Ranked: The best bottled water


Parker Comensky

The bottled water pyramid

As avid water drinkers, we consider ourselves to be bottled water connoisseurs. You may be curious what qualifications we have to rank water. To that we say, unlike others, we have very refined palates that can dissect the various flavor notes that differentiate drinkable water and genuinely thirst quenching water. So, we set out to try 10 of the most popular bottled water brands to help you decide which one is the best investment for both your short term thirst and long term loyalty.  

   However, we would be remiss not to mention the negative environmental impacts of drinking bottled water. Always opt for a reusable water bottle when available and remember to recycle plastic water bottles after use.

   With that being said, we chose ten different water brands, all at different price points and added mineral statuses to determine which had the most refreshing flavor. 

   In first place, Voss. As people who love to judge a book by its cover, Voss’s sleek glass bottle makes it immediately far superior to any other bottled water brand. As we dug deeper into what goes into each bottle of Voss water, we uncovered that Voss is sourced from Southern Norway and is naturally filtered and protected from pollutants. Unlike other brands, Voss remains generally unprocessed, which allows it to maintain a natural and clean taste. For these reasons, Voss is number one in our hearts. 

   Second goes to Fiji. We like to take tropical islands with us wherever we go, which does not exclude plastic water bottles. Fiji is natural artesian water and sourced from an aquifer that has layers of volcanic rock, which creates a pressurized chamber that is untouched by human activity. Due to coming from a remote aquifer, Fiji water has a unique mineral profile, it contains silica, magnesium, calcium, and electrolytes. Fiji is a close second to Voss and always quenches our thirst. 

   Third, Evian. Unlike many other water brands, Evian goes through a 15-year journey through the French Alps to bottles to be sold in stores across the world. Evian water begins as snow and rain and through travel around glacial rocks, it acquires electrolytes and minerals. Evian gets its name from the town Évian-les-Bains, which is the location of the first processing facility the water goes to after filtration in the French Alps. When drinking Evian water, we immediately feel fancy and can genuinely taste the journey the water went on. Which is why Evian gets third place for us. 

   In fourth place, Ice Mountain. Ice Mountain has a special place in our hearts because it is locally manufactured here in Michigan and it is only sold in the midwest. It is 100% natural spring water, which you can taste when you can drink the water. This is why Ice Mountain ranks fourth on our list. 

   Essentia comes in fifth. The reason why essentia is ranked fifth on our list is because it is supercharged ionized alkaline water. Alkaline means that it has a greater PH of 7. This means it has a smooth and clean taste, which results in hydration. This company uses the three step process. First purification. Reverse osmosis removes unwanted particles. Next is electrolyte infusion, which improves the taste. The last step is ionization. This removes bitter tasting acidic ions, which create a high alkaline water. While Essentia’s process is impressive, we cannot help but notice a lingering bitter taste in Essentia water, which leaves it somewhat less hydrating than other water competitors. 

   Sixth goes to Nestle. Nestle utilizes a 12 step water purification process to create what they believe to be the best water ever. However, its taste is nothing special and lacks the refreshing aspect that other water brands have. 

   Aquafina gets seventh place. Through extensive research, we uncovered that Aquafina is actually tap water that has been purified further. They coined the process HydRO-7 that includes reverse osmosis and other purification methods. Aquafina, however, lacks a refreshing and purified taste. We believe that there are better bottled waters out there at a lower price point. 

   Eighth, Smartwater. Smartwater’s production process includes replicating the hydrologic cycle, so water tastes like it came directly from nature. The first step is vapor distillation, next regrouping the water molecules, then using heat to vaporize the water, and finally condensing the vapor into a purified state. However, this water unfortunately has a mineral taste, which makes it a less favorable water. 

   In ninth place, Kirkland. Kirkland is a private label brand that Costco bought to put in their stores. They add minerals for added taste, which we don’t think is needed because the taste isn’t great. Kirkland water also uses advanced filtration, ozone, and reverse osmosis technology, but we do not think it is working. Save your tastebuds and money and buy a different brand. 

   And in tenth place, Dasani. Frankly, we would rather not drink water than drink Dasani. The taste and bottle shape leaves us thirstier than we were before drinking. We uncovered that Dasani starts by acquiring water from a local supply, then filtering using reverse osmosis, and finally adding in their special mineral blend. Overall, Dasani is not a good option whatsoever.