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My favorite thing to talk about with Uber drivers, my beloved coffee baristas, or anyone who will listen is that fresh, potable water is actually a hot commodity, and the Water War is very much a thing that is here and happening in this world. I pontificate until I’m so parched that I take a sip from a reusable water bottle like the LARQ PureVis, and I feel like I’ve found an oasis in the desert.
Although water covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, only 3 percent is drinkable fresh water. Even deeper than that, .5 percent of that drinkable fresh water is available, meaning that it’s not locked in a glacier or the atmosphere. And water from public water systems isn’t guaranteed to be completely safe because of old infrastructure (remember the Flint, Michigan, water crisis?). All that combined equals a very cool worldwide phenomenon that deepens my existential crisis about the rad world we live in that no one is acting on to fix (slay!).
The LARQ PureVis bottle may not help with the existential doom the water wars bring (I have my therapist and a cabinet full of paraphernalia for that), but it does make me feel better that my bad Pennsylvania water is at least bacteria-free. If, like me, you enjoy staying hydrated but don’t love what the park water fountain yields, the LARQ turns any clear water into a smooth, clarified beverage worthy of being bottled.
- LARQ’s PureVis water bottle uses UV-C light to self-clean and get rid of 99 percent of bio-contaminants, according to the company.
- Easy to use
- Quick, noticeable change in water taste after use
- MicroUSB charger not exactly future-proof
- Small and no wide mouth
- No water tracking or app connectivity
Verdict: Adventurers, travelers, and regular ole hypochondriacs will be impressed at the quick change in water taste after using the LARQ PureVis bottle.
The LARQ PureVis bottle is made of food-grade 18/8 stainless steel and is double-vacuum insulated, providing up to 24 hours of cold retention and 12 hours of keeping beverages hot. (A non-insulated option is also available.) It comes in two capacities—17 oz. and 25 oz.—and five colors.
I received the larger LARQ bottle in seaside mint for review and was impressed at how light it was. I use two other vacuum-insulated water bottles regularly—the 36 oz. Yeti Rambler bottle and 32 oz. Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle, tied for my favorite insulated water bottle. If you own a Yeti, you know it’s a bit heavy, and Hydro Flask bottles tend to be lighter. The LARQ beats both of them weight-wise at 17 ounces when empty. (The Yeti weighs 1.5 lbs., and the Hydro Flask is just under a pound.) But it’s in the LARQ cap where the magic happens. It houses the UV-C light—which the company calls “PureVis technology” and claims can eliminate 99 percent of bacteria, including E. coli. The cap also houses a button that controls the bottle’s functions, plus a microUSB port for charging.
There are three modes to choose from: a Normal Mode that gives your water one minute of UV-C exposure; an Adventure Mode option, which ups the UV-C light to three minutes when you need more purification (e.g., you’ve run river water through a portable filter and want to make sure it doesn’t make you poop your pants while you’re hiking); and a Travel Lock mode, which disables the self-cleaning mode for travel or storage. Technically, the self-cleaning mode would count as the fourth, but there’s nothing you need to press to set that up: The bottle self-cleans with 10 seconds of UV-C light every two hours, regardless of use.
Opening the LARQ PureVis packaging feels like you’re opening a new iPhone. You’re greeted by a message that says, “Meet the bottle that cleans itself,” on its bright white, weighty packaging. The quick-start guide has a little home inside the opening flap, with the bottle nestled in its own cardboard cradle on the other side. You’ll find the microUSB cord (more on that later) under the bottle in a cut-out portion, just like how Apple hides its own included accessories.
All you have to do is find a place to plug the microUSB charger (I chose my favorite place to plug chargers into, my Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch dock), plug the cap into the microUSB charger, and run around your house and do some chores until you see a steady green light. Although I don’t mind using a microUSB cord, I’m always surprised to see one on a device in the year of our Lord 2023, when USB-C has taken over. It’s not a con so much as a very interesting tech choice to make nowadays.
