There’s nothing like a glass of cold, fresh water when you’re thirsty. Water cooler dispensers add convenience both at work and at home. Though they’re simple machines, choosing one isn’t always easy because of just how many options you have.
So, how do you go about deciding which one to buy? Don’t worry, our guide to the best water cooler dispensers will help you figure out which one is right for you.
- Doubles as a heater
- Fancy features
- Value for money
- Hot & cold functions
- Child safety lock
- Filtered water
- Hassle-free maintenance
- Cool features
- Small & compact
- Uncompromised efficiency
- Great value for money
- Built-in thermostat
- Easy installation of filters
- Commercial-grade stainless steel
- Space saver
- Child-safety feature
- Easier maintenance
- Fancy, sophisticated design
- Self-cleaning feature
- No heavy lifting required
Why Should You Buy a Water Cooler?
Water coolers tend to be used in office blocks and other commercial facilities, but nothing is stopping you from installing one at home. They’re just as handy in an office as they’ll be in your kitchen, and have many advantages.
If you’re unsure about buying one, have a look at some of these factors:
1. Cold Water on Tap
The biggest delight of a water cooler is exactly what its name implies. You can have cold, crisp water instantly. In stuffy offices or busy public spaces, they’re a welcome refreshment and encourage healthy hydration.
In warm months, or if you’re doing heavy work, it’s important because cold water lowers your body’s core temperature, which in turn prevents overheating (1).
Do you think this is unnecessary because you have air conditioning to keep you cool? It turns out air-cons could do more harm than good. Air conditioners dry air out and can draw moisture from your lungs and skin.
If you’re fatigued, struggling to focus or have persistent headaches, it could be that you’re dehydrated because of the humidity (2). A water cooler solves this problem by ensuring that cool water is always at hand. Your health, energy and productivity will improve as a result.
Fridges are necessary for keeping your food and other drinks cold, but they use more energy than coolers do. While energy consumption seems the same at first, the maximum electricity usage is double that of a dispenser (3).
This depends on the model, brand and features, but, generally speaking, coolers are smaller and better for the environment. Think about it: you’ll use fewer plastic bottles as well.
Consider a water cooler instead of a fridge for your office area. It will save you trips to the kitchen, too.
3. Better Than Tap Water
Water from a cooler will taste, smell, and feel better than what comes out of your faucets (4). It may even be safer and healthier for your body.
There are two reasons for this:
- Purified water: Often, the bottles added to your cooler will contain filtered or distilled water dispensed with no extra care needed.
- Potential to filter: If the water isn’t already filtered, some coolers will have filters built-in or the option to install them. What gets filtered out depends on the filter, but by removing contaminants, your water will be purer and more palatable.
Types of Water Cooler Dispensers
You have a say in the style and function of your water cooler. The result will be the same no matter which model you pick, but some might fit your lifestyle or needs better than others. Regardless of which type you choose, you can find one that fits into any space.
There are many specs and features to choose from. Some water coolers double-up as boilers, while others are made compact enough to fit on table-tops or shelves. Remember that you can experiment with an array of filters on top of this. Coolers might seem rigid and set in stone, but in reality, you can modify them to your liking.
Top-Loading Water Dispensers
These models probably first come to mind when thinking of dispensers. Considered the standard, top-loaders are the meeting point for many office workers in search of a drink (and a chat). They’re affordable and popular machines that are a go-to in dispensing.
A bottle is installed upside down at the top of the machine, and gravity is responsible for the rest. When you open the taps, water pours down (sometimes through a filter) into a tank, and then into your vessel. They’re simple and efficient, with very few drawbacks.
- Most affordable.
- Often have filters installed.
- Popular choice.
- Bottles are heavy and may cause strain on your back.
- Bottles cost extra (if not reusable).
Bottom-Loading Water Coolers
Bottom-loaders don’t cost much more than top-loaders, but they’re a little more advanced, so not as cheap. These machines use pumps that pull water up into the tank, defying gravity as they work. Matching top-loaders in efficiency, a superficial bonus is that they’re a bit more stylish.
You won’t have to look at the plastic bottle, so they add a touch of class to your environment. Maintenance is easier because there is less heavy lifting.
Keep in mind that bottom-loaders generally don’t come with filtration installed, and this might cost you more money (6).
- Easier maintenance.
- Easier on the eyes.
- Just as effective as top-loaders.
- Can be expensive.
- May lack filtration.
