Comparing 16 Brands of Bottled Water

Comparing 16 Brands of Bottled Water

The Canadian and American bottled water industries have been growing rapidly over the past few decades. A boom in consumption has led bottled water to become a staple in most North American households.

We all know the negative impacts that single-use plastic bottles have on ecosystems around the world. Plastic builds up in oceans, landfills, and everywhere in between, causing great disruptions to organisms and the environment they live in. But it’s equally important to remember that not only is plastic bad for the environment, it is also bad for your health.

Hundreds of plastic water bottles

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a study to analyze the websites and labels of popular bottled water brands to see where the water came from, how the water was treated, and whether test results were published. Unfortunately, the study revealed that 18% of bottled water companies do not tell you where they source their water, and 32% of companies do not disclose anything about the treatment processes of their water.

Bottled water companies want you to believe that their products are special, so they market them as unique as possible. However, they leave out key information such as where the water is sourced from and how it is treated.

Many bottled water companies fill their bottles using water from municipal sources. This water sometimes contains chlorine and other chemicals, often rendering the water highly acidic. Santevia set out to conduct an experiment that tests the pH of popular brands of bottled water, in order to show consumers the real acidity of these brands.  

To conduct this test, researchers at Santevia used a pH meter which offers an extremely high degree of accuracy. A pH meter tests the water and indicates on a scale of 0 to 14 how basic or acidic the water is.

The pH scale works on an exponential level, meaning that a pH of 7 is 10 times more basic than a pH of 6, and a pH of 8 is 100 times more basic than 6. Usually, tap water has a pH of about 7, which is neutral on the scale, whereas alkaline water like Santevia comes closer to about 8 or 9.

pH Scale

pH scale

Drinking alkaline water on a frequent basis is an easy way to reduce acidity in your body and maintain overall health. Acquiring too much acidity in your body can lead to a plethora of illnesses, which is why an alkaline lifestyle promotes good health.

Continue reading below to learn which bottled water companies rank best for your health and best in terms of alkalinity, so that next time you’re at the store you can make the best educated decision for your health. We’ve listed them in order from lowest pH to highest.

Montellier

Montellier is by far the water with the lowest pH, coming in at 4.30 on the meter test (no surprise, since it is a natural carbonated spring water). Marketed as Canada’s Carbonated Natural Spring Water, this water comes in both cans and bottles in flavoured and unflavoured varieties.

According to their website, the water is sourced from underground springs in Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval, Quebec. They naturally filter the water and add nothing to it. However, it is due to the carbonation that this brand produces water with such an acidic pH. Any carbonated water, regardless of its source, has an acidic pH due to carbonic acid content.

Carbonated waters are always lower in pH than their distilled or tap counterparts. So if you’re looking for a treat, this bottle could serve you well; however, if you’re looking for alkaline water to drink on a daily basis, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Aquafina

Aquafina, owned by PepsiCo, is also among the more popular brands of bottled water displayed in supermarkets and corner stores alike. The water comes in both flavoured and unflavoured varieties.

However, like other popular brands, Aquafina ranked extremely low on the pH scale with a score of 5.95. This makes Aquafina one of the most acidic bottled water that we were able to find in our local gas stations and food courts.

In a study conducted by the EWG, Pepsi’s Aquafina did not perform well. The company failed to provide any useful information regarding sourcing or treatment of the water.

Person holding Aquafina bottle

The label indicates that their water originates from public water sources and is treated with HydRO-7. However, public water sources cannot be identified, and there is no explanation regarding their treatment process.

Looking for more information regarding their sourcing and treatment processes? It may be hard to come by. Most of Aquafina’s bottles do not provide any contact information, and their website and customer service team fail to provide any additional information. Even though their label asks, “Product Questions? Call 1-800-432-2632” their representatives tell you that their water quality tests are not for the public.

Besides its high acidity and low ranking on the pH scale, a lack of transparency may warrant consumers removing this brand from their next grocery list.

