Bottled water ranked from nice to absolutely disgusting


Matthew Kelly

Bottled waters aren’t created equal. We took it upon ourselves to rank them definitively.

Bottled water is not usually the sort of product that triggers “what the f***” reactions, and yet here we are. Your public servants at The Sunflower have painstakingly tasted 16 different bottled waters to find the very best and worst. The best is pretty tasty — refreshing with just a hint of pleasant flavor. The worst, however — well, we’re surprised anyone would finish the bottle. Now, from best to most horrible: bottled water.

  1. Dasani

Price Per Liter: $1.00

Presentation: Good

Taste Rating: 10

Dasani may be barely filtered, glorified tap water, but it’s proof that a little goes a long way. Dasani has one of the fullest tastes of the waters we tried, with a nice, slight fruity tinge rounding it out. It’s also one of the cheapest we tasted, and its bottle is clean, appealing and modern. Overall, it’s a stellar bottled water. Happy drinking!

  1. Kroger Purified Drinking Water

Price Per Liter: $1.00

Presentation: What do you expect

Taste Rating: 8.5

Yes, Kroger is a beast in the water game. The water is very neutral and clean with the barest hint of a plastic bottle taste, and it barely costs anything. I don’t exactly know how a company can mass produce better water than more expensive, supposedly fancier brands, but they’re doing it. Krogerheads unite.

  1. Evian

Price Per Liter: $1.50

Presentation: Baby bottle

Taste Rating: 9

Evian is defined on Urban Dictionary as “The water that rich folk drink.” Well, at least they have a good reason to drink it — it’s clean with a tiny bit of minty delight. This is really refreshing water, and it’s not even close to as expensive as far inferior options down this list. However, the bottle itself is kind of reminiscent of a baby bottle with its oblong rounded design and pink stripe. Substance over style here still results in a good drinking choice.


Price Per Liter: $1.50

Presentation: Literally art

Taste Rating: 8

LIFE WTR bottles are basically pieces of art, and the water on the inside is almost as good. Out of all the waters we tasted, this is the closest to an absolute neutral. There are a variety of awesome bottle designs, and each bottle feels solid and stands up nicely to avoid accidental spills. It’s just a really nice bottle with some really nice water inside. Definitely worth the bump in price.

  1. Essentia

Price Per Liter: $2.56

Presentation: Good

Taste Rating: 9

Essentia water makes a statement with a decidedly vodka-esque edge to its flavor. If you like vodka, this is almost guaranteed to be your favorite water on this list, and if you don’t, you’re better off going for anything else in the top 10. The unique, clean flavor is almost enough to rationalize its ridiculous price point, and its scientific bottle is a pretty nice bonus as well. Definitely worth at least one buy, and essential for Russian drinkers.

  1. Fiji

Price Per Liter: $3.41

Presentation: Overrated, but cool

Taste Rating: 8

Out of all the waters on our list, Fiji’s brand carries the most weight. And yes, it tastes great — clean with a slight mineral edge. However, for the price of just one bottle, you could grab a bulk package of Kroger. And honestly, the legendary packaging has been dropping in quality over time; most Fiji bottles I’ve come into contact with seem to be scratched up and they no longer have the satisfying square base. It’s still a great water, and yes, you can goof around and flex with it if you want to.

  1. Ozarka

Price Per Liter: $1.00

Presentation: Budget patriotism

Taste Rating: 6

Ozarka looks like a designer half-assed a Fourth of July version of their logo, and then they forgot to switch it back after the Fourth of July was over. Thankfully, the actual water is decent — neutral with a slight plasticky, chemical taste that doesn’t really taste that bad or that good. At the price, it’s certainly no crime against humanity, but there are certainly better options out there.

  1. Kroger Purified Plus Electrolytes

Price Per Liter: $1.26

Presentation: Futuristic clip-art

Taste Rating: 6

Kroger Purified Plus Electrolytes marks the spot in this list where things start to go a little downstream. The water has a tinge of ugliness to it, and the cheap bottle art doesn’t help wash that down. However, it is pretty inexpensive, and rumor has it that electrolytes are pretty good for you. It’s far from the worst choice on this list.

  1. Waiakea

Price Per Liter: $2.59

Presentation: Cheesy, but nice, resort

Taste Rating: 7

Waiakea has a turquoise bottle with a slightly volcanic flair, but the design seems hesitant — neither bold enough to make a strong impression nor subtle enough to radiate classiness. The water inside hits that middle ground too, but in a good way — it’s about as neutral as it gets. At the price point, it’s not enough to make it a good pick.

  1. Bai

Price Per Liter: $1.67

Presentation: Nice

Taste Rating: 5

Bai’s bottle design is easily the best thing about it, and it looks better than most bottles at its price range. However, the taste has a very noticeable plastic edge to it that just pushes it into the territory of unoffensive blah-ness. Buying this water isn’t a bad decision, it’s just a decision. Are you going to settle for that?

  1. Smartwater

Price Per Liter: $3.37

Presentation: Smart

Taste Rating: 5

Smartwater looks like it would be pretty good, and it is good if you have no other option. Almost anything else is going to taste better and cost less. Defy brand popularity and ignore this option for the good of both your taste buds and your wallet.

  1. Core

Price Per Liter: $2.53

Presentation: Organic-core

Taste Rating: 4

Maybe Core thinks its gimmick — having the same 7.4 pH as the human body — will hide its synthetic-tasting water. As soon as you taste this water, you’ll know why you haven’t seen it around. Guess what, Core — all water hydrates people. The only thing special about your water is that it hydrates people who are richer and less informed about their water.

  1. Icelandic

Price Per Liter: $2.58

Presentation: Very cool / cold

Taste Rating: 3

Either you think that Icelandic water looks awesome or that it looks like a crumbled mess. Either way, you won’t like the taste. Icelandic water carries an offensive flatness that somehow manages to bring the water down a lot with just a little flavor. How are you that bad at making water, Iceland? Stick to spacey music and keep your water to yourself.

  1. Simple Truth

Price Per Liter: $1.41

Presentation: Organic-core

Taste Rating: 2

The simple truth about this water is that it’s bad.

  1. Voss

Price Per Liter: $3.52

Presentation: Very cool

Taste Rating: 1

Do you remember when Voss had these thicc, badass glass bottles? They can’t afford to make them anymore because no one buys Voss water more than once. It tastes like burning chemicals. If this is what Norwegians drink, it’s a miracle that any of them are still alive. If you’re curious to how water can actually taste bad, do yourself a favor and just drink out of a local river instead of wasting three dollars on this bottled abomination.

  1. Just Water

Price Per Liter: $2.58

Presentation: Paper chic

Taste Rating: -3

Maybe when they first filled this water, uh, container, there really was Just Water in there. By the time you unscrew this paper water bottle’s top off, something else has definitely joined the party. Is it paper? Rotten tree bark? Straight up pee? There’s a label on this water bottle where you can write your name because, as the water bottle says, “Not everything needs to be shared.” That’s certainly true of this water.