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Best Inline Water Filters Reviewed

By: Craig Smith
Last Updated:

I applaud you for looking for ways to clean up your tap water. 

That’s because my 26-years of treating water in swimming pools has taught me that there is no such thing as water that is too pure. 

Something especially true when it comes to the water that you and your family drink.

Inline water filters can fill this role nicely as long as you don’t have extremely poor-quality drinking water coming into your home. 

Even then, some models will reduce or remove a surprisingly large number of tap water contaminants.

In this guide, I have spent countless hours researching, testing, and determining which inline water filters are the best on the market so that you can find the right product for your home needs.

Best Inline Water Filters Compared

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES  
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#1 Clearly Filtered Inline
  • Contaminants: Chlorine, Fluoride, pesticides, PFAS/PFOA, 200+ others
  • Filter Lifespan: 365 gallons
  • Price: $$$$
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#2 ECOPure Epini 30
  • Contaminants: Chlorine and sediment
  • Filter Lifespan: 5 years
  • Price: $$
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#3 3M Aquapure Inline Filter
  • Contaminants: Chlorine and sediment
  • Filter Lifespan: 1500 gallons
  • Price: $$
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#4 Pure Water Inline Filter
  • Contaminants: Chlorine and sediment
  • Filter Lifespan: 1500 gallons
  • Price: $$
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#5 Aqua Crest Inline Filter
  • Contaminants: Chlorine, solids, VOCs, heavy metals, more
  • Filter Lifespan: 5 years
  • Price: $$
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#6 GE Inline Filter
  • Contaminants: Chlorine and sediment
  • Filter Lifespan: 6 months
  • Price: $$
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What to Look for When Choosing an Inline Water Filter

As you start shopping for a new inline water filter, here are some traits of these water enhancement devices that you should strongly consider as part of your buying process:

Types of Impurities Removed or Reduced

The very first trait to consider when shopping for inline water filters is what types of tap water contaminants they can remove or reduce. That way you will be able to properly match your new inline water filter with the impurities in your tap water that you want to eliminate.

If you don’t know what’s in your water we recommend getting a water test kit.

Flow Rate

Anytime water comes into contact with the filter media inside an inline water filter, it’s going to meet resistance and, in turn, the water flow rate will be reduced. 

Some types of the best inline water filters work so well that their impact on water flow may be significant. That’s what makes this a trait worth being well-aware of when shopping for one.

Filter Useful Life

The vast majority of water filters that are placed inline have no way to be cleaned. That means eventually the small pores in their filter media will start to become clogged and impact device performance. 

How fast this happens will determine how often the filter cartridge inside of them needs to be replaced.   

Size

Size is another inline water filtration characteristic that needs to be considered. This is especially true if you want to locate your new inline filter in a somewhat tight space. 

These come in all different lengths and diameters so you should be able to find one that will make a tight installation easier for you.

3rd-Party Certifications

Most inline water filter manufacturers are pretty good about stating factual information about their products. But sometimes they will slightly stretch the truth and they certainly won’t point out any performance issues. 

That’s why inline filters that come with relevant 3rd-party certifications (NSF/ANSI/WQA) attached will give you more buying confidence.     

Review of Best Inline Water Filters

Here are 6 inline water filters that I don’t feel you can go wrong by purchasing:   

#1 Clearly Filtered Inline Fridge Filter

Here is an inline filter that’s made to be used to enhance the drinking water that is dispensed out of your refrigerator door. The number of contaminants that it removes or reduces is remarkable, to say the least. That’s over 200 in all.

It accomplishes this through the use of a 3-stage activated carbon filter system that is maintenance-free and should last around a year before it needs to be replaced. It’s also the reason this model is at the top of my best inline water filter list.

It’s also a water filter that is extremely DIY friendly and can be hooked up to plastic or stainless steel ¼” refrigerator water lines. The slim design is a big bonus when you go to install it too. Other bonuses you get with it are a lifetime guarantee and a 30-day worry-free trial.

Main Features & Benefits

Types of Impurities Removed or Reduced: The manufacturer claims that this inline water filtration device’s 3 filter stages removes or reduces over 230 common tap water contaminants. 

That includes chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, PFAS/PFOA, lead, herbicides, heavy metals, and many more. Despite this high level of filtration, it leaves essential minerals untouched.

Flow Rate: At 0.74 GPM, its flow rate would best be described as adequate.

