6 Best Shower Filters in 2020 | Reviews and Recommendations

Are you looking for the best shower filters in 2020? In today’s article, we offer you a detailed guide on the best shower water filters by reviewing the top 6 market leaders and giving the lowdown on each product we picked. Read on to find out which model we recommend and why. Moreover, you should read the entire post, as we also discuss some of the most important myths and facts when it comes to shower water filters, give a few technological explanations, and provide you with a shower filter’s buying guide!

shower-water-filter-reviews - best shower filterSometimes a large, expensive and massive water filter – like a whole house water filter or even a reverse osmosis water filter – isn’t the best shower filter for your needs. A perfect example of this is when you just wish to improve the condition of your bathing / showering water. The best shower filters can reduce chlorine and other harmful pollutants and contaminants, and cost just a fraction of some other types of water filters.

Today, we take a close look at 6 of the best shower water filters on the market. Would prefer a hand-held shower or a stationary filtered shower head? Which is the best shower water filter, and why? Our reviews deal with the things that matter, so you can make the most informed decisions.

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Start by taking a look at our review comparison table. Here, you can quickly compare the key features among the products we will review next. If you crave more information about a particular shower water filter then check out our reviews that follow. We give our honest opinion and say which model we would choose and why.

Your Guide to Finding the Best Shower Water Filter

With so many options to choose from on the market, finding the best shower filters for contaminated water can seem like a daunting task. This is why we decided to put together a list of reviews and information to help guide you. In this section, we will go over various kinds of shower filters, how they work, and why you need to have one in your home.

Is It Really Necessary to Invest in the Best Shower Filter?

If you use a whole house water filter, the answer is no. However, if you are like most of us and only have a kitchen under-sink filter for drinking water, it’s time to step up your game. You may not have noticed, but municipal water is often much dirtier than it seems. Do you know when the last time your city replaced all of the pipes in the water system? It’s highly likely that they never have. Most towns and cities do not replace them. They only replace leaky pipes or ones that have broken down.

So what does the municipal water line have to do with your shower water? The quality of the pipes can influence the cleanliness of your water coming out. One thing you should know is that these pumps were made during a time where using lead was not considered dangerous. Lead may be strong but it is certainly not indestructible. As the Flint water crisis taught us the hard way, there is lead in your water supply and sometimes, it can be more than dangerous, even in the smallest amount, it can be lethal. 

Another reason to invest in the best shower filter is the quality of water you are getting. As we mentioned, no pipes are indestructible. If small fissures were to appear in your municipal water system, the loss might be too small for the city to care to fix. All of the dirt around the pipes would still be able to get into your home though. In older days, when pipes would leak, people used iron patches to fix them. Since iron rusts, you can get rust in the water too. Another problem could be found in your plumbing. If your house is an older model, your pipes could be rusted.

Types of Shower Filters on the Market

There are three standard types of designs for shower filters on the market.  You can choose from showerhead filters, in-line shower filters, or in-line and showerhead filters. Let’s take a look at each of the designs and see what they have to offer.

  • Showerhead Filters: These types of filters look and act like standard showerheads, although they can be bulkier at times. Although there is nothing special about their appearance, they filter out harmful particles in your shower water and provide great water pressure.
  • In-Line Shower Filters: In-line shower filters do not come with a showerhead. You will need to install them between your current showerhead and water line. These units are less conspicuous in appearance and won’t take up nearly as much room as a standard showerhead filter would.
  • In-Line and Showerhead Filters: If you don’t mind the size, these models are the largest of all shower filters. Like the in-line filters, you will have to install these directly to your showerhead and water line. They come with a filter cartridge and manage water pressure well.

Just like there are three designs to choose from for the best shower filter, there are also three types of filters. There are multi-level carbon filters, KDF filters, and vitamin C filters. Let’s take a look at each of these water filtering technologies and see what they have to offer.

  • Multi-level Carbon Filters: Out of the three filters on the market, multi-carbon level filters are the most popular. They are very similar in style to the ones used by other water filtration systems – like whole house water filters, countertop water filters, even some water filter pitchers. Since they push the water through various mediums, they are designed to remove contaminants. The best-selling models push shower water through ten to twelve mediums.
  • KDF Filters: You can choose to use KDF filters in conjunction with carbon filters or on their own. Composed of copper and zinc, they are highly effective against viruses and bacteria. KDF filters remove most of the contaminants found in municipal water.
  • Vitamin C Filters: Use vitamin C filters alone or with KDF filters. They are adept at removing chlorine and chloramine particles. However, they do not rank well when it comes to improving the overall health of your skin.

Benefits of Having the Best Shower Filters in Your Home

Before we reach the main part of our guide, let’s discuss why having the best shower filters in your home represents a great investment, whether you live in a large house with many bathrooms or a studio apartment with a shower cabin.

