Most of us have been raised to believe that taking a shower regularly is a good thing. But in some cases that may only be true if you bother to obtain any of the best shower filters that suits your needs. That’s because the water from your shower head may not necessarily be good for you at all.
We all know that the water we get from the faucet are treated with various chemicals to make them safer to drink. That’s the same water we get from the shower, and the chemicals used in the water may not be all that safe for your skin. You may end up with irritated, itchy, or dry skin, and these can just be the start of your problems.
Fortunately, all you really need is a suitable shower filter and your problems are solved. These aren’t all that expensive either, as even the best shower filters 2018 offered are now available at lower prices. You can also make sure that you tailor your choice to your particular issues and circumstances. You can get the best shower filter for eczema if you have skin issues with the water. You can go with the best shower filter for blonde hair if you’re worried about how these chemicals can affect your hair color. You can even have your water tested to identify the particular chemicals you have to deal with, so that you can buy the best shower filter for fluoride if that’s the chemical that poses a problem for you.
So let’s take a look at the best shower filters you can get for your money right now. These are your best options you can get online:
Top 10 Shower Filter Comparison Chart
|Product Name||Measurements||Weight||Filtration system||Filtration targets|
|AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Filter||3.7 x 3.7 x 5.4 inches||15.2 ounces||7-stage filtration||Chlorine, THMs, dust, sand, lime scale|
|Culligan WSH-C125 Wallmounted Filtered Shower Head||4.8 x 8.5 x 12.2 inches||1.55 pounds||Single layer filtration with filter media bacteriostatic||Sulfur odor, chlorine, bacteria, and scale|
|Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter||8.5 x 7.2 x 3.2 inches||2.3 pounds||coconut shell carbon and a KDF copper/zinc||chlorine, lead, pesticides, hydrogen sulfides, and other VOCs|
|Berkey Shower Filter WITHOUT Shower Head||5 x 4 x 4 inches||1.46 pounds||KDF 55 granules||chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, microorganisms, scale and water-soluble heavy metals|
|AquaBliss High Output 12-Stage Shower Filter||7.7 x 3.8 x 3.7 inches||1 pound||12-Stage Shower Filter||Sediment, chlorine, scale, THMs, dust|
|AquaHomeGroup 15-Stage Shower Water Filter||11.4 x 5.9 x 4 inches||2.4 pounds||15-Stage filtration, water enriched by vitamins||Chlorine, heavy metals, rust, sand|
|Luxury Filtered Shower Head (Metal) 2 Cartridges Vitamin C||5.6 x 5.5 x 4.2 inches||1.25 pounds||Vitamin C+E ceramic balls and PP cotton||chlorine and chloramine, plus sediments, rust, and bacteria|
|Rainshow’r – CQ 1000 MS Shower Filter||4.8 x 3 x 3 inches||1.4 pounds||NSF-certified dechlorination||Chlorine|
|Culligan ISH-100 Inline Shower Head Water Filter||3.5 x 7.5 x 10 inches||14.9 ounces||WHR-140 filter cartridge with filter media bacteriostatic||Chlorine, sulfur odor, bacteria, and scale|
|Barclay’s Buys Filtered Showerhead||3 x 4 x 3 inches||6.1 ounces||Clearly Pure Shower Filter||Chlorine and dissolved liquids|
- 1 Best Shower Filter Reviews
- 1.1 AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Filter
- 1.2 Culligan WSH-C125 Wallmounted Filtered Shower Head
- 1.3 Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter
- 1.4 Berkey Shower Filter WITHOUT Shower Head
- 1.5 AquaBliss High Output 12-Stage Shower Filter
- 1.6 AquaHomeGroup 15-Stage Shower Water Filter
- 1.7 Luxury Filtered Shower Head (Metal) 2 Cartridges Vitamin C
- 1.8 Rainshow’r – CQ 1000 MS Shower Filter
- 1.9 Culligan ISH-100 Inline Shower Head Water Filter
- 1.10 Barclay’s Buys Filtered Showerhead
- 2 How Do Shower Filters Work?
