Home Food & Beverages 6 Safest Bottled Drinking Water Brands In Korea 2022  | Mineral Water Brands To Try

6 Safest Bottled Drinking Water Brands In Korea 2022  | Mineral Water Brands To Try

by song-i

Traveling in South Korea? Find out if drinking water in Korea is available in taps or if you need to try the bottled drinking water brands in Korea instead. 

Koreans are a healthy lot and prefer drinking water over a lot of aerated beverages. And of course, being health and image-conscious, bottled drinking water is preferred over tap water.

This doesn’t mean tap water in South Korea isn’t potable. It’s just that most Koreans boil it first or use a RO filter to make it safer. However, in the last few years the sector for bottled water in Korea has expanded greatly.

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Research shows that in 2022, the revenue from bottled water sales amounted to almost US$3.62 billion. Also, the mineral water sector is projected to grow exponentially at a rate of 4.17% between 2022 to 2026.

Also, there are over 200 drinking water brands in Korea manufactured by 60 companies. 

So in this article today, I’ll be listing out some bottled drinking water brands in Korea that you should look out for if you’re traveling in the country and get thirsty for a sip. 

How I rated these Korean bottled drinking water brands?

I gave these bottled mineral water brands a rating from 1-5 based on certain criteria that I’ve listed below. These factors helped me decide which Korean bottled water is the best in the market.

  • Price – Of course, price is a huge factor in checking which is the top Korean bottled water in the market as the best one would be affordable.
  • Availability – Another factor that I considered was how easily the bottled water brand was available in Korea including smaller towns and villages and not just cities like Seoul.
  • Taste and Quality – Perhaps the most important factor is how the bottled water tastes and if it’s safe and sanitary. Otherwise it kind of defeats the purpose of drinking bottled water. 

Bottled Drinking Water Brands In Korea 2022 

Jeju Samdasoo (제주 삼다수)

jeju samdasoo
Source: Instagram@sun.s_2world

This particular brand of Korean bottled water is manufactured by the Jeju Development Corp. and is considered among the most popular mineral water brands in Korea.

Perhaps the biggest draw of Jeju Samdasoo is that the brand promises to get you fresh Volcanic bedrock water from Jeju which is full of antioxidants and minerals.

Also, the water is extracted from Hallasan National Park from at least 420 miles below the earth. So the water is purified naturally by the bedrock, is prone to very less contamination and has a naturally alkaline pH. 

And as Jeju Samdasoo is the only brand in the Korean market offering volcanic water, it has an edge there over its competitors. 

Currently the manufacturing plant for this water brand is located at Gyorae-ri, Jocheon-eup in the Jeju province of South Korea. 

In 2015, Samdasoo entered the overseas market as a fresh water brand and since then has seen significant growth both in domestic and international markets. 

This bottled water brand is easily available in all Korean supermarkets and you can also get it online. 

My Ratings:

  • Price – 4/5
  • Availability – 5/5
  • Taste and Quality – 5/5

Lotte Icis (롯데칠성 아이시스)

korean water bottle
Source: Instagram@clean_wata

Lotte is another very popular beverage brand in Korea and known for not just water but also aerated beverage drinks like the Lotte Milk Chilsung and more. 

While the Jeju Samdasoo markets itself as pure volcanic bedrock water, the Lotte Icis’ draw is that it is very alkaline in nature. 

Sometimes, this water brand calls itself the Lotte Icis 8.0 with the “8.0” referring to pH level of the water. Anything more than the neutral pH 7 is considered alkaline and alkaline water is proven to be highly beneficial to health. 

And if you’re wondering what “Icis” means, it’s a combination of the words “Ice” and Oasis”. 

Literally, quite cool! 

But according to me, the most noteworthy aspect of this brand is that it reduces the use of plastic in its bottles and caps. So it’s slightly more environmentally friendly than the rest of the bottled water brands on this list. 

Also, cost-wise it’s cheaper than a lot of other brands in the market. 

My Ratings:

  • Price – 5/5
  • Availability – 4.5/5
  • Taste and Quality – 4.5/5

Nongshim Baeksansu (농심 백산수) 

Top bottled drinking water brands in korea
Source: Instagram@mmmg1332

For a long time, there were no chief competitors for the brand Jeju Samdasoo in the bottled water market in Korea. And this was mainly because the extraction of volcanic bedrock water was unique to Jeju Corp. that owns Samdasoo.

