Facebook
When you shop through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Best Shower Filters for Hard Water of 2022

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

Hard water has obvious symptoms such as limescale and white stains on your plumbing, but it can also have a negative impact on your skin and hair. If you shower in hard water, you might notice patches of dry skin and your hair becoming brittle and breaking more easily.

A shower filter will prevent the negative side effects of hard water by removing its mineral content before it leaves the showerhead. There are several types of shower filters, with different installation methods, so you might not know which type to buy.

To help you choose the best shower filter for hard water, we have reviewed what we consider the top products available today. We chose these models based on their installation type, lifespan, and how effectively they will remove minerals and contaminants from your water supply.

Our Top Picks

Sensible Digs earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.
Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the PureAction Vitamin C Shower Head Filter with Hose & Replacement Filters - Hard Water Softener - Chlorine & Fluoride Filter - Water Purifying Filtered Showerhead with Beads - Helps Dry Skin & Hair Loss
Best Overall
PureAction Vitamin C Shower Head Filter
  • Enhanced by vitamin C
  • Removes chlorine
  • No tools needed
Product Image of the Aqua Earth Shower Filter For Hard Water Shower Head Filter to Remove Chlorine Fluoride Water Softener Coconut Shell Activated Carbon Reduces Dry Itchy Skin Heavy Metals Other Sediments Vitamin C
Best 15-Stage Filter
Aqua Earth 15-Stage Shower Filter
  • Fits between showerhead and pipe
  • 15-stage filtration
  • 2.5 GPM flow
Product Image of the AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Shower Head Set 15 Stage Shower Filter for Hard Water Removes Chlorine and Harmful Substances - Showerhead Filter High Output
Best Vitamin-Enhanced Filter
AquaHomeGroup Filtered Shower
  • Adds vitamin C and E
  • Rain showerhead
  • 15-stage filter
Product Image of the AquaBliss Multi-Stage Shower Filter w/ Replaceable Cartridge – Transform Itching, Eczema & Acne into Glowing Hair, Nails and Skin Fast. Chrome SF220
Best Chemical Free Filter
AquaBliss Universal Shower
  • No chemicals used
  • Reduced impact on skin
  • Emphasis on quality
Product Image of the PureAction Water Softener Shower Head Filter for Hard Water - Chlorine & Fluoride Filter - Filtered Shower Head - High Pressure Rain Showerhead - 2 Replaceable Filters - Best Shower As Dry Skin & Hair
Best Two-Stage Filter
PureAction Water Softener Shower
  • Micro nozzle boosts effective pressure
  • Removes 99% of impurities
  • Three showerhead settings
Product Image of the UBS Vitafresh Shower Filter Original Classic
Best Vitamin C Filter
Vitafresh Shower Filter
  • Enhanced with vitamin C
  • No tools needed to install
  • Neutralizes chlorine
Product Image of the Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Showerhead with Massage, 10,000 Gallon, Chrome
Best Showerhead Filter
Culligan WSH-C125 Shower Filter
  • Metal body
  • NSF-certified filter
  • Five spray settings


Product Reviews

Installing a shower filter is a perfect way to make your shower kinder to your skin and hair, while still enjoying the benefits of drinking hard water elsewhere in your home. To help you make an informed decision, we have reviewed what we consider the best shower filters for hard water you can buy today, chosen for their type, material, and reliability.

1. PureAction Vitamin C Shower Head Filter

Best Overall Shower Filter for Hard Water

You should notice improved water quality immediately after installing the PureAction Vitamin C shower head water filter.

Its multi-stage filtration will both soften your water and reduce odors caused by chlorine and sediment. It also removes other impurities such as metals. It not only removes contaminants from your water, but it also adds vitamins that will benefit your skin and hair.

This product includes a 60-inch shower hose, replacement filters, and sealant tape. Your purchase will be protected by a one-year warranty.

What We Like

Improves Skin and Hair

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

Removes Odors

Chlorine is often used to clean water but it can also leave your water with a chemical smell or harsh texture. The multiple stage filter removes chlorine, metals, and sediments that can cause odors in your water.

Quick Installation

Mounting the showerhead is very straightforward thanks to the included hose and simple connectors that can be hand-tightened.

What We Don't Like

Tends to Leak

Some customers reported that their filter leaked during the first few minutes of use. However, as water ran through the filter, the leaking subsided.

Product Specs

Product Type Showerhead filter
Flow Rate Not specified
Filter Lifespan One to four months depending on filter type
Material Stainless steel metal
Removes Chlorine, heavy metals, sediments

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

Best 15-Stage Shower Filter for Hard Water

This Aqua Earth shower filter uses 15 stages to effectively remove minerals, chlorine, and metals from your water. By reducing the mineral content and softening the water, it reduces the risk of eczema and other dry skin (2).

