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Top 10 Water Coolers in 2021 (In-Depth Buying Guide)


Water coolers have historically been a workplace hydration staple, but adding one to your home can bring loads of benefits. From the best water cooler for an office to our favorite model for your home, check out our top 10 picks for 2021.

You’ve probably enjoyed a cool and refreshing cup of water from the cooler in your doctor’s office. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one in your home too? The best water coolers are easy to use and come with an integrated robust filtration system to eliminate harmful chemicals like mercury, arsenic, lead, and chromium-6 from tap water. Cool, filtered water is not only tasty but also healthier and safer for you.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when buying a water cooler. There are point-of-use, bottom-load, and top-load options – they’re all designed to dispense cool (or sometimes cold) water. But point-of-use models are connected directly to your domestic supply. Others have “hot water” options. Keep reading to learn more about them and how to pick the best water cooler for your needs.


1: Brio Self Cleaning Bottom Loading Water Cooler

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Brio Self Cleaning Bottom Loading Water Cooler Water Dispenser – Limited Edition...

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Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm


  • CONVENIENT BOTTOM LOAD: Stop struggling to pick up heavy water bottles and simplify your life with the easy bottom load water cooler. Save your back from strains and invest in the cooler that allows for easy bottle replacements, as the bottom load cabinet conveniently keeps your bottle safely tucked away.
  • SELF-CLEANING: Maintain the cleanliness of the cooler with the Ozone Self-Cleaning feature. Enjoy the ease of maintaining a clean cooler with minimal effort, simply press the button and let the unit take care of the rest.
  • HOT, COLD & ROOM TEMPERATURE: When you use our water cooler dispenser you can choose between crisp cold, room-temperature, and piping hot output, making it ideal for cool refreshments or toasty beverages.


Our top pick for the best water cooler is this limited-edition bottom loading beauty from Brio. With convenient 3 water temp settings – cool, cold, & hot, nifty Ozone Self-Cleaning function, and UL/Energy Star seal of approval, this sleek-looking model is a superb addition to any modern kitchen.

You can start with a piping hot cup of joe, cool down with a crisp cold cup of water on a hot day, or take it easy with a cup of room-temperature fluid. The Brio Self-Cleaning Cooler does it all, and using the rig is effortless with easy-push buttons.

The customers appreciate that the bottle can be loaded without heavy-lifting and spills, plus the light indicator light tells you when it’s time to replace the bottle. However, it may be too noisy for some offices and people.


2: Avalon Premium Hot/Cold Top Loading Countertop Water Cooler

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Avalon Premium Hot/Cold Top Loading Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser With Child Safety...

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Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm
$139.99 $179.99


  • HOT & COLD WATER SPOUTS: When you use our water cooler dispenser you can choose between a Crisp Cold & Piping Hot Output, making it ideal for cool refreshments or toasty beverages.
  • CHILD SAFE: Our water cooler dispenser is UL/Energy Star Approved and features a child safety lock on the hot water spout so the entire family can use it worry free!
  • INNOVATIVE & STYLISH DESIGN: Avalon’s Countertop Top Loading Water Cooler Dispenser features a slim design that won’t look bulky, even in small spaces, and fits on any tabletop.


The Avalon Premium Hot/Cold Top Loading Countertop Water Cooler is the best water cooler if you’re looking for a best-rated countertop unit with top-load style. Measuring only 19” x 12” x 12”, this is a surprisingly portable model that’s compact enough to fit effortlessly on any tabletop or countertop.

This little guy comes with both hot and cold water faucets that heat and cool your water to 180°F and 47°F respectively. We like that it’s Energy Star Certified. And with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, this is hands down one of the best value picks you can get. It’s available in classic black and white, which marries well with many modern kitchen decors for a contemporary feel in an office environment or at home.


3: Elkay EZS8L Wall Mount ADA Cooler

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Elkay EZS8L Wall Mount ADA Non-Filtered Cooler, 8 GPH, Light Gray Granite

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Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm


  • The attractive, contemporary design matches modern architecture while the vinyl-clad finish is durable and attractive.
  • Electronic bubbler push bars for easy activation; Exclusive fastener-less integrated drain reduces debris accumulation and is easy to clean.
  • Flexi-Guard bubbler provides a flexible antimicrobial mouth guard to protect against injury and microorganisms.


If you’re looking for the best point-of-use water cooler that gets the job done, look no further than the Elkay EZS8L. It’s ADA-compliant and is a barrier-free water cooler, so it’s a perfect choice for schools, doctor’s offices, and other commercial settings. This is a worthy replacement for the dated models that have gone out of compliance.

To be frank, this is a quite pricey unit, but if the price is not a deal-breaker, you can rest assured that EZS8L Wall Mount ADA Cooler will serve you well for many years to come. The stand-out feature on this unit is the Flexi-Guard bubbler that protects you against microbial growth while preventing mouth injury. Remember, this cooler must be installed as per ADA regulation, which means you have to hire an ADA-certified plumber.


4: Brio CL500 Commercial Grade Hot and Cold Top-load Water Dispenser Cooler

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Brio CL500 Commercial Grade Hot and Cold Top load Water Dispenser Cooler...

