Comparing The Best Water Cooler / Dispenser For Your Home

best water cooler


There’s a reason that in the last couple of years alone, millions of households have decided to stop drinking tap water and move to bottled or filtered water:

Studies show that our drinking water has become unsafe to drink.

While many households solve this problem with an internal water filtration system, a water cooler/dispenser will help make your access to hot and cold water much more convenient.

There are many types of water cooler/dispenser units, but they’re mainly divided into bottled and bottleless options.

Bottleless water coolers hook up to the household water supply, often at a point after the water has been filtered, and allows for an endless supply of hot and cold water. They might be slightly more difficult to set up then their bottled counterparts, but they save the need to purchase a constantly supply of water bottles.

Bottled water coolers are cheaper than the bottleless kind, but they require the purchase of large bottles of water. They can either be top-loading or bottom-loading, where bottom-loading water coolers are easier to use as there’s no need to lift the water bottle in the air.

Both are great options, depending on your needs. Read on to discover the best water cooler/dispenser for your needs.

Let’s start with my top picks:

  NameWater originTemperaturesRating 
Best Overall
Whirlpool Water Cooler DispenserBottledHot and cold4.8/5Check Price
Editors Pick
Avalon Water Cooler DispenserBottlelessHot, cold and room temperatures4.8/5Check Price
Top Loading
Clover B7A Water Cooler DispenserBottledHot and cold4.6/5Check Price
Countertop
Nutrichef Mini Water Cooler DispenserBottlelessHot and cold4.3/5Check Price
Budget
Coldkeepers Porcelain Water Cooler DispenserBottledCold4.3/5Check Price
I

n this guide I review and compare 9 of the absolute best water dispenser and cooler combos, divided into 3 categories: Bottom Loading Water Cooler Dispensers, Top Loading Water Cooler Dispensers and Bottleless Water Cooler Dispensers.

The buyers guide at the end of this post will help answer all the questions you might have before making your purchase.

best bottom loading water cooler dispensers

Best Bottom Loading Water Cooler Dispensers

If you struggle to lift a full water bottle onto a top loading water dispenser, then a bottom loading water dispenser might be the one for you. The bottles simply slide into the base – below the dispensing area – so there’s no need for physical exertion.

These products are usually pretty sleek and stylish, because the water bottles are hidden in the base rather than being visible on top.

Bottom loading water coolers can’t rely on gravity to draw water out, so look for a dispenser that can empty a bottle entirely to avoid wastage.

I’ve chosen to focus on three which come with a self-cleaning feature so that you don’t have to worry about pumping the system yourself.

Water Cooler Comparison Chart

whirlpool cooler
Whirlpool Water Cooler Dispenser
  • 4.8/5 Rating
  • Bottled
  • Hot and cold
  • Bottom loading
whirlpool cooler

Recommendation

The #1 best bottom loading water dispenser on the market, the Whirlpool is self-cleaning, safe for children, and very stylish. Aside from its great range of features, this bottom loading dispenser empties its bottles of virtually all water, leaving you with almost no wastage. Produced by one of the best known names in the appliance industry, this water dispenser will leave you wanting for nothing.

TECH SPECS

Water origin
Bottled
Temperatures
Hot and cold
Bottle location
Bottom loading

Whirlpool Water Cooler Dispenser

This Whirlpool water dispenser is one sleek water dispenser. Its simple black and silver exterior will blend right in with any modern kitchen, so it won’t feel like you have a large, bulky, office style water dispenser.

There are three main features of this bottom load water dispenser which make it really appealing when compared to the competition: it’s self-cleaning, it has a child safety feature, and it virtually empties completely.

The self-clean feature is a fantastic time-saver – the kind of thing you don’t realize you need until you have it. I used to find cleaning water dispensers such a hassle, so taking this chore out of my hands came as such a relief. Essentially, the machine works by using oxygen to get rid of bacteria and other nasty bugs, so the water is still completely safe to drink and you won’t get any aftertaste.

This thing churns out cold and very hot water at quite a pace. As a result, if you’re going to be using this at home then safety is an important feature. If you can fill a coffee mug with hot water in just a few seconds, then I can’t bear to think how much damage would be caused if a child used the dispenser without supervision.

Luckily, there is a two-step child safety feature which is designed to make it difficult for youngsters to dispense hot water. The buttons for this are on the top of the machine, so taller or older kids might still be able to access these if you’re not careful. Alternatively, for extra protection and peace of mind you can turn off the hot water altogether.

