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RPWF vs RPWFE Water Filters: What’s the Difference?

General Electric refrigerators

General Electric refrigerators feature an excellent water filtration system with replaceable filters. The older models used an RPWF filter, but the newer ones use an RPWFE filter instead. What are the benefits of these filters, and is there a reason to use the more expensive RPWFE filter instead of the older RPWF? Are they even interchangeable? And why does the RPWFE cost so much more? In this article, we’re going to answer all of these questions as we dissect the differences between these two filters and determine whether you really need to spend the extra money on the RPWFE.

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What Do These Filters Do?

Many refrigerators from all sorts of different brands include water filtration systems built-in. So, what makes the RPWF and RPWFE filters different or special? Well, they remove many different chemicals from your water such as Fluoxetine, Trimethoprim, Progesterone, and Ibuprofen, which can sometimes be found in trace amounts in tap water. It can also remove cysts, lead, pesticides, and other chemicals, so it’s great for those on well water. These filters have a multi-stage system that allows them to remove so many different substances from your water.

RPWFE filters

Filtration Differences

RPWF is the older style filter for GE fridges. Released in 2017, the RPWFE filter features some upgrades from the RPWF models. Not all of the changes are directly related to its filtering abilities, but there were some definite improvements in the number of contaminants that the RPWFE filter will remove. These newer filters will remove pharmaceuticals and VOCs including Naproxen, DEET, Chloramines and many others. RPWFE filter systems are the only ones verified to reduce these harmful chemicals, which makes them one of the top choices today.


With the newer RPWFE filters becoming available in 2017, the RPWF filters should be on their way out. Unfortunately, the newer filters cost considerably more, which leaves many people wondering if the extra cost is worth the benefits. For newer GE fridge owners, you won’t get much choice. Refrigerators that are meant to use the RPWFE filters will not be compatible with the older style filters. On the other hand, the RPWFE filters are backward compatible. This means you can use a newer filter on an older fridge, just not vice versa. Of course, since they’re so much more expensive, you may not want to spend the extra money on a newer RPWFE filter if your fridge doesn’t require one.


We’ve already discussed the improvements in filtration with the newer RPWFE filters, but that’s not the only difference. These newer filters include an RFID chip. RFID stands for radio frequency identification, and it allows your filter to essentially “talk” to the fridge, exchanging important information such as filter life. Moreover, it’s intended to alert you of any leaks in the system so you’ll know immediately. This little chip is what prevents the older style RPFW filters from working in a newer GE refrigerator. If your fridge is designed to work with the RFID chip, it won’t register a non-RFID filter when it’s replaced. However, older fridges don’t need the RFID chip, which is why the RWFPE filters are backward compatible. The chip won’t interfere with its function in an older fridge, so it’s essentially an expensive extra feature that you won’t be using.

glass of water
Image Credit: Pixabay

Hacking Your GE Fridge

Since RWFPE filters are several times the cost of the older RWFP filters without too many noteworthy differences, it makes sense to want to save money by using the older style filter even if you have a newer GE fridge. Even though they’re not technically compatible, there is a way that you can use the older style filters. The RFID chip that’s featured on the RWFPE filters is actually a sticker, which means it can be removed. By placing the RFID chip from a newer RWFPE filter onto your fridge in the right place, you can get it to pick up an RWFPE filter. There is a drawback though. Since it’s the same RFID chip that your fridge has already used, it won’t register as a new filter. This means that the “change filter” warning light will remain on even though the filter is brand new. If you can deal with this minor annoyance, then this little hack can save you quite a bit on new filters.

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Once you identify the price difference between the RWFP and RWFPE filters, you’ll probably be wondering if that extra letter is worth the extra cost. If you have a newer GE fridge, you may not have a choice but to go with the more expensive RWFPE filter, unless you want to hack your fridge and deal with the filter indicator light remaining lit. For older GE fridges, the newer GWFPE filters are backward compatible, but you’ll be paying a lot more for an RFID chip that you won’t be using. Besides this one difference, the RWFPE filters remove a few more contaminants than the older style RWFP filters, but you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the price tradeoff.

Featured Image Credit: Alex Qian, Pexels


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