The 15-stage filter removes impurities as the water runs through it without significantly impacting the flow rate. It doesn’t feature a showerhead, making this a versatile option as you will be able to use your existing one.

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

What We Like

Easy to Install

Installing a water filter can feel like a major task that is best left to a professional. However, this shower filter is easily installed between your showerhead and pipe. You simply unscrew your current showerhead and install the filter.

15-Stage Filtration

The 15-stage filtration ensures that no impurities will be sprayed onto your body. It consists of four main stages, each containing specialized filter methods.

  1. Step One: The first stage features two stainless steel filters and a microporous cotton filter.
  2. Step Two: The second stage contains five different filters, including KDF-55, calcium sulfite, activated carbon, negative ion balls, and medical stone.
  3. Step Three: The third stage consists of various balls, such as ceramic and magnetic energy beads. These effectively remove bacteria and absorb metals such as lead.
  4. Step Four: As the water enters the final stage, it passesΒ alkaline balls, microporous cotton, and an ultra-fine stainless steel netting filter.

Compatible with Most Showerheads

Some shower filters include a showerhead, forcing you to use it whether or not it is suitable for your bathroom decor. However, this filter is compatible with most types of showerheads, including rainfall, overhead, and handheld.

Consistent Water Flow

Shower filters are often responsible for reducing the flow rate, but this filter maintains your usual water pressure to ensure your shower can be as quick and thorough as possible.

What We Don't Like

Incompatible with Swivel Showerheads

Some customers were disappointed to discover that the filter couldn’t be connected to their swivel showerhead.

Product 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

If you want an effective shower filter with a showerhead included, the AquaHomeGroup filter is an excellent option. It uses 15 filtration stages to thoroughly remove impurities from your bathwater.

To further benefit your skin and hair, the showerhead releases vitamins that nourish and reduce dryness. Installation is straightforward and doesn’t require any tools or professional expertise.

This top-rated filter is made even better by the bonuses you receive with your purchase. The stylish box contains a rain showerhead, caps, and Teflon tape to make your installation more watertight.

What We Like

Rich in Vitamins

After the water has passed through the 15-stage filtration process, it flows through a vitamin cartridge. This extra step adds vitamin C and E to the water. Vitamin C helps your skin repair damaged cells, rejuvenating it (3). Vitamin E helps to reduce dry skin and improves the condition of your nails (4).

Rain Showerhead

Many homeowners prefer a rain showerhead due to the numerous powerful streams they possess. With this filter, you will enjoy the benefits of thorough filtration and a rain showerhead in a single unit. The high-quality showerhead has an excellent 2.5 gallons per minute flow rate.

If you don’t want to use the included showerhead, you can easily install the filter alone. However, this means you will miss out on the vitamins that the water softener showerhead adds to your water.

Effective Filter

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

Many customers report noticing an improvement within the first week of use β€” particularly in how the water smells and the condition of their skin.

Beneficial for Skin Conditions

If you are affected by eczema or any other skin condition, hard water can have a significant impact on your skin. This filter’s ceramic balls and vitamins enhance the water, so it can help relieve symptoms and could even improve your skin condition.

What We Don't Like

Leaks

Some customers noticed a minor leak from the Teflon tape. It isn’t clear whether this is a an issue with the filter or the tape was applied incorrectly.

Product 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

If you want a filter that is chemical-free but still very effective, consider this AquaBliss Universal multi-stage filter. It uses no chemicals to improve your water quality. Instead, it is packed full of premium filter material that provides excellent filtration. This makes it even more effective than many 15-stage filters.

If you have hard water, you should notice a significant difference to your hair and skin within the first week. It also prevents the unpleasant odors that some filters leave water with.

You should be able to get this filter installed and operational in just a few minutes. Once it is, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of better water quality, less itchy skin, and softer hair. This filter is equally effective with hot and cold water.

What We Like

Removes Harmful Material

This filter is one of the most powerful shower purifiers we have seen. It prevents scale buildup, removes chlorine, and extracts dirt, odors, and pesticides. The water you wash yourself with will be purified, safer, and much gentler to your skin and hair.

Reduces Itching

Many customers have praised the effect this filter had on previously itchy skin. If hard water is causing skin irritation or affecting your eczema, this filter could help as purified water is much kinder to the skin. This means you will be able to enjoy your shower without dreading the impact it will have on your skin.

High-Quality Design

This filter prioritizes high-quality design, compared to some other multi-stage filters that use low-quality filter media and compensate with more stages. This product uses high-quality redox media, double strength calcium sulfite and coconut shell activated carbon. These ingredients combine to effectively eliminate contaminants every time you shower.

What We Don't Like

Plastic Body

Despite its metallic finish, the filter is made of plastic, not stainless steel. This makes it less durable and slightly more difficult to clean, but it does also make it more affordable.

