The 6 Best Shower Filters to Save Your Skin and Hair from Hard Water

These add-ons remove water impurities for a cleaner shower.

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Woman washing her hair in the shower
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You might not know it, but the water that runs from your showerhead might not be as clean as you think. In many homes, tap water can contain traces of unwanted minerals and chemicals like chlorine, metals, pesticides, and rust that can irritate your skin.

If your shower water contains high levels of certain minerals, namely calcium and magnesium, it's considered hard water—and it can have an impact on your skin and hair. Studies have shown showering in hard water can decrease your hair's thickness and strength, increasing breakage—something to keep in mind if you already have fine hair or hair that's damaged or dyed. It's also a potential risk factor for eczema, a key consideration for those with sensitive skin. Luckily, shower filters are a simple way to filter excess minerals from your shower water.

Much like filters used for drinking water, these devices contain layers of materials that work to sift out chemicals, metals, sediment, and other pollutants as water passes through. Plus, they're typically easy to install. We found the best shower filters for your home, including inline styles, showerhead sets, and vitamin-enriched picks.

Keep reading to learn more about these top-rated shower filters.

Our Picks for Best Shower Filters

Best Overall: AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Showerhead Set

silver showerhead and filter
Courtesy of Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a comprehensive filtration system.
Who it isn't for: People who might want to return the product after using it.

AquaHomeGroup's Luxury Filtered Showerhead Set is a comprehensive filtration unit that removes a variety of unwanted materials. In addition to a 15-stage filter system, the set also features a vitamin C and E cartridge.

The set includes a showerhead, five shower caps, Teflon tape, and two replaceable units—one 15-stage filter and a vitamin C and E cartridge. Once you install the showerhead, you'll want to let the water run for five to 10 minutes to remove any carbon dust that might have built up inside the filter.

The showerhead is ideal for homes with hard water or well water since it filters chlorine, heavy metals, rust, and sand. It's worth noting, however, that the showerhead can only be returned if it's unused or unopened, so you'll want to ensure the set is suited for your home.

Type: Showerhead | Filtered Materials: Heavy metals, rust, sand, chlorine | Filter Lifespan: Six months | Filter Type: KDF 55, activated carbon | Certifications: Not listed

Related: 12 Best Bath Towels for a Spa-Like Experience Every Day

Best Budget: CraterAquaSystems 15 Stages Shower Water Filter

shower water filter with multiple parts
Courtesy of Amazon

Who it's for: People who want to significantly reduce chlorine levels in their water.
Who it isn't for: People who want a filter with a longer lifespan.

Showering in water with high levels of chlorine can lead to dry hair and itchy skin. If you want to significantly lower the level of chlorine in your shower water, the CraterAquaSystems 15 Stages Shower Water Filter claims to reduce 97 percent of chlorine, though it's worth noting the claim has not been independently verified.

The filter is compatible with all types of showerheads and is easy to install; all you have to do is twist it onto your shower fixture. From there, the filter uses activated carbon, KDF, calcium sulfite, and colloidal silver to reduce chlorine, heavy metals, and bacteria in your shower water.

Although many shower filters only need to be replaced every six months, keep in mind this pick might need to be replaced at least every three months, depending on your water quality and usage.

Type: Inline | Filtered Materials: Chlorine, bacteria, heavy metals, lead, iron | Filter Lifespan: Three to six months | Filter Type: KDF 55, activated coconut carbon, colloidal silver, calcium sulfite | Certifications: Not listed

Best Splurge: Aroma Sense Opus Wall-Mounted Vitamin C Showerhead

showerhead with yellow vitamin c filter
Courtesy of Aroma Sense

Who it's for: People who want to incorporate aromatherapy and vitamin C into their shower.
Who it isn't for: People sensitive to certain scents.

Aroma Sense's Opus Wall-Mounted Vitamin C Showerhead is more expensive than other options out there, but the design offers spa-like benefits that make it worth it. The showerhead features over 300 spray plate holes for optimized water pressure, and it also adds relaxing aromatherapy benefits to your shower.

The set includes a showerhead, two microfiber filters, and one vitamin C shower cartridge. While you shower, the system will dispense a dose of aroma oils that are meant to increase your sense of relaxation. Plus, vitamin C concentrate pairs with a microfiber filter which, according to Aroma Sense, will neutralize chlorine and trap dirt, rust, and other contaminants.

If you want a different showerhead style, the system is also offered in handheld and rainfall designs.

Type: Showerhead | Filtered Materials: Chlorine, rust, dirt | Filter Lifespan: Two to three months | Filter Type: Vitamin C, microfiber | Certifications: Not listed

Related: This Aromatherapy Showerhead Turned My Bathroom into a Personal Spa

Best Inline: AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter

silver shower water filter
Courtesy of Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a filter that's easy to install.
Who it isn't for: People who want a showerhead-style fixture.

The AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter is a top choice for reducing chemicals and neutralizing odors in water. It features a multi-stage filtration process that works to remove sediment and impurities.

The shower filter is an inline style that's easy to install. All you have to do is screw it into your existing fixture, no matter what style you have. From there, the unit has a multilevel system that uses an activated carbon filter to reduce levels of chlorine, pesticides, and dirt in your water.

Type: Inline | Filtered Materials: Chlorine, pesticides, dirt | Filter Lifespan: Six months | Filter Type: Calcium sulfite, activated carbon | Certifications: Not listed

Best Showerhead: Aquasana Deluxe Shower Water Filter System

Aquasana Deluxe Shower Water Filter System
Courtesy of Amazon

Who it's for: People who want an adjustable showerhead.
Who it isn't for: People who want a KDF filter.

For a filter that'll offer a more personalized experience, you can't go wrong with Aquasana's Deluxe Shower Water Filter System. The system will reduce several unwanted substances in your shower water and can be adjusted to your liking in more ways than one.

