Water is one of the essential elements needed in order to sustain life, and although we live in more modern and comfortable times than our ancestors, it is still a troubling and worrying topic. Keeping it fresh, or bubbly, making sure it does not have any impurities, making sure it is always accessible, while at the same time making sure it is always enough.
Granted, most of these can be solved by bottled water, but you usually end up with a lot of empty water bottles around, not to mention the fact that the bottles will run out of water at the most inopportune moments.
The best solution, especially for average and large households, is a water dispenser.
One of the most overlooked, and at the same time useful addition to any household, the water cooler can answer any and all your water needs, as long as you know what your specific needs are.
This is because there is a lot of variety to choose from, with a lot of different variations and a lot of specific options that can make or break your experience. The trick is to pay close attention and to take your time narrowing down your options in order to find the right one.
But until then, you will need to see exactly what is being offered.
What Types of water coolers is available ?
The very first step in getting your own water cooler is knowing what types of water coolers there are. While the overall purpose is the same, the way in which these units go about fulfilling it is very different.
1. Wall-mounted dispenser
These units are most commonly found in large public institutions, like schools and government buildings. They are commonly referred to as “drinking fountains”, and are connected directly to the municipal water supply in order to draw water, and waste disposal system in order to drain the excess water.
Their main advantage is the fact that they have a built-in storage tank and cooling system, making it easy to grab a nice cool drink of water any time you want to.
The only disadvantage is that these units normally don’t come with a filtration system, however, newer models allow for such a system to be installed at a later date.
2. Bottom-load dispenser
One of the main advantages that a bottom-load dispenser brings to the table is the fact that you don’t have to lift a heavy water bottle and carefully place it on top of it. Instead, the unit has a small space at the bottom where the bottle is placed, and a small feeding hose is inserted into it. The unit then draws water from the bottle, through a cooling system, to the spout.
This unit has the advantage of not needing a built-in filtration system because the water comes filtered and bottled, as well as the fact that there is no lifting involved. Not to mention that the bottles that the water comes in a refillable and recyclable.
The main disadvantage is the fact that these units generally have a lower profile, meaning that you will always have to bend down a little in order to get a glass of water.
3. Tabletop dispenser
These units are a lot smaller than all the other dispensers and, as the name implies, are designed to be placed on tables, counters, shelves, and any other kind of surface.
They have different loading options, the vast majority of them being top-load units with a wide selection of bottles, however, most of them also have the option of connecting to a water filtration system and the water pipes in your kitchen.
The main advantage of owning such a unit is the fact that its reduced size makes it easy to fit onto kitchen counters, thus easily integrating it into the kitchen itself.
The main disadvantage is the fact that they are too small to accommodate full-size water cooler bottles.
4. Direct-piping dispenser
These dispensers are designed specifically to be connected to the household water pipes, with no way of connecting water bottles to it.
While this does make it a lot more accessible, and a lot less expensive in the long run, it is heavily recommended that the unit is connected to the water pipes through a filtration system in order to prevent any impurities from seeping in.
The main advantage of this unit is the fact that there are no additional costs, like water bottles and delivery fees to worry about.
The main disadvantage is the fact that there is no way to alternate between the household water pipes and water bottles in case of emergency.
5. Freestanding dispenser
This is the traditional and all too familiar water dispenser design, where the water bottle is placed spout down into the top of the unit, letting gravity feed it through the unit itself.
This is also the most common and most accessible unit on the market.
The main advantage of this unit is that it is immediately identifiable and easy to use.
The main disadvantage is the fact that it requires you to lift the water bottle to the top of the unit and carefully pop it in without causing a spill.
Top 5 Best Water Cooler Reviews
These are the main 5 types of water dispensers, and with each type having a multitude of options and products to choose from, you can understand why there is such a large and diverse choice available to you on the market.
We went ahead and picked the 5 best products that we found to be the most useful and versatile.
This neat little unit is a very good representative of how useful and how comfortable a tabletop dispenser can be.
The first thing we noticed about it was its size, and how it is just right for the vast majority of kitchen counters, allowing you grab a quick glass of water without having to bend down or hold your arm at an uncomfortable angle.
Another neat thing about this unit is its very design. It is easy to use aesthetically pleasing, and very quiet when running. The only noise that it makes is the occasional hum, when the cooling system kicks in, and even so it is very quiet and hard to detect.
Something worth noting is the fact that the hot water spout is childproofed with a small button which blends in nicely with its aesthetics. Once the small button is pressed, you can engage the faucet and hot water will start pouring.
