Bottled Water Ranked: Why Some Brands Are Above The Rest

There are those who think all water tastes the same and others who know for a fact that the flavor of water changes depending on the brand, pH balance, and more. There are numerous water bottle brands available, but as you’re about to find out, certain ones rank better than others for specific reasons. Whether you’re a fan of Aquafina, Fiji, or Evian, these are some of the best and worst water bottle brands of all time.

Worst: Dasani Is Actually High In Sodium

Most water bottle drinkers would think that the only ingredient would be water, but that isn’t true for Dasani. Launched by the Coca-Cola Company in 1999, this brand has some unique ingredients.

A tub filled with ice and plastic bottles of Dasani purified bottled water
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Dasani is made from tap water, salt, magnesium sulfate, and potassium chloride. The extra salt causes people to be thirstier than when they started drinking.

Worst: Arrowhead Fell Flat During Its Taste Test

People who live in the western part of the United States have likely tried Arrowhead Water. Priests stationed at Mission San Gabriel Arcángel were some of the first to find the source of the Arrowhead springs.

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Pinterest
Pinterest

Blind taste tester Vincent Sanchez tried Arrowhead and said, “The spring water of Arrowhead tastes less like it came straight from the freshest mountain streams and more like the water you drink when all hope is lost…”

Worst: Aquafina Tastes Metallic And Muddy

Aquafina is manufactured by PepsiCo and is made primarily with tap water, so it usually doesn’t receive the best reviews.

Bottle of Pepsi's Aquafina water sits on a shelf
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Slate hired a group of tasters to drink various bottled water and they described Aquafina as “soft, metallic, and muddy.” Those probably aren’t the words PepsiCo wanted to be attributed to their brand.

Worst: Evian May Not Be As High-End As You Think

One of the oldest water bottle brands is Evian. Their water was discovered in 1789 near the south shore of Lake Geneva and they are usually considered a high-end brand.

A view of Evian water bottles
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

When Slate hired a group of water bottle tasters to try Evian they described it as “salty, chalky, and soft.”

Mixed Reviews: Poland Spring Is A Favorite Among New Yorkers

The town of Poland, Maine is known for manufacturing the iconic Poland Spring water bottles. One of the places where you’ll see Poland Spring everywhere is New York City.

Bottles of Poland Spring water on a conveyer belt
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

While New Yorkers love it, it doesn’t have the greatest taste. The expert taste testers at Slate called Poland Spring “dirty, salty, sour, and milky.”

Mixed Reviews: Propel Fitness Water Was A Pioneer In Flavored Water

Propel Fitness Water was introduced in 2000 and stood apart for being one of the few flavored water options at the time. Ingredients found in Propel include water, citric acid, sodium, and vitamins C, B3, B5, and B6.

Two women handing out free Propel bottled fitness water
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Water sommelier Belinda Chang described Propel to have a salty and metallic smell with a similar taste to Gatorade. That could be because Propel is owned by Gatorade.

Mixed Reviews: Ice Mountain Is Popular In The Midwest

Most commonly found in the Midwest, Ice Mountain natural spring water is a rather unique water bottle contender.

ice mountain water bottles
Ice Mountain
Ice Mountain

Belinda Chang, a water sommelier, described Ice Mountain as one of the most neutral-tasting water brands she had ever tried. Although, she noted it had a slight “mineral and pipe-like” aftertaste.

Mixed Reviews: Icelandic Glacial Is Filtered Through Lava Rocks

One thing that sets Icelandic Glacial water apart is its state-of-the-art water bottles. They are made to resemble actual ice crystals.

icelandic glacial water bottles
Rachel Murray/Getty Images
Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Their water comes from an underground spring that was caused by a five-thousand-year-old volcanic eruption. Since the water is filtered through lava rock, it can come out tasting bitter. The best way to combat this is to drink it while it’s still really cold.

Mixed Reviews: SmartWater Comes With Added Electrolytes

It’s hard not to notice the giant bottles of Glacéau Smartwater compared to all the other water bottles at the grocery store.