- 3 How to Install a Shower Filter
- 4 How to Clean a Shower Filter
- 5 Buying Guide
- 6 Shower Filter FAQs
- 6.1 What are the signs I need a shower filter?
- 6.2 If I don’t have any of these signs, should I just forego on getting a shower filter?
- 6.3 Why are so many people concerned about the chlorine in the water?
- 6.4 What about the minerals in the water?
- 6.5 What’s the deal about vitamin C filters?
- 6.6 What are the different types of KDF?
- 7 Conclusion
Best Shower Filter Reviews
This offers 3 main layers of filtration, with a total of 7 filtration levels. What’s more, it only uses premium-grade materials and not low-quality filler material. AquaBliss Installation takes about 2 minutes, though you’ll need the tape to prevent leaks and maybe a wrench. This works with all shower types, including handled, fixed, rain, and even combo shower heads.
The first main filtration layer deals with sediment removal. You have the sand filter for large sediment like sand and lime scale, ultra-fine stainless-steel mesh for medium-sized particles, and the microporous PP cotton for small sediment such as turpitudes and dust.
Next you have the main impurity removal layer. This has the calcium sulfite to reduce chlorine in hot and cold water. You then have the redox media to also help reduce chlorine and scale in hot water. The activated carbon level also reduces chlorine THMs (trihalomethanes), and other types of impurities.
Finally, there’s the protection layer consisting of the microporous PP cotton again. If there are dust particles that managed to escape the first PP cotton level, this one can catch them.
The WSH-C125 is considered by many as the very best shower head in the Culligan shower head lineup. It’s quite easy to install, with reports attesting to how you only need 10 minutes. You don’t even need tools to install it. It comes with Teflon tape, which you can use to wrap around the shower arm to prevent leaks.
This has been ANSI-certified to reduce chlorine levels. In addition, it reduces scale while also taking out impurities that can damage your hair follicles.
The shower head itself offers 5 different spray settings to suit any preference. These include a concentrated pulse for an invigorating massage up to a full-body spray.
The rubber nozzles are also easy to clean. This is a proven model, although you can also say that it’s an old design. Still, it can last about 6 months and filter up to 10,000 gallons of water. The warranty is for 2 years.
This also offers several filtration layers to really reduce the level of contaminants in your shower water. This has the KDF 55 layer with its copper and zinc blend that reduces the chlorine levels while enhancing the pH. Then it also has the AquaSorb HX coconut shell carbon, which also reduces chlorine levels while it takes out synthetic chemicals as well.
This is the shower filter model that lots of people go for when they have skin and hair issues regarding their shower water. Washing your hair with chlorine-free water keeps your scalp healthier, your hair softer and shinier, and your hair color lasts longer. You may find yourself using less shampoo and conditioner as a result.
The design of the AQ-4100 is also well-conceived. The special upflow design prevents clogging and media channeling. Water pressure is maintained, and you retain the height of the shower head. It also makes sure to maximize the water contact time with the filter media to ensure effective filtration. You also have several massage spray settings to choose from.
This is also rated for 10,000 gallons of water or for 6 months of use. Installing a new one isn’t a problem, as you just twist it into position and you don’t need tools.
Read full review of Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter
If you feel that a simple KDF 55 filter offers enough filtration for your needs, then this is the shower filter for you. This reduces chlorine levels by 95%, but that’s not its only target. It also reduces hydrogen sulfide, heavy metals like iron, mercury, and lead, lime scale, mold, fungi, algae, and bacteria.
This works for both hot and cold showers. Its design includes a back-flush attachment that’s meant to prevent premature clogging. In fact, its overall design focuses on longevity, because it’s rated for 20,000g gallons of water. In other words, you can expect to use this for an entire year before you may need to replace it.
Just remember that this particular item is the shower filter without the shower head. In other words, you already have the Berkey shower head with the filter and you’re buying this as your filter replacement.
