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Best Shower Head Filter

Best Shower Head Filter 2020: Reviews, Advice & Buying Guide

Looking for a shower head filter to protect your skin and hair from hard water, chlorine, and other water contaminants?

You've come to the right place.

Hard water contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium that are good for your body but bad for your skin.

Hardness minerals increase your risk for atopic dermatitis (eczema). If you already have eczema, showering with hard water will worsen it.

Hard water also causes or worsens itching, rashes, and acne. It's terrible for your hair too. It makes your hair rougher and harder to manage and can also worsen hair loss.

It's not just calcium and magnesium you need to worry about. Contaminants such as chlorine, iron, and heavy metals like arsenic and lead can also damage your skin and affect your health.

A shower head filter will not remove 100% of contaminants, but it will significantly improve the quality of your shower.

Best Shower Head Water Filters Compared

Aquabliss SF100
  • Aquabliss SF100

  • Editor’s choice
  • Filtration:
    12 stages
  • Removes:
    Sediment, chlorine, scale & chemicals
  • Filter life: 12,000 gallons
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: $$

Aqua Earth
  • Aqua Earth

  • Best for chlorine
  • Filtration:
    15 stages
  • Removes:
    Sediment, heavy metals, chlorine, scale & chemicals
  • Filter life: 12,000 gallons
  • Warranty: Not specified
  • Price: $$

Aquabliss SF220
  • Aquabliss SF220

  • Best for well water
  • Filtration:
    8 stages
  • Removes:
    Sediment, chlorine, heavy metals, scale & chemicals
  • Filter life: 12,000 gallons
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: $$

Aquasana AQ-4100 shower head
  • Aquasana AQ-4100

  • Best for hair
  • Filtration:
    2 stages
  • Removes:
    Chlorine, some scale & organic chemicals
  • Filter life: 10,000 gallons
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: $$$

Geekpure
  • Geekpure

  • Best budget
  • Filtration:
    4 stages
  • Removes:
    Chlorine & some water hardness
  • Filter life: 5,000 gallons
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: $

Aquasana AQ-4105 shower head
  • Aquasana AQ-4105

  • Best for iron
  • Filtration:
    2 stages
  • Removes:
    Chlorine, heavy metals, iron & organic chemicals
  • Filter life: 10,000 gallons
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: $$$

PureAction
  • PureAction

  • Best handheld
  • Filtration:
    2 stages
  • Removes:
    Chlorine & sediment
  • Filter life: 10,000 gallons
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: $$

What's In This Buying Guide?

In this in-depth buying guide, we will explain the problem with showering with hard or contaminated water, and how a shower head filter can help.

We also explain different types of showerhead filters and review the best shower filters in the market.


Showering With Hard Water: What's The Harm?

best shower head filter for hard water

Every time when you take a shower, your skin feels dry, itchy, and flaky, the problem may be the calcium and magnesium in the water.

If you use well water or receive hard water from your local utility, it can affect your skin when you shower or take a bath.

Hard water is strongly linked with eczema, skin itchiness, and skin irritation. These reactions occur when hardness minerals in the water react with soap, leaving deposits (called scum) on your skin.

These deposits affect the skin's water barrier, causing higher than normal water loss from the skin.

That's why your skin feels dry and flaky after showering with hard water. You may also experience itchiness and irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Dry skin increases your risk of acne. Your body produces more oil, which clogs pores and leads to breakouts. So while hard water may not directly cause acne, it can be a factor in its development. If you already have acne, showering with dry water can make it worse.

It's the same with eczema. Hard water damages your skin barrier and significantly increases your risk of developing eczema.

The problem with hard water goes beyond your skin; it also affects your hair and nails.

As the hardness minerals settle on your skin and hair, they weaken them. Your hair becomes delicate and falls out more easily. Your nails also become brittle.

If you already have problems with weak hair or brittle nails, hard water will make things worse.

Note: Effects of hard water tend to be worse on kids and babies. It can lead to baby eczema, sensitive skin, itchiness (which can be really uncomfortable for kids), and dry skin.

It's Not Just Hard Water 

Even if you have soft water, you may still need a shower head filter. There's more than just hard water to be worried about.

Another major problem with shower water is chlorine, which is likely present in your water if you are supplied by your city or municipal.

