Free Ultimate Bottled Water Report Card

I just spent the day testing every bottled water brand that I could find here in Central Florida. I tested each one for Total Dissolved Solids, pH level and taste. Obviously the taste portion is entirely a matter of opinion, but the other results are very accurate.

Anyways, here’s the rundown of the test. I used an electronic TDS meter, which I know was properly calibrated because the distilled water I tested came back at exactly 0. I purchased two separate pH meters as well, I used 6.86 and 4.01 calibration solutions to make sure both of them were properly calibrated. The final average pH is just the average between the two meters, even though they were always incredibly close to each other.

In addition to the digital pH test meters I purchased, I also purchased 4 different brands of pH test strips. I found out very quickly that all 4 of the ones I ordered were very inaccurate. The results were subjective and all over the place. I threw them all away and did not include any data collected with them in this report.

The bottled waters I tested were all found at the local Wal-Mart, local Walgreens or local gas stations. I did not test any sparkling waters or flavored waters. Finally I included water from the Drinkable Air Atmospheric Water Generator that we have in the office. I also included Sprite, which was originally supposed to be a joke, but the results were a little shocking.

Before we get started let’s discuss TDS levels and what it means for your health. TDS stands for total dissolved solids. This refers to any minerals, salts, metals, cations or anions dissolved in the water sample. It will also include minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and more. It may also include small organic matter. So what does all that mean? Well sadly the TDS meter isn’t going to tell us all that much about the water unless there is a huge anomaly where the reading is really high or really low. I’m of the opinion that anything in the 50 to 150 range is ideal because you can’t improve the pH and provide your body with micro-nutrients and minerals without some level of TDS.

So let’s talk about pH for a second, pH stands for “Potential of Hydrogen” and has been found to be a good indicator of health vs sickness. If something has a pH value less than 7.0 it is considered acidic and if it has a pH value higher than 7.0 it is considered alkaline. The lower you go, the more acidic it is, the lowest on the scale is usually battery acid. The higher you go (up to 14) the more alkaline you get, this will include things like lye and ammonia. You never want to be too extreme one way or the other, but most experts agree that you want to keep your body between neutral (7) and slightly alkaline (7.4). If you manage to achieve this state of alkaline balance, you will probably feel happy and full of vitality. Typically people with acidic pH levels (pH under 7.0) are sickly, stressed out and show premature aging.

So what’s the best pH level for your water? Well this is where it gets interesting… It really depends on the other factors in your life, primarily your diet. So if you eat a traditional Western, fried food, junk food, soda, etc… Then you should really change your diet first, but if you refuse to do that, you might need to start drinking high alkaline water (9+) just to keep yourself in balance. Don’t get me wrong though, drinking high alkaline water does not give you a license to go binge on unhealthy food. It just might help balance you out for a short period until you can correct your diet. If you already eat relatively healthy, you should be drinking water in the 7.5 to 8.0 range to achieve balance.

Lastly let’s briefly talk about the difference in types of water. Bottled water is typically going to be considered either distilled, spring, artesian or purified. Distilled water is water that is created from boiling the water and condensing the vapor. This type of water has zero contaminants, but it is also very acidic and does not contain any minerals or nutrients. Spring water is from an underground source and may or may not have been purified. Artesian water is similar to spring water, except it came from an aquifer, which means it has been trapped under a layer of rock. Purified water is scary because it could have come from literally anywhere, including tap water, but it has been “purified” using any number of methods. “Purified” water will typically not contain any of the minerals or nutrients found in spring and artesian water.

Okay now that I’ve laid the groundwork, let’s get into the results!

Brand: Sprite (Yes, I know this is not water…)
Available at: Everywhere
Type: Sugary Soda
TDS: 156
pH: 3.3 (Extremely Acidic)
Taste: No thanks.
Notes: I included Sprite as a reference to show how insanely acidic soda is. I’ve heard they are all this bad, but I’ve only tested Sprite. I can’t even imagine what drinking soda every day will do to your body.
Drinking Water Grade: F-

Brand: Great Value (Wal-Mart Brand)
Available at: Wal-Mart
Type: Distilled
TDS: 0
pH: 5.59 (Acidic)
Taste: To me distilled water tastes very flat and just plain bad.
Notes: Distilled water may be useful for certain cleanses, but it is not recommended for long term drinking. I only included this as a benchmark.
Drinking Water Grade: F

Brand: deLish Iceland Pure
Available at: Walgreens
Type: Spring
TDS: 42
pH: 9.01 (Extremely Alkaline)
Taste: It has an excessive mineral taste.
Notes: This is inexpensive water that claims right on the bottle that it has a pH of 8.88, my tests showed that it was actually a little higher than that at 9.01 average. The relatively low TDS reading makes me question how this water is made and how they are getting such a high pH level. I might drink this water in a pinch, but I wouldn’t drink it regularly. Drinking a water this high in pH would put you at risk for over alkalizing yourself, remember you want to be neutral or SLIGHTLY alkaline.
Drinking Water Grade: B-

