9 Best Inline Water Filters (June 2023)

Testing and reviewing water treatment products is what we’re all about – we’ve been doing it for nearly a decade. We update this list of inline filters each year based on contaminant reduction capability, filter longevity, flow rate, and of course, value for the price.

For many Americans, water filters are becoming less of a luxury and more of a must-have tool for a healthy lifestyle. An NSF report found that refrigerator water filters are among the most commonly used for at-home filtration – and many of us prefer to use inline fridge filters for convenience.

If you’re on the hunt for an inline filter, you may be overwhelmed with the choices. There are more than 50 inline filters on the market, and around half of these are offered by legitimate brands in the US. I’ve narrowed down your options to a list of 8 filters that are worth your attention. 

In this guide, I’ll cover:

  • The 8 best inline water filters you need to consider
  • The pros and cons of inline filtration
  • 6 things to keep in mind when buying an inline filter

🥇 Best Inline Water Filter

⭐ Best Inline Water Filter Reviews (2023)

A simple 5-minute installation is all you will need – simply connect the inlet and outlet water lines and you’re good to go.

Unlike many other inline filters that only address aesthetics of water by reducing chlorine, this filter reduces 230 different contaminants, including: lead, PFAS, fluoride, chlorine and chloramine, glyphosate and more.

With three stages of filtration included inside the single filter unit, this Clearly Filtered has been tested by an EPA certified lab to meet NSF Standards 42, 53 & 401 for reduction of contaminants and water quality improvement:

The Clearly Filtered inlines three stages of filtration have been tested to meet NSF Standards 42, 53 & 401. These standards test for the reduction of contaminants as well as water aesthetics improvement:

  1. The first stage is activated carbon, reducing organic pollutants like chlorine, chloramine, and chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides
  2. The second stage reduces heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, and other inorganic contaminants
  3. The third stage targets fluoride and arsenic specifically

The filter life is 365 gallons – lasting around 12 months or so. Clearly Filtered also boasts a strong lifetime guarantee, so if there are any problems with the filter the company will replace it free of charge.

👍 What I Like

  • Simple installation
  • Reduces 230 contaminants
  • 3 filtration stages
  • Lifetime warranty

👎 What I Don’t Like

  • Not actually NSF certified – only tested against standards

This filter can remove up to 96% chlorine, 99% copper, and 98% lead, as well as PFOAs, mercury, uranium, and more. 

It can be used to produce up to 75 gallons of clean water before it needs replacing, and has been tested by IAPMO to a number of NSF Standards: NSF 42 and 53, for chlorine and lead removal. 

The filter consists of two filtration stages: a proprietary hollow fiber membrane and a patented activated carbon block filter. 

In the first filter, microbiological contaminants like viruses, bacteria and cysts are trapped in tiny microscopic pores.

The second filter uses adsorption and depth filtration to trap chemicals and metals.

👍 What I Like

  • Removes up to 99.99% tap water contaminants
  • More thorough than other in-line filters
  • Affordable up-front cost

👎 What I Don’t Like

  • Not actually certified by NSFf

With an impressive 20,000 gallon lifespan, the Watts filter is designed to last for up to five years before it needs replacing (exact lifespan may vary depending on your home’s water quality). You can use the Watts in line water filter in any home, business or RV, connecting the system to your water line using 1/4 inch lines.

The Watts filter is backed by a WQA certification for the removal of chlorine, taste and odor. It is also effective at reducing scale and improving the overall clarity of drinking water. Installation is relatively simple as the Watts comes with quick connect adaptors, and as you only need to worry about changing the filter once every 5 or so years, maintenance of this system is very minimal.

👍 What I Like

  • 20,000 gallon lifespan
  • Simple installation

👎 What I Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t filter a broad range of contaminants
  • Installation manual could be clearer in places

You can install the EcoPure for use in your refrigerator and ice maker in your home, RV or boat, where it will reduce sediment and chlorine taste and odor. Installation is quick and easy, and the EcoPure comes with everything you’ll generally need to get the job done.

