Cleaner water for drinking isn’t the only reason you would want some water filtration in your home. Excessive chemicals and other toxins in your bathing water can be unpleasant as well as even unhealthy, so having a filter in your shower can be just as important as having one on the kitchen sink.
For bathing and showering, chlorine is one of the biggest problems and it also happens to be the most prevalent chemical. It will dry out your skin and hair, damage any hair coloring you’ve had done and it can even irritate your eyes and lungs once the water starts to really steam up.
When it comes to shower head water filters, there are really only two areas you need to be considering when its time for a purchase. You need to see what contaminants your filter will be able to remove, and what kind of flow rate you’re going to get once the shower head has been installed. Unlike a typical sink filter, the flow rate is much more important with a shower filter.
You will need to see if the filter you are interested in will actually remove the contaminants that you need to remove. If your water is high in volatile organics (like benzene), then you won’t be too happy with a filter that only takes out chlorine.
Unlike other types of home water filters, you’ll really only find two filtering processes available with shower heads: activated carbon and KDF (a specific brand of copper-zinc alloy). The KDF is excellent at removing a large portion of the chlorine content as well as some types of heavy metals and hydrogen sulfate. You can expand the capabilities with an additional carbon filters for other toxins such as some organic solvents, radon, sediment and general “bad” smells. Good quality shower heads will have both types of filter.
Some shower filters offer a powdered zeolite filter but these are much less common on the market. They are particularly good and taking heavy metal particles out of the water.
One last feature of filtering abilities is how many gallons of water a filter can handle before you need to change it. You should be getting 10,000 gallons of use before you need to replace anything.
The first thing you need to know about shower flow rate it that there are standards set by the EPA to improve water conservation. At this time, that means that shower heads cannot have a flow rate higher than 2.5 gallons per minute. That is the highest you are going to find and that can create a bit of a benchmark in your mind about what kind of flow rate you want to look for. You should also keep in mind that you can conserve a lot of water with a “low-flow” shower head so you don’t necessarily have to aim for a flow rate of 2.5 gal/m.
That said, you still aren’t going to want a filter that ends up blocking up your water and ruining a decent shower. The best designs to maintain your standard water pressure is the “upflow” type of model. These filters channel the water upward (against gravity) within the filter chamber which greatly reduces the amount of potential blockage and possible flow reduction. Downflow units will be cheaper but the functioning won’t be as good.
Cost is certainly a concern, but unlike the wide range of options (and prices) for other types of water filters, most shower filters are all within the same range of price. They will typically be between $30 and $100 each so there isn’t a huge cost disparity to consider.