According to the experts at AquaBliss, the problem with lots of shower filters is that they just use a lot of inexpensive activated carbon, and not enough ceramic mineral balls, redox media, and calcium sulfate. This special design in this 12-stageAquaBliss corrects that shortcoming spectacularly, since you have 12 filtration layers to really clean out your shower water, with 4 main layers working one after another.
The filtration starts with sediment removal. There’s the sand filter washer for sand and lime scale. Next comes the ultra-fine stainless-steel mesh to keep out the medium-sized sediment. Then there’s the microporous PP cotton to take out dust and other small sediment.
The next main filtration level deals with 3 layers of impurity removal. You have the calcium sulfite to remove chlorine in hot and cold water. Then you have the redox media to further reduce chlorine and control scale. After that, there’s the activated carbon for chlorine, THMs (trihalomethanes), and other impurities.
The 3rd main layer deals with revitalizing minerals added to the shower water to help with the health of your skin, hair, and even nails. These levels include far infrared to boost oxygen and negative ions, zeolite to release revitalizing minerals, vitamin C, tourmaline for hair care, and magnetic energy to add more oxygen to the water.
Finally, you have the protection levels that physically trap particles from the shower water. You have the microporous PP cotton for dust and the ultra-fine stainless-steel mesh to filter out medium-size.
This shower filter is quite popular, and a quick look at the customer reviews shows that it really delivers. This is a filtered shower head that you can install in a few minutes without needing any tools. All you have to do is to remove your old shower head and then you can just put this new one in by rotating it manually in place. It fits into any of the standard shower types, and these include handheld showers, rainfall showers, and wall-mounted.
What sets this apart is that in the main body it uses a 15-stage filtration system using a replaceable filter cartridge. And if that’s not enough, at the end of the filter there’s another filter cartridge, and this time it has vitamins C and E that can help with your skin and hair. These cartridges can last for 6 months for a typical household.
Here’s a quick look at the 15 stages:
- Ultra-fine stainless-steel mesh for medium-sized particles
- PP cotton for dust in the water
- High-density stainless-steel mesh for sand and lime scale
- Alkaline ceramic balls with natural minerals to enhance the water with antioxidants
- Maifan stone to remove heavy metals and to reduce bacterial levels
- KDF 55 for chlorine, bad smells, bacteria, fungi, and scale
- Microporous ceramic balls for bacteria
- Vitamin C for skin and hair health
- Coconut activated carbon for chemical contaminants and bad smells
- Germanium balls to help open your skin pores
- Dechlorination ball calcium sulfite to remove chlorine from both cold and hot water
- Magnetic energy ceramic balls energize the water with oxygen
- Ultrafine stainless-steel mesh
- PP cotton
- High-density stainless-steel mesh
This shower filter from AquaHomeGroup definitely looks luxurious. It’s made from premium aluminum, which makes it both lightweight and durable. The round shape also offers a rather elegant aesthetic. This has very tiny micro-holes cut by laser through which you get strong water pressure, while the built-in swivel ball joint helps you to adjust the direction of the spray.
Installing this is quite easy too, as the shower head fits on any half-inch fixed mount and adjustable shower arms. You won’t need tools at all. Your purchase includes 5 bath caps, and 2 filtration cartridges.
While these filtration cartridges aren’t as sophisticated and effective as the AquaHomeGroup 15-stage cartridge, it does its job quite well. The first layer has Vitamin C and Vitamin E ceramic balls, which helps to reduce the levels of both chlorine and chloramine. It has 30 different types of trace elements that provide nourishment for your skin and hair. Other health benefits include enhanced health immunity, improved digestion, and boosted metabolism.
The other filtration level has PP (polypropylene) cotton. This is meant to trap particles, including small ones. It can filter out rust, sediments, dust, turbidites, and even bacteria in the water.
If you’re only concerned with the chlorine in the water, this is the filter you want to install. This removes up to 90% of free chlorine, and this in turn offers a lot of benefits you may notice. Your skin will certainly improve with the lessened exposure to chlorine. If you’ve colored your hair, the chlorine-free water won’t cause it to fade. Your shampoo lathers better, and you get more soap suds.