As this is a bottom loading water dispenser, the water bottles sit in the base of the machine. Instead of relying on gravity, the bottles are fitted to a hose which draws water upwards. The downside of this is that you can only use this machine with bottles – there is no functionality to connect it to a water supply.

However, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. The hose which connects to the water bottle is fitted very securely, so it’s able to draw up almost all water from the bottle. At most, you’re probably looking at around a few tablespoons left behind. This reduces wastage, which in turn saves you effort and money.

This machine can take most standard water bottles. This includes five gallon bottles as well as those are smaller, and it doesn’t discriminate between round and square designs. Whichever bottle you use, you’ll find it easy to install as it just slides up and into the dispenser – no heavy lifting necessary.

One extra aesthetic point to note is that this water dispenser is fitted with a series of LED lights. These serve various functions during the day, but at night there’s no way to turn them off. If you prefer total darkness then this might be a problem for you, but I loved the lights as they acted like a night light by creating a gentle glow in my kitchen.

Pros
  • Self-cleaning technology
  • Empties bottles of virtually all water
  • Can hold most standard water bottle sizes and shapes
  • Modern, stylish appearance with attractive LED lights
Cons
  • No option to connect the dispenser to a water pipe
whirlpool cooler
whirlpool cooler side
whirlpool cooler  open
primo cooler
Primo Water Cooler Dispenser
  • 4.6/5 Rating
  • Bottled
  • Hot and cold
  • Bottom loading
primo cooler

Recommendation

A contender for the top spot, the Primo water cooler dispenser is comparable to the Whirlpool in many areas. Here, the self-cleaning feature must be turned on manually – great if you want to turn it on at a specific time of day, but a minor inconvenience if you prefer things to run automatically. A child safety lock, a large dispensing area and the ability to use a variety of bottles are some other attractive aspects.

TECH SPECS

Water origin
Bottled
Temperatures
Hot and cold
Bottle location
Bottom loading

Primo Water Cooler Dispenser

In terms of safety and self-cleaning features, this Primo water dispenser is very similar to the Whirlpool in many ways.

This is also a bottom loading design which makes replacing water bottles effortless. Keeping the water at the base of the machine also keeps it bottom-heavy, thus eliminating the risk of toppling over.

As it dispenses hot water as well as cold, safety is also a concern. I found the child safety feature of this machine reassuring, as it has a two-step design featuring a sliding switch as well as a push button before hot water can be dispensed. Although older children might be able to work this out, it does take an extra level of problem solving and manual dexterity which should keep younger children out of harm’s way.

The Whirlpool water dispenser featured self-cleaning technology which used oxygen to keep the dispenser clean and the water fresh. The Primo works in much the same way, except that here you can choose when you want the machine to clean itself. Rather than having it fire up in the middle of the day, you can set it to clean at night or while you’re out – but if you do happen to be in, you’ll hardly notice it anyway as it runs very quietly.

Despite being bottom loading, the Primo water dispenser manages to drain each water bottle of almost all its contents. I found less than a cupful was left each time. The machine actually features a handy indicator light to let you know when the water’s running out, which saves you from having to check all the time.

There’s great versatility with both the bottles which you can use to fill the water dispenser, and the items that can be filled. This machine takes both five and three gallon water bottles, and they don’t have to be made by the Primo brand.

When you want to fill something up, the dispensing area stands a little less than a foot high, so it’s plenty big enough for most cups, glasses and mugs. I could even use it to fill my sports drinks bottles which are much taller than a standard cup.

Pros
  • Two-step child safety lock on hot water
  • Bottom loading design makes dispenser stable
  • Self-cleaning feature can be started manually at a convenient time for you
  • Large dispensing area
Cons
  • Manual self-cleaning feature needs organising – not always convenient
hamilton cooler
Hamilton Beach BL-1-4A Water Cooler Dispenser
  • 4.0/5 Rating
  • Bottled
  • Hot, cold and room temperatures
  • Bottom loading
hamilton cooler

Recommendation

The Hamilton Beach water cooler dispenser is a great choice for families, offering all the expected safety and convenience features as other models. However, be prepared to make some internal adjustments prior to use. This isn’t the quietest or most powerful water dispenser you’ll ever come across, but it’s still a stylish, practical, bottom loading model for an affordable price.

