It can be easy to assume that the water entering your home is in exceptional condition and ready for you to consume and use in any way you like, without having to worry. This isn’t always the case. As people have become more knowledgeable about the contents of water and the ways in which they can have a negative effect, filters have become more and more popular.
Shower head filters are one way you can improve the quality and purity of water at the point it is dispensed. If you have whole house filtration systems, this might not always be necessary, but for those of us who don’t, or who live in extremely hard water areas, a shower head filter can be a solution.
Filtering the water has many different benefits. It can help to stop the spread of diseases through the water supply, and it can reduce the dissolved solids in your shower water that make you prone to irritation or illness.
Another popular reason people use shower head filters is for the cosmetic benefits it can have. Poor quality water can make your skin dry, and your hair and nails may end up in poor condition, but filtering it can avoid this from happening and leave you looking your best. Quality water has even been shown to increase the vibrancy of your hair color after washing.
9 Best Shower Head Filters Reviews
We’ve reviewed some of the top products on the market to help you decide which filter may be best for your shower.
- AquaBliss SF100
- Pattern Name: 12-Stage
- Dimension: 7.72 x 3.82 x 3.7 in
- Item Weight: 1 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Berkey Shower Filter
- Pattern Name: N/A
- Dimension: 5 x 4 x 4 in
- Item Weight: 1.55 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Rainshow'r - CQ 1000 MS
- Pattern Name: N/A
- Dimension: 3.8 x 4 x 8.2 inches
- Item Weight: 1 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- WaterChef SF-7C
- Pattern Name: 2-Stage
- Dimension: 3.5 x 12 x 12 inches
- Item Weight: 2.35 pounds
- Warranty: 3 Year Limited Warranty
- Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe
- Pattern Name: 2-stage
- Dimension: 8.5 x 7.2 x 3.2 inches
- Item Weight: 2.3 pounds
- Warranty: One-Year Limited Warranty
- Pattern Name: 10-Stage Cartridge
- Dimension: 3.1 x 2.7 x 2.6 inches
- Item Weight: 7 ounces
- Warranty: Manufacturers
AquaBliss High Output 12-Stage Shower Filter
The AquaBliss is a thorough and simple-to-install filter which can fit most bathrooms with ease. The 12-stage system allows you to ensure that the vast majority of any unwanted molecules in your water are filtered out.
The filter itself has been cleverly designed to get rid of a variety of different unwanted elements, including chromium, mercury, fungi, mold, algae, and many of the other contaminating substances that can often be found in municipal water supplies around the world.
The manufacturers have worked out the cost of operating this. Though it does have components which need periodical replacement, the filters last a long time, and the “easy swap” design means it is simple to make this change. It costs less than 0.09 cents a day to operate.
The simplicity of installation means anyone can do it. There are no tools, and it fits every type of shower. The manufacturers compare the process to putting together Legos. The process of changing a filter needs to be done roughly every six months, depending how much use your shower sees. This is as easy as the installation.
- 12-stage filter designed to be extremely thorough
- Filters last around six months before being easily replaced.
- Fits all showers with ease
- Improves the odor of water as well as softens hard water.
- Some users have reported that it is not completely effective for chlorine.
Berkey Shower Filter Without Shower Head
The Berkey shower filter comes without a head and attaches to an existing shower head to reduce the chances of unwanted substances getting through your shower. The KDF process this uses will reduce not only the limescale but also buildups of mold within your shower.
The shower filter can last between six months to a year, or between 10,000 and 20,000 gallons of water passing through. The KDF 55 granules within are great for heavier metals like lead and mercury, but also excel at getting chlorine or other unwanted microorganisms out of your shower water.
Many filters struggle with chlorinated water, and this can be the cause of irritation on the skin, and has even been linked with respiratory issues. This filter gets rid of 95% of the chlorine found within water.
The attached backflush within this filter means that it is resistant to clogging. Some other filters can clog within a few months and are rendered useless. It is easy to install and works with most shower heads, so the likelihood is that it will work with your bathroom setup.
- Easy to install in most showers
- Great for getting rid of chlorine, something many filters struggle with
- Reduces corrosion and limescale building up over time
- Some users have reported not getting 6 months of use out of their filter.
- More expensive than some filters that do the same job
Rainshower CQ 1000 MS Shower Filter with Massaging Shower Head
This is one of the products on our list that has both shower head and filter attached. This is a great shower head filter for hard water and filters out a lot of different medias and elements that can become harmful when they are released with your shower water.