While this may only focus on chlorine reduction, at least you know that it actually works. Its performance has also been NSF-certified so you know it’s safe to use. It’s also easy enough to install with plumber’s tape.
Just keep in mind that this designed to work with your current shower head. It can be installed in any shower head, in fact, and your purchase comes with plumber’s tape so you don’t get any leaks. Just take out your shower head, put this in, then put the shower head to the underside of the shower filter.
The filter is meant to reduce levels of chlorine and scale, and to remove any sulfur odor you may have with your shower water. This can deal with up to 10,000 gallons of water, which is about 6 months for a family of 3. If you use well water at home, this can be an option as well.
You may notice that this is quite affordable, and that’s partly due to the use of plastic for the connection points and the threads. That means you really should be careful when you screw this in, and you definitely will need the Teflon plumber’s tape to prevent leaks. This comes with the whr-140 replacement cartridge, but you can use other filter cartridges in its place if you want.
This is amazingly cheap, yet you get a shower head with a built-in filter. The shower head offers 3 spray settings, with Rain, Non-Pulsating Massage, and a combo of the 2. These spray settings all come with high water pressure. At the same time, you still get 2.5 GPM so it’s not as if you’re wasting water.
This has the Clearly Pure Shower Filter, which is designed to filter out up to 80% to 90% of the chlorine along with the total dissolved solids. Removing just the chlorine may not seem like a big deal, but it can really help with itchy skin and dry hair. These particular problems may be caused by the chlorine in the water you’ve been showering with. If you also color your hair, the chlorine can fade the color out more quickly so using chlorine-free water for your shower means you won’t have to get hair color treatments too frequently.
Installation is a breeze, and in fact you don’t even need the plumber’s tape at all. If you do have leaks, it means your flow restrictor isn’t seated properly. This can last up to 6 months before you need to replace the filter.
How Do Shower Filters Work?
The basic concept is actually quite simple. You install the filter into the piping so the filter cleans out the water before it emerges from your shower head.
There are several possible ways for the filter to make the shower water a lot less harmful for your skin. The filter can use granular active carbon (GAC) to physically absorb and trap the molecules of the contaminants. Another method is to use kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF), which renders a contaminant harmless by inducing a chemical reaction to turn it into a less harmful chemical. This called a redox reaction involving oxidation and the transfer of electrons.
These filters do get dirty a lot and eventually wear out, and you’ll need to replace them eventually. However, you may be able to extend its lifespan with proper maintenance such as cleaning them regularly.
How to Install a Shower Filter
This shouldn’t really be a problem. When you buy a shower filter, it normally comes with a printed installation manual. You can also download a PDF of the manual, or maybe even watch a YouTube video on what to do.
However, if you’re worried about whether you can hack, don’t worry too much about it. It’s not really all that difficult. Here are the basic steps you can expect to take:
- Use a pair pliers to take out the shower head from the piping on the wall.
- When you thread the filter onto the pipe, you may have some leaks. To prevent those, you should cover the male threads of the shower pipe with some plumber’s tape. Do make sure you’ve covered all the threads with the tape after you’re done.
- Now set up the filter onto your taped pipe. Manually turn your filter clockwise to fasten it firmly to the pipe. Some filters come with a fastening nut, which you can turn ¼ of the way with some pliers to secure the filter in place.
- It’s time to put a bucket under the filter head, before you turn the cold-water knob on. The water will go through the filter straight to the bucket. This flushes out any grime inside the filter, so it’s common to find discolored water in your bucket. Keep doing this until you only get clear water before you reattach the shower head.
- After flushing with cold water, do the same with the hot water. Just be careful so you don’t get a burn. Keep doing this until you get clear water. When you only get clear water, turn off the hot water and remove the bucket from the shower.
- Manually turn the shower head on to the filter until it is firmly attached. At this point you shouldn’t need any more lumber’s tape to secure the attachment.
