Water is the only beverage that is critical to a person’s diet. It provides hydration and also allows our systems to function properly. Most doctors will recommend that we drink at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of water every single day, though some say that we should drink at least half of our body weight in ounces of water. Soda, alcohol, and other beverages simply don’t cut it.
While there are dozens of brands of bottled water on the market, not all of them are that great. Some would say that tap water is the best because it’s cheap. However, it’s not always convenient to grab tap water – and it’s not always safe, either. This leads us to look at the worst bottled water brands. After all, we can stay hydrated without spending our money on water that doesn’t taste good.
While the worst bottled water may be a matter of opinion for most, there is some science behind what makes water good and bad. We take a look at the various reviews on water from Consumer Reviews as well as what the water company’s websites say about their water.
We’ve established the worst bottled water brands based on these factors:
- Taste: What do most people say the water tastes like?
- Reviews: We read what other people have to say about the water to determine some of the worst bottled water to drink.
- Additives: We look at what’s being placed into the water, which is often shared on the company websites.
- Nutritional value: Most water should be 0 calories, however, Healthline offers up different types of water and how their nutritional value can vary.
- Cost: Some water can be ridiculously overpriced, which is why it ends up on this list when it’s too expensive.
Evian is considered a premium water company because of the marketing that the company has done for years. It’s usually found along the top shelf of water coolers. It’s also the brand that is most commonly found in the mini bars of luxury hotels. It’s supposedly from the French Alps, so that means that it’s totally acceptable to pay $5 or more for it, right? We’re not so convinced.
They say they get their unique flavor from the French snow. If you’ve ever ended up with a mouth full of snow, you can help to account for the odd flavor – it’s not exactly the best. The company says it’s the minerals, but there’s no telling if that’s what you actually want when you want a refreshing sip of water. If you can get past the aftertaste and the sticker price of Evian, it’s not that bad. It’s not the worst bottled water, but it’s certainly not the best, either.
21. Acqua Panna
Acqua Panna is an Italian water company, so right there should tell you that the price is going to be higher. After all, Italy is synonymous with quality, and you have to pay for it to be shipped.
It’s offered in a glass bottle, so that helps to make the environmentalists a little happier. It also offers a cleaner taste. Unfortunately, glass is more expensive than plastic, so that’s another reason that you’ll end up paying more.
As for the taste, it can be a bit flat due to the minerality. Additionally, if you happen to drink it at room temperature, it can feel a little thicker than your average bottled water.
20. Icelandic Glacial Water
While alkaline is supposed to be good for the body, Icelandic offers a bitter taste that leaves much to be desired. When ice-cold, Icelandic Glacial Water seems to nullify the bitterness. However, anything less than near-frozen water from this bottle and the quality just isn’t the same.
The company’s website claims that it’s the “purest tasting water on Earth,” but that’s just their slogan. Most people would agree that it’s not quite the flavor that they want when hot and needing to guzzle water.
Despite claims, Arrowhead gets its bottled water product from the San Bernardino National Forest. It is agreed by many consumers who’ve tasted the water that they find it to be unimpressive. According to the Environmental Working Group that tested the water, it was given a Grade C store. This is not considered a good score.
18. Glaceau Smart Water
From Coca-Cola is Glaceau Smart Water, which is anything but smart. Despite celebrities promoting the brand, consumers have found it to be among the worst bottled water products they’ve ever tasted. They blame this on the electrolytes, which were apparently not added in a smart enough manner that would make this a better-quality product. According to the Environmental Working Group, the grade of C is the best this water brand gets.
Here’s one of the reasons why Smart Water tastes so gross. It’s got a high pH level with antioxidants added in. Unless you’re a pro athlete who actually needs this stuff, it’s best to choose a different brand of water.
17. Poland Springs
Nestle makes the most amount of bottled water products in the world. As a corporation, it owns Poland Springs, as well as a multitude of other companies that are in the practice of sourcing water to be bottled and sold for consumer consumption.
Already facing criticism for questionable business practices by environmentalists and special interest groups, Nestle’s Poland Springs brand is among many connected to the company that has been passing the state of Maine’s groundwater as natural spring water. In truth, this makes bottled water products such as Poland Springs no better than drinking regular tap water for the most part.
Whatever process Penta claims to put their bottled water products through has the company’s name consistently dragged through the mud as scores of lawsuits have been filed against them. Despite Penta’s claims they use the least number of metals and salts in the water, the process for the consumer market, enough reason has been put into motion to suggest this isn’t the case at all.
According to their website, Penta says that they have “ultra pure” bottled water that doesn’t contain pollution, impurities, or additives. That’s likely not really the case – or they need to find a new source than the natural aquifer they currently use. Until Penta can clear the matter up and prove the water they process is as clean and pure as suggested, they will continue to find its name in the muddy waters of “do not buy” lists.
