Many people have asked me, “Is filtered drinking water better than tap water or bottled water?”
My answer is simple: filtered drinking water from your tap or well is the safest, healthiest, and least expensive way to go.
Both tap and bottled water have numerous organic and inorganic contaminants in them.
Cumulative exposure to these contaminants over time can weaken your immune system and cause cellular damage or even cell mutation (cancer).
Most people (myself included) tend to use the terms “water filtration” and “water purification” interchangeably. However, in the water industry, there is a difference and it is important to know what it is.
So I will briefly explain the difference before summarizing the key benefits of drinking filtered water.
Water filters that use filtration methods such as adsorption, carbon, activated carbon, kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF), and particulate filtration produce filtered drinking water.
Water systems that use purification methods such as reverse osmosis (R.O.), distillation, ozone, and ultraviolet produce purified water.
For daily use, I recommended filtered drinking water over purified water, and there are many reasons for this recommendation.
One important reason is that numerous studies have shown that mineral-rich drinking water is the healthiest. Both reverse osmosis water and distilled water are de-mineralized.
The World Health Organization (WHO) published a study on drinking water showing evidence of various health risks associated with drinking demineralised water. (You can read more about this study under "Reference" below.)
Or you can read my summary of the findings in this study on Drinking Demineralized Water here.
Most people have been led to believe that R.O. water is the purest water available and therefore they think it is the best drinking water.
The R.O. membrane does remove many contaminants, but it does NOT remove some critical contaminants found in tap water, such as volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), chlorine and chloramines, pharmaceuticals, and a host of other synthetic chemicals.
Some R.O. systems do remove these contaminants but it is because they have added other filtration media to the system after the R.O. membrane.
I believe there are times when purified water can be beneficial. For example, distilled water is often recommended by many health practitioners for periodic cleansing and detoxification.
However, I believe filtered water that still contains the natural occuring minerals is healthier than demineralised water.
In regards to cleansing, I have found ionized alkaline water to be more effective than purified water, and the ionized water has additional health promoting benefits, including its super hydrating and anti-oxidizing properties.
Ozonated water also has purported benefits for ridding the body of viruses and microbes, but it is also highly oxidizing (i.e. aging and acidifying in the body). If interested, you can read more on the advantages and disadvantages of ozonated drinking water.
Ultraviolet light is used to kill bacteria in water but it does not remove chemical contaminants. Both ozone and ultraviolet are effective when used in conjunction with other water filtration methods, such as with carbon block and KDF media.
1. Clean and mineral-rich water
A good quality, whole house water filter will remove the worst contaminants from your source water (tap or well) without removing the naturally occurring minerals, which are critical for optimal health.
The type of water filter you choose (such as whole house, counter-top, under sink, or pitcher) will, however, determine how effective your water is filtered.
In other words, most drinking water filters that employ more than one type of filtration are going to produce much cleaner water than a filter pitcher, for example. Check out our water filter reviews page, which explains how to choose a water filter.
2. Convenient and easy to use
Most tap water filters, such as a countertop or faucet filter, can be set up within minutes and do not require a plumber.
After that, you just turn on the tap and run the water through your filter for drinking or cooking or brushing your teeth.
No trips to the store, no carrying cases of bottled water, no returning and filling 3-gallon bottles, no dealing with water delivery services, no trips to the recycling bins to get rid of plastic bottles, and so forth.
The only thing you do have to do is maintain your water filter by changing filters and cleaning the system per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
3. Control of your water quality
One of the biggest issues I have with bottled water is that no matter what it says on the label, you never really know what you’re getting.
Numerous reputable studies have revealed that up to 40 percent of all bottled water is re-processed tap water.
Another good portion of bottled waters are purified by reverse osmosis or distillation. These demineralised waters are considered to be unhealthy for long-term use.
When you invest in a point-of-use water filter, such as a counter top, faucet, or under sink water filter, you can get your local water quality report and know what contaminants are being filtered by your home filter.
Most manufacturers also offer pre-filters or specialty filters that can be added, if needed, to remove specific water contaminants from your source water.
4. Cost effective.
According to the Food and Water Watch Organization, the average home pitcher filter costs $0.10 to $.20 per gallon compared to bottled water which ranges from $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon.
At the mid-range for both, a water pitcher filter will cost about $55 yearly compared to $1669 yearly for bottled water.
Even the more expensive water filters, such as a countertop water filter or whole house water filter are significantly more cost effective than bottled water, especially when evaluating costs over a 5, 10 and 20-year period.
Check out our Drinking Water Filter Reviews and Recommendations