Is bottled water really better than tap? According to one episode of ABC’s 20/20, it is neither healthier nor tastier. In fact, mostly what we pay for is the hype.
ABC’s 20/20 put the idea that bottled water tastes better than tap to the test, pitting tap water against:
- Evian – one of the original ritzy French brands that started the bottled water craze
- Aquafina – a bestselling brand by Pepsi, which is sourced from tap water
- Poland Spring – a brand that does in fact come from a spring (in Poland, Maine)
- Iceland Spring – flown to you all the way from Iceland!
- K-Mart brand American Fare – which, being the cheapest brand, is also quite likely sourced from tap water
Who was the big winner? It turns out K-Mart finally beat out its competition. Most people preferred American Fare, the cheapest brand. Aquafina came in second. It’s worth noting that both of those brands are more expensive versions of what comes out of your tap. Tap water itself tied with exotic (and expensive) Iceland Spring for third. Poland Spring came next. Who came in last? The most expensive French brand Evian, which one man said tasted like toilet water. It’s safe to say he wouldn’t shell out the $5 a gallon the water normally costs.
Many of the people who took the 20/20 blind taste test regularly pay for bottled water, saying that they did not like the taste of tap. Even so, many rated it highly and were surprised (and embarrassed) to learn it came from the tap.
 Stossel, John. “Is Bottled Water Better Than Tap?” ABC’s 20/20. May 6, 2005. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/story?id=728070&page=1