When it comes to safe and healthy drinking water, you just cannot compromise! Obviously, you want only the best product in your household and office. Whether you want a hot cup of coffee after a stressful meeting or an ice-cold glass of water, a water dispenser can solve all your water needs.
In this article, I will have a more in-depth look at the best water dispensers in 2019. So your office is sorted with a reliable dispenser that won’t let you down after that very important presentation. You are welcome 🙂
With a dispenser, you can get ice cold or boiling water with only the press of a button. So, here is my list of the top eight dispensers rated in different categories and summarized in a table and see why you should consider buying one!
Dispensers are split into two categories, where the first dispensers are loaded from the top. The second half is bottom-loaded, which makes it more convenient as you do not have to lift or manipulate with heavy bottles.
So let’s have a closer look and start with a summary table where you can compare products yourself.
Costway Water Cooler
Built-in child safety lock, stainless steel, compressor, removable drip tray
Temperatures: Hot: 203°F Cold: 50°F
Whirlpool Steel Dispenser
Bottom storage cabinet, Digital temperature display, Stainless steel construction, Child safety
Temperatures: Hot: 199°F Cold: 40°F
Lago Top Load Cooler
Stainless steel, Three temperatures: hot, cold, room, LED indicators, Energy star rated
Temperatures: Hot: 180°F Cold: 50°F
Primo Bottom Load Dispenser (Self Cleaning)
Self-cleaning and Ozone technology, Child safety, Stainless steel and fingerprint free
Temperatures: Hot: 170°F Cold: 40.9°F
Avalon Limited Edition Dispenser (Self Cleaning)
Self-cleaning technology, Child safety, Removable tray and large clearance area
Temperatures: Hot: 168°F Cold: 47°F
Hamilton Beach BL-1-4A
Energy star and ETL certified, Child safety, Removable tray, LED indicator as to when replace a bottle
Temperatures: Hot: 190°F Cold: 40°F
Brio Essential Dispenser
BPA-free and anti-rust materials, child safety, antibacterial splash shield, Food-grade stainless steel hot tank
Temperatures: Hot: 190°F Cold: 40°F
Table of Contents
Top Loading Dispensers
There are 3 common types of water dispensers: Top loading, bottom loading and bottleless that are connected straight to the tap. In this article, I will review 2 types of top and bottom loading dispensers. The first section below is dedicated to the top loading coolers.
Comparing to the bottom load type, this type of loading is very affordable as it works on gravity. So, apart from electricity for heating and cooling water, it does not require any pump to pump water from the bottle. The most significant disadvantage of this type is that you will have to lift bottles and to load the dispenser.
Costway 5 Gallon Water Cooler
Costway water cooler is a freestanding efficient water dispenser with an elegant design that has made it to the top list of great dispensers.
The machine operates simply and efficiently. All you have to do is load the top with a 5-gallon bottle and plug it in. Just press any of the two buttons: hot or cold to get the desired water. The dispenser works by a gravity feed and only uses power for heating or cooling.
The machine comes pre-assembled and stands at a height of 36 inches. The nozzle has a space of about 8 – 10 inches beneath, easily allowing small sports bottles to fit underneath. If you do not wish to cool or heat your water, just unplug it for room temperature water.
I personally like the easy maintenance and the built-in child lock feature in the Costway. However, the product makes a squeaky noise that might annoy folks. The price is reasonable when compared to the quality of the product.
If you are looking for an easy to use and clean dispenser that features a child safety lock, then the Costway will suit you best. In addition to that, its elegant design, water pressure, and the fact that it uses power only while its heating or cooling the water make it an exciting choice.
Whirlpool Commercial Steel
Whirlpool is your go-to dispenser to buy if you are on the lookout for efficient functions and innovative features. The adjustable temperature feature makes it a standout amongst the others.
Whirlpool has three buttons: hot, cold, and room temperature. The digital display allows you to check the water temperature, and the buttons below it will enable you to adjust and set the temperature accordingly.