Filter Useful Life: This does not have the most impressive filter life (365 gallons), but then again you must remember this filter is strictly used for purifying the water that you dispense from your refrigerator door.

Size: At 2” in diameter and just 12” in length, it offers a very compact inline refrigerator filtering solution.

3rd-Party Certifications: There are no approved 3rd-party certifications that come with this inline water filter but the manufacturer claims an independent testing organization says it meets or exceeds NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53 & 401.

Pros:

  • Universal refrigerator fit (any with ¼” plumbing lines)
  • Compact size
  • Filters over 200 tap water contaminants
  • DIY installation is very possible
  • Tool-free filter changes
  • Does not filter out healthy minerals
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • 30-day worry-free trial

Cons:

  • Filter life could be better
  • For drinking water purposes only
  • Can only be used on refrigerator lines
  • No approved 3rd-party certifications

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#2 Ecopure EPINl30

If your biggest complaint with refrigerator dispensed tap water is that it possesses such characteristics as smelling and tasting like chlorine, then this may be the perfect inline water filter choice for you. 

It effectively targets and removes chlorine so your drinking water becomes much more aesthetically appealing (taste, smell, and looks).

While it is not as compact as some of the other inline water filters on our list and it can only be placed on a refrigerator line, it still features an excellent 5-year filter life, easy DIY installation, and it’s a budget-friendly best inline water filter model.

It’s also an excellent filter to use for RV or boat applications.

Main Features & Benefits

Types of Impurities Removed or Reduced: This refrigerator water filter’s activated carbon filter is designed to target and remove chlorine and sediment. It works very well at both of these tasks.

Flow Rate: The manufacturer does not specify this system’s flow rate but based on its ¼” line size and uncomplicated filter design, I would speculate it to be somewhere between 0.5 to 0.75 GPM.

Filter Useful Life: The filter on this refrigerator-installed filtration device is said to last an impressive 5-years.

Size: At 13.5” x 7” x 3” it is not the most compact inline water filter on our list of the best ones.

3rd-Party Certifications: This inline water filter is certified to meet NSF Standard 42 which has to do with the elimination of chlorine.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • 5-year filter life
  • Universal fit (1/4” lines)
  • DIY-friendly
  • Kit includes everything needed to install it
  • Removes chlorine (meets NSF Standard 42)

Cons:

  • Refrigerator use only
  • Hard to secure to the back of a refrigerator
  • Only a small range of water contaminants removed by it

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#3 3M Aquapure Inline Filter

This is another very popular refrigerator-style inline water filter that is aimed at removing sediment and chlorine from your incoming tap water. A job that ii does very well as it will significantly improve your refrigerator water’s taste and smell.

It’s also the best inline water filter model when it comes to being easy on the wallet. The 0.5 GPM low rate through this water filter is acceptable and it features a long filter useful life. DIY installation is also the norm for this model inline water filter.

This water filter works nicely in conjunction with automatic coffee machines, drinking fountains, ice makers, and commercial soft drink dispensers too.

Main Features & Benefits

Types of Impurities Removed or Reduced: Here is another system whose 5-micron water filter will remove almost all of the chlorine and 100% of the sediment that passes through it.

Flow Rate: Its 0.5 GPM flow rate is adequate when it comes to dispensing water from your refrigerator.

Filter Useful Life: The manufacturer lists the filter useful life from this water enhancing device at 1500 gallons or 6-months.  

Size: At 8.4” x 1” x 1”, it’s the smallest refrigerator mounted inline water filter on our list.

3rd-Party Certifications: It comes with no NSF/ANSI certifications but does feature FDA CFR-21 compliance.

Pros:

  • 5-micron activated carbon filtration
  • Extremely compact
  • Aesthetically improves your drinking water
  • Refrigerator mounted
  • Budget-friendly
  • Long filter life

Cons:

  • Only targets chlorine & sediment
  • Not very durable
  • Short filter useful life
  • More expensive than similarly working filters

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#4 Pure Water Inline Filter

Although many of the inline filters on our list are designed for refrigerator installation, this is the only one that is made specifically for those refrigerators with automatic ice makers. It will help you make ice cubes that do not take away from the taste of the beverages they are placed in.

Its compact size and included installation kit make it one of the most DIY installation compatible inline filter models that is used for enhancing the water that flows through ice makers.  

This model inline water filter for ice makers has an average filter life and flow rate but its lifetime warranty and NSF/ANSI Standard 42 certification help make it stand out from some of the others in its class.

