A water cooler dispenser gives you instant access to hot and cold drinking water at all times. No more pitchers crowding your refrigerator because you like a refreshing beverage on a hot summer day. No more standing around waiting for the kettle if you want to enjoy a warming cup of tea.
And although dispensers are most often found in offices, they are becoming increasingly popular for private homes.
They are a great solution if you prefer bottled over tap water, but at the same time don’t want to bother with carrying water bottles all day long. Plus they encourage us to drink more throughout the day and stay properly hydrated.
The only problem is, how to find the perfect water cooler dispenser for your home? Don’t worry, this buying guide will help you out!
On This Page You Will…
|Model||Our Rating||Price||Type||Water Temp.||Self Cleaning|
Top Rated Whirlpool Bottom Load
|$$$||Bottom Load||Cold: 40 °F|
Hot: 190 °F
Avalon Bottom Loading Water Cooler Dispenser
|$$||Bottom Load||Cold: 47 °F|
Hot: 180 °F
Avalon Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser
|$$$||Bottleless||Cold: 47 °F|
Hot: 185 °F
Best Water Dispenser for Countertops: Nutrichef
|$||Top Load||Cold: 45 °F|
Hot: 175 °F
Best Budget Water Dispenser: Giantex Electric Primo
|$||Top Load||Cold: 47 °F|
Hot: 195 °F
Water coolers and water dispensers are actually two different things. A simple dispenser doesn’t cool water. But since most people use the terms synonymously, we will not make a distinction between them.
To get the best value for money when buying a water cooler dispenser, consider this:
Order of Reviews
Whirlpool Bottom Load
Are you looking for the best water cooler and dispenser that money can buy? Look no further, because this self cleaning unit by Whirlpool is the real deal!
The dispenser uses oxygen to kill bacteria and viruses that may be lurking in your water, meaning that it’s safe(r) to drink and you have to do less cleaning yourself.
What’s more, the product features a bottom loading design – a real advantage for everyone that would otherwise need a strong helper to lift the 3 to 5-gallon water jugs.
LED indicators let you know when the system is in self-cleaning mode and when the cold and hot water have the right temperature.
Speaking of, the cold water is indeed as cold as one would expect. The same applies to the hot water which can be used for tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Yummy!
Also, the hot water spout comes with a built-in safety lock. In order to dispense water from it, you’ll have to hold down a second button. It’s the simplest measure to avoid accidents for families with small kids.
What else is there to say?
Yes, this water cooler dispenser has some minor flaws. First of all, the hot/cold water insulation could do with some improvement for higher energy efficiency. Secondly, the cooler doesn’t use spouts but simple holes. This works fine if you want to fill a glass or a mug. Filling a bottle is more difficult. Lastly, a handful of customers have reported incidents where they noticed a slight plastic taste.
Although the Whirlpool Bottom Load Water Cooler is a tad more expensive than most of its competitors, we really like what we see and appreciate the superb customer service. The unit has earned hundreds of excellent user ratings on Amazon over the years.
In our opinion, it’s the best water dispenser for home and commercial use currently on the market, so make sure to check it out!
Avalon Bottom Loading Water Cooler Dispenser
The Avalon Bottom Loading Water Cooler Dispenser is another one of our favorites! Because it’s bottom loading, you don’t have to do any heavy lifting when replacing the water bottle and spilling is reduced to a bare minimum.
Also, the Avalon provides three different water temperatures for you to choose from: Cold without the need for adding ice cubes, room temperature, and hot suited for brewing coffee or tea.
Thanks to its slim design and the stainless steel cabinet, the system will not only fit into your home or office with ease, it’ll also look classy.
A clever add-on is the built-in nightlight that illuminates the spouts in the dark – no need to switch on the lights. What’s more, an indicator LED will tell you when it’s time to replace an empty water bottle. One less thing to worry about.
We also wanted to mentioned that this product is Energy Star approved, which means that it’s highly energy efficiency and therefore helps you to save money and also protect the climate.
Hot water safety lock? Yep. No need to worry about your kids dispensing any hot water from the unit!
By the way, a switch in the back allows you to turn off the heater if you don’t need it. More money saved.
The unit is not self-cleaning, so you will have to do all the cleaning yourself. If you don’t, the water will start to taste funny after a while.
And although it’s a matter of opinion, the compressor might turn out to be too loud for your liking.
We definitely like the Avalon water cooler for its beautiful design and the fact that it’s bottom loading and energy efficient. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Avalon Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser
We’ve got another Avalon dispenser for you, but this one is something special: It’s bottleless…
Yes, you heard right! This self cleaning water cooler dispenser by Avalon doesn’t rely on bottles. So basically you get the convenience of using a water cooler, but without the hassle of having to change jugs anymore.
