The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Difference Between Reverse Osmosis and Distilled Water

If looking for ways to purify water for domestic use, reverse osmosis and distillation are the best options. Both work effectively, and the one to go for solely depends on personal choice.

Reverse osmosis and distilled water use different principles to work. They also have slightly varied results. In this post, we will look at their pros and cons and help you find out the best option for your home

Let’s dig deeper into the 2 water filtration methods to know what they are and how they work.

Which one is better? You’ll find that out soon enough.

Reverse Osmosis

This type of water purification method uses high pressure to force water through a series of semipermeable membranes. These membranes remove all impurities from the water to microscopic levels.

How does reverse osmosis work?

Reverse osmosis is based on osmosis. In osmosis, water moves from an area of high concentration to that of low concentration. This water passes through a semipermeable membrane which allows water molecules through but not the impurities.

Reverse osmosis uses the same principle but in the opposite direction. Water molecules move from a region of low concentration to that of high concentration across a semipermeable membrane.

And since this process goes against the natural movement of water, reverse osmosis systems use high pressure to force water through the membrane.

This process is used in food and beverage production, industrial agriculture to help control soil pH and in the production of pharmaceutical products.

What impurities does reverse osmosis remove?

Reverse osmosis removes heavy metals like magnesium, copper, and sodium from the water. It also removes fluoride, pathogens, and viruses.

To filter water effectively, reverse osmosis systems boast multiple filtration stages. Most systems have a sediment filter that helps to remove large particles. They also come with a carbon filter responsible for removing organic compounds like pesticides and herbicides.

This process also helps to remove chlorine from water.

The reverse osmosis systems also have a remineralization stage where all beneficial minerals are added back to the water.

Remineralization makes water from reverse osmosis very healthy to drink. The added minerals also contribute to the taste of the water (crisp and refreshing taste).

Advantages of Reverse Osmosis

• Low Cost
Reverse osmosis systems produce tasty water for pennies per gallon, saving you the money you could have otherwise spent buying bottled water. You’ll also enjoy the convenience it brings along since it’s available at your kitchen tap.

• Outstanding water
Reverse osmosis technology removes about 95%-99% of total dissolved solids(TDS) from the water. It also removes chlorine and odor.

• Tasty Water
Thanks to RO systems, households now have tasty water to drink and cook with. Water is one of the healthiest drinks that our bodies require.

By installing RO systems, most people turn away from sugary drinks like sodas and drink more water.

• Better tasting food
It has been discovered that cooking with RO water impacts the flavor of most dishes. Taste a soup or hot drink prepared using this water, and you’ll agree with these sentiments. Actually, most restaurants nowadays use RO filtered water for their cooking.

Disadvantages of RO

• Slow Process
Filtering water through RO takes a lot of time. This is because if you need a lot of filtered water and the systems holding tank is empty, you’ll have to allow the RO process to refill the tank first.

It’s, however, faster than distillation.

• Waste Waster
During the RO process, a lot of water is wasted as waste water.RO also removes some good minerals from the water.

• Routine filter replacement
After installing the system in your home, you’ll have to replace the filter from time to time. There are those filters that require replacement after every 6 months, while others require annual replacement. You also need to clean and sterilize the system once per year.


Distillation is a process that involves the boiling of water, capturing the steam, and allowing it to condense back into the water.

How does distillation work?

After distillation, many contaminants and impurities are left behind. The steam collected in the condenser is cooled off, and as the temperature drops, it returns to a liquid state.

The water is then passed through a carbon post-filter that removes chemicals that might have boiled off with the water. The result is pure water that is clean and healthy for drinking.

If interested in a distiller for your home, be on the lookout for the best countertop water distiller. These devices distill and filter water and remove all contaminants. You won’t have to worry about chemicals and VOCs that can potentially boil off with water; a distiller will help you eliminate them completely.

What impurities does distillation remove

Distillation helps to remove impurities and contaminants in the water as well. It helps to remove salts, minerals, and microbes.

This process is, however, not very effective at removing chemicals with a low boiling point.

And with a low boiling point, we simply mean close to 100 degrees Celsius. These chemicals evaporate with the water and condense again.

Impurities removed from the water through distillation include bacteria, parasites, viruses, and volatile gases. It also helps to remove heavy metals like mercury, lead, and arsenic.

Advantages of Distillation

• Removes impurities
Distillation helps to remove a lot of impurities from the water, as mentioned above. It ensures that you always have clean and pure water for consumption.

• Removes water hardness
Distillation helps to remove water hardness. You also get clean and pure water from this process, meaning that you won’t have to boil it first before drinking. It is safe to consume directly.

Disadvantages of Distillation

• Costly
Purifying water through distillation is very costly. Home distillation systems require a lot of energy to run hence increased expenses.

• Slow
Compared to reverse osmosis, distillation is the slowest when it comes to water purification. For instance, if you were to filter 20 gallons of water through distillation, it would take you more time than using RO.

• Produces tasteless water
Most people complain that water from distillation has a bland taste. Remember that distilled water is demineralized (lacks essential minerals that make the water tasty) hence bland.

Another disadvantage of distillation as a method of purifying water is that it doesn’t remove chlorine from the water.

Which is Better, RO or Distilled Water?

RO and distilled water work magic for plants that prefer acidic conditions. This is because the Ph of RO and distilled water is close to 7.

If growing plants hydroponically, RO or distilled water is a huge plus. All you need to do is add some extra calcium and magnesium to supplement the lost minerals.

If you own an aquarium, you need to be extra careful with the water you add into the tank; a slight difference in the water conditions can be harmful to your aquarium inhabitants.

You should know that the natural habitat for fish isn’t distilled water. The water contains minerals and other particles. Should you add 100% pure distilled water to the aquarium, the salt in the fish blood will diffuse out, killing your fish.

If you only have distilled or RO water in your home, add the necessary salts before using it in the aquarium.


From the guide, it’s clear that both RO and distillation come with both advantages and disadvantages.RO is highly effective at removing impurities and produces pure and tasty drinking water. It, however, wastes a lot of water in the process.

Distillation is also effective at removing impurities, but it’s costly to run. It’s also too slow and leaves the water with a flat taste.

Both methods help purify water, and that’s what you want at the end of the day, right? Since both are effective, the system to choose narrows down to personal preference.

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