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Best Water Purification Tablets [2024]

Water is a necessity for survival, but it’s also a necessity to have it clean enough to drink. We’ve all experienced food poisoning a few times in our lives- and impure water will make that seem like a breeze when you get sick from it. The best water purification tablets make cleaning water quick work and will get you back to other important tasks in an emergency or survival situation.

There are only a handful of brands and types to choose from when it comes to tablet-form water purifiers. Even still, you need to know what you can rely on when you need it most.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best water purification tablets, tested each of them, and now the results are in: the overall best, a budget option, and an upgrade option. If you need to get clean water that will keep you going in a survival situation, one of our suggestions will help keep you hydrated.

Sean sitting and taste testing various water purification tablets displayed on the table.
Let’s get taste testing!

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Potable Aqua with PA Plus Water Treatment Tablets

The Best Water Purification Tablets

Potable Aqua

Lightweight, Fast, and Effective

It turns out that it’s tough to beat the long-time leader of portable water purification that delivers a no-color no-taste fast water treatment.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Potable Aqua (with PA Plus) water purification tablets hit our top spot since they get the job done at the right price. These tablets are effective, fast, and don’t leave that funky iodine taste or stain that cheaper one-shot tablets have. They are lightweight enough to add to any kit and very simple to use. After just 35 minutes, you’ll have water that is ready to drink when it filters out bacteria and Giardia lamblia.

Many people complain about the taste of Potable Aqua, but that would be the single tablets rather than this two-tablet solution with the extra neutralizing tablet. This makes the taste of the water much more palatable. I’ve been using this two-tablet product for so long that I had forgotten that the single tablet was sold on its own. For the small price difference, it is worth the investment to clear the water up and neutralize the taste.

Add Potable Aqua PA+ Tablets to your kits and don’t look back. We use them in our kits and are thrilled to see that they easily beat out the competition when we put them to the test.

Potable Aqua bottles open on a table with cotton balls and tablets laying on the table also.

Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets

Upgrade Water Purification Tablets

Micropur MP1

Preportioned, Fast, and Thorough

Individually packaged tablets keep your purification solution lightweight, portable, and easy to use.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Not only are these the best tabs to use in your mobile kits, but they are also simple and thorough. You use one tab for one liter and let it react for 30 minutes to 4 hours (if the water is cold and dirty), which is one of the simplest reactions you can find for chemical water purifiers.

Many other treatment types require mixing, or multiple tablets, or aren’t as aggressive at cleaning up the water. The chemical disinfectant leaves hardly any trace of taste, and it performed great in my taste test.

They have an extensive shelf life and are the easiest option to spread between your family’s bug out bags and other survival kits. I pop off several packs for everyone’s bags as they are virtually weightless and take up hardly any room.

Pick up some Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets for any of your kits for the best water treatment solution in tablet form and you won’t regret it.

Katadyn Micropur MP1 tablet laying on a wood table with packaging laying around it.

Aquamira Water Treatment Drops

Water Treatment Drops

Aquamira Water Treatment

Fast, Scalable, and Dependable

Put 7 drops from each bottle in the mixing cap and you’ll have drinkable water in a lightning-fast 20 minutes.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Aquamira is a bit different (and it’s not a tablet), but we felt it was a worthy inclusion in our testing since so many people suggested it. It did not disappoint!

Use the bottle droppers to drip 7 drops into the included mixing cap, and then let the reaction happen for 5 minutes. The reaction will turn the mixture yellowish. Pour that mix into a liter of water, shake or stir, and then let it sit for 15 minutes. After that time has passed, you’ll have drinkable water. This is the fastest purification method I tested and is even quicker than the tried-and-true boiling method!

The downside to these is that they are liquid, and can have some related problems. For starters, you have to babysit the drop mixture while it reacts so you can’t be on the move or you risk spilling it. Also, the bottles are squeeze bottles so you can get some leaks if you aren’t careful where you pack them. After my tabletop testing, I found it best to include these as part of my home water storage solution rather than a mobile kit. They are significantly better tasting than bleach mixtures and can scale to large storage containers too.

Pick up some Aquamira Water Treatment Drops for fast water treatment at home.

Aquamira water treatment bottles on wooden table with caps off and mixing cap between them.

Everything We Recommend

Potable Aqua with PA Plus Water Treatment Tablets

Potable Aqua

It turns out that it’s tough to beat the long-time leader of portable water purification that delivers a no-color no-taste fast water treatment.

Where to Buy

$9* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets

Micropur MP1

Individually packaged tablets keep your purification solution lightweight, portable, and easy to use.

Where to Buy

$15* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Aquamira Water Treatment Drops

Aquamira Water Treatment

Put 7 drops from each bottle in the mixing cap and you’ll have drinkable water in a lightning-fast 20 minutes.

Where to Buy

$16* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

The Tablets We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to the several purification tablet brands and types that we tested: Potable Aqua, Coghlan’s, Ef-Chlor, Aquatabs, P&G, Katadyn, ‎Chlor-Floc, Colemans, and more.

Some of these brands use the same chemicals and concentrations to develop their tablets, so we ended up testing quite a lot of them looking at the differences in quality, taste, packaging, etc. You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We did not consider any in-place purifiers, membrane purifiers (like straw filters), UV purifiers, or powder and focused entirely on water purifiers in tablet or drop form. You can find examples of each of those that work well, but the purifiers with small packaging are great for portable kits.

The best filters can be found in their own review: The Best Survival Water Filters | Portable and Stationary.