Like hardness minerals, chlorinated water can lead to skin dryness and itchiness. People with sensitive skin have it worse.

Chlorine in shower water can also dry out your hair and make it brittle.

More worryingly, chlorine produces dangerous disinfection byproducts called trihalomethanes (THMs), which are harmful when inhaled. The risk is especially high when showering because heating water increases the production of THMs. 

THMs are associated with various types of cancers.

In addition to chlorine, many other contaminants can also affect your skin and hair health. Some of these contaminants are also dangerous for your overall health. They include:

  • Microorganisms such as bacteria
  • Chemicals like pesticides and pharmaceuticals
  • Heavy metals such as lead and arsenic
  • Dust and sediment

Do You Need a Showerhead Water Filter?

shower head filter for skin

If you already have a whole house filter or a whole house water softener, then no, you don't need a showerhead filter.

But if you don't, add it to your shopping list.

A shower head filter reduces the level of impurities and hardness minerals in your shower water. Most filters have between 2 and 15 filtration stages of dealing with different kinds of contaminants.

A shower filter is important if:

  • You live in a hard water area.
  • You use well water in your home.
  • Your skin feels dry and appears flaky after you take a shower.
  • Your skin feels itchy or irritated after taking a shower or bath.
  • Your hair feels dry after a shower. You may also notice that it is more brittle and comes off easily.
  • Your hair appears dull and is hard to style into shape, no matter what you do.
  • Your current showerhead frequently clogs with scale.

Having that said, a shower head filter is not for everyone. Depending on your water situation, you may need another type of filter.

If you use very hard water, we recommend a whole house water softener. A shower head filter only helps with low to average water hardness. Read our buying guide for the best water softeners

If you want to remove chlorine and chemicals from all the water coming into the house, get a whole house water filter.

A whole house filter will protect your skin and hair whether you take a shower, take a bath in the tub, or wash your face in the sink. Read our buying guide for the best whole house water filters.

If your municipal uses chloramine to treat water, a showerhead filter will not help. Shower filters remove a very small amount of chloramines.

Vitamin C is effective against chloramines, but only if you use it in a bath where it has time to react with the chemical. In a shower filter, there's simply no time for vitamin C to work.

Other types of filters, including activated carbon, KDF, and calcium sulfite, are ineffective against chloramines. In fact, they get damaged when exposed to water with chloramines.

If you receive water treated with chloramines, get a whole house water filter. Look for one that is designed to deal with chloramines.

Finally, if you have high levels of harmful impurities in your water, such as heavy metals (lead, arsenic, etc.) and microorganisms like bacteria, play it safe and get a whole house water filter.


Types of Shower Filters 

There are two main types of shower filters: in-line filters and shower head filters.

In-Line Shower Filters

In-Line Shower Filters

In-line shower filters consist of a small, usually cylindrical, unit containing a filter cartridge inside. You install the filter onto the shower arm/pole and then screw your showerhead onto the filter.

The main advantage of an in-line shower filter is that you don't have to replace your current showerhead. If you like your shower head, you can keep it.

The main downside is that in-line filters do not offer multiple shower modes since they cannot control the pressure and flow of the water.

Showerhead Shower Filters 

Showerhead Shower Filters

A shower head shower filter combines an in-line filter and a showerhead in a single unit, meaning you have to part with your old showerhead.

Most showerhead filters offer multiple shower modes, including rainfall mode, massage mode, and so on.

Shower filters can also be categorized based on the filtration media they use. Here are the most common types of media used in shower filters.

Note that most shower filters contain multiple types of filters.

1. Activated carbon filter

Most showerhead filters contain activated carbon, either in granular or block form. Activated carbon removes chlorine and various chemicals, including pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

2. Calcium sulfite

Activated carbon is less effective at removing chlorine in hot water. So, many shower head filters also use calcium sulfite, a type of filtration media that can remove chlorine in both hot and cold water.

3. KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) 

KDF filters use zinc and copper to trigger a process called redox that transforms contaminants such as chlorine, heavy metals, iron, and hydrogen sulfide into harmless products.

However, KDF is ineffective against organic chemicals such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides.

4. Stainless steel mesh 

To prevent the carbon filter and other filters from clogging, some showerhead filters have an ultra-fine stainless steel mesh as the first stage. It captures dust, dirt particles, and sediment before it reaches the other filters.

