Best Shower Filters 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.

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.

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.

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 Shower Filter for Hard Water

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 Type In-line filter
Flow Rate Not specified
Filter Lifespan 24,000 gallons
Material Not specified
Removes Minerals, heavy metals, contaminants, chemicals

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

Best 15-Stage Shower Filter for Hard Water

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 Type In-line filter
Flow Rate 2.5 GPM
Filter Lifespan 10,000 gallons
Material ABS plastic
Removes Minerals, chlorine, fluoride, chloramine

3. AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Showerhead

Best Vitamin-Enhanced Shower Filter for Hard Water

AquaHomeGroup 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 Type Showerhead filter
Flow Rate 2.5 GPM
Filter Lifespan Six months
Material ABS plastic
Removes Chlorine, rust, sand, heavy metals

4. AquaBliss Universal Shower Multi Stage Filter

Best Chemical-Free Shower Filter for Hard Water

AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Replaceable Multi Stage Filter Cartridge-Chrome (SF220), 1 Pack
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If you’re after something powerful, but still chemical-free, then this filter is one to consider. It uses zero chemicals to mask the poor water quality. Instead, it’s packed full with premium filter media which is dedicated to water filtration. Not even two 15 stage filters would be as powerful as this AquaBliss universal multi-stage filter.

If you have hard water, this is a must-have product. In only a week, you’ll notice huge differences within your skin and hair. Plus, it doesn’t bring along those weird odors that some other hard water filters have.

In only a couple of minutes, you can have this filter up and running. From then on, enjoy purified water, less itchy skin, softer hair, filtration on hot and cold water, as well as other great benefits.

Why We Love It

Removes the Nasties

This filter is the most powerful at purifying your water. It prevents scale buildup, reduces chlorine levels, cleans out dirt, bad odors and pesticides. Now, the water you’re washing in will be purified, healthier and much kinder on your skin and hair.

Reduces Itchy Skin

A common appraisal from customers is that this helps with itchy skin. If your hard water is causing irritation or flaring up eczema outbreaks, this can help. The purified water is much kinder on the skin. So now when you step out of your shower, you can forget about the slimy, itchy and gritty feeling on your skin.

High-Quality Design

This filter focuses on high-quality design, compared to other multi-stage filters which use low-quality filler materials and more stages. This product uses quality redox media, double strength calcium sulfite and coconut shell activated carbon. These ingredients come together to eliminate nasties every single time you shower.

Keep In Mind

Plastic Design

Keep in mind that the filter is made of plastic, not stainless steel, despite the images. This makes it less durable, more difficult to clean and a little bit cheaper.

Restricts Water Flow

You won’t notice decreased water pressure at first, but after a month or so, it’s definitely noticeable. If you love high water pressure, this may not be the best addition to your shower.

Additional Specs

Product Type In-line filter
Flow Rate Not specified
Filter Lifespan 10,000-12,000 gallons
Material Plastic
Removes Sand, limescale, dirt, dust, turpitudes, chlorine, odors

5. PureAction Water Softener Showerhead

Best Two-Stage Shower Filter for Hard Water

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 Type Water softener showerhead
Flow Rate 2 GPM
Filter Lifespan Six to eight months
Material ABS plastic, stainless steel
Removes Chlorine, fluoride, minerals, sediments, heavy metals

6. Vitafresh Shower Filter by UBS

Best Vitamin C Shower Filter for Hard Water

UBS Vitafresh Shower Filter Original Classic
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Koreans are well-known for their lustrous glass skin. Their beauty regimen starts from shower time before they continue with the skincare routine.

This Korean-made unique showerhead effectively neutralizes chlorine and chloramines from the hard water.

Its filter consists of DOLKI ceramic ball that helps break water molecules to make it smaller thus revitalizing your body.

Using food-grade Vitamin C, you can be sure of its efficiency and eco-friendliness. The cartridge can filter up to 10,000 liters of water and is recommended for replacement every two months. Worry not because its Vitamin C cartridge is affordable and comes in a pack of 5.

Why We Love It

Enhanced with Vitamin C

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).

Easy Installation

The showerhead filter connects easily to any standard shower arm.

Total Chlorine Neutralization

Householders often complain about unpleasant chlorine odors coming from their water. Vitafresh has, therefore, made use of pharmaceutically food-grade ascorbic acid to neutralize chlorine effectively.

Keep In Mind

The Cartridge Doesn’t Last Long

Vitamin C cartridge requires replacement every two months. If you’re a small family, it might make it to four months.

Additional Specs

Product Type In-line filter
Flow Rate N/A
Filter Lifespan Two months
Material ABS, PC , silicon, ascorbic acid
Removes Chloramines, chlorine

7. Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Shower Filter

Best Showerhead Filter for Hard Water

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 Type Showerhead filter
Flow Rate 2 GPM
Filter Lifespan 10,000 gallons
Material Not specified
Removes Chlorine, rust, scale

Shower Filter For Hard Water Comparison Chart

Product Best Product Type Flow Rate Filter Lifespan Material Removes
BathBeyond Vitamin C Shower Filter Finishes In-line filter N/A 24,000 gal. Not specified Minerals, heavy metals, contaminants, chemicals
Aqua Earth Shower Filter 15-Stage Filter In-line filter 2.5 GPM 10,000 gal. ABS plastic Minerals, chlorine, fluoride, chloramine
AquaHomeGroup Filtered Shower Vitamin-Enhanced Showerhead filter 2.5 GPM Six months ABS plastic Chlorine, rust, sand, heavy metals
AquaBliss Universal Filter Chemical Free In-line filter N/A 10,000-12,000 gallons Plastic Sand, limescale, dirt, dust, turpitudes, chlorine, odors
PureAction Water Softener Two-Stage Filter Showerhead filter 2 GPM 6 – 8 mos. ABS plastic, stainless steel Chlorine, fluoride, minerals, sediments, heavy metals
Vitafresh Shower Filter Original Vitamin C Filter In-line filter N/A 2 mos. ABS ,PC,Silicon, Ascorbic Acid Chloramines, chlorine
Culligan WSH-C125 Shower Filter Showerhead Filter Showerhead filter 2 GPM 10,000 gal. N/A Chlorine, 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.

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 (15).

At last, the water will pass an activated carbon medium that will remove chemicals. These can be chlorine, chloramine, and even volatile organic compounds (16). 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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