don’t have to tolerate a strong taste or smell. In a situation where you are purifying your water in a hot or humid location, this encourages you to drink more water and reduces your risk of dehydration.
The iodine tablets purify your water in 35 minutes, from start to finish. While iodine isn’t as effective as chlorine dioxide, this quick turn-around can be crucial in an emergency situation. If you or a friend are struggling with dehydration in the backcountry, waiting hours for chlorine dioxide to take effect just isn’t practical.
- Improved taste encourages hydration
- Fast-acting, which can be crucial in an emergency situation
- Effective against a wide range of pathogens
- Ineffective against cryptosporidium
- Water purification tablet reviews state that iodine removers sometimes leave behind a chalky residue which affects the taste of the water
7. Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets
25 Quarts of Water Treatment
A single Coghlan’s iodine tablet treats two quarts of water. This means that one small bottle contains 50 tablets for a total of 25 quarts of water treatment, making it a great option for travelers on a budget.
Perfect Emergency Tablets
Although the taste of the tablets would make them hard to stomach on a longer adventure, the small bottle fits perfectly into an emergency kit. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who raves about the taste of iodine, but it’s worth stomaching to avoid disease. Keep a bottle in the back of your car or your hiking first aid kit in case you get stranded and need an extra water cleaning option.
Like other iodine-based tablets, the Coghlan’s water purification tablets are effective against viruses, cysts, bacteria, and other pathogens. While they aren’t effective against cryptosporidium, they significantly reduce the risk of water-borne illnesses in emergencies. You can combine the chemical iodine treatment with mechanical filtration to remove particulate matter and make the tablets even more effective.
- One of the most cost-effective water cleaning tablets available
- Provides effective protection against a wide range of water-borne illnesses
- Compact and perfect for emergency kits
- Strong iodine taste -- not recommended or palatable for long-term usage
How to Pick the Perfect Water Purification Tablets for Your Needs
When you’re choosing iodine or chlorine tablets for drinking water purification, you need to consider where, when, and how often you’ll use the tablets.
Where you use the tablets matter, for instance, are you heading to the backcountry, and will you be near stagnant or running water? If you’re going on an adventure near a calm body of water, for instance, prioritize stronger forms of water purification, as more tranquil water tends to contain more pathogens.
Opt for Aquatabs or a chlorine dioxide-based purification system. Chlorine dioxide purification systems are also effective in backcountry situations as they eliminate viruses and some parasites as well as bacterial pathogens. They are also ideal in locations where water access is limited as treated and stored water will remain sanitary.
You also need to consider when you’ll use the tablets. If you’re looking for a go-bag or emergency-only water purification system, iodine tablets are the best choice. They’ll protect you against most pathogens you’re likely to encounter while traveling or in the great outdoors. They’re also compact and inexpensive.
Finally, think about how often you will use the tablets. Aquatabs are currently the only tablets approved for long-term use by the World Health Organization. With an NSF 60 Safety Rating, they’re suitable for daily use, do not produce an unpleasant taste, and are ideal for long-term humanitarian aid projects and survival situations.
To help find the right tablets for you, read water purification tablets reviews. Understand what other customers are saying about the tablets: their victories, their frustrations, and potential pitfalls. You’ll benefit from the opinions and expertise of mile-mad thru-hikers as well as rural living enthusiasts searching for well water treatment tablets to help make your decision. These perspectives are valuable because they allow you to determine what factors are most important to you.
Benefits of Using Water Purification Tablets
Depending on the situation, water purification tablets might help lighten your pack load, enable a long-distance adventure, spare you from discomfort, or even save a life. Some of the benefits of using water purification tablets include:
Protection against disease
While not all water purification tablets protect against the same (or all) water-borne pathogens and diseases, they all significantly reduce the risk of illness. This can spare you or your friend days, weeks, or even months of digestive discomfort.
Water purification tablets can also help protect compromised populations after environmental disasters or infrastructural disorder. Keeping additional disease out of vulnerable populations helps individuals, families, and economies recover faster and more easily.
Provide emergency hydration
Maybe you’ve dropped your water bottle on the trail, need to provide an injured hiker with a life-saving drink, or your car has broken down in the middle of nowhere.
Keeping extra water purification tablets on hand helps you be prepared for the worst. Maybe you’ll be the one who needs the tablets, or perhaps it will be a stranger. Regardless, water purification tablets can help you keep yourself and those around you safer and healthier, no matter the circumstances.
Enable longer distances in the wilderness
While some remote mountain streams are still safe to drink from, most water sources these days require filtration or purification. Nobody likes to carry liters upon liters of water with them across the backcountry.
That’s why thru-hikers, hunters, climbers, and fishermen have been relying on water purification tablets for decades. They don’t just grant peace of mind: They make it possible to traverse greater distances at a faster, safer pace.
