The Best Shower Heads for Hard Water (2021 Update)

The Best Shower Heads for Hard Water (2018 Reviews)

Do you need to get rid of hard water in your shower? Installing a showerhead filter is the most convenient solution.

With a shower filter, you simply attach the filter to begin filtering minerals and contaminants out of your water. However, there are many different filters to choose from. When shopping for a water filter, there are a few details to pay attention to.

You need to consider the filtration method, the lifespan of the filter, and the water output. The shower heads discussed here all score highly in these areas, making them your great options for filtering your shower water.

Top Ranked Shower Filters: 2019 Comparison Table

ImageProduct NameCartridge Capacity Rating 
Culligan ISH-100 Inline Shower Filter10,000 gallons or 6 months3.7/5Check Price Health
AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Filter with Replaceable Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge6 to 8 months4.3/5Check Price Health
Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System with Adjustable Showerhead10,000 gallons or six months4.0/5Check Price Health
Jonathan Product Beauty Hard Water Shower Filter System 10 000 gallons or 1 year4.0/5Check Price Health
Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head with Massage10,000 gallons or 6 months4.0/5Check Price Health
AquaHomeGroup 12 Stage Shower Head Filter6-8 monthsNACheck Price Health
Dewifier Water Softener Shower FilterNA4.3/5Check Price Health
Berkey Shower Filter Without Shower HeadOne year or 20,000 gallons4.4/5Check Price Health

How to Choose a Shower Filter for Hard Water

Hard water is more than an inconvenience. It can damage your hair and skin. With the right shower filter for hard water, you can eliminate these problems and enjoy a nice, refreshing shower.

The mineral buildup that causes hard water makes it difficult to achieve a good lather. Soap and shampoos are less effective and more difficult to rinse out. With hard water, you may experience a dry, itchy scalp, along with dry skin.

If you are sick of dealing with dry skin and hair, use the following information to select the best shower filter for hard water.

Types of Shower Filters for Hard Water

There are three primary types of shower filters. You can purchase showerhead filters, inline filters, and inline filters that come with a showerhead.

The showerhead filter replaces your existing showerhead. The filter is housed in the showerhead, resulting in a bulky showerhead. However, these filters tend to be efficient and offer great water pressure.

Inline shower filters allow you to continue using your existing showerhead. The filter connects to the water line and then to the showerhead. Changing out the filter is typically easier with these types of filters.

You can also find inline filters that come with an attached showerhead. These units also install to the water line. The filter is housed in the inline assembly, while the showerhead provides water pressure control.

Types of Filter Media for Shower Filters

The filter cartridges used in the shower filters also vary. Some of these filters include multi-stage filtration, while others include a single filter for removing just a few contaminants.

The main types of filter media include the following:

  • Multi-stage carbon filters
  • Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) filters
  • Vitamin C filters

Multi-stage carbon filters are the most common. Depending on the filter, the water may pass through up to twelve stages before reaching the showerhead.

These filters often include a variety of filter media to help remove a wider selection of contaminants. Carbon filters attract minerals, while a pre-filter is often used to get rid of sediment.

KDF filters use a chemical process to remove various minerals including chlorine, iron, lead, and mercury. However, calcium and magnesium are the minerals that are mostly responsible for hard water.

While KDF filters will not soften hard water, they will help remove minerals and contaminants that may cause irritation.

Vitamin C filters are primarily used to neutralize chlorine and chloramines. These filters offer the least filtration of other contaminants. However, they are also affordable and effective for dealing with high levels of chlorine.

If you know that your skin irritation is due to hard water, you will want a multi-stage carbon filter to help soften the water. To get rid of chlorine, a KDF filter or vitamin C filter should suffice.

How Shower Water Filters Work

Whether you choose an inline, showerhead, or inline with showerhead filter, the basic concept of how these devices work is the same. They connect to the water line where your showerhead normally connects to the water line.

When you turn on the shower and the water passes through the pipes, the water first needs to pass through the filter before exiting through the showerhead. This is the same process used for sink filter attachments.

