Welcome to our expert guide on choosing the best shower filter for iron and sulfur smell removal. A quality shower head filter for iron and sulfur does two things: it eliminates the rotten egg smell and rusty-colored water that just loves to stain everything it touches.
The technical names for these substances are iron oxide and hydrogen sulfide. There are two types of iron that linger in water: ferrous iron and ferric iron.
Ferrous iron is colorless and soluble at any pH, while ferric iron is responsible for those reddish stains we know all too well. These stains are referred to in the mining community as “yellow boy.”
A hydrogen sulfide problem typically occurs alongside an iron problem because of the bacteria that feed on iron. The sulfur bacteria and iron bacteria live in harmony and have a good ol’ country jamboree in your pipes.
In this guide, we share the top 3 best shower filters for iron and sulfur smell removal along with a buyer’s guide that explains in greater detail how we arrived at these 3 filters.
|Features & Highlights
|#1 Berkey Shower Filter (KDSF)
|#2 Aquabliss High Output Universal Shower Filter (SF220)
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|#3 Sprite Universal Shower Filter (HO2-WH-M)
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Shower Head Filter for Iron and Sulfur Smell Removal
We kept this list short and sweet for a reason: these are the top 3 filters on the market to get the job done. There are other comparable models, but they’re not better than these three. In this section, we go over how we arrived at our picks.
# of Filtration Stages
When choosing a shower filter for iron bacteria and sulfur odors, it’s best to choose a filter with fewer stages. 12 and 15-stage filters are better for treating municipal water or well water that’s light on iron.
The photos below demonstrate the difference between the 3-stage Aquabliss filter and a 15-stage filter #ad:
The filter on the left is the 3-stage Aquabliss SF220 filter, and the filter on the right is a 15-stage filter. The 3-stage Aquabliss filter is advantageous for iron-rich and sulfur water for the following reasons:
- Increased filtration surface area of the most effective media, e.g. KDF-55, activated carbon, and calcium sulfite.
- The 3-stage filter does not add minerals to your shower water. There’s no point in adding more minerals to iron-rich water.
- Fewer air pockets between the different types of filtration media.
- Increased contact time between your water and the redox media, which is the most effective type of filtration media for shower water. It’s tested to remove contaminants in hot water and for higher flow rates and typically used to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 177 for chlorine reduction.
- Longer Filter Life – 15-stage filters will burn out faster with iron-rich water
Sprite Chlorgon Media
Sprite Chlorgon media is a popular choice among shower filter brands. Berkey’s filtration media is very similar to Sprite’s Chlrogon media. The reason we chose the Sprite and Berkey filters is that Chlorgon media is formulated to remove iron, iron oxide, and hydrogen sulfide.
These are the three culprits behind rust stains and rotten egg scents. If you look back at the Aquabliss shower filter above, you’ll notice that Aquabliss also uses essentially the same media with the addition of activated carbon.
The activated carbon layer is the bottom layer, then the KDF redox media, followed by the top layer of calcium sulfite.
Sprite and Berkey filters simply mix the calcium sulfite and KDF together (see photo below #ad):
The Berkey filter is available with or without a showerhead in case you want to keep your existing showerhead.
The Aquabliss SF220 does not come with a showerhead.
The Importance of Backwashing Your Filter
Backwashing your filter is particularly important when filtering iron-rich well water with hydrogen sulfide. Iron is a nasty beast and will inevitably cause gunk to build up at the filter’s entry point. Backwashing your filter extends the life of your filter and prevents it from clogging.
The video below demonstrates how to backwash a shower filter:
Sprite’s HOC High Output filter is reversible. It’s recommended to rotate it monthly to avoid clogging and to extend the life of the filter.
The Berkey filter includes a backflush attachment for easy backwashing.
To backwash the Aquabliss SF220 filter, follow the instructions in the video above.
We’re confident that by now you know how we arrived at these three filters. These are the 3 best shower filters for iron and sulfur currently on the market. All three companies are trustworthy, provide warranties, and have excellent customer service marks.
The filters contain filtration media that’s designed to remove iron bacteria and sulfur odors. Lastly, what sets these filters apart is the ability to backwash them or rotate the filter. This is an essential feature to have when filtering iron-rich water.
It’s easy to find a great shower filter with the same filter media types, but without being able to backwash it, the iron will collect around the entry point. This leads to a shortened filter life, decreased water pressure, and at worst, a broken filter housing due to the increase in pressure around the entry point.
Bottom line, stick with these shower head filters for iron and sulfur to get the job done.