You don’t have to use plastic bottles in your dispenser if you don’t want to. These variations have many names (plumbed-in, in-line, bottle-free), but the idea is the same. Instead of installing a bottle, or canister, of water, they connect directly to your plumbing.
Maintenance time and costs are drastically decreased because of this, and you can save money on water as well. A drawback is that they require installation, which may mean a call to the professionals. They also tend to cost more than free-standing water coolers.
- No need for plastic bottles.
- Maintenance is significantly reduced.
- Saves money on water usage.
- Installation necessary.
- Highest initial cost.
Choosing the Best Water Cooler Dispenser
The most important factor is that you have high-quality water, but don’t forget to consider some of these other questions before making your purchase:
Where Will You Set It Up?
Do you have sufficient room in your intended area for a large machine? Will you be able to plug it in or place it close to a wall socket?
What about your plumbing? If you’re choosing a bottle-free machine, it must have easy access to your water line and electricity, so logistics factor in.
Don’t forget about maintenance, too. When it’s time to take your machine apart to clean it, you need as much room around it to do so. Opting for a free-standing cooler means you have to carry bottles to it, which might be problematic if they’re stored far away.
Lastly, try to place your dispenser in as clean a spot as possible. Bacteria and toxins can easily contaminate your tank. Keep your machine away from extreme temperatures, chemicals or unsanitary areas and odors.
How Often Will You Use It?
The traffic your dispenser will get should influence which sort of model you invest in. If you’re planning on placing it in a busy office, you don’t want a small machine that will be difficult to maintain. This will, ultimately, cost more money on water.
To avoid this, consider a bottle-free machine. You won’t have to deal with installing or buying hefty bottles.
On the other hand, if you want a machine for your home, a full-scale model might not be necessary. Table-top or compact machines will cost more initially but give you less maintenance and save you money on water.
Keep In Mind
What Will You Use It For?
Are you just looking for cold, crisp water or are you hoping for purified water too? Remember that some models — bottom loaders in particular — may not come with filters built in. Before you buy one, check its components and specs.
This applies to any model you’re interested in, even if it does come with a filtration system. The sort of filter that’s built into it might not suit you. Different filters clean your water in different ways, so you must be sure that your drink is being purified the way you need it to be.
Consider the implications of maintaining any included filters. If your filters are difficult to find or expensive to replace, you’ll probably want a different model that’s easier to work with.
On the other hand, if your cooler doesn’t include filters, installing them will cost extra anyway. Think about what’s more important to you.
Keep other features, like heating or temperature control, in mind. If all you’re looking for is a simple water cooler, you can save money by skipping the unnecessary extras of higher-end products.
The Best Water Cooler Dispenser Reviews of 2022
Understanding water coolers isn’t difficult, and neither is choosing one that’s right for you. To make things easier, we’ve selected the seven best water cooler dispensers we could find. Our choices are based on features, specs, functionality, and customer feedback.
1. Homelabs Bottom Loading Water Dispenser
Best Bottom Loading Water Dispenser
This customer-favorite takes both 3 and 5-gallon bottles. Easy operation is key to this dispenser’s design, with a stylish stainless steel door. It’s made to fit into almost all spaces and won’t take much room in your office or home.
Handy features include an LED night light for simple navigation in the dark, as well as a refill alert light for convenient maintenance. Something that not all dispensers have is a child-lock safety feature, preventing accidents and mess. This model does, and also contains an easy-to-manage removable drip tray, further minimizing mess.
A defining feature of this cooler is that it also functions as a heater. You can choose between cold, hot or room temperature water to suit your needs, the weather, and your environment.
Doubles as a Heater
Care for a cup of coffee instead of cold water? This dispenser has you covered. We like that you can choose between a hot, cold, and room temperature drink. It adds to the versatility of this cooler, which increases its value for money.
You’ll be surprised at how handy the special features of this cooler are. The child-lock safety feature prevents accidental mess (or even injury, considering the hot water). The LED light allows hassle-free use in the dark, and also tells you when your bottle needs refilling.
These extras also add to the overall value of the cooler and make maintenance so much easier.
Value for Money
It’s not the most affordable dispenser on the market, but it still comes at a fair price. Consider how much you’re getting out of this machine, and you’ll see why we think it’s worth it. You save time in maintenance, and it’s a safe, stylish addition to any room.
Not Ice Cold
One criticism is that the water may not be cold or hot enough for your liking. A few buyers — though satisfied with the cooler overall — say that they wish it were a bit more powerful. It does the job, but don’t expect arctic temperatures from this one.
