Considering how vital clean H2O is to one’s health, you must ensure you always have access to clean drinking water. While 90% of Americans drink straight from the tap, it is potentially unsafe. Tap water can be a source of harmful contaminants such as mercury, lead, and arsenic.
Using cooler dispensers are a great way to avoid drinking liquids that can be harmful to your overall health. Getting the best water cooler dispenser guarantees you stay hydrated and drink fluids free of any contaminants.
Your choice can depend on the space you have and if you want both cold and hot water. Here, we review the best water cooler dispensers you can set up in your home, office, or store.
What’s the Difference Between Water Dispensers and Water Coolers?
Before diving in, let’s discuss the difference between a water dispenser and a water cooler.
Dispensers are any contrivance that dispenses the liquid from an outlet. Your garden tap, bathroom fixtures, and faucets are all dispensers. If you have a pitcher with a filter installed, that can also be a dispenser.
Simply put, the best water dispenser is an appliance that stores H2O. Any power source doesn’t operate these units; all you need to do is turn the faucet.
On the other hand, you can’t operate a cooler without some source of power. The power function limits the areas where you can place your appliance.
A water cooler can also dispense hot and cold water – it has a tank and a boiling element for heating and another tank for cooling. These gadgets are available to the general public as water coolers.
Types of Water Cooler Dispensers
When looking to buy a water cooler dispenser, you’ll find there are various types. Your choice will likely depend on where and how you want to use it, as each type has its pros and cons.
#1. The Point-of-Use
The point-of-use (POU) dispenser is one of the most expensive coolers on the market. It’s a bottle-less water cooler that needs to connect directly to a water line and a power source. It also has high-tech features, such as ultraviolet light filtration. If you get one, you should plan to change the filters every six months.
If you are looking to install a filtration system for the whole house, the POU is the best fit for such large-scale treatment needs. With POU style, you don’t need to bother about ordering bottles.
#2. The Bottom-Load
The bottom-load water dispenser is one of the most widely used cooler units. The storage is at the bottom of the appliance, making it very easy to use. All you need to do is put the bottle inside the dispenser’s compartment, reducing the chance of spillage.
A miniature pump takes the fluid through the filter and tap. The bottom-load water cooler also has features, such as ozone injections, that help with filtration and sanitizing the unit.
#3. The Top-Load
A top-load water dispenser requires you to carry the bottle, turn it upside down and install it on top of the water cooler dispenser. The bottle is in plain sight, which doesn’t make for an aesthetically pleasing view. The design is why some individuals don’t like purchasing a top-loading water cooler.
However, unlike the initial two water dispensers, a top-loading water dispenser is affordable and easy to use. Once you can get over lifting the bottle, you should be fine.
#4. The Countertop
A countertop water cooler dispenser is an excellent choice if you don’t have space in your kitchen or home. Getting such water cooler dispensers enables you to enjoy the benefits of filtered clean H2O without taking up space.
While they aren’t as stylish as a bottom-loading water dispenser, it’s still a great choice. You can either get these appliances as a POU bottle-less water cooler or a top-loading water dispenser. The POU models usually have inline filters and are some of the best countertop water dispensers you’ll find.
What Is the Best Countertop Water Dispenser?
A quick note about countertop dispensers. The bottom-loading type is a standalone design, meaning you would set them up on the floor in your kitchen, office, or commercial retail space.
If you want a countertop model, you’re better off searching for a specifically labeled countertop or top-loading.
Is It Worth Getting a Water Cooler Dispenser?
Investing in a water cooler dispenser unit can seem an unnecessarily expensive decision, especially if you doled out the cash on a POU. However, the benefits of buying a top-quality unit are unmatched. It doesn’t matter if you are buying a countertop dispenser or the costly point-of-use type.
Is it worth getting a dispenser for your home, office, or shop? Absolutely.
Here are four compelling benefits of investing in a cooler:
#1. Great-Tasting H2O
Some individuals don’t drink enough H2O because they don’t like the taste of tap water. No matter how tasteless your utility company claims it is, you’ll likely have traces of metals and chemicals from the pipes and utility source.
