You may be thinking water filters are expensive and can be difficult to install. But with in-line filters that’s completely wrong.
The country I live in has really bad water. So I’ve been using water filters for over eight years. And I’ve reviewed over 100 different models.
The best inline water filters are inexpensive (see #3 for a money-saving tip!), easy to install, have a long lifespan, and are compatible with a wide range of refrigerators (and can be installed under a sink too). And the ice and drinking water should taste great too!
Our best inline water filter for ice makers, refrigerators, and undersink is: Waterdrop 10UA Under Sink Water Filter System. It’s great value with an excellent lifespan.
Our Choice: The Best Inline Water Filters
- Waterdrop 10UA Under Sink Water Filter System (Best Overall)
- Culligan IC 4 EZ-Change Inline Ice Maker and Refrigerator Filtration System (A Close Second)
- AQUACREST RC 4 EZ-Change (Best Culligan Replacement Filter)
- Camco 40043 TastePure (Best for RVs and Campers)
- Watts In-line Water Filter (Best Value)
- EcoPure EPINL30 (Best for Refrigerators & Ice Makers)
Let’s get filtering!
Our Top Six Inline Water Filters Reviewed
Here are the six best inline filters we found during our research.
- Filtration Type: Polyester Membrane, Activated Carbon, & KDF
- Flow rate: 0.75GPM
- Filter Lifespan: 8000 gallons / 12 months
- Installation Difficulty: Very Easy
- Dimensions: 3.6 x 3.9 x 12.3 inches
Just twist to change
Great tasting ice
Instructions a little confusing
The Waterdrop inline water filter is our best inline water filter overall, only slightly beating the Culligan by offering better value. The quality of these inline filters is top-notch, delivering water and ice that tastes noticeably fresh and clean. The 10UA model used to often be out of stock, but it seems WaterDrop has sorted supply issues, so this is no longer a concern.
Much like the Culligan IC4, if you’re not a fan of the mess of changing traditional cartridges, the Waterdrop is perfect. In fact, I would argue that it’s even simpler to change the cartridges than the IC4. The manufacturer claims it takes a mere three seconds; from my experience, that’s not an exaggeration.
These inline filters employ a Polyester Membrane, Activated Carbon, and KDF technology to remove a wide array of common water contaminants. This includes chlorine and other organic chemicals, such as pesticides. It also filters out lead and heavy metals like copper, mercury, and cadmium, which can pose health risks if ingested over time.
The installation process is quick and straightforward, taking less than five minutes (contrary to the manufacturer’s claim of three minutes). Simply use the included 5/32 drill bit to make two holes, then snap in the quick-disconnect hoses.
The only hiccup we encountered was with the included instruction sheet. It took us about fifteen minutes to fully understand what we needed to do.
Lastly, I must mention the sleek black design of the Waterdrop 10 UA. It’s a refreshing break from the standard white, industrial-looking models and blends seamlessly with my kitchen decor.
A Close Second
- Type: sediment filter, carbon block, & ion exchange
- Flow rate: 0.5GPM
- Filter Lifespan: 500 gallons / 6 months
- Installation Difficulty: Medium
- Dimensions: 4 x 5 x 15 inches
High-quality & trusted brand
Easy to install & replace
Excellent tasting ice
A tad expensive to replace
The Culligan IC 4 EZ-Change was previously our top pick for the best inline water filter on the market. It’s still a fantastic product. But after extensive use, we found that the WaterDrop 10UA is just much better value.
That said, if you like the Culligan IC4 EZ change – there’s a solution: the Aqua Crest RC. These alternative replacements are roughly half the price of official Culligan replacements. So buy the Culligan IC 4 EX-Change NOW but switch to Aqua Crest when it’s replacement time.
You might wonder, then, why anyone would continue to use Culligan’s filters. I think it mostly comes down to trust and availability. Culligan is a well-known brand that can be bought in hardware stores everywhere, whereas Aqua Quest is a lesser-known newcomer with products only available online.
With that said, let’s get back to reviewing the Culligan IC4 EZ-Change.