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Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm


  • Brio CL500 allows you to choose between an Ice Cold & Piping Hot Output, making it ideal for cool refreshments or toasty beverages. The hot water spout function is equipped with a child safety lock, so the entire family can use it worry-free.
  • Durability: The cooler cabinet is made of commercial-grade, durable ABS plastic. This plastic is resistant to corrosive chemicals and physical impacts, ensuring your cooler lasts.
  • Stainless Steel Reservoirs & Top-Loading Dispenser: The 100% stainless steel, cold & hot reservoirs protect water purity and cooler longevity. This water cooler dispenser loads from the top & allows you to spot if the dispenser is low on water, which is a great feature for office settings.


If you are after the quietest unit for your noise-sensitive office environment, you’ve come to the right place. This commercial-grade top-load model from Brio is fitted with the most energy-efficient compressor for whisper-quiet operation. With industrial-strength ABS plastic construction, the cooler is built to last. This military-grade material can stand up well to physical abuse and harsh chemicals, offering unmatched durability in most commercial settings, let alone your home.

Beauty, as they say, begins on the inside, and this couldn’t have been truer when describing this workhorse of a water cooler. Under the hood, the rig sports an all-stainless steel reservoir construction which is guaranteed to keep water at precise temperatures. It can house 3-gallon and 5-gallon pre-filled water bottles, so you can hydrate your way.


5: Avalon A4BLWTRCLR Water Cooler

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Avalon A4BLWTRCLR water dispenser, 3 or 5 gallon bottle, Stainless Steel &...

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Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm


  • Three temperatures: three temperature settings allow you to customize your drinking experience. This dispenser features a crisp cold, cool, or piping hot Output
  • Innovative design: our sleek stylish stainless steel cabinet will make this water cooler fit right into your home kitchen or office.
  • Light the way: Our Built-In nightlight makes the water spouts clearly visible at night & has an empty-bottle indicator that lights up when the bottle needs to be replaced. Cooling Capacity: 2.5 L/H


Avalon A4BLWTRCLR Water Cooler comes highly recommended by homeowners and businesses alike. Handy innovative design and innovative stainless steel cabinet separate this outstanding model from the rest of the park. The water bottle loads conveniently on the bottom, meaning you don’t have to worry about hurting your back or spilling water on your precious carpets.

The sleek-looking stainless steel exterior conceals the water bottle, allowing this unit to blend well into any kitchen or office décor. It dispenses ambient, cold, and hot water for all-day use. Customers rave about the built-in nightlight which caps off its impressive line-up of features. Some users reported that the drip tray can be difficult to remove for clean-up. Even so, this is among the best water coolers in the top-load style.


6: Farberware FW29919 Freestanding Hot and Cold Water Cooler

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Farberware FW29919 Freestanding Hot and Cold Water Cooler Dispenser, Black

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Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm


  • Hot and Cold water dispenser holds a 3 or 5 gallon water tank (not included) and provides cold water and hot water instantly
  • Energy saving thermo-electric cooling and high heat efficiency engineering; low noise
  • The dispenser uses 550 watts of heating power to provide hot water with temperatures of 194F (90C) 5L/h, Uses 75 watts of cooling power to provide cold water with temperatures of 59F (15C) 0.7L/h


Here’s another impressive top-loading model that continues to wow customers with its low price point. It may be a basic freestanding unit, but it boasts a few outstanding bells & whistles that an average homeowner can actually use. This will make a great addition to your kitchen, man cave, or home gym.

This cooler features both hot and cold water with the latter chilled to 59F and the former heated to 194F. The bottom cabinet measures 31” x 11” x 11”, and can accommodate the standard 5-gallon water bottles. You’ll find this unit to be lightweight and the design is pleasantly slim & stylish. The crown jewel feature, however, is the low-energy usage that will immensely delight budget-conscious consumers.


7: Nutrichef Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser

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Nutrichef Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser - Hot & Cold Water, with Child...

Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm


  • HOT & COLD WATER NOZZLE: with this water cooler you can choose between a Cold & Hot water, making it ideal for cool refreshments or toasty beverages. COLD WATER TEMP: 40-45°F HOT WATER TEMP: 170-175°F
  • WATER COOLER ACCOMMODATES: This countertop water cooler has the ability to accommodate 3 or 5-Gallon bottles/Jugs, it will save you hundreds of water bottles per year
  • WATER COOLER FEATURES: This tabletop water cooler is operating with an automatic electric plug-in water dispenser system for quick water cooling. Enjoy its ultra-quiet operation


If you’re looking for the best bang for your bucks, this countertop model from Nutrichef comes with an under $100 price tag. Don’t let the low price fool you; this is a solidly-built and well-designed countertop cooler that can comfortably handle 3-gallon and 5-gallon jugs. The first thing you’ll notice from day one is its whisper-quiet operation.

This compact unit measures just 13” x 13” x 22”, so it will fit nicely on most kitchen counters and some tabletops. You can even tuck it away on a raised platform or low shelf. If you’re constrained for space, then this is one of the best water coolers you can buy today.


