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Distillation is one of the oldest known ways to remove impurities from water. Compared to all other types of filtration systems on the market, distillation remains among the most effective, consistently producing the purest water.
With modern distillers, distilling your water at home is now easy and accessible. It’s more cost-effective, cleaner and environmentally friendlier than buying pre-packaged distilled water in plastic bottles and the entire process is automatic.
One thing to note is that distillation removes all minerals and nutrients from water, which can give it a flat taste. If you find the taste unappealing, there are ways to enhance and boost the flavor (we talk about this in the second section of this article).
If you’re after the purest possible water, here are 6 best water distillers on the market.
Megahome Countertop Water Distiller
- High grade 304 stainless steel body
- Plastic free body
- 25-30 cents per gallon water
- UL listed product
- Optional carbon filters for taste and filtration
- Pure tasting water
- Difficult to assemble
- Some users report leaking
- Poor customer service
The Megahome is one of the most popular distillers on the market. It’s an easy to use, at-home distiller of sturdy construction. While it might appear costly at the start, in the long run, you’ll only be spending about 25 to 30 cents to purify a gallon of water with Megahome.
The system works with a top condensing unit which connects to the distiller body. When you pour the water in and turn the system on, the vaporized water is collected in the glass collection bottle, taking roughly 5 hours for 1 gallon of water to be distilled. The Megahome boils water at 212° Fahrenheit, which effectively kills biological contaminants like bacteria, parasites and germs and removes 99.99% of impurities. Megahome comes with 6 optional charcoal water filters which is meant to enhance the taste of the distilled water. The filters may also remove any VOCs which may be present in the water. Note that filters aren’t necessary for distillers to work, but because distilled water tends to have a flat taste, a flavor boost can be a good idea.
One feature we like about the Megahome is that when the process of distillation is complete the distiller automatically turns itself off. This makes it not only user friendly but highly energy efficient. The stainless steel construction of the Megahome ensures that the device is not only rust-free but also durable. This, coupled with the glass container, means your water doesn’t come into contact with plastic.
The set also includes a cleaner (8 ounces) for cleaning the residue left on the bottom of the distiller. Last but not the least, you will get a 1-year manufacturer warranty with this product free of cost.
Megahome has been in the business for over 25 years and is a highly trusted brand. Each unit is made individually and tested to prevent any accidents. The product is Underwriter Laboratory (UL) listed, which means that it’s been independently tested.
VEVOR Water Distiller Purifier
- Lightweight and compact body
- Dual voltage
- Distils 1L per hour
- Aluminum heater cools down faster
- Plastic collection unit
- No warranty
The VEVOR has a neat, stylish look that’ll suit the style of any countertop. At face value, this product looks like an average distiller, but it is not. What makes it stand out is that VEVOR is one of the best on-the-road purifiers and there are 2 main reasons why. First, the distiller is lightweight and compact. It weighs nothing more than 3.5 kilos and will fit in your suitcase easily. Another main plus point for traveler is that even though this distiller uses 750W, it is dual voltage, which means you can use this unit anywhere in the world. So if you’re someone who wants to take your pure water where you go, this unit is ideal.
The VEVOR has a white plastic body that can be unappealing for some users. But if your concern is the plastic being in contact with the water then there is nothing to worry about. However, while the main body doesn’t contain plastic, the water storage container is made of food-grade plastic, so this can be a problem if you’re trying to avoid plastic altogether.
The cap, outer body and filter are of steel and the inner chamber of VEVOR distiller is made with a high grade 304 stainless steel. The heater has aluminum manufacturing which heats up quickly and accelerates the distillation process. But as aluminum is a good thermal conductor it cools down faster than other metals. This is an important factor that saves the outer body from heat damage. This product is overall very durable and lasts for years as long as you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning off scale and lime buildup.
In terms of capacity, the inner chamber of the VEVOR can hold 4 liters of water, taking roughly an hour to purify 1 liter of water. The VEVOR gets rid of most of the impurities in the water, including bacteria, parasites, and viruses as well as heavy metals such as fluoride, chlorine, lead, and more.
