When it comes to clean water, there is more to consider than just the water that you drink. While having clean potable water for drinking and cooking is the most essential of any household’s water goals, the water in the rest of your home is important as well. The water you use to shower should definitely be second on that list. Essential for your hygiene, the shower should be a place of cleansing and renewal. But do you have any idea what type of contaminants and additives might be finding their way through the shower head and onto your skin?
Enter the Berkey Shower Filter. In this review, we’ll examine what this filter does and doesn’t remove and why it can substantially improve the quality of your shower.
Let’s dig in!
How the Berkey Shower Filter Improves Your Shower for Better Health and Hygiene
If you’ve ever lived somewhere with truly poor water quality, you might have had the experience of taking a “dirty” shower. When the water that comes from your shower head is visibly cloudy, discolored, or has an odd odor, it’s very hard to feel clean after stepping out of the shower. While fortunately most places don’t have water quite that bad, even if your water looks clear and seems clean, it is likely still carrying disinfectants such as chlorine, as well as heavy metals and undesirable chemical contaminants which you’d probably rather not have on your hair and skin as they can cause damage and irritation.
According to results published in a study by the EPA, the water in your shower is a significant source of exposure to chemical byproducts of disinfectants used in the water. They are both absorbed through the skin via direct contact and inhaled as vapor from steam in the shower. In a study published by Nature, researchers found significant exposure to Disinfectant Byproducts (DBPs) in subjects who took a 10-15 minute shower.
How To Tell If You Need A Shower Filter
Some common signs that your shower could benefit from installing a filter include:
- Odor of chlorine or other chemicals while showering.
- Discolored or cloudy water.
- Sediment or particulate visible in the water.
- You suffer from skin damage or irritation.
- You suffer from hair damage.
- You live in an area with known water quality issues.
Improving Your Shower’s Water Quality: Filtering Chlorine, VOCs, DBPs, and Common Contaminants
In addition to chlorine and other Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) which can vaporize in the heat of the shower and be inhaled into your lungs, there are a range of tap water contaminants that shoot out of your shower head. Everything from sediment, corrosion from plumbing, scale build-up, pesticide and herbicide run-off, pharmaceutical pollutants, and countless other undesirable compounds find their way into the water supply.
This is what the Berkey Shower Filter was designed to solve. The filter attaches directly to your shower’s plumbing — replacing your old shower head with Berkey’s massaging filter head — and provides a last line of defense to filter your water. If you prefer not to replace your existing shower head with the one provided by Berkey, you can also integrate the filter into your existing shower head (pictured right.) Be sure to consult the manual or inquire with a Berkey representative to ensure compatibility with your existing shower head if you don’t plan to use the Berkey shower head.
Because the filter is integrated into the shower head itself, the water in your shower has been filtered immediately before it hits your skin or get the chance to vaporize. This means that there is no chance for it to pick up any extra contamination between the filter and your body.
Berkey Shower Filter Performance
At the core of the Berkey Shower Filter is Berkey’s proprietary filter medium which is made with a combination of calcium, copper, and zinc. It contains a bacteriostatic media as well, to prevent the growth of microorganisms, preventing the build up of bacteria, fungus, and algae in the shower head. The Berkey Shower Filter effectively removes over 95% of chlorine.
As with all water filters, the Berkey Shower Filter has a limited filter lifetime rated for 1 year or 20,000 gallons of use. Replacement filters cost around $45. The shower filter contains a back flush attachment, which can be used to clean out the filter and keep performance consistent across the filter lifetime. If improperly cleaned, or as the filter nears the end of its lifespan, filtration performance and water quality can decline.
The Berkey Shower Head
To make use of the Berkey Shower Filter you have the option of using the included Berkey shower head or installing it into your existing shower head. Switching to the Berkey shower head as easy as replacing your existing shower head with the new Berkey, usually a process that doesn’t require any tools. Depending on your plumbing, additional parts may be required, but nothing you can’t find at your local hardware store.
In addition to filtering the water, we feel the shower head itself does a pretty great job as a standalone shower head. It has a variety of shower patterns to choose from, including “Massage” features.
Depending on your existing shower head and your plumbing, installing the Berkey Shower Filter head will either increase or reduce your shower’s water pressure. In our case it actually offered an improvement over the old shower head. You may consider adjusting your water pressure to compensate for the change.
At the end of the day, the Berkey Shower Filter does a good job acting as a last line of defense for your shower’s water quality. No matter how good the water quality is in your home, having a filter directly on the shower head can improve the cleanliness of your shower. In homes with especially poor water quality, the Berkey Shower Filter could have real impacts for improving your health by reducing your exposure to DBPs and VOCs. It also improves your hygiene and helps you avoid potentially irritation-causing chemicals to come in contact with your hair and skin.
We would offer a word of caution for those with especially bad water quality. While something like the Berkey Shower Filter does a good job, it only covers one area of your home. Serious water quality issues can’t be addressed by a shower filter. In such situations, you should look into investing in a whole house water filter system. Take a look at our Guide to the Cheapest Home Water Filters for a look at how you can equip your home with state of the art water filtration even on a budget.
As for the Berkey Shower Filter, we are impressed. It does a good job as a shower head and can seriously improve the water quality in your shower. Berkey is a trusted name in water filter products, so we are excited to see them applying their know-how to a different area.
We award the Berkey Shower Filter 4.5/5 stars.
Learn More About the Berkey Shower Filter
For a more animated look at the Berkey Shower Filter, check out this short YouTube clip put together by the manufacturer.
- Editor Rating
- Rated 4.5 stars
- Berkey Shower Filter
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A last-line-of-defense water filter which attaches to your shower head to improve water quality for a cleaner, healthier showering experience.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.