A cooler can filter these unwanted components, ensuring clean, tasteless H2O.
#2. It Keeps You Hydrated and Healthy
Water dispensers act as daily reminders that you need to stay hydrated. Sometimes, when we feel hungry, it’s usually thirst that’s simulating the hunger pangs.
Investing in a cooler ensures you can easily reach for the dispenser for a glass of H2O, keeping you hydrated all day. Regular hydration helps with weight loss and keeps your skin fresh.
#3. It’s Accessible for Everyone
A water dispenser means hydration is within reach for everyone.
Sometimes, young children or older adults might struggle getting the hydration they need. They might find lifting a heavy pitcher is too much, or they might not be able to reach the tap.
In some situations, it’s also a matter of safety. If a person turns on the tap all the way to the highest temperature, it could burn them.
A dispenser reduces these concerns. Most appliances have a button or a simple faucet-style handle. Plus, the best coolers also have safety locks to prevent scalding.
With a dispenser, everyone can use the appliance with ease and safety.
#4. Better Tasting Meals
By eliminating any contaminants and chemicals that alter the taste in your H2O before cooking, you can savor the natural flavors of your meals.
While it’s a popular notion that boiling removes any contaminant, it might take more than elevating the temperature to eliminate chlorine and heavy metals.
Which Water Dispenser Is Best? Best Water Dispenser Reviews
We reviewed dozens of products to find the best water coolers out there. Let’s dive into it:
#1. The hOmeLabs 3 or 5 Gallon Hot, Cold Bottom Loading Water Dispenser
The hOmeLabs bottom loading dispenser is the first and best water cooler on our list. Asides from the excellent manufacturing quality and two-year warranty, its bottom loader has a superior design and is easy to use for anyone.
Its bottom loading feature makes it easy to refill. You don’t need to bother about lifting or flipping the water bottle. It’s compatible with 3 to 5-gallon bottles, which you’ll have to buy yourself.
The device serves hot and cold water with ease. The hot water tap also has a child lock on the hot water tap to safe hot water delivery, which is excellent considering how high the temperatures can get.
This item is slightly smaller than other water coolers so that you can snuggle it into almost any space. It looks great in the home, office, or kitchen.
It has the standard features you’ll find in most coolers. These features include:
- Stainless steel body
- A safety lock to protect users
- A control panel with night lights
- A refill alert
- A hot or cold water switch
- A removable drip tray
The hOmeLab cooler is also Energy Star rated and comes with an iron-clad 100% money-back guarantee.
One potential setback is that its small size means you might struggle to fit in the bottles of certain brands due to their design.
However, at its price, the hOmeLab three or five-gallon cooler dispenser is an excellent deal, considering its features and the performance you can get out of it.
- Well constructed and durable
- Provides you with ambient, hot, or cold water
- Child safety lock
- Compatible with 3 or 5-gallon jugs
- Refill reminder
- Energy star rating
- Two-year warranty
- One nozzle
- It can get noisy.
- Some bottle designs might not fit the compartment.
The hOmeLab is the best water cooler for its construction and affordability. Its water temperature feature means you can get room temperature water, hot and cold water, all from one device. It also alerts you once your water bottle is running low.
#2. The Avalon Bottom Loading 1-Water Cooler Dispenser with Child Lock
If you have an unlimited budget, you might want to invest in a top-notch cooler such as the Avalon. The Avalon Bottom Loading machine is the best water dispenser with a self-cleaning function. Asides from that, its design means it could pass for a piece of interior decor in your office or home space.
The Avalon offers you:
- Temperature adjustment for room temperature, hot and cold
- Night light
- A removable drip tray
- A child safety lock on the hot water
- Self-cleaning mechanism
The water temperature adjustment feature is especially appealing on this one. Users can get a refreshing drink or brew a cup of tea with the same appliance. Also, people with sensitive teeth can use the room temperature setting to enjoy their beverages without worry.
