Drink Prices Per Gallon




This instructable outlines the cost of many common drinks as priced per gallon to help you decide the best way to spend your money at the store. Often when comparing drinks at the store, the little comparison tags will give comparisons in ounces, liters, quarts, pints, or weights for powdered mixes; all different from each product to the next, making comparisons tedious. I went to the store and recorded the current cost of many drinks and they are all displayed here from cheapest to most expensive. Please don't take the prices completely literally, but simply see how some drinks roughly compare to others. This is made to help look at your options. If you have any information on cost of products, or new drink ideas, please comment it and I will add it to the instructable.

All prices will be rough estimates based on the largest quantity of "cheap" products i could find (mixed at manufacturer recommendations if need be)

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Step 1: Tap Water: $0.003 / Gal

Tap water costs between 0.1 and 0.6 cents per gallon and is the cheapest thing you can drink aside from rain water, water from a moving stream or distilled urine.

When thinking cheap, bottled water is ridiculous. Some people may buy bottled water to use the bottles; I tried to re-use the pop-top arrow head bottles but found they all failed quite fast under normal use. A good, cheap water bottle with a one handed operation is your best bet.

You should drink a good amount of water each day, whether it's in other drinks or foods. Don't worry about numbers, rather learn the signs of dehydration and obey your thirst. Keeping water around you constantly helps hydrate your body because there's less chance of going thirsty because you're too lazy to go get a drink.

Water is great and all but few people want to live on water and food alone, so here are some common drinks available at the supermarket:

Step 2: Cheap Coffee: $0.58 / Gal

Step 3: "Light" Lemonade From Generic Powder: $1.00 / Gal

Step 4: Plain Tea: $1.15 / Gal

Step 5: Lemonade From Powder Concentrate: $1.20 / Gal

Step 6: Lemonade From Generic Lemon Juice Concentrate: $1.60 / Gal

Price includes $0.25 for sugar. Noticeably better tasting then powdered lemonade. Add some blended cherries, strawberries or raspberries and you get my favorite drink.

Step 7: Nesquik With Water: $1.60 / Gal

Step 8: "Crystal Light" Drink: $1.60 / Gal

Step 9: "Arizona" Drinks From Powder: $1.70 / Gal

Step 10: Lemonade From Generic Concentrate $2.20 / Gal

Step 11: Kool-Aid: $2.20 / Gal

Step 12: Any 2L for $1.25 Drink: $2.37 / Gal

Step 13: Gatorade From Powder: $2.50 / Gal

Step 14: Flavored Tea: $2.50 / Gal

Step 15: Any 2L for $1.50 Drink: $2.84 / Gal

Step 16: Milk $3.00 / Gal

The average cost of milk is around $3.75 but i'll assume you can get it for $3 by buying the cheapest of the selection. In Washington it's easy to find milk below $2. Milk is a very healthy and filling drink considering it's low cost.

An easy way to compare drinks at the store is to keep in mind if they are cheaper or more expensive than milk.

Step 17: Lemonade From ReaLemon Concentrate: $3.40 / Gal

Price includes $0.25 for sugar.

Step 18: Hot Chocolate With Water: $3.60 / Gal

Step 19: Any 2L for $2 Drink: $3.79 / Gal

Step 20: "Arizona" Brand Juice: $3.80 / Gal

Step 21: Gatorade 8-pack: $4.00 / Gal

Step 22: Apple Cider (good Price): $4.00 / Gal

Step 23: Punch From Generic Concentrate: $4.25 / Gal

Step 24: Nesquik With Milk: $4.60 / Gal

assuming $3 for milk

Step 25: Generic Apple Juice: $4.75 / Gal

Step 26: Orange Juice (good Price): $5.00 /gal

Step 27: Orange Juice From Generic Concentrate $5.20 / Gal

Step 28: Most "pouch" Drinks: $5.30 / Gal

Step 29: "Pure" Cran/Grape/Rasp Drinks: $6.30 / Gal

Step 30: "Hawaii's Own" Juice From Concentrate: $5.30 / Gal

Step 31: Hot Chocolate With Milk: $6.60 / Gal

assuming $3 for milk

Step 32: Odwalla: $10.00 / Gal

Step 33: Homebrew Beer From Kit: $10.50 / Gal

I did the math on some homebrew beer based on a $30 kit.... Re-usable hardware aside, the theoretical minimum is roughly $8/gallon ($0.75 per 12 oz serving) - realistically (estimating propane, soap/sanitizer and etc.) it's more like $10 or $11 per gallon ($0.94-$1.03 per 12 oz serving)
-trebuchet 03

Step 34: V-Fusion: $13.90 / Gal

Step 35: "Naked" Juice: $16.00 / Gal

Step 36: Quick Conversions

When you are at the store following the comparison prices keep in mind these conversions:

1 gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 16 cups = 128 ounces

1 gallon = 1.89 2-liters = 1.26 3-liters

Step 37: Overview

Price per Gallon:

$0.003 - Tap Water
$0.58 - Coffee
$1.00 - "Light" Lemonade from generic powder
$1.15 - Plain Tea
$1.20 - Lemonade from powder concentrate
$1.50 - Lemonade from Generic lemon juice concentrate
$1.60 - Nesquik
$1.60 - "Crystal Light" drink
$1.70 - "Arizona" drinks from powder
$2.20 - Lemonade from generic concentrate
$2.20 - Kool-Aid
$2.37 - any 2L for $1.25 drink
$2.50 - Gatorade from powder
$2.50 - Flavored Tea
$2.84 - any 2L for $1.50 drink
$3.00 - Milk
$3.30 - Lemonade from ReaLemon Concentrate
$3.60 - Hot Chocolate with water
$3.79 - any 2L for $2 drink
$3.80 - "Arizona" brand juice
$4.00 - Gatorade 8-pack
$4.00 - Apple Cider (good price)
$4.25 - Punch from generic concentrate
$4.60 - Nesquik with milk
$4.75 - Generic Apple Juice
$5.00 - Orange Juice (good price)
$5.20 - Orange juice from generic concentrate
$5.30 - most "pouch" drinks
$6.30 - "Pure" Cran/Grape/Rasp drinks
$6.60 - Hot Chocolate with milk
$5.30 - "Hawaii's Own" juice from concentrate
$10.00 - Odwalla
$10.50 - Homebrew Beer from Kit
$13.90 - V-Fusion (bad price)
$16.00 - "Naked" juice

That's basically it. Use this information next time you go shopping to help look at your options. The ability to vaguely compare all drink options at once is VERY helpful.