The KDF55 filter means that chlorine can be removed effectively. This has been independently certified and tested by the Water Quality Association, which shows that it has the desired impact on chlorine, reducing the chlorine content by 90% and turning it into a harmless chloride in the process.
Impressively, this can last for over 6 months, or even up to a year if you are lucky. It’s even possible to pass 25,000 gallons of water through before the filter needs to be replaced.
The shower head itself is good for dispensing water but not as good in terms of the functions it has as a shower, with no removable head or multitude of spray patterns which many of us desire from our shower heads.
Though this is more expensive than many of the other products on the list, it does have both shower head and filter in the package. It is one of the few filters which is good for both chlorine and other dissolved solids that can be found within water. On top of this, the Rainshow’r has been very well reviewed by many people who are looking for filters to improve their skin and hair condition.
- Both shower head and filter included in this product
- Removes 90% of chlorine, certified by the Water Quality Association
- Can last an average household 9-12 months
- Has a plastic and unattractive look
- Quite expensive compared to standalone filters
- Shower functions and spray patterns are limited
WaterChef Premium Shower Filter System SF-7C with Deluxe
There are quite a few filter systems which offer spray wands and shower heads as part of the package, but not many have the style and performance of the WaterChef. The SF-7C system has been cleverly designed to be both efficient at the filtration job it is bought for, but also to be a brilliant performing showerhead in its own right.
This has a two-stage filter, with one of the filters focusing on chlorine, while the other filters out heavy metals and other unwanted molecules.
Installation of the WaterChef couldn’t be simpler; it doesn’t need any tools and will wok with the majority of shower arms.
The features of the shower itself include five different spray patterns, rubber nozzles with anti-clog technology, and a 60-inch hose, which can be removed for thorough washing or even just cleaning out your shower.
The high level of chlorine reduction means that many users have reported this being very good for their hair and skin. It has been tested and comes with NSF certification to show that it is reliable for properly filtering water.
The quality of the materials is also impressive, and the WaterChef brand also offers a limited, 3-year warranty and even a 60-day guarantee of your money back if you experience any issues.
- Excellent functions as a shower head as well as a filter
- Easy to install on pretty much any shower arm
- Double stage filtration is effective for many different substances
- Some users have reported cracks or had to replace washers.
- The flow of the shower head could be higher in an ideal world.
Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System
Aquasana manufactures a lot of water-based systems and filters, and the AQ-4100 is a good option for those who want to improve the quality of their water, and in turn make their skin and hair more vibrant.
This has a very intelligent system designed by Aquasana that uses carbon from coconut shells, which is effective for reducing chlorine, heavy metals, volatile compounds, and elements and leave you looking and feeling better as a result. This is also combined with a KDF55 filter for dual action and can get rid of a lot of the chemicals which have a negative impact on your hair in particular.
Though the basic model of this system is merely a fixed head with multiple flow and massaging settings inbuilt, it can be purchased at a higher price with a wand attached. It can also be purchased as just a filter, so you can use whichever shower head you wish to combine with this filter.
The inbuilt filter is designed to last over six months, and when the time comes to replace, you can simply twist the new cartridge into position with no need for any tools.
- Can last over 6 months; the filter cartridge is easy to replace
- Available as just a filter or as shower and head/wand
- Intelligent carbon filtration combined with KDF55 means chemicals and heavy metals are perfectly filtered.
- Big and bulky model that doesn’t look great in smaller showers
- Quite an expensive model
Homspal 10-Stage Shower Filter
Within the industry, there is a race to create the shower head filter with the most “stages.” This means the most membranes and filtration substances for the water to flow through. This can increase how effective the filtration is and the amount of elements and substances which get filtered out. This ultimately can lead to purer water, if done right.
The Homspal used to offer a 10-stage model which has now been upgraded to an incredible 15. The filter was already very good at softening water, but the extra five filters add more ability to remove chlorine and other chemicals.
The installation is very easy, and the instructions are clear and concise. You can even alter this shower filter to fit multiple different styles of shower arms. Getting up and running takes just minutes. Even when a new filter cartridge is needed, it is equally as simple.
Homspal has set you up for the long term, as well as including all you need to get started.It even has a spare filter cartridge and O-rings just in case you spring a leak at some time in the future. Between the inbuilt cartridge and the replacement which comes free, you shouldn’t have to buy another for well over a year.
When Homspal was making 10-stage filters, they got pretty good reviews, but the switch to 15-stage has led to people being even more impressed and feeling the effects on their hair and body, as well as enjoying the pure air it can provide.