Restricts Water Flow

You might not immediately notice decreased water pressure, but it can become worse over the course of a month or so. If you are concerned about reduced water pressure, you might want to consider an alternative filter.

Product 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

This excellent PureAction model is a showerhead with a built-in filter. The showerhead contains a two-stage filter cartridge that removes fluoride and chlorine while softening hard water.

You install the filter by removing your existing showerhead and replacing it with this one. It provides a good flow rate of 2 gallons per minute and offers three different settings to ensure you have plenty of options when showering.

PureAction includes two replacement cartridges with this product. This means you won’t have to worry about buying replacements as soon as you receive it.

What We Like

Water-Saving

The showerhead is fitted with micro-nozzle technology that provides higher pressure without using additional water. This makes it a great option if you want a more eco-friendly home but without missing out on a powerful shower with soft water.

Softens Water

Athough the cartridge only has two filtration stages, they are still powerful enough to remove up to 99.9% of impurities. This filter will tackle contaminants such as rust, heavy metals, fluoride, chlorine, and other sediments.

You could notice differences in your nails, hair, and skin, as softer water reduces dryness.

Three Showerhead Settings

One of this filter’s standout features is its versatile showerhead. You can choose from three different settings based on whether you want a wide spray or a more focused jet of water.

The three settings are rain, power rain, and massage. Each setting provides high pressure that ensure you receive a thorough cleaning.

Warranty

If you are unsure whether this type of filter is a sound investment, you might be reassured to know that it is protected by a 12-month warranty. The warranty covers both the showerhead and filters, so you can be confident that they won’t let you down.

What We Don't Like

Plastic Construction

Although the filter is highly effective and versatile, the plastic construction might seem slightly flimsy. This could decrease its durability but, on the other hand, it also reduces the cost.

Product 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

Korea has long been regarded as one of the world leaders in skincare, a position that is reflected in the country’s water filtration products. The Vitafresh shower filter softens water to ensure it doesn’t dry out and damage your skin.

This filter effectively neutralizes chlorine and chloramines in your water supply. It uses DOLKI ceramic balls that help break down water molecules to make them smaller, which enables them to hydrate your skin more effectively.

Infusing the water with Vitamin C will benefit your skin, hair, and nails. The cartridge can filter up to 10,000 liters of water and should be replaced every two months. This might seem like a relatively short lifespan but the Vitamin C cartridges are affordable and come in a pack of 5.

What We Like

Enhanced with Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for our overall health β€” it is a powerful antioxidant that aids our skin’s regeneration process (5). This filter’s vitamin C cartridge helps to balance the skin’s pH level by adding natural acids to the alkaline hard water (6).

Easy Installation

This showerhead filter connects easily to any standard shower arm, so you should be able to install it in a matter of minutes.

Total Chlorine Neutralization

People often complain of unpleasant chlorine smells coming from their municipal water supply. In response, this Vitafresh filter uses food-grade ascorbic acid to effectively neutralize chlorine.

What We Don't Like

Short Cartridge Life

The vitamin C cartridge should be replaced every two months on average. However, if you live alone, you might be able to extend this to four months.

Product 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

This Culligan shower filter looks identical to a standard showerhead, and there is no way of knowing that it is a filter at first glance.

Unlike many other showerhead filters, which are plastic, this model has a metal body, making it far more durable, and its chrome finish will suit most bathroom styles. The filter cartridge is inside the showerhead and will process up to 10,000 gallons of water before it needs to be replaced.

Installation is very straightforward, and there are five spray settings to choose from. The filter will reduce chlorine levels and scale buildup. It will also help to eliminate bad odors from the water that are created by sulfur or chlorine.

What We Like

Quick Installation

This product includes a roll of Teflon tape to make installation quicker and easier. Simply remove the old showerhead and attach the new one. There are no tools needed; you only need to hand-tighten the filter.

Certified Filter

The showerhead filter is independently tested and certified by the NSF, so you can be confident that it won’t contaminate your water. It also removes a large percentage of impurities.

Five Spray Settings

Many homeowners avoid showerhead filters because they are concerned about low water pressure. However, the Culligan showerhead allows you to choose from five settings including a full-body spray and a powerful pulse.

This handheld showerhead with a filter will provide a flow rate of 2.5 GPM, which is standard for showerheads.

What We Don't Like

Difficult to Distinguish Between Settings

Although customers are pleased with the optional spray modes, it can apparently be difficult to identify which is which. To switch settings, you need to turn a knob on the showerhead.

While there is some trial and error involved, it shouldn’t take long for you to familiarize yourself with the different settings.

Product Specs

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

Product Comparison Chart

Product Best Product Type Flow Rate Filter Lifespan Material Removes
PureAction Vitamin C Overall Showerhead filter N/A 1 – 4 mos. Stainless steel metal Chlorine, heavy metals, sediments
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

How to Choose (Buying Guide)

Choosing the best hard water shower filter is not an overly complicated task, but it is one that will require some thought. You will need to ensure that your chosen filter is the right size for your shower and that it will remove the necessary materials from your water.