The EcoPure is tested and certified to NSF Standard 42 for chlorine removal, which is a big bonus if you’re looking for the best inline water filter for ice maker or fridge that has been third-party proven to genuinely work. Though the EcoPure does a thorough job at chlorine removal, it’s not the best all-round inline filter for removing a broad range of contaminants.

👍 What I Like

  • NSF certified
  • 5 year lifespan

👎 What I Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t remove a broad range of contaminants
  • Some customers experienced problems with leaking

Installing the LASCO is relatively easy – providing you don’t overtighten the system – and instructions for the job are provided both online and in the user manual. The system comes with 1/4 inch quick connect compression fittings, and some people found that using plumbing tape instead of O-rings to tape the threads to the fittings was the best way to avoid leaking pipes. The filter cartridge is a great value, priced at just over $10 per filter.

The LASCO should noticeably improve the taste of your water without affecting water flow. The system can be mounted either horizontally or vertically behind your fridge or ice maker, and you can purchase a LASCO wall bracket for holding it in place at an extra cost.

👍 What I Like

  • Great value for money
  • Easy to install
  • Wide range of contaminants removed

👎 What I Don’t Like

  • Relatively short lifespan
  • May cause leaks when using the O-rings

It’s easy to install the IC-1, as it has twist on/twist off quick connect fittings that you don’t need to be an expert to use. Included with the filter is a filter head with mounting hardware, so you shouldn’t need to buy additional components for installation. There’s also a handy double water shutoff to make installation and maintenance safe and simple.

Included with the Culligan IC-1 is a cartridge change reminder stick, which will alert you when it’s time to replace the filter – ideal if you don’t trust yourself to remember these things without prompting. The filter needs to be installed vertically for proper water flow, so keep that in mind if you don’t have a lot of vertical space available.

👍 What I Like

  • NSF certified
  • 12-month lifespan

👎 What I Don’t Like

  • Can’t be installed horizontally
  • Not very space-saving

You can use the GE with select GE top-freezer and side-by-side refrigerators (you can enter your model number on Amazon to check that the filter is compatible). The filter has a relatively average lifespan of 6 months – there are definitely inline water filters with a better lifespan, but going by its low price, the filter is still a fairly good value for money.

The GXRTDR filter is relatively simple to install, and doesn’t usually require adaptors for the job. It comes with push-connect fittings that you can quickly connect up to your water line. Some people experienced some leaking during installation as the quick connect fittings weren’t properly seated, so you may want to install the system with a bucket and towel to hand.

👍 What I Like

  • NSF certified
  • Easy to install

👎 What I Don’t Like

  • Filter lifespan could be better
  • May experience some leaking during installation

This direct inline filter is designed to work with the majority of refrigerator ice makers, and is one of the best for the job. It removes a number of minerals that often deposit on an ice maker, helping to preserve the life of the machine. With a 1,500 gallon lifespan, you can expect to get 6 months of use out of the filter before it needs changing.

It’s easy to install the PureWater yourself, providing you follow the included instructions or follow a how-to video online. It should take you less than 20 minutes to set the filter up ready for use.

👍 What I Like

  • NSF certified for chlorine reduction
  • Very easy to install

👎 What I Don’t Like

  • Fairly average filter lifespan
  • Plastic connectors may leak

Woder has produced a handy video that you can watch before installing the filtration system, which you can use as a guide for installation. Before making a purchase, check that you’re buying the right Woder filter to fit your water supply lines, as there are two options: one with 1/4 inch connections and one with 3/8 inch connections. Installation takes roughly 5 minutes – you just cut the water supply line and attach either ends of the line to either end of the filter.

Because of Woder’s advanced selection filtration technology, the filtration system leaves in essential minerals while removing 99.9% of the bad stuff. The Woder’s flow rate is 3 gallons per minute, which is fast enough that your water flow won’t be affected from installation of the system. With a 10-gallon lifespan, you won’t need to worry about changing the filter until a minimum of 3 years have passed, making this a great low-fuss, low-maintenance filter option for busy families.

