Looking to buy a Refrigerator Filter?
You’re at the right place!
Refrigerator water filters are one of the most popular and commonly used methods of filtering drinking water.
A refrigerator conveniently cleans the water and cools it at the same time for you to enjoy a refreshing drink.
However, most refrigerator filters are simple carbon block filters that primarily just remove foul taste and odor-causing particles. They do very little if your water comes from a well and contains a high number of different types of contaminants. Which is why, in such a situation, you have to look for other filtering ways that can purify your water completely.
Fortunately, you can connect your under-sink RO system to the refrigerator water supply line to enjoy cool RO water straight from your refrigerator. And you will only need a special fridge line kit for that and nothing too elaborate.
What’s In This Buying Guide
In this buying guide, we review the best refrigerator RO filters. Each of these is an under-sink RO system that can also supply RO filtered water to your refrigerator. We review each product and go over its many features, pros, and cons in detail.
Next, we list all the important features you should bear in mind while shopping for a refrigerator RO filter.
We also explain how you can use your RO system with the refrigerator and cover some frequently asked questions about refrigerator filters.
Best Refrigerator RO Filters
- Best Overall: APEC Water Systems ROES-50
- Runner-up: iSpring RCC7AK
- Best Budget: Express Water – ROALK5D
Best Overall: APEC Water Systems ROES-50
The ROES-50 is a popular choice amongst most buyers because of its affordability and low maintenance.
This 5-stage water filter consists of a premium-quality sediment filter, 2 stages of carbon block filters, the reverse osmosis stage, and the post-filtration stage consisting of granular coconut shell activated carbon.
APEC ROES-50 can deliver up to 50 gallons of filtered water per day. Plus, it comes with a pressurized storage tank to save water for on-demand supply.
It does waste some water for effective filtration, but you can put this wastewater to many uses.
- Boasts a 5-stage water purification system
- Double carbon block removes maximum chlorine and chemicals
- Leak-free fittings
- WQA certified
ROES-50 is a best-selling water filtration system. This under-sink water filtration system comes complete with a high-quality, lead-free faucet and a pressurized storage tank for purified water.
This APEC system also includes everything you need to set it up. Apart from the required hardware, the unit is somewhat preassembled for easy DIY installation.
This water purification system from APEC consists of 5 distinct filtration stages, each designed to remove specific water contaminants.
The first stage in the ROES-50 is the premium-quality sediment filter that removes the larger dust, rust, and sediment particles floating in the water.
This large filter removes more contaminants than most standard refrigerator filters and filters particles up to 5 microns so that they do not clog or build up into the following stages.
The next two stages are both high-quality carbon block filters. Both use 20-micron coconut-based activated carbon filters that effectively reduce odor, cloudiness, and taste-causing molecules, including chlorine, VOCs, and other chemical particles.
They also prevent chlorine molecules from damaging the delicate RO membrane in the next stage.
The next stage in the APEC ROES-50 is the high rejection reverse osmosis membrane. It is a semi-permeable TFC membrane that captures and removes up to 99% of all remaining water pollutants.
This stage effectively removes toxic materials like lead, fluoride, arsenic, and radium. It reduces the number of total dissolved solids (TDS) in water, including a wide range of pathogens commonly found in water.
The last stage of this APEC RO system is a granular carbon filter that acts more like a post-filter. It is rated at 5 microns and consists of coconut shell carbon that effectively absorbs leftover taste and odors to deliver cleaner and safer drinking water.
The ROES-50 requires a minimum operating pressure of 40 psi, and it can function at a maximum water pressure of 85 psi. If the pressure is any higher than that, the water will damage the fine filtration stages. This APEC system filters about 50 gallons of water per day with a wastewater ratio of 3:1.
Although many buyers find this water output a bit low, if you purchase the ROES-50 to use it as a RO filter for a refrigerator, the water flow rate is enough to provide you with clean, cool water the whole day.
