The LARQ bottle is one of the more interesting products to catch my eye in recent years. I’m always looking for ways to upgrade my hiking gear, and when I heard about the self-cleaning LARQ I had a lot of curiosity.
The LARQ bottle is a self cleaning bottle that also purifies your water, making it very convenient for hikes, and I could even purify and drink water straight from a stream.
It does this by shining UV-C LED lights down from the lid purifying your water but also cleaning the bottle simultaneously.
Instead of a screen for information, LARQ simplifies things with an LED light on the lid that has several different colors, all signifying different things.
What do these colors actually mean though?
The LED colors on the LARQ bottle’s lid can mean several different things:
- Battery/charging status: A breathing green light means that your bottle is still charging, while a solid yellow or green light represents a low or full battery, respectively.
- Cleaning cycle: A breathing sky blue light represents Normal Mode, while a pulsing blue light represents Adventure Mode.
- Problems with your bottle: A pulsing orange light represents Safety Mode, while a red or purple light means that a “terminal failure” has occurred with your bottle.
Knowing the meaning of each color will help you properly care for and manage your bottle, so be sure to read each section thoroughly.
1. Breathing Sky Blue
If you press the button on the cap of your bottle once you’ll activate Normal Mode, represented by a breathing sky-blue LED.
The blue light will slowly turn on and off for 1 minute indicating that it is currently active and purifying your water.
LARQ explains on their FAQ page:
“Normal Mode is a 1-minute cleaning cycle and delivers 12 mJ/cm^2 of UVC to the water and the inner surface of the bottle.”
If you’re drinking from a trustworthy source like a fountain or fridge, this is your go-to for daily use.
You may also see a sky-blue light appear very briefly every two hours, and this represents Self-Cleaning Mode.
The LARQ bottle is designed to automatically begin a 10-second cleaning cycle every two hours, and you’ll see the same sky-blue light on the cap.
2. Pulsing Blue
Double-tapping the button on your lid activates Adventure Mode. You’ll then see a pulsing blue LED appear.
This light pulses much faster than the breathing light in normal mode which helps you to distinguish which mode you have placed it in.
LARQ’s FAQ explains:
“In Adventure Mode, the LARQ Bottle PureVis delivers a higher dose of UVC: >30 mJ/cm^2. Activate this 3-minute cycle by double-tapping the button on the cap. It’s a good choice if you’re not sure about the quality of your water or you just want extra peace of mind.”
This mode gives you an extra dose of cleaning power for water that you may be a little unsure of.
It's something that I use when drinking water from a river or lake when I'm on a hike and I'm not sure about the microbes in the water.
Please note that the water MUST BE CLEAR in order for the LARQ bottle to work effectively. One of the disadvantages of UV water purification is that it only works with clear water. So do NOT use this with murky water from puddles etc.
3. Steady Yellow
If you notice your cap blink a steady yellow before or after a cleaning cycle, this is your bottle alerting you that the battery is getting low and it's time to recharge your lid.
While your LARQ may have some juice left for a few cleaning cycles, LARQ does not specify what battery capacity activates the yellow blinking.
A dead LARQ bottle is no longer a self-cleaning bottle, so you should probably plug it in soon to make sure that it has the energy needed to keep your water clean.
4. Breathing/Blinking Green
You’ll see the LED breathe green after plugging the lid in to charge.
This means that your cap is currently charging, and still needs time before the battery is full.
Starting with an empty battery you can expect this breathing green light to continue for up to 5 hours.
This may seem inconvenient at first, but a full charge on the LARQ can last up to 1-2 months depending on how much you use it.
5. Steady Green
A solid green light means that your bottle is fully charged and ready to go.
The LARQ will display this steady green and stop charging once full to protect from any overcharging/battery issues.
Personally I’m terrible at keeping my things charged, so I’d probably prefer to let my bottle charge until solid green and not have to worry about it for a few weeks.
6. Steady Orange
Orange indicates Safety Mode, which prevents you from accidentally activating the lid while it’s not on the bottle by dimming the UV lights. It'll also stop the lid from trying to activate when the electronics are too hot (much like mobile phones do when they overheat).
If you press your cap by accident or take the lid off while the bottle is operating it will flash orange to indicate the safety mode has activated and the UV-C light will turn off to avoid getting in contact with your skin or eyes.
7. Pulsing Orange
If the electronics are hot or the liquid inside your bottle is too hot, you’ll notice your lid pulsing an orange color.
To solve this problem, remove any warm liquid from your LARQ and put your lid back on your bottle and keep it out of direct sunlight to cool down then try again later.
You can also submerge it in water to cool it down.
The LARQ bottle lid is IPX7 rated – meaning it can handle immersion up to 1 meter (3 feet) in water for up to 30 minutes.
I personally think it’s impressive that LARQ has thought of the different safety scenarios surrounding their technology and implemented certain preventative measures like this.
8. Red/Purple (Ring of Death)
Saving the worst for last, this is the color you absolutely do not want to see on your bottle.
This is often called the “red ring of death” or the “purple ring of death” and is not a good sign.
A red or purple light means that a “terminal failure” has occurred with the UV-C light that cleans your bottle.
According to their FAQ:
Oh no! Something is wrong. Please complete the Warranty Claims Form, and our Customer Experience team will have you drinking brilliantly again in no time!
If you notice a purple or red light appear on your cap you should stop drinking water from your LARQ bottle, as the sterilization feature is likely not working properly.
While this issue seems to be very rare you should still be wary as you don’t want to end up drinking gross/unsafe water.