Main Features & Benefits

Types of Impurities Removed or Reduced: Here is another activated carbon-based water filtration system. It will eliminate any of the taste, smell, and look problems that are commonly associated with the presence of chlorine in drinking water.

Flow Rate: The 0.5 GPM flow rate through this water filtration device is very comparable to many of the filters in its class.

Filter Useful Life: Its 1 Year or 1500 Gallon filter useful life is about average compared to other filters that remove or reduce chlorine in tap water.

Size: This is an ice maker filter that is nice and compact at 2” in diameter and 10” in length.

3rd-Party Certifications: This is certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 which has to do with the elimination of chlorine taste, odor, and color.

Pros:

  • 1500 gallon or 1-year filter life
  • Eliminates chlorine and sediment
  • Kit includes 15’ of water line and connections
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Includes mounting bracket
  • DIY installation compatible
  • NSF/ANSI Standard 42 certified

Cons:

  • Cheap plastic connections (prone to leaking)
  • Short filter useful life
  • Only a few contaminants removed by it
  • Only for use with ice maker equipped refrigerators

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#5 Aqua Crest Inline Filter System

So far,  every inline water filtration system that I have reviewed have been those that are strictly made to be used on refrigerator water lines. This one breaks that mold as it’s versatile enough to be used on refrigerator and household water lines such as under-sink applications.  

It’s even versatile enough for marine and RV use. This line water filter model boasts an exceptionally long filter life and its granular activated carbon filtration removes chlorine, suspended solids, rust, colloids, and more from your tap water.  

This filter is also very reasonably priced and is considered to be highly DIY compatible as far as installing it goes.

Main Features & Benefits

Types of Impurities Removed or Reduced: Here is an inline filter that takes full advantage of the small pore size that is characteristic of granular activated carbon filters. It does a good job removing chlorine, suspended solids, rust, colloids, VOCs, chloramines, heavy metals, and more.

Flow Rate: This device has a flow rate that I estimate to be between 0.5 to 0.75 GPM based on the size of water line connections it has and the type of filter media that it uses.

Filter Useful Life: I have to admit this inline filter’s 5-year or 10,000 Gallon filter life is on the impressive side.

Size: Although this is not the most compact inline water filter in my reviews, at 13” x 4” x 3.5” it still allows it to be usable for a wide variety of small space applications.

3rd-Party Certifications: This unit comes with no official independent testing certifications.

Pros:

  • Fits most ¼” water lines
  • Removes chlorine and many other tap water contaminants
  • Very reasonably priced for what it does
  • Exceptionally long filter life
  • Generous flow rate
  • DIY installation compatible
  • A versatile inline water filter option

Cons:

  • No warranty mentioned by the manufacturer
  • Durability is a question for some applications
  • Included mounting bracket is small and substandard quality

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#6 GE GXRTDR Filter System

This refrigerator-style inline filter is made by the reputable appliance manufacturer GE. It’s easily installable on the refrigerator models that the manufacturer makes and can be adapted to fit some other brands too.

It’s yet another inline filter on my countdown of the best ones that mainly looks to eliminate water taste and smell concerns due to the presence of chlorine.

This line water filter features carbon-spun fiber filtration, a decent flow rate, and a size that does not prohibit it from being installed in tight spaces.

Some concerns are its shorter filter life and poor quality water line connections that are somewhat made up for with an excellent price point and a nice NSF/ANSI Standard 42 certification.

Main Features & Benefits

Types of Impurities Removed or Reduced: The GE GXRTDR Filter System uses its carbon-spun fiber filtration to eliminate chlorine, sediment, and other contaminants that are 30 to 50 microns in size or bigger.

Flow Rate: With a flow rate of approximately 0.5 GPM, it’s comparable to most every inline water filtration system in its class.

Filter Useful Life: The manufacturer recommends that the filter in this water enhancing device be replaced every 6-months regardless of the use that it gets.

Size: At 2” in diameter and 12.5” in length, you should have no problem placing this inline filtration device even in some tight spots.

3rd-Party Certifications: It’s NSF/ANSI Standard 42 certified to eliminate the aesthetic problems in your drinking water that are caused by the presence of chlorine.

Pros:

  • Very budget-friendly
  • Improves drinking water taste, color, and smell
  • NSF/ANSI Standard 42 certified
  • Easy installation with complete inline water filter kit
  • Fairly compact size
  • Works for ice maker equipped refrigerators too

Cons:

  • Poor filter life
  • Only removes 70% of the chlorine that passes through it
  • Plumbing connections could be more watertight
  • Not compatible with all refrigerator models
  • No stated warranty

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Inline Water Filter Buyers Guide

Here is some information that will certainly benefit you to know as you search for a new inline water filter.       

