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The Best 8 Shower Filters for Hard Water – Reviews & Guide 2021

There are numerous reasons why installing a shower filter is a good idea. The hard water that you use to clean yourself can have a negative impact on your hair and skin, causing them to look dry. Your hair color starts to look dull as well. Shower filters can go a long way in helping you solve such problems, so let’s look at some of the best models yet.

What are the best shower filters?

best choice
Pelican Premium Shower Filter
Pelican Premium Shower Filter

Filters Chlorine, Chloramines and other synthetic chemicals

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Easy Installation
Pelican Premium Shower Filter with Head
Pelican Premium Shower Filter with Head

Dual-flow shower head. Switch between high-flow & water conservation

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best shower head filter
Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System
Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System

Natural coconut shell carbon reduces chlorine, lead, iron and other harsh chemicals, while copper & zinc media enhances your water's PH balance.

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best with vitamin C
Vitamin C Filter Inline Shower Assembly by Sonaki
Vitamin C Filter Inline Shower Assembly by Sonaki

With this inline add on vitamin c filter you can remove up to 99.9% of Chlorine and Chloramines from your shower water.

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Amazon's Choice
Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter With Vitamin C
Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter With Vitamin C

It comes with activated carbon, medical stone, calcium sulfate, and negative ion balls, but also includes vitamin C, alkaline and ceramic balls.

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best overall
AquaBliss SF220 Shower Filter
AquaBliss SF220 Shower Filter

It has a universal fit and is compatible with a variety of different types of shower heads.

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Shower Filter Categories

Shower Filters for Hard Water

In general, shower filters can be labeled either according to their target of filtration or the method of installation. If we consider the latter, shower filters are mostly shower heads (they look just like regular showerheads, only these have a built-in filtration system and they will completely replace your old shower head) or in-line/portable shower filters (you can keep your current shower head, as these mounted between the water supply line and the existing head).

If we label shower filters according to their target of filtration, we have three main categories to consider:

  • Chlorine filters are very common and they use media suck as calcium sulfate, GAC, or KDF.
  • Chloramine filters are ideal for people who take hot showers, and the best medium for these is vitamin C.
  • Fluoride filters, which are a more recent market appearance, although fluoride doesn’t seem to have too many side effects.

Types of Shower Filters

Shower filters are available in different forms, so here are the main types that you can expect to find on the market:

  • Showerhead filters have a filtration system that’s built into the showerhead.
  • Inline shower filters are designed like small barrels and they are attached directly to your pipes, right above the showerhead. They have filters that can easily be screwed onto the pipe, with the showerhead then being attached to the filter. They have cartridges that require replacement and come with multiple filtration layers.
  • Inline shower and showerhead filters are basically a combination of the two types mentioned earlier. It’s basically a system that relies on the inline filter to clean up most contaminants and leaves whatever is left for the showerhead filter.
  • Multi-level carbon filters are designed with several carbon layers combined with other elements to remove bacteria and sediments from water. The different layers inside these filters will target a different type of contaminant.
  • KDF (short for Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) filters are made with copper-zinc media and are designed to clear the water of hydrogen sulfide, chlorine, and metals. The process that does this is called redox, a reaction that’s pretty difficult to explain if you don’t have a degree in chemistry.
  • Vitamin C filters have pellets inside that are believed to be capable of neutralizing chlorine found in the water supply. Even if their efficiency is somewhat contested, it is a well-known fact that vitamin C aids in building collagen, so it’s still efficient skincare-wise. 

How to Choose a Shower Filter

Before spending money on a shower filter, here are some of the things you need to take into account:

  • Most shower filters for removing hard water will require replacing filters, so you have to consider that as a consumable expense added to your list of other expenses. Some manufacturers sell branded filters for their own products, while other manufacturers make universal ones that are suitable for multiple products.
  • Then, you want to learn as much as you can about the product’s water purification abilities. The majority of filtration systems are 99.9 percent efficient, but you will find that not all manufacturers are transparent when it comes to talking about what their filters can do. Good shower filters should be able to remove chlorine, parasites, bacteria, and heavy metals.
  • Also, take a look at what the shower filters are made from. You will discover that the main material is plastic because of its water-resistance and the fact that it has a long lifespan.
  • The adjustability of the filter means that it allows you to control the water flow and overall water consumption. Some models even let you choose different spraying patterns. 

