The Best Water Cooler Dispensers of 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide

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A water cooler dispenser gives you instant access to hot and cold drinking water – 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 water dispensers are most often found in offices, they are becoming increasingly popular for home use.

They are a great solution if you prefer bottled water over tap water but don’t want to purchase and carry small bottles once a week. Plus they encourage us to drink more throughout the day and stay hydrated.

The only problem: How to find the best water cooler dispenser? Don’t worry, this buying guide will help you out!

On This Page You Will…

No Time to Read? Check Our List of the Best Water Dispensers!

SystemDetails
SHARP Ultrafiltration (+ Reverse Osmosis) Bottleless Water Cooler
Best Water Cooler Dispenser Overall: SHARP (Bottleless)

Read Review

Price: $$$
Type: Bottleless
Jug Size:
Water Temperature: Cold: 35 °F, Hot: 194 °F
Avalon Bottom-Loading Water Cooler Dispenser
#1 Bottom-Loading Water Cooler Dispenser: Avalon

Read Review

Price: $$
Type: Bottom-Loading
Jug Size: 3-5 gal
Water Temperature: Cold: 47 °F, Hot: 180 °F
Brio Limited Edition Water Cooler and Dispenser
#1 Top-Loading Water Cooler Dispenser: Brio

Read Review

Price: $$
Type: Top-Loading
Jug Size: 3-5 gal
Water Temperature: Cold: ?, Hot: ?
Crystal Quest TURBO Countertop Water Cooler
#1 Countertop Water Cooler: Crystal Quest TURBO

Read Review

Price: $$$
Type: Countertop, Bottleless
Jug Size:
Water Temperature: Cold: ?, Hot: 196 °F

Best Water Cooler Dispenser Reviews

1. Best Water Cooler Dispenser: SHARP Ultrafiltration (+ Reverse Osmosis) Bottleless

In our opinion, the best water cooler dispenser in 2021 is the SHARP by Crystal Quest. The SHARP is a bottleless system that uses ultrafiltration – and if you want reverse osmosis – to provide you with an endless supply of clean and great-tasting filtered water.

Using the built-in filtration system saves you from the hassle of dealing with heavy plastic jugs, which is also much cheaper. 5 stars!

SHARP Ultrafiltration (+ Reverse Osmosis) Bottleless Water Cooler

SHARP Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser

Price:$$$
Type:Bottleless
Jug Size:
Hot/Cold Temp:194/35 °F

Our Rating

Pros

  • A bottleless water cooler system is much cheaper than using a bottled water delivery service.
  • From the cold water inlet, water has to travel through 9 stages of filtration before it enters the actual cooler dispenser. This guarantees high quality drinking water. The most important filter stages are:
    • The coconut shell activated carbon filter beds which adsorb chlorine, chloramine, pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, and many other organic contaminants as well as bad taste and odor.
    • The ultrafiltration membrane for the removal of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms and water contaminants larger than .01 micron.
    • The copper-zinc water filter media blend also known as KDF. KDF eliminates any remaining chlorine and water-soluble heavy metals such as lead, chromium, and arsenic.
    • The ceramic balls which inactivate bacteria and cysts.
    • RO system only: The reverse osmosis membrane which mainly targets inorganic contaminants (metals, salts, etc.) plus microbes. RO water purification is known for its outstanding effectiveness providing almost pure water.
  • Additional filter cartridges targeting nitrate, fluoride and other water contaminants are optional.
  • Filter media are NSF-certified for highest quality.
  • Provides steaming hot and ice cold water ideal for refreshments and beverages.
  • The hot and cold water storage tanks are large (no waiting times) and made from 304 food-grade stainless steel to maintain water quality.
  • Heating and cooling capacity is sufficient and process is Energy Star rated.
    • You can turn hot and cold water on/off separately.
  • Cooler dispenser is easy to install, use, and clean.
    • Plumbs directly into cold water line for continuous water supply.
  • On average, water filter cartridges must be replaced once every 1-2 years. We estimate around $150-200 in annual cost. Filter replacement is simple.
  • Features child safety for hot water.
  • Backed by Crystal Quest’s 1-year warranty.

Cons

  • Premium price.

