If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I am an absolute fiend for sparkling water. There is truly no better beverage on this planet than the bubbly, lightly flavored, fizzy hydration vehicle that is non-alcoholic seltzer. In fact, I wish that the carbonated stuff would flow out of our taps. Forget still water: I want to brush my teeth with sparkling water from here on out.
Truthfully, I will never turn down sparkling water of any sort. But that being said, there are some brands out there that are better than others. If you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of sparkling water, I’ve been sent here to guide you through the process of picking out the best seltzer money can buy. Here are some of the top sparkling water brands, ranked.
One of the most commonly seen sparkling water brands on the market is Waterloo, and while the brand boasts some solid flavors, I have to admit that it’s not my favorite. Flavors like the blackberry lemonade and cherry limeade are delicious. Others, like the strawberry and the peach, leave a lot to be desired. I find that Waterloo sparkling waters tend not to be too subtle. If you’re looking for something closer to a soda, this may be the brand for you. Otherwise, there are better options out there.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I love Spindrift. This sparkling water actually contains real fruit, so you know you’re getting something that you won’t find from every brand. However, they really don’t skimp on the fruit, so you should make sure you want a heavily flavored drink if you buy this stuff. The flavors are great (especially the new blood orange tangerine), but they’re not quite as refreshing as a more lightly flavored sparkling water.
It pains me to put LaCroix so far down on this list because I actually think it’s a fantastic product. With classic flavors like lemon and lime and wilder, more interesting options like limoncello and guava Sao Paulo, you can be relatively certain that you’re going to find a flavor you like from LaCroix. But with so many other fantastic sparkling water brands on the market, I don’t want to limit myself to this classic.
Bubly may be relatively new on the sparkling water scene, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try. First of all, I love this brand’s packaging, and because I’m a shallow shopper, that’s enough to catch my attention. But I also love that this brand doesn’t go overboard with their flavors: They’re simple, subtle and delicious, which is just what I’m looking for in a good sparkling water. And as an avid SodaStream fan, I love that they also sell SodaStream drops as well.
Not everyone in the country is lucky enough to live near a Kroger, but if you are one of the lucky few, then you should head to the drinks aisle and pick out some Kroger Brand sparkling water immediately. This is one of the cheapest sparkling water brands out there, but they still deliver when it comes to quality. My favorite flavor by far is the blackberry citrus. Believe me when I say that you need to get your hands on some of this stuff immediately.
For all those looking for an affordable sparkling water alternative but who don’t live anywhere near a Kroger, I have good news for you: Polar Seltzer is here to save the day. This unfussy standby offers everything you need from your sparkling water. There are a plethora of different flavors to choose from, whether you want to opt for the classic pomegranate or black cherry or go for something a little different, like the blueberry lemon or cranberry clementine. The best part is that this brand is often available for much less than you’d pay for the more-famous large brands.
Last but certainly not least is my favorite of them all: Topo Chico. This sparkling mineral water doesn’t offer a ton of flavors—apart from the plain original version, you’ll only find lime, grapefruit and tangerine flavors. By not putting so much time and effort into a ton of different flavors, it seems like the brand can focus on what they already know they can do well. And although the flavored versions are delicious, I personally prefer the original version. It’s crisp and clean and refreshing—plus, something about drinking it out of the bottle makes it even more enjoyable.
When I’m having guests over and want to serve sparkling water, I love putting out a big bottle of this stuff. It feels slightly nicer than a can or a plastic bottle, and I know that it’s going to be polished off once everyone tastes how good it is. Catch me sipping on a Topo all summer long.
Samantha Maxwell is a food writer and editor based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @samseating.