If you want to skip straight to our recommendation, the Aquasana AQ4100 is our top pick.
Did you know that the water in your shower is often harsh and bad for your skin? It can dry out your otherwise supple skin, and it can dull your hair. After a while, that harsh water can cause you to look older than you are, and it can make preexisting skin conditions worse.
That’s why you should invest in the best shower filter possible. Shower filters remove the harsh chemicals and minerals that your local water plant doesn’t treat, and that can help you have a more vibrant and healthy appearance.
In this article, we’ll go over the different factors you should consider when purchasing a shower filter, and we’ll point you in the direction of the best shower head filter for you.
Why You Should Buy A Shower Filter
As we briefly mentioned earlier, a shower filter will filter contaminants and chemicals out of your shower water. You might not believe that those chemicals are a big deal since you probably don’t drink shower water, but they are a big deal.
They slowly breakdown your skin until it’s dry and weak. That makes your overall appearance look worse, and it can cause certain skin conditions to flare up. Those chemicals also damage your hair over time, and that causes it to look less vibrant. Your hair can also get weaker due to chemical-filled water.
What Materials To Look For
Shower filters can be made using a large variety of materials, and those materials change the way specific filters work.
Plastic is commonly found in cheaper filters, and it works quite well for the most part. However, plastic filters are more prone to breaking down faster than metal filters do.
As a plastic filter breaks down, it develops cracks in its shell. Those cracks allow water to leak out of the filter, and that can cause your shower head to lose water pressure. The filter won’t work as well, either. The only way to get around that is to frequently replace your filter.
Metal is a more preferable material, but it also raises the price of a water filter. The metals used to make water filters are usually rust-proof, and they’re strong enough to withstand hot temperatures and water pressure.
You can find inexpensive filters that have metal components, but if you want the best shower head filter available, you should be prepared to pay extra for the highest quality components.
Even the best shower water filter models need to be replaced occasionally. How often your filter needs to be replaced is determined by a number of factors.
First, you shouldn’t buy a filter that can’t handle 10,000 gallons of water before it needs to be replaced. Your family will easily wear out any filter that can’t filter through at least 10,000 gallons of water, and you’ll end up replacing your filter several times a year.
You should also consider how harsh your water is. If it’s filled with tons of harsh chemicals and minerals, it’ll wear out your filter faster. If your home does have abnormally harsh water, you should replace your filter twice a year. Luckily, most people don’t have extremely harsh water in their homes. If you don’t, a good filter should last you a full year.
Finally, you should consider the size of your family. As long as your filter can handle 10,000 gallons of water, a standard family of four shouldn’t wear it out very quickly. Larger families will need more robust filters to handle the amount of showers they take.
Find An Adjustable Filter
As you probably know, shower heads come in countless shapes and sizes, and it’s impossible for manufacturers to ensure that their filters can adapt to all of those different designs.
To avoid getting a filter that won’t match your shower head, you should try to buy one that matches the dimensions of your shower head’s attachment area, and you should ensure that the filter you buy is capable of being mounted to your type of shower head.
However, you can make that process a bit easier by buying an adjustable filter. You’ll still have to find one that is relatively close to the same dimensions as your shower head, but you’ll have a little bit of wiggle room to work with.
The entire point of a filter is to soften your shower water. So, you want one that does its job well. There are many different filter designs that are available. We recommend getting one that has a multi-level carbon filter or a KDF filter that is relatively high-quality.
You probably won’t need the most expensive filter on the market, but you should consider spending more money on a high-end filter if your local area’s water is known for being incredibly harsh.
Most filter cartridges are designed to last between six and twelve months, but it’s never a bad idea to look for a product that comes with spare cartridges.
A spare cartridge shouldn’t affect your choice too much since cartridges last so long, but it will allow you to have a little more peace of mind if you’re not sure how frequently you’ll have to change your cartridges.
Ease Of Use
You probably don’t want to spend your entire day trying to install something as simple as a shower filter. Find one that is easy to install, and look for instructions that are written properly.
You’ll have to buy a new cartridge for your filter about once a year or so, but the shell of your filter should last much longer than that. That’s especially true if you buy a metal filter.
Since the main unit is the most expensive part of a shower filter, you’ll want to ensure that it comes with a warranty. Lifetime warranties are obviously the best warranties you can get, but you should look for at least a one-year warranty on the shell.
If you buy a cheap plastic filter, a warranty is a bonus, but you probably shouldn’t expect to get a good one. Manufacturers know that plastic filters are more likely to break over time, and they’re not likely to provide long-term protection for them.
Our Top Five Filters
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s go over five of the best shower water filter models available.
We will be reviewing the following products:
- Dewifier Shower Water Softener
- AquaHomeGroup Luxury 15 Stage Filter
- Culligan WSH-C125
- AquaBliss High Output
- Aquasana AQ4100
Cost Rating: $$
The Dewifier doesn’t have the most complex filtration system, but it does remove chlorine and fluoride very well, and that’s enough filtration for most homes.
