Installing a whole house water softening system can be expensive and require a professional to install it. So if you are looking for a cheaper alternative you’ll need a water softener shower head which you can easily install yourself and for as little as $30.
Top 3 Models
With the small upfront cost for these units, they’re often the better choice when compared to a whole-house system.
You will be able to enjoy the benefits of softer, smoother skin and shiny, vibrant hair without breaking the bank. You will also notice that your shampoo will foam up much more, thanks to the soft water and won’t leave your shower door with scummy water marks as badly as it did before.
Here is the List of the Top Units in 2018:
1. AquaHomeGroup 10-Stage Shower Water Filter
- Filter lasts 6 months (or until water quality drops)
- ½ inch easy install system
- 10 stage filtration system
- Purifies and softens the water
- Maintains water pressure
- Removes toxic substances and bacteria
The AquaHomeGroup’s 10-stage shower water filter is one of the best-selling models on amazon and it is clear to see why. Out of all the models in our list this one produces by far the purest water.
Despite the small size of the cartridge, AquaHomeGroup have managed to squeeze 10 layers into their filtration system. It manages to soften the water, remove all toxic substances and also abolishes any nasty odors.
The layers include granulated coconut carbon, polypropylene cotton, copper zinc granules (KDF), calcium sulfite, energy balls, ceramic balls with ions, alkaline ceramic balls and a final 2 layers of steel mesh to act as a final filter and keep all the layers in place.
The system takes a matter of minutes to install, as it simply screws onto your existing pipework. You also get an extra cartridge ready for when you first need to replace the filter.
This model is one of the more expensive models but it still only costs about $40 and produces what will likely be the highest quality water you will ever experience from a shower. If for some reason you are not satisfied with the product you can always return it within 30 days for a full refund.
This is an inline model and therefore you can continue to use your existing shower head.
2. Culligan WSH-C125
- Wall mounted
- EPA water sense certified running at 2.0 gallons per minute
- Anti-clog rubber nozzles
- Easy to install
- Filters 10,000 gallons before filter replacement is required (6 months)
- Fits any ½” threaded shower arm
- 5 different spray settings
An Amazon best-seller, I have personally owned this unit since 2012, and I couldn’t be happier. Simple to install, you’ll enjoy a modern look and the ability to choose between five different spray settings. The exceptional massage setting easily eliminates tension and pain.
The filter will reduce 99% of all chlorine, sulfur odors and scale.
The rubber nozzle allows for clog reduction, or elimination in this case, and there is a 10,000-gallon filter capacity.
You won’t need any tools to install the shower head, and everything is included with the unit, even the tape that you place over the shower arm to reduce any leaking from occurring is provided.
This unit offers:
- Installation within minutes
- Five-year warranty
- Five spray settings
- Anti-clog spray nozzle
The manufacturer even includes the Teflon tape you need to operate your water softener filter.
3. Jonathan Product Beauty Hard Water Shower Filter System
- 10,000-gallon capacity (6 months)
- 100-day warranty
- Replaces heavy metals with potassium ions to balance the pH
- 2 stage filtration process
Although this model is slightly more expensive than the other in our top-rated list, it still offers great value for money. It was designed to target the beauty industry as it balances the water pH and is said to be as pure as spring water.
This helps to keep your hair and skin hydrated but also helps anyone who has had their hair dyed, to maintain the bright vibrant colour for longer, saving you money on trips to the hair salon.
The assembly process took slightly longer than other models but it still only took a matter of minutes to complete. All you must do is unscrew your existing shower head, attach the pre-assembled filter system, turn the tap on for a few moments to flush the system and then finally attach the shower head.
I was happy to see that the Jonathan hard water shower filter didn’t reduce my water pressure at all and it really does do a great job of purifying your water. You will notice a difference in your water quality instantly after installing this system.
Do be careful when installing the unit because if it isn’t perfectly lined up to your existing pipework it can cause it to leak slightly. I had no such issue but I heard of a few people have this issue.