A minority of users mention an unpleasant taste added to the dispensed water. Most customers had no complaints about this, so it’s probably subjective.
|Dimensions||40.9 x 14.2 x 12.2 inches|
|Capacity||3 or 5 gallons|
|Temperature (Fahrenheit)||49 degrees (cold), 185 degrees (hot)|
|Special features||LED night light, refill alert light, hot and cold capacity, child-lock safety feature|
2. Brio Limited Edition Top Loading
Best Top Loading Water Dispenser
Like our top choice, you can use both 3 and 5-gallon bottles with this dispenser. It’s both a cooler and a heater. Another feature it has in common with the Homelabs bottom loader is the child-safety lock.
That said, it has some cool features of its own. For one, it’s an energy saver. When the dispenser is idle, electricity is conserved. Brio boasts that this model is quiet despite its high-efficiency capacity.
Additionally, it allows simultaneous pour of water from both hot and cold faucets.
We like that this model has energy star certification. This makes it both a money saver and an environmentally friendly option.
Hot and Cold
We think it’s cool that this product functions as both a cooler and a heater. You get a good range in temperature from it.
Whether you’re looking for a cold drink or a hot cup of coffee, this machine will come in handy. It adds to the energy-saving capacity, too. You won’t have to use other appliances to boil water.
Child Safety Lock
The company had considered the safety of kids by making sure to add two-step dispensing of water. This is located just above the dispense button.
No Room Temperature Water
A couple of customers note that there are three water temperature settings namely hot, chilled, and cold water. Some preferred to replace chilled water with room temperature water instead. One solution for this is mixing both chilled water with hot water given the right proportion to make sure that it isn’t too hot.
We can’t say if this is a design flaw or defect in one particular model, but a customer noted a constant leak. No other buyers complained about this, and Brio showed excellent customer care in replacing the malfunctioning product.
|Dimensions||13.5 inches by 12 inches by 38.5 inches|
|Capacity||3 or 5 gallons|
|Temperature (Fahrenheit)||Not specified|
|Special features||Child-lock safety feature, energy-saving, hot and cold capacity, stainless steel tanks, thumbprint resistant shield|
3. Primo Stainless Steel Top Load Dispenser
Best for Pre-Filtered Water
This model won’t filter your water for you, but if you stick with Primo, you can have pre-filtered water that suits this cooler perfectly. As with the Homelabs and 4-Ever models, this cooler also heats water and comes with a child-lock to prevents accidents.
Built from stainless steel, it’s a stylish top loader with some tricks up its sleeve for simple maintenance. There’s a spill-proof bottle holder and a leak guard made to tightly fit Primo bottles, preventing mess.
If filtered water is a priority to you, but you don’t want the hassle of installing filters, going with Primo is an excellent choice.
So far our top choices haven’t given you any purification options beyond installing your own filters. Primo stands out because this cooler is intended for use with in-brand bottles. Its water is pre-filtered, and bottles can be refilled at service stations across the US.
If you do choose to stay within the brand, the cooler will make your life easier. Designed to fit Primo bottles perfectly, it has a leak guard and spill-proof bottle holder to avoid messes and water wastage. This could cut your maintenance time drastically and preserves the condition and appearance of the cooler.
Speaking of the anti-spill features, we like what this cooler has to offer. It delivers both hot and cold water, and a child lock keeps little ones safe from burns, accidents or spills. Considering that it also dispenses filtered water, it’s a well-thought-out model that’s excellent value for money.
A few customers say that the dispensed water has a plastic taste to it. Keep in mind that it’s unclear which water these buyers are using and that the dispenser may not be at fault. The majority of buyers have no criticisms on the quality or palatability of the water from this cooler.
Temperatures Are Unclear
Users say that they wish the temperatures of the dispensed water were better. Some say it’s not cold enough; others say the hot water isn’t that hot. It’s unclear what the minimum temperature is.
All that said, the majority of customers are highly satisfied with the overall functionality of this cooler.
|Filtration?||Pre-filtered Primo water|
|Dimensions||36 inches by 10.5 inches by 11 inches|
|Capacity||3 or 5 gallons|
|Temperature (Fahrenheit)||190 degrees (maximum)|
|Special features||Spill-proof bottle holder, leak guard, child-safety lock, pre-filtered water, hot and cold capacity.|
4. Avalon Premium Countertop Dispenser
Best Countertop Water Dispenser
Here’s one for you if you have limited space in your home or office. It’s a top-loading countertop dispenser, so you don’t have to fuss about installing it directly into your plumbing. Though it’s compact, it shares many features with the larger models we’ve showcased.