  • A shower filter, by construction, reduces chlorine. Recent studies have shown that chlorine present in water may not be as effective as a disinfectant than we thought. In fact, the human body has a higher likelihood of absorbing those disinfectants when showering than they would through drinking them in a glass of water. Chlorinated water can strip your skin and hair of their natural oils, making both appear weak and unhealthy. In addition, when chlorine dries it makes the color of your hair appear dull.
  • Shower water filters soften water. Did you know that the water in your house is typically hard? Washing with hard water also weakens the health of your skin and hair. If you choose the best shower filter for hard water, you will enjoy a better, healthtier showering experience. As you may expect, washing off with soft water improves the health of your hair and skin. However, if you already have a whole house water softener or water descaler, you may not need an extra shower filter for hard water. You may need one to remove chlorine and other contaminants, however, as water softeners do not filter water.
  • Showerhead filters are a wall of defense against bacteria and viruses. As we previously mentioned, shower filters block a host of unwanted contaminants from ever coming into contact with your body. Since showerheads are often warm and moist, bacteria could potentially thrive there. Using the best shower filter will kill the bacteria before they have the chance to reproduce.
  • Shower filters reduce the presence of harmful chemicals that we find in our water supply. Pesticides, certain pharmaceutical drugs, and herbicides are commonly found in municipal water and are hazardous to your health.
  • They are safe for children. What do we mean by this? Well, children are much more susceptible to developing a condition from chlorine inhalation than adults are. Chlorinated showers increase the likelihood that your child will develop asthma and allergies.

What Exactly Is In Shower Water Anyways?

As you may have gathered, unfiltered shower water contains a slew of gross things – chemicals, dirt, debris, bacteria, viruses, chemicals, protozoa, fungi, and even trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs. Chlorine is used to kill the most dangerous types of pathogens found in water – and it does its job remarkably well. However, even after the water goes through the municipal treatment process, it is possible that there are pathogens still in your water supply. In fact, small amounts of all the contaminants above can find their way into your water supply.

Best Shower Filters in 2020: Comparison Table

Model Wall Mount/Handheld Price Rating Key Features
Culligan WSH-C125 Both Available $ 4.3 EPA Water Sense certification
NSF certification
5 spray settings
CaptainEco 10-Stage Filter Wall Mount $ 4.4 10 filtration stages
2 filters included
Great value
Aquasana AQ-4100 Wall Mount $$ 4.1 NSF certified
Multiple massage settings
Reduces multiple contaminants
AquaBliss Universal Shower Filter Both $$ 4.4 Fits all shower types
Replaceable multi-stage filters
100% money-back guarantee
WaterChef SF-7C Both $$$ 4.0 NSF certified
5 adjustable spray modes
3 year warranty

Best Shower Filter Reviews: The Top 5

Take a closer look at the top 5 shower heads with filters. Here we go into more detail about what makes them special. Find out which one is right for you, as we give the pros and cons of each, offering detailed information on their tech specs and features. At the end of this chapter, you will also find a complete review of the best shower filter for hard water meant to soften your bathing water and offer you an exquisite hair and skin sensation.

Culligan-shower-filter - best shower filter1. Culligan WSH-C125 – Incredible Value for Money

This filtered shower head proves really popular as it combines some top features in a great value package. Let’s start by taking a look at some of these features.

First , there’s the EPA Water Sense certification. This certification is usually reserved for shower heads at much higher price points. What it means is that this shower filter will reduce demands on water heaters, save electricity, save water, and therefore save money. It’s also much better for the environment than conventional shower heads that can be extremely wasteful.

Secondly, it comes with NSF certification. That means that it has been rigorously tested to prove its effectiveness in reducing chlorine. The filter will also protect against any sulfur odor and also limescale build up (caused by hard water).

The replaceable filter cartridge offers great value too. It lasts for 10,000 gallons of use or around 6 months in time. They don’t break the bank the way others can, either. A 3 pack of filters can be purchased for a really reasonable price, which makes the running costs of this shower head among the best shower filters on the market.

Let’s see a quick summary of the main tech specs and features of this product:

Key Features

  • EPA Water Sense certification
  • NSF certification
  • Long life filters
  • Best showerhead: 5 spray settings

The head itself has 5 different spray settings. There’s a full body setting and also a relaxing pulse mode that’s great for tired muscles. It also comes in a choice of 2 styles. There’s a wall mounted head (seen in the image) and also a slightly more expensive hand-held model. They both install without the need for any tools and will fit comfortably onto a 1/2″ threaded shower arm, making this the best showerhead unit we reviewed for convenience.

Bottom Line

This shower filter comes with an amazing price considering all the features. Taking into account what you get for the money, this is one of the best shower filters on the market.

Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head with Massage,…

  • Wall-mounted filtered shower head, meets EPA Water Sense Certification…
  • Shower head has anti clog rubber spray nozzles that offer 5 spray…
  • Shower head and filter are easy-to-install, no tools required

waterchef-shower-filter - best shower filter2. WaterChef SF-7C Premium – Full of Features

This model from WaterChef is the most expensive of our choices. But, as you’d expect from something coming with a heftier price, it does sport some nice extra features. If the WaterChef brand name rings a bell, you probably have the information that this manufacturer also makes some of the best countertop water filters for drinking water on the market to date.

For a start, it looks great. The flexible hose is stainless steel and the head and fixtures are finished with ABS chrome plating. They give the unit a modern and stylish look which most models lack.

The main difference here is that this universal shower filter offers both hand-held shower head and regular stationary shower head positions. This flexibility in function — hand-held shower head OR stationary shower head capacity —  isn’t common among shower heads with filters and is one of the reasons this one commands a higher fee.