The removable drip tray on this model is helpful for quickly cleaning up your dispenser.
The Avalon water dispenser cooler also has the coveted Energy Star ratings. It won’t waste energy and drive up the cost of your utilities.
Also, its bottom loading functionality means that spillage accidents are a thing of the past with this machine. The compartment can take between 3 to 5-gallon water bottles.
- A hot water safety mechanism
- Energy star rating
- Avalon products renowned for excellent customer service
- Low-maintenance with the self-clean function
- It can get noisy after prolonged use.
- Self-cleaning isn’t automatic on an Avalon unit.
The Avalon bottom loading water dispenser is a great buy. It can be pricey, but its features and self-cleaning function are worth the price.
#3. The Limited Edition Brio Hot, Cold Self Cleaning Bottom Loading Water Cooler Dispenser with Child Lock
The Brio bottom loader is one of those water dispensers that balances style and functionality beautifully. The reservoir is stainless steel, ensuring a sleek look.
It’s energy star certified, and its self-cleaning feature allows you to maintain it with ease. All you need to do is tap the ozone self-clean button, and the machine does the rest of the work.
Its top-quality stainless steel gives it a polished and durable look. With the removable drip tray, you don’t have to worry about any dripping as you remove your glass from the tap.
It also has three temperature settings similar to Avalon (piping hot water, cold water, and ambient temperature).
Its night light function also serves you well at night when you don’t want to turn on the lights. It’s perfect for bedroom use and for avoiding the painfully bright kitchen lights.
Other typical features include the two-step child safety lock for hot water and the bottom loading compartment. These two features can come in handy when you have older adults and kids around.
- Sleek and stylishly designed
- Three temperature settings
- Bottom loading makes it easy to replace the water bottles.
- Easy to maintain
- Durable design
- Three taps for ambient, cold, and hot water
- A bit expensive
The Brio bottom loader is a well-designed machine that gives you peace of mind. It’s tranquil, which makes it an excellent fit for homes and offices.
#4. The Primo Bottom Loading Water Cooler Dispenser with Single Serve
If you are looking to get a stainless steel water dispenser that also doubles as a coffee or beverage maker, the Primo bottom loading cooler dispenser is a great pick.
It comes with a single-serve brew function for making great-tasting, piping hot beverages such as tea, chocolate, and coffee.
The machine comes with storage for 20 K-Cup coffee pods and a reusable filter for filtering out your coffee grounds. To brew a cup of great-tasting coffee, press the middle button, and insert your K-Cup into the cup holder that pops out. Press the brew button and enjoy your hot beverage once it finishes.
While it can’t dispense anything at room temperature, it’s hot water is piping hot, and you can also get icy H2O from the Primo bottom loading water cooler dispenser.
Best of all, it’s well constructed, sporting stainless steel tanks for storing cold and hot water. It comes with the typical safety lock on the hot water tap and is Energy Star certified.
- Compatible with K-Cups and coffee pods
- Reusable filter
- Child safety lock
- Stainless steel body and aesthetically pleasing design
- Stainless steel water tank
- Energy Star rating
- No room temperature setting
- Slight delay in brew once you take out the first two cups
The Primo is an excellent choice if you are looking for a dispenser that can perform a dual function, such as brewing your morning cup of beverage. Primo is renowned for well built and durable products.
#5. The Farberware Freestanding Hot, Cold Water Cooler Dispenser
The Farberware FW29919 is an excellent piece of cooling engineering. It delivers both cold water and hot water with ease and has a large water tank, between 3 to 5 gallons. However, you need to buy the containers separately from the dispenser.
The folks at Farberware went ahead to optimize the machine to ensure it uses heat efficiently while cooling or heating. The device’s surface also has thermoelectric cooling, which saves energy and keeps the content at any particular temperature longer than average.
Despite all these features, you will barely hear this machine when it’s in operation.
While this is a top-loading cooler, it has a storage cabinet at the bottom for tucking in your beverages and water bottles. The storage space is large and can be quite handy.
