Both bottled water and tap water can provide a safe drinking option. Both undergo a treatment process to make them safe for consumption. The primary difference is the source of the water and its filtration processes, leading to different tastes between the two types of water. Additionally, bottled water may add minerals during processing, giving it a more pleasing taste.
Difference Between Bottled Water And Tap Water
- Regulated by: Bottled water is typically regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) generally regulates tap water more stringently.
- Taste: Bottled water often tastes better than tap water due to additional filtering or treatment processes it undergoes. Bottled water may also have added minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, for added flavor.
- Cost: Tap water is much more cost-effective than buying bottled water. Tap water costs less than a penny per gallon, while bottled water costs up to $10. Additionally, bottled water production creates an excessive amount of plastic waste that is damaging to the environment.
- Method: Bottled water is either spring, mineral, or purified water packaged into individual bottles. Tap water comes from municipal sources and is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Contains chlorine: Tap water typically contains chlorine, while most bottled water does not. Chlorine added to tap water helps to eliminate bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause illness. However, some people do not like the taste of chlorine, so they opt for bottled water instead.
- Contains fluoride: Tap water contains fluoride, an essential mineral for healthy teeth and bones. Fluoride is often not found in bottled water.
- Energy Consumption: Bottled water often requires up to 2000 times more energy than tap water. Manufacturing plastic bottles, shipping, and cooling them all use great energy. Additionally, many people don’t recycle their plastic bottles after drinking from them, leading to even further wastage of energy in the long term. On the other hand, tap water requires very little energy to be filtered and distributed.
- Other chemicals: Tap water is monitored for levels of chlorine and fluoride, which are added to improve its safety. Bottled water does not contain these chemicals, but it may have higher concentrations of other substances like sodium or nitrates.
- Natural mineral content: Bottled water and tap water have different mineral contents. Bottled water often contains more natural minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium than tap water. These minerals are beneficial for the body and provide a variety of health benefits. On the other hand, tap water has been filtered to remove impurities but may also be lacking in certain minerals.
- Pollutants: Bottled water typically undergoes more rigorous filtration and purification processes than tap water to remove bacteria, parasites, algae, fungi, viruses, particulates like sediment or lead, and many other pollutants. Furthermore, bottled water is often tested for contaminants multiple times throughout the bottling process. Tap water, conversely, can contain higher levels of pollutants, as it is not put through the same stringent filtration and testing processes that bottled water goes through.
- Availability: Bottled water is readily available in most stores, whereas tap water may not be. A public drinking water system must first treat tap water before it can be consumed safely, and many places don’t have access to this type of facility. On the other hand, bottled water is processed and can often be found in convenience stores and other locations.
How Can I Purify Tap Water?
- Reverse osmosis: Reverse osmosis is a process used to purify tap water. It involves pushing the untreated tap water through a semi-permeable membrane, which filters out impurities and contaminants such as bacteria, lead, chlorine, and other materials that may harm your health.
- Water distillers: these are the most advanced type of water filtration systems available, and they use heat to boil off all contaminants from the water, leaving only pure H2O behind.
- Countertop filters: Countertop filters are an easy and convenient way to filter tap water. These filters attach directly to your kitchen sink, require no plumbing or particular installation, and often come with a separate faucet for filtered water.
- Water filter pitchers: Water filter pitchers are a great way to get the benefits of bottled water without having to buy it. These pitchers use activated charcoal filters to remove chlorine and other impurities from your tap water, leaving you with clean, refreshing drinking water straight from your sink.
- Under-sink systems: These systems hook up under your sink and filter the water before it gets to your tap. They are highly effective at removing contaminants, such as lead, chlorine, and other chemicals that can be present in tap water.
Advantages Of Bottled Water
- Improves hydration: Numerous studies show bottled water better hydrates the body than tap water due to its lack of chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals.
- Convenient for all occasions: Bottled water is convenient, readily available, and ideal for taking on the go. Tap water must be accessed from a sink or drinking fountain.
- Great shelf life: Bottled water has a long shelf life, typically up to two years. This makes it great for stocking up on or taking when traveling.