You get both hot and cold water from this little guy, and it can take both 3 and 5-gallon bottles. Child safety is also featured with a handy lock for preventing injury and spillage. There’s a removable drip tray included too.
This compact model takes up little room, regardless of the bottle attached to it.
You’re not sacrificing any efficiency for size with this model, but it’s compact enough to fit almost anywhere. It stands at 10 inches tall and won’t take up too much room on your countertops or shelves. It’s handy and accessible, and maintenance is made easier by its size.
Just because it’s small, it doesn’t mean it can’t compete with our favorite full-sized machines. You still get hot and cold capacity, it can take either 3 or 5-gallon bottles, and there’s a handy child-safety feature. No efficiency or functionality is lost to its compact size.
Countertop coolers typically cost much more than this Avalon model, so you can consider it a budget choice. We recommend it if you’re looking for a compact model that doesn’t cost more than larger machines. Considering its features and capacity, it’s great value for money.
Customers say that this machine takes a while to work. As its tanks refill, you have to wait before you get either hot or cold water. The majority of buyers are satisfied with its functionality, though.
This isn’t a drawback, but don’t forget to accommodate for the height of the bottles you’ll use. The cooler itself may be compact, but you’ll need a bit of extra room for the water since it’s a top-loading machine.
|Dimensions||10 inches by 2.5 inches by 7.5 inches|
|Capacity||3 or 5 gallons|
|Temperature (Fahrenheit)||47 degrees (coldest), 185 degrees (hottest)|
|Special features||Child-safety lock, hot and cold capacity, removable drip tray|
5. Bottleless Direct Water Cooler
Best Bottle-Free Dispenser
Here’s one that will save you money and prevent plastic use. Our only bottle-free selection is a customer favorite that eliminates the need for maintaining plastic bottles and the heavy lifting that comes with it.
This cooler is built from commercial grade stainless steel and has both hot and cold capacity. What’s handy is that it easily filters your water as well, providing healthy, clean drinks.
The built-in safety function prevents overflowing, which is awesome. We think its best feature, though, is the thermostat. Unlike other models we’ve shown you, you’ll have control over the exact temperature of your water.
This is an uncommon feature in coolers, so it’s great that you get a built-in thermostat. You can decide how cold you’d like your water to be, making it a versatile model that suits almost everyone. Compared to other models — which come with complaints of unsatisfactory temperature thresholds — this one has the upper hand.
Provision is made for easy installation of filters. There won’t be any hassle if you opt to install a filter. Since it connects directly to your water line, it works well with other filters you may have installed.
It’s made from custom commercial-grade stainless steel, so this model is built to last. As a result, it’s unlikely to degrade over time and should last you a while. You’ll save money on maintenance and replacements, and since it’s bottle-free, you’ll spend less on water too.
It Needs More Time
This model seems to be a new kid on the block, and more time is needed to gauge how it holds up. Regardless, customer feedback is great so far, and we think it has a lot of potential to compete with better-known brands.
Filters Not Included
Unfortunately, the filters best suited to this cooler are sold separately. You’ll have to pay extra for them and the installation. These are small costs, though, that we feel are well worth it.
Help needed: Note that since this connects to your plumbing, professional installation is recommended.
|Dimensions||12.5 inches by 12.4 inches by 40 inches|
|Temperature (Fahrenheit)||Controlled by thermostat|
|Special features||Temperature control, overflow safety feature, hot and cold capacity|
6. Costway Water Cooler Dispenser
Best 5 Gallon Water Dispenser
Though every other free-standing favorite of ours has the same 3 or 5-gallon capacity, this one stands out. Why? Because it’s a full-size machine made more compact for easier installation.
You get all the great features of our other recommendations, but it takes up less room. It’s a stylish model with great features at an affordable price.
Included are the child-safety feature, anti-dust mite design, and a removable drip tray. Additionally, it has hot and cold capacity.
If you want a full-size but compact machine, this one takes up very little room. It stands at 32 inches tall and only 11 inches wide. Slightly smaller than other models, it’s a great choice if you have limited space.
Value for Money
Even though this product is compact compared to others, it still comes with great features. You get hot and cold water, and it has child-safety and anti-dust mite features.
