Bottled Water vs. Filtered Water: Pros and Cons

The United States of America is the world’s largest consumer of bottled water. Each year Americans spend $16 billion on bottled water. Why is that when Americans have easy access to tap water? 

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of bottled water versus filtered water so you can make an informed decision about what type of water you should use.

What is Filtered Water?

Filtered water is tap water that is purified so that it is safe for drinking. The way the water is filtered depends on the type of filtration system and the bottled water brands. This includes activated carbon filters, most commonly found in household water pitcher filters, reverse-osmosis, distillation, and ion exchange.

Check out these 13 types of water filters and how they work.

Pros of Filtered Drinking Water

Filtered Water is Odor-Free

Have you ever noticed a funny smell coming from your tap water? Municipalities add chlorine to kill bacteria in city water. Filtered water removes all impurities from water, including chlorine and other contaminants. So there is no smell when you pour yourself a tall glass of water!

Filtered Water is Healthy

Filtration takes out certain chemical and physical particles that are not good for humans to ingest. Herbicides and pesticides used in farming make their way into our lakes and rivers when it rains. The filtration process removes even these tiny particles that are harmful.

However, natural water does have healthy minerals that are good for us, so filtered water brands can leave these good minerals in. 

Check out these 14 reasons why you should only drink filtered water.

Filtered Water is Budget Friendly

On average, Americans spend about $100 per person each year on bottled water. So even though the cost for a filtration system might seem high upfront, it quickly becomes a money-saving investment in as little as a year.

Filtered Water Tastes the Same (or Better)

Did you know that many large bottle water retailers are using filtered tap water in their bottles? The top two brands of bottled water, Aquafina and Dasani, bottle filtered municipal water. Overall, 24% of the bottled water Americans drink is filtered tap water. Many people assume bottled water tastes better, but that’s not true. The studio audience on Good Morning America did a taste test. They preferred the taste of tap water to major bottled water brands, including Evian!

If tap water tastes the same as the big brands, imagine how great filtered water tastes since it removes more contaminants! 

Filtered Water is On-Demand

One of the biggest advantages of filtered water is getting it exactly when you need it. You don’t need to buy in bulk to keep it in stock, and you won’t run out of it. With just the flick of a button or lever, you’ve got contaminant-free drinking water! Fill pitchers for parties to make it easy for guests to refill their glasses, and have portable water bottles on hand to take your filtered water with you wherever you go. Some even like to keep reusable bottles filled up in the fridge. If you enjoy cold water, this is a great way to have it right when you want it.

Cons of Filtered Drinking Water

Initial Costs Can be High

The initial cost to buy and have a filtration system installed can be costly. But if cost is your biggest concern, there are many budget-friendly options on the market. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a system you can’t afford. And yes, you can still get excellent water from a less expensive system!

You Will Need to Replace Filters

Once you have purchased your filtration system, the other recurring cost is for water filters. You will need to replace filters periodically, but how often and how much a new filter will cost will depend on the filtration system. Many filters last for several months or even a year before they need to be replaced. Comparatively, the cost of a new filter is still less expensive than buying a case of bottled water.

What is Bottled Water?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the definition of bottled water is as follows:

“While there is currently no standardized label for bottled water, labels may tell you about the way the water is treated. Check the label for a toll-free number or web page address of the company that bottled the water to learn more.”

In short, bottled water is water that has been filtered according to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “good manufacturing practices for processing and bottling drinking water.”

Pros of Drinking Bottled Water

The Convenience

There’s no doubt about it bottled water is convenient. You can bring it with you wherever you go or pick it up easily when you’re on the road. Nothing quite beats its convenience. 

It’s Safer to Drink Than Tap Water

Are you worried about drinking your tap water? Maybe your tap water contains lead or other harmful chemicals. If so, bottled water seems like a safer choice since the chemicals and contaminants have been removed.

It Tastes Better Than Tap Water

Bottled water tastes and smells better than tap water. It is filtered before it is bottled and sold, removing chlorine and other chemicals that can create a bad smell and taste. But you can enjoy the same taste of bottled water at home with your filtration system!

Cons of Drinking Bottled Water

The cons of bottled water heavily outweigh the benefits of convenience and taste. In fact, many in the U.S. are fighting to ban bottled water with the organization Ban the Bottle at the helm. Many organizations like colleges, universities, and concert arenas are banning bottled water. San Francisco even became the first city to ban plastic water bottle sales. Why are so many organizations fighting bottled water?

Ethical Implications

A recent documentary called Tapped takes a long, hard look into the big business of bottled water. The film examines how an industry has worked to privatize and sell back a resource that never should have become a commodity. Turning water into a commodity has reduced people’s access to a basic human right.

Environmental Impact

Plastic is one of the leading environmental hazards on the planet. Even though plastic is recyclable, sadly, only 20% of water bottles are recycled. 

More than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown out every day in the U.S. Most end up in landfills, while millions end up as litter. Did you know it takes 700 years for a single water bottle to start decomposing? Yikes!

The process of making plastic water bottles for the U.S. alone uses approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil. That’s enough to run 100,000 cars for an entire year! And that doesn’t even include the fuel needed to transport water from the bottling plants to the resale stores.

Bottled Water is Expensive

Even if you don’t care about the ethical and environmental impacts of bottled water, this one should make you sit up and pay attention.

The average American uses 100 gallons of water a day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That equals about 757 bottles of water and at an average cost of $1.50 per bottle in 2021, that’s over $1,135 a day! Are you concerned yet?

Read more about using a shower water filter.

Bottled Water vs. Filtered Water

To us, the answer is clear. Filtered water will almost always beat out bottled water. We hope this post helps you to better distinguish the differences between bottled water and filtered water.

If you’re looking to add a filtration system to your home or just need a replacement filter, check us out for all your filter needs at!