Is Bottled Water Worth Buying?

I’ve been pretty obsessed with clean drinking water lately since I’ve gotten sick. We moved to a new city a few months ago and didn’t realize that the water quality was bad.

Back where we used to live, the water was great. We just connected the water filter to the faucet and drank from that.

When we moved here, we did the same thing, attached a 10 stage water filter to our faucet and drank from it. We haven’t bought bottled water for awhile.

Recently, I started getting sick and noticed my daughter was having weird rashes. The only thing in common was that we both drank the tap water through our water filter.

water tester

I was curious so I bought a TDS water tester from Amazon. TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids and measures the amount of total dissolved solids in ppm (parts per million).

It won’t tell you what’s exactly in your water but will let you know if there are more things in the water.

Things I’ve tested:

Distilled Water: 0-2 ppm

Tap: 221 ppm

Tap with Filter: 204

Bottled Spring Water: 57 ppm

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter: 36 ppm

As an experiment, my husband brought the tester to work and several co-workers brought in water samples from their homes to test. It was interesting to see the results. Someone had a reading of over 300 ppm.

After that, we’ve only been buying bottled water. And it gets expensive.

Water choices

Bottled water from grocery store: $1/gallon plus $ .10 CRV

Bottle your own water at grocery store or water filtration store: $ .39 – $ .60/gallon

Bottled water delivery: $30 – $50/mo.

Install reverse osmosis filter: $300+ one time and install yourself

Right now, we’re just buying bottled water. But it’s a pain to return the empty bottles for recycling.

We might go to a place where we can refill the water ourselves. But lugging the bottles back and forth is a challenge especially with a baby and stairs.

I would love to install a reverse osmosis water filter system under the sink. But since we’re just renting, it might not be worth it.

So is bottled water worth buying? I would now say, it depends on where you live and how safe your tap water is.

What do you do for drinking water?

 Featured in the Festival of Frugality #319.

  5 comments for “Is Bottled Water Worth Buying?

  1. January 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    This is actually a really interesting read. I always wondered whether bottled water was better. I know several people who carry around the gallon jugs to refill their waters.

    • Fanny
      January 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm


      Thanks. I used to think that bottled water was a waste of money, but not anymore.


  2. Susan
    January 12, 2012 at 9:58 am

    In some parts of the country, contaminants make well water unsafe for babies and baby pigs. Since we moved to such an area (after having extensive testing done), we put in a reverse osmosis system. There is the initial cost, the installation, and the continuing cost of replacing filters. Depending on the model you buy, you may get a tiny stream of water (instead of the usual gush you expect from a regular faucet).

    The reverse osmosis system worked very well for us, since we lived here long enough to recover the costs.

    If you won’t live where you are very long, you might consider buying bottled water by the 5 gallon (refillable) size, or at least buying a brand with recyclable bottles (to reduce waste in landfills).

    I also recommend contacting your local water company and any local media to bring attention to the problem. Maybe someone isn’t doing their job very well and you might end up with an action that fixes your problem.

    Good luck!

    • Fanny
      January 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm


      Thanks for your input. I’m glad the reverse osmosis system is working out for you. Wish I had one. We just buy it and it’s across the street. I will probably get some reusable jugs that have spouts.


  3. laura
    January 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    in AZ we have “Water and Ice” stores that you can fill up your gallon or 5gallon jugs for $.20/gal. It is totally worth getting a water dispenser.. you just have to be smart and clean it. it will last longer.. and ultimately.. so will you ;)

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