Distilled water Vs. Filtered Water- A helpul, Complete Explanation

Distilled water Vs. Filtered Water- A Complete & Helpful Explanation

Many of us frequently drink bottled water when we’re outside. Even some of us like to drink it in our home as well.

It’s because of its taste and the minerals in it. If you’re one of those guys, you probably have come across the words- distilled water and filtered water much more often than not.

Most bottled waters come with the labels- distilled or filtered on the pack. Sadly, we don’t seem to pay much attention to those.

Those of us who pay attention get lost in the scientific jargon. In this article, we’d like to explore the details of these two types of water.

So, if you’re looking to clear your concept on distilled water and filtered water, stay tuned. Let’s begin.

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is the water that we get after condensing water vapor directly. As the name suggests, the process is known as distillation.

So, let’s explain it with an example. Do you know that there is an incredible water cycle that is going on around us every moment?

Let’s take a step back and figure out how it happens. As we all know, there are a lot of natural water storages on earth like springs, lakes, rivers, or oceans.

  • Now, water from these sources continues to absorb heat from the surroundings. At some point, water molecules at the surface gain enough energy and evaporate.
  • Then, this water vapor starts going up in the air. When it reaches enough altitude, it loses out energy and cools down to form liquid water again.
  • As soon as enough vapor turns to liquid, it comes down to earth in the form of rain. The process repeats again and again as a cycle. We call it the hydro-cycle.

The distillation process is quite similar. In this case, we apply heat to the water. As a result, it starts evaporating.

We then collect the steam in some artificial way and stop applying heat. After some time, it exchanges energy with the surroundings and condenses.

As a result, we get liquid water. Water, formed in this way, is known as distilled water. And the process itself is known as distillation.

What are the features of distilled water?

As you can guess, distilled water is a type of purified water that we can get through distillation. Now, let’s take a look at some of its characteristics.

Distilled water contains no minerals

First thing you can realize, as the water evaporates during distillation, it will leave all the other particles that come with water. As a result, the distilled water has no minerals.

We all know that the supply water we get from water treatment plants carries various impurities to some extent. Minerals and salts also fall into this category.

  • One thing about these electrolytes is that they have a higher boiling point than the water. As a result, when the water turns to vapor, the salts and other impurities remain the same.

Therefore, the steam will only contain water molecules. Now, when you cool it down, there is no way contaminants can appear. That’s why the distilled water has no mineral content.

Producing distilled water takes time

To produce distilled water, you need to apply heat into the tap water. Then, you have to wait until it gets evaporated. 

  • You can easily guess the whole process takes up a lot of time. As the specific heat of water is very high, it takes more time to boil and condense water.

Therefore, you will need to spend a reasonable amount of time to get pure, distilled water.

Distillation is an expensive process

To distill water, you need to apply heat for a long time. As a result, it requires a higher fuel cost.

That’s not all. The types of equipment you need to distill water don’t come cheap. It gets more convoluted in industrial cases. 

There you have to use a cooling system to condense water fast. As a result, the complete process becomes very costly.

What is filtered water?

Filtration means to sort out a single substance from a group of substances. As a result, filtered water is the water that we get through filtration processes.

Now, let’s explain it with an example. We all get our water from municipal water treatment plants. From where do those get it?

You guessed it- from various natural sources. The water obtained in this fashion will have a significant portion of pollutants. Therefore, the plants run some processes to purify it.

  • Due to coagulation and flocculation, the impure particles start to form flocs. With time, those get heavier, fall to the bottom, and produce sludge.
  • Then, the water flows through consecutive layers of sand, rock, and charcoal. Those work as a unit and trap most of the remaining pollutants.

Only water molecules get off these layers leaving the pollutants behind. And, this is what we call filtration. Here, the layers work as a filter and only let water seep through.

So, this water is what we call filtered water. Let’s see another example. Not so long ago, we used to apply filter paper to get rid of sand from the water.

In this case, we place the paper in the form of a cone on a glass. Then, we pour the water on it. Through the tiny holes, water molecules can pass through.

And, sand particles get filtered out. So, this is a very familiar instance of filtered water.

What are the different types of filtration?

Over the years, we have developed a variety of ways for filtration. Let’s take a look at some of those.

Sediment Filtration

Sediment filtration refers to the process that removes the insoluble, inorganic materials, like- sand, clay, dust, or others from the water.

