Our experts have researched and reviewed the 7 best shower filters for hard water. Our top choice for 2023 is the Hydroviv Shower Filter. We’ll explain how shower filter heads work to remove harmful scale buildup and create healthier showers so you can find the ideal fit for your home.
Quick Comparison Of Our Favorites
Filters out up to 96% chlorine
Reduce skin dryness, flakiness and unpleasant odors
Easy twist filter replacements
Maybe be a little tricky to install because it’s a premium filter system
Easy and quick 4-Step installation
Improves pH level
Guaranteed 10,000 gallon or 6-month filter life
Filters replacements can add up
Reversible one-year media cartridge ensures balanced filtration
Built with BPA-free materials
Proprietary ERA Oxidation/Reduction
Taking a shower is the ultimate way to relax and unwind. But did you know hard water doesn’t produce a lather worthy of cleansing? That’s because the hard water minerals react with soap and it becomes insoluble sticky scum. But it isn’t just hard water and topical issues, you are breathing in chemicals like chlorine through the shower vapors every day!
That’s why our expert review panel researched and tested the top-rated shower filters. This article will explain how shower filters designed to combat hard water and chemicals work to soften your home’s shower water and leads to a safe and healthy shower experience.
You will also learn about the types of shower heads on the market, the cost of shower head filters, and regular maintenance. We’ll also cover if you need to change shower head filters and why, and we’ll cover all the main points to consider when purchasing your shower head filter for hard water to make an informed purchase.
Best Shower Water Filter
- Best Overall: HydroViv Shower Filter Learn More
- Best For Chlorine: Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter Learn More
- Best For Hard Water: Crystal Quest Shower Filter Head Learn More
- Best For Hair: AquaBliss SF-100 High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter Learn More
- Best Budget: Culligan WSH-C125 Filtered Showerhead With Massage Setting Learn More
- Best Vitamin C: AquaHomeGroup 15-Stage Shower Filter With Vitamin C Learn More
- Best For High Pressure: Luxsego High Pressure Showerhead With Filter Beads Learn More
Best Shower Filter Reviews 2023
Hydroviv Shower Filter
The lead crisis in Flint, MI, and a charitable effort to resolve the problem propelled HydroViv into the spotlight. The “water nerds” at Hydroviv work hard to understand how science backs their shower filter; one they declare is the Holy Grail of water filters that is custom tailored for your home’s water.
HydroViv offers you a universal 5-minute installation on any shower head, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and up to 9 months of filter life. But that’s just the beginning. HydroViv’s resolve to build the best high-capacity lead-removing water filters evolved into a global phenomenon.
The groundbreaking technology built into each HydroViv shower filter is the company’s ability to manufacture customized shower filters solely based on your shipping address.
Whether your home sources water from a local municipality or a well, HydroViv uses collective data from cities and federal agencies and then matches the water table to your location.
HydroViv takes its love of water filtration one step further. When it’s time for a new filter, HydroViv cross-checks Consumer Confidence Reports to see if anything has changed. This quality check ensures your HydroViv shower filters the water perfectly – for each and every shower!
- Customized shower filter based on consumer’s local water table
- Universal design fits all shower heads for easy installation
- Long 9 month filter life performance
- May require plumber’s tape to ensure leak-free installation
- Slightly more pricey because customized for your water
Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter
Aquasana shower filter technology is inspired from an up flow design to help maintain water pressure, prevent clogging and allow extra contact with the media layers. A mighty design, packed into a small footprint, with the capacity to filter 2.3 GPM.
The science in the Aquasana shower filters combine layers of premium Natural Carbon coconut shells to reduce chlorine, and harmful metals. A copper & zinc media filter enhances the water’s PH balance.
Less of the bad stuff means softer, smoother, cleaner skin and hair. And the Aquasana AA-4100 is NSF/ANSI tested to standard 177, guaranteed to reduce up to or more than 90% of your water’s chlorine.
Weighing in at only 2.3 pounds and measuring 8.5” H x 7.25” D x 3.25” W the Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System is backed by a one-year warranty, and is very easy to install in as little as four steps. Just be sure to run your shower for a few minutes to rinse out the residual carbon fines.
- Includes adjustable shower head – Pick from 4 styles
- Easy and quick 4-Step installation
- Improves pH level
- Guaranteed 10,000 gallon or 6-month filter life
- May require plumber’s tape to ensure leak-free installation
- Filters replacements can add up
Crystal Quest Shower Filter Head
If you’re looking for the most advanced shower filter for hard water check out the Crystal Quest Luxury Shower Power Filter. Built to remove chlorine, VOCs, pesticides, sulfur, heavy metals, remove “rotten egg” sulfur odors, rust, sediment and more, and find the perfect pH balance for your home’s water!