5. Polypropylene (PP) Cotton 

In showerhead filters, PP cotton is used to trap small sediments and dirt particles. The stainless steel mesh catches the big stuff while PPcotton filters out the tinier particles that can easily clog the other filters.

6. Vitamin C

Companies like to tout the benefits of their vitamin C shower filters. But there's little evidence that a vitamin C shower does much for your skin. Most of it goes down the drain. 

The effect on your skin, if any, is limited.

However, it can improve the quality of your shower water. Vitamin C is commonly used to neutralize chlorine. While it has reduced effect in a shower because of the reduced contact time, it can still remove some of the chlorine.

A showerhead filter with a carbon filter, KDF, calcium sulfite, and vitamin C will be significantly more effective at removing chlorine compared to a filter that uses only one type of media.


Best Shower Head Water Filters: In-Depth Reviews

After comparing dozens of showerhead filters, we picked seven that we liked most. They all improve the quality of your shower and protect your skin and hair. They are also a breeze to install and maintain.

Editor's Choice: AquaBlissSF100 High Output Shower Filter 

AquaBliss SF100 High Output Shower Filter

The AquaBliss SF100 reduces chlorine, organic chemicals, and sediment in the water, without affecting your shower water pressure.

It consists of 12 stages, some to remove contaminants and others to revitalize your skin and hair.

Lacking a KDF filter, the AquaBliss SF100 does not remove heavy metals like lead and mercury. But since most people receive municipal water free of these contaminants (or with very low levels), the SF100 showerhead filter is perfect for a majority of homes.

Pros

  • Removes chlorine and organic chemicals.
  • Eliminates water turbidity caused by sediment and dust.
  • High water output.
  • Easy to install.
  • Universal fit –compatible with most types of showers.
  • Reduces limescale using redox media.

Cons

  • It doesn't remove heavy metals.
  • Not ideal for water containing chloramines.

Best Features 

AquaBliss SF100 features
1. 12-stage Filtration 

12 stages sound impressive, but only about half of these stages are involved in the actual filtration. The others, like the Ceramic Balls, add minerals and vitamins that are good for your skin.

Here are the essential filters.

Ultra-fine stainless steel mesh: Keeps out medium-size sediment and dirt.

PP cottonTraps finer particles of dirt and sediment. It eliminates water turbidity and lengthens the life of the filter cartridge by reducing clogging.

Calcium sulfite: Removes chlorine in hot and cold water.

Redox media: Reduces limescale buildup for those that use hard water. It also complements calcium sulfite in chlorine removal.

Activated carbon: Reduces chlorine and its byproducts (THMs). It also removes organic chemicals such as pesticides.

From stage 6 to 10, the filter consists of far infrared balls, ceramic balls, vitamin C, tourmaline, and magnetic energy balls.

These media are added to improve and nourish your skin, nails, and hair. However, most of them have limited effect. The fast-moving water in a shower does provide enough time for minerals and vitamins to get into the water or for your body to absorb them.

But since they have no ill effect, you might as well take advantage of their limited benefits.

Stages 11 and 12 consists of PP cotton and ultra-fine stainless steel mesh. They prevent any trapped contaminants from getting out – a kind of a post-filter.

2. Universal Fit 

One thing we love about the AquaBliss SF100 is the ease of installation. It's compatible with most types of showers, including handheld and rain showerheads, meaning you don't need adaptors or any extra parts to attach the filter.

The SF100 filter attaches to the pole exiting the wall, and then your existing showerhead attaches onto the filter. No tools needed. Use Teflon tape to prevent leaks.

3. 12,000-gallon Capacity 

The SF100 filter cartridge filters 10,000-12,000 gallons of water before you need to replace it.

This translates to about 3-6 months of use depending on the size of your family, how many showers you take, and how long you spend in the shower.

An easy way to tell that you need to replace the cartridge is if the water pressure drops or you experience some of the dryness and itching you used to feel before installing the filter.

Issues & Limitations 

The main limitation of the AquaBliss SF100 is that it does not remove heavy metals.

If you are concerned about lead, arsenic, or mercury in your shower water or you use well water high in iron, the AquaBliss SF100 is not the best choice.

The other limitation is that the SF100 filter does not remove chloramines. In fact, exposure to chloramines degrades the cartridge quickly, reducing its Lifespan to less than a month.