8: Magic Chef MCWD40BB Bottom Loading Hot and Cold Water Cooler

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Magic Chef, MCWD40BB, Bottom Loading Water Dispenser, Hot and Cold Water Cooler...

Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm


  • HOT OR COLD – Enjoy your bottled water ice cold or piping hot water, at just the touch of a button
  • GREAT TASTE & TOP QUALITY – The BPA-free and food-grade 304 stainless steel parts give you the best tasting water; This 5 gallon water dispenser is made with quality materials, for dependability and style
  • KID SAFE – Our child safety lock on the hot tap adds an extra layer of safety to prevent accidents


Only a few models can match the feature list of the Magic Chef MCWD40BB. It’s an elegant bottom-loading water cooler and dispenser combo made from industrial-quality, food-grade 304 material. Thanks to its clean lines and modern design, it can fit easily in any corner of your home, gym, yoga studio, or office.

It has two water temperature settings so you can get a crisp cold or piping hot water for your cocoa, coffee, or soups at the push of a button. The five-gallon reservoir is made from 100% stainless steel, which means it’s durable and you won’t have to deal with that nasty “plastic” water taste. Cleaning it is super easy; the removable drip tray is dishwasher-safe. Choose from timeless white or classic black.


9: Avalon A5 Self Cleaning Bottleless Water Cooler

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Avalon A5 Self Cleaning Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser, UL/NSF/Energy star, Stainless Steel,...

Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm
$249.99 $299.99


  • DUAL FILTRATION: Dual filters are included with the water cooler. This consists of a Sediment filter and a Carbon Block filter which will last 6 months or 1500 gallons.
  • BOTTLELESS: Our water cooler is bottle less and will reduce the cost of constant purchases of water. The water is filtered with our dual filtration system consisting of a sediment filter and a carbon block filter.
  • THREE TEMPERATURES: Three temperature settings allow you to customize your drinking experience. This dispenser features a crisp cold, cool, or piping hot output


If you’re tired of waiting for the “water guy” to deliver your refill bottle, you’re not alone. More and more Americans are switching to bottleless water coolers, and who can blame them. These units offer a set it and forget it operation, save you money in the long-term, and you don’t have to run to the store at 10 p.m. again!

From the trusted brand Avalon, the A5 produces chilly cold, room-temperature, and piping hot water with a simple press of a button. This unit scores high marks for no-hassle, hands-free experience.

With UL/Energy Star approval, NSF certification, child lock, and built-in nightlight, this could be hands down the best water cooler for safety. You just have to swap the filter after dispensing 1500 gallons or once every 6 months, whichever is sooner.


10: Honeywell HWB1083S Commercial Grade Dispenser

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Honeywell HWB1083S Commercial Grade Dispenser (39 Inches) -Top Loading Stainless Steel Cooler-Hot,...

Last update was on: January 26, 2023 8:27 pm


  • THREE TEMPERATURE SETTING: Whether you want hot, room or cold or perfectly clear water, this commercial water dispenser is the perfect choice for you. The 5 gallon water dispenser has a heating capacity of 4 liters per hour over 179 degrees F and a cooling capacity of 2 liters per hour below 50 degrees F.
  • CONVENIENT FEATURES: Water bottle dispenser features mechanical push-in faucets, a removable drip tray with 3 different positions for easy cleaning and adjusting to different container sizes. Funnel with a prong helps avoid water spills when you use bottles with spill-proof caps. The cold water dispenser comes equipped with a back handle for greater ease of movement. The child lock assures the safety of children and eliminates the danger of serious accidents and injuries while using it.
  • TOP LOADING & ENERGY STAR CERTIFIED: Honeywell water dispenser has top loading water bottles so you can easily know if the water dispenser is out of water. This also makes it easier to replace the bottle. This compact and slim water dispenser can be placed anywhere. The countertop water dispenser has an energy star certificate which serves as proof that the product has been independently tested and meets the applicable published standard.


Honeywell is an American household brand that’s trusted the world over to deliver top-notch appliances, and we’re happy to confirm that HWB1083S Commercial Grade Dispenser lives up to the hype. This is a large-capacity, top-loading cooler with impressive heating and cooling capacities.

It’s an Energy Star Certified model so you know you are getting the real deal. With a telescopic back handle for easy mobility and portability, it uses mechanical push-in spouts. You can remove the drip tray quickly and clean it in a dishwasher. Notable features include child safety lock, ample bottom storage cabinet, and three water dispensing temp settings.


Water Cooler Buying Guide

The value of drinking enough clean and hygienic water is absolute for your health and overall sense of well-being. Staying properly hydrated keeps your organs revving without a hitch, perks up your immune system, and regulates body temp. It also supports quality sleep, metabolism, circulation, mood, and cognition. Let’s not forget hydration is essential for supple, radiant, and youthful-looking skin.

According to experts at Harvard School of Public Health, a man should imbibe an average of 16 eight-ounce cups of water every day, and 11 cups for women. But how often do you meet this threshold? That’s where the best water cooler comes into play; it’s an effective way to access safe and healthy drinking water whenever you want at the office, home, or wherever it is stationed.

