Is Purified Water The Same As Distilled Water? Which is the Better Choice?
Updated January 3rd, 2023
Remember the days when your local supermarket only had a handful of bottled water choices? Picking one off the shelf was so easy and straightforward! But thanks to new water treatment techniques (and shady marketing tactics), shopping for bottled water these days can present a dilemma for many consumers.
Today’s shoppers are spoiled for choice when it comes to bottled water. There are so many options available that you might feel confused trying to pick the right one. One such instance is choosing between spring water and purified water. You want the purest and healthiest one possible, but don’t know which is the better option. Spring water sounds like a treasured product of Mother Nature: pure, natural, mineral-rich water. But there’s something about purified water that says “refined and healthy.” So, which one do you choose?
Deciding between spring water and purified water starts with understanding the differences between both types, including their pros and cons. That way, you can know what you’re drinking and make a more informed decision the next time you go shopping for bottled water. With that said, let’s compare both types to see which is better for your overall health.
What is Spring Water?
When you see “Spring Water” printed on a bottled water label, it’s hard not to think the water came directly from a crystal-clear spring flowing graciously down the untouched mountains of some remote countryside. Although some spring water is bottled at the source, most commercially sold ones are extracted from underground aquifers that feed the spring, then transported to a facility where they are processed and bottled.
Generally, spring water (sometimes called “artesian water”) is a type of water that flows naturally and rises to the surface of large underground water reservoirs. These natural sources can form in valleys, along the sides of hills and mountains, and anywhere there is bedrock (mainly limestone). But if spring water comes from underground, how is it so pure?
How is Spring Water Made?
Since spring water comes from large underground aquifers, you probably think the water must be a bit dirty. But that’s certainly not the case. Spring water usually undergoes a natural filtration process as it moves through thick limestone bedrock to get to the surface. As the water rises, the rock filters out some impurities, which is why springs always appear so pure and clear.
But because commercial spring water has to be transported in large quantities to bottling facilities by tanker trucks, the water must be chlorinated or ozonated to protect against contamination. Once the water reaches the facility, it goes through a carbon filtration process that removes the chlorine, sediment, and other elements while retaining the healthy minerals that contribute to the water’s flavorful taste.
Pros and Cons of Spring Water
Spring water offers a myriad of excellent benefits, but it has its share of disadvantages. Let’s discuss them briefly.
Now that you’ve gotten the lowdown on spring water, it’s time to explore purified water to see if it’s the better choice.
What is Purified Water?
Purified water has many names. It’s also called “deionized water, demineralized water, distilled water, or reverse osmosis water.” It is essentially any water thoroughly treated to remove dissolved solids, chemical pollutants, pathogens, minerals, and other unwanted agents commonly found in a public water supply. The standard requirement is that purified water must not contain more than ten parts per million (ppm) of dissolved solids.
The best purification methods to achieve such a low TDS level are reverse osmosis, deionization, distillation, or other suitable processes. But while these methods usually do an excellent job of completely removing bacteria, chemicals, sediment, metals, minerals, and other water pollutants, your water may taste flat since some of the missing minerals are what give the water its flavor.
How is Water Purified?
Purified water means the water has passed through one or more purification processes to remove dissolved impurities like chemicals and other contaminants, making it safe for human consumption and use.
The two most common and accessible purification methods are reverse osmosis (RO) and distillation. Reverse osmosis can be performed by an RO system installed under the sink or provides purified water to a dedicated faucet. Both types of systems usually have different filters and RO membranes that strip the water of all impurities. Some units also include a special filter at the last filtration stage that uses remineralization to reinstate essential minerals removed during the RO filtration process.
If you want to learn more about the reverse osmosis filtration process, we explain it in greater detail in our article Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Explained.
Distillation works much differently than reverse osmosis. The distillation process involves boiling the water and capturing the steam released. Once the vapor condenses, it turns back to liquid form, leaving behind any mineral residue and contaminants. The water is then passed through a carbon filter for the final filtration stage, after which it is collected and stored as pure, distilled water. It could take up to six hours to produce a single gallon of distilled water, or even longer if it’s double distilled.
We dive deeper into the entire distillation process in our article on distilled water, so check it out to learn more.
Pros and Cons of Purified Water
Like spring water, purified water has a host of benefits and also some disadvantages. Let’s dive right in.
So, which is better for you? Spring Water or Purified Water?
While spring water and purified water are safe to drink, they both have specific tradeoffs that can make one more attractive than the other. Some of us prefer spring water because it retains all the essential minerals necessary for health while giving the water its great taste. However, it has a significant downside: contaminants, such as metals, PFAS, nitrates, chlorine, and other chemicals may still be present, which can adversely affect your health. Some of these impurities may have entered the water during transportation and processing, AFFF firefighting foams, and others that may have been present in the source spring. What’s even worse is that not every water processing plant has the equipment needed to remove such pollutants.
Other folks argue that purified water is the better choice because it doesn’t contain chemicals (chlorine and chlorine byproducts, PFAS, etc.), pathogens, and other contaminants. That would mean no bacteria or chemicals to cause sickness and no sediment to give you that grainy feel in your mouth. However, the problem with purified water is that it doesn’t preserve essential minerals, unlike spring water. Yes, you should already be getting minerals from the food you eat, but the lack of healthy minerals in purified water may cause deficiencies in some people. Luckily, some purification methods like reverse osmosis can fix this by remineralizing the water.
So, which one is better? Spring water or purified water? Although the decision between both types all boils down to personal preference, if you had to choose one, we would recommend purified water. Here are a few reasons why:
- You can purify water from many different sources
- It is more widely available than spring water
- Some water purification systems, like RO filters, can reintroduce healthy minerals to the water through remineralization
- Purified water is free of toxic chemicals and pollutants that could otherwise harm you and your household members
- Purified water undergoes a more rigorous purification process than spring water, so it has a higher purity level and is safer to drink
Now, if you opt for purified water and desire to purify your water at home, you can’t go wrong with the Springwell SWRO under-counter reverse osmosis filter. The SWRO is a 4-stage point-of-use RO filter that can be installed under your kitchen sink – entirely out of sight. It is carefully designed and engineered to remove harmful contaminants from water, including lead, fluoride, chlorine, arsenic, chromium-6, and many others, while leaving you with healthy minerals.
Another remarkable feature of the SWRO is that it produces up to 75 gallons of fresh, clean, great-tasting purified water per day. It is also easy to install and maintain. Plus, when you purchase it directly from our factory, you get a six-month money-back guarantee, a lifetime warranty on the tank and valves, factory-direct savings over 50%, fast and reliable shipping, and affordable financing. But most importantly, you’ll be confident that you’re drinking the cleanest and purest water.
Since tap water is often tainted with harmful substances, many customers prefer spring or purified water. Both types have high purity levels, making them fit for consumption. However, they are quite different. Spring water is not purified but processed and treated to remove some pollutants. Yes, it retains essential minerals that are good for your health and contribute to the water’s great taste, but it may still contain toxic impurities, such as nitrates and metals.
In contrast, purified water has been processed and treated until it contains no more than ten ppm of dissolved solids. That means it doesn’t have unwanted contaminants such as bacteria, sediment, chemicals, and more but may also taste flat since it’s missing the minerals that give water its flavor. Thankfully, reverse osmosis and other similar purification methods can add back the essential minerals, making purified water the best choice for drinking.