If your water utility uses chloramines to treat water instead of chlorine, don't get the AquaBliss SF100. Don't get any shower head filter at all. As we recommended earlier, a whole house filter is the best choice for removing chloramines.

The Bottom Line 

With over 5,000 reviews and a high rating on Amazon, the AquaBliss SF100 is a proven shower filter. Most people notice an improvement with their first shower.

The SF100 filter will not remove all contaminants from your water, but it is effective against the most frustrating ones, namely chlorine and water hardness.


Best Showerhead Filter for Chlorine: Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter 

Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter

The Aqua Earth 15-stage filter uses the same multipronged approach as AquaBliss SF100 for dealing with chlorine.

It contains activated carbon, KDF, calcium sulfite, and vitamin C to remove as much chlorine as possible.

The Aqua Earth filter is cheaper, making it the best choice for those whose primary concern is chlorine in their shower water.

Unfortunately, just like the AquaBliss SF100, the Aqua Earth filter is ineffective against chloramines.

Pros

  • Highly effective at reducing chlorine.
  • Universal fit for handheld, rainfall, and overhead showers.
  • Easy to install.
  • No reduction in water pressure.
  • Extra cartridge included.

Cons

  • Not effective against chloramines.

Best Features 

AquaBliss SF100 features
1. 15 Stages 

Here are the most important filtration stages and the impurities they filter out.

Stainless steel mesh: Medium-size and large particulates.

Ultra-fine stainless steel: Fine particulates.

PP cotton: Ultra-fine particles such as dust and fine sediment.

KDF-55Reduces chlorine and heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury.

Calcium sulfite: Reduces chlorine in hot and cold water.

Activated carbon: It also reduces chlorine as well as organic chemicals such as pharmaceuticals and dissolved farm chemicals.

Stages 7 to 12 are aesthetic filters that are not directly involved in filtration. They make the water slightly more nourishing for your skin. They include ceramic balls, vitamin C, and negative ion balls.

The last three stages act as a single post-filter to keep trapped contaminants from leaking out of the shower. They include PP cotton and ultra-fine stainless steel mesh.

2. Easy Installation 

You don't need to worry about compatibility. The Aqua Earth filter is designed to fit almost any shower.

Remove the existing showerhead, screw the filter onto the shower pole, and attach the showerhead onto the filter. If you notice leaking, re-install the filter using Teflon tape.

3. 10,000-12,000 Gallon Capacity 

The Aqua Earth filter cartridge filters about 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of water before it reaches its filtration capacity. This is about 3-6 months of use, depending on how many people are in the family and how many showers everyone takes every day.

The filter comes with an extra cartridge.

Issues & Limitations 

Similar to many showerhead filters, the Aqua Earth filter has trouble removing chloramines.

The vitamin C removes only a tiny amount of the chemical. KDF, calcium sulfite, and activated carbon also remove very little amounts of chloramines.

The Bottom Line 

Using four different media (KDF, carbon, vitamin C, and calcium sulfite), the Aqua Earth filter removes most of the chlorine from water, which prevents skin and hair dryness, itchiness, and sensitivity.


Best Showerhead Filter for Well Water: AquaBliss SF220 High Output Universal Shower Filter

AquaBliss SF220 High Output Universal Shower Filter

The AquaBliss SF220 is the heavier-duty sibling to the popular SF100 filter.

It filters out more impurities from water, making it a good choice for well water, which usually has more contaminants than tap water.

The SF220 is also a good choice for homes that receive water with extra-high levels of chlorine, agricultural chemicals, or hydrogen sulfide.

Pros

  • Excellent filtration performance – removes more contaminants than most showerhead filters.
  • Easy to install.
  • Compatible with most types of showers.
  • Reduces water hardness and eliminates odors from chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, and other chemicals.

Cons

  • Doesn't filter chloramines.

Best Features 

Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter features
1. 8-Stage Filtration 

It may seem like the AquaBliss SF220 is the less capable filter because it has eight stages compared to 15 of other filters.

But remember that most filters only have about five actual filters. The other stages are there to add minerals and vitamins with somewhat limited benefits for your skin.

In contrast, all eight stages in the SF220 are focused purely on filtration, making the SF220 more effective than the SF100 and most other showerhead filters.

The eight stages are arranged in three sections: sediment removal, impurity removal, and protection. Here are the eight stages in order.

