LARQ water bottle review for travellers

BY Lisa 

|  13 March 2021

The LARQ water bottle is the answer! It's the answer that many travellers face on how to access clean drinking water while reducing the dependence of plastic water bottles. As travellers, how many times have we seen beautiful beaches and scenic national parks only to be littered with plastic rubbish? Then again, how many times have we arrived to a country to be told ‘don’t drink the tap water’? Now we have one solution.

Disclaimer first. LARQ approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing a product review. I said yes, as long as I’m allowed to write my honest review, with the good and not so good points. I’m not interested in skewing my review just because I got a free product. They responded that they respect honest opinions as they have complete confidence in their product. So, here we go.

Types of LARQ water bottles

LARQ offers two types of bottles (each with two size options). Both use the same technology but have the following differences in design:


LARQ Bottle

LARQ Bottle Movement

SIZE - WEIGHT

500ml - 380gr  (17oz - 13.5oz)

or

740ml - 500gr (25oz - 17oz)

710ml - 300gr  (24oz - 10.7oz )

or

950ml - 350gr (32oz - 12.5oz)

CONSTRUCTION DESIGN

Double-wall vacuum insulation.

Single-wall construction.

INSULATION EFFECTIVENESS

Keep hot water for 12hrs.

Keep cold water for 24hrs.

No insulation. But LARQ do sell insulation covers

This review is based on the 710mL/24oz LARQ Bottle Movement.

I chose LARQ Bottle Movement as its 200gr/4.5oz lighter than the equivalent sized insulated bottle. Travelling light as possible is important for me. Also, insulation is not that essential when you consider the disposable bottled water you buy is also non-insulated. You can always buy an insulation sleeve.

Plus, as I tend to buy the 600-750ml sized bottled water, I find this size ample for me while touring during the day. I can always fill it up at restaurants, cafes and water fountains.

What is unique about LARQ water bottle

Self-contained water purification system

It’s the first time I’ve seen a portable water purification system incorporated into the bottle itself. On previous travels I used my SteriPEN. It’s a little device that I insert and stir into a bottle or glass of water. It uses UV technology to purify the water.

A hand holding a black coloured steripen with the clear tube immersed in a glass of water

The only drawback is that that the ‘pen’ section is not long enough to reach down the spout of a plastic bottled water and stir. You really need either a wide-mouth water bottle to pour into or a jug/glass to purify in and then pour back into the plastic water bottle.

LARQ water bottle on the other hand has the UV technology located in the bottles’ lid itself. That’s one less item that I have to carry, plus the AA batteries. The SteriPEN can stay at home.

The Larq water bottle white lid on the left and the black and green steripen on the right

Self-cleaning

Another unique benefit is that it’s a self-cleaning water bottle. The lid intelligently activates every 2 hours for 10 seconds, to bask the water and inner surface with UV light. I always knew when it was self-cleaning because the blue light activated on the lid.

So I tested this by bringing my water bottle to work as I work in very dusty conditions. I drive dump trucks in the Australian mining industry. The job helps with funding my travels!! With my current water bottle, I have to continually wash the lid and spout to remove the dust.

But after using the LARQ water bottle for three months, I noticed it was always clean. There was never any dirt or dust. The website recommends you can hand wash with warm soapy water every so often. You only need to occasionally wipe the mouth area as the UV-C light doesn’t reach that section.

How does LARQ water bottle work

The bottles’ lid contains propriety UV-C LED technology to emit UV-C light into the water. It helps eradicate up to 99.9999% of germs by destroying the DNA in bacteria, viruses and protozoa.

According to LARQs website, the technology has been tested by independent third-party labs and is effective against germs such as E.coli, salmonella, staph and MRSA. Please note that it does not remove heavy metals or fluoride.

Unfortunately I can’t confirm these claims as I don’t have a lab and I’m not a scientist. I have to accept on face value the lab test results conducted by Harrens in California. The only type of test I can do is put my body on the line with on-the-road testing.

How to use the LARQ water bottle

All the controls are located on the lid. The system is easy to use.

  1. Fill up the bottle with water to just below where the curve begins on the bottle (to leave a gap between the water level and the cap technology).
  2. Press the centre of the lid once to activate the cleaning the cycle. 
  3. Give the bottle a couple of swirls to agitate the water a bit.

And in 60 seconds, you have purified water.

The functions

Press centre of lid

Activates

Light indicator

on lid

Once

Normal mode – 1 minute cleaning cycle

Blue light in waves

Double tap

Adventure mode – uses higher dose of UVC light in a 3 minute cleaning cycle. Use for extra safety or if unsure about quality of water.

Blue light flashes

No action required

Maintenance mode – every 2 hours the UVC light will automatically activate a 10 second clean.