- Simple and easy to install
- Effortless filter replacement
- High-quality lead-free faucet
- RO membrane has a long lifespan
- No remineralization stage
- 3:1 wastewater ratio
Runner-up: iSpring RCC7AK
The iSpring RCC7AK is a comprehensive 6-stage water filtration system with an alkaline filter that reduces the acidic taste and improves the mineral content of water.
It is a budget-friendly system that produces around 75 gallons of water per day. The RCC7AK is NSF certified for chlorine removal and quality construction. Moreover, it claims to remove up to 1000 different contaminants. Plus, it has a 2.5-gallon pressurized storage tank to store water for future use.
- 6-stage filtration including an alkaline remineralization stage
- Reinforced filter housing
- 3 pre-filter stages for maximum contaminant removal
- 75 GPD water filtration capacity
The iSpring RCC7AK is an efficient system that removes up to 99% of impurities from water. The alkaline filtration stage that remineralizes the water to reduce acidity and improve its taste enhances its performance even more.
The RCC7AK uses a reliable 5-stage water purification process with three pre-filters, an efficient RO membrane, a post-filter, and an alkaline filter.
The first stage of this iSpring RO system is a propylene sediment filter designed to remove larger waterborne particles. It filters dust, sediment, rust, and other debris up to 5 microns. If allowed to pass through, these particles can not only clog but also damage the delicate membrane.
The next pre-filter is the carbon Kinetic Degradation Filter (KDF). This stage consists of granular activated carbon that absorbs all color-, odor-, and taste-causing molecules. It also reduces the cloudiness of water and is highly efficient at removing chlorine.
The third stage in the RCC7AK is also the fiber carbon block (CTO) filter that rejects all the residual odor and taste particles, allowing cleaner and crisper water to pass through.
The fourth stage is the heart and soul of this iSpring RO system. This reverse osmosis membrane eliminates stubborn contaminants like fluoride, radium, arsenic, lead, chromium, chlorine, and bacteria. It traps up to 99% of total water contaminants to provide healthier and safer drinking water.
After the membrane, another carbon filter acts as a post filter. This granular activated carbon (GAC) filter provides final polishing before sending the purified water for remineralization. It is also a fine filter that removes any possible leftover flavors or smells.
The final stage in the RCC7AK is the alkaline filter. As purified water passes through, this filter adds calcium and magnesium, which helps bring up its pH and reduces the acidic taste of water.
Now, many high-efficiency water filters such as the RCC7AK have a high upfront cost. But this iSpring unit is actually quite affordable, both in initial cost and maintenance. The filters are both affordable and long-lasting, so their maintenance costs won’t be a burden either.
- A high-performing system that removes up to 99% of contaminants
- Remineralizes the RO water to improve its taste
- Color-coded tubing for easy installation
- Long-lasting filters
- Affordable and easy to maintain
- Installation is a bit difficult
- It doesn’t completely replenish all mineral loss
Best Budget: Express Water – ROALK5D
Despite being marketed as a 10-stage system, the Express Water – ROALK5D is actually quite compact and space-savvy. It consists of a 4-gallon pressurized storage tank and 6 filter housings, with the last one containing 5 remineralization stages.
The system consists of 3 pre-filters, a high-efficiency RO membrane, a polishing filter, and an alkaline remineralization filter consisting of 5 separate individual stages.
Even then, this Express Water system is quite affordable. Plus, it produces up to 50 gallons of water per day, which is enough for most households for drinking purposes.
- 50 GPD water output
- 10-stage filtration and remineralization
- Leak stop valve included
- Equipped with an emergency leak stop detector
The Express Water – ROALK5D is a compact and simple system that most buyers find pretty easy to install. It comes with color-coded housings and pipes that enable you to assemble it easily and install it under your sink in no time.
A fast 0.8 GPM faucet and a 400-gallon pressurized water storage tank are also included in the package.
