Testing water quality in Saigon (HCMC), Vietnam

Update: You can purchase a TDS water quality meter at Lazada.

Last week I checked the water quality again in my apartment building. I have done it once in the past, this time wanted to look at bottled water as well. I used a portable TDS, total dissolved solids, water test that I purchased from Amazon in the US. Below is the chart that I used to interpret my readings.

TDS/PPM chart

Tap Water

I first looked at the tap water in my apartment. I live in H1 so I was not surprised that the reading was 44 PPM. H1, H2, and H3 buildings, from the results, purifies the water before sending it to the taps. I was a bit happy when I found out. There probably is a reverse osmosis system in my apartment building.

For most apartments, you will want to check the water quality so do not expect the water to be this clean where you live.

PPM for H1 building water

Purified Water

As you can see by the result, my “purified” water brings the water quality down to 5 PPM. I am using the Mi Water Purifier that I bought in Saigon. I use this water for drinking and cooking. Normally, I will wash my vegetables in the normal tap water and then finish the rinsing with the purified water. The reason is that the water pressure is lower with I turn on the water purifier.

The Mi Water Purifier uses a four filter system which includes reverse osmosis.

PPM for purified water

20 Litter Water Jug

In H1 they use Vihawa as the main supplier of water. At 53 ppm, it pretty much tells me that the water is purified. Some readings are similar to tap water in H1.

PPM for Vihawa

LaVie Bottled Water

This one you have to be care in interpreting the results. At 267 ppm, it looks like the water is just average tap water but in fact, LaVie is sourced from a mineral spring. Just look at the information below this picture.

PPM for LaVie

You can read here more about what is in LaVie’s water. With the above reading, the source of this water is fro Long An. So no worry, the water is safe to drink. I was warned that water sourced from mineral springs will have a higher PPM reading.

LaVIE PPM information


Just for fun, I decided to take a reading of mugicha, a popular Japanese drink made out of barley. This is what I drink in Saigon a lot. At 75 PPM, but that is most likely due to the barley tea. 🙂

PPM for Mugicha


So where I live, the water is quite safe to drink. Vinhommes and many newer apartment buildings should also purify their water (definitely as the building management and conduct your own tests). For others using city or ground water, you definitely want to test the water. I plan to test other bottled water and the water from other apartments in the near future. You can also bring me a sample to test as well. Just send me a message on Facebook.


Agent Orange still affects ground water outside of Saigon especially around Bien Hoa. It is best to use bottled water or get a water purifier.

The Southeast Asian Action for Clean Technology (SEAACT) plans to distribute “affordable” water purification systems in the future.

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