All of the features and effectiveness have not led to inflated prices. This is one of the most affordable filters we’ve featured.
- Easy to install and change filter cartridge
- O-Rings and spare cartridge included for future maintenance
- 15-stage design filters out most dissolved solids with ease
- Great value for money
- Not quite as effective as some competing models for filtering out chlorine
Eco Universal Shower Filter
This is a similarly designed shower filter to many of the other standalone products which are on the market. It uses a multi-stage system to get rid of toxic and other harmful materials and makes water both safer and more pure.
The manufacturers have been very keen to ensure that you can purchase this filter knowing you are covered in the long term.With the two filter cartridges included, you should get over a year of filtration before having to buy another cartridge. If you make this purchase and aren’t happy with it, they offer not only a full refund but 20% credit for their online store.
The system is advertised as a 10-stage filter, but the brand also explains how “technically” it is a 16-stage filtration system; however they are focused more on the nature of the filters than the number of filters.
This is not suitable for complete fluoride removal but does have a partial impact. Chemicals and heavy metals can be effectively removed through this filter.
The manufacturers are keen to explain that one of the filters may show a higher TDS content as it uses minerals as part of the filtration, but this can make it hard to monitor the dissolved solids within the water after filtration and know if you are getting the desired level of filtration.
- 10 or 16-stage filtration, depending on how you measure the filters
- 120% money back guarantee
- Easy to install and relatively affordable
- Minerals within the system make it tough to tell if the TDS has been lowered.
- Not always 100% adequate for removing chlorine
Jonathan Product Beauty Hard Water Shower Filter System
The Jonathan Beauty Filter System has definitely been designed with haircare and skincare in mind. When a brand known for their beauty products is getting involved in making shower heads, it is clear that they have benefits on your beauty regime. Pure water can make a big difference, and the Jonathan system is tailored mainly for preserving looks.
This filtration system is especially good at removing heavy metals and harder molecules that can be bad for hair. Copper and lead are efficiently filtered out. It isn’t just for these heavy metals, though. The Jonathan shower system has also focused on chlorine, which can be irritating for skin and have a drying out effect.
Due to the focus on heavy metals, the filter has been designed to actually replace them instead of totally remove them. They are switched out with ions of potassium, which helps to balance the pH of your water, having further benefits on your skin.
- Great for skin and hair
- Vastly improves the pH level of water in some areas
- Somewhat unattractive , bulky product
- Can be difficult to know when to replace the filter
Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head
This is a top rated shower filter head which is very good quality. It has the added bonus of an inbuilt filter, meaning it has a subtle look without having a bulky filter hanging off of your shower.
The head itself works brilliantly with five different spray patterns, anti-clog nozzles, and a reliable design. It also has WaterSense certification, which means that it uses a maximum of two gallons of water per minute, which can save money as less water is used.
The Culligan Filtered Shower Head uses slightly different filtration than many of the other products on this list. The WHR-140 cartridge is great for odor, metals, and is one of the top filters for chlorine. It also features a bacteriostatic, which can prohibit the growing of bacterial materials that cause illness. The whole system is certified by NSF.
Installation is simple and can work on any ½ inch shower arm. This shower head can be purchased as a static or hand-held option but not as a combined product..
The filter can give 10,000 gallons of usage, or around six months, in the average home. It even has a sticker which is designed to show when the filter cartridge needs replacing.
- WaterSense technology makes this an efficient shower head.
- Excellent WHR-140 cartridge is great for filtering chlorine, as well as metals and other elements.
- Easy to install
- Five different spray patterns
- Requires ½ inch shower arm
Benefits of Shower Head Filter
There are many people who are not certain about whether or not they require a shower head filter or what good it will do if they purchase one. Do you need a shower head filter? Is your water poor enough quality to worry about it? Can it really help you to improve your hair quality and skincare routine?
We’ve explored both the benefits of these filters and how they work in the second section of our shower head guide.
Many of us think of chlorine as a good thing, and in many ways, it is. Chlorinated water supplies are how we avoid diseases. It has disinfectant properties, and for treating water in mass, it is definitely an effective system. However, once water is in your home, there is no reason to be drinking or using the chlorine.
Many people have been filtering drinking water for many years, but chlorine can also enter your system through showering and can have a nasty impact on your skin and hair. Chlorine can mess with pH levels, and it can impact the color of your hair. As well as drying out skin,it can also cause irritation or worsen other skin conditions, leaving you itchy. Many people experiencing this turn to filters as their solution.
