Last Updated on April 12, 2021
We like cold water for drinking and hot water for tea or coffee. But in the age of instant gratification, who really wants to wait for water to chill in the fridge or heat up in a kettle? Water cooler dispensers offer a convenient way to get hot or cold water with the push of a button. But some of these devices aren’t as convenient as you might hope.
Some don’t get hot enough or cold enough. Others are incredibly difficult to break down and clean or maybe they’re just unreliable. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are worth the cost. So, how can you decide which water cooler dispenser to choose?
That’s where we come in. We did the hard work of finding and testing as many of these devices as we could. Then, we wrote up reviews comparing our ten favorites with three top performers earning our recommendations. Let’s take a look at what we found.
A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2021
|Best Overall||Avalon Limited Edition||
|Best Value||Giantex Primo Home||
|Premium Choice||Brio Self Cleaning||
The 10 Best Water Cooler Dispensers
1. Avalon Limited Edition Water Cooler Dispenser – Best Overall
Sleek and stylish with durable stainless steel construction, this Avalon Limited Edition Water Cooler Dispenser was our favorite of them all. It’s packed with useful features that make it a welcome addition in any home. For instance, you get three temperatures to choose from: cold, cool, or piping hot. Even better, this dispenser is self-cleaning. It sanitizes and purifies itself, preventing any harmful bacteria or germs from accumulating.
One nice thing about this dispenser is the bottom-loading design. No more lugging that heavy bottle up to the top of the machine and risking a major spill as you flip the bottle upside-down to get it in the hole. Instead, you just set the bottle right-side-up in the bottom of the dispenser. This convenient feature was one of our favorites.
On the downside, the compressor motor on this dispenser is very loud. It became the loudest appliance in the kitchen, even louder than the fridge. But we’re willing to forgive the noise because of all the extra features like the built-in nightlight that makes it easy to get water when it’s dark or the empty bottle indicator that alerts you when it’s time to replace the water.
2. Giantex Primo Home Water Cooler Dispenser – Best Value
For anyone on a budget, this Giantex Primo Home Water Cooler Dispenser offers an impressive value at an affordable cost. It’s still got all the features you need. Nothing was left off to keep the price low. For instance, there’s an easy to use security lock on the hot water dispenser to protect your children from accidentally getting burned.
This dispenser features a detachable water barrel seat. This makes it easy to disassemble for cleaning and disinfecting. Plus, it’s an anti-dust mite design, ensuring that no contaminants can reach your water, keeping it healthy for you and your family.
The drawback we noticed was the slow rate of water dispensing. It takes quite a while to fill up your cup, but for the price, we can deal with the slightly slower fill rate. Overall, we think it’s the best water cooler dispenser for the money and highly recommend it to anyone looking for the best value possible.
3. Brio Self Cleaning Water Cooler Dispenser – Premium Choice
Packed with top-notch features for the ultimate in convenience, the Brio Self Cleaning Water Cooler Dispenser is our premium choice pick. Not only does it offer excellent performance and great features, but it’s also a sleek looking appliance that won’t ruin the looks of your home. One of our favorite things about this dispenser is the ozone self-cleaning feature. No more disassembling and sanitizing your water dispenser; just press a button and let the Brio dispenser clean itself, saving you time and hassle!
Another convenient feature is the bottom-loading water jug design. Just set the water jug in the bottom and the dispenser is ready to go. If you have children, you’ll be happy about the child-safety lock on the hot water that protects your kids from accidentally getting burned.
Other small features also make your life a little better like three separate temperatures to choose from or the nightlight that makes it easy to see what you’re doing when you go for a drink in the middle of the night. Just keep in mind that you’ll be paying a premium for all these features. But if have the money to spare, the convenience is hard to beat.
4. Farberware Freestanding Water Cooler Dispenser
This Farberware Freestanding Water Cooler Dispenser is on the cheaper side of the price spectrum. Unfortunately, it looks like it! It’s not a very attractive appliance, though it functions acceptably. Still, it’s a case of getting what you pay for.
It looks like a mini-fridge is built into the bottom of this dispenser. That would be very cool! Too bad it’s just a storage cabinet, though that can still be useful.
This dispenser works with three or five-gallon water jugs, giving you some flexibility. It’s also protected by a two-year warranty, providing some peace of mind.
