Tap Water vs Bottled Water: Research & Facts

Water is essential to sustain life. We can survive days without food but hardly without water. However, the availability of clean and safe drinking water is merely a dream for many people. On a global scale, around 780 million people do not have access to safe and hygienic water.

It has been a big question mark for a long time if it is safe to use tap water at home. The other alternative is to use bottled water. A deeper insight into the two types of water can help you to see the picture better.

This article will look at the benefits and harmful effects of tap water and bottled water. Lastly, you can decide what you prefer based on the comparison.

Tap water

benefits of tap water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors tap water for any contaminants and implements standards to maintain the water quality. About 150,000 public water systems make water available to the majority population in America. EPA strictly regulates and tests the quality of drinking water under The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). You may be surprised to know that tap water is tested more often than bottled water. However, 10% of Americans use water from private wells. Private wells do not fall under the jurisdiction of EPA. If you own a private well, you may need to get a detailed report on the water for any contaminants by yourself.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tap Water


Cost: A significant difference between tap and bottled water is the price level. Tap water is cheaper and costs only a fraction of bottled water.

Convenience: You do not need to go out and buy water when you have water at home. Just fill a glass with tap water, and you are good to go.

Safer Environment: Tap water does not come in packaging and, therefore, does not need any disposal. It does not damage the environment or needs recycling like bottled water.


Taste: Many people cannot tell the difference between the tastes of bottled and tap water. However, some people do not like the taste of tap water and prefer bottled water over it. The taste of tap water can get flat because of the chlorine present in water to kill germs, or other substances seeped into the main water supply. Although, the bad smell or taste does not necessarily mean that the water is unhealthy, drinking it can still become unbearable.

Quality: People are generally wary of tap water. They may think that it is full of germs and knows what may enter the water during its journey to the faucets.

Contaminants: Many contaminants can get dissolved with water. Some of these can be harmful to health. While most of the time, the compounds only give the water a nasty taste or a foul odor but cause no harm.

Tap Water Filtration: There can be several factors that can render tap water unsafe for drinking. Industrial or agricultural waste, oil leakage, or other harmful substances can get mixed with water. Local Water Municipality can provide you with a Water Quality Report to check the quality of tap water. If you experience problems with the water at home, you can filter it. You can also cut a lot of costs spent on bottled water.

There are numerous filtration methods that can remove the contaminants, bad smell, or unfriendly taste of the water. These include aeration, reverse osmosis, distillation, water pitchers, and ion exchange method. You can also invest in installing a water filtration system to filter tap water. Although a bit costly, the water filtration system is one of the best and hassle-free methods to obtain clean water. It can be simpler, cheaper, and a more convenient method than bottled water.

Bottled Water

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the regulatory body that ensures bottled water quality. Bottled water, including flavored and nutrient water beverages, has to meet FDA standards before it is available on the market. All the beverages labeled as mineral water, sparkling bottled water, artesian water, spring water, water purified through reverse osmosis, distillation, and deionization are categorized as bottled water. Bottled water may include some kind of flavoring or additional nutrients like electrolytes and vitamins. The ingredients are visible on the packaging as per FDA requirements.

The bottled water industry has been witnessing stable growth over the years. It has attained the spot as the number 1 packaged beverage in the US. 7 out of 10 Americans prefer bottled water over other non-alcoholic drinks. Another reason for the boost in sales of bottled water is because people seek alternatives to sugar-induced beverages. You may think that bottled water is safer to drink because you are paying extra for it. Some may even think that the more expensive it is, the more the quality and safety level. However, many water bottling companies merely filter the water obtained from public water sources and sell it in sealed bottles.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bottled water

advantages of bottled water


Taste: One of the primary reasons people prefer bottled water over tap water is its taste. Bottled water does not have stinky contaminants and provides a refreshing cleaner taste. Flavored and nutrient added bottled water also offers a nice taste. It is healthier than soda drinks. Therefore, people prefer it over other sugary beverages.

Quality: Bottled water is safer than other sweetened beverages. It is reliable, offers consistent quality, and is rid of contaminants and other harmful substances.

Convenience: Bottled water is convenient to use and store in refrigerators. You can easily carry it while at work or during traveling.


Expensive: Bottled water is pricier than tap water. A gallon water bottle sells at about $9.50, which is almost 2000 times more expensive than tap water.

Microplastics: Bottled water can be called contaminant-free but not quite. The microplastic particles of the bottle can contaminate the water and alter its taste.

Environment: In 2016, 4 billion pounds of plastic was used up to produce the plastic water bottles. With the growing percentage of people using bottled water, resources can severely diminish in the long run. The discarded plastic water bottles are another major cause of pollution. In America, around 60 million plastic water bottles are discarded daily. The energy utilization in their disposal further depletes the earth’s resources.

Bottled Water or Tap Water

Both tap water and bottled water have pros and cons. However, from a more realistic point of view, tap water’s good side outweighs that of bottled water. Tap water is the better choice among the two. The primary concern with tap water is the taste and contaminants present in it. These issues can be resolved with various water filtration methods. You can opt for the water purification and filtration method most suitable to your preferences and needs. You can also contact the local water authorities to check if there are any contaminants in the water and decide the filter accordingly.

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