- Comes with a two-year warranty
- Small and can fit almost anywhere
- Lightweight and easy to move around
- Energy Star rated
- Storage not refrigerated
- The reservoir for cold and hot water is relatively small.
- The storage area is also too small.
- The structure doesn’t feel durable.
The Farberware FW29919 is an excellent top loading water cooler. It’s quiet and does its job effectively. Its lightweight structure allows you to carry it around with ease.
#6. The Igloo IWCBL353CRHBKS S Hot, Cold & Room Stainless Steel Water Cooler Dispenser
One synonym for the Igloo IWCBL353CRHBKS steel dispenser should be perfection. This item is one well-built water dispenser.
Its slim, free-standing stainless steel structure can fit in almost every space. It’s perfect for offices, dorm rooms, and homes.
It’s also easy to dispense using the separate taps for cold, hot, and room temperature water. All you need to do is push the button, and you have a full glass of water.
This item offers you the option of connecting directly to your water source, eliminating the need to buy a water bottle or a refill. You also get two inlets for connecting either a three or 5-gallon bottle.
Igloo has installed LED lights that indicate when the water cooler is on, in operation, and alerts you when you need to refill the tank. The switches for turning the hot and cold on/off are behind the water dispenser.
Finally, it comes with adjustable legs that keep the appliance stable and upright. The legs are flexible and durable. You can expect the Igloo water cooler to be around for a while.
- Hot and cold water delivery
- Easy to set up
- Energy Star rated
- A bit pricey
- At its price, it would have been great if it also had a UV light disinfectant feature.
Overall, the Igloo IWCBL353CRHBKS steel dispenser is a great buy. It’s well designed, quiet, and durable. It’s a great deal if you can afford it.
Buying Guide: What to Look for When Buying a Water Cooler Dispenser
It can sometimes be confusing deciding which water cooler dispenser to pick, and that’s okay. Here’s a buying guide with all the things you need to know before making your purchase.
Asides from getting hot or cold water whenever you need it, what other features do you need? Whether you opt for a bottom loading water cooler or a top-loading water cooler, look for features such as:
- Child safety lock
- Night lights
- Room temperature/ambient settings
- UV light disinfectant
- K-Cup function for your beverages
- Self-cleaning mechanism
- Bottle refill alerts
- Is it Energy Star certified
- Cooling fan
Note down your priority features, and use that to narrow down your list of water dispensers.
Will you be using the water dispenser in the home or office?
If it’s going to be in a high traffic area, then the design needs consideration. You don’t want to be staring at an ugly appliance every time you walk into the room.
Some water coolers are well designed and can almost look like a piece of interior decor. They add to the aesthetic of the room.
Here are some design elements to consider:
- What’s the exterior shape?
- Does it have a paddle or push-button?
- Does it have a variety of colors?
- What material is the body? For example, you may want to get a well-polished Primo stainless steel appliance over a lightweight plastic countertop dispenser.
Do you have space in your home or office for a large water cooler dispenser? If you have loads of space, you can explore getting some of the large bottom loading water dispensers.
If space is a constraint, you can get a countertop water dispenser with all your favorite features. The problem is you might have to do some lifting with most countertop dispensers.
As expected, the longer your laundry list of features, the higher the cost of the water cooler dispenser.
You can prioritize your top three or four must-have features in cases where you have a limited budget. That way, you can get a lower-priced appliance without having to pay over the top for it.
If you don’t have any budget constraints, go for it, champ.
#5. Bottle Capacity
This one is often a personal choice as each household will have different consumption rates. Usually, it’s best to pick a dispenser with a large capacity, so you don’t have to change the water bottle often, especially if it’s one of the widely used top-loading dispensers.
If the dispenser is for the office, then you must buy a unit with sufficient capacity. Disregarding that could result in the office inevitably running out of water when you least expect it or need it most.
You also shouldn’t get a dispenser with a gallon size way more significant than what you need unless you expect the number of people who use it to increase over time. You’ll expend extra energy bills cooling the unit over and over again.
