Bottled, Filtered, or Tap Water?

Water is an essential need in life, and there are a lot of sources for it available. Below are the most common sources in the developed world, along with their pros and cons.


Bottled Water

Due to a reduced trust in tap water over the last few decades, either from water contamination scandals, or aging lead piping throughout North America, many people have switched to using only bottled water. While bottled water has the convenience of being easily portable, it can get pricey depending on brand.



  • Portable
  • Minimal solid contaminants depending on source
  • Unlikely to have lead, chlorine, fluorine, or biological contaminants



  • Plastic waste if no recycling facility locally available
  • Microplastics (severity of risk unknown)
  • No different than tap water depending on source


Tap Water

Tap water many decades ago was the go-to water source for everybody, but as infrastructure decayed, and with advancements in testing, trust has waned. In most cases tap water is a safe source that comes from municipal water facilities that treat and chlorinate to remove biological contaminants (and many places still add fluoride for dental protection.)



  • Easily and cheaply accessed for most people in North America
  • Has healthy minerals to supplement diet
  • Treated water to remove dangerous contaminants



  • Aging lead piping still used in many places in North America increasing risk of contamination
  • Treatment causes a less pure taste
  • Dependant on competency of treatment facility


Filtered Water

Considered to be the best compromise between cost, water purity and material waste, filtered water is generally tap water that goes through a type of filter on the tap, or in a separate container. Active carbon filters can remove the majority of negative contaminants (although can also remove positive minerals.)



  • More pure water taste
  • Contaminants removed from tap water
  • Less material waste than bottled water



  • Filters must be replaced regularly, or properly maintained
  • Removes beneficial contaminants as well (needed minerals)

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