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The Best Water Coolers

Siriranya Studio/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated October 2021

When you're ready to take a quick break from work, chats by the water cooler and a cool cup of water are irresistible. With the right water cooler in your office, home, or gym, you can create that welcoming and convenient atmosphere.

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  Best Overall Best Runner Up Best Budget Best Touchless Dispenser Best Premium
Water Cooler
Water Cooler
Water Cooler
Touchless Countertop Water Cooler
Bottle Filling Station
Our SummaryA stylish and easy-to-load console, this water cooler knows how to heat, cool, and dispense your water with ease.Here's a water cooler that is defined by its secure water dispensing power and efficient loading method.A slim and lightweight water cooler that favors the easy-going approach to your daily water intake.Compact yet powerful, this water cooler can dispense up to 1,500 gallons of water over a six-month period.This water cooler offers you a fountain style base and a refill faucet overhead.
ProsBottom-loading setup, stylish combination of stainless steel and plastic exterior, features three temperature settings. Feature tri-temperature faucet, bottom-loading cabinet takes pain off back, childproof lock prevents hot water burns. Uncomplicated usage, accommodates up to 5 gallons, features built-in storage cabinet. Dual filtration system makes water cleaner and taste better, can dispense up to 1,500 gallons. Hard-wearing and built to last, features two forms of water dispensing, refill station can dispense up to 1.1 gallons per minute.
ConsHefty frame can be hard to move, height takes up wall space, stainless steel frame can scuff easily. Larger frame size can be hard to place in cramped space, drip tray must be cleaned often, big price. Simple to a fault, lacks a room temperature water setting, top-loading process can be hard on backs. Installation process can take up a considerable amount of time, compact but weighs more than expected. Takes up a considerable amount of wall space, weighs over 70 pounds, largest price tag on market.
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The Best Water Coolers

A man fills a cup of water at a water cooler.
Siriranya Studio/Shutterstock.com

Water coolers have improved greatly from the designs featured on office dramas and sitcoms. A modern water cooler can hide the jug, offer ice, or even make you a hot cup of joe. Keep your employees or family members happy and hydrated with an updated water cooler they can come to whenever they need hydration. Here are some fantastic water coolers we recommend.

Buying Guide for Water Coolers

Modern water cooler with glass and blurred office employees on background.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Why should you buy a water cooler?

It’s jokingly renowned for being the rendezvous for overworked employees, and isn’t that brilliant? You want to create a hospitable environment in your office setting, the kind where someone can get up and grab a glass of water to refresh themselves, rather than another sugary drink or artificially-flavored danish. The water cooler is designed to accommodate every parched tongue across the work floor at almost any point during the day. And they can do the same thing at home in your kitchen or gym, too!

What should you look for in a water cooler?

  • Water Capacity: First and foremost, you should be on the lookout for how much liquid your water cooler is able to hold at any given time. The standard gallon capacity that most coolers can support, whether they are top or bottom loading, is 3 to 5 gallons. It’s important to not exceed the 5-gallon limit for a top-loading unit, as you’re likely to create a top-heavy and unsafe predicament.
  • Loading Capability: And with that in mind, we discuss loading methods. The top and bottom loading water consoles have a lot going for themselves, and some may argue there are an equal amount of cons defining their rivalry. The bottom loading unit saves you from the back pain and eyesores associated with placing a multi-gallon jug in the middle of your work or kitchen space. However, some top-loading units actually run quite slimmer than their counterpart, allowing for greater accessibility and placement.
  • Safety Measures: It’s great to get a decent pour out of your water cooler so that you can quickly return to work. However, we’re most likely to injure ourselves when we are in rush, and the right water cooler will protect you from such a mistake. You’ll find that a large number of units include a hot water setting, but the best will also include a lock on the faucet so that one doesn’t unknowingly mistake the hot for cold and singe their hand. Additional safety measures, like a sturdy base or tight seal around the jug, are key to overall convenience.

How regularly does a water cooler need to be cleaned?

Unless you purchase an option that promotes self-cleaning, you’re likely going to need to care for your water cooler on a regular basis. A water dispenser requires a thorough cleaning every so often to function properly and so that you aren’t taking swigs of bacteria-laced liquid. Some publications recommend that you should provide your cooler’s inner mechanisms with a deep clean every six months. However, there are also minor cleaning tactics you can use to maintain the appearance and safety of your unit, like daily wipedowns across the exterior to prevent germ build-up.

Our Picks for the Best Water Coolers

Best Overall

Avalon Water Cooler

A stylish and easy-to-load console, this water cooler knows how to heat, cool, and dispense your water with ease.

Pros: Sleek and appropriately priced, this bottom-loading water cooler brings forth a welcomingly modern design to the simple task of tossing back some water. It features three temperature outputs (cold, room temperature, and hot), so you’ll just be one step away from a cup of tea or a crisp, post-workout rejuvenation. This water cooler’s bottom-loading cabinet prevents you from overexerting yourself while switching jugs, asking you to just slide the 3- or 5-gallon jug into place, rather than lifting and placing it on top of the console.