No matter what type of unit you choose, the best dispensers should have a durable construction. They must be stable and be able to withstand regular use.
Most users usually prefer stainless steel units as they are robust appliances. You can also check for product reviews to see what other customers have to say about a particular unit.
Safety is critical, especially where you have to deal with hot water. Most units have a child lock feature to prevent your little ones from randomly pushing the hot water paddle and getting scalded.
Children usually want to play with these units due to their night light features, and the child lock feature ensures they won’t get hurt fiddling with the appliance.
#8. Ease of Use
Your unit must be easy to use. You shouldn’t need to read a 10-page manual before figuring out how to turn on the hot water and cold water temperatures.
An elaborate dispenser will probably be challenging to maintain or refill when you need to change the water bottles. It can also present difficulties for children or older adults if the appliance is too complicated.
The set-up is another aspect of the ease of use. Ensure you check the reviews to see if other users have had issues setting your preferred model up in their homes or offices.
While cooling or heating, most cooler units will be a bit noisy. Some are noisier than others. If it’s an office water cooler, you want one that emits low noise decibels. You don’t want it to disrupt work or meetings or overwhelm clients or patients in the waiting area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions shoppers like you ask when looking to get an excellent dispenser unit:
#1. How do bottom-loading dispensers work?
This model of dispensers works by inserting the jug into the bottom of the unit.
On a more technical level, the bottom loading model has a probe assembly feature, which is inside the unit’s casing. The probe assembly connects your bottle to the pump. The pump takes liquid via the probe device to the stainless steel hot and cold water tanks.
To keep the probe device clean, the manufacturers include a hanger, ensuring you don’t disrupt or stain the probe while switching bottles. The pump is vital to how efficiently your bottom loading dispenser works.
#2. How to clean a dispenser?
Keeping your unit clean is essential. If you don’t, you could discover a metallic or plastic taste in some instances. You also run the risk of bacteria buildup.
To keep your filtered water tasting great and healthy, here is how you clean your unit:
- Unplug the dispenser from the mains.
- Remove the water bottle (preferably, it should be empty before you clean the unit).
- Remove the lid off the reservoir and pour in a cup of vinegar and three cups of piping hot water.
- Allow it to stand for ten minutes. While that’s happening, you should clean the unit’s exterior with a clean, soft cloth. If it’s stainless steel exterior, you should make sure the fabric is dry.
- Drain the reservoir using your hot and cold water taps.
- Pour water into the reservoir and rinse it by draining it through the taps. Repeat this process thrice.
- You should then clean the interior of the tanks with a clean, soft cloth.
- Rinse one more time.
It’s best to clean your dispenser unit at least twice annually. Some manufacturers might have specific guidelines for cleaning their models. Ensure you read the manual to see if they have any guidelines published.
#3. Does a dispenser unit act as a filter?
Everyone wants to know if they’ll get filtered water from their dispenser unit. The right answer is it depends on the product you purchase.
Some products and types come with a filter unit, while some don’t. If you need filtered water, you could buy a filtration unit and connect it to your dispenser.
Most POU models allow you to connect directly to your H2O source and affix a filter at the connection point. Some countertop water cooler dispenser models give you this option to connect to the main source and add a filtration set to your set-up.
At this point, you are probably clear about what cooler unit you’ll be purchasing from our reviews of these six incredible appliances.
To summarize, getting a cooler dispenser unit depends on a variety of factors. What are your top three or four must-have features? Do you care if it’s only a hot and cold water dispenser or you need it also to give you room temperature options? Do you want a built-in ice maker or coffee maker? Must it have a child lock feature?
You also need to consider the space you have and if you’ll be using it at home or the office. Finally, and probably the most important, what’s your budget? There are various models to choose from, such as the Avalon A5 or the Primo stainless steel unit? Does it have a drip tray?
Are you looking for bottom-loading coolers? OR do you not mind lifting the water bottle on a top-loading countertop water cooler?
Once you have a definite answer to all these questions, you shouldn’t find it difficult settling on one of the best water coolers that’ll suit your budget.
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