I often end up postponing the replacement until the taste of our drinking water becomes noticeably worse. But with the Culligan EZ-change system, cartridge changes are super simple – just twist the old one out, then the new one in.
The filtration process of this system is comprehensive. It includes a carbon block that effectively removes chlorine taste and odor from your drinking water. A sediment precoat takes care of dirt, rust, sand, silt, and prevtns limescale buildup in your fridge’s ice maker. An ion exchange resin also removes unpleasant tastes and odors in tap water, such as sulfur or musty smells.
Installing is easy. It can fit under your sink and connect to a faucet, or you can mount it on the wall next to your refrigerator. If you’re not particularly handy, you might need some assistance. I had to drill one hole since my previous water filter system already had a screw point in the wall. I cut the existing tubing and fitted it into the IC-EZ filter head, mounted it under the cabinet, and that was it. At first, the water seemed to flow slower than before, but after running it for the recommended 10 minutes, the flow rate returned to normal.
While its 500-gallon filter lifespan might seem low compared to other manufacturers, most users report that this water filter kit does actually last as long as stated. That can’t be said for all manufacturers, unfortunately.
I was genuinely impressed with the Culligan IC4 filter. The ice it produces tastes great, without any chemical or metallic aftertaste. Plus, the pricing is reasonable if you intend to switch to Aqua Crest in the future.
Best Culligan Filter Replacements
Inexpensive Culligan replacement
Lasts four times longer
Simple to switch out
Newly established brand
Might not last the full 4,000 gallons as quoted
The AQUACREST RC 4 EZ-Change Premium Water Filter Replacement isn’t a full system in itself. But it’s on the list as our best Culligan filter replacements. The Aqua Quest offers everything the Culligan filter’s do – but with four times the lifespan and at half the price!
This is for those who have already installed a Culligan EZ-Change filter housing. When your original Culligan filter needs replacing, you can simply twist on an Aqua Quest instead. But you do need to have installed a compatible Culligan housing first.
The AQUACREST RC 4 EZ-Change replacement filters last four times as long as the original Culligan filters, which only last for 500 gallons. That’s right, four times the lifespan! Plus, they’re roughly 50% cheaper than Culligan filters.
User feedback is mostly positive. Users report easy installation, good taste, and an affordable price. Some have mentioned issues with leaks, low water pressure, and a shorter lifespan than the 4,000 gallons. However, it’s important to note that proper installation and regular maintenance can help avoid these issues. But at such a low price, all of these downsides are probably not worth worrying about too much.
If you’re a homeowner who already bought into the Culligan ecosystem, AQUACREST RC 4 EZ-Change Premium Water Filter Replacements will save you money immediately. They offer advanced filtration, easy installation, and a longer lifespan, 50% cheaper than the official cartridges.
Best for RVs and Campers
- Type: RV / Camper
- Filtration Type: Sediment filter, Granulation Activated Carbon & KDF
- Flow rate: 2.5GPM
- Filter Lifespan: 3 months (moderate usage)
- Installation Difficulty: Very Easy
- Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 10.5 inches
Clean water on the road
Flexible hose protector
Remember to flush before use
The Camco 40043 Tastepure RV/Marine Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector is one of the best inline filters for RVs because it’s inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to install.
When I’m on vacation, I’m always hyper-aware that the water from campgrounds, parks, and other recreational areas could be contaminated with dirt or nasty bacteria. And then there’s the taste…
Camco’s TastePURE RV/Marine Water Filter removes harmful contaminants with 20-micron sediment filtration and reduces chlorine taste and odor with GAC (Granular Activated Carbon Filter). This makes your drinking water comparable in taste and safety to expensive bottled water.
Another big problem with RVs is that they’re not always in use. Fortunately, the TastePure uses KDF, which helps reduce the growth of bacteria, algae, and fungi, which can build up over time.
And it’s easy to install! First, flush the system for a few minutes to wash out any leftover carbon. At this point, I would write the date on the label so you remember to change it after a few months. Then you connect the filter between the water source and your RV’s water connection. And you’re done.
It also ships with a flexible hose protector that can be installed at any position to protect the hose from kinks, damage, or snags.
