Water TDS: What Is It And Why Does It Matter?

When comparing and discussing bottled water, TDS is often mentioned as a standard quality metric. TDS stands for “total dissolved solids” and measures the minerals, salts and organic compounds that naturally dissolve in water via contact through rock and other surfaces. It is measured in milligrams per litre (mg/L).

As a trending topic where brands, scientists, and consumers all have their own perceptions and opinions about mineral water purifier UV, this is a basic roundup of how to understand TDS levels in drinking water:

What does Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) mean?

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is an international standard method for measuring total dissolved solids in water by electrical conductivity measurement. It indicates the amount of minerals that are dissolved in the water sample being tested. The higher the TDS value, the more minerals that are dissolved in it.

TDS: A measure of minerals in water

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) measures the concentration of all inorganic and organic elements dissolved in water. The TDS level will tell you how mineralised your water is, but it does not reveal which specific minerals it contains. The most commonly used unit for TDS is milligrams per litre (mg/l) and is an expression of the actual mass of minerals dissolved in a litre of water. The minerals are what create the specific flavour and mouthfeel characteristics of the water.

The following chart can be used to estimate your Total Dissolved Solids levels:

TDS Range: 0 – 20 mg/L = Lightly Mineralized Water

20 – 50 mg/L = Moderately Mineralized Water

50 – 100 mg/L = Highly Mineralized Water

100+ mg/L = Extremely Highly Mineralized Water

Why is the TDS level of water important?

Taste & mouthfeel: 

The TDS levels in the water are measured by most electronic metres, which make it easier to get an accurate reading. The amount of dissolved solids that are present in your water affects its taste and quality, as well as your health. It is important to have a proper understanding of how your water source works and how much TDS you may be consuming.

Gastronomical experience:

The TDS level is a prominent factor when pairing water with food or other drinks. At 168 ppm, water with a low TDS will pair well with whiskey, which is primarily made from barley and its palate is light to begin with. High mineral waters are best paired with meats because the weight of high mineral water complements the dominant flavours of red meat.

Nutrition & health: 

TDS is a measurement of the total dissolved solids in water and is a measure of the amount of minerals dissolved in it. These minerals are primarily trace minerals that are necessary for healthy body functions. Drinking water with low TDS concentration may have minimal effects, but drinking distilled water is not recommended by health professionals.

Pipes & home:

Hard water causes scale deposits in pipes and requires more soap to produce a lather. If you have hard water you may notice that your clothes are coming out of the washer with a yellow color, or coffee pots get stained.

To measure total dissolved solids at home, you can use a TDS metre which measures the conductivity of water. Distilled water without any minerals does not conduct electricity and will show a TDS of 0. The more minerals present in the water, the more electricity it conducts. When measured at a standard 25°C temperature, the conductivity measurement can then be converted into a milligrams of minerals per litre equivalent. Most handheld metres will give you results in either conductivity or TDS terms.

Using a TDS water chart analyzer or a conductivity metre you can measure the level of dissolved minerals in your drinking water. This can be an important factor when monitoring home health, such as: Your mineral levels to ensure you get proper nutrition and hydration.