Some of the potentially harmful chemicals in our tap water (like disinfection byproducts) can vaporize into the air when the water is warmed. These vapors can contribute to indoor air pollution and can trigger or exacerbate symptoms for those with asthma and allergies.
Not only that, but those with sensitive skin, eczema, or dandruff may experience worsening symptoms from showering in water that contains things like harsh chlorine.
But it’s not only those with pre-existing respiratory, hair, or skin conditions that may want to start using a shower filter. Conscious consumers who want to take steps to decrease their overall toxic body burden may want to install a shower filter as more of a preventative measure. Cleaning up the water coming out of your faucets is one thing you can do to foster a more low-tox lifestyle on the whole.
So in this article, we’re giving you the lowdown on one of the more popular shower filter brands on the market: Aquasana. Hopefully after reading this, you’ll be able to decide if the Aquasana shower filter is right for you and your household.
Table of Contents
- Is a Shower Filter Worth It?
- Types of Aquasana Shower Filters
- What the Aquasana Shower Filter Can (and Can’t) Remove
- My Aquasana Shower Filter Review
- How Often Do Aquasana Shower Filters Need to Be Replaced?
- Pros & Cons Summary
This article is not sponsored; however, we were gifted the Aquasana shower filter to test out. This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. As always, all thoughts are honest!
Is a Shower Filter Worth It?
There are pros and cons to shower filters in general. While they’re not able to get rid of all contaminants in water, most of them can at least reduce them, helping to decrease your overall toxic burden and improve your indoor air quality.
There are various factors to consider when deciding if a shower filter is worth it for you (and which kind to get), including what type of water you have, your aesthetic preferences, budget, and more.
All of that being said, shower filters are probably worth it for most people, with the biggest exception being if you have a whole home filtration system. You can check out this article for more information about shower filters in general, and what to keep in mind as you shop.
But of course, this article is taking a deeper look at Aquasana shower filters specifically… So let’s get into it!
Types of Aquasana Shower Filters
Aquasana is a Texas-based water filtration company that offers not only shower filters but also whole-home filtration systems, under-the-sink and countertop filters, and various other accessories. The company was started in 1997 when founder Charles Strand traced his infant son’s respiratory ailments to chlorine in their household water. It was then acquired by AO Smith (a private equity firm) in 2016. Their products are engineered and assembled in the USA.
Aquasana gets our pick for the best overall shower filter. They actually offer four different variations available:
- an inline shower filter to use with your existing shower head
- a filter that comes with a shower head
- a filter with a white handheld wand
- a filter with a chrome handheld wand
The shower wand option comes with a detachable handheld wand, which can be great for those with kids or pets, folks with disabilities, and for cleaning things in the bathtub. The shower head itself can be twisted for different flow rates and massage settings.
Which version you end up choosing will depend on whether your current shower head is compatible, your aesthetic and functional preferences, and your budget.
The actual filtration part is the same for all four options. It’s got an up-flow design, which not only prevents clogging through the filter’s lifespan, but it also maximizes the water’s contact time with the filter media.
Can You Use Your Own Shower Head?
Yes, you can use your own shower head if you want. (One of the Aquasana options does not come with a shower head for this reason.)
You just need to make sure your shower head is compatible first. It should have the same 1/2 inch connection as the standard US shower head and the ideal flow rate should be 2.5 gallons per minute.
What the Aquasana Shower Filter Can (and Can’t) Remove
Aquasana’s shower filters are made with two main filtering components:
- Activated Carbon: This section of the filter is made from eco-friendly and natural coconut shell carbon, which can help reduce chlorine and other harmful chemicals.
- KDF: The KDF-55 copper-zinc layer helps to reduce chlorine as well, but it can also help reduce chloramine and enhance the water’s pH balance. KDF is also better at filtering water at higher temperatures, which is why it’s a great choice for shower water.
The Aquasana shower filter has only been evaluated by a third-party to reduce chlorine (more on that in a minute). That being said, here are the types of contaminants that can generally be reduce by the two types of filtration media contained in Aquasana’s shower head filters:
Chemicals that activated carbon can reduce:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Some other contaminants like pharmaceuticals
Chemicals that KDF can reduce:
- Some bacteria, fungi, & algae
- Many metals
There are some kinds of chemicals that neither kind of filter can reduce, such as fluoride, nitrates, and PFAS. (If you’re trying to more thoroughly get rid of nearly all contaminants from your shower water, you’ll probably want to look into a whole home reverse osmosis system.)
Some water filters remove PFAS, but not all. Find out which water filter protects you best from exposure to PFAS “forever chemicals.”
Many shower filters on the market say they filter out certain chemicals, but they don’t necessarily have anything to back up their claims.
Aquasana’s shower filters have been independently tested to NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard 177 to verify that they actually remove over 90% of chlorine in the water.
You can check out the full results for yourself here.