TECH SPECS

Water origin
Bottled
Temperatures
Hot, cold and room temperatures
Bottle location
Bottom loading

Hamilton Beach BL-1-4A Water Cooler Dispenser

Like the Whirlpool and the Primo, this Hamilton Beach water dispenser is a great option for domestic use for families who don’t have a safe drinking water supply. It can be used with three and five gallon water bottles, and features the same ‘slide-and-push’ child safety lock mechanism as the other models.

This dispenser features a number of different switches and light which have a variety of roles. The hot and cold water settings can be turned on or off, so you can save energy and prolong the life of the machine if you don’t plan to use these settings much.

One light creates a soft night light feature which makes it easier to get a drink at night; another alerts you to the current water bottle running low. However, it’s worth noting that this is the only alert that this machine will give you – it won’t beep like the Whirlpool. I prefer quiet, discreet appliances so I don’t mind, but if you need an audible clue then this might not be the water dispenser for you.

Although these features are all very desirable in a water dispenser, I came across a number of sticking points with this model which placed it lower down my rankings.

Firstly, there was an issue on receipt of the water dispenser, when I first tried to use it. After following the instructions, I found that only the room temperature water was dispensed: the hot and cold water buttons didn’t seem to work.

It turns out that this is actually a very common problem with this model. Hamilton Beach have even created a video to explain how to fix it. It involves unscrewing the back of the dispenser to move the switches into position from the inside. This was a huge inconvenience and frustration for me – especially as it doesn’t seem to be something that’s absolutely necessary for transit – so if you’re aware of it in advance then you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.

Finally, I was able to move on to the dispensing of the water. Rather than being tepid, the room temperature water actually came out very cold. It was almost the same as the water dispensed from the cold water button, so don’t choose this dispenser for the room temperature feature alone.

When drawing the water from the bottle, the machine made a rather loud rattling sound. This is to be expected from bottom loading water dispensers to a certain extent, but it was still much louder than other models which I’ve tried.

Finally, I was disappointed with the Hamilton Beach’s flow time. Aside from the fact that I had to wait around an hour for the cold water to cool down properly, I then had to wait another 20 to 30 seconds to fill a large cup. This seemed to worsen slightly over time, but with a bit of unclogging it returned to normal.

Pros
  • Child safety look protects children from turning on hot water
  • Features useful alert lights
  • Can be used with three and five gallon bottles
Cons
  • Hot and cold buttons need to be adjusted from inside the machine before use
  • When the water bottle needs replacing there is no audible alert
  • Room temperature water is very cold
  • Sometimes makes a loud rattling sound
hamilton cooler button
hamilton cooler height
hamilton cooler display
hamilton cooler options
bottleless water cooler dispensers

Bottleless Water Cooler Dispensers

The main benefit of choosing a point of use water cooler is that you can hook it up to your household water pipe. You don’t have to organize water deliveries, and you don’t need to monitor how many full bottles you have as spares.

The downside of this is that point of use water dispensers aren’t suitable for areas where the water is contaminated or unpleasant to taste. Most of these dispensers – including the Avalon – run the water through an internal filtration system first, but if you’re still going to be concerned about the quality of the water, consider a top or bottom loading dispenser instead.

Within these bottleless water cooler reviews, I’ve even picked out a mini water cooler made by Nutrichef. Ideal for individuals, it offers most of the features that you’d expect from a full-sized model, wrapped up in a cheap water dispenser package.

Water Cooler Comparison Chart

avalon cooler
Avalon Water Cooler Dispenser
  • 4.8/5 Rating
  • Bottleless
  • Hot, cold and room temperatures
avalon cooler

Recommendation

Offering clean, fresh, great tasting water which is run through an internal filtration system, this bottleless water dispenser rivals the bottom loading Whirlpool. The leak detection system is a nice bonus, but it ended up taking the spot of #2 editor’s pick due to the unfortunately high noise levels.

TECH SPECS

Water origin
Bottleless
Temperatures
Hot, cold and room temperatures

Avalon Water Cooler Dispenser

The main difference between this Avalon water dispenser and the previous bottom loading water dispensers is that this one works when hooked up to a running water supply.

For all intents and purposes, I found most of the other features to be much the same as the previous bottom loading dispensers.

