America's Test Kitchen sparkling water taste test:
Polar Original Seltzer
Tasters praised our winning seltzer for its “extra-bubbly” fizz and “crisp,” “clean” flavor. It was among the bubbliest of the bunch, but not so fizzy that it was overwhelming. Overall, it's a “neutral,” “refreshing” seltzer.
Topo Chico Mineral Water
Tasters deemed this mineral water the bubbliest sparkling water of the bunch. Each sip had “a zillion little bubbles” that made for a “powerful fizz.” Its “salty,” “subtly sweet” aftertaste particularly appealed to the mineral water lovers among our tasters. However, a few thought that its fizziness was a bit “too aggressive” and left a slight “afterburn.”
Schweppes Sparkling Water
Another “fairly fizzy” seltzer, this product had “zingy,” “refreshing” bubbles and a “neutral” flavor. A few tasters detected a “slightly sweet” aftertaste, but otherwise this seltzer had a “pure,” “clean” flavor. The company would not disclose where it sources its water.
La Croix Sparkling Water, Pure
This seltzer is well-known for its creative flavors such as coconut and pamplemousse. We tasted its plain flavor, which had a “clean,” “pure” taste with just a hint of tartness. It was “moderately fizzy,” a bit “flat” for some tasters.
Recommended with Reservations
Perrier Carbonated Mineral Water This mineral water is naturally carbonated. It goes through a purification process that strips away some of the effervescence, so a small amount of carbonation is added after processing to restore fizziness to natural levels. Though it had a relatively high PSI, some tasters thought that it had “very small, infrequent bubbles.” Its mineral content also gave it a strong “salty” and “acidic” taste, though this product was free from the sulfuric notes we detected in other mineral waters.
S. Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
This product is the only sparkling mineral water in our lineup that is fully artificially carbonated. Despite this, it had the “tamest” fizz, seeming “almost flat” to some tasters. It also had a prominent “eggy” aftertaste, along with milder “salty,” “acidic,” and “sweet” notes. Our tasters preferred a fizzier, more neutral-tasting water.