Be sure to comment any requests or changes. If you have any prices per gallon of your favorite juice mixture or smoothie recipe, I would love to add that, just give me a picture and a price. If you have a lot to add, ask if you want to collaborate.



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    67 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Kool-Aid isn't $2.20 a gallon. You can buy 4lbs of sugar for $2.00. A packet of Kool-Aid mix is a quarter. Combine two packets of Kool-Aid with two cups of sugar--just under a pound--and you have a gallon of Kool-Aid for $1. And, if you want to go sugar free, generic Splenda is $4.50 for a bag with the volume equivalent to 5lbs of sugar. You'd need $0.80 worth to make a batch of Kool-Aid. You're still at $1.30 for a gallon. And, no, I'm not a Kool-Aid rep... I just like my colored sugar-free water a lot.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This list really make my head spin : do you drink all those chemically based products?! Try buying at the market, local products and you will save a lot of money! (plus you need less transformation, transportation etc.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Just as a cultural note, in Quebec Province of Canada, groceries and some other strores are required by law to put the "price per unit" of every products they sell, so liquids would be per milliliter, dry goods per kilo, toilette paper per sheet, etc. So any product can have their own price and weight/content/count/etc and you still have a uniform price per unit for product comparison.

    14 replies

    We already do that. Notice the yellow boxes in the pictures above. Most stores seem to hide the unit price by putting it in very small print. As long as the container price is under $10, I focus only on the unit price and totally ignore the container price. Unfortunately, prices on similar products can be given in in different units, like ounces or pounds -- a conversion that is not as easy to do in your head as between grams and kilograms. Use your cell phone's calculator, eh?

    The law (in Quebec) requires use of the metric system so there is only milliliters and grams (which are subdivisions of liter and kilos but fit more what you find in a grocery store) :) -- Note that the burden of conversion is not on the manufacturer, but on the store, so even if a product is only noted in onces, the stores convers it to grams (or milliliters if liquid). The law also requires that said information be of reasonable size to be read :D

    I would expect no less of a good law. I am not entirely familiar with metric (outside of science studies), but unit prices would be a painless (for the consumer) and wonderful place to use it. But if a similarly detailed law were passed in the US, manufacturers would finding loopholes left and right. (Like, perhaps, changing the packing liquid of canned goods to make the product soak up more of it and the net weight increase.)


    Also Every piece of meat that is sold to restaurants and delis have a salt water solution injected into the meat to add weight and flavor. So you are already paying extra for food that has been padded. BTW: why do you care if canned goods are made to soak up more fluid? Its a business not a charity. Buy from the produce section theres no canning fluid at all... "but its more expensive"... exactly.


    True, but I seldom eat meat or eat at restaurants unless someone else is paying. There comes a point when doing these calculations is neither profitable nor entertaining. But I have yet to reach it. : ) Canned goods are relevant because many low-income people (who frequently have weighter problems on their mind than the most efficient long-term use of grocery money) rely on canned goods for their vitamins. When tricked into wasting a small percentage of their money, people buying yachts are more likely to notice, but people buying canned beans are more likely to suffer financial harm. I mention the water content because it would be nice if one could compare products based on something as simple as dollars per liter, rather than dollars per kilogram of protein or the like.

    as a matter of fact, here (in Quebec, again), for cooked meat products (like ham, bacon and what not), the protein content must be listed on the package (in %) so you have ham ranging from 9% to over 20% protein... Consumers can thus more informed decisions...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    They inject "broth" solutions into the meat so that it its more moist when you cook it. Its more of a quality issue not because they are trying to get more money, especially with something like pork when people tend to over cook because of the fear of Trichinosis. Also you cant really compare a few milliliters of extra water in canned food to perishable produce. Especially when you consider that shelf stable canned food is a commercially sterile item. As long as you don't abuse the can's integrity it can last a loooong time, so it will always be cheaper than fresh produce. Unless you grow the produce yourself.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i wouldn't doubt that the shops converted the units just to confuse the consumer.... wouldn't be the first time someone has done unneeded work just to try and make some money...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I went to a target in Chicago and every single price tag in the grocery side had these kind of labels. The deodorant I bought had a by the pound price! That seemed excessive but that stuff is cool to look at in the food aisle.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    It was $10.63 a pound but i don't remember the unit price it was Axe... I literally lol-ed when i saw it.


    8 years ago on Step 33

    no beer is way cheaper if you buy a 17 dollar malt syrup can and then you just need water and yeast. and thats for a 5 gallon carboy. if you have the bottles it is really cheap. like 4.40 a gallon.


    9 years ago on Step 26

    I wonder how this would compare to buying oranges and squeezing at home but then there's the different varieties or orange and squeezing techniques.... awe forget it!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    We could do with a format that accepts things like this formally. It's not an Instructable, it's far too big for a Forum topic, doesn't fit a slideshow or video, yet it's of interest to a lot of people. No alcohol? And a contrast with gasoline would be good. L