The shower filter uses a coconut shell carbon filter that works to reduce the level of chlorine and several other chemicals from your water. A copper and zinc blend within the filter helps to further reduce the amount of chlorine present, as well as improve the water's pH balance. Combined, the level of chlorine is reduced by 90 percent.

The set features a massaging showerhead that can be adjusted to different settings, depending on your preferences. You can adjust the angle of the showerhead as well, so it'll be set for your own comfort. Plus, the filter only needs to be changed twice a year.

Type: Showerhead | Filtered Materials: Chlorine, lead, iron | Filter Lifespan: Six months | Filter Type: Coconut shell carbon, KDF copper-zinc oxidation | Certifications: Not listed

Best Handheld: Sprite Filtered 5-Spray Handheld Showerhead

Sprite Filtered 5-Spray Handheld Showerhead
Courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond

Who it's for: People who want a variety of water pressure settings.
Who it isn't for: People who already have a showerhead they love.

Sprite's Filtered 5-Spray Handheld Showerhead is the ideal combination of handheld flexibility and filtered water. The sprayer features five different pulse spray settings and will mount easily on your shower bracket.

The hand shower uses a built-in Chlorgon filter, a type of filtration system made of copper, zinc, and calcium sulfide that converts free chlorine to a harmless chloride salt. The set includes an extra filter, which only needs to be replaced every six months. Plus, it's protected by a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.

Type: Hand held | Filtered Materials: Chlorine, dirt, odor | Filter Lifespan: Six months | Filter Type: Chlorgon | Certifications: Not listed

Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Showerhead Set (view at Amazon), because it features a comprehensive 15-stage system, is easy to install, and has a vitamin C and E cartridge. For a budget-friendly pick, consider the CraterAquaSystems 15 Stages Shower Water Filter (view at Amazon) because it claims to significantly reduce levels of chlorine, as well as other sediments.

What to Look for in a Shower Filter

Filter Lifespan

Regardless of which shower filter type you choose, each unit's filter will have a limited lifespan before it needs to be changed. How often a filter needs to be replaced depends on your shower's water quality as well as your water usage.

While most will have to be switched around six months, double-check that the style you choose doesn't have to be changed more often. Otherwise, the filter might become clogged and be less effective.

Style and Filter Type

Shower filters are available in a few types of styles—inline, showerhead, and handheld. In general, an inline style is universal and can attach to any showerhead style, making it the ideal choice if you want to keep your existing showerhead. Looking to upgrade your showerhead? Choose a filtered showerhead or a filtered handheld fixture, which lets you direct the spray right where you need it.

Though there aren't any major differences between the filter styles as far as effectiveness, you'll want whichever style you choose to have either a KDF (kinetic degradation fluxion), vitamin C, or carbon filtration system, depending on your water filtration goals. Each method filters water well and significantly reduces impurities.

A KDF filter contains copper and zinc and uses a redox (oxidation reduction) process to filter iron, chlorine, mercury, and lead from your shower water. KDF is sometimes used as a pre-treatment within a filtration system and is often combined with other filtration methods like activated carbon. Though there are different types of KDF, KDF 55 is the most common. The filtration media is made to specifically reduce chlorine and other water-soluble metals.

An activated carbon filter uses a process called adsorption. During filtration, unwanted substances will move from your shower water to the filter, similar to a sponge. A vitamin C filter works to remove chlorine by reacting to the chemical and neutralizing it. It's worth noting, however, that the filter type is typically only good for removing chlorine.

Installation

Showerhead filters tend to be easy to install, but it's worth noting the unit's instructions before you purchase. While some can just be twisted onto your existing fixtures, others may require a few extra steps, like running the water for a few minutes, before they're ready to use.

FAQs

What are the benefits of a shower filter?

In many homes, tap water contains traces of minerals and chemicals, like chlorine, that can irritate your skin. When you take a shower or bath, these impurities can leave a film on your body, making it more difficult to lather up and rinse clean. Washing up in unfiltered hard water can also lead to hair that appears dull, brittle, and flat, as well as dry or irritated skin. And in higher concentrations, contaminants in the water supply, including heavy metals like lead, can cause serious health issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Shower filters can reduce the levels of these specific substances in your water: chlorine, rust, and dirt being some of the top filtered materials. Lowering the levels of these substances in your shower might offer health and beauty benefits over time.

How does a shower filter work?

Shower filters that include multiple layers of carbon (usually in the form of activated coconut carbon) are most effective at absorbing chlorine, sediment, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and odors in the water. However, high water temperatures might decrease the carbon filter's ability to capture chlorine and other contaminants.

Kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF) filters, which are made out of copper and zinc, use a chemical reaction to neutralize impurities like chlorine, bacteria, lead, mercury, iron, and hydrogen sulfide. These filters can also help reduce limescale and mold in your shower, but they tend to cost more. Vitamin C shower filters are also popular and help dechlorinate tap water while adding the nutrient into your shower stream.

What is the best style shower filter for my home?

The best type of shower filter depends on the style of shower you have at home. While an inline style can be used in just about any type of shower, whether you get a handheld pick or showerhead is dependent on your current fixtures. Once you've chosen a type, you can consider additional features a filter might offer, like fragrant oils or vitamin C concentrates.

When determining the best shower filter for you, it's also important to know what needs to be filtered out of water. Tools like EWG's online tap water database can help you identify contaminants in your local water system, so you can choose a shower filter that's best suited for your needs.

Why Trust Us?

Jamie Weissman is a commerce editor for Better Homes & Gardens. For two years, she's written about a variety of home products. To make this list, she spent hours researching shower filters, including different styles, how they work, and how users will benefit.

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