Taste Test: The Best Bottled Waters

We taste-tested bottled waters from the grocery store and online to find our favorites.
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bottled water

BEST STILL

Fiji Natural Artesian Water

Many bottled waters come from mountain springs or even regular municipal reservoirs, but Fiji claims its water comes straight from the rocks under a Fijian rainforest. Our judges picked up on Fiji's "pristine" nature, noting its "clean, fresh taste." ($2.20 for 33.8 ounces, at grocery stores)

CLOSE SECOND

Volvic Natural Spring Water

Panelists described this strong runner-up as "pure" and "slightly sweet." ($1.60 for 33.8 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST SPARKLING

Seagram's Original Seltzer

This brand is often stashed behind the bar and mixed with its namesake gin, but our panel voted it tasty enough to drink on its own. While judges found other sparkling waters had bitter aftertastes and aggressive carbonation, they deemed Seagram's "refreshing" with "just the right size bubbles." ($1.30 for 33.8 ounces, at grocery stores)

CLOSE SECOND

Saratoga Sparkling Spring Water

Without seeing the pretty bottle, tasters raved, "Superb, with a dry finish." ($2 for 28 ounces, saratogaspringwater.com for stores)

BEST MINERAL

Perrier Sparkling Mineral Water

Of the world's mineral waters, Perrier is one of the most famous -- and apparently the tastiest, too. Our judges said it beat out "chalky, salty" competitors with "nicely balanced, crisp flavor" and "soft bubbles." ($1.70 for 25 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST FLAVORED

Poland Spring Lemon Sparkling Water

Dozens of waters in this category tasted artificial, but Poland Spring stood out for its subtle yet distinctly natural lemon flavor. Said one taster: "It's like someone squeezed a lemon into the glass." ($1.40 for 33.8 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST DESIGNER

Tau Spring Sparkling Water

The tall, sleek bottle isn't just a pretty fašade -- one judge called this British spring water "crisp, clean and perfect." It's also a relative bargain -- it beat out waters three times its price. ($2.70 for 25 ounces, 800-646-6974 for stores)

BEST LOOKING

Fred Natural Spring Water

This stylish new kid on the shelf looks like an updated canteen bottle -- and the slim shape makes it easy to tote around. ($1.75 for 16.9 ounces, fredspot.com for stores)

BIGGEST EGO

hiOsilver Oxygen Water

It claims to deliver six times more oxygen than regular water, plus boost energy and freshen breath. If only it could make dinner, too. ($30 for twelve 12-ounce bottles, hiosilver.com)

BEST THROWBACK

Toscá

The patented top lets you spritz this carbonated Spanish water into your glass, just like an old-fashioned soda jerk. ($2.50 for 1 liter, begudestosca.com for stores)

Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in May 2007.

 

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