12 Best Shower Filters for Hard Water – (Reviews & Guide 2021)
The best shower head filters for hard water will improve your physical appearance. Hard water is tough on your skin, and it makes it look dry. And when you use it to wash your hair, you dull the hair’s color. But using a showerhead that softens the water gives you the possibility to improve your skin’s and hair’s look without installing a whole-home filtering system.
In the first part of the following article, we present our take on shower water filter reviews. The following models will soften your water, making you look healthier and younger. Installing one of these models is easy, and you won’t even need any tools to do it.
In the second part, we explain why a showerhead filter would make a good addition to your house and the benefits of using one.
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What Is a Shower Water Filter?
A shower water filter is a piece of bathroom equipment for reducing and removing heavy metals, pesticides, chlorine, etc. while making your water softer. Such units improve the quality of the water you use while taking a shower and therefore, reduce the chances of skin irritation.
Shower water filters have other essential characteristics as well. These units purify water while preventing your shower from getting blocked with unwanted particles. Moreover, shower water filters will reduce the chances of scale buildup and soap scum. Hence, maintaining and cleaning your handheld or fixed showerheads will be a straightforward process.
Another thing to remember about shower water filters is that they have to be changed at regular intervals. Some filters can last up to 8 months or filter up to 20 000 gallons of water. However, it all depends on your water consumption and the degree of hard water levels in your household.
What’s In Shower Water?
There are many myths and facts about water in the shower. Unfiltered shower water can contain many chemicals, debris, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The water will also contain large amounts of minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, the minerals responsible for lime formation. In some cases, traces of certain pharmaceuticals can be found in the water.
Chlorine is used to kill the most dangerous pathogens in the water, and it manages to do so without a hitch. However, chlorine’s killing properties will also affect your skin, especially the bacteria that grow naturally on our skin. Without bacteria, our skin is susceptible to diseases.
The magnesium and calcium are naturally found in the water, and they are not removed during the municipal filtering process because they’re not sensitive to chlorination. The amounts of calcium and magnesium in the water differ from every town and city, but if you have lime buildups in your bathroom, you can be sure your water contains them.
Even though the chlorine in the water kills most bacteria and viruses, some of them might enter the water source after the municipal filtration process, and they will still end up in your water.
Some pharmaceuticals, especially pesticides and herbicides, can find their way into your water source. These substances were used in the past to increase national crop production, and they’ve been slipping through the ground ever since. In some places, they’ve already reached the groundwater, and in other places, they will do so in the future.
Is a Showerhead Water Filter Really Necessary?
Well, if you use a whole-house water filter, the answer is no. On the other hand, if you don’t use a whole-house water filtering system, you should use one for your shower.
Municipal water is often dirtier and less healthy than it seems. Just think about it, when was the last time your municipality stopped all the traffic to remove and replace the old pipes in the municipal water system? Chances are, you’ve never seen it done. That’s because most towns and cities don’t do it. They only replace the leaky and faulty pipes when they break down, and they let the others be until they break down themselves.
Now, you might be wondering what the municipality water line has to do with your shower water. Well, as it turns out, the age of the water system pipes can influence the quality of your shower water quite dramatically.
One of the things you should be aware of is that many if not most of the water systems were constructed at a time when using lead was not considered dangerous. In fact, the lead was considered a safe and viable solution for water pipes because it doesn’t cost too much and it doesn’t rust. So instead of using steel or other materials, many towns and cities turned to lead for their water systems. As you can imagine, lead is indeed strong, but it’s far from indestructible. That means that a small amount of lead will eventually end up in your water supply. How does showering in water contaminated with lead sound? Not pretty, right?
Another good reason to install a shower head filter is the quality of the water you’re receiving. As we said above, no water pipe is indestructible. And when small fissures appear, the water loss might be too small for the municipality to fix. But all the dirt around the pipe can get into the water supply and eventually end up in your home. And it gets worse. When lead pipes leaked in the olden days, they used iron patches to fix them up. Yes, iron patches. Iron rusts, so the rust might also end up in your water.