Next, let’s see the most compelling tech specs and features of this product!

Key Features

  • NSF certified
  • Hand-held or stationary wand
  • 5 spray modes
  • Long life filters
  • 3-year warranty/ 60-day money back guarantee

The actual filter is fully NSF tested and certified to reduce chlorine. The filter has a rated capacity of 20,000 gallons which is impressive. This kind of capacity is only second best to the Rainshow’r model in our reviews. This gives the WaterChef very reasonable running costs, despite the more expensive initial outlay.

The easy-to-install shower wand comes with 5 adjustable spray modes. This includes a pulsating massage mode, which sounds wonderful. The nozzles use an anti-clog rubber material and aren’t something you need to worry about. They ensure a consistent stream of hot water.

Another great feature of this water filter is the outstanding 3-year warranty. The length of the warranty is excellent for a shower head system and it’s the best warranty among our recommendations. It actually comes with a 60-day money back guarantee too, so your buying rights are respected.

Bottom Line

A bigger price tag means more options and features. The running costs are very reasonable due to the outstanding filter lifespan. This is a deluxe product, but still one of the best shower filters you can buy this year, knowing it will do a great job and blend in perfecly your bathroom interior design.

WaterChef Premium Shower Filter System SF-7C with Deluxe, Adjustable…

  • Powerful 2-Stage System with ThermalGuard for Superior Chlorine…
  • NSF Tested & Certified (NSF/ANSI Standard 177 for Chlorine Reduction)
  • Deluxe Shower Wand with 5 Adjustable Spray Patterns (including…

aquasana-shower-filter - best shower filter

3. Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe – Top Class Design

Aquasana is one of the biggest names in the water filter world, producing some units of real distinction. We have to mention the Aquasana Rhino, one of the best whole house water filters on the market today, as well as the Aquasana AQ 4000-W, one of the best countertop water filters you can buy this year.

As you can figure out, the Aquasana AQ-4100 shower filter is another high-quality unit that comes with all the perks you’d expect from this brand.

The Aquasana filter is NSF certified to remove more than 90% of chlorine from water. It actually reduces a lot more as well, combating iron, mercury, lead, pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, and hydrogen sulfide. It does this using a patented two media combination. There’s the classic carbon (coconut shell) that’s so good at tackling chlorine, and also a copper and zinc mixture that besides reducing harmful chemicals, also increases the pH to healthier levels. All in all, the Aquasana water filter is a good option.

Now, let’s discuss in detail some of this shower filter’s best tech specs and features, to understand why it is one of the best shower filters on the market!

Key Features

  • NSF certification
  • Long life filters
  • Raises water pH, making it more alkaline
  • Multiple design options
  • 1-year warranty

These filters last for around 6 months or 10,000 gallons of use which is about average for a good shower head water filter. However, the filters are a little on the expensive side. They are the most expensive that we have encountered in our reviews. You can be assured of their quality though, as they come with NSF certification.

Furthermore, their ability to raise pH and make water more alkaline is a feature which is uncommon among competitors. Truth be told, few water filters in general can make water more alkaline, as it is the feature of water ionizers. All in all, the quality of filtered water this shower filter produces should be excellent.

The customization options for this model are really impressive. The shower head for the Aquasana shower filter comes in 4 different styles to suit your bathroom. Each uses the same massaging head with multiple stream settings. They also use Aquasana’s up-flow design. This ensures that water pressure remains strong and also that the water has the maximum contact time with the filter media. You won’t lose much shower head height either, which is a big issue for some models.

Bottom Line

This model is a great piece of water filtration technology and high-quality design. The replacement filters are a bit pricey though. This Aquasana shower filter reviews very well on large consumer sites like Amazon too. You cannot go wrong with an Aquasana product, either it is a whole house water filter, a shower filter, or a countertop drinking water filtration unit.

Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System with Adjustable…

  • Healthier Skin, Hair & Air – Reduced harmful chemicals means more…
  • Premium NSF Certified Filtration Media – Natural coconut shell carbon…
  • Maximum Filtration & Water Pressure – Constructed with a unique up…

CaptainEco-10-stage-water-filter - best shower filter4. CaptainEco 10-Stage Shower Filter – Best Value for Money

This is an inline water filter model that offers superb value for money. Despite being one of the cheapest models that we have included on this list of best shower filters to buy in 2020, it offers the most stages of filtration. A whole 10 of them! We’ll begin by discussing what the key filtration stages are and exactly what they bring to the table.

One thing to note is that there are numerous shower filters that make this “10-stage” claim. They are all very similar and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are all manufactured in the same place. We chose this particular model because the filter cartridges are easily available to buy.

  • Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) – this media is perfect for reducing levels of chlorine and also harmful contaminants such as chloramines, trihalomethanes, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Polypropylene Cotton – this removes larger particles like sediment.
  • KDF-55 – this filtration media is great at reducing heavy metals like lead and mercury.
  • Calcium Sulfite – this targets chlorine and heavy metals too.
  • Alkaline Ceramic Balls – this raises the pH of the water slightly. They are also thought to make give the water more antioxidant potential. Check out our guide to water ionizers to read more about this.

