The quality of your drinking water is something that is often overlooked, but much more important than we might think. A water cooler dispenser gives us access to crisp, clean, and safe drinking water at our fingertips.
In this article, we’re examining the best coolers on the market. These dispensers are the ultimate in at-home refreshment, and we’ve included all types & models of dispenser on our list.
Let’s get right into it. We’re checking out the top water dispenser coolers on the market. We’ve included all types of water dispenser here. Different features, functionalities, and designs, we’ve got something for everyone here.
1. BEST OVERALL: Avalon Bottom-Loading Water Cooler
We’re starting our list with our top overall pick – the Avalon Bottom-Loading Water Cooler. This machine is packed with functionality. It’s a premium machine at a fair price. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer:
This is an innovative bottom-loading water cooler design. Bottom loading designs are often considered much more convenient. Not only do you not need to lift the bottle high to load the machine, you don’t have to flip it, risking a big spill all over your floor. Bottom loaded machines utilize a pump system to draw the water up through the cooler.
The Avalon also offers three-temperature control settings (hot, medium, and cold). We were impressed at the true range of these settings. The cold setting is very cold, and the hot setting is much hotter than you’d expect from a water cooler.
There’s also a built-in nightlight so you can pour in the dark. Also, the product is Energy-Star Approved and features a safety lock on the “hot setting.
Overall, it’s just a quality water cooler that works. It has all the features that most consumers would need, and it’s priced very fairly for what you get out of the package. It takes the top spot on our list for this reason.
- Bottom loading design for extra convenience
- Three temperature settings with a wide range of temperature outputs
- Child-safe lock on hot setting
- Nightlight for pouring in the dark
- Sleek design
- Great price
- Bottom loading does limit the size of the water-bottle (5-gallon max.)
2. Avalon Top-Loaded Cooler
Moving on from the Avalon bottom-loading cooler, let’s check out its flip side – the Avalon top-loading cooler. This is the traditional water cooler design that you’re probably used to seeing.
A top loaded cooler uses the power of gravity to dispense water. The one downside being that most of us have experienced the arduous process of having to load one of these machines. Lift, flip, and quickly place the jug of water on the machine before it spills. It’s not overly difficult, but definitely more difficult than a bottom loaded machine.
Either way, this is an impressive top-loaded cooler, albeit quite basic in its design. It simply has everything you’d expect from one of these classic machines.
We particularly like the hot & cold-water spouts that offer a range of temperature options. The cold is frigid and the hot is piping hot. Cold is great for drinking while hot can save you time in making soups, coffee, tea, or any other hot water recipe.
Aside from all this, it’s Energy Star Approved, and has a child safety lock on the hot water tap. Overall, it’s a simple water cooler that we really like.
- Basic, simple water cooler design
- Well priced
- Big range of temperatures
- Energy Star certified
- Child safety lock
- Top loaded machines are more difficult to load
- Only 2 temperature settings
3. Brio Limited Edition Top-Loaded Cooler
Brio is a brand that we really like, and here’s a great top-loaded cooler from them. This is more toward a premium top-loaded cooler, and features all the design you might expect to see on a top-end machine.
Although many may be put off by the inconvenience of top-loading machines, they do sport one notable advantage of being able to see when the water is running low.
This dispenser features three temperature settings (hot, cold, and room temperature). This is perfect for the person who finds the “cold” setting a bit too cold for drinking.
We also like the really look of this machine. It’s one of the sleekest machines on our list. The stainless steel design works well with the jet-black components. It fits right into any modern kitchen. and when it comes to a machine this big, style becomes a major consideration.
Overall, a great top-loaded machine. Works great, looks great, and sports all the features of a top-end dispenser.
- Three temperature settings
- Sleek look
- Great price
- Energy Star certified
- Top-loaded design may be off-putting
4. BEST BUDGET: Igloo Water Cooler
For our top “budget” pick we have the classic Igloo Water Cooler. You’ve probably seen Igloo water coolers, as they’re one of the most traditional names in water dispensers.
If you just need a basic water cooler that works, then you’ve come to the right place. The Igloo features a classic all-white design, reminiscent of the water coolers you grew up with. It fits right into a traditional or modern kitchen.
There are hot & cold settings, and the temperature adjusts quickly. There are push buttons on the front of the machine for easy dispensing.
Overall, there isn’t much notable here except that it’s a basic top-loaded dispenser that works. You can set this up and rely on it for many refills to come.