Co-Z Countertop Water Distiller
- 1.5L distilled per hour
- Up to 6 gallons per day
- The only FDA approved distiller on Amazon
- Built-in thermostat
- Boils water at 300° F
- Safe design – auto shut-off, ventilation and slip-free
- Plastic collection container
- Reset button is fragile
The Co-Z distiller is one of the most popular on the market and the reason it’s included on our list is simply because it’s the only FDA approved distiller on the market. This means that the unit is safe to use and there are no harmful chemicals leaking into the water from any part of the machine.
The Co-Z’s inner tank is made of stainless steel and the outer body is made of BPA-free plastic. The cap of this unit is also made of the same plastic and is designed for ventilation, which prevents the distiller from overheating. The thoughtfully designed model also has no-slip no-scratch feet with rubber caps, which helps to prevent accidents.
The Co-Z is boils water up to 300° Fahrenheit, but due to the built-in thermostat, the temperate cannot exceed the 300°F temperate limit as it automatically shuts off. The distiller also shuts off if the water level is too low. Overall, the Co-Z can distill up to 6 gallons of water per. This makes this distiller more desirable as other purifiers at this price range cannot do this. In addition to all these features, the product comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty.
Olizee Countertop Home Distiller
- Built-in thermostat
- 1.3L distilled per hour
- Up to 6L total distillation per day
- BPA free food-grade plastic
- Noise-free operation
- BPA-Free plastic holding container
- Customers report leakage
The Olizee a fast distiller with a high holding capacity. This model holds up to 6 liters of water at once, and due to the 900W power, Olizee can purify 1.3-liter water per hour. Even at this speed, there is no compromise on quality as this unit can effectively remove the contaminants without any hassle.
There is a set of impressive features that make Olizee a user-friendly device. First, it comes with an auto-off mode. So, you can turn it on whenever you are out of purified water and get back to your work. When the distillation is complete the machine will turn itself off. The other feature is the noise-free mechanism. Most distillers make some white noise that prevents customers from using it at night-time. But with Olizee you can purify water overnight and enjoy it in the morning due to its quiet operation.
The Olizee distiller does not have a stainless steel outer body but it is of BPA free plastic, making the Olizee distilled water safe to drink. The inner container of the distiller is a high grade 304 stainless steel. The fan is of aluminum and due to the soft catheter, this product is leakage proof. The product overall has a durable and long-lasting body.
It is easy to assemble and does not require any tools. In addition to that, this unit leaves very little residue that eases up the cleaning process. Another benefit is that unlike most other distillers, the Olizee does not require any cartridge replacement.
Durastill Water Distiller + Reserve Tank
- Up to 8 gallons of daily distillation
- Sturdy stainless steel construction
- Food-grade and BPA free
- 4.5-gallon water reserve tank
- Built-in faucet
- Quiet operation
- Outdated looking design
- Bulky unit
- Some customers report overheating
If you’re looking for a distiller suitable for a larger household, then this is it. Durastill has several popular industrial water distillers on the market, but this one is the smallest from the brand and suitable for home use.
The Durastill differs in appearance from other distillers, with a boxier, metallic look. It’s not the prettiest distiller on the market, but it’s highly functional. The distiller is made mostly of stainless steel and is highly durable. However, some parts of the product, like the water tube, is of BPA plastic.
The best thing that sets this unit apart from other distillers is the water reserve tank. This tank can easily hold up to 4.5 gallons or 17 liters of water. Another noticeable feature is the speed of distillation or the quantity of water this distiller can purify per hour. Durastill can purify 8 gallons of water a day. Additionally, Durastill does all this not only surprisingly fast but also quietly. You might be able to notice white noise but nothing more than that. The automatic switch turns off when the distillation process is over, which saves energy.
The most user-friendly feature of Durastill is that the faucet is also of stainless steel like most of the body. This faucet makes filling water bottles or glasses easier. This distiller is easier to install and comes with all the installation equipment that you might need. Durastill looks like an outdated product but it has all the features that one might need.
Megahome White Countertop Distiller
- UL listed distiller
- ¢ 35-50 cents per gallon
- Water is never in contact with the plastic
- Removes 99% of all impurities
- White background noise
- Slower than other models
- Difficult cleaning process
We mentioned above that all Megahome appliances are UL certified but why does that matter? First of all, it ensures the safety of the user and second, it makes it easier to get home contents insurance for the product. So, just like the other Megahome distiller on this list, this one is also a UL listed product.
