Purified Water vs Spring Water (The Definitive Comparison)

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You’ve probably heard of purified water and spring water – but did you know that these water types aren’t the same?

In this spring water vs purified water guide, we’ve compared both water types and discussed their differences, pros, and cons, so you can make the best choice for your situation.

📌 Key Takeaways:

  • Spring water comes from natural springs and is typically sold by bottled water brands.
  • Purified water has been treated with a purification process. You can buy purified bottled waters or purify your tap water at home.
  • The best water type for you depends on your preferences for water quality, source, taste, treatment method, and more.

🆚 Main Difference Between Purified And Spring Water

The main difference between purified and spring water is that purified water has been treated with one of several purification methods, while spring water is naturally filtered (but not purified) and comes from natural springs.

Purified water is almost completely pure, which means it’s free from all heavy metals, potentially harmful chemicals, microorganisms, pharmaceuticals, minerals, and all other inorganic and organic matter.

Spring water is typically naturally low in these contaminants because it’s filtered through underground aquifers. However, spring water isn’t guaranteed to be purified and may still contain certain metals and chemical pollutants. Plus, spring water usually has a high mineral content due to its underground origin.

🗻 What is Spring Water?

Spring water is a type of bottled water that you will have seen widely available in supermarkets.

Spring water comes from a spring – but it usually isn’t completely natural. This water type often goes through a number of processes before it reaches the bottle. It’s not quite the same as holding an empty bottle beneath a spring until it fills, then drinking it as is.

Actually, spring water may not even come from spring.

Manufacturers can label their product “spring water” as long as it comes from any underground aquifer. That could include well water, artesian water, or groundwater – so not quite the picturesque image you probably had in mind.

Spring water

How Spring Water is Made

Spring water is derived from natural water sources that flow along paths worn into mountains, hills, and valleys. A spring is is the point at which moving underground emerges from the land surface, either in a trickle or a continuous flow.

Because spring water comes from the ground, it’s often purer, fresher, and tastier than surface water sources because it has less exposure to contaminants and is naturally filtered by rocks, which give it a rich, mineral taste.

However, spring water isn’t completely pure or contaminant free, and is still susceptible to pollution from environmental contaminants. Bottled spring water is usually treated at a man-made and man-powered treatment center, and its mineral content is preserved while impurities and potentially dangerous pathogens are removed.


Derived from a cleaner source

A key advantage of spring water vs purified water is that it’s derived from an underground water source, so it’s less likely to be affected by man-made pollution and has a naturally higher mineral water content.


The natural filtration process ensures that water from a spring is rich in natural minerals and partly filtered. This type of water tastes fresh, and alkaline, with a pleasantly sweet aftertaste, especially when compared with standard tap water (which usually comes from a surface water source).



Spring water is tastier and healthier than standard tap water, and it’s something of a premium product, since most of us otherwise only have access to chlorinated tap water. If your family exclusively drinks bottled spring products, you probably spend hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars on bottled water per year.

Not available for at-home tap water

There’s no getting around the fact that you must buy spring water in bottled form. Municipal water supplies are very rarely derived from springs, so if you want to enjoy great tasting water with natural minerals, you’ll have to buy it by the bottle.

Bottled spring water

⚗️ What is Purified Water?

Purified water is a type of water that has been treated with a purification method to remove virtually all contaminants and impurities. You can buy bottled purified waters or purify your tap water at home.

If a bottled water manufacturer states that its product is “purified”, you know it’s true – companies can’t use this label unless they have proof that the overall impurities in the bottle are measured at below 10 parts per million (PPM).

Purified water is fresher, cleaner, and has a higher purity than normal tap water, because it has undergone water purification to specific standards, and contains far fewer contaminants.

In comparison, tap water usually contains up to 500 parts per million (PPM) of TDS – that’s total dissolved solids, a term used to indicate a broad range of contaminants, from chemicals and heavy metals to microorganisms, salts and ions.

How Water is Purified

Purified water is treated with an in-depth filtration process to remove nearly 100% of all particles and impurities.

