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Best Water Dispensers

Water Dispensers and Water Jugs

Chatting around the water cooler is a tradition that is so ubiquitous it’s used to refer to any informal chat people have at work. Water cooler conversation rarely discusses the actual water cooler itself though, so this article is here to help you figure out the best water cooler for your needs.

Best Water Dispenser for You

Water dispensers, also known as water coolers, or water jug dispensers come in many varieties. Let’s take a look at what may be important to help you figure out the best water dispenser for you.

Cold Water Dispenser, Hot Water Dispenser, or Hot and Cold Water Dispensers

While the default on many water dispensers is just room temperature water, others have options to cool or heat your water (thus the name water cooler). If you want your water at anything other than room temperature, it's going to need one of these features. In hotter climates and in summer time, cold water is incredible, so many people want this option. For tea drinkers, a hot water dispenser can save you minutes every time you make tea, which really adds up if you are a frequent drinker. Even though I personally like room temperature water most of the time, I still think it is worth it to get a water dispenser with at very least a cold water dispensing feature, though having the hot water feature will be really nice for some people.

Bottom Water Dispenser versus Top Water Dispenser 

How do you feel about lifting a big 5 gallon jug on top of your water dispenser? I know I don’t love it. Top load water dispensers are the most common type, but I am here to introduce you to the bottom load water dispenser. No more struggling to lift a heavy jug up and trying to open the cap awkwardly before all the water leaks out, you can simply load your water jug into the bottom of this type of dispenser. While no straining and struggling does sound nice, top load does have a couple advantages. The first is that they typically don’t require electricity, which bottom load dispensers do, and that they tend to be less expensive than top water dispensers.

Water Dispenser Filters

Most water dispensers do not have water filters since the water jugs that fill them come pre-filtered. In the case of lower tech glass and ceramic water dispensers that are simply water reservoirs with a tap on them, you will want to make sure you are either filtering your tap water before putting it in them or using pre-filtered water. However, bottleless water Dispensers- those plugged into your tap water, often do need filters.

Bottleless Water Dispensers

If you don’t like the idea of having to change out huge water jugs all the time for your water dispenser, have no fear, the answer is here. Bottleless water dispensers can be hooked into your tap water supply line to avoid the hassle of changing out jugs. These are awesome for offices or any place where lots of water is being drunk on a daily basis. If you do choose to go this route, you should consider a point of use water filter, however, as tap water in many places (see our cities pages) can have contaminants that need to be filtered out.

Normal or Self Cleaning Water Dispensers?

Did you know that you’re supposed to clean your water dispenser after replacing every bottle? Yeah, neither did we. Well, fear not, the future is here. There are now self cleaning water dispensers. These tend to be a bit more expensive than their regular counterparts, but if you do want to make sure that your water is clean, it’s worth the investment. Unless you want to clean between each load that is…

Ceramic Water Dispensers, Glass Water Dispensers and Pet Water Dispensers

There are also a few types of much lower tech water dispensers that people use. The first two types, ceramic and glass, are typically used for more decorative purposes or to serve drinkings other than water. Typically these are just good looking water jugs with a tap on them. If you want to use these, you need to make sure to clean them. Also in the low tech category are water dispensers for pets. These are typically used for cats and dogs to make sure that your pets always have enough water to drink. Both cat water dispensers and dog water dispensers are great to have in your house if you are gone during the day and want to make sure your pet still has water, or if you are simply forgetful about filling up their bowl. Just a reminder, you still need to clean these out frequently so your furry friend isn’t drinking gross water.

Best Water Jugs

The type of water jug that’s best for you really depends on your needs. Most water dispensers are built for 5 gallon water jugs. 5 gallon water jugs are great for most top and bottom water dispensers, plus many 5 gallon jugs have locations you can take them to cheaply refill them. Though they are less common, some water dispensers also use 3 gallon water jugs, so make sure to check what type of dispenser and jug you are getting to make sure they match. Every so often, you could even run into a 4 gallon water jug!

There are a number of other sizes of water jugs that may be more useful depending on your situation, however. 10 Gallon water jugs are commonly used for sports and camping. These typically also double as water dispensers and water coolers because they are insulated. If you need to keep your team hydrated or are on the go, this is the water jug for you. 6 gallon water jugs are also commonly used for camping and look like gasoline canisters. These often come in a more square shape, so they pack nicely in the car if you are going for a trip. 

The last type of water jug is the 1 gallon water jug. These can be found in most gas stations, grocery stores and convenience stores. These are frequently simple milk jug style water jugs. I personally buy these all the time because they cost less than most water bottles for less money. One gallon water jugs are great for road trips or any time you want to save money not buying an expensive bottle of Fiji Water.

Best Water Dispenser Brands

What feature you need will determine the best water dispenser for you. All of these brands have a number of other options at different price points so please check them out. Let’s start at the top with all the bells and whistles and work our way down.

1. Brio Bottom Load Hot, Cold & Room Water Cooler - Self Clean Ozone - Tri Temp W/Touch Dispenser Feature

At the top of the line, this model from Brio is really amazing, offering a feature we didn’t see anywhere else

  • Adjustable temperature water options that let you adjust the temp between 39 and 174 degrees fahrenheit 
  • A button to self clean lines and water tank with ozone
  • Bottom load design

While this may be overkill for some, you are definitely getting what you pay for with this model. This model may be pricey for some, but Brio has a number of other models at lower price points that may also suit your needs.

2. Avalon Self Cleaning Dispenser

Coming in at the second spot is the Avalon Self Cleaning Dispenser. This water dispenser features:

  • A self cleaning system
  • Hot, cold and room temperature water options
  • Bottom load design

3. Primo Water Dispenser Bottom Loading, Hot/Cold Temperature

In third we have a slightly less pricey, but still great model coming from the Primo brand.
This water dispenser features:

  • Hot, and icey cold temperature water options
  • Bottom load design

4. Frigidaire EFWC519 Stainless Steel Water Cooler/Dispenser

Fourth on our list is this more economical water dispenser model from Frigidaire.

 It features:

  • Hot, and cold temperature water options
  • Top load design
  • Ability to use either 3 or 5 gallon water jugs

5. Farberware Freestanding Compact Water Cooler Hot and Cold Dispenser

Ending our list at the lowest price point is this awesome model from Farberware.

It features:

  • Hot, and cold temperature water options
  • Top load design

Bottom storage Cabinet

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