The ROALK5D uses a comprehensive 10-stage water filtration setup. The first stage is the propylene pre-filter. This sediment removal stage removes both larger and finer particles to deliver debris-free water to further stages.
The second stage in the ROALK5D is the granular activated carbon (GAC) filter. Made from premium-quality coconut shell carbon, this filtration stage traps organic compounds, chlorine, odor, and tastes from water.
The third pre-filter is a finer 5-micron activated carbon block (CTO) filter. It also reduces tastes and odors from the water and removes common chemicals and volatile compounds.
The fourth stage is where the actual filtration happens. In this stage, the Express Water reverse osmosis membrane traps particles as small as 0.0001 microns, including chemicals and bacteria.
It removes up to 99% of harmful chemicals like lead, fluoride, chlorine, nitrates, arsenic, calcium, and more.
Next, this filtered water passes through the alkaline filter for remineralization. It contains different types of minerals and uses active mineral technology with 5-stage mineralization to add the essential minerals back into the water and restore its taste and pH.
The final filtration is also a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter. But this time, it acts as a post filter to remove any residual taste or odor before supplying the water for drinking purposes.
This Express Water under-sink RO system works pretty much automatically without needing any electricity. The high water output ensures full-pressure tank storage, which is also equipped with an emergency leak stop detector to prevent overflowing.
- No electricity required for operation
- Simple to assemble and install
- Automatically shuts off when the storage tank is ⅔ full
- Color-coded housing and pipes
- Some parts don’t fit
- 10-stage is a bit of exaggeration
Refrigerator RO Filters: Buying Guide
What are Refrigerator Filters – and How Do They Work?
A refrigerator filter basically filters water before it comes out of the refrigerator dispenser. And if your fridge has an ice maker, too, the filter provides clean water for it to make clear ice cubes.
Most refrigerator filters use simple carbon block water filtration technology to remove chlorine, heavy metals, rust, dirt, and other contaminants from the water. But they’re not too effective for well water.
In this case, refrigerator RO filters are the better option.
Connecting your under-sink RO system to the refrigerator ensures that you get safe and clean drinking water directly from the water dispenser.
The system purifies the water to remove contaminants and supplies it to the refrigerator, where it is cooled to dispense out of the water dispenser when needed or frozen into ice cubes in the ice maker.
Unlike standard refrigerator filters, a RO refrigerator filter removes 99.97% impurities, delivering pure and contaminant-free water for you to drink.
What to Look for in a Refrigerator Filter?
When it comes to refrigerator filters, finding a good one for your refrigerator becomes a difficult task because of the sheer variety of OEM and aftermarket units. To help narrow down your choice, here are some essential things to look for:
The most critical consideration in any refrigerator filter, whether in-line or RO, is its compatibility with the appliance. If the filter model you choose is unsuitable for the refrigerator, either it won’t fit or won’t filter water properly, and both can cause leaking.
The simplest way to find a compatible filter is to search using your refrigerator model number. Most manufacturers list the replacement filter on their product listing, which can help you find the correct replacement filter.
Filter manufacturers also list the different refrigerator models their filter unit can work with. Look for your model number in the list and choose accordingly.
When it comes to RO filters, you should make sure that the system and the kit you purchase are compatible with each other and the refrigerator, too. Make sure that the system generates enough water pressure to fulfill the supply-demand of your refrigerator.
The quality of a refrigerator water filter matters because you will be drinking the water coming out of it. The device should be made with food-grade materials to ensure that nothing harmful mixes into the water unbeknownst to you.
Paycloseattention to the design and quality of the unit. Check out the certifications it has received and read customer feedback to be sure of your purchase.
Warranty & Costs
Refrigerator filters cost anywhere from $30 to $60. Of course, OEM models are costlier than generic aftermarket filters, but they ensure proper fit and filtration. On the other hand, generic aftermarket filters are a good choice if you want to cut costs, but they’re not too effective.