Also known as a water dispenser, a water cooler is a water-dispensing device that can be mounted onto a wall, placed on the countertop, or left free-standing. No matter the style, the cooler is supposed to be linked to a fresh-water supply so you can fill your cup, glass, or water bottle via a spout.

Some coolers are equipped with a temperature regulation system, allowing you to draw anything from icy cold to piping hot water for your cup of joe from the same device. The best water coolers often feature water-filtration units that filter out harsh chemicals and other contaminants.

However you think about it, there’s a lot that goes into choosing the right water dispenser. Where do you want it installed? How do you plan to feed water into the cooler?

Thankfully, water coolers come in a huge variety of styles, sizes, and functional designs, so there’s definitely something to match your specific needs. To help you drill down your options, we’ve rounded up important considerations and factors to keep in mind before shopping.

First Things First – Why Invest in a Water Cooler?

Many Americans drink store-bought bottled water or tap water and may see a water cooler as a luxury purchase. Except that it’s not. Investing in the best water cooler can pay off many times in hydration, convenience, and other health benefits. Let’s find out more about the benefits of having a home-based or office water cooler.

+ Quick Access to Ready-to-Drink Water

It’s no secret that staying hydrated can do wonders for your health and wellness. But how many times do you forget to drink enough fluids? It could be that you don’t want to make a long trip to the cafeteria or hate the taste of tap water. In either case, investing in a high-quality, feature-rich water cooler is the answer.

With a cooler right in your living room, office, or basement, it will act as a perpetual reminder to take a sip of water and stay hydrated. With time, this will turn into an effortless habit and a massive game-changer for your health.

+ Great-Tasting Drinking Water

Again, most people fail to hydrate because they cringe at the thought of drinking tap water. The water you get from your home’s supply system can have traces of chlorine, hydrogen carbonate, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. While some of these minerals are good for you in small doses, most of them leave a weird aftertaste that can discourage you from drinking more.

The vast majority of top-rated water coolers include water filters that remove these bad-tasting metals and contaminants. This way, you’re drinking water that is not only safe and healthy but also palatable to your taste buds.

Talking of filtration, water coolers are known to eliminate bad-for-you contaminants like lead, arsenic, and chromium. Some of these dangerous chemicals are carcinogenic while others can cause a toxic build-up in your body.

+ Save the Planet from Plastic Choke

It’s estimated that each year we pump over 8 million metric tons of plastic into our precious oceans and other water bodies. It takes input from everyone to save our planet from plastic pollution, and it starts with you.

That’s right; you can reduce over-reliance on plastic but ditching bottled water for your water cooler. It’s indeed the gift that keeps giving. Every time you refill your bottle or mug from a water cooler, you’re doing your part and contributing to the plastic-free movement.

+ Encourage the Little Ones to Drink More Water

Unlike adults, kids can find it hard to stay hydrated throughout the day. The best water cooler or dispenser is what you need to entice the little one to sip more water. It turns out children find these devices fascinating because the cool, tasty water from a cooler can be quite refreshing.

+ Ease of Use and Hassle-Free Maintenance

Water coolers, especially those wired directly to the home’s plumbing, are super easy to maintain, clean, and use. Once the unit has been installed, all you have to do is push the spout and get your fair share of the Earth’s bounty.

The majority of bottle-less units need to be inspected and serviced only once or twice annually. Swapping the filter is often an easy peasy task that can take you a few minutes to complete. And with long-term warranties on most units, you don’t have to lose any sleep should it break down or malfunction.

+ Drink to Good Health

The chief sources of unwanted calories and added sugar that typically cause Americans to go beyond their recommended daily intake are empty-calorie drinks like soda, fruit juices, and squashes. With a water cooler, sugarless fluid (read: water) is always at your disposal, making it much easier to ditch the fizzy drinks and fill your hydration quota with plenty of water. Well, buying fewer bottles of sugary beverages will be easy on your wallet, too!

+ Hot Tea, Cocoa, or Coffee in Seconds

Even the best of us hate to wait several minutes for the old rusty kettle, water heater, or coffee maker to do its magic. Most top-rated water coolers have an integrated heating system that keeps a section of the water tank at 197.6°F – 204.8°F, the ideal temp for a cup of joe or tea. That’s instant hot water at the ready because you want your caffeine fix, and you want it the very second!

Common Types of Water Coolers to Select From

Make no mistake: not all water cooler models on the market are created the same. As such, the first thing you probably consider when selecting the right unit is the design style. In your research and shopping expedition, you’ll likely come across four common types of water coolers: point of use, countertop, top-load, and bottom-load coolers.

Expectedly, each style comes with its fair share of pros and cons detailed below.

a) Point-of-use (POU) water coolers

These are water dispensers/coolers that you find in public parks, school, college hallways, and most recently, in homes. The overarching feature of this style of coolers is that they’re plumbed directly into the domestic water supply. Whether you prefer an upright or wall-mounted model, you’ll find the right POU water cooler out there.


