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Reverse Osmosis vs Distilled Water, What Is The Difference?

When looking for ways to purify water, clients often ask us about the difference between Reverse Osmosis Water and Distilled Water.

In general, these two terms refer to water purification methods that provide contaminant-free water, but through different treatment systems.

For home use, the difference between reverse osmosis and distilled water is minimal, but for industrial applications this is not the case. Care to learn more about reverse osmosis and distilled water? Please continue reading.


What Is Distilled Water?

Distilled water is water that has been boiled into vapor and condensed back into liquid in a separate container. Impurities in the original water that do not boil below or near the boiling point of water remain in the original container. Thus, distilled water is a type of purified water.

The distillation process makes distilled water that it’s free of contaminants, viruses, bacteria, minerals, and chemicals from the original water. On downside this kind of water lacks essential minerals and electrolytes that we need to remain healthy.

These feature make distilled water the ideal choice for pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries that require large volumes of highly purified water.

How to Make Distilled Water?

In industrial applications, feed water is heated until it evaporates, leaving behind contaminants (with higher boiling points) as residue. The steam passes into another vessel, where it’s cooled and condensed back into its original liquid form. The result is highly purified distilled water.

Distillers and vacuum evaporators can be integrated with other treatment processes, such as reverse osmosis (RO), continuous electro-deionisation (CEDI) or ultrafiltration, to ensure complete water purification.

By applying a similar principle, vacuum evaporators can purify any kind of waste water.

Distilled Water Benefits and Advantages

  • Distillation removes bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms from water;

  • Distilled water is almost 100% pure;

  • Distilled water has numerous uses in the home. It can be added to steam irons to avoid limescale build-up, and used in aquariums and car cooling systems. Distilled water can also be used for watering plants;

  • Wide industrial applications that require high water purity.

What Is Reverse Osmosis Water?

Reverse osmosis water comes from reverse osmosis, a water purification process that uses high pressure to filter water through a special RO membrane.

RO systems contain several filtration stages that remove contaminants from water.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

Osmosis is the natural process by which a solvent (like water) moves across a semi-permeable membrane from an area of high to low concentration. RO water treatment reverses this process so the solvent flows in the opposite direction, resulting in highly purified water (more info in this article).

In RO systems, a pump creates pressure which forces the feed water through the semi-permeable membrane against its natural flow. The water molecules pass into a purified water tank, while contaminants are held back and discharged through a reject stream. The reject stream can be either safely disposed of or recycled in other processes.

Reverse Osmosis Water Benefits and Advantages

  • Reverse osmosis can remove many types of dissolved and suspended chemical species as well as biological ones (principally bacteria) from water;

The amount of dissolved solids in water produced by reverse osmosis is approximately a constant percentage of those in the feed water. For example, when the feed water contains 300 ppm total dissolved solids (TDS), the product water may have 15 to 30 ppm (95% and 90% rejection ratio respectively).

A RO water purification system with a deionizer and/or several modules connected in series can produce water containing less than 0.1 ppm TDS (resistivity about 1 megohm-cm).


Frequently Asked Questions

Is RO water the same as distilled water?

No, these two kinds of water are different. Reverse osmosis water is a healthier option for drinking as it contains essential minerals, while distilled water is pure but stripped of all minerals.

Is it okay to drink distilled water?

Yes, it’s okay to drink distilled water since it’s pure.

Is Reverse Osmosis water better than distilled water?

Reverse osmosis and distilled water have similar characteristics. Depending on the final applications one may have better use than the other.

What is distilled water used for?

Distilled water can be used in the households. It can also be used in cosmetics manufacturing, laboratory experiments, canned goods production, and in the automotive industry. Distilled water may also be used to sterilize medical equipment and surfaces.

What is Reverse Osmosis water used for?

Reverse Osmosis water can be use for many different applications, but mostly for making potable water and as pre-treatment in industrial applications.


YASA ET helps companies to produce high quality water and remove pollutants from wastewaters.

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