You should also remember that these filters need replacement every 6-12 months. So you should be prepared to purchase a couple of these every year.
Most RO membranes are designed to last up to two years, but they are a bit costlier.
As for the warranty, most refrigerator water filters come with 30-day warranty coverage. During this time, you can check the filter’s fit and performance. If the unit is faulty or does not work, you can send it back.
However, every manufacturer has its own terms and conditions for warranty. It’s best that you check them out before purchasing the unit.
NSF or WQA Certifications
The Water Quality Association (WQA) and National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) are two independent organizations that certify water filters for both construction and performance.
NSF is an international organization, whereas WQA is a local trade association situated in Illinois representing over 2500 industrial, commercial, residential, and small community water treatment industries. Both organizations are involved in improving water quality worldwide.
When a water filter is WQA certified, it carries a gold seal certificate reassuring buyers that it is made using the safest materials, its contaminant reduction claims are accurate, and there are no doubts about its structural integrity. The organization uses independent testing to confirm these facts before issuing the certificate.
AN NSF-certified water filter carries an NSF mark followed by a numerical code like NSF/ANSI 42 or NSF/ANSI 53. These numbers help identify the NSF standards to which the unit complies.
For example, the NSF/ANSI 42 means the filter is apt for chlorine removal, while an NSF/ANSI 61 certified water filter is reassured to be made out of safe and durable materials.
When shopping for an RO filter for your refrigerator, choose the unit with the most certifications. That way, you can rest easy about both its construction and performance.
The filtration capacity of a refrigerator filter is determined by how many gallons of filtered water and ice it can provide before it requires replacement. It varies from one model to another and also depends upon the quality of your water supply.
The average filtration capacity of most refrigerator filters is 300 gallons. Some have a lower filtration capacity of around 200 gallons, while others may also last up to 400 gallons. The average water flow rate of RO systems is around 80 gallons per day.
Any system with a low water filtration capacity will not be able to supply enough water to both the RO faucet and the refrigerator. This is why you should only consider high-capacity systems, so you can easily connect your refrigerator with the system to obtain pure drinking water.
Design & Durability
Refrigerator filters are pretty simple in design. They are usually cylindrical and go inside the designated compartment within the refrigerator. The one design feature that you need to be mindful of is its size. You have to find the right size that fits your refrigerator.
Although this is not an issue with a RO refrigerator filter, you have to think about the under-sink cabinet space. If your cabinet is small, choose a compact and space-savvy system. There are even some stylish tankless systems out there that you can check out.
And if you have ample space underneath your sink, you can check out RO systems with a tank for storage purposes.
Installing a regular refrigerator filter is easy enough. Your fridge comes pre-installed with an OEM unit, and when the time comes for replacement, all you need to do is twist it to unlock and simply pull out. You can insert the new filter inside the filter compartment and twist it to secure in position.
But when it comes to RO refrigerator filters, the installation is something you have to consider carefully. Since most under-sink RO systems come with their own faucets, you have to exhibit some craftsman skills for DIY installation.
But if you are getting one for the sole purpose of obtaining clean and refreshing drinking water, you’ll find that it is not very difficult to hook up the RO system with your refrigerator.
When choosing between different models, check out their customer reviews to learn about the installation process. Doing so will help you select one that suits your style and application better.
How to Install a Fridge RO Filter
Refrigerator filter designs vary as much as refrigerators themselves. So they might have different installation and replacement approaches. The standard procedure, however, remains more or less the same.
Here’s how to do it.
Cut off the water supply to your refrigerator and pour the remaining water from your water dispenser into a jug or some other container. Now remove any pipes or clips holding the filter in place. Next, twist it a bit and pull it out.
Now take the new filter out of its packaging and insert it into the compartment. Some water may spill as you pull out and insert the filter. Keep a towel handy to soak it up.
Secure the filter with the pipes and clips. Turn on the water supply and prime the filter. Flush it for a couple of gallons of water before you start using the water.