Pros & Cons

Why do you need a shower filter, anyway? Are there any downsides to having one? It’s perfectly normal to ask these questions before buying such a product, so let’s go over some of the ups and downs of having a shower filter at home.

Pro: A shower filter can make your skin, nails, and hair look and feel much healthier, since the disinfectants in our water supply are bad for the skin.

Con: There is a difference between a shower filter and a water softener, so there are limitations when it comes to what a shower filter can do in terms of removing calcium.

Pro: They can keep your lungs healthier. That’s because the steam released by your shower is filled with tiny particles that you’re likely to breathe in, and those tiny particles are disinfection byproducts that you don’t want inside your body.

Con: Most models have filters that require changing. That’s an extra expense added to your list. 

Myths about Shower Water & Filters

A lot of shower filter manufacturers will try to sell their product through claims about how toxic shower water actually is. It’s important for you to know which of these common statements are true or false, so that you can avoid investing in products that are pushed forward using false claims, so let’s get to it:

  • It is a common belief that the chlorine found in shower water is absorbed by the skin, and this claim is mostly false. According to the Department of Community Health in Michigan, the human skin doesn’t absorb high levels of chlorine, but small amounts can pass through if you’re exposed to bleach of chlorine gas. These amounts are, however, eliminated from the body pretty fast.
  • Chlorine doesn’t lead to hair loss if you are exposed to small amounts of it. Dermatology journals have proven the fact that even swimmers (who are exposed to more chlorine than the average person showering daily) don’t experience significantly more hair loss.
  • Shower filters will not remove all chlorine, but they should be efficient in removing about 90 percent of it (some don’t remove chlorine at all).
  • Shower filters don’t soften water better than a water softener can, but it an efficient method of reducing chlorine and different other chemical contaminants, so the long-term benefits on your skin and hair will still be noticeable.
  • Shower filters never have a lifespan of longer than 1 year (it’s about 3 to 6 months, on average), as some manufacturers claim.

Types of Pelican Shower Filters

Pelican is known for offering amazing water cleansing solutions, ranging from drinking filters to water softeners, so it’s no surprise that they make some very good shower filters as well.

A shower filter can make a big difference that’s noticeable on your skin and hair, eliminating a bunch of contaminants that would otherwise damage both of them. All of their shower filters are available in a white and a chrome option, so that you can opt for the one that best matches the rest of your bathroom décor.

Regardless which one of the three models you choose, you are going to receive a product that’s efficient in reducing 96 percent of chlorine agents, each of them being equipped with a filter that can cleanse 15,000 gallons of water after requiring a replacement.

Promising you healthier hair and softer skin, the Pelican shower filters are designed to be an eco-friendly solution because they focus on saving water as you shower. They are designed to be a durable and cost-friendly option compared to really expensive shower filters that don’t offer any additional benefits compared to what the Pelican line has in store for its buyers.

Next up, we are going to show you what you three options are. They basically include the same shower filter, but each package comes with an additional perk that the other two don’t have.

Top 8 Best Shower Filter Reviews – Wash away all the chemicals that are hiding in your shower water.

1. Pelican Premium Shower Filter

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Your first option is the Pelican premium shower filter, the least expensive choice, but one that delivers quality water cleansing. It doesn’t contain any BPA and promises to remove up to 96 percent of the chlorine found in your home’s water. Aside from the shower filter itself, it comes with an aromatherapy scent bar, the owner’s manual, and you can also opt for the dual-flow showerhead.

The system uses a three-stage water filtration method: the water had to pass through the copper and zinc oxidation media (filtering chlorine and other contaminants), then it goes through the GAC carbon media (filtering out synthetic chemicals and removing odours from the water), and the last step is passing through the infrared media (inducing reduced or negative ions to your water).

The filter is available in a white and chrome finish, and it includes an “Ocean Breeze” scent bar to create a soothing aromatherapy environment that leaves you in a good mood every time you shower. The filter can last about 15,000 gallons before it needs replacement (which should be once every six months).

best choice
Pelican Premium Shower Filter
Pelican Premium Shower Filter

Filters Chlorine, Chloramines and other synthetic chemicals

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Pros:

  • Good price.
  • 2 finish options.
  • Shower accessories are easy to mount.
  • Quick installation.

