Best Shower Filter for Hard Water of 2020

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A shower filter is an affordable way to protect your hair and skin from hard water.

Hard water in the shower can cause your skin and hair to become dry and scaly. This is due to the high content of minerals that react with the soap, causing scum. The scum will form a film on your body, leaving it dry.

People with eczema will feel the effects of hard water more significantly as dry skin will trigger a reaction. An excellent way to improve the water in your shower is by installing one of the best shower filters for hard water. These are inexpensive and effective at removing minerals from your shower water.


How to Choose the Best Shower Filter for Hard Water

Choosing the best shower filter for hard water isn’t as difficult as you might think.

First off, you need to decide on the size and type of filter that would suit you and your shower. If you want to filter out other contaminants, you should check the product you’re considering to ensure it removes specific impurities.

1. Type

How effective the different variations of shower filters are depends on the media inside. Which one you should choose depends on whether you want to replace your current showerhead or simply want to add a filter.

Showerhead Filter

A showerhead filter comes with a fully functioning showerhead and a built-in filter. It can be bulkier than regular showerheads, because it needs more room to store a cartridge on the inside.

These are generally easy to install by connecting the hose to the shower fixtures. You shouldn’t need any tools and you can simply hand-tighten it.

When choosing this type, make sure you check the water flow rate. Some showerhead filters will have a significantly lower flow rate, which can be frustrating if you’re used to a steady stream. A flow rate of 2.2 to 2.5 GPM (gallons per minute) is the general standard.

In-Line Filter

These filters are installed between the current showerhead and main water pipe. They’re usually easy to screw on and don’t require tools. Most of these come with a roll of Teflon tape that you can use when installing.

In-line filters are popular because they can be used with an existing showerhead. However, you have to check their compatibility. Although most in-line filters are compatible with most showers such as rainfall, handheld and wall-mounted, there are some exceptions, such as swivel showerheads.

2. Lifespan

Shower filters won’t last forever, and that’s crucial to remember. Sooner or later, the cartridge will need to be replaced.

If you fail to replace it, it could be doing more harm than good. Leaving an old filter could cause contaminants, such as chemicals and sediments, to return to the water. If the filter is full, it won’t be able to hold any more impurities; this will result in impurities making their way back into your shower.

Before buying a filter, check its lifespan; this is usually shown in gallons, such as 10,000 gallons, or by months. Going by the gallon is more accurate since a large family will use 10,000 gallons faster than a single person.

3. What Will Be Filtered Out?

Individual shower filters will remove various contaminants, and their effectiveness will differ significantly. If your biggest trouble is hard water, you should look for a filter that specifically claims it can dissolve minerals and scale.

You might also have other issues such as bad odor or other contaminants such as chlorine and rust. Read the description carefully before deciding on a filter to make sure you get what you need.


Best Shower Filter Reviews of 2020

Using a shower filter is an effective way to benefit from softer water in the shower while getting the benefits of drinking hard water.

We spent hours researching shower filters, and after some expert input, we found our top 7.

1. BathBeyond Vitamin C Shower Filter

Best Finishes

BathBeyond Shower Filter Vitamin C 15 Stage High Output Water Filter With cartridge for Hard Water - Shower Head Filter Removes Chlorine Fluoride and Improves The Condition of Your Skin, Hair
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You should begin to feel improved water immediately after installing the BathBeyond 15-stage water filter. It doesn’t come with a showerhead, so you have to install it right above your shower.

The 15-stage filtration will help to improve the water quality and reduce odors such as chlorine. One of the main reasons we like this filter is because of the added vitamins to help improve our skin and hair. It will also remove a number of impurities such as minerals and metals from your water.

BathBeyond claims the filter will produce up to 24,000 gallons of purified water without reducing the pressure in your shower.

Why We Love It

Improves Skin and Hair

By softening the water and removing impurities, you should be able to tell a significant difference in your skin and hair. The filter is enhanced with vitamin C, which moisturizes your skin and helps to maintain a natural pH-level (1).

Removes Odors

Chlorine is often a problem for many homeowners since it can make your water feel impure or chemicall-y. The KDF-55 filter removes chlorine, metals, and bacteria that can cause odors in the water.

Quick Installation

Install the filter right above your showerhead. Unscrew the shower and attach the filter between the showerhead and the main pipe. You don’t need any specialized tools.

