Are you torn between forking out the cash for an OEM filter or saving some bucks by choosing an aftermarket brand? We know that a lot of people fall behind on replacing a refrigerator water filter because the decision between OEM and generic is not always an easy one. Welcome to our guide to choosing the best water filter for a Kenmore refrigerator.

refrigerator with water dispenser

We have experience with choosing OEM and aftermarket replacement filters with all major appliance brands, including Kenmore. Through our research, we’ve determined which generic brands are the most trustworthy.

I’m confident that by the end of our guide, you’ll know for sure which filter is best for your fridge. Let’s start with our Top 5 Chart, followed up by a brief buyer’s guide on how to find the correct filter for your Kenmore model.

Top 5 Best Refrigerator Water Filters for Kenmore Refrigerators

Model Features & Highlights

#1 Kenmore Elite 9490

kenmore elite water filter 9490

kenmore elite water filter 9490 2 pack

  •  Genuine OEM Kenmore Elite Filters from an Authorized Dealer on Amazon 
  • Filter Life: 200 gallons
  • Filter Media: Activated Coconut-Derived Carbon
  • Flow Rate: .5 gpm
  • Pressure: 20 – 120 psi
  • Highlights: NSF Certified to Standards 42 & 53 for reduction of chlorine, lead, mercury, cysts, and 8 additional common water contaminants Discounted price for OEM

#2 Kenmoreclear! 46-9990 & 46-9690

kenmore clear water filter 46 9990

kenmore 46 9690 refrigerator water filter clear 2 pack

  •  Genuine OEM Kenmoreclear! Filters 
  • Filter Life: 200-300 gallons or 6 months
  • Filter Media: Carbon Block
  • Flow Rate: .5 gpm
  • Pressure: 20 – 120 psi
  • Highlights: NSF 42 & 53 Certified | Authorized Kenmore Filter Dealer

#3 Aquacrest Premium and Deluxe Filters

Aquacrest Premium and Deluxe Filters

Aquacrest Premium and Deluxe Filters

  •  Aftermarket Filter with Authentic NSF & WQA Certifications 
  • Filter Life: 200-300 gallons (6 months)
  • Filter Media: Activated Coconut Shell Carbon
  • Flow Rate: .5 gpm
  • Pressure: 20 – 100 psi
  • Highlights: Certified to meet NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, 372, (401 Deluxe Version Only) | Costs significantly less than OEM Certified to remove 99.6% of Lead Reduce chlorine by 97% Also filter pharmaceuticals, cysts, and other common water contaminants
  • Recommended Reading: Our Complete Aquacrest Water Filter Review

#4 Waterdrop Plus Refrigerator Filters

Waterdrop Plus Refrigerator Filters

Waterdrop Plus Refrigerator Filters

  •  Waterdrop Generic Refrigerator Filters Compatible with Kenmore Refrigerator Models 
  • Filter Life: 200 gallons (6 months)
  • Filter Media: Carbon Block Filter
  • Flow Rate: .5 gpm
  • Pressure: 20 – 100 psi
  • Highlights: Certified to Meet NSF Standards 42, 53, 372, 401 | Significant cost savings Remove 99.6% of Lead | 97% Chlorine Reduction Waterdrop customer service will help you choose the correct filter
  • Recommended Reading: Our Complete Waterdrop Filters Review

#5 ICEPURE PRO Refrigerator Filters

ICEPURE PRO Refrigerator Filters

ICEPURE PRO Refrigerator Filters

  •  Most Affordable Generic Refrigerator Filter in Our Top 5 
  • Filter Life: 200 gallons (6 months)
  • Filter Media: Coconut Shell Activated Carbon
  • Flow Rate: .5 gpm
  • Pressure: 20 – 100 psi
  • Highlights: WQA Certified to Meet NSF Standards 42, 53, 372 Leak-Free Perfect Fit Remove 99.6% of Lead and 90.2% of Mercury | 6-Month Return Policy 99% Chlorine Reduction
  • Recommended Reading: Our ICEPURE Water Filter Review

Kenmore Refrigerator Water Filter Buyer’s Guide

In this section, we explain in greater detail how to choose the best water filter for your Kenmore refrigerator. By the end of our guide, you’ll know for sure whether to stick with OEM or go generic.

NSF/ANSI Standards

When choosing a replacement water filter for your Kenmore refrigerator, be sure to check for authentic NSF International and/or Water Quality Association (WQA) certifications. The generic brands above have all been certified by NSF International and/or the WQA.

These are the two most trustworthy organizations that certify water filtration products to NSF/ANSI Standards. The most common NSF Standards are NSF 42 for chlorine reduction (taste & odor) and NSF 53 for lead reduction.

Be sure to look for 42 and 53 when choosing a filter. All of the filters in our Top 5 are certified to these Standards.

Activated Carbon Filter Media

For the most part, all refrigerator water filters use activated carbon derived from coconut shells. Since refrigerator water filters are single-media filters, we have no problem with choosing generic or aftermarket filters in this case.

The more complicated part for the generic brands is matching the aftermarket filter housing to the OEM housing to prevent leaks. The key takeaway is that there’s nothing special about what’s inside a standard refrigerator filter.

Activated carbon is the same media used in Brita water filters and most common water filters on the market. As long as the activated carbon is certified to NSF Standards by NSF International or the WQA, it’s good to go.

How to Choose the Correct Filter for Your Kenmore Refrigerator

Matching your fridge model number to the correct filter model number is where we recommend paying close attention to detail. If you don’t already know your refrigerator model number, there are several places to check for it.

We previously explained how to do it, click here to jump to the instructions.

Once you have your fridge model number, there’s a place on the Amazon product page that says “make sure this fits.” The font is small, so we recommend looking near the beginning of the filter product description or searching “make sure this fits.”

After clicking the link, you’ll be able to enter your refrigerator model number.

A Second Option

A second option is to remove your current filter to check the model number. If you take this route, we highly recommend that you pay close attention to how the filter is seated inside your refrigerator before removing it.

We say this because you want to place the new filter in exactly the same position to avoid any leaks. The reason we recommend this as a second option is that it’s better to remove the old filter and replace it with the new one at the same time since the positioning of the original filter is fresh in your mind.

Kenmore OEM Refrigerator Water Filters vs Generic

We trust the three generic water filter brands included in our Top 5 and wouldn’t recommend them if we didn’t. The greatest advantage of choosing generic over OEM is the significant cost savings.

However, at the same time, most refrigerator water filters last up to 6 months. Depending on how much you use the filter, the cost savings might not matter much to you.

The Kenmore Elite and Kenmoreclear! filters that we linked to in our Top 5 Chart are OEM and cheaper than you’ll find most elsewhere.

All of these filters are certified to meet or exceed NSF/ANSI Standards 42 and 53. We reviewed ICEPURE, Waterdrop, and Aquacrest previously, and there are hundreds of positive reviews for each of their refrigerator filters with minimal one-star reviews.

For example, Click Here to read current reviews for an ICEPURE filter at Amazon.

Conclusion
You can’t go wrong with OEM or generic. The hardest part is matching your fridge to the correct filter, and we explained the best way to do that in the previous section.

Bottom Line

Now you know the 5 best water filters for Kenmore refrigerators and how to choose them. Remember, Kenmore refrigerator filters are activated carbon filters, the same as what you’ll find in the generic brands.

We put in the work to investigate each of the brands recommended in this article and provided direct links to the Kenmore filters in our chart. Which will you choose: OEM or generic?

Share your experience in the comments section below!

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