The 14 Best Sugar-Free Sodas Ranked

"Hey, that's pretty sweet." That was the thought a graduate student with a penchant for licking random chemistry lab substances had when they first discovered cyclamate. This sugary-tasting chemical would go on to become the key ingredient in a new drink phenomenon — sugar-free soda. Originally meant for diabetics, sugarless soda had a long stint as dieters' drink of choice. But after several years and an artful swap from cyclamate to aspartame when the chemical was deemed unsafe by FDA (though aspartame isn't exactly healthy), something wild is happening. Diet sodas are becoming an endangered species and zero-sugar soft drinks are on the rise.

Are the two very different from each other? Not really. Many zero-sugar sodas are just a rebrand of the diet drinks that have been sold for years. Heck, even the zero-sugar pops that have a separate formula and unique taste from their diet soda counterparts feature mostly similar ingredients. So why the change? Dieting is no longer in vogue and so, by extension, are diet drinks. But if all this has left you, a long-time lover of sugar-free soda, in a stupor unable to decipher one drink from the next, we're here to help you navigate this confusing zero-sugar drink landscape. For your sake, we'll be mentioning these sodas' accessibility, but we've ranked them from worst to first based on their flavor's proximity to the sodas they imitate, level of chemical taste, and sweetness factor. So, are you ready to meet your new favorite sugar-free soft drink?

14. A&W Zero Sugar Cream Soda

A&W may be the premier U.S. root beer seller but the brand also has a stake in the cream soda market and due to that, both its Cream Soda and diet — sorry, Zero Sugar Cream Soda are easy to find at most grocery stores. Let us explain. See, unlike Coke Zero Sugar, A&W Zero Sugar Cream Soda isn't a completely different formula from the original diet version of the drink. It falls into the "literally just a rebrand of the same diet soda recipe" category of zero-sugar soft drinks we were talking about earlier. However, in both its diet and zero sugar variation, according to the company, its no-calorie cream soda is "the standard for diet cream soda drinks." And boy do we sure hope that's not the case.

Though one of our rankings declared A&W's original cream soda mid-tier at worst, right from the first drink, the brand's Zero Sugar Cream Soda will make you wish you'd bought a sugar-free Coke instead. When we dive into any cream soda, zero sugar or otherwise, we are looking for a vanilla, almost ice cream-like flavor. And this soda has, at most, a vague cream taste. So yes, while it's not particularly too sweet or chemical-tasting, its flavor is so watery that it tasted flat despite the fact that we just opened it, which has forced us to put A&W Zero Sugar Cream Soda at the bottom of the sugar-free soda list.

13. Seagram's Zero Sugar Ginger Ale

While it's not actually going to help you physically recover from your sick days, we love the taste of ginger ale. And in the race to be America's most beloved ginger soda brand, Seagram's and Canada Dry have always been neck and neck — for their original soda, that is. Because when it comes to sugar-free ginger ale (hint, hint, Canada Dry's comes later), Seagram's is falling sorely behind.

A member of the diet to zero sugar rebrand apocalypse, Seagram's zero-calorie soda formula has not changed since it was deemed Zero Sugar. And it desperately needed to be. See, when we are looking for a ginger ale soda, we are hoping for an extra-fizzy drink filled with authentic ginger flavor that's not too sweet. Seagram's Zero Sugar Ginger Ale definitely has the fizz factor and is not overly sugary by any means. But its chemicals and dulled synthetic sweetener flavor almost completely mask its ginger taste. And so while its taste is far stronger than A&W's Zero Sugar Cream Soda disaster, Seagram's Zero Sugar ginger ale has been banished to the bottom of our list. That being said, luckily this soft drink isn't likely to jump-scare you in the soda aisle. While it's carried at major grocers like Walmart, when looking for sugar-free ginger ale you'll more likely find Canada Dry's far superior zero sugar version.

12. Zevia Zero Calorie Cream Soda

Born in 2007, Zevia reports it aims to give soda junkies a naturally sweetened, zero-sugar drink option. The brand offers 15 different flavors of soda, all of which use stevia leaf extract and unnamed natural flavors in place of regular sugar. Vegan, gluten-free, and zero calories, while you'd be hard press to find Zevia at a gas station convenience store, it is available at bigger retailers like Walmart and Target, making it relatively accessible to the average buyer but far from the easiest soda to find on this list. However, while Zevia's ingredients may not put your health at risk like other diet drinks, its taste may turn you off.

