We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
Yep, you can indeed drink distilled water! And it’s a popular choice for people who are super-conscious about drinking the best, most beneficial type of water they can. But in the eternal battle of distilled water versus purified water, who’s the winner?
On the surface, they’re pretty similar.
- Purified water has had chemicals and contaminants removed but may contain minerals.
- Distilled water takes it one step further, with both contaminants and minerals removed.
But which is better? In the blue corner, it’s distilled! And in the other blue corner, it’s purified! They’ll be facing each other in a battle of facts! Seconds out. Round one!
Basically, distilled water is purified water that has taken a further step into purity, like when a monk becomes the Pope.
Purifying water gets rid of all the stuff you probably don’t want to be drinking: heavy metal traces, chlorine, and chemicals that make your tap water taste vaguely like that time you accidentally swallowed a mouthful of the swimming pool. But it keeps the minerals that help you stay healthy.
Distilled water says, “Hold up. I don’t want any of this!” and gets rid of pretty much everything. No chemicals, no nasty tastes — but no good stuff, either. It’s basically drinkable air.
How is distilled water made?
Distilled water is made through the process of (surprise!) distillation.
As you may remember from high school science projects, that’s the one where you boil water and collect the steam, which then cools and turns back into water. If you distill water that has already been purified, the result is a distilled water purer than a basket of week-old kittens.
As a result, distilled is the water of choice for medical facilities and labs — the gold standard for good clean liquid. It’s purer than a nunnery. But does that mean you should make a habit of drinking it?
Pros and cons
Distilled water being ultra-pure certainly sounds cool. But surely there’s some kind of catch? Yup. Nothing in life is that simple, is it?
|It can be better for you than tap water if you live in an area with contaminated water.||It’s pure, clean water, but it can be a little too pure, with absolutely no healthy minerals.|
|There’s zero chance of chugging down any contaminants in your water.||Distilled water tends to draw minerals from whatever it touches — and that can include plastic containers and your teeth.|
|It may be beneficial for people with HIV or cancer whose immune systems don’t fight infections effectively.||You need to give extra care to your teeth, because you won’t be getting fluoride from tap water.|
|Distillation gets rid of that nasty chlorine taste. Boo, chlorine!||Distillation also gets rid of other minerals that are actually good for you.|
FYI: If distilled water is your main source of hydration, you’ll need to eat plenty of mineral-rich foods or take supplements to make sure you’re meeting your daily mineral needs. Drinking a lot of distilled water isn’t a good option unless you can make up for the minerals removed from the water.
Distilled water ain’t just for drinking and lab work — it actually has a whole bunch of uses. You can use it:
- in a steam iron
- in aquariums (though your fishy friends will need a mineral supplement, same as you)
- in continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, which help with sleep apnea
- in car cooling systems
- for watering plants
Can you make distilled water at home?
You can indeed!
Distillation kits are available online. If you’re feeling really smart, you can even do it yourself using:
- a large pot of boiling water
- a bowl
- some ice cubes
Which method you go with really depends on what you’re going to use the water for. Just using it for some ironing or cleaning? You can probably use a pot. But if you’re going to be drinking it or filling an aquarium, you’re going to need quite a lot of water.
It might be best to go with the distillation kit instead.
Purified water is usually made with groundwater or tap water. It goes through filtering to get rid of impurities like:
There are a few different ways to make purified water:
- Reverse osmosis. Water gets filtered through a spiffy material that lets the water through but blocks salt and impurities like that bouncer at the club.
- Deionization. This is the method most likely to appear in a spelling bee. It removes the molecules of salt and impurities from the water.
- UV radiation. It’s not as scary as it sounds.
- Good old-fashioned boiling. It turns out impurities don’t like being boiled. Who knew?
How to purify water at home
At entry level, it’s super easy to purify your water at home. All you’ve got to do is go out and buy a Brita water filter, and it’ll do the hard work for you!
The problem is that you can only really use the pitcher for smaller amounts. What if you want all your water to be purified?
Well, good news again! If you’re willing to spend the coin, you can have a home filtration system set up. This means the very water coming out of your faucet will be lovingly purified for you.
These systems can get pricey but might be worth your while. Make sure any system you have installed comes with certification from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or NSF International.
Pros and cons
What are the ups and downs of purified water? Check it out!
|Purification improves your tap water, especially if you live in a state with lower water standards.||Purification removes the fluoride from tap water, and you need fluoride to prevent tooth decay.|
|It tastes pretty darn good.||Sometimes, purification doesn’t get all the contaminants out, especially compared with distillation.|
|It can be relatively simple to make.||Water filtration systems need a lot of upkeep to make sure they work properly.|
We’ve reached the final battle between distilled and purified water. Who will emerge victorious?
Well, it comes down to personal choice, really. But take a look below to see which one might work best for you.
|Distillation is super effective at getting rid of any additional junk in your water.||Purification gets rid of impurities and bacteria in your water but keeps the healthy minerals.|
|It’s brilliant for immunocompromised people.||It tastes fresh and pure.|
|It has a ton of uses around the house.||It’s pretty simple to make at home.|
|You can mix it with baby formula.||It’s awesome for hair, skin, and digestion.|
So the battle of purified versus distilled water has ended in a draw… but what’s this? Distilled water is coming back out of the blue corner and demanding to take on some other challengers!
Here come mineral water and spring water. And purified water still wants some of this action! How do they all measure up?
Spring water vs. distilled water
Spring water generally comes from an underground source and doesn’t pass through any treatment facilities. It’s just bottled right there and then. So it’s just as pure as distilled water but has a ton of nutrients in it.
Make sure you check labels carefully, though — some bottles are labeled as spring water but are actually just treated tap water. Sneaky!
Mineral water vs. distilled vs. purified
Just like spring water, mineral water comes from an underground source and is protected from any potential pollution.
The difference is that it has minerals added. This means it’s slightly more artificial than spring water while still being darn good-quality stuff. It’s most similar to purified water because of those minerals — once again, distilled water lacks in that department.
The battle of purified versus distilled water will probably rage on forever. But if you’re jonesing for that extra-pure refreshment and wondering which you should choose, it just comes down to personal choice.
Yeah, yeah — nobody likes a draw in a fight. We get it. But distilled and purified really are suited to different situations. For example, distilled water can be perfect for mixing with baby formula. But as soon as your kiddo is on solids, it’s no longer a good choice.
Consider your needs or consult a medical professional to see which type of water would be best for you. Choose the right one and you’ll be the winner.