2. Our #1 Bottom-Loading Water Cooler Dispenser: Avalon

In our opinion, the number one bottom-loading water cooler dispenser in 2021 is the Avalon. That’s because it’s energy-efficient while providing hot, cold, and room temperature water, and because it has a beautiful design among other advantages. All in all, 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Avalon Bottom-Loading Water Cooler Dispenser

Avalon Bottom-Loading Water Cooler Dispenser

Price:$$
Type:Bottom-Loading
Jug Size:3 or 5 gal
Hot/Cold Temp:180/47 °F

Our Rating

Pros

  • The Avalon Bottom Loading Water Cooler Dispenser is 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.
  • Provides three different water temperatures to choose from:
    • Cold water without the need for adding ice cubes.
    • Room temperature water.
    • Piping hot water suited for brewing coffee or tea.
  • Thanks to slim design and stainless steel cabinet, the water cooler will not only fit into your home or office with ease, it’ll also look classy.
  • A clever add-on is the built-in LED night light that helps you find the water spouts in the dark without the need to turn on the lights.
  • Empty bottle indicator LED tells you when it’s time to replace the water bottle – one less thing to worry about.
  • Product is Energy Star rated, which means that it’s highly energy efficient and therefore helps to save money and protect the climate.
    • Switch in the back allows you to turn off the heater if you don’t need it. More money saved.
  • Hot water safety lock? Yep. No need to worry about kids drawing any hot water from the dispenser!

Cons

  • Although it’s a matter of opinion, the compressor might turn out to be too loud for your liking.

3. Our #1 Top-Loading Water Cooler Dispenser: Brio Limited Edition (Self-Cleaning)

The best top-loading water cooler dispenser is the Brio Limited Edition. It provides hot, cold, and room temperature water instantly, and has the benefit that any top-loading water cooler has: You can see at a glance if you are about to run out of drinking water.

Brio Limited Edition Water Cooler and Dispenser

Brio Limited Edition Top-Load Water Dispenser

Price:$$
Type:Top-Loading
Jug Size:3 or 5 gal
Hot/Cold Temp:?

Our Rating

Pros

  • Meets all your hydration needs.
    • You have full control over hot and cold water thanks to easy to access power switches.
    • Independently tested and certified for Energy Star rating. Save energy cost.
  • Sleek stainless steel design.
  • Self-cleaning ozone feature protects your health by killing microorganisms.
  • BPA-free and removable drip tray allows for fast and easy cleanup.
  • LED night light illuminates the dispensers.
  • Child-safety lock prevents accidental pouring of hot water.

Cons

  • Vast majority of customers is happy with their purchase, but some complained about a leaking system, loud compressor, and the cold water being cool rather than cold.

4. Our Favorite Countertop Water Cooler: Crystal Quest TURBO

The Crystal Quest TURBO is meant to sit on a countertop. And just like the Crystal Quest SHARP reviewed above, the TURBO is a bottleless water cooler that comes with built-in filtration. As a result, you get an unlimited supply of freshly filtered water without the need to heave water bottles ever again.

Crystal Quest TURBO Countertop Water Cooler

Crystal Quest TURBO Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser

Price:$$$
Type:Countertop, Bottleless
Jug Size:
Hot/Cold Temp:196/? °F

Our Rating

Pros

  • SMART filter cartridge contains a blend of filter media:
    • Standard and catalytic coconut shell granulated activated carbons are mixed with Crystal Quest’s proprietary Eagle Redox alloys and ion exchange resin to remove heavy metals such as lead and mercury, chlorine and chloramine, and chemicals including herbicides and pesticides from water – among other contaminants.
    • The filter media also balances water pH through mineralization.
    • All in all the water in your home will be much healthier.
  • Filtered water is stored in food-grade stainless steel to avoid recontamination.
  • Cold and hot water production and storage capacities are sufficient. Avoids waiting times.
    • Can be controlled separately.
  • Overall, system is easy to use and clean.
  • Annual filter replacement is straightforward and cost is minimal (around $50).

Cons

  • We would have preferred the same thorough water filtration process as used by the SHARP water dispenser.

5. Best Budget Water Dispenser: Giantex Electric Primo

Giantex offers one of the most affordable water cooler dispensers out there. The unit proves that a super low price tag does not automatically mean super low quality: We have a sober design and a handful of cool features for ease of use.

However, we also have various issues that several 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!