Overall it is a very easy to use unit, with simple controls, aimed towards people that don’t really want to over-complicate themselves, and just want a nice and relaxing experience.
- Very easy to use
- Perfect size for the average kitchen counters
- Cannot adjust the hot/cold temperatures
- Cannot connect it to water pipes
- The user interface can feel too basic
This unit follows the traditional top-loading design that water coolers have sported for years, but with a small twist.
First of all, it has a single spout which is used for both hot and cold water. The way in which you can choose between them is by using the buttons located at the top of the unit.
This design with buttons on top makes it a lot more comfortable to use, however, the single spout design can be a bit problematic at times, more specifically when you want to pour a cold glass of water right after pouring a hot cup of water.
Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that the design itself is very minimal and simplistic, to the point where the only information you are actually receiving is through the small LEDs on the front of the unit, letting you know when it is cooling/warming water
One last thing to consider with this unit is the fact that, unlike the vast majority of water coolers on the market, and because of the single spout design that it is sporting, it can actually allow you to combine both hot and cold water into one single flow if you choose to do so.
- Can combine both hot and cold water into the same flow
- Can fit in with the vast majority of house decors
- Easy and comfortable to use
- The user interface is minimal
- It is a bit short for a top loading unit
- Only works with either 3 or 5-gallon bottles
The thing that sets this particular unit apart from everything else on the market, is the fact that it was designed and manufactured with safety in mind.
This is because, one of its top features is the fact that the hot water spout is also a switch for the hot water heating system inside the unit itself, meaning that the unit actually heats up the water as it dispenses it rather than keeping it heated up over long periods of time.
Another thing worth noting here is the fact that this very design makes it childproofed from the very beginning.
The overall design that it sports is the classical top loading one, however, it also has 2 stainless steel water tanks placed inside the unit, allowing it to stack up on water, thus increasing the time that it can be used for between bottle changes.
One last thing worth noting about this unit is the fact that it is very easy to clean and maintain. The only thing that you would need to do is slide the front piece of plastic off, empty the water collection tray and give it a quick wipe.
- One of the safest units on the market
- Very easy to use
- Can collect water in stainless steel tanks
- It is difficult to access the interior of the unit
- The unit has a slightly lower profile
- It has no interface whatsoever, not even LEDs to let you know when it chills or heats water
This is a more elegant, and at the same time retro looking water cooler. It has a rather square/boxy design, with solid corners and sleek lines.
One of the first things that you will notice about this unit is the fact that the spouts are located in the top half of the unit, and the buttons are at the very top. This is because it is a bottom loading water cooler, which has a rather neat little surprise for you. It’s self-cleaning.
The biggest complaint that users had with bottom loading water coolers is the fact that, out of all the water cooler designs on the market, this one required the most cleaning. Whirlpool solved that problem, making this one of the most comfortable and versatile bottom loading units.
It also has an extendable telescopic tube that is used in order to siphon water out of the bottle and into the cooling system, making it able to accommodate any bottle size, as long as it fits into the unit.
Overall, the unit is easy to use, it has an informative interface, and it has a childproof hot water button, making it suitable for households with small children.
- Very easy to use
- Informative interface
- Boxy design
- Can be difficult to gain access to the mechanical part of the unit
- Cannot be connected to water pipes
Right off the bat, this unit has something very special going for it, retro simplicity. The design is rather reminiscent of late 70’s early 80’s furniture designs, with the thick spouts and spout handles only complementing it.
Make no mistake about it, it is a top loading unit, and it is a rather versatile one.
For starters, the heating system can heat up the water to near boiling point, while at the same time being able to cool water down to just 5-6 degrees above freezing point. This pretty much trivializes making a cool soft drink or brewing a cup of coffee in the morning.
One last thing worth mentioning about this unit is the fact that it is UL / Energy Star approved, meaning that it has a very low energy consumption rate, making it a very energy-efficient unit.
- Pleasing retro design
- Energy-efficient unit
- Solid reliability
- Cannot be connected to external water pipes
- Can be difficult to clean
- It is hard to access the interior components for repairs and maintenance
There is a lot of choices, and a lot of variations on the market, however, that is not necessarily a good thing.
We are all different individuals, and we all have different wants and needs, however, because of the huge variety of water coolers, you are bound to find the one that is best suited for you. All you need to know is what your needs are, and what resources you have available at your disposal.
We picked the 5 units that sounded best for us, however, if you put in the time to properly analyze your situation and scope out the market in detail, it is only a matter of time until you find the right unit for you.