So if you take regular RV or camper vacations, the Camco 40043 TastePure is a great choice.
- Filtration Type: Granulated Activated Carbon & KDF
- Flow rate: 0.5GPM
- Filter Lifespan: 20,000 gallons / 5 years
- Installation Difficulty: Easy
- Dimensions: 10 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
Very long lifespan
Might not last full five years
Slight reduction in effectiveness after one year
In our opinion, the best value inline water filter is the Watts Inline Water Filter. This inline filter has a lifespan of up to 20,000 gallons or five years, and it’s also very easy to install- just attach it with included hose clamps.
It’s one of the cheapest models you can buy. And because it has a 20,000-gallon capacity, it will last you up to five years. So it’s one of the longest-lasting too.
It’s pretty much compatible with any water supply that uses a 1/4 line. So it can be connected directly to any refrigerator, ice maker, or under your sink.
Independent testing has found that the first two stages of this water filter removed about 95% of sediment, chlorine, and other contaminants from a city supply.
Many reviewers who live in cities say the chlorine taste of their tap water is not very appetizing. But the Watts Inline Water Filter helped them to remove that rotten chlorine flavor. And their ice cubes taste as good as those bought from the supermarket.
Other users report that it doesn’t last for five years. Rather, the filter lasts just one year if you have high water consumption. Plus, after around a year, some report the taste of this filter isn’t as “refreshing” as it was when first installed.
Even if this is the case, one year is still a great amount of usage out of an inline filter of this quality at this price.
Best for Refrigerators & Ice Makers
- Filtration Type: Granulated Activated Carbon & KDF
- Flow rate: 0.5GPM
- Filter Lifespan: 5 years
- Installation Difficulty: Easy
- Dimensions: 10 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
Crystal clear ice
The EcoPure EPINL30 inline refrigerator water filter is the best inline water filter for your refrigerator. It fits most brands like Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, Kenmore, and more, so it’s a great solution to keep your ice cubes tasting fresh and clean.
The inline refrigerator filter attaches conveniently onto any cold water line of a standard refrigerator – this is done by attaching it with two included plastic nuts that are supplied in the box.
The unit can be installed under the kitchen’s floorboards, between walls, or completely out of sight from anyone in the kitchen.
The inline refrigerator filter reduces chlorine taste and odor, sediment, and other contaminants like turbidity, cysts (Giardia lamblia), and Cryptosporidium.
If you sign up for a warranty online, you also get friendly scheduled reminders when it’s time to replace the filter.
It is a great way to reduce the number of pollutants that can enter your drinking water supply. And guarantees you crystal-clear ice!
How to choose the right inline water filter for you
You need to consider several things when choosing an inline water filter. But don’t worry; this guide will help you find the best inline water filter for your kitchen.
Which type of inline water filter do you need?
Choose the correct type for your situation.
Inline Water Filters For Refrigerators & Ice Makers
If your refrigerator has a water line or an ice maker and doesn’t have an inline filter already. You should consider getting one. Installing one will prevent you from having cloudy ice cubes or rusty-tasting water.
Washing Machine Inline Filters
Washing machine filters are designed to catch particles that can damage your washing machine and cause foul-smelling clothes. These filters trap things like rust, sand, and lint, which can make synthetic fabrics smell really bad.
Under Sink Inline Water Filters
If you don’t have a fridge with a water line and don’t have space on the countertop, then you can install one directly under the sink. This is useful for those who want filtered water to drink or cook with.
Inline Water Filters for RVs & Campers
Do you regularly vacation in an RV or campervan? Well, then look for an inline filter designed specifically for RVs. They’re compact and easy to install on campervan sinks or RV water lines.
Inline Water Filters For Water Fountains & Coolers
Offices and schools may want to install a water filtration system to serve their water fountains or coolers. These are installed in the same way as a refrigerator, so there are no major considerations to be made.
What type of water do you have?
Once you are clear on your use case, make sure you understand the quality of your water test. Either consult your local environmental agency or order a home water testing kit to check your water quality.