Dasani

Owned by Coca Cola, Dasani continues to be a popular addition to supermarket and gas station shelves. Its familiar blue packaging and frequency in stores make it a popular choice among consumers. However, Dasani ranked surprisingly low in terms of pH compared to its counterparts. With a pH of 6.25, Dasani is one of the most acidic bottles on the market.

While Dasani’s product label does not provide information regarding its water source, it does indicate that the water is treated using reverse osmosis. Marketed as purified, mineral enhanced water, the product is simply filtered tap water combined with sodium. With that being said, if you visit their website to gather further information, it is rather sparse.

Their Frequently Asked Questions page indicates that water is sourced from “the local water supply” and “a special blend of minerals” is added. They fail to specify what the “local” water supply is or what minerals they add to the water. They received an extremely poor rating on the EWG's assessment of bottled waters.

In terms of hydration, Dasani is not a terrible choice. However, if you are on the run and looking for an alkaline and transparent bottled water option, Dasani is definitely not our recommended choice.

Voss Spring Water from Norway

Not only did this 500 mL bottle make a dent in our wallets, but it also made a dent in our alkaline lifestyle. Voss, a Norweigan brand of bottled water, is marketed as “spring water” for the ultimate purist yet offers a low pH of about 6.92. The brand offers both still and carbonated versions of its flavoured and unflavoured waters.

The water itself is sourced in Norway, in aquifers deep beneath Earth’s surface. The taste can be attributed to low concentrations of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).

While it isn’t the worst culprit, it is most certainly an example of why you can’t always trust what is on the packaging. And speaking of packaging, the label didn’t tell us much about how they treat this water or how to contact them if we have any questions.

Fiji Natural Spring Water

Fiji sounds like an exotic choice, right? While its website claims that the water comes from “tropical rain purified by equatorial winds” and “slowly filtered by volcanic rock,” its water quality report describes an entirely different scenario. The report states that the water is filtered to remove any particulate matter, micron-filtered to remove microbiological particles and that ultraviolet light is applied to ensure disinfection.

Despite the fact that its Bottled Water Quality Report indicates that it has a pH of 7.8, our Fiji water results came in with a pH of 6.95. However, this doesn’t seem very impressive when you take into account that 500 mL of this “spring water” cost upwards of $4 a bottle. Maybe opt for a Power Stick Water Bottle Filter which will provide you with more alkaline water at a fraction of the cost, without the need for shipping a plastic bottle across the Pacific Ocean.

Evian Natural Spring Water

Water from the French Alps is definitely a romantic notion, but with only a pH level of 6.98, Evian doesn’t quite break into the alkaline category.

Moreover, since most tap water has a pH that ranges between 6.8-7.2, Evian water does not provide much of a competitive advantage over your local water source. Maybe take this one out of the shopping basket next time you’re at the supermarket.

Nestlé Pure Life

Hand squishing a plastic water bottle

Although Nestlé wasn’t as bad as some of its other counterparts, we weren’t overly impressed with its 7.10 pH.

In a study conducted by the EWG, it was the only one on our list that passed the transparency test. No other bottle on this list disclosed where their water came from, how it’s purified, and how many contaminants were found during testing.

Nestle’s label indicates that their water is sourced from wells in Florida, Michigan, or California, or the public water supplies of Pennsylvania, Colorado, or Florida.

This water is then treated with either reverse osmosis or distillation. Both of these treatment options render the water void of any contaminants.

However, it also rids them of beneficial trace minerals like calcium and magnesium. Unlike some of the other brands on our list, Nestlé consistently includes contact information on their labels for consumers seeking additional information on water quality. If you would like to learn more about their water quality and testing, feel free to visit their website.

That being said, Nestlé has received quite a lot of backlash for continuous extraction of water from drought-plagued California, even during the latest 5-year-long drought. Moreover, the Swiss-based company was pumping tens of millions of gallons of water out of the San Bernardino National Forest annually and only paying $0.65 per 470 gallons. The company then turned around and sold the same water back to the California area at an astronomical markup.