- Great price
- Basic, functional design
- Traditional all-white design
- Easy push buttons
- Lacks most modern design features
- Only 2 temperature settings
5. BEST PREMIUM: Avalon Self Cleaning Dispenser
In stark contrast to our “best budget” option we move on to our favorite premium dispenser on the market. It’s another one from Avalon, who dominate our list because of their commitment to reliable, innovative dispensers at fair prices.
This water cooler has about everything you could require from a bottom-loading dispenser. Similar to many Avalon models, there are three temperature settings. From frigid to piping hot, this machine has you covered.
What really sets it apart is its self-cleaning system. It has a self-cleaning ozone feature, which prevents accumulation of harmful germs and bacteria in the dispenser. This ensures that your water stays clean and safe throughout the product’s lifespan. After all, one of the main reasons to get a water cooler is for safe drinking water.
This machine has it all, and is the ultimate choice if you’re looking for a water cooler with maximum functionality.
- Extensive design and innovative features
- Self-cleaning system
- Three temperature settings
- Sleek design
- More expensive than most water coolers
- May offer more functionality than you need
6. Avalon Countertop Dispenser
This is a great option if you are looking for a water cooler that doesn’t utilize as much space as the traditional design. Because water coolers are great, but they sure are bulky. If you don’t have the space for one, then this space efficient option from Avalon is a great solution.
This model fits right on your countertop. It has a portable stand, with a hot & cold dispenser. It outputs consistent water temperature, and functions just as well as a full-sized design.
Although it is small in size, it fits the standard 3-5 gallon jugs typical of a full-sized dispenser. And it rivals those machines quite well in functionality.
The one downside that we experienced is that it is quite a bit harder to load. This is mostly because you have to lift the jug up above the counter. This becomes particularly difficult if you hope to fit it underneath your cabinets. If you can get past this issue, then it’s a great portable dispenser.
- Takes up much less space, can fit on the counter
- Holds traditional sized jugs
- Well priced
- Quite difficult to load
- Do need quite a bit of counter space if you intend to keep it there
7. Brio Self-Cleaning Dispenser
Here’s another premium option, this time from another one of our favorite brands – Brio. This one sports a number of premium design features that stands it head and shoulders above many other dispensers on the market.
First, we have to note the water temperature. Unlike other machines with fixed settings, this machine actually lets you pick a setting from 39-174F. You can pick any temperature within this range, and rely on consistent water temperature to your exact specifications.
This is also a self-cleaning machine. Simply press a button, and the self-cleaning ozone sanitizes the water tank and lines. It removes potentially harmful substances from the entirety of the machine, and gives you cleaner, safer water. This is such a useful feature, especially when you consider that clean water is one of the primary reasons that people buy these machines in the first place.
Aside from that, it is packed with all the features you would expect from a top-of-the-line bottom-loaded water cooler. An excellent choice, but the price tag is steep.
- You can set the temperature
- Sleek steel design
- Self-cleaning ozone system
- Quite expensive
- Steep learning curve to get it set up
8. Frigidaire Top-Loading Dispenser
This is another simple water cooler from one of the most trusted names in kitchen appliances – Frigidaire. If you prefer to buy from a household name, then we think you’ll really like this dispenser.
We like this dispenser because it’s simple, functional, and sleek. There are hot and cold water taps, and they output very cold or very hot water. It has a drip tray for easy cleaning, and it fits standard 3-5 gallon bottles.
One notable feature of this machine is that it has adjustable front legs for easy leveling. This is especially convenient if you want to put your dispenser on a surface which is slightly uneven. The last thing you want is a wobbly dispenser.
Overall, it’s not anything ground-breaking, and it’s not your premium dispenser with all the features. It’s a simple, functional, and reliable dispenser from a trusted brand.
- Trusted brand name
- Simple and functional. Intuitive for first-time users
- Levelling legs
- Removable drip tray
- Doesn’t sport any cutting-edge features
- Only 2 temperature settings
9. COSTWAY Water Cooler Dispenser with Built-In Ice Maker
This machine offers a great water dispenser and an ice-machine. It really makes the most of the added space below the water dispenser! This machine has a full range of water temperature – hot, warm, cold, and ice.
The water cooler itself is quite functional. 3 temperature controls, with reliable water temps every time. It also has an LED nightlight for pouring in the dark. Overall, a quality water cooler, that rivals any of our machines listed above.