👍 What I Like

  • Removes a broad range of contaminants
  • Minimum 3-year lifespan

👎 What I Don’t Like

  • Quite an expensive option
  • Some users were concerned that there is no documentation of additional claims

📊 Comparison Chart of Inline Water Filters

FilterClearly Filtered Universal Inline Filter
Clearly Filtered Universal Inline Fridge Filter
Epic Smart Shield Universal Refrigerator Filter
Epic Smart Shield Universal Refrigerator Filter
Watts Inline Water Filter
Watts Inline Water Filter
EcoPure EPINL30 5 Year
EcoPure EPINL30 5 Year
LASCO 37-1821
LASCO 37-1821
Culligan IC 1
Culligan IC-EZ-1 Refrigerator Water Filter
PureWater Inline Water Filter Kit
PureWater Inline Water Filter Kit
Woder WD-10K
Woder WD-10K
Contaminants Removed232+116Chlorine, Heavy MetalsChlorine, SedimentsSediment, Chlorine, Trihalomethanes, TurbidityChlorineChlorine & PollutantsChlorine12+
Certifications or TestingNSF 42, 53, 401NSF 42, 53, 401, P231, P473NSF 42NSF 42NSF 42NSF 42NSF 42NSF 42NSF 42, 372
Filter Capacity365 gal.75 gal.20,000 gal.1,500 gal.1,500 gal.3,000 gal.2,500 gal.1,500 gal.10,000 gal.
Flow Rate0.75 GPM0.50 GPM0.75 GPM0.50 GPM0.50 GPM0.50 GPM0.50 GPM0.50 GPM3 GPM
Compatible With1/4 inch lines1/4 inch lines1/4 inch lines1/4 inch lines1/4 inch lines1/4 inch lines1/4 inch lines1/4 inch lines1/4 or 1/8 inch lines

🧾 Inline Water Filter Buyer’s Guide

🌢 What is an Inline Water Filter?

Inline water filters are long, thin filter cartridges that are generally connected up to a waterline in your home. They have the advantage of being space-saving and tidy, and can be installed anywhere along your water line from your water’s point of entry (POE) to the space beneath your kitchen sink, serving the cold water in your kitchen.

How Do They Work?

Inline water filters use the water pressure in your plumbing to push water through a filter or a series of filters, which trap contaminants along the way. When you switch on your cold water faucet, or press for water or ice from your fridge or ice maker, water will flow through the inline water filter before arriving at your fridge, ice maker or faucet in its filtered state. This will take a matter of seconds from start to finish.

The majority of inline water filters are carbon based, and use the process of adsorption to trap impurities and prevent them from contaminating your water and ice. Adsorption works by binding the molecules in water to a solid – in this case, the filter’s tiny micropores. These contaminants are then stuck to the filter and can’t pass through with the smaller water molecules.

Adsorption process

When Would I Need an Inline Filter?

You will most benefit from an inline filter water if you are looking for a simple, convenient method of water filtration. The major advantage of owning an in line water filter is that once it’s installed, you don’t need to maintain it aside from changing the filter – and in some systems, you don’t need to change the filter for up to 5 years. This means you can enjoy clean drinking water without the hassle of frequently changing filters or cleaning your system.

In line water filters are ideal for people who have drinking water that has a high level of contaminants, though contaminant removal varies from system to system. You will generally find that the best in line filters for water do an exceptional job of filtering chlorine odor and taste, with many of them being NSF certified for chlorine removal, so they’re a great option if you know your water has a high chlorine content.

Tip: if you don’t know which contaminants your water contains, order a testing kit before deciding on a filter for you.

The most common way to use a water line filter is to connect it up to your water supply just before it reaches your fridge. This type of filter is typically useful for people who don’t have built-in fridge filters but still want to benefit from great-tasting fridge-cooled tap water and ice.

You may see an inline water filter advertised for use in an ice maker, but it’s rarely the case that you can only use the filter for an ice maker. These filters are universal in that they connect onto your water line, and the majority of homes have water lines of the same gauge. This means you can simply connect your filter up to your water line for whatever use you want – for your ice maker, fridge, fridge and ice maker, or faucet.

