4-underscored larq water bottle review
CNN  — 

With our oceans filling up with plastic, avoiding single-use plastic products is becoming more and more important, and the shift to reusable water bottles has been going on for a while now.

Larq makes reusable water bottles with UV-C LED technology in the cap to sanitize your water and your water bottle. They don’t come cheap — a 17-ounce version costs $95 and a 25-ounce size will cost $118 — but for that price, you’re getting a mini cleaning system.

The small UV-C LED light in the cap can eliminate 99.99% of bio-contaminants from your water and the bottle itself when activated, according to Larq. Most stainless steel bottles need frequent washing to prevent mold and odor-causing bacteria from building up inside. The Larq Bottle’s UV-C technology stops these bacteria from growing to begin with, meaning you’re washing your bottle less often and drinking cleaner water. You’re also getting a double-walled insulated bottle to keep your drink cold for extended periods of time. (Larq doesn’t recommend putting hot liquids in the bottle, as the UV-C can overheat.) You’re getting peace of mind knowing your water is safe to drink. There’s a lot that comes with this top price.

After spending some time using the bottle, we’ve become big fans, and we’re convinced that the Larq Bottle is worth the investment.

The technology

5-underscored larq water bottle review

You’ve probably seen and heard a lot about UV-C technology lately. Larq employs UV-C LED lights in the water bottle design, giving you a safe and effective sanitizing experience. We did some research into the science of UV-C LED lamps and found that, according to studies, UV-C light breaks down the DNA and RNA structures of harmful bacteria that can survive in water.

Unlike a Brita filtering system, with Larq you won’t be replacing filters frequently. Instead, once your lamp reaches its max usage, which will take over 100,000 cycles, you can purchase a new Larq top for $60.

The water bottle top has a 900 mAh lithium-polymer rechargeable battery built in, and your Larq comes with a micro-USB cable that plugs into the top for charging. Like any lithium battery, after long use the battery capacity will decrease. Depending on usage, you should only have to charge your bottle once a month, and our experience bears that out. We gave the battery a full charge and used the bottle on normal mode every day for a month. It took just about the whole month, 28 days, to get a flashing light that our battery was low. A charge doesn’t take very long either. We like the quick charge with long-lasting results. If you’re using the bottle in adventure mode (we’ll explain that in a minute), the charge will last you 10 to 12 days. Still, the charging process is quick and easy.

The Larq bottle is double-walled with stainless steel. Larq says that will keep cold liquids cold for up to 24 hours. We left ice in the bottle overnight and when we opened it the next morning, there was still solid ice left, so this claim rings pretty true.

Even though the bottle is self-cleaning, you will want to wash it out every once in a while. Larq recommends washing when you charge the bottle cap. We’d agree with this. The bottle itself never smelled musty or metallic throughout usage, so it seems the Larq Bottle’s UV-C LED technology was eliminating odor-causing bacteria as promised. The lip of the bottle, however, does not see light from the UV-C LED lamp and would occasionally start to smell. We gently washed this part of the bottle about once a week (an especially good idea if you use lip balm). Once you charge the bottle cap, you can wash the cap with soap and water to keep it clean as well.

Using Larq

2-underscored larq water bottle review

The Larq Bottle is extremely easy to use. We washed the bottle out with soap and water when we first received it, and then followed the instructions for charging the top. Once the light ring on the top of the cap indicates your bottle is charged, you’re good to go!

Larq technology has two different sanitizing modes: normal and adventure. In normal sanitizing mode, the bottle will run the light for 60 seconds. In adventure mode, the UV-C LED light will run for three minutes. The other difference between normal and adventure modes is the strength of the UV-C. It uses a lower level of UV-C light in normal mode, whereas in adventure mode it’s amped up. You’d be using normal mode if you’re getting water from a source you know provides potable water (think tap water from the sink). Adventure mode can be used for nonpotable drinking sources. Larq states specifically that the UV-C light will not break down heavy metals or other sediments in drinking water. We’d think adventure mode would be great for water fountains in parks and places where you’re unsure of the filtration system.

When you fill up your bottle, leave a little bit of room at the top. Since the UV-C LED light will come down from the water bottle cap, you don’t want it displacing water and making your bottle overflow. Once you’ve screwed the cap on, press down in the middle of the top of the cap to sanitize — once for normal mode or twice for adventure mode. The light on the top will begin to glow blue. Once it lights up blue three times quickly, your bottle is done sanitizing. It’s safe to unscrew the cap and drink. Larq recommends you gently turn the bottle up and down as the sanitizing cycle runs so that the light reaches every part of the bottle.

If you let your bottle run in self-cleaning mode, the Larq Bottle will automatically run a quick cycle every two hours. With the self-cleaning cycle on, you’ll still get a month’s worth of battery. This is optional and you can always turn travel mode on to stop the self-cleaning cycles.

Is it worth the price?

1-underscored larq water bottle review

There’s no doubt about it, $95 is a lot of money to spend on a water bottle that only holds 17 ounces. But the Larq Bottle is a great option if you’re looking for peace of mind when it comes to your water’s purity. If you’re a hiker or traveler and using water from nontraditional sources or public water fountains, the Larq Bottle is a great investment. But even if outdoor activities aren’t your style, the bottle is still great for day-to-day use. You can use it with tap water sources from anywhere and know you’re getting clean purified water.

While the bottle does need to be hand-washed on occasion, it’s not nearly as often as you should be washing a regular reusable water bottle. Plus, since the Larq Bottle is a reusable bottle, you’re cutting down on single-use plastics, and in the long run, spending less than you would on endless throwaway bottles of water.

If you’re looking for Larq technology but at a lower price, consider the $79 Larq Bottle Movement. This is a non-insulated version of the Larq Bottle. It maintains the UV-C LED lights of the Larq Bottle but is more lightweight and designed with commuting in mind. The bottle is available in more colors and comes with a silicone grip rather than a solid exterior.

Larq is working to clean up the environment. A dollar from every purchase from Larq goes to cleaning up 100 plastic bottles from the ocean, and Larq’s total is up to 1 million bottles. We love that Larq is helping to rid the oceans of plastic pollution, while providing quality products that don’t add to the plastic pileup.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed prices at the time of publication.