And last but not least, the problem might not even come from the municipality water line, it might even come from your own plumbing. Now, if your house was built in the ‘80s, the plumbing was probably put in the 80s as well, and most likely nobody bothered to change it because that’s expensive. Well, your water pipes might be rusted by now, and all that rust ends up in your water supply.
Another appliance you may find necessary is a top-notch electric tankless water heater.
Best Shower Filters for Hard Water Comparison Chart
Shower Filter System by Crystal Quest
Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System
Pelican Premium Shower Filter
Pure 7 Filtered Shower Head
Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Showerhead
SparkPod Shower Filter
AquaBliss High Output 12-Stage Shower Filter
Best Showerhead Filter Reviews – (Updated List)
This model by Crystal Quest enables substantial water filtration, removing unwanted particles such as chlorine, chloramines, iron oxides, sulfur, and heavy metals. It is designed to accommodate more headroom than other models of shower filters and is equipped with a removable filter cartridge and a 3-stage filtration mechanism. The model is light and easy to install, with a recommended flow rate of 2 gallons per minute.
Our trials revealed that if the product is not stably mounted, it can leak in certain positions and may need to be frequently readjusted. Overall, it is a cheaper model and the simple design attests to this, compared to some of the more sophisticated showerheads.
The Aquasana AQ-4100 is a great model for those who are looking for a showerhead that will improve the aspect of their skin and hair. Thanks to its coconut shell carbon filter, the AQ-4100 will reduce or remove the chlorine, lead, pesticides, herbicides, mercury, and iron in your water, making it healthier to wash in.
One of the things we liked about this model is that it’s extremely easy to install and prime. Anyone will be able to install this showerhead and have it working in less than 5 minutes. You only have to remove your current showerhead and replace it with this one, and you’re all set. The showerhead’s wand will increase the shower’s reach somewhat, making it easier to use.
As far as the water’s quality is concerned, once you install this model you’ll immediately feel a change.
The goal of every shower filter is to give you healthier skin and hair. This is precisely what you get with this Pelican unit as it will get rid of 99% of Chlorine and Chloramine in your water. Additionally, your skin will be less dry, and your hair will not be as faded.
Even though this is a shower filter, it will still remove unpleasant odors from your water even if you don’t usually taste it. The functionality of the unit isn’t only about purification. It will also enhance the pressure of your shower and give you a better overall showering experience.
The life of the filter will be about 15,000 gallons of water. But don’t worry, when it comes to swapping the filter, the “Quick Connect” function will make it pretty simple for you. Bear in mind that the price of the replacement filters is above average. One more thing to know is that the water may not feel softer at least initially.
Use this code to get discount : WATERMAG
Who says a filter shower head cannot have perks? This Pure 7 model has its name because of the seven spray patterns that you can get. This will give anyone a relaxing feeling and a gentle body massage. Just rotate the head clockwise, and this will change the current spray setting.
Dry skin is eliminated thanks to the softening formula inside this product. The best part is that the showerhead’s effectiveness will also improve the properties of the soap you use. That’s because soaps don’t work as well with hard water.
As far as chlorine and smells go, kiss these things goodbye. Your water will also be free of sediment. The secret is in the SLC filter, which is different from carbon filters. This one can be used with hot water, which is obviously the case in the bathroom.
One filter should last for about six months or roughly 10,000 gallons. This is quite the deal, especially since you get a spare SLC filter right away. You are covered for 1 year by making just one purchase!
Another popular model, the Culligan WSH-C125 has an interesting and efficient design. Unlike the models we reviewed so far, this model uses only a showerhead, and not a separate cartridge to filter the water. In fact, this model also uses a cartridge, but instead of housing it in a different unit, the cartridge is housed in the showerhead itself.
