LARQ Bottle Review

LARQ Water Bottle Review: A Coronavirus Killing Machine?

Viruses are so tiny that even high-quality water filters can’t remove them(source). The LARQ self-cleaning water bottle deals with viruses and bacteria quite differently. It doesn’t try to filter them out.

It simply destroys them.

Beyond just looking good, the LARQ self-cleaning water bottle delivers germicidal doses of UV-C light (280 nm) to obliterate 99.99% of viruses (I’m looking at you Covid 19) and 99.9997% of bacteria found in the water.

Note: At this point, no tests have been done to verify that the LARQ bottle kills Covid-19 specifically, but it is a high likelihood considering that UV-C has been proven to kill most viruses.

UV-C is the same medical technology that is being widely deployed during the Coronoviarus pandemic for decontaminating hospital rooms. Basically the LARQ bottle’s UV-C emitter disassembles and destroys the very DNA of pathogens rendering them harmless. Translation: bye-bye viruses and bacteria!

LARQ water bottle review

The LARQ water bottle isn’t cheap, but it is also in a league of its own in many regards. I think it’s worth serious consideration for:

  • Immunocompromised individuals
  • Hiking/camping
  • International travel– unverified water sources

For this LARQ water bottle review I’ll give you a complete guide as well as a thorough test of how well it works. That includes using it to drink standing pond water. So, stick around.

LARQ Bottle Specs

  • Sizes: 17oz(500ml) or 25oz(740ml)
  • Price: $95-118
  • Material: Polished double-wall polished 18/8 gauge BPA-free stainless steel
  • External Powder Coated: 5 Colors available
  • Normal Mode: For tap water etc.
  • Adventure Mode: For outdoor sourced clear water (3x Normal Mode’s output)
  • Thermal Efficiency: 24 hrs of cold water and 12 hrs of hot coffee
  • Battery: USB Rechargeable Lithium-Ion lasts up to 6 weeks
  • 1 Year Warranty

Pros

  • Attractive, Sleek Design
  • Kills viruses which filters can’t
  • Kills odors/stays fresh
  • No Filters to change
  • More capacity than filter bottles
  • Unlimited clean water
  • Great battery life: 1-2 months
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent ice/heat retention
  • Waterproof USB port

Cons

  • Doesn’t remove sediment or particles
  • Not cheap
  • A cap tether would be nice
  • Cap must be removed to drink

A Close-up Look

LARQ water bottle on wood

The 25oz(740ml) LARQ bottle in two-tone Monaco Blue.

LARQ water bottle USB

Charging: A “breathing” illuminated halo indicates various modes. Green is for charging. It typically takes 1-2 hours to fully charge the bottle. A single charge will last about a month under normal usage.

LARQ water bottle powder coat

Powder coating: The rugged two-toned powder-coated steel adds an extra layer of protection against scuffs while giving the bottle a classy matte finish.

LARQ water bottle polished interior

Double-walled 18/8 stainless steel keeps drinks cold or hot for a long time. the polished interior serves to reflect the germ-killing UV-C light into every corner of the bottle like around the lip.

LARQ water bottle UV-C emitter

UVC emitter: This little puppy blasts UV-C light at 280 nm germ-killing wavelength. The cap has a safety photosensor which will only allow it to turn on when it is on the bottle.

How The LARQ Bottle Works

LARQ water bottle cap
LARQ Bottle in self-cleaning mode (breathing blue light)

The LARQ’s UV-C emitter is embedded in the cap and is powered by an onboard USB-rechargeable battery that can last a month or more depending on the mode the bottle is set to.

  1. Fill up the water bottle then press the button on the top of the cap.
  2. Pressing once activates normal mode for cleaner sources like tap water.
  3. Double-tapping activates adventure mode which is for decontaminating outdoor clear water sources. Adventure mode uses 3x more UV-C for extra safety.
  4. Swish the bottle around a couple of times. This maximizes the disinfecting power by forcing any remaining germs to make multiple passes through UV-C light of death.
  5. Maintenance cycle: As an added measure, every 2 hours the LARQ will re-blast the water in the bottle to make extra sure the water remains pure and germ-free.

The Science of UV-C

Is this UV-C thing snake oil? No. But, there is a lot of “snake oil” UV lights claiming to be germicidal. While they may be UV they are not UV-C.

Only UV-C (aka germicidal UV) with a wavelength of 200-300 nm can effectively destroy the DNA of pathogens(source). The LARQ waterbottle uses a 280 nm UV-C LED to kill germs.

UV-C is a medically-proven technology being widely deployed in hospitals. In fact, many hospitals are using autonomous UV-C robots like these ones to decontaminate the rooms used for Covid-19 patients.