Giantex Electric Primo Water Dispenser

Giantex Electric Primo Water Dispenser

Price:$
Type:Top-Loading
Jug Size:2 to 5-Gallon Jugs
Hot/Cold Temp:195/47 °F

Our Rating

Pros

  • Neutral looks of the Giantex Electric Primo top-loading water cooler dispenser fit in more or less any office and home environment.
  • Storage cabinet for disposable plastic cups and low-noise compressor make the system the perfect choice for office use.
  • User-friendly child safety lock on the hot water tap helps to prevent accidental burns.
  • The barrel seat on top is detachable for easy cleaning.
  • LED night light indicate when the hot and cold water have the perfect temperature.
    • Be careful: Piping hot water. Seriously, you can use it to make soup!

Cons

  • Common complaints include leaking tubes, cold water not being cold enough, and complete system breakdown.
  • Missing space for cup or glass below the spouts.

6. Brio Essential Series Bottom Loading Water 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. But the elegant Brio Essential Series CLBL420 that will perfectly blend with your other kitchen appliances offers even more!

Brio Essential Series Bottom Loading Water Cooler Water Dispenser

Brio Essential Series Bottom Loading Water Dispenser

Price:$$
Type:Bottom-Loading
Jug Size:3 or 5-Gallon Jugs
Hot/Cold Temp:?

Our Rating

Pros

  • Water cooler dispenser has the looks and convenience of use.
  • Most importantly, it’s a bottom-loading cooler best suited for the elderly and everyone that can’t or doesn’t want to do any heavy lifting.
  • 3 different temperature modes are combined with rapid water flow.
  • Food-grade stainless steel tanks store the hot and cold water. This guarantees that no unwanted contaminants such as BPA will end up in your water.
  • Indicator lights tell you at a glance when the cold and hot water is ready for use and when it’s time to replace the bottle.
  • Initial setup doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes (don’t forget to turn the switch on the back if you want hot or cold water).
  • Due to the hot water safety lock, the dispenser is perfectly suited for parents with small kids that are worried about scalding.

Cons

  • 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.
  • Malfunctioning water level sensors have caused trouble by shutting off the system although there still was plenty of water inside the bottle.

7. Our #1 Water Cooler Dispenser with Built-in Ice Maker: COSTWAY 2-in-1

What sets the COSTWAY top-loading water cooler dispenser apart is the fact that it’s a 2-in-1 system:

  1. It provides hot, cold, and room temperature water – nothing new.
  2. The control panel lets you turn on the built-in ice maker. Capacity: 27 lbs within 24 hours (or 9 pieces of ice in around 7 to 15 minutes.

A solid product! Unfortunately, the price tag is a little high…

COSTWAY Water Cooler Dispenser with Built-in Ice Maker

COSTWAY 2-in-1 Water Cooler Dispenser with Built-in Ice Maker

Price:$$
Type:Top-Loading
Jug Size:3 or 5-Gallon Bottles
Hot/Cold Temp:?

Our Rating

Pros

  • Water dispenser supplies hot, cold, and room temperature water, plus ice.
    • The cool water capacity is roughly 1 gallon per hour. The capacity for hot water is a little bit higher, about 1.3 gallons of bottled water. Should be enough for family use.
    • The ice storage can hold 4 lbs which is enough for you and all your friends.
  • A neat little ice scoop is part of the delivery.
  • Water barrel seat and drip tray are detachable for easy cleaning.
  • Child safety lock on hot water spout? Check!
  • Good customer support.

Cons

  • Not ideal for people on a tight budget.
  • Some people say the hot water is not quite hot enough for tea. Other say the hot water is perfect, but the cold isn’t as cold as expected.
  • The ice is not solid frozen and the storage cannot keep the temperature below the melting point.
  • Reports about loud humming noise.

8. Primo Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser Compatible with K-Cups

You saw right, 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.

Primo hTRIO Water Dispenser with K-Cups

Primo Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser with K-Cups

Price:$$
Type:Bottom-Loading
Jug Size:Three or Five-Gallon Water Bottle
Hot/Cold Temp:190/? °F

Our Rating

Pros

  • Steaming hot coffee at your dispense.
  • Features 20-cup storage on top of the machine.
    • This is possible because we are talking about a bottom-loading unit for easy bottle replacing.
  • Comes with LED night light.
  • Child safety lock prevents hot water accidents.

