Are water purification tablets truly useful? Finding safe potable water can be difficult without the right tools when you’re an off-grid explorer. However, today’s technology grants us several ways of providing drinkable water on the fly.
There are sippable straws that filter the water as it moves through the straw. Some pitchers and containers filter water, and there are even tablets that can make the water safe to drink. Let’s look into those magical little tablets.
What Are Water Purification Tablets?
Backpackers, outdoor enthusiasts, international travelers, and people in natural disasters often use water purification tablets. They are small tablets you put into the water that help kill any pathogens. As a result, you’re guaranteed to have safe drinking water available.
How Do Water Purification Tablets Work?
Purification tablets usually contain chlorine, chlorine dioxide, or iodine. These chemicals can break down and disarm harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasitic protozoans common in contaminated water sources.
The chemicals work by breaking down the cell membrane of harmful microorganisms, which allows the chemicals to enter and deactivate the cells. After the tablets have done their work in the water, you can safely drink without worry.
How Long Do the Tablets Take to Work?
How to use water purification tablets can differ between products. Always look at the instructions carefully before using water purification tablets. The time to fully purify the water sample can be from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
In general, you check the mixture ratio for your product. Place the correct amount of tablets into your water. Wait for 30 minutes or so, and you’ll have potable water.
Some people say the tablets make the water taste bad because of the iodine or chlorine. There are iodine neutralizer tablets to help with the iodine flavor. If you want to remove a chlorine flavor, just let your water breathe. The chlorine will evaporate from the water, and you’ll have a clean, flavorless product left behind.
What Are the Pros And Cons of These Tablets?
Pros: There are many pros and cons of water purification tablets. Some pros include convenience, portability, and a long hold time. Many purification tablets stay good for many months, making them essential in emergency and survival kits.
Also, you don’t need to be able to build a fire to achieve potable water when you have water purification tablets. In a survival situation where you are at serious risk of dehydration, easy access to safe, drinkable water will help greatly. A person can only go up to 3 days without water, so it is essential to have multiple ways to get this vital resource.
Cons: There are some health concerns regarding the long-term use of water purification tablets. They’re sufficient for a quick lifesaver in a pinch, but you don’t want to use water purification tablets in large doses for extended periods.
The chemicals and byproducts of the breakdown remain in the water, and you could face trouble over time. Also, the tablets usually leave a residual taste in the water.
Pro Tip: Water purification tablets aren’t the only way to purify water. Check out these 5 Ways to Purify Water for Survival in the Wilderness.
6 Top-Rated Water Purification Tablets and How They Work
If you need direction on which tablets to choose, we can help. Here is a quick overview of a few top-rated water purification tablets.
#1. Potable Aqua Iodine Based Water Purification Tablets
About: These iodine-based water purification tablets can make your water safe to drink in just 35 minutes. A bottle of 50 costs around $8.00, and they are proven effective against Giardia lamblia. However, they do not protect against cysts like cryptosporidium.
- One bottle of 50 count Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets
- Water treatment tablets, providing water purification for...
- Potable Aqua emergency water purification tablets for drinking...
One Tablet Treats: Dissolve two tablets into one quart or liter of water. Cap the container loosely. Wait five minutes. Shake it up. Wait 30 minutes, and drink.
#2. Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets
About: These are chlorine dioxide tablets that make your water safe to drink in four hours. This product takes a while to work, but it claims protection against bacteria, viruses, and cysts like cryptosporidium. A bottle of 20 tablets will cost you a little more than $13.00.
- One pack of 20 Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification...
- Effective against bacteria, viruses and cysts, such as Giardia...
- Emergency water purification for camping, hiking, traveling and...
One Tablet Treats: One tablet will purify one quart or liter of questionable water. Drop the tablet into the water. Keep in an opaque container or in the dark for 4 hours, then have a safe drink.
#3. Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets
About: Aquatabs water purification tablets are chlorine-based, but they’re not your typical chlorine tablets. A pack of 100 tablets will cost you around $14.00, and they remain active for up to five years. These tabs take 40 minutes to provide treated, drinkable water.
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One Tablet Treats: Mix two tablets into a half-gallon of water. Stir and shake it up for ten minutes, and then let it sit for another 30 minutes to complete the cleansing process.
#4. Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets
About: These chlorine-based tablets claim to make your water safe in 35 minutes. Therefore, if you need potable water quickly, these tablets can be beneficial . You can purchase 50 tablets for $9.00 on Amazon.
- Drinking water tablets
- One tablet will disinfect approximately 1 quart of water
- Great to have on hand while hiking or camping
One Tablet Treats: Add two tablets to one liter or a quart of water. Wait five minutes, then shake it up. Wait 30 more minutes, and drink.
#5. P&G Purifier of Water Portable Water Purifier Packets
About: Calcium hypochlorite is the active ingredient in these water purification tablets. It claims to clean your water in just 30 minutes. You can purchase 12 packets for $25.00 on Amazon, making it the priciest option thus far.
- Turns dirty, contaminated water into fresh, clean, drinkable...
- A portable water treatment system that you can take anywhere....
- Never worry about water on your next adventure. Clean water is...
One Tablet Treats: Dissolve one packet into 2.5 gallons or ten liters of water. Stir it up for five minutes. Wait 20 minutes for debris to settle at the bottom. Filter the water, and drink up!
#6. Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets
About: These chlorine dioxide-based treatment tablets take four hours to complete the purification process. You can purchase 30 tablets for less than $12.00 online.
One Tablet Treats: Dissolve one tablet into one liter or a quart of water. Wait four hours for the process to complete, and drink.
What Is the Most Effective Way to Purify Water?
Boiling water is a standard and effective way to purify water. Consistent high temperatures make unpleasant things in the water die and break down. Ensure you bring the water to a rolling boil, then boil it for at least 20 minutes before cooling and drinking.
However, unless you bring campfire starters with you or you are skilled with a ferro rod, sometimes boiling water isn’t the easiest task to accomplish. Purification tablets are a great failsafe backup if a fire is out of the question.
Pro Tip: Being able to purify water isn’t the only survival skill you should know! Check out these Basic Survival Skills Everyone Should Know!
Are Water Purification Tablets Worth It?
Water purification tablets are worth having on hand for survival situations. You need a safe backup if you can’t get a fire going while camping in the wilderness and need to drink. Dehydration can set in fast in warm climates or when being active. Having these tablets on hand could save your life. They make safe drinking water much easier to acquire.
Are purification tablets missing in your emergency kit? Tell us in the comments!
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