The Megahome White is not made of stainless steel. The outer body of this distiller is of heavy-duty metal and has a cover of hard enamel coating. Many products on this list are made with BPA free plastic and so is this one. But what makes it stand out is that the water never touches the plastic. Even the plastic spout has a glass tube inside it to prevent any contact with the plastic. In the making of the design, you can see that the designer’s were guided by the common concerns of users.
The unit heats water at 212° Fahrenheit. At this temperature, it kills most of the harmful unicellular organisms and can get rid of up to 99% of impurities. The distillation process is not that fast compared to some other models on this list, but it works for smaller households. The Megahome White can purify 1 gallon of water in 5.5 hours.
How Does Distillation Work?
Distillation is different to other ways of water purification, because while other filtration methods separate water from contaminants using various barriers, distillation works like the water cycle. In essence, it’s the hydrological cycle on a smaller scale, changing the water from liquid to vapor and back again.
When you pour the water into the distiller, the device uses a heating element which begins to heat the water. The water then boils inside in the chamber. Because some models use a thermostat which monitors the heat level, the system shuts off when heat is unnecessary which ensures energy efficiency. The boiling water turns into vapor and is then sent through the spout into the collection container, where it turns to water again without the contaminants.
Do Distillers Remove All Contaminants?
Water contains a wide range of contaminants which are categorized into four main types. These include physical, biological, radiological and chemical contaminants. Some of these contaminants are:
- Microorganisms like bacteria, spores and viruses
- Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, copper and iron
- Hardness coumpounds like magnesium and calcium
- Chlorine and chloramine
- Pesticides, herbicides and pharmaceuticals
- Rust and iron
- Bad odor and tastes
Most contaminants have high melting points compared to water, so they never vaporize in the distiller. As the water vaporizes, these impurities become separated from the water and are left behind.
Distillation gets rid of almost all contaminants but note that some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene and toluene, which have boiling points close to or below water, vaporize with the water and find their way into the collection jug.
No single water purification method can treat all contaminants, so if you want 100% pure water, use a filtration system that targets VOCs before using the distiller. This will effectively remove all the contaminants.
Is Distilled Water Better for Health?
Distilled water is one of the purest types of water, but this doesn’t make it better. There are two main issues with distilled water:
- Taste – There’s no getting past this one. Distilled water has a flat, unappealing taste that many people don’t like. As the water has no minerals or salts, the resulting taste is very flat. This is why it’s recommended to use a charcoal filter to enhance the flavor of distilled water. Additionally, you can treat the distilled water by adding some minerals or salts before drinking. This will balance the taste and improve the pH.
- Lack of Nutrients – Distilling water removes all minerals and nutrients, like calcium and magnesium, from it. These minerals are necessary for our body and provide balance to our health. However, drinking distilled water won’t make you mineral deficient, as our body gets these minerals from our diet or supplements.
So, while distilled water may have some negatives, it isn’t likely to pose significant health risks to you. If you only drink distilled water, balance this with a good diet.
Distillation and Water PH
Distilled water has a neutral pH of 7, immediately after the distillation process. However, as the water comes into contact with air, it changes its pH level and becomes more acidic.
Depending on the length of exposure to air, the water can have a pH ranging from 5.5. to around 6.9. Sometimes, the water can even drop below the 5.5 range. This is mainly because distilled water doesn’t have a buffer against carbon dioxide reaction due to its lack of salts.
Maintaining Your Water Distiller
Maintaining your water distiller periodically is essential if you want optimal performance from the device. Cleaning the distiller properly and regularly will ensure that residue and build up is removed and bacterial and mold growth is avoided.
Some manufacturers provide the necessary equipment to clean the machine. However, even if you don’t have this, it’s not necessary. Some simple sensible steps will ensure your distiller lasts a long time. Here’s the best way to clean your water distiller:
- Turn off the power and remove the lid of the device with boiling water still inside.
- Pour half a cup of white vinegar into the chamber. You can also use the cleaners provided by the manufacturer.
- Slosh the water and vinegar around and allow it to sit for several hours or overnight.
- Empty the water and vinegar solution from the chamber.
- Fill the distiller with clean water, swish it around and rinse the chamber out.
- Repeat to ensure that all residue and scale is removed.
- Wipe the device carefully.
- Ensure that all parts of the distiller have been rinsed, including the water storage tank.
- Don’t forget to monitor and replace any pre- and post- filters your device may have.