Thanks to its small stature, as well as the removable drip tray and anti-dust mite water barrel, maintenance is a breeze. There won’t be as much heavy lifting, and you’ll have less to clean. All this without losing any efficiency — we love it for this!
Some customers noted that this machine is a bit too short for taller people which forces them to bend a bit when filling up a cup or refilling the water container. If you plan on buying it, consider your height in that matter.
|Dimensions||32 inches by 11 inches|
|Capacity||3 or 5 gallons|
|Temperature (Fahrenheit)||50 degrees (coldest), 203 degrees (hottest)|
|Special features||Child-safety, hot and cold capacity, removable drip tray, anti-dust mite|
7. Avalon Bottom Loading Dispenser
Best High-End Model
If you have some extra money to spend, this sophisticated dispenser will suit your fancy. Its advanced features caught our eyes.
This model has a self-cleaning feature for improved preservation of your water. You can choose between hot, cold or room temperature water. There’s also an empty bottle indicator for convenient maintenance.
It matches our other favorites too. It takes both 3 and 5-gallon bottles and has a removable drip tray. Water temperatures range between 47 and 185 degrees.
Beyond the empty bottle indicator and choice in temperature, we like the self-cleaning feature. Not many coolers have this function, making this one unique. Your water and your dispenser will be cleaner for it, and there’s less maintenance for you.
No Heavy Lifting
Adding to the ease of use is its bottom-loading status. This means there’s no struggle with heavy bottles, so you save even more time and energy on maintenance. Installing 5-gallon bottles won’t be a problem.
Keep in mind that since its bottom loading, the bottle is enclosed, making this a stylish addition to any room.
We like that you can choose between hot, cold, and room temperature water. The range of this cooler is fair, and it’s a versatile machine that eliminates the need for other appliances. You could save money on electricity this way.
The room temperature option is great if you’re sensitive to cold water. This makes it handy in a home setting, as it takes care of all your water needs.
The advanced features will cost more than other favorites we’ve shown you. The self-cleaning function alone makes it worth it, but bear in mind that this is not a budget option.
Even so, it’s priced within reason considering it’s a full-sized machine with such advanced features. Other coolers simply aren’t as sophisticated, so if you can splurge on this one, we recommend you do.
Takes a While
A few customers complained that the cold water isn’t cold enough, but others noticed it just takes longer to work. You may have to wait a while to have a chilled drink.
It may not be quite as cold as some other recommendations on our list, but it’s still an efficient model. The majority of customers have no complaints regarding the temperature. We’re sure you’ll be satisfied too if you give it time to run.
|Dimensions||13 inches by 3 inches by 9 inches|
|Capacity||3 or 5 gallons|
|Temperature (Fahrenheit)||47 degrees (coldest), 185 degrees (hottest)|
|Special features||Self-cleaning, empty bottle indicator, child-safety, hot and cold capacity, removable drip tray|
|Homelabs Bottom Loading||Bottom Loading||Reusable bottles||No||40.9 x 14.2 x 12.2″||3 or 5 gal.||49° (cold), 185° (hot)|
|Brio Top Loading Cooler||Top Loading Dispenser||Bottles||No||13.5″ x 12″ x 38.5″||3 or 5 gal.||N/A|
|Primo Stainless Steel Top Load||For Pre-Filtered Water||Refillable bottles||Pre-filtered Primo water||36″ x 10.5″ x 11″||3 or 5 gal.||190° (maximum)|
|Avalon Premium Countertop||Countertop Dispenser||Bottles||No||10″ x 2.5″ x 7.5″||3 or 5 gal.||47° (coldest), 185° (hottest)|
|Bottleless Direct Cooler||Bottle-Free Dispenser||Plumbing/water line||Provisioned||12.5″ x 12.4″ x 40″||Not applicable||Controlled x thermostat|
|Costway Cooler Dispenser||5 Gallon Dispenser||Bottles||No||32″ x 11″||3 or 5 gal.||50° (coldest), 203° (hottest)|
|Avalon Bottom Loading Dispenser||High-End Model||Bottles||No||13″ x 3″ x 9″||3 or 5 gal.||47° (coldest), 185° (hottest)|
With just a little effort spent to choose the best water cooler dispenser model for your needs, you’ll soon wonder how you ever managed without one. So long as you consider your space and budget, you can pick whichever model you like. There’s something for everyone, from countertop models to those that connect directly to your waterline.
Which of our recommendations is your favorite? Does your office have one of these for you to banter over? We enjoy reading your comments, so don’t forget to leave us one below.