Everybody needs water. It’s a universal necessity, and since we can’t always have a water source nearby, there are some occasions when bottled water may be the best or only option. Thankfully, many brands have adapted to become as eco-friendly as possible.
There are some crazy people out there who think all water tastes the same. To those people, I would like to say — you are wrong. While it may be subjective, there are most definitely rankings in the world of bottled water. For instance, despite the elite reputation of Fiji, I think it tastes like murky sink water while the humble Poland Spring remains dependable and delicious.
Aside from taste, status and personality are also major considerations in which variety of bottled water you choose. Those who can’t tell the difference in flavor need something else to go on in choosing which brand of bottled water they seek out to keep them hydrated. Therefore, below I have summed up the best bottled waters based on my own associations that influence this very important buying decision.
You may disagree with my personal preference, but you can’t deny that these are some of the best bottled waters available. Hopefully, these descriptions will help you decide which one is right for you.
1. Poland Spring
This is the one bottled water that needs no introduction. Everyone has had their fair share of experiences with Poland Spring. It’s the most tasteless of any water, because I believe it determined what we now process as the taste of water. For me, it has a nostalgic quality. It reminds me of the times before you had much of a choice in the bottled water category; of that crunching sound as boys in middle school twisted the bottles to pop off the caps in our direction. It will always and forever be the OG bottled water, and it never disappoints.
2. Aquafina Pure Water
THE OG #2
While Aquafina has also been around for as long as I can remember, it brings to mind very different bottled water experiences than Poland Spring. There are really only three places you drink Aquafina: amusement parks, sporting events and wherever you can find a vending machine. You’re either getting it without a cap or watching as it’s released from a metal claw and sticking your arm in to grab it. The taste is similar to Poland Spring, AKA pretty standard water, but just slightly less satisfying for some reason.
3. evian Natural Spring Water
THE COOL KID
You can’t think of evian without thinking about Meredith Blake in that iconic scene from The Parent Trap when she’s eye to eye with a lizard on top of her bottle. Meredith has come to represent the stereotypical evian drinker— very well put together, maybe a little spoiled, definitely fancy. It’s one of the cool kids in the bottled water universe, but a more classy, old-school cool kid. What’s more cool kid than not capitalizing the first letter of your name? The taste doesn’t really do it for me, so I can’t help but think this choice is more about appearances. That, or you just have to be from the West Coast to appreciate it.
4. Fiji Natural Artesian Water
THE WORLD TRAVELER
Fiji is another brand with very distinct associations. It’s either in mini bottles in a nice hotel room, or it’s in the hands of an effortlessly beautiful woman on an airplane traveling to a tropical destination. I can only assume that the aesthetics are what land Fiji such elite status and a place on top of so many people’s lists of the best bottled waters, because it would never be my first choice based solely on taste. To each their own.
5. Essentia Bottled Water
Essentia claims to be ionized and infused with electrolytes so that it’s always at a pH of 9.5 or higher, but we would never really know the difference because it tastes like plain old bottled water. That is, however, an impressive feat considering that not all of the bottled waters on this list achieve that refreshing Poland Spring-esq nothingness. If Essentia were a person, she’d probably be a girl dressed in full Lululemon on her way into spin class, in the best way. We don’t know why, but it just makes us feel fitter to have one of these bottles in hand. It’s also delicious and apparently hydrates you more efficiently than regular water.
THE MIDDLE MAN
SmartWater always seems to be somewhere in the middle. It’s sort of a safe, neutral option. Everyone likes it but it’s nobody’s favorite. It may not feel great to be second best, but it’s better than being last. In an attempt to keep up with the trends and separate itself from the rest of the pack, SmartWater has come out with several different varieties — pH balanced, alkaline, antioxidant and flavor-infused. For some reason, it just can’t find its way to the top. I have no negative things to say about SmartWater and I will drink it happily, I just can’t explain why it’s never the one that draws me in.
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7. Just Water
Boxed water started to rise in popularity as an alternative to plastic water bottles, but it hasn’t really managed to overtake the other bottled options. JUST Water cartons are sustainably sourced and made from plant-based paper with wide mouths that are easy to refill, which is all great. It also means that it can sometimes taste like soggy cardboard and never feels quite cold enough. I fully support transitioning to this 100 percent recyclable option and the taste is not bad at all, but I can’t deny that it doesn’t yet live up to the rest of the list.
8. Topo Chico
I had never heard of Topo Chico until this year and suddenly it was everywhere. I quickly learned that it has a bit of a cult following, and for good reason. It’s sparkling mineral water, to be clear, and the glass bottles really elevate the drinking experience. It comes from Mexico, but for some reason, I associate Topo Chico with a kind of hip, earthy young person who lives in Colorado and loves outdoor activities. It also has a bit of a Brooklyn vibe. You can’t find it just anywhere, which is probably part of what contributes to the allure. People say it has the perfect amount of carbonation, so if that intrigues you, you should probably order some online.