Mineral Water vs. Sparkling Water: What's the Difference?

Written by Abigail Jolly
June 03, 2024 | Reading time 8 minutes

You may be looking for an alternative to regular water, but aren't sure where to start. Mineral water and sparkling water are great alternatives to the plain filtered water coming from your fridge.

However, they both offer a variety of different benefits and flavors. So let's get down to the main differences between mineral water vs. sparkling water

Table of contents:

What is the difference between mineral water and sparkling water?

Mineral water comes from an underground water source and has no naturally occurring bubbles (although they may be added). Sparkling water may come from any source and has been infused with carbon dioxide (bubbles). Mineral water can be sparkling water, but not all sparkling water is mineral water.

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What is mineral water?

Mineral Water is sourced from mineral springs underground -- containing a variety of different minerals that can be beneficial to your health.

A lot of the minerals found in mineral water are those that you consume on a daily basis through food intakes such as sodium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium.

When consumed in liquid form, the body's natural GI tract can better absorb the minerals, making mineral water an easier way to consume your daily nutrients.

The minerals and trace elements found in mineral water must come directly from underground sources and cannot be added later, according to the FDA.

Related Read: What is Vitamin D and How to Get More of It

What is sparkling water?

Sparkling water is incredibly similar to regular, filtered water. The main difference is that sparkling water has been infused with carbon dioxide. This gives it its bubbly texture and taste.

Sparkling water naturally contains zero sugars or calories, which is great for those looking for an alternative to their regular water routine without sacrificing calories found in many sodas.

We encourage you to learn more about how to carbonate your regular water from home using Soda Sense's Refill CO2 Club. Exchange a better way with Soda Sense! 

Further Read: Sparkling Water vs Still Water: What's the Difference?

mineral water vs sparkling water

The clear differences between mineral water and sparkling water

1. Taste

The biggest difference can be found in their tastes. Drinking mineral water is most commonly compared to tasting like a cool, refreshing glass of salty water. Its distinct flavor can be off-putting for some as it is packed full of rich minerals found from underground sources.

On the other hand, sparkling water is much more palatable and resembles the taste of soda without all the added sugars. Being that CO2 is the only added component in sparkling water, you can add any kind of flavoring to boost your fizzy game.

Many people find that citrus pairs great with carbonated water along with natural soda flavors for a more calorie-conscious choice of beverage.

2. Nutrition

The main difference between mineral water and regular sparkling water lies in its mineral content. Mineral water contains a wide variety of minerals that come directly from an underground water source.

As mentioned above, the most common minerals found in mineral water are sodium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium.

If you have regular issues with digestion, cardiovascular system, and kidneys, then it is recommended to consult your doctor about the mineral composition found in many mineral water brands. Sparkling water is not entirely lacking in nutrients though.

Much like spring water, sparkling water does contain minerals, simply a less concentrated dose. According to Tapp Water, if consumed from a tap, the water would provide >1% of the recommended intake for only four key minerals; copper, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. The main difference in nutritional value is the added carbon dioxide found in sparkling water.

Many believe that consuming CO2 in large quantities is bad for your health, but this misconception has been proven wrong many times by sources like Healthline. When it comes down to high nutritional levels, mineral water takes a clear lead for those looking to increase their mineral consumption. 

3. Versatility

Mineral water has a lot of surprising uses outside of consumption. You can use mineral water for things like face masks and beauty treatments to help with skin irritations, acne, and dryness.

Mineral water is also great for making food more flavorful. You can use it as a cooking liquid instead of regular water or even add a few drops on top of dishes to give them that extra umami flavor.

Sparkling water also has extremely unique abilities. Its more untraditional uses can be found in removing stains or sticky substances from surfaces, cleaning windshields, and you can even boil sparkling water to bring a lighter and fluffier texture to your next pasta dish!

If you find yourself using a lot of CO2 to carbonate your water from home, check out the Soda Sense Refill Club to easily exchange your CO2 canisters from your couch! When it comes down to versatility, we believe that drinking both mineral water and sparkling water have a lot to bring to the table. 

