The Best Shower Filters of 2022

What are you waiting for? Get the lead out (and chlorine) with these top shower filters for your home.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated May 25, 2022 1:59 PM

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The Best Shower Filter Option

Photo: amazon.com

Your water supply may contain heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The best shower filters sift harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and other byproducts out of your home’s bath or shower water.

The best shower filters last for years and are durable, easy to handle, and use materials that can intercept any junk in the water supply. This guide will assist you in choosing the best filter to remove possible contaminants so that you can bathe easily (and breathe easy) in the shower.

  1. BEST OVERALL: AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Geekpure 4-Stage Showerhead Shower Filter
  3. UPGRADE PICK: AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Shower Head
  4. BEST FOR CHLORINE: PureAction Water Softener Shower Head
  5. BEST FOR FLUORIDE: CraterAquaSystems 15 Stages Shower Water Filter
  6. BEST FOR WELL WATER: AquaHomeGroup 15 Stage Shower Filter with Vitamin C
  7. BEST VITAMIN C FILTER: PureAction Vitamin C Shower Head Filter with Hose
The Best Shower Filter Option

Photo: amazon.com

Types of Shower Filters

Different filtering media may target distinct contaminants or offer other benefits. Whether you are dealing with shower or faucet filters, some models are more powerful than others, and certain models may be a better fit for your plumbing. Here’s a look at the different types of shower filters on the market.

Showerhead Filter

Showerhead filters come with a built-in filtration system and are meant to replace your existing showerhead. They look like standard showerheads. You can also find handheld detachable models that contain filtration elements inside the handle. They’re a great option if you already use a detachable spray nozzle.

But these handheld devices typically don’t provide as much filtration as an inline filter. Though some do use multi-layer filtering media, which increases their capabilities. Aroma filters, also available for certain models, give the water a pleasant scent. This feature may be especially important to someone with hard water that has an eggy smell.

In-Line Shower Filter

Inline shower filters are small barrels that attach directly to the pipe behind the showerhead. The filter screws onto the pipe, and the showerhead then screws onto the filter.

These types of shower filters use large, easy-to-replace filter cartridges that contain multiple layers (or stages) of filtration. Carbon, calcium sulfite, vitamin C, ceramic balls, and silver intercept bacteria, DBPs, and other unwanted substances.

Inline shower filters are easy to maintain. The body of the filter separates in halves to give you access to the filter cartridge. Cartridges last from 650 to 1,300 showers or more.

In-Line Shower and Showerhead Filters

If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, you can double up on these options for even more filtration power.

Since these units use standard fittings, they will attach to each other. The water will pass through the inline filter first and remove most of the contaminants right away. Once the water makes its way to the showerhead, the built-in filter will remove any remaining pollutants.

You’ll still need to change the inline filter as recommended (after every 650 to 1,300 showers), but this modification should make the showerhead filter last longer.

Multilevel Carbon Filters

Multi-level carbon filters use several layers of carbon and other media to safely remove sediments and bacteria like chlorine, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), lead, and fluoride from the water.

Each layer targets a specific type of contaminant. Carbon, for example, removes chlorine, sediment particles, VOCs, and any foul taste or odor. A popular source for this carbon is granulated activated coconut charcoal.

Multi-level carbon filters are less expensive than other options. But, the hotter the water, the less effective charcoal filters are at removing chlorine.

KDF Filters

Slightly more expensive than a charcoal filter, KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) filters are still an affordable option. KDF filters contain copper-zinc media. They remove metals, chlorine, and hydrogen sulfide from water through a chemical process called redox.

Unless you have a chemistry degree, the redox reaction is complicated. Essentially, the KDF media transfers electrons from harmful contaminants and changes their chemical composition altogether. (KDF Fluid Treatment, Inc., provides even more reading material on the matter.) Redox essentially renders contaminants harmless.

Some filters and showerheads offer a layer of KDF filtration inside multi-layer cartridges to provide extra protection against heavy metals.

Vitamin C Filters

Though there’s some debate about its efficacy, vitamin C may neutralize chlorine that’s added to the water supply. While dechlorinating the water, vitamin C pellets inside the handle or cartridge add the powdered nutrient to the water stream.

Some argue these filters are just a luxury trend that doesn’t affect chlorine levels at all. But vitamin C is known to build collagen, so it could make a difference in the health of your skin and hair.