Cons:

  • The design could be improved.

2. Pelican Premium Shower Filter with Head

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The aforementioned Pelican shower filter doesn’t include a head, but there is a version that does come with one. The Premium shower filter with head basically brings forth all the features of the headless version, but it includes a dual-flow shower head that can help you save water by allowing you to switch from high-flow mode to water-conservation mode.

The rest of the specifications are pretty much the same: you have the possibility to choose between the white and the chrome finish, you have a filter with a lifespan of about 15,000 gallons of water, it comes with quick connect features so that you can change the filter easily, and it includes the same “Ocean Breeze” scent bar for people who love a good aromatherapy session while showering.

Easy Installation
Pelican Premium Shower Filter with Head
Pelican Premium Shower Filter with Head

Dual-flow shower head. Switch between high-flow & water conservation

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Pros:

  •  Includes a dual-flow shower head.
  • Better at preserving water.
  • 2 finish options.
  • Shower accessories are easy to mount.
  • Quick installation.

Cons:

  • Heavy load on water pipe.

3. Pelican Premium Shower Filter with 5-Foot Wand

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If you want to upgrade the kit even further, we recommend going with the Pelican premium shower filter with wand. What makes this different compared to the other two filtering systems we looked at? Well, you’ll be happy to know that the specifications and quality of construction is the same as with the other two options, but you also receive a 5-foot tangle-free shower want that includes a massage feature.

The other specs remain the same, including the scent bar, the two finish options, the filter with the 15,000 gallons of water lifespan, the quick connect feature, the ease of installation, and the water-saving flow of 1.5 GPM.

Full kit
Pelican Premium Shower Filter with 5-Foot Wand
Pelican Premium Shower Filter with 5-Foot Wand

BPA Free, removes over 96% of chlorine, provides relaxing aromatherapy, and lasts 50% longer than the competition.

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Pros:

  • Includes a massage shower-head.
  • Easy to install.
  • Aromatherapy bar included.
  • 2 finish options.

Cons:

  • Heavy load on water pipe.

4. AquaBliss SF100 Shower Filter

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The SF100 shower filter developed by AquaBliss is an efficient filtering system that promises to rejuvenate the skin from day 1 of use. It comes with multi-stage sediment filters that can keep contaminants away from your body to make sure that it doesn’t have to suffer due to hard water.

The filter is very easy to install as it connects between your water pipe and your existing shower filter, which means you won’t need the help of a plumber to get the system up and running. It works with a wide variety of shower types, including handheld, fixed, or rain showers.

Overall, the filter has proven its efficiency because of the interesting mix of components that are meant to balance the pH levels of your skin, reduce the sensations of dryness and itchiness, but also to improve the condition of your nails.

customer’s choice
AquaBliss SF100 Shower Filter
AquaBliss SF100 Shower Filter

The system is based on calcium sulfate and activated carbon to clean the water of impurities and neutralize odors.

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Pros:

  • Advanced filtration system.
  • Multiple shower head compatibility.
  • Balances pH levels.
  • Easy to mount.

Cons:

  • Filter life may vary.

5. Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System

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The Aquasana AQ-4100 water filtration system comes with an adjustable shower head, which means that it’s a different type of product compared to the others you’re going to read about in this round-up. At the core of the filter lies a coconut shell carbon which is means to drastically decrease the amount of chlorine and synthetic chemicals in the water.

Right below that, you would find media that blends copper and zinc to improve the water’s pH up to a point where your skin is restored its natural balance. The filter comes with its own shower head that includes multiple massage settings to make every shower as relaxing and as pleasant as possible.

The overall system is really easy to install, while the filter itself has a lifespan of about six months. It can filter up to 10,000 gallons of water with each new filter. It also helps regulate water pressure, so you won’t have to worry about sacrificing that.

best shower head filter
Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System
Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System

Natural coconut shell carbon reduces chlorine, lead, iron and other harsh chemicals, while copper & zinc media enhances your water's PH balance.

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Pros:

  • Certified coconut shell carbon media.
  • Anti-clogging design.
  • Filters 10,000 gallons of water.
  • Shower head included.
  • Massage feature.

Cons:

  • Expensive filter replacement.

