What’s the difference between an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) filter and an aftermarket filter? This is a question our customer service representatives hear quite a bit. Never fear, DiscountFilters.com is here to tell you all you ever wanted to know about OEM and aftermarket filters.
What are OEM Fridge Filters?
An OEM filter is one made and sold by the same manufacturer as the original piece of equipment. These are the exact models of refrigerator filters found in the original equipment at the time of purchase. Some individuals also refer to OEM as factory original. Aftermarket products are those that are not created by the same manufacturer, but are made to fit and perform just as well as the original. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Price is the most noticeable difference between OEM and aftermarket options in most instances. Traditionally OEM parts are around 60% more expensive than aftermarket parts. The reason behind this price difference is OEM filters come to market through the appliance parts supply chain and the number of parties in that chain tends to drive up the price. In simpler terms: manufacturer sells to distributor, distributor marks up to retailer, then retailer marks up to consumer. All of the “middlemen” must make money on the item, which naturally increases the price for customers. Aftermarket parts often come with a wide price range due to the number of brands and options.
Depending on the type of refrigerator water filter, OEM and aftermarket filters may differ in gallon capacity, PSI range, price and some certifications.
- Gallon capacity measures how many gallons the fridge filter can clean before it needs to be changed. It can vary depending on brand and filter. When considering between an OEM and aftermarket filter, compare the gallon capacity to determine which filter may last longer when the price difference is close.
- PSI range measures the force at which water flows through your water pipes. PSI stands for pounds (of pressure) per square inch. Your refrigerator’s water system functions within a specific PSI range. The water filter’s PSI range must be compatible with refrigerator’s range. Check your owner’s manual for the water pressure or PSI range. It can vary between models and even between OEM and aftermarket filters.
- Price differences between OEM and aftermarket fridge filters are common. Typically, the aftermarket filter made by a third-party manufacturer costs less.
- NSF International tested and certified means a water filter has been tested by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) International for the reduction of various water contaminants. These may include – but are not limited to – chlorine, lead, microorganisms, turbidity and chemicals. Often OEM filters are certified against Standard 42 for the reduction of chlorine and Standard 53 for the reduction of lead, turbidity, cysts (microorganisms) and chemicals. Aftermarket filters also undergo testing, but not all may be certified by NSF International.
OEM and aftermarket water filters typically share the same temperature range, water flow rate and capabilities for reducing contaminants from water.
- Temperature range is simply the range of water temperature for the filter’s best performance.
- Water flow rate is the amount of time it takes the water to move through the refrigerator’s system and then dispense into your glass. A water flow rate of 0.5 gallons per minute means the system can dispense one-half gallon of water within one minute.
- Contaminant reduction is a job all fridge filters, either OEM or aftermarket, perform. Even a filter that isn’t certified will reduce impurities.
OEM and aftermarket air filters are don’t have as many differences as the water filter counterparts, but there are still some you should be aware of:
- Price-the major difference between OEM and aftermarket air filters is the price. OEM will usually cost more because you are getting the brand name.
- Material-The OEM and aftermarket will look almost identical to you, but the material may differ slightly due to patents or availability.
- Brand name-The aftermarket filters will not carry the brand name that your original filter probably had. Many people think they have to buy the exact brand filter each time, but as long as it is the right size and type, it will perform as well as the OEM model.
The OEM and aftermarket air filters typically carry a lot of similarities, for example:
- Contaminant reduction-each filter is designed to filter out the containments in the air. The actual amount the will be reduced is based on the MERV rating.
- MERV Rating-Both OEM and aftermarket filters are given a MERV rating. The rating is based on the filtration level of the filter and can range from 1-16. It is best to decide what filter you want based on the MERV rating and not whether it is OEM or aftermarket.
DiscountFilters.com offers numerous filter sizes and types to best fit your home or business’s filtration needs. We have an array of both OEM and aftermarket air filters – a selection guaranteed to fit every buyer’s needs.