Whether you’re new to the flavored water lifestyle or you’ve been sipping infused H20 for years, there’s no denying that flavored water (especially of the sparkling variety) has been taking the nation by storm.
Drinking plenty of water is an incredibly important — and often overlooked — way to stay healthy. Luckily, flavored water seems to be encouraging consumers to enhance their hydration with fun flavors, minus the numerous negative health impacts of sugary sodas (via Healthline). As flavored waters continue to dominate the beverage aisle at the grocery store, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the different choices out there. In fact, it seems like every few months, there’s a new cleverly packaged water brand boasting a unique ingredient formula and an array of supposed health benefits.
No matter what, there’s one thing that’s most important when it comes to choosing the best sorts of flavored water — the flavor! We’re here to help you navigate some of the many trendy water brands out there, and tell you which of the most prominent ones offer the best tasting products. These are popular flavored water brands, ranked from worst to best.
12. JUST Water
You may have heard of JUST Water, but did you know there’s a familiar name behind their products? The company is owned by none other than Jaden Smith, actor, musician, and of course, son of Will Smith. After learning about the massive amounts of plastic polluting our oceans, Jaden began planning the environmentally-conscious water business when he was just 11 years old, according to an interview with Food & Wine.
If we were ranking flavored water based solely on nutrition and environmental impact, JUST Water would certainly fall higher on the list. Their natural spring water products are sustainably packaged, even going so far as to use plastic derived from plants for their water bottles. Unfortunately, the impressive mission and nutrition label of JUST Water are much better than the actual taste of the product.
When creating their infused waters, JUST set out to make the products light and natural, "as if you’d dropped a piece of fruit or a mint leaf into the carton on your own" according to their website. In practice, those flavors taste a bit artificial. With fewer flavor options than fellow water brands and an underwhelming taste, JUST isn’t yet the best choice if you’re specifically looking for a flavorful, bold product.
Hint has been around since 2004 and has steadily gained notoriety in recent years. The fruit-infused water brand was born out of founder Kara Goldin’s dissatisfaction with the copious amounts of sugar and added preservatives in many flavored waters. Since its inception, the company has ventured beyond water and now sells personal care products like sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and deodorant.
Offering both still and sparkling waters, Hint is certainly not lacking in variety and options of flavors. They’ve got the classics like strawberry-kiwi, blackberry, and lemon, among others. The watermelon flavor is pleasantly sweet and refreshing, and complementary combinations like mango-grapefruit do an excellent job of pairing sweet with sour. In general, though, Hint water’s taste borders on the line of too subtle and isn’t as satisfying as some other popular flavored water brands.
A review by Mr. Water Geek noted that Hint is true to the name, offering only the tiniest hint of flavor. "If you are expecting regular flavored water that’s bursting with sweetness – you will be very disappointed," they wrote.
Bai drinks all contain one signature ingredient — coffee fruit, or more specifically the fruit surrounding the coffee bean, according to their website. Their antioxidant drinks, ranging from lemonades to teas and fizzy water, are popular among those looking to boost their vitamin C levels.
Their flavored water is really hit or miss, depending on the particular drink you choose. Bai’s flavor offerings skew towards bolder fruits, like clementine, mango, and dragonfruit. Bai’s dragon fruit drink is one of the better options available, and actually tastes pretty similar to the sweet strawberry kiwi beverage. Since most of their flavors are so intense, we’d recommend skipping Bai if you’re looking for a more subtle flavor profile.
While Bai is a great brand for those looking to increase their antioxidant intake, it’s definitely not the best overall choice when it comes to flavored water brands. There is also some added sugar in the drinks, though it only amounts to about a gram per bottle. Still, if you’re strenuously avoiding sugar (arguably a pretty common motivation amongst people who choose to drink flavored water), Bai might not be for you.
9. Nestle Splash
Now, here’s a flavored water brand that you may not have heard about unless you’re really up on flavored water news. As the largest food and beverage company in the world, it isn’t surprising that Nestle offers up non-carbonated flavored water among its many other products. Nestle Splash uses natural fruit flavors, skipping artificial flavor additives and further boasting zero calories or sugars.
Nestle Splash currently has only six flavors on offer — pineapple mango, wild berry, lemon, strawberry melon, acai grape, and mandarin orange. While we appreciate the ultra-low calorie count of Nestle Splash, the truth is that these flavors fall in the middle of the quality range. They’re not particularly unique or exciting, but they will certainly do the trick if you’re thirsty.
