12 Popular Lemon Lime Sodas, Ranked Worst To Best

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Created by Charles Leiper Grigg and first sold two weeks before Wall Street crashed in 1929, lemon lime has spent over 90 years as one of the best flavors of sodas in the world. When stacked up against its contemporaries, like orange, cola, grapefruit, and root beer, lemon lime rises high in the ranks. Beginning as 7-Up almost a century ago, there are now dozens of options within the flavor profile.

Colorless, bubbling, and mainly packaged in green bottles, lemon lime soda is singular and available in countries all over the world, from Sri Lanka to Japan to Ukraine. Here in the United States is where it's most popular, with numerous brands making their own variations on the classic combination. Some brands have fallen, like Slice and Kick, while others remain on grocery store shelves to this day.

Brands like Sprite, 7-Up, and Sierra Mist have long held court as the most popular lemon lime sodas that money can buy, but are they the best? In this ranking we will explore the 12 most popular brands on the market, including a few products that blur the line between lemon lime and citrus flavoring. From zero-sugar options to generic brands to heavyweight legends, here are the best lemon lime sodas ordered from the tasteless to the captivating.

12. Zevia

Zevia soda, a relative newcomer to the drink market, comes in 15 flavors. Some of them are great, like their Creamy Root Beer, while others fall short, like their Lemon Lime Twist. It was founded in 2007 in Seattle, Washington, when founders Derek and Jessica Newman and Ian Eisenberg aimed to make a healthy alternative to regular sodas that isn't stuffed with artificial sweeteners like most diet drinks (via SeattlePI). Zevia knows its brand and sticks to it, as every product that comes from their assembly lines is zero-calorie, gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and sugar-free.

After being picked up by Whole Foods for distribution in 2009, per BevNET, Zevia quickly became known as the "healthy pop," so if you're looking for a sugary drink to have with dinner, a can of Zevia is not for you. The Lemon Lime Twist flavor is particularly bland, and is probably the worst flavor it has to offer outside of their Caffeine Free Cola. It teeters on practically being a can of sparkling water, which would disqualify them from this list entirely. All in all, Zevia is one brand that we recommend staying away from. 

11. Shasta Twist

The brand Shasta began over 100 years ago, in 1889, in Mount Shasta, a Northern California town with roughly 3,500 people in it. Back then, it was called the Shasta Mineral Springs Company, where it bottled and sold mineral water from the nearby Shasta Springs (via Thrillist). It wasn't until 1931 that the company started selling ginger ale marketed as a mixer drink.

Looking at Shasta's line of products in a grocery store, it might initially look like they are generic or off-brand, given that two of their drinks, Mountain Rush and Dr. Shasta, are similar in name to the heavyweight brands Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper. However, looks and names can be deceiving, as Shasta's brand is only a few years younger than Dr. Pepper's, per Waco History, and their sodas are actually nine years older than Mountain Dew (via PepsiCo).

The origins of Shasta's lemon-lime are not confirmed, though advertising for the flavor dates as far back as the early-1960s (via ClickAmericana). Like many lemon lime sodas, Shasta Twist is caffeine free, and it also comes in a diet option and a Cherry Twist variant. It's considered one of the healthier lemon lime sodas, as each can contains only 80 calories and is marketed as being low in sodium. Unfortunately, Shasta Twist comes in last place because its taste doesn't stack up against the rest of this list. It's missing the sugar factor that makes drinks like Sprite and 7-Up so rewarding.

10. Twist Up

Twist Up is the brand of soda that parents bought for their kids' birthday parties. That's not a knock against the drink, especially since those memories can be so visceral. Twist Up is easily one of the tastiest generic sodas across the board entirely. Of course, it doesn't have the same kick as Sprite, but it's a serviceable alternative, especially for consumers who are on a budget. If you've never seen a 12-pack or 2-liter bottle of Twist Up in stores, it's probably because it is often packaged as Great Value, Walmart's in-house generic alternative to major brands.

There is a Diet Twist Up option, too, which is basically sparkling water with a hint of lemon lime and a lot of artificial sweetener. Twist Up might look and taste cheap, but no one is mining for quality from carbonated sodas that are widely available in big retail stores. 

On Walmart's website, reviews of Twist Up are favorable. One verified purchaser even took the time to note that the flavor isn't like that of Sierra Mist, but "much more reasonably priced." Another purchaser mentions that it is a cost-efficient drink that tastes identical to 7-Up and Sprite and is good for a household full of soda-thirsty kids. Even though Twist Up's flavor doesn't have the punch or staying power of the other sodas on this list, it's still a great drink that goes down in a blaze of fizz akin to the lemon lime heavyweights. 

9. Faygo

One of the oldest brands on this list, Faygo has been a soda staple since 1907, when it was founded by Russian-born bakers Ben and Perry Feigenson. Because they were the first company to introduce a twist-off cap, they quickly became the first soda brand to market the word "pop," per the Detroit Historical Society. If this list was scored on versatility only, Faygo would be the runaway victor, as the company's website lists 53 flavors in their repertoire, with options ranging from "Cotton Candy" to "Moon Mist Blue."