A great thing about this model is that it treats the pH and softens the water too. However, it can’t really be considered a shower hard water filter, since the effect on pH and water hardness is only very slight. It does an awful lot for something so relatively inexpensive.

Key Features

  • 10 filtration stages
  • Long life filters
  • 2 filters included
  • Removes a wide range of water contaminants

Like the Culligan model, these filters last for 10,000 gallons of use, which equates to around 6 months for the average household. The filters are well priced considering the numerous stages of filtration they achieve.

However, the Culligan filters are significantly cheaper with a 3 pack costing about the same as a single CaptainEco filter. The CaptainEco shower head does come with 2 filters included, which makes the price point even more impressive.

Bottom Line

This shower filter does an awful lot of good things for your water, but the filters are a bit pricier than some of the competition. On the other hand, it is well worth the investment, as its tech specs and features have few competitors on the market.

Eco Shower Filter with 2 Cartridges + Shower Curtain, for Adult Baby…

  • 【 BLOCKS CHLORINE AND SEDIMENTS】: With the power of Activated…
  • 【PROTECTS SENSITIVE HAIR, SKIN & NAILS】: Reduces dandruff, dry…
  • 【IMPROVES RESPIRATION】: Can help Reduce the risk of Allergies,…

aquabliss shower filter review5. AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Filter – Best for Versatility

The last entry on our list of best shower filters to consider this year comes from AquaBliss, yet another reputable manufacturers in the field of water filtration technologies and products.

One of the first – and most essential – aspects you need to know about this product is that it fits all types of shower models and designs: handheld showers, fixed showers, and rain showers. In other words, this particular shower filter spares you the time and trouble spent on selecting a model that goes with your specific shower type, making installation a breeze.

The next most crucial feature you should know about is its filtration technology. AquaBliss uses a blend of redox media, calcium sulfite, and activated carbon to remove chlorine and even soften the water enough for you to enjoy smooth skin and hair after each bath you take.

When it comes to filter life, this shower filter boasts 6 to 8 months (10,000 – 12,000 gallons) of chlorine-free water. The best thing about it is that the filter is a repleaceable cartridge that is easy to find in stores. The replacement filters also feature a more than affordable price, like the unit itself.

The “no-tool, 2 minutes installation” feature is, again, one of the reasons why you should consider this shower filter this year.

But let’s see its most important tech specs!

Key Features

  • Long filter life
  • Replaceable filter cartridge
  • Works with all shower types
  • Improves skin, hair, and nails
  • Works for city water, hard water, and well water
  • 100% money-back guarantee

This shower filter is capable of inhibiting scale buildup (it acts like a small but efficient water softener), reducing chlorine, dirt, bad odors, and pesticides, and improving the looks and feel of your skin, hair, and nails.

The multi-stage filtration system consists of a premium quality redox media, double strength strips calcium sulfite media, and coconut shell activated carbon filter for excellent results.

As a recommendation, if you use this water filter for well water, replace the cartridge every month or so, as well water tends to be richer in sediment and contaminants than treated municipal water.

Bottom Line

By far one of the best shower filters that fits all shower types, this unit brings great tech specs for the money. Its ease of installation, reliable U.S.-based customer support, long filter life, excellent effects on hair, nails, and skin, and, above all, the reputation of the brand are all compelling factors for anyone to buy this item.

AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Filter with Replaceable…

  • PURIFIES YOUR WATER, PERFECTS YOUR SKIN – High output universal…
  • PROMOTES HEALING & RESTORATION: Beyond the fact that our multi stage…

The Best Shower Filter for Hard Water

There’s an important distinction to be made before we go any further. The truth is that no shower head water filter really softens your water that much. At least nowhere near to the extent that a fully fledged water softener unit does. A traditional water softener physically removes problematic hard water calcium and magnesium ions. A shower head unit won’t really do this, although it will do as much as it can – see the AquaBliss example above.

What a shower head filter or “softener” does is to remove chlorine. Chlorine is terrible for drying out skin and hair. A shower head unit has the ability to make the bathing water feel much less harsh, which means some relief from “hard water hair” and a return to softer, healthier skin and hair. A shower head water softener gets its name more for the softening effect it has on the skin and body, rather than on the water.

However, there are a couple of hard water shower filter units and shower head units available that soften water more than others. There’s only one that we feel we can recommend as a hard water shower filter, as it is able to improve the condition of the water in multiple ways.

jonathan-shower-water-filter - best shower filterJonathan Hard Water Shower Filter System

This shower filter from Jonathan Products combines a variety of methods to produce some of the cleanest and refreshing shower water possible. This company also manufacture a range of beauty products, so they know a bit about what’s good for your hair and skin.

It uses a patented 2-stage filter to deliver this. The filter first targets and reduces chlorine, before the second stage of granulated activated carbon refines the condition of the water even more.

The key here is the addition of ion exchange resin beads. These are the functioning components of water softeners and therefore give this unit more credibility than most that claim to be softeners. The ion exchange resin binds the hard water calcium and magnesium ions and replaces them with harmless potassium.

Let’s see a few tech specs that make this product interesting!

Key Features

  • Softens water
  • Removes a range of contaminants – it even eliminates copper and lead from tap water
  • Raises the water pH

This unit softens the water, making it less “soapy” and reduces limescale. It should be noted that the water softening effect is not as pronounced as the large whole home softener units.