  • Nearly all POU coolers have integrated purification or built-in filtration units that help keep awful tastes and chemical contaminants at bay. You’ll love the fresh-tasting and pollutant-free water from the unit.
  • Because point-of-use coolers are bottle-less by design, you will save lots of money and time in the long haul. You don’t have to shell out top dollar for bottled water every other week.
  • Maintenance is easy and scheduled service days are far in-between
  • Point-of-use coolers are worry-free as they link up directly with the domestic water supply. Never again will you worry about running out of fresh-water.
  • Drink your way: most POU coolers can dispense ambient (room temperature), chilled, or hot water for your soups, coffee, tea, and other hot beverages


  • Most units of this style are immobile and can present portability challenges. They mostly stay put once mounted since they’re attached to your domestic water supply.
  • Point of use models usually requires a professional plumber to connect them to the main water supply, which can add to the upfront cost.
  • Even though most models have water purification/filtration systems, you’re still drinking tap water instead of spring or mineral water.

b) Countertop water cooler

If you don’t have plenty of space in your kitchen for a full-size water cooler, a countertop variant might be your best bet. Coolers of this style squeeze all the necessary features into a compact design, so much so that it can fit any size countertop. Just make sure to pick one that matches the design style and décor of the room.


  • The small footprint helps you optimize the use of space in your kitchen. That means you’ll enjoy all the benefits of a regular cooler without the space-hogging dimensions.
  • These models are great for apartments, small office kitchens, and other space-constrained places.
  • Countertop units are usually more energy-efficient and eco-friendly than their large, freestanding or wall-mounted counterparts.
  • They are handy and practical for most homes, plus these units are easy to clean and maintain thanks to their small size
  • The best countertop water coolers improve the flow of traffic in the kitchen


  • Since they have smaller capacities, you may need to refill countertop coolers frequently
  • They are not ideal for larger offices
  • While countertop versions are streamlined, they are not the most stylish or best-looking options out there.

c) Top-load water cooler

This is the popular style that most people imagine when they talk about a classic water cooler. It’s exactly what it sounds like — a unit in which an undone bottle is loaded upside down into a funnel on top of the cooler. The bottle itself usually protrudes from the top of the unit, which can be unsightly and may contrast the décor of the rest of the room.

Meanwhile, the best top-loading water coolers are effortlessly easy to operate and can be used without power. The upside configuration, however, is a recipe for messy spills, especially when mounting the water bottle.


  • Top-load is typically the most cost-effective type of water cooler, both to purchase and operate
  • Most freestanding top-loading units can be fitted with additional features like “hot water system,” bottom-located small refrigerator, spill tray, and much more. As such, they offer the best value for money given their low price points.
  • If you’ve got poor-quality tap water, you have nothing to worry about. First, most are kitted out with filtration systems that eliminate bad tastes and contaminates. Also, you can use mineral or spring water in these units.


  • Some homeowners don’t fancy the top-loaded water bottle design, particularly if it clashes with the décor in their kitchen or living room.
  • Loading the water bottle can be a huge hassle, requiring significant upper body strength
  • This model can take can lots of space depending on the size

Ultimately, top-load water coolers are widely available and may win over most people solely based on the low price point.

d) Bottom-load water cooler

Much like top-loading water coolers, a bottom-load design requires a bottle that feeds water into the dispenser. The difference, obviously, is that the water storage jug is mounted from the bottom instead of sitting on top. The water bottle is stored inside the unit behind a swing and lockable door.

This type of water cooler is considered to be more practical and easier to operate than the top-load model, and thus preferred in most offices and other professional workplaces. Water spillage is also rare.


  • Mounting the refill water bottle is quite easy, as the jug doesn’t have to be raised too high. Hence, loading doesn’t require a lot of upper body strength.
  • Like the top-load variant, these coolers can utilize mineral or spring water, which most Americans love over tap water.
  • These models are fairly portable and can be moved easily around the room or house should you want to rearrange stuff. The best water coolers of this style are fitted with lockable wheel casters for added mobility and stability.
  • The clean, streamlined look is preferred by most homeowners and offices


  • These units can be costly, typically much more expensive than top-load coolers offering similar features.
  • When being loaded, the dispensing system can suck in lots of bubbles that could contain germs if the cooler isn’t fitted with a purifier.

10 Key Considerations when Shopping for the Best Water Coolers

(1) Wall-Mounted vs. Countertop vs. Freestanding

Before you shop for a cooler, it makes sense to keep in mind where you are going to install it. Do you prefer permanent placement or planning to move the cooler around the house as needed? As far as placement goes, there are three styles of water coolers: freestanding, countertop, and wall-mounted coolers.

i) Freestanding coolers: These are standalone coolers that are stationed in a specific spot in the room, whether it’s a corner, next to the wall unit, by the window, etc. These are upright units designed to be freestanding and, in some cases, they are equipped with casters or wheels featuring a locking system for easy mobility.

Freestanding coolers are practical, portable, and affordable, which is why they are extremely popular and widely available. These often come in either bottom-load or top-load configurations, although a few options are connected directly to the domestic water line.


  • They often offer a higher water holding capacity, so you won’t have to refill every so often
  • A freestanding cooler can be placed practically anywhere it can fit
  • Easy to install and maintain


  • They usually take up more space than countertops and wall-mounted coolers

ii) Wall-mounted coolers: Some point-of-use models can be mounted onto a sturdy wall to create a water-fountain style water cooler. You’ve probably seen most of these wall-mounted coolers in schools, parks, and public buildings. Naturally, a wall-mounted water cooler is more of a permanent solution, and the chances are good that you’ll need to hire a professional to install it.


