Working from home or at a workplace means you can tap into your water supply anytime, and for a little extra cleanliness, a LARQ bottle uses its built-in UV lights to kill all that nastiness that could build up.

That’s the promise behind LARQ’s message, and given how important it is to stay hydrated, it’s an easy one to get behind. But does it actually work? Since the COVID-19 pandemic made many rethink sanitary conditions at home and away, a bottle that purifies itself doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary now. And to consider this “high-tech” is probably overstating things. It’s a simple product to use, and it’s pretty singularly focused.

Not to say there isn’t a sustainability message shadowing it all because there is. Single-use plastic water bottles are a global problem, and reducing their usage may come down to increasing people’s confidence in the water they get from the tap. Granted, this is somewhat subjective, considering not everyone in the country feels good about tap water. Filters definitely help, and there’s no reason not to use one of those as part of owning a LARQ bottle.

Light it all up

The bottle itself comes in two different forms. The standard one is the LARQ Bottle PureVis, while the other is the Bottle Movement PureVis. They look really similar to one another, albeit with different priorities outside of their main purpose. For example, the Bottle PureVis is very much like your standard stainless steel bottle, where it’s built to keep your beverage colder or hotter for longer periods. The Movement PureVis is lightweight, yet can hold more volume, but doesn’t have the insulation to maintain temperature for the same duration.

Both bottle types have the same UV-C LED lights inside situated on the inside of the cap. Screw it on, press the button at the top, and the LED ring outside lights up to indicate the purification process is underway. After about 60 seconds, your water (and bottle) should be 99.999% free of E.coli. The internal battery is also programmed to automatically repeat that process every two hours to keep the water inside clean.

To be clear, this isn’t the same as a filtration system, so putting in very obviously dirty water isn’t going to magically come out looking like it came from a natural spring. LARQ does say that its UV lights can eradicate bacteria, protozoa and other germs, but it can’t magically turn yellow or brownish water into a clear cup of nature’s fruit juice. It needs to be clear without any obvious sediment inside. As for stuff you can’t see, it won’t remove fluoride or heavy metals.

Those lights play an equally pivotal role for the stainless steel inside. It’s BPA-free, so that’s all good, but the stale odour that sometimes lingers with reusable bottles doesn’t stick around here.

LARQ’s technology at work

There is some science and precedent that backs this up. UV-C lights have disinfected medical facilities in Canada for years, so they’re old hat in healthcare circles. Apply the tech to a water bottle, and you ideally get the same level of hygiene.

Still, it’s best to regularly wash it like you would any other bottle. LARQ can only claim to effectively kill potential pathogens lurking in the water, but can’t say that it fully removes them. Without a filtration system, even otherwise dead germs might still be in there. What I’ve done is use a Brita filter, as I always have, to filter tap water, and then pour it into the LARQ bottle. I then run the UV lights to finish the job. I’ve liked the refreshing taste, and also appreciate that it never gets too warm while in the PureVis bottle I’ve tested since 2020.

That bottle holds a modest 500ml, though a larger 740ml size is also available. Even Draymond Green of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors endorses a “DG23” variant. The Movement PureVis is larger, starting at 710ml and going up to 950ml.

These bottles aren’t exclusively for water, since you can just as easily pour coffee, tea or another beverage in the PureVis to keep it cold or warm. It’s just not clear how well the purification works for anything other than water. In fact, LARQ notes that its system isn’t meant for any other beverage. And if you are pouring in a sugary drink, it’s best to wash it right after with warm soapy water.

To tap, or double tap

LARQ does offer two distinct cycles, which it coins Normal Mode and Adventure Mode. Basically, the former uses a standard beam of UV light for one minute, whereas the latter increases the intensity and keeps it on for three minutes. The reason for the discrepancy is in case you’re pouring in water from a source you’re not really sure about. Think about travelling to another country and how water there may be treated differently. That mode could make it potable for a North American stomach.

A low battery warning appears as a green light on the LED ring on the cap. Typically, one charge can last up to a month, but my experience differed, and I had to recharge faster than that. Just a shame that it has to be through a micro-USB connection, and not USB-C.

Travel Mode is another setting that deactivates the UV lights until you turn it off. The idea is to preserve battery life or you’re storing it for an extended period. Hold down the button on the cap for 5-10 seconds, and the white light will indicate you’ve done it.

If saving money and space fits with your budgetary and environmental goals, you’ll like :LARQ’s bottles. You just may not like the price. It starts at $125 USD for the 500ml PureVis, and $99 for the 710ml Movement PureVis. Expensive, unless you plan to make it the last water bottle you buy for a long time.  

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