Glacier Smartwater bottles
Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Smartwater is a vapor-distilled water brand with added electrolytes and was one of the first brands to add enhancements to its water. Expert tasters recommend opening the water and letting it breathe for a bit before drinking to get the best flavor.

Mixed Reviews: Core Hydration Has A Bottle Unlike No Other

The unusually shaped bottles of Core Hydration might get any shopper to pick it up and give it a try. The purified water is enhanced with electrolytes and minerals and comes with a naturally high pH balance.

core hydration water bottles
Craig Barritt/Getty Images
Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Those who’ve tried Core Hydration love the bottle’s shape, but describe the taste as almost like air. Core Hydration drinkers recommend having it cold, rather than at room temperature.

Mixed Reviews: Check Out The Artwork On LIFEWTR Bottles

One thing shoppers are bound to notice is the colorful artwork featured on LIFEWTR bottles. The company rotates the artists to “advance the sources of creation and creativity.”

A view of LIFEWTR bottles
Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

As for the flavor, LIFEWTR was given to blind taste tester Vincent Sanchez who seemed pretty neutral. “It’s not a bad choice of water, but rather than inspiring thirst with creativity, you’ll probably be inspired to choose something more if you can,” said Sanchez.

Mixed Reviews: Crystal Geyser Got Mixed Reviews

Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water is bottled directly at the source. According to their official website, they were the first American beverage company to start a PET recycling (rPET) plant where they recycle about a billion plastic bottles every year.

Les Claypool drinking a bottle of crystal geyser water
Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images
Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images

Grub Street performed a blind taste test with mixed reviews. One taster thought it had too much sodium, while another thought it had good body.

Best: Penta Was Created On Accident

Penta Water was created by Bill Holloway in Carlsbad, California after his son Mike came up with a formula for highly purified water to treat his fibromyalgia.

penta water bottles on display
Penta Water/Facebook
Penta Water/Facebook

Tasters at Mashed claim that the purified water has one of the cleanest flavors for a non-spring brand with just a hint of minerals.

Best: Boxed Water Is Better

Boxed Water is looking out for the environment with its earth-friendly paper cartons. These paper boxes are 74 percent made with trees, so they are better for the planet.

boxed water carton with the writing boxed water is better
Lindsey Nicholson/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Lindsey Nicholson/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Some taste testers stated that Boxed Water had no overpowering flavors, was just a little thin, and wasn’t filled with chemicals and minerals like other water brands.

Best: Why You’ll Feel Better After Buying Ethos Water

Starbucks customers will most likely recognize Ethos Water because it’s their official water bottle brand. Its mission is to help children get clean water, so Starbucks donates five cents of its water proceeds to “support humanitarian programs in coffee-growing communities…”

cases of ethos water bottles
Jerry Cleveland/Getty Images
Jerry Cleveland/Getty Images

Those who have tried Ethos water think it’s pretty refreshing and tastes just as good in the bottle or in a glass.

Best: Acqua Panna Is Smooth All The Way Down

Acqua Panna gets its name from the Villa Panna hills in Tuscany, Italy, and was first bottled in 1880. This high-end brand reportedly has water travel 14 years through limestone before it’s bottled up.

A display of Acqua Panna bottles
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Mashed says that Acqua Panna is one of the smoothest with just a little taste of minerals. It’s best served chilled because it can feel a little thick at room temperature.

Best: Zephyrhills Hits The Spot

Only certain areas in the U.S. get the chance to drink Zephyrhills. It’s a spring water bottle brand made in Crystal Springs and Zephyrhills, Florida.

a student drinking Zephyrhills water
Tim Boyles/Getty Images
Tim Boyles/Getty Images

Limestone aquifers purify the water, which gives it a “smooth, cool, and refreshing” taste. While Zephyrhills is one of the best-tasting spring waters, its bottle design is subpar.

Best: Why Essentia Is A Top Alkaline Water

According to their official website, “Essentia is supercharged ionized alkaline water.” This is done in a few simple steps where they purify the water, add electrolytes, and remove bitter acidic ions to get a higher pH balance.

essentia water bottles on display
Noam Galai/Getty Images
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Tasters at Business Insider tried Essentia and thought it had a “clean, smooth taste” and could rehydrate them between regular work days and intense workouts.