As you’d expect from a water dispenser of this price, it includes a child safety lock to keep little fingers from accessing the hot water. It has self-cleaning technology, and like the Primo you’ll have to set it going manually. In addition, the night lights and alert lights are just as useful as they are on the other models, except here the alert light lets you know when the filter needs replacing rather than the water bottle.

Instead of dispensing already-filtered water, bottleless dispensers use filters to remove and chemicals, particles and bacteria before you drink. This clean water is then heated or cooled to the desired temperature.

I was a little dubious about how effective this filter would be, but I was very surprized. It worked really well, leaving the water tasting fresh and clean – even if the ‘cold’ water did come out noticeably warmer than the room temperature water.

As the machine is hooked up to a water line, another worry which I had was that of leaking. However, this model actually monitors the water flow and picks up when too much water is entering the machine for the amount being dispensed – or when you have a leak. Having this alert feature set up saved me from quite a mess, and from having to make costly repairs.

At first, this Avalon dispenser seemed much noisier to use than some of the other models I’ve reviewed. With a little adjustment I managed to improve the noise levels – simply move the hose so it doesn’t rest against the side of the machine and you won’t hear quite so much of a rattle.

That said, the floor surface did seem to make a difference, with the dispenser seeming louder and more intrusive on hard floors.

Pros
  • Filters water before dispensing
  • Leak detection feature prevents spillages and costly water damage
Cons
  • Higher noise levels than other models
avalon cooler
avalon cooler use
avalon cooler open
avalon cooler side
denali dispenser
Denali Water Cooler Dispenser
  • 4.4/5 Rating
  • Bottleless
  • Hot and cold
denali dispenser

Recommendation

The stainless steel reservoirs of the Denali water cooler dispenser keep the water fresh and at the perfect temperature far more effectively than any of the other models. With an internal filtration system, this dispenser makes water safe for the whole family to drink. The temperature of the cold water is adjustable, but the hot water is set to a fixed temperature, bringing you a mixed level of convenience and versatility.

TECH SPECS

Water origin
Bottleless
Temperatures
Hot and cold

Denali Water Cooler Dispenser

Firstly, I love how stylish the Denali water dispenser looks. With its stainless steel and glossy black combo it fits right in with any modern interior, although you could argue that it would fit better in an office environment than in the home.

The stainless steel has more benefits than just being visually appealing. It’s a good conductor of heat, so the two metal reservoirs help to cool and heat your water much faster than reservoirs made from plastic or other materials. In addition, you’ll probably have plenty of long-lasting stainless steel around your kitchen, so you’ll already know that it helps to keep consumables fresh for longer.

The filtration system which is fitted in this machine works in the same way as that in the Avalon water dispenser. The manufacturers state that it removes chlorine, lead, smells and bad tastes, and I can believe them. Provided that you flush each new filter through with the recommended five gallons first, the water always tastes fresh and clean.

Unfortunately, unlike the Avalon, this water dispenser doesn’t automatically alert you to when the filter needs replacing. You either have to be on the ball with your diary keeping skills, or rely on the reminder emails which MOJO Water send out. For general office use, you’ll probably want to change the filter two or three times a year, but for a family you can get away with keeping the same filter for a year or more.

This dispenser heats the water to 185 degrees, and that’s fixed. It’s plenty hot enough for coffee or ramen noodles, but if you want a slightly lower temperature you’ll have to wait for it to cool down after it’s been dispensed.

However, I was surprised and pleased to find that the cold water temperature is actually adjustable – a feature which is severely lacking in all the other water dispensers so far. Pick a temperature between 40 and 44 degrees, adjust the thermostat, and your water will come out perfectly. I’m yet to find a water dispenser that’s more satisfying or refreshing.

Pros
  • Stainless steel reservoirs are good heat conductors, keep water fresh, and are long-lasting
  • Effective filtration system rids water of chemicals and impurities
  • Adjustable cold water temperature
Cons
  • Hot water temperature is not adjustable
  • No alert system for when the filter needs replacing – you need to rely on MOJO Water emails only
denali dispenser
denali dispenser home
denali dispenser inst
denali dispenser filter
nutrichef cooler
Nutrichef Mini Water Cooler Dispenser
  • 4.3/5 Rating
  • Bottleless
  • Hot and cold
nutrichef cooler

Recommendation

Small enough to sit on your kitchen countertop, I recommend the Nutrichef Mini water cooler dispenser as the fourth best home water dispenser. Featuring lightweight construction, very quiet running and the ability to hold up to five gallon bottles, this dispenser offers convenience like no other.