The product features about 9 -12 inches of clearance on the tray. The cabinet is not refrigerated and can be used to store away tea bags, cans, or bottles. The top of the dispenser punctures the bottle for you so you can use no-spill caps.
I like the fact that this system can offer quiet operation. Let’s be honest, sometimes you want to be entirely focused on your work in the office, and any noise can be very disruptive.
It also offers you to adjust the temperature of the water, and I like that feature. However, I do wish the storage compartment was refrigerated as well.
Reviewers appreciated the adjustable water temperature feature as well as the room temperature feature. They seem to enjoy the storage cabinet, particularly. However, many users reported the difficulty and confusion they faced in setting the temperature.
Whirlpool is an innovative dispenser on the market as it comprises of an adjustable temperature features. It is energy-efficient and operates quietly. However, the functionality might be a bit complicated and confusing.
Lago Top Load Water Cooler
Lago, with its heavy-duty framework, allows you to enjoy the water temperature that you desire! The child safety lock and the energy-saving feature seems like this might be an exciting choice!
The dispenser has three different indicator lights: hot and cold water and the power light to help you operate it with ease. Another light indicates if your bottle is empty. Also noteworthy is that it has a rather long energy cord.
The dispenser is smaller than most, which did not allow the possibility to fill sports bottles up under it as it had a little clearance. You can use uncapped bottles as well as no-spill caps with this dispenser, and you can even use a refillable bottle.
Lago was efficient and straightforward to operate dispenser. I found the LED indicator light is very helpful in managing the machine. However, the lack of a large clearance area above the tray could be an issue.
Most reviewers say the operation system of the machine is quiet and straightforward while others complained about the noise. On the contrary, some individuals noted the inefficiency of having one spout in commercial settings while others believed that a larger tray or clearance area would be better.
Although Lago has its fair share of cons, the energy-saving quality of the machine perhaps redeems it and is definitely worth the initial investment. It could be noisy for some users and embraces non-adjusting temperatures.
Bottom Loading Dispensers
In this section, I will review some of the bottom loading dispensers that you might find useful for your office. Why should you consider buying a bottom loading dispenser at all?
Well, the most obvious advantage is that the bottle is loaded from the bottom. This makes the dispenser an ideal choice for the office that does not have a superhero to lift heavy bottles to load them onto the dispenser.
Also, bottom loading dispensers are way better as a design choice as the hideous bottle is usually hidden in the cabinet at the bottom of the dispenser.
This nice advantage however, is countered with the fact that dispensers with bottom load are more expensive as they contain a water pump to pump the water.
Primo Bottom-Load Dispenser (Self Cleaning)
This dispenser includes one of the best feature on this list: the self-cleaning function. There’s no hassle cleaning and maintaining it when the machine does the work itself!
Directly load the bottom of the dispenser with your jug. The pump automatically fills up the reservoir and dispenses the perfect temperature of the water. It works on gravity; however, you need to plug it in for the heating and cooling preferences and for the water to pump up as well.
The power cord is 5 feet, which is the right length for this water dispenser. The dispenser utilizes switches on the back to help you shut off the hot water when not in use, to help save energy.
It can even connect to tap water. It provides users with a clearance of at least 10 inches. I like self-cleaning technology, which makes maintenance much more comfortable. However, I noticed that the construction is not very sturdy and leaked frequently.
Other reviewers seemed to share my concerns regarding frequent leaks. They added that sometimes the water could smell and that the machine was noisy. However, they loved it overall and seemed to enjoy the sleek modern look.
Overall, Primo dispenser shines brightly due to the efficient self-cleaning operation, which requires zero maintenance.
Also, it allows you to connect it to your tap so you won’t be left without the water if you forget to purchase or refill the bottle. Furthermore, it comprises of three different temperatures.
Avalon Limited-Edition (Self-Cleaning)
This is a relatively modern and sleek looking product perfect for your home or office. The self-cleaning feature and ease of use have ensured that this product makes it to the top of the industry.
The Avalon is a simple and efficient water dispenser. It uses three different spouts to dispense. The lights indicate when the water is ready to be dispensed, while the power light means whether it’s turned on or off.
