When you need to replace a refrigerator water filter cost can be a common factor in what you choose. But experience has shown us that you truly get what you pay for when it comes to water filters. We’ll review the differences between OEM vs. aftermarket refrigerator water filters, comparing cost and performance. We’ll also let you know the problems that can result from cheap refrigerator water filters so you can make an informed decision.

Cheap Refrigerator Water Filters: What You Save in Money You Lose in Quality

Yes, unexpected repairs and their costs are rarely fun. But we’ve seen that the only benefit of cheap refrigerator water filters is their lower upfront cost. Quality, performance, and higher safety standards are all benefits of factory original filters that we think are worth the higher cost.

OEM vs. Aftermarket Refrigerator Water Filters

Before we discuss the differences between these two types of refrigerator water filters let’s first review what they mean.

An OEM, or Original Equipment Manufacturer filter, is made and sold by the same company that manufactures the refrigerator. Buying an OEM filter means you’re getting the exact filter that was part of your refrigerator at the time of purchase. Generally speaking, OEM filters:

  • Have a higher upfront cost
  • Filter out more contaminants
  • Are less likely to cause problems and secondary repairs

Aftermarket filters are not made by refrigerator manufacturers. Rather, they are produced by separate companies and designed to mimic the original filters in fit and performance. These companies are able to make cheap refrigerator water filters because they sometimes use cheaper materials. There are also numerous competing companies that keep prices low. Aftermarket filters typically:

  • Cost less than an OEM filter
  • Have variable performance
  • Can cause secondary problems and repairs
cheap refrigerator water filters

Image from Consumer Reports

Are Aftermarket Water Filters Good?

Water filters are an important safety feature and the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) provides national standards to which water filters are measured. An NSF certification guarantees that a filter at least reduces chlorine while some filters may also be certified in the reduction of lead and other chemicals.

Most OEM filters have an NSF certification, while many aftermarket filters do not.

Here are some other points to compare when asking yourself, “Are aftermarket refrigerator water filters good:”

  • Gallon capacity: refers to how many gallons of water the filter can clean before it needs to be replaced. Oftentimes, OEM filters have a greater capacity.
  • PSI range: measures the force of the water flow through your refrigerator’s pipes. The PSI range of the refrigerator and the filter must be compatible to function optimally. Most OEMs correspond to your refrigerator’s range.
  • Reduction in contaminants: generally speaking, OEM filters consistently reduce a greater number of chemicals and contaminants than aftermarket filters.
oem vs aftermarket refrigerator water filters

Image from Mr. Rooter

Problems Caused by Cheap Water Filters

Over the years our service technicians have seen countless malfunctions caused by cheap water filters. Some of the common problems we’ve encountered include:

  • Poor water flow
  • Water dispenser malfunctions
  • Water and ice having a bad taste
  • Refrigerator leaks water

Our experience with cheap refrigerator water filters suggests that paying more upfront for an OEM filter can be worth it in the long run when it comes to safety and performance. At Best Service Company, safety and performance are also our top priorities as the area’s premier refrigerator repair service. Give us a call today!