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Hard water can clog bathroom fixtures, leave scale deposits, and leave skin and hair feeling dried out and flaky.
Unfortunately, getting a water softener system for your entire house is a major investment. That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck though!
Water softener shower heads will allow you to get all the benefits of soft water in your shower, without spending a fortune. Your hair and skin will thank you, but you’ll also have less cleaning to do without hard water spots being left behind on your shower walls and door.
To find the best ones, we’ve tested many of these showerheads to determine which ones could live up to our expectations. The following five reviews will share what we learned through our testing to help make the decision easier for you as well.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|PureAction Vitamin C Filter ||1 Year||4.5/5|
The 5 Best Water Softener Shower Heads
1. Pureaction Water Softener Shower Head – Best Overall
Despite being one of the most affordable models we tested, the Pureaction water softener shower head delivers top-notch performance, making it our favorite overall. You’ll see scale disappear when you switch to this shower head because it filters up to 99.9% of iron, heavy metals, calcium, and sediments. But that’s not all. Unlike competitors, the Pureaction shower head also removes chlorine, fluoride, and chloramine.
One of our biggest grievances with many of these water softener shower heads is that you lose a lot of water pressure when using them. No one wants to take a shower with weak water pressure, making it very difficult to rinse off. Thankfully, this showerhead maintained full pressure while providing three different spray settings. We would have liked a few more options with our shower spray, but that’s our only gripe with this product. Altogether, it’s a great performer that does exactly what it claims at an affordable price.
2. AquaHomeGroup Filtered Shower Head – Premium Choice
While all filters remove substances from your water, the AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Shower Head goes one step further by adding Vitamins C and E to your water. You’ll get reduced levels of chlorine, heavy metals, rust, sand, and sediments when using this purifying shower head. It’s on the expensive side of the price spectrum, but we think the performance merits the higher price tag. In our testing, hard water spots disappeared and the water from this showerhead left skin and hair feeling moist and healthy instead of dry and flaky. The pressure from this showerhead was excellent and we felt no reduction from initial water pressure when using it. In the end, we think the value provided by the AquaHomeGroup filtered shower head is worth the extra cost.
3. PureAction Shower Head Filter
This vitamin C shower head does more than just filter and softens your shower water. The internal Vitamin C filter cartridge infuses your shower water with healthy vitamins and a soothing citrus scent. Of course, smells are subjective, and not everyone found this scent to be pleasing. Many of our testers thought it had a very chemical and fruity smell that they felt was unpleasant. Beyond the scent, we did notice a reduction in scale. This showerhead filters iron, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, and more.
Some of our testers have pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema. Unfortunately, the additives in the Vitamin C cartridge caused these conditions to flare up in some cases. We think it’s the same thing causing the chemical smell. We like the idea of fortifying the water with vitamins, but not at the cost of skin health. This flaw kept the PureAction Vitamin C filter shower head from climbing further up this list and earning our recommendation.
4. G-Promise Filtered Handheld Shower Head
Billed as a luxury filtered handheld showerhead, the G-Promise fixture features a 10-stage filter. It reduces rust, sediment, chlorine, and heavy metals. Each cartridge lasts for about six months before it needs to be replaced. We appreciated having six different shower settings to choose from, which was more than any other softener shower head we tested. Of course, this is the most expensive one we tested as well, so they had to earn that price tag somewhere.
Our biggest issue was that the filter casing leaks very quickly after replacing the filter cartridge. We realized that the cartridge was getting clogged and backed up, causing the unit to leak. For such an expensive device, this was an unacceptable flaw. Worse, this showerhead kills your water pressure, making showering a very unpleasant experience. We suggest saving your money and getting a better performance model. For less than the cost of the G-Promise, you can get the top-notch performance of the AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Shower Head that earned our premium recommendation.
5. Culligan Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head
Though it’s more expensive than the model that earned our top recommendation, the Culligan WSH-C125 filtered shower head was not anywhere near as effective at softening the water or removing other substances. The hard water spots we were experiencing without a filtering shower head were only slightly reduced by using the Culligan. Making matters worse, when we tested for total dissolved solids (TDS) we saw no reduction when using this showerhead. This is especially disheartening when you see just how badly the water pressure is reduced when coming through this showerhead.
Despite all the flaws, it’s not all bad with the Culligan WSH-C125. The filters last six months between changes, which is respectable. It’s also very easy to install and it didn’t leak in our testing. That said, if it doesn’t provide us with soft water at adequate water pressure levels, then it’s not performing its duties well enough for us to recommend it.