4. ZenFresh Filtration Shower Head
- Save water without reducing water pressure
- Bioactive filter beads
- Easy installation
- 1 fixed spray setting
- Less dry skin
- Healthier hair
- Less odours from your shower water
The ZenFresh is a little different than our number one choice because this showerhead offers a filtered body spray and purifies water through the usage of mineralized spheres. These spheres act as a filtration system that will remove the impurities from the water, and this will lead to you experiencing:
The shower head easily attaches to your existing unit, and it will not cause any water pressure loss. This is just the head of the shower, and you will need to attach it to your hose, which takes just minutes.
What’s the catch?
You have to purchase a new unit if you want to replace the beads, according to the manufacturer.
If it weren’t for this slight inconvenience, this model may have been listed as the number one choice on our list. With a small introductory price, this isn’t much of a concern, as you’ll be spending just as much on your replacements as you would on filters anyway.
The unit comes with one spray setting where the outer ring is at a lower pressure and the center is at a higher pressure.
5. HotelSpa Extra-Large 5 Inch Filtered Shower Head
- 5-inch large chrome face showerhead
- Filter built into shower head
- 6 different spray patterns
- Tool free installation
- 3 stage filter
- 10,000-gallon capacity (Replace 2 x per year for a family of 4)
- Adjustable angle showerhead
- Limited lifetime warranty
This model is my personal favorite in our top-rated list, as HotelSpa have put extra effort into creating a filter system that doesn’t look out of place and is easy on the eye unlike a number of competitor models.
The 5-inch chrome finish shower head makes the shower look stylish especially as the cartridge is fitted within the shower head. Most other models seem to have the filters located just before the shower head which stands out like a sore thumb.
The unit is easy to install, simply unscrew your old shower head, make sure that the washer which is provided is flush inside of the connection nut and tighten, but be careful to not over tighten it as you can damage the washer.
The water pressure from my shower didn’t drop at all which is always a bonus as there is nothing worse than taking a shower that has weak water pressure.
I must admit that the water doesn’t feel a pure as the water you get from the AquaHomeGroup model but it is still a great model and offers great value and looks better than any of the other models.
6. Cedar & Citrus CC22000002
- Filter removes sediment, odours and chlorine
- Still efficient even with very hot water
- Screw-in installation require no tools
- Easy to replace filter
- Smoother hair and skin
- Replace cartridge every 9 – 12 months
Cedar and Citrus offers an SPA shower head filter and water softener that is the most affordable shower head on our list. You’ll be able to purchase this potent water softener for less than $25, and it’s very effective at removing chlorine, bad odors and sediment.
This unit can be installed without the use of tools, all you have to do is screw it onto your existing pipework.
The best part is that you’ll be able to remove the filter cartridge without having to discard the housing. This means that you’ll be helping the environment a little bit more, and it makes life a lot easier when it comes time to change your filter.
Filtration lasts for up to one year, and there’s something special about this unit: it’s able to work effectively even with hot water up to 212°F.
Many filters cannot filter water this hot.
Two issues that people mention is that the unit is a down flow unit which means that it is not operate to its full efficiency, and this unit does not contain activated carbon which reduces breathable contaminants in the air.
But, for the price, these are small design flaws that can easily be overlooked.
7. Aquasana AQ-4100
- Coconut shell carbon and copper zinc used to remove contaminants
- Cartridge lasts for 10,000 gallons (6 months)
- Easy to install and maintain
- 5 GPM flow rate
- Operating pressure 80 psi
The final item on our list is the AQ-4100 – an exceptional unit by all means. Why did this unit come in at the bottom of our list? There is a slight leaking issue. It’s not much of a concern, but the unit does leak slightly where the filter meets. I found that correcting this issue requires an extra washer, but it’s something to mention if you’re the type of person that would be irked by small leaks.
But, this unit seems to do everything else just perfectly.
You’ll find that the AQ-4100 only needs to have its filtered replaced after 6 months or 10,000 gallons of usage, and you’ll still be able to enjoy a strong water flow of 2.5gpm.
This unit will remove up to 90% of chlorine, and you’ll also benefit from the filtration system balancing the pH in your water (perfect for women that get dry skin or hair). Utilizing a coconut shell and carbon, the AQ-4100 will remove all of the containments in the air and is very eco-friendly.