But in recent years Bakesansu is emerging as a direct competitor in the volcanic bedrock water market as it has a similar manufacturing process as Samdasoo. The only difference is that  Baeksansu extracts its water from Mount Baekdusan instead of Jeju. 

What’s more Baeksansu by Nongshim extracts this water without disturbing the greenery around Mount Baekdusan – a feat that has been praised locally.

This particular brand of bottled water also claims to contain the highest levels of minerals out of any of the other brands in Korea. 

My Ratings:

  • Price – 4.5/5
  • Availability – 4.5/5
  • Taste and Quality – 4.5/5 

Nature Pulmuone Saemmul (풀무원샘물)

korean mineral water brands
Source: Instagram@seoul_milk_mongolia

Globally, Nestle is the leader in the bottled water market. In the USA, Nestle produces brands like Nestle Pure Life water that are very popular. 

And in 2013, Nestle in partnership with the Pulmuone group in Korea launched a new bottled water brand called the Pulmone Saemmul. 

The water was marketed as being very safe to drink with the manufacturers putting the water through 51 quality tests. 

My Ratings:

  • Price – 5/5
  • Availability – 4/5
  • Taste and Quality – 4/5 

KC Water Montbest (한국청정음료 몽베스트)

drinking water in korea
Source: Instagram@ze._.zee

Like Samdasoo and Lotte Icis, this particular water brand also sources its water from the mountains. 

The mountain in question is Gukmangbong Peak which is located in the Pocheon are of Gyeonggi-do.

What makes mountain water like Montbest and Samdasoo so popular is that the natural bedrock (graphite rock in the case of Gukmangbong) provides a very natural filtration system that makes the water so much sweeter and purer. 

While ‘Lee Dong Crystal’ is a well-known and widely available drinking water brand in Korea, their latest offering Montbest is available only in online shopping malls. So you might find it difficult to get your hands on it. 

My Ratings:

  • Price – 4.5/5
  • Availability – 3.5/5 
  • Taste and Quality – 5/5 

Evian Water (에비앙)

mineral water price in south korea
Source: Instagram@lu_623

Yes, technically Evian is not a Korean brand but it is one of the most popular drinking water brands in Korea.

Evian is a French company and its speciality is that it offers pure glacier water from the French Alps. While Evian is a sort of status symbol in Korea now, it’s not as widely accessible as some of the local brands.

Also, it’s more expensive than local Korean mineral water brands like Baeksansu and Samdassoo. 

However, if you look at the total market share of Evian compared to other international brands, it’s a leader and has 95 percent of the market in its grip. 

My Ratings:

  • Price – 4.5/5
  • Availability – 3.5/5 
  • Taste and Quality – 5/5 

FAQs about Korean Mineral Water Brands

What is the price of mineral water in South Korea?

On an average, the price of a 1.5 liter of mineral water bottle in South Korea is 1,378.89₩ which is about 1.07 USD. 

Can you drink tap water in South Korea?

Yes, you can drink tap water in South Korea. There was some risk of contamination in the past due to water running in old pipes, but since a majority of these pipes are replaced, it’s ok to drink tap water in Korea. In 2003, a United Nations water expert ranked Korean water as the eight safest water in the world, ahead of the US which was at twelfth place. 

Why is Korean water brown?

If you have been to Korean restaurants you’ll get a bit of a culture shock to see that the water served to you there is sometimes…brown. But don’t worry this isn’t muddy water or dirty tap water, it’s simply flavored and colored. Yes, Korean water is brown because it’s actually a diluted tea. Most Koreans boil a bit of barley and herbs with the tea to increase health benefits and add flavor. So that’s why most Korean water in restaurants or homes, or even what you see in K-dramas is brown. 

 Final Thoughts on Bottled Mineral Water in Korea

Bottled drinking water is huge in South Korea right now with several brands competing in the market. 

In this article, I have listed out and reviewed the top Korean mineral water brands. But I’d like to say in parting that bottled water can have a significant impact on the environment due to increased plastic usage.

If you’re planning to stay in Korea for an extended period, it’s wiser and both economically and ecologically feasible to invest in a good quality RO water purifier instead. 

However, if you’re visiting for a short time and do not want to risk drinking tap water, the above article ranks the Korean bottled water brands by factors such as price, taste, availability, etc. to make it easier for you to choose!

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