When most people purchase bottles of water, they assume that the contents of the bottle are safe, natural, and somehow different from the water sources available to them at home. While bottled water is subject to FDA regulations to maintain a standard of safety, their labels do not always have to disclose the water’s source. You may be surprised to learn that bottled water in America is about evenly split between two categories- distilled, or purified, water and spring water. As we look at spring water vs. purified water, it becomes clear why this information may not always be disclosed by large water companies.
Distilled water, also called purified water, is water from a municipal tap source that has gone through a filtration process to remove contaminants before being packaged for sale. If you’ve ever had a water filter on your faucet or in a pitcher, this is the same concept as buying distilled water or availing bottled water delivery. The process that removes contaminants is very thorough and does remove any potentially harmful particulates, stripping it down to pure hydrogen and oxygen, though this means it also removes minerals that occur naturally in water.
While distilled water does not provide the same nutrients as naturally occurring water, it is recommended for use in a number of household appliances, like coffee makers or humidifiers. The lack of minerals in purified water prevents these appliances from becoming clogged due to mineral buildup in their inner mechanical processes. Distilled water is also used in scientific laboratory equipment where there may be higher sensitivity to these minerals.
Spring water is a term regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency that is used to describe water collected at a natural water source, such as a spring or through underground access. In order to be used as commercially bottled water, this natural water still undergoes a filtration process to remove impurities, but this process is more gentle and does not remove the naturally occurring minerals. In addition to the health benefits these minerals provide, this water may also have more flavor because of the minerals.
Despite the name, not all spring water comes from an actual spring. This may be a cool, bubbling spring or another underground water source.
Spring water is recommended for proper hydration as the main source of drinking water in both humans and pets, as well as for watering plants. It is technically safe to use spring water in home appliances, but you may need to be more diligent about cleaning and watching for mineral deposits that build up inside the machine.
Are There Other Types of Water?
As discussed, you may see distilled water referred to as purified water, but these are interchangeable terms. And while these are both technically filtered, this is a more general term that can be applied to any water available for consumption. None of these are the same as tap water, which is the municipally sourced water without any filtration processes after the fact.
You may also see bottles of water labeled as “glacier water” or “mountain water,” but be cautious of these terms. Unlike spring water, there is no formal definition of these terms from the EPA or FDA, so they do not actually refer to the water’s source.
Spring Water vs. Distilled Water: Which Is Better?
Neither water is inherently better than the other. Purified water is perfectly safe to drink and has a number of additional uses where it is the best option, while spring water has more natural benefits but may not work in all applications. Compared to much of the world’s water, any bottled water has to meet stringent requirements from the EPA and FDA that make it safe for consumption.
What’s important when choosing bottled water is that you know where it has been sourced from and are comfortable with that information. This is not always required to be disclosed on labels, though the information is usually easy to find for major brands. At Lipsey, we’re proud to source our spring water from family-owned land in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and to share our filtration and packaging processes with our customers.