CAMPING & HIKING

Best Water Purification Tablets: Top Products to Chemically Treat Water In Any Situation

Water purification tablets
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

The best water purification tablets are hard to find considering how rich the market is. However, there are a few guidelines that will definitely help you choose the best. The products discussed a few paragraphs below will be true eye-openers regarding the available types of water purification tablets and their specific features.

You’ll also find information about their dimensions and best use because you surely want to be prepared for a hiking trip as much as for an emergency situation. The shelf lives of these tablets, as well as their packaging are important factors to consider as well. It will all make sense to you as soon as you’ll read further and discover details about active ingredients, the effect on water taste and color and other compelling data too!

Types of Tablets And Important Notions

By using various types of water purifying tablets, you can prevent the transmission of waterborne diseases into your body. You can do so effortlessly and relatively since, except the tablets that contain Chlorine Dioxide, the other two types, namely iodine water purification tablets and chlorine water purification tablets, do the cleaning in 30 minutes.

However, they are not 100% effective against Cryptosporidium, which is a nasty microorganism that causes nothing but trouble.

Chlorine water purification tablets

Because the water contamination levels are different, you won’t have to worry about bacteria cysts every time. That’s why, you’ll see that some tabs may be used for casual camping trips and hiking trips, while others are useful in truly hazardous situations when water is muddy and contains lots of sediments too. Indeed, by chemically treating the water you cannot remove debris. That’s done using other methods. Even so, once you filter muddy water, it will still be more contaminated than water taken from a river that looks clean and clear.

Tablets are a practical solution for water purification only if used right! For example, you shouldn’t use iodine based tablets if you have thyroid complications, iodine sensitivity or in case you are pregnant.

Also, these tables should not be used for more than 6 consecutive weeks because they will fill your body with too much iodine. If you didn’t have thyroid problems before, you sure will after using them for 6+ weeks. In addition, all tablets meant to purify water will not make it taste or look better unless they have extra ingredients that do that. Therefore, look for this advantage in the products we reviewed today!

Why not use water filters?

The truth is that water filters may fail you when they are exposed to certain temperatures, so having water purification tablets with you can be an alternative or a primary solution. Planned trips offer you time to prepare, so you can take both, but if nature decides to strike, your bug out bag should contain enough tablets for you to survive.

Portable Water purification tablets

Their light weight and small packaging is also a plus, not to mention that they save you the trouble of making a fire. That’s of course, if you can afford to make a fire where you are.

Keep in mind: Tablets can be found in various packaging solutions like:

  • Packed individually and grouped in foils.
  • In small bottles. Those are usually iodine tablets. The downside to this variant is that once opened, you can only use the tablets for one more year.

Now that we’ve covered some basic notions, here are some of the best products that you can use to chemically treat water when you travel, go camping or find yourself in an emergency situation.

Best Products to Have on You in Case of An Emergency

Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets

Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets

Dimensions: The bottle is tiny, ranging from 1.5 inches to 2 inches tall and slightly thicker than your little finger.

Specific features:

  • Based on iodine, the Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets are able to disinfect water and make it safe to drink by killing microorganisms, such as Giardia.
  • These tablets contain Tetraglycine Hydroperiodide (TGHP), which turn into titratable iodine when they make contact with water. This means that it immediately attacks the bacteria cells and makes them inactive.
  • It only takes 30 minutes to treat water with these tablets by adding 2 tablets into 1 quart or liter of water.
  • Ideal for emergency use only or for up to 6 weeks. These tablets are not meant to be used on a regular daily basis. They are suited for travel, hiking, backpacking and emergency situations.
  • Unlike water filters, the tablets from Potable Aqua are not affected by low temperatures.
  • Their shelf life is 4 years, but if you open the bottle, you can use the tablets for up to 1 year.

Best use: When you go camping, travel or face emergency situations, such as natural disasters, these tablets will disinfect water and make it potable. They are ideal for traveling internationally as well because water might contain E. coli, cholera and salmonella, which are all killed by The Potable Aqua tablets.

Description: The Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets are meant to make water safe to drink in various situations that you may or may not foresee. Because it is based on iodine, it’s not recommended for everyday use, but it is safe to use constantly for up to 6 weeks.

You can take them with you when you go camping and you don’t carry enough water with you or when you travel to other countries and want to avoid Traveler’s Diarrhea. They are life-savers for situations when nature breaks loose and clean water supplies are no longer available. Such tablets have virtually no expiration date if they are kept in ideal conditions like cool and dry places.

However, in order to be safe, you can tell by looking at the tablet’s color. If the tablet is gray or brown, then you can use it to purify water. Conversely, if the tablet is yellow or green, then you should throw it away and use others because it will not be effective anymore.

