Refrigerator Water Filters

Refrigerator water filters remove the contaminants and other particulates from the water that goes through your refrigerator’s water and ice dispenser. We’d all love to think that our local tap water is 100% safe, but there are many things that treatment plants miss and others that might be picked up along the way to our homes. This is where the fridge filter comes in!

The ability of a water filter is measured in microns. Basically, the lower the micron rating, the more the filter is able to capture smaller and smaller contaminants. Refrigerator water filters typically use granular activated carbon, which has an average rating of 20 microns.

If you have a water and ice dispenser or an ice machine in your freezer, the hardest part may be locating where your filter is installed. Here are a few common types of fridge filters and their locations


Most refrigerators use a long, slender filter cartridge installed in the base of the fridge, near the grille. Many, like the Whirlpool 4396508 filter, have a knob covering the filter that helps it blend in with the grille, sometimes making it hard to see. With just a quarter-turn, the filter slides right out!

Other filters found in the grille, like the KitchenAid PUR Advanced 4396710 filter, have a push button that ejects the filter cartridge when pressed. The common Kenmore version of this filter is known as the "Ultimate II" or model number 9030.

Drop Down

Some refrigerator water filters are even more hidden by being concealed inside a drop down compartment inside your refrigerator’s food compartment. The most common is the Amana PuriClean II UKF8001AXX filter, which can be found in Amana, Maytag, and KitchenAid refrigerators. GE’s SmartWater GSWF filter and LG’s LT600P filter are found in drop down compartments as well. Some Sears Kenmore refrigerators may use this type of filters if they were made by either GE or LG.

Slide Out

Many of the slide out refrigerator water filters resemble the ones found in the grille. Some, like the Aqua-Pure Plus DA29-00012A or PureSource2 WF2CB filter, need only the press of a button (or the filter itself) to be ejected. Others require a firm quarter turn before being released, like the Bosch CS-52 filter.


Canister water filters are short, fat barrel-shaped filters; often found hanging down in the back of your refrigerator’s food compartment. Most, like the Maytag UKF7003AXX filter or GE MWF filter, need only a quarter turn to be removed. Some filters, like the Frigidaire PureSourcePlus WFCB filter, are protected inside of a plastic cup, which you may need a wrench to remove. Filters with a protective cup also have a rubber O-ring gasket that should be replaced every third filter change.


Some refrigerators don’t have water filters that are built in and rely on external inline filters that are connected through the water line. While they may be less convenient to install, the good news is that you’re free to choose just about any inline water filter, regardless of what brand or model refrigerator you have! The GE GXRLQ water filter system has the easiest installation, with removable "twist & lock" filter cartridges. Others, like the GXRTQ filter, come with the 1/4in fittings needed to connect the filter to the water line.

Bypass Filters

Some people whose homes that use whole house filtration systems try to save money by using bypass filters (or "dummy filters") in their refrigerator. These bypass filters contain no filter media and act only to take up the space of a supposedly redundant refrigerator water filter. The truth is that most refrigerator water filter cartridges can still remove many contaminants that a whole house filter can miss! Not all whole house filters are alike, and some filter much less than others. If you want to get the most out of your drinking water, it’s always recommended to continue using water filters designed for your fridge and avoid these "dummies".

Once you’ve found your refrigerator’s water filter, it’s easy to learn which model you have. Removing filters should shut off the water valve in the line, so you don’t have to worry about creating a mess. If you’re not sure, check the manual of your refrigerator or water filter for instructions.

Your fridge may also have a refrigerator air filter that needs replacing every so often. These filters keep the air in your fridge fresh and odor-free. Though if you don’t have a built-in air filter for your fridge, there are plenty of air fresheners available.

Refrigerator water filters should be changed about every six months. Sooner, if your water is starting to taste a little funny. If your fridge’s warning light is on or if you’re curious about what your water filter is doing for the water in your home, feel free to browse through the Refrigerator Water Filter section of our online store!