It is one of the most common ways to purify water. In general, there are sediment filters at the opening of every faucet.

We’ve already mentioned, the tap water we get from the water treatment plants can contain dust, rust, sand, clay, mud, pieces of debris, and various sediment particles.

Generally, the sediment filter is a sieve-like structure with small-scale holes in it. These work as openings to let water molecules move across.

But, if any particle is larger than the holes, it gets blocked. In this way, the filter gets rid of some of the pollutants.

So, you can realize, as the openings get smaller, it can trap more and more pollutants. That’s why you’ll find sediment filters having a hole size in microns.

These filters can get rid of the microscopic inorganic pollutants, but those can’t remove any dissolved one. 

You will see, most water purifiers come with a sediment filter as a pre-filter these days. It is known as micro-filtration.

Activated Carbon Filtration

The activated carbon filter utilizes the Carbon to absorb soluble and insoluble pollutants from the water.

Many of us know that Carbon molecules can trap and absorb other particles. The molecular structure allows this.

As a result, we see charcoal beings used in a variety of processes to remove the impurities. Also, the water treatment plants employ Charcoal to purify supply-water.

The contaminants like Chlorine, Chloramine, organic waste and odor get close to the Carbon surface. Then, those get trapped inside the molecular structure of Carbon.

Therefore, the more surface area it gets, the more pollutants it can absorb. The trapping process is generally known as adsorption.

To increase the surface area of the Carbon filter, we grind it into granules. Then, if you raise the temperature, it forms a more activated structure.

The applied pressure and heat increases the surface and absorption activity of Carbon. That’s why we call it activated Carbon.

Now, there are two types of activated carbon filters. 

  • Granular activated carbon filter (GAC)
  • Carbon block filter (CB)

As the name suggests, Carbon stays as granules in GAC. So, it has enough area to absorb. When the pollutants pass through, those get trapped in the structure.

When you mold the activated Carbon to a cylindrical shape, it creates a CB. The water flows in it axially, and the impurities get trapped at the surface.

If you’re looking for a great activated Carbon water purifier, you should take a look at the Frizzlife SP99 water filter on Amazon. Check out our review of the product here.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration

Reverse osmosis is the process in which water goes through a selective membrane to produce purified water.

This one is gaining more and more popularity recently. Much of which has been possible because it can give you pure and clean water at an affordable cost.

Most bottled water gets purified through reverse osmosis these days. From the definition, you can see that there is a distinct membrane associated with the process.

It has a property- it only lets water molecules pass through it. If the water has any other dissolved particles in it, those will get blocked.

So, you see, with reverse osmosis, you can get highly pure and clean drinking water. The filters utilize incoming water pressure for this purpose.

In industrial cases, there are booster pumps to increase the pressure adequately. Now, let’s take a look at its advantages.

The sediment and activated carbon filters can’t keep out the dissolved particles from the water. That’s when the RO filter comes in.

With the RO membrane, it can separate even ions like Calcium, Magnesium, Lead, and others from the water. That’s why RO filters are becoming so popular.

One problem with RO purifiers is that those waste a lot of water. In general, it takes about 6-7 gallons of tap water to produce 1 gallon of RO purified water.

If you’re looking for a reverse osmosis water filter that wastes less, you should take a look at the Home Master TMAFC ERP RO water purifier. Check out our review here.

Many people mistake distilled water to RO purified water. But, by now, you know where they differ. You should check out our recent article to learn more.

Also, you can visit this post to learn more about reverse osmosis and how it works.

Deionizer Filtration

Deionization is the process that removes the electrolytes from the water by placing it in between two electrodes.

If you take a look at the water cycle, you know that water from various sources evaporates. Then, the water vapor goes up in the air to create clouds.

At some point, it comes down in the form of rain. The rainwater flows over the earth’s surface to reach the sources again. On the way, it picks up various minerals and salts from the soil.

When these particles come into contact with water, they break down into ions. And, that’s what the deionizers take into account.

As we’ve said earlier, there will be two electrodes. One will have positive charges on it. We call it anode. The other one has negative charges and is known as the cathode.

Now, when the water flows in between them, the positive charges will feel an attractive force towards the cathode. Meanwhile, the negative one will proceed to the anode.

At the electrodes, the ions will exchange charges and become neutral. Then, they will stick to the electrode surface and get removed eventually.

So, you see, the deionizer water filters work, in this fashion, to remove all the harmful metals like Radium or Lead from the water.