Crystal Quest uses proprietary ERA 6500 and ERA 9500 water filters, plus a granulated activated carbon filter made with coconut shells. Are you ready for a healthy refreshing shower that includes cleaner skin, hair, nails, even more sparkling tub and shower?
The Crystal Quest works using “drop-down” filter technology. As your home’s water flows from the plumbing into the Crystal Quest shower filter, the individual layers of media have more contact time; trapping and holding onto the impurities and dangerous metal and chemicals, so only the cleanest most filtered water touches down on your skin.
Periodic reversing of the cartridge not only ensures balanced filtration and eliminates the potential for channeling, but also back-flushes the cartridge as it is filtering.
- Easy-swap filters
- Reversible one-year media cartridge ensures balanced filtration
- Built with ultimate structural integrity
- 2 GPM flow rate
- Built-in proprietary ERA Oxidation/Reduction
- Works best in higher water pressure homes
AquaBliss SF-100 High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter
The “bliss” in the AquaBliss SF-100 is there for a good reason. AquaBliss builds proprietary technology into the filter to reduce your home’s water source impurities – Iron, hard water, and dangerous chemicals while simultaneously bathing your body and hair with beneficial vitamins and minerals.
AquaBliss SF-100 High Output infuses oxygen, vitamin C, and vital minerals into your home’s water. Radiate, refresh, and revitalize! At the same time, the filters work hard to neutralize odors and restore your home’s water to its most natural state.
Quality versus quantity is the AquaBliss mantra. Manufacture the best filtration media, including A unique SF100 premium-grade filter that helps eliminate the hard water calcium deposits, while a redox (high copper-zinc) formulated media filters out the dirt, chlorine, trihalomethanes (THMs), and much more.
AquaBliss universal standard ½” connections make the SF-100 High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter compatible with most shower heads.
The water filtration process in an SF-100 High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter is impressive. Ultra-fine stainless steel mesh stops medium-sized sediment in its tracks. Next, micro-porous PP cotton captures any additional sediment.
Additionally, calcium sulfite and redox media reduce chlorine levels; an activated carbon filter further reduces chlorine, while a layer of mineralized beads boosts water oxygen levels.
Zeolite and Vitamin C ceramic beads infuse more minerals, and tourmaline boosts filtrations. All of that filtration power compressed in a footprint measuring 3.3” W x 3.3” D x 4.7” H plus a 100% no questions asked money-back guarantee!
- Combination of 75% filtration media and 25% rejuvenating ingredients
- Built to provide maximum water filtration
- opper, PEX, and PVC
- Easy install and maintenance
- Weighs less than two pounds
- High chlorine water can reduce filter life
Culligan WSH-C125 Filtered Showerhead
Founded in 1938 and operating in 90 countries, Culligan is a leader in the global water treatment market. Like all of their products, the WSH-C125 showerhead filter system is rigorously tested by Culligan.
Only after the WSH-C125 is tested and certified against NSF/ANSI Standard 177 to reduce chlorine will Culligan make it available to the public.
A refreshing shower experience awaits! A Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Showerhead with Massage includes five setting sprays and gives you the ultimate spa treatment.
Besides reducing harsh chlorine levels and damaging, scaly hard water buildup, Culligan filtration systems remove impurities which damage hair follicles and skin cells.
A Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Showerhead with Massage has a beautiful shiny chrome finish, filters 1.8 GPM, weighs less than two pounds and measures 4.75” D x 8.5” W x 12.25” H
- Provides hydrating nourishment for skin, scalp and hair
- Recognized leader in water filtration
- Significantly reduces hard water
- Compatible with well water systems
- Additional filter replacements sold separately
AquaHomeGroup 15-Stage Shower Filter With Vitamin C
Leave it to AquaHomeGroup to not only design an amazingly attractive and modern shower head, but then challenge the competitors in the shower filter category and pack it full of 15 types of essential media!
This impressive, luxury shower head filter includes two layers each of ultra-fine and high-density stainless steel mesh, two layers of PP cotton, magnetic energy, Germanium, alkaline ceramic, and microporous ceramic balls, dechlorination balancing calcium sulfite, activated coconut carbon, Maifan stone, vitamin C and KDF55 media layers. Now that is some exceptional filtering!
Between the filter rests a flexible metal universal joint , packed with two more layers of vitamins C & E media to soften and repair itchy and dry skin and hair.