One reviewer on Influenster said: "Nestle flavored water is pretty good, though I still prefer some alternatives. It has a somewhat lighter flavor than some other flavored bottled waters do, which might be preferred by some." Generally speaking, this is a good neutral option when you’re browsing the aisles at the supermarket and you find yourself craving a slightly more exciting option than just plain water. But there are some bolder varieties still out there, too.
8. Polar Seltzer
Polar Seltzer is no stranger to the flavored water game. The Massachusetts-based company has been in business since 1882, serving up seltzers made from only local water, bubbles, and natural fruit flavors. No sodiums or sweeteners are added to their signature bubbles, according to their website.
With a whopping 18 distinct flavors and some additional limited-edition flavors that are released from time to time, Polar Seltzer is certainly a top contender when it comes to variety. If you’re looking for something fairly unique in the flavored water world, Polar isn’t a bad bet. Although, of course, we must admit that not all of the brand’s flavors are created equally.
On the plus side, Polar Seltzer’s cranberry lime seltzer is a cult favorite and a great example of joining two harmonious flavors. What’s more, you can’t really go wrong with lime-flavored water, with carries plenty of fresh, pleasing citrus notes. When it comes to their less obvious choices, like toasted coconut and vanilla, the aromatic scent can make it feel a bit like you’re drinking a liquid candle rather than flavored water … which is obviously less than ideal!
However, the fan-favorite flavors are well worth their mass appeal. The taste of Polar Seltzer overall isn’t overpowering but is still certainly recognizable, and a definite upgrade from plain old water.
7. Propel Water
If you’re looking for non-carbonated flavored water, Propel is one of the better options out there. The brand’s products are metaphorically bursting with electrolytes and vitamins, and with no added calories to boot. Reviews of the brand on Influenster are pretty glowing, too, with plenty of loyal customers praising the subtle yet sweet taste of its varied flavors. Propel has pretty well covered the basis of popular fruit flavors, such as black cherry, strawberry, peach, and lemon.
Since the main differentiator of Propel is the high amount of electrolytes contained in a bottle, its products may be more tempting for fitness buffs looking to replenish themselves after a workout, rather than the typical flavored water drinker focused on taste. It’s also a great substitute for Gatorade fans wanting to cut down on calories.
But for those who prefer their flavored water sans sweeteners, it may be preferable to steer clear of Propel. All of the brand’s drinks are sweetened with sucralose, and its Propel Vitamin Boost contains organic cane sugar, according to their website.
A veteran in the sparkling water industry, Perrier is almost certainly a name you’ve heard before — their popular mineral water dates all the way back to 1863. The company originated in France, but Perrier has been a popular fizzy water option in the U.S. for quite some time now. And guess what? It’s another Nestle-owned beverage and has been since it was acquired way back in 1992, per the Los Angeles Times.
Always changing with the times and adapting to new trends, Perrier has been slowly but surely adding new flavors to their line of products. Relatively recently, that’s meant the inclusion of orange and green apple in 2015 and strawberry and watermelon in 2017.
The fizziness of Perrier, as well as its rather historic reputation, is perhaps more impressive and sought-after than the flavor of its actual drinks. Then again, while you may not immediately think of Perrier when you think flavored water, it’s worth trying one of their fruity beverages. The taste isn’t as powerful as other flavored water options, sure, but sometimes that’s just what you’re looking for. The lime flavor received an especially rave review on The Bubbleverse: "This is a fresh lime squeezed just the right amount to flavor a salty mineral water. What more can we ask for?"
Coca-Cola, long a stalwart of sugary sodas like its flagship Coke, finally burst onto the sparkling water scene with AHA in 2019. As its biggest brand launch in recent years, the beverage giant set out to "appeal to existing sparkling water drinkers and recruit new fans through inclusive and inviting marketing," according to their website.
So, how has that inclusive marketing fared? The beverage’s branding is bold, for sure, and certainly seems to be targeted to a youthful audience. Trey Veal, who oversaw the packaging design for AHA, noted that the brand’s name connotes a feeling of surprise (via The Coca-Cola Company). So, the creative team was able to have some fun with the design, which is bright, playful, and hard to miss.
AHA has certainly infiltrated the flavored water market, serving up eight unique flavor pairings without sweeteners, calories, or any sodium. Select varieties even have some caffeine added to mix, which may be a plus when you’re feeling a bit sleepy and not in the mood for a full cup of coffee.
