The 7 Best Shower Filters in 2024, According to Hair and Water Experts - Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
About Header Image
May 9th, 2024

Originally posted at https://www.prevention.com/life/g60399264/best-shower-filters/Opens in new window

Our experts say softer water may help improve manageability, moisture levels, and overall hair quality.

two shower filters in front of two blue shapes

Our top picks

  • Filtered Showerhead

     

    Best Overall Shower Filter

    Jolie Skin Company Filtered Showerhead

    Read moreArrow down Regular Icon

  • System Shower Filter

     

    Best Value Shower Filter

    GE System Shower Filter

    Read moreArrow down Regular Icon

  • Handheld Shower Head

     

    Best Handheld Shower Head with Filter

    Cobbe Handheld Shower Head

    Read moreArrow down Regular Icon

You might’ve heard about soft water improving the appearance of hair and skin. Just like water air purifiersOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window work to clean drinking water, the best shower filters help remove harsh mineral buildup on the scalp for less brittle strandsOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window.

“Heavy mineral content like calcium, magnesium, and iron can be found in hard water—all of which can result in dryness, roughness, and brittleness over time,” explains Hardik Doshi, M.D.Opens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window, lead surgeon of hair restoration at Ample. He explains that without this mineral buildup, hair products can work more effectively to cleanse and your natural hair oils can better condition the hair shaft.

Meet the experts: Christine Shaver, M.D.Opens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window, board-certified dermatologist at Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration and Schweiger Dermatology GroupOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window; Hardik Doshi, M.D.Opens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window, lead surgeon of hair restoration at Ample; Paul Gabot, associate engineer at Orange County Sanitation DistrictOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window.

Christine Shaver, M.D.Opens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window, board-certified dermatologist at Bernstein Medical Center, says that filtered water can also keep the hair’s pH balance slightly acidic, which prevents cuticle damage otherwise caused by alkalinity in unfiltered hard water. “Overall, installing a high-quality shower filter is an effective technique to achieve smoother, softer water that can help improve manageability, moisture levels, and overall hair quality,” Dr. Shaver says. “It’s a simple preventative measure that I highly recommend.”

Read on for the best shower filters and expert tips to maintain hair health.

1
Best Overall Shower Filter

Jolie Skin Company Filtered Showerhead

Filtered Showerhead
1
Best Overall Shower Filter

Jolie Skin Company Filtered Showerhead

Credit: Jolie
Pros
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Pleasant design
  • Fully refundable within 60 days
Cons
  • Some users say the filter needs to be changed sooner than 90 days

The Jolie has a cult following online, abd though we have yet to test this shower filter, it has rave reviews from everyday users, dermatologists, and hair pros alike.

It uses a blend of calcium sulfite and KDF 55Opens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window— KDF 55 is a filter design to remove or reduce chlorine and water-soluble heavy metals.

The brand says it “far exceeds” NSF-177Opens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window certifications. NSF, originally called National Sanitation FoundationOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window, is an organization that strives to protect global public health and safety. NSF works with scientists and environmental professionals to help make sure that everyday products consumers use are safe.

Alongside its high-performance value, the Jolie features a modern design that’s visually pleasing. Users also said that it’s easy to install, thanks to the comprehensive three-step guide.

What reviewers say: “This is by far the best shower filter system we have ever tried! I was very skeptical, but desperate to find a solution to my skin condition. My skin and hair feel softer, and my skin has less irritation.”

Dimensions

8” x 8”

Spray patterns

1 setting

Filter capacity

N/A; replace every 90 days
2
Best Value Shower Filter

GE System Shower Filter

2
Best Value Shower Filter

GE System Shower Filter

Credit: GE
Pros
  • NSF certified
  • Simple installation and filter replacement
  • Universal fit for most showers
Cons
  • Some users thought it felt cheaply made

GE is a trusted brand for home appliances. Their system shower filter is accessible and affordable, plus it’s easy to install and maintain.

Despite its low price point, we were impressed by its NSF certificationOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window, and that it was designed to reduce chlorine and its effects on your skin.

Reviewers noted that you may have to replace the filter sooner than competitor models.

What reviewers say:
“It does a nice job of getting rid of chorine,” said one Amazon reviewer. “It does remove some sediment and filter partly. The water flow is good and seems to work as long as expected. Be careful with the plastic housing, and it will work well for quite a while.”

Dimensions

2” x 3”

Spray patterns

1 setting

Filter capacity

10,000 gallons; replace every 6 months
3
Best Handheld Shower Head with Filter

Cobbe Handheld Shower Head

Handheld Shower Head

Opens in new window

3
Best Handheld Shower Head with Filter

Cobbe Handheld Shower Head

Credit: Cobbe
Pros
  • Multiple spray settings
  • Sits higher, great for taller users
Cons
  • Shorter hose than competitors

If you’re looking for a handheld shower filter, many reviewers swear by this pick from Cobbe. It features several filter bead types in one, including KDF-55, maifan stone ball, and tourmaline ball to help eliminate chlorine and other heavy metals.

