Depending on your water filtration system, filtered tap water is just as healthy as bottled water, it will save you a lot of money in the long term, and has much less impact on the environment. Choosing between bottled water vs filtered water based on which is best to drink can depend on several factors. For instance, the water source.
Know the Water Source
Bottled Water Source
There are two primary types of bottled water available in most markets – mineral and spring water.
Mineral water generally comes from a named underground source (listed on the bottle). It is free from pollution and retains a set mineral composition (like magnesium, potassium, etc.). Likewise, spring water flows from an underground source, too, without running through any type of water system.
Both spring and mineral water can’t be treated chemically. The major difference between the two is that mineral water is often bottled at the source to protect the water’s mineral composition.
Filtered Tap Water Source
Filtered tap water can come from a civic water supply or an underground source. However, it’s only considered ‘filtered’ after having to pass through a filtration system attached to your plumbing to remove impurities and kill bacteria. In other words, filtered water is tap water that’s been treated to make it perfectly safe for human consumption.
But is that all you need to know to be able to decide whether bottled water or tap water that is filtered is healthier? Not exactly. There are numerous other aspects to consider when trying to pick between bottled water vs filtered water. Here’s everything else you should be aware of.
Benefits of Drinking Bottled Water
Bottled water is a multi-billion dollar industry that prides itself on top-notch water quality. Here are some of the benefits attached to drinking bottled water.
1. Health Benefits of Natural Mineral Content
Natural water derived from geographically protected sources such as mineral and spring water is filled to the brim with healthy minerals like potassium, calcium, etc. These nutrients can promote heart health, help lower blood pressure, and sustain the balance of electrolytes in your body.
2. No Harmful Bacteria
Distilled water bottles contain water that’s been boiled, condensed, and collected to ensure zero impurities and bacteria. As a matter of fact, distilled water is so pure; it’s often utilized in hospitals to clean medical equipment and avoid infections and bacteria. However, distilled water doesn’t taste as nice as mineral, spring, or tap water because it has been stripped of its mineral content.
3. Easily Acquired and Convenient
Bottled water is readily available everywhere – be it your local supermarket, cafes, restaurants, etc. There’s a 100% chance that you’ll be able to find at least one major bottled water brand available for your consumption, no matter where you are.
Disadvantages of Bottled Water
Its advocates claim that the benefits of bottled water heavily outweigh the advantages of filtered drinking water from the tap. However, despite several major bottled water brands catering to your needs, it’s not without its drawbacks. Here’s what a few of them are.
1. Accuracy of Safety Claims
People prefer bottled water because it’s marketed as a safe drinking option. But is all bottled water filtered and completely safe? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that while bottled water illness outbreaks aren’t widely covered, they do occur. There’s no guarantee that drinking bottled water is 100% safe (unless it’s distilled water) from microbes and other contaminants because the producers of bottled water aren’t required to meet the same standards that are applied to tap water.
2. Fluoride Levels
Experts recommend drinking water contain adequate fluoride levels with problems like tooth decay in children on the rise. However, bottled water content usually doesn’t match the recommended levels of fluoride found in tap water samples – making it less than beneficial for preventing tooth decay and reversing early decay.
3. Environmental and Health Concerns
Bottled water is more commonly sold in plastic water bottles rather than glass for safety reasons. But, the use of plastic bottles for storing water has strong ecological and health concerns. With over 480 billion plastic bottles being used every year – the environmental impact of plastic waste is nothing short of catastrophic.
Apart from taking a long time to decompose, plastic bottles also contain chemicals like phthalates and BPA that can leach into the soil and contaminate our natural underground water resources. There’s also the carbon footprint of transporting bottles from bottling plants to be considered.
Additionally, BPA from a plastic bottle may also leach into the water itself. This has been linked to several health concerns in humans, such as obesity, diabetes. It’s also implicated as a potential carcinogen.
