Best Beverage Dispensers

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

45 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
150 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best beverage dispensers

Last Updated December 2019

One of the keys to hosting a great social event is making sure that all of your guests never have to wait for a beverage. It can be a full-time job running around filling up glasses, and inevitably you'll wind up missing someone. A beverage dispenser is a classy way to make sure no guest goes thirsty.

When looking for a beverage dispenser, you want one that is large enough for the event. The addition of a fruit infuser not only adds flavor and vitamins but also turns your dispenser into a beautiful focal point. Although glass is more elegant, it is heavier than plastic and will break if there's an accident. Additionally, you want a dispenser that is stable and doesn't leak when the spigot is turned off.

If you'd like to learn more about what to look for in a beverage dispenser and get some cleaning tips, continue reading. If you're ready to purchase, consider one of the highly rated items we've spotlighted in this article.

Rather than place your beverage dispenser on the edge of a counter or table, purchase a sturdy stand that elevates the unit and makes the spigot easier to use.

Key considerations

There are a number of things to consider before purchasing a beverage dispenser. Some of them may simply enhance your user experience, but others could be essential to your needs. Here are the five most important considerations:

Glass or plastic

Each type of material has its pros and cons. A glass beverage dispenser looks more impressive on your table. It’s also a little easier to clean and won't negatively impact flavor the way plastic can. However, glass is also much heavier and can break far more easily than plastic, especially a shatter-resistant acrylic.

BPA-free

If you decide to purchase a plastic beverage dispenser, you must make sure that it doesn’t contain BPA, phthalates, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or polycarbonate, so the beverages run zero risk of chemical contamination even when sitting in the hot summer sun.

Size

Another concern when purchasing a beverage dispenser is the size. You need one that’s large enough to serve all of your guests but small enough to store easily between events.

Infuser

If you want to impress your guests, there's no better way to do that than with a built-in infuser. Not only is it a natural and healthy way to step up your water game but the brightly colored collection of fresh fruits also makes your beverage dispenser a focal point of your décor.

Ice

It's okay to put cubes of ice directly into your beverage, but as that ice melts, the flavor potency of your drink diminishes. The better option is to purchase a beverage dispenser that has an ice core, and the best option is to look for one with an ice bucket built into the base.

EXPERT TIP

Fill your beverage dispenser after it’s in place to avoid heavy lifting and spills from sloshing liquid.


Staff  | BestReviews

Beverage dispenser features

The following list of features and options may or may not enhance your user experience. It all depends on what features are important to you.

Stand: The right stand adds a dash of elegance to your beverage dispenser and can make it easier to slip a glass beneath the spigot.

Spigot: Most lower-priced beverage dispensers come with a plastic spigot. These items are fragile and typically more prone to leaking. Most higher-end models come with the more desirable metal spigot. Another option is to purchase an inexpensive beverage dispenser and a separate metal spigot so you can upgrade the unit yourself. The flow rate is definitely a matter of preference. Do you want a beverage dispenser that allows the fluid to slowly trickle out so there's less chance of spilling, or do you want one that flows freely so guests can fill up quickly?

Handle: A beverage dispenser with a secure handle will be appreciated when it comes time to move the unit.

Multiples: Some beverage dispensers come with two (or more) containers, so you can serve more than one type of beverage at your event. These are mostly side-by-side units, but some models are tiered.

Design: Besides being a focal point at a party, an elegant beverage dispenser can be a permanent part of your home décor. It can sit on your counter or table every day, so family members always have access to their favorite beverage. No matter how elegant the dispenser or stand, never forget that it must be absolutely stable. You don’t want your unit to come crashing down in the middle of an event. That isn’t the kind of impact you want to make on your guests.

Maintenance: Hosting a social event is hard enough; you don’t want a beverage dispenser that adds any unnecessary work or stress. You want a model that’s easy to fill, easy to clean, and if necessary, easy to find replacement parts for, such as the lid, washers, or spigot.

Consider placing a plate, napkin, or both beneath the spigot to catch drips.

Staff
BestReviews

Beverage dispenser prices

Inexpensive: If you're looking for the most affordable beverage dispenser, you can find smaller containers that hold up to about a gallon for less than $14.

