Water bottle conveniently loads on the bottom to avoid spills and heavy lifting. Indicator light lets you know when it’s time to change the bottle. Safe ozone technology sanitizes the dispenser with the press of a button. Dispenses water at hot, cold, or room temperature.
May not be quiet enough for everyone.
A counter top model that offers similar functions as full-sized coolers, including hot/cold water dispensing and quiet operation. Most standard water bottles fit it. Has a convenient hot water spout child safety lock.
Water comes out slowly, and the cold water could be colder. Has a strange smell/taste that fades with use.
Is ADA compliant, an important consideration for publicly accessible buildings. A great replacement for older, non-compliant water coolers.
Unit must be installed according to ADA regulations, which may require additional parts and professional installation.
Stands out for its attractive, bottom-loading design thanks to the stainless steel cabinet that conceals the water bottle. Produces hot, cold, and room temperature water. Nightlight tops its impressive feature set.
The cooling compressor has been known to have issues. Leaks have been reported. Some difficulty removing the drip tray for cleaning.
Whether you want hot or cold water in an instant, this basic, nicely-designed unit efficiently delivers. Has a relatively small foot print and attractive looks. It's also quiet.
Some leaks have been reported, but customer service is attentive. The water flow is a bit slow. Won't accommodate all types of water bottles.
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We all know that getting plenty of water is good for us, but it's easy to forget to drink regularly throughout the day. You might think of a water cooler as an item you’d see at your workplace or doctor’s office. The truth is, home-based water coolers are growing in popularity. It’s not uncommon for consumers to sip on water from a cooler they’ve stationed in their kitchen or garage.
The main obstacle between you and your new water cooler is how to find the right one. But at BestReviews, we're here to help.
If you're ready to buy a water cooler, please check out our favorite products in the product list. If you’d like to learn more about water coolers and how to select the perfect model for your needs, please continue reading.
You’ll find three major water cooler types on the market: point-of-use coolers, top-load coolers, and bottom-load coolers.
Below, we examine the pros and cons of each type.
Point-of-use water coolers plumb directly into your home’s water supply. These coolers are sold as either wall-mounted or upright units.
They're cheaper in the long run, as you don't have to pay for bottled water.
Many point-of-use coolers include a built-in filtration system.
Because the unit connects to your home’s water supply, you needn’t worry about running out of water.
They generally need to be plumbed in by a professional, which adds to the cost.
While the unit may filter the water, it's still tap water rather than mineral or spring water.
Top-load water coolers exude the “classic” look you probably think of when you picture a water cooler. A bottle sits upside down on top of the unit.
These tend to be the most affordable type of water cooler.
You can use spring or mineral water in this type of cooler, which is ideal if you have poor-quality water in your area.
Some freestanding models have “extra” features (like a small refrigerator) at the bottom.
Some people don't like the look of an appliance with a water bottle on top.
Like top-load coolers, a bottom-load cooler needs a bottle from which to draw its water. But in this case, it’s stored beneath the tap rather than atop the unit. The bottle is often tucked away behind a door in the bottom of the unit.
You can use spring or mineral water, which some people prefer over tap water.
Loading refill bottles is fairly easy, as the containers needn’t be lifted very high.
This type of cooler can easily be moved around the house if you decide to rearrange things.
Some people find it too difficult to hoist a refill bottle onto a top-load cooler. The task requires coordination and a fair amount of upper body strength.
It's important to keep your water cooler clean to avoid the spread of bacteria and viruses. Perform regular maintenance and cleaning checks.
Since point-of-use water coolers attach to your home’s main water supply, you may wish to call someone with plumbing experience to install one in your home.
If you want a water cooler with a “hot water” feature but you’re worried about child safety, consider a model with a child lock.
The majority of water coolers are freestanding, upright units. However, some point-of-use varieties can be wall-mounted in the style of a water fountain.
Although it’s a bit unusual to see a fountain-style cooler in a residence, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get one if the idea appeals to you.
In fact, having this type of apparatus in your home could cut back on your dirty dishes, since you and your family wouldn't be using glasses for drinking water.
If space is an issue, consider a smaller “tabletop” water cooler. These are the perfect size for the average kitchen counter.
Water coolers obviously produce cool — even cold — water. But some also offer “room temperature” and “hot” water options.
Models that produce hot water should heat the liquid enough to make a cup of tea or instant coffee.
Stagnant water breeds bacteria, so you certainly wouldn’t want your drinking water sitting around in a bottle for too long. This issue is especially pertinent for one- and two-person households where it takes a while to consume an entire water bottle.
Fortunately, some manufacturers (like Glacial Maximum) make coolers with self-cleaning technology. This kills the majority of the bacteria in the water and also helps keep the water lines clean.
If your cooler takes bottles of spring or mineral water, you probably won’t worry about filtering your H2O. But if you have a point-of-use system that connects to your home’s water supply, you’ll be using water straight from the tap.
And while tap water in most parts of the U.S. is safe to drink, it still contains trace amounts of substances that some people might wish to avoid.
As such, you'd be best off with a water cooler that includes a built-in filter. You can find models with built-in filters from reputable manufacturers like Aquverse®.
If you don't want to hire a professional to install your water cooler, your best bet would probably be a freestanding model rather than a point-of-use variety.
That said, some point-of-use water cooler manufacturers state that their products are simple to install, requiring only basic tools.
Even so, if you don't know your monkey wrench from your Phillips head, you're probably best off enlisting a pro to do the job.
Most top- and bottom-load varieties are compatible with standard-sized plastic or glass cooler bottles of two, three, four, and five gallons.
However, if you're unsure, check the manufacturer's specifications before making a purchase.
Of course, you needn’t worry about capacity if you have a point-of-use system. Point-of-use coolers have a practically unlimited capacity, as they're plumbed into your home.
Point-of-use coolers can save money, as they use water from your home supply. Other types of coolers require bottle replacements/refills at an additional expense.
While they’re sold at a premium, it's much easier to fit bottles into a bottom-load water cooler than a top-load water cooler — even if you're not very strong.
If you want a point-of-use water cooler, consider a model that comes with its own filtration system. You will be assured of compatibility of the whole set-up as well.
Many water coolers are compatible with glass bottles, which is good news for people who prefer not to use too much plastic or who want to avoid BPA.
Quality water coolers aren't exactly bargain basement items. That said, they shouldn't break your bank account, either.
If you don't mind having a basic top-load model without too many extra features, you should be able to pick one up for around $150.
However, for a point-of-use cooler of high quality, you're looking at $350 to $400.
If you want a bottom-load water cooler from a name brand you know and trust, like Whirlpool, you're likely to pay around $250 to $300.
Q. How do I keep my water cooler clean and sanitary?
A. It's important to keep your water cooler clean to help prevent the buildup of bacteria. Make sure you regularly clean any nozzles and buttons with food-safe antibacterial cleaner. You should also clean the cold reservoir and water lines (as per manufacturer's instructions) at least once a month.
Q. Should I get a full-sized water cooler or a tabletop model?
A. This really depends on how many people live in your home, how often you'll be using the water cooler, and how much space you have.
If you don't have the space for a larger model, a tabletop water cooler is an excellent compromise. Likewise, if there are only one or two of you in your home, or everybody spends most of the day at work or school, a larger variety might be overkill.
Q. Should I get a water cooler that also dispenses hot water?
A. Many quality water coolers also produce hot water as standard, but there's no reason to go out of your way to buy a water cooler with a “hot” option if you don't think you'll use it often.
That said, a readily available supply of hot water is great for whipping up hot drinks, instant oatmeal, soup cups, and more. So, once you get it, you might find that you use it more than you imagined you would.
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