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Best Shower Filters

Updated August 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 14 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 128 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best shower filters

    Last Updated August 2018

    Your shower is supposed to keep you clean, but if the water coming out of your faucet isn’t, you might find yourself with stained hair, irritated skin, or a chemical smell that clings to your body. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem – a shower filter.

    Unfortunately, not all shower filters do the same thing, and it can be difficult to choose the right one for your situation if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It all comes down to what contaminants are in your water, what type filter you want, and how much you’re willing to spend.

    If you’re ready buy a shower filter that lives up to its promises, check out our recommended products, or learn more about how to choose the right shower filter for your needs in our shopping guide.

    Shower filters remove chlorine, which is known to cause dry skin and frizzy hair.

    Shower filter features to consider

    Filter type

    There are three main types of water filters, and these can be used separately or in combination to remove the contaminants from your water.

    • Carbon filters: These filters are the type most commonly used in other water filtration applications, like on your kitchen faucet or in the fridge. However, the carbon filters are not ideal for showers because the hot water and high pressure coming through the showerhead overwhelm the carbon filters.

    • Vitamin C filters: If you’re trying to get rid of chlorine or chloramine in your water, vitamin C filters are your best option. They are highly effective at removing these contaminants, and they aren’t affected by water temperature. The downside of vitamin C filters is that they aren’t great at eliminating other contaminants like heavy metals, iron, or calcium and magnesium, which can cause hard water. If you also have problems with these, you should look for a product that incorporates multiple types of filters.

    • Kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF) filters: KDF filters use copper and zinc to eliminate most of the common contaminants found in municipal water supplies, as well as any bacteria and viruses that may be present. These types of filters are usually more affordable than vitamin C filters, and they work well in all temperatures. However, they don’t do as good a job at removing chlorine and chloramine.

    Style

    Shower filters come in two styles: showerhead and in-line. Both are equally effective, so the difference comes down to aesthetics, spray settings, installation, and price.

    • Showerhead filters: A showerhead filter replaces your existing showerhead. It comes in a single piece with a detachable filter that is replaced as necessary. These filters typically come with multiple spray settings just like regular showerheads. Plus, you don’t have to worry about any compatibility issues because it hooks up to your existing pipe. These models are generally more expensive than in-line shower filters.

    • In-line shower filters: These filters don’t come with a showerhead. Instead, they are installed in between the water pipe and the existing showerhead. These filters are usually cheaper than showerhead filters and, depending on the model, blend in better with the rest of your bathroom. You can also continue using the shower spray settings you’re used to. This type of filter fits most showers, but there is a small chance that it may not work with your existing showerhead.

    Water pressure

    High water pressure can be hard on shower filters, so most models come with a restrictor valve to keep the flow of water from overpowering the filter. These flow restrictors are either fixed or removable.

    If your water pressure is average or above average, either kind of filter will work just fine. If your water pressure is low, look for a filter with a removable flow restrictor and take the flow restrictor out to keep from lowering your water pressure even further.

    Installation

    Most shower filters are relatively easy to install. All you have to do is unscrew the existing hardware and add the filter or replace the existing showerhead. Many new models require no tools to install, which is great if you aren’t mechanically inclined. If you live in an apartment, you may also want to consider how easy the filter will be to uninstall when you move.

    Replacement filters

    Before you make your purchase, check how often the manufacturer recommends changing the filter. A shower filter that requires you to replace the filter every month could get expensive. Most filters last for about six months, and some last even longer. It all depends on the kind and amount of  contaminants in your water and the length and frequency of your showers. The more work the shower filter has to do, the sooner you’ll have to replace it.

    Also consider how easy it is to find the right replacement filters. The best shower filter in the world won’t be useful for very long if you can’t find replacement filters anywhere. Before you buy a product, do some research online to make sure that you can find replacements, preferably at more than one store.

    Certification

    If you really want to make sure that a shower filter will live up to its claims, look for one that has been tested and approved by an independent agency. Both the Water Quality Association (WQA) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certify shower filters. Certified products note this on the product packaging.

    However, just because a shower filter isn’t certified by one of these agencies doesn’t mean it won’t work. Certification is a long and rigorous process, and these third-party agencies have only recently begun evaluating shower filters.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Shower filters come in handheld wands, too, which are great for washing children and pets.

    Shower filter prices

    When purchasing a shower filter, you have to think about the long-term as well as upfront costs. Most shower filters range from $20 to $100 depending on the type of filtration used, how long the filters last, and the number of available spray settings (for showerhead filters).

    • In-line filters are generally cheaper than showerhead filters. You can find a good one for $20 to $50.

    • KDF filters generally cost under $50, but price depends on whether the unit is an in-line or showerhead filter and whether it is used alone or in combination with another type of filter.

    • Showerhead filters usually start around $50 and can cost as much as $100.

    • Vitamin C filters are the most expensive shower filters. You can expect to pay between $60 and $100 for one of these.

    • Replacement filters cost around $20 each. It’s a good idea to check the cost of replacement filters before you buy a shower filter. Calculate how much the shower filter will cost you over the course of a year to make sure it’s an amount you’re comfortable with. Also, please note that some shower filters include some replacement filters with the initial purchase. This affects your upfront costs.

    EXPERT TIP

    Studies have shown that inhaling vaporized chlorine in the shower can damage your lungs. Installing a shower filter can eliminate this problem.


    EXPERT TIP

    If your shower is stained red, green, or some other color, it could indicate a high metal content in your water that should be corrected with a shower filter.


    Tips

    • It’s a good idea to take shorter showers. Not only will this save water but it will also extend the life of your shower filter.

    • Read the instruction manual carefully. Make sure you understand how to install the shower filter correctly and how often you should change the filter.

    • Have your water tested. Getting your water tested first enables you to choose a shower filter designed to remove the contaminants in your water.

    • Choose a stainless steel filter. If you go with a metal shower filter, choose one that is made of stainless steel so you know it won’t corrode or rust.
    Vitamin C filters have been shown to remove up to 99% of chlorine and chloramine from water. Other types of filters may only remove 50% or less.

    FAQ

    Q. Why do I need a shower filter?
    A.
    You might not. It all depends on what’s in your water. If you’re connected to a municipal water supply, chances are good that your water has been treated with chlorine or chloramine to remove bacteria and other contaminants. Unfortunately, this type of water can dry out your skin and cause irritation, so it’s best to remove the chemicals with a filter. High levels of metal like copper and iron in your water supply may also necessitate a shower filter because they can stain your hair.

    Q. Will a shower filter help soften my hard water?
    A.
    Yes, if you purchase one that is designed to remove the minerals that contribute to hard water, such as calcium and magnesium.

    Q. Can I install a shower filter if I live in an apartment?
    A.
    Yes. Shower filters attach to your shower’s existing water pipe. In-line shower filters enable you to use the existing shower head. If you purchase a shower head filter, you can always remove the existing shower head and put it back on when you’re ready to move out.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Kailey
      Kailey
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor