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What are the Different Types of Shower Head Filters?

By Solomon Branch
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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A shower head filter is a filter that fits over your normal shower head. The main reason for using shower head filters is to remove trace metals and compounds, such as chlorine and copper, which can cause harm if too large a quantity are swallowed or absorbed through the skin. Shower head filters are classifed by their filtration needs, and the four basic kinds are carbon, chlorgon, kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF), and crystals and magnates.

The first step in choosing the proper shower head filter is to have your water tested. There are many simple test kits available through your water company or local hardware stores. These kits typically use a small sample of water applied to a strip that will detect various chemicals, and are easy to use.

Chlorine is the main compound in water that causes issues. When chlorine gets heated, the crystals it forms in water can turn to gas. If this is inhaled or absorbed through the skin in too high a volume, it can lead to problems with mucosa found in the mouth, throat, and nose, as well as lung and respiratory system issues. In addition, if the water coming through the shower head has too much excess chlorine, it can dry out skin and cause it to become itchy and flaky.

Filtering out excess chlorine is the primary job of shower head filters. The majority of them will filter out additional harmful chemicals. Which chemicals it filters out depends on the type of filtering process. The filter's packaging will typically list what additional chemicals it filters.

The most common form of filter, and the simplest, is the carbon filter. Water flows through the filter which activates the carbon to absorb chlorine, sediment, and other organic compounds. Carbon filters don’t filter out salts, minerals, or inorganic compounds that are dissolved. Crystals and magnates work in a similar way as carbon filters by breaking down chlorine molecules to create softer water. They do not filter as many chemicals out as a carbon filter does.

Chlorgon shower head filters work by converting the chlorine into inert chloride. These filters also gets rid of rust, dirt, and sediment from shower water, as well as hydrogen sulfide. The main advantage of this type of filter is that it works well in higher temperature water, which is what is usually going through a shower head.

The KDF filter is made of zinc and copper. This filter works by electromagnetically charging the chlorine and creating a non-toxic compound, such as chloride. One advantage of this filter is that it does not lead to the growth of fungus and mildew, due to the electromagnetic charge it creates.

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