UV-C does not distinguish between soft tissue and germs. It is not good for your skin or eyes but it doesn’t radiate or otherwise taint your water.

For this reason, the LARQ water bottle has a photo-sensor safety mechanism. It will never turn on if it senses light. In other words, you should never actually see the UV-C light in action.

UV-C Decontamination deployed in a hospital (Credit: Interestingengineering.com)

Does the LARQ Bottle Actually Work?

Let me put it this way: You are far better off filling a LARQ bottle up from a gas station sink than drinking the bottled water the gas station actually sells. (Reference)

It turns out that since bottled water usually sits on a shelf for months before being consumed it has time to grow bacteria inside of it….gross!

The Real Scientific Test Results

Published results from Harrens Lab, CA

Kills 99.9999% of Bacteria

According to independent tests conducted by Harrens Lab in California, the LARQ bottle annihilated between 99.9775% to 99.9999% of water-borne bacteria. The difference in percentages represents the results from normal mode and adventure mode respectively.

Kills 99.99% of Viruses

LARQ claims their water bottle kills 99.99% of viruses (in adventure mode). I reached out to LARQ for clarification on these numbers because labs struggle to obtain and keep viable virus samples on hand. They further explained that since UV-C breaks up DNA/RNA of viruses the viruses are no longer able to replicate themselves thereby rendering them harmless.

As is the case with most filters, the LARQ bottle cannot remove dissolved heavy metals or chemicals.

LARQ Water Bottle Review: A Real World Test

So, I Drank Pond Water…

Yes, I did drink pond water for this LARQ water bottle review. (Don’t try this at home kids. Leave it to idiots like me!)

The water in my backyard pond is surface water run-off. While the water is clear, there were floaties that I had to swish out of the way before filling the bottle.

I must admit that I was quite nervous about it and activated the UV-C cleaner in adventure mode(max) twice in a row before actually drinking the water.

The flavor of the water was surprisingly odor-free with no aftertaste. I think a detected slight earthy taste, but it was barely perceptible

In the end, the fact that I never got sick or had any gastro issues is at least anecdotal evidence that this water bottle actually works as claimed.

Thermal Performance

Half full of ice after sitting for 24 hours at room temperature

LARQ claims that the bottle will stay cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours

So, I put that claim to the test. I filled my LARQ with ice water then left it at room temperature for exactly 24 hrs.

The results were actually very impressive actually. After 24 hours the bottle was still half-full of ice! I didn’t test the hot water claim but I’d expect it to perform well in that regard too.

LARQ Bottle Vs. Filter Bottles

LARQ BottleFilter Bottles

VirusesYesNO
BacteriaYesYes
ParticulatesNoYes
Heavy MetalsNoNo
MaintenanceCharge once/monthReplace Filters
Capacity100%Reduced due to filter
Thermal RetentionVery goodNone
LooksClean & ModernChunky and Mehh..

As you can see, the LARQ has some clear advantages over adventure filter bottles which have less capacity, a lower flow rate, virtually no thermal retention, require filter changes and don’t remove viruses.…that’s the big one for me.

The LARQ’s disadvantage in this realm is that it doesn’t actually remove sediment and particulates like filter bottles do.

However, from my own extensive experience using filters for drinking water in West Africa, the reality is that heavy sediment and particles will clog even the best filters within a few days anyway. During rainy seasons my ceramic filters clogged up every 3 days.

If you find yourself in a real pinch where you are forced to use a water source that is not clear to the eye, then let the water stand for a while to allow the sediment to settle and then filter out any remaining floaties by using a couple of layers of clean fabric or a coffee filter.

Conclusion

As many of you know, I’m a fan of tough, multipurpose products. Over the course of this LARQ water bottle review, I’ve actually grown to appreciate power of this innovative product.

I like that the LARQ water bottle is as good at saving your life in the backcountry as it is in day to day usage at the office

It’s just a solid, practical piece of kit.

For me, the LARQ bottle is a game-changer for my international travels. There’s no question. I’m bringing it on my next trip to Africa. I’ll literally be able to pull the Land cruiser up to any local village bore well and just fill the bottle up! I love it.

Yeah, it is an expensive water bottle, but if you’re a water bottle collector at least you could justify spending the extra money on it because it actually protects your health. After all, this water bottle actually does something practical and useful beyond just looking good and keeping your coffee hot.

With the Covid-19 pandemic in full swing, guarding your water source could be really important especially if you are a high-risk age group or are immuno-compromised.

Heck! Some people are using their Larq bottle caps to sterilize their devices during the pandemic! Who knew you could do so much with a water bottle!

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