Cost of Bottled Water vs Tap Water – Stop Wasting Your Money!

Are you still buying (what amounts to) filtered tap water in plastic bottles? Well, it’s time to stop wasting all that money! Approximately 40% of all water in bottles sold in the U.S. is just filtered water straight from the tap, which is exactly the same thing you can do at home for only a fraction of the cost. Filtering your own drinking water at home costs a little more than $0.002 per gallon, compared to the $0.89 – $8.26 per gallon that you pay for the same filtered water in plastic bottles.

According to a Fast Company article, if the water we use at home cost even what the cheapest bottled stuff costs, our monthly water bill would be around $9,000. Yes, NINE THOUSAND dollars! Talk about getting ripped off! In addition, production of the plastic (PET or polyethylene) bottles just to meet our demand for it in this country takes the equivalent of about 17.6 million barrels of oil (not including transportation costs). So much money and oil is wasted by buying bottled filtered water instead of just filtering your own at home. There are much better ways to spend (or save) your money than on this type of product, so in order to help you cut that expense, let’s take a look at a few ways to rid yourself of the habit.

Whether you will be drinking the water at home or taking it with you, the first thing you need to do is to get some sort of filtration system for your home tap water. There are many different ways to do this, but the most common way involves a faucet-mounted filter from either Brita or PUR. I myself currently have a PUR filter mounted in my kitchen, but I will be switching to a Brita once I finish off all the filters I have in storage. (This is because Brita actually takes back their filters for recycling, while PUR does not) According to the PUR website, their filters remove 99% of lead and microbial cysts, chlorine and chlorination by-products, heavy metals, industrial pollutants, and 99% of pharmaceuticals. The water tastes fantastic, the filters last quite a long time, and I have immediate access to clean, filtered water for a fraction of the cost of the bottled stuff. I recommend, if you choose to filter your water this way, that you use 3-stage filters rather than the slightly less expensive 2-stage ones.

If you don’t want to go the faucet-mount route, you can always buy a pitcher that has a filter installed inside it. While these pitchers are not as effective as mounted filters, they still do a good job of filtering your tap water and removing most contaminants. Many different manufacturers make these kinds of filters, but you are better off sticking with a known brand because that way you can be sure that the plastic they are using is BPA-free.

There are also some refrigerator models that have water filters built right in to the front of them, making drinking filtered tap water incredibly easy. While generally more expensive than those fridges without such a feature, the next time it’s time to buy a new unit you may want to check these out. You just hook up the water line from your house to the back of the fridge, install the manufacturer’s filter, and voila – clean water available at the push of a button on right on the front. Wish my refrigerator had this!

Finally, you need something to take it with you if you aren’t using those little plastic bottles! Pick yourself up a reusable stainless steel or aluminum bottle from Klean Kanteen or Sigg so you can kick the habit for good. I have had mine for years and it’s still going strong. A small investment up front in a filter and a reusable bottle can save you a ton of dough in the long run… so stop wasting your money!

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Comments (10)

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  1. Jenny says:

    Another option is the stand up water cooler. It is great for me because I like my drinking water really cold so a faucet filter wouldn’t do that for me. I had a brita for awhile, but the pitcher was always empty and took a long time to chill after being filled, so I would always go to the fridge, see the empty pitcher, and drink some soda or juice instead.

    The water cooler is great. It always keeps water on hand and cold for me. The water bottles are not very expensive (2-4 dollars in Canada) for 5 gallons. And the bottles are refilled rather than recycled (or thrown away), using up way less energy and resources.

    I just buy mine from the grocery store, but you can get them for home delivery if you want a more convenient option.

    I drink so much more water with this, because it is always there and always cold and waiting for me.

    As a bonus, I don’t need a kettle anymore because mine came with a hot water option on it. Just press a button and in a couple minutes you have hot filtered water for tea.

  2. Annie Jones says:

    We’ve used the filters before, in previous homes, but here we just drink our tap water straight out of the faucet. It tastes great and there’s no added expense.

  3. Its nice to have some figures to back up what I already knew.

    How did anyone survive before they invented bottled water anyways???

  4. Shadox says:

    So what’s wrong with unfiltered tap water?

    In this country we have clean, plentiful water. Contrary to what industry and self-styled health gurus would have you believe, our water (at least in the vast majority of urban & suburban centers) are healthy and good for you.

  5. David says:

    Shadox – not all communities have good tap water. Where I grew up, it was fine to drink unfiltered. Here in Denver, it tastes awful and needs to be filtered first.

  6. Scott says:

    I love sparkling water and would love to find a way to make my own cheaply. All I need is fresh fruit, water, and co2. My wife would kill me if I installed a soda fountain in the garage 🙂

  7. Stephanie says:

    We stopped buying disposable plastic water bottles several years ago. When we are at home, we use a glass and the filter in the fridge. When we are out-and-about, we fill up reusable water bottles.

  8. David says:

    Scott – Check out sodastream.com

  9. I drink the tap water straight out of the faucet as well and it doesn’t make any harm to me. I do not need some filtration system at all. If I want to have cold water I just simply add an ice cubes. I have gone through all published statements about the water cleanliness in my home area and everything seems to be OK so far.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I live in a small town in Indiana that has horrid water. The EPA has been here several times in the last 3 years and have fined the water company and still nasty drinking water. I have tried the Brita filters and it still taste nasty. So, the only thing that I can do is buy bottled water. But I do save by buying bulk. I can buy a case of bottled water at my local grocery store for $2.50! So that is not too bad. It is $1.09 for one bottle at the convienience store.