One of the things we liked about this model is that it’s extremely easy to install and use. You only have to unscrew the existing showerhead and replace it with the filter and you’re good to go. This model is not only easy to use, but it’s also efficient. The filter will remove the foul smells and tastes in the water, along with the chlorine, heavy metals, and other contaminants that might float in it.
This SparkPod shower filter is capable of removing 97% of the chlorine, fluoride, dirt, and other contaminants from your water. It is also claimed to reduce toxic, cancer-causing chemicals. In addition to this, it eliminates all unpleasant odors from water. When you use this filter, your skin and hair get revitalized, and your nails are strengthened. There is no doubt that this filter is very useful thanks to the 12 natural minerals that it packs.
Installing this unit is pretty easy – first, you need to open the housing, then replace the old cartridge with a new one, close the housing, and finally install the filter. You should be informed that one cartridge is enough to filter 10 000 gallons of water, which equals 250 baths and 500 showers. If you use a shower at home, then you will need to change the cartridge once every 2-3 months. Respectively if you use a bath, then you will need to change it once every 4-6 months.
The AquaBliss shower filter is a good model that’s easy to install. This model has a no-tool installation, and you can set it up and have it running in a matter of minutes. The filter doesn’t come with a showerhead, so you can attach it directly to the one you’re currently using.
We appreciated the shower filter’s longevity. This model comes with two filter cartridges, and every cartridge can filter up to 20,000 gallons of water. The combined set will filter up to 40,000 gallons of water, which should be enough to last you up to a whole year.
As far as the filter’s efficiency is concerned, this model will remove most of the contaminants in your water, including chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and calcium and magnesium which will make your water softer.
The next product on our list is the Aqua Eva Shower Filter. Note that although the title identifies the unit to be suitable for hard water, it will not make it softer. Nonetheless, it will improve the state of your skin because it will reduce the amounts of chlorine without changing the water pressure. Fitting is straightforward. The filter has a ½ standard pipe and is compatible with any shower head with ½ inch connection.
If it does not fit properly, you can also purchase a connector attachment. Once you install it, run the water for about 20-30 seconds to remove any existing carbon dust that causes black water. Remember to change the filter about every six months. However, the product might last less depending on the number of people using it.
Here is the iSpring SF1S Stylish. The design is pleasing to the eye. Indeed, it looks good when you install it on the showerhead. The price is similar to other products. However, what we liked a lot about this product is that if it clogs, you can uninstall, clean, and put it back on the shower to use without having issues with the re-installation.
The replacement filter costs almost as much as the entire product, but it is a little bit bigger than the average and filters sediments and heavy metals from the water. We’d say it is good value for money.
The lifespan of the cartridge is impressive – 6 months. However, it would depend on the water in your region. It might clog more often or need to be replaced earlier if the water is significantly contaminated. On the other hand, if it’s not, it could easily last half a year.
We end our list by presenting the cheapest water filter that’s good enough to be included in it. The Luxsego water filter is a budget-friendly model that will improve the quality of your water. This unit has a nice design and it comes with a showerhead that can use three spray patterns, including a massaging one.
One of the things we appreciated about this model is that it comes with everything you need for the installation, including a shower hose. The water filter is eco-friendly, and its high pressure can lower your water consumption by up to 30%.
As far as the unit’s filtering capacities are concerned, this model will remove most of the chlorine in your water, and it will also soften it. However, the filter will not block anything else besides rust, sediment, and chlorine, so if you want to get rid of other substances, you should look for another model.
The Captain Eco shower filter is a cheap model that will improve the quality of your water. Even though this water filter will not remove most of the contaminants in your water, it will remove most of the chlorine and make the water softer.
This model uses a sediment filter that will remove the rust, dirt, and debris that might be floating in the water. The mechanical filter will also remove some of the bacteria and viruses in the water, but it won’t stop the heavy metals and other chemicals that might be affecting it.
However, we were impressed with this model’s capacity to soften the water. Once you start using this unit, you will quickly notice that the water is softer and not so irritating to your skin. Thanks to its chlorine-filtering capacity, the filter will further improve the water’s quality.
