A new year is often about resolutions and a renewed focus on wellness. One of the things I’m going to do this year is drink more water. I think now we’re all really germ conscious too, and I started looking for a new water bottle after finding some green gunk growing in my current bottle, and that’s when I heard about LARQ.
I like that I can be confident my water is pure and the bottle is cleaned thanks to the UV light inside. I like drinking from the bottle; it keeps water chilled and the narrow mouth makes it easy to sip. The addition neoprene sleeve and silicone carry loop on the cap are a worthy upgrade as noted in my update above, after my chance to try them since my original review.
- Self cleaning water from UV light
- Easy to sip water
- Keeps water chilled
- Modern looks
- Heavy when full
- Slippery grip
LARQ smart water bottle review
The LARQ Bottle is billed as “the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle and water purification system.” It uses UV-C LED light to eliminate bio-contaminants from your water and bottle.
I had a chance to test out the double-walled larger 25 oz LARQ Bottle bottle for a week, and I’ll tell you about what I found.
See my hands-on video review
Closer look: LARQ bottle
The double walled bottle is big, and that’s what I wanted; one that doesn’t need constant refilling. The inside is stainless steel, double walled like I noted. The outside has a kind of textured, powder-coated painted steel coating, that I found to be slippery. Particularly with a bottle of this size full it can be heady to carry around; right away I felt a little loop or hook as part of the lid would be handy. But I will also say it’s a chic and minimalist looking bottle; a little more modernism and less phys ed class, if you know what I mean.
Update: June 2021
LARQ just launched a new fresh green summer colour (below) and shared some of their new accessories designed to give you a better grip on the bottle. I’m happy to say I now LOVE the LARQ Travel Sleeve, which is a nice, soft neoprene water bottle carrier with strap loop for carrying. They also sent me the silicone Active Loop which snugs around the lid to give you something to hold or clip into. Both these little accessories have made a big difference to the carrying so they’re now fixtures on the bottles.
Why do I need a self-cleaning water bottle?
The first question you probably have is Why do I need a self-cleaning water bottle?
There are a few reasons why a self cleaning water bottle is actually a really good idea. For starters, if you’re traveling to a place where water quality isn’t guaranteed, being able to purify your own water and keep your bottle extra clean can be a lifesaver.
Secondly, while most of us think water is water and never gets dirty or contaminated when it comes out of a nice urban tap, the truth is gunk can grow inside your water bottle thanks to cross contamination, germs from backwash, chapstick, lipstick, food particles, and even sweat getting in there. Do yourself a favour and do not Google ‘gunk in water bottle’.
Truth is, our water bottles get gross if they’re not cleaned often enough, and honestly a lot of us don’t clean them often enough. I was pretty grossed out to find a layer of greenish black slime appear on the inside of my water bottle recently, and that really opened my eyes.
How does LARQ work?
LARQ bottles have a small UV light built into the cap of the bottle. Powered by a rechargeable battery, the bottle runs a clean cycle every two hours to purify both the water you put inside as well as the inside of the bottle. You can also turn the cleaning cycle on anytime and the light fills the bottle, zapping—according to LARQ— up to 99.9999% of bio-contaminants from your water and bottle. Beyond that there are no filters to change or other components to the bottle.
There are two different cleaning cycles; normal and Adventure; use normal when you just want to make sure your bottle is clean and safe. Adventure mode is made for travel and offers an extended clean cycle when you’re not sure about how clean your water may be.
What is UV-C LED technology and what does it do?
In short, the UV-C light eradicates biological contaminants by destroying their DNA. UV light, even sunlight has been used for a long time and frequently in places where electricity is not available, to purify water.
LARQ does say you should be starting with mostly clean water, without any physical sediment as the UV-C LED will not remove these impurities from the water.
I don’t have any way to verify that the bottle is actually working; again that home microbiology lab that I talk about would be handy, so at this point, I will have to promise you a future update and see if the bottle stays clean and gunk-free after a fre months.
Can I use hot or cold water, and what about ice or other drinks?
The LARQ Bottle is designed for water, pure and simple. The company says it does not recommend using it for other drinks. Even so if you do it just says you need to give it a good hand wash with warm soapy water.
The LARQ Bottle will keep cold water chilled for up to about 24 hours or hot for up to about 12 hours. (The LARQ Bottle Movement by the way is a different product and is a lighter, single-walled bottle that will not keep beverages cold or hot)
You can put ice in your bottle, but the company notes it may impact the efficiency of the UV light since LARQ uses line of sight technology and the ice may keep the light from reaching certain areas of the bottle.
What’s the difference between Normal Mode and Adventure Mode?
Normal Mode is a 1 minute cleaning cycle (delivering 12 mJ/cm^2 of UVC to the water and the inner surface of the bottle). Tap the button on the cap once to activate the cycle. LARQ says it’s the right choice for daily use, if your water is from a trustworthy source.
In Adventure Mode, the LARQ Bottle delivers a higher dose of UVC and for longer ( >30 mJ/cm^2. Activate this 3 minute cycle by double tapping the button on the cap). It’s a good choice if you’re not sure about the quality of your water or you just want extra peace of mind.
How often does the LARQ Bottle need to be charged? How will I know when the battery is low?
One charge lasts up to 1 month and conveniently recharges via MicroUSB. This is based on estimated usage of 3-4 cycles a day. (?? does it shut off at night?
Normal Mode lasts up to 4 weeks of use and Adventure Mode lasts up to 10-12 days of use. When your battery is low, your cap will blink green before and after a cleaning cycle to alert you to charge it!
Storing the bottle: How do I turn LARQ off?
If you want to power your bottle down for a while, you can put it in what’s called “travel Mode” (though calling it Off Mode would also make sense). To shut it off, hold down the LARQ Bottle cap for 5 -10 seconds until you see a white light flash.
Travel Mode deactivates Self-Cleaning Mode, and is recommended if you are storing your LARQ Bottle for an extended period of time or to conserve battery life.
What do the LARQ LED colours mean?
- Breathing green light : Charging
- Steady green light: Fully charged
- Breathing sky blue light : Normal Mode
- Pulsing blue light : Adventure Mode
- Pulsing orange light : Safety Mode: This will flash when activated outside the bottle or if the electronics are too hot.
- Steady yellow light: Low on battery. It will flash twice before and after a cleansing mode.
- Red/Purple light: Something is wrong. Contact LARQ Customer service.
How often does the LARQ Bottle need to be charged? How will I know when the battery is low?
You recharge the light via the MicroUSB port in the cap. LARQ says a full charge should last up to 1 month. I’m still working my way through that to prove it, so for now I’m taking LARQ’s word for it. When your battery is low, your cap will blink yellow before and after a cleaning cycle to alert you to charge it!
This is based on estimated usage of 3-4 cycles a day. Normal Mode lasts up to 4 weeks of use and Adventure Mode lasts up to 10-12 days of use.
Overall review LARQ self cleaning bottle
Overall I really like the idea of this bottle. I like that I can be confident my water is pure and the bottle is cleaned thanks to the UV light inside. I like drinking from the bottle; it keeps water chilled and the narrow mouth makes it easy to sip. I love the looks too.
On the downside, I didn’t love the sleek coating for carrying the bottle around on my daily walks; it was too heavy when full and not grippy enough. The addition neoprene sleeve and silicone carry loop on the cap are a worthy upgrade as noted in my update above, after my chance to try them since my original review.
The LARQ bottle, 25oz size, double walled and insulated costs about $95USD or $125CAD and you can get it from LARQ’s website or Amazon.
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