Can You Get a Water Softener for the Shower Only?

Can You Get a Water Softener for the Shower Only?

You may not want to use softened water in your garden, and many people prefer the taste of hard water for drinking. But what about using softened water in the shower alone? Are there options that exist for getting soft water out of your shower head alone?

Water softeners are available that attach to or replace existing shower heads, leaving the rest of a home’s water untreated. They are beneficial for leaving skin softer and healthier and easier to lather with. Other benefits exist, too, and these shower-specific softeners are generally easy to install and use.

Keep reading to learn more about showerhead water softeners, how installing one can benefit you, and the best features to consider.

Related articles:
Ultimate Guide to Water Softeners: Everything You Need to Know

Can You Soften Shower Water Alone?

Yes, you can purchase a water softener that works with existing bathroom plumbing to deliver soft water when you bathe, leaving the rest of your home’s water untreated. This is especially helpful if you don’t need to want soft water elsewhere in the house, but appreciate the benefits of bathing in soft water.

Many small, discreet, and easy-to-install devices exist that attach to or substitute for your existing shower head, making taking a shower a lot more pleasant, fun, and healthier for your skin.

Read my article about hard water and what it is.

How Do Shower Water Softeners Work?

Water softener filters for shower heads in a number of ways. Some models use layers of kinetic degradation fluxion, activated carbon, and vitamin C. Others use advanced filters to remove calcium and magnesium, but all models keep the water softening localized and easy to manage.

These attachments will need to be replaced periodically, as the ionized materials in the filters will lose their charge over time and have no way to regenerate. Replacement components are available and simply screw into place. Replacement filters of other varieties also exist, and these filters should be changed every 3 – 6 months.

Is Soft Water Better to Shower In?

Why might a consumer want to show in soft water? Well, the minerals that give untreated water a complex metallic taste can leave harsh deposits on your skin, dehydrate your epidermis, and leave your hair dull, damaged, and liable to fall out.

The properties of hard water can make sensitive skin itchy and irritated, and can cause dandruff. Hard water can also clog pores, make acne worse, and can make shaving more painful.

Soft water, in contrast, is gentle, and won’t deposit calcium deposits on your skin. The loss of harsh minerals will leave skin and hair healthier and can even help you get cleaner. Here are more reasons why it’s better to shower in soft water.

Soap Works Better When Showering in Soft Water

Soft water, in addition to being gentler on the skin, can make soap and shampoo far more effective. The lack of calcium deposits on the skin makes it easier to get truly clean with your favorite soap, and soft water creates a much richer lather, as well.

Hard water can damage hair and skin over time. With a water softener installed on your showerhead, you’ll get more cleansing, nourishing, and restorative benefits from your favorite soap and shampoo, and your skin and hair can enjoy greater shine, health, and youthful warmth. This is true for medicated products as well as natural soaps, commercial brands, and shampoos formulated for treated hair.

Soft Water is Better for Your Pipes

The calcium deposits found in hard water can damage your pipes, leave harmful deposits that reduce water flow, and necessitate annoying repairs.

Soft water will flow easier through your pipes, be gentler on your showerhead, and reduce the need for future repairs or service fees in your bathroom.

Fixtures and tiling can also last longer with soft water, and your shower or tub can be quite a bit easier to clean without hard water stains to contend with.

Types of Shower Softeners and How to Install Them

Now that you know some of the benefits of showing with soft water, let’s walk you through a couple of different shower head softener types. These filters come in different forms including:

  • Products that completely replace your showerhead
  • Softeners that attach to existing plumbing and to your existing showerhead
  • Devices that work only with hand-held showers

These water softeners are often simple, small, and easy to install in one day. All these products will involve removing your existing shower head, using plumbers’ tape on the metal threading of your pipe to eliminate leaks, screwing on your new filter, and either replacing the shower head with new equipment or reinstalling the existing shower head.

Basic Tools Are Needed to Install a Shower Water Softener

This is a simple project which can be completed with a few basic items. They include:

  • A wrench to help loosen and retighten the existing showerhead
  • A bucket to catch any overflow water from the piping
  • Plumbers tape to wrap the metal threading of the shower head pipe

Once these steps are complete, your new water softener shower head should be ready to go, and you’ll be enjoying the benefits of softer water immediately. Larger devices that fit onto a hand-held shower may be a bit bulkier and more difficult to install, requiring professional help to set up.

How Much Does a Shower Softener Filter Cost?

Shower head water softener systems range in price from $40 to $350 or more. The size and complexity of the filters tend to impact price, and filter systems for hand-held showers are sometimes more expensive than those that attach to fixed plumbing.

Replacement components for these filters can run $12 – $20 or more. A soft water system for your shower can also help you save on soap and shampoo in the long run, as soft water is more efficient to bathe in, and maximizes the efficiency of these products.


Water softener filters exist that can simply attach to or replace your existing shower head, and cost anywhere from $40 to $350. Most are easy to install and should be replaced every 3 – 6 months.

Soft water is good for skin and hair, metal piping, and for tiling in your bathroom, as well. These filters can usually be installed in a single afternoon, with simple tools such as a wrench, plumbing tape, and a bucket for catching excess water.

Boch Richard

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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