Just one bottle of tables is enough for disinfecting around 8 gallons of water, so there’s a lot of effectiveness in 2 inches worth of storage space.

Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets

Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets

Dimensions: Each packet is 1 5/8 inches x 13/16 inches. Each packet contains 2 tablets. Each strip contains 5 packets, 10 tablets and measures 1 5/8 inches x 4 inches.

Specific features:

  • Self-dissolving, these tablets are based on NaDCC which is also known as Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate or Troclosene Sodium. This is an alternative source of chlorine.
  • 1 tablet per 2 quarts of water is known to generate 2.6ppm of chlorine. In other words, 100 tablets are enough to disinfect 200 quarts of water.
  • Efficient against Cholera, Typhoid, Dysentery and other water borne diseases.
  • Used by all major aid agencies, NGO’s, NATO, as well as other military agencies.
  • Has proven efficiency for over 20 years on the market.
  • Acts fast, making water potable in 30 minutes.
  • It features no unpleasant taste unlike other water purification tablets.
  • Safe to use for 5 years since manufacture.

Best use: In the case of hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, floods for water taken from rivers, lakes, wells or collected from rain and other possible sources as well.

Description: The Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets are present on the market for over 20 years, a fact which proves they are reliable and effective as well. Major military organizations from around the world use these tablets for personal purposes and to help people living in areas affected by natural disasters.

They are at your disposal as well, in case you want to be prepared for a risky situation when you’ll need them or if you want to drink water from a water source that you don’t trust.

As a big plus, these tablets do not change the taste of water. They leave no unpleasant taste after they work their magic and kill dangerous microorganisms. A pack that contains 100 tablets is enough for you to purify 200 quarts of water, which are enough to keep you surviving for a while. These tablets are considered essential in prepping.

Water Purification Tablets

Water Purification Tablets

Dimensions: A small glass bottle containing 50 tiny tablets.

Specific features:

  • 1 tiny tablet can make a quarter or liter of water drinkable risk-free
  • It converts contaminated water in potable water in half an hour
  • Conceived for preppers and for lovers of the outdoors
  • Based on chlorine compounds, it is able to kill bacteria that would otherwise make you sick
  • These tablets can be stored for 5 years until they expire or become less effective.

Best use: Ideal for camping, hiking, travel and emergency situations.

Description: The Water Purification Tablets available in a tiny bottle of 50 pieces can deliver the best water purification system in multiple situations.

When you get stranded, you simply don’t have access to pure water or you’re facing flooding from various sources, earthquake damage to water sources, fires and so on, you can stay alive and hydrated if you have these tables at hand or with you. Just one tiny tablet is enough for you to quench your thirst while waiting for help or in your journey back to civilization.

Before relying on others, you can rely on yourself and these water purification tablets that are way better than the halazone water disinfectant. This is because they work based on a chemical compound used as a disinfectant, biocide and industrial deodorant.

In other words, besides water getting germs free, it will also be odor and taste free. After using 1 tablet per quarter, that water will not contain any cysts, viruses, bacteria, algae or fungi.

Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets with PA Plus

Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets with PA Plus

Dimensions: 10 inches x 6 inches x 2 inches

Specific features:

  • A 2 in 1 package that ensures water purification and takes care of taste and color too
  • PA Plus are tablets recommended for neutralizing the taste of iodine and the abnormal water color
  • The package contains two small bottles with tables that have to be used separately for optimal results
  • Water purification done in 30 minutes
  • Taste and odor issues resolved in 3 minutes
  • 50+50 tablets are enough to purify 25 quarts of water

Best use: Fishing, camping, hiking and on any questionable water supply.

Description: The Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets with PA Plus work in two phases. The first phase and the most important one, takes care of the microorganisms found in water. You will be safe from bacteria and parasites.

Since these tablets are based on iodine, the water tastes a little funny after usage. That’s when phase two comes in to transform pure water in purer water that is tasteless and has no kind of coloration. The second phase only lasts for 3 minutes, but the first phase still takes 30 minutes to be complete. Therefore, with the help of these tablets, you’ll have access to clean water in only 33 minutes!

A pack of two bottles is enough for 25 quarts of water, so making sure you have these at hand could be lifesaving! A regular hike can turn into a nightmare if you can’t even drink water, not to mention the importance of emergency preparedness. International travelling can’t be overlooked either.

The CDC warns you about the dangers of getting E. coli, cholera and salmonella from contaminated water. Keeping water purification tablets at hand for 4 years is possible with this brand as long as you don’t open the bottles. If you do, they’re only good for one more year. This is because iodine is sensitive to light and will deteriorate once exposed.