How is that even possible? It’s pretty simple: The unit directly connects to your existing cold water line. Don’t worry, the setup is easy and an installation kit with everything you need is part of the package.
Now you might be thinking, But what about water quality? Good question. A sediment filter and a carbon block filter, both NSF-certified, remove common contaminants including chlorine and bacteria. All that is left for you to do is replace the filters whenever the indicator light says so (about every 6 months).
Another advantage of this bottleless water cooler is the self-cleaning function that prevents the accumulation of harmful pathogens in the tanks.
What’s more, we have a built-in nightlight making the spouts clearly visible in the dark and the mandatory child safety lock on the hot water spigot. Did we mention the classy looking stainless steel body? It’s a real eye-catcher.
What we don’t like is that for some users the machine just stopped working or was shipped without filters. Others had to struggle with leaking tanks. Luckily, there is a built-in leak detector that monitors water flow and prevents flooding.
This unit is one of the best selling hot and cold drinking water dispensers right now. We love the fact that it’s bottleless which makes it so much more convenient to use. Our only complaint is that within this price range we expect flawless operations. Overall, it’s a thumbs up!
Best Water Dispenser for Countertops: Nutrichef
What makes the Nutrichef PKTWC10SL water dispenser special is that you can place it on your kitchen countertop or a desk. It fits in almost any corner and is a real space saver ideal for smaller offices and apartments. Dimensions: 13″ x 13.2″ x 22.1″
As always, you can choose between dispensing cold and hot water and the unit is compatible with 3 and 5-gallon jugs.
Other advantages are:
Although the product description says 40 – 45 °F for cold water, numerous customers claimed that the water is cool rather than cold.
If we had to crown the best countertop water cooler this would be it. Nutrichef offers a solid product at a fair price.
Best Budget Water Dispenser: Giantex Electric Primo
The Giantex is one of the most affordable water coolers/dispensers out there. And the good news is, the unit proves that a low price tag does not automatically entail low quality. Time to find out more!
If we had to describe the looks of the Giantex Electric Primo in one word it would be neutral. It fits in more or less all office and home environments.
The storage cabinet for disposable plastic cups and the low noise compressor are two more reasons why this dispenser might be the perfect choice for you.
If you have kids, the user-friendly security lock on the hot water tap helps to prevent accidental burns, while the barrel seat on top is detachable for easy cleaning.
LED lights indicate when the hot and cold water have the perfect temperature. But be careful, the hot water is REALLY hot. Seriously, you can use it to make soup!
There have been various complains about the Giantex Electric Primo: Leaking tubes, the cold water not being cold enough, and complete system breakdowns.
Another downside is the missing space to comfortably place a cup or glass below the spouts (watch out!).
With the Electric Primo, Giantex puts a water cooler dispenser at our disposal that could be of interest for people on a tight budget. On the one hand, we have the sober design and a handful of cool features for ease of use. On the other hand, we have various issues that users had to deal with in the past. All in all, we believe the price-performance ratio to be acceptable. Just don’t expect anything fancy!
Primo Porcelain Water Dispenser with Mini Stand
We thought, why not include a non-electric ceramic water dispenser in our buying guide? One that comes with a small stand to place on your countertop.
First things first, the Primo porcelain crock dispenser provides room temperature water only. So if you are looking for an electric unit to cool your water, this is not it. The upside is that you can place the dispenser anywhere you want, even outside.
That being said, the crock supports both 3 and 5-gallon water jugs (a 1-gallon bottle will fall in).
It uses a push tab that nicely blends with the overall classic design. The ceramic body is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
As mentioned above, the package also features a wooden stand which elevates the dispenser so that you can fill tall glasses and other containers with ease.
Above that, coupons for Primo water are included. They are redeemable at thousands of retail locations nationwide.
FYI: You don’t have to use Primo refills.
The biggest issue with the Primo porcelain water dispenser is leaking – leaking from the spout, from the gasket, or where the bottle connects with the dispenser.
One customer even had the impression that the porcelain itself is not properly sealed.
To prevent water from flooding your home, check the gaskets on the inside and outside. Can you see any cracks? How about the spigot? It might also help to remove the gaskets and retighten them. If it’s still leaking, pay a visit to the local hardware store and get replacements.
We also read complains from reviewers having received Primo water coupons that had already expired. Others said their crock was cracked on arrival.