Sand filter: Captures large particles of dirt and sediment. It's especially helpful for well water, as it tends to contain many large particulates.

Ultra-fine stainless steel mesh: Filters out medium-size particulates.

PP cotton: Filters out fine sediment and dust.

Calcium sulfite: Neutralizes chlorine in hot and cold water.

Redox media: Reduces chlorine, limescale, and heavy metals.

Activated carbon: It also targets chlorine and a variety of chemicals such as THMs and pesticides.

PP cotton & ultra-fine steel mesh: These two post-filters keep the trapped contaminants from getting out with the water.

2. Easy Installation 

Regardless of the type of shower, you have in your bathroom, the AquaBliss SF220 filter will likely fit.

All you need to do is remove the current shower head, attach the filter to the pole, and then reattach the showerhead onto the filter. No tools required.

3. 6-Month (Average) Lifespan 

The cartridge in the filter is good for 10,000-12,000 gallons, which works out to about 6 months for the average family.

It will last for less time if you take more showers or have a bigger family.

The replacement cartridge is cheap and takes less than a minute to install.

Issues & Limitations 

Does your city use chloramines to treat the water? If so, you are out of luck.

The AquaBliss SF220 is ineffective against chloramines and will actually degrade quickly if you expose it to water with chloramines.

As we suggested in the beginning, get a whole house filter if you receive water with chloramines.

The Bottom Line 

For homes that use well water, finding a good quality shower head filter that can handle the increased levels of impurities is challenging.

Thankfully, you don't need to search anymore. The AquaBliss SF220 works great with well water, reducing impurities that affect your skin and hair.


Best Showerhead Filter for Hair: Aquasana AQ-4100

Aquasana AQ-4100

Hard water and chlorine can can produce numerous harmful affects on your hair.

The Aquasana AQ-4100 filters out most of the chlorine and chemicals in the water to keep your hair from getting dry, dull, and brittle.

Pros

  • Filters out chlorine and other chemicals.
  • Easy to install.
  • Multiple massage options.
  • Maintains high water pressure.

Cons

  • It doesn't remove chloramines.
  • Lacks sediment filter – not ideal for well water or water with high turbidity.

Best Features 

Aquasana AQ-4100 features
1. 2-stage Filtration 

The Aquasana AQ-4100 is one of the simplest showerhead filters we have reviewed. It has only two stages.

That's not entirely a bad thing. It makes it more effective at removing contaminants from water.

Another difference between the Aquasana AQ-4100 and other filters is the size of the cartridge. The AQ-4100 filter is bigger, meaning the water has more contact time with the filtration media, which increases filtration performance.

The two stages are activated carbon and KDF. Both remove chlorine, but activated carbon also removes pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other organic chemicals lurking in the water.

KDF also helps balance the water's pH, which is good for your scalp and hair.

What we don't like about the simple 2-stage setup is the lack of a sediment filter. This makes the AQ-4100 less than ideal for well water, which typically has high levels of particulates.

We also wish the filter contained calcium sulfite, which does a great job removing chlorine in hot water. Carbon becomes less effective as the water gets hotter.

2. Massage Settings

If you were hoping to continue using your showerhead after installing a filter, you wouldn't be able to if you get the Aquasana AQ-4100.

It comes with its own showerhead.

In return for letting go of your showerhead, it offers one with multiple massage settings. Just turn the end of the showerhead to adjust your shower experience.

3. 6-Month Lifespan 

Aquasana recommends replacing the filter every six months or after about 10,000 gallons. For large families, replace the filter after 3 months.

Issues & Limitations 

As we mentioned, the AQ-4100's lack of a sediment filter is a problem if you have well water. We recommend AquaBliss SF220 instead of well water users.

There's also the issue of the showerhead. If you love your current showerhead, you can't keep it.

The Bottom Line 

The Aquasana AQ-4100 is a great choice if you are looking for a shower head filter that will protect your hair from drying, getting weak, or losing color.

The massage feature is a nice bonus.


Best Budget: Geekpure 4 Stage Showerhead Filter

Geekpure 4 Stage Showerhead Filter

If you are on a budget, the Geekpure 4-stage shower head filter is the cheapest of our picks.

The build quality is not as good as the other filters – it has a plastic body – but it filters out chlorine just as well as our other picks.