Cons

  • Even with up to 5 gallons of water at your demand you cannot brew cup after cup after cup. After making two 10 oz cups you need to wait exactly 12 minutes for new water to reach the required temperature.
    • This also goes for the hot water dispenser.
  • Some people seem to go through their unit(s) rather quickly due to soft- or hardware errors.
  • The water pump (is it the pump?) is a bit loud.

9. Nutrichef Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser

At 13 x 13.2 x 22.1 inches, the Nutrichef PKTWC10SL countertop water dispenser fits in almost any corner and is a real space saver ideal for smaller offices and apartments.

Nutrichef Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser

Hot/Cold Top-Loading Countertop Water Cooler

Price:$
Type:Countertop, Top-Loading
Jug Size:3 or 5-Gallon Bottle
Hot/Cold Temp:175/40 °F

Our Rating

Pros

  • System is compatible with 3 or 5-gallon water jugs which will save you from buying dozens of water bottles per week.
  • You can choose between dispensing cold and hot water.
  • The tabletop water cooler is easy to use and super quiet for extra convenience.
  • The dispensed water tastes great. No hints of plastic or anything similar.
  • Hot water temperature is on point at all times.
  • There’s a hot water safety lock for peace of mind.

Cons

  • Numerous customers said they would have liked cooler water.

10. Avalon Bottleless and Self-Cleaning Water Cooler Dispenser

We’ve got another Avalon dispenser for you, but this time it’s a bottleless unit – and one of the best water coolers in terms of popularity right now.

Avalon Bottleless Self-Cleaning Water Dispenser

Avalon Bottleless Self-Cleaning Water Dispenser

Price:$$
Type:Bottleless
Jug Size:
Hot and Cold Temp:185/47 °F

Our Rating

Pros

  • Bottleless: You get the convenience of using a water cooler, but without the hassle of having to change water jugs anymore.
  • NSF-certified sediment and carbon block filters take care of purified water quality, removing common contaminants including chlorine and bacteria.
  • Self-cleaning function stops harmful pathogens from accumulating in the water tanks.
  • Classy stainless steel body is a real eye-catcher.
  • Built-in night light makes the water spouts clearly visible in the dark.
  • Mandatory child safety lock on the hot water spout.
  • Connecting the Avalon directly to your existing cold water line is easy.
    • Installation kit with everything you need is part of the package.
  • Indicator light tells you when to replace the water filters (about every 6 months).

Cons

  • In isolated cases, there have been incidents where the machine stopped working.
  • A few units arrived without the water filters.
  • Tanks may be prone to leaking. Luckily there is a built-in leak detector that monitors water flow and helps to prevent flooding.

11. Avalon A1WATERCOOLER Top Loading Water Dispenser

Hundreds of customers have voted for the Avalon A1WATERCOOLER on Amazon. We are not 100% convinced yet. The low purchase price is great, but there are drawbacks.

Avalon A1WATERCOOLER Top Loading Water Dispenser

Avalon A1WATERCOOLER Top Loading Water Dispenser

Price:$$
Type:Top-Loading
Jug Size:3 or 5-Gallon Bottle
Hot and Cold Temp:180/47 °F

Our Rating

Pros

  • Top-loading design means you always know how much water is left.
  • Switches on water cooler’s backside allow you to turn off the hot and the cold water completely. Helps to save energy.
  • Sturdy construction is perfectly suited for large offices and high-volume use.
  • Water flow and storage capacity is sufficient to fill a couple of glasses at once.
    • Dispense water using push-button paddle spouts: Just press drinking vessel against the cold or hot water paddle and let it fill – easy!
  • The space below the spouts can safely accommodate larger cups as well as bottles.
  • Tanks are made from stainless steel which preserves pristine water taste and odor.
  • Familiar child safety lock protects little hands from getting burned by hot water.

Cons

  • The Avalon A1WATERCOOLER is available in 2 different colors (black and white), but we don’t really like either one of them.
  • Water cooler dispenser might 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!

12. Primo Stainless Steel Self-Sanitizing Bottom-Load Water Cooler Dispenser

There are two good reasons for buying the Primo 601090-SO water cooler dispenser. First, it features a bottom-loading design. Second, 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 3 stars us.