And finally, in some cases the ceramic has a chemical smell to it. So make sure to clean it thoroughly before first use.
All in all, the majority of customers are satisfied with their purchase – there is not much that can go wrong, really. The price seems reasonable for the quality provided. 3.5 stars!
As an alternative to the Primo, this porcelain water dispenser crock comes in many different, beautiful colors and is certified lead-free.
Other than that, the only difference is the chrome-plated BPA-free plastic faucet instead of a white one, plus the crock supports bottles up to 6 gallons.
Costway 2-in-1 Water Dispenser with Built-In Ice Maker
What sets the Costway freestanding water cooler dispenser apart is that it’s a 2-in-1 system:
By the way, the cool water capacity is roughly 1 gallon per hour. The capacity for hot water is a little bit more, about 1.3 gal.
The ice storage can hold 4 lbs which is enough to make cocktails for you and your friends, and there is a neat little ice scoop as part of the delivery.
Also, the water barrel seat and drip tray are detachable for easy cleaning. Child safety lock on hot water spout? Check!
Did we mention that this is a top loader?
One person said the hot water is not quite hot enough for tea. Another said the hot water is perfect, but the cold isn’t as cold as expected.
One thing is for certain, the ice is not solid frozen and the storage cannot keep the temperature below the melting point. So you basically have to scoop out the ice and put it in your freezer.
Sadly, this won’t help with the humming noise… or the high price tag.
A solid 4 stars for a solid product with good customer support.
Primo hTRIO Water Dispenser Compatible with K-Cups®
Yep, this hot and cold water dispenser is compatible with K-cups®.
In other words, all you need to do is insert a pod into the drawer of the built-in K-cup® machine – you can also use the included reusable coffee filter with your own coffee grounds – slide the drawer back in, and press one of the serving size buttons: 6, 8 or 10 ounces. And voila, here is your freshly brewed cup of coffee.
In addition, there is a storage for 20 cups on top of the machine. This is possible as we are talking about a bottom loader for easy bottle replacing.
Other pros are the LED nightlight and the child safety lock to prevent hot water accidents.
You might be thinking that with up to 5 gallons of water at your demand you can brew cup after cup after cup of steaming hot coffee. Unfortunately no. You can only make two 10 oz servings before you need to wait exactly 12 minutes for new water to reach the required temperature. Of course, this also goes for the hot water dispenser.
Another issue that we have is that some people seem to go through their unit(s) rather quickly. They are on their 3rd dispenser already with machines breaking down after a mere three weeks.
And lastly, one minor problem is that the water pump (is it the pump?) is a bit loud.
The fact that this cold/hot water dispenser makes coffee brewing so much easier is a huge plus! However, we have to deduct points for the apparent soft- or hardware errors that cause systems to fail way ahead of their time. In the end, it’s 3 stars from us.
Next, we are going to check out another Avalon dispenser. This unit, however, features a top loading design with a sturdy construction perfectly suited for large offices and high-volume use.
Furthermore, rather than pushing a handle or button, this dispenser works with push-to-drink paddle spouts. Simply press your drinking vessel against the cold or hot water paddle and let it fill.
The space below the spouts can easily accommodate larger cups as well as bottles. Water flow seems acceptable and there’s definitely enough cold and hot water storage to fill a couple of glasses.
On a side note: The tanks are made from stainless steel – anti off-taste.
Last but not least, we have the familiar safety switch to prevent little hands getting burned by hot water. Another switch can be found on the cooler’s backside for turning off the hot or cold water entirely. It’s a convenient solution if you are trying to save on energy.
Unlike most users and although the Avalon A1WATERCOOLER is available in 2 different colors (black and white), we don’t really like the design. But this is a matter of taste, of course.
A real disadvantage is that the water cooler dispenser might actually start to leak from the top after a couple of weeks or months use. In this case, it can be difficult to get hold of someone from Avalon’s customer support team. Contact information is not only hard to find, receiving an actual responsive is a real challenge!
Hundreds of customers have voted for the Avalon A1WATERCOOLER. To be honest, we are not 100% convinced at this point. Taking into account the relatively low purchase price, we rate the system with 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Brio Essential Series Water Cooler Dispenser
3 different temperature modes (ice cold, room, steaming hot), rapid water flow and quiet operation – these features are pretty standard for most high-end water cooler dispensers. The elegant Brio Essential Series CLBL420 that perfectly blends with other kitchen appliances offers even more.
Most importantly, it’s a bottom loading unit ideal for spaghetti arms and everyone that can’t or doesn’t want to do any heavy lifting. Due to the safety lock, it’s also perfectly suited for parents of small kids that are worried about scalding.