Several users agreed that it was easy to install and appreciate that the handheld design can be used for cleaning dogs, small children, or residue in the bathtub.

What reviewers say: “It works great! Love the different settings,” said one reviewer. “My only complaint is that the hose is shorter than my old one.”

Dimensions

11” x 4.8”

Spray patterns

9 settings

Filter capacity

Not listed
4
Best Shower Filter for Hot Showers

Philips Shower Filter 3-Stage Water Softener

Shower Filter 3-Stage Water Softener

Opens in new window

4
Best Shower Filter for Hot Showers

Philips Shower Filter 3-Stage Water Softener

Credit: Philips
Pros
  • NSF Certified
  • Anti-scald material helps prevent water from getting too hot
Cons
  • Replacement cartridge costs nearly the same as the actual shower filter

This choice by Philips stands out with its unique three-stage filtration system. It combines NSF certified KDF material with a double mesh filtration, all of which helps remove chlorine, rust, and sediments.

The filter also boasts a high water flow of 2.11 gallons per minute, or 8 liters per minute. It’s compatible with most handheld, fixed, or rainfall shower head styles.

What reviewers say: “My water was burning my skin prior to installing this,” said one Amazon reviewer. “This made my skin softer and less irritable when taking hot showers.”

Dimensions

6.8” x 2.6”

Spray patterns

1 setting

Filter capacity

13,208 gallons; replace every 4-6 months
5
Best Carbon Shower Filter

WaterChef SF-7C Premium Shower Filter System

SF-7C Premium Shower Filter System

Opens in new window

5
Best Carbon Shower Filter

WaterChef SF-7C Premium Shower Filter System

Credit: Waterchef
Pros
  • NSF certified
  • Includes handheld wand
  • Longer hose
Cons
  • Some users complained about leaking

Not only is this filter NSF-certified, it also holds IAPMO certificationOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window. IAPMO is an international association of mechanical and plumbing experts that tests the expertise and professionalism in construction codes and standards. IAPMO’s certifications are intended to help maintain and protect public health and safety.

The filter uses catalytic carbon to reduce chlorine beyond than just what’s on the surface. In fact, the brand claims that the filter can eliminate up to 96% of chlorine for up to 10,000 gallons per cartridge, which surpasses the NSF requirement. It’s important to note that we have not tested the product to back up this claim.

What reviewers say: “The product appears to be very well constructed, the hose is extra long (which is very handy for washing the dogs) and easy to adjust shower head,” said an online reviewer.

Dimensions

‎6.75” x 12”

Spray patterns

5 settings

Filter capacity

10,000 gallons; replace every 6 months
6
Best Wall-Mounted Shower Filter

Culligan Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head

Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head

Opens in new window

6
Best Wall-Mounted Shower Filter

Culligan Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head

Credit: Culligan
Pros
  • IAPMO certified
  • Under $50
Cons
  • Some users found the massage setting too strong

Culligan is a global name for water treatment. This stationary filter is also IAPMO certified. Plus, its water flow rate of 1.8 gallons per minute complies with EPA WaterSenseOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new windowOpens in new window certification standards. For context, EPA is the National Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission is to protect human health and the environment via formal assessments.

The filter easily installs onto any 0.5-inch shower arm, and the replacement cartridges aren’t as expensive as others on this list.

What reviewers say: “Overall, I think this unit is of very good quality, and for a reasonable price,” said one Amazon reviewer. “It is easy to install, provides great pressure and flow, and has seemingly great filtration. I only take off one star for the spray settings.” (The user complained about the settings being too strong, not as useful).

Dimensions

5” x 8.5”

Spray patterns

5 settings

Filter capacity

10,000 gallons; replace every 6 months
7
Best Softening Shower Filter

WaterSticks KDF Shower Filter

KDF Shower Filter

Opens in new window

7
Best Softening Shower Filter

WaterSticks KDF Shower Filter

Credit: watersticks
Pros
  • Changes hard water pressure to soft with filtration
  • Filters chlorine
Cons
  • Filter is only compatible with ShowerStick brand

According to info cited on CulliganOpens in new windowOpens in new window, softer water isn’t always filtered, and filtered water isn’t always soft. The WaterSticks ShowerStick shower headOpens in new windowOpens in new window ($260) was constructed with softening resin to soften water as it streams through the head.

This KDF filter was specifically made to work in line with the ShowerStick. That would mean you would have to replace your current shower head with a pricey one, but it’s one of the few options available that helps soften water while also filtering out chlorine.

