Facebook
When you shop through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Best Water Cooler Dispensers of 2022

Updated
Stay cool with one of these top water cooler dispensers.

There is nothing better than a fresh glass of cold water on a sunny day. Water cooler dispensers provide convenient water away from the kitchen faucet.

Water coolers are relatively simple devices but they can make a significant difference to your daily life. It’s great that there are so many different coolers available today, but it can make it difficult to find your ideal model.

In this guide, we will explain the different types of water coolers. We will then look at what we consider to be seven of the best water cooler dispensers you can buy today, chosen for their capacity, ease of loading, and user-friendly features.

Our Top Picks

Sensible Digs earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.
Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the hOmeLabs Bottom Loading Water Dispenser for 3 or 5 Gallon Bottle - with Hot Cold and Room Temperature Settings Stainless Steel Design and LED Night Light - Home Office Dispenser with Child Safety Lock
Best Bottom Loading
Homelabs Bottom Loading
  • Doubles as a heater
  • Child-lock
  • Removable drip tray
Product Image of the Brio Limited Edition Top Loading Water Cooler Dispenser - Hot & Cold Water, Child Safety Lock, Holds 3 or 5 Gallon Bottles - UL/Energy Star Approved
Best Top Loading Dispenser
Brio Limited Edition Top Loading
  • Energy star certified
  • Hot & cold functions
  • Child safety lock
Product Image of the Primo - Easy Top Loading Water Dispenser - Black - Stainless Steel - 3 Spout - Instant Cold, Cool and Hot Water
Best for Pre-Filtered Water
Primo Stainless Steel Top Load
  • Pre-filtered water bottles
  • Leak guard
  • Child lock
Product Image of the Avalon A1CTWTRCLRWHT Water Dispenser, White
Best Countertop Dispenser
Avalon Premium Countertop
  • Just 10 inches tall
  • Accepts 3 and 5-gallon bottles
  • Affordable by compact standards
Product Image of the White BottleLess Water Purification Cooler with 1,500-Gallon capacity water filtration and installation kit. From BottleLess Direct (Model: BDX1-WK). Dispenses Hot & Cold water. (Also available in black)
Best Bottle-Free Dispenser
Bottleless Direct Cooler
  • Built-in thermostat
  • Easy filter installation
  • Commercial-grade stainless steel
Product Image of the COSTWAY Water Cooler Dispenser for 3-5 Gallon Bottle, Top Loading Hot and Cold Water Dispenser with Storage Cabinet, Child Lock, Water Cooler with Compression Refrigeration Technology, White
Best 5 Gallon Dispenser
Costway Cooler Dispenser
  • Just 11 inches wide
  • Child-safety feature
  • Size means easy maintenance
Product Image of the Avalon Limited Edition Self Cleaning Water Cooler Water Dispenser - 3 Temperature Settings - Hot, Cold & Room Water, Durable Stainless Steel Construction, Bottom Loading - UL/Energy Star Approved
Best High-End Model
Avalon Bottom Loading Dispenser
  • Sleek metallic finish
  • Self-cleaning feature
  • No heavy lifting required


Product Reviews

To help you find your ideal water cooler, we have chosen our favorite seven water coolers you can buy today. We wrote these water cooler reviews based on their features, specs, functionality, and customer feedback.

1. Homelabs Bottom Loading Water Dispenser

Best Bottom Loading Water Dispenser

This customer favorite accepts both 3 and 5-gallon water dispenser bottles. Ease of operation is key to this dispenser’s design, with a stylish stainless steel door. It will fit into almost any space and won’t occupy much room in your office or home.

Handy features include an LED night light for easy use in the dark, as well as a refill alert light to ensure you don’t run out of water. It also has a child-lock safety feature and a removable drip tray to minimize accidents and mess.

A defining feature of this cooler is that it also functions as a heater. You can choose from cold, hot, or room temperature water depending on the weather and your preferences.