A few that we compared were the same product and manufacturer- just different brand labels.

Many types of water purification tablets laid out on a table for review.
The group of tablets (and drops) that made the research cut.

We’re always looking for new and better equipment, so if you have a purification tablet you swear by let us know down in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually, so we can always get it in the next roundup round and see if it makes the cut and we can see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best water purification tablets have several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Speed
  4. Taste
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find reliable tablets that will keep you hydrated through an emergency. Below, we break down what each of these features means for truly dependable tablets that you can trust with your life:

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like purification tablets shouldn’t blow out your budget. Having one is better than having none, but the same applies to other tools and gear you may need for an emergency. Budget according to your risk and your needs rather than just spending lavishly.

On the flip side, you don’t want to go too cheap. Luckily, every tablet we tried was effective when the instructions were followed correctly, but there are still benefits to spending more. Cheap tablets require more time to purify the water and often leave a chemical taste. Don’t get too frugal when it comes to something you will rely on in an emergency.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, especially something like tablets. It’s better to diversify your tools and preparedness gear to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios. There is a sweet spot where you get high value out of the best features with not too high of a price, which is where our top pick sits.

Potable Aqua and Coleman Purification Tablets labels show that they are the same water treatment.
Labels reveal that some brands are the same thing, just at different prices.


The effectiveness of a purification tablet is tied to the contents and quality of the tablet. Several different chemical compounds can be used to purify water, but only a few of them come available in tablet form. Water purification tablet chemicals typically include:

  • chlorine
  • chlorine dioxide
  • iodine

These vary in effectiveness and have their strengths. Chlorine dioxide is the most powerful of the three listed here and is one of the most effective at killing a wide range of microorganisms, including viruses and protozoans. The downside to chlorine dioxide is that it requires a much longer treatment time than both chlorine and iodine-based tablets.


Speed is important in an emergency and important for clean water in an emergency. Four hours becomes a much longer time to wait for water purification than 30 minutes since water purification tablets are an emergency solution.

In-place and bulkier water purifiers are expected to take a little longer, but water purification tablets are meant to be fast and easy. If you wait around all day for purified water, you may as well be boiling water to purify or using other solutions. In the military, we called this a ‘fire and forget’ method – add a tablet to your water bottle and keep on moving. Then you can drink it after the short time limit of at least 30 minutes. This lets you stay mobile and concentrate on other tasks.


A few of the treatment options can leave the water with an odd flavor. Some iodine treatment tablets also come with iodine neutralizer tablets to eliminate the unpleasant taste with a two-part tablet treatment. Chlorine tablet-treated water can be left exposed to air to allow the chlorine to evaporate over time to reduce the odd taste.

Unpleasant taste isn’t the only concern. Those with thyroid conditions, iodine allergies, and pregnant women should avoid iodine water purification tablets.


The packaging and composition of purification tablets can provide some versatility when you need to use them outside of your regular function or in unique scenarios. Individually packaged tablets are amazingly convenient for bug out bags and everyday carry, and one of the reasons we love our upgrade pick.

How to Use Water Purification Tablets

Water purification tablets are very easy to use, and they come with instructions printed right on. Take care to read them and it’s hard to go wrong. You’ll need to know how much water you are purifying, usually listed in liters.

Before you start tossing tabs in, you’ll also need to filter out any debris and sediment in the water. This is not necessary with all water purification tablets, but it is good practice since it will speed up the process and require fewer tablets.

Once you’ve discovered how many tablets you need to treat your membrane-filtered water, you just add the tablets and wait for the time listed on the packaging.

Who Needs Water Purification Tablets?

The CDC and FEMA hope everyone has water purification tablets on hand. There is not enough in the strategic stockpile for everyone, and distribution would be a massive challenge. Membrane filtering isn’t clean water, and you’ll need potable water no matter what emergency you encounter.

This is why you’ll find it suggested for almost every kit.

Water purification tablets are essential for:

We suggest at least a few tablets for these kits as well:

Of course, you can always use the tablets for things beyond emergencies and survival kits too- like rugged camping and bushcraft. We actually encourage it- don’t let them sit in your bags and kits without knowing how they work or how to use them properly.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We have vast prepping and survival experience and bring in outside experts when needed. Hours on end are spent testing gear in stressful conditions and using specialized testing gear to verify claims. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. Learn more about how we test.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best water purification tablets is useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical military and prepping experience:

Gerba, C., et al. (1997). Efficacy of iodine water purification tablets against Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 96-100. (Source).

Nakamura, S., et al. (2002). The impact on health and risk factors of the diarrhoea epidemics in the 1998 Bangladesh floods. Public Health. Volume 116, Issue 2, Pages 68-74. (Source)

Powers, E. (1993). Efficacy of Flocculating and Other Emergency Water Purification Tablets. Army NATICK Research Development and Engineering Center. (Source)

The Final Word

Water is essential to survival, so you’ll need several ways to store, collect, and treat water in a wide range of situations. Whether you are staying put to bug in or hitting the road to bug out- water purification tablets should be a part of your survival kit.

To go along with solid treatment tablets, you should also consider a few other water storage solutions:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found that the Potable Aqua Tablets are the best option given their value, effectiveness, speed, taste, and versatility. If you take our suggestion and grab these purification tablets- make sure you try them out and know how to use them before an emergency.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Water Purification Tablets

The post Best Water Purification Tablets [2024] appeared first on TruePrepper.