Using a good water softener shower head is supposed to mean;
- showering with less soap and also having less soap scum.
- having shinier hair with better color.
- and having a more appealing complexion as the soft water and natural oils on your skin will make you look more ravishing.
However, if your water filter doesn’t do these, it may be time to change it.
And that’s why we’ve thoroughly researched the best and most efficient water softener shower heads that get rid of harmful chemicals in hard water to soften your water.
And we’ve also included the best water softeners for whole-house usage. Let’s dive in.
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5 Best Water Softener Shower Head Filter Reviews in 2021
1. AquaBliss SF100 High Output Universal Shower Head Filter: Best shower softener filter for hard water
Are you looking for a shower head filter that works for hard water? Then search no further because the AquaBliss SF100 High Output 12-stage Water Shower Filter is the best shower head filter for softening hard water.
With the AquaBliss SF100, you get a showerhead that can produce really soft water with little to no sediment. And this is because it uses sand filters, calcium sulfite, stainless steel mesh, ceramic balls, micro-porous cotton mesh, activated carbon, and the KDF-55 method to remove almost all the elements.
This makes the AquaBliss SF100 capable of removing bacteria, fungi, pesticides, lime scales, chlorine, fluorides, heavy metals (like magnesium, lead, chromium, nickel, and mercury), and other harmful impurities.
However, it’s not as efficient in removing iron, but it does a great job all the same. And whatever is the temperature of your shower water, the AquaBliss is very effective in carrying out its shower water softening duties.
We also like that the showerhead filter removes the bad smell associated with hard water. Instead, it boosts oxygen levels in the water and infuses other media such as Vitamin C, tourmaline, and zeolite to give you a refreshing bath.
And the magnetic energy beads help revitalize your skin, hair, and nails (plus prevent other problems with these body parts like dandruff and itchy skin).
We also found it interesting that this water softener shower head filter has a mechanism for reducing water wastage as it has a flow rate of 2.5 GPM and a water pressure of 100 PSI.
And its affordable price also makes it one of the most affordable and best shower head water filters you can get. The filter cartridge can last for 6 – 8 months or after using 10,000 – 12,000 gallons of water.
And if you’re not impressed with the product, you can return it within the first 30 days and still get your full refund. That means you can try it out at almost no cost.
2. Berkey Shower Filter without Shower Head: Best KDF 55 Shower Head Filter
First, the Berkey shower filter is a beauty to behold.
But much more than that is its ability to filter and soften hard water using KDF 55 granules to remove harmful chemicals such as limescale, hydrogen sulphide (that smells like a rotten egg), and inhibit the growth of microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, mold, and algae.
Its KDF 55 granules also reduce chlorine up to 95% and remove water-soluble heavy metals from your shower. It also has a backflush attachment to prevent premature clogging. And your Berkey shower filter can serve you for as long as a year since it filters 20,000 gallons of water.
Another interesting feature we love about the Berkey Softener Shower Filter is that it works effectively at all temperatures. So no need to worry about inhaling or absorbing the harmful elements present in hard water when it’s cold or hot.
However, what we don’t like about this softener shower filter is that it doesn’t come with a showerhead. So you’ll either have to use your current one or get a new one. The good thing is that it can fit in most threaded showerheads.
Note: When installing your Berkey filter, uninstall the shut-off valve in your shower, else it’ll interfere with the working of your newly installed filter.
3. Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-mounted Filtered Showerhead: Best water softener shower head with massage
One of the first things we love about the wall-mounted Culligan WSH-C125 is that it’s actually a shower head with a built-in filter. So there’s no point worrying if it’ll be compatible with your existing showerhead.
It’s also certified according to the ANSI Standard 177 as it efficiently removes chlorine up to 99%. It also significantly reduces the sulfuric smell and bad taste of hard water, bacteria, lime scale build-up, mold, and other contaminants, so you can have a nice clean shower. The rubber nozzle is also easy to clean, too.
The filter cartridge can also 10,000 gallons of filter shower in 6 months.
The Culligan WSH-C125 water softener shower head filter comes with 5 spray settings including a massaging spray. So whether you want powerful sprays to relax your muscles or full-body spray for extended coverage, you’ll get it with this Culligan model.
It’s easy to install as it has a half-inch outlet that can fit in most shower arms. When you get the Culligan WSH-C125 package, you’ll also get an extra cartridge. The softener showerhead filter squirts water jets at 2 GPM.
4. Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter with Adjustable Showerhead: Best for fixing hair loss
The Aquasana AQ-4100 is another water softening showerhead filter that’s great for fixing issues with hair loss. The filter system helps make your scalp healthier and your hair shine brighter. It also impacts your skin health positively.
Another impressive feature of the Aquasana AQ-4100 is the up-flow design of its cartridge that prevents clogging. The design also gives the filter system ample time to soften your water and flow to the showerhead with strong pressure.
But what we love the most about this showerhead is its dual-filtration system. First, it’s got the AquaSorb coconut shell carbon filter that removes chlorine.