Whether you choose a carbon filter, KDF filter, or vitamin C filter, the unit may include a prefilter. The pre-filter is typically made of cotton and helps remove larger substances such as sediment and debris. The water will then pass to the carbon, KDF, or vitamin C filters.

With a multi-stage carbon filter, the additional filters remove specific compounds. There may be one or more filters intended for the removal of calcium and magnesium to treat hard water. Other filters may remove chemicals, such as chlorine and chloramine, while another filter helps get rid of bacteria.

KDF filters are primarily used to get rid of chlorine, which can also be achieved with multi-stage filters and vitamin C filters. However, a KDF 55 filter also helps get rid of algae, arsenic, aluminum, lead, iron, and other harmful substances.

After the water has passed through these filters, it reaches the showerhead and you have cleaner water as a result. The filters will continue to help filter out contaminants until the filters become worn and need replacing. You can typically use a filter for months before it needs replacing. However, this will depend on the quality and size of the filter.

Shower filters are also typically designed to work with standard plumbing fixtures. You should not need any special tools to install your filter, other than some plumber’s tape for a secure fit.

The Top Benefits of Using a Shower Filter

Why should you consider using a shower water filtration system? The primary benefit of a shower filter is the removal of contaminants from your water—contaminants that include the following:

  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Chlorine
  • Pesticides
  • Sediment and silt

Besides getting rid of the calcium and magnesium that cause hard water, carbon filters can help remove viruses and bacteria. Most tap water from public or private water systems contains some bacteria. Removing these substances from your shower water may protect against various bacteria-borne illnesses.

KDF filters and vitamin C filters can help remove chlorine. Water that contains high levels of chlorine may remove natural oils from your skin and hair, resulting in dryness and irritation. Vitamin C naturally neutralizes the chlorine, while KDF filters help remove it from the water using a chemical process.

While most shower filters offer some ability to get rid of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical substances, carbon filters are most effective in this area.

Pesticides and other chemicals can leach into the ground, eventually reaching the public water supply. This is more commonly a problem in rural areas, especially near farms. However, pharmaceuticals and other harmful chemicals are often found in both rural and urban regions.

These filters are also useful for removing sediment and silt from your tap water. The pre-filter is mostly responsible for the removal of sediment, helping to produce cleaner, clearer water.

Adding a showerhead filter is also more affordable than installing a whole-house filtration system. While hard water may cause skin irritation, it does not cause any other health problems. If you do not want to filter all the water in your home, you can simply install a shower filter to begin enjoying the fresher water.

The bottom line is that adding a shower filter helps clean the water that you clean yourself with. Even if you do not experience any skin or scalp irritation, you may notice healthier skin and hair after installing a filter, due to the cleaner water.

Features to Look for in a Shower Filter

There are several important features to consider when shopping for a shower filter, and these are as follows:

  • Type of filter unit
  • Type of filtration media
  • Lifespan of the filter cartridge
  • Water pressure and installation

You should first decide whether you want an inline filter or a showerhead filter. If you have a special showerhead that you want to continue using, you will want to buy an inline filter. For those who do not care about keeping their existing showerhead, both showerhead filters and inline filters with showerheads are suitable choices.

When selecting the filtration media, consider the condition of your water. You may want to think about buying a water testing kit to determine what types of contaminants are present in your water. This will help you choose between carbon, KDF, and vitamin C filters.

If you do not have hard water but detect chlorine in your water, the most affordable option is a basic vitamin C filter. However, if you also want to get rid of bacteria, viruses, and dozens of potentially harmful minerals, choose a KDF filter. For hard water, you will need a carbon filter.

The next consideration is the lifespan of the filter cartridge. The lifespan of the cartridge is often referred to as the cartridge capacity. Depending on how much water you use during your showers, you may need to change the filter every few months.

The last details to examine include the installation process and the water pressure. These filters will work with most standard plumbing. However, some filters may limit the water pressure of the showerhead. You will need to read reviews and compare products to find the right filter if you want to avoid a complicated installation process or changes to your water pressure.

