Does your General Electric fridge use the MWF filter? If so, you may be in luck. Unlike many of the other top refrigerator brands with their own water filters, there are third party replacement water filter cartridges available. That means, given the right conditions, you can buy cheaper filters for your GE fridge.

The MWF filter made by GE (General Electric MWFDS SmartWater Refrigerator Filter) is well-liked by its many customers. GE has designed it well, and it is easy to replace without needing any complicated steps. This water filter cartridge removes sediment and chlorine, greatly improving the taste of your drinking water. Even the most dedicated coffee connoisseur (in other words, the most fussy coffee drinker) will find that using purified water from GE's MWF filter greatly improves the taste of their coffee, saving them the need to buy bottled water.

And for people whose water supply is located near coal and gas power plants, mercury and gold mines, smelting operations, cement factories and waste disposal operations, the MWF filter also removes mercury, which should give considerable peace of mind. All these operations release mercury as a common by-product (except for mercury mines which produce mercury as the main product, though theoretically there are no more active mines in the US) and account for 93% of human-generated mercury contamination of the environment.

Unfortunately, the MWF filter does not seem to remove lead and copper (at least, not stated in their website), which is a common contaminant in many older houses and apartments. These two heavy metals were commonly used in water pipes, solders, and fittings (not only as lead and copper, but also as brass and bronze) because they were cheaper, worked better than any other alternative and their danger was not widely recognized until the 1990s when the many countries put various legislation in place to remove lead from the environment. Since a new British study discovered that lead below the current legislated levels still badly affects the intelligence of young children, this could be a concern to many parents. They may want to add a separate home water filter to remove lead from their water supply.

GE-manufactured water filter cartridges for the MWF filter lasts 6 months and is NSF-certified. It is usually listed at $50 in most stores, although you should be able to find it at online retailers for as little as $35. Overall, there have been very few customer complaints regarding these GE water filter cartridges.

Those on a tighter budget can consider the MWF filter from Brita (Brita Refrigerator Replacement Filters GE). Like the GE's own MWF filter, Brita's filter also removes sediment and chlorine well. Being made to the same general design, it is also easy to replace. One further advantage is its lower cost - list price of $40 and online retail price of $27.

Unfortunately, it does not seem to remove mercury. For most people, especially those living in urban environments, this is not a concern. One complaint, though, is that Brita's MWF filter is both slower and noisier than GE's MWF filter. Apparently, this issue is known to Brita's customer support people, and is one reason why GE can continue to price their own water filter cartridge a good $10 above Brita's.

GE refrigerator owners who choose to buy Brita water filter cartridges should beware three possible problems:

  • They are not guaranteed to fit all GE fridges using the MWF filter
  • They seem to have a shorter lifespan than GE replacement water filter cartridges. However, this seems to be more of a problem when there is a lot of sedimentation in the water supply.
  • Their (Brita's) quality control seems spotty. Some customers who bought 2-packs and 3-packs have complained that not all the cartridges work. Some work well out of the package, but others fail immediately while some choke up badly after just a few weeks.

If you choose the more economical Brita replacement MWF filter cartridges, make sure to take these two precautions:
  • Make sure the place where you buy these filters has a generous return policy.
  • Avoid the 2-pack and 3-pack offers. Buy only one cartridge at a time.

Owners of General Electric refrigerators which use the MWF filter are lucky. GE's own replacement water filter cartridges are well-made and reliable. Many of them also have a more economical choice in Brita's clone MWF filter cartridges. And unlike some other brands, many online retailers offer better prices and terms than their local walk-in stores.