  • Since they’re wall-mounted, these water coolers are flexible and fit into a variety of space-constrained places.
  • They provide you with instant hot or cold water
  • Usually, they provide a higher volume of water
  • They’re often bottle-less and thus save you money in the long run
  • Wall mounting aside, having a cooler of this design in your office or home will help cut back on plastic use and dirty dishes. That’s because you, your coworkers, and your loved one won’t be using tumblers, cups, or glasses for drinking water.


  • Installation of wall-fixed water coolers is typically more complicated

iii) Countertop coolers: We’ve already covered countertop water coolers a bit. In terms of placement, units of this type are placed on a convenient countertop, tabletop, low-shelf, or any other centrally-accessible platform, preferably closer to the power socket.


  • These have a smaller, bottle-less design that will save you some money
  • Thanks to their compact design, they’ll fit into smaller kitchens with limited floor space


  • They generally have a lower water-holding capacity and will require frequent refilling
  • Don’t expect water to be as chilly as the wall-mounted or freestanding unit. That’s due to the small size of compressors found in countertop models.

When deciding which unit you purchase, consider the placement: where will you be placing the cooler? Will it be the family room, living room, patio, garden shade, gazebo, or inside your home?

Whether you go with a countertop, wall-mounted, or freestanding unit, it should be located on a solid platform and will need to be installed near an electrical outlet. You’d be best off not placing it on a carpet or rug if it’s a top-load or bottom-load unit that can experience occasional spill. More often than not, a countertop cooler should sit atop a table or counter that’s neither too low nor too high for comfort, reloading, and dispensing water.

(2) Capacity

It’s imperative that you consider the hydration needs of your household or office. A doctor’s office, for example, will require a larger capacity cooler than an average house. A rule of thumb is to pick out a unit whose water capacity will last at least a week, but large institutions may have to be content with daily reloads.

The majority of bottom-load and top-load models are designed to fit a standard-sized pre-filled glass or plastic cooler bottle of 2, 3, 4, and 5 gallons. Remember, a five-gallon bottle, on average, will produce about 76 eight-ounce cups of water. However, be sure to double-check with the specifications provided by the manufacturer.

Again, we recommend choosing a higher-capacity model, so you don’t have to replace the water bottle every other day. That can be a huge drag. It should be noted, however, that water does not stay fresh forever. Unless you place it in a vacuum, the reservoir or water bottle will have traces of bacteria that will start to grow after several days. As such, the bottle should be changed after a few days to avoid drinking unhygienic water.

If you don’t want to worry about water capacity issues, a point-of-use cooler is a perfect solution for your home or office. These cooler styles have a virtually unlimited water capacity as the unit is connected directly to the domestic water supply.

Countertop units offer the lowest water capacity of the bunch and are therefore no ideal for large-office use. They may be perfect for your own cubicle, bedroom, or apartment, though.

(3) Filtration System

Most units that use a cooler bottle as the reservoir are not fitted with a water purification or filtration system. That’s because they take bottles of mineral or spring water, which has already been filtered several times before being bottled. Filtering mineral or spring water is tantamount to wasting money, energy, and other resources.

However, if you purchase a point-of-use unit or a model that’s plumbed directly into your household’s water supply, make sure that it comes with a robust filtration system. If not, you’ll just be drinking water straight from the main supply, which may still contain traces of arsenic, lead, chromium, and other contaminants.

Even though tap water in most American households is safe to consume, it may have a terrible aftertaste some people loathe. To be on the safe side, you would be better off investing in the best water cooler with a built-in filtration/purification system. Lucky for you, nearly all leading brands carry products with integrated filters.

(4) Thermostatic Settings: Drinking-Water Temperature

How do you like your drinking water served? Do you like frigid cold, ambient or lukewarm? While there are no universally accepted standards, the dispensing temperature usually varies from model to model, and brand to brand. Cooling technologies use and type & size of compressor found under the hood will eventually also affect the cold drinking temperature.

The bottom line is that dispensing temp tends to vary widely from one unit to the next, and these specifications aren’t usually made available by the manufacturer. Nonetheless, compact countertops and large-capacity bottom-load coolers will not likely dispense water that’s as cold as point-of-use or top-load models.

While the majority of models dispense cool/cold water, the best water coolers offer ‘hot water’ options. These units heat the liquid hot enough to make an instant cup of tea or coffee.

(5) Type of Water you Want

Once you understand which type of water cooler is ideal for your household or office, the next move is to consider the type of water you, your colleagues, and your loved ones will prefer. First of all, you need to ask yourself the important question: who and what will the unit be used for?

Hot & cold water: All water styles of water coolers have at least one spout that dispenses cool (or cold) water, but some may also have another faucet for hot water. This water option is commonly available in both bottled and bottle-less units.