The 2nd stage of the is water filter is also able to reduce levels of harmful heavy metals like lead and also hydrogen sulfide. The third important function it has is to raise the pH of the water. The ideal pH of water is slightly above 7 (slightly alkaline). Unless you are one of the lucky few, water tends to be slightly acidic (less than pH 7) so this is a great feature.

The replacement filter is a bit more expensive than a regular shower filter for hair. It’s easy to install and can be replaced without any tools in just a minute.

Bottom Line

In our opinion, this is the best shower filter for hard water. The filters are a little expensive, but they’re very good at what they do. It’ll improve the condition of your bathing water in a variety of ways.

Why Get a Shower Water Filter?

shower - best shower filterOur skin covers a huge surface area and is incredibly good at absorbing things from the atmosphere. Many of these things benefit our bodies, with Vitamin D from sunlight being a prime example. However, some things that are readily absorbed by our skin aren’t so good for us. Chlorine is one of these things and it is heavily present in city drinking water supplies. Chlorine is the primary concern as it is harmful to health and also has negative effects on our physical appearance. We’ll go into this in more detail in the next section.

Shower heads are also excellent places for mold to collect (biofilm). This collection of microorganisms and bacteria covers you every time you turn on the shower. A good shower filter prevents the growth of biofilm, resulting in a much more hygienic shower environment.

The best shower head filters provide bathing water that is kinder to your skin and hair. Without chlorine, both skin and hair will retain more moisture and feel softer. Removing disinfectant chemicals like chlorine can also have a big positive impact on your health.

So what’s so wrong with chlorine? Is it safe to shower in chlorinated water?

Chlorine is considered a necessary addition to our drinking water. It helps kill off harmful bacteria and pathogens that can be potentially fatal. However, chlorine also kills good bacteria that have a positive effect on our skin and hair. In fact, that’s not the only reason it’s bad for us. Let’s take a look at some more.

  • Chlorine can destroy vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Vitamin E is a nutrient that acts as an antioxidant, while polyunsaturated fatty acids are healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
  • Chlorine is said to promote the generation of free radicals in the body, and in the skin. These free radicals are heavily linked to cancer.
  • Chlorine reacts with other chemicals present in water to form harmful by-products like trihalomethanes (TTHMs), and chloramines. These have been linked to cancer. Studies have also shown an increased chance of cancer from bathing/showering in water containing chloramine. Our liver is great for detoxing drinking water, but our skin has no such protection.
  • Hot shower temperatures cause water to vaporize and the chemicals that are contained within it to be released into the air. We inhale these vapors that can contain harmful THMs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) state that levels of harmful chlorine related by-products can be high. Studies show that these by-products of chlorine can be incredibly dangerous when ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
  • Excessive exposure to chlorine is thought to cause premature aging. Anti-aging creams use anti-oxidants which are thought to fight against free radicals that cause premature aging of the skin. Chlorine also increases the presence of harmful free radicals.
  • Chlorine is also thought to reduce levels of protein in the body. Proteins are important to healthy skin. Chlorinated water is linked to dry and itchy skin which is lacking in essential, natural oils.
  • Chlorinated water is really bad for asthma sufferers and can increase the frequency of asthma attacks.

Do Shower Filters Work For Hard Water?

What is hard water?

While we answered this question when we discussed the best water softeners of the year, it is worth a sum-up on the matter, as millions of Americans still have to deal with this issue.

Hard water is water with high mineral content. If uncertain about the mineral level of your tap water you can use a hard water test kit to check your water quality. A standard shower filter won’t soften water the same way a traditional water softener (hard water filter) does, but it will remove chlorine and other contaminants, leaving the water supply much less harsh and lessening hard water hair damage.

But for best results in alleviating hard water irritation of the hair and skin, one should consider investing in a specific water softening system or shower filter for hard water that not only removes harmful chemicals but also adds salt and/or other softening elements to the water supply.

Myths and Facts about Shower Water Filters

Since there is a lot of information about shower filters on the web, we wanted to clear up some myths and confirm some facts you may have heard about them.

Showers Remove All Chlorine

This is false. The best shower filter will remove 90% or more of chlorine presence but there is no such thing as a filter that removes all of it. Brands that claim to have 99% removal have falsified results. Filters that are certified by the NSF #177 Standard (aka the US water filter standard) indicates that a filter will remove at least 50% of chlorine present in the water. You also want to check and make sure that manufacturers provide independent test results for their products before you make the commitment to buy.

KDF Shower Filters Are the Most Effective Type of Filters When It Comes to Removing Chlorine

This is true. KDF removes free chlorine under heavy pressure when used with hot water. You might not know this but carbon filters are pretty much useless in showers. They do not work when the water is warm or at high pressure and they have the tendency to clog quickly. When it comes to Vitamin C filters and chlorine, the answer is a bit more complicated.

We have tried to find research that shows they are effective at this but have not had success. Vitamin C filters work for your bathtub though since there is sufficient time for the water and product to mix.

