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April 2022

Cost of Bottled Water: Why Is It So Expensive?

Cost of Bottled Water

Bottled water is big business in the United States. Consumers spend billions of dollars each year to quench their thirst, placing bottled water squarely at the number one spot for beverage sales in the U.S. In 2018, Americans spent more than $18 billion on bottled water according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, that’s more than 13 million gallons of water sold![1]

How Much Does Bottled Water Cost

People are paying nearly $1.40 for each one of those gallons of bottled water. While the exact cost of a bottle of water can vary by its size, type, and where you buy it, on average, you can expect to pay $1.50 for a 16 oz bottle. Over a year, that cost adds up with the average American spending around $100 a year on bottled water.[2]

How Much Do Under Sink Water Filters Cost?

While those costs may not seem high compared to other drinks like soda, bottled water is shockingly expensive when you compare it to tap water. On average, bottled water is 2,000 times more expensive than tap water. So why do people still choose bottled water over tap? Usually, the decision comes down to smell, taste, and purity, as many consumers prefer the consistent flavor and quality ofbottled water. One cost-effective alternative to bottled water is using an under sink water filtration system. These filters remove impurities that cause discoloration and bad smells in tap water, all while providing consistently clean, great-tasting water at a fraction of the cost. These low-cost filters start at less than $30 a month and can save families hundreds of dollars a year in bottled water costs alone.

Which Is Cheaper, Bottled Water or Filtered Tap Water?

When it comes to cost, filtered tap water will always beat out bottled water. For that same $1.50 you might pay for a bottle of water at a store, you can expect to get 1,000 gallons from your tap at home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average Amerian family uses around 300 gallons of water in a day, costing less than a dollar for most households. Now imagine paying bottled water prices for each one of those gallons—your monthly water bill would easily be $10,000 or more![3]

The Cost of Water

In the U.S. an average gallon of tap water will cost you less than a penny. The exact cost of water can vary depending on where you live, total water consumed, and the source of your water. Typical tap water sources include lakes, rivers, aquifers, aqueducts, and reservoirs. Water utility companies take water from these sources, treat it, and then distribute it to homes and businesses. Water utility companies track individual usage with water meters, which track how many gallons are used each month. Your monthly water bill factors in the cost of the water along with additional fees, labor, and infrastructure it costs to provide water.

How to Reduce Your Water Budget?

Whether you want to save a few dollars each month or you want to conserve water for environmental reasons, there are many ways to reduce your water consumption. Below are seven simple ways you can reduce your water bill next month.

  1. Install low-flow toilets
  2. Use energy-efficient, water-saving devices and appliances
  3. Install low-flow shower heads
  4. Take shorter showers
  5. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth
  6. Run full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine
  7. Store drinking water in your fridge

Cost Saving Water Filters

If your monthly water budget includes purchasing expensive bottled water, then filtering your own water at home could help save you hundreds of dollars. Cost-saving filters can transform ordinary tap water and make it taste as good, if not better than, store-bought bottled water and at a fraction of the cost.

The Cost of Water Per Gallon

Even though water prices have risen steadily over the years, at-home drinking water costs have remained affordable. With an average fee of $1.50 per 1,000 gallons, most households in the U.S. pay less than $100 a month on their water bill. In part, this is thanks to the efforts of local, state, and federal government agencies working together to provide sustainable drinking water at an affordable price.[4]

Is It Better to Drink Filtered Tap Water or Bottled Water?

The choice between filtered tap water and bottled water can be difficult. However, when you consider the real cost of water, the choice becomes obvious. Filtered tap water will cost you pennies on the dollar compared to bottled water, and with the right reusable water bottle, it can be just as convenient, cold, and great-tasting as your favorite bottled water brand.

The Average Cost of Water per Month

Most families use around 100 gallons of water a day. This daily usage includes showers, toilets, washing machines, drinking water, and other miscellaneous uses. For that 100 gallons of water a day, their monthly water bill will be about $70. Households using 50 gallons a day can expect to pay about half that or around $35 a month.[5]

The annual cost of water varies by location. Below are the average monthly water costs based on using 100 gallons a day in 10 of the largest cities in the U.S.[6]



 New York


 Los Angeles










 San Antonio


 San Diego




 San Jose


How Much Water Does the Average Household Use?

Water usage amongst households can vary depending on the number of individuals living in the home. Most people will use between 50 and 150 gallons of water a day to shower, drink, and work around the house, with the average family of four using closer to 300 gallons of water a day. These numbers can also vary depending on the time of year, as more water is used during hot summer months.[7]

Why Is Bottled Water So Expensive?

With the drastic difference in price, many people wonder why bottled water is so much more expensive than tap water. The truth is, the price has less to do with the water itself and everything to do with the manufacturing, transportation, and advertising costs associated with producing each bottle. In fact, most bottled water plants are using the same water source as your local water utility company.

Bottled water manufacturers must purchase their own water, buy the plastic water bottles, pay to get the water in those bottles, then they occur even more costs to transport those heavy plastic bottles filled with water to a store near you. On top of that, bottled water brands then spend millions more on advertising to get people to choose their water over the competition. Those additional costs add up quickly and are passed on to the consumer. So when you pick a bottle of water off of the shelf at your store, you are paying for far more than just water.

Cost of a Water Filtration System

Filtered water cuts out additional costs associated with bottled water by tapping into your home water supply. By filtering the affordable water you already have access to, filtered water can be an excellent option for families wanting bottled water taste and consistency without the extra cost.

There are many ways to filter your water and home, and the cost can vary. Pitchers that filter your water can cost less than $20, while under sink or whole home filtration systems usually can be installed for less than $100. Over time, additional costs to you would be minimal. Over the lifetime of a filter, you will only be paying a fraction of a cent more for each gallon of tap water you enjoy.

What Are the Benefits of Under Sink Water Filters?

If you are considering a water filter for your home, then an under sink unit is a smart way to go. They are installed out of sight, underneath your sink and give you on-demand filtered water from your kitchen. Unlike less expensive pitchers, there is no waiting time, and under sink water filters use more advanced filtration systems that remove 99.9% of contaminants from your water. Under sink filters are also less invasive than filtered countertop water systems that may take up unnecessary space. Under sink units don’t require a lot of know-how or training to use either, just turn the faucet and you’re ready to start enjoying clean, pure water. Other benefits of under sink water filters include:

  • Great-tasting water
  • Clean water free of chemicals, toxins, and contaminants
  • Easy installation
  • Stress-free maintenance
  • Fewer costs

Do I Need an Under Sink Water Filter?

If you want clean, affordable drinking water, then an under sink filtration system will be perfect for you. HomeWater’s team of experts can help get you started by testing your tap water at home, installing your system for free, and even sending you replacement filters on a customizable schedule. Check out our top-rated EZChange Drinking Water Filter today to get started.

  1. International Bottled Water Association.
    Accessed July 7, 2019.
  2. John G. Rodwan, Jr. “Bottled Water U.S. and International Developments and Statistics.”
    Published 2018. Accessed July 7, 2019.
  3. The United States Environmental Protection Agency Website.
    Accessed July 7, 2019.
  4. Environmental Protection Agency. “EPA’s Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure.”
    Accessed July 7, 2019.
  5. Circle of Blue.
    Accessed July 7, 2019.
  6. Circle of Blue.
    Accessed July 7, 2019.
  7. The United States Environmental Protection Agency Website.
    Accessed July 7, 2019.

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