Having access to fresh, cold water and hot water for cooking or drinks shouldn't be a luxury. With the newest generation of water cooler dispensers, you can find one that suits your budget and lifestyle.
Water coolers come in a variety of styles, sizes, and prices. To choose one that suits your lifestyle, home, and budget, consider the biggest features: size, loading method, and the option to boil water. If space or budget is limited, a smaller cooler may be a good option. However, keep in mind that smaller coolers require more frequent bottle changes.
Modern water coolers are also increasingly aesthetically pleasing, so don't be put off by outdated images. In this guide, we've covered 11 of the best water cooler dispensers on the market, including various price points and design features. From the space age to the classic, there is a water cooler for everyone.
Check out the given handy comparison table if you want to learn about each dispenser’s features at a glance.
Top Water Cooler Dispensers in 2023
- Very well designed
- Perfect for 3 to 5 gallon jugs
- User-friendly control panel
- Child lock and easy upkeep
- Pretty stylish
- Fits easily with 3 and 5 liter bottles
- Hot & Cold water spouts
- Very quite
- No-drop and anti-leak
- Modern features
- Small and stylish
- Discrete and single tough controls
- Low upkeep costs
- Clean looking design
- Child lock
- UL and Energy Star approved
- Classic red and blue spouts
- Child lock to avoid scalding incidents
- Takes less space
- Great value for money
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Designed for home and office
- Modern bottom-loading dispenser
- Built-in night-light
- Highly self-cleaning
- Quite and efficient
- Takes 5-gallon jugs
- Compact footprint
- Almost 60 cups of boiling water per hour
- Energy efficient
- One-stop shop in the kitchen
- Unbreakable faucets
- Brushed chrome black finish
- Built to last
I’ll be going into much more detail about each of them below, too, so you can scroll down to find out all about the models that caught your eye in the table!
1. hOmeLabs – Best Bottom Loading Water Dispenser
The hOmeLabs bottom loading water dispenser is easy to load, which reduces maintenance time and the physical strain of lifting bottles.
The hOmeLabs Bottom Loading Water Dispenser is a versatile and compact water cooler that can accommodate both three and five litre bottles. Its small footprint of 0.9 x 14.2 x 12.2 inches means it can fit almost anywhere, and its black and chrome design is suitable for most kitchens and color pallets. This dispenser offers three water temperature options: cold, hot, and room temperature, so there's something for everyone.
The hOmeLabs Bottom Loading Water Dispenser is easy to use, with a modern and intuitive control panel and a night-light for use in the dark. It also has a child lock to prevent accidents and spills.
2. Brio CLTL520 – Best Top Loading
The Brio CLTL520 is a classic water cooler dispenser. You may have encountered this model in doctors' offices, workplaces, and some affluent homes. But now they’re really accessible for everyone.
The Brio CLTL520 water cooler dispenser features a stylish black and chrome base. It has a top-loaded water bottle, which takes up more space than bottom-loading models. It can accommodate 3 and 5 litre bottles. It may require some physical strength to replace the bottle, but it's not excessively heavy.
The Brio CLTL520 is a great value, particularly for a water cooler that provides both hot and cold water. It has a lock on the hot-water spout and is energy certified.
3. Primo Top Loading Water Dispenser – Best Pre-filled Water
The Primo Top Loading Water Dispenser is a three-spout dispenser that offers hot, cold, and room temperature water in seconds.
The Primo Top Loading Water Dispenser comes with three or five liter water bottles that are full of filtered water and designed to be no-drip and anti-leak. While changing the bottles is not difficult, you will need to lift them onto the top of the machine. This should be considered when weighing the Primo Top Loading Water Dispenser's great price against the labor required to maintain it.
The drip tray and water reservoir of the Primo Top Loading Water Dispenser are made of stainless steel, which makes them easy to clean in the dishwasher. In addition, the dispenser operates quietly, which is a beneficial feature for an at-home water cooler.
4. Brio Self-Cleaning Countertop Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser – Best POU (Point-of-Use) Countertop Dispenser
The Brio Countertop Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser is modern in appearance and features. Some of its notable features include UV self-cleaning, a night-light, three water temperatures, and a double-filtration system.
