Purified vs distilled vs tap water what's the difference?

Purified water

Water is the source of life. We all know the importance of water to health. In real life, we often hear three types of water: purified, distilled, and tap water. So what kind of water should we drink? Although they all Water obtained through certain treatment processes, there are still some important differences between them. The following article explains the differences between purified, distilled, and tap water.

What is purified water?

Purified water refers to H2O without impurities. It is pure, clean water that does not contain impurities or bacteria, such as organic pollutants, inorganic salts, additives, or various impurities. It is water that meets the sanitary standards for drinking water. It is produced through the electrolyzer method, ion exchanger method, reverse osmosis method, distillation method, and other appropriate processing methods. It is sealed in a container and does not contain any additives. It is colorless and transparent and can be drank directly.

How is purified water made?

Clarification: For turbid water bodies, clarification treatment is first needed to remove suspended solids, sediment, etc. Commonly used clarification methods include sedimentation, filtration, and centrifugation.

Adsorption: Many harmful substances or colors present specific dissolved forms and can be removed through adsorption methods. Common adsorbents include activated carbon, zeolite, etc.

Removal of odors and odors: Chemicals present in certain water can cause the water to have an odor or unpleasant smell, such as chlorine, sulfide, etc. Commonly used removal methods are redox reaction, activated carbon adsorption, etc.

Softening: Hardness in water is mainly caused by metal ions such as calcium and magnesium ions. These ions will cause the water to become hard and harmful to water quality and equipment. The softening process mainly uses the principle of ion exchange to replace calcium and magnesium ions in the water with sodium ions, thereby reducing the hardness of the water.

Sterilization: Microorganisms in water such as bacteria, viruses, algae, etc. need to be sterilized. Common sterilization methods include inactivators, ozone treatment, ultraviolet irradiation, etc.

Reverse osmosis: Reverse osmosis is an advanced water treatment method that intercepts dissolved substances, ions, etc. in the water through the reverse osmosis membrane, making the water purer. Specifically, the reverse osmosis membrane has a very small pore size and can restrict substances. It also requires high-pressure technology to push water through the membrane to trap and remove most ions and dissolved substances.

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is water obtained through the distillation process. Distillation is a physical separation technology. The principle is to use the different boiling points of different components in the mixture to heat the liquid to boiling, vaporize the volatile components, and then condense and recover the pure liquid. In distilled water, most of the minerals and impurities are removed, so it is relatively pure water.

Most people don't like to drink distilled water because it doesn't contain any minerals. Long-term drinking of distilled water can lead to trace element deficiencies and an imbalance of acid-base balance in the body. Therefore, experts report that distilled water cannot be consumed in large quantities or for a long time.

What is the difference between distilled water and purified water?

Different meanings: Purified water refers to water that does not contain impurities. It is pure, clean water that does not contain impurities or bacteria. Water that meets the sanitary standards for drinking water is used as raw water. Distilled water refers to water that has been distilled and condensed.

Purity: The purity of distilled water is relatively high because it can remove some inorganic salts and organic matter. But also note that the distillation process may affect the function of the human body and electrical appliances. Purified water mainly emphasizes that it does not contain substances harmful to the human body, but does not emphasize the removal of all impurities.

Mineral content: Distilled water may not contain the minerals your body needs. This is because during the distillation process, in addition to volatile components such as ammonia, carbon dioxide, and organic matter entering the distilled water, non-volatile components (such as salts) are also removed. Purified water retains the minerals in the water.

Price and applicable scenarios: Since the preparation process of distilled water is relatively complicated, its price is usually higher. Purified water is relatively cheap due to its relatively simple preparation process.

Is there a shortage of distilled water?

Facts have proved that the purest water is distilled water. There is no shortage of distilled water itself because it can be obtained by heating, evaporating, and condensing ordinary water. In theory, as long as there is enough water source, distilled water can be produced. The types of distilled water are divided into industrial-grade distilled water and laboratory-grade distilled water.

However, the real shortage of "distilled water" in the market is because:

High cost: The production of distilled water requires a large amount of energy, resulting in high costs, and the price is often higher than ordinary tap water or purified water.

Small demand: Distilled water is mainly used in special fields such as medical treatment, industry, and laboratories, and the demand is small in daily life.

Rich alternatives: Purified water, mineral water, and other types of drinking water can already meet the needs of most people, and the market demand for distilled water is not strong.

Therefore, although there is no shortage of distilled water itself, due to its high cost and small demand, true "distilled water" is not common on the market.

Make distilled water at home

How to distill tap water using a glass bowl:

  1. Fill a 5-gallon stainless steel pot halfway with tap water;
  2. Place a glass bowl in the water, making sure it floats. The bowl should not touch the bottom of the pot. If the bowl does not float, take it out of the water, place a round grill on the bottom of the pot, and return the bowl to the water;
  3. The water in the pot must boil before proceeding to the next step;
  4. Create a condensation effect with a hot and cold barrier You can turn the lid upside down and fill it with ice cubes.  When hot steam hits the cold lid, a condensation effect occurs;
  5. Bring the water in the pot to a boil. As the water continues to boil, steam will rise and condense on the lid.  Condensation will drip into the bowl.  Let the distillation process continue until there is enough distilled water in the bowl for your needs;
  6. Watch the water collect in the bowl. The water in the bowl is hot, but it should not boil.  If the water in the bowl starts to boil, turn the heat down on the stove, just to keep the water in the pot from boiling;
  7. Remove pot from heat and open lid;
  8. Remove the bowl of distilled water from the pot. Be careful when doing this to avoid burning yourself.  If you are willing to wait a while, you can wait for the water to cool before taking the water from the bowl;
  9. Allow distilled water to cool before storing.

what is tap water?

Tap water is not a pure substance, it is a mixture. It refers to water that is purified and processed by water plants and then transported through pipelines to households, businesses, and public facilities for people's daily life and production use. Tap water is a kind of drinking water that has been strictly treated and monitored, with certain water quality standards and safety guarantees. It is an indispensable and important resource in modern urban life.


The tap water treatment process includes a series of process steps such as coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. First, impurities and suspended solids in the water are gathered into larger particles through the coagulation and flocculation processes, and then these particles are removed through the sedimentation and filtration processes. Finally, disinfection is performed to kill bacteria and pathogens in the water and ensure the safety of water quality.

water quality standards

Water quality standards for tap water usually include requirements for the content of various substances in the water, the number of microorganisms, odor, color, etc. Water quality standards are usually set by relevant national or local departments and require regular monitoring and testing to ensure the safety and reliability of tap water.

What type of water should I choose?

There is no absolute answer to which type of water to choose. You need to choose based on your requirements and preferences, but we recommend drinking water treated with a reverse osmosis water filter to ensure that family members drink healthy and safe water.

ITEHIL reverse osmosis water filtration system is a portable design that achieves rapid filtration through an electric self-priming pump. It has multiple filtration steps that can remove odors and pollutants to improve water quality and taste. It uses PP cotton + activated carbon + reverse osmosis, which can remove bacteria, viruses, parasites, chlorine, PFAS, and other pollutants, and can be used anytime, anywhere, outdoors or at home.


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