📝 Types of Inline Filters

Inline filters for water typically look the same on the outside – they’re long and cylindrical, with fittings on either side to connect up to your water line. But inside the filter housing, different inline water filters use their own filter material for removing contaminants. Some of the most common types of filter used in the best inline water filtration systems are as follows:

Activated carbon

Activated carbon filters are most commonly used in a variety of water filters, including water filters inline. Using the process of adsorption to trap contaminants in its filter media, an activated carbon filter is especially effective at removing chlorine taste and odor from water.


Charcoal filters are just another type of activated carbon media, and use the same adsorption process to purify water. During adsorption, the activated charcoal binds the contaminants to the media, preventing them from passing through the system with the water.

Carbon block

Yet another similarly-sounding and performing filter for inline filtration systems is the activated carbon block filter. Carbon block filters consist of compressed activated carbon that is typically ground even finer than granulated activated carbon, preventing the formation of flow channels within the media and offering a more effective filtration.

🆚 Advantages & Disadvantages of Inline Filters

Like any type of water filter, an inline water filter has its advantages and disadvantages.

Some of the key benefits of an inline water filter

Can filter water for multiple appliances

Depending on the brand of inline filter you buy, and the location you install it, you may be able to use an in line water filter for multiple appliances. For instance, many inline water filters can be used for your fridge’s water and ice maker, as well as your kitchen tap. Or you could choose to use the filter for one appliance of your choice, installing it underneath your kitchen sink purely for your tap water or behind your fridge as a refrigerator filter.

Affordable option

When you compare water filters in line with other types of water filtration systems, inline filters are one of the cheapest options. If you’re looking for an affordable long-term water filtration solution, whether for your fridge, ice maker or tap water, inline water filters are a great choice.

Easy to install

The best products are made for the simplest installation possible, and have quick connect fittings that allow you to twist the filter in place at your water supply. Even if you’re not a fan of DIY, you shouldn’t have to call a plumber for help with the installation process.

Low maintenance

Unlike other water filtration systems, that need regular filter changes of multiple filters and weekly cleaning, inline water filters can be left to their own devices for months without requiring maintenance. Most inline water filters have a lifespan of at least 6 months, so you won’t need to worry about replacing the filter as often as is common with other filters.

Discreet water filtration

You can install an inline water filter in a cupboard or in another discreet location, where it’ll work behind the scenes to filter water for your refrigerator and ice machine. Unlike some filters, like countertop water filters, you don’t have to have your inline water filter on full show as it’s small enough to install out of sight.

Some of the most notable cons of an in line water filter

Not everyone can handle installation

Though inline water filters are designed to make installation as easy as possible, the task still requires some plumbing knowledge for you to carry it out successfully.

Not a whole home solution

Even the best inline water filters aren’t designed to filter water for a whole home. You can only install an inline water filter for use in your fridge, ice maker, or kitchen sink. The filtration system isn’t powerful enough to provide clean water for all your home’s appliances.

Doesn’t offer the broadest contaminant removal

Inline water filters are only really useful for chlorine reduction, though you may find a few that can also remove heavy metals. If you’re looking for thorough contaminant removal, you won’t get it from an in line water filter.

📌 Considerations When Buying an Inline Water Filter

Contaminants Removed

You can pretty much guarantee that an in line water filter will remove chlorine taste and odor from your water, and many are NSF certified as proof (tip: it’s worth buying an NSF certified filter if you want to be sure you’ll get good value for money). Many also remove dirt, dust, sand and other sediment from your water, which can help your fridge’s ice maker stay in top condition.

Some of the best in line water filters remove bacteria and other microorganisms, and some remove trace metals like lead. Though many customers who own inline water filters claim that they no longer have hard water from using the filter system, it’s rare that an inline water filter will be able to soften water. That would require an entirely separate, and different, process of water conditioning.

Flow Rate

Because an inline water filtration system is connected up to your main water line, flow rate becomes an important issue. You want to be able to get immediate, easy access to ice in your ice maker, or water from your fridge and faucet, without having to wait for it to slowly pass through the inline water filter. Luckily, flow rate isn’t usually compromised by an inline water filter system until the filter is reaching the end of its lifespan, when it may be too clogged up with contaminants to filter water quickly.