But when it comes to a RO refrigerator filter, the installation and replacement become a bit trickier. Since the system is outside the unit, you have to take care of its installation before connecting it to the refrigerator using a special installation kit.
Here’s how you can hook up your refrigerator to an under-sink RO system:
- Purchase a faucet to the refrigerator tubing kit
- Shut off the water supply to your RO system
- Locate the water pipe connecting the system to the RO faucet
- Take a bucket and place it underneath this water line
- Choose a place about 10 inches away from where the tube comes out of the RO system and cut it. Let the water spill into the bucket.
- Now take the T-shaped fitting from the kit and install it on the cut tube on the RO system
- Take the other end of the cut tube (the one connected to the faucet) and fit it into the other end of the T fitting
- Measure a 10-inch piece of the long tube included in the refrigerator tubing kit and install it on the perpendicular end of the T-shaped fitting.
- Now take the provided shutoff valve and connect it to the other end of the 10-inch tubing.
- Take the remaining long tube from the kit and install one end on the shutoff valve. Make sure the valve is off.
- Run the tube from the shutoff valve to the refrigerator.
- Connect it to the refrigerator water supply line.
- Turn on the water supply valve to the RO system.
- Let the holding tank fill up completely, and then turn on the ball shutoff valve to start the RO water supply to the refrigerator.
- When replacing RO filters, turn off the water supply to the refrigerator until the filter change procedure is complete and the system is thoroughly flushed.
Pros and Cons of RO Fridge Filters
RO fridge filters are an excellent way of obtaining fresh, cool, healthier water. They rely on a fine semi-permeable membrane to filter the water of harmful contaminants that endanger your health. But they have some drawbacks, too.
- Make ill-tasting hard water tasty and drinkable
- Apt at removing water contaminants and toxins like lead, mercury, arsenic, and fluoride
- Can extract pure drinking water from the dirtiest water source
- Great for removing parasites like Cryptosporidium from drinking water
- Great water softeners and remove up to 99.97% of water pollutants
- Remove essential minerals along with the dissolved impurities from the water
- It cannot kill waterborne viruses and bacteria
- Demineralization alters the taste of water
- Take longer to purify water than standard water filters
- More expensive than standard refrigerator filters
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a refrigerator filter remove salt from the water?
The saltiness in water is caused by the presence of heavy metals and minerals. While a standard refrigerator filter may not be able to remove salt from your drinking water, an RO refrigerator can most certainly separate salt from the water.
Are all refrigerator water filters reverse osmosis?
No, not every refrigerator water filter is reverse osmosis. In fact, most standard refrigerator filters use carbon block technology to remove common impurities as well as taste- and odor-causing particles before dispensing out cleaner, cooler water.
Does reverse osmosis remove minerals that are necessary for a healthy body from the water?
While removing different impurities from water, reverse osmosis also separates beneficial minerals from the water. The RO membrane is so fine that it lowers the total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water, removing the essential minerals from it as well.
Why Should You Choose a Reverse Osmosis Filter Over Standard Refrigerator Filters?
Unlike standard refrigerator water filters, reverse osmosis filters can drastically reduce the number of impurities in water. They effectively remove the finest particles of heavy metals, sediment, and microbes that standard filters usually leave behind, making the water healthier and safer to drink.
Final Verdict: What is the best refrigerator filter sold today?
Having reviewed numerous different RO filters, we strongly believe that the APEC Water Systems ROES-50 is the best RO filter you can purchase for your refrigerator. It is easy to install and use. Plus, it comes with a separate water storage tank to keep your refrigerator supplied with purified water.
The iSpring RCC7AK is also a great option. It is a comprehensive water filtration system with an additional remineralization stage to ensure better-tasting water.
And if you are on a tight budget, go for the Express Water – ROALK5D. This affordable unit boasts 10 filtration and mineralization stages that deliver healthy and tasty water straight to your refrigerator’s dispenser.