User Review: SteriPEN Classic
Source: bought it new
Terrific when it works, query battery cost and reliability long term.
- In clear water, very quick and easy to use.
- No chemicals to spoil water taste.
- Need to carry backup batteries
- Can be broken — be careful
We have had our Steripen for two years and generally we think it is great — but I must say we haven't used anything else really, as we have only hiked in the mountains where the water is usually clear and pure. I didn't want the physical exertion of a pump. (Lazy!) When we did need to use lake water that was a bit gunky with algae and such, we had issues with the gravity fed prefilter clogging. So wouldn't recommend it for this type of water.
On recent 21 day backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada as usual Steripen was mostly fine. However, it did need the top of the line expensive four AA Lithium batteries replaced every four days (for two people) and we had some trouble with it on day 20 of the trip. The light went red (instead of flashing green) when we pushed the button, as it does to indicate flat batteries, but even with new batteries, it would not work.
When we got home, we tried another set of new batteries (thinking the ones we tried might have been faulty) — still no dice. So we contacted REI who offered to replace it. Couple of days later, before taking it into the shop, we tried it again and TA DA! — now it's working again. So ... we did drop it into the water on the day it failed — maybe we got some water into the internal compartment? But now we have doubts about its reliability, which we did not have before...
Regarding the battery consumption, which seemed pretty high, I also discovered that the batteries which were "too flat" to power Steripen would power other appliances, such as my camera, for absolutely ages. So probably Steripen is best used for shortish trips and in conjunction with rechargeable batteries, to avoid this wastage.
Any piece of equipment can fail. We will try our Steripen again on a shorter trip. But we always carry backup tablets.