Comparison of Shower Filters

Why do you want to fil­ter the water leav­ing your shower? You barely drink any of it so what’s the big deal?

Water util­i­ties will use either chlo­ramine or chlo­rine, but not both, to main­tain a dis­in­fec­tant resid­ual in the potable water. Main­tain­ing this resid­ual is a reg­u­la­tory require­ment meant to make sure the water remains pathogen free after it leaves the treat­ment plant. Typ­i­cally, large util­i­ties will use chlo­ramine because it does not dis­si­pate as quickly and it will pro­duce fewer dis­in­fec­tion by-products like THMs and chlo­ro­form. Max­i­mum allow­able lev­els of dis­in­fec­tion by-products are tightly con­trolled by the reg­u­la­tory agen­cies. Suf­fice it to say the dis­in­fec­tion by-products issue is highly com­plex and heated. For more infor­ma­tion on this topic, I rec­om­mend you start at EPA’s web­site ded­i­cated to this issue.

I admit you’re much more likely to get hurt in the shower by slip­ping on that pesky bar of soap; how­ever, there are cer­tainly some nice advan­tages to fil­ter­ing water in the shower. Fol­low­ing are a few rea­sons we use shower fil­ters in our home.

  • Skin is the human body’s largest organ and chlo­rine dries it out.
  • Chlo­rine also robs hair of its moisture.
  • Chlo­rine strips hair and skin of it’s nat­u­rally pro­tec­tive oils.
  • Organic chem­i­cals in the water can volatilize and be inhaled while show­er­ing. This is espe­cially true of dis­in­fec­tion by-products like chlo­ro­forms and tri­halomethanes. When inhaled, these chem­i­cals can enter your sys­tem even faster than when ingested.
  • Can reduce rot­ten egg smell in waters con­tain­ing hydro­gen sulfide.
  • Chlo­rine can aggra­vate res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems like asthma and allergies

Com­mon Fil­ter Medias for Shower Filters

KDF is highly effec­tive at remov­ing free chlo­rine, hydro­gen sul­fide and some met­als. How­ever, it does not work as well as car­bon if your water util­ity uses chlo­ramines to main­tain a dis­in­fec­tion resid­ual in the dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem. Check the water qual­ity report sent out by your local util­ity to find if they are using chlo­rine or chlo­ramines. If it is chlo­rine, KDF alone may work fine. If they use chlo­ramines, make sure the shower fil­ter also includes car­bon or GAC (Gran­u­lar Acti­vated Carbon).

Even if your water util­ity uses only chlo­rine, we still rec­om­mend using a KDF and car­bon fil­ter media if your water sup­ply is from a lake or stream. This is because chlo­rine reacts with the organ­ics in the water to form dis­in­fec­tion by-products. KDF does lit­tle to reduce these by-products, but car­bon is highly effi­cient in adsorb­ing them. The car­bon media also effec­tively removes other trace organic chem­i­cals and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals that are com­monly found in sur­face waters.

KDF only shower fil­ters are fine if chlo­rine is the dis­in­fec­tant and the source water is from wells. Few organ­ics exist in ground­wa­ters; there­fore, few dis­in­fec­tion by-products are formed.

Unless you have a good under­stand­ing of the dis­in­fec­tants used by the util­ity and where the water orig­i­nates, we gen­er­ally rec­om­mend get­ting a shower fil­ter that has both KDF and car­bon. This pro­vides the widest range of treat­ment and the KDF helps extend the use­ful life of the car­bon media.

For more detailed infor­ma­tion on KDF and car­bon fil­ter medias, you can check our arti­cle KDF vs Car­bon — Which is bet­ter for my home fil­ter?.

Shower Fil­ters

Rain Shower Head with Filter

This is cer­tainly one of the more styl­ish shower fil­ters on the mar­ket. The shower head is 6″ and gives the sen­sa­tion of show­er­ing under a water­fall. The adjustable arm pro­vides 20″ of height and angle adjustment.

The easy to replace car­tridge is located inside the shower head. The fil­ter car­tridge is a mix of KDF and a pro­pri­etary media. Unless the pro­pri­etary media is car­bon, I’m assum­ing KDF is the main dechlo­ri­nat­ing agent.

Aquasana Shower Fil­ter — Model AQ-4100

This is our per­sonal favorite and the one we use in our home. The Aquasana Shower Fil­ter has a two-stage fil­ter process. Stage 1 removes chlo­rine and enhances pH bal­ance with KDF-55D. The sec­ond fil­tra­tion stage uses a car­bonized coconut shell medium for the removal of syn­thetic chem­i­cals, THMs and VOCs.

It’s Like show­er­ing in nat­ural spring water!” Jonathan Antin/Celebrity Hair Styl­ist, Host of Real­ity Show “Blow-Out” Installs in sec­onds and pro­vides healthy fil­tered water for showering.

Aquasana Shower Fil­ter with Wand — Model AQ-4105

This is the same fil­ter as Aquasana Model AQ-4100, but it has a wand instead of a shower head.


Hand­held Paragon Shower Filter

Styl­ish wand style shower fil­ter. The fil­ter car­tridge is a mix of KDF and a pro­pri­etary media.

The 5-function shower head has full spray, mas­sage, bub­ble, combo spray/bubble and combo spray/massage set­tings. It also includes a 4.5 ft hose.


Inte­grated Shower Head Filter

The WMF mas­sage shower head comes with a chrome fin­ish and includes 5 spray set­tings: full body spray, soft rain spray, invig­o­rat­ing pulse spray, full body spray/rain com­bi­na­tion, and a full body spray/pulse com­bi­na­tion. The rub­ber spray noz­zles are equipped with an anti-clog fea­ture. The fil­ter car­tridge is a mix of KDF and a pro­pri­etary media.


Rain­shower Shower Fil­ter CQ-1000NH

KDF media shower fil­ter. Rain­shower Shower Fil­ters also have a layer of Crys­talline Quartz, which is sun dried quartz crys­tals. Man­u­fac­turer sug­gests that they “ener­gize” the water by reduc­ing the water surface’s tension.


Crys­tal Quest Shower Filter Lux­ury Shower Power

This fil­ter does not include the shower head and comes in chrome or white. Water is fil­tered through 2-stage fil­ter that includes KDF and Gran­u­lar Acti­vated Car­bon (GAC).

Voted “Best Buy” by Con­sumer Digest Mag­a­zine in 2006 and 2007!

The fil­ter is eas­ily changed and oper­ated in either direc­tion. 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.


Sprite Slim­line Shower Filter

Sprite Slim­line Shower Fil­ter is designed to fit in show­ers where over­head space is lim­ited. It’s unique slim line shower head design only extends your reg­u­lar shower head by no more than 1.5 inches.   Use 2-stage fil­tra­tion with KDF and Chlor­gon non-carbon media. The unit does not include the shower head.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.