And there’s nothing wrong with a little vitamin C coming out of your showerhead. So if you’d like an extra touch of the antioxidant, add a vitamin C filter after your inline filter or buy a cartridge with a vitamin C layer.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Shower Filter

Besides the range of filter types available, you’ll want to keep a few other considerations in mind when you choose the best shower filter for your home. Think about how long the filter lasts, what it can filter out, and what the appliance is made of.

Lifespan and Replacement Filters

Filters themselves aren’t terribly expensive unless you have to replace them often. Consider a filter that uses long-lasting, affordable cartridges that are easy to find. You can use the manufacturer’s replacement filters or universal ones. Shop around and you’ll find filters that last for more than 1,300 showers.

When it comes to detachable showerheads that have media and aroma filters in the handle, be sure to find one that’s easy to maintain. You’re likely to replace the filters on these more often, so you want it to be a simple process. Some of these devices have pellets in the handle. You won’t find universal replacements for those, but you will find universal aroma filters.

Water Purification Abilities

Most filtration systems claim to be 99.9 percent effective, so don’t settle for less. But, manufacturers are pretty shy about what their filters can do specifically. They don’t want to over-promise. Still, you should know what contaminants these appliances target.

The best shower filters should aim to reduce or eliminate:

  • Heavy metals, such as iron, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, nickel, chromium, cobalt, zinc, and selenium
  • Bacteria and parasites, such as giardia and cryptosporidium
  • Chlorine, chloramine, and DBPs

Material

Most shower filters are plastic. It lasts a long time and won’t corrode. You can even find plastic with finishes to match the other fixtures in your bathroom. Chrome options are plentiful. Choices in bronze might be a little more limited.

If you prefer to limit the use of BPA (bisphenol-A) plastics in your home, there are some models that will fit that need. BPA imitates estrogen hormones which can accumulate at unsafe levels in your body. This can cause several health issues, especially for infants.

Weight

Weight has a lot more to do with maintenance than actual filtration. Water filters are generally light out of the box. However, when you install the filter and add water, you’ve added weight. Add contaminants to that, and they get even heavier. In an inline filter, all this can put extra stress on the water pipe. The weight can bend or even break your pipe—or cause it to separate from the fitting.

Adjustability

Adjustable water filters may allow you to choose the rate at which the water flows and control how much water you use. Some shower heads will adjust for increased jets, pulsing massage settings, and even a rainfall setting.

Our Top Picks

Now you’re ready to pick the best shower filter to remove bacteria, compounds, and heavy metals from your water supply. These easy-to-service models all excel at the job.

Best Overall

The Best Shower Filter Option: AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter
Photo: amazon.com

The AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter is for people who want to add filtration to their current shower head. The in-line filter fits behind the existing shower head, so it’s hardly noticeable.

According to the manufacturer, 75 percent of the filtering media in this device clears contaminants and the rest adds vitamins and minerals to the water. The filter targets chlorine, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dirt, and odors and claims to help improve hair, skin, and nails. The filter cartridges should last up to 6 months (replacements sold separately); however, they wear out more quickly in hard water.

Product Specs

  • Type: In-line filter
  • Filtration Stages: Unlisted
  • Filtered Materials: Chlorine, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dirt, and odors
  • Materials: Unlisted

Pros

  • Filters 75 percent of water contaminants and adds vitamins and minerals
  • Nourishes hair, skin, and nails
  • Filter cartridges last for 6 months
  • Standard fittings; fits existing shower head

Cons

  • Filtration stages unlisted
  • Water filter replacements sold separately

Get the AquaBliss shower filter on Amazon or at Walmart.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Shower Filter Option: Geekpure 4 Stage Showerhead Shower Filter
Photo: walmart.com

If you want to cut out contaminants without blowing your budget, the Geekpure 4-Stage Shower Filter is worth a look. It features in-handle filtration to remove chlorine, hard water, and odors, with added vitamin C for your skin.

This handheld device doesn’t reduce water pressure, so you’ll enjoy the same spray as always, only cleaner. Available in blue, orange, or pink, the shower heads make fun additions to children’s bathrooms. Note that this unit does not come with a hose, but it will connect to an existing shower hose.