The quick start guide says to unlock the bottle by pressing the button for 5 seconds until the ring light around the cap flashes white, but nothing happened when I did. However, my bottle did start purifying after one press of the proprietary button on the cap. You can wait for the bottle to do its thing or lightly flip it to spread the PureVis light evenly. You have to be careful when filling up the bottle—you have to get the water about an inch below UV-C light, or it will plunge into the water and cause some overflow, which I learned the hard way.
I was fully expecting the LARQ PureVis bottle to be a gimmick. However, I was blown away by the incredible changes I tasted as I progressed through tap water, tap water run through a Brita filter, and both waters after exposure to the UV-C light in the LARQ.
First, I tested the tap water directly (yes, I drank raw Pittsburgh water), then I ran that tap water through the LARQ. I noticed that the tap water tasted incredibly chlorinated—which makes sense, considering water treatment plants add chlorine chloramine, or chlorine dioxide, to water as a disinfector. Tap water tastes refreshing when you happen upon a water fountain in the park, beyond thirsty. However, it’s merely tolerable in any other circumstance. This brings us to the tap water post-LARQ—the chlorination felt like a slap on the wrist compared to the sucker punch of sterilization from the tap water.
Next, I taste-tested my Brita filtered water and the same Brita water post-UV-C light. I took sips from one bottle containing Brita filtered water and then sips from the LARQ bottle to confirm that they indeed tasted different. Brita filtered water was Dasani levels of crisp, while the LARQ bottle was borderline Fiji silkiness.
I felt like Martin Riese, the Water Sommelier on TikTok, trying to qualify the taste, but I also felt like a huge weirdo drinking from two different water bottles with a perplexed look on my face. I’m an easily distracted child who loves a shiny bright thing, so seeing the light on the cap flash and receiving better-tasting water is a better high than completing your Duolingo daily lesson. I’m slightly more prone to use the LARQ water bottle just to get the instant gratification of my water turning into a different thing, like pulling a Shrinky Dink out of the oven.
Pennsylvania water is gross, and Pittsburgh water, specifically, is not good. The LARQ removed the tap water’s chlorinated taste and improved the Brita’s flavor profile. Overall, it left me genuinely impressed—it felt like I was aerating wine, cycling through swirl-sniff-sip-savor (and all the feels) as I noted how the water tasted before and after exposure to UV-C light. All I need to do is invest in the Brita filters that filter out lead; then I will have everything I need for the squeaky clean water.
So, who should buy the LARQ PureVis bottle?
The LARQ is perfect for those who want to ensure their water is germ-free post-filtration during a hike or even fresh from the tap. But filtering your tap water and then running it through the LARQ bottle is the way to go, in my opinion.
Some customer-submitted LARQ reviews say that it’s great for people who travel to another country and want to ensure their bottled water is extra clean or want to be sustainable and drink from the tap without the consequences. I couldn’t test either out, so use caution if you purchase the LARQ and test out the (international) waters.
I wish the LARQ came in a 32-ounce option. Sure, 25 ounces is enough, but I like the comfort of knowing that I won’t drink all my water while I’m out and about and don’t need to worry about finding a new source, whether that be a river or a nice cafe barista who fills it up for me as I wait on the other side of the counter like a Dickensian child waiting for food scraps.
The LARQ water bottle is expensive at $99-$118 (depending on size and if you decide on snagging the vacuum-insulated bottle). LARQ offering a version with app connectivity would put the bottle on another level, and help further justify that price. Hydration tracking, reminders to drink, being able to locate your bottle if you misplace it (a bonus considering it’s an expensive water bottle), and germ-free water? In my eyes, that would be worth the money, and more. However, the price tag is a drop in the bucket (or, well, bottle) compared to the pricelessness of clean water. If you’re slightly unhappy with the quality of your drinking water, even post-filtration, but not unhappy enough to spend the time and effort installing an under-the-sink filter, consider the LARQ a band-aid for your knee scrape.