Last Thoughts on Selecting the Best Shower Filter

Adding a filter to your shower is a great way to enjoy cleaner water. Whether you have hard water or simply want healthier skin and hair, you have many filters to choose from.

To find the right filter for your shower, consider the issues that you are experiencing. For hard water, get a carbon filter. To filter out chlorine, use a KDF filter.

Whichever option you choose, you will instantly enjoy purer water. These filters also get rid of sediment that may produce cloudy water and increase skin irritation.

Keep these details in mind as you start shopping for a filter for your bathroom.

What Are the Top Ranked Shower Heads for Hard Water?

Culligan ISH-100 Inline Shower Filter

The Culligan ISH-100 is an affordable inline shower filter that works with your existing showerhead and all standard plumbing.

Here is a closer look at the filter:

  • Inline filter designed to remove chlorine
  • Filters last for six months or 10,000 gallons
  • Comes with filter change stickers
  • Bacterio-static filter limits bacterial growth

The showerhead is not included. However, you do get a filter cartridge. The ISH-100 comes equipped with a WHR-140 filter cartridge for getting rid of chlorine and sulfur odors.


  • The main benefit of the ISH-100 is the cost. This is one of the most affordable options for filtering your shower water.
  • The installation process is quick and easy. No tools are required.
  • It is also a compact filter that works with any standard shower arm and your existing showerhead.
  • The cartridge capacity on this filter is also great. It should last six months before you need to replace it, depending on how much water you use during your showers.


  • This filter is not actually intended for treating hard water. It is built for removing chlorine and contaminants. This can have a softening effect and remove chemicals that may cause skin irritation, but the filter will not get rid of calcium and magnesium.

Last Thoughts on the ISH-100

The ISH-100 is one of the most basic shower filters available. However, it is produced by an industry leader. Culligan is a trusted manufacturer of home filtration systems. You can trust that this filter will effectively remove the contaminants listed in the description.

While this filter will not remove calcium and magnesium, which are responsible for hard water, it will remove chlorine and a variety of contaminants.

If you are experiencing itchy skin or rashes and do not suspect hard water, consider getting the ISH-100 to filter out the chlorine.

AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Filter with Replaceable Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge

The AquaBliss high-output universal shower filter includes a replaceable multi-stage filter cartridge. It is also easy to install, with no tools required.

The primary features include the following:

  • Inline shower filter
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Removes hard water
  • Eliminates chlorine and heavy metals
  • Six-month or 10,000-gallon cartridge capacity

The AquaBliss filter helps to lower chlorine levels and uses replaceable filters that should last for at least six months. You will not find any disadvantages with the AquaBliss. It works as advertised and is one of the most highly-rated shower filters available.


  • The AquaBliss high output filter has great water pressure. However, there are many other reasons to consider getting this filter, including the multi-stage filtration.
  • This filter includes pre-filters for removing sediment and silt.
  • There is also a carbon filter for helping to soften the water and eliminate chemicals.
  • It also has KDF 55 and calcium sulfite filter media for the removal of chlorine.



Last Thoughts on the AquaBliss High Output Filter

If you have hard water, the AquaBliss filter can help. It includes a multi-stage filtration system that gets rid of calcium, magnesium, and other heavy metals. It can be installed quickly and may help restore pH levels.

Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System with Adjustable Showerhead

The Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System is an inline filter with a showerhead. The attached showerhead is fully adjustable and provides a high flow rate.

Explore the main features and details of this shower filter, which are as follows:

  • Inline filter with adjustable showerhead
  • Six-month or 10,000-gallon cartridge capacity
  • Activated carbon filter media
  • Massaging showerhead
  • Maintains strong water pressure

This is a carbon filter, which is useful for getting rid of the calcium and magnesium that cause hard water. It also provides an efficient option for eliminating lead, iron, mercury, and other metals from your water.

Pros and Cons of the Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Filter

Several of the top benefits of this shower filter are related to the attached showerhead. It includes multiple massage settings. It also maintains strong water pressure, giving you a more enjoyable shower experience.