We tried Zevia Zero Calorie Cream Soda. And at first sip, the drink does, in fact, offer a pop of cream soda flavor. But after that initial bright taste, everything goes downhill. The soda has a strong artificial aftertaste that leaves a horrible chemical taste in drinkers' mouths. Honestly, Zevia Zero Calorie Cream Soda tasted more like lightly flavored seltzer water than pop. With a flavor a far cry from real soda let alone the cream soda variety we had no choice but put Zevia Zero Calorie Cream Soda far down on the list. However, its flavor still manages to beat out A&W's Zero Sugar Cream Soda disaster.

11. Pepsi Zero Sugar

The first soda to go to the zero sugar side, Pepsi Zero Sugar has been the subject of controversy. At the beginning of 2023, Pepsi-Co announced it had overhauled the drink's original formula. The folks behind the new and allegedly improved Pepsi Zero Sugar reported the change made its signature zero-calorie drink taste more like sipping on actual Pepsi. However, fans were reportedly not impressed with the change. And quite frankly, neither are we.

Like Zevia Zero Calorie Cream Soda, Pepsi Zero Sugar starts off with a burst of cola flavor. And, in that second, it really does taste like its full-sugar Pepsi counterpart. However, after a moment of bliss, soda drinkers will be met with a chemical-filled and nauseatingly sweet aftertaste. Two problems that CNN noted the soda lovers of Reddit also reported having with the new recipe. Still, Pepsi Zero Sugar does a good job of tasting like the soda it's imitating and can be found at just about any gas station or grocery store. And so, although Pepsi Zero Sugar's bold flavor has put the drink above wretched Zevia Zero Calorie Cream Soda, its equally bold chemical backwash holds it back from advancing any further in the sugar-free ranking.

10. A&W Zero Sugar Root Beer

That's right folks — just when you thought you were rid of them, say hello to A&W again. And put down your pitchforks, because A&W's Zero Sugar Root Beer's taste is nowhere near offensive as its cream soda counterpart. Another member of the slap zero sugar on the original diet soda formula crew,A&W's Zero Sugar Root Beer is both widely available in grocers and convenience stores and actually worth putting in your cart.

When it comes to imitating the taste of real root beer, this soda is dead-on. It's got the flavor of all the classic herbs and spices that go into making this popular soft drink. The beverage also isn't assaulting sweet. So why isn't it further up the list? One word: aftertaste. A&W Zero Sugar Root Beer's synthetic sweetness makes the soda's backwash taste like toothpaste, a fact that becomes more apparent the longer you drink it. With a strong flavor and an aftertaste that isn't quite as vile as Pepsi Zero Sugar's but far worse than the next soda on the list, A&W Zero Sugar Root Beer has been left in the ranking dust by its other no-sugar soda competitors.

9. Sunkist Orange Zero Sugar

Sorry Fanta fans, but Sunkist is the U.S.'s most-bought orange soda brand. While Fanta was technically created first (by Nazis during World War II, nonetheless), Sunkist captured America's heart for its reportedly less sweet and more tang-like flavor. Also, unlike Fanta, Sunkist has a caffeine boost that will keep you going — and so does Sunkist Orange Zero Sugar. The soda formally known as Diet Sunkist, no matter what it's called, the no-calorie version of this orange drink is easy to find in small and large retailers and has a great flavor.

Sunkist Orange Zero Sugar features both the classic tang-like flavor of the original Sunkist and the signature bright citrus taste that's important in all good orange sodas. And, unlike Pepsi Zero Sugar, it does so without tasting overly synthetic and sweet. However, Sunkist Zero Sugar does have a less bold, almost watered-down flavor than the soda it's copying. And while it's minimal, the chemical aftertaste is still noticeable. All of those factors have left the very non-offensive Sunkist orange Zero Sugar, on the very "eh" side of the list

8. Sprite Zero Sugar

Slightly surprising soda fact: Sprite was created in Europe. Completely unsurprising soda fact: Sprite Zero Sugar is another member of the diet to zero sugar drink pipeline. But although Sprite Zero Sugar's story is one as old as no-calorie drink time, Sprite has seemingly been trying its best to differentiate its diet drink from the rest of the zero-sugar soda pack. In 2022, the brand did a promotional collab with the blockbuster hit "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" in what was likely an attempt to boost its name recognition and make customers pick up the already widely-available drink more often. And one year later, the soda proceeded to receive a full-on package makeover for similar reasons. But is the drink's formula worth all the promotional fuss?