15. Eternal Water
First off, Eternal Water’s claim that the water it resources for bottling comes from an ancient rock in a manner where it’s simply collected and bottled at the source. This is simply not true. The company pumps the water out and into a tanker truck, which then is brought to a bottling facility. It’s then chlorinated for transport and de-chlorinated at the facility before going into a bottle to be shelved and sold. This proves the water is not as naturally produced as the company claims.
It doesn’t hydrate us well, and it’s actually not offering nearly any antioxidants, which means that it’s one of the worst bottled water options out there. To make matters worse, it’s not even cheap.
14. Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water
Like so many bottled water brands, Crystal Geyser claims its water is bottled at the source. Yet, like so many other bottling companies who stake this claim, this is not the case.
There is still a transportation process, along with a treatment process, that’s involved. It’s not a favorite brand among consumers of bottled water, as many compare it to be no better than regular tap water. As far as grade levels go, the Environmental Working Group gave Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water an F.
13. Just Water
Just Water has some great marketers, we’ll give them that. According to the website, they are 100% pure spring water. And they give the eco-friendly people something to cheer about because the bottles are made from plant-based products instead of plastic.
Some critics think it’s not just water but something else. Humor among some of the consumers who’ve shared stories about their experience of Just Water suggests maybe the packaging has somehow messed with what could have been a quality product at the start but is no longer the case now.
12. Sweet Springs Valley Water Company
In an FDA report report issued in March 2017, Sweet Springs Valley Water Company from West Virginia was discovered to have dangerous levels of E. coli found in their bottled water products.
Despite what started out as suspicion, the water bottle brand did not pull its product line from the shelves until after it was confirmed the bacteria content found in its product was too dangerous to be sold. There have been no follow-up tests conducted since then to determine whether or not this bottled water brand truly has cleaned its act up or not.
Until this takes place, any bottled water brand coming from Sweet Springs Valley Water Company should be regarded with caution. The fact this company chose not to automatically pull their product line as a safety measure to ensure there were no serious illnesses or fatalities E. coli has been known to victimize does not paint a good picture for them. However, the fault doesn’t entirely rest on their shoulders either.
When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was aware of the situation and a rather watery solution was suggested, nothing was done about the matter, and the public was kept in the dark, at least according to the sources reported by Consumer Reports.
11. Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water
Nestle’s Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water was established by the Environmental Working Group to have a less than satisfactory D rating for its water quality. It is one of many bottling brands owned by the Nestle corporation that is constantly under scrutiny for a mix of questionable business practices, as well as the genuine quality of the water and the true location of its resources.
The Zephyrhills Water website talks about Florida, which is where the company’s roots are. This allows people to think about oceans and sunshine when drinking the water, but it’s all a marketing ploy. At least it’s one of the more affordable bottles of water at your local grocery store.
10. Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water
Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water is one of many bottling brands owned by Nestle. Like the rest of the products within this niche market Nestle operates, there is a considerable amount of doubt about where the water really comes from, how it’s processed, and at what expense is this to the municipalities it’s drawn from.
Over a quarter of the bottled water products Nestle sells for profit have been confirmed to be sourced directly out of tap water.
9. Starkey Spring Water
According to Consumer Reports, after testing forty-five different brands of bottled water, the vote for the worst product recognized Starkey Spring Water for this honor. It has three times the amount of arsenic found within the bottled product compared to the rest tested.
This is alarmingly high for consumption of what is a well-established toxic chemical. Starkey Spring Water has been sold by Whole Foods for years. For Starkey, the discovery of bottling and selling what has often been deemed unsafe drinking water has been on more than one occasion.
There’s another thing to know about this water. It’s supposedly from the Idaho mountains and is lightly mineralized. However, we don’t know what minerals are in it – except for arsenic.
8. Ozark Natural Spring Water
Supposedly sourced out of a few springs from Texas, what’s supposed to be natural water no longer seems to be the case when there is a list of ingredients featured on the label. A practice many bottling companies do with their bottled water products in an attempt to make them taste better. Usually, it’s best to leave the product alone. Pure water isn’t supposed to have some special taste that separates it from the rest. It’s supposed to be pure, crisp, and natural.
7. Life WTR
If Life WTR spent as much time focusing on the quality of water as they do on the fancy labels, odds are they’d have a better product. The water tastes too metallic, which takes away the art of what good, quality bottled water is supposed to be.
The company website also says that they have a seven-step enhanced filtration process. That may be why the water tastes the way it does. They may want to go back to the drawing board on this one.
Pepsi Co. is one of the most popular brand names when it comes to soft drinks, as the company has a strong fan following with this particular product. However, when it comes to Aquafina, the bottled water coming from this brand, the overall opinion of it is not so favorable.