You may have heard of the term “hard” water. You may live in an area that has hard water. This means that there is more in it. There is a high level of TDS, (total dissolved solids) and this can be bad for your skin and hair too, as it can affect oil levels and the consistency of your hair after washing.
Filters Out Chemicals, Heavy Metals, and Bacteria
There can be a lot in your water supply that isn’t pleasant. Even inhalation during a shower can cause you issues. Water can carry viruses or other diseases carried via bacteria, and even if your water supply isn’t notoriously bad for this, your shower head itself can act as a breeding ground for bacteria due to being moist and warm.
Chemicals can sometimes enter your supply via leakage from pharmaceutical waste or even from pesticides. Naturally, the water supply in your home state or city will be different from those elsewhere, but everything from corroded pipelines to unregulated waste can get into the supply and cause issues. It is better to be safe wherever you are located.
Keeping the Kids Safe!
Though many of the substances which can be carried in water are bad no matter what your age, chlorine and other chemical vapors or chlorine derivatives are especially bad for children, and can cause asthma, allergies, or other skin conditions.
There are numerous studies regarding the impact of the chemicals and other materials carried in water. Further research is required, but chlorinated water has been linked with increases in the risk of numerous types of cancer, including kidney, bladder, and even breast cancer.
While further scientific studies are needed, it isn’t worth the risk, and a filter can put your mind at ease.
What If I Have a Whole-House System?
If you have a whole-house water filtration system, then it can be tough to know whether or not you need a shower head filter on top of this. In truth, filtering the water at the point it enters your home is best practice, and it can also greatly reduce the need for a shower head filter, but it doesn’t totally eliminate this need.
As we’ve already briefly mentioned, shower heads can be a hotbed of breeding activity for bacteria or even fungus. This can occur even when the water coming into the home is relatively pure and clean and isn’t obvious when it starts to happen. A filter on your shower head can provide an extra level of protection.
How Shower Head Filters Work
A filter for shower head use will often work in a similar way to other water filters, such as those which filter the drinking water in your kitchen.
Many of the products on our list of the best filters use carbon based filtration. This is a process of pushing the water through multiple mediums to increase the chances of removing any unwanted contaminants.
Filters can be made out of cotton and other forms of carbon, and even tiny particles can be filtered out. They work a little bit like a tiny fishing net, catching the unwanted debris. Many of these filters will include some form of “activated” carbon, which is more effective when it comes to removing chlorine or other chemicals.
KDF Filters work in a different way from carbon filters. Filters which have this technology within them can be great for chlorine, as they cause it to change structure and, as a result, dissolve in water. This can also work for lead, mercury, and other heavy metals. KDF works by creating a small, almost undetectable, electrical-chemical charge which has an effect on the chemicals within.
KDF 55 is commonly used within shower head filters and works on a huge amount of elements including algae, sulfur, arsenic, chlorine, and many more. Having this type of filter can be a big advantage.
Types of Shower Head Filters
Inbuilt Shower Head Filters – These are filters which are inbuilt. The shower head looks the same as any other, except possibly larger, to accommodate having a filter within. These are easy to install and retain the water pressure that a shower head would normally have. Some other types of filters lose a little power and pressure in the process.
In Line Filters – These are designed to be standalone. They’re installed between the water supply and the head itself. This means you can use any shower head you wish and keep the look you want for your shower, though sometimes they are bulky and add a hefty lump.
Combo In-Line and Shower Head Filters – Many of the systems are sold as a combination of both in-line filter and shower head attached to it. This insures a single, straightforward installation.
Shower Head Filter Features
There are certain features which should be considered when you are choosing which filter is best for you. Depending on the water quality in your area, and the other filtration systems you may have in place, some of these features will be more important than others.
The installation of a shower head should not be an overly difficult or time-consuming process, even if it has an inbuilt filter. Many of the top filters on the market are built with the end user in mind in terms of installation as well as the actual use of the filter. There is no need for a plumber to be involved in the process like with more complicated filter systems. This can be expensive and time consuming.
The only thing you need to check is whether the thread of the filter will fit with the shower arm installed in your home. These will usually be in a ½” or ⅜” design, or may have adapters, which means you can install the filter on either. Clear instructions and a little bit of common sense are all you need to get up and running. Many of these filters can start to do their job within minutes of arriving at your doorstep.
Replacement Filters and Cartridges
The replacement of filter cartridges is inevitable; no filter can do the job forever without requiring some form of maintenance. You will have to eventually change the filter, and this is something to consider when purchasing the filter in the first place.