8. Culligan ISH-100 Inline Shower Filter
- 10,000-gallon cartridge capacity
- Inline shower filter (no shower head)
- Fits ½ inch thread
- Plumbers tape included
- Fits existing shower head
- 1-year limited warranty
The first thing to point out about this model is that this is only an inline shower filter. Therefore, you can either get a new shower head or use your existing one. I personally prefer being able to choose my own shower as quite often the shower heads on these softener systems aren’t very attractive.
This model is said to remove up to 97% of chlorine from your water which will make a huge difference to your hair and skin. It also removes the sulfur which causes the less than desirable smell from your shower that you may have noticed.
The system is easy to install and doesn’t require any tools. Make sure that you use the plumbers tape which is provided as you might find it leaks if you don’t. Also as the thread is made of plastic be careful to not over-tighten it or you can damage the thread.
Why are The Benefits?
If you have been using hard water all your life then it might be hard to appreciate the benefits of using a soft water. However, once you make the change you will notice how smooth and silky your hair will become, your skin will no longer be dry as there will be no salt or chlorine to dehydrate it.
You may have also noticed limescale build-up on your original shower head which is a clear indicator that you have hard water in your home. Once you have a softener fitted this will no longer happen helping to keep the water pressure in your shower high.
If you have a glass shower it is easy to see scum build up on the glass which can take a lot of elbow grease to clean. This is partially due to the hard water that is in your system that leaves behind mineral deposits. Once you have a softener shower head fitted it will make it a lot easier to keep your showering looking pristine.
Another benefit of using soft water is that you will notice your shampoos will become more effective. Have you ever noticed on shampoo commercials, that when they are using the products they have a lot of lather form, but when you come to use it there is barely any foam at all? Well this is due to your hard water, once you have a water softener fitted to your shower you will instantly notice that will only need half the amount of shampoo to wash your hair.
Therefore, having a having a softener shower head unit fitted will help prevent all of these negative effects and give you healthier looking hair and skin, while also preventing any damage from limescale occurring to the shower itself.
Why Not Get a Whole House System?
You have decided that you need to soften your water but what system is right for you? One of the biggest factors that influences the decision of what system to go for is the cost.
If you were to have a whole house system installed, it would require a substantial investment. The units start at a few hundred dollars and can go up to a couple of thousand. You may even need professional help to install the system which is another cost needs to be taken into consideration.
However, the biggest benefit of the whole house system is that you get soft water throughout your entire home. But beware, some systems aren’t allowed in certain areas of the country as they use salt to soften the water which can contaminate the water table. California is an example of where water softeners are banned.
On the other hand, if you were to get a shower head system it will only cost you roughly $30 and they are very cost effective. They are easy to install and will not require any professional help.
The only downfall with the shower head filters is that they only soften water in one shower, so you might have to buy multiple units if you have more than one shower. The units do also require their filters to be changed more frequently that a whole house system, but it is a simple task and the replacement filters are cheap.
The maintenance required for a shower head unit is minimal and will only require a filter change every 6 months or so. Whereas, a whole house can be a lot more time consuming, requiring filter changes and for you to add salt into the system.
There are number of benefits of using these units such as your hair and skin will be healthier, your shower won’t become damaged from limescale build-up and they cost a fraction of the price of a whole house system.
This makes them ideal for someone who isn’t sure of the benefits of using soft water as the investment is minimal. This gives you the opportunity to see if you notice the difference and you can always upgrade to a whole house system at a later date, if you wish to do so.
Even if you aren’t very good at DIY you will be able to install one of these shower heads in a matter of minutes as most of the models simply screw on.
If you are still reluctant to invest in a whole house system but want to have your drinking water filtered then you could always look at having a faucet water filter system installed. This would help keep the cost low while providing you with contaminant free drinking water.
We hope that you have found our guide useful and if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and we will do our best to get back you as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can a water softener showerhead be put onto an electric shower? – Yes you should have no problem fitting a softening showerhead onto an electric shower. You just need to make sure that the you get the correct size fitting so that they can be connected.