Best Chemical Methods for Water Purification

Water purification is essential if you’re camping in the backcountry or traveling internationally, and it's wise to have purification chemicals as part of your home emergency kit or bug-out bag as well. You just drop a tablet, liquid, or powder into questionable water, whether from a natural source or your plumbing. The chemical uses an active ingredient like chlorine dioxide, iodine, or sodium chloride to kill waterborne pathogens. Pair tablets with a water filter for the most effective method of getting safe and clean water in the backcountry. Make sure the water purification tablets you buy are appropriate for the water source, suited for the amount of water you’re collecting, and have a reasonable wait time for efficacy. Always check the expiration dates and replace them when necessary.
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Best for Backcountry

Potable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification Tablets 

Effective Against Giardia Lamblia.  The tablets work against both bacterial contamination and giardia parasites common to natural bodies of water like lakes and streams.

What We Liked: 

Each of the 50 tablets of tetraglycine hydroperiodide is effective for treating a half liter of questionable water within 35 minutes. Not all water treatments work on giardia, but with this iodine-based treatment, you can make water safe from all potential microorganisms in the backcountry. Get it now.

Best Tasting

Aquamira-Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment Drops

Store Treated Water for Years. It’s easy to adjust the dose to as much water as you need with the drop system.

What We Liked:

Mix seven drops of both parts together for each liter of water you’re treating. This two-part chlorine dioxide liquid treatment specifically targets bacteria that cause bad smells and flavor in water, as well as harmful microorganisms. Treated water is shelf-stable for four years. Each treatment requires two liquid parts, and the two-ounce bottles can treat up to 60 gallons of water. Get it now.

Best Value

Aquatabs Mighty Company #1 Water Purification Tablets

 Approved by World Health Organization. Each tablet is effective in one quart of water, an ideal way to treat personal water bottles on the trail. 

What We Liked: 

There are 200 tablets per package, enough to treat more than 150 liters of water. The effective chemical sodium dichloroisocyanurate creates a dose of chlorine when mixed with water, which is the preferred water treatment of both the EPA and World Health Organization. Get it now.

Highest Strength

Hind Ef chlor Portable Water Purification Tablets

Great for Emergencies. Paired with a large portable water jug, you’re ready for any kind of natural disaster with these tablets. 

What We Liked: 

A single tablet purifies up to five gallons of water, perfect for treating portable water jugs for use after an emergency or natural disaster. Using sodium dichloroisocyanurate, these tablets remove bacteria, fungi, and yeast from water within 30 minutes. Buy it here.