Blue light in waves

Hold for 5 seconds

Travel mode – deactivates the self-cleaning mode. Recommended for extended storage or to conserve battery life. Hold for 5 seconds again to re-activate. (it functions like a Lock/Unlock setting)

Two blue light flashes.

Charging

The best part is you don't have to carry batteries. Because the lid contains a rechargeable lithium polymer battery. Simply charge it via the supplied micro-USB cable. The micro socket is located on the side of the lid.

Larq water bottle in white and beige, sitting on table with the rechargeable cable inserted into the lid

Their website claims that 1 charge lasts up to one month. I found this to be true, lasting 4 weeks for me. I tested this by using the water bottle every day, mostly activating the normal cleaning cycle once a day in the morning and never turning it off. Plus I did notice sometimes it was activating the maintenance mode (self clean) automatically as I saw the blue light flash on the lid at random times. 

The website does mention that if you use the Adventure Mode, it may last 10-12 days.


Check out my video for a full testing review and how to use.

Benefits/Cons analysis

Pros
  • No replacement filters needed.
  • Made of stainless steel internally and protected with a powder coating exterior.  Thus, its BPA and plastic free.
  • No mercury as its made with smaller UV-C LED chip technology. The SteriPEN contains a small amount of mercury, just as fluorescent lamps do, as they’re made with traditional Mercury based UV technology.
  • Is odourless and doesn’t alter the taste. I could not taste any difference between drinking the water from the LARQ bottle and my regular Onya water bottle (no filter).
  • I didn't get sick or have tummy issues. But then again, Australian water is clean. I shall test this aspect further once the travel restrictions are lifted and we're allowed to fly internationally once again. [I'll add an update to this blog]
  • Ease of use. The button is in the centre of the lid, so its not so easy to accidently tap on the Normal Mode. 
  • Plus the mouth lip is adequately designed as I was able to drink without spillage.
  • I did see the self-clean mode activate at least 3 times a day. The bottle was always clean on the inside, even though I work in dusty conditions. I didnt need to wash it in the 3 months of testing. But LARQ do recommend to rinse the bottle at least once a week.
  • No water leaks if the bottle lays on its side in your bag.
  • Yes, you can take the bottle with you onto the plane in carry on luggage. However, LARQ does mention that you may not be able to put it in checked luggage due to the Li-Polymer battery. Check with the airline.
Cons
  • Note that it is not a filtering system. It cannot be used to filter out sediments from water. If you’re hiking out backcountry with no access to fresh flowing water, you will need a sophisticated water filtering system. Therefore the LARQ water bottle is perfect for holidays where there is tap or running water. It should only be used with water that looks clear to the eye.
    For example, when I travelled in India the tap water always looked clear to the eye. Yet half my tour group came down with the dreaded Delhi Belly. I didn’t, as I had my SteriPEN with me to sterilise the water.
  • Weighs slightly more than a standard water bottle. This is because of the UV technology located in the lid. However, the difference is minimal. If you opt for the insulated water bottles, it will add a further 200gr to the weight.
  • I did notice some fine chips/dents around the lid edge. But it is so small that I can hardly see them. I do find that the lid is the most vulnerable part of all water bottles. Even my previous Onya water bottle lid contains dents and a broken handle.
  • I advise to carefully pack the water bottle into your bag/day pack. Not that anything happened to me, but I can see how you can easily use up the battery if you place a heavy object on top in which the corner can continually depress the centre button of the lid. 
  • Not so important, but I think next time I wouldn’t choose a white or light colour bottle for travelling. Only because it shows up dirty marks more, although it was easy enough to wipe off. We know how items can get marked or dirty sloshing around in our day packs. So I would go for a black top next time.

Conclusion – LARQ water bottle gets thumbs up

For me this a real game changer while travelling. I dislike buying plastic water bottles as I want to refrain from adding rubbish to the environment. But I also don’t want to risk drinking contaminated water. So the LARQ bottle solves both issues. I will definitely be bringing this water bottle on future travels – once Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted of course.

Yes, it does look good but it’s also useful and practical for travelling. And that matters to me the most.

It is more expensive than other water bottles but it’s much cheaper than buying a SteriPEN. The fact that it may help prevent you from getting sick and ruining your holiday, I think the cost is justifiable. Nothing worse than being confined to your bed while everyone else is enjoying the day.

Therefore I recommend ditching the single use plastic bottles and buy the LARQ bottle. Note, I will update this post with further testing once I fly internationally again.


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    • I took the bottle with me on a trip 3 weeks ago and it kept the water just above room temp for the whole day – as long as I didnt leave it in direct sunlight. However, when I use a water bottle jacket (made of wet suit material), it keeps the water cool all day. Unfortunately I forgot to bring it with me on my holiday! So although its not insulated on the inside, you can still insulate it on the outside with wet suit jacket. Larq does sell bottle jackets but I use the ones from my Onya water bottle as they fit just nicely anyway.

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