Whether you've already read H20 Hygiene, the water filter buyer's guide in Issue 15 of our printed magazine, or you're brand-new to the concept of waterborne pathogens, one thing's for sure: we all know there are many ways to purify water. You can boil it, chemically disinfect it with drops or tablets, hit it with UV light, run it through a filter, or even use more complex processes like ozonation or reverse osmosis.

Water over rocks

This water may appear clear and clean, but it can contain invisible pathogens that will definitely ruin your day.

At the end of the day, all of these methods can kill, inactivate, or remove nasty contaminants and microbes from your water supply. That means you'll stay healthy and hydrated, rather than puking your guts out or suffering from Montezuma's revenge. A case of E. coli or giardia may not kill you, but it'll probably make you wish you were dead, and if left untreated, these waterborne pathogens can severely dehydrate you and endanger your life.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter in use 2

All water filters and purifiers have benefits and drawbacks to consider.

Obviously, all water purification methods are not created equal. Thorough boiling is a sure-fire way to kill off bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, but it won't remove chemical contaminants like lead or mercury. Hollow-fiber filters like the LifeStraw and Sawyer Mini can remove bacteria and protozoa reliably, but aren't effective against viruses. Chemical disinfectants or tablets can leave an unappealing taste in water, and UV purifiers require batteries. Some devices are light and compact, while others are bulky and heavy. Price and preparation time are also factors to consider.

Here's a quick summary of each method, to refresh your memory:

  • Boiling – Kills pathogens by heating water to a rolling boil.
  • Chemical disinfectant – Addition of a chemical, such as iodine or chlorine, which kills pathogens in water.
  • Distillation – Boiling water to produce steam, then condensing the steam back to water to remove pathogens.
  • Filtration – Screens out pathogens by passing water through a hollow fiber membrane and/or activated carbon filter.
  • Ultraviolet light – Kills pathogens through the application of intense UV light.
  • Other – This category includes all other water purification methods, including those that are rarely used for portable devices, such as reverse osmosis.

So, consider your favorite method for water purification, and submit it into the poll below. We're curious to see how these methods stack up.

Prepare Now:

Disclosure: These links are affiliate links. Caribou Media Group earns a commission from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

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