Berkey Filters and Distilled water – which is best?

Having access to good clean water is essential for good health and general well-being. It helps the body dehydrate, maintain healthy oxygen levels in the blood, help flush out harmful toxins and prevent diseases. Although residential tap water gets treated by local municipalities, some people still feel that the chemicals used in this process may be a cause for concern. Another issue may be that rusty metal from plumbing systems used in older houses may leach into the water supply. Newer plastic PVC pipes could potentially also be harmful according to a coalition of Californian residents who partially won a 25-year long battle to keep restrictions in place against the use of several types of controversial plastic materials.

For many RV and outdoor enthusiasts, purifying water on the go is another good reason to consider investing in a water purifying system, one that is compact and powerful enough to provide fresh and clean water from any stream or lake.

In this article, we have a look at two types of water purification methods namely Berkey filters vs Distilled water – which is best?

Berkey filters vs Distilled water: what is the difference?

Let’s start with distilled water. It is essentially water in a purified form, void of any salts, chemicals, minerals, contaminants or microbes. Distilled water is made from the clean steam collected into a container after gently boiling water. Think of it as the natural process of evaporation and condensation and then rain. When the water evaporates it leaves all the bad stud behind like bacteria, heavy metals, and arsenic. To be considered a type of purified water, distilled water should not contain more than 10 parts per million of total dissolved solids.

The Berkey water system on the other hand is considered a water filtration system by definition, however, it is believed to filter so well that it may even be considered a water purifying system. It is said to improve the quality of water by removing 99.99% of harmful contaminants like pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals and pharmaceuticals. A gravity filter system is used to filter water through 2 purification elements that have ion-exchange properties and microscopic pores, which essentially attract and trap harmful contaminants.

What is left is clean water with minerals intact, so to speak.

The main difference between the Berkey water filter system and distilled water lies in the processes involved in producing clean water. The second difference is that Berkey’s filtered water system leaves all the minerals intact whilst distilled water contains no minerals. Although both processes decontaminate water, distilled water is considered the most purified form.

Berkey filters vs Distilled water: what are their benefits and uses?

Benefits and Uses of Distilled water

When the purest form of water is required then you should reach for distilled water. The most common uses include:

  • Medical procedures and protocols
  • All health care
  • Laboratory testing
  • Cosmetic manufacturing
  • Car cooling systems and batteries in the automobile industry
  • Making ice cubes
  • Plant care
  • Aquariums
  • Preventing scale buildup in steam irons
  • Making infant formula at home
  • Washing your hair to remove product build-up
  • Humidifiers
  • Usually requires electricity

Benefits and Uses of Berkey filters and system:

  • In general household drinking water
  • Camping
  • Travelling
  • The Travel Berkey is compact enough to utilize in an RV
  • Cooking & Baking
  • Baby formula
  • Ice cubes
  • Humidifiers
  • In power outages & emergency situations
  • No electricity needed
  • Economical

Is distilled water safe to drink compared to Berkey filtered water?

Yes, it is completely safe to drink, especially if following certain health protocols that require the purest form of water. Many athletes and health enthusiasts drink it. The big debate out there however is whether it is a good idea to drink on a regular basis since all the minerals are removed such as calcium and magnesium. It is also thought that distilled water being void of minerals may pull trace amounts of minerals from your own body and teeth. Considering that most of your mineral intake comes from healthy food sources anyway, drinking distilled water should not cause any harm. If however, you are mineral deficient, necessary precautions should be taken when opting for distilled water. You can always add mineral and vitamin drops to your distilled water if you believe you are deficient.

Berkey filtered water, by comparison, is also a firm favourite for many and has an almost cult following around the world, especially the preppers, RV enthusiasts, outdoor enthusiasts and off-grid homesteaders. It contains all the trace minerals that are left absent in distilled water and eliminates harmful organisms and other contaminants. Two fluoride filters can be added to the existing system to ensure that tap water is fluoride-free. This addition makes Berkey a powerful water filtration system for extra peace of mind.

Berkey filters vs Distilled water: summary of the pros and cons

Berkey filters


99.99% of contaminants filtered (test results)

Better tasting water


No electricity, plumbing, or tools needed

Filters are long-lasting (6000 gallons per pair)

Stainless steel container

Easy to assemble

Can be used to filter well and rainwater

Units come in various sizes

No plastic waste


Filters need replacement eventually

Might be cumbersome to clean

vs Distilled


The purest form of water, contains virtually zero harmful chemicals, bacteria, or pesticides.

Reliable results every time regardless of the water source quality.

A good distiller has a very long lifespan.

Pure clean water that is plastic-free.

The boiling tanks on the units are easy to clean.


Flat taste due to lack of minerals, inorganic compounds, and metals.

May cause electrolyte imbalance in people that have a mineral deficiency.

Drinking water low in minerals such as calcium and magnesium on a regular basis may cause muscle cramps, fatigue, and heart disease.

Best stored in a glass container as distilled water may absorb trace elements of plastic from a plastic storage container.

Uses electricity.

Last thoughts on which is best – Berkey Filters or Distilled water.

Berkey filters are the best water filtering system to use outdoors.
Source: BERKEY Store on Amazon

Berkey Filters vs Distilled water – both are good. But in our view, each should be considered on the basis of your own specific needs. For general household needs that require a low maintenance, economical and electricity-free solution we choose the Berkey filter system. Its stainless steel body looks good on any kitchen counter, the filters last long and require no electricity and produce high-grade filtered water. The more compact and smaller Travel Berkey allows for filtering on the go, making it a firm favourite for many weekender or seasonal campers too. Although distilled water is viewed as the gold standard for purified water, our opinion is that unless your specific needs require it, we would still opt for the Berkey. If your budget allows, get both.

Get your Berkey on Amazon

See our top pick for water distillers on Amazon

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Disclaimer: This article is an independent opinion piece. The article was not sponsored by any company or any of the Brands mentioned above.

Main Image credit Jill Burrow via Pexels

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