Sprite Zero features the tart-sweet mixed flavor that one expects out of a lemon-lime soda. And it doesn't taste like you're contracting diabetes or inhaling chemicals. However, although the drink has no after-taste, it's almost like sipping on a less-bold-tasting Sprite. So while its flavor is crisper than Sunkist Orange Zero Sugar, it's not as intense as some of the other no-sugar drinks on this list, leaving it in the bottom half of the ranking.

7. 7UP Zero Sugar

Another victim of the great diet to zero sugar drink shift, the company behind 7UP Zero Sugar actually tried to butt heads with Diet Coke in the 1980s by claiming consumers preferred its no-calorie soda over the Coca-Cola company staple. A pretty bold claim for a drink that's constantly being compared and confused with Sprite ... a burden that 7UP can't escape even in zero-sugar form.

Like Sprite Zero Sugar, 7UP Zero Sugar does not offer a mouth full of chemicals or a sugar rush in the form of a drink. However, although we once declared the OG Sprite's taste as better than the OG 7UP's,  it's finally happened — 7UP Zero Sugar's flavor trumps Sprite's sugar-free soda. Where Sprite Zero tastes more like a distilled version of the original, 7UP's zero-calorie drink has a bolder and more full-bodied taste. Almost as easy to find at retailers like Kroger and Walgreens as the more popular zero-sugar soda, 7UP Zero Sugar may not have been able to take on Diet Coke, but it conquered Sprite.

6. Canada Dry Zero Sugar Ginger Ale

One of the first brands to offer a no sugar beverage, Canada Dry started its diet soda journey with the previously mentioned Glamour. The details of what happened to this low-calorie ginger drink have been lost to time, however, the brand would go on to launch a second and arguably more successful sugar-free soda now known as Canada Dry Zero Sugar Ginger Ale – we think you figure out what it was called before that. And this sugar-free ginger ale is one of the soft drinks' that's taste is closest to its original on this list.

This once-deemed diet drink has the electric kick of soda fuzz characteristic of ginger ale that makes it such a great punch base. It also features a full-bodied ginger flavor and the aspartame in it doesn't make the soda taste too sweet. And while Canada Dry Zero Sugar Ginger Ale does have a slight chemical aftertaste, it's so minimal you'd really have to be looking for it to even notice. Widely sold in big grocers and small corner stores, while Canada Dry Zero Sugar Ginger Ale tastes very similar to actual Canada Dry Ginger Ale, there are still sodas to come that outdo it in this category, and that just, quite frankly, have an even stronger, more delicious taste.

5. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar

One of the first brands to pump out both a diet and no-sugar version of its signature cola and slap zero on it, while Pepsi Zero Sugar has just undergone its first flavor revamp Coke Zero Sugar has endured not one, but two, formula makeovers. The first was in 2017 when the brand officially rebranded the product from just "Coke Zero " to "Coke Zero Sugar." The second was in 2021. Both times, Coca-Cola claimed it was hoping to rework its zero-sugar formula to make the soda taste closer to the soft drink that rules America. And we have to say that Coca-Cola company has been pretty successful on that front.

If you're under the impression that diet coke and coke zero sugar likely taste the same, you'd be sorely mistaken. When taking a sip of Coke Zero, you're met with a flavor profile that's fuller than Canada Dry Zero Sugar Ginger Ale and resembles Coke in a way Diet Coke could never hope to. The soda isn't too sweet, has barely a trace of chemical flavor, and has no aftertaste. On top of that, thanks to America's love of Coca-Cola you can find Coke Zero in just about any retailer food and snacks are sold. However, while Coke Zero resembles classic Coke's taste, it isn't a perfect replica of it. The drink has a darker, bolder flavor than the original. And so, despite its popularity, this is Coke Zero Sugar's final stop in the ranking.

4. Starry Zero Sugar

What the heck's a Starry, you ask? While Sprite's been working on cooking up limited edition flavors like its holiday-themed cranberry drink, PepsiCo has been busy making a new lemon-lime soda to replace its Sierra Mist. Called Starry, this pop brand debuted in 2023 and so, naturally, came fresh off the conveyor belts with a zero-sugar variety.

