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If you have hard water in your home, you likely know the frustration already. Mineral buildup, dry hair and skin and unsightly stains are just a few of the problems with hard water. We usually recommend folks with hard water get a whole-house filter, but there may be another option: a hard water shower filter. In this guide we will help you find the best shower filter for hard water.
Keep in mind that even the best shower water filters for hard water probably won’t be as effective as whole-house water softeners. Shower size filters simply don’t have the same softening capacity as the full-size whole house filters. That said, they can certainly help to soften your water a bit, and they are very effective in removing chlorine and other contaminants.
Quick Picks for the Best Shower Filter for Hard Water
Below, find our top picks for the best hard water shower filter.
Key Features: Easy to install; satisfaction guarantee; budget-friendly but high performance; great reviews
Price Range: $$
The Brom4ord Shower Filter is perhaps the best shower filter for hard water. It’s priced affordable, and features an advanced 3 stage filtration system. A mix of activated carbon, KDF-55 and calcium sulfate ensure that most contaminants are filtered out. It can effectively reduce mineral buildup to soften water, and will remove the bulk of chlorine and other harmful contaminants.
The installation of this unit is quite simple, and it will fit with most existing shower heads. The Brom4ord consistently earns high ratings from customers looking for a hard water shower filter. Some reviewers did note that extremely hard water will cause the filters to degrade faster, increasing the frequency with which they need to be replaced. We’ve found this to be true for any filter, however, so it’s not specific to this model. If you have very hard water, you’ll just have to budget more for replacement filters.
Another unique thing about this product is that the manufacturer provides a satisfaction guarantee for new customers! Click here to learn more.
Key Features: Multi-stage filtration; excellent customer reviews; affordable replacement filters
Price Range: $
The AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Filter is the best shower filter for hard water, for folks on a budget. It’s affordably priced, and offers a long lifespan (plus affordable replacement filters when the time comes to replace one). Each filter is rated to last for 10,000 gallons, which should cover you for 6-8 months of use. So, both the upfront cost of this unit and the ongoing costs are quite reasonable.
The AquaBliss multi-stage filter utilizes a combination of calcium sulfate, activated carbon and KDF-55 to reduce a broad array of contaminants and minerals. It can help remove chlorine, bacteria and more, and is effective in reducing the hardness of your shower water.
This model is a best-seller on Amazon, and it consistently earns great ratings in reviews. Like the rest of the filters on this list, it does not come with a shower head, but instead just installs with your existing shower head in place. Click here to learn more.
Price Range: $$$
The Jonathan Beauty Hard Water Shower Filter is an effective option for folks looking for an advanced water softener for their shower. This unit is a bit more expensive than some of the other options, but it is quite effective at softening water.
Another unique thing about this filter is that it helps to balance pH levels in your shower water. As heavy metals are removed, the filter replaces them with healthy potassium ions, which helps to restore the pH balance. This can help to improve the feel of the water, as well as the softness of your skin and hair!
Why use a shower water softening filter?
Healthier Skin & Hair – A big benefit of showering in softer water is that it can help improve the health of your hair and skin. Hard water tends to dry out skin and hair, leaving it brittle and dry.
Better Lathering – Interestingly, hard water can actually make it more difficult for soaps and shampoos to lather. This usually means you’ll need to use more soap products than necessary in order to get as clean as you’d like to be. By softening your water, you can reduce the amount of beauty products you need to use in the shower.
Filtration of Contaminants – While you’re probably looking primarily to reduce the hardness of your water, you may also be pleased to learn that these shower filters can filter out all sorts of other gunk that you don’t want on your skin. Chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria and other contaminants are quite common in shower water, and can lead to all sorts of issues. Good shower filters can help significantly reduce – or completely remove – these contaminants.
As previously mentioned, there’s no perfect shower water softener. These products certainly help, but they just can’t perform at the same level as the much larger best water softeners. We usually recommend that readers get a whole-house filter first, and then add other filters later, if necessary.
Also, keep in mind that this list only features straight filters, that don’t have shower heads of their own. So, you’ll need to use your existing shower head with these products. Or, other options you might consider include shower head filters for hard water (where the filter is built into the showerhead) and shower head water filters.
Do you have stubborn hard water stains in your shower? Obviously the best solution is to get a filtered showerhead to prevent hard water stains in the first place – but until you’ve got that set up, here’s how to remove those difficult stains:
For stains on and around the shower head, follow these steps:
- Soak a rag in distilled white vinegar
- Wrap the rag around the shower head or other stained area
- Leave in place for 1-2 hours
- This will loosen the mineral deposits, making it easier to remove them
- Wipe away the stains using the rag
For stains on the bathtub follow these steps:
- Fill up the bathtub with warm water
- Pour in 1 cup white vinegar (or sub for bleach for tougher stains) and 1/2 cup powdered dishwasher detergent
- Let it soak for 1-2 hours
- Run jets, if you have them, for 20 minutes or so
- Drain tub and wipe stains with rag
That’s it! With these steps, you should be able to get rid of hard water stains in showers and bathtubs.
Water Softening – All shower filters are designed to filter out contaminants like chlorine and heavy metals – but they’re not necessarily designed to soften water. It’s difficult to put a full softening system in such a small package, so most manufacturers don’t even try. That said, there are some water filters that do a pretty good job of softening shower water – and these are the models we focused on.
Value – We looked closely at the value offered by each product. Beyond just looking at the upfront cost, we also took into account the long-term filter replacement costs to get a more complete picture. We didn’t look to choose the absolute cheapest model; but instead, focused on the perfect middle ground between cost and value.
Reviews – We looked at third-party customer reviews, as well as analysis from experts in the industry, to help make our selections. This rounded out the findings of our own testing and research, allowing for a more complete picture of the actual quality of these products.
Hopefully this guide helps you to find the best shower filter for hard water. Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out our guide to the best shower filters overall.
Austin is the lead water consultant and blogger for Water Filter Data. With 10 years of experience in the water quality industry, Austin can instantly pinpoint the cure and the cause for the water pollutant.