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- LARQ followed up its popular self-cleaning water bottle with a filter pitcher.
- The LARQ pitcher uses an activated carbon filter and UV light to purify drinking water.
- The price is inaccessible for many households, but if you’re concerned about water safety, the UV light system adds another layer of protection from bacteria.
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The old piece of advice to drink eight cups of water a day has been replaced by an even simpler idea: drink water when you’re thirsty. Where your water comes from depends on where and how you live, but many of us rely on water filter pitchers to get clean and fresh tasting water.
LARQ became a household name with its self-cleaning water bottle, and last year the brand released a pitcher that uses the same UV technology. The double filtering system (more on that below) is supposed to give you cleaner and better-tasting water, while also preventing bio-contaminant growth in the water and pitcher.
I tested the 8-cup advanced filter LARQ Pitcher and spoke with Dr. Jessica M. Wilson, Ph.D, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Manhattan College, to understand the filtration system. Not only was I curious about how the PurVis technology works,I also wanted to know if the experience of using the pitcher justified the steep price tag.
After using the pitcher for several weeks, I wasn’t sold on how useful it would be for most people. However, for those who have concerns about water cleanliness and like to have an app for everything, the LARQ pitcher has more features than its competitors.
How it works
There are two filtering mechanisms in the LARQ pitcher: an activated carbon filter and the PurVis wand. First, water passes through the filter which removes contaminants through a process called adsorption. Compounds in the water are attracted to the carbon, staying in the filter instead of your water, said Wilson. This is standard among other water pitchers like Brita and Pur, but LARQ offers an additional step: purification.
When the water reaches the basin, the PurVis wand emits a pulsing blue UV light that purifies the water. The UV light activates every time you fill the pitcher and on a maintenance cycle of every six hours. “UV light will prevent biological activity and is normally effective at preventing biological growth of viruses, bacteria, and protozoa,” said Wilson. If there are viruses or bacteria in your water, the PurVis wand should render them harmless and prevent more from growing.
In the US, most household drinking water is already disinfected at treatment facilities. Disinfectants like chlorine have residual effects, continuing to disinfect the water as it travels to your home. Activated carbon filters likely remove the remaining disinfectant, said Wilson. That doesn’t mean your water suddenly becomes contaminated, especially if you change the filter when needed and keep your pitcher cold and clean. However, the UV light in the LARQ adds an extra layer of protection, according to Wilson, as it could prevent bacteria regrowth.
The LARQ app
Once you set up your pitcher, you can download the LARQ app and pair your pitcher via
. The app tracks the status of your filter and the battery life of the PurVis wand. You can also buy replacement filters straight from the app.
Once you close the refrigerator door, the app and pitcher will disconnect. However, I was surprised to find that the PurVis wand stores data. I filled the pitcher and let it filter while disconnected from the app – when I reconnected, the water filtering stats updated to show more water had gone through the system.
The app is a clever addition to the pitcher experience. If you’re prone to forgetting when you replaced the filter, you have a tracking system and an easy way to order more. However, since the app tracks the amount of water filtered, it isn’t an accurate gauge of much water one person is drinking.
Using the pitcher
Besides the technical features, using the LARQ pitcher was the same as using any other water filter. The top has a swinging lid that allows you to fill the pitcher and the water filters through at an average speed. Though there was a distinct difference in taste between tap water and the LARQ water, I did not notice a difference in the water between the LARQ and a Brita pitcher with a recently replaced filter.
Cons to consider
The biggest issue with the LARQ pitcher is its price. Over $100 is prohibitively expensive for many people, especially when you can get a filtering pitcher (without the UV element) for under $30. Plus, one LARQ advanced filter costs $30, while comparable Brita filters are $30 for a two-pack.
Additionally, I ran into some technical difficulties with the PurVis wand. There’s only one button that glows different colors and shows different symbols depending on the status of the filter. While the manual includes a guide to what the symbols mean, it only says to contact LARQ support and fill out a warranty claim if you get the flashing purple error message. When I got the error light, I just left the wand on the charger for a few hours and it seemed to resolve itself, but I wish I had more home troubleshooting options.
The bottom line
The extra features of the LARQ pitcher work as promised – the purifying UV light pulses whenever you fill the pitcher and the app tracks the pitcher’s data. I hesitate to recommend this pitcher because I don’t think most people need those extras for the price. However, after testing, I can confidently say that the LARQ pitcher is an innovative and functional product for those who are interested in smart home devices or have concerns about water purity.
Pros: Companion app that tracks filter life, purifies water even after filtering with UV light
Cons: Expensive, no easy troubleshooting if something goes wrong
Junior Reporter, Home and Kitchen