TECH SPECS

Water origin
Bottleless
Temperatures
Hot and cold

Nutrichef Mini Water Cooler Dispenser

This is the only ‘mini’ sized water dispenser which is small enough to sit on a countertop or desk which I’ve chosen to review. It might be smaller than the rest, but it’s by no means inferior.

For starters, it can still accommodate either three or five gallon bottles, so you won’t have to refill it any faster than you do a full-sized machine. It does feel slightly top heavy when the bottle is full, but this is partly down to the lightweight construction of the machine itself, so use it with care.

In addition, the hot faucet has been made with a lockable design to keep kids safe, so your whole family will be able to use it safely. This is fantastic for a water dispenser of this price, as high safety is usually reserved for pricier models. If you want a water cooler for home use, this kind of safety should be a top priority.

This is a compact machine, so it can fit in virtually any corner of your home or office. I barely noticed mine, as not only is it very small, but it’s also incredibly quiet. No whirring or rattling here.

I’ll rave all day about how handy and portable this water dispenser is, but there’s one hidden extra which makes it one of the most convenient coolers for the money.

On the left hand side of the faucets (as you look at them) is a black door. It’s only a small compartment, but it’s big enough to hold a stack of disposable cups. This means that you can simply grab your drink and go, making it the ultimate convenient drink.

However, for all its plus points, don’t expect this water cooler to be without its flaws. It’s significantly smaller than all the other models I’m reviewing, so understandably the water pressure is lower. You can expect to take slightly longer to fill your cup, but we’re only talking a few seconds so it’s hardly a great inconvenience.

As with most water coolers, you might find that there’s a plastic taste to the water for a while. This improves with time. If you want to avoid this artificial taste altogether, I found that just flushing it through with extra water first solved the problem – but this is something that you should be doing before your water dispenser’s first use anyway.

Pros
  • Compact size means it can fit on a countertop
  • Can be used with three and five gallon bottles
  • Space to hold disposable cups
Cons
  • Lower water pressure and slower flow than full-sized models
  • Water has a plastic taste at first
nutrichef cooler
nutrichef cooler cup
nutrichef cooler tap
nutrichef cooler side
top loading water cooler dispensers

Top Loading Water Cooler Dispensers

The stereotypical incarnations of water dispensers, top loading models require a water bottle to be placed on top of the product, using gravity to help draw water out.

This style of water dispenser is tried and tested. You’ll probably have come across top loading models in homes and offices up and down the country. However, Coldkeepers have put a new spin on the traditional design, with their stylish porcelain water dispenser.

These coolers do require some physical effort in order to load up the bottles, so enlist the help of a someone strong if you’re considering one of these three options.

Within this category, don’t expect to find inbuilt filtration systems like in the bottleless category. Nevertheless, Clover is just one of the brands which has off-set this inconvenience by creating a product that’s extremely energy efficient.

Water Cooler Comparison Chart

clover cooler
Clover B7A Water Cooler Dispenser
  • 4.6/5 Rating
  • Bottled
  • Hot and cold
  • Top loading
clover cooler

Recommendation

The adjustable temperature range of the Clover B7A water cooler dispenser is greater than on the Denali, which is why it’s my third pick for best water cooler – and the best in the top loading category. It’s quiet to run and energy efficient which make it seem far more expensive than its low price tag. The only thing that’s missing is a child safety lock on the hot water spigot.

TECH SPECS

Water origin
Bottled
Temperatures
Hot and cold
Bottle location
Top loading

Clover B7A Water Cooler Dispenser

Clover have packed together a fantastic range of features in this top loading water dispenser – so much so that the overall result is outstanding value for money.

As a consumer, the only thing that’s lacking that I would highlight as a drawback for families is the lack of a safety lock on the hot water faucet. It does have a two-step technique in order to actually dispense the water, but this only involves pressing two pieces of plastic together (like a trigger), then pushing it down like a standard faucet. This requires too much manual dexterity for a toddler to accidentally dispense hot water, but older children could use this machine all too easily.

However, once you get past this hurdle, the Clover offers some brilliant benefits.