Product Specs

  • Type: Showerhead filter
  • Filtration Stages: 4
  • Filtered Materials: Chlorine, hard water, and odors
  • Materials: ABS plastic

Pros

  • Vitamin C-enriched
  • Comes in multiple colorways
  • BPA-free
  • Comes with 2 water filters
  • Standard fittings

Cons

  • Offers less filtration than comparable options
  • No hose included

Get the Geekpure shower filter at Walmart.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Shower Filter Option: AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Shower Head
Photo: amazon.com

For those who look to their shower for a spa-like experience, AquaHomeGroup’s 15-stage shower filter and shower head delivers results. A rare find, this kit features a metal shower head with rain-style spray.

The filter includes layers of KDF, alkaline ceramic balls, activated carbon, and calcium sulfite to provide high-quality water with fewer contaminants. It targets chlorine, heavy metals, rust, sand, and other sediments. Added vitamin E promotes healthy skin and hair.

Product Specs

  • Type: Showerhead, in-line, KDF, and activated carbon filter
  • Filtration Stages: 15
  • Filtered Materials: Chlorine, heavy metals, rust, sand, and more
  • Materials: ABS plastic

Pros

  • Rain-style shower head
  • Nourishes hair, skin, and nails
  • Vitamin E-enriched
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Pricey

Get the AquaHomeGroup shower filter on Amazon.

Best For Chlorine

The Best Shower Filter Option: PureAction Water Softener Shower Head
Photo: amazon.com

This shower head might be the best choice for homeowners or renters who worry that an in-line filter could damage older pipes. Those with older plumbing might want to lightly grip the water pipes with a pair of pliers while installing the filter to ensure the pipes don’t get twisted and damaged. The built-in filtration system targets chlorine, fluoride, and chloramine. It also softens well water as it removes rust, metals, and other sediments.

The three settings (rain, power rain, and massage) reduce water consumption, so you may save on your water bill. But you might have to replace the smaller cartridges more often than others, which will cost a little more (replacement filters are sold separately).

Product Specs

  • Type: Showerhead filter
  • Filtration Stages: 1
  • Filtered Materials: Chlorine, fluoride, rust, metals, sediments, and chloramine
  • Materials: Stainless steel

Pros

  • Suitable for well water and old plumbing
  • Water-saving design
  • 3 flow settings

Cons

  • Filters may be tricky to replace
  • May be tricky to install
  • Replacement filters sold separately

Get the PureAction shower filter on Amazon.

Best For Fluoride

The Best Shower Filter Option: CraterAquaSystems 15 Stages Shower Water Filter
Photo: amazon.com

CraterAquaSystem’s filter features 15 stages of water filtration, including a silver layer to remove bacteria. The filter also includes KDF, calcium sulfite, and activated coconut carbon, which target fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals, impurities, and other sediments.

The package includes two filters that each last up to 6 months, 325 baths, or 650 showers. After that, manufacturer replacements (sold separately) or standard universal shower cartridge filters are available for purchase. Any shower head can be attached to this device, including handheld and rain-style models.

Product Specs

  • Type: In-line, KDF, and activated carbon filter
  • Filtration Stages: 15
  • Filtered Materials: Fluoride, bacteria, chlorine, heavy metals, impurities, and sediments
  • Materials: ABS plastic and chrome

Pros

  • Removes bacteria
  • 2 filters
  • Filters last for 6 months, 325 baths, or 650 showers
  • Standard fittings; fits existing shower head

Cons

  • Some users have reported manufacturing defects

Get the CraterAquaSystems shower filter on Amazon.

Best For Well Water

The Best Shower Filter Option: AquaHomeGroup 15 Stage Shower Filter with Vitamin C
Photo: amazon.com

This in-line water filter from AquaHomeGroup aims to improve the quality of skin and hair and remove chlorine, bacteria, and other contaminants from well water. The 15 stages include coconut-activated charcoal, KDF, calcium sulfite, and vitamin C to provide clean bathing water that won’t damage skin, hair, and nails.

It comes with two filters, which AquaHomeGroup suggests changing every 6 to 8 months. That makes them one of the longer-lasting cartridges on the list. When it does come time to replace them, universal cartridges (sold separately) can be used.

Product Specs

  • Type: In-line, KDF, and vitamin C filter
  • Filtration Stages: 15 stages
  • Filtered Materials: Chlorine, bacteria, and more
  • Materials: Unlisted

Pros

  • Standard fittings; fits existing shower head
  • Filters last 6 to 8 months
  • 2 filters
  • Comes in multiple finishes

Cons

  • Some users report hard water levels

Get the AquaHomeGroup shower filter on Amazon.

