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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

20 Models Considered
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best refrigerator water filters

Last Updated October 2019

If you own a refrigerator that dispenses water and/or ice, chances are it has a water filter that goes with it. Even if you trust your tap water, changing your refrigerator water filter regularly is an excellent idea. Refrigerator water filters help strip both contaminants and particulates from your water and ice cubes. Some can effectively remove dozens of different water contaminants, while all can leave you with water that tastes and smells better.

Given the cost of plastic water bottles — in terms of your wallet and the environment — a refrigerator water filter is an eco-friendly way to stay hydrated. But with such a variety of filters to choose from, where do you start? This guide will help you to weigh the numerous options available. Among the issues we will examine are how these filters are constructed, what they remove, and how often you should change them. We also offer our top recommendations for quality filters.

Even if you have a whole-house water filtration system, you should still use a refrigerator water filter, as the filter can screen out contaminants that the whole-house system may miss.

Considerations for buying a refrigerator water filter

Does it fit your refrigerator?

This is a primary consideration when shopping for a filter: will it fit your refrigerator? Refrigerator water filters come in many shapes and sizes, so you’ll need to shop carefully. Some filters fit a wide range of refrigerators; others are designed for just one brand, or even a limited number of models within one brand. Also be sure to verify that a given filter would fit your type of refrigerator: side-by-side, top/bottom freezer, French door, and so on. Check your owner’s manual if you have questions.

What is the filter made of?

Many refrigerator water filters are made of durable plastic and use a carbon-filtration system. The filter should have a strong, leak-proof gasket. It should resist clogging and not slow the flow of water.

How does it connect to your refrigerator?

There are a couple of standard ways that filters connect to refrigerators. Some filters are simple twist cartridges. To remove this type of cartridge, you twist a quarter-turn counterclockwise and pull. Other filters push into a socket and lock in place. To remove them, you push a release button that releases the cartridge.

The bottom line: your refrigerator water filter should be easy to remove and replace.

CAUTION

Refrigerator water filters that are left in place too long can also become part of the problem by turning into a breeding ground for bacteria.

What contaminants does it remove?

The particulates and other contaminants that a filter is designed to remove will vary from filter to filter. Some of the most thorough water filters claim to remove over 60 types of contaminants. These contaminants include everything from lead, asbestos, mercury, and chlorine to pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and even parasites.

Before you buy a refrigerator water filter, check the specs to see what it will remove. This is particularly important if you’ve had trouble in the past with certain contaminants in your water.

How much water will it filter?

While many companies recommend that you change your refrigerator water filter every six months, a better indicator of when to change the filter is the number of gallons of water a filter can handle. Filters are generally rated between 200 and 400 gallons of water. The higher the number, the longer the filter should last.

Is technical support available?

While there isn’t much that can go wrong with these filters, it’s still nice to have someone to reach out to with the occasional question or concern. Go with a seller that offers a free technical support number if this is something that is important to you.

Removes chlorine, chemicals, other contaminants

A single filter will help remove pesticides, lead, chlorine, and other contaminants from up to 300 gallons of water. This filter ships three to a pack and is compatible with a variety of GE and Kenmore models.

Refrigerator water filter prices

Over the life of your refrigerator, you could easily double its cost with expensive filters. You may not have several options based on your refrigerator model or filter type, but if you do, it pays to shop around.

Refrigerator water filters start around $10 to $15 per filter and can run up to $50 or higher. Note the number in a package when ordering, as buying several at once will cost you more upfront but may save you some money in the long run.

As quality insurance, also note any money-back guarantees or warranties that are included with the filter.

EXPERT TIP

Check to see whether your refrigerator is equipped to use an air filter. This type of filter can help remove foul odors and keep your refrigerator smelling nice.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • If you have an older refrigerator with no built-in filtration system, you can still take advantage of filtering by using an inline filter system, which connects directly to the water line. While they can be a bit of a hassle to change, inline filters can be used with any refrigerator water/ice system.
  • If your filter develops a leak, check that the gasket that goes between it and the refrigerator is properly seated in its groove. If this doesn’t help, try adding a little vegetable oil to the gasket to achieve a seal.
  • After replacing a refrigerator water filter, add a note to your calendar or phone reminding yourself to replace it in six months.
  • Unfortunately, there are numerous “fake” refrigerator filters flooding the market. If you buy your filters online, be sure you buy from a reputable seller.
  • After replacing a filter, run several gallons of water through the system to flush out any stray carbon that might be in the filter. Also be sure to toss out the first two or three batches of ice after a filter change.
  • If your refrigerator has a warning light that goes off when it is time to replace a filter, you may need to reset it once the new filter is in place. This usually involves pressing a reset button or holding in one of the lock and light/water buttons. Consult your manual for the exact steps.
  • If you have a large family, plan on changing your water filter more frequently than every six months.
  • While most refrigerators have an automatic shut-off valve that keeps water from flowing when the filter is removed, this is not the case with all of them. If you are unsure whether your refrigerator has one or not, consult your manual before removing a filter. Otherwise, you could end up dealing with a mess.

Most refrigerator water filters are easy to replace, requiring neither tools nor the help of a plumber.

Durable and affordable

An economical water filter that installs in seconds and delivers superb water filtration. The Best Refrigerator Water Filter is sold with a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee.

Other products we considered

A few other options that caught our eye while investigating this topic. The Crystala Filters Frigidaire Water Filter features a triple filtration system and is effective for up to six months or 300 gallons. It is designed for use with Sears and Kenmore refrigerators. The FilterLogic Refrigerator Water Filter is an eco-friendly and economical filter that can be used as a replacement for a wide range of refrigerators. And if you have a Samsung side-by-side or French door refrigerator, consider trying the Samsung Refrigerator Water Filter, which is effective at removing over 99% of both contaminants and parasites.

Water filters for your refrigerator generally do not have a shelf life. If you keep the unused product dry, it should last indefinitely.

FAQ

Q. Where is the filter located on my refrigerator?
A.
This varies by refrigerator. Some are located behind or near the grill on the outside bottom of the refrigerator. To blend in, some filters have covers over them and may be difficult to find.

If you have no luck finding it on the outside of the refrigerator, try the inside. You may find it hanging in the back of the refrigerator. Note that some interior filters blend in within the inside of the refrigerator, hidden by a drop-down compartment or a slide-out tray.

Check your owner’s manual if you are still having problems finding the filter.

Q. What will happen if I don’t replace my filter?
A.
An outdated filter can be ineffective or even harmful. Your refrigerator may still produce water and ice, but that water and ice will not be clear of contaminants. The general rule here is to change your filter every six months, but there are exceptions. Individual filters are often labeled with the number of gallons they are rated for; this number is usually around 300.

Here are some reasons you may wish to swap out your water filter — even if you haven’t reached the six-month mark yet:

  • The water or ice has begun to taste funny, or you notice sediment in either.
  • The filter warning light has turned on (if your refrigerator is equipped with one).
  • Your ice cube production has dropped.
  • You have hard water. Hard water can wear out a filter more quickly.
     

Q. What is filter certification?
A.
Some organizations set standards for water quality and issue certifications for filters and related items that meet those standards. One of the largest of these is NSF International, which issues three certifications concerned with water filters:

  • NSF-42: This certification applies to more aesthetic, non-health related issues such as chlorine, taste, and odor.
  • NSF-53: This certification covers specific health-related contaminants such as lead and volatile organic chemicals.
  • NSF-401: This certification pertains to emerging contaminants that include DEET, Ibuprofen, BPA, and others.

Certifications from other organizations, such as the Water Quality Association (WQA), are also valuable.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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