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Tap Water vs. Distilled Water — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on October 16, 2023
Tap Water is sourced from natural reservoirs and may contain minerals and impurities; Distilled Water undergoes distillation to remove most impurities and minerals.
Tap Water vs. Distilled Water — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Tap Water and Distilled Water


Key Differences

Tap Water and Distilled Water are both forms of water that humans commonly use, but they serve different purposes and come from different sources. Tap Water, as the name suggests, is the water you get directly from the taps in homes or public places. It typically originates from local water sources like rivers, lakes, or underground reservoirs. This water often contains various minerals and sometimes contaminants, depending on the source and the local water treatment processes.
Distilled Water, in contrast, has gone through a purification process known as distillation. This process involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container, leaving the majority of contaminants and minerals behind. The primary goal of producing Distilled Water is to get water in its purest form, devoid of most minerals and impurities.
While Tap Water is what many people drink daily and use for household chores, it might have a taste due to the minerals present, like calcium or magnesium. Distilled Water, being nearly pure, usually tastes flat because it lacks these minerals. The absence or presence of these minerals and other impurities determines the conductivity of water. Therefore, Distilled Water, being a poor conductor, is often used in labs and industries where pure water is a necessity.
It's worth noting that while Distilled Water is purer, it might not always be the best for drinking, especially in large amounts, since the body also derives some essential minerals from water. Conversely, depending on the source and treatment, Tap Water might contain contaminants that aren't ideal for consumption without further purification.

Comparison Chart


Rivers, lakes, underground reservoirs.
Water that's been boiled and recondensed.

Minerals and Impurities

Contains minerals like calcium and magnesium; may have impurities.
Virtually free from minerals and impurities.


Might have a taste due to minerals.
Typically tastes flat due to lack of minerals.


Drinking, cooking, cleaning.
Laboratories, industries, some medical applications.


Conducts electricity due to minerals.
Poor conductor due to lack of ions.

Compare with Definitions

Tap Water

Tap Water is water directly sourced from local reservoirs.
She filled her glass with Tap Water from the kitchen sink.

Distilled Water

Primarily used where pure water is essential.
For some medical treatments, only Distilled Water is recommended.

Tap Water

Might contain contaminants depending on the source and local treatment.
There was a notice to boil Tap Water due to a contamination scare.

Distilled Water

Often tastes flat due to the absence of minerals.
Some people don't like the taste of Distilled Water because it feels bland.

Tap Water

Typically undergoes treatment before reaching households.
The city ensures that the Tap Water is treated and safe for consumption.

Distilled Water

Is a poor conductor of electricity.
He used Distilled Water in the radiator because it doesn't cause mineral buildup.

Tap Water

Tap Water can contain various minerals beneficial for health.
Many people prefer the taste of Tap Water due to its mineral content.

Distilled Water

Distilled Water has been purified through distillation.
The laboratory always uses Distilled Water for its experiments.

Tap Water

Commonly used for daily drinking, cooking, and cleaning.
They installed a filter for their Tap Water to improve its taste.

Distilled Water

Lacks the majority of minerals and contaminants found in regular water.
She gargled with Distilled Water after her dental procedure.

Common Curiosities

What is the primary difference between Tap Water and Distilled Water?

Tap Water comes from natural sources and contains minerals, while Distilled Water is purified through distillation, removing most minerals and impurities.

Is Distilled Water better for drinking than Tap Water?

While Distilled Water is purer, it lacks essential minerals, making Tap Water more beneficial for regular drinking due to its mineral content.

Does boiling Tap Water make it distilled?

No, boiling might kill microbes, but distillation requires boiling and then condensing the steam to remove impurities.

Why does Distilled Water taste flat?

Distilled Water tastes flat because it lacks the minerals that give Tap Water its characteristic taste.

Can I use Tap Water in my iron or radiator?

It's preferable to use Distilled Water in such appliances to prevent mineral buildup, which Tap Water might cause.

Is Tap Water safe for consumption?

Generally, Tap Water undergoes treatment to make it safe, but it's best to check local water quality reports.

Why do laboratories use Distilled Water?

Laboratories use Distilled Water because it's free from contaminants and minerals that might interfere with experiments.

Does Distilled Water freeze at a different temperature than Tap Water?

Both freeze around 0°C (32°F), but the presence of impurities in Tap Water might slightly alter its freezing point.

How is Tap Water purified for consumption?

Tap Water typically undergoes filtration, chlorination, and other treatments to remove impurities and pathogens.

Is Distilled Water acidic?

Distilled Water is neutral, but when exposed to air, it can absorb carbon dioxide, making it slightly acidic.

Is it more expensive to produce Distilled Water than to source Tap Water?

Yes, distillation involves energy-intensive processes, making Distilled Water more expensive to produce than Tap Water.

Can Distilled Water hydrate you like Tap Water?

Yes, Distilled Water can hydrate you, but it lacks the minerals found in Tap Water.

Why is Distilled Water used in car batteries?

Distilled Water is used in batteries because it lacks minerals that might corrode or damage the battery components.

Can Distilled Water conduct electricity?

Distilled Water is a poor conductor because it lacks ions, unlike Tap Water with its mineral content.

Can drinking only Distilled Water lead to mineral deficiencies?

If one relies solely on Distilled Water and doesn't get minerals from other dietary sources, it could potentially lead to deficiencies.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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