What is the Difference between Reverse Osmosis (RO) and Distilled Water?

Posted by on in Articles, Water Quality | 24 Comments
What is the Difference between Reverse Osmosis (RO) and Distilled Water?

Pitcher Water Filters

Reverse osmosis and filter water pitchers appear to be quite popular these days as methods to get cleaner water. People clearly want better quality water, but may not understand that different methods generate different results. All water filtration methods are not equal. There are many ways to improve water quality. One popular method is to use a pitcher with a filter. These filters are carbon based and can remove some chemicals, particularly organic chemicals. This improves the smell and taste of the water for many consumers, but there still may be a variety of contaminants left behind in their drinking water.

Reverse Osmosis

Another method of filtration involves reverse osmosis. RO, as it is often called, uses high pressure to force water through a semi permeable membrane. It will remove some dissolved salts, organics, bacteria and pyrogens. Reverse Osmosis involves cross filtration rather than standard filtration. In standard filtration, the contaminants are trapped in the filter media, while in cross filtration contaminants are swept away to avoid build up and to keep the membrane clean. RO is fairly good at removing dissolved salts when the membrane is new, but cannot be relied upon to remove bacteria or viruses, especially when the water has no residual chlorine present. As RO membranes age, the pores in the membranes become larger and allow more and more impurities of all kinds to pass through into the treated water.

Water Distillers

By far, the most effective water purification method is distillation. Distillation mimics the hydrologic cycle in that, water evaporates through boiling leaving contaminants behind, then condenses similar to how clouds form, and then the water collects in a jar or tank in the way that rain falls. All of our distillation products, from the AquaNui CT to the AquaNui 12G, mimic the water cycle in exactly the same way. This process results in water that is 99.9% pure. No other filtration or purification system can compare. No other system can improve upon the natural processes that govern the hydrologic cycle, which has supported life on Earth for billions of years.

Distillation produces the cleanest drinking water on Earth!

As global warming begins to affect weather more and more, water quality is becoming more of an issue. With an increase in natural disasters striking around the world, how do we protect our water? Last year alone, thousands of boil alerts went out. Having a distiller provides the highest quality water; better than simply boiling where toxins can build up. During a boil alert, those with RO or pitchers would still need to boil their water. With AquaNui home water distillers, one would not need to boil their water. These distillers will produce, clean, fresh, delicious contaminant-free water.

Distillers remove these contaminants and so much more…

Distillation Removes Chemicals

During chemical spills, water filters or RO will not be able to remove contaminants completely. Boiling water concentrates contaminants. Often times, distilled water would be safe to drink. Additionally, many spills are found after people have already been exposed. Drinking distilled water is the only way to truly protect oneself from unknowns in the water supply, whether they be chemical or biological for that matter.

Bottled Water is Costly and Wasteful

Bottled water, while generally safe, although not pure, is always a go to solution for disasters of any kind. However, it may be difficult to go to get bottled water during a time of such high demand. In normal times, using bottled water on a regular basis creates trash in landfills at an epic rate. Did you know that it is believed that over 60 million plastic bottles are thrown away each day? 80% of all plastic bottles are not even recycled. Besides all of this, bottled water can cost up to 1000 times more than tap water!

Protect Your Family

Many who live in rural areas know the struggle of getting clean water. Arsenic, nitrates and other chemicals have been found in amounts that are simply unsafe to drink, especially long term. Well water increasingly needs to be purified to drink. City dwellers are faced with similar threats. Both rural and city dwellers can solve this problem by using a water distiller, even a small one like the AquaNui CT, to purify their water. Each city is faced with the need to provide large quantities of water for the lowest cost. While the water is considered “safe” by the government, there are still contaminants present. The reality is that distillation is the only proven method to remove these contaminants at a lower cost with better results and without waste. What more could you ask for?


  1. kristina
    February 17, 2020

    Does distillation remove all the chemicals from water? I’ve read an article here: https://americanhomewater.com/reverse-osmosis-vs-distilled-water/, which argued that distilled water does not remove the chemicals as good as ro system does.

    • AquaNui
      February 19, 2020

      Hi Kristina, Great question! The article you reference doesn’t take into account the fact that our distillers use either a patented dual vent, a carbon filter, or both to remove the volatile organic compounds. When you take this into account, the distiller removes more.

  2. robstafariaugust8
    November 15, 2019

    Thanks for the info. Ive been looking into distilled water systems to add to our product line. One of the faults I have heard about distilled water is that it is “to pure” and there are no trace minerals or electrolytes in distilled water. Distilled and RO water is sometimes called dead water because of everything being taken out…However, I think a lot of these trace minerals and electrolytes are very small amounts and can be gained back with a healthy diet…Full disclosure I own a water cooler distribution company and most of our systems are RO.. http://www.flowater-hi.com

  3. Gary
    July 22, 2019

    Are PureWater & AquaNui products from the same Company?
    If so what are the differences between the AquaNui Countertop vs Mini Classic CT Countertop?

