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 on “Is Bottled Water Worth Buying?”

  1. 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!

    • Susan,

      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.


  2. 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 😉

  3. I agree that the reverse osmosis systems are good at what they do but take a moment to consider the amount of waste water that is produced by a reverse osmosis unit. I work with these systems every day and ill admit that the larger the system the more waste water it produces and at this present time water is quickly becoming a premium commodity. I recently saw a sign that read “16oz bottle of coke $1.00 16oz bottle of water $1.75” and this was not premium water. The less water we put down the drain as waste the longer our water supply as a whole will last. With all that in mind I would say that the 5 gallon dispensers provide a good amount of water with less plastic waste. Some companies sell really nice looking 5 gallon glass bottles that look better on your counter top and won’t leach harmful chemicals into your drinking water. Just because it says bpa free doesn’t mean it’s safe to store water in or drink from.

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