Easier to use than filtration
While water filters can help to remove particulate matter from dirty water as well as kill pathogens, iodine and chlorine tablets allow for faster and easier water purification on-the-go. This makes them perfect for emergencies and wilderness survival.
Practical Uses for Water Purification Tablets
Practical uses for water purification tablets and drops range from purifying water from rivers, streams, and creeks when out in the backcountry to preventing population-wide illness during weather catastrophes. They boast a number of recreational and humanitarian applications.
Whether you call it the Tourist’s Trot or Montezuma’s Revenge, traveler’s diarrhea is miserable. Purifying water as you travel in countries with questionable water sources helps you prevent illness so you can see the sights instead.
Water purification tablets aren’t just for thru-hikers. They’re also practical for fishermen, climbers, mountain bikers, and campers who don’t want to carry excessive amounts of water to and from their outdoor recreation destinations. Even if you aren’t outdoors for long, keeping water purifying tablets on-hand prepares you just in case you encounter an emergency.
Sometimes, disaster strikes a whole city or even a country in the form of a hurricane or tornado that takes out large sections of infrastructure. Alternatively, if you travel abroad, you might come across families or communities with unreliable access to clean, running water.
In these situations, well water treatment tablets can function not only as disease prevention, but also as a way to allow people to work, go to school, and strengthen their economy, rather than struggling to find clean water.
How Do Water Purification Tablets Work?
Many water-borne illnesses--and, by extension, search-and-rescue calls--would be eliminated if travelers read and followed water purification instructions. Sometimes, consumers are confused by different types of purification systems or complicated instructions.
If you’re wondering how to use water purification tablets, here are some tips for safely using your tablets, no matter the type.
- Read and follow the instructions
Always read the instructions before you use the tablets. Some tablets come in water-resistant packaging, while others might be ruined by exposure to direct sunlight.
- Mix the tablets or drops thoroughly
Correctly mixing the chemical purifiers more effectively distributes the chlorine or iodine through the water. Leave the water cleaning tablets to work for the full recommended amount of time, as removing or neutralizing the chemical too quickly will reduce the cleanliness of the water.
The iodine and chlorine dioxide tablets work by deteriorating the cell walls of the pathogens to deactivate them. This process takes varying amounts of time according to the concentration and type of chemical used.
- Be aware of expiration dates
Most water purification tablets and drops have an impressive shelf life, some of them lasting for five years. How effective are water purification tablets? Much of their effectiveness depends on their expiration date. Purchasing from a reliable retailer helps you avoid buying out-of-date purification tablets.
Are water purification tablets bad for you?
Water purification tablets are far better for your general health than contracting a water-borne disease. For the immunocompromised, some water-borne illnesses can be life-threatening.
However, different water purification tablets are approved for varying lengths of use. Chlorine dioxide tablets are safe for up to six weeks. Aquatabs are approved for long-term use.
Do water purification tablets expire?
Most water purification tablets have a long shelf life, but they do eventually expire. Always check the label for the expiration date. This is especially important for water purification systems in go-bags and hiking caches, which are used infrequently.
Do water purification tablets kill viruses?
All water purification tablets will be effective against many viruses. However, chlorine dioxide is more effective than iodine-based tablets for eliminating a more diverse range of viruses as well as cryptosporidium, a dangerous intestinal parasite.
How long are water purification tablets good for?
The shelf life of water purification tablets depends upon the individual product. However, many are good for up to four or five years. Chlorine dioxide-treated water stays sanitary when sealed for several years as well.
What should I do if I accidentally swallowed a tablet?
The risks of swallowing a whole tablet before it has treated and dissolved in the water will depend on a person’s age, health, and how much was swallowed. You must let the tablets work for at least the minimum recommended time before consuming the water. If you accidentally and inadvertently swallow a tablet, contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for guidance.
Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets
Water purification tablets prevent disease, enable greater adventures, and help you feel prepared for life’s unexpected events. But choosing the right tablets or drops can make a big difference to the quality, taste, and cleanliness of your water.
For the best chemical purification system available on the market, choose Aquatabs Mightie Company World’s #1 Water Purification Tablets. They are reportedly the only water purification tablet approved for long-term use by the World Health Organization and offer the right balance between efficacy and affordability.
Lightweight, compact, fast-acting, and packaged in water-resistant and light-proof materials, these tablets are ready for anything. Whether you’re planning a splash-soaked kayak trip or a sunny desert hiking adventure, these tablets remain reliable in almost any external conditions.
Their NSF 60 Safety Rating makes them excellent emergency well water purification tablets, as well as a suitable option for cleaning stagnant water on your backcountry adventures.
If you travel abroad, these tablets can help you avoid the worst and most common traveler’s illnesses. They are also excellent tools for humanitarian aid and help whole populations get back on their feet after an environmental disaster. Few products on the market combine such safety and philanthropic potential with adventure-readiness.