The Best Water Purification Tablets in 2020

The Best Water Purification Tablets

Tablets that promise to purify the water in your water bottle can work wonders with the overall quality and the taste of the water you drink. If you’re curious about the different brands of water purification tablets, it is easy to research them and determine which one you should buy.

These tablets do a great job every time at making your water healthier but not all of the companies that make this product are alike, which is why shopping around a bit can help you find the product that is right for you.

Below are a few of the brands you’ll find when shopping for water purification tablets.

2020 Comparison Chart of the Top 10 Water Purification Tablets

ImageProduct NameTime to Purify 
Katadyn15 minsCheck Price
Potable Aqua Tablets30 minsCheck Price
Aquatabs30 minsCheck Price
Mightie Company30 minsCheck Price
Active Gear Guy30 minsCheck Price
Ef Chlor Water Purification Tablets30 minsCheck Price
Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets30 minsCheck Price
PrepareMe America30 minsCheck Price
Chlor-Floc System30 minsCheck Price
Polar Pure30 minsCheck Price

The Best Water Purification Tablets Reviewed

Best Overall: Katadyn

This company’s products, which are sealed tightly in strips, work in 30 minutes and can eliminate viruses, clean a variety of liquids, and have been proven to work effectively through various governmental organizations.

There is no mixing or measuring involved with these tablets and they have met the EPA’s strict guidelines regarding standards for water purifiers.

Regardless of the type of water you put this product in, it has been proven to be effective in killing bacteria, numerous viruses, giardia, and cryptosporidium, to name a few.

The only drawback stated by some of this company’s customers has to do with the taste as it can often produce a chemical taste that isn’t palatable for most people. Other than that, it is an easy-to-use and effective product that many people love.

Runner-Up: Potable Aqua Tablets

These tablets will eliminate the bacteria in your water, purify it, make it suitable to drink, and come in packets of 50 tablets each.

Their water purification tablets are great for hikers, emergency water preparedness, and all types of natural disasters and one container of 50 tablets can purify and treat 25 quarts of water.

The tablets are easy to use and they purify your water in as little as 30 minutes, which means that you never have to wait long to get healthy, great-tasting water when you’re on the go.

Although it works extremely well, some customers have complained that it provides a taste that isn’t as pleasant as some other tablets; however, since this is a subjective statement, other customers may find this isn’t true.

Best Bang for the Buck: Aquatabs

Great tablets that come in packets of 100 tablets each, Aquatabs makes one of the best water purification systems available today. They are perfect for emergencies and they have been used by dozens of official emergency-management organizations because they purify your water as few other kits do.

A few of the items it kills and destroys include microorganisms that cause cholera, dysentery, and typhoid, among others, and the kit can treat up to 200 quarts of water.

The microorganisms it kills can entirely eliminate the possibility of getting these types of diseases and the product can even disinfect the pre-treated or raw water found in lakes, rivers, wells, and even rainwater.

Moreover, one of the few disadvantages of purchasing Aquatabs water purification tablets is their short shelf life. They last only up to five years and if you’re using it only in emergencies, this means that by the time you need it, it may have already expired.

This makes it extremely important to check and double-check the product’s expiration date when you purchase it because you already know that you won’t be able to use it for very long.

Mightie Company

The Mightie Company makes excellent water purification tablets that come in effervescent form and they can clean your water in as little as 30 minutes. They make water more palatable, eliminate the bacteria in it, and prevent a number of water-borne illnesses as well.

With an NSF certification of 60, these tablets work great for households that have no access to clean water and for any type of emergency situation.

The only objection to this company’s tablets is with the packaging that is included because many customers have claimed that the foil and paper combination can make it more difficult to open. I

n fact, many of them have suggested a packaging that uses only foil because the tablets will likely be much easier to release this way. Besides these concerns, the tablets that are made by the Mightie Company seem to be high-quality in nature and work extremely well.

Active Gear Guy

Active Gear Guy makes a portable filter kit that is great for camping, hiking, and other travel opportunities. If you travel abroad, experience any type of water emergency, or simply wish to make your water healthier and better-tasting, these kits can accommodate you every time.

The product itself comes in tablet form and it is a complete kit that contains 60 tablets, which is enough to purify 120 quarts, or 480 cups, of water. It works extremely well, tastes much better than iodine tablets, and comes in a convenient portable case.

These water purification tablets are perfect even in emergency situations that last up to 72 hours and the only objection to them centers on the fact that they are neither as well-known nor as proven as other tablets.

However, the kits are highly rated and the customers who have used them have been extremely happy with them.

Ef Chlor Water Purification Tablets

The Ef Chlor company makes tablets that each contain 167mg of NaDCC, a type of chlorine used for disinfections of various types, and come in strips of 10 tablets each.

