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Showing 1-10 of 1,401 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,521 reviews
on March 12, 2012
These do what they're supposed to do. Before I give a review, I'll quote the box on a few points.
1. For use only when drinking water is suspected or known to be bacteriologically substandard. Not to be used on a continuous basis. (Their website suggests a six-week limit.)
2. Unopened bottles should remain effective for four years. (Look at the bottom of this review for how to date your tablets.)
3. We recommend that you do not keep an opened bottle for more than one year.
4. 2 tablets make one quart of bacteriologically water suitable to drink.
5. Proven effective against Giarda Lamblia when used as directed.
6. Has not been shown to inactivate Cryptosporidium cysts.

In a nutshell, use according to the directions and you'll be just fine. The bottle contains 50 tablets; you use two per quart of water. In really murky water, I use three. The active ingredient is Tetraglycine Hydroperiodide 16.7% and each tablet contains 6.68% of Titratable Iodine. This is the same stuff that I used in the military, but just to be sure, I opened a bottle and got three quarts of water from the Ohio River. Murky stuff. The first quart was treated with just the Potable Aqua (2-1/2 tablets). The second quart was boiled for ten minutes. The third quart was boiled for ten minutes, then given two tablets of Potable Aqua. All water was filtered through an untreated handkerchief first to remove debris and sediment. I'll note that my measurements were three quarts before boiling, so I'm sure some of the water was lost in the last two quarts due to the boiling process. The results?

While none of the water was as good as tap water, I'm still alive. The first batch (just Potable Aqua) was okay. I remember Potable Aqua having a bad taste; so bad that they included a separate bottle of pills to add that made the taste more bearable. That other bottle is unnecessary here. The water definitely had a chemical taste, but I could drink the minimum of a gallon a day if I needed to.
The second batch (just boiling, no pills) tasted better, but smelled bad. I would be hesitant to drink any more than necessary.
The third batch (boiled, then treated with Potable Aqua) was obviously the best. Considering that boiling only took ten minutes and a metal water bottle, this is the best option. Remember that all of the water was filtered through a handkerchief first to get rid of any sediment, debris, bugs, etc.
I'll guess that if you filter the water, then boil, then use the tablets, you can use only one tablet. I'm not a doctor, dietician, or representative of the company, but I do have extensive training in SERE operations and I've been using these tablets for over fifteen years.

How can you find out when your pills were made? Each bottle has a series of numbers imprinted. For example: 403127. The first number is the month; in this case, the fourth month is April. The second and third numbers are the last two of the year; in this case, 2003. These pills were made in April of 2003. The last three numbers (127) indicate that this was the 127th batch made in that time frame. The code can be five or six numbers long; the first three numbers always denote the month and year; the last two or three always denote the batch number.
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on January 6, 2010
The 5 most common ways backpackers/campers purify water are
1. Boil it. Obviously slow and cumbersome. If doing strenuous backpacking/canoeing each person will need to boil a big pot of water every night.
2. Natural sunlight - letting water sit in the sun for 6 hours works (need cloudless day, correct kind of clear plastic container). The World Health Organization published a study on this, but Amazon won't let me link to it.
3. Water pump - I have used MSR HyperFlow Microfilter, though there are cheaper options if you can accept it being slightly larger. In my opinion this is the best method.
4. Household chlorine bleach - the EPA and WHO give instructions on doing this. The EPA says this may not kill Cryptosporidium. I've never tried.
5. Iodine tablets (or other chemical treatments)-

-Tablets are small/light for backpackers
-Only takes 30 minutes to have water ready
-No work required

-EPA says it is not 100% affective against Giardia and Cryptosporidium, especially if the water is cold while being treated.
-The taste is slightly bad ('metallic' is my best description).

I think a good attitude towards these tablets is "emergency use" (which is labeled on the side of the bottle, not visible in the Amazon image). No good backpacker doesn't have these, but I suggest a water pump as the planned primary method. Note: there are also iodine "neutralizer" tablets that are supposed to remove the bad taste (you drop them in after the 30 minutes is up and wait another 30 minutes). In my opinion they barely change the taste and are not worth it.

I'm only giving 4 stars since the EPA says it is not 100% effective against Giardia and Cryptosporidium. I'd give 5 stars if the product was named something like "EMERGENCY AQUA" instead of "POTABLE AQUA".
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on December 19, 2016
I love these tablets. They are portable to carry around, and easy to use. 2 tablets to a Liter (32 fl oz) of water, or 1 tablet to 500mL (~16fl oz) of water. Theses were bought because the initial potable aqua treatment tablets I bought from Dick's Sporting goods were running low. These are perfect to use during the winter where water will freeze in my filtration system and becomes a hassle to use. They are also nice to carry around in small kits, especially on vacations where you are limited in space and weight as to what you can bring with you. They'll also breeze through TSA without causing any issues.

