Shower Filters That Can Remove Fluoride


Fluoride can either be naturally present in water in excessive amounts, or added by water provider. Because of potential health risks, explained below, you might want to consider a shower filter that removes fluoride from your shower water.

In this post we detail why showering in fluoridated water can be harmful, the different types of materials that can remove fluoride (and to what extent), and how activated alumina works. We also provide a comprehensive list of shower filters that can effectively remove fluoride.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a salt that occurs naturally in rocks. As such, all ground water contains trace amounts. 

How does Fluoride Get into Water?

  • It is naturally present in almost all rocks and soil from which water is pumped.
  • Because of industries like metal smelters and the burning of fossil fuels, there is fluoride in the air, in rain, and in soil.
  • Mining causes fluoride to be released into soil.
  • Volcanic activity and volcanic rocks are major sources of fluoride, which means that water pumped from volcanic rock or acquired from areas near historic or present volcanic eruptions will contain high amounts.
  • Fluoride is sometimes added artificially to tap water in countries or states where health authorities believe it combats tooth decay.

Why is Fluoride in Shower Water Unhealthy?

Fluoride in shower water is probably not absorbed in high enough amounts through the skin to cause the same nasty skeletal damage and neurological impairments that it does when it is in drinking water, but it is still not good for your skin, hair, and other organs.

  • Applying fluoride to hair leads to a decline in hair follicle growth and causes hair cells to die.
  • Fluoride causes oxidative stress in the skin and can damage its cell membranes.
  • Fluoride interferes with the production of melanin, the brown pigment that gives skin, hair, and the iris in the eyes a darker color.
  • Researchers have found that fluoride toothpaste can cause acne-like eruptions around the mouth and chin, which is then probably true of high-fluoride water too.
  • If you have cuts on your skin, quite a lot of fluoride can enter your blood stream, where it can have the same effects as fluoride in drinking water, including weakened and brittle bones, poor cognitive outcomes, and neurobehavioral effects.

Which Water Filters Can Remove Fluoride?

Fluoride molecules are extremely small, which means that it is one of the most difficult substances for filters to remove from water. The best filter type that is able to remove it, or at least reduce it by 92-94 percent, is one that contains activated alumina. The European Commission recommends it for this purpose.

But even then, scientists have discovered that such filters can remove fluoride only under certain conditions.

  • To remove 92-94 percent of fluoride, the water must be in contact with the activated alumina for seven to eight minutes. Shower filters cannot meet this condition, so they will reduce a lot less fluoride than this.
  • For a shower filter to remove more than 90 percent of fluoride, it should flow at around 1.6 liters (0.42 gallons) per minute. Since no usable shower can flow that slowly, shower filters will remove a lot less than this.
  • In water with a pH above 9.0 (hard water), they remove only 35 percent of fluoride.
  • To remove 95 percent of fluoride, there needs to be 10 grams of activated alumina per one liter of water. This is another standard that shower filters can almost certainly not meet, meaning that they remove a lot less.

As a result of all these findings, the best you can probably expect from your shower filter is to remove around 40-50 percent of fluoride. While this sounds unsatisfactory, it can make a useful difference if the amount of fluoride in your water is especially high, particularly if you or your water supplier pump the water from a high-fluoride ground source.

Lastly, under ideal conditions, which showering with its fast water flow and brief contact with the filter cannot quite satisfy, other filter media can also remove some fluoride.

Shower filters that combine several of these media are definitely worth a look, as more than one defluorination media in a single filter might multiply their effectiveness.

How Do Activated Alumina-Based Filters Remove Fluoride?

The process is part chemical and part physical. During the chemical process, the alumina binds to the fluoride and remove some of its ions, thereby destroying it. During the physical process, what remains of the fluoride is trapped in microscopic tunnels on the surface of the activated alumina from where it cannot escape into the water.

In shower filters, activated alumina normally exists in the form of zeolite, which is a hydrated aluminosilicate that consists of a combination of aluminum and silicon.

12 Shower Filters That Can Remove Fluoride

Fluoride is difficult to remove, so do not trust any filter that says that it can do so. The filters at the top of this list are probably better at reducing fluoride in shower water, as these brands explain clearly how they accomplish it.

Let’s dive into the list of shower filters to see which ones might work for fluoride reduction, approximately arranged from best to worst.

1. SITAFL Upgrade 18-Stage Shower Filter

The SITAFL 18-Stage Shower Filter uses 18 filter media, including an impressive three to filter out fluoride. These are activated aluminum oxide, zeolite, and activated carbon. 

The cartridge lasts for 10,000 gallons or 6 months, it adds vitamin C to the water for healthy skin, and it also includes some of the best other media like Calcium Sulfite to remove chlorine and KDF 55 to remove metals. 

Pros

  • Three media to remove fluoride, including activated alumina.
  • Ships with two filter cartridges.
  • Can be used with your own shower head.

Cons

  • A few Amazon reviewers report a loss of water pressure and poor chlorine removal.

2. Omica Shower Filter

Omica Shower Filter from Omica Organics includes seven different media in its filter, including zeolite, activated coconut carbon, and catalytic coconut carbon, all of which can help with the removal of fluoride. 

It doesn’t come with its own shower head and you have to replace the entire unit when the filter is depleted because it does not use cartridges. 

Pros

  • Three media to filter out fluoride.
  • Lack of a cartridge leaves more room for filter media.
  • Can be used with your own shower head.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons

  • Very expensive.
  • Complete new filter required every 8-10 months.

3. Invigorated Water pH ENERGIZE 15-Stage Shower Filter

The pH ENERGIZE 15-Stage Shower Filter throws everything but the kitchen sink at defluorination, including zeolite, coconut shell activated carbon, tourmaline, and maifan stone.