What reviewers say: “I live in Sacramento, California where hard water is common throughout the valley,” said an online reviewer. “I have been using this device for about four years now and my family loves it. I recommend it to my clients as well. Easy to install and works immediately.”

Dimensions

5″ long

Spray patterns

1 setting

Filter capacity

Not listed, but brand says to replace every one year

How to choose the best shower filter

blue line page break

✔️ Know what’s in your tap water. It can help to know exactly what’s in your tap water before purchasing a shower filter. Paul Gabot, associate engineer at Orange County Sanitation DistrictOpens in new window, says you can look up your area’s Annual Water Quality Report to do this. A simple online search will help you find your area’s public report by zip code or district, and year.

✔️ Double check the dimensions of your shower head. Shower filters come in a range of styles and sizes, so you’ll want to make sure the filter will physically fit the space.

✔️ Get familiar with filter capacity and replacement. A typical filter might require a change every six months, but some may require more or less maintenance than that. This depends on your shower filter’s capacity. The larger the capacity, the longer you can wait between replacements. “You’ll want to make sure maintaining the filter won’t be cumbersome,” Gabot says.

✔️ Look out for certain certifications. Check for certifications from national and international environmental associations, like IAPMO or NSF. These organizations conduct formal assessments in efforts to protect public health. Here’s a breakdown of each organization:

IAPMOOpens in new window
:
A non-profit international association of plumbing experts that strives to ensure that the public gets access to clean water and sanitation. A product/group must pass the IAPMO National Personnel Certification exam in order to receive an IAPMO certification and be deemed safe for the public.

NSFOpens in new window: An independent, not-for-profit worldwide organization that works with chemists, toxicologists, and environmental experts to ensure that everyday products are safe. A product will only get NSF certified if it meets specific standards set by NSF for global public safety and health.

    How important is water pressure when it comes to hair health?

    blue line page break

    Most people may mistakenly confuse soft water with soft water pressure. According to Dr. Shaver, water pressure is not as important as the quality of water used. “A moderately strong water pressure can help with scalp relaxation which can lower overall stress—one of the big factors to hair loss,” he says.

    But all in all, Dr. Shaver says that water pressure is not a primary determinant of healthy hair.

    What is the black stuff coming out of my shower head?

    blue line page break

    Dr. Doshi has already shared that hard water often contains harsh minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron found in hard water.

    If you’re noticing a buildup of black debris in your shower head, it could mean a number of things, according to Gabot. “Black debris can mean corroding pipe, sediment intrusion, or even gasket failure,” he says. These can all lead to more serious problems, like leaks or water damage in the future. If this is a persistent problem, Gabot advises asking a professional plumber to assess your observation.

    How often should you change your shower head filter?

    blue line page break

    While the general recommendation to change your shower head filter is six months to one year, Gabot says it’s best to follow the instructions designated by the shower filter company, as individual filters vary. “But if you expect high usage (like you have more than two people showering in your household), you might need to change it even more often,” he adds.

    What are other ways I can protect my hair?

    blue line page break

    Besides installing a shower filter, Dr. Doshi suggests a few proactive measures that will help promote healthier, more manageable hair:

    ✔️ Use a chelating or clarifying shampoo once or twice a week. “These shampoos contain a synthetic chemical called ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), which binds to and removes mineral buildup from hard water on the hair and scalp,” explains Dr. Doshi. He advises to follow up with a vinegar rinse to help restore your hair’s pH balance.

    ✔️Apply a deep-conditioning hair mask once a week. Look for masks that contain hydrating oils and proteins to help combat the drying, roughening effects of mineral accumulation. “I recommend letting it on for 30 minutes before rinsing,” says Dr. Doshi.

    ✔️Avoid hot tools whenever possible. According to Dr. Doshi, heat styling can roughen and dry up the hair cuticle, which is already damaged by hard water residues.

    ✔️Invest in a silicone-based leave-in conditioner or hair serum. Either can help coat the hair shaft and protect if from further buildup and damage, Dr. Doshi explains.

    How we chose the best shower filters

    blue line page break

    We consulted Christine Shaver M.D.Opens in new window, board-certified dermatologist at Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration; and Hardik Doshi M.D.Opens in new window, lead surgeon of hair restoration at Ample to help inform our recommendations on shower filters and their relation to hair health. We also interviewed Paul Gabot, associate engineer at Orange County Sanitation DistrictOpens in new window for his insights on water sanitation and filtration. We then took these expert insights and conducted our own research to narrow down the top shower filters on the market.

    Originally posted at https://www.prevention.com/life/g60399264/best-shower-filters/Opens in new window

    Posted by on Updated 2024-05-10



    212-826-2400
    Scroll to Top