Rural water supplies are often not strictly regulated and may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or microbiological contaminants.
City water supplies may have chlorine added to the supply that is not great for your skin or hair, but it does help reduce risks of potentially dangerous coliform bacteria in the tap.
If your house is in a rural area and supplied with well water, then you may have a high concentration of nitrates (nitrate pollution); natural contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, or other minerals; or pesticides used on crops and animal waste. Another common problem is when your well water smells like sulfur.
If your area has hard water, consider a water filter or water softener that removes minerals. This will protect your home appliances from damage from scale build-up.
Once you’re sure about your water quality, consider the best filtration type for your inline water filter.
Types of Filtration
The most common type of filter media is activated carbon, which removes chlorine and some other chemicals but not heavy metals like lead. But there are several other filtration types to consider.
Charcoal filters work by trapping toxins and contaminants that may be in the water. They are not as effective at removing heavy metals, however.
Carbon filters work in a similar way to charcoal filters by attracting toxins and contaminants. But carbon-activated filters also remove impurities like lead and mercury.
It does not remove heavy metals like iron or copper that may be naturally occurring in groundwater, but it can filter out some impurities from tap water like chlorine which leaves a bad taste to drinking water
Granular Carbon Activated Filters (GAC)
Granular Filters come with different types of media, including charcoal, sand, diatomaceous earth (DE), activated carbon, zeolites, and ion exchange resin beads. This means they are good for houses where the water has high levels of chemicals and heavy metals.
Some granular filters also use a process called “micro-filtration.” This means that they filter water using pores in the media, which are so small (around 0.01 micrometers). This can even block out some viruses!
KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) Water Filtration Systems
Many In-line water filters use a media called KDF to extend system life and reduce heavy metal, chlorine, and hydrogen sulfide contamination .
Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) is often combined with other types of water filtration. It’s more effective in removing chlorine, lead, mercury, and iron from water than other types of filters. It may also reduce the amount of limescale that can accumulate from treated water.
Compatibility for Refrigerators
Before buying an inline water filter, you need to make sure it will be compatible with your refrigerator.
Inline water filters usually have a special fitting that attaches to your refrigerator’s water line. There are three types of fittings:
– ½ inch (standard)
– ¾ inch (large, with 12″ long pipe)
– ⅝ inch (for side-by-side refrigerators without an ice maker in the freezer).
If the model you want to buy doesn’t have the correct fittings, you may need to take a trip to the hardware store to buy an adaptor.
Ease of Installation
An inline water filter should be easy to install.
If you’re not an experienced plumber, then look for an inline water filter with a kit that comes with helpful installation instructions or videos. Most kits include all the parts and hardware you need to make your inline filter work as soon as it arrives at home.
Some models have easy-change cartridge mechanisms. This means that you screw a head assembly unit permanently in place when you first install it. This takes a little effort. But after that, replacement cartridges just twist in and out of place.
Filter Cartridge Replacement Frequency
Different inline water filters have different replacement frequencies.
Some inline water filter cartridges need changing every six months, while others can go up to three years without needing a change. And some manufacturers even quote five.
If you’re not sure how often your inline water filter needs replacing, then ask the retailer. They’ll be able to give you advice based on their experience and customer feedback.
If your water source is particularly bad quality, you may find your water filter needs replacing much sooner than the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Advantages of Inline Water Filters
Inline water filters are an extremely easy and convenient way to install a water filter in your home.
Here are six reasons why:
In-line water filters tend to be much more affordable than other types of in-line water filters. Some models can be picked up for as little as $20.
Easy to Maintain and Install
Compared to a whole-house water filtration system, an in-line filter is much easier to install.
And most inline water filters are easy to maintain since they have no moving parts.
And they’re simple to install. You don’t need any special tools, just a utility knife, towels, a bucket, and some work gloves. Only under sink models may require some more advanced plumbing knowledge.
Easy to replace cartridges
Cartridges are generally super easy to replace. They have quick-connect fitting, which is extremely easy to use.
An inline water filter is more convenient because it doesn’t require a lot of space. on the countertop in your kitchen.
