KDF, or kinetic degradation fluxion, is a type of water filter that uses a chemical process to remove impurities from water. KDF filters are proprietary filters made by Michigan-based KDF Fluid Treatment, Inc.
They are highly recommended by plumbers as they effectively remove a wide range of impurities, including chlorine, lead, mercury, and iron. KDF filters can also remove bacteria and fungi from water.
In today’s guide, we will share a select set of shower filters that rely on KDF 55 filtration media to remove impurities from water.
KDF Shower Filters Compared
|Shower Filter||Flow Rate (GPM)||Finishes||Price||Award||Rating|
|AquaSana AQ-4100||2.5, 1.75||1||$89||NSF-Certified||95|
|Brita In-Line Shower Filter||5||1||$21||Affordable All-in-One||92|
|Jolie Filtered Shower Head||1.8||6||$165||All-in-One||90|
|Brondell VivaSpring Compact Shower Head Filter||1.8||1||$20||Compact||89|
|SparkPod Shower Filter||1.8||5||$40||Multi-stage||85|
Best KDF Shower Filters of 2023
One of the most popular shower filters on the market is the AquaSana AQ-4100. Available with an attached shower head or as a separate filtration unit, the AQ-4100 combines KDF-55 and coconut shell carbon media to remove chlorine and other impurities from your water.
The filter is certified to NSF/ANSI 177 standards, so you can rest assured that you’re getting a quality and tested shower filter.
The flow rate on the AQ-4100 varies depending on the model you go with. For example, if you want to save a few bucks on your water bill while making an environmentally-conscious pick, they make a WaterSense Certified model with a flow rate of 1.75 GPM. On the other hand, if you just can’t compromise on a low-flow shower, not to worry; a 2.5 GPM model is also available.
One notable drawback to the AQ-4100 is the design for a few reasons. First, it’s rather bulky and takes up much more room than some of the other filters on our list. Additionally, because it’s a canister-style filter, it cannot be installed on certain showerheads, such as rainfall showerheads. So you’ll want to measure or check for compatibility before purchasing.
Lastly, finishes are limited to only white, which may or may not fit in with your bathroom’s aesthetic.
What customers are saying: This shower filter has mixed reviews. Satisfied customers report that it effectively removes impurities and improves hair and skin health. However, some customers experienced leaking issues and found no significant change in water quality.
Read More: AquaSana AQ-4100 Review
- KDF and carbon media for chlorine removal
- NSF/ANSI 177 certified
- WaterSense Certified model is available if you want a low-flow alternative.
- Can be purchased with an attached shower head or as a separate filtration unit
- Design isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing
- Not compatible with all shower head types
- Limited finish options
Our Expert Rating
92 / 100
Brita In-Line Shower Filter
The Brita In-Line Shower Filter is an excellent and affordable option for filtering your shower water. While it may not look the nicest, it will remove impurities from your water to leave you with softer skin and hair. Just be warned that replacement filters can be tough to come by.
Known for their industry-leading tap water filtration systems, it would only make sense that Brita makes an equally capable shower filter. Much more modest and cheaper than the Jolie shower filter, this all-in-one showerhead and filter combo will remove chlorine and other contaminants from your water to leave you with softer skin and hair.
One particular feature we love about this unit is that it also includes a granulated activated carbon (GAC) filter. This helps to remove other impurities such as VOCs, THMs, and pesticides while also eliminating odors from the water. So you can truly enjoy a spa-like experience right in your own home.
With a sub $25 price tag, the filter can easily work into any person’s budget. Plus, with the standard 1/2″ NPT threading, it can be easily installed onto any shower arm in any home (including apartments).
Of course, given the price, the shower filter isn’t as luxurious looking as some alternative models on the market. However, it is a no-frills option that delivers results.
Lastly, finding replacement cartridges for this model is hard to come by. But Home Depot, more often than not, will have them in stock.
