Updated on January 1, 2021

It’s super simple, just take the cap off, press the button, stick it in a water bottle, swirl it around while the timer counts down from 89 seconds. When it’s done a smiley face appears on the LED display and voila, you have one liter of water that is safe to drink.

On a recent visit to California my dad wanted to buy me and Antonio a gift. As we travel by bicycle anything we carry has to be useful. The first thing that came to my mind was a SteriPen. After 2 months of use it’s proven to be one of the most useful travel tool we carry.

[thrive_leads id=’51961′]



Traveling through Latin America there are very few countries that you can drink the water from the tap. When we are cycling, we drink a ton of water, at least 5 liters per day/per person.

At nearly $1 a liter in most countries we’ve been to, that’s a lot of money we would have to spend on just water. 

Aside from the expense, finding water was a daily stress for us in Mexico because there were often long stretches without shops or houses. A few times we completely ran out of water and had to cycle extremely dehydrated. With the SteriPEN we can fill our bottles from gas station sinks and don’t have depend on finding a town.

When we first started bicycle touring we bought a water filter. It’s very inconvenient to use because you have to manually pump the water through a hose. You need to have one container to hold the water to then pump it into your water bottles. We still use it to filter river water in emergencies but not on a daily basis.






SteriPEN Traveler
SteriPEN Freedom
SteriPEN Adventurer Opti
SteriPEN Classic 3 with Pre-Filter
SteriPEN Ultra

We decided to go for the Ultra version because it has an internal battery so there is no need to carry spares. While there are smaller models, such as the Adventure Opti, the Ultra has the best battery life. The battery is charged by USB through a computer, wall outlet or portable solar panel.

See the comparison chart to decide which model is best for you.



UV purification works as the ultraviolet energy emitted by the light is absorbed by the cells of the microbe, preventing cell enzymes from ‘reading’ its DNA. Without intact DNA, microbes can’t reproduce to make you sick. 


SteriPEN: The Magic Wand that Makes Water Safe to Drink



For over 100 years, ultraviolet light has been used by bottling companies and in water treatment plants to make water safe to drink. SteriPEN eliminates over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause diarrhea, dysentery, cholera and other waterborne illness. We’ve been using it everyday for over a month while traveling in Colombia and have not been sick once.



It’s super easy to use. There is only one button, you press it once for 1 liter or twice for 1/2 liter, stick it in a wide mouthed water bottle and a timer counts down how long you have to leave it in. It couldn’t be easier.

No pumping like with the water filter.

No bad aftertaste or chemicals like when you use tablets to treat water.

It’s fast. 89 seconds for 1 liter and 49 seconds for 1/2 a liter.

Long Lasting. It lasts for 8,000 liters.

It’s compact and light weight making it easy to pack.

Long lasting battery life. When it’s fully charged it will last 50 full treatments (1 liter) or 100 half treatments (1/2 liter).

Smart Sensor. The sensor can detect cold water temperature and will automatically adjust giving it a longer treatment time.



Only that we didn’t get one sooner!



  • Bicycle tourists
  • Hikers
  • Travelers going to developing countries and/or remote areas
  • Anyone living in a place where the tap water is unsafe to drink

SteriPEN is an essential tool for travelers and outdoor lovers like us. It saves us money, time and hassle. It keeps us safe and healthy while on the road.



If you plan on using a SteriPEN to treat river water, we recommend using a filter to remove any debris before UV treatment. SteriPEN sells two types:

The Pre-Filter that is used and directly stored on your water bottle.

The FitsAll Filter which fits on a wide range of water bottles.





Weight: 4.94 oz
Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.6 x 1.3 in
Lamp Life: 8,000 treatments
Battery Life: 100 .5 liter treatments or 50 1 liter treatments per charge
Minimum Bottle Diameter: 20mm (0.8 inches)

Model: SteriPen Ultra



8 Responses

  1. Katrina

    Awesome! My husband and I have talked about getting one of those for our trips but we really haven’t had a need for it yet. I have a feeling we might get one if we go on our trip to central asia later this year.

  2. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Amanda,

    Great idea! Stunned that I hadn’t seen this sooner. Other than when we were in Fiji – and we still boiled the water – we’ve yet to spend time anywhere with safe tap water. Other than home in the US of course and even that’s debatable lol 😉 I’d use this freely because I drink up to a gallon or more of water daily here in Bali. I run twice daily with the dogs and sweat doing anything, or even sitting. Feels like a sauna here down in the Bukit so I’d get my money’s worth and then some more after picking up the Steripen.

    Thanks for the review!

    Tweeting from Bali.


    • Amanda Zeisset

      I thought the same once we finally got one. When we lived in Belize we were boiling water every morning as well but it’s such a pain to have to wait for it to cool down. Hope you are enjoying life in Bali.

  3. AJ Walton

    Hi Amanda,
    I remember seeing this sort of tool in a shop before I left home way back when, but never really thought of it at the time since my destination was Eastern Europe. But since then I’ve yet to visit a place with completely safe drinking water! Right now I’m stationary and using a normal water filter, but when I leave Russia I’m definitely going to have to consider grabbing one oof these for the road.


    • Amanda Zeisset

      Hey AJ,

      I even worked in an outdoor store that sold these and still didn’t buy one! I thought we will use our pump filter or just see how the locals get by. In Mexico people buy the big 20 gallon jugs of water which isn’t too expensive but not practical for travel of course. It’s such a relief not having to worry about finding safe water to drink. Enjoy the rest of your time in Russia.

  4. Maya

    There is something new on the market. Do you know LifeStraw? Now you can have LifeStraw bottle! It’s for half of the cost of Steripen. You fill up the bottle and it filters as you drink. You can even use the bottle without the lifestraw if you’d like. We tried it during our trip to Mexico and we drank from everywhere.

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Hey Maya, yep we’ve head of LifeStraw before but it’s not practical for us because we’d have to buy two. Also, we drink A LOT of water, about 3 liters a day while cycling. We usually fill up our bottles in the morning, zap them all and forget about.

      I’m sure the LifeStraw bottle would come in handy for some people though so thanks for sharing!