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From heavy metals to pesticides, there are likely many different substances lurking in your water. Installing a shower filter is a convenient way to ban pesky hard water and elevate your shower experience so you can feel extra clean.
There are a few different kinds of shower filters on the market, the most popular of which are those that attach to your existing showerhead rather than replacing it.
To help you narrow down your choices, we've researched the best shower filters to add to your bathroom. Read on for our top picks.
Best Overall: AquaBliss SF220 High Output Universal Shower Filter with Replaceable Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge
This shower filter system from AquaBliss tops our list for its affordability and effectiveness. You can use it with your existing showerhead, even handheld versions, and it’s easy to install. How easy? You don’t even need tools to get it up and running.
The filter comes with one replaceable cartridge, which is designed to last about six to eight months (or 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of water), and additional cartridges can be purchased separately.
Best Budget: Barclay's Buys Better Home Goods Filtered Shower Head
This filtered shower head offers a solid, budget-friendly option for cleaner shower water. By using an ion box and filter sponge, it promises to remove up to 90 percent of the chlorine from your water. It can also be adjusted to one of three settings—rain, massage, or a combination of both—for a tailored shower experience. To install, you simply screw it onto your shower pipe.
For a small piece of equipment, it delivers big results and is easy to install. Overall, it provides a relaxing shower experience and is an exceptional value for the price.
Best Splurge: G-Promise Luxury Filtered Handheld Shower Head
For a clean and luxurious shower experience, this is one of the best shower filters on the market. Made of 100 percent brass, this handheld shower head is attractive, and the stainless-steel hose can stretch to nearly 80 inches. There are six settings so you can choose just the shower experience you want, including rainfall, power massage, and circular massage.
As for your water quality, this system promises to reduce the concentration of heavy metals, chlorine, rust, pesticides, and other things you don’t want to “clean” yourself with. One cartridge lasts about six months.
Best for Hard Water: PureAction Water Softener Shower Head
This shower head and filter from Pure Action promises to soften water by filtering out up to 99.9 percent of impurities like lead, rust, and calcium. It also removes chlorine, fluoride, and chloramine for an overall cleaner shower experience. The showerhead fits on most showers and can be adjusted between three settings—rain, power rain, and massage. It comes with everything you need for cleaner shower water, including two replacement cartridges and Teflon tape to seal the filter tight.
Best for Well Water: AquaHomeGroup 15 Stage Shower Filter For Hard Water
Well water can contain certain contaminants and may have an unpleasant odor. A shower head filter, like this one from Aqua HomeGroup, may help. It’s designed to remove chlorine, heavy metals like rust and iron, and other chemicals from the water. It can be used with most showers, including handheld and rainfall showers, and can be installed without tools. One filter lasts about six months, depending on the quality of your water, and an extra filter is included.
Best Easy-to-Install: Culligan ISH-100 Inline Showerhead Filtration Attachment
If it’s an easy-breezy installation you want, there’s this filter system from Culligan. It works with any type of shower head you want in your bathroom, and you don’t even need any tools to get it up and running. It fits standard 1/2-inch thread shower heads and each filter works for up to six months (or about 10,000 gallons of water) to remove things like sulfur odors, chlorine, and scale.
Best with Shower Head: Aquasana Premium Shower Filter with Massaging Shower Head
This kit from Aquasana comes with everything you need for a cleaner shower experience, including a massaging showerhead. The coconut shell carbon is used to remove more than 90 percent of chlorine from water. It also removes other potential irritants, like synthetic chemicals and heavy metal media. The filter needs replacing about twice a year.
We're giving the AquaBliss SF220 High Output Universal Shower Filter with Replaceable Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge (view at Amazon) the top spot because it's affordable, effective, and super easy to install. Looking to splurge? Try the G-Promise Luxury Filtered Handheld Shower Head (view at Amazon). It reduces heavy metals, chlorine, rust, pesticides, and more all while providing six different shower settings to give you a tailored shower experience.
What to Look for in a Shower Filter
Know What You're Filtering
From chlorine to hard water minerals, different places have different water concerns to address. Take a moment to find out what substances are most commonly found in the water in your community using the Tap Water Database from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). While most shower filters will filter out a variety of substances, you'll want to find one that will filter the substances found specifically in your water for optimal results.
Shower filters come in two options: a filtered showerhead or an inline filter that connects between your current showerhead and the water line. While both can be easy to install and use, inline options generally have more universal adapters, making them a great choice if you really like the spray pattern and water pressure of your current showerhead.
Some shower filters come with different settings, such as rainfall or power massage to help you curate your favorite shower experience. Rainfall settings reduce the pressure of the water as it comes out of the showerhead so that it feels more like you are bathing in heavy rain instead of standing in a shower. How advanced you want your showerhead to be is entirely up to you.
Your shower filter should elevate your shower experience instead of making it messy. A shower filter shouldn't leak or crack after a few uses, so if a product seems weak or fragile, then it may be a good idea to opt for a different shower filter. Also, consider your water pressure. It's likely that adding a filter to the shower will reduce the water pressure, though this drop shouldn't be significant. If you find your filter has significantly decreased the water pressure in the shower, it may be best to find another one.
How do you install a shower filter?
A shower filter can either be installed before the showerhead or as a part of the showerhead depending on the product. The installation process is simple and most DIYers are capable of completing this project.
- Make sure the water is turned off.
- Remove the existing showerhead from the incoming water line and cut or peel off the old plumber's tape.
- Apply new plumber's tape (Teflon tape) to the threads of the incoming water line.
- Connect the shower filter to the incoming water line. If the showerhead has a built-in filter, then simply connect the new filtered showerhead to the water line.
- If the shower filter is separate from the showerhead, then apply new plumber's tape to the threads of the shower filter.
- Connect the showerhead to the shower filter.
How do you change a shower filter?
You can change a shower filter by unscrewing the filter from the incoming water line and simply replacing it with a new shower filter, though it may be better to simply change the cartridge. The steps for replacing the cartridge differ depending on the product, so it's important to read and follow the manufacturer's directions to properly replace the shower filter cartridge.
What is a shower filter?
A shower filter is a device that can either be installed before the showerhead or you can get a showerhead with a built-in shower filter. These filters remove hard water minerals, chlorine, and other contaminants in order to protect your skin and hair from these substances.
Why should you use a shower filter?
Hard water contains a high volume of minerals, like calcium and magnesium. Due to these minerals, hard shower water often leaves your skin with a build-up of soapy residue that can clog your pores. By installing a shower filter you can remove these minerals from the water so that you actually feel clean after stepping out of the shower.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Additional research for this article is provided by Timothy Dale, a seasoned home improvement expert who specializes in a number of topics, including plumbing, construction, and product recommendations.