It’s best not to use commercial detergents or harsh chemicals as these can be detrimental for your health if traces of the chemicals remain in the chamber and find their way into your distilled water.
Distillation vs. Purified Water
There’s some confusion between these two terms but there’s a difference. Distilled water is a type of purified water, but there are other ways to purify water as well. Also, for water to be considered purified, it must meet certain criteria, most notably that there should be less than 10 PPM of contaminants in the water.
Some other ways of purifying water include ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, UV purification, chlorine disinfection and ion exchange. The way distillation differs from these methods is that distillation works with heat and by changing the state of water.
Distillation vs. Reverse Osmosis
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is an effective way to remove most contaminants in water. RO works by forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane which separates contaminants from the water molecules. The water molecules get through the barrier, and the contaminants are thrown away with the wastewater. RO, like distillation, removes all hardness compounds, minerals and other impurities, but some biological contaminants can get through the RO process.
Neither RO nor distilled water suit whole-house water purification systems. While RO is typically used just for drinking water, distilled water can be used for a variety of other functions as well.
What is Distilled Water Used For?
Apart from drinking, distilled water can also be used for several applications. These include:
- Steam Irons – Using distilled water in steam irons will remove the risk of residue stains being ironed onto your clothes. Using water with hardness compounds can build up inside the iron, block the outlets and leak sediments onto your clothes.
- Vehicle Batteries – Distilled water is the option of choice for vehicle batteries, as they don’t cause blockages, corrosion or any build up.
- Aquariums – Because distilled water is free of chemicals and impurities, it’s often chosen for use in aquariums. It doesn’t introduce any unwanted contaminants into environment. However, add some sea mineral supplements into the tank to provide balance.
- House Plants – House plants thrive on water that doesn’t contain chemicals or impurities, which can impact their nutrient balance. For this reason, distilled water is often considered the best.
- Brewing Alcohol – Because water can have different tastes based on the source, brewers often choose distilled water when brewing alcohol because it provides a consistent taste. From here, they can add other ingredients and achieve the exact taste they desire.
- Humidifiers – Distilled water is excellent for humidifiers because it doesn’t have contaminants that would get spread in the air. After all, humidifiers emit vapors meant to be inhaled, so its best to have the cleanest water source for this.
Important Considerations When Purchasing
When purchasing your distiller, you’ll come across many brands and models on the market, which can make it difficult to decide. While we’ve already done this for you in our list above, here are the basic considerations to help you filter through the options:
- Materials – This is very important because you want to ensure that the distiller is made of high-quality materials. Because a distiller works with hot water, it’s important that the materials can withstand this water without leaking toxins into it. Hence, look for stainless steel, aluminum, glass and BPA free food grade plastics. If you can avoid plastics altogether, it’s best in the long run, because plastic chambers are harder to clean. We recommend a stainless steel chamber with a glass container so that your water never gets into contact with plastic.
- Capacity and Speed – The trouble with distillers, as opposed to other filtration systems, is that they are slow. It easily takes up to an hour to filter a liter of water. Some units have faster distilling rates, but they may not be as efficient as slower models. This is because they may use larger heating elements, which cause the water to heat too quickly and splash onto the condensing coil. This can result in contaminants getting into the distilled water. Some manufacturers include a splash shield to stop this from happening, but this can reduce energy efficiency. It’s worth purchasing a distiller that may take a little longer to do its job but does a better job of it.
- Energy Efficiency – Distillers aren’t the most energy efficient system of getting purified water. After all, it requires constant energy to boil up all the water in the holding chamber. Be that as it may, check whether the model has any energy saving capacities, like a thermostat that turns off the water when heat is not required.
- Certification – The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is the leading testing and certification organization for household appliances. This is a not-for-profit organization and has been in operation for over a 100 years. If a distiller has a UL certification, it simply means that it’s been tested and has passed standards. Additionally, some distillers may have FDA certifications for various parts of the device.
Pros and Cons of Distilled Water
Distilled water has both pros and cons. Here’s a breakdown of these benefits and downsides.
- It effectively removes almost all types of contaminants. If you live in an area with a doubtful supply of water, distilled water can be an excellent option for you.
- There are no pathogens in distilled water like viruses, bacteria or cysts, making it highly
- Distilled water considered to be the purest form of water and many applications, such as in the use of steam irons, watering plants, vehicle batteries, perfume making and lab experiments.