Your Skin Absorbs Chlorine When You Are Showering

This is not entirely true. Many blogs and websites claim that taking a ten-minute shower is the equivalent of drinking eight glasses of chlorinated water. Health risks of chlorine absorption are explained as follows by the Department of Community Health:

The skin does not absorb chlorine well, but small amounts can pass through the skin when people are exposed to chlorine gas, bleach, or come into contact with water or soil containing high levels of chlorine. Although small amounts of chlorine can pass through the skin, it is eliminated from the body rapidly. Chlorine may irritate or burn the skin, especially moist areas.

Chloroform Can Lead to Cancer When Showering in Heated Chlorine Water

Surprisingly, this is true. With the facts we know about water and what lies beneath the surface, there is plenty of evidence to support this statement. A Science Nees report revealed increases in chloroform presence in a group study. Participants’ lungs were filled with 2.7ppb on average after a ten-minute shower. Warm water opens the pores, the skin absorbs it, and your lungs inhale it.

Shower Filters Can Eliminate Chloramines

This statement is false. Chloramines are used as a substitute for chlorine by many public water suppliers. There are plenty of shower filter brands on the market (particularly Vitamin C shower filters) that claim to remove chloramines. Conventional shower filters cannot remove more than a trace number of chloramines from your shower water.

Screw-on shower filters are unlikely to eliminate chloramines. While they reduce the number of chloramines slightly, the flow of the water is too high for the filtering compound to have enough time to function. Take your time to check out the claims of chloramine filter manufacturers. Ask for independent research that proves their effectiveness. It is highly likely that you will not be able to find any – we haven’t. The only proven effective way to remove chloramines from your shower is to install a whole house water filtration system.

What is the Difference Between Chlorine and Chloramines?

Chlorine has been present in municipal water systems for some time. According to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) site, it was first used in 1908. As of 1995, it was present within 64% of community water systems in the U.S. As we previously mentioned, prolonged exposure to chlorine is very rough on your skin and hair. A common problem with chlorinated water is that it chemically reacts to dirt and other germs and could lead to health issues.

Chloramines are also a chlorine compound. They have a longer lifespan than chlorine does and can travel further in the water supply. In addition, chloramines tend to smell better than chlorine and have less of a taste.

Shower Filters Soften Water

Guess again. While a shower filter will not soften water in the same way a traditional filter does, it will remove some chlorine and other harsh chemicals. The result is the water is less harsh on your skin and hair.

Shower Filters Reduce Water Pressure

This statement is mostly false. Most water filters process water at 2.5 gallons per minute. This is the same as most standard shower heads. Combine your filter with a water saving shower head to save money and be eco-friendly.

Shower Filters Last One Year or More on Average

This is also false to some extent. If you take two ten-minute showers per day, your KDF shower filter would last you somewhere between three to six months. Unfortunately, it can be pretty hard to tell the difference between shower head filters that are fully effective or only partially effective. Be sure to change them out as frequently as the manufacturer recommends you should.

Vitamin C Filters are the Best Type of Shower Filters for Your Skin

This is probably false. Patricia Farris, a doctor who specializes in dermatology, said that Vitamin C had a lot of benefits for the skin. If it is formulated properly, your skin will absorb it well. Vitamin C has the potential to soften fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen production, lightens hyperpigmentation, and protects your skin from harmful UV damage. But the question that you should be asking is ‘can it work with a shower filter?’

The answer is that it most likely won’t. While Vitamin C-infused showers might sound enticing in theory, they probably do not provide much of a benefit to your skin. In order to prevent it from becoming oxidized and ineffective, vitamin C has to be formulated and packaged in a special way. If vitamin C is simply sprayed out of the shower, most of it will oxidize and be rendered ineffective almost immediately. While Vitamin C is often touted as a beauty remedy, there is no scientific support that using a vitamin C shower filter will benefit your skin.

Showering with Chlorinated Water is Harmful to Pregnant Women and Young Children

This is true. Pregnant women should avoid showering with chlorinated water at all costs. It risks the health of both the mother and the unborn child. Various studies have shown that women who drank water with chlorine in it or showered in unfiltered water had many complications with their pregnancies. When it comes to young children, hot baths or showers with unfiltered municipal water could negatively impact their development.

Before You Buy: What Else Should You Know about Shower Water Filters?

In this section, we’ll discuss the key features that you should be looking for when buying a shower water filter. They come in a variety of styles so it’s important that you know exactly what you’re getting. These are the features that you should consider before you buy the best shower filters for your needs

1. Water Flow Rate

The water flow rate is the amount of water that is able to pass through the showerhead per unit of time. It is typically measured in gallons per minute (gpm). The higher the value, the stronger the jet from your shower.

The EPA set their WaterSense certification benchmark at 2.0 gpm, while most shower heads work at around 2.5 gpm. A showerhead filter with EPA WaterSense certification will save water and reduce water bills. However, you might notice a slight drop in pressure.

2. Certification

Some water filter manufacturers are prone to bold claims about how effective their products are. They can also be very creative with their language in such a way that makes their water filters seem better than perhaps they are. The way to separate the facts from the fiction is to look for independent certification.

Independent authorities like NSF and WQA perform thorough tests on water filters to verify these claims. If you need a shower filter that effectively reduces chlorine then look for a model that is certified to do so. We’ve noted this in each of our reviews. The most effective filtering techniques (reverse osmosis) are only available in more expensive whole house water filtration systems, but multi-stage filtration can still be extremely efficient in a cheaper modern shower filter.

