10 Best Bottled Water Brands to Drink, Ranked

Despite all of the push to get away from plastic, bottled water and into a more sustainable water bottle system, I am someone who constantly forgets.  Either I leave it in my car, my house, don’t clean enough, or any other number of excuses, but the end result is the same – I end up buying and drinking bottled water. And, let me tell you, not all bottles of water are made the same (or even close).  Some people might try to tell you differently – that it’s all the same, blah blah blah, well they are wrong.  

If you’ve ever tried Arrowhead water and then tried Fuji, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Those two are not even in the same league!  

So, here it is, we have created a power ranking of the best bottled water brands to drink. Also, we should note, we’ve limited it to the common brands you can find in a convenience store (or in one case at your local Starbucks) – because – that is likely most often where you’re going to be thirstin for some bottled H2O.

#10. Arrowhead

No.  Just, no.  Even if you’re parched, dying of thirst, walking in the desert, it’s likely that you might take a moment to debate a bottle of Arrowhead if that is what you’re offered.  The bottled water tastes like the questionable water you swam in as a kid.  If you need even more proof Arrowhead is literally the worst, watch “Bottled Life” about Nestle and their business (ok so they also produce a lot of other brands, but still).  

#9 & #8. Dasani/Aquafina 

These two are tied.  Often these two brands might be your only choices at a gas station, especially one located in the middle of nowhere on a road trip.  You sort of look at both and squint, not sure which garden-hose taste you want to experience today.  They are not the absolute worst, but they are very close to it.  Find these half drunk bottles at your local 5K race.

#7. Ice Mountain

Say what you want, Ice Mountain is better than any other “standard” bottle of water out there. If you’re searching for the best bottled water to drink, Ice Mountain has a crisper taste, somehow it seems colder, and you drink it faster.  It also has midwestern roots so you can feel good about drinking it.  Although like a good midwesterner, this bottle is also known for being passive-aggressive.  While it tastes excellent ice cold, let it sit at room temperature for too long and you’ll wonder if it’s actually a bottle of Dasani.

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#6. Ethos

Now we move into the section called “fancier” bottles of water.  Or in this case, “fancier” bottles of tap water.  Ethos is not bad, but it’s not great.  However, when you walk into Starbucks on Saturday morning hungover from the night before, Ethos is there to greet you.  It looks extra refreshing to your tired eyes as you think – I am here for caffeine to function BUT this water looks tasty.  And instead of just asking for a free iced cup of water, you buy an Ethos.  It’s fine, you’re dehydrated and hungover so you won’t realize it’s just okay anyway.  

#5. Life WTR

They have pretty colored bottles which is why we placed them above Ethos.  Other than that, they probably are about the same.  They also don’t claim to be helping others, like Ethos does (but do they really?).  However, you do get to look at fun art while you drink it so it spices up your bottled water experience.  Taste wise?  Maybe a slight improvement.  A little metallicy, sure, but we won’t complain too much…because we’re entranced by the fun design!

#4. Evian

Whenever I think of this brand of bottled water, I think of Superstar and this scene where Mary Katherine Gallagher (played by Molly Shannon) tells Evian to, quote, “go drink a bottle of yourself.”  Epic fight scene, mostly epic bottle of water.  If you are looking for the best tasting bottle of water, Evian is refreshing and you will feel fancier drinking it. Like, look at me, I can afford expensive water! Pinkies up.   

#3. SmartWater

Iconic, and one of the first to really “change the game” in the bottled water industry.  They’ve also created about 100 versions of SmartWater now: Smartwater+, Smartwater antioxidant, Smartwater cucumber lime, Smartwater alkaline 9+ph, who ever thought there could be so many versions of Smartwater!?  Does anyone even know what the phd balanced versus alkaline 9+pH means? No, but, it makes us feel like we’re becoming extra hydrated! 

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#2. Essentia

Say what you will, Essentia is one of the best.  Is it the “Best tasting water to ever walk the earth” like a quote on their website claims? No, that seems a little over the top.  But is it pretty great? Yes.  It comes in six different sizes too so you can choose your level of water intake.  

#1. Fiji 

No questions asked, Fiji is the best bottled water to drink or buy. Convenience stores, airports, they have Fiji waiting for you.  And what’s better than feeling exotic while you’re drinking H2O? Nothing, nothing is better.  It’s like an escape in a bottle.  Just close your eyes and imagine a tropical island while you drink it, the water pouring from a natural waterfall, and instantly you’ll know this is the best water you’ve ever tasted. 

Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

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