The most popular color is blue, but you can also get the showerhead in orange or pink.

Pros

  • Budget price.
  • High-performance 4-stage filtration.
  • Multiple shower modes.
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • You can't use your current showerhead (the filter comes with its own).
  • No sediment, KDF, or carbon filter –the Geekpure filter doesn't remove as many contaminants as other filters.
  • It doesn't remove heavy metals.

Best Features 

Geekpure 8 shower modes
1. Calcium Sulfite Filtration

The Geekpure showerhead filter has four stages, but only one of those is a true filter – the calcium sulfite balls.

This is the only stage that actually removes contaminants from water, specifically, chlorine.

Calcium sulfite is pretty good at chlorine removal. So, even though there isn't a carbon filter, it still manages to get rid of most of it. And unlike activated carbon, it is effective in both hot and cold water.

The other three stages include Vitamin C balls, negative ion germanium balls, and far-infrared mineral balls.

These stages add healthy minerals and vitamins to the water, balance the water's pH, and reduce water hardness.

2. Easy Installation 

The Geekpure filter takes a couple of minutes to install. It doesn't require any tools, and most customers say they didn't even need any tape since the showerhead doesn't leak.

The Geekpure filter comes with its own showerhead; bad news for those who love their current one.

But the new one is pretty good. It produces water at high pressure, and you can choose from multiple shower modes ranging from a rainfall setting to a focused massage setting.

To install the Geekpure showerhead filter, unscrew your current showerhead and screw in the new one.

3. Extra Filter Included 

The cartridge in the Geekpure filter lasts half as long as other shower filters, which is not surprising given the price. You have to replace it after 5,000 gallons or about 3 months of use for an average size family (3-4 people taking two showers a day).

Fortunately, the filter comes with an extra cartridge, so you don't have to get a new one for the first six months.

Issues & Limitations 

The Geekpure showerhead filter is limited in the range of impurities it can reduce in water. It lacks a carbon filter, a sediment filter, and a KDF filter, three filtration media common in other showerhead filters.

If your water contains pesticides, pharmaceuticals, fine sediment, and heavy metals, they'll pass through unimpeded.

For this reason, we only recommend the Geekpure filter if your main concern is chlorine.

It also helps a bit with water hardness. It will not soften it but will reduce scale and scum on your hair and skin.

The Bottom Line 

What frustrates you most about taking a shower is the chlorine and how it makes your skin dry and itchy, the Geekpure showerhead filter is an effective and pocket-friendly solution.


Best Showerhead Filter for Iron: Aquasana AQ-4105

Aquasana AQ-4105

Iron is a particularly common problem for homes that use well water, though it can also be present in tap water.

High levels of iron in water cause stains on surfaces. It can also make your skin and hair feel dry and appear dull.

Some people are also sensitive to iron. They get itchy and develop red splotches when they shower with water high in iron.

The Aquasana AQ-4105 is one of the best shower head filters for reducing iron in your shower water. It's not as effective as a whole house filter, but it can make a difference big enough to get you back your soft hair and skin and stop the after-shower itching.

Pros

  • Reduces iron, heavy metals, chlorine, and other impurities.
  • Includes a handheld wand.
  • Easy, no-tool installation.
  • Customizable shower settings.

Cons

  • Pricey.
  • It doesn't remove chloramines.

Best Features 

filter shower head features
1. 2-Stage Filtration 

The Aquasana AQ-4105 has just two stages, but they are highly effective at removing iron and other impurities from the water.

The first stage is AquaSorb HX coconut shell carbonThe activated carbon filter reduces chlorine and various organic chemicals in the water.

The carbon filter has pores small enough to also reduce iron,including-dissolved rust, as well as some of the dissolved iron.

Additionally, it removes some heavy metals.

The next stage is a KDF 55 filter consisting of a copper and zinc blend. The KDF filter removes some more chlorine from the water as well as heavy metals.

2. Easy Installation 

Like the Aquasana AQ-4100, the AQ-4105 filter replaces your entire showerhead. But don't worry, you are getting away cooler showerhead.

The Aquasana AQ-4105 showerhead has adjustable massage settings. You can go from a rainfall shower to a gentle massaging wash.

The AQ-4105 filter also includes a handheld wand.