The Dewifier water filter is a good choice for those who want to remove the contaminants in their water and make it softer without spending too much money. This model comes at a great price, and thanks to its longevity, it has a low maintenance cost as well.
We liked the water filter’s appearance and utility. Unlike other water filters, this model looks nice, so it won’t lower your bathroom’s aspect. And as far as the filter’s utility is concerned, this model will reduce most of the contaminants in your water, and make it softer at the same time. The first thing you’ll notice when using this model will probably be the absence of chlorine in your water. Not only will the chlorine smell disappear when using the filter, but your skin and hair will look healthier as well.
Shower Water Filter Buying Guide
There are a few things that you should know before making a purchase. Our team of experts has summed them up in a handy list of questions and answers.
Shower water filters come in different materials like plastic or metal. Plastic units are usually less costly and are easily maintained. However, after continuous use, such products may crack and start leaking.
Shower water filters made of metal are designed to be rustproof. That said, your shower head will be protected from corrosion and decay. Nevertheless, the more quality that metal is, the more you will pay for it.
The lifespan of the shower water filter varies with the manufacturers. However, you should look for a cartridge that will be suitable for your home and needs. Check out the following list to make sure you choose the right one:
When picking up a shower water filter, you have to make sure it will fit your current shower specifications. The reason for this is that some units come in different sizes or need to be mounted in a certain way. So, carefully check the measurements of your usable shower. Also, ensure that your chosen shower water filter can be adapted to the showerhead you already have in your bathroom.
Shower water filters should not change the water pressure, but in reality, some products do that. Read our article to learn how to remove the water flow restrictor from a showerhead.
The price is a deciding factor when choosing a quality water shower filter. The more expensive a unit is, the better the protection for your hair and skin. However, there are reasonably-priced products that will inevitably filter up to your water quite well. So, in any case, you can find water shower filters to suit every pocket.
We believe that your convenience should be a top priority. If you find your product to be a bit heavy or bulky for you and your purposes, then do not buy it. Also, if there are children or older adults using the bathroom, they will not feel comfortable to lift and use a shower water filter weighing a ton.
We have already discussed some of the main points to take into account before buying a purifying unit for your shower. And now it is time to give you some further details about the different characteristics a shower water filter may have.
All filters remove contaminants, but some have better capacities to do that. There are units on the market that can even stop viruses and bacteria from penetrating the water. However, most of the products are designed to reduce chlorine levels, block heavy metals, and soften the water.
The degree to which these actions are performed depends on the specific product and cartridge capacity. Generally, you can come across multi-level carbon filters, KDF filters, and Vitamin C filters. Make sure to check what type of water shower filter your chosen unit is as this will determine the products’ functionality. You can find detailed information about the types of filters in our guide below.
Some shower filters’ manufacturers provide an extra cartridge in the packet. Such an advantage is convenient since you will always have one in store.
Buying an item with a warranty is something that you should aim at. Such will guarantee that your water shower filter will Sbe repaired or replaced if you encounter any problems with it. Moreover, you will not have to spend extra money on fixing your unit as the manufacturer will take care of this.
You may know how to install your new shower filter, but it is essential to get a unit with comprehensive instructions. The reason for this is that you will have a clear idea of how to accurately mount and use your new purchase without the risk of damaging it. Also, it is important to know what the ideal height for a shower head is.
When you see how many water filters are available on the market, choosing the best one can seem like a daunting task because just filtering through them can be time-consuming. This is why we decided to create a buying guide to help you with your decision. In the following section, we present the different types of shower filters, how they work, and why you should use one in your home.
According to their design, there are three types of shower filters you can use
These models look and act like regular showerheads, if somewhat bulkier at times. Despite their regular appearance, these models will filter out the harmful particles in your water, and they will usually provide good water pressure.