Available in Different Finishes

You might be feeling reluctant to install a shower filter if your fixtures aren’t the standard chrome color. Luckily, BathBeyond considered this and designed its filter in four finishes for you to choose from. These include oil-rubbed bronze, chrome, nickel, and rose gold.

Keep In Mind

Tends to Leak

A few customers noted that the filter would leak a little bit within the first minutes. However, as water ran through the filter, the leaking subdued.

Additional Specs

Product TypeIn-line filter
Flow RateNot specified
Filter Lifespan24,000 gallons
MaterialNot specified
RemovesMinerals, heavy metals, contaminants, chemicals

2. Aqua Earth 15-Stage In-Line Shower Filter

Best 15-Stage Filter

Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter with Vitamin C Shower Filters for Hard Water Unique Coconut Shell Activated Carbon Technology | Best Removes Chlorine Fluoride Heavy Metals & Other Sediments
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The Aqua Earth shower filter uses 15 stages to remove minerals, chlorine, and metals from your water effectively. By reducing the minerals and softening the water, it will reduce the risk of eczema caused by dry skin (2).

The 15-stage filter will remove impurities as the water runs through it without reducing water pressure. It doesn’t come with a showerhead, which is a ticked box for homeowners who like to use their original one.

This filter is compatible with most showerhead types and is easy to set up as you won’t need any specialized tools.

Why We Love It

Easy to Install

Installing a water filter can sometimes feel like a major task only a plumber can do. However, this shower filter goes right between your showerhead and pipe. Simply unscrew the head and install the filter.

15-Stage Filtration

The 15-stage filtration will ensure that no impurities make their way onto your body. It consists of four main stages, each containing specialized filter methods.

  1. Filter step one: In the initial stage, there are two stainless steel filters and a microporous cotton filter.
  2. Filter step two: Within the second stage, there are five different filters, including KDF-55, calcium sulfite, activated carbon, negative ion balls and medical stone.
  3. Filter step three: The third stage consists of various balls, such as ceramic and magnetic energy beads. These work effectively at removing bacteria and absorbing metals such as lead.
  4. Filter step four: As the water enters the fourth and final stage, it will run through alkaline balls, microporous cotton, and an ultra-fine stainless steel netting filter.
Compatible with Most Showerheads

Buying a showerhead filter can be tricky when you’re not sure if it will fit your shower. However, this filter is compatible with most types of showerheads, such as rainfall, overhead, and handheld.

Consistent Water Flow

Many homeowners are put off by the thought of a showerhead filter due to the fear of reduced water pressure. But, this filter maintains the desired pressure throughout your shower.

Keep In Mind

Not Compatible with a Swivel Showerhead

A few unhappy customers were disappointed that the filter couldn’t be installed on their swivel showerhead.

Additional Specs

Product TypeIn-line filter
Flow Rate2.5 GPM
Filter Lifespan10,000 gallons
MaterialABS plastic
RemovesMinerals, chlorine, fluoride, chloramine

3. AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Showerhead

Best Vitamin-Enhanced Filter

Luxury Filtered Shower Head Set 15 Stage Shower Filter For Hard Water Removes Chlorine and Harmful Substances - Showerhead Filter High Output
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If you’re looking for an effective shower filter with showerhead, this is it. The AquaHomeGroup filter uses 15 efficient stages to remove impurities from your bathwater.

To further help improve your skin and hair, the showerhead is enhanced with vitamins that help to reduce dryness. Installation is straightforward and doesn’t require professional help or tools.

What makes this a luxury item are the bonuses and gifts you’ll receive with your filter. The stylish box includes a rain showerhead, caps, and Teflon tape to make installation a breeze.

Why We Love It

Rich in Vitamins

After the water has been through the 15-stage filtration, it will go through a vitamin cartridge. This additional filter adds vitamin C and E to your water. Vitamin C helps your skin repair damaged skin cells, rejuvenating your skin (3). Vitamin E helps to reduce dry skin and improves nail conditions (4).

Rain Showerhead

Many homeowners favor a rain showerhead due to the powerful stream. With this filter, you’ll get the ultimate soft water experience. The high-quality showerhead has an excellent water flow.

If you don’t want to use the included showerhead, you can easily install the filter only. However, you’ll then miss out on the added vitamins.

Effective Filter

The 15-stage filter will remove a significant amount of impurities such as minerals, heavy metals, and chemicals.

Many customers reported positive changes within the first week of use — most noticing improvements in odor and in their skin.