What We Like

Doubles as a Heater

If you want a cup of coffee instead of cold water, this dispenser has you covered. The ability to choose from hot, cold, or room temperature water adds to the versatility of this cooler, making it a better investment.

Fancy Features

The child-lock safety feature prevents accidental spillages (or scolding, given the hot water). The LED light provides ease of use in the dark and tells you when your bottle needs refilling.

These extras add to the overall value of the cooler and make maintenance much easier.

Value for Money

This isn’t the most affordable dispenser on the market but it still comes at a fair price. Considering how versatile this machine is, we think it is worth the cost. You save time on maintenance and it’s a safe, stylish addition to any room.

What We Don't Like

Not Ice Cold

One criticism is that the water may not be cold or hot enough for your liking. Some buyers say they wish it were a bit more powerful — though they are satisfied overall. It performs well but you shouldn’t expect icy temperatures from it.

Unexpected Taste

A small number of users have mentioned an unpleasant taste in the dispensed water. This is a rare complaint, so it’s possible that there was an issue with the water rather than the dispenser.

Product Specs

Input Reusable bottles
Filtration? No
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

You can use both 3 and 5-gallon bottles with this top-loading dispenser. It is a cooler and a heater, adding to its versatility, and it has a child-safety lock to protect young users.

It also has some features that make it stand apart. For one, it is an energy saver. When the dispenser is idle, it will use as little electricity as possible. Brio boasts that this model is very quiet despite its high-efficiency capacity.

Finally, it allows you to simultaneously pour water from both its hot and cold faucets.

What We Like

Energy Saving

This model has energy star certification. This means it is both a money saver and an environmentally-friendly option.

Hot and Cold

This product functions as both a cooler and a heater. It can dispense water at a decent range of different temperatures.

Whether you want a cold drink or a hot cup of coffee, this machine will perform admirably. It will also help you save energy as you won’t have to use another appliance to get hot water.

Child Safety Lock

The designers made this product safer for children by adding a two-step dispensing process. This is located just above the dispense button.

What We Don't Like

No Room Temperature Option

Some customers pointed out that there are three water temperature settings: hot, chilled, and cold. Some would have preferred to replace chilled water with room temperature. One solution to this is to mix chilled water with hot water until you have a cup of room temperature water.

Might Drip

We can’t say whether this is a design flaw or a fault with a particular unit, but one customer reported a constant leak. We haven’t seen any other examples of this and Brio displayed excellent customer support by replacing the faulty product.

Product Specs

Input Bottles
Filtration? No
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 but, if you stick with Primo, you can enjoy pre-filtered water that is ideal for this cooler. As with many other models, this cooler also heats water and has a child lock to prevent accidents.

Built from stainless steel, it is a stylish top loader with some extra tricks up its sleeve for easy maintenance. There is a spill-proof bottle holder and a leak guard made to snugly fit Primo bottles, preventing mess.

If you want to enjoy filtered water but don’t want the hassle of installing filters, this Primo unit is an excellent choice.

What We Like

Filtered Water

Some of our chosen coolers don’t offer any purification options beyond installing your own filters. Although this Primo cooler can’t filter water itself, it is intended for use with the brand’s pre-filtered bottles. The bottles can be reused and refilled at service stations across the United States.

Hassle-Free Maintenance

If you stick with Primo, this cooler will make life easier. Designed to fit Primo bottles perfectly, it has a leak guard and spill-proof bottle holder to avoid mess and water waste. This could reduce your maintenance time drastically and preserves the appearance of the cooler.

Cool Features

Anti-spill features aren’t all this cooler has to offer. It provides both hot and cold water, and a child lock protects against burns, accidents or spills. This is a well-thought-out model that delivers excellent value for money.

What We Don't Like

Tastes Odd

Some customers say the dispensed water has a plastic taste. Keep in mind that it’s unclear which water these buyers were using and that the dispenser may not be to blame. The majority of buyers have no complaints about the quality or taste of the water provided by this cooler.

