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Many people are familiar with refrigerator water filters. Most mid and high-class fridge models on the market feature integrated water filtration by default nowadays.
On the other hand, under sink water filters have been steadily gaining popularity as well.
What factors should you look out for when choosing between the two?
An under sink water filter is installed as an attachment to your plumbing, and usually goes in the cabinet under your sink. These models are designed to be very universal and can work in a wide range of households without any special conversions. They are also typically faster than refrigerator water filters.
Under sink water filters work by filtering water directly before it’s dispensed or for storing it in a tank for later use. There are both inline models and under sink filters using a separate dispenser.
Under sink water filters require some minimal installation work initially, but other than that are relatively low-maintenance in the long run. One main disadvantage of under sink water filters is that you need a separate one for each drinking water point in your home.
One of the best things about under sink water filters compared to refrigerator water filters is that they offer better filtration capabilities on average.
The larger size of most models makes them suitable for advanced filtration methods too, including multi-stage treatment, which isn’t really available for refrigerator filters.
You are free to use an under sink water filter almost anywhere. As long as you have a sink with enough space underneath it, that’s all you need to get started. You may need to do some minor tweaks to your existing plumbing, but other than that, those filters are very easy to install and use.
Many under sink water filters are affordable to purchase and maintain. Combined with their stronger filtration capabilities, this makes them a clear winner for those looking to purify their water on a budget.
Theoretically, each faucet in your home will need its own separate under sink filter. This can get quite expensive in a larger house with multiple faucets that you want to filter. You may also not be able to install it at every faucet, depending on the way your home is structured.
Some multi-stage under sink water filters like RO systems which even come with their own storage tank require at least some free space in your kitchen sink cabinet.
Refrigerator water filters are designed for specific refrigerator models that come with a built-in water dispenser or ice maker. Even then, they are limited to a range of models that have enough room to fit a filter. Make sure to check if your fridge supports filtration before investing in a filter.
A refrigerator water filter is installed in a dedicated spot inside your fridge. This is usually close to the point where water is dispensed, making it easy to access for installation and maintenance purposes.
One major downside of refrigerator water filters is their more limited filtration capacity, and the fact that you may sometimes need to wait in order to get a sufficient amount of filtered water, depending on how your fridge works.
Fridges that support water filters already have a designated spot for their installation. This means that those filters take up no additional space at all.
Replacing the filter every once in a while is all you need to do to keep a refrigerator water filter running. They are designed to be very low-maintenance and easy to operate in the long term.
You don’t just get purified water, you also get it cooled down. This is perfect for hot weather and homes with cooling problems in general. Of course, this also applies to your refrigerator’s ice maker.
Compared to under sink water filters, refrigerator units come with somewhat worse filtration capabilities.
You can only install a filter if your refrigerator supports it. Otherwise, you’re out of luck. There might be some DIY hacks available for certain models that allow you to fit in a filter, but those are often complicated, risky, and may void the warranty.
Refrigerator water filters need more time to do their job. You’ve probably noticed that your refrigerator’s water dispenser already works a bit more slowly than regular faucets, and this will only get worse once you’ve added a filter to the mix.
The main similarity between under sink and refrigerator water filters is that they provide you with clean, filtered water directly at an exit point in your home. In both cases, you’re limited to installing them in places where you already have a faucet or fridge available.
However, refrigerator water filters are usually less powerful when it comes to their filtration capabilities. They are also more limited by design, as they can only be used in fridges that already support them. If you live in a home with limited space available, refrigerator filters come with the small advantage of taking up practically no room, as they are entirely concealed within your refrigerator.
There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to water filtration. You need to assess the individual circumstances in your household – mainly, how much space you have available, and where you want to dispense clean water from – and you must also be familiar with the overall level of contamination you’re dealing with.
If you have a more heavily contaminated water supply, investing in an under sink water filter can make more sense due to the oftentimes stronger filtration capabilities. These filters come in multi-stage variants that can cover most types of contaminants with no issues, whereas refrigerator water filters are generally more limited. They may also require more frequent cartridge replacements due to their smaller design, although this varies from model to model and should be verified individually.
If you have any questions about refrigerator vs under sink water filters please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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