What are the similarities between distilled water and filtered water?

Before we talk about the differences between distilled water and filtered water, let’s first watch out for any similarities.

Both distillation and filtration are ways to purify your drinking water. There are other ways to purify water as well.

Also, most bottled water you will come across these days will either have the label- filtered water or distilled water.

So, you see, filtered and distilled water are the most popular ways to purify your drinking water.

Also, if you would like to learn other ways to purify drinking water, you should check out our recent article here.

What are the differences between distilled water and filtered water?

Now, let’s come to the burning question- what are the differences between distilled water and filtered water? Let’s find those out one by one.

Distillation and filtration are two different processes

Although distillation and filtration are both ways to filter the water, these two aren’t similar at all.

In distillation, the water first turns into vapor and then turns back to liquid again. Meanwhile, during filtration, water doesn’t change its state at all.

In all types of filtration, water remains in liquid form and passes through a membrane, sieve, or blocks of Carbon.

These materials selectively let water molecules pass through while filtering out the pollutants.

So, you see, although we can purify water with these processes, they aren’t similar at all.

Distilled water is purer than filtered water

From the description of distillation, you can see that water first evaporates at a high temperature. Then, the vapor gets collected.

Finally, we cool it down to produce distilled water. It is free from any impurities as the minerals or plastics have a higher boiling point than water.

As a result, when you apply heat, only the water will turn to vapor. Therefore, the distilled water can’t contain any impurities.

On the other hand, in sediment or activated carbon filtration, insoluble contaminants get blocked. But, soluble minerals can still pass through.

Only with reverse osmosis, you can get rid of all the dissolved minerals. So, you see, only RO purified water can fight toe to toe with distilled water when it comes to purity.

That’s why, in a general sense, distilled water is purer than filtered water.

Distilling water takes more time

Another difference between distillation and filtration is that the first one takes more time.

As you have to evaporate the water completely and then cool it down again, it will require hours to get 1 gallon of pure distilled water.

On the other hand, sediment filtration and activated carbon filtration is fast. The timing depends on the flow rate and pressure of the incoming water.

Among all the filtrations, the reverse osmosis process is slow. But, if you compare it with distillation, it is way faster.

Therefore, you can realize, distillation is a slower purification process than filtration.

Distilled water contains no minerals

We’ve already discussed why the distilled water contains no minerals. As the boiling point is lower, those cannot follow the water vapor.

Sediment and activated carbon filters can’t remove most of the minerals from the water. Only reverse osmosis is capable of it.

But, most RO purifiers come with an additional remineralizer unit to store the healthy electrolytes back into the water.

Hence, you can realize the filtered water will contain more minerals, while the distilled one will have none at all.

If you’re looking for a RO filter that gives purified mineral water, you should check out our recent post here.

Distillation is not as energy efficient as filtration

Producing distilled water requires electricity or gas. That’s because you need to turn the water into vapor.

On the other hand, filtration only requires enough flow rate at the input. Most household RO purifiers can function well in normal water pressure.

So, you see, if you’re using filtration, you won’t have to spend too much compared to distillation. Also, the later one isn’t that much energy-efficient as well.

Finally, we’ve compiled a table showing you all the differences between distilled and filtered water. Take a look.

Distilled Water Vs. Filtered Water- All differences at a glance


Distilled Water

Filtered Water

Description of the Process

Water turns to vapor and then cools down again.

Water passes through a membrane, sieve, or blocks of Carbon.

Level of purity

Distilled water is the purest.

Only water filtered with reverse osmosis can reach the purity level of distilled water.

Required time

Distilling water eats up a lot of time.

Among various filtration systems, only reverse osmosis is the slowest. But, it is faster than distillation.

Presence of Minerals

Distilled water doesn’t contain any mineral.

Filtered water comes with sufficient healthy minerals.


Distilling water requires electricity or gas.

Filtration only requires high enough incoming water pressure.

Concluding remarks

Throughout this article, we tried to clear all the misconceptions about distilled water and filtered water.

We showed you what distillation is, how it works, and what distilled water offers. The same goes for filtered water as well.

Finally, we showed you where these two types of water differ from each other. We hope that it has given you a clear concept of these two types of water.

  • So, did you like this post? If yes, then don’t forget to share it with your friends. Also, if you’re looking for more informative articles like this, visit our blog page here. Cheers!!!

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