Read More: Brita In-Line Shower Filter Review
- Includes both a KDF 55 and GAC filter
- Eliminates odors from the water
- Cheap long-term costs
- Filters can be tough to find both online and in stores
- It doesn’t really look the nicest
Our Expert Rating
90 / 100
Jolie Filtered Shower Head
This showerhead by Jolie has a lot going for it. The sleek design and multiple finishes will look great in any bathroom. However, just be aware that it doesn’t have the highest flow rate, so if that’s a priority for you, this may not be the best pick.
The Jolie filtered shower head provides the power of KDF filtration and calcium sulfite in a sleek and sexy housing that will be an instant upgrade to any shower.
The shower head targets many of the common contaminants found in your tap water, including chlorine, iron, lead, and bacteria. The result is water that smells and tastes better while gentle on your skin and hair.
Jolie really focuses on the skin and hair benefits that this filter provides, and the reviews from customers appear that they do exceptionally well across all skin and hair types.
One downside, however, to this filter is the cost. Retailing at $165, it’s the most expensive filter on our list. Additionally, the flow rate for this shower head is at a modest 1.8 GPM. While this adheres to strict California standards, some may not enjoy the lack of water flow. However, to offset the 1.8 GPM flow rate, Jolie increases pressure through the jet sprays on the head.
What customers are saying: The Jolie Filtered Showerhead receives mixed reviews, with many customers reporting improvements in hair and skin, as well as good water pressure and easy installation. However, others noticed no substantial changes or found cheaper alternatives to be more effective. Overall, the product’s beautiful and sleek design was well-received.
Read More: Jolie Filtered Showerhead Review
- KDF filtration for chlorine, iron, lead, and bacteria removal
- Sleek design
- Focuses on skin and hair benefits
- Modest flow rate of 1.8 GPM
Our Expert Rating
89 / 100
Brondell VivaSpring Universal KDF Compact Shower Head Filter
If you don’t like the look of some of the bulky shower filters on our list or worry about them lowering the height of your shower head, the Brondell VivaSpring is an excellent filtered shower head to consider. Its compact design is a big selling point; at $25, it’s also one of the more affordable options.
While the SparkPod shower filter may add quite a bit of length to your shower head, the Brondell VivaSpring has an innovative design that doesn’t. Instead, its short, 2.9″ long body easily attaches to any shower arm without lowering the height of your shower head. So even the tallest person in your family can still enjoy a comfortable showering experience.
Certified to NSF/ANSI standard 177, the Brondell VivaSpring is an excellent filtered showerhead for those looking to reduce their exposure to chlorine and other impurities in water.
At $25, it’s also a great affordable option.
Drawbacks are limited but notable. The VivaSpring is only available in chrome, and the flow rate is at a modest 1.8 GPM. But if those aren’t issues for you, it’s an excellent filtered showerhead to consider.
- Compact design doesn’t lower shower head height
- Universal connection
- NSF/ANSI certified
- Only available in chrome
- Modest 1.8 GPM flow rate
Our Expert Rating
85 / 100
SparkPod Shower Filter
If you are looking for multi-stage filtration and don’t mind buying from an emerging brand, then SparkPod has an excellent shower filter. Just be sure to measure accordingly before purchasing so you don’t end up with a showerhead that’s too low.
Similar in design to the AquaBliss SF100, the SparkPod is a multi-stage shower filter that contains various filtration media to remove impurities from your water. For example, within one of the stages is KDF-55, which is effective at removing chlorine, heavy metals, and bacteria from water. Other media target contaminants like VOCs, THMs, sediment, and more to deliver a truly clean and purified showering experience.
While the multi-stage filtration is among the best in class, we also like that this filter is available in several finishes. Like the Jolie filtered showerhead, you can easily match the finish to your current bathroom decor so it won’t look out of place.
A notable drawback to this shower filter design, as opposed to others on our list, is the length it adds to your shower head. Resting between the shower arm and shower head, will lower it a significant amount. So before purchasing, have the tallest member of your family stand in your shower and measure to see if adding this shower filter will be a problem. Ideally, you want to have at minimum 6″ of clearance between their head and the shower head.
What customers are saying: Customers report that the SparkPod Shower Filter is easy to install, hydrates the skin, and improves hair texture. They also mention that it removes unpleasant smells from the water and has a high-pressure rainfall feature. However, some customers experienced lower water pressure and difficulty changing the filter.