Accordingly, having both cold & hot water options can come in handy if you want to prepare a quick cup of a hot drink. For instance, if your family will mostly use the unit for making tea, cocoa, or coffee, you will want to choose a quality hot & cold model. Of course, if the hot water option isn’t something useful to you, you might want to skip it. To save energy, the hot water can be turned off conveniently at the back of the cooler.

Coldwater & ice: This option is for households and offices that prefer to get ice or cold water from their dispensers. If you live or work in a hot weather region, then a unit that produces icy water or ice chunks may be your best shot. This option is available only in bottle-less units like countertops and point-of-use coolers.

Sparkling water: It wasn’t until recently that you could get sparkling water only from stores. Today, you can enjoy a refreshing glass of sparkling water from your cooler. These units dispense sparkling or carbonated water, which is apparently quite popular at the moment.

Coldwater: This is the regular cooler having only one faucet for cold water. On the other hand, you can get a cooler with only an instant boiling water option.

(6) Ease of installation

Another aspect of the water cooler to think about before shopping is its ease of installation and use. If you don’t plan to enlist the help of a plumber or another pro to install the unit, your safest bet is to make a beeline for the best freestanding water cooler. Installing these standalone models is as easy as plugging them into the electrical socket and loading the water bottle.

Unless you’re a very handy person or have experience with water coolers, you should stay away from point-of-use models. With that, some manufacturers claim that their POU models are easy to install, or they come 90 percent pre-assembled. Still, if you have no clue what # 8 Phillips head is for, you may want to hire a professional to do the heavy-lifting for you.

(7) Auto Cleaning Technology

It’s worth mentioning again that water in a bottle or reservoir can develop bacterial growth if it stays stagnant for too long. The last thing you want is to put pathogen-infested water in the name of hydration. This is usually a big issue for small households where a single water bottle can take several days before needing to be replaced.

Luckily, some of the best water coolers have built-in self-cleaning technology that can help zap 99.99 percent of bacteria on an ongoing basis. Others have features that help auto-clean the waterline. This way, you never have to worry about bacterial growth.

Most self-cleaning models leverage ozone injection, UV light, reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, and other anti-bacterial technology to auto-sanitize, keeping the faucets, spigots, and water lines safer and cleaner. We must mention that this function is usually found in the best water coolers available in the higher-end of the pricing spectrum, so be ready to pay a premium.

(8) Material Construction

Construction quality matters regardless of the style, features, or type of model you’re buying. Durability, safety, and usability, all depend to some extent on the kind of material used to construct the water cooler, especially the reserver and water lines.

The best water coolers typically use high-quality, durable materials that won’t leak into drinking water. We recommend that you consider a unit that incorporates a stainless steel reservoir as it gets rid of the awful ‘plastic’ aftertaste, which is very common with most top-load and bottom-load models.

If you plan to refill travel mugs, tall glasses, or personal water bottles, make sure that the construction design leaves enough space between the spout and the drip tray. Plus, the nozzle of the faucet should be small enough to fit into the mouth of standard water bottles.

(9) Safety Features

Once you know which type of water cooler is right for your needs, it’s important to glance over the safety features of each candidate you’re considering for purchase. This is very crucial if you will place the water cooler in an area accessible to children and pets as they are enticed by the flashy lights and buttons found on most units.

If that is the case, be sure to purchase a model in which the hot water spigot is fitted with child safety locks. The height of the faucet should be high enough that kids easily can’t reach it. The best water coolers sport other safety features like lockable casters, hot water indicator, auto-off, and no-spill guards, just to name a few.

(10) Leak-Free Operation

Let’s face it; no one in their right state of mind would buy a unit that’s known to leak or prone to spillage. That’s why you need to do some due diligence — read online reviews, complaints, and expert tests to check how often people complain about leaks. If a particular model has many reports of spillage, be it during operation or loading, you’d be better off investing in another unit known to be leak-free.

Other Important Tips on How to Pick the Best Water Coolers This Year

Buttons and levers: Most coolers have operation buttons and levers; make sure that they are of great quality, and work seamlessly without any hitch. Typically, buttons are a more befitting choice for kids.

Look for a quieter model: All water coolers have a compressor, heating & cooling system that produce some sound reminiscent of the noise that refrigerators emit when working. For a unit that will be installed in an office environment or close to a bedroom, you’ll want to invest in the best water cooler with quieter operation.

For hassle-free operation, pick out a water cooler with add-ons like adjustable legs, a full-water tray indicator, an empty-reservoir alert, night light, and hot water indicator.

If space is your top concern, you should consider a compact tabletop unit. These units have ideal size for the modest tabletop or kitchen countertop.

Want to save money? Invest in a topnotch point-of-use unit, and will save you oodles of money in the long haul because it uses water from your home’s supply rather than refillable water bottles.

Interested in a point-of-use water cooler? Consider the best water cooler that comes with a built-in water filtration system. This way, you will be certain that the whole unit is streamlined, from the supply line to the faucet.

Water Cooler Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How much does a water cooler cost?

A water cooler is one of those items that you don’t want to buy a poor-quality unit, or worse, a cheap knock-off. It’s true, the best water coolers don’t come cheap but they are not exactly bank-breaking appliances, either. Expect to pay anything from $150 all the way up to $400 or more for an upscale unit.