Although the hot water is set to a consistent 185 degrees, the cold water temperature is adjustable. Ranging from as low as 35 degrees to as well over 50, the temperature range is far wider than the (more expensive) Denali. It’s really nice to be given such a wide choice, especially as there’s no dedicated room temperature setting.

That said, the thermostat isn’t located in a very convenient position. It’s round the back of the machine, and you have to use a screwdriver to adjust it. This is too much hassle to change if each user prefers a different temperature, but the option is still there should you need it.

The water flow from this dispenser is very fast, probably because gravity does much of the hard work for you. After a while, it seemed like the rate of flow began to slow slightly, so I had to descale the system to clear the blockage. The instructions weren’t very clear on how to do this, but after doing my homework I found that the recommended method is in line with other water dispenser descaling techniques.

To drink, the water dispensed from this machine tasted fresh and clean – despite the fact that there is no inbuilt filtration system. I didn’t notice any hint of plastic in the taste at all.

I suspect that this is down to the water reservoirs which are made from stainless steel. This material is known to keep water fresh and bacteria-free for longer, and its heat conductive properties get the water to the perfect temperature quickly.

One of the quieter dispensers which I’ve reviewed, the Clover obviously runs very efficiently. As such, it’s earned an Energy Star rating from the EPA. Not only does this dispenser improve your water drinking experience, but it improves your energy efficiency and your bank balance, too.

With a white plastic exterior, this isn’t the most attractive water cooler dispenser on the market. However, its range of internal features should make it one of your top contenders.

Pros
  • Cold water is adjustable to a wide range of temperatures
  • Stainless steel tanks keep water fresh
  • Fast water flow
  • Energy Star rated
Cons
  • No child safety lock on hot water
  • Difficult to adjust the thermostat due to its inconvenient position
  • Not very stylish
clover cooler
clover cooler pour
clover cooler side
clover cooler taps
honeywell cooler
Honeywell Water Cooler Dispenser
  • 4.3/5 Rating
  • Bottled
  • Hot, cold and room temperatures
  • Top loading
honeywell cooler

Recommendation

The problem of spillage is eliminated with this top loading water cooler dispenser. Manufactured by Honeywell, it offers hot, cold and room temperature water – although you can’t have the hot and cold settings turned on at the same time. Once the plastic taste wears off, you’ll find that the child safety lock and the large storage space are nice advantages for busy families.

TECH SPECS

Water origin
Bottled
Temperatures
Hot, cold and room temperatures
Bottle location
Top loading

Honeywell Water Cooler Dispenser

The main worry that I have when using top loading water dispensers is that when I replace an empty bottle with a full one, there’s going to be a lot of spillage and I’ll have a huge watery mess to clean up.

Luckily, with the Honeywell water cooler dispenser, I didn’t have to worry about that at all. Provided that you buy three or five gallon bottles with spill proof caps, there’ll be zero spillage. You don’t have to remove the cap, just move it into place on top of the machine and the spill-proof connector will take care of the rest.

Like the Clover, this water dispenser also features stainless steel water tanks to keep water fresh. However, they didn’t eliminate the unpleasant plastic taste which I noticed. Even after flushing the system with water first (as per the instructions) the taste was still there, although it did improve with time.

This is the only top loading water dispenser to offer hot, cold and room temperature settings. On paper this sounds great, but the reality isn’t as good as the bottleless Avalon.

This is because Honeywell recommend that the hot and cold switches are not left on at the same time. At any one time, you can have either one or the other. To change your mind, switch one setting off and the other on, then wait a few minutes for the water to reach the desired temperature.

If you mainly use one setting over the other then this might not be a problem, but if you’re constantly having to switch between hot and cold then this might not be the water dispenser for you.

Furthermore, although the hot water can reach almost ten degrees hotter than the Clover, I wasn’t that impressed with the temperature of the cold water. It doesn’t come out significantly cooler than the room temperature water. I’d call it ‘cool’ rather than ‘cold’, so if you like your water icy cold then you might be disappointed.

However, putting the negatives aside, this water dispenser does have some good qualities.

Reassuringly, it does have a child safety lock on the hot water faucet, which makes it far more preferable for families than the Clover, in my opinion.

So far, the only other water dispenser which has featured any kind of storage space at all was the mini countertop model by Nutrichef. This is the only full sized dispenser in this guide which features storage, and it goes one better than the Nutrichef.

Here, beneath the dispensing area is a fairly large cupboard. It would have been nice if it was refrigerated, but as it stands it’s still a handy place to keep spare cups, tea bags and instant coffee.

