Water 101: What's the difference between filtration and distillation?

Water 101: What’s the difference between filtration and distillation?

Water is a crucial resource that helps our bodies stay healthy and hydrated, so having as much knowledge about water will give you the power to know what is best for your body. Now, we may know water is essential to us as it transports nutrients and oxygen to our cells, helps our digestive system function well, constantly normalize blood pressure, and more. But just how much does water quality impact the effectiveness of these benefits?

This may or may not come as a surprise, but water quality is a determining factor in how effective water’s benefits are. One of the biggest problems with water is contamination, so if the water contains toxic pathogens or possible waterborne diseases, then this is highly alarming. Another factor, aside from contamination, is the hardness of the water; this is excess chlorine and hard minerals the water may contain. To prevent these issues as soon as possible, we have to purify our water, but what is the best method of purification?

Today we’ll answer all the questions regarding water purification; more specifically, what is the difference between water distillation and filtration? Are these the same, what are the pros and cons of each, and ultimately, which is the best choice?  

Why Does Water Need to be Purified?

We already implied this in the introduction, but let’s dive deeper into the reasons why you should purify your water. Though the majority of the municipalities treat their water to provide clean drinking water to the citizens, to have the highest quality water possible, it is still necessary to purify water.

The main purpose of water purification is to eliminate all or any possible contaminants, bacteria, viruses, and drawbacks of hard water usage. Drinking fully sanitized and quality water is essential to all of us but especially to immunocompromised individuals, AIDs patients, pregnant women, and children. Purifying your water ensures you prevent waterborne disease contamination of:

  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis
  • E. Coli
  • Salmonella  
  • Typhoid

We know what the adverse effects of waterborne diseases may lead to but what is the big deal with hard water? As mentioned, hard water is water that contains high levels of chlorine and hard minerals; this occurs due to the mass water treatment by municipalities. Though having chlorine to mass-clean to supply clean drinking water is important, excess levels may cause problems to our skin, our body, and to the appliances in our homes.

High chlorine levels in our water may lead to skin irritation, dryness, or further trouble skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea. In extreme cases, if the water contains chlorine and heavy metals, then it may lead to kidney and respiratory problems. As for house appliances, chlorine is known to leave stains and marks and even corrode its sources. If you are seeing brown ringlets around your showers, toilets, or sinks, then this is due to hard water.

Water purification solves all these issues before they even occur. There are numerous ways of purifying water, be it through distillation or through water treatment; purifying water has great benefits. As toxic contaminants and excess water hardness is eliminated, your water will be able to deliver these benefits:

  1. Better water absorption
  2. Improved metabolism
  3. Healthier hair
  4. Lessened skin and scalp irritation
  5. Increased levels of hydration

So yes, it’s important to purify water, but how do we do it? As mentioned, there are various filters on the market that range in their power, but you may have read about water distillation too. Let’s see what actually differentiates these two.

What is the water distillation and filtration process?

Let’s start differentiating these two processes by first understanding what they are and what they do. Essentially, they both eliminate toxic contaminants in water, but the process and the outcome differ. Here are the ways these two processes occur to purify the water.


Distillation is a process that you may have heard of, or maybe you’ve heard of the term distilled water but aren’t sure what it entails. The main gist of the process is that water is first boiled to turn into gas to help separate it from contaminants; after the water has been separated via evaporation, it is then cooled down to liquid form, producing distilled water. This method is used to separate more volatile components (i.e., water) from less volatile component that has a much lower boiling point.

As water is vaporized at a lower boiling point, the salts, contaminants, and minerals do not stay in their non-gas form at that boiling point. After separation, condensation is the following process – aka cooling down vapor into its liquid form, where the liquid is collected. In this process, heat is the most potent agent of purification. Though distillation is mainly used to separate salt and water, it is assumed that it can just as easily remove all bacteria and microorganisms from the water.  

Distillation is an excellent process of ensuring that any wanted liquid is fully separated from unwanted substances present within it. Distillation is also often used in the production of ethyl alcohol, as well as other numerous sectors, such as the petroleum sector. In most cases, distilling large bodies of liquid requires heavy machinery that might need high amounts of energy to run on. We’ll further diverge into the pros and cons of each process further down the article to best understand which is the best choice.


Filtration is another highly revered method of water purification, and since it also is used to purify the water, you might wonder how it differs from distillation. Water filtration is different as there are various ways to filter water, depending on the type of filter you use; we’ll cover all the different types of filters you may find on the market further down the article.

Though there are variations in methods of water filtration, the process oftentimes looks similar to this: the water passes through a filter (this can be on the counter, under the sink, or attached to the faucet)  which usually contains different pore sizes that stop bacteria, viruses or other contaminants from passing through. This method is highly great for homes rather than industrial-grade water purification as water filters are more affordable and are not as large as distillation equipment.  

What is the purpose of water distillation and filtration?