Best Vitamin C Filter

The Best Shower Filter Option: PureAction Vitamin C Filter Shower Head with Hose
Photo: amazon.com

The PureAction Vitamin C Shower Head adds naturopathic remedies to its filtering media. Tourmaline may improve mood and metabolism and negative ion balls may give skin a boost. The manufacturer says that the vitamin C-infused lemon filter can improve concentration and detox the skin. Zeolite balls remove heavy metals, chlorine, and fluoride.

This handheld unit comes with a hose that attaches to the water pipe easily without the use of tools. The clear plastic construction creates an interesting and fun design. The vitamin C filter needs to be replaced monthly, and the filtration balls need to be swapped out every 3 to 4 months (both sold separately).

Product Specs

  • Type: Shower head and vitamin C filter
  • Filtration Stages: 7
  • Filtered Materials: Metals, chlorine, and fluoride
  • Materials: Stainless steel and plastic

Pros

  • May improve mood and metabolism
  • Negative ion balls
  • Lemon, rose, and lavender filters
  • Most filters last for 3 to 4 months

Cons

  • Pricey compared to similar options
  • Vitamin C filter needs to be replaced monthly

Get the PureAction shower filter on Amazon.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for a reliable shower filter for clean, chemical-free shower water, the AquaBliss shower filter could be just the ticket. This versatile shower head and water filtration system removes contaminants and adds vitamins and minerals to the water.

Alternatively, for a budget-friendly option, the Geekpure shower filter comes in four finishes and provides four-stage filtration to remove chlorine, hard water, and odors while enriching shower water with fresh vitamin C. Plus, it doesn’t alter the current water pressure.

How We Chose the Best Shower Filters

We researched the most sought-after shower filters in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, filtration effectiveness and stages, materials, ease of installation, and other special features included by top brands.

While searching for the best shower filters available, the most popular types among users were the KDF, vitamin C, showerhead, in-line, or showerhead/in-line combo options with 1- to 15-stage water filtration. While each of our top picks is made for certain contaminants, most are capable of removing chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, dirt, odors, hard water, rust, sand, and more, protecting dry skin, hair, and nails. Select picks can also regulate the pH levels and bacteria of shower water.

Most of these filters are made with durable stainless steel, ABS plastic, or chrome and have standard fittings that install easily into your current shower or shower head. Some of these picks also come in multiple finishes, provide water-saving features, and don’t hold back water pressure.

The Advantages of Owning a Shower Filter

Disinfectants in our water supply kill microbes and bacteria that could make you sick, but those disinfectants come with some risks. They can interact with naturally occurring organic compounds found in water and create what’s called disinfection by-products, or DBPs.

There’s a limit as to how much can be in the water supply—about 50 to 100 parts per million (ppm). Small quantities probably won’t cause damage, but large amounts pose real risks. That’s why some people just don’t want DBPs in their water at all.

Exposure to DBPs and other contaminants through water is especially intense. They can get into the lungs and skin. The steam that billows out of the shower is full of tiny particles. Since the lungs have such a large surface area, they can grab up these tiny particles from the air during and even after a shower. (In that respect, a shower filter can even improve the air quality in your home.) The pores in skin—the body’s largest organ—also soak up water. A shower exposes skin to between 10 and 20 gallons of water, which is far more than anyone could possibly drink in a day.

Research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology suggests that unfiltered bath water, especially hard water, may contribute to dry skin, hair loss, and nail problems. The best shower filter for your water supply can help.

  • The best shower filters help remove remaining DBPs and other contaminants from shower water.
  • Filtered shower water may improve the health of dry skin, hair, and nails.
  • Shower filters can improve the air quality in your home.

FAQs

Want to know more? Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about shower filters.

Q. Are there toxic metals in household water?

There are heavy metals found in household water. They include lead, iron, mercury, arsenic, and nickel. Your new filter will remove them from the water.

Q. How do you install a shower filter?

Installation is tool-free. You twist the old showerhead off at the pipe fitting, wrap the pipe threads with Teflon tape, and screw the new filter on in its place. You can repeat the process for screwing the showerhead onto the filter. Remember to tighten no more than hand-tight.

Q. How long does a shower filter last?

It depends on how many people live in the household. Generally speaking, three to six months is the lifespan of a family shower filter.