Pros
  • Spill-proof
  • Stainless steel tanks keep water fresh
  • Child safety lock on hot water
  • Large storage space beneath the dispensing area
Cons
  • Water has an unpleasant, strong plastic taste
  • Hot and cold water cannot be turned on at the same time
  • Cold water isn’t much colder than the room temperature water
honeywell cooler
honeywell cooler open
honeywell cooler stand
honeywell cooler usage
coldkeepers cooler
Coldkeepers Porcelain Water Cooler Dispenser
  • 4.3/5 Rating
  • Bottled
  • Cold
  • Top loading
coldkeepers cooler

Recommendation

My pick for position number five – and the best budget buy – is a wild card. The Coldkeepers porcelain water cooler dispenser only has a cold water option and it works best when filled with slightly less water than some of the other models in this guide. However, it doesn’t look anything like your typical office water cooler. A fabulous water dispenser for home use, this is a stylish piece of furniture in its own right. It’s a guaranteed conversation starter!

TECH SPECS

Water origin
Bottled
Temperatures
Cold
Bottle location
Top loading

Coldkeepers Porcelain Water Cooler Dispenser

If coolers that are powered by electricity, noisy running systems and big, unsightly metal and plastic appliances all bother you, then this might just be the home water cooler for you.

It requires no electricity to work – the porcelain section is all that’s needed to cool the water to below room temperature level. The downside of this is that there’s not hot water option, but for the price this isn’t a deal breaker.

Aside from cooling the water, the porcelain does have some other benefits, too. It is dishwasher safe, and it’s much safer to clean it with bleach than it would be if it was plastic. The result is that the unpleasant taste and the blocked systems of some of the previous models are a thing of the past here.

The stand which supports the porcelain dispenser is made of wood and does require some assembly before use. Finished with a smooth orange-brown lacquer, the wood isn’t the hardest, highest quality wood in the world, but it’s more than adequate for supporting the weight.

Assembly isn’t something that I anticipated with a water dispenser, so it’s something to bear in mind if you’d prefer one that you can use pretty much straight away. However, the stand was very straightforward to put together, despite needing a little elbow grease. Make sure that all the washers and plastic seals are secured very tightly, and you won’t experience any leakage or spills.

I wanted to position the water cooler on a slightly uneven hard floor, so I was pleased to find that the feet are actually adjustable. With a little screwing and unscrewing, they can be adjusted independently, so there’s no need to worry about wobbling or rattling.

That said, I did find the whole setup a little unstable when I tried putting a full five gallon bottle into place. It’s not impossible, but the whole thing feels a little more secure and sturdy when filled with somewhere between two and four gallons.

Overall, for an inexpensive water dispenser that only has a cold option, I’ve been seriously impressed. It does the job, it looks great, and it’s more unassuming than other models in terms of both noise and space, so what more could you want?

Pros
  • Does not need electricity or a power source
  • Easy and safe to clean with bleach or in the dishwasher
  • Adjustable feet mean it can balance on uneven surfaces
  • Very stylish
Cons
  • No hot water option
  • Some assembly required
  • Unstable when used with a full five gallon water bottle

How To Choose A Water Cooler/Dispenser For Your Home

The Ultimate Buyers Guide

water cooler buyers guide

What is a water cooler?

Unsurprisingly, a water cooler is a type of machine that cools water for drinking.

Sometimes referred to as water dispensers, they can be divided into three broad categories: top loading, bottom loading and bottleless water coolers.

Top and bottom loading water coolers use large bottles as their water sources. Typically found in three and five gallon sizes, these bottles do need to be replaced when they run out, which does require some monitoring and forward planning on your part.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) fill these bottles yourself, do some research as there are countless companies which sell, rent out and refill these bottles for you.

Water coolers use a variety of different methods to chill the water before it’s dispensed. In most cases, they need electricity to power a compressor, using a similar method to air conditioners and other industrial cooling systems.

However, Coldkeepers have devised an alternative: the porcelain water cooler which uses the natural properties of the material to cool the water to below room temperature. This method doesn’t require a power source so it’s great if you’re environmentally conscious or if you want to keep your bills down, but it does mean that the surrounding room temperature will have a slight impact on the water temperature, too.

What is a water dispenser?

A water dispenser is just another name for a water cooler.

