3 Best Shower Head Water Softeners {Filters} for Hard Water in 2019

shower filters for hard water

Do you live in an area with hard water? If you are one of the millions of Americans living with hard water, then you know the hassles it can bring.

Growing up in an area with hard water, I remember the water softener company’s delivery guy dropping off a few 25-pound bags of salt every month and my dad teaching me how to fill the holding tank.

While a large family (8 brothers and sisters) we took a lot of showers and went through of salt!  My dad now jokes about how easy it would have been if they would have had water softener shower head filters back then….like this AquaHomeGroup 10-12 stage Shower Water Filter.

Many new homeowners are faced with the decision of installing a water softener. The question is, do you really need to soften all the water you use in the entire house?

woman with tangled hair from hard water
Hard water: shampoo/soaps don’t lather, leave residue and hair tangles.

If you rent your house or apartment then that probably is not a choice you are even left to make. Luckily there are many relatively affordable shower heads available on the market that filter out the mineral deposits and give you soft water “on demand” only for the water that comes out of the shower. 

We’ve taken a look at a bunch of these to come up with a short list below.  I personally don’t see the point of spending the money (or hassle) to install a water softening system for my whole house when I can just put one of these filters on each shower and get a similar quality of soft water. 

Although we’ve picked the one as the best shower head water softener, we have also highlighted a couple of other brands below for a better choice.

You may also want to check the “Hard Water” section of our site: we’ve narrowed down a few top picks in each category of bath & shower products (shampoo, body wash, etc) that work better with hard water and will leave you feeling cleaner and more refreshed than many of the other products on the market that are not really made with hard water in mind.

Buying Shower Head Water Softeners: 

hard water shower flow

  • Number of Stages: The number of stages in a shower head filter needs to be at least five if not more. However, what is important here is to see what is being added to each stage of the filter. The stages are used to soften the water as well as filter minerals and impurities. Generally the more stages it has, the higher the degree of filtration.


  • Filter Life: Ideally, a shower head filter should last for at least six months with average use. If you want to quantify the usage, you could apply a rule-of-thumb that each cartridge should be able to soften and filter about 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of water.


  • Ease of Installation: You don’t want to have to hire some plumber every six months or so to replace your cartridge. In fact, even the installation of shower head filters is so simple that you can do it yourself without any special tools. Some videos demonstrate how to do it in a few simple steps. The water softener filters we’ve selected on this list are easy to install, usually just needing a wrench and possibly a spool of Teflon plumbers tape


  • The Power of Reviews: Go to the product sites and study the reviews carefully. It is always better to select a product that has more reviews and good ones, at that. Take care to look for bad reviews as well, to see what you don’t want!

AquaHomeGroup 10-12 Stage Shower Water FilterAquaHomeGroup Shower Water Filter Multi-Stage - 2 Cartridge Included - Removes Chlorine, Impurities, Unpleasant Odors - Boosts Skin and Hair Health - For Any Shower Head and Handheld Shower

This shower head filter is designed as a water softener but also removes chlorine and unpleasant odors from your shower water. You can enjoy a toxin-free shower bath with the AquaHomeGroup 10-12 stage Shower Water Filter, especially if you have sensitive skin.

The additional filtration helps limit the risk of developing nasty skin infections like eczema, dry, itchy skin, and dandruff. The ceramic balls have extensive purification properties and help to reduce the levels of staphylococcus and coli bacillus rendering the water safe for children and pets.

The activated carbon effectively removes harmful chemicals and heavy metals, while solid impurities are kept out by the carefully-placed 10 to 12 stages of the filter.

This filter is compatible overhead, handheld shower heads, combo shower heads and even luxury rainfall shower heads.

The main observation was that shampoos and hair conditioners (natural and otherwise) worked better. You may even find your notice health benefits since the filter is designed  to eliminated chloramines from the water supply. The shower head filter is pretty easy to install and replace.


