Jun 09, 2023

The best refrigerators with water filters: Reducing contaminants and understanding PFAS (forever chemicals)

By Lily Rose

July 28, 2023 / 3:14 PM / Essentials

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If you're making informed choices about the quality of the food you eat, you might also make informed choices about the quality of the water you drink. A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that "forever chemicals" can be found in 45% of tap water in the United States.

The EPA warns the substances, also known as per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) are "long-lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time" and may be linked to harmful health effects in humans.

One way to help protect yourself from contaminants and reduce your overall exposure to unwanted substances? Experts say drink filtered water. (Some bottled water has been found to contain PFAS.) And while experts say Brita filters can remove some contaminants, you can also get filtered water and ice from your refrigerator. The CBS Essentials shopping experts have found the best refrigerators with water filters that might help reduce your intake of certain contaminants.

PFAS have been linked to a range of health problems, including certain forms of cancer. You may be able to reduce the amount of PFAS in your home's water with a water filter. But not all water filters are the same.

"In general, refrigerator filters are designed to remove sediments, chlorine, lead and other common contaminants and not specifically PFAS compounds," says Dr. Andrew Lazur, a University of Maryland water quality specialist. "That said, since some refrigerator filters use activated carbon, they can reduce some PFAS compounds, but may not achieve EPA or state-recommended concentrations."

In other words, Lazur says that some fridge filters can reduce forever chemicals, but exactly how much may vary from product to product.

"Consumers should ask about the water filters used in the refrigerators, and inquire specifically about what contaminants are reduced, and by what percent," Lazur told CBS Essentials. "Also asking about filter replacement schedule and cost may help in decision making."

We also have a guide for standalone water filters here.

The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) examined several popular water filters, including water filters in refrigerators, and discovered that an LG water filter was able to remove 53 known contaminants in drinking water that are dangerous to human health.

While these refrigerators with water filters have not been proven to remove PFAS, they can help remove man-made and naturally occurring contaminants, including chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and other impurities.

All of these top-rated fridges have a four-star rating or higher and include many positive customer reviews about the device's water filtration.

Your refrigerator should dispense clean water you can count on. This LG smart fridge is equipped with LG's top-rated water filter, the same refrigerator water filter that the NSF says can remove 53 known hazardous contaminants. According to LG, the filter can remove pesticides, chemicals and detergents. The filter is certified by NSF International to meet industry-leading filtration standards. It should be replaced every six months.

This 4.2-star-rated refrigerator offers 26 cubic feet of evenly cooling tech to keep food fresh. Use the LG ThinQ app to adjust your refrigerator temp settings or troubleshoot your device.

LG smart Max refrigerator with dual ice makers, $2,299 (regularly $2,599)

Looking for another LG option with the same top-rated filter? How about one that lets you easily fill your tallest Stanley or Yeti cup with filtered water and ice? The water and ice dispenser on this 4.3-star-rated LG french door refrigerator is one of the tallest around, measuring 12.6 inches. Most refrigerator water and ice dispensers measure 11 inches.

This LG model's water filtration system not only focuses on eliminating contamination and known chemical contaminants, but also makes bespoke ice cube shapes using the Craft Ice feature. Use the ThinQ app with this smart fridge to analyze water and ice habits to anticipate temperature, ice and energy needs.

LG smart InstaView door-in-door refrigerator with Craft Ice maker, $4,299 (regularly $4,699)

This side-by-side refrigerator is equipped with the same LG water filter for top-rated water filtration. It also features flat panels, discreet pocket handles, top-to-bottom shelving and sleek touch controls hidden away inside your refrigerator. Its space-saving SpacePlus ice feature maximizes freezer space without sacrificing your access to ice on demand.

This fridge is fingerprint- and smudge-resistant.

LG side by side refrigerator with SpacePlus ice, $1,550 (regularly $1,832)

This Bosch refrigerator has two humidity-controlled compartments, a FlexBar storage bar for flexible cold drink storage, five adjustable tempered glass shelves and three one-gallon door bins. Its internal water dispenser features Bosch's UltraClarityPro water filter. The brand claims that filter can remove about 99.9% of sediments, including harsh substances such as chlorine and chloramine.

This high-tech refrigerator can be remotely monitored and controlled with the Bosch Home Connect app. Using the app, you can control your refrigerator's temperature, adjust its lighting and run diagnostics.

Bosch 800 series 36" smart four-door french door refrigerator, $3,419 (regularly $4,199)

This 4.5-star-rated Frigidaire model features the brand's PureSource Ultra II water and ice refrigerator filter. When sold separately, the NSF-certified filter received top ratings on Amazon and Walmart. The brand claims the filter can remove up to 99% of water contaminants, including chlorine taste and odor, heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and more.

This Energy Star-certified refrigerator includes gallon door bin storage, edge-to-edge glass shelves and a three-tier freezer storage. It features auto-closing doors; they'll automatically close if the door is ajar by five inches or less.

Frigidaire french door refrigerator, $1,400 (regularly $1,800)

According to the brand, this Samsung fridge's carbon block water filter may reduce 99% of potentially harmful contaminants. It should be replaced every six months.

This full-depth Samsung refrigerator is rated 4.5 stars. Use this refrigerator's Samsung's Family Hub feature to control your smart appliances and devices straight from your fridge door.

The fingerprint-resistant refrigerator features a full-width bottom drawer big enough to hold party platters, beverages and more. The Samsung kitchen appliance includes an external filtered-water-and-ice dispenser, as well as all-around cooling and multi-vent technology to maintain even air circulation on every shelf.

Samsung large capacity 3-door French door refrigerator with Family Hub, $2,299 (regularly $3,099)

Lily Rose is a senior writer for CBS Essentials and the site's expert in home appliances such as washers, dryers, refrigerators and ranges. When she's not writing about how you can upgrade your laundry room, she's writing about home and kitchen essentials that will transform your space. Her favorite appliance is her air fryer. She firmly believes that it can make the crispiest sweet potato fries.

First published on July 28, 2023 / 3:14 PM

Related: How we choose our productsLG smart Max refrigerator with dual ice makers, $2,299 (regularly $2,599)LG smart InstaView door-in-door refrigerator with Craft Ice maker, $4,299 (regularly $4,699)LG side by side refrigerator with SpacePlus ice, $1,550 (regularly $1,832)Bosch 800 series 36" smart four-door french door refrigerator, $3,419 (regularly $4,199)Frigidaire french door refrigerator, $1,400 (regularly $1,800)Samsung large capacity 3-door French door refrigerator with Family Hub, $2,299 (regularly $3,099)