And we have to give PepsiCo its flowers, Starry Zero Sugar's taste does not disappoint. This soda has a pleasant and authentic lemon-lime flavor. Although both Canada Dry Zero Sugar Ginger Ale and Starry Zero Sugar aren't too sweet for comfort and have a strong flavor with no chemical bite, Starry beats out the former because it has almost no synthetic taste to speak of. And its great flavor also outdoes Coke Zero's. That is to say, sipping on Starry Zero Sugar tastes like you're drinking a soda infused with actual lemon and lime. While it's new, thanks to the widespread reach of PepsiCo, Starry Zero Sugar has already migrated to major grocers and little corner stars alike. But before you give Starry Zero Sugar a try, you'll want to check out our top three sugar-free sodas.

3. Squirt Zero Sugar Grapefruit Soda

While it's not a household name like Coke, Squirt is a beloved soda in its own right. Many fans on the likes of Reddit report they love this underdog drink for its unique grapefruit flavor, a standout taste in the wider cola and lemon-lime saturated soda market (which also makes this soft drink the perfect alcohol add-in). Of course, while it may be a lesser-known brand, Squirt is also owned by the well-known PepsiCo. And so Squirt Zero Sugar Grapefruit Soda is yet another member of the diet-to-zero sugar name change society, which no PepsiCo product but Diet Pepsi seemed to escape.

However, we see why Pepsi-Co didn't opt to change this diet drink's ingredients and taste when it decided to dub it zero sugar, because Squirt Zero Sugar Grapefruit Soda is light, refreshing, and full of flavor. Like Starry Zero Sugar, this zero-calorie drink tastes like it was made with real grapefruit juice and has no chemical-like or too-sweet aftertaste. However, this soda's flavor also manages to be even fuller than Starry's — which is no small feat. But although delicious, Squirt Zero Sugar isn't the easiest soda to find. While it's carried by Target and Walmart, the drink seems to be perpetually out of stock. Still, it's fantastic, the authentic taste leaves Squirt Zero Sugar in third place on our list. So then, what could possibly beat it? We're glad you asked.

2. Mountain Dew Zero Sugar Major Melon

Diet Mountain Dew has almost as much of a cult following as Diet Coke. That being said, when Mountain Dew announced it'd be creating a new zero-sugar soda in 2020, fans were expecting a lot from Mountain Dew Zero Sugar. Much like Coca-Cola when it created its zero sugar formula, Mountain Dew alleged its zero sugar variety would taste closer to actual Mountain Dew than the diet version of the soda. And fans seem to think Mountain Dew, did, in fact, near perfectly replicate the soda in zero sugar form, because we're here to tell you that Mountain Dew Zero Sugar is hard to find. While it's sold at major grocers Walmart and Target , these stores seem to always be out of the original Mountain Dew Zero sugar variety. Luckily, we were able to find, try, and rank Mountain Dew Zero Sugar Major Melon.

Dropping alongside the original full-sugar version of Mountain Dew Major Melon in 2021, (which was much better received than the brand's fruitcake soda, unsurprisingly) Mountain Dew Zero Sugar Major Melon may have been our last resort in the battle to find a Mountain Dew Zero drink, but it tastes outstanding. The drink is bursting with so much bright watermelon flavor it almost feels like sipping on a regular soda. As such, it has earned our second-place spot in the sugar-free drink running, only because our number one is just that good.

1. Dr Pepper Zero Sugar

A completely different drink than Diet Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper Zero Sugar was brought to store shelves in 2021. The drink launched in three flavors: original, cherry, and cream soda, and has since expanded into a strawberry and cream variety. Out of all its variations, the original Dr Pepper Zero Sugar is undoubtedly the hardest to find. After scouring local grocers and big-name retailers alike, we managed to score a pack of this soda unicorn after what we assumed was a fresh re-stock. Our analysis? Forget Diet Dr Pepper, this stuff is good.

Let's look at it this way. As we've kept saying, a zero-sugar soda is only as good as how close it tastes to a soda lacking aspartame. And Dr Pepper's unique spice-like taste has been almost exactly born again in Dr Pepper Zero Sugar. The soda has that distinct Dr Pepper kick and aftertaste which indicates the team behind the drink clearly put a lot of thought into how to translate Dr Pepper's top-secret 23 blended flavors into zero-calorie form. In fact, the only thing that suggests this drink is not Dr Pepper is its unmistakable (and ever-subtle) aspartame-sweetened taste. While you'll be hard-pressed to find this drink, once you do come across it, you may have just uncovered your No. 1 sugar-free soda of choice. We know we certainly did.