Water dispensers don’t necessarily produce cold water, although most do.

The cheapest water dispensers on the market might just dispense water at room temperature, but if you’re willing to invest a little more money then you can buy an appliance which has hot, cold and room temperature options.

As with water coolers, water dispensers come in top loading, bottom loading and bottleless options.

You’re probably familiar with water dispensers from just about every office and business environment, as well as some homes. Often, you’ll find them with a stack of disposable cups, but only two of the dispensers in this guide feature any sort of storage space.

How does a water cooler work?

To begin with, all water dispensers need some sort of water supply. For top and bottom loading water dispensers, this is in the form of a large water bottle; bottleless water dispensers use a standard running water supply instead.

Once the water supply is hooked up to the dispenser, water starts to run into the machine. It fills a reservoir – basically a purpose-built tank – which is where the cooling begins.

The reservoir is surrounded by pipes which hold a liquid called a refrigerant. A compressor inside the dispenser turns this liquid into a gas. The gas within the pipes is forced to become significantly colder than the water.

As the refrigerant gas moves through the pipes around the reservoir, it draws heat away from the water. The water is left chilled, fresh and ready to be dispensed.

The dispenser will automatically refill the reservoir each time it is used, unless the water supply runs out or is cut off completely. The same cooling process then begins once again.

All the excess heat which is removed from the water is expelled through a vent in the back of the appliance.

How does a water dispenser work?

Like water coolers, all water dispensers start off with a water supply which is fed into a reservoir (or several reservoirs). However, the features of each individual water dispenser determine exactly how it works.

The simplest process is water which is dispensed at room temperature. In this case, the water is simply stored in a reservoir until needed. When someone presses a button or turns on the spigot (which is pretty much just a fancy word for faucet) a valve allows the water to flow out and into a cup.

Cold water settings can either be found on dedicated water coolers, or on dispensers which have several different temperature options. Either way, the dispenser usually uses a technique similar to air conditioners, which uses a compressor to cool a refrigerant, which in turn cools the water. Once again, the water is dispensed when a button which opens a valve is pressed.

If the dispenser has a hot water function, a different process is used once again. Instead of the refrigeration method used to cool water, electricity is passed through an electrical coil which heats up. In turn, this heats up the entire reservoir and the water within it. In this way, the dispenser is able to store the water at a hot temperature, thus having the ability to dispense almost boiling hot water instantly.

Dispensers which use water bottles usually assume that the water is a decent quality to begin with. However, with bottleless water dispensers you can’t make the same assumption, as they rely on an external, unfiltered water source.

As a result, bottleless water dispensers tend to come fitted with internal filters which the water passes through before being dispensed. This clears out any dissolved solids, impurities and chemicals, making the water safe to drink.

Top loading, bottom loading or bottleless: which is best?

The answer to this really depends on what you’re looking for from a water dispenser.

Bottleless water dispensers are more convenient as you don’t have to worry about if and when the water will run out. You simply have to hook them up, then you’re good to go. The lack of water bottles is also ideal for people who aren’t able to lift heavy objects.

However, despite the inbuilt filters, it is preferable to use these dispensers with a water line which supplies fairly good quality water to begin with. As a result, they might not be ideal if your home or business has water which isn’t good enough to drink.

Top and bottom loading water dispensers do require more physical effort and more organization than their bottleless counterparts, but they’re usually somewhat cheaper.

Bottom loading dispensers typically feature self-cleaning technology, so you don’t have to worry about clogged spigots or bacteria growth – particularly in the hot water system. In certain cases, it can be difficult for bottom loading dispensers to empty the bottles completely, which can lead to a small amount of wastage, and they might be slightly noisy as they draw water upwards from the bottle.

Top loading dispensers, on the other hand, are usually slightly quieter and more energy efficient, but you do have to think about cleaning them yourself. Spill-proof caps mean that nowadays spillage shouldn’t be a problem when you’re replacing the bottles.

If you have a family, then consider that the best water dispenser for home use should probably have a child safety lock feature on the hot water system. This is very common among water dispensers, but it’s not a guaranteed feature, so do check carefully before buying.

There are no right or wrong answers about which is the best water dispenser: it’s just a case of weighing up the strengths and weaknesses to find the best water cooler dispenser to suit your needs.

For more information, including pros and cons for water dispensers within each category, take a read through the comprehensive water dispenser reviews above.

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