Good for People with Skin Conditions

If you’re dealing with eczema or any other skin condition, you might be significantly affected by the hard water in your home. Because of the ceramic balls and added vitamins, this filter should help to reduce symptoms and improve your skin.

Keep In Mind

Leaks

A few customers noticed a minor leak from the Teflon tape.

Additional Specs

Product TypeShowerhead filter
Flow Rate2.5 GPM
Filter LifespanSix months
MaterialABS plastic
RemovesChlorine, rust, sand, heavy metals

4. AquaBliss 12-Stage In-Line Filter

Best 12-Stage Filter

AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter - Reduces Dry Itchy Skin, Dandruff, Eczema, and Dramatically Improves The Condition of Your Skin, Hair and Nails - Chrome (SF100)
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If you want something a little less complicated than a 15-stage filter, this 12-stage might be more suitable. It’s a smaller filter, but still very powerful.

Odors coming from your shower can put you off before hopping in the bath. Odors like chlorine can make you feel as if you’re showering in chemicals. Plus, the mineral buildup can dry out your skin and hair.

Shower filters generally don’t last for long before they require replacement. However, AquaBliss has thought this through and created an EasySwap filter replacement. It’s easy to install on any standard showerhead, and you’ll get to enjoy a nice soft water shower without too much effort.

Why We Love It

Removes Impurities

Chemicals, minerals, and sediments will all be gone from your shower. You’ll likely start to notice a significant difference in your skin, hair, and nails within a week or two, as claimed by the company.

The filter contains ceramic mineral balls and activated carbon that effectively removes chlorine and other impurities. There are also magnetic energy beads that revive water with oxygen.

Positive Changes

Most customers were very pleased with the results. Some had reported hair loss and faded color before using this filter. However, they were happy to report positive changes.

AquaBliss has put a significant amount of thought and effort into its filters. By adding high-quality filters and vitamin-boosted ceramic balls, this filter is long-lasting and beneficial for your hair and skin.

No-Tool Installation

You can install this filter in minutes without the need for any tools. It screws on easily above the showerhead and is compatible with most standard showers such as rain, handheld, and fixed.

Keep In Mind

Replacements Aren’t as Good

Although customers were pleased with the AquaBliss filter overall, many found the replacements to be ineffective. Some consumers reported that the replacements didn’t last as long as expected.

Additional Specs

Product TypeIn-line filter
Flow RateNot specified
Filter LifespanNot specified
MaterialABS plastic
RemovesChlorine, chemicals, dirt, odors, scale

5. PureAction Water Softener Showerhead

Best Two-Stage Filter

Water Softener Shower Head - Hard Water Filter - Chlorine & Fluoride Filter - Filtered Shower Head - High Pressure Shower Head - 2 Replaceable Filters - Best Shower Filter for Low Water Pressure
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If you’re looking for a showerhead with a built-in filter, this is it. This showerhead consists of a two-stage filter cartridge, removing fluoride and chlorine and softening hard water.

You install it by removing your old showerhead and replacing it with this one. You’ll get an excellent flow rate of 2 gallons per minute and a three-setting showerhead for the ultimate shower experience.

PureAction has included two replacement cartridges in the package. This enables you to save a few extra bucks when it’s time to change the filter.

Why We Love It

Water-Saving

The showerhead is fitted with micro-nozzle technology that provides high pressure, without wasting water. This could be the perfect addition to an eco-friendly household who’d like soft shower water.

Softens Water

Even though the cartridge is only two-staged, it’s still powerful and will remove up to 99.9 percent of impurities. Contaminants such as rust, heavy metals, fluoride chlorine, and sediments will be gone from your shower.

You might start to notice differences in your nails, hair, and skin since the softer water reduces dryness.

Three Showerhead Settings

One of the main reasons why we like this filter is the versatile showerhead. You get three different settings to choose between to create the perfect bath for you.

The settings include rain, power rain, and massage. Each set has a high pressure that won’t disappoint.

Warranty

If you’re not entirely sure whether or not to purchase a filter like this, maybe the warranty will ease your mind. PureAction provides you with a one-year warranty that covers the showerhead and filters.

Keep In Mind

Plastic Construction

Although the filter is effective and you get three settings to choose from, the construction might seem a bit flimsy. It’s mostly made out of plastic, which was a bother for some customers.

