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When it comes to making questionable water sources potable, the best water purification tablets are a handy and reliable way to kill potentially dangerous microorganisms in water and therefore make it safe to drink. Whether you’re backpacking through the Himalayas in Nepal, spending a week in the Canadian wilderness or living in an area often affected by natural disasters, you may be in a situation in which you’re forced to drink from a questionable water source.
When it comes to picking the best water purification tablets, it’s important to weigh the factors that are most important to your needs. For example, if you want an option as part of your emergency hiking kit, small, individually wrapped tablets can be easy to take on the go and use without any extra equipment. And while we’re primarily focusing on tablets for this round-up, they’re not the only option worth considering. Liquid drops can be fast-acting and purify a larger quantity of water, for example.
Two key numbers to look at when shopping for water purification tablets are quantity and time. Many tablets are designed to purify one quart of water per tablet, while others purify one quart of water per two tablets. Likewise, it’s important to check how fast-acting these tablets are. Some of them require waiting at least 30 or 35 minutes, depending on the harmful viruses you’re trying to remove.
Below are some of the best water purification tablets and drops for purifying water.
1. Potable Aqua Germicidal Purification Tablets
Producing ready-to-drink water in as little as 35 minutes, the Portable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification Tablets are a fast and simple way to get your water clean and potable. The bottle contains 50 individual tablets, which are great for camping, hiking, international travel and keeping on hand for natural disasters. To create drinkable water, simply add two tablets to your water, shake after five minutes and wait 30 more minutes for the process to finish. The product is loved by Amazon users and used by the military and worldwide emergency organizations as well. It’s worth noting that this option is not designed for cryptosporidium.
2. Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets
EASY TO USE
Katadyn’s Micropur tablets are a great (and economical) option for purifying a wide variety of water sources. The kit includes 30 tablets, which are as easy to use as plopping into your water to purify it. Each tablet can handle one quart of water, meaning that one package can purify a total of 30 quarts. It’s designed to remove viruses and bacteria in 15 min and Giardia in 30 min.
3. Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets
BEST FOR AT-HOME EMERGENCY KITS
A blister pack of 10 individually sealed tablets is included in each strip of Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets. One tablet is required per 0.75 liters of water. After you’ve treated the water, you will need to wait 30 minutes before drinking it. With a shelf life of up to five years, these tablets are ideal for storing in the back of your cupboard, just in case they’re ever needed.
4. Aquamira Water Treatment – 1 oz.
BEST FOR LARGER QUANTITIES
An alternative option to tablets are drops, such as these from Aquamira. While drops aren’t as convenient as tablets, these small eyedrop sized bottles are still easy to pack in your hiking bag. These small bottles can treat up to 30 gallons, compared with the smaller 30-quart output of many of the tablets. First, you mix part A and part B together, then you add it to your water source. Like many other options on this list, the active ingredient of this solution is chlorine dioxide.
5. Potable Aqua Iodine and Taste-Neutralizer Tablets
Just because the water is safe to drink, that doesn’t mean it necessarily tastes much better. This option from Potable Aqua works the same as our other Potable Aqua brand pick, but it also includes neutralizing tablets that remove the iodine taste. Each bottle includes 50 tablets for a total of 25 quarts of water (two tablets per quart).
6. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System
Sawyer’s filters are a good alternative to traditional tablets. The kit weighs only 3 oz, making it easy to pack into your bag and take on the go. The filter includes two pouches, and it can work more quickly than other alternatives. All you need to do is fill the pouches with the nonpotable water, then squeeze it through the filter into your water bottle.
7. Ef Chlor Potable Water Purification Tablets
These Ef Chlor Potable Water Purification Tablets are a trusty component of any at-home emergency kit. One hundred tablets are included in the pack, and each one is capable of purifying up to one liter of water in 30 minutes. Furthermore, they have a shelf life of up to three years and are effective against virtually all known spores, viruses and bacteria. These are great tablets to throw in your pack or emergency kit.
8. Coghlan’s Emergency Drinking Water Tablets
BEST FOR ADVENTURE WEEKENDS
Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets are a cleaning treatment effective against giardia and other water-borne pathogens. These tablets utilize an iodine-based compound for neutralization without leaving an unpleasant taste. This pack of 50 is designed for emergency situations. To produce one quart of safe-to-drink water, simply add two tablets and mix.
9. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
With over 6,500 five-star reviews from Amazon users, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is our most popular option for drinking water straight from the source. This advanced filter uses membrane technology to filter out bacteria, microplastics, parasites and more. It’s ideal for all kinds of activities, including camping and international travel, as well as a great addition to any home emergency kit. The pen-like device is lightweight and has a lifespan of up to 4,000 liters of water.
10. Rothco Chlor-Floc Water Purification Tablets
BEST MILITARY STANDARD
The Rothco Chlor-Floc Water Purification Tablets are trusted and used by the US Military. Each box includes 30 tablets which are enough for purifying up to eight gallons of water in total. One or two tablets are required per liter, and once treated, the resulting water will be free of giardia, bacteria and viruses.
11. Brita Water Bottle Plastic Water Bottle
BEST FOR TAP WATER
Unlike the tablets on this list, Brita’s water bottle isn’t designed as a treatment for nonpotable water, but rather a filter for tap water. Nonetheless, it’s a good option to have on hand for everyday use. It’s economical and easy to take on the go, and the sport-style straw is easy to drink from while you’re walking.
12. SteriPEN Ultra WaterPurifier
As one of the most advanced pieces of portable water purification technology, the SteriPEN Ultra Water Purifier is ideal for traveling. To use it, simply place the lamp of the pen into the water pot and let it work its magic. Once ready for drinking, you’ll see a smiley face show up on the LED screen. This smart device utilizes ultraviolet light instead of chemicals and purifies 32 ounces of water in 90 seconds. Additionally, when the rechargeable battery is full, it can last for up to 50 treatments.