Primo Self-Sanitizing Bottom-Load Water Cooler

Primo Stainless Steel Self-Sanitizing Bottom-Load Water Cooler

Price:$$
Type:Bottom-Loading
Jug Size:3 or 5-Gallons Jugs
Hot and Cold Temp:?

Our Rating

Pros

  • Appealing and compact Primo bottom-loading dispenser is easy on your back.
    • The hot water is perfectly suited for making instant meals and tea.
  • Unit dispenses hot, room temperature, and cold water.
  • At the touch of a button, the Primo 601090-SO cleanses itself using ozone to kill bacteria present in the water tanks and lines.
    • Guarantees that the water is safe for consumption.
    • Improves taste.
  • An indicator light will let you know when the cold and hot water is ready for use. It doesn’t get any more convenient than this!
  • The latter is secured by a family-friendly child safety lock.

Cons

  • Leakages seem to be a recurring issue we are quite concerned.
    • Seller warranty only covers the first 30 days after purchase – red flag.

13. Primo Porcelain Water Dispenser + Mini Stand

We thought, why not include a ceramic water dispenser in our buying guide, one that comes with a small stand that you can place on your countertop…

Obviously, the Primo porcelain crock dispenser provides room temperature water only. If you are looking for an electric unit to cool your water, this is not it.

Primo Porcelain Water Dispenser

Primo Porcelain Water Dispenser

Price:$
Type:Top-Loading
Jug Size:3 or 5-Gallon Bottles
Hot and Cold Temp:

Our Rating

Pros

  • You can place the dispenser anywhere you want, even outside.
  • The crock supports both 3 and 5-gallon water jugs (a 1-gallon bottle would fall in).
  • Package includes a wooden stand which elevates the dispenser so that you can fill tall glasses and other containers with ease.
  • Push tab nicely blends with the overall classic design.
  • The ceramic body is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
  • Coupons for Primo water are included. They are redeemable at thousands of retail locations nationwide.
    • You don’t have to use Primo refills.

Cons

  • The biggest issue with the Primo porcelain water dispenser is leaking – leaking from the water spout, from the gasket, or where the bottle connects with the dispenser.
    • One customer even had the impression that the porcelain itself is not sealed properly.
  • We read complains from reviewers having received Primo water coupons that had already expired.
  • In some cases, the ceramic had a chemical smell to it, so make sure to clean it thoroughly before first use.

Water Coolers Comparison List

How do the best water cooler respectively best water dispenser systems compare to each other?

(Mobile Hint: Swipe to Scroll)

ModelPriceAdditional Info
SHARP$$$Provides Filtered Water, Energy Star Rated, Commercial-Grade
Avalon Bottom-Loading$$Easy to Access Temperature Settings, Empty Bottle Indicator, Energy Star Rating, 3 Temperatures to Choose from, UL-Certified
Brio Limited Edition Top-Load Dispenser (Self Cleaning)$$Removable Drip Tray (BPA-free), Energy Star Certified, Self Cleaning, 3 Temperatures, UL-Certified
Crystal Quest TURBO$$$Provides Filtered Water
Giantex Electric Primo$Includes Safety Lock, Sleek Design
Brio Essential Series Water Dispenser$$Energy Star Rated, Three Water Temperatures, BPA-Free Drip Tray
COSTWAY 2-in-1 Water Dispenser$$Removable Drip Tray, Includes Ice Maker
Primo hTRIO Water Dispenser$$Energy Star Rated
Nutrichef Hot/Cold Top-Loading Countertop Water Dispenser$Child Safety Feature
Avalon Bottleless (Self Cleaning)$$Energy Star Rated, Provides Filtered Water, Self Cleaning
Avalon A1WATERCOOLER Top-Loading Dispenser$$Dispense Water Using Push-Button Mechanism, Easy to Access Temperature Settings, Child Safety Feature, Commercial-Grade
Primo 601090-SO Stainless Steel$$Energy Star Rated, Removable Drip Tray, Child Safety Feature
Primo Porcelain Top-Loading Dispenser + Mini Stand$
hOmelabs Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser$$hOmelabs Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser is Super Quiet

Buying Guide – What You Need to Consider When Buying a Water Cooler Dispenser for Your Home or Office

Water coolers and water dispensers are actually two different types of products. For one, a simple dispenser doesn’t cool tap water. But because everyone uses the terms synonymously, we won’t distinguish between them here either.