Additional Specs

Product TypeWater softener showerhead
Flow Rate2 GPM
Filter LifespanSix to eight months
MaterialABS plastic, stainless steel
RemovesChlorine, fluoride, minerals, sediments, heavy metals

6. PureAction Vitamin C Filter

Best Aroma Filter

Vitamin C Filter Shower Head with Hose & Replacement Filters - Filtered Shower Head - Hard Water Softener - Chlorine & Flouride Filter - Universal Shower System - Helps Dry Skin & Hair Loss
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This unique-looking showerhead effectively removes impurities such as minerals, chlorine, and fluoride from your water. The translucent design enables you to see the filter in action.

The multi-stage filter consists of a blend of mineral balls that help to revitalize your body and reduce the effects of hard water. A citrus scent is released with the water and provides a soothing sensation that reduces stress and enhances your mood.

You can use the showerhead as a handheld or keep it in the wall mount — the 60-inch flexible hose provides excellent freedom within the shower. Along with the showerhead filter, you get a roll of sealant tape, replacement cartridges, and a one-year warranty.

Why We Love It

Enhanced with Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin C is essential to our health and body — it’s a powerful antioxidant that aids in our skin’s regeneration process (5). The vitamin C cartridge helps to balance the skin’s pH-level by adding natural acids to the alkaline hard water (6).

Furthermore, the filter is filled with ceramic balls enriched in a mineral blend of Seoul stone, tourmaline, and negative ions. These work efficiently at reducing the effects of hard water and filtering out rust, iron, and metals.

Easy Installation

The showerhead filter connects easily to any standard shower arm. Quickly connect the hose to the fixtures, and the shower should be ready to use.

Scented Filter

Householders often complain about unpleasant odors coming from their water. PureAction has, therefore, added soothing scents to its filters. You can choose between fresh citrus, soothing lavender, vibrant jasmine, and sweet rose.

Translucent Cartridge

Not only is the showerhead very unique-looking, but it’s also very handy. Because of the translucent cartridge, you can easily keep an eye on the ceramic balls to better know when they need a replacement.

Keep In Mind

The Filter Doesn’t Last for Long

The mineral ionic beads require replacement every four months. It doesn’t last nearly as long as the other filters on this list, and if you’re a large family, it might not even make it to four months. The aroma filter will only last a month before needing to be replaced.

Additional Specs

Product TypeWater softener showerhead
Flow Rate2.2 GPM
Filter LifespanFour months
MaterialAluminum, ABS plastic
RemovesChloramines, chlorine, fluoride, minerals

7. Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Shower Filter

Best Showerhead Filter

Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Showerhead with Massage, 10,000 Gallon, Chrome
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This shower filter is a bit different from the others we’ve reviewed. It looks identical to a regular showerhead, and you might not even think it’s a filter upon first sight.

Compared to other showerhead filters, this model isn’t all plastic. It’s durable and comes with a chrome finish that suits most bathrooms. The filter is a cartridge inside the showerhead and will provide up to 10,000 gallons of pure water before it needs a replacement.

Installation is super simple, and you get five spray settings to choose from. The filter will reduce chlorine levels and scale buildup. It will also help to eliminate bad odors coming from the water caused by sulfur or chlorine.

Why We Love It

Quick Installation

You get a roll of Teflon tape with the filter for quick installation. Simply remove the old showerhead and attach this. There are no tools needed; all you have to do is hand-tighten the filter.

Certified Filter

The showerhead filter is independently tested and certified by the NSF. This means it’s made of safe materials that won’t alter the water, and it removes impurities effectively.

Five Spray Settings

Many homeowners refrain from buying showerhead filters due to the fear of low water pressure. However, the Culligan showerhead allows you to choose between five settings — these include a full-body spray and a powerful pulse.

The showerhead will further provide you with a flow rate of 2.5 GPM. This is the standard rate for showerheads.

Keep In Mind

Difficult to Distinguish Between Settings

Although customers are very pleased with the optional spray modes, some found it tricky to identify them. To change between the settings, you have to turn a knob on the showerhead.

We feel that, in our experience, such settings take a bit of time to get used to.

