Does the water from your refrigerator dispenser taste or smell unappetizing? Do the cubes from your ice maker leave specks floating in your beverages? Do you use an under-sink or tap purifier instead of a whole-house filtration system?
Inline water filters are a great way to improve the quality of the water that comes from your refrigerator without needing to install costly or inconvenient filtration alternatives. They can free up space in your fridge taken up by water filter pitchers or save waste from bottled water.
You already spent a little extra to get a refrigerator with an ice maker or water dispenser, so why not get the best value from your investment?
Not only can convenient inline filters improve the taste and quality of your water, but they can also help to extend the lifespan of your appliances by reducing the occurrence of hard water deposits around nozzles and ice trays. Hard water deposits are difficult to remove but easy to prevent with the installation of a simple inline filter.
Things To Know Before Buying An Inline Filter
First, it’s important to determine your expectations. Shopping for inline filters brings up a wealth of options, but the main difference between the different models often comes down to the depth of the filtration.
Some are meant to simply improve the taste of water, while others are designed to remove nefarious impurities like lead or mercury. If your local water supply is already quite pure, you can save a lot of money by investing in the simpler models.
It’s also recommended to double-check the type of filter you’re interested in before buying, because under-sink filters and refrigerator filters look very similar in terms of form and function. However, under-sink filters often have connection sizes that don’t match up with common refrigerator water lines, which typically use 1/4″ connections.
Of course, if you accidentally purchase the wrong kind, most hardware stores carry inexpensive adapters.
Other features to consider are the ease of installation, the ease of changing and replacing filters, the longevity of the filter, and any value-added features that may come included with your model of choice.
The reviews below take a deeper look at the most popular inline filter models to help you make the best decision for your unique filtration needs.
Best Refrigerator Inline Water Filter Reviews
Culligan EZ-Change Premium Inline Filter (IC-EZ-4)
FeaturesWith some of the most heavy-duty filtration technology on the market, Culligan’s “premium” addition to their EZ-Change line is the perfect choice for families that rely on their refrigerator dispenser as the primary source for their everyday drinking water.
This filter reduces chloride, murcery, lead, VOCs, class I particulates, chloroform, and more – it contributes to better health just as much as it contributes to better taste. Each filter lasts 500 gallons or 6 months, whichever comes first.
The starter pack comes with a separate head that makes changing the filter quick and easy. The head attaches to the water line, and filter simply “twists and locks” into place. When it’s time to change the filter, just twist to remove the old one and snap the new filter into place – with this filter, there’s no need to pull out your tools or mess with the water line every few months.
Each starter pack includes a head assembly, mounting screws, and one filter cartridge.
Advanced filtration to remove serious contaminants from water
One of the only inline refrigerator filters that reduces lead
Filter twists off for easy replacement
Includes simple mounting hardware
Lasts up to 6 months with regular use
Top-of-the-line performance leads to pricey replacement cartridges
Each filter treats only 500 gallons
GE SmartWater Inline Filter System (GXRLQ)
FeaturesThis inline filter system from GE is certified to reduce asbestos, lead, mercury, several herbicides and pesticides, and of course, unpleasant taste and odor from chlorine.
Each filter cartridge can filter up to 750 gallons of water, needing replacement every six months – sometimes more frequent replacements are needed for water that carries an especially heavy load of particulates.
Each package includes a filter cartridge, a base/head, mounting screws, tube locking clips, and mounting tape. Thanks to the separate cartridge and head, replacing filters simply requires unscrewing the old filter and screwing the new filter in place.
Because it includes both mounting screws and mounting tape, owners have a choice between attaching the filter to the wall or to the back of the refrigerator itself.
Great tasting water
Attaches either to the wall or to the back of the refrigerator
Wide availability of 3rd party replacement filters reduces cost
Treats up to 750 gallons of water
Filters are easy to replace
Twist-lock mechanism loses durability after several replacements
Does not filter as many impurities as similarly-priced brands
LASCO Ice Maker Inline Filter (37-1821)
FeaturesAs one of the most inexpensive inline filters on the market, the LASCO ice maker filter is an economical solution for situations where better tasting water is desired but extreme purification isn’t needed.
These simple filters treat up to 1500 gallons of water, removing the taste and odor of chlorine while filtering out sediment caused by old pipes or nearby line work. It’s not a heavy-duty purifier, but can make clean water taste much more crisp and refreshing.
It’s important to note that this filter setup does not include the same “easy change” hardware as some other models. But this does have its advantages – this filter can be installed either vertically or horizontally, allowing for more flexible installation options in tight spaces. That said, replacing the filter isn’t difficult but does require a basic toolkit and access to the refrigerator line’s water shutoff valve.
Can be installed vertically or horizontally
Basic charcoal filtering for better tasting water
Filters take longer to replace than modern “twist to lock” designs
Mounting bracket sold separately
Requires a long flush period before use
Inline water filters are a convenient and effective way to get better tasting water from your refrigerator water dispenser or ice maker, but not all inline filters are created to the same standards.
Whether you’re looking for something inexpensive to make water taste better, or you need heavy-duty filtration to deal with contaminants in your municipal water supply, there are plenty of products out there to suit your needs.
So which ice maker filter is right for you? Consider the cost and availability of cartridge replacement, the number of contaminants removed, and the ease of filter changes – and the rest largely comes down to personal preference or brand recognition.
This one simple investment provides long-lasting value with every iced beverage you consume, so the search for the perfect water filter is more than worth the time and effort.