The Brio Countertop Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser has a sleek, modern design with a black and stainless steel finish. It's compact and easy to use, with a single wide spout that accommodates all sizes of vessels and simple, one-touch controls.
Although it may be pricier than some other models, the Brio Countertop Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser has low upkeep costs. You'll just need to replace the filters every six months or so, which is easy to do. The initial installation process is also straightforward, as the package includes a standard ice-maker style hose and instructions.
5. Avalon A1WATERCOOLER A1 Top Loading Cooler Dispenser – Best Hot & Cold Water
The Avalon A1WATERCOOLER A1 is a classic top-loading water cooler dispenser option. This product offers good value for its price.
The Avalon A1WATERCOOLER A1 is a classic-looking water cooler dispenser with a slim white base and blue and red taps for cold and hot water. The hot spout has a child lock for safety. This water cooler is UL and Energy Star approved. It can use 3 and 5 litre bottles and is compatible with spill-proof bottles. It's easy to see when the bottle needs to be refilled.
Upkeep and ongoing costs and delivery should be considered for this top-loading machine, as with all top-loading machines. The cold water spouts are too high for a toddler to access and make a mess.
6. Avalon A1CTWTRCLRWHT – Best Top-Loading Countertop
Top loading countertop water cooler dispensers can be difficult to justify due to the space they require. They often need a large amount of space above them, which can make it difficult to fit them under counters. However, the Avalon A1CTWTRCLRWHT has an attractive price point and is relatively compact. This makes it a strong contender for use at home.
The Avalon A1CTWTRCLRWHT has a modern, clean design with curved edges. The white base features classic red and blue spouts for hot and cold water, and the hot water spout has a child-lock to prevent scalding accidents.
This Avalon A1CTWTRCLRWHT water cooler dispenser is suitable for use in either a home or office setting. One of the main benefits of a top-loading dispenser is that it's easy to tell when the water is running low. Some people also find that countertop coolers are more convenient than traditional top-loading models because the full bottles can be placed on the counter or table while you're preparing to load them into the machine.”
7. Giantex Top Loading Water Cooler Dispenser – Best Runner-up Top Loading
The Giantex Top Loading Water Cooler Dispenser is a reliable option that doesn't have many unnecessary features. It's sturdy and easy to use, and it provides both hot and cold water.
The Giantex Top Loading Water Cooler Dispenser offers great value. It has switches to stop heating and cooling when not in use, which helps maintain the quality of the water.
Water dispenses quickly from the spouts and the unit, including the water barrel seat, is easy to clean and maintain.
While the appearance is fairly standard for a water cooler dispenser, the real selling points are its value and functionality.
8. Avalon 3 Bottom Loading Water Cooler – Best Stainless Steel
The Avalon 3 Bottom Loading Water Cooler offers three heat settings: room temperature, hot, and cold. Its modern spouts and buttons are user-friendly. This water cooler does not feature flimsy blue and red plastic.
The Avalon 3 Bottom Loading Water Cooler is a modern, bottom-loading water cooler dispenser that looks stylish with its brushed steel and black accents. It's unobtrusive and easier to load than top-loading models, although its pump system can be a bit noisy.
Avalon 3 Bottom Loading Water Cooler has some convenient features, including a built-in night-light to avoid spills at night and a self-cleaning system. There's also a refill warning light that comes on when the bottle is almost empty, a common issue with bottom-loading models where the bottle is not visible.
9. Farberware FW29919 – Best Energy Saving
Farberware FW29919 is a top-loading water cooler that stands on its own. It is reasonably priced and has excellent energy-saving features.
The Farberware FW29919 water cooler is a top-loading model that is available in freestanding black and white options, as well as a table-top model. It's known for being quiet and efficient.
This Farberware FW29919 water cooler can hold 5-gallon jugs, which can be heavy to change. It is not the most attractive option, but it is practical and a good value. It has a built-in storage cabinet below the spouts and does not take up too much space, although it may appear bulky.