Related Read: 5 Surprising Daily Uses for Sparkling Water

By now, it’s clear that mineral water and sparkling water are two incredibly unique beverages with their own special properties and uses.

Though they differ in taste, nutrition content, and even versatility, both can offer a great alternative to regular tap water or soda while still providing ample refreshing hydration.

Why mineral water is carbonated

To understand why mineral water is carbonated, we first need to understand where it originates from.

It begins deep below the earth's surface, where layers of limestone and volcanic rocks react with high-pressure carbon dioxide gas from the earth's mantle. The carbon dioxide gas dissolves into the groundwater, saturating it with these carbonation bubbles.

When the water eventually springs to the surface, we get naturally carbonated mineral water. This process is slow and takes thousands of years, contributing to the rarity and unique taste of naturally carbonated mineral water.

The existence of naturally carbonated water has been known since antiquity. It played a significant role in many ancient cultures, including the Romans and Greeks, who revered these naturally carbonated springs for their healing and invigorating properties.

The earliest recorded commercial use of naturally carbonated water dates back to the 17th century, with the bottling and selling of water from the sacred springs in Bath and Buxton in England.

The industry quickly expanded across Europe and then to America, where Saratoga Springs in New York became a prominent source of naturally carbonated water.

Today, the consumption of carbonated mineral water continues to rise, reflecting our enduring fascination with this naturally effervescent beverage.

mineral water vs sparkling water

The difference between seltzer vs mineral water

Seltzer water, often interchangeable with the term 'sparkling water', is carbonated water that is void of any minerals or salts. It originated from the German town of Selters, known for its naturally occurring carbonated water, but modern seltzer is simply artificially carbonated water.

On the other hand, mineral water, as discussed earlier, naturally contains a variety of minerals like sodium, magnesium, and calcium, which are absorbed as the water filters through geological formations. These minerals give mineral water its unique, slightly salty taste.

So, the primary difference between mineral water vs seltzer (sparkling water) is that seltzer is artificially carbonated and doesn't contain any added minerals, while mineral water naturally contains minerals and can be either still or sparkling.

Related Read: Sparkling Water vs. Seltzer vs. Club Soda vs. Tonic Water: What's the Difference?

Is mineral water good for you?

Mineral water offers a refreshing alternative to still water while providing a host of health benefits. If you're wondering whether mineral water is good for you, the answer is a resounding yes. It naturally contains vital minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are essential for bone health, muscle function, and regulating blood pressure.

Additionally, the natural carbonation in select mineral waters can offer a satisfying soda-like sensation without the drawbacks of added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Moreover, the minerals present in mineral water can contribute to your daily nutritional intake, making it an excellent choice for maintaining a well-balanced diet.

mineral water vs sparkling water

Is all mineral water sparkling?

No, all mineral water is not sparkling. Mineral water comes in two forms: still and sparkling. Still mineral water is simply water that naturally contains minerals and has not been sourced from carbonated springs, while sparkling mineral water is water that naturally contains minerals and has been naturally carbonated.

Also, sometimes, carbonation is added to still mineral water to make it sparkling. However, whether still or sparkling, the key feature of drinking mineral water is that it contains a certain amount of minerals and trace elements from its source.

Can you carbonate still mineral water?

Yes. Much like anything, you can infuse a variety of liquids with carbon dioxide -- leaving the new beverage bubbly and sparkling!

Sparkling mineral water combines the rich and needed day-to-day minerals with the sparkle of fizzy fun found in sparkling water. A perfect blend of two great alternatives to regular water.

Using Soda Sense's CO2 Refill Club, you can carbonate your still mineral water from home!

So, which one should I choose?

Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference! If you’re looking for an extra boost of minerals, try regular mineral water! If you just want a carbonated version of your usual drinking water, then opt for sparkling water.

There are many health benefits to drinking sparkling water and mineral water.

You can always combine the two to create a delicious beverage that is both mineral-rich and bubbly. Whichever one you choose, here’s to keeping hydrated in style!

And, if you are in the market for an at-home soda machine, you can check out our Sensei Soda Maker. We love our product, and we are betting that you will too!

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