6 Zero-Sugar Sweet Tea Brands, Ranked

It can seem that for every sweetened beverage on the market, there is a diet equivalent. In addition to having an array of diet sodas and sugar-free juices, grocery store and convenience store aisles are stocked to the brim with zero-sugar iced teas. These drinks, which come in numerous shapes and sizes, are designed to capitalize on the consumer demand for beverages with the same taste as homemade sweet tea but with fewer calories. Instead of using conventional sugar, these products rely on artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, as well as some ingredients you may find in other bottled teas, like preservatives and coloring agents. 

I looked high and low at local Walmart, Target, and convenience stores to develop a list of some of the popular zero-sugar iced tea brands on the market. As a frequent consumer of diet beverages, I am all too familiar with the acrid and unappealing aftertaste of artificial sweeteners, which is why I took any lingering tastes into account for each product sampled. In addition, I looked at the overall flavor profile of the beverage, whether there were different flavor and size options, and the overall value of the product. Read on to find which teas reign supreme and which ones are better left in the cooler.

6. Milo's

Milo's zero-calorie sweet tea is available in three size options: a gallon, a half-gallon, and a 20-ounce plastic container. When I looked at the bottle, the first thing I noticed was that this sweet tea had a shorter ingredient list than the other brands. There were no artificial colors or preservatives — just water, black tea, and sucralose. Its price per ounce was slightly more than the Great Value brand, but it wasn't nearly as expensive as some of the premium brands I sampled for this roundup. 

The taste of this beverage was disappointing, to say the least. It tasted like 99% water with a bit of tea extract in it. I found an uncanny resemblance to the massive styrofoam cups of McDonald's tea of yesteryear — which is just sugar water posing as tea. I wouldn't call this tea particularly sweet, either; it had a subtle background of saccharine flavor but did not overwhelm my palate, let alone clue me into any artificial undertones. 

The lack of tea flavor — which I presume would be even more watered down with a few ice cubes thrown into the mix — was just not what I was looking for from a good sweet tea. While the sweetness was on the mark, the poor flavor quality made Milo's a shoo-in for the bottom spot. 

5. Arizona

Arizona is a brand that barely made it on this list due to its ingredients. There is, in fact, no sugar in this product. However, instead of using only an artificial sweetener (which it does add, in the form of sucralose), its Arnold Palmer Lite beverage is made with high-fructose corn syrup. As a result, each 22-ounce can has 140 calories, which is more than the other brands. Besides these sweeteners, the ingredient list for Arizona tea is comparatively long; gums, lemon juice concentrate, and even pear juice concentrate are part of Arizona's formula. 

I have few fond memories of Arizona tea flavors since I really drank them only when I was a teenager and had an aversion to drinking plain water. The drink that I sampled was just as I remember it from my adolescence in that it was not particularly good. The drink came out of this can distinctively frothy and had a beer-like hue to it. This isn't surprising, considering Arnold Palmer is a mixture of lightly colored lemonade and iced tea. But the frothy foam coated my mouth in a way that none of the other brands did. 

This beverage didn't have the artificial hit I expected from a "lite" beverage. The cheap tea flavor was there, but it was overpowered by something that tried to be lemonade but wasn't quite developed enough. The flavor was confusing, so I had no choice but to place this drink towards the back of the pack.

4. Snapple

Snapple is not the first beverage I would reach for on the convenience store shelf, but it is the perfect choice for drinkers who like quirky tea flavors. Snapple offers a wide variety of zero-sugar tea flavors (and some juices, too), including lemon, peach, raspberry, half-and-half lemonade, and Trop-a-Rocka. 

I couldn't find a zero-sugar lemon tea at the grocery or convenience stores I visited, so I went with the zero-sugar peach variety instead. This product is made with aspartame, a sweetener that made headlines in 2023 after the World Health Organization labeled it "possibly" carcinogenic. Aspartame is found in an array of sugar-free gums, sodas, and iced teas, but there hasn't been enough conclusive evidence to link any potential human health risks to the sweetener.

My first reaction to this bottle was that it didn't taste like tea — more like a peachy concoction to which someone added a couple of dribbles of tea extract. Other than the color of this beverage, which is very clearly dark tea, the odor and taste of this bottle are purely artificial peach — which has a puckeringly sour tang. If it were a light shiver of peach, I would be a bit more understanding. It would make a great cocktail mixer, but I don't consider it worthy of "tea" status since it didn't deliver on the flavor. On the plus side, I couldn't taste the artificial sweeteners because I was so overwhelmed by the peach.

