Do Fridge Freezers With Water Dispensers Need Plumbing In?

The other day, I was having a conversation with a customer about American fridge freezers. They told me they wanted one but couldn’t because they weren’t able to plumb it in. When I told them that this wasn’t necessarily the case, it changed their whole design.

Afterwards, it got me thinking that many people may be asking the question, Do fridge freezers with water dispensers need plumbing in?

Do Fridge Freezers With Water Dispensers Need Plumbing In?

Fridge freezers with water dispensers may or may not need plumbing in. There are two types of appliances available on the market. This gives you choice and freedom with your kitchen layout.

I think many people assume that you can only have a water dispenser on a fridge freezer if it is plumbed into the water supply. While this is arguably the more common option, it’s not the only answer.

So if you’re in the same situation as my customers, don’t think an American fridge freezer with water dispenser isn’t an option for you.

The other option is to have a refillable water tank connected to a dispenser that lives in the fridge freezer. This means you can have your fridge freezer with water dispenser even if you’re unable to have it plumbed in.

It also means that you can position it anywhere in the room. This gives you more creative freedom when designing your kitchen layout because it means you don’t have to place it next to your water supply. It could be on a different kitchen wall, or even by itself on the other side of the room.

Fridge freezer with water dispenser

How Does The Water Dispenser On A Non-Plumbed Fridge Freezer Work?

With a non-plumbed fridge freezer, the water dispenses from a storage tank inside the fridge itself. The storage or water tank usually lives on the inside of the fridge door above the dispenser.

It is also sometimes located in the fridge to one side on a shelf. The water tank holds approximately 4 litres, but this varies slightly depending on the make and model.

To fill the tank (which is usually fixed in place), simply pour water into it. If you want chilled water, it’s best to give it time to cool down a little inside the fridge before you use the dispenser.

That’s all there is to it. It’s quite a simple and quick way to get chilled water dispensed from your fridge freezer without the need to have it plumbed in.


  • Simple to use
  • No plumbing required (less setup cost)
  • Freedom to place anywhere in the room
  • More kitchen design/layout flexibility
  • No external water filter needed


  • Manual filling (will run out if you forget to keep it filled)
  • Water is quite slow when being dispensed
  • Water tank takes up storage space
  • Need to clean the water tank occasionally

How Does The Water Dispenser On A Plumbed Fridge Freezer Work?

The plumbed-in version works a little differently and may need to be installed by a professional.

You will need to have a water supply nearby which you can T-off to create a separate water supply just for the fridge freezer. From this, you connect a small tube that goes from the main water supply to an inline water filter.

You then connect another tube from the water filter to the back of the fridge freezer where there will be a special connection for the tube.

Once everything is connected up it will allow you to have an endless supply of water to your fridge. This gives you chilled, and importantly filtered, water on tap.

Every time you dispense water, it will draw new water up the tubes and through the filter to your fridge and replace the water used. So it never runs out and you don’t need to keep refilling a water tank.


  • Unlimited water (no manual filling)
  • Water is filtered
  • Water dispenses quicker
  • No water tank inside the fridge to clean


  • May need professional installation (cost)
  • Filters need replacing (cost)
  • Has to be located near a water supply

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The Best American Fridge Freezers With Water Dispensers

Top tip: When installing the filter for your fridge freezer water dispenser, make sure it is accessible in the future. You will need access to it if anything goes wrong and when you need to replace it.

Don’t just push it behind the fridge. You may forget it needs replacing and it then becomes a pain to pull the fridge out to get to it. A good place is in a cabinet close by or in your sink cupboard.


Do Fridge Freezers With Water Dispensers Need Filters?

If you have a fridge freezer that is plumbed in, then yes you will need a water filter for this type of fridge freezer.

However, if you have a fridge freezer that is non-plumbed, then you will not need a water filter. I would, however, recommend using filtered water to fill the water tank inside the fridge.

You will also need to clean the water tank from time to time. The tank can be dismantled and removed from inside the fridge to make cleaning easier.

What Are The Filters For A Plumbed Fridge Freezer?

The filters you will need for a plumbed fridge freezer are most commonly called inline water filters (sometimes fridge water filters or fridge filter cartridges). They look like a white plastic tube with nozzles on either end.

The mains water comes in one end and is then pushed through the filter.

The other end goes to your fridge and supplies it with the filtered water ready to be cooled and dispensed by the fridge.

Because there is a specific flow direction from mains water to filtered water, the filters have arrows on them showing you which way to connect them.

Make sure you look at the arrows and connect it the correct way; otherwise the filtering process won’t work.

Top tip: When first connecting or fitting a new filter, always run the water through to clear out anything in the filter or tubes. A few litres (about 10 cups) is usually good to clear anything out. Do not drink this water.

How Much Do Fridge Water Filters Cost And How Often Should You Replace Them?

The filters will vary quite a bit in cost depending on the brand and where you buy them. They usually range anywhere from £5 – £30. You can often save money by buying them in multipacks.

For most fridges, you don’t need to buy the exact same branded water filter. There are many different filter brands out there that will work the same and will often cost less. Just make sure they say they are suitable for your appliance. Most are universal but always check.

The filters usually need to be replaced every 6 months. However, if you use the water dispenser a lot you may need to replace them slightly sooner.

Each filter should say how long it will last in terms of both time and litres/gallons filtered.

As a general rule, I would change them every 6 months. This is precisely why you should make sure they are installed in an easy accessible area of your kitchen. I recommend the sink cupboard.

What Are The Best Fridge Freezers With Water Dispensers?

There are many great options on the market for fridge freezers with water dispensers.

I have made a list of my tops picks that hopefully cover everyone’s budget. If you’d like to see my favourites have a read of my post: ‘The Best American Fridge Freezers with Water Dispensers’.



Michael from

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.