  • Easy installation and replacement
  • Multi-stage filter to cover a wide range of filtration functions
  • Aesthetically good-looking – blends with the other bathroom fixtures
  • Six-months of water softening life based on average usage


  • Comparatively costlier than other similar products
  • It’s possible you won’t notice a huge difference if you have very hard water in your area 

Read customer reviews of this filter

Madison Kyle Premium Universal Polished Chrome Shower Head FilterUniversal Shower Filter and Water Softner - High Output Shower Water Filter, Hard Water Treatment, Chlorine & Other Harsh Chemicals - Includes Replaceable Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge - Chrome

This shower head filter removes chlorine as well as deodorizing the water if you have strong smelling rural water or have a home that suffers from “rotten egg” smelling pipes. A quick and easy way to get better-quality shower water, the Madison Kyle Shower Head Filter is easy to install and replace.

The effect on purification of water by this filter is to reduce the potential of itchy skin and lackluster hair by softening the water and filtering chemicals, bacteria, heavy metals and solid impurities. The multi-stage cartridge uses a combination of calcium sulfite and carbon which covers all the stages required of a shower head filter.

The filter is also easy to install, needing no special tools for installation. Water containing iron bacteria tends to get a colored tint. This filter reduces the coloration of the water, hence preventing staining and the harmful effects that such water has on the skin and hair.

Customers who used this product seemed quite satisfied. Most felt better after bathing with the filter installed especially those who live in areas which get a supply of exceptionally hard water were pleased with the degree of softening that the filters provided


  • Reasonably-priced
  • Effective in softening water
  • Users with skin problems experienced relief
  • Removes chlorine efficiently


  • Some customer reports of leakage
  • Less filter stages

Kooups Universal 10-Stage Shower Water Filter

Universal 10-Stage Shower Water Filter with 2 Replaceable Cartridges - Removes Chlorine and Harmful Substances - Protect Skin and Hair Health(with 4pcs Wall Hooks ) (White)A useful and reasonably-priced product, the Kooups Universal 10-Stage Shower Water Filter is a cost-effective way to soften your shower water without having to get into installing an expensive unit for the whole house. The product even comes with a handy free-gift – a set of nifty wall hooks.

This shower head filter not only removes the minerals to give the soft feel you are looking for but it also filters out chlorine, heavy metals and other harmful chemicals and prevents algae and fungi from growing in the water which can be a problem, especially in rural areas and homes with well water. The result is that you get relief from irritation of the skin and it maintains the natural texture of your hair.

The filter is easy to install and can be used on a hand-held or fixed shower head. An added feature of this filter is that you can also fit it on a kitchen tap if you’re looking to soften the water coming out of the kitchen sink faucet. The cartridge has a life of about 6 to 8 months depending on usage – this converts to an effective cleaning of about 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of water.



  • Useful for removing chlorine and chemical odors
  • Useful for prevention of algae and fungi
  • Delivers soft water 6 to 8 months (depending on usage)


  • Possible leakage from the joint 
  • New product on the market from this company so not a lot of history to know accurate life-span and durability.

    How to Install a Shower Head Water Softener:

    These filters are relatively easy to install, normally its just a question of removing your existing shower head (turning in a counter-clockwise direction).  You’ll want to remove the old plumber’s tape if you have any on the arm, then wipe off the threads with a clean cloth, wrap several layers of teflon tape (“plumber’s” tape) over the threads on the shower arm.  Then just screw in the filter and reattach your shower head.  This short hands-on video gives a better look at how to install the filters. The installation is basically the same on most standard hard water shower filters.

The Final Verdict

Universal 10-Stage Shower Water Filter with 2 Replaceable Cartridges - Removes Chlorine and Harmful Substances - Protect Skin and Hair Health(with 4pcs Wall Hooks ) (White)Adding a water softening filter to your shower head can make your showering experience much more pleasant. We’ve researched the top selling filters on the market and narrowed down the choices to the top three picks.

The choice was a bit difficult to make, as all the products seem to have identical features, except for the number of stages in the filter. The AquaHomeGroup 10-12 stage Shower Water Filter is effective in removing odors, chemicals and bacteria has ten filtration stages and is just as easy to install the other two products featured here.

However, what stood out for us is the fact that this product is customer satisfaction.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this review. Please feel free to drop your comments and feedback and questions, if any and we will be happy to respond.