Inline filters typically have a 3000 gallon capacity (equating to roughly half a year) to a 20,000 gallon capacity (or roughly 5 years). A lower capacity doesn’t indicate a poorer-quality filter – it just means that the filter will have a cheaper upfront cost and will need to be replaced more frequently.

You can usually get a better deal from paying, say, $30 to $40 for a 5-year filter than $20 for a half-year filter, as it’ll save you money in the long run. However, many in line water filtration systems that are advertised as having long lifespans rarely last as long as they’re supposed to. Many customers have commented that they’ve only been able to get a couple of years out of a 5-year system – which is good, and still a great value for money, but is still something worth keeping in mind.

Physical Size

The size of an inline water filter is usually a combined result of its capacity and the manufacturer’s ability to design something space-saving. If space in your kitchen, basement or wherever you choose to install your filter system isn’t an issue for you, then physical size won’t matter. But if you plan to install an inline water filter behind your fridge or in a cupboard space, for instance, you may need to find something that is small enough to fit.

Most inline water filters are around 10 inches in length. Width can vary from filter to filter, with some being a mere 2.5 to 3 inches in width and others being more than 6 inches. Most filters are between 2 and 4 inches in height.

Filter Certifications

The most common certification for an inline drinking water filtration system to have is NSF Standard 42, for the reduction of chlorine taste and odor in water and ice. Rarely, an inline water filtration system may also be NSF 53 certified, for the reduction of heavy metals, namely lead.

Buying an inline filter system with a certification can give you confidence that you’re choosing one of the best filters available for reduction of a certain contaminant or group of contaminants. If a filter has been tested and certified by the WQA to NSF/ANSI Standards, it means a third party has confirmed its filtration claims to be accurate. It’s an easy way of knowing that you’re not going to waste your money on a filter that doesn’t work.


You don’t need the biggest budget for an inline water filter, but depending on the filter system you buy, you may need to prepare to make regular investments in new filters every half-year to year. Even the best inline water filter systems aren’t designed to last forever – so while you won’t need to splash out on a new filter as frequently as you would for, say, a pitcher filter or a faucet filter, you’ll still need to factor the cost into your future.

Most inline filter systems cost between $20 and $40, with some systems with a longer filter life costing up to $50. Spending more usually means you’re buying from one of the more established and trusted brand names; you’re buying a filter that can remove a broad range of contaminants (and has an NSF certification for one or several of the manufacturer’s claims); or you’re buying a system with a long filter life.

Paying less for an off-brand filter can sometimes be a gamble, but plenty of people have success with it. Just because a filter isn’t produced by a well-known company, don’t rule it out – while it’s wise to be cautious, you can find some great deals if your budget can’t stretch too far.

🔎 Installing Your Inline Filter

Installation of an in line water filter is usually easy enough to handle yourself; ideal if you’re looking to save money and avoid hiring a professional. Though installation varies slightly depending on which inline water filtration system you buy, the general process is the same:

  1. Gather your materials – For the majority of inline water filter installations, you’ll need a utility knife (or a sharp pair of scissors that can make a clean cut), a towel, a bucket, work gloves (if you have them), filter mounting equipment (many filters come with this included or at an extra cost, but always check beforehand), and and adapters for the water supply connectors if necessary.
  2. Turn off your tap water supply – Installation would be a messy job if you didn’t first shut off your water supply. You will be able to find a water shut-off valve underneath your kitchen sink. Twist it to point in the opposite direction to turn it off, then turn on your faucets to release any pressure.
  3. Unplug your refrigerator – If you’re installing an inline water filter specifically for your refrigerator or ice maker, unplug the machine and pull it away from your wall to allow you to install the filtration system behind it.
  4. Install filter mounting hardware – Take your filter mounting equipment and attach it to your wall. You will need a drill or a screwdriver for this job. Make sure the mounting equipment is attached to hold your filter in the direction it’s recommended to be mounted (most filters need to be installed vertically, and some won’t work if they’re installed horizontally, so check before you get started.
  5. Cut water supply line – Use your knife or a pair of scissors to cleanly cut the water supply line in the spot where you want to install your inline filter. Use a towel to clean the ends of the cut supply line.
  6. Attach the inlet tube – Look at the body of your water filter – you should see that one side is the inlet side, and one side is the outlet side. Push the inlet end of the water line into the inlet side of the water filter, then give the tube a tug to check it’s securely connected.
  7. Remove lingering carbon residue – With the inlet end of the water filter attached to the water line, hold the filter at an angle and hold it over the bucket. Switch on your water supply and wait until 2 gallons of water have flowed through the filter and into the bucket. Then switch off the water supply.
  8. Attach the outlet tube – Push the outlet end of the water line into the outlet end of the water filter. Tug this side to make sure it’s properly connected, then mount the filter on the bracket.
  9. Check for leaks – Switch on your water supply and check that there is no leaking around the outlet tubes. If water is escaping, push the tubes further into the filtration system to prevent this. When you’re happy with the system is working, plug your refrigerator back into your wall and push it into place. Switch on your water and give it a taste – it should be much cleaner.