The company's lemon lime flavor, marketed as Faygo Dee-licious Twist, is not one of its best. In fact, you could argue that Faygo Twist is one of the company's very worst flavors, aside from Diet Peach and Faygo Gold. The taste of Faygo Twist arrives like the company was given only half of Sprite's recipe and then just made the other half up.

Faygo has longevity, but, perhaps having so many flavors on hand has made the drinks that should be easily delicious taste pretty subpar. If they can scale back and really focus on the core drinks, Faygo Twist could be great. For now, not even a storied history with the Insane Clown Posse music group can make this drink sing (via Tablet).

8. 365

The better of sodas offered at Whole Foods, 365 is the grocery store's in-house generic offering. It's unthinkable that a brand like 365, who also makes chicken nuggets, ice cream, and olive oil, can make a soda that's better than a long-time brand like Faygo. But then again, anything's possible in the world of carbonated beverages. 365 runs circles around Zevia, mostly because the former uses an essential ingredient in soda: sugar.

And to be honest, 365's lemon lime flavor is really good, easily one of the better offerings from the line. What demotes 365 so low on our list is the unfortunate circumstance of it being so hard to obtain. To get a pack of 365, you have to either order directly from Amazon or go to a nearby Whole Foods, something that may be a barrier for customers. 

Most of the options that are higher on this list are available virtually everywhere. That doesn't discredit the taste of 365's lemon lime flavor, though. One verified purchaser on Amazon wrote that it's a "great alternative to Sprite without the chemicals," while another claimed to find the natural flavoring "refreshing." 365's lemon lime is easily the best flavor on this list so far, and one of the best generic sodas altogether. But the difficulty in obtaining this delicious pop is what brings it down on our list. 

7. Sprite Zero

Sprite Zero, the diet offshoot of heavyweight brand Sprite, has gone by many different names over the years. When it was invented in 1974, it was called "Sugar Free Sprite." Nine years later, the name was changed to "Diet Sprite" (via Beverage History). It was then called Diet Sprite Zero right after the new millennium (via The New York Times). It would be easy to lump Sprite Zero in with regular Sprite, but the zero-calorie offering is worthy of its own distinction.

Much akin to Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke, and Diet Mountain Dew, Sprite Zero is a sugar-free alternative that is actually delicious. Of course, Sprite Zero is not as legendary as regular Sprite, but it's a serviceable option if sugary drinks aren't in your wheelhouse. 

Not only is Sprite Zero worthy of more respect, it's a better diet drink than Diet Mountain Dew in our minds. A verified purchaser on Walmart's website noted that they are a Diet Mountain Dew drinker but might end up "making a hard switch to Sprite Zero because it does taste better than the Dew!" It's taste will probably not make you a diet soda disciple across the board, but it goes down just as great, if not greater, than other zero-calorie, zero-sugar sodas.

6. Bubble Up

If you have never heard of Bubble Up, don't worry, it's the least-known soda brand on this list. Bubble Up was first created in 1919 by Sweet Valley Products Company in Sandusky, Ohio (via Dad's Root Beer). Nowadays, it's owned and manufactured by Dad's Root Beer and Indiana's Hedinger Brands. Over the years, Bubble Up has experimented with numerous variants, like Bitter Lemon, Mojito, and Ginger Ale, but the original lemon lime flavor remains the brand's best offering.

Bubble Up is much harder to acquire than 365, but the difference in taste couldn't be farther away. If the only thing factored into this ranking was taste, Bubble Up would firmly hold the silver medal. It's one of the most delicious lemon lime sodas to ever exist — if only it was sold in every Walmart or Kroger in the country.

Beyond the superb taste, Bubble Up is also one of the most referenced sodas in popular culture. Country singer Merle Haggard mentions it in his song "Rainbow Stew," while Ariana Grande features the drink in her "Die in Your Arms" music video. Finally, it's prominently displayed and consumed in the Jerry Lewis-starring movie "The Family Jewels." Take that, Coca-Cola.

5. Sierra Mist/Starry

Earlier this year, Sierra Mist fans bid adieu to their longtime drink, which was sacked by Pepsi in favor of a new lemon lime offering called Starry. It's clear that Pepsi Co. is trying to keep up with Coca-Cola's Sprite. This isn't the first time Sierra Mist has been kicked to the curb, either. In 2016, the soda was replaced by Mist Twist, until fans were so enraged by the switch that Pepsi Co. brought Sierra Mist back in 2018 (via Eat This, Not That).

Sierra Mist was an important soda drink because it was made with real sugar, and that's what gave it an edge. When Mist Twist was introduced, Pepsi opted for a high fructose corn syrup recipe to try and match Sprite's deliciousness. Unfortunately, Sierra Mist was never going to keep up with Sprite, mostly because it wasn't marketed as the same kind of drink. Now, Starry is being made exactly like Mist Twist was, ditching the real sugar for high fructose corn syrup again, and comes in a glitzy, poppy can.