All this AquaHomeGroup technology is packed into a unique wall-mounted 2.4 pound design measuring 12” H x 6” W x 4” D . The AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Shower Head makes a great gift.
- Metal and water-soluble removing KDF-55 media
- Micro-nutrient, body essential Maifan stone media
- Includes Oxygen-rich Germanium
- pH balancing alkaline ceramic balls
- Filter cartridge replacements sold separately
- Slightly more expensive because of 15 stage filter
Luxsego High Pressure Showerhead With Filter Beads
Ideal for men, women, kids, and pets, and a perfect addition to your RV, the Luxsego 3 Setting High-Pressure Water Saving Showerhead with Filter Beads
Do you want the ultimate spa-like shower experience? The hydro jetting mode is strong enough to help clean your bath tile, even the hard-to-clean corners.
Luxsego 3 Setting Water Saving Showerhead boasts a unique design, including a high-density filter system with two proprietary built-in natural mineral beads in the handle and shower head. While showering clean, you’re also removing impurities on your skin and keeping you perfectly pH-balanced.
Crafted using eco-friendly materials, the Luxsego has a detachable, easy-to-hold handle, and the Luxsego design makes it easy to clean. Guaranteed not to leak.
The Luxsego is super-easy to install and uses a general G1/2″ fitting for any standard-size shower arm. No plumber! No tools!
Weighing only 11.2 ounces and measuring 9.45″ H x 3″ D x 3″ W, the 1-minute installation makes the Luxsego 3 Setting Shower Head High-Pressure Water Saving Showerhead with Filter Beads the “hero of your family!”
- Three settings: Rainfall, Jetting and Massage
- Anti-aging Infrared mineral balls in handle
- Skin-enriching Anion mineral balls in shower head
- Increase water pressure up to 200%
- 30% water savings
- 1.5 GPM flow rate
- May require pre-treatment if you home has very hard water
- Filter bead balls need to be replaced every several monthsNegative
Key Considerations: How To Select The Best Filter
Because shower heads are affordable and come in many different styles that match your bathroom decor, it’s easy to find a model that works with your budget. You can find a suitable shower filter for under $30 or over $75. It all depends on your needs, performance requirements, and the aesthetics of the filter.
What’s In Your Water
Make sure to test your home’s water source first, or check your local water quality report or EWG database so you can purchase the right shower filter for your specific needs. If you have limescale and hard water, certain filters will perform better. If you have chlorine or other contaminants, different filters will be best suited. Knowing what specific contaminant you are targeting will allow you to purchase the right filter without being disappointed the lack of results.
Check to see if the shower filter is NSF certified! You can do this in the NSF database or by looking at the manufacturer’s specs for their filter. The NSF certification is not mandatory, but it is an indication that the filter has been manufactured to the highest standards and will deliver on the manufactures promises.
The housing and filter casing is typically manufactured using quality BPA-free plastics. In some cases the housings will be made with metal like stainless steel, so make sure they are constructed with rust-free material.
The filters themselves will be created with various materials and media. The media should be packed solid enough to allow water to pass through without affecting your water pressure but not rattle and make a noise if you shake the filter. Higher-grade material means higher price tags. We discuss the types of filters in more detail below.
Some shower heads allow you to create a more powerful stream of water, while others allow you to decrease the stream for a more gentle shower. Other shower heads are designed to be adjustable.
Before purchasing your shower filter for hard water, determine what your current water pressure is with the shower heads you have, then investigate the shower heads you’re interesting in purchasing and determine if they are compatible with your home’s current water pressure.
The size and adjustability – wand-style shower head/filter combos require more water to travel through the hose and head – while adjustable shower heads change the amount and flow of water.The diameter of the shower head also determines the flow of water, which will significantly affect the water pressure.
No two shower filters are created equally, even if they contain the same media. Some shower filters last up to 6 months, others one year. Figure the cost of the replacement filters and upfront price to determine the total cost of ownership for the specific filter. Just because a filter has a lower price point, you may end up having to replace the filter more frequently, which can add up quickly.
More important to note is that the composition of your home’s water, the size of your family, and the number of showers taken per day will directly determine the filter life. If you’re using more water, you will have to replace the filter more frequently.
You may need a roll of plumber’s tape, but most shower filters include the installation kit and O-rings to avoid leakage. The positive with shower filters is they are a simple DIY installation that should take no more than 30 minutes to complete.
Read the packaging to determine the size of the housing. Most shower filter heads come with standard housing or adaptors, but not all homes use the same size plumbing. Make sure the filter is compatible with your current plumbing setup.