Better Taste and Odor
Some inline water filters can also help neutralize the taste and odor of chlorine, rust, dirt, sediment, and other contaminants that are found in tap water. This means that you won’t have to deal with a funky-tasting (or smelling) glass of H20 when you wake up in the morning.
An inline water filter can save you a lot of money when compared to drinking bottled water. It’s estimated a single family could save $500 a year with an inline water filter vs bottled water.
Most inline filters last anywhere between 2-10 years before they start needing replacement parts like new cartridges, so this investment won’t go unnoticed over time!
Disadvantages of In-line Water Filters
Nothing is perfect. And there’s a chance that an inline water filter might not be for you. Consider the downsides before buying.
Undersink models can be more difficult to install
Installing an inline water filter under your sink can be difficult as the inline water filter will have to attach to the main cold water line. And if it’s a really old sink, it may be difficult to locate the attachment point.
Only filters in one place
This may seem fairly obvious. But if you want filtered water in several different rooms (eg. in the kitchen and the bathroom), then you’d need to buy several inline filters. In this situation, a whole-house filter could be a better option.
Needs to be replaced at end of service life
The cartridges are replaceable. But at the end of the manufacturer’s stated service life, you’ll need to replace the whole system. Which does cause some wastage.
Fortunately, this is often as long as ten years, and they’re cheap in the first place. So this isn’t a dealbreaker.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an inline water filter?
An inline water filter is a type of refrigerator-mounted drinking water filter. inline filters are usually designed to be installed in line with the cold water line before any other appliances like your ice maker so that it can provide cleaner, and fresher filtered tap water right when you turn on your faucet or fill a glass for cooking.
Do inline water filters work?
Yes, most inline filters are granulated activated carbon filters (GAC) and will remove many of the impurities and pollutants that can make your drinking water unsafe. Most online refrigerator filters are designed to protect you from toxic chemicals like chlorine, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals such as lead or mercury, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and parasites, including cryptosporidium.
What do inline water filters remove?
As stated above, depending on the filtration medium, inline water filters remove the following: chlorine, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals such as lead or mercury, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and parasites, including cryptosporidium.
How do you replace an inline water filter cartridge?
To replace an inline water filter cartridge, use a pair of pliers to loosen the clamp on the inline water filter. Once loosened, you can pull out the old cartridge and then slide in your new inline water filter.
Tighten it up with the plier and turn on your tap or kitchen faucet to flush any excess air from inside of the inline water filter.
How long does an inline water filter cartridge last?
If you have a refrigerator inline water filter, the cartridge will need to be changed periodically. This is typically every six months or so, depending on how much your family drinks and what other factors are in your home (such as pets).
This can vary based on a lot of personal preference, but it’s not something that needs to happen often. Some manufacturers claim their filters can last as long as five years.
What is KDF Water Filtration?
KDF stands for Kinetic Degradation Fluxion and is a type of water filter that’s specifically designed to remove heavy metals, chlorine, pesticides, bacteria, and cysts.
KDF filters are made up of activated carbon which contains small pores on the surface where harmful substances can stick – this means they have an increased chance of being removed when passing through the filter.
Is it safe to buy a refrigerator water filter from 3rd party?
Yes. Buying a 3rd party in-line water filter for a refrigerator or ice maker is a safe option as long you buy from a trusted manufacturer.
One issue with 3rd party filters for refrigerators is compatibility. It can be difficult to identify the compatibility between inline filters and refrigerators as manufacturers don’t always provide detailed information on their products.
Should you filter tap water?
If you have tested your water supply and it’s found not to be safe, you should consider a filter. For water that is considered safe, you may need a filter if you have a household member with health concerns related to drinking water (such as lead or mercury).
Other people like to filter their tap water as they believe it improves the taste of their ice and drinking water. This is because inline water filters remove chlorine which can taste like rotten eggs or a swimming pool.
It can also improve the appearance of your ice. Some people report cloudy, discolored ice from their ice makers. Using an in-line water filter can fix this.
Some inline water filters also remove bacteria from the drinking water, which can be a concern for people with weakened immune systems, children, and pregnant women.