To get the best value for money when buying a water dispenser for your home or office, consider this:

Ease of Refill: Bottleless vs. Top Loading vs. Bottom Loading Water Dispensers

Bottom-load water dispensers don’t involve any heavy lifting and are thus perfect for single moms and the elderly. Above that, they hide the bulky water bottle in their bottom storage cabinet for better looks.

Top-load units on the other hand are usually more affordable. Plus, you can always tell at a glance how much drinking water is left.

Bottleless dispensers provide you with unlimited access to refreshing bottled water without the need to buy water bottles or jugs ever again. In order to guarantee safety for your health they need to feature a thorough filtration process, though.

Water Temperature

You want to check the temperature ranges for cold and hot water. Do they meet your requirements?

That said, in some instances, actual hot or cold water temperatures may differ from seller/manufacturer specifications.

Storage and Heating/Cooling Capacity

Two aspects are important here:

  1. Tank volume – A water dispenser with large hot/cold water tanks is less likely to ever run dry.
  2. Heating and cooling capacity – A fast heating and cooling process eliminates long waiting times.

Energy Star Rated

Energy Star approved water cooler dispensers help you save in the long run and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. Better to spend your money on more fun stuff than electricity…

Water Flow

Sufficient water flow is important especially for high volume usage in offices. You don’t want to spend hours filling a medium-sized pitcher.

top loading water cooler dispenser in office

Ease of Use

This one speaks for itself. A water dispenser should be easy to use.

Safety Lock

For families with small kids, a safety lock is the best precaution against hot water accidents.

Materials & Taste

Believe it or not, there are systems that store the cold or hot water in cheap plastic containers. This will often result in a funny plastic taint. The best solution: Stainless steel reservoirs.

Noise

Bottom-load water coolers use a pump which may be loud while operating. Another potential source for disturbing sounds is the cooling compressor.

Space

It might seem obvious, but remember that you need to have enough space to accommodate a cooler plus the bottle on top if it’s top loading.

Maintenance

Self cleaning units use ozone or ultraviolet light to kill bacteria in their water tanks and lines. It’s not a must, but a nice-to-have. Otherwise, each component of the water cycle should be easy to access for cleaning and sanitizing.

Leaks

Many water coolers have issues with leaks – more than you’d think. Nothing is more frustrating than coming home from work one day only to find water all over your floor. Our tip: Carefully read what people already using a certain product say about it.

Your Budget

Last but not least, a water cooling dispenser needs to be within your budget. Top-loading units are usually the most affordable, followed by bottom-loading systems. Bottleless water coolers can be a more expensive due to the water filtration system.

More on Water Cooler Dispensers

The Different Types of Water Cooler Dispensers

Bottom-Loading Water Cooler Dispensers

Bottom-loading water coolers store their water bottle in a bottom cabinet. This has two advantages:

  1. It avoids most of the heavy lifting. Of course, you still need to place the water bottle in the cabinet, but at least you don’t have to heave it on top of the dispenser.
  2. The large bottle is hidden from sight which is a huge improvement in our opinion.

However, in order for bottom-load water dispensers to work they require a pump (somehow the water has to reach the tanks above). In some cases, this pump may be loud and disturbing.

Top-Loading Water Cooler Dispensers

Top-loading water cooler dispensers store their water bottle at the top. It’s clearly visible, meaning you can always tell the amount of water remaining which is great. But we also think that 3 or 5-gallon water bottles are not exactly nice to look at and that they can interfere with the overall vibe of your home décor.

Another drawback is the jug replacement process. Removing an empty bottle couldn’t be simpler, but lifting and turning a huge water jug upside down can end in a huge mess.

By the way, top-load systems have a lower price tag because they don’t need all the extras that we can find in bottom-load units.

Bottleless Water Dispensers

Bottleless water coolers and dispensers are our personal favorites. That’s because they completely eliminate the need to change water bottles ever again. How? They directly connect to a cold water line and thus provide you with an unlimited supply of purified water.

And in case you are concerned about water quality; of course any bottleless water cooler should feature a sophisticated filtration process which guarantees the removal of all harmful contaminants present in your water supply. We usually like to recommend a multi-stage water filter process combining different kinds of filter media for broad contaminant reduction.

The main drawback of bottleless systems is that they are even more expensive than bottom loaders.

