December 2, 2005

Water Distillers

Water DistillersWe've been using a water distiller for over a year. As anyone who lives in Los Angeles knows, the tap water here leaves something to be desired (or perhaps it's just that there's too much something in it — nasty-tasting, it can give you a bit of a tummy ache).

And so, for years prior, we were bringing in bottled water, buying it by the case at Costco and Trader Joe's, etc. Still, all that crating (and storing) of water — and needing to do so on a regular basis — is tiresome and inconvenient.

year ago, after one of those "I wonder if this is really good for us" moments and upon the recommendation of a friend, we decided to try a water distiller. The one we have resembles a large-ish coffee maker (well, it looks exactly like the picture since we just bought that model). The way it works, more or less, is that you fill the white container with water, put the top on and assemble it as in the picture, and plug it in; the motor in the "head" or top of the unit heats up and steams the water, after which it trickles through the little carbon filter into the gallon jug. Any resulting sediment stays in the white container, which you clean out when you refill it. It takes about five hours to distill a gallon of water.

So how is the distilled water? Well, I'll tell you this: the resulting distilled water tastes far better than any of the bottled water we've had — and this was distilled from Los Angeles tap water(!). Secondly, because it's been boiled, more or less, any "cooties" that may have been in the original water have also been boiled. One assumes they get left behind in the large container (think "sediment").

Taste: As I mentioned, the water just tastes cleaner — cleaner, lighter and purer even than bottled water. Another "test" is that our cat, who was never happy with any of the bottled water brands, drinks the distilled water like it's going out of style. Big, slurping gulps — from a cat!

Another observation: we boil water to make coffee in a French press. With the bottled water, the pan became lined with a white difficult-to-scrape-out sediment. Once we switched to our distilled water, this sediment apparently boiled away, leaving the pan clean and fresh.

One note, however: we're now on our third distiller. Mind you, we run the distiller almost all day, so it doesn't really get much of a break (and we're talking about a $100-130 product, not the large $500 ones). At any rate, the first broke down after near-continuous use going on a year, after which we ordered just the top "motor" portion, which lasted a few months.

We've now ordered from a different company ( As mentioned, the new distiller seems to be of a better quality; delivery was fast. We're happy, so long as we have our distilled water and we're not carting it around by the crate.

ADDED: As it turned out, while it offered some convenience, our water distiller was taking about 6-8 hours to make one gallon of water, and our electricity bill skyrocketed by a couple of hundred dollars per month. Not to mention the chore of many hours of heating a vinegar-water in it to loosen the rock-hard sediment that accumulated in the metal container, nor the fun of scrubbing and chipping it out. Eventually, we opted for a five-filter water filter machine — see our TGI Water Filter Review.

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3 Comments for "Water Distillers"

  1. Doris Hart says:

    I just started looking into water distillers.

    There are so many out there. Some say don't buy
    the distiller with plastic. Another site says
    make your own and so on. Another says that hard
    water should be softened before you distill it.
    Florida water is the worst for hardness.

    Got any tips?

    Comment posted on 5/30/2006 @ 5:18 am
  2. Editor says:

    Not really. Not sure I would want to build a distiller when I can purchase one for $100+.

    We're doing fine with ours; you could always put a different container underneath. I do find the water better than bottled.

    Comment posted on 5/30/2006 @ 11:56 am
  3. TGI Water Filter Review says:

    […] you, the water distiller which we'd previously recommended worked fine. But it took approximately 6-8 hours to distill just […]

    Pingback posted on 2/14/2010 @ 12:12 am

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