03/03/2020 | Aquaculture | 11 MINUTE READ

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

stainless faucet water

Water quality is important for a wide array of reasons. For fish to survive in their habitats, their water must remain clean. Drinking water also needs to be free from impurities for the people who drink it to be healthy. Water quality is a critical component for many industrial treatment applications. For instance, boiler water will need to be treated if too many impurities are found in the water. High amounts of impurities can lead to the development of scale and a worsening of system efficiency, which is why many industrial facilities are required to treat their water regularly.

There are a variety of different types of water, which include:

  • Purified water
  • Mineral water
  • Distilled water
  • Spring water

Understanding the differences between the various types of water should help you identify which option is best for you or the specific application for which the water is being used. The following offers a closer look at the primary differences between purified water and distilled water. Both purified water and distilled water have their benefits, which is why you might want to know how they differ from one another.

What is Purified Water?

Purified water is a kind of water that has been effectively filtered to remove various impurities from the water. Purified water can be made from tap water and groundwater, which means it’s readily available for practically all homeowners.

The many impurities and contaminants that are removed from water during the purification process include:

  • Numerous chemical pollutants
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Algae
  • Certain metals like lead and copper
  • Different parasites

Several different methods can be used to purify water, which includes:

  • Filtration
  • Sedimentation
  • Coagulation
  • Disinfection

While these four processes differ significantly in how they purify water, they can provide similar results. For water to be classified as purified water, it must have lower than 10 PPM, which means that around 99% of all contaminants must be removed from the water.

Health Benefits of Purified Water

health stethoscope

Purified water is considered to be the healthiest type of water, which is why it comes with many notable health benefits. Even though standard tap water is usually safe to drink, this water can still consist of trace amounts of contaminants, which is why it’s recommended that you opt for purified water.

The many benefits of drinking purified water include:

  • Numerous purification methods eliminate chlorine in the water, which is a standard chemical that has been linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer and similar cancers
  • Removes harmful bacteria that can lead to nausea, stomach aches, and various illnesses
  • Provides your skin with a protective barrier that keeps impurities out
  • Provides benefits to your colon and digestive tract
  • Removes metallic substances, organic matter, and chemicals, which should improve the taste of the water
  • Gets rid of heavy metals like lead and copper, both of which are highly toxic

You should drink purified water because it’s exceedingly healthy and can get rid of most of the contaminants that remain when you consume public drinking water. While the EPA has set guidelines that require public drinking water to be rid of at least 90% of contaminants, different states have their guidelines. Even though state guidelines for public drinking water must be at or higher than the 90% removal rate for contaminants, some states have stricter regulations than others.

Drinking water that has been purified from 99% of contaminants is always going to be healthier than drinking water that still contains up to 10% of contaminants. While purified water is healthy to drink, it’s recommended that you drink other types of water as well. Ultra-pure water contains no electrolytes, which your body needs. A deficiency in electrolytes can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.

Cons of Purified Water

person holding cup of waterThere are some issues with purified water that you should be aware of before you drink it. Even though purified water is healthy, drawbacks do exist.

The main issues with purified water include:

  • Certain purification systems will remove fluoride from the water, which is a helpful mineral that’s known to reduce tooth decay and improve overall dental health
  • Water purification systems need to be maintained regularly, which is meant to ensure that contaminants don’t increase on older filters
  • It’s possible that the purification process won’t get rid of certain contaminants, which can include some chemicals and pesticides
  • Purchasing purified bottled water or selecting an in-home purification system can be costly, which is why you should weigh the pros and cons of drinking this form of water
  • If you choose to purchase plastic bottles of purified water, doing so causes a significant amount of waste, which is harmful to the environment

Purified vs. Filtered Water

If you’re thinking about drinking purified water, you should first know about the difference between filtered water and purified water. These two terms are typically used interchangeably but are somewhat different. Even though both types of water are filtered, purified water goes through additional purification processes, which can include everything from distillation to reverse osmosis.

Because of the additional processes for purified water, it comes in at a much higher purity than filtered water. When going through the purification process, at least 99.5% of all contaminants will be removed from the water, which is true regardless of the exact water source. With filtered water, the source of water dictates how much contaminants can be removed.

What is Distilled Water?

water in kettle pot

Distilled water is a kind of purified water that has been taken directly through the distillation process. This process is one of the methods that can be used to purify water. Distillation works by boiling water and collecting the steam that results, which will return to water once cooled.

This purification process has proven to be highly effective at getting rid of such contaminants as:

  • Many different viruses and bacteria
  • Certain protozoa like giardia
  • Various chemicals such as sulfate and lead

Because of how pure distilled water is, it’s commonly used in laboratories and medical facilities. While purified water is more commonly drunk than distilled water, it’s still possible to drink distilled water since it’s entirely free of impurities.

Health Benefits of Distilled Water

woman holding a glass cup

Drinking distilled water can be very beneficial to your health through such benefits as:

  • Water distillation is among the most effective ways to rid water of contaminants
  • Distilled water is free of contaminants like bacteria and pesticides, which can be beneficial for individuals who suffer from a weakened immune system
  • You may live in a location that doesn’t have particularly strict tap water regulations, which means that drinking distilled water would keep you healthier
  • Individuals who suffer from HIV or various types of cancer have a higher risk of becoming sick via impurities in water or food, which means that distilled water should be a better option than other types
  • Distilled water gets rid of chlorine from the water, which should enhance the taste of the water

While you shouldn’t solely drink distilled water, it’s highly recommended that you consider drinking distilled water now and then because of the many health benefits that it provides. Before you do, however, you should know about the various issues that come with drinking distilled water.