The in-line shower filters do not come with a showerhead. You can install these models between your existing showerhead and the waterline. One of the advantages of using these models is that you can use your existing showerhead, so you can still benefit from the options it offers. Using these units is also less conspicuous, and it won’t influence your bathroom’s aspect as much.
These models are the largest of the bunch. You will have to install the in-line unit directly to your water line and the showerhead is attached to it. The filter cartridge is usually contained in the in-line unit, and the showerhead’s purpose is to manage the water pressure. Thankfully, some filter models can slightly improve the shower’s water pressure, so you might not notice any difference when using them.
According to their filtration cartridges’ capacities, there are three types of water filters
These filters are the most popular, and they’re very similar to the ones used by other water filtration systems. The filters push the water through different mediums, each of them specially designed to remove some contaminants. Some of the most popular models that use these filtration systems use cartridges that push the water through 10 – 12 different mediums.
KDF water filter media can be used in conjunction with carbon filters, or they can be used alone. These filters are made out of copper and zinc, and they’re extremely effective against bacteria and viruses. The filters will also remove most of the other contaminants commonly found in municipal water.
Vitamin C filters can also be used with carbon or KDF filters. These filter cartridges are great for removing chlorine and chloramine particles, but they’re not overly efficient at removing anything else. Using this type of filter will also improve the overall aspect of your skin.
What Is a Shower Water Filter and How Does It Work?
Shower filters are compact units you can attach to your shower to make the water you use for washing healthier. These units push the water through different mediums, removing the contaminants that float in it. Here’s how they do it:
These filters push the water through 10 – 12 different mediums to remove most of the contaminants commonly found in it. The first step is usually a mechanical one made out of cotton. The cotton is very tightly woven, and particles larger than 0.1 – 0.3 microns won’t get through. This medium will eliminate most of the debris, sediment, rust, as well as large bacteria and viruses.
The next step is usually a chemical one that will soften the water. With the help of ion exchange resins, the calcium and magnesium molecules will be blocked. Now, the water is pushed through an activated carbon filter. This filter will stop a lot of chemicals, including volatile organic compounds, chlorine, and chloramine. The next steps will further remove the remaining chlorine in the water, and they will also remove some of the remaining toxins and bacteria.
These filters are made out of copper and zinc. These metals oppose each other, and they will create a small electrical-chemical charge. While the electrical-chemical charge is unnoticeable for humans, the elements in the water will feel it and will be affected by it. When the elements come within the influence of the process, they will change electrons between them. This is why when the water passes through this filter, the chlorine will change its structure and it will become water-soluble. Some heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and copper will also be affected by the chemical charge, and they will also be removed from the water.
Vitamin C filters are some of the best solutions for removing chlorine. Some models will remove up to 99% of the chlorine in the water, but the most popular options will only remove up to 93% of it. These filters will also remove chloramines and sediment, but little else. These filters use tubes of Vitamin C to interact and neutralize the contaminants in the water. However, since not many of the contaminants will respond to vitamin C’s action, not many of them will be stopped.
KDF water filters are used for treating water. These filters can be used alone or in conjunction with activated carbon or carbon block filters. These filters were developed to replace the silver mediums used until recently to remove the bacteria in the water.
Silver is an effective bacteria killer, but it’s expensive. Silver is also toxic in large doses, and the risk of it eventually leaking into the water was pretty high, so KDF filters offer a safe alternative.
KDF filters are made out of copper and zinc. When combined, these elements will create a small electrochemical reaction. During the reaction, molecules will transfer electrons from one another. The transfer of electrons will produce new elements. Some contaminants like chlorine will change their structure and become harmless, while others will be removed from the water altogether.
KDF 55 will remove a lot of elements, including but not limited to
5 Benefits of Shower Water Filter Systems
Here are some outstanding benefits of shower head water filters;
Chlorine has been used for treating water all around the world for decades. Recent studies have shown that chlorination might not filter out disinfection products completely and that the human body is more likely to absorb those disinfectants during a shower than it is when drinking water. Moreover, the chlorine in your shower water can strip your skin and hair of their natural oils, making them look weak and unhealthy. In fact, when chlorine dries, it will dull the color of your hair and it can even cause some skin conditions.