Temperatures Are Unclear

Reviewers mention that they wish the temperatures of the dispensed water were different. Some say it isn’t cold enough, while others say the hot water isn’t particularly hot. It is unclear what the specific temperatures are.

That said, the majority of customers seem very satisfied with the overall functionality of this cooler.

Product Specs

Input Refillable bottles
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

This cooler is ideal if you have limited space in your home or office. It is a top-loading countertop dispenser, so you won’t need to worry about connecting it to your plumbing. Although it’s compact, it shares many of the features of larger models.

This little cooler provides both hot and cold water, and it accepts 3 and 5-gallon bottles. Child safety is ensured by a lock that prevents injuries and spills. There is also a removable drip tray.

This compact model occupies very little space, whichever bottle is attached, so it is a great water dispenser for home installation.

What We Like

It’s Small

You don’t have to trade efficiency for size with this model, but it is compact enough to fit almost anywhere. It stands just 10 inches tall and won’t occupy much space on your countertop or shelves. It is handy and accessible, and its size makes maintenance easier.

No Loss of Features

Despite being small, this cooler competes with our favorite full-sized machines. You still get hot and cold options, it accepts 3 and 5-gallon bottles, and there is an important child-safety feature.

Great Value

Countertop coolers generally cost more than this Avalon model, so you can consider it a budget choice. We recommend it if you want a compact model that doesn’t cost more than larger machines. Considering its features and capacity, it provides great value for money.

What We Don't Like

Patience Required

Users say this machine takes a while to work. You have to wait as its tanks refill to receive either hot or cold water. The majority of buyers are still satisfied with its functionality, however.

It’s Bottled

This isn’t necessarily a drawback, but don’t forget to consider the height of the bottles you will use. The cooler itself may be compact, but you will need some extra clearance for the water bottle as it is a top-loading machine.

Product Specs

Input Bottles
Filtration? No
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

This bottle-free cooler will save you money and reduce your plastic use. It is a customer favorite that eliminates the need for plastic water bottles and the heavy lifting that comes with them.

This cooler is built from commercial-grade stainless steel and provides both hot and cold water. It can also effortlessly filter your water, providing cleaner, healthier drinks.

The built-in safety function prevents overflowing, which will help keep your floor dry. Our favorite of its features, however, is its thermostat. Unlike many other models, you will have precise control over the temperature of your water.

What We Like

Temperature Control

This is a relatively rare feature in coolers, so it’s great to see a built-in thermostat. You can specify how hot or cold you want your water to be, making this a versatile model that will suit almost everyone. Compared to many other models — which often receive complaints of vague temperatures — this one has an advantage.

Filtration

This cooler is designed with easy filter installation in mind. As the cooler connects directly to your water line, it also works well with other filters you have installed in your home or office.

Durable

As it is made from custom commercial-grade stainless steel, this model is built to last. As a result, it is unlikely to diminish in quality any time soon. You will save money on maintenance and replacement parts, and as it’s bottle-free, you will also spend less money on water.

What We Don't Like

It Needs More Time

This model is relatively on the block, and we need more time to properly assess how it works over an extended period. Still, customer feedback is great so far, and we think it has the potential to compete with some of the more established brands.

Filters Not Included

Unfortunately, the best filters for this cooler are sold separately. You will need to pay extra to acquire them and have them installed. These are relatively low costs, however, and they are worth it if you want a water dispenser with a filter.

Professional Installation

As this bottle-free cooler is connected to your plumbing directly, it will probably require professional installation.

Product Specs

Input Plumbing/water line
Filtration? Provisioned
Dimensions 12.5 inches by 12.4 inches by 40 inches
Capacity Not applicable
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

Most of our favorite water coolers have the same 3 or 5-gallon capacity, but this one stands out. It is essentially a full-size machine that has been made more compact for easier installation.

