Since bottled water easily accommodates the active lifestyle of today’s families, these products are an obvious choice when heading to the gym or out for a day of skiing. But are there really any differences between the various brands and types of bottled water?

Types of Bottled Water

While many consumers think of it as drinking water, bottled water is actually considered a food product in many countries, including the U.S., Canada and most European nations. Each country sets standards for bottled water products being sold within their borders, including processing and labeling. Below are descriptions of seven common types of bottled water products you may find available for sale:

  • Artesian Water: Artesian bottled water comes from a confined underground source. A well is drilled into the underground aquifer and the water is then pumped to the surface by the bottler.
  • Drinking Water: Bottled drinking water comes from many different sources, including public water supplies. It generally undergoes filtration and disinfection.
  • Fluoridated Water: Fluoridated bottled water contains either naturally occurring fluoride or fluoride which is added back into the water after treatment. Typically, the minimum fluoride presence is 0.8 mg/L.
  • Mineral Water: Bottled water that is classified as mineral water contains at least 250 ppm total dissolved solids and originates from a protected underground water source.
  • Purified Water: Purified bottled water products are produced through distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis. Such processing significantly reduces the mineral content (or total dissolved solids) of the original source water.
  • Sparkling Water: Bottled water that contains, after treatment, the same amount of carbon dioxide that it did when it first emerged from the source.
  • Spring Water: Bottled spring water comes from an underground formation where the water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.

There are no official classifications for bottled water products described as “natural” or “pure,” so keep in mind that such words do not reflect the source, treatment or quality of the bottled water. Instead, make sure you look for one of the above referenced standards of identity on your favorite bottled water to be sure of its source.