It also increases the pH of the water by adding healthy minerals like calcium & magnesium, and it fits on both overhead and handheld showers.

Pros

  • Includes four defluorination media.
  • Relatively low price.
  • Comes with two cartridges.
  • Unit and replacement cartridges conveniently available from Amazon.
  • Donates part of the purchase price to charity.

Cons

  • Independent laboratory tests would have been welcome.

4. AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Shower Head Set

The AquaHomeGroup Luxury Filtered Shower Head Set uses maifan stone and coconut activated carbon to reduce fluoride, which it advertises itself as able to reduce, rather than remove. 

It especially prides itself on the removal of chlorine and heavy metals, which achieves via the standard media of Calcium Sulfite and KDF 55. It also adds vitamins C and E to the water.

Pros

  • Uses two media for fluoride reduction.
  • Made of rust-proof metals rather than plastic.
  • Comes in a pretty gift box that includes shower caps and tape.

Cons

  • Inconvenient if you want to keep your own shower head.

5. AquaBliss Revitalizing Shower Filter

The AquaBliss Revitalizing Shower Filter SF100 uses zeolite, tourmaline, and activated carbon to reduce fluoride, although it does not explicitly advertise itself as being able to reduce it. 

Just make sure you buy the SF100 instead of the SF220 or SF500 that don’t include zeolite and tourmaline. 

Pros

  • Three media to filter out fluoride.
  • Can be used with your own shower head.
  • Adds healthy minerals and vitamins for skin and hair health.

Cons

  • Does not work in showers where the water contains lots of chloramine, so you must obtain your water supplier’s quality report to check.

6. PureAction Vitamin C Shower Head Filter

The PureAction Vitamin C Shower Head Filter uses tourmaline stone and zeolite mineral stones for fluoride reduction. 

One of the things that makes it unique is a scented block that ads your choice of vitamin C, lavender, jasmine, or rose to the water. Unlike the rest of the filter that lasts four months, this needs to be replaced every month and you must pick the vitamin C option if you are allergic to fragrances.

Pros

  • Two media to remove fluoride.
  • Works equally well in overhead showers and as a handheld shower head.
  • Comes with a hose, filter holder, shower head, cartridges, and tape.

Cons

  • Although most Amazon reviewers rate the scented block positively, some people may not want even mild fragrances in their water.

7. Aqua Earth 15 Stage Shower Filter

Aqua Earth’s 15 Stage Shower Filter with Vitamin C uses coconut shell activated carbon as well as ceramic balls to reduce fluoride. It honestly advertises its product as one that reduces fluoride, rather than removing all of it.

It adds a pH-balanced selection of minerals and vitamin C to the water to reduce its hardness, in addition to removing the usual chlorine and metals. 

Pros

  • Uses two media to reduce fluoride.
  • Can be used with your own shower head or even as a traveling companion.
  • Comes with an extra cartridge.
  • Sky-high Amazon reviews for softening hard water.

Cons

  • Lacks information regarding the composition of the ceramic balls that help with fluoride reduction.

The Ablink 20 Stage Shower Head Filter states that it can remove fluoride and includes Tourmaline and a fluoride removal ball, about which no information is available. 

This in-line filter includes six media to soften hard water and adds some healthy minerals and vitamins to the water, including skin-healthy vitamin C.

Pros

  • Two mechanisms to reduce fluoride.
  • Very low price.

Cons

  • Lacks information regarding the composition of the fluoride removal ball.

9. CraterAquaSystems 15 Stages Shower Water Filter

CraterAquaSystems 15 Stages Shower Water Filter advertises itself as being able to remove fluoride, but it is not very open about the media in the filter. The only mechanism mentioned that can help with a reduction of fluoride is active coconut carbon. It may also include some ceramic stone.

One unusual aspect in this in-line filter is silver stones that break down bacteria. Otherwise, it contains all the industry standards like Calcium Sulfite for chlorine removal and KDF 55 for metal removal.

Pros

  • Includes mechanism to destroy bacteria.
  • Metals and chlorine are removed first, thereby extending the life of the activated coconut carbon filter.
  • Includes an additional cartridge.
  • Good price.

Cons

  • Short on filter media information.
  • Unusually heavy.

10. Freshflow Shower Filter

The Freshflow Shower Filter uses tourmaline and activated carbon to reduce fluoride.

It is also a water softener that removes chlorine and metals and adds vitamin C to the water.

Pros

  • Uses at least two mechanisms to reduce fluoride.
  • Fits any shower head.

Cons

  • Short on filter media information.
  • Sometimes unavailable on Amazon.
  • Very expensive.

11. RUITO 15 Stage Shower Filter

The RUITO 15 Stage Shower Filter states that it can reduce fluoride, but other than mentioning that it uses activated carbon, it does not explain how it does this.

This in-line filter uses KDF 55 to remove metals and chlorine, calcium sulfite to remove chlorine, and ads vitamin C for skin health.

Pros

  • One of the cheapest on the market.
  • Best media to remove chlorine.

Cons

  • Lack of information regarding filter media, especially for fluoride reduction.

12. BathBeyond Shower Filter

The BathBeyond Shower Filter includes Maifan stone among its filter media, which can reduce fluoride levels, but it is not otherwise specific about where its defluorination abilities come from.

It is an in-line filter with 15 filter stages, of which only KDF 55 for metal and chlorine removal, maifan stone, and vitamins C are mentioned by the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Chrome, nickel, and bronze color options.
  • Adds vitamin C for healthy skin.

Cons

  • Lack of information regarding filter media, especially for fluoride reduction.

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