Type

There are multiple types of shower filters and their effectiveness largely depends on the filtration material they contain. Which type you should choose is influenced by whether you want to replace your current showerhead or simply add a filter to your existing one.

Showerhead Filter

A showerhead filter for hard water is a fully functional showerhead containing a built-in filter. They are often bulkier than standard showerheads because they need extra internal space to hold a cartridge.

  1. Filtered showerheads are usually easy to install by simply connecting the hose to the shower fixtures. In most cases, you won’t need any tools and will be able to simply hand-tighten the connection.

When choosing a showerhead filter, be sure to check the water flow rate. Some showerhead filters will significantly reduce your shower’s flow rate, which will make it more time-consuming to clean yourself thoroughly. A flow rate of 2.2 to 2.5 GPM (gallons per minute) is the usual standard.

In-Line Filter

These filters are installed between the existing showerhead and the main water pipe. They are usually easy to screw on and don’t require tools. Most in-line filters include a roll of Teflon tape to help you achieve a watertight seal during installation.

In-line filters are popular because they can be used with your current showerhead. However, you will need to check their compatibility. Although most in-line filters are compatible with multiple shower types such as rainfall, handheld, and wall-mounted, there are exceptions, such as swivel showerheads.

Lifespan

Like all water filters, shower filters have limited lifespans, so they will need to be replaced to continue effectively filtering your water. An old filter could end up doing more harm than good as it allows contaminants back into your water as it leaves your shower.

Before you buy a hard water filter for your shower, check its lifespan. This will usually be written as an estimate of how many gallons it can filter, or how many months it will remain effective. Gallon estimates are generally far more helpful as large households will use the same amount of water as someone who lives alone in a much shorter time.

What Will Be Filtered?

A shower filter will remove various contaminants depending on its type and the material used in the filter component. If your primary concern is hard water, you should look for a filter that is designed to remove minerals and scale.

You might also be dealing with other issues such as bad odors or contaminants including chlorine and rust. Read the description carefully before choosing a filter, as manufacturers are usually very specific about what their filters can remove.


How Hard Water Affects Your Showers

Hard water contains large amounts of dissolved minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. The hardness of your water depends on how high the mineral percentage is (7).

Symptoms of hard water include water stains or white marks on dishes and other surfaces. These are dried mineral deposits that are left behind when the hard water evaporates.

Hard water can also affect your skin and hair, drying out the skin and making hair more brittle and fragile. As you shower in hard water, the mineral content will react with soap and shampoo, creating soap scum. This scum can accumulate on your skin, hair, and bathroom ceramics, leaving residue.

You Might Also Like
woman removing hard water stains from bathtubHow to Remove Hard Water Stains from a Bathtub

Soap and shampoo also are also more difficult to lather in hard water due to calcium carbonate, reducing their effectiveness (8).

You can install a water softening system in your home to reduce the effects of hard water. The most popular systems use ion exchange, which replaces hardness ions with salt ions (9). However, this also increases the sodium content of your water, so it isn’t recommended for daily drinking, particularly if you suffer from cardiovascular issues (10).

Take Note

A shower filter is the best option if you want to soften the water in your shower exclusively. This allows you to enjoy the health benefits of drinking hard water while also protecting your hair and skin in the shower.

How Filter Media Work

The media inside a water filter is what removes or reduces impurities. Most shower filters use multiple stages that utilize several different media β€” these commonly range from two-stage to 15-stage.

Here are the most common media that you might find in a shower filter:

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%. Vitamin C filters also remove other contaminants, such as chloramines and sediments (11).

2. KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) Filter

KDF filters are usually used alongside activated carbon blocks to help extend the life of the carbon. They do this by protecting the carbon block from bacterial growth.

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

This process means a KDF medium can transform harmful contaminants into harmless components. Heavy metals such as lead and copper will become attached to the media’s surface, thus removing them from the water.

3. Multi-Stage Carbon Filter

This filter type consists of multiple stages that the water must pass through. It usually begins with a tightly woven cotton filter or stainless steel netting. As the cotton is so tightly woven, no particles larger than 0.1 to 0.3 microns can pass through it (13).

The initial stage usually removes impurities such as debris, rust, sand, and sediments β€” it can also remove large viruses and bacteria.

If you choose a translucent filter, you might notice that it is full of beads or balls. These are ceramic beads that assist ion exchange β€” they also block calcium and magnesium from passing through (14).

Finally, the water will pass an activated carbon medium that removes chemicals. These chemicals can include chlorine, chloramine, and even volatile organic compounds. Some multi-stage filters also have additional cotton or stainless steel media before the water leaves the filter.


Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Peter Gray

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.