We covered what water distillation and water filtration processes look like and just how they differ from each other but can these not be used interchangeably if the main purpose is the same? Generally, yes, the purpose of water distillation and water filtration is essentially to purify it and remove all contaminants, but there is a difference.

Distillation purifies water fully, meaning there is no salt or minerals left in the water; it is water in its most ‘pure’ form. Filtration, on the other hand, aims to filter out all the toxic or harmful contaminants and microorganisms from water. Filtered water is still high-quality pure water, but it cannot be the same as distilled water. Another purpose of water distillation is to purify seawater for water usage, but this cannot occur with water filtration, as filtration doesn’t have the strength to remove all salts fully and hard minerals from water.

Is this good, though? We always want pure drinking water, but is it good to have SUCH clean water for daily consumption? The answer might surprise you.

Is it good to drink distilled or filtered water?

We now understand the main differences between water distillation as opposed to water filtration and can conclude that water distillation leads to extremely purified water. This should seem like the ideal water to consume as we always discuss how water should be clean to be of its most optimal quality, but why are we not drinking distilled water daily?

When we consume water, our body receives the necessary nutrients to keep us healthy and well; if the water doesn’t contain these minerals, then this may lead to possible deficiencies. Filtered water, on the other hand, doesn’t face such troubles as it ensures to filter out the harmful water contaminants but doesn’t eliminate all the essential minerals. Here are some health troubles you may find yourself against if you were to consume distilled water daily.  

Troubles Caused By Daily Distilled Water Consumption:

Failure to restore lost minerals from sweating – our bodies sweat, and as they do, they release minerals from our bodies. When we drink water, we ensure the minerals are restored in our body, but without the essential minerals present in distilled water, we will not be able to rejuvenate our bodies properly. This is especially dangerous for athletes, malnourished, or individuals who are or were sick and lack nutrients.  

May lead to Electrolyte deficiency – Electrolytes are crucial to transporting nutrients throughout the body, balancing the body’s pH levels, balancing out the water, and overall keeping our bodies in healthy balance. Without the necessary electrolytes found in water, we may see a gradual decline in our body’s electrolytes over time, feeling more energy deprived and unhealthy.

Tooth Decay – though fluoride as a mineral may be controversial depending on who asks, it is essential for our dental health. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and cavities without getting the essential nutrients from the water.

Then what about a filter? Are there any drawbacks to using filters? Well, in most cases, there are not. It just depends on how filtered you want your water to be. Though, just like for distilled water, if you choose a filter that eliminates everything from the water: the contaminants, and the minerals, then you will be facing a similar issue as you did with distilled water. Then how do you choose the right filter? No worries, we’ve got your back with a list of the most popular filters on the market so you can decide which one is best for you.

Types of Water Filters

There are various types of water filters available on the market, all saying that they best remove and filter out impurities from water but which ones are the best? Well, that really depends on your demands, but here we will discuss some of the most popular filter types you’ll find on the market.

Sediment Filter

A sediment filter is one of the most basic filters you will find on the market, where its main aim is to remove possible sediments found in water. The filter works by utilizing various micron pore sizes to filter out the impurities. For instance, if you have a micron with a rating of 10, then it will filter substances or particles that are of that size rating. In this system, the best would be the lowest number, as it can have the ability to filter the smallest sediments.

Many utilize and love this filter for its affordability and availability. Though it may be very affordable, it does require regular maintenance and replacement, so make sure to be on top of your filter maintenance game.  

Ultraviolet (UV) Filter

Just like the name implies, the Ultraviolet Filter uses UV rays to eliminate any possible viruses, bacteria, or harmful contaminants from water. This method of water filtration is highly effective as it can kill almost all harmful contaminants while having the ability to energize water. This is all great, but there is a small caveat. Unless the UV filter you purchase is large enough, you might have to add a sediment filter to your UV one.  

The reason for the sediment filter requirement is that light travels in straight lines; therefore, unless the filter is large enough to cover the whole body of water, it will not be able to fully eliminate everything. This and the high cost of the filter may deter some from purchasing it.  

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) Water Filter

GAC filters are some of THE most popular filters on the market as they are effective enough, affordable enough, and relatively easy to install. There are various types of models and makes for GAC filters, but the way they work is the same – by using raw organic carbon material. As water goes into the filter, the surface of the carbon material is activated through heat, which then removes all unwanted substances, including chlorine, VOCs, and pesticides.

Though this is a great filter, many may find it not to be as strong as they’d like it to be, as it has a hard time tackling iron and nitrates. Some also prefer more advanced water filters as opposed to a GAC filter; it depends on your preference.

Reverse Osmosis Filters

Finally, we have the Reverse Osmosis filter, one of the most powerful filters available, that has the ability to eliminate 99% of water’s toxic contaminants, pathogens, bacteria, and more. How does the RO filter achieve this? It does so by implementing a semipermeable membrane; with the help of pressure, water is pushed through this membrane. As water is pressured through, all the water contaminants, including bacteria and viruses, are left behind, producing highly purified water.