What Is An Inline Water Filter?

Many types of home water filtration devices do not hook directly to a water supply line in your home but instead tap into that line with hoses or plumbing pipes. As you might have guessed due to their name, this is not the case with an inline water filtration system.

Each end of them connects directly to a water supply pipe so they in essence look like a slighter larger extension of an existing water pipe. 

These were made like this to make these water-enhancing products easier to locate on plumbing lines in tight spaces and to have them take up less room once installed.

This is all part of the appeal of these products. It’s also the reason why they are often the preferred choice of water filters to use under sinks and when homeowners want to enhance the water that is dispensed from their refrigerators.           

How Do Inline Filters Work?

If you were prepared for a long and technical answer as to how a line water filter works, you are about to be greatly disappointed. That’s because these are not complicated water filtration devices by any means.

It all starts with the fact that they do not need any added booster pumps or fancy design elements to push water through them. They simply take advantage of the natural water pressure that is already present in your home’s water lines to move water through them.

Water enters into them on the supply end of the device then contacts the filter media that’s inside of them. This may consist of one or more stages of filtration media. The inline water enhancement device will then eliminate or reduce any tap water impurities that its filter media can absorb or remove.

Your home’s water will then continue to move through them until it reaches the feed side of the equipment and then enters back into the main water line as it travels to your drinking waters destination.

Many times, an inline water filtration system is only used to enhance drinking water, so they are placed very close to kitchen faucets and on refrigerators that dispense water from their doors.              

Although they work very simply compared to some other types of water filters, you shouldn’t let this fool you. Many inline water filters remove or reduce a surprisingly large number of tap water contaminants considering the uncomplicated way they go about enhancing drinking water.

When is an Inline Filter Needed?

In my opinion, there is always a need to filter your drinking water no matter where you live or what type of water source provides you with the tap water that you drink.

I feel an inline water filtration system is ideal for situations where you have fair to good quality water coming into your residence. Of course, the very best way to know if you need an inline water filter is to test your tap water

test-kits

That way you can figure out the types of undesirable contaminants that are lurking in it. There are many good test kits available that will allow you to test your home’s water yourself or enable you to send in a sample to a lab for analysis. 

If the list of impurities in your tap water is not too substantial but includes chlorine, then that’s a good indicator that an inline water filter is the right choice for your water enhancement needs.   

Types of Inline Water Filters

Here are the 2 main types of filter media that inline water filters use to treat household water:

  1. Activated Carbon

This is a highly impactful means of removing such contaminants in drinking water as organic and odor-causing compounds. Although it’s called a filtration device, it actually works using absorption. 

It uses a combination of small pore size (around 5-microns) and a large amount of surface area to remove many common tap water impurities.

This filtration media gets the name ‘activated carbon’ because it’s treated with hot gases. These gases purify the carbon used in making it and they also ‘activate’ the carbon particles at the same time. 

Activated carbon comes in different forms which are powdered, granular, carbon fiber, and catalytic carbon.

  1. Carbon Block

You can think of this type of filter material like activated carbon on steroids. That’s because the activated carbon material that it’s composed of is ground up very fine and then compressed. 

Its pore size, which can be as small as 1-micron, makes it the most effective form of carbon-based filtration.

Because of its extremely small pore size and its compressed state, it’s said to contain about the same amount of surface area as that of a small farm. 

That’s impressive no matter how you look at it. It can remove such contaminants as chlorine, chemicals, and lead from tap water yet still allows beneficial minerals to pass through it.

Pros and Cons of Inline filters

Here are some of the better qualities that are characteristic of inline water filters and few undesirable traits that go along with having one:

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • They can be easily hidden
  • Can be used to filter water on more than 1 appliance
  • DIY installation is usually an option
  • Can be placed just about anywhere on a water line
  • Requires no electricity to work
  • Require little maintenance
  • Many good choices available
  • Offers faster flow rates than most point of use water filters
  • Often used in marine and RV water filtration applications

Cons:

  • Not the most advanced form of water purification
  • They can be hard to install in tight spaces
  • Cannot be used on hot water lines
  • Not recommended for whole-home water filtration
  • No filter change indicator or water metering

So, inline water filters certainly can fill a few different roles when it comes to water filtration. 