It also has multiple filters for softening your water and removing pesticides, heavy metals, and chlorine.

There are no major disadvantages to the Aquasana AQ-4100 filter. It is powerful and gets rid of a wide variety of contaminants. However, some people may not like the size of the filtration unit, as it extends several inches beyond the shower arm.

Last Thoughts on the Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Filter

The Aquasana is one of the best filters for removing a wide variety of threats. It softens your water while also removing chlorine and helping to restore pH levels. If you want the most powerful shower filter, the AQ-4100 should be at the top of your list.

Jonathan Product Beauty Hard Water Shower Filter System

The Jonathan Product Beauty Hard Water Shower Filter System is built for efficiency. It is a reasonably-priced filter that offers decent filtration and the following features:

  • Inline filter with attached showerhead
  • Helps restore pH levels
  • Removes heavy metals
  • Helps soften water

This showerhead filter system uses two-stage filtration to help eliminate heavy metals and soften your water. By adding this filter, you may improve the pH balance of your shower water and eliminate up to 91% of chlorine.

Although the filter system includes only two stages, it is still capable of softening your water and eliminating harmful elements.


  • The top benefit of this filter is that it is easy to install. Most people can install this filter in just a couple minutes.
  • Another advantage is that it helps restore pH levels.


  • This filter does not work with an existing showerhead. You will need to use the attached adjustable showerhead.
  • The filter system only includes two stages, while there are many other options in the same price range that provide additional filters.

Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head with Massage

The Culligan WSH-C125 wall-mounted filtered showerhead installs in minutes and maintains solid water pressure. If you want to remove sulfur odors and chlorine and soften your water, you should explore its features, which are as follows:

  • Showerhead filter
  • Anti-clog rubber spray nozzles
  • Five spray settings
  • Six-month or 10,000-gallon cartridge capacity

No tools are needed to connect this filter to your shower arm. It fits all standard half-inch plumbing.


  • The top advantage is the water flow rate. You should not experience reduced water pressure with its 2.0 gallons per minute flow rate.
  • The filter media used in this filter unit includes bacterio-static material that can help prevent the growth of bacteria in the showerhead. This should help you maintain a cleaner shower.
  • This filter is also useful for getting rid of chlorine and various harmful contaminants.


  • It does not solve the real cause of hard water – calcium and magnesium buildup.

Last Thoughts on the Culligan WSH-C125

Overall, the Culligan WSH-C125 is a wonderful choice for those that want to eliminate chlorine. This filter removes up to 99% of chlorine from water, making it one of the most powerful filters for filtering out chlorine. However, you should also remember that it does not eliminate calcium and magnesium.

AquaHomeGroup 12 Stage Shower Head Filter

The AquaHomeGroup 12-stage shower head filter can effectively remove chlorine, fluoride, lead, iron, and soften your water.

This power water filtration system also includes the following features:

  • Twelve stages of filtration
  • Powerful water pressure
  • Eliminates hard water
  • Gets rid of chlorine
  • Six- to eight-month cartridge capacity

This easy-to-install shower filter will help you eliminate hard water. You also get two cartridges, so you should not need to buy a new cartridge for at least one year.


  • This twelve-stage filter provides a wide range of filtration to treat many different water issues. Whether you have hard water, high chlorine levels, or cloudy water, you can use the AquaHomeGroup shower head filter to improve the health of your hair, skin, and nails.
  • Another benefit is its versatility. You can use this shower filter with almost any type of shower or showerhead. It works with both handheld and combo showerheads and fits standard plumbing.



Last Thoughts on the AquaHomeGroup 12-Stage Shower Head Filter

Why should you choose the AquaHomeGroup 12-stage shower filter? Without adding an expensive filter system, you can solve your hard water problems and begin improving the health of your hair, skin, and nails.

The twelve stages provide more filtration power than many of the other filters on this list. This filter is also compatible with handheld showerheads, overhead showers, and other shower setups.