3. 6-month Lifespan 

The Aquasana AQ-4105 filter cartridge has a capacity of 10,000-12,000 gallons or about six months' worth of showers for an average-sized family of 3-5 people.

Issue & Limitations 

If you really like your current showerhead, you should probably get the AquaBliss or Aqua Earth shower head filters.

The Aquasana AQ-4105comes with its own showerhead, meaning you can't keep using your current one.

Another issue is the filter's ability, or lack thereof, to deal with chloramines. Like most shower filters, the Aquasana AQ-4105 cannot remove chloramines from water and will degrade quickly if your water contains chloramines.

One other contaminant it doesn't handle too well is sediment. It doesn't have a sediment filter. If your water contains a lot of particulates, it will clog the carbon filter in no time, requiring frequent replacements.

The Bottom Line 

Though pricier than our other picks, the Aquasana AQ-4105 is an excellent choice for those who are affected by the high levels of iron in their water.

It also does a great job of reducing chlorine, heavy metals, and a variety of chemicals in the water.


Best Handheld Showerhead Filter: PureAction Luxury Filtered Shower Head with Handheld Hose

PureAction Luxury Filtered Shower Head with Handheld Hose

The PureAction Luxury showerhead easily unhooks from the overhead arm to transform into a convenient handheld filter showerhead.

You do have to give up your current showerhead, but we think the PureAction showerhead is better…and cooler.

Pros

  • Overhead or handheld.
  • Reduces chlorine, fluoride, and odors in water.
  • Easy to install.

Cons

  • Limited effect on hard water.
  • It doesn't remove heavy metals.

Best Features 

PureAction features
1. 2-Stage Filtration 

The PureAction showerhead filter uses a basic 2-stage filtration system. The two stages include a sponge filter to capture large particulates and calcium sulfite balls to remove chlorine.

The lack of a carbon and KDF filter limits the range of contaminants the filter can remove.

If your main concern is chlorine in your shower water, the PureAction showerhead filter is good enough.

If you are also worried about heavy metals, pesticides, and other impurities, consider one of our other picks containing carbon and KDF filters.

2. Handheld Showerhead

Like we mentioned, the PureAction showerhead filter replaces your showerhead.

In return, you get a filtered showerhead with three shower settings (rain, massage, and combo) and a handheld wand.

The showerhead comes with everything you need for installation, including a 60" hose, a shower holder, and Teflon tape.

3. 10,000-gallon Capacity (6 Months)

The PureAction shower head filter has a standard 6-month lifespan, for a family of 3-5 people. If you have a large family, you'll need to replace the filter cartridge sooner.

Issues & Limitations 

The PureAction showerhead filter focuses mainly on the reduction of chlorine. We do not recommend it if you want to reduce water hardness, heavy metals, iron, or chloramines.

Another issue is durability.

The PureAction showerhead has a plastic body with a chrome finish. Do not expect it to last as long as a metal showerhead.

The Bottom Line 

If you love the convenience of a handheld shower, we highly recommend the PureAction showerhead filter.

It does a great job eliminating chlorine odor in water and stopping chlorine-related skin itchiness and hair dryness.


How Do Showerhead Water Filters Work?

Showerhead Water Filters Working

The working of a shower head filter is much like that of most other water filters. Water passes through multiple stages, with each stage removing specific contaminants.

For a 3-stage shower, the water's progression might take it through a sediment filter, which removes particulates, a carbon filter that removes chlorine and organic chemicals, and finally, a calcium sulfite filter for further chlorine reduction.

The water coming out of the other end of the filter has fewer impurities.

The trapped impurities collect in the filter cartridge. After some time, you'll need to replace the cartridge to keep the filter working properly.


What Contaminants Do Showerhead Filters Remove?

water filter for shower head

The type of contaminants removed by a showerhead filter depends on the media inside the filter.

A filter containing activated carbon and calcium sulfite will remove chlorine, organic chemicals, and some heavy metals.

A filter containing KDF will reduce chlorine as well as some heavy metals.

A filter containing stainless steel mesh or PP cotton will remove sediment, dust, and rust.


What Contaminants Do Shower head Filters NOT Remove?

 shower head filter to remove chlorine

Compared to other types of water filters (under-sink, whole-house, and faucet filters), shower filters have the lowest filtration performance.

Not surprisingly, it's harder to remove impurities from water running fast through a small filter.

