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Actually, Charlie, iodine TABLETS (not crystals) are a relatively expensive
way to purify water. A bottle of 50 costs 5 bucks. You can purify about 6
gallons of water per bottle of iodine TABLETS. It would take 100 bottles of
iodine TABLETS (not crystals) to purify the same amount of water (600
gallons) as one ultraviolet bulb on the steri pen.
Now iodine crystals are a different story. According to Campmor and REI,
one bottle of iodine crystals ($10) is good for 500 gallons of water.
The real drawback to the Steri-pen is battery use. 4 lithium batteries are
needed to purify about 17.5 gallons of H20. If you don't recharge the
batteries ( I don't know if lithium batteries are rechargeable) the cost in
batteries alone is about $400 (600/ 17.5 x $12 per 4 pack) for 600 gallons of
So for the first 600 gallons of water, it would cost about $500 for iodine
tablets, $600 for a steri-pen (assuming you don't recharge any batteries) and
$140 for a PUR guide filter ($60 for the unit and 2 replacement filters at
$40 a pop) and $12 for icky tasting (to me) iodine crystals. I imagine it
would cost about $1 for the bleach needed to purify 600 gallons of H2O.
For the second and subsequent 600 gallon units of H2o, the prices are the
same for iodine and bleach, $120 for the PUR and $460 for the steri-pen ($60
for the replacement bulb and $400 for batteries).
If you can recharge the batteries, the steri pen comes out ahead of the PUR
after the first 600 gallons and way ahead of the iodine tablets.
Since most of us are concerned about weight, bleach and iodine win hands
down (1 to 3 ozs.), the Steri-pen 8 ozs., while the PUR (and an emergency
replacement filter-they are known to clog) falls way behind at about 22ozs.
Actually, I rarely treat the water unless there's cow turds floating in
the water source and then I use bleach. I just found the steri-pen technology
interesting and did the math for something to do on a bleak winter day in the