12 Best Shower Filters in 2018
There are some pretty scary things in tap water, from mineral deposits and chlorine to bacteria and fungus. Many people don’t realize just how bad their water is until they start learning more about filters, and while your first instinct may be to purchase one for the kitchen sink, we recommend you consider one for your bathing water, too.
Tap water that comes you use in the kitchen also goes to the bathroom, which means that it is equally as important to use a filter in the shower.
Not sure where to begin when it comes to selecting the right one? Read on, and our experts will help you understand how to choose the best shower filter in this detailed buying guide.
Top 12 Shower Filters Comparison Table
Filter Only or a Shower Head/Filter Combination?
You have two options when it comes to using a filter in the shower – attaching one to your existing shower head or purchasing an entire kit that contains both.
- Filter Only – If you already like your shower hardware and don’t want to substitute it, just the filter will do.
Some are bulkier than others are, so if you are looking for something a little less noticeable, consider the Sprite HO2-WH-M Filtered Shower Head, Sprite SL-CM Slim-Line Shower Filter, or the Culligan ISH-100 Shower Filter.
- Shower Head + Filter – Shower heads with filters vary in design. Some contain the filter is inside the head itself (Culligan WSH-C125 Filtered Shower Head), while others have the filter attached just before the head (Aquasana AQ-4105 Shower Head Filter System).
If your current shower head is old or clogged with mineral deposits, consider getting a head/filter combination.
One of the most unique options on our list is the ZenFresh Ionic Showerhead Filtration System, which uses negative ion mineral balls to help filter your shower water. Replacement balls are available for the shower head since they only last about three months, and while it isn’t the best shower filter solution in terms of quality, it is still an affordable, popular choice.
What Is Lurking in Your Shower Water
Why use a filter, anyways?
We can name a few good reasons.
- Chlorine – used as a disinfectant in the water purification process.
- Chloramine – a mixture of chlorine and ammonia used in some water supplies.
- Minerals – hard water dries out skin and hair.
Filters can help rid your water of all these nasty components, but some filters will help you target specific chemicals or problems better than others.
We will look at the different types of filters next.
Filter Contents – How They Purify Your Shower Water
Some filters clean water on a more extensive level than others do, and when you’re comparing models, you’ll see the following options.
- Carbon Filter – For chlorine removal, carbon filters are best. They are not as effective when it comes to removing chloramines, however.
Many also notice that carbon filters don’t seem to be as effective when used with hot water, so if you like to shower under scalding temperatures, then it might not be the best match.
- Vitamin C Filter – These are the most effective filters of them all. They can remove chlorine and chloramines thanks to the chemical reaction caused by the Vitamin C inside the filter.
They don’t seem to last as long as the carbon filters, but they are definitely the most effective.
- KDF Filter – Like carbon filters, KDF filters are great at removing chlorine but not so great at removing chloramines.
Understanding Filter Duration
One thing to pay attention to as you compare filters is how long it will last; this will give you an idea of the extra cost involved for filter replacement and tell you how often you’ll need to replace it.
Most manufacturers list their filter’s lifespan in gallons while others list it in months.
If you’re not sure how many gallons you usually use, then just remember that,
- A 10,000-12,000 gallon filter will last about 6 months.
- A 20,000-gallon filter will last about a year.
Take these numbers with a grain of salt, however, because they may not last their expected lifespan due to the quality of your water.
Those who have extremely hard water should expect to replace filters more frequently than recommended. If you don’t use a particular shower often (perhaps it is in a guest bathroom, for example), then you can leave the filter on for longer than the suggested time frame.
Top 5 Best Shower Filter Reviews
For many consumers, AquaBliss’s filter is one of the best in terms of quality and price.
Each filter has a multi-stage filtration system that uses both filters and a mixture of calcium sulfate, KDF-55 and activated carbon to help rid your water of chlorine, chloramines, sediment, and mineral deposits.
This filter is a bit on the bulky side, measuring 3.7 inches in diameter and 5.4 inches high. The expected lifespan is from 6-8 months, depending on how frequently the shower is used and how “dirty” the water is.
While it is listed as a high output filter, that doesn’t mean that it will improve your water pressure if it is already low. Adding this filter to the shower head will help you purify it, and most don’t notice much of a change in their current water pressure when it is attached.
Overall, it provides decent results for most, but there are more expensive filters out there if you want something that will remove a higher level of chlorine and other components.
Berkey’s filter reduces up to a whopping 95% of chlorine and only needs to be replaced once a year (with average use).
As a KDF filter, it will help you reduce a number of heavy metals in your water, prevent microorganisms from passing through, reduce the hydrogen sulfide levels and even kill bacteria. The design and materials inside will also inhibit the growth of algae, fungi, and bacteria, too.
Regardless of your preferred water temperature, this filter will perform well.
This unit does not come with a shower head, and it measures 4 inches by 5 inches – a bit wider and bulkier than the last filter, but also more effective.
The design of the Geysa is very similar to the AquaBliss, but Geysa has an impressive 8-stage filtration system.
Inside, there is a combination of activated coconut carbon, calcium sulfite, polypropylene cotton, Biocera ceramic balls, and KDF-55. They each help remove different components from the water, including radioactive iodine 131, THMs, VOCs, chlorine, and heavy metals. There are also layers of steel mesh that sandwich the layers of material together to help prevent larger sediment from passing through.
If your water has a high chlorine content or if you have extremely hard water, a filter like this will help you shower safely. You will notice a difference after just one shower!
If you would like a shower head that has a filter built in, then consider Culligan’s WHS-C125 model.
It comes in two different styles – the wall mounted head (this one) and a handheld head if your shower has a hose attached to the pipe.
Those whose water has a high level of chlorine and sulfur odor do well with a filter like this. It also helps reduce the amount of mineral deposits, so your skin, hair, and scalp will all feel softer and healthier because of it.
The wall mounted nozzle offers you five different spray settings, and the replacement filters are reasonably priced.
We felt that it was the best shower filter for consumers who have extremely hard water, and it is one of the most popular products on the list.
Our final pick was the Sakaika Filtered Shower Head. If you are shopping on a budget and you need a decent filter that will help remove chloramines, it is hard to beat this one. The mixture of KDF-55 and Vitamin C make it a strong contender in our top five.
In addition to removing chloramines, it also reduces the amount of mineral deposits, greatly reducing the level of magnesium, fluoride, chromium, iron, lead, and calcium. It also helps filter out heavy metals like copper and rust.
The water pressure is quite good with this shower head (most don’t notice a difference once it is on), and it will fit all ½” connector pipes, which is the standard size for most showers.
Final Thoughts About Shower Filters
After trying all of the different types of filters, it is clear that the Vitamin C filters perform the best. If your local water supply does not utilize chloramines, however, then you can get by with a quality carbon filter or KDF filter.
One of the most common questions that consumers have is in regards to the lifespan of the filter, and since the manufacturer can only list a general time frame, we recommend that you purchase a water test kit if you are really interested in maintaining healthy drinking and shower water.
They are relatively inexpensive and actually fun to use; plus, they will help you understand more about what is really being used in your local water supply so you can ensure that you are receiving the healthiest water with every glass of water and for every shower you take.