Read More: SparkPod Shower Filter Review
- Multi-stage filtration system
- Available in several finishes
- Rather affordable given the filtration quality
- Backed by a 12-month warranty
- Adds significant length to your shower head
- The brand isn’t nearly as reputable (yet) compared to other manufactures
First time buying a shower filter? Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you choose the best one for your needs.
Multi-Stage vs. Single Stage Filtration
When buying a shower filter, you’ll find that the filtration media varies from one brand to the next. While all the shower filters in this list contain KDF 55 media, additional stages of filtration can also be included.
KDF 55, by itself, targets chlorine and heavy metals (source). However, the biggest advantage that KDF 55 has over other filtration media, such as activated carbon, is that it works well even in hot water.
Additionally, KDF 55 has a longer lifespan than other filtration media and doesn’t need to be replaced nearly as often. We discuss the benefits of KDF 55 filters here.
In-Line vs. In-Body
Shower filters can either be attached between your shower arm and head or completely within the showerhead. There isn’t a difference in terms of performance between the two, but some people prefer one style over the other.
For example, if you want a sleeker look in your bathroom or your showerhead is in need of replacement, in-body is typically the way to go. On the other hand, if you are happy with your shower head or want to save a few bucks, in-line shower filters are an excellent option.
Finally, it’s worth noting that some brands (like Aquasana) sell both in-line and in-body shower filters. So if you like a particular brand, be sure to check out both styles before making a purchase.
Indicated as gallons per minute (GPM), the flow rate is the amount of water that comes from your shower head each minute. The higher the GPM, the more water that comes out.
This is different from water pressure, which is the amount of force with which the water comes out. When speaking with clients, we find that most of them prefer a higher flow rate rather than a higher water pressure.
Of course, this is largely personal preference, but an important consideration nevertheless if you have a strong preference.
Most shower arms and shower heads are chrome plated. However, on the off-chance you have brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze fixtures, then get a shower filter that complements the design aesthetics.
Shower filters can range between $20 and $160. However, if they all contain the KDF-55 media, you are largely paying for a certain design or brand name.
Additionally, more expensive shower filters don’t necessarily mean they will last longer or perform better than a mid-priced model. So, if you find a shower filter you like on the cheaper end of things, don’t be afraid to try it.
Installing Your New Shower Filter
Shower filters are quite easy to install, regardless of whether you are going for an in-line or in-body model. To install your new filter, just follow these steps:
- Turn off the water to your shower.
- Remove your shower head.
- Clean the threads of any old plumbers tape
- Wrap the threads of your shower arm with new plumber’s tape in a clockwise direction.
- Screw on your new shower filter
- Give it a good 1/4 to 1/2 turn with a wrench to make sure it’s tight
- Reattach your shower head.
- Turn the water back on and check for leaks
- Enjoy your new shower filter!
If you need further guidance, we put together a detailed guide on installation steps for many of the popular brands.
What is a KDF Filter made from?
KDF filters are made of a high-purity copper-zinc alloy. As water passes through this alloy, a chemical reaction (redox) occurs that transforms once harmful substances such as chlorine into a harmless chloride.
KDF filters are often used in conjunction with other filtration media, such as activated carbon, to create a more comprehensive solution.
Types of KDF Filters
All shower filters rely on KDF 55 filtration media, however, other KDF media does exist including KDF 85, KDF-F, and KDF-C. This other media is found in other applications and not in shower filters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do KDF shower filters really work?
Yes, tests have shown that KDF filtration media effectively removes chlorine, heavy metals, and other contaminants from water.
How often do I need to replace my shower filter?
The answer to this question depends on the specific model you purchase, but most shower filters must be replaced every 6 to 9 months.
Shower filters are an excellent way to improve the quality of your shower water and protect your skin and hair from the harmful effects of chlorine. KDF-55 has been proven reliable and effective at filtering out a wide range of contaminants, making it the ideal choice for a shower filter.
Of course, if you have any questions about choosing or installing a shower filter, feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll be happy to help. Otherwise, happy showering!