Starry is mostly a fine lemon lime drink. It's always going to be compared to Sprite and it will always lose that battle. If you grade Starry on its own merit, it's a good-tasting lemon lime soda. For soda drinkers indebted to Pepsi, this will satisfy. If you're a lemon lime soda connoisseur, Starry might fall a little short for you. If history is bound to repeat itself, it won't be long before Sierra Mist makes its second comeback.

4. Mello Yello

There are sodas that are not explicitly lemon lime that the internet deems must be included in all discussions around the flavor. These are drinks that aren't necessarily orange-flavored but are considered citrus, much like lemon lime. Having orange soda thought of as a different flavor other than citrus doesn't make much sense. So, for this list, we will be bringing any non-orange-designated citrus soda into the company of our lemon lime picks. Mello Yello is the worst of offenders, but it's also a pretty great drink that's much better than the other lemon lime sodas below it.

Mello Yello is Coca-Cola's equivalent to Mountain Dew, and it's also the only Coca-Cola drink that is worse than its Pepsi counterpart. That doesn't mean it's a bad soda. In fact, Mello Yello is fourth on this list for a reason: It's delicious and has a great legacy. When Mello Yello arrived on the scene in 1979, it was the epitome of cool drinks. It's even the sponsor emblazoned on the stock car driven by Tom Cruise in the 1990 sports racing movie "Days of Thunder."

When it comes to flavor, Mello Yello is categorized only as a "citrus-flavored" drink. It's got hints of lemon lime, but with the bite of a good juice. Frankly, it's really good, running circles around Starry and Sprite Zero. It's widely available at stores like Walmart, Amazon, Dollar General, and Big Lots, so be sure to pick some up. 

3. 7-Up

7-Up is the best lemon lime soda to come from the drink's early generations. In fact, it was the very first lemon lime soda ever marketed, created by Charles Leiper Grigg in 1929. Since its inception, 7-Up has gained favor across generations. For 21 years, starting when it was called "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda" in 1929, the drink contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug, per The Vintage News. What brings 7-Up down to the bronze medal, though, is that one of its variations is better: Cherry 7-Up. Not even Cranberry Sprite can outmuscle this one.

That being said, 7-Up is one of the best lemon lime sodas to ever hit store shelves. It's got the right kind of kick that a lemon lime drink warrants and is even a go-to for stomach aches. Any drink that can be as delicious as it practical makes it worthy of a high placement on any soda ranking list.

Though they are owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper, 7-Up is the only drink on this list that is not considered as merely a flavor offered by a bigger soda brand. It has always been an inferior flavor to Sprite, though. Looking beyond that decades-long rivalry, 7-Up has firmly cemented its place in the echelons of lemon lime soda history.

2. Mountain Dew

Much like Mello Yello, Mountain Dew is a genreless soda. Is it orange-flavored? No. Lemon? No. Grapefruit? Nope. It has the hints of a more juice-oriented lemon lime soda, with the right kind of kick and a great bite upon the first sip. For being an ambiguous citrus soda, Mountain Dew is the absolute best. In 2018, Mountain Dew attempted to sell a bonafide lemon lime drink, Mountain Dew Ice, but it was promptly discontinued in 2020.

Aside from Coca-Cola and Pepsi, few other sodas have been as pivotal in contemporary American culture. Known as a "gamer drink," Mountain Dew is regularly associated with competitive video games like Call of Duty. On top of that, its longtime partnership with Taco Bell, particularly the inception of the Baja Blast flavor and its new hot sauce, has encapsulated millions (via Nerdist).

Since the original formula was created in 1940, Mountain Dew has remained one of the most popular sodas in America, bringing in $7-billion in revenue, according to Newsweek. That number placed higher than Sprite and 7-Up combined, emphasizing Mountain Dew's prowess among soda's elite, bested only by Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper — the usual suspects.

With a great taste, legendary role in culture, and variety of flavors, Mountain Dew is a titan in the soda industry. If it had that classic lemon lime taste, it would take the top spot of this list without question. But, since its delicious flavor cannot be so easily described, it must settle for the silver medal.

1. Sprite

Was there ever any doubt about which soda would take the top prize? When you think of lemon lime-flavored sodas, you most likely think of Sprite first. It's such a good drink that publications are employing food scientists to explain why McDonalds' version of it is so delicious (via Reader's Digest). Simply put, the taste of a Sprite is otherworldly. The sweetness is perfectly balanced with a bite that will make you jump out of your shoes.

Not only does Sprite taste like you're drinking carbonated electricity, it's easily the coolest soda in contemporary culture. Rappers like LL Cool J and Kurtis Blow appeared in commercials for the drink in the 1980s and 1990s, while NBA superstar LeBron James became Sprite's biggest spokesman upon graduating high school in 2003.

Created in Germany in 1961, Sprite was conceptualized to compete against 7-Up. In a shocking turn of events, it became better than its rival and lives on as the best lemon lime soda. It's hard to imagine there ever being a lemon lime drink that tastes better than Sprite, though Starry is going to try to make every doubter eat their words.