Better still, each tiny tablet purifies 6.6 gallons of water, which is one of the many reasons why national and international emergency-management organizations have used the product in cases of emergency and disaster relief situations.

The tablets are effervescent, remove virtually all viruses and bacteria, and dissolve in minutes, which means that they work extremely fast.

The only drawback for these water purification tablets is the price, which some people consider a bit high, and the fact that they often get to the customer with only a few years left before they expire, which can be an inconvenience.

Coghlan’s Drinking Water Tablets

These tablets are very inexpensive, usually less than $6 for 50 tablets, and each one can purify approximately one quart of water.

They remove a lot of the things considered dangerous to be in water, including Giardia, and the company adds a neutralizer so that the water doesn’t have a chemical or bad taste after the tablet is dissolved.

Their water purification tablets are also easy to use and extremely efficient, in part because the company has a great reputation for producing high-quality and reliable products.

The tablets usually produce their effect in roughly 30 minutes and even if you only wish to save them for emergency situations, their shelf life allows you to do this.

About the only complaint this product has received is that if the customer needs additional information, it is sometimes difficult to find that information via their website.

Coghlan’s seems to be a high-quality, dependable product that millions of people have relied on for all of their water-purification needs.

PrepareMe America

This is a lesser-known company that makes packets of tablets and water bags to place the water in. With these kits, which are made specifically for emergencies, you get both the bag and the tablets so if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have water bottles to place the tablets in, you can simply fill the bags up with water and then drop a few tablets into them so that your water is purified.

The tablets are also an iodine-based type of purification, not a chlorine-based system, which many people prefer, and the kits take the guesswork out of the process because the tablets provide just the right amount of iodine for the amount of water that the bag contains.

Simply fill up the bag and drop the tablet in and you can then rest assured that your purification efforts will be successful.

These high-quality water purification tablets are perfect for first-aid kids, emergency preparedness kits, survival kits, and even camping and sporting event kits, among others.

Another advantage of these kits is that they are easily foldable and easy to store, and it takes very little room to store them, which means that even if you have limited space available, you can still store one or more of these kits and keep them on hand for any emergencies that may happen in the future.

Chlor-Floc System

Used mostly by the U.S. Army, the Red Cross, and OXFAM, these kits are actually packets, not tablets, and each packet purifies eight gallons of water. Each box contains 30 of these packets so the box can purify 240 gallons of water altogether.

Although it is mostly used by commercial and governmental agencies, the product is also perfect for times when public water systems fail for one reason or another.

The Chlor-Floc system is also very easy to use and it consists of a sediment that you place in the water to purify it. The system kills bacteria, viruses, giardia, and many other microorganisms, which are removed when you remove the sediment.

In fact, the only objection to this system seems to be the sediment itself, which, although easily removed, has some people concerned that they may taste the sediment when they drink the water.

The amount of sediment into the water depends on certain attributes, including the temperature, which can also affect the time that you have to wait after placing the sediment into the water.

The Chlor-Floc system requires a thorough shaking of the product after it is placed in the water and you usually have to wait from seven to 15 minutes before you drink the water.

This is a relatively short period of time, especially considering a lot of the water purification tablets need a 30-minute waiting period before you can drink the water.

With the Chlor-Floc system, the water is crystal clear after you do what needs to be done to purify it and they use a unique type of purification process to ensure that the water you end up with is clean, tasty, and, most importantly, healthy for you.

Polar Pure

The Polar Pure water disinfecting system is one of the best values on the market. You can go on hikes frequently and take years to deplete your supply of Polar Pure tablets.

The iodine crystals used in the tablets have an indefinite shelf life and the unique glass bottle design has a cap that helps you properly measure the tablets you need to purify the water.

Even if you are interested in purifying water from streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds, these water purification tablets will work well. The dark color of the bottle prevents direct sunlight or a high temperature from ruining the chemicals inside of the tablets, hence their effectiveness.

You can conceivably take decades to use just one bottle of these tablets and there are only two drawbacks described by customers about the product.

The first is the slight taste of iodine that remains after the tablets are dissolved and the second is the amount of time needed to completely dissolve the tablets and purify the water — up to one-and-a-half hours, as compared to only 30 minutes for many of the other purification products.

What to Consider When Buying Water Purification Tablets

Water purification tablets are very handy for backpacking or hiking. You can use them to purify water that you find in natural bodies of water, such as streams, lakes, or even waterfalls.

This water may look refreshing and super clean, but there are usually different microbial particles in it. Drinking this water untreated can cause illnesses, including nausea, fever, viral infections, diarrhea, and more.

How Long Does It Take to Treat Water?

Different water purification tablet manufacturers use different chemicals in their products, so the time can range from 20 minutes to four hours depending on which brand you use and which microbes you want to kill.