But chlorine isn’t the only mineral it filters, the KDF copper/zinc oxidation process also gets rid of other potentially harmful chemicals like hydrogen sulfide, pesticides, herbicides, lead, and other organic compounds.
The Aquasana AQ-4100 also makes your water taste and smell better. You can now get softened water with a balanced pH that moisturizes and protects your skin and hair.
We also like that it has multiple massage settings to give you an exciting shower experience. And depending on your preference, you’ve got the option to choose from a handheld wand or a premium showerhead.
5. AquaHomeGroup 15-stage Water Softener Filter Shower Head
The first awe-inspiring feature of the AquaHomeGroup filter is that it takes hard water through a 15-stage filtration system to efficiently get rid of chlorides, fluoride, mercury, magnesium, bacteria, other irritants, and bad odors.
The filtered soft shower water then becomes contaminant-free and a solution to your skin problems like dry skin, eczema, and dermatitis. At the sixth stage, it undergoes KDF55 filtration to filter out bacteria, chlorine, and algae.
And if any chlorine molecule escapes this stage, it’ll be trapped by the microporous ceramic balls, activated carbon, and calcium sulfite in stages 7, 9, and 11 respectively. And the alkaline ceramic balls and Vitamin C in stages 4 and 8 help revitalize your skin and protect it against free radical damage.
There’s no other beauty shower filter that comes close to this!
We were also pleased that this package comes with two filter cartridges that can each last 6 months or 12,000 gallons of water before replacement.
We also like that the AquaHomeGroup water softener produces filtered water at a flow rate of 2.5 GPM and a water pressure of 100 PSI to minimize water usage.
The only features we think need improvement are its one-spray function and warranty. It only offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Buying Guide: Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Water Softener Shower Heads
Type and size of the filter
One of the top factors to consider when buying a water softener for your shower is what type it is. This will determine how you mount. It could also affect your bathroom’s orientation.
In-line shower filters
You install these between the waterline and the showerhead since they don’t come with showerheads. They’re usually small and don’t affect your bathroom’s aspect.
These are showerheads that filter out minerals and other contaminants while providing good pressure. They don’t change your bathroom’s aspect since they look like regular showerheads.
In-line filters and showerhead filters
These models have filter cartridges in their in-line units while their showerheads control the pressure. They’re usually large like the Aquasana AQ-4100 and can affect your bathroom’s aspect.
While the lifespan of your cartridge largely depends on the hardness of your water and your water usage level, you want your cartridge to last long.
Usually, filter cartridges can last around 6 months or 10,000 gallons of water. So factor these in when getting a softener shower softener.
The regular shower filters can target dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium, and lots of others. However, the best models will also target microorganisms and other waterborne germs to make your shower water healthier.
So the type of filtration method a filter employs will determine how effective in softening your water and making it good for your showers. Here are the 3 main filtration technologies the best brands use;
Multi-level carbon filters
These use filter cartridges that push water through 10 or more filtration mediums to get rid of bacteria, fungi, algae, herbicides, pesticides, chlorine, dissolved metals, and other contaminants.
These are the most common water softeners for showers as they employ the processes used in other filtration techniques.
Vitamin C filters
These are for improving your complexion and the overall health of your skin. They remove chlorine and chloramines but are not so effective in removing other contaminants.
So many manufacturers also add a multi-level carbon filter or KDF filter to their Vitamin C filters to boost their efficiency.
KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) filters
These contain copper and zinc granules that can remove viruses, bacteria, bad smells, and other inorganic compounds including chlorine. They can also balance water pH; thus they’re the best water softeners for municipal water.
Some filter showerheads offer multiple spray settings, and others offer one. These are the coolest spray patterns to choose from if your filter doesn’t provide all of them;
- Jet spray that’s good for cleaning targeted spots.
- Spray pattern that’s great for rinsing shampoo from the hair.
- A gentle rain-like pattern for general showering duties.
Most shower filters can squirt 2 gallons of water per minute. Some can do more than this. While a pressure greater than this may be too much for you, go for one that’ll economize your water usage.
Debunking The Myth That Water Softener Shower Heads Can Soften Shower Water
How Does Water Softening Work?
Before we dive into how water softening works, what is water softening?
Water softening refers to the removal of chemical elements such as calcium and magnesium molecules as well as other heavy metal ions present in hard water. To achieve this, the water softener changes the charges on these salts and metal ions.
Now, your shower water – which is hard water – contains a lot of dissolved minerals including ferrous iron and a host of others. These elements are also present in drinking water but will do little damage to your internal system unless there’s lead present.
However, when you shower with hard water, the fatty acids in your soap interact with these calcium and magnesium ions to make a gelatinous curd. This then makes your soap a bit ineffective in washing you up, and as a result, you’ll need to use so much soap.
So to change the charges in the calcium and magnesium molecule, the following water softening and filtration process takes place in your shower water softener;
- The hard water passes through your water softener filter and then enters a mineral tank filled with negatively charged resin beads.