Additional Specs

Product TypeShowerhead filter
Flow Rate2 GPM
Filter Lifespan10,000 gallons
MaterialNot specified
RemovesChlorine, rust, scale

Detailed Comparison Chart

ProductBestProduct TypeFlow RateFilter LifespanMaterialRemoves
BathBeyond Vitamin C Shower FilterFinishesIn-line filterN/A24,000 gal.Not specifiedMinerals, heavy metals, contaminants, chemicals
Aqua Earth 15-Stage Shower Filter15-Stage FilterIn-line filter2.5 GPM10,000 gal.ABS plasticMinerals, chlorine, fluoride, chloramine
AquaHomeGroup Filtered ShowerVitamin-EnhancedShowerhead filter2.5 GPMSix monthsABS plasticChlorine, rust, sand, heavy metals
AquaBliss 12-Stage SF100 Filter12-Stage FilterIn-line filterN/AN/AABS plasticChlorine, chemicals, dirt, odors, scale
PureAction Water Softener ShowerTwo-Stage FilterWater softener showerhead2 GPM6 – 8 mos.ABS plastic, stainless steelChlorine, fluoride, minerals, sediments, heavy metals
PureAction Vitamin C Shower FilterAroma FilterWater softener showerhead2.2 GPM4 mos.Aluminum, ABS plasticChloramines, chlorine, fluoride, minerals
Culligan WSH-C125 Shower FilterShowerhead FilterShowerhead filter2 GPM10,000 gal.N/AChlorine, rust, scale
Jump to the Full Shower Filter For Hard Water Reviews

How Hard Water Affects Your Showering Experience

Hard water has a high content of dissolved minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. How hard your water is depends on how high the mineral content is (7).

Signs that you have hard water could be water stains or white marks on dishes and other surfaces. These are dried mineral deposits that are left behind after hard water droplets evaporate.

Hard water can also affect your skin and hair, causing dryness. As you shower in hard water, the minerals will react with soap and shampoo and cause scum. Soap scum can build up on your skin, hair, and bath, forming a residue.

Related Reading
woman removing hard water stains from bathtubHow to Remove Hard Water Stains From a Bathtub (6 Easy Steps)

Soap and shampoo also have a harder time lathering in hard water, reducing the effectiveness of soap, due to calcium carbonate (8).

You can install a water softening system in your home to remove hard water. The most common system is ion exchange, which replaces hardness ions with salt ions (9). However, this does increase the sodium content of your water, and it isn’t recommended to drink daily, especially if you’re suffering from cardiovascular issues (10).

Take Note

A shower filter is the best option if you want to soften the water in your shower only. This allows you to get all of the health benefits of drinking hard water while improving your hair and skin.

How the Media Work

The media inside the filters are what removes or reduces impurities. Most shower filters use multiple stages that are made up of several media — these range from two- to 15-stage.

Here’s a quick look at the most common media you can find in shower filters:

1. Vitamin C Filter

Some multi-stage filters include a vitamin C cartridge. These are primarily used to remove chlorine, with some having a removal rate of 99 percent. Vitamin C filters will also remove contaminants, such as chloramines and sediments (11).

2. KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) Filter

KDF filters are generally used along with activated carbon blocks to help extend the life of the carbon. It does this by protecting the carbon block from bacterial growth.

This media uses a combination of zinc and copper to create an electro-chemical reaction. The reaction causes electrons to be transferred between molecules, creating new elements (12).

In this way, a KDF medium can turn harmful contaminants into harmless components. Heavy metals such as lead and copper, will plate-out onto the media’s surface and will, therefore, be removed from the water (13).

3. Multi-Stage Carbon Filter

This filter consists of multiple stages that the water has to pass through. It usually starts with a tightly woven cotton filter or stainless steel netting. Because the cotton is so tightly woven, no particles larger than 0.1 to 0.3 microns can pass through (14).

The initial stage usually removes impurities such as debris, rust, sand, and sediments — it can also remove large viruses and bacteria (15).

If you choose a translucent filter, you might notice that it’s full of beads or balls. These are ceramic beads that help to exchange ions — they also block calcium and magnesium from passing through (16).

At last, the water will pass an activated carbon medium that will remove chemicals. These can be chlorine, chloramine, and even volatile organic compounds (17). Some multi-stage filters will have additional cotton or stainless steel media before the water exits the block.


Final Notes

A shower filter can be an essential item if you’re living in an area with very hard water. It will remove and reduce a significant amount of impurities, giving new life to your hair and skin.

When searching for the best shower filter for hard water, consider which type would suit you. A showerhead filter is easy to install, but an in-line filter is more subtle and won’t be as noticeable. Once you’ve taken into account the buying features we described above, you should be able to narrow down your shortlist.

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About the Author

Peter Gray

Peter has been a homeowner for 35+ years and has always done his own repair and improvement tasks. As a retired plumber, Peter now spends his time teaching others how they can fix leaks, replace faucets, and make home improvements on a budget.
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