The very best shower head filters come with an official mark from the NSF or WQA.

3. Handheld or Wall Mounted

The two types of model available are the hand-held and wall mount style. Most only come in the wall mount style but some offer a choice of the two. The WaterChef model that we review actually combines the two styles into the one unit.

4. Filter Lifespan & Cost: How Long Does a Shower Water Filter Last?

This is one of the most important features and probably the one that is most overlooked. You will need to replace the filter every 6 months (on average). Depending on what model you choose, this can represent a significant outlay. The one-off purchase of the actual shower head unit will be just a fraction of what you spend on filters over the course of 5 or 10 years.

Make sure you check the cost and lifespan of the filters before you commit yourself to a specific unit. Some of the more expensive models have extra long-life filters, so this might actually work out cheaper in the long-term. Of course, any of these options is more cost-effective than relying upon expensive bottled water to supply the gallons of water necessary for your household needs.

5. Spray Settings

Some showerheads come with multiple spray settings like pulsating mode and massage mode. If you need this choice when showering then make sure you check out whether a model has this option.

6. Filtration Measures

Different products employ different methods to meet their needs. Therefore, there are quite a few shower filters on the market. One of the top qualities to be on the lookout for is its filtration measures. Before you make a purchase, make sure you know exactly what needs to be filtered out of your water and do a run through of the technology the shower filter has to offer. Will it get the job done?

7. Practical Use

While this should go without saying, read through the product reviews before you add the shower filter to your cart. Does it really do what it says it will do?

8. Chlorine or Chloramine

Many countries use chlorine to disinfect their water systems. Over the years, many water companies have switched over to chloramine. Its presence lasts for s long time in the water supply and it has a neutral smell and taste. While it is a safer disinfectant to use than chlorine, it may still lead to skin, eye, and respiratory problems.

Top Benefits of Using the Best Shower Filters

There are plenty of convincing reasons why you should get a shower filter. Health hazards posed by chlorine, bacteria, lead, and other contaminants are reasons to invest in these products. Avoid health complications and dry, irritated skin and hair. Below, we list some of the most common benefits of using the best shower filter.

1. Your Hair and Skin Will Benefit from It and You Will Save Money

There are plenty of great cosmetic reasons to invest in a shower filter. Skip out on harsh chlorine and treat your skin and hair right. Using a shower filter neutralizes chemicals, leaving your skin soft instead of itchy and red. Since chlorine strips the skin and hair of their natural oils (sebum), it is no wonder your appearance is negatively affected by it. It speeds up the aging process. The EPA said that it triggers the production of free radicals in the body, causes cell damage, and is highly carcinogenic.

Skip out on the frizzy hair too. Even if investing in a shower filter is frustrating up front, you will save money in the long run. Think of all those facials and bottles of hair conditioner you will be able to skip out on.

2. Your Skin Absorbs More Chlorine When You Are in the Shower Than Drinking Tap Water

As we previously mentioned, the chemical chlorine reduces pathogenic bacteria in our water – but the downside is that its by-products are detrimental to our overall health. When chlorine reacts with organic matter, it produces disinfectant byproducts (trihalomethanes – THMs). When showering, your pores open up, leading to dermal absorption of toxins. When you shower without using a shower filter, you are more susceptible to the damage caused by chlorine and other chemicals.

According to the Department of Community Health, the risks presented by chlorine absorption are as follows:

The skin does not absorb chlorine well, but small amounts can pass through the skin when people are exposed to chlorine gas, bleach, or come into contact with water or soil containing high levels of chlorine. Although small amounts of chlorine can pass through the skin, it is eliminated from the body rapidly. Chlorine may irritate or burn the skin, especially moist areas.

In 1993, the American Journal of Public Health released an important study. It revealed that there was a 15% to 35% increase in types of cancer among people who consume chlorinated water. The report also indicates that many of these health risks were due to showering in chlorinated water. After all, your shower is the largest source of water contaminants released into the air of your home. When you shower, the chemicals vaporize faster than the water. This creates VOC gases with higher concentrations of chemicals than the water has.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that virtually every home in the U.S. has detectable levels of chloroform in the air due to chlorine and showering. Although some studies have proven inconclusive, chlorine and its by-products have a negative impact on the body and prolonged exposure to them while showering increases your likelihood of getting health problems. Using the best shower filter helps to protect your body.

3. Shower Head Filters May Help You to Feel Better

Do you ever feel worse after taking a long shower than when you first got in? The problem could very well be chlorine absorption and inhalation. Prolonged exposure to chlorinated water can cause a slew of health problems. Using a good shower filter will help to eliminate the presence of harsh chemical vapors, strengthen your immune system, and reduce the presence of bacteria, and other harmful contaminants in your municipal water supply.

4. Research Shows that Showering with Unfiltered Water Can Cause Cancer

As you may have gathered by now, inhaling vaporized chlorine causes lung damage. The CDC has confirmed that people who take hot showers are at a greater risk of exposure to chlorine and its by-products than people who drink unfiltered tap water. There are many studies that show a direct link between chlorinated water in showers and cancer.

In addition, books such as Never Fear Cancer Again: How to Prevent and Reverse Cancer and the American Health Hoax: The Surprising Truth About How Modern Medicine Keeps You Sick mention that

exposure to vaporized chlorine is 100 times more damaging than drinking chlorinated water.

