With the huge variety now on the market today, choosing the best water cooler for your needs can be challenging. If you have decided you want a water cooler but don’t even know where to start, worry not.
When choosing a water cooler there is a list of features you need to consider. You also need to establish who will be using your water cooler, and what it will be used for. Lastly, you need to bear in mind both your physical and budgetary abilities.
To help you make a final decision, we’ve created this buying guide. In it, we’ll tell you why it is important you take great care when choosing the best water cooler for your home or office, and some of the key features you should take into consideration before making your final decision.
Lastly, we’ll tell you about some of the best bottom loading, wall mounted, and freestanding water coolers on the market today. We’ll highlight some of their key features and tell you about what customers have to say.
Before going into detail about specific products, let’s get started with some of the most important things to look out for when buying a water cooler.
*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table.
Best Bottom Load Water Cooler
Best Freestanding Water Cooler
Best Wall Mounted Water Cooler
Key Reasons To Pay Close Attention When Choosing Your Water Cooler
It can be challenging to choose a water cooler nowadays because of the sheer volume and variety available on the market.
That said, it doesn’t mean you can just go out and buy the first model you see. There are a number of reasons you need to pay close attention when choosing the best water cooler for your home or office and here are some of the most important ones:
Although the best water coolers today have incorporated filters which reduce the number of toxins in the water you are drinking, not all of them do. Aside from paying close attention as to whether or not your water cooler has a filter, you should look at what contaminants it reduces.
It’s important you do research into the maintenance required for your water. If you go out and buy the first water cooler you see, you may regret it in the future.
For example, let’s say you have a bad back and you buy a top loading water cooler. You may find that you are unable to lift the water containers onto the cooler.
Also, if you have little time on your hands to do regular maintenance on it, it will eventually break, so it is imperative that you choose the best cooler for your lifestyle.
If you have a tight budget you need to not only pay close attention to the initial investment you make to buy the water cooler, but also the amount it will cost you to keep it running.
You may find that older top loading models with no heating feature cost less, but with time, the monthly water container deliveries could be expensive.
On the other hand, the newest models with all the bells and whistles require a larger initial investment, however, you will not have to pay for additional water containers and you may receive free maintenance from the manufacturer as well.
Key Considerations For Choosing The Best Water Cooler
When choosing the best water cooler for your environment there are a number of features you need to consider. For example:
When shopping for a water cooler, you need to establish which type will be best for your environment. Here is a recap of some of the different types of water coolers you can choose from:
- Top loading water coolers involve you connecting a container to the top of the machine and water is dispensed with the help of a pump, button, or lever.
- Bottom loading water coolers have the same principle as top loading ones, however, they are easier to replenish and often come with a door, making them more aesthetically pleasing.
- Freestanding water coolers are bottled fed and can be top or bottom loading. They are among the most popular on the market today and come in various styles, designs, and finishes. Modern models can offer cold, room temperature, and near boiling water.
- Countertop water coolers are smaller and can be placed on a table or kitchen counter. They are more compact and are great for events such as barbecues or picnics. They do not, however, have anywhere near the capacity of other types of coolers.
- Point of use water coolers connect to your building’s plumbing, meaning they offer an endless supply of water. If you have a large household or want a water cooler for your office, point of use coolers could be the most effective type.
How many people are you rehydrating on a daily basis? This is something that should highly influence your decision.
If you need a water cooler for your home and you are a young family of four, a countertop or freestanding water cooler would suffice. Alternatively, if you are a large business with a mound of employees, a point of use cooler may be a better option.
Aside from considering the number of people using your water cooler, you also need to look at your space.
Can you afford to lose more floor space because of a water cooler? Would a countertop water cooler be more suitable?
Think about how large your area is when making your final choice.
Consider whether you need cold, room temperature, or hot water.
Although many think of water coolers as cold water dispensers, having the ability to make as many cups of tea and coffee as you would like instantly could come in handy.
Find out how much it will cost you to keep your water cooler running around the clock. Your water cooler will be running day in, day out, so your bills will inevitably go up. Choose a water cooler that is energy efficient so that you can save money, and the planet.
If you know small children are likely to have access to your water cooler, choose one with child safety locks, on both the hot and the cold taps. By doing so you’ll avoid your child getting burnt or flooding your home.
But, safety features are not just for children. Some water coolers come with levers that can be left open. Mistakes happen, but by choosing a water cooler that has an anti-spillage feature, you’ll lower the risk of any water coming in contact with the electricals of the machine.
We already mentioned that water quality should be a key reason why choosing the best water cooler for your environment is important. However, knowing exactly which contaminants your water cooler eradicates is important.
Start by looking at what impurities are targeted and then read other customer reviews to find out if the water dispensed from specific models has a bad odor or taste. There have been some mentions of water from dispensers tasting like chemicals or plastic as well.