This type of drinking water could be sourced from anywhere, including a surface water source (lakes, rivers, streams, etc.) or a groundwater source (aquifers, springs, artesian water, etc.). The key thing that all purified waters have in common is that they’ve been purified, usually with one of the following methods:

  • Reverse osmosis
  • Water distillation
  • Deionization

If you’re buying purified, filtered bottled water simply because it has had its contaminants removed, you might just want to purify it yourself.

You can buy a point-of-use reverse osmosis system or water distiller to remove up to 99.99% TDS. Having your own purification process at home means you don’t have to waste money on bottled water.

Water purification


Legally safe to drink

When you drink a bottle of purified water, you know for certain that it meets a legal standard to take on the “purified” status. That means you can be 100% certain that what you’re drinking is completely safe.

May purify water yourself

Any water supply can be purified – including your own home’s drinking water. Reverse osmosis or distilled water is cheap to produce, helps you cut back on your plastic water bottle use, and tastes just as good as purified water from a bottle.


Lower mineral content

Some purified water sources have added minerals, but typically, purified water has had its healthy minerals removed. It doesn’t taste as appealing as mineral-rich spring water.

Unnecessarily expensive

Buying purified bottled water from the store is an expensive habit, especially if you exclusively drink bottled water rather than tap water at home.

We highly recommend investing in a system that’ll give you access to your own purified types of drinking water at home, giving you clean, safe water on tap without having to buy single-use water bottles.

👉 Check out this article to see our top pics for best water filters to purify water at home in 2024!

📑 Spring Water vs Purified: Which is Better?

There’s no definitive “better” option between spring water vs purified water – it largely depends on personal preferences and your own standards.

Let’s compare spring water and purified water across several different categories to help you decide on your favorite:

  • Water source – Spring water comes from a natural spring, while purified water could come from any surface water or underground water source – the “purified” status ties in with its treatment and not its source.
  • Water quality – Spring water typically has a high mineral content but may also contain traces of contaminants, while purified water has very few minerals and is also free from harmful contaminants.
  • Water taste – Many people enjoy the great-tasting water from underground springs. Purified water is free from poor-tasting contaminants like chlorine, but it also lacks minerals, which can give it a bland taste.
  • Treatment method – Purified water is treated with one of several purification processes – usually reverse osmosis or water distillation. Spring water isn’t purified, but it may be treated at a water processing plant to remove impurities like certain metals and chemicals.
  • Accessibility – Spring water is usually only sold by bottled water brands. You can buy purified water in bottles or purify your water at home (e.g. with an under-sink reverse osmosis system).

If you prefer water with plenty of minerals, spring water is probably the best choice for you. But not all springs are equal in quality, and one underground aquifer can often vary greatly from another.

If you’re concerned about the quality of springs in a certain area, or you want to decrease your plastic water bottle consumption, you may prefer to opt for a purified alternative. That said, both spring water and purified water are safe to drink according to the EPA’s standards, so no choice is wrong.


Should I purify my own water?

Yes, it’s definitely worth considering purifying your own water. You can save money and reduce your single-use plastic water bottle use by buying filter systems that purify your drinking water at home. Distillation and reverse osmosis produce the purest water for safe drinking, eliminating up to 99% of all TDS, including minerals and chemicals like chlorine. RO and distilled water are cheap and convenient to produce at home.

What’s the difference between filtered water, spring water, and purified water?

The main difference between filtered water, spring water, and purified water is their quality. Filtered water hasn’t undergone a water purification process – instead, it has been filtered by a water filtration system, which reduces certain impurities but can’t remove contaminants entirely. Spring water is naturally filtered but may still contain certain impurities, and purified water is almost completely free from all impurities.

  • Jennifer Byrd
    Water Treatment Specialist

    For 20+ years, Jennifer has championed clean water. From navigating operations to leading sales, she's tackled diverse industry challenges. Now, at Redbird Water, she crafts personalized solutions for homes, businesses, and factories. A past Chamber President and industry advocate, Jennifer leverages her expertise in cutting-edge filtration and custom design to transform water concerns into crystal-clear solutions.

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