3. Pure Leaf

Pure Leaf announced it was launching a zero-sugar sweet tea product in late March 2024, so I was excited to be one of the early samplers. The brand also offers a variety of sweetness options in its products, ranging from 5 grams of sugar per bottle in its low-sugar product to 64 grams in its extra-sweet tea. As a tea drinker, I appreciate a sliding scale of sweetness, along with an array of flavor options for its sweetened teas, including raspberry, blackberry, and lemon. Like many of the brands I reviewed, Pure Leaf's zero-sugar tea is sweetened with sucralose (Splenda) and includes ingredients like acesulfame potassium, citric acid, and citrus pectin. 

I immediately noticed something distinctly metallic about its flavor, and I was able to discern something lemony (possibly from the citric acid). But it didn't have enough tang to make me believe it was trying to be a lemon iced tea; rather, it seemed like it just needed to have its ingredient ratio re-balanced. Moreover, the tinny taste distracted me from identifying the floral notes of the tea, making this beverage all the more confusing.

The overall sipping experience for this beverage was more traditional than for the flavored teas I sampled, which pushed it toward the middle of the ranking. But until Pure Leaf figures out its flavors, it won't clench a higher spot in the ranking. 

2. Great Value

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, go for Great Value. Walmart's store brand sells this tea by the gallon and for a much more affordable price per ounce than some of the other brands I reviewed. Its iced tea selection is rather slim. I sampled the plain sugar-free version, which the brand offers in addition to a regular sugar-sweetened tea and an unsweetened tea.

Great Value's sugar-free sweet tea is made with sucralose (Splenda) and potassium sorbate, a preservative. Great Value also adds caramel color to its tea to enhance its brown hue, which didn't seem to be the case with the other brands. However, the flavor of this sugar-free tea is unexpectedly quite impressive. It has the sharp, floral notes of black tea that the lower-ranked brands had.

However, the main thing that set Great Value back was its metallic aftertaste. This unique flavor coated my tongue and left a distinct tinny aftertaste in my mouth. I can't put a finger exactly on what this astringent flavor comes from, but I think the use of artificial sweeteners might have something to do with it. If Great Value were able to tweak its recipe and dial back the sucralose, it could offer a tasty, competitively priced tea to its customer base. 

1. Gold Peak

There was one clear winner in the race for the best zero-sugar sweet tea brand: Gold Peak. This brand, which is owned by Coca-Cola, offers a perfectly flavor-balanced product sweetened with aspartame. It comes in several size options, and although there are no zero-sugar flavors besides the plain sweet tea, it is still one bottle I would buy again and again. 

It was initially surprising that this beverage was so reminiscent of the plain, sugar-sweetened Gold Peak I remember ordering from my local Five Guys as a kid. It is quite sweet and has very profound, sugary notes that cement its identity as a traditional, Southern-style iced tea. But it doesn't have the artificial aftertaste that I very clearly noticed with the lower-ranking brands. Although the tea flavor isn't pushy and very complex, it is still recognizable as a tea. I wouldn't have guessed this product was diet based on its flavor, which is ultimately what I was looking for in this review. Although the bottle isn't as cheap as Great Value or Milo's, it's worth paying more for a brand that doesn't scream "diet iced tea" at the top of its lungs.


I tried to get a representative sample of zero-sugar iced teas for this review by selecting a range of sizes and price points. To keep the ranking standardized, I did my best to find plain sweet teas from every brand. However, as was the case with Arizona and Snapple, I had to purchase flavored products because of limited availability. All selected products have zero sugar, though the sweetener used varies across the brands. 

The most important characteristic I looked for in these products was flavor. Diet beverages can taste artificial and chemical-like, so I was looking for teas with a flavor on par with regular, sugar-sweetened tea. I also looked for markers of a high-quality tea with strong floral notes and a balanced sweetness that complemented, rather than overwhelmed, the beverage. I looked into each brand's lineup of zero-sugar teas in both flavor and size options. This review was also an assessment of the value of the product and whether the price was reflective of the quality of the drink. Like many consumers, I am willing to pay more for a product that has a higher-quality flavor and delivers a high-quality sipping experience.