    • Heidi Garvin
      August 8, 2019

      Hi Gary, yes! We do make both of those lines!

      AquaNui and Pure Water are two brands manufactured by our family-owned Pure and Secure, LLC, here in Lincoln, NE. The Pure Water brand is 50 years old and often sold on-the-ground by dealers. Six years ago, we added the AquaNui brand to fill the online space for our product. AquaNui is manufactured with the same high-grade stainless steel, goes through the same 14 point inspection, plus full distillation cycle, before approval to be shipped out. It has the same 15 year warranty on the stainless steel / 2 year warranty on the electrical components (within the U.S.). The differences are mainly in the designs.

      For the countertop units, the Mini Classic is slightly faster (3.5 hours per cycle versus AquaNui CT’s 5.5 hours per cycle), has a removable boiling tank, and also costs a bit more. If you have any other questions, please let us know! Thanks!

  4. joan baczek
    October 7, 2017

    if you drink water depleted of magnesium and calcium, it will literally leech these minerals from your body as you drink it, and then you will pass the minerals you get from food down the toilet before your body had a chance to utilize the magnesium and calcium from the food you eat. drinking distilled water or reverse osmosis water that did not have these minerals replaced will cause your body to suffer deficiency with in months no matter how much of these minerals you get from your food diet.

    • Jim
      October 24, 2017

      Hello Joan, This is actually a very common question we get in regards to our water. First, I can assure you, that is physically impossible to happen. First of all, leeching is not a biological term, it is a geological term. Second, in order for what you say to occur. A cell in the human body that contains magnesium and calcium would have to be surrounded by distilled water and due to a lack of osmotic pressure, the magnesium and calcium inside the cell would pass through the cell wall and into the distilled water moving through your body where it is then carried to the bowels to be removed from the body. That cannot happen in your body. The second you drink distilled water, it mixes with your saliva, drops into your stomach where it mixes with everything else you have eaten today and your stomach acid. From there it moves into your intestines where your body takes the water and moves it and other minerals gained from your food through out the body where it is needed. Your kidneys whole job is to add potassium, sodium, hydrogen and ammonia to the water to keep it in perfect balance with your cells. By drinking distilled water, you are removing all the unknown contaminants that can affect our health from your water. Your kidney’s no longer have to filter as much stuff out. Your body does not rely on the inorganic minerals found in water. It can only absorb around 10% of them and the rest is flushed out as waste. It is the organic minerals that our bodies use. We absorb upwards of 90% of minerals when they are organic and that comes from our food diet. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call us at (800) 875-5915. I would be happy to discuss this further with you.

      • jim
        December 4, 2017

        The best is when uninformed RO folks makes such claims, lol.

    • Kenny
      December 4, 2017

      I am not a customer nor an employee of this water company. I just stumbled on this site while doing research on water filters. In collage, I bought and drank nothing but distiled water to save money. (Filtered water was $1/gallon and distiled water was $.65/gallon.) So I drank nothing but distilled water for 4 years straight and suffered no medical issues. I was also starting to become a vegetarian during this time. As a result of being worried I was eating correctly I went to the doctor’s once a year to run a blood panel. Between distilled water and not eating meat I got everything I needed except vitamin D. Witch pretty much everyone from my area has a vitamin D deficiency because we don’t get much sun. I felt I should comment because I have personal experience for a long period of time in this matter. I did notice this video didn’t mention the draw backs of distiled water like they did for RO and filtered. There was mention of some contaminants being left behind if they had a lower boiling point then water and filtered out later. I would be interested in knowing a little more about that part of the process.

  5. Leselie
    August 26, 2017

    I noticed that you didn’t mention Fluoride in your list for distillation, which is. an important factor for me.

    • Jim
      September 12, 2017

      Our distillers have an over 99.9 percent removal of fluoride from the feed water.

  6. Pankaj
    August 3, 2017

    can we use mineral water of TDS 30-35 in as a substitute to distilled water for medicinal purposes

  7. Eldon Muehling
    June 14, 2017

    Thank you for your interest in pure water and the opportunity to address some of your concerns about drinking distilled or Reverse Osmosis water. With either of these high purity waters, its nature is changed immediately upon entry into your body. In other words, there is no distilled or R.O. water circulating in your body. Once it mixes with the saliva in your mouth and the gastric juices of your stomach, both the pH and the TDS (total dissolved solids) of the watery fluids is considerably different than that of the water that you drank.

    While it is true that boiling water for at least twenty minutes will kill virtually any micro-organism that may be present, the dead remain of these organisms is still there to feed any new bacteria that arrive or be present in your body already. Furthermore, any solid contaminants such as metals, sulfates and nitrates will be concentrated! If you are concerned about the slightly higher pH of the water you drink,
    you will also need to raise your concern about virtually every other liquid of food that you consume. There is no one ideal pH throughout our bodies. It varies throughout…even inside and outside of each cell. While the food we eat (not the water we drink) does strongly affect the pH in the digestive system, it is one of the important functions of our kidneys to monitor and regulate the various pHs throughout our bodies.