🛠️ Inline Filter Maintenance

Filter changes are the only real maintenance you’ll need for your inline water filter. Check your filter’s user manual if you’re not sure of filter life. You may need to replace the filter more frequently if filter life has been reduced by poor water quality and your flow rate has slowed.

Replacing the filter is another easy job. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to replace the entire system and install a new one following the installation instructions above. Don’t forget to flush your new filter before you start using the system.

🧠 Frequently Asked Questions

Is an inline water filter better than an internal fridge filter for a fridge or ice maker?

In some ways, yes. Though both filters obviously provide clean water, an inline water filter generally has a much longer lifespan than an internal fridge filtration system. With an internal filter, you may also be restricted in exactly which filters will fit your system, whereas you can use any type of inline water filter for your fridge and ice maker regardless of its brand – even if it doesn’t have a space for a filter inside.

What happens if you forget to change your inline water filter?

There are only so many contaminants an inline filter cartridge can remove from drinking water before it becomes too clogged to be effective. When your filter has outlived its recommended lifespan, it’ll filter water at a much slower rate, and will be ineffective at producing clean water. It’s important to remember to change your filter cartridge if it doesn’t automatically remind you when it’s nearing the end of its lifespan.

The majority of inline filters reduce chlorine. Why is chlorine such a big deal?

Chlorine is added to municipal water during treatment, and is used to disinfect water and make it safe to drink. In small amounts, chlorine won’t cause any major health concerns when consumed. But many people don’t like the taste of chlorine in their drinking water and ice maker, and, as consuming too much chlorine can be harmful to health, you may prefer not to drink it at all. Inline filters remove the majority of water, giving it a much nicer and fresher taste.

What can you do with a leaking inline filter?

Usually a leaking filter is a result of an installation issue, and not a flaw with the filter cartridge. For this reason, fixing the issue is generally easy. One of the most likely causes of leaks is that the water line isn’t quite pushed into the filter deep enough. In this case, it’s best to switch off your water, push the water line in as far as it goes in either end of the water filter, then turn the water on and check for leaks again.

What’s the best inline water filter for me?

Because the majority of inline water filter systems are very similar, the answer to this question mostly comes down to budget and contaminant removal. If you know your water has a high level of one or two contaminants, finding an inline filter for your fridge and ice maker that targets these contaminants will help you see the biggest improvement in water taste and quality. When it comes to price, determine your yearly budget and choose wisely from there.

My inline water filter is making my ice maker/water taste funny. What could be the cause?

If you’ve just installed the filter, check whether you followed the manufacturer’s instructions correctly, and that you flushed around 2 gallons of water through the filter before using it. If you have, the funny taste is most likely a result of compressed air bubbles in the filter that make their way into your water. This taste should go away on its own after one or two days of use.

Do I need to clean my inline water filter?

You might think it best to clean your filter manually, but this is not a good idea. You should always throw away your filter once it has passed its recommended lifespan. It’s impossible to clean an inline water filter by simply running water through it, as it’s packed with tiny filtration media that trap contaminants, preventing them from escaping. It’s fine to clean the outside of your filter by wiping the system down with a clean cloth.

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