AquaMira Military Water Purifier Tablets

AquaMira Military Water Purifier Tablets

Dimensions: 3 inches x 0.5 inches x 7 inches

Specific features:

  • Military-grade chlorine dioxide tablets.
  • Kill bacteria, viruses, Giardia and Cryptosporidium
  • 50 pieces packed lightly in a re-sealable pouch
  • A genuine OE, EPA-registered product that produces germicidal agents
  • The taste of water is improved and discoloration is not an issue anymore
  • The effect occurs in 4 hours after inserting a tablet into water
  • The expiration date is 4 years since manufacturing if not opened or exposed to heat and humidity

Best use: Camping, hunting, hiking or in the case of natural disasters.

Description: The AquaMira Military Water Purifier Tablets are different from the other water purification tablets presented above because their active compound is chlorine dioxide. This is the only chemical contained by such tablets that kills Cryptosporidium. In addition, it removes iron and manganese as well.

Indeed, it takes one hour longer for these tables to have a maximum effect, but it’s totally worth it. They can be used just like the other tablets while obtaining more benefits. This particular brand took care of the water’s taste and color, so it didn’t get its registration by the EPA for anything.

Dropping one tab into the water and leaving it there for 4 hours should be enough to benefit from clean water. However, if the water isn’t clear, you might have to add more. Because they are individually packed, you don’t have to worry about the expiration date as long as you know you store them right.

Besides that, keep in mind that there isn’t any tablet that will dissolve the sediments from water, so filtration is necessary too.

Coghlan’s 7620 Drinking Water Tablets

Coghlan's 7620 Drinking Water Tablets

Dimensions: 1 inches x 1 inches x 1 inches

Specific features:

  • Water germicidal tablets covering a wide range of bacteria and viruses
  • 1 tab is enough in order to disinfect 1 quart of water
  • Recommended for emergency uses, not for constant consumption
  • 100% effective in most cases of Giardia infections
  • Advertised as emergency water disinfection tabs

Best use: In cases when you have to disinfect water as an emergency, which include natural disasters, but also camping trips, hiking trips and so on.

Description: The Coghlan’s 7620 Drinking Water Tablets represent an effective way of purifying most water sources. It doesn’t replace a water filter or is recommended for home use. In case you have a well and water goes bad from time to time, you can use these. The same goes for other situations when the water you can drink is not safe to drink. Such water tablets purify water thanks to the chemicals they contain, so that’s why you can’t use these regularly.

Giardia cysts are hard to kill unless you boil the water, but now you can simply add two tabs in 1 quarter of water and wait for 30 minutes in order to get rid of it. Since 50 tabs are enough for 25 quarters of water, the ideal tab usage is 2 per quarter.

Other microorganisms don’t stand a chance either. The bottle comes with a cotton tab inside it, which you should keep in once you open it. This is because it absorbs moisture that otherwise would make the top rust and lower the quality of the tablets.

Taharmayim – Israeli Water Purification Tablets

Taharmayim - Israeli Water Purification Tablets

Dimensions: Small box containing 50, 0.25 inch tablets that are individually packed.

Specific features:

  • Recommended for people who are allergic to iodine
  • Kills bacteria, fungi and amoeba, all which are known to cause serious stomach problems and aches that don’t simply go away
  • 1 tablet is enough to clean a quarter of water taken from rivers and other streams
  • Suitable for disinfecting wounds in the right concentration.
  • Suitable for washing fruits in the right combination.
  • Based on Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate or in other words, on chlorine
  • Over 10 years on the market with proven efficiency on users who tried it more than once

Best use: Camping, traveling and surviving situations.

Description: The Taharmayim – Israeli Water Purification Tablets offer the standard protection that any water purification tablet offers, plus some tips regarding washing fruits and disinfecting wounds. While being safe to use even by individuals who are allergic to iodine, these tabs still retain a slight chlorine taste after cleaning the water for 30 minutes. Even so, the water is purified and safe to drink because bacteria, fungi and amoeba are gone.

If you want to disinfect fruit, then you should add 6 tablets to 6.7 oz or 200 ml of water. Then, you should soak the fruit for 10 minutes and rinse afterwards with normally treated water. When it comes to disinfecting wounds, you should add 15 tablets to 0.50 oz or 50 ml of water.

As you can see, there are never enough water purification tablets if you want to use them other than simply disinfecting water. Made in Israel, these tabs come with instructions in English and they are very reliable. Their shelf life is long, but each box comes with a manufacturing date that can serve as a guideline.

Coleman Potable Aqua with PA Plus

Coleman Potable Aqua with PA Plus

Dimensions: Two tiny bottles wrapped in cardboard.

