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An In-Depth Shower Filter Comparison of 5 Leading Brands

In the last decade, the sale of shower filters has risen dramatically. Part of that trend may have a lot to do with the knowledge that herbicides, pharmaceutical drugs and other chemicals are showing up in the water we use in our homes. Another possibility is that the link between showering in filtered water and positive health and cosmetic benefits is steadily growing. One thing that does seem certain is that when the health risks become known, many people view a chlorine shower filter as a need and not just an amenity. Once people become aware of the hidden dangers of chlorine and other chemicals, the issue becomes which product is right for you.

Many reviews rightly focus on attributes like quality and price. However, this in-depth shower filter comparison of five top brands will also delve into service record, guarantees and filtration technology. Figuring out which one is the best can be a lengthy process, but well worth the time. In regards to the specifics of filter performance, the research is based on the manufacturer’s own data. The reduction of chlorine, VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals), THMs (Trihalomethane) and both lead and copper, were used to determine each filtering system’s effectiveness. One of the first points to mention is that the most expensive filter is definitely not always the one that works the best.

Paragon and ShowerWise

When considering the price, it is crucial to factor in the yearly cost and the filter’s performance. The Paragon filter has an inexpensive initial cost of $69.99. Yet, when you take into account that a new filter must be bought at three month intervals for $39.99, the startup price is somewhat deceiving. Likewise, the ShowerWise system costs $79.99 and a replacement filter, which is needed after three months, is $39. Each system costs $13 a month.

Although their prices are very affordable, they do not use carbon filtration. The Paragon utilizes a KDF filter, while ShowerWise uses a mixture of Chlorgon and KDF. The absence of a high-quality carbon filter means they can’t effectively filter out synthetic chemicals, VOCs and THMs. While they are priced reasonably, having to replace the filter after three months and not having a carbon filter are likely reasons why the two systems rank low among top filters. Moreover, Paragon and ShowerWise have flow rates slower than 2.5 Gallons Per Minute (GPM) and also cause the shower head height to be lower. They don’t inspire very much confidence for someone seeking value or a truly healthy shower experience.

The Wellness Shower System

The Wellness Filter is priced very high at $249. Although the filter only needs changing every 18 to 24 months, the replacement filter cost is a lofty $189. Monthly average cost works out to be $16, by far the highest priced filter. Yet, the high price does not equate to superiority. Its filter performance is extremely similar to the much lower priced Aquasana AQ-4100. The Wellness shower filter costs over $150 more than the next most expensive competitor and it uses only a KDF filter. Due to the ultra high price and the reasons mentioned above, this filter doesn’t deserve the number one or runner-up spot in this shower filter review.

Aquasana and Jonathan Beauty

The five competitors have been narrowed down to two and it’s time to look at the finer points. The Jonathan Beauty shower filter is priced at $95 and a replacement cartridge costing $55 is needed at six-month intervals, for a monthly cost of $9.25. Although most of the top brands won’t hurt your wallet too much, the Aquasana AQ-4100 gives you the most bang for the buck. The overall costs are lower than any other system. It is priced at $67.99 and the replacement filter, which lasts up to 6 months, is a very inexpensive $42. Monthly cost is an extremely affordable $7. It represents an amazing deal, but the filter’s effectiveness must still be compared with its main rival.

Aquasana’s performance was impressive. It removes over 90% of all VOCs, THMs and chlorine. It also reduces more than 70% of copper and lead. Aquasana scored the same as Jonathan Beauty in all performance categories except one. Jonathan Beauty was able to remove 90% or more of lead and copper. Both brands easily outperformed ShowerWise and Paragon. Overall they are very comparable, but Jonathan Beauty has a steeper price; it is over 39% more expensive than Aquasana and the replacement filter costs 23% more.

At this juncture, it makes sense to distinguish the service of the top two companies. Something that might cause concern is that the Jonathan Beauty shower filter webpage does not mention a guarantee or warranty. The terms are on a separate page. An unconditional money-back guarantee is offered, but how long it lasts is not stated. Compare that with Aquasana’s more than 15 years in the home water filter business; over 17 patents; more than 9 million products sold; 60-day guarantee (90 for certain products) and even a lifetime warranty when you sign up for their free “Water 4 Life” auto-ship program. The Aquasana shower filter gets consistently high marks in every category and has the service and proven track record to back up its reputation.

Final Thoughts

Aquasana had the lowest price of the bunch. With one exception, its patented two-stage filtration system performed equal to or better than its competitors. Of the five top brands, only Aquasana and Jonathan Beauty have earned the coveted Consumers Digest Magazine’s “Best Buy” award. This is reassuring because it means that they are held to a higher standard when it comes to manufacturing and overall quality. If your water isn’t safe to drink, then you can probably assume it’s unhealthy to be showering in it, unless you buy a quality shower water filter.

Searching for the best shower filters? Then check out where you’ll find the Aquasana shower filter that earned Consumers Digest Magazine’s “Best Buy” award 2006-2008!