The shell of the Dewifier is made from stainless steel, and it can fit onto any half-inch shower head pipe. It’s also easy to install due to its screw-on design.
The Dewifier lacks some of the more advanced features that more high-end models have, and its filter cartridges don’t tend to last as long as the cartridges in premium models. However, it’ll get the job done unless you have very harsh water, and it won’t break your bank.
Finally, the unit comes with testing strips that you can use to actually see the difference in the quality of your shower water. You use the strips to test your water before you install the unit, and then you can test it after you install the Dewifier. This isn’t a necessary feature, but it is a nice touch.
- Great value
- Reduces chlorine and fluoride
- Easy installation
- Includes test strips
- Fits all half-inch shower heads
- It lacks the advanced features that more expensive units have, and that makes it less effective than premium units.
Cost Rating: $$$$
AquaHomeGroup makes several different types of water filters, but this is their luxury model. Its shell is made entirely from stainless steel, and it uses 15-stage cartridges to remove almost all of the chlorine in your shower water.
It removes some other contaminants such as copper, but it’s mainly designed to remove chlorine if you’re local water treatment plant uses far too much of it. For example, most users notice a 97-percent drop in chlorine content in their shower water.
The AquaHomeGroup Luxury doesn’t just remove contaminants from the water. It enhances your shower water with vitamins C and E. That helps increase the healthiness of your skin and hair, and it’s a nice touch that we really enjoy.
Finally, the unit is easy to install. It doesn’t require any tools. It also comes with a gift box, but how many times do you plan on removing the filter just to store it in a fancy gift box?
- Metal shell and threads
- Removes almost all chlorine
- Removes heavy metals and contaminants
- 15-stage cartridges
- No tools required
- Enhances shower water with vitamins C and E
- It would be a better value if part of the manufacturing budget wasn’t dedicated to a gift box. A gift box seems really unnecessary for something that is attached to your shower head for the majority of the year.
Cost Rating: $$$
This Culligan shower filter isn’t just a filter. It’s an entire shower head. That makes it easier for you to install it since you don’t have to worry about the type of shower head you have, and it means that there are less parts dangling off your shower wall. To install the Culligan, you simply remove your old shower head, and you screw the Culligan on with nothing more than your hands.
The Culligan removes most types of contaminates, but it won’t handle very harsh water very well. Most people won’t have to worry about that, but you should look for a different filter if your water quality is particularly poor.
- Very easy to install
- Doubles as a shower head
- Works well with water that isn’t too harsh
- It simply won’t work if your water quality is very poor. If your local area’s water supply is filled with chemicals, minerals, bacteria, and foul smells, you should get a different unit.
Cost Rating: $$$
The AquaBliss High Output doesn’t require any tools for its installation process, and it makes some of the cleanest water you’re ever going to get. It has a metal shell and threads, and it comes with a spare 12-stage filter cartridge.
Both of the filter cartridges can filter up to 20,000 gallons of water. That’s more than 40,000 gallons of water that you can filter before you have to buy more cartridges, and it’s one of the best deals you’re going to get.
However, the AquaBliss has one major drawback that you should take into consideration. The AquaBliss tends to leak after a while. That wastes water, and it doesn’t allow the filter to work properly. You can easily fix any leaks that occur with a bit of waterproof tape, but you shouldn’t be expected to do that, and that takes this unit out of the running for our top pick.
- Great filtration
- No tools required
- Long-lasting cartridges
- Comes with a spare cartridge
- It can leak. Most AquaBliss filters don’t leak, but quite a few have been sent back or needed to be repaired with tape.
Cost Rating: $$$$
The Aquasana AQ4100 is essentially a better version of the Culligan we reviewed. It’s a shower head, and it’s a shower filter. You install it the same way you install the Culligan. You just remove your old shower head, and you screw this one on with your hands. It really shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes.
Unlike the Culligan, the Aquasana has a very complex and efficient filtration system. It can remove everything from chlorine to lead, and it removes so many contaminates that your shower water will be almost entirely pure. That’s a double-edged sword, though. The cartridges work really well, but they cost almost as much as the unit itself.
Finally, the Aquasana has a plastic shell, but the threads and the most important parts are all made of steel. So, it’s lightweight for its size, but it’s still very durable.
- Filters almost everything
- Built well
- Replaces shower head
- Tool-free installation and maintenance
- The cartridges increase this unit’s price quite a bit. While it’s fairly affordable upfront, the cartridges need to be replaced twice a year, and they cost a lot. It’s definitely not cost efficient if you don’t have very low-quality water.
Our top pick is the Aquasana AQ4100. It may not be as cost efficient as the others, but it filters water the best, and that’s what we care about the most. Its shell is made to high standards, and that means that you won’t have to replace it very often.