Bottle Battle: We Put Self-Filtering Water Bottles to the Test
Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch
Two new self-filtering water bottles have caught our eye as handy ways to get clean water on the go. We decided to try them out, discover their pros and cons, and see how they compare to each other. Check out our impressions of Tap Guard and Clear2Go.
Clear2Go Filtering Water Bottle
You may remember back in April when we met up with Clear2Go during Green Apple Festival. We showed you a quick video about how the bottle works. It filtered out some pretty nasty looking gook, giving crystal clear water.
The BPA-free bottle is $16.99 which compares to steel reusable bottles. It almost seems pricey, because the bottle itself is a squeezable plastic that doesn't feel terribly high-end. But, it needs to be squeezable and the plastic is 100% recyclable. However, it's the lid that really adds the value. That's where the carbon filter is. The carbon filter screws on to the pop-top lid, filtering water as you squeeze it to drink. What makes this so great is it's easy to drink on the go without spilling, and dispenses water quickly.
According to Clear2o, the carbon filters were created in conjunction with NASA, and are NanoCeram, "a carbon filtration technology in a filter media combining the benefits of sub-micron particulate filtration with exceptional chemical removal. Comprised of nanometer-size particles, these filters far exceed current filtration systems and can handle the most difficult treatment requirements for industrial, residential and recreational water purification." These filters last up to 100 gallons, reducing the chlorine taste & odor and removing 99.9% of microbial cysts. The replacement filters come in two-packs for $11.99. Considering they last for 2-3 months or 100 gallons, that doesn't seem terribly expensive. The filter is also recyclable.
Easy screw-on filter system
Pop-top for drinking on the go
Clear instructions for use
Questionable durability of the bottle
No clear program for taking back the filters for recycling
A bit on the pricey side at the get-go
The TapGuard is a food-grade silicone filter that fits to the mouths of popular BPA-free durable water bottles like Camelback and Nalgene. The filters removes up to 95% of chlorine, iodine, and other "bad tasting chemicals."
Image via TapGuard
The carbon filters are little netted bags of activated carbon, which you insert into the filter holder. The holder is open at one end so you can pour in water, and the other end is a slotted sipper that sits over the carbon filter. You place the holder over the mouth of the water bottle, and fill the bottle . The water is filtered as you drink. However, unless you suck on the sipper, you have to drink very slowly since the water doesn't filter quickly, and if you tip too far, water spills out from the open end all over your face. So it isn't the easiest bottle to drink from.
Additionally, because you're inserting a bag of carbon into a holding area, we question if 100% of the water coming through the filter area is actually getting filtered by the carbon. And, unless you rinse the carbon pouch really, really, really well before use, we noticed a distinct feeling of dustiness or after taste.
One neat thing is that the maker of TapGuard, Guyot, runs a carbon offset program for the product. "Guyot Designs purchases enough carbon offsets to not only neutralize the production impacts of TapGuards, but to actually reduce greenhouse emissions. Each TapGuard carries enough carbon offsets to account for more than 50 lbs. of verifiable greenhouse gas emissions reductions." The offsets can be verified on Guyot's website.
The TapGuard is $15.95 and comes with the filter holder and two replacement carbon filters, each capable of filtering 100 liters, or just over 26 gallons. Replacement filters come in two-packs for $5.95.
Small part that fits to water bottles you may already own
Is swappable to new water bottles when you need to replace them
Carbon filter is easily replaceable and doesn't require new plastic parts
Carbon offset program
Difficult to drink from the bottle without spilling
Dusty or gritty after-taste
Lacks quality instructions for use
Conclusion - Which Filtering Water Bottle Wins?Both of these water bottles are great for filtering tap water from safe water sources. But you can't really head into the woods, fill up your bottle from a stream, and expect to be protected from 100% of the nasties found in the water. However, for grabbing water from water fountains and faucets, you'll be able to feel better about the safety and taste of the water you're consuming.
Ease of Use, Materials, and Price
The Clear2Go bottle is definitely easier to use, both for the filter and on-the-go drinking. It also has a cleaner taste than TapGuard. However TapGuard uses fewer materials for the original product and replacement filters. The TapGuard is less expensive in the first place, if you already have a water bottle it fits with, but the replacement filter costs end up being higher. While the Clear2Go replacement filters are priced at $11.99 for two, they filter 100 gallons each, whereas the TapGuard filters are priced at $5.95 for two and filter just 26 gallons each. However, in terms of materials and filter recyclability, TapGuard seems to have the lighter footprint by far.
More on Water Filtration Systems
Take Filtered Water With You
AquaSafeStraw Offers Portable Water Filtration
Back to the Tap: Filtered Water Bottle
Ovopur: A Water Filter that Looks Good
Lifestraw, Version II: Still Filtering; Now Without Aftertaste
Buying a Water Filtration System: Determining Which System Is Best for You