Best Shower Filters Of 2016: Kill That Chlorine
Scroll down to check out Sinky Drinky’s top picks for the best shower filters of 2016!
But first, why should you invest in a shower filter?
Hard water can be pretty tough – and not just on your washing machine and your kettle – but your body, too.
In large built-up cities, the amount of chlorine that goes into treating water can have a negative effect on skin and hair. So if you have a skin condition like psoriasis or eczema, or a lifeless mop of razor-thin hair, at least part of the problem can be the water in your shower.
The good news is that a water softener shower head can often make a large difference.
How Bad Is Unfiltered Shower Water?
Would you drink a cup of chlorine? Of course not, so why would you jump into a shower with unfiltered water? The simple fact is that our skin is a breathing membrane and we absorb the substances inside water when we are showering.
The figures of how much chlorine we absorb are shocking. Studies have found that up to to 66% of the chlorine we consume every day comes from showering with chlorinated water.
Its even worse if you like your showers on the hot side, as your pores open up, inviting even more chlorine to flow inside you. Add to that the steam you breathe in, which contains chloroform (the vaporized gas form of chlorine), and you might as well be drinking chlorine for breakfast. In fact, that’s what you are doing. Studies have shown that in 10 minutes of showering, we absorb as much chlorine as in 8 glasses of tap water!
Chlorine is technically a pesticide, so you can imagine the damage it causes inside your body. When you add other typical water pollutants that are found inside unfiltered water into the mix, such as hard minerals and volatile organic compounds, it can make Ariel the mermaid vow to never set foot near a shower again!
Some telltale signs that you have a hard water problem in your shower is a greenish tint on your tiles and hard water spots on the the shower door. There are also tests for hard water that you can perform within a few minutes.
What Can You Do About It?
The good news is that there are steps you can take to get much cleaner water in your shower. These come in the form of affordable water softening shower head or shower filters that fit onto your existing system.
However, finding a good shower filter can be tricky because many are not very effective.
The majority of systems filter out less than 80% of total chlorine, with some eliminating only 20%.
The shower filters that rely on carbon filters are good at dealing with chlorine inside slow-flowing, cold water that comes out of a normal kitchen sink, but its a whole other story when it comes to hot water being pumped out at dozens of gallons a minute. These systems do not perform well in such instances.
To get around this problem, many companies combine their carbon filters with other technology or use a metallic substance known as KDF. These are partially effective, but again, are not good at removing chlorine in all its various forms.
For example, many water plants combine chlorine with ammonia (producing chloramine or NH2Cl) to purify water and kill off pathogens, but it can be hard to filter out with a KDF system alone. However, shower filters that use Vitamin C are very adept at handling it (that’s not a typo and no, an orange screwed onto your shower head doesn’t suffice!)
Considering all these points, here are the shower filters that we recommend at Sinky Drinky.
The Best Shower Filters in 2016
- UBS Vitamin C shower filter
- Filter life: 6 months
- Price: $64 / £42
- Very effective at filtering chlorine and visibly improves hair and skin.
- Sprite HOB-CM Brass Shower Filter
- Filter life: 12 months
- Price: $66 / £43
- The filter lasts for up to a year and the flow output is very good.
- Culligan WSH-C125 Shower head
- Filter life: 6 months
- Price: $30 / £20
- Great filtering for the price and a very high quality shower head that even massages your scalp!
- Rainshow'r CQ-1000-MS Shower Head Filter
- Filter life: 9 months
- Price: $43 / £28
- Cuts down on the amount of chlorine and has an excellent shower head that lasts for years.
- WaterChef SF-7C Premium Shower Filter
- Filter life: 6 months
- Price: $80 / £52
- Very good at reducing chlorine, has good pressure and shower head has adjustable spray patterns.
Our Top Pick: Vitamin C Shower Filter by UBS
If you want to get rid of chlorine in its various nasty forms, the $64 / £42 UBS Vitamin C shower filter is right up there with the best of them.
It sounds unusual, but vitamin C is a great water filter that is highly effective at removing not only chlorine, but chloramine too, another commonly used disinfectant that is hard for a KDF filter to eliminate.
In fact, its so effective that some government agencies tasked with monitoring water treatment plants state vitamin C should alone be used to cut down on the levels of chloramine in municipal water.
One such statement has been made by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
The design is dead simple. It is essentially a block of vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid) that is housed in a little transparent tube. One end screws into your shower head and the other into the water valve, and that’s it. When the water is running, it comes into contact with the vitamin C, which quickly neutralizes a cool 99% of chlorine-containing substances.
As its see-through, you can easily tell when the vitamin C is running low and its time to buy a new set of filters. We like the fact that it comes with two, which are enough for at least six months (if you’re not the type that spends 20 minutes in the shower!) All in all, it’s a great shower filter and costs a very reasonable $64 / £42, althouh there are always deals on Amazon where you can get it for even less.
If you’re looking for another Vitamin C option, another great choice is the HotelSpa Vitamin C Handheld Shower Head.
Not only does it help to neutralize chlorine – but it comes with a refillable cartridge and a FREE one year Vitamin C supply to boot! And it has an enticing 7-power setting with dreamy modes like “Rain Massage” and “Rain Mist” – it’s definitely a favorite if you’re looking for something a little luxurious as well as effective. The Hotel Spa Vitamin C Hand Held Shower Head has some rave reviews – check it out.
Close Second: Sprite HOB-CM Brass Shower Filter
Our next choice would be, without a doubt, the $66 / £43 Sprite HOB-CM Brass Shower Filter. This badboy is built to last, you can tell that as soon as you pick it up and feel how heavy it is in your hands. It’s solid and compared to many of its competitors, the filter does not fall apart or spring a leak after a month’s use.
Plus, did we mention its filtering performance is exceptional?
Unlike carbon filters, this Sprite filter is made out of calcium, zinc and copper, and works by reducing dissolved chlorine into large chloride molecules that are too large to get into your body and go down your drain with all the other runoff instead. It has even been NSF certified to standard 177 for shower filtration.
It was designed especially for hot water, and as such its performance actually improves with higher temperatures. This stands in stark contrast with carbon filters, which are practically useless once you crank up the heat.
The only downside is that it does not remove all off the combined chlorine and chloramine. However, it does take care of sodium hypochlorite, iron oxide, sediment and hydrogen sulfide (the gag-inducing rotten egg smell that some areas are affected by).
It also lasts for up to 20,000 gallons (around nine months to a year). You have to open it and reverse the filter at the halfway point, but its a very simple process and only takes a minute. This is because of the tendency of the side which is in contact with the water first to get obstructed before the other side.
To get the most thorough filtering possible, you can combine it with the Vitamin C filter, just as in the photo. This combination nukes the chlorine out of your water.
Budget Choice: Culligan WSH-C125
If you have a limited budget, the Culligan WSH-C125 is an excellent choice for its price point. It comes in at only $30 or £20 for the Brits, has a very high quality shower head (with five different spray settings to boot) and does a good job of softening your water.
The Culligan is built to filter around 10,000 gallons, or six-months worth of showers, which it does with a KDF filter. As we mentioned previously, KDF filters remove more chlorine than normal carbon filters in showers, but they are not the best when it comes to killing off chlorine altogether.
Saying that, its hard to complain when this filter is so cheap. It will improve your shower water without breaking the bank and give your hair and skin a boost. What’s not to like?