Just a friendly warning to those who decide to purchase these: Water Purification tablets are made with Iodine, therefore after you use these tablets in untreated water, it'll turn the water a light yellowish-brown color. Don't fret, because it's the natural reaction Iodine takes in water. Also your water might taste funny/weird, it's most likely the taste of the iodine if you did it correctly. I'd recommend you drop a tablet in a bottle filled with regular sink water, have a couple of sips, and get used to the taste of it before you start using it out in the field or even for emergency uses.
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on May 27, 2016
I've used these for myself and others more times than I want to admit. They don't taste like rainbows and sunshine, but they do work. It's almost crazy not to have a few on hand when traveling outdoors. My favorite method of carrying them was to cut a cheap ballpoint pen in half, then fill the tube with the caplets, then apply duct tape over the top. I could see how many I had left and keep them dry, organized, and free of being crushed at the same time. They take up very little space when repackaged. Recommended for anyone traveling in remote areas.
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on July 4, 2016
I've used these a couple times and I can say with surety that you must follow the instructions on the packaging, tasted the water a few minutes early and there was still a strong chemical taste but once left for the stated time the water tasted as fresh as ever. Be warned though that, at least with my experience, the water retains a dirty brownish grayish colour that some may find disconcerting. The colour did not affect the taste of the water however which is good. Package is small and light, excellent for hiking as an emergency water purifier.

Please note these are not meant to treat saltwater, they are for killing harmful organisms in fresh water.
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on January 24, 2013
UPDATE: As soon as I contacted the seller, they apologized and issued an immediate refund.
Comments: Received this product from Mario's Discount Deals. The packages looked really OLD. My product was manufactured April 1999 and it has a shelf life of 4 years which means it has been expired for 9+years now. See this website to determine if your product is EXPIRED. [...] This is what the website says.... What is the shelf life of Potable Aqua® Tablets?
Unopened bottles of Potable Aqua tablets, when maintained under controlled temperatures between 60 and 86 °F (15 to 30 °C), should remain effective up to four years. Exposure to heat, humidity, moisture, and air will reduce the effectiveness of the tablets. We recommend that an opened bottle not be kept for more than one year. Keep the cap tightly sealed.

Although this product is not required to have an expiration date, an explanation of the lot numbering system is provided for your convenience. This lot number is imprinted on the label of the bottle. Example:
4 03 27
The lot number is a five or six digit number. The first digit(s) represent the month of manufacture. The next two digits represent a two-digit year and the last digits represent a batch number for that month and year. Using the example above, the product was manufactured the 4th month of the year 2003 and was the 27th batch of product made. Under normal storage conditions, this product would be effective for at least four years for an unopened bottle and one year for an opened bottle.

If in the field, check the tablets appearance to determine if they are still effective. If the tablets are gray or dark brown in color, they are still likely to be effective. If they are light green or yellow, it means they are probably no longer effective. The tablets are very sensitive to moisture. Take care that moisture does not get inside the Potable Aqua bottle.
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on August 12, 2015
I was really excited to get this in the mail. I am building my families emergency kit. But I was really disappointed when it arrived and it was expired. I would like a replacement or a refund.
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on August 29, 2012
This a great product its compact and very small i carry this in my hiking bag just incase i ever need water. One thing i noticed was the taste its not strong enough to make u sick but you can still notice it but with what treatment tablet cant you. So what me and my buddy's like to do is add flavor we use koolaid, crystal clear, and other products it takes the taste away and you have a good drink. Its a solid 4 see pic
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on May 8, 2016
I only used once when I had to leave the filter at "base camp".

The tablets made the water a faint yellow color and I could smell slight tinge of iodine. It felt almost like drinking water from a swimming pool, due to the smell, but it tasted fine. Obviously they don't remove particulates from the water, so I can see situations where these would not produce very drinkable water..

I don't recommend as a primary method of treating water, but as a backup they are light and take up almost no space.
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on March 19, 2012
As emergencies go, this is a must have item.

I have a steripen that I can charge from my USB solar charger, but there may come a time when I need water, but have no charge and no sunlight. For this kind of scenario, a manual water cleaning process is a must have. And for that, a water purifier with a long shelf life is definitely the way to go.

These tablet taste horrible, but get the job done, and when you need water, there's simply no faulting a product like this.

The ones that were sent to me had an expiration date of 2020, and that's more than enough for me.
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