How to Clean a Shower Filter
Shower filters need to be cleaned on a regular basis if you want it to work properly. If you neglect your maintenance duties for your shower filter, it may not be able to filter out the water contaminants as effectively as it should. In addition, it can reduce the water flow rate as well. You also should clean the filter if you’re putting in a new filter cartridge.
Fortunately, cleaning a shower filter isn’t really a complicated process at all. Here’s how you do it:
- First you have to detach the shower head so you can access your filter.
- Once that’s done, you can use a pair of pliers to loosen the nut that secures the filter to the threads of your shower arm.
- Take out the top of the filter as well as the filter cartridge.
- You can then clean the filter with some water and a sponge. If you have mildew in spots you can’t easily get to, fill a pan with shower cleaner and then soak the shower filter in the pan.
- If you’re putting in a new filter cartridge, you best make sure to rinse out the filter itself beforehand. Put in the new cartridge, and then put the filter back together. If you damage the seal for the filter, just replace the seal.
- You should clean the shower head as well as this is a handy time for the task. That’s especially true if you have a shower head with a built-in filter. You can just soak the shower head and the shower in a pan with a vinegar solution. Afterwards, use water and a sponge to rinse out the vinegar and to take out any dirt and mildew. If you see any sort of grime, just remove it with the sponge and water. You can then reassemble the shower head and arm after everything’s clean.
- Now it’s time to align the shower filter and the shower arm. You may have to use pliers to tighten the swivel nut. Just be careful that you don’t use a lot of force tightening the nut, as you might end up breaking the filter plastic instead. Now put on the shower head and rotate it into place by hand.
- When all these things are done, check that everything’s fine by running some water through the filter and shower head for a few minutes. This step also makes sure you pressurize the filter properly. If you have any leaks, you’ll have to recheck and tighten the shower head and filter again.
Here are the factors that you should consider when you buy a shower filter:
Exactly what contaminant are you worried about with your water? To find this out, you may want to have your water tested to identify these contaminants. Many places treat the water with chlorine, but some areas use chloramine. Then you may also have to worry about heavy metals (which means you have “hard water”), fluoride, and sediment. You may even have to worry about VOCs (volatile organic compounds), bacterial, fungi, mold, and scale.
This means you need to get a filter that’s designed to take out the contaminants that are actually on your water. It’s no use getting a filter meant only to remove chlorine in the water when your municipal water is actually treated with chloramine.
This is about the methods the filter uses to filter out the contaminants. It can use chemical reactions or physically trap the contaminant molecules. It’s up to you to do your research to find out if the method the filter uses is actually effective, although GAC and KDF are proven methods. Some feature additional filtration methods, as well as multi-stage filtration.
It’s also a good idea to read the shower filter consumer reports and customer reviews to confirm that a particular shower filter actually works.
Ease of Installation
This is the factor that makes people want to just buy a shower head with a built-in filter. That’s because it’s so easy to install. You just rotate the old shower head off the wall piping, and then attach the new one in. Most of the time, you don’t need even need tools to put it in securely.
With regular filters, you will have to take off your shower head and then out on the filter using plumber’s tape. It’s not really difficult at all, but some people may just find it a tedious process. It’s even possible to make a mistake in aligning the shower head with the filter, and you may also end up with leaks.
Cost and Durability
You may end up saving more money in the long term by spending a bit more for your filter, if it can last for years instead of months. You also save yourself the trouble of putting in a new filter cartridge frequently.
In general, you can expect the filter to last for about 6 months. This is common for a household of 3 or 4 people with everyone taking a shower once a day. In terms of water volume, a typical filter can deal with 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of water before you have to replace it.
You may want to check customer reviews to find out how long a filter really lasts (as opposed to how long they’re supposed to last). For shower heads with filters, you also may want to check out the length of the warranty period.
If you need to replace the filter cartridge regularly, you should be able to buy these cartridges with no trouble. While you should be able to easily buy these things online, it’s a lot more convenient if you have a local store selling these cartridges near your home.