Our complaints about this dispenser involve the heating and cooling elements. You can only get about two cups of either hot or cold water before you run out. So, after two cups of cold water, expect lukewarm water until the holding tank cools again. Same with the hot water. This unfortunate failure really holds this dispenser back in our opinion. But in the end, it does reliably dispense cool water for a reasonable price, so we can’t complain too much.
5. Avalon Premium Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser
If you’re limited for space but still want the convenience of a cool water dispenser, check out the Avalon Premium Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser. It features a compact design that allows it to easily fit on your countertop. The small design means it has to be top-loaded though; not the most convenient, but at least you can easily tell when you’re running out of water!
At first, we thought the cool water was barely cold and the hot wouldn’t get past warm. Then, we found the temperature select knobs hidden in the back and were able to set the water to our desired temperatures. This made the child-safety lock suddenly useful since the hot water was easily hot enough to burn.
The biggest problem we noticed is that this dispenser is far from energy-efficient. We noticed an increase in our electricity bill the first month we used this dispenser. It wasn’t a massive increase, but definitely noticeable. But is the convenience of instant hot and cold water dispensing worth the extra energy cost? You’ll have to decide.
6. Nutrichef Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser
We had high expectations for the Nutrichef Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser, but it didn’t manage to live up to them. It looks good, which is part of why we expected more from it. It features a space-saving countertop design that’s compatible with three or five-gallon water jugs. We found that it fit nicely on the counter and looked good in our kitchen; so far so good.
According to the paperwork, this dispenser heats the water up to 175 degrees Fahrenheit and cools it down to 40 degrees. We don’t doubt that it heats the water sufficiently since it never gave us any problems with hot water. But the cold water was never actually cold. It definitely never got as cool as we would have liked.
We found this dispenser to be difficult to load. Jugs just didn’t want to sit right in this device and we spilled water every time. But the worst thing we noticed was the plastic taste in our water. Even after going through several jugs of water, the plastic taste persisted. Because of this, we’d recommend going with another similarly priced alternative such as the Giantex dispenser in the second position of this list.
7. Primo 900127 Top Loading Water Cooler
With the Primo 900127 Top Loading Water Cooler, you can choose between instant ice-cold, cool, and piping-hot water any time you want it. It gives you three separate water taps so you can have all three temperatures at once. Considering the affordable price this cooler is available for, we were impressed that it included this feature.
We also liked the nice looks of this device. It’s got a stainless steel and black appearance that works in almost any kitchen. But it’s pretty flimsy and doesn’t feel solid. Worse, once you put the jug on top, the whole thing is pretty top-heavy and feels like it’s going to tip over.
When we first started using this dispenser, there was a strong plastic taste in the water. It did go away, but it took an entire five-gallon jug to flush it out. And no matter what we did, we couldn’t get the ice-cold tap to give us truly cold water.
8. Brio Bottom Loading Water Cooler Water Dispenser
The Brio CLBL420V2 Water Cooler Dispenser is one of the more expensive dispensers we’ve tested. We expected good things from it but were sorely disappointed. It suffers from several issues, including being overpriced for what you get. However, there were some things about it that we liked.
This dispenser features a convenient bottom-loading design that we appreciated. It’s also got three temperatures of water with a separate nozzle for each. But when you go to pour water, you’ll quickly realize that the lights for the hot and cold dispensers are misplaced! This could easily lead to an accident, causing someone to inadvertently burn themselves.
We also weren’t thrilled with the cheap materials used to construct this dispenser. It’s easily dented and ours was even dented in two places out of the box. For such an expensive product, we certainly expected more.
9. COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler Dispenser
The COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler Dispenser is one of the most affordable models we tested, though it’s certainly not one of the better values. In fact, we’d recommend staying far away from this model. It might be affordably priced, but that’s where the list of positives ends with this machine.
When we first set it up, we noticed that it dispensed water incredibly slowly. We were able to look past that though. Next, we discovered that the water had a terrible taste! Even on our second five-gallon jug, the bad taste didn’t dissipate.
Then, we found the real trouble. The dispenser developed a leak. We came home and the floor was covered in water, the jug was empty. For us, this was a dealbreaker.