While it might be a suitable, transparent, and affordable option, if you cannot find anything else, we definitely wouldn’t suggest consuming this on a regular basis. The low pH and morality of the Swiss-based company are all enough to stop us from adding this bottle to our shopping carts.

Arto Life Wtr

We had never heard of Arto Life Wtr before and were intrigued by its unique packaging and product claim of “purified, pH balanced, & electrolytes for taste”. After doing some research into this company, it became clear that pH balanced meant “pH between 6.6 and 7.4”.

This brand was staying true to their product claim when we discovered a reading of 7.18. While a pH of 7.18 is definitely better than some of the other bottled water in our test, it does not meet the standard for nutritious, alkaline water.

Happy Water

Happy Water is a brand of bottled water that is sourced from a self-replenishing mountain spring in Mount Woodside, British Columbia. This brand of water is marketed as a clean, alkaline water that is infused with electrolytes.

However, when the pH was tested using a pH test meter, it only came out to about 7.25, which is less than the pH of most tap water in BC. The pH of this brand of bottled water is only slightly above neutral on the pH scale, meaning that it only possesses slight alkaline properties.

Happy Water, however, advertises itself as alkaline water with a pH of 7.0. The water is also infused with calcium and magnesium, meaning that you are consuming trace minerals while you hydrate. Happy Water is a local Canadian brand that provides clean, mineralized water, thus justifying Santevia’s rating in this list.

Smart Water

Smart Water may not be as smart as you’d think. This 591 mL bottle only gave a reading of 7.48 with the pH test.

That being said, this brand does pass our transparency test. Smart Water’s website indicates that the water is procured from several different water treatment plants.

They also reveal a fairly extensive treatment process which includes VOCs, chlorine, additional impurities removal, ultraviolet light disinfection, re-mineralization, and ozone gas purification.

Like some of the other bottles we tested, Smart Water has a pH comparable to tap water. Meaning that in terms of alkalinity, it would be just as fine to drink water straight from the faucet.

Woman holding plastic water bottle and phone

At that point, it would probably be more economical and environmentally-friendly to carry your own Santevia Tritan Bottle or Glass Bottle with you so as to provide clean, alkaline water.

Flow Water

Flow Water, which is marketed as alkaline spring water, produced a score of 7.57. While this is technically alkaline, we were surprised that a brand of bottled water that advertised its alkaline properties wasn’t more basic on the scale.

We did appreciate that although the brand sells bottled water, it does have a strong commitment to sustainability. Their website boasts Flow Water’s commitment to planting and maintaining trees, monitoring aquifer levels, and donating to charities that reduce plastic pollution.

While we don’t encourage the use of single-use water bottles, if you are in need of a disposable option, this brand is probably your best choice for an alkaline, filtered, and sustainability-focussed option.

Tap Water

The water that comes from your faucet is a cheap and quick way to stay hydrated. However, tap water contains a significant amount of contaminants and usually only possesses a pH of 7, meaning that it is neutral between acidic and alkaline. When Santevia tested the pH value of tap water in Vancouver, BC, it possessed a reading of 7.70 on the scale, making it slightly more alkaline than is typical of tap water.

Some of the contaminants that can be found in tap water include chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and even trace amounts of pharmaceuticals, meaning that it might not be the best option for your health.

However, tap water is cheap and accessible to most people in North America, making it a convenient way to stay hydrated. Similarly, if you’re drinking it out of a glass at home, or a reusable bottle while on-the-go, this option is beneficial to the environment. Depending on what your priorities are, tap water could be one of the better options for you.

Great Value Water

Great Value Water, which can be found on the shelves of Walmart, registered a pH of 7.81 in Santevia’s test. Surprisingly, this brand of bottled water possessed one of the highest pH values of the water we tested.

Although it is a disposable water bottle, the brand markets itself as using 100% recycled plastic that is good for the environment. Given its low price and environmental features, this brand is also a suitable choice if you’re looking for quick hydration at the store.