Brand: Dasani
Available at: Everywhere
Type: Purified
TDS: 24
pH: 6.275 (Acidic)
Taste: To me it tastes like my local tap water.
Notes: Dasani is Coca-Cola’s signature bottled water. Like everything Coca-Cola, it is mass produced and not at all focused on the health of the consumer.
Drinking Water Grade: F

Brand: Aquafina
Available at: Everywhere
Type: Purified
TDS: 1
pH: 5.98 (Very Acidic)
Taste: Like distilled water.
Notes: I’ve got to hand it to Pepsi, they really purified this water, TDS of 1 is pretty impressive, however that doesn’t mean it has any nutritional value whatsoever, and it’s also very acidic. Unless you like acidic distilled water, you should avoid this at all costs.
Drinking Water Grade: F

Brand: Fiji
Available at: Everywhere
Type: Artesian
TDS: 144
pH: 7.325 (Neutral-Alkaline)
Taste: Smooth
Notes: Fiji states on their website that the pH of their water is 7.7, so I am a little concerned about that discrepancy. Maybe they are harvesting water from different aquifers? Even with the discrepancy in pH, I really do like Fiji water. It has a smooth taste, good alkalinity and I believe that the high TDS rating is due to the mineral rich volcanic rock enclosing the aquifer.
Drinking Water Grade: B+

Brand: Nestle Pure Life
Available at: Everywhere
Type: Purified
TDS: 56
pH: 6.915 (Neutral-Acidic)
Taste: This was honestly the worst tasting water of the day, I’d rather drink straight from a garden hose.
Notes: They claim this water is enhanced with minerals for taste, which explains the relatively high TDS rating for a “purified” water, but I’d like to know what those “tasty minerals” are because this water is nasty.
Drinking Water Grade: F

Brand: Voss
Available at: Everywhere
Type: Artesian
TDS: 32
pH: 6.3 (Acidic)
Taste: This water is slightly sweet, but I could also tell that it was very acidic just from the taste.
Notes: This was the only bottled water tested that came in glass. That may have favorably impacted the taste a bit, but it is still very acidic, which leads me to believe this is more of a rain waiter than an artesian water. Most people that are used to acidic water do enjoy the taste of Voss. It’s not for me.
Drinking Water Grade: D-

Brand: Evian
Available at: Everywhere
Type: Spring
TDS: 294
pH: 7.285 (Neutral-Alkaline)
Taste: This water has a “thin” and dirty taste.
Notes: 294 TDS reading and only a 7.3 pH?! Something is not right here. I am really starting to wonder what “organic matter” I just consumed.
Our Grade: D-

Brand: Zephyrhills
Available at: This is Nestle’s regional spring water for Florida and surrounding states.
Type: Spring
TDS: 193
pH: 7.68 (Alkaline)
Taste: Like spring water should taste.
Notes: First of all, full disclosure here, I used to subscribe to Zephyrhills delivery service to my home. I enjoy the taste and it’s my go-to bottled water here in Florida. It has the second best pH level I tested today (the best was Drinkable Air). However I was pretty disappointed at the high TDS rating. At least in this case I can assume that the high TDS rating contributes to the high alkalinity.
Our Grade: A-

Brand: Smartwater
Available at: Everywhere
Type: Distilled
TDS: 25
pH: 7.115 (Neutral-Alkaline)
Taste: This water tastes like electrolytes to me.
Notes: Smartwater is basically just distilled water with added minerals and electrolytes to buff the pH and improve the taste. I’m not a big fan of drinking distilled water regularly and the barely neutral pH levels is not appealing to me either.
Our Grade: C-

Brand: Resource Water (Nestle)
Available at: Everywhere
Type: Spring
TDS: 130
pH: 6.81 (Neutral-Acidic)
Taste: Thin and acidic
Notes: This is supposed to be a “high end water” but this water is acidic and it has a high TDS reading. They claim it contains natural electrolytes but that doesn’t outweigh the negatives.
Our Grade: F

Brand: Drinkable Air (With Upgraded Filter)
Available at: My office… and anywhere with average humidity over 30% can utilize this new technology to make about 7 gallons of pure atmospheric drinking water per day.
Type: Atmospheric
TDS: 57
pH: 8.01 (Perfect Alkaline)
Taste: Crisp and fresh
Notes: Full disclosure, Drinkable Air is now an advertiser with Entirely Water, but even if they weren’t I would still promote this water. This is not science fiction, when I first heard about it, I had to have one. Just plug it in to the wall and it will start producing water right away. The water is pulled directly from filtered humidity in the air, so it starts off at 99.9% pure water. Then it is passed through a mineral filter to buff the pH to a perfect 7.9 to 8.0 (although the standard filter is only about 7.4). With Drinkable Air, the pH is buffed using only the very best pure minerals and your water isn’t full of dirt and other contaminants found in spring water. I might go as far as to say that this is the perfect drinking water, and it’s essentially unlimited as well.
Our Grade: A+

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