If you will be content with a no-frills top-loading unit without fancy bells & whistles, you should be able to get a decent one for roughly $150. A high-quality point-of-use model, on its end, will set you back anywhere between $350 and $400.

The brand will also do much of the talking when it comes to prices. A generic bottom-load unit, for example, will cost you downwards of $175. However, if you prefer a decent-quality bottom-load cooler from a trusted brand like Whirlpool, you will cough up between $250 and $300 for one.

2. Should you get a tabletop or full-sized cooler?

It actually depends on three factors: the amount of space you’ve got in the destination room, how frequently you will be using the unit, and how many individuals will be using it. A full-sized water cooler is, of course, meant for larger spaces.

However, if you are space-constrained, you’ll find the best tabletop water cooler to be more your speed. At the same time, if your household has only a couple of people who spend most of the time outside of the house, then a full-sized cool may be overkill.

3. Is using a water cooler hygienic?

Drinking safe and hygienic water is non-negotiable for your health and well-being. Like most touch-activated appliances, water coolers can pick up bacteria and other germs if they are handled by many people. Also, stagnant water can become a breeding ground for bacteria if they sit for too long.

Yes, the best water coolers are hygienic but you need to do your part. The water lines, faucet, and other parts that come into contact with drinking water should be cleaned thoroughly after at least once per month.

Preferably, you should invest in a quality unit that has integrated anti-bacterial protection technology like UV lamp or O3 ozone injection to prevent the growth of pathogens. These anti-microbial functions offer a permanent solution for hygienic defense.

4. How do you clean and care for your water cooler unit?

To prevent bacterial build-up, it’s imperative that you keep your unit impeccably clean. It’s a wise idea to disinfect and clean the cooler thoroughly and regularly. Of course, you should make sure it’s safely unplugged before you start cleaning.

The most convenient time to clean the unit is when you’re swapping the water bottle. Once the bottle is removed, empty it and drain all the fluid in the system via the spigot then detach the baffle, no-spill tray, and guards.

Clean the reservoir thoroughly using a mixture of warm soapy water and a cleaning solution. Scrub the interior gentles using a soft-bristled, long-handled brush. Don’t use any bleach, disinfectant, or harsh chemicals when cleaning the cold water reservoir.

Once the reservoir is clean, drain the cleaning water via the cold water faucet. You should then refill it with clean, hot water and let it rest as you give other parts of the cooler a thorough clean-up. After 30 minutes or so, drain the hot water and it should be ready to safely store drinking water.

Buttons, levers, faucets, and any nozzles can pick up germs. Ensure to clean them regularly with a food-safe disinfectant. You should also maintain and clean the water lines and cold reservoir at least once every month following cleaning instructions given by the manufacturer.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if any of the parts are dishwasher-safe. If they are, make sure to remove them carefully not to break other parts before placing them in a dishwasher.

Every time you clean the cooler, don’t forget to work on the exterior, baffles, no-spill guard, spill/ drip tray, spigots, and other nooks & crannies. Avoid corrosive bleaching solutions and abrasive cleaners as they can damage or scratch the surfaces.

Prior to putting the unit together, make sure every part and component is completely dry. You can use a dry, clean cloth or rag to facilitate the drying process.

Every fortnight or so, inspect the wiring grid nestled on the back of the unit for dust, lint, or smudge build-up. Clean or vacuum these regions with a soft-bristled brush.

A leaking cooler is a recipe for disaster in the waiting. This is especially true if the hot water line is leaking, which can cause burns and injuries to pets and kids. As such, you should perform regular and proper maintenance of your water cooler.

When performing routine cleaning and maintenance, don’t lubricate the cooler’s compressor. Instead, use the auto-reset overload protection button that should be in plain sight. The compressor usually has an air-tight-sealed casket that can be compromised by lubricants and oils.

5. Should you get a cooler with a hot water option?

The best water coolers offer both cold and hot water as standard options. If you don’t think you will use the hot water function, you can go for the basic cold water dispensing cooler unit.

With that said, being able to get hot water on tap in a moment’s notice can be quite useful if you like to whip up hot soups, instant oatmeal, coffee, cocoa, tea, and other hot drinks. Most users get hooked to this function, and after a few months, they cannot imagine life without it. In our humble opinion, it’s best to futureproof your purchase by having as many features as possible squeezed into the unit.

6. Should I use a glass water bottle?

That’s the beauty of using a water cooler. The best water coolers are compatible with pre-filled glass water bottles, which is sweet music to the ears of people who want to cut back on plastic use. If you’re an eco-warrior or want to refrain from BPA materials, this is also good news for you.

7. Should I hire a professional to install or maintain my water cooler?

Most freestanding and countertop water coolers are easy to install and maintain. Unless you don’t have much upper body strength, replacing the water bottle should be a one or two-person job. Some people find it too hard to lift a refill bottle onto top-loading models, so you may have to call for an extra pair of hands.

Similarly, you might want to enlist the help of a plumber or someone with solid plumbing expertise if you’re buying a point-of-use water cooler. That’s because these units plug directly into the home’s mains-water supply line.


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