- Distilled water has no taste of chlorine or any bad smells or tastes in general.
- Distilled water doesn’t have any nutrients and minerals, which are essential for our bodies to function. s
- It has a flat, unappealing taste which impacts the taste of coffee, tea and drinks.
- It’s not a 100% contaminant free, as certain VOCs can vaporize along with the water during the distillation process.
- Distillation is a slow process, that takes around an hour to purify a liter of water. If you need lots of pure, drinking water, this can be an unsuitable option.
- Compared to other ways of water filtration, distillation isn’t highly energy efficient as it constantly requires energy throughout the process.
Some Frequently Asked Questions on Water Distillers
We’ve already covered almost everything you need to know about water distillers, but if you still have some niggling doubts or questions, our FAQs section below should be able to answer them:
A distiller can be expensive to purchase so you need to make sure that you’ll actually be using it to make it worth it. If you’re spending money on distilled water from the shops, you’ll realize that a distiller will pay for itself in about 2-3 months. Over time, the distiller will be saving you money per gallon. However, it’s important to buy a device that has a long lifespan and warranty, so you can use it for a long time.
Yes, distilled water is safe. It doesn’t have any serious negative effects or potential health hazards. However, some studies have found a connection between water lacking nutrients like calcium, magnesium, electrolytes and potassium, and certain issues like tiredness, muscle cramp, weakness and heart disease. Because distilled water is so pure, it lacks any nutrients that we typically associate with water so this can be an issue but on a small scale. Also distilled waters may also not hydrate you as well as other types of water, due to its lack of minerals.
According to WebMD, distilled water to mix you baby’s formula is a good idea if your child has weak immune system. If not, it’s fine to use regular tap water.
A water distiller removes almost all contaminants from your water, which is why it’s often called the purest type of water there is. This includes chlorine, fluoride, iron, rust, lead, mercury, arsenic, calcium, electrolytes, magnesium, salts, organic compounds and a range of other impurities. Note that the EPA has set standards for up to 80 contaminants commonly found in water, and distillation targets almost all of these. However, it isn’t very effective in removing VOCs because these have a boiling point around or lower than that of water, and so are able to escape into the condensing unit along with the water.
Yes, distillation is very effective at killing microorganisms in water, including bacteria, viruses, cysts and spores.
Not at all. Boiled water is simply water that has reached its boiling point. Once it cools down, it’s the same water, except that most microorganisms will have been killed off. However, all other contaminants and compounds will still be in the water, because it hasn’t gone through a filtration process. Distillation doesn’t just boil water – it captures the steam, which is what you end up drinking. As such, distillation takes boiling a few steps water. Distilled water is boiled until it’s converted to steam and then condensed.
If you’re looking for pure water similar to distilled water, consider reverse osmosis or an intense multi-stage filtration system. Reverse osmosis removes almost all contaminants in water, but some microorganisms may get through. Multi-stage filtration systems push water through all kinds of barriers and mediums, which remove most of their contaminants. No single system is designed to remove every contaminant by itself, which is why it’s a good idea to use distillers in conjunction with a filtration system to remove any VOCs.
You can, if you want a flat-tasting mediocre cup of coffee or tea. Because water makes up a large portion of your cup of coffee and tea, the type of water you choose is important in the final taste. Coffee is best with fresh, mineralized water. The same applies for tea.
It depends on the distiller, but in general, distillers do use up a significant amount of energy unlike other methods of water purification. On average, a distiller may cost you around $.30 to make a gallon, which can translate to around $9 per month assuming that you’re distilling a gallon of water a day. Compared to buying store bought distilled water, which typically costs around $1.50 per gallon, like this one, you’ll still be saving in the long run.
The Bottom Line
If you like the idea of drinking distilled water at home, it makes sense to buy a water distiller instead of consistently purchasing bottled distilled water from the shops.
Distilled water offers many benefits, especially if your water source is highly contaminated. It’s an excellent way to remove all contaminants and minerals from your water, resulting in the purest water in the world. While a distiller is expensive to purchase, it pays for itself with time and usage, making it a worthwhile investment.
If you’d like to explore other types of water filtration processes, we recommend our guide on how to choose the right filter for your home, which highlights everything you need to know to choose the perfect filter for your home.