We’ve discussed some of the best softener shower heads on the market, but what separates these devices from each other? If you’re wondering exactly what traits you should be looking for, then this buyer’s guide will help clarify for you. Before we even discuss that, let’s talk about why you would even want to get one of these showerheads in the first place.
Benefits of Showering with Soft Water
So why should you invest in soft water for your shower at all? Hard water has quite a few undesirable characteristics that a water softening showerhead can solve.
Your Soap Goes Further
Because soap reacts with the calcium and magnesium in hard water, it is less effective and requires more soap to get the same effect. In soft water, soap lathers better and goes further. There will also be less soap scum leftover in your shower when using soft water, which results in less cleanup and maintenance.
It’s Better for Your Hair and Skin
When you shower in hard water, your skin can end up feeling dry and flaky. Likewise, your hair will suffer similar consequences, being left dull and dried out. Showering with soft water, on the other hand, will leave your skin feeling moist and soft, exactly how most of us would prefer to feel after a shower.
No Scale Left on Shower and Door
If you’re experiencing lots of hard water spots left around your shower, then you know how much extra time you have to spend cleaning these deposits off. Certain materials exacerbate this problem, such as tiles and glass shower doors, which both magnify the effects of scale. By showering with soft water instead, you can bypass this problem entirely since you won’t have any scale spots left to clean up.
Your Shower Head Won’t Clog
In locations with very hard water, it’s not uncommon for the scale buildup to become great enough that it clogs the showerhead. You might be able to clean out the deposits and save the fixture, but it may not even be worth the effort. When using a water softening showerhead, the hard minerals are already neutralized or removed before the water reaches the outlets to clog them.
What to Look for in a Water Softener Shower Head
Now that we’ve established all the benefits of showering with soft water over hard water, let’s discuss the traits we want to look for in a water-softening shower head.
This is a luxury feature and not critical to the function of the showerhead. However, it’s a feature we think is worth thinking about since it will be limiting your shower experience. Some inexpensive models feature just a single spray pattern. There’s nothing wrong with this, but many people would prefer a shower head with several settings to choose from. Some of the ones we tested had between three and six different spray settings to choose from, including things like rain, massage, power rain, and even water-saving modes.
What Does it Filter?
Most of these devices are actually water conditioners that work by filtering out the minerals that cause hard water and scale buildup. The best ones will filter out much more than just minerals though. Some of our favorites would also remove chlorine, iron, heavy metals, fluoride, chloramines, sediment and more. This is especially great if your water is heavily treated already and contains high levels of chlorine or other chemicals.
Does it Add Anything to Your Water?
While all of these showerheads will remove unwanted substances from your water, some of them take things a step further by adding things back into your shower water. This can be looked at as an upside or a drawback, depending on your point of view. Some showerheads feature fortifying filter cartridges that add vitamins into your water as it filters out the unwanted minerals. This is a novel concept that we liked, though sometimes in practice it can be taken too far.
Some companies have opted to add more than just vitamins into the water. We tried a shower head that added a citrus scent to the water, but this didn’t work out as well as the vitamin fortification. The smell wasn’t pleasing to many of our testers, but others liked it. Smell is subjective, so this will always come down to preference. We don’t recommend purchasing a product with additives like this since there’s no way to know ahead of time if you’ll like it or not.
Water softener shower heads are the easiest and least expensive way to start showering with soft water that’s better for your skin, hair, and health. With so many available on the market, you need some reviews of the best ones to help you decide which one should have a place in your shower. Hopefully, our reviews have done just that. But to be sure, we’re going to quickly recap our top recommendations so they’re fresh in your mind.
We thought the Pureaction Water Softener Shower Head was the best overall for several reasons. Not only does it remove the hard minerals and soften the water, but it also removes harmful chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, and chloramine. It does all this without reducing water pressure, and even better, at an affordable price. For a premium offering, we recommend the AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Shower Head. Not only does it soften and filter your shower water, it also fortifies your water with vitamins. It won’t reduce your shower pressure, but it will improve your shower experience. Both of these are excellent products that we feel confident recommending.
Featured image credit: Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head with Massage, Amazon
David Slone runs the TapIt Water blog. He first learned about water filtration and the impact it has on the world in College. Ever since that day he has worked towards making the world a better place. He writes to inform you about water filtration, the consequences of plastics, bottled water, and how we can do things better.
He loves to spend time with his beloved wife, 3 kids, and dog when he’s not writing.
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 2 The 5 Best Water Softener Shower Heads
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Conclusion