Woman pouring water bottle into glass

President’s Choice Natural Spring Water

This bottle surprised us: a low-cost option that also offered a relatively alkaline pH of 7.93. The being said, we were also surprised by the lack of information provided on the label, and via online sources, in regards to the sourcing and treatment of President’s Choice Natural Spring Water.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for an alkaline refreshment, PC Water is still a viable option if you find yourself without access to your Santevia Power Stick Water Bottle Filter.

Icelandic Water

Icelandic Water, marketed as the purest tasting water on Earth, possesses a pH of 8.14, which is significantly higher than tap water and its bottled water competitors. What disappointed us was that it claims to have a pH of closer to 8.4, the same as the Icelandic Springs where it sources its water from.

While its claims may be exaggerated, this water is still very alkaline and thus earns Santevia’s seal of approval. If you are looking for a clean, alkaline bottled water at the store this is likely one of the best options.

Eska

Eska surprised us by claiming their water had a 7.93 pH and then actually delivering on their promise; we tested an alkaline pH of 8.25.

Eska also impressed us by offering an extensive, NSF approved Bottled Water Report on their website. The report indicates that their treatment process includes the use of filters to remove particulate matter from source water and the use of ultraviolet light for disinfection.

Man holding plastic water bottle

So if you’re ever stuck in a situation where you don’t have your Santevia Power Stick Water Bottle Filter or access to alkaline water from your Gravity Water System or MINA Alkaline Pitcher, this might be the right choice for you.

Smart Water Alkaline

This brand of bottled water advertises that it has a pH of over 9 on the scale. When tested by Santevia using a pH test meter, it produced a rating of 10.22. While the brand markets itself as alkaline, one should be cautious when choosing Smart Water Alkaline as extremely high pH values may cause gastrointestinal issues.

Smart Water Alkaline is ionized and distilled with electrolytes added to it. Additionally, the brand uses 100% recycled plastics, making it an environmentally feasible option. All things considered, Smart Water Alkaline is a reasonable choice if you need a single-use water bottle in a pinch.

Santevia MINA Alkaline Pitcher

Finally, we tested the pH of a Santevia MINA Alkaline Pitcher so that we could use it for comparison. The pH meter test indicates that the MINA Pitcher produces water with a pH of about 9.63, making this one of the most alkaline waters that Santevia tested in the study.

Not only does the Santevia MINA Alkaline Pitcher offer an alkaline option, it also filters the water quickly and offers an environmentally sustainable and cost-effective solution to hydration. This product is perfect for families and individuals who value sustainability and are looking for an easy and effective way to stay hydrated with clean, alkaline water. It will help your body neutralize acidity and help prevent against an array of common illnesses.

Water pitcher with water glasses beside

Bottled Water Comparison Summary

To finish off, we ordered each of the bottles from most acidic, to most alkaine. Here’s what we got :

Water Type pH Value

Montellier

4.30

Aquafina

5.95

Dasani

6.25

Voss Spring Water from Norway

6.92

Fiji Natural Spring Water

6.95

Evian Natural Spring Water

6.98

Nestle Pure Life

7.10

Arto Life Wtr

7.18

Happy Water

7.25

Smart Water

7.48

Flow Water

7.57

Tap Water

7.70

Great Value Water

7.81

President's Choice Natural Spring Water

7.93

Icelandic Water

8.14

Eska

8.25

Santevia MINA Alkaline Pitcher

9.63

Smart Water Alkaline

10.22

Choosing sustainable products like those of Santevia are the best option for your health, the environment and your bank account. Instead of buying a new plastic bottle every time you’re out, bring your reusable water bottle to lessen your environmental impact and save a few dollars.

Similarly, opting for clean, alkaline water every day will have tremendous benefits for your health. You can reduce acidity in your body, stay hydrated, and consume trace minerals on-the-go.

If you live a busy lifestyle, the best option is a Tritan Bottle with the Power Stick Water Bottle Filter, which adds beneficial trace minerals and reduces harmful contaminants like chlorine. If you’re interested in browsing our on-the-go products to ensure that you have access to mineralized, alkaline water wherever you are, visit our on-the-go collection.