The self-cleaning function can be turned using a switch at the back while there are three individual switches to control the cooling and heating processes.
I love that it has a moderately large clearance area, which is perfect for water bottles. The night light is an added bonus. Nevertheless, the controllable temperatures option is missing.
Various users loved its exceptional design and removable tray. However, other users were disappointed by the frequent leaks and the possible malfunctioning of the electronics.
The Avalon will undoubtedly meet your expectations as it has everything you would expect from the water dispenser. Its self-cleaning feature, along with the nightlight makes this dispenser unique. The self-cleaning feature takes about 90 minutes to clean and disinfect.
Hamilton Beach BL-1-4A
This water cooler dispenser is a bottom-dispensing cooler that prevents you from straining too much while loading it. It comes with a standard 1-year manufacturer’s warranty!
The Hamilton uses an easy design where the LED panel very conveniently displays when your water is ready to be dispensed. It features safety buttons at the back to turn off the heating or cooling process to save energy.
I reckon the model’s hot tank capacity was 1 liter while the cold was 4.5 liter. The cord length is about 6 feet, and the tray has a clearance area of about 8 inches. It takes about 3 minutes to heat up or cool down. It requires electricity to dispense it as it uses a pump.
The Hamilton Beach Dispenser is similar to other water dispensers and is very easy and straightforward to use. With this product, there is no getting confused about lights and buttons. However, the design, in my opinion, is a bit lacking, but it is only a matter of taste. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say.
Many users liked the Hamilton standard dispenser because of the added features like a child safety lock as well as the dishwasher-safe removable drip tray. Lots of customers loved this dispenser, but some users expressed that it’s too noisy, and they experienced frequent leaks.
The Hamilton Beach Dispenser is the standard dispenser if you want an efficient operation paired with a sleek and straightforward design. Other great adds on are its easiness to use, child safety and LED indicators.
Brio Essential Series
Brio Water Cooler Dispenser is an excellent choice for your household or office. It can provide you with hot or cold water or room temperature water whenever you want. The tri-faucet and antibacterial splash screen ensure the hygiene standard of the water for you!
The dispenser uses a three-faucet system to dispense out different temperatures. The child safety lock has to be pressed while using the hot water button to dispense hot water. Also included are hot water and cold-water buttons and an on/off switch as well as indicator lights.
It can be directly hooked to the tap or any other water source, so you save some money, as you don’t have to buy expensive bottles of water. I like the Brio because of its distinctive, swift design and operation.
The LED indicators are excellent in helping you out with the operation. However, I did notice that it gets increasingly difficult to use with the safety lock.
Furthermore, various customers found it to be excellent, quiet, and reliable due to the anti-rust technology. However, some users said the machine would not work for them and reported incorrect labeling of dispensers.
If you are looking for an affordable water dispenser that refuses to compromise on functionality and quality, Brio is the way to go. One of the best features is that the lights indicate when the hot or cold water is ready to be dispensed and when the water jug needs to be refilled.
Top loading dispensers winner
All the dispensers were great and held their own in the review process. However, when it came to affordability fused with great quality, Whirlpool made it to the top in the top loading dispensers category.
Overall, I found the adjustable temperature and the digital display of the Whirlpool were nicely added features. Also, the cabinet will be convenient to store tea or cups. None of the other products featured in this review had such features combined.
Bottom loading dispensers winner
As well as in top-loading category, all dispensers in this category did well. The title of best dispenser however, belongs to the Brio Dispenser for its great hygiene standards and use of sensitive to your health materials.
Make sure to check our other reviews of filters and dispensers as well as informative articles about the importance of cleanliness of drinking water that has a straight impact on your health.
Buyers’ Guide For Water Dispensers
So I have covered a range of water dispensers that should satisfy your needs. If for any reason they didn’t, there is nothing to worry about as below I will cover the list of things you should seek in dispensers.
Before I get to this, I want to let you know that there is NOT a single dispenser that would meet all your criteria. This being said, my advice to you would be to select the three most essential criteria you need in a dispenser and search the product with these in mind.