Specific features:

  • Provides a two-step water purification process
  • It is effective against Giardia and other bacteria and viruses
  • Takes full effect in 30 minutes after administration
  • They must be dissolved in water that comes from questionable sources
  • Offers an iodine free taste, no smell and pure water consistency
  • One package is enough for 25 quarts of water

Best use: Ideal for camping, hiking and travel as advertised on the label.

Description: The Coleman Potable Aqua with PA Plus Chemical Water Treatment Treats is a product that offers water disinfection and purification. Besides providing tablets that contain iodine and that will kill lots of microorganisms that can harm you, it also provides tablets that remove the taste of iodine and make the water clear. This two-step process is very effective and preferred compared with the one step process.

However, the first process is the most important one because it’s the one that kills unwanted viruses, bacteria, fungi and others.

The number of tablets contained by the two tiny bottles is not mentioned, but it’s known that they are enough to purify 25 quarts of water. The two-step process has become increasingly popular, Coleman not being the only brand that provides it.

However, its efficacy was demonstrated, so this product’s features make it a great choice for situations when you have to purify water whether you like it or not.

Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets

Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets

Dimensions: Box containing 20 or 30 tablets grouped in foils and individually packed.

Specific features:

  • Known to kill even Giardia and Cryptosporidium
  • Based on Chlorine Dioxide
  • 1 tablet is enough to purify one quarter of water that is cold and muddy
  • Have a lifespan of around 5 years if they are not exposed to humidity
  • Advertised ad being ultra-light
  • Confer a good and fresh taste to any type of contaminated water
  • Meet EPA purification guidelines

Best use: When you travel internationally to Third World countries, when you want to drink water from rivers and other streams or in the case of disasters, you can use these tablets to safely hydrate your body.

Description: The Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets come in packages of 20 or 30 tablets and provide high levels of water purification. According to the manufacturer, one tablet kills Giardia and Cryptosporidium cysts in 30 minutes.

However, if the water is cold and muddy, then the safest way would be for you to wait 4 hours. Most microorganisms are killed in 15 minutes, but these two might fight more. Although using these tablets might require a little bit of planning, they make water 100% safe to drink. In addition, users say that they provide the best tasting water of all.

Since they contain Chlorine Dioxide, they don’t cause any allergies or represent health threats to anyone. Most preppers and travelers recognize the efficacy of chlorine dioxide and don’t see the 4 hours waiting time as a hassle. Clean and pure water is what you can obtain if you decide on using these water purification tablets.

Now that you are familiar with all the available types of water purification tablets and their features, you are able to choose one or more and be prepared for any situation!

Knowledgeable Users, Choose!

Are you resourceful enough to think of every possible situation you might end up in? No one can predict the future, so it is equally important for you to be prepared for travelling internationally and for emergency situations at the same time.

Water treatment tablets

Is the taste and smell of water important to you or you can drink any as long as you know the microorganisms are gone? When you have to think about yourself only, your decision might be easier. However, take your kids into consideration as well. They might not tolerate unfamiliar tastes and smells.

Iodine, chlorine, and chlorine dioxide are the most met active compounds in water purification tablets. The first one can be easily removed from the list if you are allergic or if iodine is not recommended to you. That leaves you with two other reputable options.

Choosing the best tabs is up to you, so make sure to let us know what you decide and share your experiences if you have already used one of the 9 products above, as well as other ones that you found very effective!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Marco Medina

    I once used Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets when was in the expedition in mountains. Really good stuff! They acted fast, something like 30 minutes, and the water was drinkable. We used 1 tablet for about 1 liter of water. The taste was nice, I can confirm this. I also like that every tablet is individually wrapped, it is very convenient. In conclusion, these tablets are the best variant for those, who are going to the 3rd world countries or into the wild, they remove all known organisms, disinfecting your water and didn’t change its taste/smell.

    • Dennis Owens

      Great quick review and opinion, Marco. Aside from this, Aquatabs Tablet is one of the more reasonably-priced purification tablets, which makes it more accessible and convenient even to the most budget-conscious traveler.

  • john hill

    Using Taharmayim for a long time. The main purpose of these tablets – water disinfection at the individual and group consumption from decentralized sources (rivers, lakes, ponds, etc.) in the field and extreme conditions, in emergency situations (floods etc.), garden plots, for disinfection of water in swimming pools, containers used for storing and carrying water. Possessing high antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses and fungi they are also used in hospitals for disinfection of surfaces, equipment, utensils, linens, medical waste, etc., so they are safe for you and your children.

    • Dennis Owens

      Not all water purification tablets are the same, as some tablets can disinfect more materials and can kill more microorganisms. It is one of the best purification methods you can bring with you that does not occupy much space.

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