Waterdrop Review: Are "Hydration Cubes" Unhealthy?

Waterdrop Review: Are "Hydration Cubes" Unhealthy?


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Waterdrop is a hydration brand that sells effervescent cubes that dissolve into water. Their products have great branding, and the company’s stated mission is to “encourage you to drink more water.”

But what's actually in Waterdrop? Is it healthier than other water flavoring products like MiO? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how do real users rate the flavors and product effects?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Waterdrop based on clinical studies to give our take on whether the brand is healthy or unhealthy.

We’ll compare Waterdrop to MiO, and feature unsponsored customer reviews.

We'll also review other Waterdrop products like "Microlyte" and "Microenergy."

Ingredient Analysis

Waterdrop SNOW flavor ingredients

The ingredients in the SNOW flavor of Waterdrop are shown above.

We’ll focus on the good news first.

Vegetable juice is used for natural color, and this is a much healthier alternative to artificial dye.

Blueberry juice powder and apple powder are used as natural sweeteners, and while both are nutritious options, there can't be very much of either ingredient in one serving, because fruit is high in sugar and one serving of this product provides 0 grams (g) of sugar.

Now, we'll share the bad news.

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer that was documented in the Toxicology Reports journal to cause whole-body inflammation in a small subset of individuals.

Natural flavor is a broad, categorical descriptor that fails to identify the specific chemical compound(s) used for the flavor.

As we documented in our Vitapod review article, some flavoring agents may have toxic effects in the body according to at least one medical review.

Overall, we consider Waterdrop to be a better option than something like soda, but we certainly don't think that this product makes water "healthier." 

Is Waterdrop Healthier Than MiO?

MiO is another popular drink flavoring brand, so consumers are often curious about which is a better option.

We consider Waterdrop to be a much healthier option than MiO.

As we documented in our article on is MiO bad for you, MiO Original contains artificial sweeteners, synthetic preservatives, questionable flavoring agents and artificial food dye. It also contains citric acid.

The ingredients in the Lemonade flavor of MiO Original are shown below:

MiO Original ingredients

Waterdrop is also a more sustainable brand in our opinion. Most of their packaging is plastic-free, and according to the brand’s Sustainability page, they are “Plastic-Positive” because for every Waterdrop pack sold, a plastic bottle is collected from the environment thanks to a partnership with Plastic Bank.

MiO is packaged in plastic, and drinking liquid out of plastic bottles may increase the risk of being exposed to hormone-disrupting chemicals, according to a medical review published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal.

Real People Try Waterdrop

A YouTube creator named "SarahBelles" tried different Waterdrop products and shared her thoughts:

A YouTube creator named "PeteOnPurpose" reviewed Waterdrop:

Are Other Waterdrop Products Healthier?

The SNOW product we reviewed in our Ingredient Analysis section is from the brand’s Microdrinks product line. Waterdrops has three other product lines: Microlyte, Microenergy, Microtea. Here’s our quick take on each:

Microlyte: This is Waterdrop’s electrolyte blend. May be useful for athletes to refuel, but contains citric acid, flavoring agents and a blend of added vitamins and minerals so we don’t recommend it.

Microenergy: This is Waterdrop’s energy blend. It contains caffeine but the caffeine dose is not clearly listed on the product pages which is a consumer safety issue.

The “Oro” product for example lists 90 milligrams (mg) of caffeine in the product image (which is around the amount in one cup of coffee), but “23 mg/3.5 oz” in the product details. It’s unclear how many ounces the product is or what leads to this discrepancy, and this is unacceptable given that caffeine is a stimulant.

We recommend avoiding this product line altogether.

Microtea: Naturally colored and contains real tea ingredients like rosehip extract. Free of added vitamins so we would consider this Waterdrop’s cleanest formulation. It still contains citric acid and flavoring agents so we don’t recommend it overall. 

Where to Buy Waterdrop for the Best Price

Waterdrop is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for a one-time purchase of Microdrinks (the product whose ingredients we analyzed) and Microtea (the Waterdrop product we consider to be the healthiest option) at the time of updating this article:

Microdrink (48-count)

Brand website: $46 (free shipping, link)

Amazon: $44 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Microtea (36-count)

Amazon: $34.90 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Brand website: $29.70 (free shipping, link)

Amazon or the brand's website have the best price on Waterdrop products depending on the specific product. We recommend that interested consumers check both sites before making a purchase.

Real Customers Review Waterdrop

Amazon is a better resource for unbiased customer reviews in our opinion.

Waterdrop's Starter Set (which includes a glass bottle and different Microdrink options) has been reviewed over 250 times on Amazon, and currently has an average review rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Isabella Ellis” who gives the product a 5/5 star rating, and claims that the flavors are high-quality:

“I never really liked flavor water in the past, but I was pleasantly surprised and I love waterdrop! The flavors are such a great range so there is something for everyone, and the water bottle is really nice and high quality. If you are looking for a new flavored water or a replacement for juice or tea, this is a perfect choice!

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Jane Doe” who gives the product 2/5 star rating, and who claims the flavors don’t taste good and the product is overpriced:

“I initially intended to describe each flavor individually…however they mostly ended up giving me the same impression. The flavors just don’t feel like they are meant to be together for me. Additionally, there are MUCH more affordable options available."

Waterdrop currently has an average review rating of 3 out of 5 stars on Facebook.

Our Clean Water Flavoring Pick

Pique Daily Radiance is our top flavor enhancing packet that can be added to water.

This product comes in convenient stick packs that can be mixed into water, and is naturally flavored with nutritious, whole food ingredients like organic elderberry juice concentrate (which is clinically shown to support the immune system) and organic lemon juice concentrate.

Most importantly, Pique's flavor enhancer is entirely free of citric acid, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavoring additives. There are no ingredients in this formulation that we consider to be unhealthy.

Interested consumers can check out Pique Daily Radiance at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.

Pros and Cons of Waterdrop

Here are the pros and cons of Waterdrop in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Healthier than most water flavoring brands
  • Sustainable brand
  • Beautiful branding & packaging
  • Relatively affordable

Cons:

  • Products contain citric acid
  • Products contain vitamin and mineral additives
  • Products contain flavoring agents
  • Mediocre reviews on Facebook
  • Doesn't appear clinically tested
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Waterdrop is a healthier choice than most commercial water flavoring brands like MiO, and is certainly a healthier alternative to drinks like soda.

Although Waterdrop contains citric acid and some added synthetic vitamins that we consider unnecessary, it’s free of highly questionable additives like artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors.

We reviewed the ingredients in all Waterdrop products, and consider the Microtea product line to be the brand's healthiest offering as it's free of synthetic vitamin additives.

Waterdrop should make it much more clear how much caffeine is in their Microenergy product line per serving, as caffeine is a stimulant that some consumers are sensitive to.

At the time of updating this article, Amazon or the brand's official website have the best prices on Waterdrop products, depending on the individual product.