Why Are Refrigerator Filters So Expensive?

Why Are Refrigerator Filters So Expensive?

Access to clean drinking water is the most basic human need. In most of the US, tap water is considered perfectly safe for drinking and cooking purposes. Most refrigerator filters are only used to remove the taste and smell of chlorine which a lot of people find offensive.

Given the safety of our tap water, you may be wondering why fridge filters are so expensive.

Refrigerator water filters are expensive because they require the same costly filter housing and plumbing connections that a whole-house filter does, but they only treat a small volume of water. You will pay a higher price for your filter if you purchase a brand-name (OEM) unit from the manufacturer of your fridge, rather than an aftermarket model.

This article gives you a better and deeper understanding of why refrigerator filters are expensive. You’ll also learn the benefits and downsides of investing in a costly water filter compared to a cheaper one. So, continue reading to find out this and much more!

Read my ultimate guide on refrigerator filters.

What Makes Refrigerator Water Filters So Expensive?

Modern refrigerators often come with a built-in water filtering system. Buying a fridge with this filter may seem attractive, but you soon realize the added cost you are signing up for.

These filters require regular biannual replacement since they get clogged every six months and therefore don’t do their job correctly.

A new filter costs anywhere from $30-$50. If you’re already running on a tight monthly budget, spending additional dollars on replacing your fridge filter can put you off your budget. Many companies justify why these filters come with such hefty price tags.

Here are some reasons why your refrigerator water filter is so expensive:

1. The manufacturing costs

Like all tangible items, multiple manufacturing costs must be considered when considering the cost of these water filters.

The backend costs are quite high, from the additional staff the company must hire to the machinery they purchase to make the filters.

Extra money is also spent on transport and storage for these filters, all of which add to the filter’s price tag.

2. OEM filters are more expensive

OEM, or Original Equipment Manufacturer filters are more expensive mainly because they come with a quality guarantee.

The company does add an additional few dollars because of its brand name. However, these filters are technically the best fit for your refrigerators.

These filters do a great job cleaning water so you can drink it safely, resulting in a higher cost.

3. Added cost of professional installation required

Some fridge filters are easy to replace, and a simple youtube video can help you get through it.

Changing the filters for more complex refrigerators takes work. For this purpose, you often need to reach out to a professional to do the job for you.

Luckily, most refrigerator brands can get you in contact with a company representative who will come and replace the filter for you. However, you’ll have to pay them for their time and effort, which adds to the filter costs.

What to Consider When Buying a Refrigerator Water Filter?

When it comes to water filters, deciding which one to buy solely based on its price may seem easier. However, there are multiple factors that you must take into account before you choose your filter.

Here are three things that you should look for while buying a fridge filter.

1. NSF certification

NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certification is essential to keep in mind when selecting your water filter.

If a filter is NSF certified, it at least filters out chlorine from the water. Some NSF certifications also mean that the filter removes lead and other harmful chemicals from the water.

Most OEM filters are NSF-certified, making them a safe choice. Unfortunately, most aftermarket filters do not come with the same certification. Since the whole purpose of water filters is to provide you with cleaner and safer drinking water, an NSF certification is an absolute necessity.

Click here for a list of NSF-certified water filters. Read my article on the value of using NSF certified water filters.

2. Gallon capacity

The Gallon Capacity of a filter tells us how many gallons of water the filter can clean. Once the filter reaches its gallon capacity, it must be replaced.

A larger gallon capacity is recommended since you can filter more water and the filter lasts more.

3. PSI range

The filter’s PSI range of the water filter tells you the pressure with which the water can flow through the pipes within the fridge. The PSI range of your chosen water filter must match that of your refrigerator.

Regarding the PSI range, selecting a filter from the same brand as your refrigerator is usually the safest option.

Should You Get OEM Filters or Aftermarket Filters?

When choosing a fridge water filter, the actual cost of the filter largely contributes to which filter we choose. However, when it comes to water filters, what you pay is what you get.

OEM filters are directly made by the brand, which means that there are multiple quality and health protocols strictly followed when manufacturing the fridge water filter.

On the other hand, aftermarket filters are made by a different company and essentially copy the features of OEM filters. Since they don’t need strict company protocols, these filters are often cheaper. Consider them a knock-off version of your original branded filter.

The following table gives a comparison between the two types of filters:

OEM Filters Aftermarket Filters
More expensive ($50 per filter -$100 cost per annum) Cheaper ($30 per filter -$60 cost per annum)
Filters out more contaminants from the water Filters out contaminants less effectively
Reliable and often do not require secondary repairs Unreliable and likely need repairs
Usually have a higher gallon capacity Have a comparatively lower gallon capacity


Q. Are Aftermarket Refrigerator Water Filters Good?

When it comes to aftermarket filters, the lower cost seems to be the only good thing about them. The unexpected repairs and poor performance are still major factors to consider, which aftermarket filters simply fall short in.

Q. What Is the Best Water Filter for a Bosch Refrigerator?

The best filter from Bosch solely depends on your fridge’s type and PSI rating. Click here to see which Bosch filter is best suited for your needs. Bosch is one of the leading water filter and refrigerator brands. When buying a filter from Bosch, you can rest assured that there is no compromise on quality.

Final Thoughts

Although replacing fridge water filters can be expensive, it’s more of a biannual cost. Moreover, investing in a higher quality OEM filter is better than buying an aftermarket filter since aftermarket filters may cost more due to their additional repairs.

You must consider multiple things when buying your filter and make an informed decision since a low-quality filter can cause much more harm than you expect.

Boch Richard

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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