What’s The Difference Between Spring Water And Mineral Water?

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Spring water and mineral water are two common types of bottled water marketed globally, each offering unique qualities and benefits. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are specific distinctions in their sources, mineral content, taste, and health implications. Understanding these differences can help consumers make informed choices about their water consumption.

Spring Water

Spring water originates from an underground source from which water naturally rises to the surface. This type of water must be collected only at the spring or through a borehole that taps the underground formation feeding the spring. When bottled at the source with minimal processing, spring water retains the same purity and mineral content that it has underground, which can vary widely depending on the geographical characteristics of its source.

Mineral Water

Mineral water also comes from an underground source, but it must contain a certain amount of trace minerals. These minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium, are naturally present in the water as it flows from the ground. By definition, mineral water needs to have a stable and characteristic mineral composition. Authorities like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) mandate that mineral water contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids (TDS).

Collection and Treatment

Spring Water:

The collection of spring water is designed to preserve its original water quality and mineral level. It typically undergoes minimal treatment, such as filtration to remove debris and ultraviolet light to kill bacteria. However, it must remain chemically unaltered, retaining the mineral profile and properties that it had at the source.

Mineral Water:

Mineral water is often bottled directly at the source to maintain its purity and mineral content. It undergoes similar treatments as spring water to ensure safety for consumption, including carbon filtration, UV light treatment, and ozonation. However, unlike spring water, no minerals can be added to or removed from mineral water after it is extracted.

Health Benefits

Spring Water:

The health benefits of spring water depend on its original mineral content, which can provide essential nutrients required by the body. For example, calcium and magnesium are important for bone health and cardiovascular function. The purity of spring water, free from contaminants like chlorine and other industrial chemicals, is also a significant health advantage.

Mineral Water:

Mineral water is particularly valued for its consistent high mineral content. Regular consumption of mineral water can help fulfill some of the body’s daily mineral requirements. For instance, magnesium-rich mineral waters can aid in improving heart health and preventing migraines. The high mineral content can also aid digestion and support overall health.

Taste and Culinary Uses

Spring Water:

The taste of spring water can vary significantly based on its source and the minerals it contains. Generally, spring water is praised for having a clean, fresh taste with no additional flavors, making it a preferred choice for everyday hydration.

Mineral Water:

Mineral water often has a distinct taste due to its high mineral content, which some consumers appreciate for its perceived sophistication and depth of flavor. It is frequently used as a palate cleanser or as a complementary drink in fine dining settings because it enhances the flavors of meals.

Environmental Impact

Spring Water:

The environmental impact of bottling spring water can be significant. It involves extracting water from potentially vulnerable ecosystems and the energy costs associated with bottling and transportation. Sustainable practices and responsible sourcing are critical to minimizing these impacts.

Mineral Water:

Similarly, the extraction and bottling of mineral water can have considerable environmental effects. The process needs to be managed carefully to prevent depletion of the source and to reduce carbon footprints associated with packaging and transportation.


While both spring water and mineral water offer hydration and health benefits, choosing between them often comes down to personal preference regarding taste and mineral content. Both types should be consumed from sources that employ sustainable practices to mitigate environmental impacts. Understanding these nuances enables consumers to make choices that align with their health needs and environmental values.

Shakes Gilles

Shakes covers stories ranging from science to health, to technology, to astronomy, etc... On a typical weekend, you'll find him enjoying a picnic at a local park or playing soccer with friends.