Best Bottled Water to Drink and to Hold

What is the best bottled water? I tasted 13 different bottled water brands to find out. And before you ask, yes, there are differences and some waters really are better than others. So, if your Brita filter just isn’t cutting it, I’m here to tell you all about the six best tasting bottled water brands to buy. 

Here’s what I was looking for in the best bottled water: 

1. It should be refreshing. That might seem like a no-brainer, but when it comes to a bottle of water I can earnestly recommend, I wanted something that really made me feel instantly refreshed and replenished.

 2. It shouldn’t taste bad. I didn’t want any bitter or off aftertaste. It could taste like minerals. It could taste like nothing. It definitely could not taste bad, though. 

3. It should be easy to drink. Packaging is a big player in the bottled water world. If a bottle was unpleasant to hold or impossible to drink out of, it did not make this list. (I’m looking at you, Penta, with your dribble top.)

After an extremely hydrating taste test that left me feeling dang good (unlike this one), I can finally reveal the six best bottled water brands. 


Acqua Panna

Best Chef-y

Acqua Panna

Here’s an instance of marketing really working. Drinking this Italian water right out of a bottle makes me feel like I’m a chef on the line at a Michelin-starred restaurant. It feels cool and chic to hold. Luckily, it tastes good, too. It’s a little sweet at first with a touch of minerally tang at the end but it’s not unpleasant. Now, excuse me, I have to go complain about my mise en place and 86 some lamb ribs.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Arrowhead

Best to Buy in Bulk

Arrowhead

Sourced from the Rockies, Arrowhead water is clean, crisp, and a touch savory on the finish. It has that extremely mild minerality that harkens back to its mountainous roots. And it’s pretty darn cheap, too. You can get 24 bottles for about six bucks. It’s definitely the best bottled water to buy by the case.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Icelandic Glacial

Best Alkaline

Icelandic Glacial

Let’s start with the packaging: It’s fun. The neck of the bottle is faceted to make it look like the top of an iceberg. So fun. And there’s an icy image that shines through when you look into the bottle. Very fun. It’s not just water, it would pass as entertainment a hundred years ago. Today, though, it’s mostly about the water—which is some of the best tasting bottled water, especially if you like alkaline water (it has a pH of 8.4). It’s crisp and slatey. It goes down easy, but that minerality does linger on your tongue for a bit.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Eternal bottled water

Best Bottle

Eternal

There is a lot going on with this bottle. It’s dramatically curved—almost like it was wearing a corset. Like it’s some sort of high fashion water bottle. It’s also textured with swirling designs. (Am I attracted to this bottle?) And it is a pleasure to hold. (I am.) The naturally alkaline spring water inside the sexy bottle is soft and light with a very, very, very faint touch of minerality. It’s one of the best bottled waters to drink—but it’s the best bottled water to hold.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Smart Water

Best Soft

Smart Water

This is the best bottled water to drink if you’ve ever wanted to drink a fluffy white cloud. It’s so light and soft with zero aftertaste. It’s a gentle caress of refreshment. And the tall, slim bottles are pretty cute. (They’re no Eternal, of course.)

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

Essentia bottled water

Best of the Best

Essentia

If drinking Smart Water is like drinking a cloud, then drinking Essentia is like drinking a crystal clear blue sky. It’s so light and crisp—it leaves your mouth feeling cleaner than before you took a sip. And it tastes like nothing—just pure, liquid hydration. The logo looks like something a snow-based Bond villain would co-opt. And I think that’s cool. This is the best bottled water, take it from someone who spent over an hour tasting and re-tasting 13 bottled water brands. It’s an hour I’ll never get back, so please believe me. 

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

10/10

Sporks


About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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  • check out Tropical Waters tropical-water.com

    Reply
  • smartwater is my favorite. I remember discovering it in college after only ever really having tap or Poland Springs. Maybe it was the cute and punny fish that used to reside on the inside or maybe the sippy lid plays a role. Whatever the reason, it’s still a favorite.

    But i miss the fish and wish they would bring it back

    Reply
  • Everyone seems to be rating water lately! Im someone who literally cannot taste the difference even though I drink a LOT of it. Though I do prefer smart water and the Essentia. My biggest problem with the Essentia though is that most bottles I get.. are EXTREMELY hard to open/take the top off of. Because of that I usually get smart water. My dad however loves the Trader Joe’s brand of water (I believe it’s their brand. He gets it there by the case at least) and because he buys it by the case and they’re the BIG ones not the regular sized ones.. I usually drink those. They are good but again, I really can’t tell the difference lol. And I swear people who do the blind taste test and get them all right are CHAAAAHEATING!

    Reply