Shower Head Quality
If you are getting a shower head with a built-in filter, you obviously need to consider the quality and features of the shower head itself. A range of shower settings can be a nice feature to have.
How helpful are they? How accessible are they? The best ones are easy enough to get in touch with by phone. Others may only be contacted through email and they may take their time responding. Unfortunately, you may find some companies with non-responsive (or even non-existent) customer support.
Once you do get in contact with them, it’s best of they’re actually helpful. They should be able to answer your questions and help you get the info you need. If you need to have a defective filter replaced or refunded under warranty, this should be a “no hassle” process.
Shower Filter FAQs
What are the signs I need a shower filter?
There are plenty of possible indications when you might want to consider putting in a shower filter. These include the following signs:
- The water seems stinky.
- When you gather the shower water into a bucket, it doesn’t look clear and clean at all.
- You tend to have skin problems like itchiness, dry skin, and irritated skin and you don’t really know what causes it.
- You have problems with your hair when you wash it.
- You have your water tested, and it turns out it has contaminants you’d rather not be in contact with.
If I don’t have any of these signs, should I just forego on getting a shower filter?
You should still consider getting one. This is a nice safety precaution, as you can make sure you (or anyone else in your household) won’t have any issues with your shower water in the future.
Why are so many people concerned about the chlorine in the water?
The problem with chlorine in the water is that when you take a shower using hot water, the heat can turn the chlorine into gas. This gas can then get into our system through the skin or eye sockets, or you can breathe in the gas.
Being exposed to the chlorine can lead to rather unpleasant effects, especially in the long term. You can end up with skin and eye irritation. You can also have breathing difficulties, including chest tightness, wheezing, and a sore throat.
What about the minerals in the water?
For the most part, the minerals in your drinking water aren’t really dangerous. They may even be healthy for you, since you want to get your daily “vitamins and minerals”. The problem with the minerals in the water is not when you drink the water.
The problem is when you use the water for washing. The minerals can go through various chemical reactions when you take a shower. You can end up with soap curd on your skin and hair. You can end up with skin irritation, along with dull and damaged hair.
What’s the deal about vitamin C filters?
Some shower heads and filters use vitamin C to reduce levels of chlorine and chloramine in the water. A few of these brands promise a reduction of chlorine and chloramine by as much as 99.9%.
However, there’s an ongoing debate in the industry about whether these things actually work or are actually beneficial. The debate is still ongoing, although it’s an accepted fact that vitamin C in the water can’t hurt. The question is whether it can help.
What are the different types of KDF?
You may have noticed that nowadays a KDF filter (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) doesn’t just have single KDF filter layer. It’s been found that KDF works best when teamed up with other types of filter media such as activated carbon. If you find a shower filter system using multi-stage filtration, you generally find a KDF filter as one of them.
But what type of KDF filter is it? There are actually several types. One is the highly regarded KDF 55, which has been NSF/ANSI-certified to take out impurities such as chlorine and bad smells from your shower water. It manages the buildup of scale, fungi, and bacteria. It’s a very common choice, and it’s quite cost-effective as well.
Then there’s KDF 85. This version targets heavy metals in the water such as iron and hydrogen sulfide. Often you can find a KDF 85 filter layer working with KDF 55, especially if you have well water in your home.
You may also find variations of KDF 55 and 85. These include KDF-C (Coarse Mesh) along with KDF -F (Fines). These are for more specialized filtering purposes. With KDF-F, for example, its fine texture leads to greater filter efficiency when paired with filter carbon blocks.
Hopefully this guide has helped you find the most suitable shower filter for your home. Try the best shower filter for your needs, and you may find that your skin is healthier, your hair is fuller and shinier, and that you smell just a bit better!
Rod Hanks is a 32 year blogger from the United States, helping readers find the best quality products and services. He holds a masters degree on Finance from University of Minnesota. When he is not working, Rod plays football, goes to the gym and plays video games Read more about him.