Mid-range: Between $15 and $20, you're looking at two-gallon dispensers. Some may have an infuser built into the unit, others might sit atop an ice bucket, and others might include cups.

Expensive: In the $20 to $30 range, the beverage dispensers are more decorative and might hold up to three gallons in some instances. Additionally, these models may come with a stand and feature a metal spigot. This is where you’ll find some of your best options — high-quality beverage dispensers that aren’t too costly.

Premium: As you move above $40, you likely won't find any larger dispensers, but the designs get more ornate and specialized. In other words, you’re paying a higher price for design and not increased function.

DID YOU KNOW?

One way to solve the problem of condensation is to serve beverages at room temperature and provide a bucket of ice for people who prefer their beverages cold.

Cleaning tips

Your new beverage dispenser is going to make your social gatherings more popular than ever before, but only if you take care of it. Stains, lingering flavors, and even bacteria growth can quickly overshadow the many benefits the dispenser has to offer. Here are a few cleaning and maintenance tips to keep your beverage dispenser in pristine shape.

  • Empty the dispenser and add hot water. As soon as the event has ended and the last guest has left, empty out your beverage dispenser and fill it with at least a quart of hot water.

  • Use baking soda. For stubborn stains on glass, make a paste of a few drops of water and some baking soda and rub it on the dispenser with a towel. Wash and rinse as noted.

  • Let it soak. If you can't get to the cleaning right away, add a drop or two of dish soap to the water and let your beverage dispenser soak. For stubborn stains on plastic, add two tablespoons of dish detergent to hot water and let it sit in your beverage dispenser for about 15 minutes before rinsing.

  • Add white vinegar to the water. Two teaspoons of white vinegar can help disinfect your beverage dispenser.

  • Slosh and wash. When you're ready to clean, slosh the water, soap, and white vinegar around in the beverage container, being sure to get all areas.

  • Drain the water. Let the hot water run out through the spigot to clean it.

  • Rinse. Use cold water to rinse any soapy residue out of your beverage dispenser until it’s clean.

  • Wipe down. Use a damp towel to wipe down the inside (if possible) and outside of your beverage dispenser.

  • Dry. Allow the beverage dispenser to air-dry completely before putting it away.

Other products we considered

There are many beverage dispensers that may be suitable for your needs. To be sure you choose the one that’s best for you, we've provided a few more high-quality options. The Estilo Beverage Dispenser is a thick glass one-gallon dispenser in the shape of a mason jar that sits on a black metal stand, making it an eye-catching centerpiece for your next social gathering. If you need a beverage dispenser that’s better suited for a sports team, the Igloo Heavy-Duty Beverage Cooler is what you should be considering. It’s a five-gallon, insulated, barrel-shaped container with reinforced handles and an impact-resistant bottom for ultimate durability. Then again, if you want to have a backyard party, the two-gallon Oaklyn Beverage Dispenser has a built-in fruit infuser and is made from shatterproof acrylic. To help keep your beverages cold, the unit has a base and a core that can be filled with ice.

Certain beverages, such as tea and wine, can stain both plastic and glass. If you’ll be serving these types of beverages, some additional cleaning may be in your future.

FAQ

Q. How large does my beverage dispenser need to be?
A.
That depends on a number of factors, such as how many people you’re entertaining, how long the event will be, and how thirsty your partygoers will be either from the food or the weather. A gallon of lemonade is good for about 15 eight-ounce glasses. On average, a person drinks a little over one nonalcoholic beverage per hour at a party. If you regularly entertain ten people for two hours, a two-gallon beverage dispenser should be more than adequate.

Q. How heavy is my beverage dispenser when it’s full?
A.
Water weighs about 8.3 pounds per gallon. A full two-gallon beverage dispenser weighs 16.6 pounds more than the empty dispenser.

Q. Can I fill my beverage dispenser with hot fluids?
A.
Check the owner's manual to be sure, but in general, it isn’t advisable to fill a regular beverage dispenser with hot fluids because this could damage the unit. If you want to serve hot beverages at your event, you’ll need an insulated beverage dispenser.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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