The Washington Post noted that the strong aroma of AHA’s flavors can be a bit aggressive, making the drink taste more like candy than water. If you are in the mood for a strong and sweet taste, though, the blueberry pomegranate flavor is a particularly winning combination.
Sanpellegrino Aranciata has been around since 1932, but the Italian brand didn’t stop with their hit orange soft drink. They first introduced sparkling fruit beverages to their product list in 1950, and have been consistently adding more flavors to the mix in recent years.
Often judged against the other sparkling water giant Perrier, Sanpellegrino certainly holds its own. It certainly came out on top in a detailed comparison by Product Playoffs, with better ingredients and a much higher rating on taste preference. In a blind taste test, participants noted that there seemed to be more carbonation and an increased fizz with Sanpellegrino. If you really like that bubbly sensation of drinking sparkling water, this brand could be especially interesting for you.
Its Essenza line has a pink grapefruit and citrus blend, blood orange and black raspberry, and lemon and lemon zest combination. The lemon sparkling beverage is super tart and refreshing, making it just about the perfect cold drink to enjoy on warmer days. Sanpellegrino’s flavor pairings are all very complimentary, and the company’s emphasis on citrus further sets it apart from the crowd.
LaCroix is just about the most famous flavored water in many American markets. The sparkling water brand has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, splashing onto the sparkling water scene at a time when Americans were largely ditching soda and looking for a healthier alternative, according to Vox. But the Wisconsin-based brand has actually been around since the 1980s and was purchased by National Beverage Corp in 1996. Social media marketing seemed to do wonders for boosting LaCroix’s reputation over the years, with #LiveLaCroix garnering a lot of buzz on Instagram from millennials and younger generations in recent years.
LaCroix’s naturally essenced carbonated water is housed in some pretty flashy packaging that is sure to attract attention, but clever marketing can only do so much. When it comes to taste, LaCroix seals the deal with remarkably refreshing drinks and tons of unique flavors. From classics like mango and berry to more daring choices like Pamplemousse (that’s grapefruit, for those of you who don’t speak French) and Beach Plum, their products stand out from the crowd.
There’s an added bonus here, too, at least if you’re looking to mix things up — LaCroix drinks make for great mocktails. Fashion yourself a sangria, margarita, or mojito with the flavorful fizzy water, and we bet you’ll understand all of the hype!
Speaking of artfully packaged seltzer waters, Bubly’s aesthetically pared-down cans have probably caught your eye once or twice. But did you know that it’s actually a Pepsi creation? According to FoodBev Media, PepsiCo launched the calorie-free sparkling water brand in 2018 to profit off the rising popularity of seltzers. While it’s a relative newcomer to the flavored water business, that business appears to be booming, to say the least.
Beating out competitors like AHA, Bubly was recognized as one of the Top 10 Food and Beverage Pacesetters in 2019, earning over $100 million in just their first year. Bubly has also created a successful partnership with SodaStream, providing flavored drops so consumers can make their own flavored water at home.
Once all of this marketing has convinced you to pick up Bubly, you aren’t likely to be disappointed. There are 15 flavors on offer. Amongst them, lime and grapefruit are definitely some of the best-tasting flavored waters you can get, with bright, natural flavors. If the refreshing taste doesn’t make you smile, maybe the adorable greeting on the can’s tab will!
Now here’s a flavored water brand that actually lives up to the hype! Spindrift is one of the most sought-after seltzers in the market, and understandably so. The company touts itself as making the first sparkling water made with just squeezed fruit. They knock the widespread use of "natural flavors" in most beverages because, let’s face it, nobody knows exactly what that means. Spindrift’s philosophy is that fruit-flavored water should be made from, well, fruit.
When you pick up a Spindrift seltzer, that process will become pretty clear. The first clue will likely be the vibrant color of the drink. The next giveaway is that the flavors in the can are natural, bold, and delicious. In short, their drinks taste like actual fruit, though pared down to flavored water levels. The use of real fruit does mean that there are a few calories involved — about 15 per can. Yet, as Vox notes, we shouldn’t be so quick to turn up our noses at flavored water with a calorie count. After all, fruit has calories, so a flavored drink should be able to have some too.
Spindrift’s flavor choices are top-notch, with mostly single flavor options (though the raspberry lime is a particularly wonderful combination). The strawberry seltzer is incredible, and the brand’s lemon is a pretty popular choice as well. While a daring fusion or unique flavor can be interesting, sometimes it’s best to settle down with the simple stuff, which is what Spindrift does so well.