Countertop Water Cooler Dispensers

Lastly, we have countertop water dispensers. They can be top-loading or bottleless, but what they all have in common is their much smaller size. Placed on a table or countertop, they are ideal for small apartments and office use. On top of that, they are cheap!

countertop water cooler dispenser

Benefits of Water Coolers and Dispensers – Why Buy One?

3 Temperature Options

The number one benefit of buying a water cooler and dispenser is that you get 3 water temperature settings to choose from: Cold water for refreshing drinks; hot water for tea, coffee, and instant meals; and room temperature water for the frugal people among us.

Cost Savings

A water cooler can save you money, because buying large water jugs is cheaper than buying small water bottles. And if you opt for a bottleless model, you can save even more!

Convenience

Let’s be honest, water coolers and dispensers are just convenient. 24/7 access to cold/hot water instantly? I’m in!

Environmentally Friendly

On the one hand, cooling and heating water around the clock wastes energy. This is why you should remember to turn off your water dispenser when you don’t need it.

On the other hand, the reusable water jugs are much less of a burden for the environment. What’s more, a bottleless water cooler produces almost no plastic waste at all!

Filtration: Better Water Quality

Speaking of, filtering the water in your home you often achieve higher-than-bottled-water quality.

Cleaning, Sanitizing & Other Maintenance Tasks

What are the important steps involved when maintaining a water cooler?

Cleaning a System

It is usually recommended to clean a water cooler dispenser prior to installation and up to multiple times per year when in use. Here’s how:

  1. Put the heating and cooling switches in off position and unplug the machine.
  2. Wait long enough for any hot water inside the dispenser to cool down.
  3. Remove the screws securing the back/top cover.
  4. Take out the cold water tank cover.
  5. Pour clean water into the cold water tank.
  6. Remove the cover of the drain outlet and let all water drain into a bucket.
  7. Put the drain cover, cold water tank cover, and the back/top cover back in place.

Cleansing the Condenser

The condenser on the back of a water cooler must be kept clean at all times. Make sure to inspect it about every 3 months. For cleaning, unplug the machine and remove any dirt using a brush.

Sanitizing

If you want to sanitize your water cooler follow these instructions:

  1. Turn off the heating and cooling switches.
  2. Unplug the machine.
  3. Wait until any hot water inside the dispenser has cooled down.
  4. Drain both the hot and cold water reservoir (see above).
  5. Sanitize the tanks and spouts using a mild cleaning agent. If you cannot remove the components, fill sanitizing solution into the cooler and let it stand for a couple of minutes before draining it through the faucets.
  6. Rinse with clean water afterwards.
  7. Put everything back together.
  8. Flush the water reservoirs until any trace of cleaning agent has been removed.
  9. You can also clean the cabinet outside and drip tray with a mild cleaning solution.
  10. Reconnect the power supply and turn on the heating/cooling switches.

Other Tasks

Other maintenance tasks involve changing the filter elements on a bottleless water dispenser.

  1. Shut off the water supply.
  2. Put hot/cold water switches in off position.
  3. Unplug the machine.
  4. Wait until water has cooled down.
  5. Drain any remaining water.
  6. Disconnect filter cartridge(s) from tubing.
  7. Replace each filter stage with new cartridge.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Which is better, top or bottom-loading water cooler?
    They’re both easy to use. However, we prefer a bottom-load water cooler because changing jugs is a piece of cake. It simply goes into the storage cabinet. Replacing bottles on a top-load water cooler is more complicated.
  • Are water coolers sanitary?
    You need to clean them regularly to make sure they are.
  • What features should I look for in a water cooler?
    Most importantly, you need to choose between the 3 types of water dispensers: Bottleless, bottom-loading, and top-loading water dispensers.
  • Is a water dispenser worth it?
    In our opinion, their most important advantage is convenience. But generally speaking, we prefer to do our own filtration.
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Questions about hot and cold water dispensers? Ask away!

And don’t forget to revisit this buying guide from time to time as we are going to continue our hunt for the best water cooler dispenser adding new dispenser reviews occasionally.

About the Author Maria Martino

Maria Martino is one of our part-time content creators. She owns a B.A. in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Chicago and enjoys writing about all walks of life. When she doesn’t write, Maria likes to portray people and support her local community.
Learn more about Maria and the rest of the BOS Team.

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