Dewifier Water Softener Shower Filter – for Shower Head

The Dewifier water softener shower filter works with handheld or fixed showerheads. It uses a multi-stage filter system to get rid of hard water and chlorine. It offers many advantages that help it stand out as one of the best shower filters.

The following are its top features:

  • Inline filter
  • Six-stage filtration
  • Removes hard water
  • Removes chlorine and chloramine
  • Removes bacteria and viruses
  • Eliminates the most common contaminants
  • Measures 5.1 x 3.54 x 3.54 inches

This compact filter will install easily on any standard half-inch shower fixture. It also comes with Teflon tape to create a tight seal when installing the filter.


  • The multi-stage filter cartridge includes a KDF 55 filter and a coconut activated carbon filter. The carbon helps get rid of hard water, while the KDF 55 filter removes chlorine, metals, and various contaminants.
  • Another reason to consider getting the Dewifier filter is the included testing kit. You get a water quality testing kit to help you determine the chlorine levels in your shower water. You can use it before installing the filter to test your current your chlorine levels and then test the water again to judge the effectiveness of the filter.



Last Thoughts on the Dewifier Water Softener Shower Filter

Whether you have hard water or high chlorine levels, the Dewifier water filter can help. This filter ensures that you always have clean water when you shower, getting rid of harmful contaminants that are often responsible for dry skin and hair.

This is one of the most effective shower filters for hard water. It is also reasonably priced and includes a filter that should offer months of use before needing to be replaced. Overall, this is the top choice for value.

Berkey Shower Filter Without Shower Head

The Berkey Shower filter is an inline filter unit with a KDF 55 filter. The KDF media is used to remove chlorine, lead, and various heavy metals that can contribute to hard water.

The main features include the following:

  • Inline filter with no shower head
  • KDF 55 media filter for removing chlorine
  • 20,000 gallon or one-year cartridge capacity
  • May remove bacteria and algae
  • Helps prevent limescale and mold
  • Measures 5 x 4 x 4 inches

This is an inline filter, which means you will need to use your existing shower head or purchase a new one. If your previous showerhead is old, you may want to update it. It may contain limescale or calcium buildup that can harden your water.


  • The Berkey shower filter is one of the most effective KDF filters. It removes up to 95% of chlorine.
  • These filters are also long-lasting, offering 20,000 gallons of filtration. The filter should last for about one year before you need to replace it.
  • This filter is also easy to install. Within minutes you can enjoy a cleaner shower.


  • This filter does not include a carbon filter for getting rid of calcium and magnesium. If you have hard water, you may need a carbon filter.

Last Thoughts on the Berkey Shower Filter

The bottom line is that the Berkey shower filter is a high-quality KDF filter. You should not experience any change in water pressure. It is also small and unobtrusive, taking up just a few inches at the end of the shower arm.

If you want to get rid of chlorine and prevent limescale buildup, the Berkey shower filter is a wonderful option.

Which Shower Filter Should You Choose?

The filter that you choose depends on the contaminants that you want to get rid of. For example, if you have hard water, you will want to choose a filter unit that includes a carbon filter. If you have chlorine, look for a KDF filter.

Do not forget about the other features. You should also compare the filter cartridge capacity and the type of filter. If you want to keep your existing showerhead, purchase an inline filter.

These are some of the best shower filters available. They also provide a range of options for getting rid of contaminants that cause hard water. If you are tired of dealing with dry skin or hair, install one of these filters on your shower. Installation should only take minutes, allowing you to instantly enjoy a healthier shower.

Jon Agarwal

Jon Agarwal works as an environmental consultant focused on water resources, and he volunteers his time for non-profit organizations. He lives in the heart of Melbourne with his beautiful wife, two sons, and three Persian cats. He particularly enjoys working part-time as it leaves him the time to work on his own writing and share his knowledge. Visit our About page to learn about the contributors of Healthy Buddys.

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2 Responses

  1. John says:

    Where is a shower water filter to remove fluoride, chlorine, odors, metals and other contaminants from town water and can you send us the link to it?

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