Best: Voss Is More Than Its Good Looks

Those who drink Voss probably can’t help themselves from feeling a bit fancy. The Norwegian artesian water bottle brand recently claimed that their entire manufacturing process is carbon neutral.

voss water bottles in ice
Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

A taste tester at Mashed wrote, “Voss also has the smooth, crisp, food-complementary tastelessness you want with dinner but just enough minerality to know you’re not drinking wet air.”

Best: How Fiji Water Got Its Name

Fiji Water gets its name because the water bottle brand originated, is bottled, and shipped from the country of Fiji. More specifically, Fiji Water comes from an artesian aquifer in Viti Levu.

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Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for FIJI Water
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for FIJI Water

Not only does the square-shaped bottle set it apart from other brands, but taste testers agree it’s refreshing and smooth.

Best: Rhode Island

Even though it is densely populated, Rhode Island is an environmentally conscious state and takes great pride in having clean drinking water for its residents.

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Jacek Dylag/Unsplash
Jacek Dylag/Unsplash

According to the State of Rhode Island Department of Health, “Rhode Island tap water undergoes rigorous and frequent testing to maintain the high standards required by the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

Worst: Arizona

Arizona has some of the worst quality drinking water in the country. So much so that it is recommended that people get some sort of filtration system, so they don’t wind up with long-term health issues from drinking the tap.

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Autri Taheri/Unsplash
Autri Taheri/Unsplash

Sadly, there are contaminants in Arizona’s water supply, such as chromium-6 particles, which can cause stomach cancer, skin burns, and pneumonia.

Best: South Dakota

South Dakota has a great track record of safe and good-tasting drinking water, having won the Drinking Water Excellence award for 16 years straight.

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Giorgio Trovato/Unsplash
Giorgio Trovato/Unsplash

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the state’s water is well within the guidelines for safe consumption of lead, copper, nitrates, arsenic, radium, and uranium.

Worst: Florida

Unfortunately, Florida’s landscape, and the fact that toxic blue-green algae and red tide microorganisms make their way into the water, doesn’t make for a great tap. Those aren’t the only things affecting the water supply, though.

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Bluewater Sweden/Unsplash
Bluewater Sweden/Unsplash

Due to the number of hurricanes Florida faces each year, fertilizer and other contaminants runoff into the local water supplies.

Best: Mountain Towns In California

California is made up of a lot of different communities. The ones with this best tap water are located close to the mountains. With freshwater coming straight from the source, it is some of the best water in the entire state.

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Sven Mieke/Unsplash
Sven Mieke/Unsplash

Also, it lacks the contaminates that the more rural and farming lands deal with.

Worst: New Jersey

While New Jersey locals might say differently, the state’s tap water isn’t the best or safest to drink in the country.

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Mrjn Photography/Unsplash
Mrjn Photography/Unsplash

It might be “legal” to drink from the tap, but a 2018 report by OrbMedia found that a lot of the pipes expelling the water were leaching lead into the supply.

Best: Connecticut

Connecticut is only one of two states that does not allow wastewater discharge in the water supply, meaning it is one of the safest states to drink directly from then tap.

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Bluewater Sweden/Unsplash
Bluewater Sweden/Unsplash

According to EWG’s Tap Water Database, there are numerous laws in place to ensure nothing leaches into the water, safeguarding public health.

Worst: Washington

In various places across the state of Washington, tap water is full of contaminants that are unsafe to consume. Some of these chemicals include arsenic, chloroform, chromium, uranium, and radon.

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Damir Spanic/Unsplash
Damir Spanic/Unsplash

According to a 2018 report conducted by the Environmental Working Group, “six cancerogenic contaminants above health guidelines were found in “Seattle Public Utilities” water.”

Best: Massachusetts

Massachusetts has some of the strictest water testing standards in the country, allowing the state to have some of the best and cleanest drinking water. The forests throughout the state are also well protected, allowing naturally clean water to filter down into the treatment plants.