You get all the great features of our other recommendations while occupying less space. This is a stylish model with excellent features at an affordable price.

It also includes a child-safety feature, anti-dust mite design, and a removable drip tray. Finally, it provides both hot and cold water.

What We Like

Space Saver

If you want a compact machine with the features of a full-size one, this model is ideal. It stands at 32 inches tall and just 11 inches wide. This is a great option if you are working with limited space.

Value for Money

Although this product is not particularly expensive compared to many compact models, it still includes some great features. You can receive hot and cold water, and it has child-safety and anti-dust mite features.

Easier Maintenance

Thanks to its small stature, as well as the removable drip tray and anti-dust mite water barrel, maintenance is a breeze. There will be no need for heavy lifting, and you will have less to clean. This all comes without any loss in efficiency!

What We Don't Like

Height

Some users have mentioned that this machine is too short for tall people, which forces them to bend down when grabbing a drink. If you are considering this cooler, take your height into account.

Product Specs

Input Bottles
Filtration? No
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 a generous budget for your water cooler, this sophisticated bottom-loading dispenser is worth the extra cost. Its advanced features help set it apart from the competition.

This model has a self-cleaning feature to ensure your water is as pure as possible. You can choose from hot, cold, or room temperature water. There is also an empty bottle indicator to warn you when it needs to be replaced.

Like most of our other favorites, it accepts both 3 and 5-gallon bottles and has a removable drip tray. Water temperatures can range between 47 and 185 degrees.

What We Like

Fancy Features

In addition to its empty bottle indicator and temperature options, this cooler also has a self-cleaning feature. This is a rare feature on even a top-rated water dispenser. Your water and dispenser will both stay cleaner for longer, which means less maintenance for you.

No Heavy Lifting

Its bottom-loading design adds to its ease of use. This means you won’t have to struggle to lift heavy bottles, saving more time and energy on maintenance. Installing even 5-gallon bottles won’t be a problem.

As it is bottom-loading, the unsightly bottle is enclosed within the unit, making it a stylish addition to any room.

Versatile

You can choose from hot, cold, or room temperature water. The temperature range is vast, reducing the need for other appliances. This should also help you reduce your electricity bills.

The room temperature option is great if you are sensitive to cold water. It is handy in a home setting, as it will fulfill all your water needs.

What We Don't Like

Not Budget-Friendly

The advanced features mean this cooler costs more than our other favorites. The self-cleaning feature alone makes this a great buy, but this is far from the most budget-friendly option.

Even so, it is priced reasonably considering it is a full-sized machine with advanced features. This is an instance where, if you can afford to choose this unit, we recommend doing so.

Takes a While

Some customers complained that the cold water isn’t cold enough, but others said it simply takes longer to get cold. You may need to wait a while if you want a chilled drink.

The water from this unit may not be quite as cold as some other coolers on our list, but it is still an excellent model. The majority of customers have no complaints regarding the temperature. You are unlikely to have any issues if you give it some time to cool.

Product Specs

Input Bottles
Filtration? No
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

Product Comparison Chart

Product Best Input Filtration? Dimensions Capacity Temperature (F)
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)

Types of Water Cooler Dispensers

Water coolers vary greatly in terms of their appearance and function but they ultimately share the same purpose. Still, some coolers might be a better fit for your lifestyle than others. Whichever type you choose, you should be able to find one that fits into almost any space.

Some water coolers double as boilers, while others are compact enough to fit on tabletops or shelves. You can also experiment with an array of filters. Coolers might not seem very adaptable, but you can often modify them to your liking.

Warning

A compact dispenser is rarely the most budget-friendly option. Their convenience and style mean they are widely sought after, which increases their price. Compare compact models to their full-size equivalents to get a better sense of their value for money.

Top-Loading Water Dispensers

These are probably the first pieces that come to mind when you think of dispensers. Considered the standard type, top-loading water coolers are a meeting point for many office workers. They are affordable, reliable machines that are the go-to option for water dispensing.

