Published on December 9th, 2009 | by Greg0
Water, Water Everywhere- And Plenty To Drink
You might think that water and electricity don’t go together. We tend to disagree, at least when the power is put to good use. The two companies and products represented here today each offer a good reason to consider adding a new gadget to your kitchen. Even when space is at a premium, these countertop appliances add features that are easy to appreciate.
We’ll start with the Zojirushi Super VE Hybrid Water Boiler. The ‘hybrid’ in the name doesn’t indicate the use of any alternative bio-hydro-solar-turbine technology, but instead indicates that the model can be enjoyed without needing to be plugged in, capable of using two internal AA batteries for cordless use. Before you ask, yes, this is the same company that made the amazing and expensive rice cooker that we reviewed earlier. The Hybrid Water Boiler- the CV-DYC40 technically- isn’t quite as nifty-looking as the rice maker, but still looks sleek and appropriately futuristic. Holding up to four liters of water and dispensing either quickly or slowly depending on your preference and the delicacy of your task, it does one thing and does it very well.
Quite common in other countries, especially those where tea is a favored beverage, home hot water dispensers are not frequently seen here outside of businesses. If you frequently end up turning to your kettle, you’re wasting time (and perhaps energy)- this is a gift that any serious tea drinker will love. Use is simple- fill with water and plug it in, then wait, though you can select your temperature from between 175, 195, and 208 degrees F for use with different teas. Boiling is fairly fast, and a cute musical chime indicates when your water is at the desired temperature. Due to the excellent insulation, the water doesn’t require much extra energy to stay at the desired heat, and you the hybrid model is unique in allowing you to then take the dispenser to a table or picnic and easily dispense the water using the battery. A timer function further saves energy and can be set for your morning libation (it works equally well with French press coffee). And we liked the transparent window allowing you to see when a refill is needed. Some may think a device like this unnecessary- but the convenience of having near-boiling water available immediately cannot be overstated. At $170 or so, this is the best model out there- and with regular use can, over time, pay for itself versus inferior water boilers.
Of course, perhaps simply boiling your water isn’t enough. The best teas and beverages are highly dependent on water quality, and throwing tap water into a water boiler and then dispensing it does not get rid of all of the common impurities. We’ve tried out Tribest’s products before, and their juicer was incredibly solid. Thus, we had high hopes for the Tribest Purewise Countertop Water Distiller.
On the plus side, it works- we didn’t have an independent lab run tests, but we did try out the cool TDS meter on hand from a previous review and were happy to note that nearly no dissolved solids remained in the water. The Tribest PW-10000 actually takes your H2O on quite a journey, more steps than even the Zuvo, but can’t be installed into your normal tap and requires counter space. It also requires time- lots of it, far more than any other method we’ve seen, up to 4.5 hours for a single gallon of water. It also takes a fair bit of power- it seemed to be about 1 kWh, which in California runs a bit over sixteen cents- adding up to about 70-80 cents per gallon.
And that’s the kicker- though tap water may in fact contain dissolved solids, those largely effect taste, and generally normal tap water is extremely safe. For those in areas without access to safe water, the Tribest unit is a true distiller- it boils the water fully, killing bacteria and even viruses they claim, then as steam collects it leaves behind the solids and salts and dead gunk. Condensed, then filtered, it did taste great (and fresh), and we certainly hope it was free of the slightly scary items they list- arsenic, aluminum, copper, bacteria, chloride, chlorine, chloroform, fluoride, lead, MTBE, mercury, nitrates, sodium, sulfate. But considering the time it takes for your water to be ready as well as the cost of use (filters need replacing as well, they suggest every 3 months), the PW-10000 seems a bit too pricey. At $400, it’s definitely for those truly serious about water quality!
One update, from the company themselves- according to their spokesperson, this model is actually being discontinued, and Tribest is ‘working to improve the Purewise to offer an easier and more cost effective way to achieve the same quality distilled water in a compact modern design’.