RO is a phenomenal filter, but there are two caveats you may find with this filter: the price and the potential to eliminate nutrients from the water. Firstly, RO is a very powerful machine; thus, the price tag attached to it is very steep. This is not feasible for many or just not worth it for others. Though this can be seen as a great investment for the future, though, this doesn’t justify it for all.

Secondly, since RO is a powerful tool that eliminates all harmful water contaminants, but just as it removes all the bad, there is a possibility that it can remove all essential minerals too. Though it is not the case 100% of the time, this is something that deters some from making the purchase. As we saw above, the minerals and nutrients in the water are essential to keep our bodies healthy and functioning well.

Which is better: distillation or filtration?

We’ve finally come to the final showdown! Which is better, water distillation or water filtration? Firstly, it all depends on the purpose: are you planning on purifying water to use in your home and have clean water to drink, or are you planning on purifying water for industrial purposes? Let’s see some of the main pros and cons of distillation as opposed to filtration.


If you are planning to distill your water, then this will come out to be highly costly, not only in terms of money but in its effect on the environment as well. It takes a lot of energy which leads to a negative environmental impact. On average, a model can cost up to 900$; that is just the up-front cost without the potential future maintenance or energy and water costs.

We’ve also mentioned various water filters, some of which are very expensive. Though the majority of water filters are not excessively priced, and if they require future maintenance, the costs will be minimal compared to that of distilled water.

WINNER: Filtration


This is another determining factor – time! How long does the whole process take, and how much time will you have to spend on the equipment? Here we will discuss the time for installation and the purification process.

You can build a DIY distiller yourself; though it won’t be an easy process, it won’t be extremely time-consuming either. As for the mechanical models you can purchase, these are not too difficult to put together either. For distillation, the most amount of time you’ll have to waste is the actual process. DIY distillation machines can be too volatile and take, on average, seven hours under good conditions. Good models can make the process faster and turn off automatically once completed, but regardless of the model, the process will be much longer than that of water filtration.

The time needed for filtration system installation highly depends on the type of filter you choose to go with, but in most cases, they aren’t too difficult to install. Similarly, for maintenance, you might have to do more frequent maintenance with certain filter models compared to others, but they shouldn’t take you long either way. As for the filtration process time, this happens instantly and right at your tap in most cases.

WINNER: Filtration

Health Benefits

We already discussed the potential downfall of distilled water and the possible negative health drawbacks. Another issue you may have with distilled water is its flat taste of it. As it doesn’t contain any minerals, the water can be quite bland and difficult to consume.

Filtered water is usually better in taste as it has eliminated the odor and taste of chlorine and can offer more nutritional benefits than distilled water.

WINNER: Filtration

OVERALL: We vote for the filtration process due to its versatility, ease of use, and affordability. As we said, the distillation process can be the right choice for you if you are looking to mass produce water for industrial purposes. Otherwise, it’s better to go for the filter.

Vortex Water

We’ve kept one of the best water treatments for water purification a secret because we wanted to save the last for the best. Vortex Water treatment is a filtration process that restores water’s natural inner structure to produce vortex water or also frequently called structured water.

Vortex water has been shown to be water in its peak state, offering not only the purest water but not compromising full water sanitation for essential minerals. Vortex water can be found in nature in the purest water sources, such as spring water and glacial melts. As water flows freely and fiercely through the creeks, the constant motion leads to its optimal state. This movement changes the inner micro-clustered molecular form of water, where it forms a hexagonal shape. This exact water form gives it phenomenal qualities, though these qualities are lost once water is taken from its natural habitat and put through various rigorous water treatment systems.

Vortex water is often deemed as water in its most optimal state, but sadly this state is lost once the water is taken from its natural habitat. The constant pumping of the water through intense water systems, pipes, and chemical additives leads to the denaturation of the water and the loss of structure.

The Vortex Water Revitalizer™ has the answer to your water purification queries, as it implements a double spiral to imitate water’s flow in nature that restores its inner structure. Once the inner structure is restored, you will find all these astonishing benefits within your water:

  • Water becomes naturally self-cleaning at a constant rate, leading it to fully eliminate all bacteria, viruses, and all harmful contaminants.
  • Balanced pH levels are essential for our gut health but also for the environment around us too. Vortex water has constantly balanced pH levels that fall between 6.8 and 7.2.
  • Vortex water has been proven to have increased dissolved oxygen (DO) levels. This is essential to keeping our environment thriving. This makes wastewater management much more efficient and easy.  
  • Increase hydration levels double fold; with the unique clustered shape, the water can penetrate deeper and hydrate our bodies for longer.
  • Help keep your house and appliances clean, eliminating all drawbacks of hard water – including staining, corrosion, mineral build-up, and limescale.

You’ll get more with The Vortex Water Revitalizer™ as with every purchase; you receive a 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee and a 10-Year Limited Warranty. Yes, and you’re set for life, as there will not be constant maintenance requirements! So what are you waiting for? Find the ideal filtration system over at The Vortex Water Revitalizer™!

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