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Engin Akyurt/Unsplash
Engin Akyurt/Unsplash

There is a reason the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority won “Best Tasting Water” in 2014!

Worst: Texas

While not all of Texas is affected by unclean drinking water, the rural parts of the state don’t have the best-tasting tap. Smaller towns in the state tend to have older lead pipes, resulting in the metal leaking into the water supply.

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Engin Akyurt/Unsplash
Engin Akyurt/Unsplash

There have also been tests showing traces of other heavy metals and radiation.

Best: Vermont

The water systems throughout Vermont are highly regulated. The Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division implement and regulate the state’s Water Supply Rule.

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Bit Cloud/Unsplash
Bit Cloud/Unsplash

This rule states: “The purpose of this rule is to protect the public health by assuring safe, affordable drinking water from Public and Non-Public Water systems, and to implement and enforce the provisions of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and Vermont statutes.”

Worst: New Mexico

Sadly, the water quality in desert lands of New Mexico is not great, especially in some of the larger cities.

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According to a 2021 report from the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Company, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “While [Albuquerque’s] drinking water meets USEPA’s standard for arsenic, it does contain low levels of arsenic. USEPA’s standard balances the current understanding of arsenic’s possible health effects against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water.”

Best: Minnesota

Protected by numerous clean water acts allows Minnesota to have some of the best quality tap water in the country. According to the Minneapolis Health Department, over 500 tests are done daily to ensure water quality is safe and tasty for people to consume.

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Daniel Hooper/Unsplash
Daniel Hooper/Unsplash

The department also stresses how the state’s water is economical since most people prefer to drink the tap instead of purchasing plastic water bottles.

Worst: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s history of coal mining does not help its present-day water quality. Since coal mining was a huge industry in the state, much of the environment has become polluted, including the rivers and lakes.

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LuAnn Hunt/Unsplash
LuAnn Hunt/Unsplash

On top of that, multiple abandoned oil and gas facilities leak chemicals into the groundwater. It is not ideal for drinking.

Best: Kansas

With the water standards and regulations set down by the Kansas Health Department, the state has some of the best drinking water in the country.

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Andres Siimon/Unsplash
Andres Siimon/Unsplash

According to a 2020 report conducted by KC Water, “KC Water produced an average of 90 million gallons of drinking water per day, enough water to fill approximately 136 Olympic-sized swimming pools each day.” Emporia, Kansas, even won the Best Tap Water award.

Worst: Rural California

Some of the worst tap water in the country is found in rural California. While the mountain water is nice and fresh, rural California finds its water laced with harsh chemicals used by farmers.

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Universal Eye/Unsplash
Universal Eye/Unsplash

These chemicals leach into the groundwater, and the result is bad-tasting tap water that isn’t necessarily great to drink.

Best: New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has very strict guidelines when it comes to testing the state’s clean water supply.

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Quokkabottles/Unsplash
Quokkabottles/Unsplash

In fact, New Hampshire is one of the few states in the country that requires testing for PFAS, a toxic chemical that can have fatal consequences if ingested.

Worst: Ohio

Sadly, Ohio has some of the worst quality drinking water in the country. Due to old pipes, lead makes its way into several water supplies throughout the state. And no one should drink water with high levels of lead.

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Alexandre Lacocq/Unsplash
Alexandre Lacocq/Unsplash

According to a report done in 2015, “Ohio ranks as one of the worst states for [untested or contaminated systems] offenses.”

Best: Oregon

According to residents in Oregon, the tap water throughout the state are incredible, particularly the mountain towns such as Bend. There, fresh mountain water is brought straight down to cleaning facilities and dispersed into households.

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Kate Joie/Unsplash
Kate Joie/Unsplash

This is one place where plastic water bottles and BRITAs are in very short supply!

Worst: Georgia

The Environmental Protection Agency and CDC agree that Georgia has one of the worst public water supplies in the country. With polluted rivers, streams, and wells, numerous metals, chemicals, and other contaminants leach into the water.

According to the two agencies, “contaminants such as microplastics are not regulated, and others such as lead and disinfection by-products can often be found locally in the household.”