Distilled vs Purified Water: What’s the Difference?


Both distillation and purification are processes that include clearing the water of its contaminants and making it suitable for consumption. But what exactly is the difference between the two?

To help you out, we have compiled this guide to take you through the differences between distilled and purified water. Let’s begin!

Distilled vs Purified Water: Short Summary

Distilled water is that which requires boiling the water to separate the impurities or contaminants and minerals. The resulting steam is free from any of these substances and is then condensed back to its liquid state.

Purified water is also free of any contaminants, but the process that this entails is a bit different as well as the specific kinds of substances that are filtered out.

Distilled vs Purified Water: Process

The process involved in distillation and purification is the primary distinction between the two. Even though the goal is similar, the method and the results are a bit different.

When it comes to distilled water, the water is obtained after boiling the water and converting it into steam. When this takes place, the contaminants and minerals are all left behind to ensure that they do not make their way into the final liquid. The steam is then recondensed to form clear water.

Purified water, on the other hand, can include various methods such as reverse osmosis and deionization, both of which separate the contaminants from the water but retain certain minerals.

Distilled vs Purified Water: Minerals

How the minerals are dealt with when it comes to distilled and purified water also tends to be different. This can be a defining factor if you want to make a choice between the two depending on your requirements.

For instance, distilled water ends up getting rid of all the minerals, whether unhealthy or healthy, from the water. However, when it comes to purified water, the end result can retain the healthy or naturally occurring minerals while getting rid of all the contaminants.

This can put purified water slightly above distilled water when it comes to healthy minerals, although the difference is quite minute.


Distilled vs Purified Water: Health and Safety

The retention of minerals is not the only aspect that makes purified water healthier as compared to distilled water. While this is a major factor, there are several other things for you to consider.

For instance, during the process of distillation, there are several volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that usually have a boiling point lower than that of water. These compounds tend to boil off beforehand and might even become a part of the final result unless care is taken to avoid this.

On the other hand, distilled water is also free of fluoride while purified water contains it, making the latter more prone to giving cavities.

Purified water goes through a few additional steps when it comes to getting rid of the contaminants. Not only this, but this kind of water is also a lot healthier and safer when it comes to taste and smell since it gets rid of the substances left behind even after the filtration process.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Act, there are limitations in place when it comes to nearly 90 contaminants that states can then set standards for on their own.

When it comes to dealing well with these contaminants, purified water can offer a better and more thorough process.

Since distillation also deals with such high boiling points, it can be a bit riskier as compared to purification which relies on simpler methods of clearing the water of contaminants.

Distilled vs Purified Water: Cost and Maintenance

Both distilled and purified water are obtained through complex processes. Since the requirement is for a long period of time, you will also need to consider the cost and maintenance requirements of each system.

In this case, the process and components involved in obtaining distilled water can be much more affordable and simple to maintain as compared to those involving purified water.

The latter is expensive and requires regular upkeep to ensure that the purification process actually works. It also produces a lot more waste since filters are essential for the process.

Distilled vs Purified Water: Energy Consumption

When it comes to how much energy or power a certain system can consume to obtain clear and healthy water, the process of obtaining distilled water can be a lot more demanding as compared to that of obtaining purified water.

This is because the process entails boiling off the entire water into steam and then recondensing it back to its liquid form. This can require copious amounts of energy which can then end up adding significantly to your bills.

Purified water usually does not deal with such high temperatures and relies on filters, chemical reactions and compounds to separate the impurities. This can help save both energy and money in the long run.

Thus, despite the additional costs that purified water can bring due to purchasing, installation and maintenance, the overall and long term cost can get reduced significantly due to the low energy consumption.

This is also much safer for the environment.


What Should You Opt For?

While it can sound like the differences between distilled water and purified water are quite major, in reality, there is not too much of a distinction between them based on the final result.

In this sense, it is entirely up to you to decide which kind of water and water system you should opt for based on the requirements of your household.

Make sure you take various other factors into account as well such as the cost of purchasing and installation, energy savings, maintenance requirements, safety standards, the kinds of contaminants left behind as well as the overall health standards.

Distilled vs Purified Water: Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Water Is Better to Use?

This depends on your own requirements. Overall, however, purified water seems to be the better choice considering the fact that it purifies the water thoroughly while still retaining most of the healthy minerals in the water.

This can result in healthier water consumption when it comes to purified water since it is possible that some impurities might still remain when it comes to distilled water.

Purified water is also energy efficient and safer to use, although it can be a bit expensive and difficult to maintain on such a regular basis.

Is It Safe to Drink Distilled Water Regularly?

Yes, it is quite safe to drink distilled water regularly or even on a daily basis since distillation can manage to leave behind all the impurities quite thoroughly, leaving you with a clean and safe water option.

However, since it can also leave behind healthy minerals, people tend to prefer purified water to ensure that they retain them when they consume water. These healthy minerals tend to include calcium, magnesium and sodium, among others.

It is also quite essential to ensure that you have a reliable enough distillation system in place to allow the process to take place smoothly and without any errors.

What Impurities Do These Processes Help Eliminate?

There are a whole bunch of impurities that can be present in water. For instance, there can be high concentrations of sulfur, arsenic, fluoride, iron, manganese, uranium as well as several other harmful substances.

Apart from these, impurities from groundwater, agriculture, industrial activities, pollution and more can also find their way into the water which can then lead to a wide range of health issues ranging from diarrhea and poisoning to more chronic issues.

Once the water passes through these processes, however, the impurities are more or less left behind or filtered out so that you can drink clean and safe water.

Is Boiled Water the Same as Distilled Water?

Boiled water and distilled water are not the same things, although boiling water is a significant element of the distillation process. When it comes to boiled water, the water is simply brought up to heat (or its boiling point) so that all potential bacteria can die in such high temperatures.

This boiled water can then be used and consumed in a variety of ways. However, despite getting rid of bacteria, boiled water can still contain several contaminants and impurities that can lead to several other health issues.

Distilled water involves boiling the water completely until it turns to steam, which makes it different from boiled water. After the steam is obtained, it is then recondensed into liquid.

This process can kill off all impurities.

Can Either Cause Any Harm?

Distilled water can cause harm if they retain VOCs in the final liquid form while purified water can cause some harm (albeit minor) if it retains fluoride. The former can have a greater impact on your health while the latter can harm your teeth.

Concluding Remarks

Through this guide, we have taken you through the significant points of differences between distilled and purified water in criteria such as process, health and safety, minerals, cost and maintenance as well as energy consumption.

You can now make a choice that works well for you and your household.

Leave a Comment