    I wonder who or what has led you to the false conclusions that you have arrived at. (Mercola?) As you know, every coin has two sides and you will need to make up your own mind as to which side of this coin you want to be on. I would have you note that there are considerably more people on the side of pure water than on the side of impure water, including many nutritional doctors. Most of them agree that we should rely on food, especially raw fruits and vegetables, for our vitamins and minerals for your nutritional needs. It would be just as silly to rely on water for our oxygen needs, rather than our lungs for breathing oxygen from the air.

    • Chris
      July 11, 2017

      Well said! I’ve been trying to explain this to folks for decades! Thank you!

  8. Mir
    April 24, 2017

    What are the PH values for the Types you have mentioned above?


    • Jim Blakley
      April 26, 2017

      pH or potential hydrogen is going to depend entirely on what type of contaminants are in your water to start with. Filters and R/o will remove a lot but the contaminants left behind will ultimately effect the pH. Distilled water because it has removed the most should generally be around 7 or neutral when it enters the glass jar. All water will then absorb some carbon dioxide from the air. Since distilled water has no contaminants to buffer the pH, the carbon dioxide will generally drop the pH to around 6. R/0 and filtered water will have contaminants to buffer the carbon dioxide from causing a pH shift. The pH though is heavily dependent on the contaminants left behind so the only way to say would be to run the water you are using through a system and testing it.

  9. Cory
    April 22, 2017

    Does the process to distill use coconut fibers or carbon? My mom is allergic to both and is trying to find an alternative to pure drinking water.

    • Jim Blakley
      April 26, 2017

      The process of distillation itself is just boiling the water, collecting the steam, and cooling the steam back to liquid now free of the impurities left behind. There is no coconut or activated charcoal carbon used in the process. Generally we pair our distillers with an activated charcoal filter for any VOC removal that gets through the venting process on the the distiller. VOC’s are any contaminant that has a lower boiling point than water. this means they will vaporize with your steam. We have patented dual vents that vent off these contaminants. We use a post filter to remove any that get through this process. If you are allergic to the post filter material, you do not have to use them. Many people have low VOC levels in their water and don’t use the post filter because they don’t need it.

  10. Oliver
    February 20, 2017

    I have a water distiller where I have to clean the inside every 2 use to remove scale build up. Since your distiller is constantly connected to water supply, is cleaning after 1-3 days of use necessary?

    • Jim
      February 21, 2017

      How hard is your water? Scale build up will occur inside the distiller when hard water is used. Cleaning your boiling tank is necessary to keep your heating element free of buildup. Our Distillers, because they don’t boil dry, will cut down drastically on how much scale build up can occur. Our Mega Classic has an automatic drain feature to stop the build up of contamination over numerous cycles. Generally this means you only need to clean your boiling tank once a month with any of our systems. If your water is particularly hard, you can add a water softener onto the incoming water line to cut down on the amount of inorganic minerals entering the boiling tank. It is these inorganic minerals that scale in the boiling tank.

  11. Jennell Houts
    January 29, 2017

    Question: Does your product also remove important minerals from the water? If so, how do you remedy that (and what is cost to replenish minerals?)? THX

    • Jim
      January 30, 2017

      that is a great question Jennell. It does remove “important” minerals. But what are the important minerals? Most of the minerals in water are inorganic and our bodies are not using them. We need organic minerals. A good example of this would be if you needed calcium, would you lick a calcium rock (inorganic) or eat broccoli which is high in organic calcium. No filter can pick and choose what to leave in and what to take out. We feel it is best to remove everything because all you need out of the water is the water. If your diet is not getting you the amount of certain minerals you need, adding an organic mineral supplement to your water is a great idea. Especially because you can be sure of exactly what is in it. To determine what kind of supplement to add to your diet, you would want to speak to a doctor or nutritionist.

  12. Jeff
    January 12, 2017

    Do these units make distilled water continuously and store in a tank for dispensing?

    Where do the bacteria, viruses, minerals and particulate matter go and how is all of that understandable stuff removed from the unit?

    What is the electricity consumption?

    Thank you!

    • Jim
      January 27, 2017

      Thank you for your questions Jeff,
      the Aquanui 8G, 10G, and 12G will all connect to your waterline and fill up their own storage tanks before automatically shutting off. Once the storage tank loses a few gallons, they will automatically turn back on and start refilling again. You can get the water directly from the storage tank at a faucet or you can add an auxiliary pump to pump the water up to a secondary faucet at a sink, fridge dispenser or ice maker.
      The Aquanui CT is a manual fill countertop distiller that will only produce 3 liters at a time.
      The contaminants in the water will remain behind in the boiling tank and slowly build up as you use the distiller. On a regular basis, you will want to drain the boiling tank water out of a valve on the back of the distiller. the more often you do this, the better. Once every 2 weeks to a month is recommended.
      Distillation is actually very consistent on electrical use. With our distillers, you should be using 3 kWh’s of electricity per gallon, no matter which distiller. I hope that answers your questions. Let me know if there is anything more I can do for you!

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