What Are Shower Head Water Filters?
Shower head water filters are point-of-use filters that attach to your existing shower plumbing. They are a cost-effective and user-friendly treatment method for reducing chlorine hard water minerals, and other contaminants that negatively affect your shower water.
Shower head water filters contain layers of filtration media. As water enters the shower filter head it comes into contact with the filter media to remove harmful impurities.
Your hair and skin are left shiny and healthy, and that filmy residue stops appearing on your shower doors. Shower head filters are designed so that only the water touching your face and body is fresh, healthy soft water.
How Do Shower Filters Work?
There are many different kinds of filtration media in shower filters that each serves a slightly different purpose. The filter can focus on hard water, chloramines, or adding back minerals to the water for healthier skin and hair. Here are the how the filter medias work:
- Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) Filters: KDF redox – the reduction of one molecule that leads to the oxidation of another – is a process which exchanges healthy electrons with harmful contaminants. This “give and take” converts the contaminants into harmless particles.
- Carbon Filters: You want to consider a shower filter for hard water that includes Activated Carbon filtration. This type of filter uses absorption to treat the water. As contaminants in your home’s water pass through the shower filter, activated carbon grabs and holds on to them, and letter pure filtered water passes through and onto your skin!
- Vitamin C Filters: As your home’s water enters the shower head filtration system, potent Vitamin C attacks the harmful chemicals and toxins. The stream of water is as pure as a mountain stream, and this extra treat of health benefits to your hair and skin is worth considering.
- Multi-Stage Filter System: For well water and local municipality sources, the best way to ensure you’re getting the best water filtration for your home and shower is to consider a multi-stage shower filter system for hard water. These shower filter systems work in two ways. An upstream pre-filter traps chemical contaminants and protects the more sensitive filter membrane against damage. An additional carbon filter or polishing filter works downstream to eliminate all the residual chemicals and metals not trapped in the first filtration process.
Types of Shower Filters
- Shower Head Filter: This shower head should soften your home’s water with activated carbon and use filtration media to remove impurities like lead, rust, and calcium. Ensure the filtration media chlorine and fluoride for an overall cleaner shower and bathing experience. Most of all, look for a shower head with at least four layers of filtration media to help make making the water much less harsh. You want your shower to leave your skin and hair significantly softer.
- In-line Shower Filter: This type of shower filter attaches to 1/2 inch shower arms – the spigot attached to the shower wall – without adding additional length. In-line shower filters reduce harsh chlorines and other chemicals in both well and tap water
- In-Line Shower Head Filters: Like it’s contemporary, this type of shower head features a spa-like shower head or adjustable settings. In-lin shower heads with multiple replacement heads or a custom-designed shower head still work as hard as regular shower filters for hard water, but don’t compromise or cheat you out of the exhilarating bathing experiences you like. Treat yourself!
- Shower Head Filter With Wand: For the ultimate water-filtered shower experience, shower head wands let you remove and grip the shower head and bathe comfortably in a fluid 360° motion. Putting the water where you want it while the built-in technology and filter media work hard to trap the chemicals, harmful metals, bacteria, and viruses.
Benefits Of Using A Shower Water Filter
Healthier Skin And Hair
Shower filters for hard water help control dandruff. Your scalp can easily fall victim to your home’s hard water. Calcium and Magnesium don’t dissolve easily. Science has shown that hard water combined with shampoo and your favorite soaps and body wash combat one another. The result is fewer luxurious suds, a waste of money, and that infamous scaly mineral film that dries our hair, flakes the skin on the scalp to uncontrollable dandruff, and makes our nails brittle.
Because shower water filters are point-of-use water filters, they are a very cost-effective water treatment option relative to a whole house water filter or water softener. They are also much easier to install, which saves money on potential installation costs that could be required for a whole house system.
Reduce Limescale and Water Spots
Hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium wreak havoc on shower heads and leave an unsightly film on shower doors. A shower water filter for hard water can effectively reduce the negative effects of hard water. After installation, you won’t have a slimy feeling or have to constantly clean the scale buildup.
Effective At Removing Chlorine
While many water municipalities add chlorine and chloramine to help kill harmful organisms that can potentially make us sick, it is also important to remember that filtering out Chlorine at high levels is beneficial to your health, your skin, and your lifestyle. Exposure to low levels of Chlorine may result in common respiratory irritations. At higher levels, chlorine exposure results in breathing rate changes, severe coughing, and even lung damage. Shop for a shower filter for hard water that is NSF/ANSI tested Standard 177 to reduce Chlorine.