6. Vitamin C Filter Inline Shower Assembly by Sonaki

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A few years ago, would you have ever imagined that there would be a filter that was based on vitamin C medium? If you know your way around cosmetics, then you know that vitamin C is an ingredient in many creams and serums and it helps rejuvenate the skin. This system is basically a filter that is mounted between the existing shower head and the water pipe itself and it promises to filter out chlorine and chloramine with 99 percent efficiency.

The filter itself is made with a resin in-line filter and uses brass for better durability. It has a beautiful chrome finish and is compatible with almost every existing setup. The package also includes a wrench that makes filter swapping a breeze (you will need some elbow grease to tighten everything up).

best with vitamin C
Vitamin C Filter Inline Shower Assembly by Sonaki
Vitamin C Filter Inline Shower Assembly by Sonaki

With this inline add on vitamin c filter you can remove up to 99.9% of Chlorine and Chloramines from your shower water.

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Pros:

  • Vitamin C-based filter.
  • Wrench included.
  • 99 percent efficiency.
  • Brass and resin construction.

Cons:

  • Requires frequent filter change.

7. Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter With Vitamin C Shower

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Looking for a cost-effective water filter that costs about three times less than the previous product on our list? Then the Aqua Earth filter is here to deliver just that: good quality at a lower price. The filter is designed to be compatible with almost every existing type of shower head, as this is mounted on the water pipe itself.

It also helps maintain the water pressure at an optimal level, so you won’t have to sacrifice a decent shower pressure in favor of clean water. The filter itself is made from a stainless steel mesh and micro porous PP cotton.

Amazon's Choice
Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter With Vitamin C
Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter With Vitamin C

It comes with activated carbon, medical stone, calcium sulfate, and negative ion balls, but also includes vitamin C, alkaline and ceramic balls.

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Pros:

  • Good price.
  • 15 stages of water purification.
  • Easy to install.
  • Multiple setup compatibility.

Cons:

  • Complaints about long-term efficiency.

8. AquaBliss SF220 Shower Filter

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Our last item on the list is yet another AquaBliss filter, as their products have been well-received by shower fans all over the world. It is an in-line type of filter which doesn’t require any tools to install, meaning that everyone can do it in less than 5 minutes.

The filter is designed with a combination of activated carbon, calcium sulfate, and redox media, all of them working together to make sure that the water you use to bathe is free of any contaminant that might cause damage to your skin and hair. The product has received a lot of praise from buyers, which is why we’ve labeled it to be one of the best choices that money can buy. Plus, it also comes at a really affordable price.

best overall
AquaBliss SF220 Shower Filter
AquaBliss SF220 Shower Filter

It has a universal fit and is compatible with a variety of different types of shower heads.

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Pros:

  • Compatible with different setups.
  • Heavy-duty filtration.
  • Easy installation.
  • Multi-stage purifying system.

Cons:

  • Complaints about leaks.

FAQ

Q: Do shower filters really work?

A: Yes, they do, but it depends on what you want to use them for. Shower filters are not the most efficient solution for water softening, but they will remove chemical contaminants and stuff like chlorine from the water, making way safer for your skin and your hair.

Q: What is the best shower filter?

A: The best shower filter on the market is the one that can remove a wide variety of water contaminants so you can bathe in water that’s as cleansed as possible.

Q: How long does a shower filter last?

A: The lifespan of a shower filter is usually measured in gallons of water, or how much water it can actually filter before it needs a replacement. On average, it should last about 10,000 gallons of water, which is usually consumed when showering over a period of six months.

Q: What do shower filters remove?

A: Shower filters are an efficient solution for removing stuff like chlorine or chloramine from your bathroom water. They manage to do so thanks to filters such as KDF, which helps convert chlorine and heavy metals into less harmful materials. However, it’s important to note that most shower filters do not remove chloramine from the water because of the high water flow when showering. For chloramine removal, vitamin C filters are the best option.

Conclusion

Finding a good shower filter shouldn’t be all that complicated if you know what to look for. There are different brands out there that take advantage of customers who haven’t done their homework and advertise all sorts of fancy features in an attempt to sell their product.

What you need to remember is that you are most interested in products that are easy to install, don’t leak, have a good lifespan, and are efficient in reducing a high percentage of the existing types of contaminants that can find their way into the water system.