Most will last at least six months before a cartridge has to be purchased and replaced. Many shower head filters will come with at least one replacement cartridge for when that time comes. Some filters can last a lot longer, too.
The actual measurement that will help you to work out how long a cartridge will last is usually done in gallons. Some will last 10,000 gallons, some 12,000, and other filters are designed to give 25,000 gallons of usage, meaning it will require less frequent filter cartridge changes. When you consider that 2 gallons per minute is pretty standard as a flow rate for shower heads, 25,000 gallons will take 12,500 minutes of shower time!
When purchasing a filter, considering how easy it will be to eventually replace the cartridge will mean you don’t spend hours trying to work out how to do so when the time comes. You should also consider how easy it is to get your hands on replacement filters that will fit.
Many of the filters on this list, especially those which use the carbon-based filtering method, are in numerous stages. One “stage” means the water is being forced through one membrane. While this can filter out a lot of the negative things from within your water, it isn’t as effective as having a multitude of stages. Different materials and types of carbon can filter out different elements more effectively.
Some of the shower filters out there have up to sixteen different stages. Think of this like a body of water containing fish, twigs, and other debris being forced through sixteen different nets in order to filter out the maximum amount possible. The more “nets,” the more opportunities for the unwanted elements to be removed.
This is often combined with another type of filtration, KDF, which works by using electrical chemical reactions, which is another way in which elements can be removed, maximising the eventual purity of the water.
Chlorine Levels in Water
It is recommended that before you purchase a shower head filter, you look into the chlorine that is in the water supply within your home. Chlorine may be the main issue you experience, in which case you should purchase a filter which is effective at removing chlorine and other chlorine derivatives. KDF55 is the filtration process which is probably the most effective for this, though Vitamin C filtration can also be a useful method.
If chlorine isn’t your main issue, then you may be able to focus on a more carbon-based shower filter, which is likely to be a little more affordable and can be better for reducing heavy metals or other elements in your water that are not chemical in nature.
Warranty and Money Back Guarantees
Shower head filters are pretty useless to a manufacturer if they are sent back, and it is hard for them to guarantee the length of time they will adequately work for. If you are in a hard water area, then your filters may not last as long. In spite of this, it is always worth looking at the warranty on offer from the manufacturer. Many of them will provide one year warranties, but some products do have up to three years. Another feature we see a lot is money back guarantees, meaning if the filter should arrive and not be up to the task, you can send it back within a time period specified, usually 30 to 60 days.
The brand of a shower head filter is not as important as it is in some other bathroom fittings, though there are a few brand names which are rightly associated with quality. Culligan is one brand which has a real specialism in providing shower heads with inbuilt filters, so if you are looking for this sort of product, their range is worth exploring. WaterChef is another brand with a fairly big range of shower head filters that tend to be highly regarded.
The brand shouldn’t totally dictate your decision, but purchasing a product made by a manufacturer with a good reputation can give a good indication that it will be high quality.
We’d all love to be working with unlimited budgets, but bathroom products can be expensive, and purchasing any new item, such as a filter, will mean paying some attention to cost. The range of prices is quite wide, with the cheaper end of the market being at around the $20-$30 mark for a standalone filter. For a good quality combination shower head and filter, you may end up paying up to $100 or even more.
Shower Head Functions
If you are purchasing one of the many options which comes with the shower head, whether it has an inbuilt filter like many of the Culligan models or is sold as a set or combo with a filter, you need to consider the shower head itself. Even if you are filtering water and therefore improving the quality of the water you are showering in, loss of pressure and other features as a result is far from ideal.
Think about whether you need a handheld shower attachment or whether a stationary head is sufficient. Consider how many different spray patterns and massage functions you need before making your purchase too. If you are happy with your shower head already, you can always purchase an inline filter which will allow you to keep using the filter you had initially.
You may think that a good filter is a good filter. If you don’t know a lot about water, then this is an easy mistake to make. The truth is that they all have their strengths and weaknesses, and the quality and hardness of water around the world, or even just around the USA, can vary greatly.
Learn a little about the water in your area and the features you may require, and this can allow you to make the right choice for your unique bathroom needs.
If you are looking for a filter which does a great job of both filtering out chlorine and chemicals, as well as minerals and hardness, the WaterChef Premium Shower Filter System SF-7C has two filters, one of which is carbon-based, and the other is KDF.
The benefits of a good shower head filter are considerable, and the installation doesn’t have to be expensive or confusing. Finding the top rated shower filter for you can improve both your health and appearance.