LARQ BOTTLE REVIEW: The Water Purifier That Cleans Itself
Updated: Feb 2
The LARQ bottle claims to be the world's first self cleaning bottle. With a built-in UV-C water purification system, it provides clean, safe drinking water with almost no effort, requiring only the occasional charge of the battery. Whether you are hiking, camping, travelling, going to work or workout, the Larq bottle can provide what it claims and not leave you with a stinky, mildewy bottle after a few days.
WHY I BOUGHT ONE
I was a Kickstarter supporter of LARQ and waited more than a year for my bottle to arrive.The main reason I purchased it was to take it along while traveling long term with my family, saving us from buying bottled water and contributing to plastic pollution. I also like to camp a lot in Canada and often find myself in the backcountry where there is no running water but plenty of lakes and rivers.
HOW IT WORKS
People may not know that UV light can kill bacteria, viruses and parasites in water and is used in municipal water treatment systems all over the world. LARQ has done extensive, third party testing and their website states that it's UVC light "Eradicates up to 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.99% of viruses in Adventure Mode."
I have had it for more than a year now and I have used it in many different conditions. With the UV-C light in its' lid, I have purified water from rivers and lakes in the Canadian backcountry and tap water in South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Laos.
ADVENTURE MODE is activated by pressing the button on the lid twice and the light comes on for 3 minutes. Larq recommends gently tilting the bottle back and forth when purifying potentially hazardous water while the light is on.
MAINTENANCE MODE: The light also comes on automatically every 2 hours for about 10 seconds just to prevent new bacteria from growing and keeping the water and bottle smelling fresh. You can check out the LARQ website for detailed description on how it works.
To charge it, simply plug a micro USB cable into the lid and the charge can last up to one month. How long it stays charged will vary greatly depending on how often you purify rather than maintain.
The model I have holds 500ml (17oz). They now sell a BIGGER insulated model that holds 740ml (25 oz). They also sell an uninsulated version called the MOVEMENT model that is lighter and has a higher capacity. It comes in 710ml (24 oz) and 1000ml (34 oz) versions.
You will save countless water bottles from being used. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling, having a reusable water bottle is a must. Having one that never smells musty is even better. We always bring it when we're out and get refills wherever possible.
It is cost effective when compared to other water purification systems and insulated water bottles. When you take into account the number of water bottles you won't have to buy and the lack of a need for replacement filters or batteries, it really can save money long-term.
It's a water bottle AND a purifier in one. That means fewer things to carry and easy to use.
There are no filters to replace. There are many other great products that do a fine job of purifying drinking water. Some of them use a filter that has to be changed periodically and we did not want to pack a bunch of spare filters with us or have difficulty purchasing new ones.
It is USB RECHARGEABLE, so no batteries needed. We have also tried the STERIPEN on a previous big trip that uses a similar UV technology. However, it requires special CR123 batteries that can be hard to find. We are trying to travel with only USB chargeable gear to avoid packing or wasting batteries.
It is EASY to use and does not require pumping, or compressing like some other water purifiers. I have a ceramic water filter I usually used in the Canadian backcountry, but it is time consuming and requires a lot of manual effort. I have not used it since buying my LARQ.
The double walled insulation keeps water cold for up to 24hrs. This is especially nice for traveling to warm destinations. We have had ice stay frozen for over 12 hrs.
It looks good. Though this is pretty far down on my priority list, I do appreciate the two-tone, simple design. It now comes in a variety of colours.
It doesn't remove chemicals, minerals or improve the taste. If the water has a weird flavour due to chemicals or minerals, this will not change the taste when it purifies it. This is a big one, and why we don't use it exclusively for our drinking water when travelling.
It lacks a clip or a built-in loop so it could be secured to a backpack with a carabiner.
You do need electricity to charge it. It's not for long term off-the-grid purposes. I would recommend bringing along a power bank if you are heading into the backcountry.
I did encounter one POTENTIALLY major problem. The dreaded red light of doom! Immediately after arriving at the first destination of the international leg of our journey, (Busan, South Korea) my Larq bottle stopped working. Instead of flashing blue, when I pressed the button on the lid, it flashed red. A quick google search revealed that it meant the lid was malfunctioning and required replacement. Great! A year and a half of preparation and it breaks when I am on the other side of the Pacific. I was disheartened to say the least. I went to the Larq website and submitted a claim. The rep asked for some info including my serial number. It was printed on a sticker in the bottom of the bottle, which I had removed in order to scratch my name into the paint. Nonetheless, they were able to track down my purchase and said that they could send me a replacement lid to arrive in Busan in 1-2 weeks. I had 3 weeks in our AirBnB before we left for Japan.
Thank the maker! It arrived with 2 days to spare. I noticed the lid was slightly different than the one it had replaced. I hoped this meant that some improvements had been made that might prevent this sort of thing from recurring. So far, so good. I was really impressed with the customer service, which exceeded all expectations.
I have been using it consistently ever since. I would consider this an essential part of my travel gear and I look forward to using it for a long time.