Although the NSF standards and testing only measure free chlorine reduction, the assumption is that by reducing chlorine, you can also reduce the numerous toxic disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that end up in your water as a result of chlorination. (Read can more about DBPs in our more general shower filter guide.)
It’s also worth noting that even though chlorine is the only thing that’s been tested and verified, the KDF portion of the Aquasana filter should theoretically reduce chloramine as well. This makes Aquasana a good option for people who don’t know if their water is chlorinated or chloraminated and don’t want to put in the effort to find out. (If you’re confused, these are just two different methods that water treatment plants use to sanitize water. Again, you can learn more about it here.)
My Aquasana Shower Filter Review
Okay, now lets get to my thoughts on the overall user experience.
Overall, the installation was super easy. It took me less than 20 minutes. I got the filter with the wand so there were a few more parts to put together, but I had no trouble at all.
The one (big) tip I’d give you is to be careful (and follow their directions) when flushing the water. The directions tell you to run (cold then warm) water through the filter for two minutes after putting the filter part on, but before putting the shower head on. You’re supposed to run the water into a bucket in order to avoid a mess because it’s black.
Well, I tried to run the water into a big mixing bowl instead (it was the first thing I found!) and I turned the water on full force instead of gradually, and well… I ended up making a big black mess in my tub. I was able to rinse off all the carbon water easily, but it was alarming when all of that black water was shooting out and getting all over the shower!
So, my recommendations for flushing the water are:
- Remove any nice shower curtains or bath mats from the area.
- Use an actual big bucket.
- Turn the water on very slowly at first. Keep in mind that the pressure and flow is going to be different than it usually is when the shower head is on.
Doesn’t Lower the Shower Head
It’s worth noting that the shower head was actually taller after installing it. Some shower filters actually move the shower head down further, which may be problematic for tall people. (My husband is tall, and sometimes lower shower heads are annoying for him!)
I was honestly surprised that I experienced zero noticeable water pressure loss after I installed the shower head filter. (The Aquasana shower filter actually has a 2.5 gallons per minute flow rate, which is the maximum flow rate allowed for shower heads in the U.S.)
This is a big deal since reduced water pressure is a common complaint for shower filter consumers in general.
Skin & Hair
While shower filters can’t technically soften water, removing chlorine can certainly help soften skin and hair, especially for those who are prone to things like eczema.
After using the shower filter for a couple of months, I can’t say I noticed a big difference in how my hair and skin feels. However, other reviewers have said they have noticed a difference. It probably depends on various factors, including what your water quality was like before the shower filter was installed and how sensitive you are.
Despite the fact that I haven’t noticed a big difference, I still believe that a high-quality shower filter is worth a try for people with sensitive skin and dried-out hair. It can’t hurt to see if it makes a difference for you.
At the time of publication, the full retail price for Aquasana’s shower filters range from $99.99 to $149.99. However, if you buy directly from their website, they go on sale all the time. They’re currently $64.99 to $79.99.
You can also save more money over time if you sign up for their “Water for Life” pricing (which is what they call their subscription). With this contract-free subscription plan, you get 50% off your initial filter, 15% off replacement filters, an extended warranty, and free shipping.
Plus, you get a 90-day satisfaction guarantee as well, so you can return the filter within three months if you don’t like it or if it doesn’t work for you for some reason. (Just make sure you buy directly from their website in order to qualify.)
All in all, Aquasana’s shower filter is in the “mid-range” pricing tier when compared to other shower filters on the market.
How Often Do Aquasana Shower Filters Need to Be Replaced?
In general, Aquasana says the shower filter cartridge should be replaced every six months, or every 10,000 gallons.
Apparently, according to a 2016 national study, “the average shower uses roughly 17 gallons of water and lasts for around eight minutes.”
You can use those numbers to figure out if the six month mark is the right recommendaiton for your household. If you have more family members or if you take longer showers, than you might need to change it more often.
Pros & Cons Summary
- 2 different kinds of media helps reduce different types of contaminants
- Independently tested to NSF/ANSI Standard 177 for chlorine reduction of over 90%
- A good option for people with either chlorine and chloramine
- 4 different models to choose from (including massaging shower wand option)
- No loss of water pressure
- Easy installation
- May help soften skin and hair
- Can help reduce indoor air quality and reduce symptoms for those with asthma and allergies
- Up-flow design prevents cloggings throughout the life of the filter
- Also helps with water pH balance
- Doesn’t lower the shower head – good for tall folks!
- Filters are easy to replace
- 90-day satisfaction guarantee and 1-year warranty
- Can’t remove all contaminants (no shower head filter can)
- The aesthetic may not be preferred by some people
- Costs can add up to around $100-120 per year (again, there will be a regular cost to any shower filter)
Will the Aquasana Shower Filter Work for Well Water?
Not really. Even though the shower head filter will probably help a little bit for well water, most shower filters aren’t really meant to deal with the specific contaminants in well water. Your best bet for well water is to get a whole-home filtration system. Stay tuned for more water filtration guidance in the future!
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