bottle of water and tap water pouring in to glass

    Published: December 7, 2016

    Bottled Water Vs. Tap Water – What is Better?

    When you compare the costs of bottled water versus drinking water out of your faucet at home, it’s obvious that bottled water is more expensive. In fact, according to Slate, bottled water is nearly 300 times more expensive, with an average price of $1.22 a gallon.

    If you’re purchasing a single use bottle of water, that number is even higher – after all, a bottle of water in an airport or in the supermarket can run you $2 or $3 for a 16 ounce serving. So, then, why do millions of Americans choose bottled water each year over tap water? What factors play into this preference?

    The Today Show examined the bottled water boom recently on their program, after noting that Americans spend nearly $20 billion per year on bottled water. With such enormous growth, it would seem logical that bottled water would have clear advantages. Is it fresher, or purer than tap water? Is the taste preferable, or even different?

    To determine objectively if bottled water tastes better (or different at all) from tap water, correspondents conducted a water taste test in which bottled water and tap water was presented in identical containers for subjects to drink, so they were indistinguishable.

    After dozens of people tested the two water samples and decided which one tasted better, a remarkable 55% of respondents chose the tap water over the bottled water, even when they swore that they drink bottled water because it “tastes better.”

    Ultimately, it’s difficult to determine the difference in taste between tap water and bottled water because most bottled water is simply tap water that’s been bottled and sold at an astronomically higher rate. Many huge bottled water companies will have to change the language on their labels (if they haven’t already) to indicate that the water in the plastic bottles is really just tap water.

    Nearly half of all bottled water is just plain tap water. Many people that prefer tap water cite safety as their primary concern, believing that bottled water has fewer contaminants or chemicals. But the Environmental Protection Agency attests that the standards for bottled water in the United States are the same as tap water.

    In fact, bottled water does not have to comply with the same standards of reporting as tap water, as bottled water is a food product and therefore regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA does not routinely inspect water-bottling plants, and does not require bottled water companies to reveal their water sources.

    Perhaps one of the most compelling arguments for bottled water is the convenience. When you’re away from home, it may seem easier to buy bottled water at a convenience store or at work than searching for a water fountain. However, the environmental costs of plastic waste far outweigh the supposed benefits.

    Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, is the plastic used to manufacture bottled water. The creation of this plastic releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, and only about 30% of it is ultimately recycled. This means that approximately 38 billion water bottles are dumped into landfills each year.

    To keep the planet green and save loads of money each year, filtered tap water is the best choice. It tastes better than bottled water, especially if you install a Pelican Water whole house filter or NSF-Certified countertop filter in your home to remove contaminants and soften your water. Use a reusable stainless steel bottle and get into the habit of filling it up with filtered tap water before you head out in the morning. Tap water can save the environment – and it tastes wonderful!