4. Recurrent Costs
Apart from the ethical and environmental impacts of bottled water, there’s also the fact that it’s a recurrent cost. It is estimated that approximately $16 billion is spent on bottled water in the U.S alone. Households that rely on bottled water spend a sizable amount of their earnings on buying them each year, and that’s not taking into account that some water brands are more expensive than others.
Benefits of Filtered Drinking Water
The filtered water vs bottled water debate can’t be complete without a rundown of the pros and cons of filtered water being highlighted. Unlike drinking regular tap water, filtered tap water has several benefits to offer. Some of these benefits are as follows.
1. Drinking Filter Water Is Safe and Healthy
Water from an underground or a public water supply contains contaminants that need to be eliminated before the water is save to drink. Water filtration helps clear the physical and chemical particles in water that are harmful to humans.
Thankfully, most cities get a water supply that is already municipally treated and regulated to an extent to make the water fit distribution. Even so, there can be particles that manage to escape this treatment. That is why home water filters are a must.
For instance, if you have a reverse osmosis filtration system installed, it can help you remove 99% of impurities and dissolved solids from the water, including tiny particles that may have passed through municipal treatment.
However, while picking water filters, it’s important to opt for a water filtration system that’ll help the water retain its natural mineral content. That’s where charcoal filters may be of use.
2. Filtered Tap Water Is Better Tasting
If the bottled water you’re using isn’t spring water or doesn’t list a specific underground source – it may well be filtered water. There’s a popular misconception that bottled water tastes better than filtered water.
However, that is not true, and overall, filtered water may taste better than the bottled water variety. This is especially the case for carbon filters. These filters are renowned for improving the taste of water and enhancing beverages like tea and coffee.
3. Zero Odor
One of the reasons people will often overlook filtered water is that they are not sure if filtration systems can remove the strange odor of chlorine present in tap water. Remember when we said municipalities treat tap water to make it ready for distribution? Chlorine is added to tap water to get rid of pathogens like bacteria or viruses.
The good news is that filtered water removes chlorine and several other chemicals that can affect the taste and smell of water, so you can go on enjoying the use of filtered water without any worries.
4. Easily Available Whenever Required
One of the biggest advantages of filtered water is that you’re never likely to run out of it. All you need to do is flick the switch of your water filter, and you have a nearly unending supply of drinking water.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about bulk buying and keeping the water in stock, like you have to do with bottled water. If you are concerned about cool drinking water, you can easily buy aluminum portable water bottles (avoid plastic) and store them in your refrigerator. Similarly, you can employ glass jugs for when you have guests over.
5. Low Cost in the Long Run
There are many reasons why filtered water is making a strong comeback, and one of them is that it’s the more financially viable option. Apart from the expense of the water filter itself, there aren’t any other costs involved for filtered water.
Disadvantages of Filtered Water
It’s time to examine the cons of drinking filtered water. Here are some of the detriments you might run into if you opt for a water filter for your tap water.
1. Sizable Starting Cost
The expense of buying and installing a water filtration system can vary depending on the type of water filter you purchase, and its capacity. The initial costs involved in setting up filtration systems can be pretty high and may not appeal to everyone. Still, if you consider the long-term benefits of water filtration, including better drinking water quality, health benefits, and reducing the cost of buying bottled water – the advantages may even out the initial investment.
2. Filter Replacement
Once you have your water filter in place, you’ll eventually have to replace filters to ensure the filtration system works. How often you will need to replace the filter depends on the filtration system. In a long term, the cost of replacing a filter will still be less than buying bottled water.
We are at the end of our bottled water vs. filtered water feature. Hopefully, you are better placed to understand the pros and cons of each.
Overall, both filtered water and bottled water are considered safe to drink in developed countries. But, what truly matters is making sure that the water you drink is risk-free, without compromising on related health concerns and benefits.
Installing a whole house filtration system empowers you to keep a check on the water quality you and your family are consuming. Additionally, there are many types of water filters to choose from, including a reverse osmosis system, an activated carbon system, etc. It’s best to thoroughly research any water filter you’re interested in before buying to ensure all your drinking water needs are met and to get the best value for money.