Reverse osmosis (RO) is one of the most efficient water treatment methods.
It’s a process in which the water is pushed through a submicron semipermeable membrane. This membrane has pores with a small micron size that block the molecules of many contaminants (including minerals, volatile organic compounds, and heavy metals).
Bottled water brands source their water mainly from municipal sources and then subject it to a multi-stage treatment that includes RO (such as distillation).
But which bottled water brands that rely on RO have the best water? Read on to find out.
Best Bottled Reverse Osmosis Water Brands of 2023
Reverse osmosis typically produces acidic water because it removes the mineral salts that make it alkaline. What makes Essentia unique is that even though the brand employs RO, its end product is one of the most alkaline bottled water options on the market.
Essentia has a proprietary multi-stage filtration. One of the first filtration methods they utilize is microfiltration, which takes care of large-particle impurities found in the municipal water supply. Then, the brand further filters its water through an ultra-efficient RO membrane that leaves no contaminant in the end product.
After the RO process, the water is probably highly acidic. Yet, in the post-filtration period, the brand adds electrolytes, namely sodium bicarbonate, dipotassium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, and calcium chloride. As these are mineral salts, they give the water a crisp taste and raise its alkalinity.
The brand reinforces its water’s alkalinity by ionizing it (removing acids). As a result, when bottled, Essentia is highly alkaline with a pH value of 9.5.
Since it’s electrolyte-rich and highly alkaline, Essentia is many athletes, actors, and dancers’ top pick.
If you’re looking for ultimate purity in your drinking water — that is, if you want water that only consists of hydrogen and oxygen atoms and nothing else — you should look no further than Penta.
The brand subjects its water to a very robust thirteen-step treatment.
Although Penta doesn’t disclose all of its water treatment methods, we know there are two reverse osmosis stages alongside microfiltration, deionization, ultraviolet exposure, and ozonation. In the end, the water doesn’t contain impurities or mineral salts.
Unlike Essentia, Penta doesn’t add any electrolytes to its water post filtration, which makes the water taste bland.
Additionally, since it’s subjected to both reverse osmosis and deionization, Penta is on the acidic side of the pH scale. The water’s pH value varies between 6.1 and 7.12, depending on the bottle.
Core Hydration operates on a similar principle to Essentia, providing ultimate hydration for athletes and other consumers who lead a physically active life. To that end, it ensures its water is entirely contaminant-free.
Core Hydration has a humbler (but still remarkable) treatment process than Penta, comprising seven rigorous stages. Despite the brand’s secrecy regarding its treatment methods, we know one of the steps is reverse osmosis.
At the end of the treatment, the water is filtered and doesn’t contain any hazardous impurities, it no longer has the mineral salts that give it its unique taste and doesn’t have healthy electrolyte content.
To compensate for that and improve the water’s taste, the brand adds potassium bicarbonate, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride before bottling it.
However, these electrolytes don’t affect the water’s alkalinity. Core Hydration has a neutral pH value of 7.4.
Aquafina is a subsidiary brand of the Pepsi Company. The brand has one of the most large-scale water treatment networks globally, with over forty reverse osmosis plants scattered across the United States and Canada.
These plants have state-of-the-art facilities that ensure the water is contaminant- and mineral-free.
Because the brand adds nothing to its water post-filtration and pre-distribution, it consists only of hydrogen and oxygen molecules.
Since Aquafina depends on more than forty municipal water sources for its supply, its water has an even wider pH range than Penta. Depending on where it’s bottled, the water’s pH value ranges between 5.5 (acidic) and 7 (neutral).
LIFEWTR is another Pepsi-owned bottled water brand that utilizes reverse osmosis, but it distinguishes itself from Aquafina in several aspects.
First, LIFEWTR’s focus is not solely on producing pure water — it also prioritizes taste and creativity.
To that end, it adds two electrolytes to the water after the RO treatment: magnesium sulfate and potassium bicarbonate. The proprietary blend of these two electrolytes gives the water a distinct taste and a lingering mouthfeel.
Additionally, the brand works with artists for their bottle designs. Ultimately, the bottle sleeves become more than a brand signature and Kind Water Systemslve into artistic spaces.
Although LIFEWTR is more alkaline than Aquafina due to its electrolyte content, it’s still acidic, with a pH range of 6.4 to 7.4.
Dasani, a famous water brand utilizing RO in its production, is owned by Coca-Cola.
The brand subjects its water to a proprietary, heavy, and meticulous multi-stage filtration process. However, the reverse osmosis stage is the main reason why the water is free of impurities.
When it comes to electrolytes, the water contains magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride — the lattermost being regular table salt. As a result, the water has a total dissolved solids (TDS) count of 36 mg/L, the highest in the reverse osmosis category, and a brisk and fresh taste.
Yet, mineral salts aren’t enough to raise the water’s alkalinity. Because of this, Desani is acidic, with a pH value of 6.25.
Niagara Purified Water
The last brand on our list, Niagara Purified Water, is a family-owned business. In fact, it’s the largest family-owned bottled water brand in the United States. The brand’s commitment to survival while competing with big corporate brands shows how effectively it conducts its business.
Part of this business is Niagara Purified Water’s purification method of three stages, reverse osmosis being the first. Distillation and ozonation follow to ensure the water has no foreign molecules and microorganisms.
After the purification process, the brand adds its electrolyte blend before bottling. This blend consists of potassium bicarbonate, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride, giving the water a touch of crispiness.
However, if you don’t want added minerals, the brand offers pure purified water, too.
While the electrolyte version has a pH value of 6.7, that number is 6 for the regular purified water, putting it on the more acidic side of the pH scale.