Alkaline water can be found in gyms and grocery stores everywhere now — here's what it tastes like and what it does (2024)

  • Essentia is the leading ionized alkaline water brand you've probably seen in grocery stores and gyms.
  • It has a pH of 9.5, so it's less acidic than regular tap water, and contains electrolytes like calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate.
  • Curious about what it tasted like and whether it lived up to its hydration claims, we tried it and found it had a clean, smooth taste and effectively rehydrated us through both regular work days and intense workouts.

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It is well-documented that I like drinking water, and usually I'm perfectly happy drinking plain old tap water to hydrate myself.

Sometimes, however, if I feel like I need an extra boost, I turn to alternatives like electrolyte powders. I've also been curious about "supercharged" waters like the ones I see everyone toting at the gym or airport.

These waters usually contain electrolytes or have been ionized to increase its pH. Water with higher pH, or alkaline water, can improve cardiovascular function and help people retain more fluids in the body, leading to more efficient rehydration than regular water.

I don't love that they're only sold in plastic bottles and are typically more expensive than regular water, but there has to be some real reason why people love them, right?

I took a closer look at an ionized alkaline water called Essentia, a leader in its category whose bold black, red, and white bottles you've no doubt seen everywhere as well. In 2018, the company reported nearly $196 million in retail sales and it's only growing, in both sales and reputation.

Read more: The best water bottles you can buy

Alkaline water can be found in gyms and grocery stores everywhere now — here's what it tastes like and what it does (1)


To make its water, the company employs a three-step process. First, it purifies potable tap water to remove any chemicals and heavy metals. Then, it infuses the water with electrolytes like calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate. Finally, it uses a proprietary ionization process to get the pH of the water to 9.5.

Though the scientific benefits of ionized pH water have yet to be corroborated by multiple research studies, many reviews of Essentia water have mentioned that it has improved their acid reflux and morning sickness.

It's also supposed to taste better and hydrate you better than traditional waters. According to a published study conducted by Essentia's Director of Clinical and Scientific Research, Dr. Ralph E. Holsworth, Jr., Essentia water resulted in 88% "better hydration" than regular bottled water.

Read more: This electrolyte powder is a low-sugar way to replenish fluids and prevent dehydration after workouts or long nights out

Alkaline water can be found in gyms and grocery stores everywhere now — here's what it tastes like and what it does (2)


Ultimately, the only way to see whether Essentia water really did offer significant taste and hydration benefits was to try it ourselves.

Some would argue that it all tastes the same, but I can definitely taste the difference between various bottled waters. Some leave strange aftertastes, while others feel dry in your throat as you drink it. Essentia tastes noticeably cleaner and smoother than other waters I've tried, and other Insider Picks team members agreed.

I drank Essentia throughout a work day as well as after a workout, and I have to admit that it was a subtle but welcome change from usual tap water. The taste was just different enough, but not as drastic as a sparkling or flavored water, and I felt rehydrated and re-energized after drinking it, whether I had it while diving into a writing session or after coming out of a strength workout class.

Having tried it now, I'd still stick with regular tap water for my everyday needs, but if I do want an extra rehydration supplement that also tastes good, I would buy a bottle of Essentia. It's sold in a variety of sizes, from 12 fl. oz. to 1 L, so you can get the one that best fits your needs and habits.

Shop Essentia Water in a variety of sizes, starting at $17.96/pack, at Amazon

Shop Essentia Water 1L 12-Pack for $19.99 at Boxed

Connie Chen

Connie Chen is a former senior reporter on the Insider Reviews team, where she led coverage of home textiles, home entertaining, and food and drink. While at Insider, she specialized in all the things that enhance life at home, from the most comfortable bed sheets and fluffy pillows to cool online wine clubs and bartender-approved co*cktail shakers. She combined rigorous testing methods, conversations with professionals, and active knowledge of the home and kitchen space to help readers get the most out of their money. When she's not changing duvet covers or washing towels twice a day for articles, she loves talking about and trying the newest snacks, drinks, andfood gifts. You can see more of her testing process and other behind-the-scenes of being a product journalist on her Instagram @connayreviews. Connie joined Insider Reviews as an early member in 2017 and has also reported on products and services in the style, tech, fitness, travel, and e-learning spaces, with a particular interest and expertise in emerging startups. She has represented the team at CES and moderated panels on media business and the future of retail. Connie graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in media studies and business administration, which help inform her perspective on and coverage of industry trends, as well as the competitive e-commerce landscape at large. Read some of her work: The 4 best co*cktail shakers in 2021 The 7 best women's bathrobes in 2021 The 5 best wine openers and corkscrews we tested in 2021 The 5 best bed sheets we tested in 2021 The 5 best cordless vacuums we tested in 2021 12 direct-to-consumer kitchen startups that are changing the way we shop for cookware and knives 8 tableware startups changing the way we shop for dishes Even chefs experience cooking burnout — here's how they get re-inspired in the kitchen How businesses create successful virtual experiences 50 cookbooks from famous restaurants across the US that will help you recreate their best dishes at home Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test kitchen products.

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Alkaline water can be found in gyms and grocery stores everywhere now — here's what it tastes like and what it does (2024)


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