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Bottled Water vs. Filtered Water

by Jennifer Bellini

Marketing expert, Business guru

> 2 min read

Bottled Water vs. Filtered Water

The bottled water vs. filtered water debate has been raging for years, with plenty of arguments to support both sides. The initiative to eliminate single use plastics puts the ethics of bottled water into question, but for some people with contaminated local water supplies, this may be the only safe water consumption option available. Bottled water is necessary in the case of a natural disaster or tainted city water, but may not be the best option for everyday consumption.    

While filtered water is more environmentally friendly, it requires a substantial initial investment that many people can’t afford. However, the cost of bottled water can add up over time too, and it creates unnecessary waste en masse. So which is really the better option?


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plastic bottles

Water Filtration Options 

Filtered water is purified tap water made safe for drinking by removing chemicals, heavy metals, and harmful microorganisms. The type of filtration system used varies between households, with plenty of options available on the market today. Water can be filtered at various points within your home. 

Whole house filtration systems are directly connected to your water supply, removing contaminants and chemicals placed in the water by your municipality for disinfection. However, adding a whole house filtration system to your home may decrease the water pressure, which is a dealbreaker for some people. 

When considering bottled water vs. filtered water, you can also look at filters that fit underneath your kitchen sink, allowing you to enjoy filtered water exclusively from that faucet. This leaves the rest of your home unaffected by the system, simply providing a more affordable solution for drinking water filtration right at the source.

You may want to choose the most cost-effective option: filtering water after it comes out of the tap. This can be achieved by using a pitcher filter, like Brita. The activated carbon in these filters removes chlorine, while resin’s presence creates an ion exchange that reduces copper, mercury, and zinc in the water.

Benefits of Filtered Water 

There are several reasons water filtration is considered a superior alternative to bottled water. 

  • It’s Healthy 

Filtered water is a healthier option than your regular tap water and is often higher quality than bottled water. Tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals used to disinfect the water supply in residential areas. In rural regions where your home is on a well, some kind of water filtration is essential to remove harmful bacteria and contaminants from your water before drinking. 

Bottled water often contains toxins from the use of BPA plastic to make the bottles. Over time, exposure to BPA can result in cancer or damage to organs like the liver and kidneys. 

  • Better Taste and Smell

By filtering your tap water, you remove chlorine which often causes a strong odor in city water. You can also improve the taste of your water by eliminating chlorine. Sometimes bottled water can have a strange taste if it sits in the heat or passes its expiry due to plastics leaching into the water. 

Like tap water, bottled water also contains minerals that alter the water’s taste, meaning not all bottled water tastes the same or necessarily tastes better than the water from your tap. 

  • Environmentally Friendly 

Filtered water is the environmentally conscious choice 100% of the time. With a filtration system, regardless of what kind you select, you eliminate the need for single use plastic bottles.

You can invest in a reusable water bottle and fill it from your filtered tap before you head out for a run or leave for work. 

  • There’s No Limit to Your Supply 

When you have filtered tap water in your home, there’s never a question of whether you have enough drinking water available. You can drink as much as you need and at no additional expense. 

"Bottled water often contains toxins from the use of BPA plastic to make the bottles. Over time, exposure to BPA can result in cancer or damage to organs like the liver and kidneys. " 

Benefits of Bottled Water 

When weighing the benefits of bottled water vs. filtered water, it’s necessary to consider the positive aspects of bottled water. 

  • More Affordable 

Though purchasing bottled water is a recurring cost for your grocery bill, it does not require a large initial investment like a whole house filtration system. 

  • Pre-Filtered 

Bottled water is simply filtered tap water that a company has packaged for you. It’s an easy way to access clean drinking water without having to filter it yourself. 

Whether it’s the ease of grabbing a bottle when you need it or just the habit you’re in, lots of people seem to find bottled water to be a more convenient option than filtered water. If you have a pitcher filter, you must remember to fill it up in advance to allow time for filtration to occur. With a water bottle, you simply grab and go.

Problems with Bottled Water 

The primary concern with bottled water is its immense negative environmental impact. The average American uses 167 plastic water bottles annually and only recycles 38 of them. For homes depending solely on bottled water, the environmental impact is even more significant. 

In addition to the plastic waste resulting from excess bottle consumption, the process of preparing bottled water also wastes valuable resources. The amount of oil used to make the number of plastic bottles Americans consumed in 2006 could power a million cars for one year. 

A four-year NRDC review of bottled water in the United States found 22% of the brands tested had at least one sample found to contain chemical levels that exceeded state health regulations. These findings raise questions about the purity of bottled water and whether it is cleaner than city tap water.

Activated Carbon Custom Bottle plastic drink water bottle with filter

The Bottom Line

When comparing bottled water vs. filtered water, filtered comes out on top for several reasons. Not only is it the more sustainable, environmentally friendly choice, but choosing to filter the water in your home provides you with an unlimited supply of drinking water, keeping you healthy and hydrated. 

With filtered water, you can make a one-time investment and save money long-term, never paying for a case of water again. Besides being economical and environmentally conscious, choosing filtered means you can say goodbye to the odor and scent of your chlorinated city tap water.

Jennifer Bellini

About the Author

Jennifer Bellini is a business guru who’s spent most of her life working in her home state of Wisconsin where she still lives with her family. Her experience lends itself best to sussing out the unique problems a business may face with their water quality. She is also our lead market analyst and is the driving force behind site growth.