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Expert Shopper Bed & Bath

Best shower filter

Which shower filters are best?

Many municipal water systems deliver water that has impurities, contaminants, metal deposits and other substances to homes. If you use this water for showering, the results are dry and irritated skin, stiff hair that is hard to rinse, and a chemical smell that clings to you after your shower.

The simplest solution for these water woes is to buy a shower filter that removes impurities. There are several things to look for when shopping for a shower filter, and this guide can help you make a well-informed decision. If you want a shower filter with a natural coconut-shell carbon filter that filters out harsh chemicals for healthier, shinier hair and moister skin, the best is Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System.

What to know before you buy a shower filter

Filter types

Most shower filters use carbon, vitamin C or KDF filter, and some use a combination of these.

  • Carbon filter: This is the type most commonly attached to kitchen faucets or tied into the water-line hookups for your refrigerator’s ice maker and chilled water dispenser. Carbon filters mainly filter out chlorine compounds. They are less effective in showers because sustained high pressure and hot temperatures quickly overwhelm them.
  • Vitamin C filter: This is another choice for getting rid of chlorine. The shortcoming is that it is not very good at filtering out heavy metals or minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and can’t soften hard water or remove dissolved salts.
  • KDF filter: This filter type uses copper and zinc to eliminate most of the contaminants present in municipal water supplies. Its downside is that it doesn’t do a good job of filtering out chlorine.


Shower filters are set up in two ways: via the showerhead and inline.

  • Showerhead: This style’s mounts replace your existing showerhead. Twist off the old one and twist on the new one at the same location. Showerhead mounts have detachable filters you replace as needed. Showerhead mounts typically come with multiple spray settings.
  • Inline filter: This has no showerhead. It is a small apparatus that fits between the existing showerhead and the threaded pipe end that comes out of the shower wall. Inline filters are significantly cheaper than showerhead mounts because you are not paying for a showerhead.

For more information, take a look at the full shower filter buying guide from BestReviews.

What to look for in a quality shower filter

Replacement filters

Whichever shower filter you buy, you will need to replace the filter inside twice a year on average. Most manufacturers recommend changing to a new, uncontaminated filter every six months or 10,000 gallons to get the most out of your shower. Most manufacturers want you to buy their replacement filters, which can be quite expensive. With a little checking, you can find generic shower filters that fit your system at a substantially lower cost.


If you buy a shower filter/showerhead combo device, you can choose the extra features you like.

  • Removable showerheads with hoses: Hoses allow you to spray yourself, your shower stall or tub from any position.
  • Showerheads with more adjustments: These give you different sprays with different intensities.

How much you can expect to spend on a shower filter

Inline filters are the cheapest and cost $20-$50. Showerhead filters start at around $50 and range upward to $100 or so. A pack of four replacement filter cartridges generally costs $20-$30.

Shower filter FAQ

Is it possible to install my filter backward?

A. Yes. Sometimes the little arrows are hard to see, so make sure you read the directions first. Your shower will still work, but without most of the filter’s benefits.

Can renters use shower filters without getting in trouble?

A. As long as you buy the showerhead type that screws onto the pipe, you should have no problem. Set aside the landlord’s original showerhead so you can replace it when you take yours with you the next time you move.

What’s the best shower filter to buy?

Top shower filter

Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System

What you need to know: This shower filter’s natural coconut-shell carbon reduces chlorine, lead, iron and other harsh chemicals for healthier, shinier hair and moister skin.

What you’ll love: The unique upflow design prevents clogging and maintains healthy water pressure. The easy-to-replace cartridges of this shower filter last for six months, which Aquasana says costs 25 cents per day.

What you should consider: This showerhead can be difficult to install and replacement filters are expensive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top shower filter for the money

Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head

What you need to know: This sleekly designed shower filter has five spray settings and you can install it quickly without tools.

What you’ll love: The included WHR-140 filter cartridge reduces chlorine scale and sulfur odor. This shower filter threads directly onto any standard ½-inch showerhead arm. It has been tested and certified to restrict water flow to 1.8 gallons per minute.

What you should consider: The plastic top does not feel very solid or sturdy.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Speakman S-2005-HB Hotel High Pressure Shower Head

What you need to know: This shower filter delivers 2.5 gallons per minute through 58 individual spray holes.

What you’ll love: The Anystream’s patented 360-degree system transitions easily through settings for Massage, Intense and Combination. Self-cleaning plungers resist hard-water buildup and sediment, keeping the showerhead cleaner. It comes in brushed chrome, brushed nickel, polished chrome and polished brass finishes. The design of this shower filter makes it an ideal choice for those who have low water pressure in their showers.

What you should consider: Some people reported the actual water pressure was lower than they had expected.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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