The best shower filter
While many of us filter our drinking water or buy bottled water, we often don't think of the contaminants we're exposed to while we shower. Water that comes out of our showerhead is often chlorinated, which can cause frizzy hair and dry out our skin. Other impurities can stain hair, irritate the skin, or leave a funky smell. Fortunately, shower filters offer a simple solution to this problem. Not all shower filters are created equal, though, so it's good to do a little research before purchasing. Our brief guide has all you need to know about shower filters. Find our top product recommendations at the end of this article, like our No. 1 pick from AquaBliss, which is easy to install and offers superb filtration.
Considerations when choosing shower filters
There are two types of shower filters available:
Showerhead filters replace your existing showerhead and hook up directly to your existing pipes. These showerheads typically have multiple spray settings, so you won't be remiss if your former head featured those. This type is more expensive, however.
In-line shower filters are installed between your showerhead and the water pipe. With this style, you can keep your showerhead and all its settings. This type is less expensive and fits with most shower setups, though there's always a small possibility it won't.
There are three ways you can filter your shower water:
Carbon filters are the type of filters used in water pitchers and kitchen sinks to remove chlorine and other common municipal chemicals. However, they're not well-suited for shower use due to the hot water and pressure coming through the showerhead.
Vitamin C filters are a more effective way to remove chlorine from your shower water than carbon filters because they aren't affected by water temperature. While they remove chloramine, they don't remove minerals responsible for "hard water."
Kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF) filters use zinc and copper to eliminate contaminants, including microbes like viruses and bacteria, in municipal water. While cheaper than Vitamin C filters, they don't remove chlorine and chloramine.
Flow restrictors: Because the high water pressure typical in a shower can be hard on showerhead filters, many feature a restrictor valve to prevent water flow from overwhelming the filter. If you have low water pressure, select a removable flow restrictor that you can take out so as not to reduce the pressure any further. If you have average, or above-average, water pressure, a removable or fixed flow restrictor will work just fine.
Certification: Third-party agencies have just begun to inspect shower filters to test that they live up to a manufacturer's claims. If this is a concern for you, select a shower filter that has been approved by the Water Quality Association (WQA) or the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). Certification should be displayed on the product's packaging.
Shower filter prices
Shower filters range in price from $20 to $100. Expect to pay between $20 and $50 for an inline shower filter and upward of $50 for a showerhead filter type.
Q. How often will I need to change the filter of these products?
A. While it's inevitable that you'll have to change the filter of both inline and showerhead filters, how often depends on the manufacturer as well as how frequently you shower. On average, most filters need to be replaced every six months.
Q. Do I need a shower filter?
A. While municipal water supplies remove many harmful contaminants from your water, this water is often treated with chlorine and chloramine to do so. These chemicals can dry out our skin and hair or cause irritation. Heavy metals in the water supply, like iron and copper, can also stain your hair.
Shower filters we recommend
Best of the best: AquaBliss Multistage Filter
Our take: A top-of-the-line inline shower filter that's easy to install.
What we like: Multistage filter reduces chlorine, and improves hair and skin quality. Reports of clearing up acne and eczema. Installation is a breeze.
What we dislike: On the pricier side but worth it.
Best bang for your buck: CroPal Universal High Output Seven Stage
Our take: A budget-priced inline shower filter that'll seriously improve water quality.
What we like: Softens water -- and hair and skin, too. Costs less than $20. Easy to install. Removes odor from water.
What we dislike: May reduce water pressure but not by much.
Our take: An affordable showerhead-style shower filter that's not an eyesore.
What we like: Attractive chrome finish. Has five spray settings, including a massage setting. Zero-tool installation.
What we dislike: May reduce water flow.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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