10. Ready Hot 41-RH-300-F560-BN Instant Hot Water Dispenser System – Best Runner-up Instant Hot & Cold
Ready Hot 41-RH-300-F560-BN is a good alternative to a water cooler dispenser for those who don't like the appearance or who don't have room for one in their home.
The Ready Hot 41-RH-300-F560-BN water dispenser can produce 60 cups of nearly boiling water per hour, thanks to its variable temperature control. It also has a cold water spout. This energy-efficient dispenser uses less power than a lightbulb on average.
This dispenser can be used for a variety of purposes, such as cleaning baby bottles, making tea, and quickly boiling water on the stove. It's a versatile tool in the kitchen.
Keep in mind that the Ready Hot 41-RH-300-F560-BN should be professionally installed. It's important to consider this when deciding between a Ready Hot water dispenser and a hot and cold cooler dispenser.
11. Whirlpool Bottom Load Water Cooler – Best Self-Cleaning
The Whirlpool Bottom Load Water Cooler is a robust, commercial grade option that can be used in a home setting.
The faucets of the Whirlpool Bottom Load Water Cooler are unbreakable, and the whole machine has a steel frame with a brushed chrome and black finish. It offers hot and cold water options, with the hot water being suitable for making warm drinks. These options are indicated by LED lights on the body of the cooler. The cooler runs quietly, but the pumps are audible as they tend to be with bottom-loading machines.
Overall, the Whirlpool Bottom Load Water Cooler is a high quality machine with modern features. While it may not be as elegant as some other options, it is likely to last longer and withstand more constant use.
What's Water Cooler Dispenser?
A water cooler dispenser is a device that dispenses drinking water and often has additional features such as a refrigeration unit to provide chilled water. In general, water cooler dispensers work by chilling and dispensing water through a spigot or spout. They may be powered by electricity or may use a manual pump to dispense the water.
Types of Water Cooler Dispensers
There are three main types of water cooler dispensers: top-loading, bottom-loading, and plumbed-in.
Top-Loading Water Cooler Dispensers
Top-loading water coolers are common in offices and often used to provide drinking water in cities where tap water is not potable. They are generally the most affordable option and work by having a bottle placed on top of the machine, from which the water pours downwards. These dispensers may not be the best choice for individuals with mobility issues due to the need to lift and replace the water bottle.
Bottom-Loading Water Cooler Dispensers
Bottom-loading water coolers have a tank in the top half of the machine and a bottle in the bottom half. Water is pumped from the tank and dispensed through the cooler as needed. These dispensers are typically more modern and slightly more expensive than top-loading models. It's worth noting that very few bottom-loading water coolers come with an in-built filter.
Plumbed-In Water Cooler Dispensers
Plumbed-in water coolers, also known as in-line, bottle-free, or bottless dispensers, are connected directly to a home's water system. These dispensers are more expensive to purchase and install, but they save time and money in the long run by eliminating the need to purchase and refill water bottles. They also don't take up as much space as other types of water coolers.
The Benefits of Water Cooler Dispensers
Water coolers are common in office environments, waiting rooms, and other semi-public spaces. However, investing in a water cooler for the home can be practical if staying hydrated, having access to high-quality water, and always having cold water on hand are important to you. If you have a large family or drink a lot of water yourself, a water cooler can be a worthwhile investment.
Better Quality Water
Water coolers often use bottled water that has been filtered and distilled. Some water coolers also have built-in filters to ensure that the water you drink is clean and tastes good. This can be especially beneficial if the water from your tap doesn't taste or smell great.
Refrigerators are high energy users and can be expensive to run. Water coolers, on the other hand, generally use less energy. In addition, using a water cooler can reduce your reliance on disposable plastic bottles, which is good for the environment and your wallet.
More Fridge Space
Water takes up a lot of space in the fridge, especially if you have a large family or drink a lot of water. A water cooler frees up space in the fridge, so you have more room for other items. It also eliminates the need to constantly refill water jugs.