- Safe, healthy option: Tap water is the safest, most affordable option for drinking water. In many cases, it’s higher quality than bottled water, as it must meet strict safety regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Disadvantages Of Bottled Water
- Costlier than tap water: One of the major disadvantages of bottled water is its cost. It is much more expensive than regular tap water, which can add up if you consume it regularly.
- Not environmentally friendly: Bottled water can be highly wasteful and harmful to the environment. It takes more energy to make and transport plastic bottles, which produce a lot of carbon dioxide. Additionally, only about 20% of plastic water bottles used in the U.S. are recycled yearly.
- May still pose health risks: Although bottled and tap water have the potential for health risks, it is essential to note that there are differences between them. Bottled water can contain various contaminants from manufacturing, such as plasticizers or chemicals from contaminated packaging.
Advantages Of Tap Water
- Affordable Option: One of the advantages of using tap water is that it is very affordable. Tap water costs significantly less than bottled water, making it an attractive and budget-friendly choice for many households.
- Better for the environment: Tap water is better than bottled water as it does not require plastic production or the use of valuable resources like oil. Additionally, many communities have access to tap water but not necessarily bottled water.
- Less likely to contain microplastics: Tap water is filtered several times through a complex network of pipes, while bottled water is just taken from one source. This makes tap water less likely to contain microplastics that may seep into groundwater supplies and be present in the bottle.
Disadvantages Of Tap Water
- Contains traces of contaminants: Tap water is tested regularly to detect and remove contaminants. Though the amount of any contaminant in tap water is minimal, it may contain traces of contaminants such as lead, chlorine, nitrates, arsenic, and other chemicals.
- Not as convenient: Tap water is not as convenient as bottled water. You may have to fill up a container of tap water if you want to take it with you, whereas bottled water is much more portable and easy to carry around.
Is bottled water safer than filtered tap water?
The safety of bottled water and filtered tap water is largely the same. It’s important to note, however, that while bottled water may have been treated according to EPA standards, its quality can depend on the source of the water (if it comes from a spring or well) and how long it has been in storage and transport.
Is tap water as safe as bottled water?
It depends on a variety of factors. In some areas, tap water may be as safe or even safer than bottled water. However, tap water may contain contaminants or impurities in other areas, making drinking unsafe.
What is the number one bottled water?
Aquafina, by PepsiCo, is the top-selling bottled water in the United States. Sold in over 100 countries worldwide, Aquafina is a purified water that undergoes a seven-step purification process to ensure quality and safety. This includes reverse osmosis and filtration processes such as microfiltration, activated carbon filtration, and ultraviolet light treatment.
What is the purest water on the earth?
Rainwater is the purest water because it is naturally filtered through the atmosphere and free from any pollutants or chemicals. Rainwater can be collected from natural sources such as rain barrels, rooftops, and cisterns.
When choosing between tap water and bottled water, there are a few factors to consider. The government generally regulates tap water, making it safe to drink and ensuring it meets specific environmental and health standards. Bottled water is often more convenient but expensive and may not adhere to the same stringent regulations as tap water.
Meet Jeffrey B Roberts, your dedicated guide into the realm of water science and technology. As a hydro biologist with an insatiable curiosity, Jeffrey’s journey has been one of unraveling the mysteries of water systems and advocating for clean, safe water for all.
With an academic background steeped in the sciences, Jeffrey’s passion lies at the crossroads of science, technology, and nature. A deep fascination with plants and genetics has not only enriched their understanding of aquatic ecosystems but has also propelled them into the world of water softening solutions.
Believing that clean water is a basic human right, Jeffrey’s writing transcends the technicalities, making the intricate world of water softening accessible to all. Through their blog, they ardently share insights, tips, and breakthroughs, empowering readers to make informed decisions about their water quality.
Beyond his role as a prolific writer, Jeffrey is a respected figure in the hydronics industry education. With years of hands-on experience, they serve as an adjunct professor, nurturing the next generation of experts at the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. His involvement on the Technical Advisory Board further cements their dedication to pushing the boundaries of innovation in water technology.