The water you get is usually hard. Washing with hard water will make your skin dry and weaken your hair. Shower water filters soften the water, making it healthier. Washing with soft water will improve the aspect of your hair and skin. Check out our blog post on hard water and soft water facts to learn more.
Do you know that your shower could kill you? A shower filter will block most of the viruses and bacteria in the water from reaching your body. The showerhead itself can sometimes act as a perfect location for breeding bacteria. The showerhead is a warm and moist place, so bacteria might prosper in it. Using a shower head filter will kill the bacteria before they start to reproduce.
Certain chemicals can eventually find their way into your water. Substances like pesticides, herbicides, and different pharmaceuticals can be commonly found in water, and they can really be harmful to your health.
Children are more susceptible to developing a condition caused by the inhalation of chlorine vapors than adults. Chlorinated showers increase the chances of a child developing asthma and allergies.
To help you figure things out better, we check out some common myths about water softener shower heads!
Do Shower Water Filters Work for Hard Water?
Before we answer this question, we need to explain a few facts. This is important to understand why hard water can be a problem and what a shower water filter can do about it.
Hard water contains high levels of mineral deposits, and this raises several issues in terms of showering and your health:
So, a water shower filter can help you with these problems. One of the unit’s primary purposes is to make the water you use in the shower softer. This means that the water filter will dramatically reduce the amounts of calcium and magnesium, which are the main mineral substances of hard water.
By doing this, the water coming from your shower will be softer and hence, better for you and your family. Here is a short list of what a water filter can really do for you and the hard water in your home.
FAQ & Answers
In this section, our trained experts have decided to go through some more questions that you may have.
1. When is it time to put in a new filter?
If you open your handheld showerhead and see that your filter is a lot darker than when you first installed it, then it means it is time to change it. Usually, every four months is an excellent period to start thinking about changing your filter. However, if you are the only person using the bathroom, then you should check your filter every 4 to 6 months. Households with two to 2 people should inspect the water shower filter more – every 16 weeks. Lastly, if you are more than two people at home, then the gallons of used water will be even more. So, it is a good idea to have a look at your filter every eight weeks.
2. Does a shower water filter help my dry hair and scalp?
Yes, partially, it will help. Filtered shower water means that your scalp and hair will not be exposed to contaminants and hard water. Moreover, the concentration of chlorine will be dramatically reduced, which will add up to a healthier head scalp, and hair.
3. Will the shower filter remove copper from my water?
The water filter will do its job and remove some of the copper from your water, but it will not stop all of it.
4. Will the water filter reduce the water pressure?
It will not reduce the pressure, but if your normal water pressure is low, water filters may slow it down a bit.
5. Do shower filters come with a cartridge?
Yes, they do. Some come with a spare cartridge for your convenience.
6. Do water filters remove unpleasant odors?
Yes, some water shower filters are designed to do that. You should check on the manufacturers’ descriptions.
As you could see in our short shower water filter reviews, every model is different, and all of them are good at filtering out certain contaminants. The first thing you should do when shopping for the best shower water filter is to test your water and see which contaminants affect your water source.
Once you find out which are the most harmful contaminants in your water, you can choose a shower filter for hard water that will not only soften your water but will also make it healthier to use. Constantly using these filters will make your skin and hair look healthier, improving your physical appearance.
Read more product reviews on our website ranging from top-rated refrigerator water filters to submersible well pump reviews.
David is a retired engineer, professional homeowner and a DIY addict. He has been installing home appliances, fixing leaks and doing home improvement projects for the past 30+ years. As an environmentally conscious person, David is extra sensitive to the usage of water resources and consumption of clean and healthy water. He started Water Filter Magazine in order to create an awareness and to share his experience on household water appliances with others .