Of course, you want your water cooler to dispense your preferred temperature of water, however, you should also find out how versatile the model you choose is. For example, if it requires a container as its source of water, can it accommodate a variety of sizes and types?
When thinking about ease of use, a few things to take into account are the height of the machine, where the lever or controls are placed, and how easy the machine is to replenish.
You shouldn’t have to get down on your knees to use it, and although containers can be difficult to lift onto top loading water coolers, they should not be difficult to attach to the appliance.
No matter which type of water cooler you choose, you will have to clean it regularly.
That said, some are easier to clean than others. Choose one that doesn’t need to be completely dismantled, or better yet, opt for one that is self-cleaning.
If the manufacturer is confident with his product, the likelihood is, he will offer a warranty that reflects that. This warranty should not only be long but also include all repairs and replacements within the price of the water cooler.
Our Recommendation For The Best Water Coolers
Now that you’ve got an idea of the various features to look out for when choosing the best water cooler for your home or office, here are some of our top choices based on the type of water cooler and their various specifications.
Best Bottom Load Water Cooler
Winner: Whirlpool 8LIECH-SC-SSF-P5W Self-Cleaning Stainless Bottom Load Water Cooler
You’ll quickly realize why we voted the Whirlpool 8LIECH-SC-SSF-P5W the best bottom load water cooler because apart from being extremely stylish, it comes with a mound of awesome features.
This Whirlpool model is made up of just 95% stainless steel making it perfect for kitchens with stainless steel appliances.
Its slick finish also adds a level of sophistication to any office environment, while also built with durability in mind.
The 8LIECH-SC-SSF-P5W uses a block of ice to keep water in the cold unit at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, no matter how hot it is outside.
To top it off, it is able to dispense a whopping 1.32 gallons of ice or piping hot water per hour.
It has a bottom mounted heating disk that frequently heats water in a separate unit, maintaining the water at a steady 194 degrees Fahrenheit so that you can have a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee whenever you want.
Aside from making it more durable, this gentle heating technology means the unit is less prone to calcium scale build-up. It also comes with a built-in toddler safety lock to avoid any accidents.
Last but not least, we’d say this is the best Whirlpool water cooler because of its automatic 6th sense self-cleaning technology which uses unstable Oxygen to reduce contaminants such as bacteria and viruses found in the water.
The self-cleaning feature basically micro cleans the inside of the water cooler to avoid any bacterial biofilm. It completely cuts out the need for manual cleaning.
The appliance is equipped with an LED indicator that highlights when the cleaning process is happening. The LED also indicates when the water is at optimum hot or cold temperatures.
Coming in at the cheaper end of the spectrum at just over $200, the Whirlpool 8LIECH-SC-SSF-P5W is by far the best value for money and customers seem to think so too, with more than 95% of them giving it a 4-star rating or more.
Runner-Up: Avalon Limited Edition Self-Cleaning Water Cooler
Second best is the Avalon Limited Edition Self-Cleaning Water Cooler which is extremely sleek and modern thanks to its stainless steel and black finishes. Not only this, it also comes with its own set of unique features.
Aside from being able to complement virtually any room or office, it offers crisp cold, room temperature, and piping hot water on demand.
Of course, it is bottom loading which means replacing the container is that little bit easier, safer, and reduces the chances of spillages. It is suitable for both 3 to 5-gallon water bottles which are not included in the retail price.
This limited edition Avalon model is energy star approved and has a function to turn off the hot water when not in use, meaning you won’t be spending a fortune on your energy bill every month.
It has an impressive self-cleaning ozone feature which cleans the interior of the water cooler, cutting out the need for regular maintenance as it stops the growth of hazardous bacteria and other viruses.
Lastly, if you are looking for a water cooler that is packed with safety features, this Avalon model has to be one of the best water cooler dispensers on the market.
In addition to its child safety lock on the hot spout, it has a built-in nightlight that means you can get a top up in the middle of the night without needing to turn on the lights. There is also an indicator that tells you when the bottle needs replacing.
One of the key reasons it comes in second to the Whirlpool is the fact that although it is also packed features, it is slightly more expensive at just under $300. That said, customers love it, with the majority of them offering it a 4-star or more review.
Best Freestanding Water Cooler
Winner: Oasis BTSA1SK STN w/WTG Artesian Cook 'N Cold Bottled Water Cooler With WaterGuard System
With Oasis already producing quality products way back since the early 90’s, it is no surprise that it wins our freestanding water cooler prize.
Part of a larger series, the Oasis BTSA1SK STN w/WTG Artesian Cook 'N Cold Bottled Water Cooler comes in a slick, yet simple design, perfect for any home or office. Best of all, because of its stainless steel panels, you know it will last for years to come.