- As the water passes through the tank, the calcium and magnesium molecules cling to the beads.
- These ions then displace the sodium ions in the resin beads so that you’ll have sodium ions instead of calcium and magnesium ions in the water.
- The water softener then starts its regeneration process by reversing the water flow to clean the tank.
- The brine solution then enters the resin tank.
- The sodium ions then replace the calcium and magnesium molecule on the beads.
- The tank then flushes both the ions and brine solution down the drain.
- And the tank gets refilled, ready to repeat the process.
Can Water Softener Shower Heads Soften Hard Water?
No. Water softener showerheads can’t possibly soften hard water. You can try a hard water test kit to determine if your shower water filter can soften water.
This is why your shower head water filters can’t soften hard water.
First, water softening is a complex process. And you’ll need a larger volume of resin to filter water than would fit in a shower head’s cartridge. And without the ion exchange and regeneration process, water filtration can’t work.
And should your shower water filter work at first, their beads will be rendered useless as they’ll be charged with the minerals in a short time.
So simply put, it hasn’t got an efficient system like other filtration systems to soften water. So what can you use to soften hard water instead?
What Can You Use to Soften Water?
Sodium Water Softeners
Sodium water softeners are the most popular shower water filters as they’re very efficient and cost-effective. However, they aren’t the best.
Sodium water softeners soften hard water by substituting high concentrations of calcium and magnesium with sodium chloride in a process called ion exchange. This is a great water softening solution for whole households.
Sodium water softeners are good for removing salts from the whole house water supply. They’re very affordable and require low maintenance and operating costs.
However, this system may not be a good solution for people on a low-sodium diet as it may taste a bit salty. You may have to replace the salts manually and periodically.
Reverse osmosis filtration systems
This system, also known as hyperfiltration, gets rid of both the mineral deposits and the exchanged sodium to give you extremely clean tap water.
The reverse osmosis system is one of the best water treatments any household can use to get soft water. It purifies water by removing almost all its elements (unwanted molecules) as it pushes the water through multiple filter mediums.
Reverse osmosis filtration systems filter water in three stages;
- It first passes the water through a prefilter to remove the large particles such as scale, sediment, salts (calcium and magnesium ions), and rust. This softens the water. You could get models that use activated carbon to remove chlorine.
- Then it passes through the second filtration medium which has very tiny pores to filter the smallest contaminants. This part is known as the membrane.
- Then the water gets to the final filtration stage where it passes through an activated carbon filter to rid it of the organic compounds responsible for bad taste and smell.
The advantages of using reverse osmosis filtration systems are that they’re efficient systems for reducing salts and dissolved metals; bad odors and taste; and pathogens and harmful contaminants.
They don’t take up too much space and they’re easy to maintain.
On the flip side, they’re not so efficient in removing chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, and other dissolved chemicals: but if yours has a carbon filter, it can take care of these chemicals.
The hyperfiltration method also removes the healthy minerals in water along with the harmful ones. And it wastes lots of water in the filtration process: it can waste up to 5 gallons of water per gallon of purified water.
Magnetic water conditioners are exactly what you need if your water source is not so hard as they aren’t really water softeners.
When you connect a magnetic conditioner to your waterline, it softens hard water by passing it through a magnetic field that changes the behavior of the impurities and salts present in the water.
When this happens, the molecules will no longer stick together or attach themselves to your home’s pipes and appliances. However, they’ll still be present in the water but they’ll flow freely down the drain.
But if your water is very hard, the magnetic field produced by the magnetic conditioners won’t be strong enough to change the behaviors of these elements.
So while they aren’t really water softeners, they’re good for reducing the effects of hard water. They also don’t remove calcium and magnesium from our water as our bodies need them.
They’re also small like the reverse osmosis filtration system, don’t take much space, and are easy to install. Another advantage of magnetic water conditioners is that they don’t require electricity or chemicals. And they’re easy to maintain.
The drawback here is that they don’t filter and remove contaminants from your water. And they’re inefficient when working on very hard water.
Salt-free Water Softeners
Salt-free water softeners produce a range of frequencies when connected to the main waterline.
These frequencies change the molecular structures of calcium and magnesium as water passes through the softener. When this happens, the minerals won’t bind to each other to form scale buildup. So the water will flow more freely and you won’t have to shower with so much soap.
Although it’s similar to magnetic water softeners in operation, they don’t require chemicals and electricity to work. They don’t take up so much space and wastewater.
Salt-free water softeners present a viable solution for whole households and they’re good for people with a low-sodium diet.
Unfortunately, they don’t remove any contaminants in the water and they could be expensive sometimes.
Wrapping up the best water softener shower head
Now you know the best water softener shower heads, it’s advisable you don’t use them alone. Use your shower softener filter with the other more efficient water filtration systems.
Ben is an experienced content writer with a passion for kitchen remodeling. He loves writing about latest kitchen designs & trends so that he can educate our readers make the best decisions possible when it comes to kitchens.