Here are mine:
- Dispenser Temperatures
- Top Vs Bottom Loading
- Paddles vs Buttons
Without further ado let’s jump to the criteria number one.
PS: I have sorted the criteria based on the relevance to me.
1. Dispenser Temperature
There is a huge variety of sizes, shapes, and just general types of dispensers. Regardless of this, dispensers often come with three temperature modes – cold, hot, room temperature, or if you want to go fancy, you can get one with an adjustable temperature.
Note, some dispensers only dispense water of room temperature. Also, in our office, we have a dispenser that distributes cold and room temperature only.
So, as you can see, there is something you need to keep in mind when selecting the unit. I am saying this because the difference in price between the simple dispenser and the one with hot water tap, could be hundreds of dollars. You can simply save money on this and buy a kettle if you have a kitchenette.
Now, I am not saying that dispensers with heater are a waste of money. These could become handy, especially if you don’t have any kitchen corner within your office, so there is no space for a kettle.
2. Top vs Bottom Loading
This is the criteria number one, and if you are selecting the dispenser, you should decide on this at the very beginning.
To make the right decision, it would be helpful first to check the demographics of your office. This would give you a good hint. If the office is mainly occupied by females, it would be sensible not to force them to lift heavy bottles of water to load the dispenser.
For such an occasion, bottom loading is a right and sensible choice. In addition to that, they look pleasant aesthetically. However, they leave a few cups of water at the bottom of the bottle. Also, they usually have a pump, which means that they are more expensive and might be noisy.
On the other hand, top-loaded dispensers are pretty straightforward to use. Water is pushed by gravity, so there is no pump needed. Another benefit is that the bottom half of some dispensers have a cabinet to store another bottle, tea, coffee, cups, or some napkins. This might become handy, especially in the office with no kitchenette.
But they have a few flaws as well. As I said before, the biggest one is that you have to lift the bottle to load it. But also, when the unit and the bottle is poorly designed, you might as well splash water around the dispenser. For me, I also don’t like the look of the bottle on top of it.
As you can see, there is no good or bad when it comes to the loading type. Both bring their own benefits and challenges, so give yourself some time to realize what you need.
3. Buttons versus Paddles
I have included this one out of the experience. I have two experiences with this.
The first experience is that the button always breaks down sooner or later. For this reason, I am not a massive fan of dispensers with buttons. This especially applies to those sensor buttons, where you touch the area and water starts to flow.
The problem I have with them is that they do not always work, often when you have wet fingers. Another thing is that it involves electronics, and if it breaks down, chances to repair it are vague.
However, don’t let this discourage you. Buttons might be actually a good shout when people often fill their bottles, you just hold the button. Meanwhile, it might be awkward to use the paddle.
Let’s talk about the paddles now. This is, in fact, a second experience I have, and it is a pleasant experience. I have found paddles to be reliable. The mechanism doesn’t involve any electronics, and the faucet is mechanical. So, there are fewer chances to break it, unless you tear the whole tap with paddle apart, but why would you do this?
Again, this is only my preference, but I would be happy to read your experiences with buttons vs. paddles, so make sure to share it in the comments below.
4. Splash-Free Bottle Loader (Top Loading)
This criterion is often missed by many but nonetheless is quite important.
So, you have made a decision to go with top loading dispenser. First thing you should check with the manufacturer is whether the bottle loader is splash-free.
In case you don’t know what I am talking about. Bottle loader is the thing that connects bottle on top of the dispenser. Some, especially cheaper units, might require you to remove the small cup before placing the bottle and as a result, you will end up splashing water.
What splash-free connector does is, it doesn’t require you to take the cap off the bottle. You will just connect it, and the mechanism will crack open it for you as the bottle settles, so there is no spillage near the dispenser.
A handy feature, especially when you have a carpet in the office. It would take ages for it to dry, and by the time, you have to replace the bottle, and it’s like an endless loop.
