Home Gear Reviews Potable Aqua PURE Electrolytic Water Purifier – REVIEW

Potable Aqua PURE Electrolytic Water Purifier – REVIEW

by Karen Ung
When you backpack as a family, a large supply of drinking water is necessary. On our recent backpacking trip, it was 93 degrees (34C), and we required more water than ever. Over three days, we treated over 40 litres of water and had the capacity to quickly treat water for our friends too, thanks to our Potable Aqua PURE Electrolytic Water Purifier (PURE).
Getting ready to treat some mountain lake water with
the Potable Aqua PURE Electrolytic Water Purifier.

How It Works

The Potable Aqua PURE Electrolytic Water Purifier uses a brine solution (table salt and water) and an electric current to create a powerful mixed oxidant disinfectant (chlorine and peroxide) that kills 99.9% of all micro-organisms. My Chem teacher hubby explained sodium chloride solution electrolysis to me and it sounds legit. Most importantly, the products of the reaction are are safe for use in water purification and highly effective.
No pre-filtering or pumping is required, even if water is cloudy, so it is possible to safely treat large volumes of water (up to 20 litres) in a short amount of time. *Note that you must wait at least half an hour before drinking the water, 4 hours if Cryptosporidium is suspected.
On a super hot day, it’s great to be able to treat LOTS of water at once!

What We Liked

    • The PURE is small and compact! It fits in the palm of my hand and even with the accessories (chlorine test strips and brine solution bottle), it could fit in a jacket pocket! It weighs only 3.8 oz including batteries.
Treating some glacial runoff in a very turbid river. No pre-filtering required!
  • It was easy to use. Fill up the salt compartments before you go, and when you need drinking water, mix up some brine (salt from one compartment, fill water to top of brine bottle), pour it into the treatment reservoir, select the volume of water you want to treat, and press the start button.
We treated 10 litres at a time for our family,
but could have treated 20 litres at once if need be.
    • Fast, scalable treatment: We prepared disinfectant for 1-5 L of water in seconds. Disinfectant for 10 L took about 30 seconds. No pre-filtering was required, so our friend opted for PURE treated water over her Steripen when we obtained water at an extremely turbid river.
    • Fairly idiot-proof: If your brine solution doesn’t have enough salt, an indicator light will turn on prompting you to add more salt.
I need to keep these munchkins safe & clean drinking water is a big part of that.
    • Ultimate safety: While most micro-organisms  – including viruses and giardia – are killed within half an hour, if you are concerned about Cryptosporidium, wait 4 hours and virtually everything (99.9%) will be killed. You can further ensure your family’s safety by disinfecting the threads and lids of your drinking containers when you treat your drinking water (instructions on how to do this are provided with the device). I always struggled with keeping untreated water off the threads when filtering or treating with UV light and don’t have to worry when using the PURE. 
    • The device also comes with chlorine test strips, so you can check the chlorine levels of the water if you suspect Giardia, Cryptosporidium, or the water looks very cloudy or dirty. If the chlorine level is too low, make another batch of disinfectant and treat and test the water again. I like being able to test the efficacy of treatment as I have a very sensitive stomach (after contracting acute gastroenteritis in Thailand, my tummy hasn’t been the same!).
We brought a collapsible water container (left side),
so we could treat several litres of water at once.
  • Solar rechargeable: I love that there is a mini solar panel on the back of the PURE for recharging in case the batteries die. Although the device can purify 150 L on a full charge, it is always nice to have a backup charging method. Allow 1 hr solar charge, to treat 2 L of water. 
  • Durable: The PURE has been designed for military freeze/thaw, drop and load bearing requirements. I saw a crazy video on Youtube where someone drove over a PURE device and it still worked! I don’t want to try it, but can tell you that I have dropped it a few times and it is good as new.
  • No bad taste: If you’ve ever used iodine to treat your water, you know how bad that can taste. The disinfectant that the PURE  had a slight chlorine taste and smell, but it wasn’t much stronger than that of city tap water. 
  • Great value: The device itself is about the cost of a good filter, but is very inexpensive to maintain. The device is rechargeable and no parts need to be replaced (such as filter cartridges). The only items you need to replace are table salt and chlorine test strips.
The Verdict
We have used water filters (base camp, compact, and individual use), chlorine drops, iodine, and the Steripen, but like the scalability and effectiveness of the PURE. The PURE kills the little stuff filters can’t remove (viruses) and inactivates the big stuff the Steripen cannot treat in discolored/murky water (the Steripen requires unclear water to be pre-filtered; the PURE does not). It is ideal for individual or group backpacking/travel as you can treat 1-20 L at a time. We also liked the safeguards of chlorine test strips, being able to disinfect bottle lids and threads, and knowing if the brine solution had enough salt to make strong enough disinfectant. Also, the disinfectant is made “fresh” each time so there is no risk of the solution weakening (something I was concerned with when I used chlorine drops – the solution discolored after a few years and I didn’t know if it was still working!).
The luxury of clean water with no hassle, means more time to play outside and that’s what my family loves best!
You don’t have to go IN the water to treat it, but I highly recommend it!

For More Information

For more information, or a list of vendors, please visit www.potableaqua.com.


As a Potable Aqua Ambassador, I received a free PURE device for review purposes. No compensation was received for the review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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