Of course, where this machine really stands out is the built-in ice machine. If you’re looking for the ultimate in convenience, then you don’t have to look much further. The built-in ice tray holds 4 lbs. of ice. It makes cubes relatively quickly, filling up the tray in a matter of a few hours. It’s more than enough for household needs.
The controls are pretty intuitive, but there’s definitely a learning curve involved. The manual does a pretty good job explaining things.
- Built-in ice machine with 4 lb. capacity
- 3 temperature control settings
- Water subscription service available
- Big, bulky machine
- On the expensive side
Buying Guide to Purchasing the Best Water Cooler
Factors to Consider
We realize that we’ve given you a lot to choose from in this article. As a result, you might be a little overwhelmed with choice. Sometimes, it helps to break a decision down based on some key factors, so you can decide which machine meets your needs. Consider these factors to make the best decision:
Type: The main types of water cooler dispenser are top-loaded, bottom-loaded, and bottleless. Each offer unique functionality and their own advantages. Check out the next section for the main differences of each.
Price: Price is a valid consideration, but it’s far from the only consideration. We think a better metric is price vs. quality. First, settle on a price range you are comfortable with. Then, examine the products within this price range to see which offers the greatest value.
Temperature Settings: Water temperature is a big selling factor for these machines. The most common variants are 2 temperature machines (hot and cold) and 3 temperature machines (hot, cold, and room temperature). Typically, more options come with a higher price tag. Some premium machines even offer the option to set an exact temperature.
Size: Size of the machine largely determines where it can fit. Freestanding machines occupy their own space within your home or office. They are properly sized so you don’t have to bend down too much to fill your container. Other sizes are designed to be more compact, perhaps for fitting on a countertop.
Other Features: These modern machines might sport many other features as well. Features such as nightlights, self-cleaning systems, water filtration, advanced temperature control, and much more. Check out our list above to see the entire range of options.
Style: And we can’t forget style! Largely a subjective choice, it is no less worth considering. Consider the machine that will best blend with your current design scheme. Consider color, shape, finish, and more.
Benefits of Investing in a Water Cooler Dispenser
The primary deterrent to buying a water cooler might simply be that you already have a tap at home! Some struggle to see the benefits over tap water. And while it’s ultimately your decision, water cooler dispensers do offer a number of advantages over tap water.
The primary advantage is the quality of the water. Water is such an important substance in our lives and diets, and there are so many benefits to drinking high-quality water. Water jugs typically contain high-quality, filtered water, free of any toxins, bacteria, or harmful substances.
Aside from that, you have the added benefit or superior temperature control, and all the other benefits provided by the specific machine that you purchase.
Types of Water Cooler Dispenser
There are three primary types of water cooler dispenser. We gave several examples of each type in our list above. Here are the basics of each major variant:
Top Loaded: The “classic” water cooler dispenser. Top loaded water coolers are just what the name implies – the water jug is loaded on top of the dispenser. They use the power of gravity to dispense the water. These tend to be the least expensive water coolers, but the price will also depend on the extra features and functionality on offer.
Bottom Loaded: Bottom loaded dispensers allow you to load the water bottle on the bottom of the dispenser. They use pump technology to pull the water up to the dispenser. They allow added convenience in loading the machine. You don’t need to lift the jug as high, and you don’t need to flip it before loading. These machines are often more expensive.
Bottleless: Bottleless dispensers hook up to your home’s plumbing, and have their own filtration systems for dispensing water. They are designed for maximum convenience, as they don’t require loading and reloading of water jugs. However, the filter system does need to be eventually replaced. There is also quite an extensive installation process. These water dispensers tend to be on the expensive side.
Water Cooler Dispenser Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
Cleaning and maintaining your water cooler is imperative for sanitary reasons and helps prolong the life of the unit. The steps are simple and you can clean parts either by hand or in your dishwasher.
To clean by hand, dissemble the cooler, then fill the reservoir with a cleaning solution, scrub it, and drain the reservoir. Clean it again to remove any aftertaste. To clean with a dishwasher, follow those same steps but place the parts safely in your dishwasher and run it for a cycle.
Conclusion + Our Top Pick
Thanks so much for checking out our guide to the top water cooler dispensers on the market. As you can see, these machines offer a very impressive range of functionality. No matter your needs, you’ll find them met by one of the machines on our list.
Our personal favorite is the Avalon Bottom Loading Water Cooler. This machine offers an excellent range of functionality for a bottom-loaded machine. We think it offers just enough features without being overly complicated to operate. It’s high-quality, durable, and affordable, and we think it will meet the needs of even the most discerning customers.