For the past twenty years, scientists have been studying the effects of chlorine on the human body. A statement put out by the U.S. Council of Environmental Quality is as follows:

cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.

5. Children May Encounter Developmental Health Risks from Chlorine Exposure

Earlier, we mentioned that taking a hot bath or shower with unfiltered water could have negative effects on early childhood health development. This topic is worth expanding on. A study conducted in Belgium showed that there was a direct correlation between children who breathed in the air from a chlorinated indoor swimming pool and lung permeation and asthma. Children who played at the pool had a higher risk of developing juvenile asthma than those who did not.

In some of the more extreme cases, children showed epithelial tissue damage on the outer layer of the skin and the insides of the lungs. This study confirms how dangerous breathing in chlorine vapor can be to a young child’s respiratory system. This study expands beyond public pools. The study’s results are applicable to in-home chlorinated showers and baths too.

6. Chlorinated Water Causes Asthma and Allergies

Those who suffer from asthma and allergies are said to have fewer attacks when they shower with a water filter. Researchers attribute poor air quality to chemicals, particularly those from vaporized shower water. Sinus infections have also significantly increased over the past twenty years. The theory behind this occurrence is the increase in indoor air pollution. Chlorine is known to cause inflammation of sinus linings.

We are exposed to so many toxic chemicals in our day to day lives. It is estimated that public water supplies contain at least 2,100 hazardous chemicals. Most of these can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin while you are showering. Common chemical pollutants range from fragrances (e.g. laundry soap, shower gel, and scented candles) to building materials, and what we eat. Reducing toxins is critical to your health and overall well-being. Using a shower filter is a great way to reduce toxin exposure.

Investing in the Best Shower Filter vs. a Whole House Water Filtration System

When you buy a shower head filter and softener, you need to remember that does not solve the entire problem of chemical exposure. It means that soft, filtered water will only come from that source. If you turn on your bathroom tap faucet, kitchen sink, and more, your appliances are still contaminated.

Yes, investing in any type of water filtration system will cost you. However, the commitment to your health is what is most important. You are worth the investment. If you are seeking a long-lasting solution to filtered water, then using a whole house water filter is the way to go. Similarly, using the best water softener against hard water solves a host of household and health issues for your home and family.

We have listed the additional pros and cons of using a whole house water filtration system below – as compared to using a single shower filter in your bathroom.

Cons of Using a Whole House Water Filter

  • Purchase, installation, and maintenance can be quite expensive

Pros of Using a Whole House Water Filter

  • A long-lasting solution to chemical exposure
  • Most whole house water filtration systems come with a warranty of 10+ years
  • All of the water in your home is treated for pollutants (not just specific sink faucets or your shower)
  • Better quality plumbing (no more clogged pipes)
  • You can use an automatic metered system to get fresh water on demand
  • Soften and filter your home’s water

Additional Information You May Want to Know about Shower Filters

When conducting your research, you may notice that some shower head brands reference total chlorine. This term refers to when water contains both free chlorine and chloramines. If you are interested in learning more information about your water company, check the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s website, specifically the Consumer Confidence Report Section.

Best Shower Filters on The Market: Final Thoughts

We hope you have found our best shower filters reviews to be useful. We feel that our selection covers the best there is to offer. From the best budget buy right up to the more luxurious option, we feel confident we offered plenty of choices so you can pick the best product for your needs. Though we’re very happy with our choices, we’ll update this post when new models are released that we feel can improve our list.

The alternative to a water filter shower head is a whole house filtration system. These units are more expensive but they provide both clean drinking water and clean bathing water. If you’d like to find out more then check out our comprehensive guide.

If you’d like to be notified of any updates or when we post new articles at Water Filter Answers, then you can follow us on Facebook. We also post informative articles about the environment and pollution. There’s a link in the top right corner of the page. There’s a lot more to come here at waterfilteranswers.com over the coming months, so stay tuned!

Hi I'm Jamie, teacher and owner/chief contributor at waterfilteranswers.com. We strive to bring you the most informative water filter reviews in the most intuitive and user friendly way. Besides offering advice on the water filter to suit your needs, we also post topical articles on water pollution and the environment. Stay connected and follow us on, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more!

  1. I came to this page via a link on the page discussing Berkey water filters, yet I note that the Berkey shower filter is not included among your “five best.” How would you compare it to these? Thank you!

  2. I am wondering what would be best between the Culligan and the WaterChef? Which has the best filtration of substances? Also, can I double up on filtering? Example: install CaptainEco filter and then the Culligan or WaterChef on to that? Any advantage to this? Thanks

  3. This article looses all credibility with the statement, “The third important function it has is to raise the pH of the water. The ideal pH of water is slightly above 7 (slightly alkaline). Unless you are one of the lucky few, water tends to be slightly acidic (less than pH 7) so this is a great feature.”
    Actually, the optimal pH for skin and hair is around 5.5. Therefore, one of the biggest reasons for putting a filter in the shower is to LOWER the pH, because alkaline water contributes to dry, itchy skin and brittle hair. One would only want the pH raised if the filtered water were for consumption, for example a filter in the kitchen.

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