Sparkling waters are all the rage, but is top dog LaCroix really the best? We tested 11 brands to find the best sparkling water.
Taste of Home
Is it just me, or is there sparkling water everywhere you look these days? I’m not complaining—sparkling water is a great alternative to all those sugary sodas (though I do love a root beer now and again!). In the last few years, it seems like the number of fizzy waters on the shelf has exploded! Just a few years back, I feel like all I ever saw was LaCroix—a favorite of millennials everywhere. Now, though, options abound in the grocery aisle. I had to check out which was best!
For this test, myself and other taste testers from Taste of Home had to compare apples to apples—or should I say lemons to lemons? I grabbed 11 brands of sparkling water and seltzer, all in the standard lemon flavor, to judge them blindly with a group of sparkling water fanatics. Of course, we’d love to judge all the flavors, but we’ll just start with the basics. By the way, we bet you had no idea sparkling water and seltzer were the same thing.
These are the brands we tried:
Trust me, the results are going to shock you!
Honorable mention: Polar
For fans of fizz, check out Polar. My crew of testers just loved the amount of carbonation in this sparkling water. The flavor of this lemon option was fairly mild (though authentic), but that was just fine with most folks. For so many fans of fizzy waters, effervescence—not flavor—is the name of the game.
$ 1.59 for a 2L bottle or $ 3.50 for a 12-pack; available nationwide.
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We were pretty surprised that Bubly, a Pepsi brand, placed so well in this test. How could a soda company make a healthy option that tasted so good? We’re not sure how they did it, but testers loved this brand’s big flavors—a much bolder lemon taste than any other option, hands down. For folks that like stronger fruit flavors or maybe aren’t 100 percent sold on sparkling water, Bubly is the brand for you. It bridges the gap between sparkling water and soda when it comes to taste while maintaining that calorie- and sweetener-free formula that we look for. If you prefer your lemon taste without bubbles, find out the best lemonade, according to a taste test.
$ 3.50 for an 8-pack; available nationwide.
Best in show: Klarbrunn
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Just nudging out Bubly for the top spot was Klarbrunn. Our sparkling water experts were pretty astonished when they found out this lesser-known brand took the crown. In fact, several testers hadn’t ever heard of Klarbrunn. Popularity aside, this hidden gem delivered! In terms of flavor, this sparkling water walked the line between subtlety and in-your-face flavor. Testers definitely detected the lemon essence—what they considered to be the most authentic lemon option of our batch—but they didn’t find that it was overwhelming. Overall, folks agreed that this sparkling water had it all over the rest with its refreshing flavor and perfect fizz. The only drawback to this option, according to a few testers, was that this option didn’t keep its fizz for an extended period. Not a deal-breaker for most, but slow sippers be aware! Before you binge on our favorite choice, find out the truth about whether seltzer is really good for you.
$ 4 for a 12-pack; available at select retailers nationwide.
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This test was certainly surprising to many sparkling water fans in the office. Why didn’t their beloved LaCroix take the top spot? How did they never see Klarbrunn on the shelf before? The results might shake up their refreshment routine!
This all being said, this test was pretty darn close; nine out of our 11 brands got good scores. So while our top three were our favorites overall, we wouldn’t turn down most of these sparkling water options if they were offered to us at a party or were on sale at the grocery store.
In the end, I can’t blame you if you want to stick with your favorite brand, though it might be worth trying a new one just for fun! Also, if you want to try a drink with a kick, find out our taste test’s favorite brand of cold brew coffee!
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