5. Clearance Area
This is especially important if you are looking for the dispenser to fill bottles primarily.
The thing is, not all coolers have enough space to fit the bottle under the tap comfortably. Just imagine this uncomfortable situation when the bottle just doesn’t fit in.
Lots of dispensers have a clearance area in the range between 9 to 12 inch. This should be enough to place the bottle comfortably. But if you are dispenser will be primarily used to fill bottles, I would advise you to check this information with the manufacturer.
Remember, it’s always better to go with a bigger clearance area rather than smaller and then return a product.
6. Children’s Safety
Right, this will become extremely handy when kids are always around. You should seek out this feature when the dispenser has hot water sprout, as this is where the danger is.
Now, various manufacturers offer different types of child protection. Some offer safety button placed behind the dispenser. Others just use a safety locker on the sprout.
7. Storage cabinet
A useful thing to have. Especially if you don’t have a kitchen or kitchenette.
A small compartment will be your place to store cups, tea, coffee, and everything related to the beverage.
I know how difficult it might be in the office to find space for things, especially when you have hot desks. The cabinet will resolve this issue once and for all, and you will have a go-to place when you want a drink, so you don’t have to ask your colleagues where the coffee is hidden.
There are two types of materials used for dispensers – plastic and stainless steel. Often it is a combination of both.
Similarly to point three, I have my preferred material, which is stainless steel. Let me explain why.
I prefer steel for a couple of reasons. The main one is it’s durability and looks. I am the kind of person that likes how steel fits into almost any design. Additionally, it is nice to touch, but beware that to keep its look you have to clean it regularly from fingerprint marks. You simply won’t have such an issue with plastic, as it is effortless to maintain.
Another point I want to get across related to materials is that you should always seek an antibacterial coating. This coating ensures that no bacteria will contaminate water. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to maintain the cleanliness of the dispenser.
This is a pretty common issue for a lot of dispensers. If you have read the reviews, you are probably aware that lots of people reporting leaks as a common issue.
Now, I want you to understand that whenever you are working with water, leaks will be involved every time, and this is normal.
When we are talking about dispensers or coolers, most leaks happen through the tap. In the case of bottom loading units, you might also come across a leaking pump.
What I want to get across to you is that you almost inevitably experience leaks at some point.
This is usually the case with bottom-loaded dispensers that use pumps.
Just imagine the situation when you need to really focus on the important project you need to deliver tomorrow. So, you decide to stay after working hours, everyone is gone, and now it’s just you and your project.
Wait, not just you as there is that stupid machine making noise either cleaning itself or for no reason pump is making a noise. Trust me, there is nothing worse than that when you have to focus. I can see some of you just nodding.
I believe that this might be quite an important criterion for people that need to really get into their “zone” and get the work done.
11. Aesthetics and Dimensions
Aesthetics is huge for me, honestly. I am such a person who just loves neat and minimalistic designs. I have mentioned already that I prefer stainless steel design because I just feel like it compliments almost any room.
Don’t also forget to check the dimensions of the corner you would like your dispenser to stay. What happened in our office is that we have bought a cooler. However, we quickly realized that we won’t be able to put in a small corner in our room because it was just too big. It was more like a small extension of the room than a corner, but you get the idea.
13. Self-Cleaning Capability
If you have been doing your research, you have probably come across dispensers that have a so-called function.
Now, various manufacturers offer different names of cleaning technology, but in the end, they use the same technology to clean the unit. For example, Avalon offers the Ozone cleaning technology that sanitizes and clears the dispensers.
At the same time, Whirlpool comes with the 6th sense self-clean. But, if you actually look at the description, you will realize that they are talking about pretty much process. Both are using oxygen to clean the dispenser.
This is the common practice, so just be aware of it and don’t fall for the marketing.
13. Set-up Difficulty
Although setting up a dispenser is not rocket science, instructions could be extremely confusing as well as the installation process.
To make the whole process easier, make sure to check access to electricity.
I believe I have come up with a reasonable list of considerations. I have tried to order them by importance to me.
Leave your answers in the comments section below.