10. LeMuna Water Cooler Dispenser
We love the dispensers with a bottom-loading design, so we expected to like the LeMuna Water Cooler Dispenser. Not only is it bottom-loading, but it also has three temperatures of water to choose from with separate nozzles for each. But beyond this, we struggled to find anything good to say about this dispenser.
To start, it’s very expensive but doesn’t offer enough value to justify the price. We were disappointed that the cold water dispenser never got cold. It got slightly cooler than room temperature, but never truly cold. Yet somehow the compressor was constantly running and it was very loud. In the end, we’d recommend just about any other dispenser instead of this one.
As you can see, there’s a lot of difference between dispensers. So, how can you decide which one is right for you? It’s a personal choice, but after using so many of these dispensers, we’ve come to understand the most important factors that you need to consider when making your decision.
Top-Loading vs Bottom-Loading
Top-loading dispensers are the standard ones that we’re all used to. They sit on the floor or counter and you place the water jug upside-down into a hole on the top of the dispenser.
The problem with top-loading dispensers is two-fold. First, you have to lift that heavy jug high enough to get it onto the dispenser in the first place. Second, you have to flip that heavy jug upside down and risk spilling water everywhere while you slide it into the hole.
Bottom-loading dispensers take a different approach. These dispensers allow you to set the jug upright in the bottom of the dispenser so you never have to lift it to the full height of the machine or flip it over. This is a much more convenient approach, but it can cost a bit more to get a dispenser with this feature.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
You’re drinking through this dispenser, so it must stay clean and sterile. This means breaking down the dispenser and thoroughly cleaning it every so often.
Some dispensers are very difficult to break down and reassemble when it’s time to clean. Others are designed to break down easily for quick cleaning.
Our favorite dispensers are self-cleaning. Just push a button and the dispenser will clean and disinfect itself, saving you the time and hassle.
These water dispensers feature coolers and heaters so you can get both cold and hot water. But how cold and how hot? Not all dispensers heat and cool evenly. Some offer dismal performance in this department, never quite getting your water cold or hot.
We prefer dispensers with temperature adjustment knobs that give you direct control of the temperature. This gives you the most freedom.
But dispensers with three temperatures are also great. This gives you more options with less work since you get three separate water taps; one for each temperature.
In a utopian world, you could simply pick the dispenser that has all the features you want and be done with it. But in reality, we’re always hindered by another factor — price.
Some models we tested cost more than twice what other models went for. They all perform the same job, so it’s up to you to decide how much you value the feature set of any given dispenser.
After testing and writing reviews on many different water cooler dispensers, we narrowed down all the options to the three that impressed us the most. Our favorite overall was the Avalon B3BLOZONEWTRCLRBLK Water Cooler Dispenser. It offers three water temperatures to choose from and a convenient bottom-loading design. Best of all, it’s self-cleaning, saving you the time and frustration of pulling the dispenser apart to disinfect it.
If you’re looking for the best value, we suggest taking a look at the Giantex EP 22276 Water Cooler Dispenser. It’s affordably priced but still offers excellent performance and features such as the detachable water barrel seat that makes it easy to disassemble for cleaning and the security lock that protects children from getting burned by the hot water.
Finally, our premium choice recommendation is the Brio CLBL520SC. This awesome bottom-loading dispenser is self-cleaning and has three temperature settings to choose from with a child-safety lock on the hot water to keep your little ones safe.
Featured Image Credit: Amazon
David Slone runs the TapIt Water blog. He first learned about water filtration and the impact it has on the world in college. Ever since that day he has worked towards making the world a better place. He writes to inform you about water filtration, the consequences of plastics, bottled water, and how we can do things better.
He loves to spend time with his beloved wife, 3 kids, and dog when he’s not writing.
- 1 A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2021
- 2 The 10 Best Water Cooler Dispensers
- 2.1 1. Avalon Limited Edition Water Cooler Dispenser – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Giantex Primo Home Water Cooler Dispenser – Best Value
- 2.3 3. Brio Self Cleaning Water Cooler Dispenser – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. Farberware Freestanding Water Cooler Dispenser
- 2.5 5. Avalon Premium Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser
- 2.6 6. Nutrichef Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser
- 2.7 7. Primo 900127 Top Loading Water Cooler
- 2.8 8. Brio Bottom Loading Water Cooler Water Dispenser
- 2.9 9. COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler Dispenser
- 2.10 10. LeMuna Water Cooler Dispenser
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Conclusion