There are times when having too many choices is NOT a good thing. The KitchenAid water filter is certainly one such case. It has two main designs for its water filter cartridges - quarter turn and push button. And then there are the multiple models produced by the manufacturer of the Kitchen Aid refrigerators for each design, discontinued models but still in stock, different compatible water filter cartridges with different capabilities, third-party manufacturers like PUR who make specific water filters for Kitchen Aid, and various OEM clone manufacturers producing filters of different quality.

This is quite different from other popular models like the Maytag water filter or GE water filter. With the Maytag, you do not have a choice at all. You have to buy their Puriclean II filter cartridge. With General Electric refrigerator water filters, you can buy the original water filter cartridge, which removes more contaminants, or buy the clone replacement cartridge from Brita, which does not remove as many contaminants.

The large proliferation of different water filter cartridges for the Kitchen Aid water filter means that you actually need to think about what capabilities you need from your water filter before buying it. Unlike the water filters for other refrigerator brands, finding the best deal comes last. The first thing you need to do is figure out whether your Kitchen Aid fridge is using the quarter turn filter cartridge or the push button cartridge. The quarter turn water filter requires you to give the old filter a quarter turn before you pull it out (as you can guess from the name). The push button filter has a button you need to push before you can pop out the old cartridge.

After that, the real work begins. You now need to consider the following:

  • Do you need to filter out cysts? A water filter cartridge which filters cysts has smaller pores, so the water flow is slower and it clogs up with sediment faster (which means a shorter lifespan). On the other hand, if you have young children, elderly people or anyone with a weaker immune system living with you, removing cysts may be a necessity if you do not want to boil your water.
  • Which heavy metals do you need to remove, if any? If you stay in a house with lead plumbing and solder, or copper/bronze/brass fittings, you may need your KitchenAid water filter to remove lead and/or copper. This is particularly important if you have young children living with you, because their mental development can be severely affected by lead poisoning.
  • Do you need to remove mercury? This may be important if your water supply comes from somewhere near a coal or gas-fired power plant, a gold mine, a smelter, or a cement factory. These sources together are estimated to account for over 90% of environmental mercury contamination caused by human activity. Of course, these places are not supposed to allow the mess they made to spill into the water supply, but accidents happen.

Once you finish this step, IF you choose to buy an original KitchenAid water filter replacement cartridge, you will need to find out the model number. The easiest way is probably to call the customer support centre and ask them. Ordered direct, you will probably pay not only the listed price but sales tax, shipping and handling. Order from an online retailer like Amazon and you could get not only a $10 discount but free shipping and you do not have to pay tax. Of course, there are no guarantees whether or not Amazon will offer these bargain deals at the time of your purchase.

If you go the OEM or clone route, you might save $5 to $10 off the listed price of the original KitchenAid water filter. The biggest alternative manufacturer of these water filter cartridges is PUR. Buy these from Amazon and you could save up to another $5 to $10. However, it is not all a bed of roses. These cloned KitchenAid water filters (they should not be called knock-offs since both their quality and price are still so high) are not guaranteed to fit the particular model of your refrigerator. It can be a lot of work trying to match PUR's own model numbers against KitchenAid's model numbers. Not only that, a model that works today may no longer be in production when you need to replace your water filter cartridge again the next year. All your effort this time will go down the drain, and you will have to repeat the entire process allo over again next year.

While there is no doubt that the KitchenAid water filter is good, having so many different manufacturers and model numbers in the market certainly gives the consumer a major headache. Whether you go original or buy a cloned water filter cartridge when you replace the old filter is entirely up to you. However, think carefully about what contaminants you need to remove from your water before you buy the new filter.