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Distilled Water vs Filtered Water – Key Differences

By: Stephanie Nielsen
Published on:

When it comes to choosing the best water for your health and hydration, you may come across various options, including distilled water and filtered water. Understanding the differences between these two types of water can help you make an informed decision about the water you consume. 

In this article, we will explore the characteristics, benefits, and potential drawbacks of distilled water and filtered water. We will also delve into why filtered water is considered the better option for your overall well-being.

Distilled Vs. Filtered Water

Water quality is a topic of great importance, and understanding the distinctions between different types of water can help you make informed decisions about the water you drink. Two commonly discussed options are distilled water and filtered water.

What Is Distilled Water?

Distilled water is produced through a process called distillation. In this method, water is heated to create steam, which is then condensed back into liquid form. The purpose of distillation is to separate water from contaminants, leaving behind impurities and minerals. The resulting distilled water is free from most chemicals, minerals, and impurities that may be present in the original water source.

distillation process of water

Distilled water is commonly used in medical and laboratory settings, as well as for certain household applications. Its purity and lack of minerals make it suitable for specific purposes where the absence of contaminants is essential.

What Is Filtered Water?

Filtered water refers to water that has undergone a filtration process to remove impurities, contaminants, and potentially harmful substances. Filtration methods can vary, with different types of filters targeting specific contaminants or substances of concern. Common filtration systems include:

  • Reverse osmosis
  • Ion exchange filters
  • Sediment filters
  • UV filters
  • Dual mechanical filters
  • Carbon filters

We’ll get into the details of each of these type of common filtration systems later on.

Safe Drinking Water

Access to safe drinking water is essential for maintaining good health and well-being. However, the quality of drinking water can vary depending on its source and any treatment processes it undergoes. 

In this section, we will explore the safety of two commonly discussed types of water: distilled water and filtered water. Understanding the safety considerations associated with each can help you make informed choices about the water you consume.

Is Distilled Water Safe To Drink?

While distilled water is generally safe to drink, it’s important to consider certain factors. The process of distillation removes impurities and contaminants from water, including minerals, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals. As a result, distilled water is typically highly purified and free from most substances that may be present in the original water source.

However, it’s worth noting that the distillation process also removes beneficial minerals and electrolytes that are naturally present in water. These minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, play vital roles in supporting various bodily functions. Therefore, relying solely on distilled water for hydration may not be ideal, as it may contribute to potential mineral deficiencies over time.

That being said, distilled water can still be beneficial for certain applications. For instance, it is often recommended for use in:

  • Medical procedures
  • Laboratory experiments
  • Industrial processes
  • Humidifiers
  • Steam irons
  • Car batteries

Distilled water is also commonly used in several other occurrences where the absence of minerals and impurities is crucial or may help prevent mineral buildup and clogging in devices. 

Additionally, distilled water can be used for cleaning and rinsing delicate items or as an ingredient in specific recipes.

Is Filtered Water Safe To Drink?

Filtered water is generally considered safe to drink, as it undergoes a process that removes impurities and contaminants. The specific filtration method used can vary, depending on the type of filter and its capabilities. Common filtration systems effectively remove various substances that may be present in the water.

Filtration helps ensure the water is safe for consumption by eliminating contaminants like: 

  • Chlorine
  • Heavy metals
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Pesticides
  • Other harmful substances

It also improves the taste, odor, and overall quality of the water.

It’s important to note that the safety of filtered water depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of the filtration system. Regular maintenance, filter replacement, and adherence to manufacturer guidelines are essential to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Common Filtration Systems

Filtered water is generally considered safe to drink as it undergoes a filtration process that removes impurities and contaminants. However, the specific safety considerations may vary depending on the type of filtration system and its maintenance.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis filtration utilizes a semi-permeable membrane to remove impurities and contaminants from water. It effectively removes dissolved solids, such as minerals, chemicals, and heavy metals, providing clean and purified water. Reverse osmosis systems are commonly used in households and commercial settings to achieve high-quality drinking water.

Ion Exchange Filters

Ion exchange filters use resin beads to remove dissolved minerals and exchange them with less harmful ions. This process helps soften water by reducing the levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Ion exchange filters are particularly useful in areas where hard water is prevalent, as they can improve the taste and texture of the water while reducing scale buildup in pipes and appliances.

Sediment Filters

Sediment filters are designed to trap and remove large particles and sediments from water, including sand, dirt, and rust. These filters help improve the visual clarity and overall quality of water. Sediment filters are often the first line of defense in water filtration systems, as they prevent larger particles from reaching the subsequent filtration stages.

UV Filters

UV filters utilize ultraviolet light to disinfect water and destroy bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. This method can effectively eliminate harmful pathogens, providing safe and purified drinking water. UV filters are commonly used in combination with other filtration methods to provide a comprehensive water purification system.

Dual Mechanical Filters

Dual mechanical filters consist of two filter stages, typically a combination of sediment and carbon filters. The sediment filter removes larger particles, while the carbon filter helps reduce chlorine, chemicals, and unpleasant odors and tastes. This dual filtration approach ensures the effective removal of contaminants while improving the overall taste and quality of the water.

Carbon Filters

Carbon filters use activated carbon to absorb and trap contaminants, chemicals, and impurities present in water. This filtration method is effective in removing chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and certain heavy metals, resulting in improved taste and odor of the water. Carbon filters are widely used in households and can be found in various forms, such as faucet-mounted filters, pitcher filters, and whole-house filtration systems.

Is Distilled Water or Filtered Water Better For You?

When it comes to determining which type of water is better for you, filtered water has the advantage. While distilled water goes through a process that removes impurities and minerals, it also eliminates beneficial minerals and electrolytes. 

Filtered water, on the other hand, allows you to retain essential minerals while effectively removing contaminants and impurities. This makes filtered water a more balanced and desirable choice for daily hydration and overall health.

Filtered water offers a range of benefits, such as: 

  • Improved taste
  • Removal of chlorine and harmful chemicals
  • Enhanced odor
  • Retention of essential minerals

The specific filtration method used can be customized to address your water quality concerns and local water conditions. By investing in a reliable and effective water filtration system, you can enjoy the benefits of clean, safe, and refreshing water for you and your family.

Final Thoughts

In the comparison between distilled water and filtered water, filtered water emerges as the better option for everyday hydration. It provides a balance between removing contaminants and preserving essential minerals, offering improved taste and overall water quality. By opting for filtered water, you can enjoy clean, safe, and balanced hydration.

Remember to consider your specific water source, quality concerns, and individual needs when choosing a filtration system. Prioritize regular hydration with filtered water to support your well-being and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Understanding the differences between distilled water and filtered water is crucial for making an informed decision about the water you consume. While distilled water removes minerals and electrolytes, filtered water offers the benefits of improved taste, removal of contaminants, and retention of essential minerals. By opting for filtered water, you can enjoy clean, safe, and balanced hydration.

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Stephanie Nielsen
Stephanie worked as a department supervisor of kitchen, bath, and appliances at Home Depot, and water filters were part of the inventory she was responsible for assisting clients with so she learned the ins and outs of matching the right filtration device to homeowner’s needs. She also worked closely with Culligan water to educate customers about whole-home water treatment and softener systems.

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