Installation Basics of Inline Filters

As was mentioned above, one of the advantages of buying an inline water filter is that many times it can be installed without professional assistance. 

This makes this already budget-friendly type of water filtration even more appealing because of the additional cost savings that DIY installation provides.

So, you want to know if these types of water filtration devices are something that you can install yourself? Then I better go over the basics with you of how that’s done.

Step 1:

Gather the tools that are necessary to do the job. This will consist of a hack saw, pair of tongue & groove pliers, Teflon tape, and depending on the type of water line material you are splicing into, the appropriate fittings to make the connection.

Step 2:

Before you do any cutting of the pipe in the area that you want to install your new inline water filter, you must first make sure that you have shut down the main water supply coming into your home. 

Also, be prepared to capture any water that flows out of the pipe when you make the cut to install the device.

Step 3:             

Now it’s time to cut the water line so your new filter can be installed. If you are hooking it up to flexible pipe, then you can be a little less detailed than if you are cutting rigid pipe. When cutting rigid pipe to install an inline filter, I simply hold it up next to the pipe and then make my cut.

It’s very important to make this cut to the conservative side because it’s much easier to trim a little more pipe off than it is to add a section of pipe because you made a bad cut. 

When you cut into the water line, you also have to measure your cut in a way that allows you to place the quick connect fittings properly.

Step 4:

Now you will either glue the threaded connections that are at each end of the inline water filter onto the PVC pipe or use the included compression fittings to install the device to flexible or metal plumbing lines. 

I suggest using the Teflon tape to make a good seal on any threaded connections.

One very important aspect of this phase of the process is making sure your device allows water to flow through it in the proper direction. 

There are usually arrows marked on the side of an inline water filter to indicate the direction water needs to flow through it. These arrows should be facing the pipe end that flows to your faucet.

Step 5:

Double-check that all of the connections are tight and then turn your water supply back on. Test for leaks and if everything is ok, then enjoy your new enhanced drinking water.

As an example, here are a few installation tips from the manufacturer of our top inline water filter choice:

FAQs

1. Is an inline filter better than an internal fridge filter?

OK, so you want to know if an inline water filter is better to have than an internal fridge filter. In a vast majority of cases, this is true. 

That’s because they usually filter out a larger number of contaminants than a fridge filter, their filter cartridges do not have to be replaced as often, and they tend to be easier to install and maintain.

2. What happens if you don’t change your inline filter?

Inline water filters work by trapping or absorbing contaminants in the filter media that is placed inside of them. Often these specially designed filter stages with small pore sizes will start to clog up. 

A situation that can result in poor performance of the device and decreased water pressure if you don’t periodically change the filter.

3. Why do all inline filters remove chlorine?

As was mentioned, inline water filters are a preferred type of water filtration method when you have fair to good quality water coming into your home. 

Many times, this indicates that your water has been treated at a municipal water facility with chlorine. Something that impacts a large number of households across America.

Since this chemical can alter the aesthetic value (taste, smell, looks) of drinking water and cause some health problems when consumed in large quantities over time, manufacturers of inline filters are keen to design their inline filters to be able to remove or reduce chlorine.

4. Do you have to clean an inline filter?

It’s natural to wonder whether or not you have to clean an inline filter when you are looking to purchase one. 

The answer to this question is no. Although most do need periodic filter cartridge replacements, there are no cleaning steps that need to be taken in-between filter cartridge changes.     

A Few Last Thoughts on Inline Water Filters

One part of my job that I love is informing people like you as to all of the different ways that you can make your tap water healthier to drink.

It’s something that I strongly encourage you to do at your place of residence no matter what level of water filtration system that you choose to install.

Sure, inline water filters do not perform as well as something like a good reverse osmosis filter when it comes to removing many drinking water contaminants. 

But you also may not need that extra and more costly level of water purification if you have fair to good quality tap water coming into your home.

That’s the type of situation where I highly recommend the use of less expensive but still impactful inline water filters. It’s important to keep in mind that every impurity that you remove or reduce in your tap water makes your water that much safer for you and your family to drink.

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AUTHOR
Craig Smith
Craig got his start in water working in the swimming pool and spa industry. Water treatment would grow into his main career but he ended up working in the pool industry for over 26 years where much of his time was spent balancing the water in customer's swimming pools and installing water filtration equipment. Craig offers an abundance of water treatment knowledge after helping homeowners get pure water for 26 years.

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