In addition to that, the CLBL420 comes with food-grade stainless-steel storage tanks for both hot and cold water. This guarantees that no unwanted contaminants such as BPA will leach into the supply.
The dispenser has indicator lights that tell you at a glance when the cold/hot water is ready for use and when it’s time to replace the jug.
We also like the fact that the initial setup doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes (don’t forget to turn the switch on the back).
There has been some confusion about the LED lights and temperature icons. For some users it seems like hot water actually comes out of the spout tagged with the cold water icon and vice versa.
Also, malfunctioning water level sensors have caused trouble by shutting off the system although there was still plenty of water left in the bottle.
You usually get what you pay for. The Brio Essential Series CLBL420 has the looks and the convenience of use, but we miss the extra features that would make this unit really stand out and justify the high price tag. In our opinion, there are better options for you.
Primo offers a whole range of popular water coolers and dispensers. This compact unit is another bottom loading option – easy on your back – that provides cold, room temperature and hot water. The latter is secured by a family-friendly safety lock and perfectly suited for making instant meals and tea.
At the touch of a button, the Primo 601090-SO cleanses itself using ozone to kill any bacteria that might be present in the water tanks or lines. This does two things for you:
Furthermore, an indicator light will let you know when the cold and hot water is ready for use. It doesn’t get any more convenient!
One recurring issue we are quite concerned is leaking. And considering the fact that the seller warranty covers no more than the first 30 days after purchase, it’s a big red flag.
There seems to exist a simple solution however: Use plenty of duct tape to seal the plastic lid on the metal cylinder used for heating.
There are two good reasons for buying the Primo 601090-SO and that is (A) it features a bottom loading design and (B) it’s self-sanitizing. However, we must also take into account one major problem: Leaks. As long as this doesn’t get fixed it’s only 3 stars from us.
Whirlpool 5th Generation
Unlike the first Whirlpool water cooler dispenser reviewed at the very top, this 5th generation model does not come with a self-cleaning function. Consequently, it’s a tad more affordable.
Nevertheless, it features the same sturdy built and high water flow. The hot water is hot enough for tea and the cold drinking water is freezing cold (40 °F). Of course, the hot button is toddler resistant.
When not in use, you have the option to turn off the water heater using the switch on the back (helps to reduce your electricity bill).
According to the manufacturer, this water cooler dispenser comes with a heavy duty pump. This might sound promising at first, but each time you dispense water the pump will start to rumble and the whole unit will shake.
Thankfully, the noise doesn’t last for long. In case you are looking for a water cooler for commercial use though, you might want to opt for a different product.
This is one of the best water dispensers for residential use. It serves cold water that is REALLY COLD – perfect for a hot summer day!
Drinkpod Limited Edition Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser
Another bottleless water cooler dispenser, this time sold by Drinkpod. It was specifically designed to provide filtered water purified in a 4-stage filtration process. The benefit? There’s no need for you to buy bottled water ever again!
The unit will pay for itself over time and save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. On top of that, it’s the most environmentally friendly solution.
Water is fed directly from your sink’s cold water line. It proceeds through the different filtration stages and is then heated or cooled and stored in the water tanks afterwards.
Interested to learn more about the filtration?
If you are unsure about the maintenance part, you can be rest assured that the filter replacement doesn’t require much time or effort. The filters are designed to last anywhere between 6 to 12 months. They are easily accessible and can be removed/attached with a single twist – no tools needed!
Replacement cartridges are affordable and the first set is included in the package.
On top of that, everything is backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty.
We got nothing so far.
This unit is quite new and at this point it’s hard to predict how it will perform long-term. Do we think the Drinkpod Limited Edition Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser is worth giving a shot? Absolutely! It’s sturdy, it looks great and it features a promising filtration process.
More on Water Cooler Dispensers
In section 1, we reviewed some the best water coolers on the market. Next, we are going to tackle some of the most common questions our readers have about them.
By far the biggest player on the water cooler/dispenser market is the Whirlpool Corporation.
Other brands and companies that you might stumble upon searching for the best water cooler respectively best water dispenser include Primo, Avalon, Brio, ROVSUN and Costway (see reviews above). They all sell units that are highly popular on the Amazon marketplace.
In terms of quality, we really like Whirlpool. Avalon is good, too.
If you are on a budget you are better off with one of the lesser known brands.
If you have any questions about drinking water dispensers please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
And don’t forget to come back to this page from time to time, as we are going to add new water dispenser reviews occasionally.