Here is the list of contaminants shower filters cannot remove.

  • Waterborne microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
  • Very high levels of hardness minerals. Most shower filters work best for hard water with a low to average level of hardness minerals. If your water is very hard, a whole house water softener is the best option.
  • Chloramines.

Showerhead Water Filter Buying Guide

hand held shower head filter

With so many shower filters in the market, it can be difficult to find the right one for your needs. It's even harder to separate the genuinely useful filters from overpriced ones full of gimmicks.

To make shopping easier, here are the most important features to look for when choosing a shower head water filter.

1. Number and Type of Filtration Stages

The number of stages in a filter is important, but only to a point.

You'll find many 15-stage filters online, but they are not necessarily better than a 3 or 4-stage filter.

Most shower filters with more than 10 stages don't really have 10 filters. Only about half are actual filters. The others are usually natural stones to add ions and minerals to the water. Most also include a vitamin C stage.

The added mineral and vitamins are good, but they have limited benefit for your skin since there's no time for the skin to absorb them.

If you want to nourish your skin and hair, applying good quality skincare and hair products and eating right are the most effective methods.

Your skin won't suffer if you buy a 4-stage shower filter without vitamin C or ceramic balls.

The stages that matter is:

By the way, check if the filter comes with an extra cartridge. It'll save you the trouble of ordering another one for some time.
  • Sediment filter – usually stainless steel mesh, PP cotton or sponge
  • Activated carbon filter
  • Calcium sulfite balls
  • KDF filter

These stages are the ones that will benefit your skin the most since they remove contaminants. The more of these stages a shower filter has, the better it will be for your skin, nails, and hair.

2. In-line vs. Showerhead 

If you love your current showerhead, get an in-line shower filter. That way, you won't have to give up your showerhead.

If you'd like a showerhead with massage and rainfall settings, look for a showerhead filter. It'll come with its own showerhead with multiple shower settings.

3. Compatibility 

You don't need to worry about compatibility when shopping for a showerhead filter. Most shower filters have a universal fit, meaning they'll fit on just about any shower arm.

If your shower arm size is ½", the standard size in the US, any shower filter will fit. Your showerhead will also fit onto the filter if you are buying an in-line filter.

4. Water Pressure 

Get a shower head filter that doesn't cause a drop-off in water pressure. Fortunately, most showerhead filters maintain excellent water flow.

If you notice a significant drop in pressure, it could be a problem with your main water line, or the filter may be clogged and in need of replacement.

5. Material 

Showerhead filters come in either metal or plastic.

Metal filters are pricier, but they last longer and are less likely to leak.

Plastic filters are cheaper, but they have a shorter lifespan and are prone to leaking. You have to use plenty of Teflon tape when installing the filter.

6. Filter Capacity 

Filter capacity refers to how much water a cartridge can filter before you need to replace it.

The standard capacity is 10,000 gallons, which translates to about 6 months of use for an average-sized family (3-5 people).

Cheaper filters have a 5,000-gallon or 3-month capacity.


Frequently Asked Questions

best shower head filter

Do shower head filters really work?

They do not work as well as a whole house filter, but shower head filters can make a big difference in the quality of water coming from your shower.

They reduce levels of chlorine, chemicals, heavy metals, and hardness minerals.

Do shower filters work for hard water?

Shower filters can help with hard water but with limited effect. They only remove small amounts of hardness minerals.

If you have very hard water, a shower filter will not help.

For proper water softening, a whole house water softener is the best option.

How long do shower filters last? 

Most shower filters last 3-6 months, depending on the size of your family and the number of showers everyone takes every day.

What do shower filters remove?

Chlorine, organic chemicals such as pesticides, some heavy metals, and sediment.


Conclusion

Shower Chlorine Water Filter

A good skincare and haircare routine begins in the shower.

However, it's not enough to wash the grit and dirt off your skin and hair. You must shower with high-quality water containing as few impurities as possible.

Showerhead filters reduce contaminants in your shower water, protecting your skin and hair from getting dry, itchy, dull, and brittle.

With the right shower filter, it's so much easier to keep your skin and hair – don't forget nails – looking great.

The AquaBliss SF100 is our top pick, thanks to its high-performance filtration, build quality and ease of installation. If you are looking for something different, our other picks are highly-rated and well-reviewed by customers.

About the Author Ed Carmichael

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