But, aside from its awesome exterior design, this is one of the best Oasis water coolers because it is packed with a variety of features.
Firstly, it serves cool, room temperature, and hot water.
The one and a half quart hot water tank is able to dispense approximately 45 6-ounce cups of hot water per hour and comes with a faucet that has a two-step action closing mechanism to avoid children from harming themselves.
The unit comes equipped with a three-wire service and polarized plug in order to power the 1/20hp water cooler compressor.
In addition to all the above, the Oasis BTSA1SK STN w/WTG Artesian Cook 'N Cold Bottled Water Cooler is extremely easy to maintain and clean as it comes with a removable and dishwasher safe drip tray.
This model’s most impressive feature, however, has to be its unique, patented WaterGuard system which completely eliminates spills when changing the water bottle. It also reduces the chance for dust and other contaminants from entering the cooler’s reservoir.
The Oasis BTSA1SK STN w/WTG Artesian Cook 'N Cold Bottled Water Cooler comes in at just over $310 which, although slightly more expensive than other types of water coolers, is fair for the the amount of features and high-quality components it comes packed with.
Runner-Up: Primo Hot, Cold, And Room Temperature Top Loading Water Dispenser
Coming in close second is the Primo Hot, Cold, and Room Temperature Top Loading Water Dispenser which was inspired by the latest kitchen and kitchen appliance design trends today.
It’s stainless steel and black glossy paint exterior gives it a very modern feel, making it suitable for most, if not all kitchen or office areas.
As its name suggests, this Primo model dispenses cold, room temperature, and hot water at the push of a button.
Powered by an energy efficient and powerful cooling compressor, this water cooler keeps water at a very low 4 degrees Celsius meaning you can enjoy cold water whenever you want.
Similarly, the heated water stays at a steady 98 degrees Celsius, perfect for tea, coffee, and any other hot beverages. You can enjoy piping hot water, on demand, by simply releasing the built-in child lock and pressing the button.
This Primo water cooler was designed with quality in mind. All materials that make contact with the water are BPA-free certified, including the premium stainless steel water tank.
This tank was designed to prevent bacteria growth and other contaminants from entering the water. Although not included in the retail price of approximately $140, Primo does offer its own premium water which comes in 3 and 5-gallon reusable water bottles.
With more than 70% of reviews being of 4-stars or more, it is no wonder that this Primo model makes our list of best water coolers.
For such a low price tag, this Primo water cooler is packed with features, with many customers claiming it is still working after two years or more in some cases.
Best Wall Mounted Water Cooler
Winner: Elkay EZS8L ADA Compliant Barrier Free Water Cooler
No other wall mounted water cooler can compare to the Elkay EZS8L ADA Compliant Barrier Free Water Cooler, which is why it is our one and only in the wall mounted section of this buying guide.
Although not much to write home about from an aesthetic point of view, this Elkay water cooler is free of lead containing brass parts, uses copper components, and meets both adult and child ADA standards when properly mounted.
It comes with a particularly deep basin in order to minimize spillages and an integrated basin.
Not only this, because wall mounted basins are more commonly found in public spaces, this Elkay water cooler was designed to be vandal-resistant and easy to maintain and clean.
In addition to adapting easily to existing plumbing systems, making it quick to install on a universal level, this model has easy-touch controls and is very durable.
But, one of the key reasons we voted this one of the best water coolers on the market today is because of its flexi-guard anti-microbial safety bubbler which is keyed into position to prevent any movement or rotation.
Elkay EZS8L ADA Compliant Barrier Free Water Cooler has the capacity to produce 50 degrees Fahrenheit water on demand at the press of a button thanks to its HFC-134a refrigerant which is accurately controlled by a calibrated tube.
Although its price tag is at the higher end of the spectrum at approximately $380, this Elkay water cooler has received either 4 or 5-star reviews from nearly 90% of its buyers, and that’s not to mention the free shipping you can benefit from if you order it on Amazon.
The Best Water Cooler On The Market Today- Our Verdict
Choosing the best water cooler for your needs will completely depend on who is using it and where it will be placed. The water coolers above are all awesome, but bring a huge variety of unique features that make them perfect for various situations.
On the other hand, if you want something more robust that will be used by many people on a daily basis, the Primo or Oasis water coolers would be best, although which one would have to depend on your personal budget.
If you need a unit that is likely to have to stand up to vandalism and mistreatment, the Elkay water cooler would have to be your only option as long as you have the extra money to spend on it.
Overall, our recommendation would have to sit with the Whirlpool model.
It may not be able to take the same beating as the Elkay, but it is stylish, packed with features, perfect for various environments, and by far the best value for money.