Distilled vs. Purified Water: What’s the Difference?

by Jay | Last Updated:  Last updated on July 26th, 2022,

I will not be surprised if you cannot distinguish between distilled and purified water. But unfortunately, these are terminologies we commonly encounter, especially in the home appliance world. So you first need to know your options to identify what you need, and we are here to help you.


Distilled water

Distillation is when untreated water is boiled until it becomes vapor and condensed immediately after to transform it back to a liquid state. The boiling process eradicates impurities.

Distillation process

You can distill water in the comfort of your own home. There are a couple of distillation types:

Electric distillers

This type of distiller works like a coffee maker. An initial water chamber is available, where tap water is placed. A heating element turns water into steam upon starting the process, which finds its way through the chamber exit. A collection carafe then captures and collects the steam to turn it back into its liquid state, only cleaner this time. 

Note that this utilizes electricity, limiting the places and events you can use. Again, the key is to assess your needs!

Non-electric water distillers

This type also needs a heating element, possibly in the form of stoves or open fire. This is especially useful if you need it for your camping trips where electricity may not be readily available. In addition, the realized non-electric distillers in the market house self-contained units with several compartments for your disposal.

Advantages of distilled water

Prevents waterborne diseases

Since the distillation process eradicates contaminants, you will have cleaner and healthier water to consume. You can also have a water supply free of toxic elements, especially known carcinogenic ones.

Natural detoxification

Distilled water helps the kidney clean out metabolic wastes through urination. In addition, water is known to be the best detoxifying fluid.

Good for immunocompromised individuals

There are a lot of pathogens that can linger in untreated water. Thus, if anyone in your household is immunocompromised, provide them with distilled water to decrease the chances of infection.

Better taste

Since distillers take away excessive and harmful minerals, you will have some fresh and clean water to drink without any unpleasant taste.

Eradicates chlorine and pesticides

A distiller can effectively remove even the contaminants filters can’t.

Disadvantages of distilled water

Decreased nutrition

Since the distillation process eradicates the minerals, even the healthy ones will be gone. This will not hurt you if you eat a balanced diet, though! Not having any good minerals in your water should be fine if you get the nutrients you need in the food you eat.

Bland taste

Due to the lack of minerals, your water will taste bland. However, this is better than having an awful tasting supply.

Slow process

It takes 5 to 6 hours to distill a gallon of water. This is especially painful if you have a handful of household members that constantly drinks water.

Can be pricey

Water distillers are more expensive than filtration systems.

Purified water

The purification process is when untreated water passes through a mechanical filter to filter contaminants. Different means to purify your water include carbon filtering, distillation, UV oxidation, reverse osmosis, capacitive deionization, and ultrafiltration. You can combine more than one method to make your water ultra clean.

Methods

Reverse osmosis

This filters the water using a semipermeable membrane to eradicate impurities and salt. 

Distillation

As discussed, this process brings the water to a boil and then condenses the steam to return it to liquid form.

Deionization

As the term implies, deionization removes mineral ions from water.

UV light

Ultraviolet light kills harmful pathogens, thus, disinfecting your water.

Carbon filters

Carbon filters remove chlorine and other contaminants, depending on the model. This largely improves the taste and smell of your supply. In addition, you can find carbon filters in water pitchers, making them inexpensive and easy to use.

Impurities and contaminants

Here’s a quick list of the contaminants that can be eradicated via the purification process:

  • Chemical pollutants
  • Fungi
  • Algae
  • Bacteria
  • Certain metals such as lead and copper
  • Parasites

Public water purification

Some countries purify water for public consumption. The various methods utilized to do so are:

Coagulation and flocculation

Floc is formed when positively charged chemicals are combined with water to bind with negatively charged ions. This is then filtered out.

Sedimentation

Floc is large, so it naturally settles to the bottom of the water supply while clean water rises above it.

Filtration

The relatively clean water on top goes through several filtration systems to furtherly purify the supply.

Disinfection

This is when chemical disinfectants, such as chlorine, are put into the supply to kill remaining pathogens.

Advantages of purified water

Contaminant-free

The purification process eliminates harmful contaminants and impurities, making your water safe for consumption.

Glowing skin

Hydration in itself helps keep skin healthy and supple. This is even more so if you consume clean and pure water to nourish your skin more!

Improved digestion

Obvious reasons, consuming purified water will help keep your digestive system functioning efficiently. However, some substances found in untreated water, such as copper and lead, are hazardous to health and may even induce stomach irritation.

Great tasting water

It’s a no-brainer that great-tasting water keeps you returning for more!

Disadvantages of purified water

Regular maintenance

Your filtration or purification system should be cleaned regularly to promote longevity and ensure it’s doing its job well.

Fluoride

A public water supply that contains fluoride is typically to help prevent tooth decay and other oral problems. However, if present in excess, this may lead to brain and nerve damage.

Pricey

The cost of buying, installing, and maintaining home-based purification systems may be expensive. 

Plastic bottles add up to waste.

Buying plastic bottles is not only expensive in the long run, but it also poses some hazards to our environment.

Purified versus distilled water

Uses of distilled water

  • Steam iron for pressing clothes
  • Scientific experiments
  • Low volume humidifiers
  • Aquariums
  • Watering plants
  • Medical devices
  • Car cooling systems

Uses of purified water

  • Laboratory experiments
  • Commercial beverages
  • Autoclaves
  • Semiconductors
  • Lead-acid batteries
  • Laser cutting
  • Pharmaceutical industry

Process

The two methods are closely associated because the distillation process is a type of purification. In other words, various ways to purify water, including distillation.

Palatability

The distillation process produces bland-tasting water. Other purification methods produce water with better taste.

Cost

Distillation and purification both come at higher prices. Distilled water costs around two to ten dollars per gallon, while installing and maintaining purification filtration systems holds a high investment value. However, note that deionization and reverse osmosis are more affordable than distillation.

The safer option

Distilled water lacks healthy minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and fluoride. The absence of these minerals can promote dehydration. To conclude, purified water is far superior in safety and health benefits.

Things to consider

water

Type of water supply

Is your supply from a well, or is it from the city’s reservoir? You may also want to check if it runs through old lead pipes. You might also want to have it tested to know what contaminants are present. Knowing these lets, you discover which type of water is best for you.

Budget

Set the budget you’re comfortable with, and look for options that cut.

Portability

Are you a stay-home type of guy, or do you travel often? Of course, if you travel a lot, you have to consider portability to enjoy the fruit of your investment even on your days away from home.

Final thoughts

Now that you’ve learned about distilled and purified water, it’s time to know what you need and weighs your options. Use our buyer’s guide to help you narrow down your choices! Happy shopping!

Jay

Self assessed Germaphobe, specializing in everything water, water filters, health and nutrition. Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I've acquired immense amount of knowledge when it comes to natural, biology, and everything about human anatomy.