When the water has more sediment in it or is cloudy, it takes longer than it would if the water was clear. Water purification tablets do not filter the water; they purify it by releasing chemicals to kill the microbes.

What Chemicals Are in the Tablet?

There are three main types of purification tablets: sodium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide, and iodine. The first two will kill Giardia, which is a nasty microorganism that causes a terrible stomach problem.

Iodine may kill it too, but the manufacturer doesn’t guarantee it. If you are concerned that the water has Giardia or Cryptosporidium, you might want to boil it first because boiling it will kill these bacteria.

Are They Expensive?

You should definitely compare the cost when you are buying water purification tablets. They can be expensive, and the prices will vary widely. For example, one brand might cost you six dollars a day for a trip, while another may cost closer to four dollars a day.

How much the tablets cost will depend on how long they take to work and what chemicals are being used, so you will need to decide what is important to you in the process.

Should You Filter Your Water?

You will save yourself time if you filter the water before adding the water purification tablet. You can use a cloth to filter it into a drinking jug. If the water has a lot of sediment, this will speed the process by removing a lot of it before you purify the water.

Although you will remove a lot of the sediment and cloudiness from the water, most microbes are very small and will still be in the water. You should not filter in place of using a water purification tablet; you can filter the water first to reduce the sediment, and then add the water purification tablet to treat the water.

Overall, it is convenient to use water purification tablets they are small and easy to pack. They can be expensive, but they are well worth the effort because they will prevent you from ingesting harmful pathogens that can make you very sick.

When you are backpacking and want to use natural resources for your drinking water, you should bring water purification tablets along with you. No matter how refreshing a stream out in nature may look, it most likely contains pathogens that can make you sick.

How Well Do Water Purification Tablets Work?

When you are out hiking and come across a refreshing clear stream, the water may look delicious. In fact, backpackers often rely on these natural bodies of water to supply their water during their trips.

Although there is nothing wrong with relying on nature for your drinking water, it is important to recognize that there are normally many microbes in each drop of water.

When people learn that some of these microbes can cause illnesses, such as nausea, diarrhea, fever, viral infections, and more, and you can’t tell whether it will or won’t just by looking at the water source.

People often ask, “Do water purification tablets work?” and the answer is that they often do.

How Do Water Purification Tablets Work?

Water purification tablets are very portable, so they are easy for a backpacker to bring along on a trip. They are easy to use. You just filter the water with a filter or a simple cloth, and drop a water purification tablet in. The water is ready to drink in 30 minutes.

Water purification tablets release chlorine into the water, and it kills most pathogens quickly. In fact, this is similar to how city water plants disinfect water that is sent out to people’s homes.

The process is simple, it is easy to carry the water purification tablets along with you, and it will kill most pathogens within 30 minutes to a few hours.

Are Water Treatment Tablets Effective?

When people ask, “Do water purification tablets work?” they often want to know if any tests have been done. The companies that make these tablets often run tests to make sure that their products are effective. They will do three trials and check to make sure that each trial gets similar results.

Most products remove 99% of the pathogens from the water. This means that you can safely bring these tablets with you and know that you will have safe drinking water throughout your trip.

Water is polluted by runoff as well as the ground below, so it is important to treat the water before you drink it. Using water purification tablets works well.

How Long Is Treated Water Safe to Drink?

Generally speaking, when you use water purification tablets, the water is safe to drink for 24 hours. The benefit is that you will not have to set a campfire and boil the water.

It is impossible to determine whether or not water is contaminated by looking at it, so you should always take precautions when drinking untreated water.

Miscellaneous Water Purification Products

In addition to water-purification systems that use tablets, many of them use products that include drops and even powders that you place in the water to purify it. Most of them kill microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and even Giardia.

Because they take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour to dissolve and purify the water, it is important to do your due diligence before deciding which product to choose.

All of them are made by reputable companies but your preferences will determine whether you want something that takes seven minutes to dissolve or 30 minutes or something that comes in tablet, powder, or drop form.

There are many dangers associated with drinking water that comes from sources such as streams and rivers so if you’re hiking or camping, it is essential that you find a product that does a great job of purifying your water before you drink it so that you can get the peace of mind you deserve.

We hope this article was informative and helpful. If you have any comments, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

If you’re confused about the differences between water softeners and water filters as well as the differences between water purifiers and water softeners, watch out for a future post.

Jon Agarwal

Jon Agarwal works as an environmental consultant focused on water resources, and he volunteers his time for non-profit organizations. He lives in the heart of Melbourne with his beautiful wife, two sons, and three Persian cats. He particularly enjoys working part-time as it leaves him the time to work on his own writing and share his knowledge. Visit our About page to learn about the contributors of Healthy Buddys.

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