Filtered v Bottled Water – which one should you be Drinking?

Short story | Full story | Conclusion

  • Other than tap water, the two main drinking water options are bottled or filtered water
  • Filtered water is healthier to drink than bottled water because bottled water can contain high concentrations of dangerous PFAS ‘forever chemicals’.
  • Well-filtered water is virtually contaminant free
  • Filtered water also wins on price, taste and convenience
  • Plastic water bottles are harmful to the environment

When comparing the two, although drinking bottled water is better than drinking straight from the mains tap, filtering water with a good quality filtration system will nearly always provide a superior outcome.

Filtered water has many health benefits over its bottle equivalent, which is known to contain harmful PFAS contaminants. The quality of bottled water can also vary considerably but is very rarely pure – despite what manufacturers may claim.

Even taking into account installation and on-going maintenance and replacement of filters, filtered water systems are far less expensive compared to buying daily supplies of bottled drinking water. The filtered version usually tastes better, it’s more convenient to have a ready-made supply of filtered water at home and, last but not least, filtered water is far more environmentally friendly. Quite simply, plastic bottles are a blight.

The full story

As written about in previous blogs, drinking tap water COULD be very bad for your health. The mains supply certainly isn’t as pure as you might expect. So, what are the alternatives, given that drinking water is such an essential part of daily life?


It really comes down to two options: bottled water or filtered tap water. But which is best?

Bottled Water v Filtered Water – the main differences.

Bottled water is water that is produced by independent manufacturers and packaged in bottles – mainly plastic but sometimes glass. It can come from numerous sources, including lakes, streams, glaciers, wells and springs. Depending on its type and the claims of its producers, it can be marketed as pure water – but whether it is generally healthier than filtered water, is another matter.

On the other hand, filtered water in the home primarily originates from the mains supply. The unfiltered tap water will have almost certainly started out as not being particularly good for you to drink. A good filtration system is designed to remove the vast majority of contaminants from the water, thereby making it healthier than bottled water.

Health Benefits

If you were thinking of turning exclusively to bottled water for your drinking water supply, it’s probably best to think again. When it comes to contaminants like PFAS (known to cause life-threatening health issues), most experts have concluded that filtering water is a better option than the bottled equivalent. The main reason is that bottled water contains its own contaminants in the form of its plastic container.

“Bottled water is known to have high concentrations of PFAS. So, I think you’re better off drinking filtered water from a known source,” said Harvard environmental chemist Elsie Sunderland.

Comparing filtered water to bottled water, when you filter your water with a good quality filtration system, you take full control over what you are consuming and even adding to the water you drink. With bottled water, it’s something of an unknown quantity and can vary considerably between one producer and another.


If you buy bottled water every day, it can get very expensive – much more so than opting for filtered water. With filtered water, there is the initial cost of the filtration system and also the on-going filter maintenance or cost of replacement cartridges.

However, studies in the United States have shown that for a family of four to drink bottled water per year, it is more than seven times the annual cost of drinking filtered water. And that margin could be even greater if you purchase individual bottles of water, rather than buying in bulk. So, overall, it’s far cheaper to drink filtered water than bottled water.


Filtered water will normally taste and smell better than bottled water because it’s had any bad tasting contaminants removed.
And drinking from a plastic bottle is never a particularly pleasant, or safe, experience.


People think it’s handy just popping into a supermarket or corner shop to buy a bottle of water. But this doesn’t really beat the convenience of refilling a water container (or glass bottle) each day from your own kitchen filter tap.

But not all bottled water products are filtered, and some studies have highlighted concerns over certain contaminants in bottled water, like microplastics, PFAS compounds and heavy metals – all of which are harmful to health.

Filtered water is consistently healthy and safe to drink (as long as you change the filters on time), whilst the health properties of bottled water will not only depend on the water source but also the way the water is treated and stored.

Environmental Impact

Filtered water is better for the environment than bottled water. Water filters usually have a plastic outer shell, so filtered water does still produce plastic waste. But it’s possible to recycle most of these devices – and they have far greater longevity. Typically, for the average household, most filters will last a year, maybe a little less with particularly heavy usage (which we can monitor for you). Compare this to a single use plastic bottle of water, which would be lucky to last a day before being discarded.

Bottled water is bad for the environment – even worse when it’s wrapped in plastic packaging. Did you know that a plastic water bottle can take up to 1000 years to decompose?

With filtered water, you can protect the environment and stay healthy by using a reusable container.


Drinking bottled water is better than consuming neat tap water but, other than that, once you’ve made the initial investment in a water filtration system, filtered water wins every time. It’s purer, healthier, tastier and more convenient to drink than its bottled equivalent.

At Scott Jenkins Water Softeners, we are passionate about water quality – both water softeners (which will look after your outside) and water filtration systems (which look after your insides).

Our superb range of reverse osmosis filtration products, together with a great selection of activated carbon filters, are designed to suit all budgets. We cover West Sussex, East Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset and Greater London. For all enquiries, call SJ Water Softeners on 01243 607494 or via email: