The Best Shower Filter


Note: Please stop read this article, and read our updated shower filter article instead

I wanted to post an update on my quest for the best shower filter. I received a lot of useful comments on my last shower filter post, and I’ve also tested a couple of new shower filters.

The shower filter market is huge, and sales are dominated by shower filters that use KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion). However, KDF filters don’t actually perform well as shower filters. They often get clogged after a few months of use. Also, they don’t perform well in hot water, and they don’t remove chloramines (which is commonly used in place of chlorine in tap water). Also, KDF filters are also affected by water pressure. When the water pressure is not high enough, water can’t pass through the KDF powders.

I haven’t found any formal comparative tests of shower filters. One independent reviewer “ReviewGuy” tested eight popular filters with a chlorine test kit in 2006. About his tests, he says:

Tests include before and after total residual chlorine levels using a digital chlorine meter to measure the results. The shower filters are tested for their ability to remove total residual chlorine in an actual residential shower unit.

You can read about his results here.

The best performing shower filters were: two Vitamin C shower filters, and the Sprite Shower Filter — these filters removed about 99% of the chlorine in the water. (He didn’t test for the removal of any other contaminants.)

ReviewGuy concludes by saying:

I welcome any of my readers to verify or debunk the claims I have made in this comparison by conduction your own independent research & testing. This is an open invitation that includes everyone from the end user to shower filter manufacturers. To date, there has not been a single person or company that can or will refute my data.

However, there are a few new shower filters that have appear in the market since 2006. In my opinion, the best shower filters today are combination filters that use both Vitamin C filters and chlorgon or ceramic filters.

What is Chlorgon? It’s a combination of calcium sulfite with a ceramic binder to form non-soluble ceramic sulfite beads.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is really the best at removing chlorine and chloramines. It removes 99% of the chlorine in both hot and cold water, and Vitamin C filters last about twice as longer as KDF filters.

But Vitamin C filters only neutralize chlorine — they don’t filter out anything else in shower water. To remove VOCs and heavy metals, you have to add a ceramic or chlorgon filter. See the detail in the shower filter update.


94 thoughts on “The Best Shower Filter”

  1. I’ve used vitashower before. The only issue I have with it is that it seems that it does not last as long as the product says it does. This of course may vary depending on how much chlorine is in your water, but it only appeared to last 3 months for me. An expensive proposition.

  2. I just checked the Aquasmart website and it looks interesting although it looks like it would drop the height of the showerhead quite a bit. maybe I could attach the Sonaki handheld showerhead to the Aquasmart?

    1. Thanks for the info Mary. Checked out their site and compared to what I could find in the U.S., Aquasmart seems superior.

      Canada also has ShowerPure, and it seems comparable to the Aquasmart filters. However, Aquasmart says their filter does not impact water pressure, so I’ll try that one first.

  3. I just ordered a Sonaki Showerhead and 5 replacement cartridges. Not one of them had a hole in the bottom so the water could go through the vitamin C. I had this issue with this company a few years ago and I’m shocked that it’s happened again.
    i really don’t notice any improvement in my skin or hair but the showerhead itself is good-lots of pressure

    1. It does need hole in the bottom
      It runs mixes from the top using the propeller….
      Water comes in from the top and out the sides
      If there was a hole in the bottom the vitaminc would all run out

      you will notice over time the vitamin c is being used up

      1. Yes, I do notice that now. It seems impossible that so much water pressure can come out of it if the water comes up and around the cartridge and not through it but it does.
        Still no improvement on hair or scalp though.

  4. I purchased the Vita Shower Filter, installed it on 1/5/11. By 1/13/11 the plastic had cracked along a 2″ section no where near a seam. I am very disappointed in this model.

    I am thinking of trying the New Wave Enviro shower filter, Aquasana, or a Rainshower crystal filter. It is a hard decision…

  5. One thing this article, as well as vitamin C filter makers never mention is this:

    Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) + chlorine = hydrochloric acid!

    While I’m sure it isn’t any massive amount, (there aren’t really massive amounts of chlorine in the first place) the mere fact that companies selling these products completely ignore this issue makes me worry.

      1. No, it isn’t very much. But the amount of hydrochloric acid produced is based on the amount of chorine. So you’re trading the same amount of one harmful chemical for the same amount of another.

        Not to mention no one has come forward with the opinion (much less any actual evidence) that hydrochloric acid is less harmful than chlorine to have in your bathing water.

        1. It’s not desirable, but it doesn’t produce chlorine vapors, which are the real problem. Having extremely dilute hydrochloric acid in the water is not such an issue.

          No-one has done any substantial research into shower water unfortunately. Basically, I’m choosing the Vitamin C filters, until someone can show me that other filters will remove chlorine as effectively.

  6. I found the AquaSmart filter from Canada to be an excellenr filter that filters both chlorine and chloramines. Our water system uses both. And it is recyclable!

  7. I tried the Aquasana shower filter. Unfortunately for me it leaked horribly and I never could get it to not leak. I just purchased the New Wave Enviro shower filter. It was 10 x easier installing, is smaller, and doesn’t leak. So, so far I’m happy with it.

  8. I’ve been using shower filters for many years, most recently Sprite. While it does a satisfactory job they are prone to cracking… I’ve had three of them crack and leak in the last two years. I’ve not had this problem with any other brand.

  9. My second the comments of Claudia above, on the Sprite Shower Filter. It was like no filter at all. The water even tasted and smelled like unfiltered. IMHO it is a product that should not be on the market. I wonder if the manufacturer knows the product sucks, but doesn’t care.

    The Vitamin C shower filter did not work either. I suspected it was a joke. Filtering water without actually filtering it. Right. Recommend avoiding the Vitamin C ones. Anyways, we had much better results with Aquasana. That is our choice, so far.

  10. I have tried the Paragon and the Srite shower filters. I have since found out that our local (NJ) water supply uses chloramines NOT free chlorine for sanitizing the water. The paragon filters did help to filter the chloramines,but didn’t last very long (approx 2 months with 2 people in the house ). The Sprite shower filter did not work on our water at all. I coukld tell this by the results on my skin (very dry and itchy). Of course, now I know why– the KDF mechanism dfoes not filter out chloramines. Since discussing this with others, I have been told to put in a whole house chloramine filter. Does anyone know if the whole house filters that are available actually filter out chloramines or do most of them just filter the free chlorine?

    1. I brought a Kenrico shower filter yesterday , noticed the smell of chlorine was nearly non existent . Did a test and compared the filtered water to non filtered exactly the same. Do not waste your money !!!!

  11. Where is the info on the vitashower sf-1 containing ceramic and other filters in addition to C coming from? It says nothing about that on their site and the filters don’t have water coming out from the bottom like this diagram shows.

    I have a vitashower VS-1 which is from a few years ago when there was some dispute and the companies split apart. I will probably go with the SF-1 even though the form factor (hanging down in the way) and the plastic is a nuisance. You can’t just put any shower head on it. Since the plastic parts are thicker, and many shower heads are now full of plastic connectors spray painted chrome, things don’t fit together. Also, the one I have is cracked and sprays water everywhere from the connector to the pipe.

  12. After dinner at a friend’s house a few days ago, we watched the documentary “Flow”. Water wars aren’t off in the future, they are taking place right now.

    It seems as though nearly all of our water supply is contaminated now with one thing or another, if not multiple things. Some nasties travel 1000s of miles with water vapor and rain down again on us. If you are interested in water issues and your local library has it or it’s showing at the local indy theater, I recommend a viewing. If you are REALLY interested in water issues, you may want to rent it or buy it.

    I am so glad I decided not to have children.

  13. I have used two types of shower filters. The first one I bought was the New Wave Enviro shower filter. In a few days I noticed my skin felt better, my scalp wasn’t dry and itching. It worked great. Last summer when it was time to replace the filter I bought the sprite shower filter at a booth at our state fair. This sprite filter did absolutely nothing! My scalp is itching again, my skin is dry. I feel like I got an empty filter cartridge! I’m going back to the Enviro filter.

  14. RE: “Joe”‘s post of June 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm presenting the reply of the Vitashower company…

    Was the original message really so full of misspellings and grammatical errors? That alone would make my confidence in the validity of the statements plunge. Also, the writer compares apples to pears (almost said oranges!) in some of their points.

    I live in a very rural area with unchlorinated well water. I suspect that it’s the high mineral content in the water that’s effecting me and began to search tonight for a shower filter. I assumed that a filter would remove any icky stuff AND minerals, but it seems not to be the case. Call me dopey, but a water softener ADDS salt to an already high mineral load, no? Is there a special shower filter that will remove minerals without adding salt? I’m REALLY confused now!

    My skin is dry and uncomfortable, especially in the winter. The skin on my shins and cuticles easily cracks and bleeds. So far, after trying various products, I am using a combo of “basis sensitive skin bar soap” (works better for me than Aveeno, Dove, etc, available at drugstores in my area) and “Tate’s” for moisturizing (expensive non-oily lotion that’s very soothing, available at a health food store near me). Not a perfect solution, but it helps.

    1. I won’t pretend to be an expert on this but I might make a few nutritive suggestions. Winter can be a great time to increase oil/fat intake: you need more fat to stay warm and the air is dryer and your skin needs more fat. So increasing Omega 3’s and other good oils like olive and coconut be really helpful, some of that as really good cod liver oil is also great for the immune system. Externally I like using really good organic olive oil after my shower. Some friends of mine love using organic unrefined coconut oil in the same way. For me the oils externally work better than the lotions. plus I feel better because so many of the lotions have a bunch of crap in them, i prefer to put things on my skin that are more or less edible

      anyway, that is my two cents. Maybe something for you to play with

      Wish I had something useful to share on your filtering questions…

      Merry Christmas,

      1. Thanks for the tips, Michael. I prefer not feeling greasy, though, as I frequently have to apply relief-in-a-bottle several times a day. And Tate’s is all botanical, no added oils: apple, blackberry, celery, coconut, marigold, a bunch of others. I just wish it wasn’t so pricey!

        1. Rosey Glow,
          I do not have a shower filter (looking for one), and was tired of putting on lotion with a lot of additives after I shower, so I put almond oil on my skin instead. It is food grade and I found it at my local health food store. I wanted to re-assure you that apart from being cheap and lasting forever because you don’t need to use much, it is not greasy at all, and I can actually use it on my face without breaking out or being as shiny as I used to be with other “facial” moisturizers, even the “oil free” and organic ones. (I used to have a lot of issues with acne). I think using Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap on my face also helps with the clear skin.

          Go for the oil for your dry skin! You won’t regret it 🙂

  15. I think it’s just easier to buy the Sprite Shower system from your local Home Depot or Lowes and then pay the 15 bucks for a replacement filter when you need it. The vitashower only lasts 4 months longer and then you have to mail order the whole filter system every time you need it.

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