Perrier Vs. San Pellegrino: Which Is Better?

With their green glass bottles, storied European heritage and bright, refreshing nature, it's clear that Perrier and San Pellegrino have a lot in common. But which is better?

Hailing from the Italian alps, San Pellegrino is sourced from a natural spring that infuses its water with beneficial minerals including potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium. Carbon dioxide is added to introduce bubbles to the water and assist in retaining the mineral quotient.

Perrier's roots are in Vergèze, a town in southern France. The water is collected from springs where volcanic activity has naturally introduced carbonation as well as minerals like chloride, nitrite, sodium on sulfites. Slate explains that while the water is naturally bubbly, it's a bit too volatile to be directly bottled, so the carbonation is extracted and added back during the bottling process.

When it comes to choosing between these two bigwigs of bubbly, the competition is tough both in taste and in numbers.

In 2019 Beverage Industry ranked the ten top preforming seltzer, sparkling and mineral waters in the U.S. market. Perrier came in at number four with nearly $300 million in sales and 9.2 percent of the market share, while San Pellegrino landed the number seven spot with around $155 million in sales and 4.9 percent of market share, ranking just above Topo Chico, a relatively new contender on the sparkling water scene.

Neutral, crisp flavor, and big fizz

Product Playoffs pitted the two sparkling mineral waters against each other in a head to head competition with categories including price, ingredients, sourcing and taste. Differences in most categories were negligible, but when it came to taste it was San Pellegrino that ultimately won over the test group.

In an admittedly less scientific taste test from Los Angeles Magazine dubbed "We Ranked the Top 11 Brands of Bubble Water, Just Because," Perrier faired slightly better coming in at number four on the list: "A classic that lives up to the title. Neutral, crisp flavor, big fizz, and a French name that's easy to pronounce—what's not to love?" San Pellegrino didn't fare nearly as well. "Despite being on literally every restaurant menu in the history of restaurants, no one was impressed. San Pellegrino received the most mediocre scores of all. We'll still probably end up ordering it at restaurants, though, because what other choice do we have?"

And when Food52 put multiple mineral waters side to side for tasting, for tasters, both Perrier and San Pellegrino came in lacking on the carbonation front.

The jury might remain undecided on which sparkling mineral water reigns supreme, but San Pellegrino might just take the lead with this glowing review from sommelier Sabato Sagaria for Food and Wine: "Great balance of minerality and bubbles." Another nod to the waters of San Pellegrino, they were once sampled by non other than Leonardo Da Vinci.