Cons of Distilled Water

three-clear-water-bottlesEven though distilled water is the cleanest and purest water that you can find, this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the healthiest type of water for you to drink.

The issues of drinking distilled water include:

  • While the distillation process removes contaminants, it also gets rid of electrolytes and natural minerals that are essential for a person’s health
  • Healthy minerals like magnesium and calcium are removed completely from distilled water
  • Not getting enough magnesium and calcium in your diet places you at a higher risk of heart diseases, fractures, and preterm birth
  • Distilled water gets rid of fluoride, which can help prevent cavities

As long as you maintain a healthy and balanced diet, it should be safe for you to drink distilled water. Make sure that the healthy minerals and electrolytes that are removed from distilled water are consumed through some other facet of your diet.

Which Is Best: Purified Vs. Distilled Water?

Both purified and distilled water are very healthy for you and are essentially the same. The main difference between the two is that purified water doesn’t necessarily get rid of all of the healthy minerals that can be found in water, which isn’t the case with distilled water. It’s also important to understand that the process of distilling water consumes a significant amount of energy, which means that it’s somewhat harmful to the environment. If you use the reverse osmosis process, you’ll be using much less energy.

When you want the cleanest water that you can find, it’s recommended that you opt for distilled water. If, however, you want to drink clean water that’s somewhat healthier, you should choose purified water. Both types of water are healthy for you as long as you maintain a balanced diet. If you’ve been searching for ways to purify your drinking water, you can either distill your water or use the reverse osmosis process, the latter of which takes the water through a semi-permeable membrane. No matter which option you decide to use, you should be provided with clean and healthy water.

If you want to test the quality of the water to make sure that it’s purified, several Sensorex sensors can help you measure water quality. For instance, the CS700 contacting conductivity sensor can help you determine how many impurities and contaminants are in your drinking water. You can also test the pH of the water with the pH1000 sensor to make sure that the levels are correct after you have purified the water. Readings between 6.5-8.5 indicate pure water.

Environmental Impact

When it comes to the environmental impact, it’s essential to consider the energy consumption and sustainability of purification methods. Distillation, while effective, is known for its high energy demands as it requires boiling water to create steam. In contrast, processes like reverse osmosis tend to be more energy-efficient. Additionally, assessing the environmental footprint, including water waste and carbon emissions, is crucial for making eco-conscious choices between purified and distilled water.

Application Specifics

The choice between purified and distilled water can significantly depend on the specific application. For instance, purified water might be preferred in-home consumption because it retains essential minerals and electrolytes, making it a more balanced choice. On the other hand, in laboratory settings where absolute purity is vital, distilled water is often the go-to option due to its complete removal of impurities. Understanding the unique requirements of each application is crucial for making the proper selection.

Testing and Monitoring

Regular monitoring of water quality is vital to ensure that it meets the desired standards. Using tools like Sensorex sensors can help individuals and businesses assess the purity of their water. Continuous monitoring ensures that deviations from the desired water quality can be promptly addressed, guaranteeing consistent water purity for various purposes.

Cost Considerations

Choosing between purified and distilled water may also come down to cost considerations. While purified bottled water can be costly, expenses are associated with setting up and maintaining distillation equipment or home purification systems. Evaluating the long-term costs, including purchase, maintenance, and operational expenses, can assist in making a financially prudent decision.

Health Recommendations

Providing clear health recommendations regarding when to consume purified or distilled water is essential. Purified water, with its balanced mineral content, is generally suitable for daily consumption, especially in regions with acceptable tap water quality. Distilled water, while exceptionally pure, may not be the ideal choice for regular drinking due to its lack of essential minerals. It is often recommended for specific health conditions or applications requiring high purity.

Water Regulations

Understanding the water quality regulations in your region is crucial when deciding between purified and distilled water. Different states may have varying standards for tap water quality, which can impact the initial rate of the water before purification or distillation. Awareness of local regulations ensures that you meet or exceed water quality standards.


In conclusion, choosing between purified and distilled water depends on individual needs and preferences. Pure water is suitable for most daily consumption, offering health benefits while retaining essential minerals. Distilled water, with its unparalleled purity, is excellent for specific applications demanding the utmost cleanliness. Consider your particular requirements, environmental concerns, and budget constraints when ensuring access to the cleanest and healthiest water for your needs.

If you want to learn more about all of the water measurement sensors that we offer at Sensorex, call us today!

Understanding the differences between the various types of water should help you identify which option is best for you or the specific application for which the water is being used. The following offers a closer look at the primary differences between purified water and distilled water. Both purified water and distilled water have their benefits, which is why you might want to know how they differ from one another.

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Posted by Dominic O'Donnell on March 3, 2020

Sensorex is a global leader in the design and manufacture of quality sensors for water quality and process applications. The company offers more than 2000 sensor packages for pH, ORP, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, free chlorine, chlorine dioxide, UV transmittance and other specialty measurements, as well as a full line of sensor accessories and transmitters. Its expert technical support engineers solve analytical sensor challenges with custom designs and off the shelf products.

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