The Best pH for Drinking Water Explained in Layman’s Terms

Last updated Nov 28, 2021

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Good morning, it’s your host, Pete, back in action after a few days on the road. Today, I’ll discuss the best pH for drinking water and why it’s important not to go overboard when drinking alkaline water.

There are a lot of naysayers out there, especially on the internet, who call alkaline water a scam.

What I’ve noticed about these attacks – and I’ve seen a ton of them – is they focus on water pH levels produced by alkaline water machines.

In a recent transcript that I came across, the people involved in the conversation claimed that alkaline water machines are dangerous because they produce water as high as pH 13.

Of course drinking pH 13 water is inadvisable and not recommended by a single legitimate water ionizer company.

These attacks on ionized water are untrue but convincing to listeners and readers who don’t know anything about ionized water.

Now, let’s get into what pH means, why the pH of your drinking water is important, and how to be sure you’re drinking water is within the safe pH range.

What is pH?

Before I jump into the best pH range for drinking water, let’s get a bit scientific.

It’s always important to know what something is at its root before learning how to apply it.

The term “pH” stands for “power of hydrogen.”

There’s an easy way to know the difference between an acidic substance and an alkaline substance.

Without getting too scientific, an acidic substance donates hydrogen ions.

The stronger the acidic solution the more hydrogen ions it donates to water once mixed with it.

Once these hydrogen ions are donated, the balance between hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions changes.

After this process occurs, the water solution becomes acidic.

Now, an alkaline or base substance does the opposite.

Once the alkaline substance mixes with water, it accepts or absorbs hydrogen ions.

When this happens, the balance of hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions goes in the opposite direction.

As you can see, substances on both ends are clearly not intended for human consumption.

Why is the pH of drinking water important?

If you take a closer look at the chart above, do you see that our blood is slightly alkaline?

Human blood has a pH between 7.37 and 7.43.

You may not have known this, but a lot of popular bottled water brands are actually acidic.

Check out the video below to see proof that common brands including Dasani and Aquafina are acidic:

I know I for one battled acid reflux after a round of antibiotics for a throat infection a few years ago.

It happened before I began drinking ionized water.

A few weeks after I’d begun drinking alkaline water, the acid reflux finally went away.

It’s only returned briefly a handful of times since then if I eat something too acidic (I’m not perfect).

The Best pH for Drinking Water

Now that you know what pH is and that your blood is slightly alkaline, let’s discuss the best pH for drinking water.

When you first start drinking alkaline water, it’s important to start at a lower alkaline pH than someone who’s been drinking alkaline ionized water for months or years.

The pH range of 8.0 to 9.5 is perfect for your drinking water.

Even the highest pH water stays within the preceding range, though several brands do go as high as pH 10.

In order to avoid a healing crisis, it’s best to start at pH 8.0 and work your way up in .5 increments.

A healing crisis occurs when your body releases stored toxins quicker than they can be expelled.

This detox crisis is called a Herxheimer reaction, and it usually lasts a few days.

As long as you don’t start above pH 8.0, you should avoid a Herxheimer reaction altogether.

Here are some helpful tips offered by Dr. Mark Hyman in the video below:

The pH Misconception

When people begin saying that the higher the pH of drinking water the better, it only fuels the naysayers.

A lot of times when people say they are drinking alkaline water for their health, they forget to mention the “ionized” part of alkaline ionized water.

Drinking water that is slightly alkaline is great and all, but most of the benefits lie in the “ionized” part of alkaline water.

For this reason, it’s best to use a water ionizer to get the most out of your alkaline water.

Water ionizers do everything for you and provide you with an unlimited supply of alkaline ionized water.

To avoid confusion, there’s no difference between alkaline water machines and water ionizers. The terms are used interchangeably.

Also, with an ionizer, you are able to choose the exact pH of your drinking water.

The Best Methods for Getting Ideal pH Drinking Water

The easiest way to drink water within the pH range of 8.0 to 9.5 is with an alkaline water machine.

Although, I know everyone doesn’t want to invest in a water ionizer just yet or wants to test the alkaline waters before diving in all the way.

There are a couple of other alternatives that won’t give you the same flexibility as a water ionizer, but they’re a good start.

These options are certainly a big step up from Brita or PUR filters, which can actually make drinking water more acidic.

One option is an alkaline water filter pitcher.

Pitchers are affordable and the replacement filters are as well.

One of our current favorite pitchers is:

pH Restore by Invigorated Water

What we really like about this pitcher is that it uses natural minerals to boost pH and filter impurities.

Here are some of the key features:

  • BPA-free and eco-friendly materials
  • Removes fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, and other contaminants
  • Boosts water pH to a safe level
  • Digital filter life indicator
  • Adds alkaline minerals
  • Provides an antioxidant boost
  • Filter Life: 96 gallons
  • The first 2 filters included

Countertop Water Filter Solutions

If you don’t like the idea of filling a pitcher too often, the same company sells a countertop version that holds up to two gallons of filtered water:

Another one of our favorite alkaline water filters is the:

APEX Advanced Alkaline Mineral Filter (model MR-1050)

Water from this unit tests in the 7.5 to 9.0 range, which falls within the optimal pH range for drinking water.

Next, let’s go over pH testing.

How to Test Drinking Water pH

Since testing alkaline water can be tricky, the most affordable accurate option is pH tester drops.

Drops are more accurate than pH test strips, which have a tendency of giving inaccurate results for drinking water.

You’ll notice that a lot of complaints by users who didn’t get an alkaline pH used strips to test their water.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the best pH for drinking water, it’s up to you and your palate to decide which pH suits you best.

Also, don’t fall into the trap of thinking the higher the pH the better the water.

Bottled water brands don’t go beyond pH 10 because there’s no reason to go beyond that point.

Finally, choose pH test drops or a digital pH pen before strips to get accurate pH readings of your drinking water.