Are Shower Filters Worth It? (Sometimes.. Sometimes Not)

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Trying to decide whether or not a shower filter is worth it for you? We’ve shared everything you need to know in this guide.

πŸ“Œ Key Takeaways

  • A shower filter is worth it if you’re concerned about the effects of free chlorine in your water, and you want to protect your skin and hair from damage.
  • A shower head filter ISN’T worth it if you want a solution to all your hair and skin issues, you have very high expectations for contaminant removal, or you don’t want to affect your shower’s water pressure.

πŸ’Έ Is A Shower Filter Worth It?

Shower head filters are a cheap, convenient way to remove potentially harmful chemicals from shower water.

These filters are affordable for most budgets, which means they’re worth it for most people.

But it’s important not to set your expectations too high. A shower head filter is only worth it for you if you understand exactly what this filter can and can’t do. Only then can you decide whether or not the filter is worth your money.

shower head filter

βœ… When IS A Shower Filter Worth It?

A showerhead water filter IS worth it if…

You Specifically Want To Reduce Chlorine In Water

Shower filters work by trapping contaminants in their filter media. Carbon filters and vitamin c filters are commonly used in shower head filters, and remove chlorine by adsorbing it into the filter media or neutralizing it.

If chlorine is your main water quality issue and you’re specifically looking for a filter that removes chlorine from the water you shower in, a shower head filter is the makes-sense solution.

You Want To Reduce Skin & Hair Damage

Shower filters are designed to reduce chemicals like chlorine, which are known for irritating the skin and scalp. Installing a showerhead filter is worth it if you’re looking to remove these impurities and reduce skin irritation and hair damage.

As long as your expectations are realistic (i.e. you don’t expect a shower head filter to reverse your hair loss or cure your acne), you should enjoy the skin, scalp, and hair benefits of installing a showerhead water filter.

Related: What are the best shower filters?

You Prefer A Point Of Use Filter

Point of use shower filters have numerous benefits: they’re quick and easy to install, they’re affordable upfront, and they don’t make a permanent change to your plumbing system.

A showerhead filter is worth it for you if you prefer this type of filter to a point of entry filter, which is costlier and more difficult to install, but has the advantage of treating your entire home’s water supply.

⛔️ When ISN’T A Shower Filter Worth It

A shower head filter ISN’T worth it if…

You Want A Solution To All Your Skin And Hair Problems

Unfortunately, shower filters only address a specific skin and scalp irritant: chlorine.

A shower head filter can’t soften water or remove calcium and magnesium minerals, which are also known to irritate the skin and scalp.

If you want to solve all your skin and hair issues relating to water quality, you won’t be able to use a shower head filter alone. We recommend installing a water softener and whole house water filter combo (see our favorites here) to effectively treat both sets of contaminants.

Also keep in mind that even the best shower filter won’t address irritation caused by other factors in your environment, including sensitivities linked to soaps and laundry detergents, hormonal factors, and pollution.

You Enjoy Your Current Shower’s Water Pressure

Whether a shower cartridge filter replaces your existing shower head or sits underneath the shower, it will reduce your water pressure by about 0.5 GPM (gallons per minute).

If you love power showers, it may not be worth it for you to use a shower filter. It depends on whether you’re happy to compromise for the sake of showering in better-quality hot water.

showering with a house water filter

You Want To Remove Multitudes of Contaminants

Shower filters are designed to remove a specific set of contaminants that water treatment plants either add to water or don’t fully remove, including chlorine and some heavy metals.

If you expect a showerhead filter to remove tens or hundreds of contaminants, like reverse osmosis filters or whole home water filters, you’ll be disappointed.

A shower filter isn’t worth it for you if you want to remove more than a handful of contaminants from your water.

βš–οΈ Deciding Whether Or Not A Shower Water Filter Is Worth It: Key Considerations

Your Budget

Shower filters are affordable and suitable for most budgets, but they still might be too costly for your current financial situation.

You’ll need to spend around $80 upfront and $40-$100 per year on filter changes. If you can’t afford this at the moment, a showerhead filter might not be worth it for you.

Your Water Quality & Contaminant Removal Expectations

Also consider your water quality and what you want to remove.

The best shower filters combine several different filter media (like coconut shell carbon filtration media, KDF shower filters, and vitamin c filter media) to reduce common tap water contaminants including chlorine, heavy metals, and VOCs. At the very least, a standard shower head filter is capable of removing chlorine.

Test your water to find out what it contains, then decide whether even the best showerhead filter will live up to your contaminant removal expectations. If not, this type of filter might not be worth it for you.

Testing tap water with Tap Score laboratory testing service

Your Shower Preferences

There’s no denying that a showerhead filter will alter your shower experience somewhat.

If you have specific shower preferences and a shower filter would make your shower experience unpleasant, it probably isn’t for you.

For instance, many shower filters have small, round showerheads that may not suit people who are used to showering under a large, square, rainfall showerhead. Most shower filters can’t be installed on a handheld shower hose, which may be a problem if you only use this type of shower.

Of course, there are a few exceptions, including inline shower filters (which can be used with most existing shower heads) and a few handheld shower head filters, but your options may be somewhat limited.

🚰 Alternatives To Shower Filters

If you think a showerhead filter isn’t worth it because it might affect your shower experience or it doesn’t have thorough contaminant removal abilities, you might want to consider an alternative system.

Most other water filters are designed for drinking water treatment, so they’re no good if you specifically want to filter your shower water.

But you can buy a whole home water filter, which filters your entire home’s water supply, including your shower water. Whole home filtration systems are larger, more complex systems that remove tens of drinking water impurities and tend to be more effective than shower filters.

You might also want to consider a water softener system if you’ve identified hard minerals as your main water quality issue. Again, water softeners are installed as point of entry units that treat your entire home’s water supply. Since shower filters can’t soften water, a water softener is the only way to enjoy soft water in your shower.

Springwell whole house water filter and water softener combo system in our basement

❔ Are Shower Water Filters Worth It? FAQs

Does a filtered shower head make a difference?

Yes, the best shower water filters make a noticeable difference to your water quality. Many filtered shower heads are certified for chlorine removal, so you can enjoy a better shower experience without the harsh chemicals.

Does shower water need to be filtered?

No, shower water doesn’t need to be filtered. But if you think your chlorinated water supply is irritating your hair and skin – especially if you have sensitive or dry skin issues already – you’ll benefit from a filter that removes this chemical from your water.

What are the benefits of a filtered shower head?

The benefits of a filtered shower head include reduced skin and hair irritation, no side effects of breathing chlorine gas in shower vapor, long-lasting filters, and affordable upfront and maintenance costs.

  • Laura Shallcross
    Senior Editor

    Laura is a passionate residential water treatment journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Print Journalism and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. Over a span of 5 years she's written on a range of topics including water softening, well water treatment, and purification processes.

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