A bottle is installed upside down on top of the machine, and gravity does the rest. When you open the taps, water flows down (sometimes through a filter) into a tank, and then out into your cup. They are simple and efficient, with very few drawbacks.

Pros

  • Most affordable
  • Often have filters installed
  • Widespread availability

Cons

  • Bottles may be too heavy to carry
  • Bottles cost extra if they are not reusable

Bottom-Loading Water Coolers

Bottom-loaders don’t cost much more than top-loaders, but they are slightly more advanced. These machines use pumps that move water up into the tank, defying gravity. While their efficiency is similar to top-loaders, they are usually better looking.

Their visual appeal is aided by the fact that you won’t have to look at the plastic bottle. Maintenance is also easier as there is less need for heavy lifting.

Keep in mind that bottom-loaders rarely come with filtration installed, so you might need to spend some extra money (1).

Pros

  • Easier maintenance
  • Easier on the eyes
  • As effective as top-loaders

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Might lack filtration

Bottleless Dispensers

Although they are a familiar sight, you no longer have to use bottles in a water dispenser. Models without bottles are known by many names (plumbed-in, in-line, bottle-free), but the concept is the same. Rather than requiring a bottle, or canister, of water, they are connected directly to your plumbing.

Maintenance time and costs are drastically reduced because of this, and you can also save money by using your main water supply. One drawback is that they require installation, which might call for a professional. They also tend to cost more than freestanding water coolers.

Pros

  • No need for plastic bottles
  • Maintenance is less frequent
  • Saves money on water usage

Cons

  • Installation is necessary
  • Higher initial cost

How to Choose: Buying Guide

The most important factor is that you receive high-quality water, but you should also consider these other questions before choosing your water cooler:

Where Will You Set It Up?

Do you have sufficient space in your intended area for a large dispenser? Will you be able to plug it in or place it near a wall socket?

What about your plumbing? If you want a bottle-free machine, it must be connected to your water line and electrical supply, so keep them in mind.

Don’t forget about maintenance. You will need enough space around your machine to take it apart and clean it. Choosing a freestanding cooler means you will need to carry bottles to it, which can be a problem if your cooler is upstairs.

Finally, place your dispenser in as clean a spot as possible to prevent bacteria and toxins from contaminating your tank. Keep your machine away from extreme temperatures, chemicals, unsanitary areas, and odors.

How Often Will You Use It?

How frequently your dispenser will be used should influence your decision. If you intend to place it in a busy office, you don’t want a small machine that will require constant maintenance. To avoid spending too much money on water, consider a bottle-free machine.

On the other hand, if you want a home water dispenser, you might not need a full-sized model. Tabletop or compact machines will cost more initially but require less maintenance and will save you money on water.

Keep In Mind

Consider the environmental impact of a busy water cooler. If you anticipate constant use, consider an in-line model to reduce your plastic use. If this isn’t possible, try to recycle or reuse the bottles.

What Will You Use It For?

Are you only looking for cold water or do you also want it to be purified? Some models — particularly bottom loaders  — may not have filters built in. Before you buy one, look closely at its specifications.

This advice applies to any model, even if it does feature a filtration system. The type of filter might not suit you. Different filters clean water using different methods, so make sure your water is being purified the way you want.

Consider the maintenance of any filters. If the filters are difficult to find or expensive to replace, you should probably consider a different model.

If your cooler doesn’t include a filter, you will need to pay extra if you want to add one. This is a matter of personal preference.

Keep other features, such as temperature control, in mind. If you just want a simple water cooler, you can save money by foregoing the extra features of high-end products.


Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Peter Gray

About the Author

Peter Gray

Peter has been a homeowner for 35+ years and has always done his own repair and improvement tasks. As a retired plumber, Peter now spends his time teaching others how they can fix leaks, replace faucets, and make home improvements on a budget.