Works With Well Water
Well water is known to contain high levels of harmful minerals, metals, pesticides, bacteria and viruses. It requires thorough and regular water testing and a filtration system to combat the bad stuff and offer you and your family the freshest, purest water possible. It is important to determine what contaminants in your well water test exist and at what levels and that the claims the shower filter for hard water match to ensure you’re taking a healthy shower. In some cases well water can be heavily contaminated in which case you would need a whole house well water filter or softener for well water.
Removes “Rotten Egg” Smell
Sulfur and Arsenic leach into water sources at many levels in both well and municipality water sources. No level is okay. You’ll know when Sulfur is present if you’re smelling the aroma of eggs. Sulfur makes your home’s water taste and smell horrible.
Arsenic levels above ten parts per billion (ppb) can lead to thickening and discoloration of the skin, numbness, and nerve pain. If you test your water and discover Sulfur or Arsenic at higher levels than recommended (no level is good), be sure your shower filter for hard water contains media that can remove these harmful elements.
Reduce Bacteria And Viruses
If you stop to think about Bacteria and Viruses in your home’s water, it most likely grosses you out. If you aren’t regularly testing your home’s water, or are educated on your local water table, every time you reach for a glass of water or turn on and step in the shower, you should be concerned about E. Coli, Hepatitis B, Salmonella, and Giardia. And don’t forget agricultural runoff and sewage.
Bacteria and viruses can infiltrate local water and well systems. Stop these harmful and potentially deadly levels from entering your home and disrupting your shower. Shop for a shower filter for hard water that includes a KDF55 media filter composed of high-purity copper/zinc granules.
Negatives Of A Shower Water Filter
Not A Whole House Solution
If you have hard water, chlorine, or sulfur smells, chances are it affects your entire home. A shower filter will help for a single point of use, but it won’t solve those issues anywhere else. If you have those problems, a whole house water filter or water softener is likely the best way to go. A whole-house solution will treat every drop of water that comes into your home, including all showers.
Shower head filters require regular filter replacements. These generally are not too expensive and don’t take long to change, but it is something to keep in mind. Filter options that require more frequent replacement can add up quickly.
FAQs For Shower Water Filters
How do I know when to change my shower water filter?
Mark your calendar or set a timer on your phone. Most shower filter manufacturers recommend an annual filter change. Depending on your water usage, test your water regularly as some filters may need to be changed between the 3-6 month mark.
Do shower water filters help with hard water?
Yes! Many shower filters for hard water include KDF 55 media layers made of high-purity copper/zinc granules specifically designed to tackle hard water issues.
Is filtered water better to shower with?
Absolutely. Unfiltered shower water can having damaging effects on your hair and skin discolor your tub, and if your home’s water is hard leave filmy, sticky, residue on your shower doors, and clog the shower head.
Do I need a shower head water filter with a whole house water filter?
Yes, the extra added protection ensures you’re bathing and protecting your family with the freshest, purest, cleanest water.
We previously reviewed the Pelican Premium PSF-1 3-Stage shower filter. It was edged off our list this year as other competitors ranked higher according to our review criteria.
The Pelican shower filter uses their proprietary 3-stage process. Water enters the PSF-1 and passes through the Copper, Zinc, and oxidation media, creating a bacteriostatic (bacteria-erasing) environment.
Next, the granular activated carbon (GAC) media removes chemicals, bad odors, and tastes. Finally,, a unique FAR infrared ball media vitalize your home’s water with health- benefiting blood-flow and regeneration which can help soothe sore muscles. You can see our Pelican shower head filter review here.
Conclusion: Self-Care and Hard Water-Free Showers
Are you struggling to fight endless hard water attacks on your dishware, glasses, and shower doors? Purchase a water filter! Now, imagine what the same calcium- and magnesium-rich hard water is doing to your skin, nails, and hair. We’ll tell you. Hard water increases the chances of psoriasis, eczema, endless frizz, dull skin, and brittle fingernails.
Is it tough to guess the number one reason your showerhead stops functioning? If you’re saying, “clogged, a constant drip, or a change in water pressure,” you win! All roads lead back to hard water deposits.
Why not save money, especially from those unexpected but potentially real costly repairs. End the torment of itchy, flaky skin and the fight to control dandruff. At the intersection of shower head and your home’s plumbing, a shower filter for hard water will help eliminate harmful iron, chlorine, sulfur and arsenic.
If you aren’t in the market for a whole house water softening system (put it on your list), pay a fraction of the cost of whole house water softening systems and get yourself a shower filter for hard water.