Among most consumer-related polls, Aquafina is consistently ranked as the worst-tasting of the brands. This is due to the odd smell and taste that emits from each bottle. The pH value of this product is six and comes from the resources of municipalities it has access to.
For years, Aquafina has continued to be one of the least favorite bottled water options among consumers, and yet there seems to be no genuine effort to pull its name out of the mud to fix this. They even admit Aquafina comes from tap water and believe it’s okay to sell it as something better than that.
While Coca-Cola may seem to excel at making highly favored soft drinks, this is not the case when it comes to its brand of bottled water. The pH level is at 4.5, plus it has an odd bitter taste that’s often described as too chemical. Unlike quality mineral water products, the minerals involved with Dasani are made in a lab, which disqualifies this bottled water from being considered a natural product, which is what water is supposed to be.
Many consumers, when they can, will purposely avoid purchasing Dasani as they not only have trust issues with it, but previous users have bluntly explained they hate the taste.
If you’re not convinced, pour a bottle into a glass and watch as the various minerals float around until they settle at the bottom.
4. Nestle Pure Life
Despite being the largest bottled water corporation in the world, it is not, by any means, a trustworthy brand. Consumers who don’t know any better and take the words of advertisers and lobbyists at face value may not realize that over a quarter amount of water bottled and sold by Nestle comes straight from the water used by local municipalities.
There is no treatment done to this water, which makes it no better than tap water. Furthermore, Nestle constantly finds its name in hot water against environmentalists, conspiracy theorists, and political activists who not only question the quality of water Nestle sells to the public but their ethical conduct as well.
On several occasions, Nestle has found itself in hot water when both rumor and confirmation have it they’ve accessed water sources with either expired licensing agreements or none that were drawn up at all. Talking Trash is quick to point out that the plastic footprint of the company is over 1.7 million tons a year. It’s one of the many reasons why this is the worst bottled water you could spend your money on.
3. Deer Park Natural Spring Water
One of Nestle’s bottled water products, Deer Park Natural Spring Water, doesn’t even get a passable grade with the Environmental Working Group, as this brand gets a D at best. Furthermore, Nestle’s name as a bottling company constantly finds itself on the receiving end of concerned environmentalists and taxpayers who’ve been questioning their integrity for many years now.
Consumers who’ve tasted the water from this brand are often criticized for its bad taste, which some believe comes from the cheap, potentially toxic quality of the plastic the product has been placed into.
2. Propel Fitness Water
Bottled water should be a simple enough product with minimal ingredient input. It is water, so aside from something that makes the water as pure as possible, there shouldn’t be anything put into it that is going to disqualify it as an actual bottled water product.
Apparently, Propel Fitness Water fails to understand this concept as there is a long list of ingredients poured into this brand that has far more in common with a cheap soda product. Loaded with artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and sodium, the only accurate description of the label is the propel part, as it’s been propelled to be anything but fitness water.
There’s nothing fit about it, nor is the product clean enough to pass as quality drinking water. Even the Propel website promotes it as fitness water as if to say that it’s different from regular water. It should be classified more as a juice or a flavored beverage, especially since it’s currently available in nine different flavors.
1. Vitamin Water
Despite its increase in popularity, this is one bottled product that isn’t exactly what a promoted water product is supposed to be. First off, the Coca-Cola Company owns this brand, and this alone should raise alarm bells. This is a company that excels in selling artificially flavored beverages, whether it be in juice form or soda.
The marketing genius behind Vitamin Water may work on consumers who don’t give much thought to what a quality bottled water product should be like, but for the more discerning, this brand is an insult at best.
Enriched with vitamins and minerals, the claim of natural colors and flavors makes this bottled water product have far more in common with Gatorade than it does with water. Gatorade is made from water, too, and is sold as Gatorade. Vitamin Water, which is loaded with fructose, is one of the unhealthiest self-proclaimed water beverages there is on the market. If it’s flavored, it’s not really water, no matter what the marketing tells you.
In addition to fructose, which has already been linked to a number of serious health issues, Vitamin Water also has the trademarked “Zero” product, which is also linked to causing negative effects on the body. In truth, Vitamin Water isn’t really qualified to be called a bottled water product as it’s anything but this.
The Bottling Water Game
It’s important to access good quality water at all times. Many bottling companies have jumped on the need to provide water in conveniently sized and shaped bottles of water. They provide filtration, and some will add other “minerals” to enhance the taste and the health benefits.
Of course, it’s often about the money. Many companies know that people will spend good money on water that is considered better than tap water, including Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Nestle. With more bottled water on the market than ever, it becomes that much more important to know about the worst bottled water to drink.
With the competitive market of bottled water, some companies do better than others. The marketing of the water is what we really need to focus on to determine who is keeping their promises and who is just using marketing gimmicks to sell more water.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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