Water Filters Versus UV Light Purifiers

Protozoa, bacteria, viruses – oh my! When you go out into the backcountry today, it’s often necessary to treat your water before drinking.

Pure water. (Photo: Megan Kopp)

We’ve been using a pump action water filter for a few years now. It works well for large amounts of water, but it does require regular cleaning and maintenance. After each trip, the hose should be removed and rinsed and dried completely along with the plastic body to avoid mold buildup.

As the filter begins to clog, the time it takes to fill a water bottle increases exponentially. The ceramic filter then needs to be scrubbed to remove the outer, clogged layer. Over time the filter will need replacement.

My daughter’s looking at getting her own water purification system and is considering a UV light purifier. What the difference between the two?

Filter versus UV Light Purifier

  • Light purifiers need batteries to work; filters don’t.
  • Filters need to be taken apart cleaned and dried regularly; light purifiers don’t.
  • Filters remove particulate matter; light purifiers don’t.
  • Light purifiers can only purify small amounts of water at a time; filters are only limited by arm muscle to continue the pumping action.

For a single person that doesn’t want to be worried about maintenance and is willing to carry extra batteries, the UV light purifier might be just the answer.

No matter what type of water purification system you use, the clearer and less contaminated the water, the more effective the treatment.

Tips for Purifying Water

  • Choose running water over still water if given the option
  • If the water is cloudy or muddy, allow it to settle out before pumping off the top level.

What type of water purifying system do you use?

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