Cold Water on Demand
One of the main benefits of a water cooler is that it provides cold, fresh water whenever you want it. This is especially important on hot days or after physical activity, when you may need to hydrate more frequently. A water cooler ensures that you have cold water available at all times, without having to wait for the fridge to refill or chug lukewarm tap water.
Find the Best Water Cooler Dispenser for Your Needs: A Checklist
The following are the key factors to consider when purchasing a water cooler dispenser:
When selecting a water cooler dispenser, consider the size of the unit and how it will fit into your designated space. If you're planning on placing it under countertops, a top-loading water cooler may be difficult to refill. It's important to choose a water cooler that not only fits in the designated space, but also allows for optimal functionality by leaving enough space around it.
Consider the capacity of the water cooler based on your needs. If you have a large family with high water consumption, a one-gallon unit may need to be refilled multiple times a day. On the other hand, water cooler dispensers that use 5-gallon jugs may last longer, but can be challenging to refill.
In addition to providing refreshing cold water, some water cooler dispensers also offer heated water. Make sure you're happy with the temperature range of your chosen model.
Consider the speed at which the water cooler is able to heat or cool the water. A faster heating/cooling capacity means you'll have filtered water more quickly.
A water cooler dispenser can be a more environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water, but only if it has a high-efficiency energy rating. Choosing a water cooler with a high energy rating will help reduce your carbon footprint and save money on energy bills.
A faster flow rate is important, especially if you'll be filling bottles or jugs. A flow rate of 0.5 gallons per minute (GPM) should fill a cup of water in under six seconds and a liter bottle in around 15 seconds. If it takes longer than around ten seconds to fill a cup of water, you may be more likely to reach for a soda instead.
Installation and Ease of Use
Water cooler dispensers are attractive because of their simplicity. They are easy to set up and use. Simply plug them in. Most water coolers are designed for DIY setup, but plumbed-in water coolers might require the assistance of a plumber.
Today’s modern water coolers feature an array of added features.
Water coolers with a safety lock feature prevent hot water from flowing, making them ideal for households with children.
Self-cleaning water coolers help prevent the build-up of mildew and algae, reducing maintenance requirements.
Some water coolers have filters that can remove contaminants that affect the taste, odor, or safety of the water. Choose a water cooler with the appropriate filtering media for your water supply.
Electronic Filter Replacement Reminders
An electronic filter replacement reminder can help you stay on top of filter changes, even if you're forgetful. No more relying on a calendar or manual reminders.
The Water Cooler Dispenser FAQ
Still got questions? Here’s the water cooler FAQ to clear a few things up.
Which is better: a top-loading or a bottom-loading water cooler?
Bottom-loading water coolers are easier to refill and are typically designed for home use. However, they may have slower flow rates and fewer filters compared to top-loading coolers. It ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Can water coolers filter my water?
Yes, some water coolers have additional filter stages that can remove a variety of contaminants from tap water. These filters may include activated carbon, filtration membrane, KDF media, reverse osmosis, and additional fluoride filters. These filters can remove harmful bacteria and viruses, as well as unpleasant-tasting chemicals.
How long can water sit in my water cooler?
While water coolers with filters can remove contaminants, it's still recommended to replace the water every couple of weeks to prevent bacteria and algae growth inside the tank. This will also help to extend the life of your water cooler.
When choosing a water cooler dispenser, consider your personal circumstances and preferences.
For cost-effective options, top-loading models are typically the best choice. They are often quiet and have few potential malfunctions. The Brio Limited Edition is a top-loading model that combines substance with style.
For bottom-loading models, the hOmeLabs option is highly recommended. It has a sturdy, stylish design and a mid-range price. It is easy to load and has a compact size, making it suitable for use in a home. If you prefer the appearance of bottles and are willing to spend a bit more, the hOmeLabs dispenser is a good choice.
If you prefer a plumbed-in dispenser, the Avalon Countertop is a top pick. It has a double-filter system and comes with everything needed for easy installation. It is also designed for practicality and fits on most countertops. As an added benefit, this dispenser eliminates the need to purchase jugs of water, which can save money in the long run.
These are just a few recommendations, but any of the twelve water cooler dispensers listed could be the right fit for you, depending on your priorities.