Cons: Even without a hefty jug of water weighing it down, moving this console around can take a decent amount of power. In total, this console boasts a 42-pound frame, which can be tricky to move around for some older users. Moreover, it measures just 12 inches wide and 13 inches long, but its 41-inch height can take up a good chunk of wall space if you don’t position it well. Its stainless steel bottom cabinet, while stylish, can scuff and easily accumulate dust and gunk, so you’ll have to clean it often.

Bottom Line: A consistently cold or hot water dispenser, this Avalon Water Cooler features a variety of nifty design perks that will make your water pouring experience and your back feel completely pain-free.


Best Runner Up

Brio Water Cooler

Here's a water cooler that's defined by its secure water dispensing power and efficient loading method.

Pros: Just like the most versatile water coolers on the market, this unit features a tri-temperature push button faucet that instantly delivers either cold, hot, or room temperature water. It also features a bottom-loading cabinet that makes switching water jugs a breezy and acheless time. To ensure the utmost protection when using its hot water setting, this water cooler includes a childproof, two-step lock that only users of a certain age will know how to work their way around.

Cons: Overall, this water cooler is bigger, and that can be a problem if you’re short on space in your kitchen or office setting. Its 40-pound frame is slightly more manageable than most, but its 15.2- by 14.2- by 44-inch stature can still be a bit tricky to position in cramped quarters. The inclusion of a drip tray, while accommodating for mess-prevention, equates to another portion of the console you need to check and clean often or risk bacteria build-up. Its larger price tag is also concerning for the budget buyer.

Bottom Line: Promoting a multifaceted and safe dispensing experience, this Brio Water Cooler is one of several bottom-loading units that embody the luxury of easy accessibility and the enjoyment of a fast pour.


Best Budget

COSTWAY Water Cooler

A slim and lightweight water cooler that favors the easy-going approach to your daily water intake.

Pros: This water cooler is a no-frills unit in terms of style and usage. It features the basics: two faucets (cold and hot water), a 3- to 5-gallon water jug capacity, and back switches that regulate your water usage and energy over time. However, this unit also includes a handful of new perks, like its anti-dust mite seal and its lower storage cabinet, which is great for items like plastic cups, creamer, and tea packets. Its incredibly low price is also worth noting.

Cons: Of course, the simplicity of this water cooler may not be to everyone’s liking. The lack of a room temperature faucet setting may seem like a slight absence at first, but if you prefer to avoid chilly water due to sensitive teeth, then you’re going to have to leave your glass of water on the kitchen countertop for an hour or so. This cooler’s largest drawback is its loading process, as you must lift and place a jug on top of the device, and that can be exceedingly hard on your back.

Bottom Line: This COSTWAY Water Cooler is great for the budget buyer who appreciates straightforward usage, in addition to a few neat bonuses lurking just below the exterior of its lightweight shell.


Best Touchless Dispenser

Avalon Touchless Countertop Water Cooler

Compact yet powerful, this water cooler can dispense up to 1,500 gallons of water over a six-month period.

Pros: Sporting a deceptively compact frame, this water cooler features one of the largest liquid capacities on the market. In total, this cooler’s dual filtration system (Sediment/Carbon Block) is capable of dispensing up to 1,500 gallons of water over a six-month period before needing to be replaced. Its pair of touchless, hot/cold water paddles also create germ-free dispensing, which is great for office environments and even some businesses.

Cons: Despite the promise of an easy setup, this water cooler’s full installation kit features a multitude of tubing, adapters, and valves. So, while it may not take a lot of effort to get this dispenser up and running, it will take some time and patience. Some users have reported that while its compact measurements are ideal for countertops, this cooler also weighs much more than expected, and that can be hard on your back.

Bottom Line: If you’re seeking a water cooler that doesn’t just dispense, but filters and protects you every step of the way, this Avalon Touchless Countertop Water Cooler can pour it out with the best of units. 


Best Premium

Elkay Bottle Filling Station

This water cooler offers you a fountain style base and a refill faucet overhead.

Pros: This hard-wearing, industrial water cooler offers you a layered dispensing experience. Its structure bears two styles: at its base is a traditional water fountain operated by three push panels on each side of its dish, and extending toward the top is a filling station that streams water directly into your bottle of choice. Once hooked up, the filling station can dispense 1.1 gallons of water every minute, and up to 3,000 gallons before its filter needs to be replaced.

Cons: Pairing the two forms of water dispensers together consolidates an undeniable amount of space, but it still manages to take up a lot of wall on its own, given its 18- by 19- by 39-inch frame. Its 74-pound weight can also be quite the load to move around for even two people, but it’s the overall mounting process of this water cooler that requires the greatest amount of effort and commitment. This cooler’s staggering price tag may also have you do a double-take.

Bottom Line: The commercial-forward choice that almost everyone knows how to use, this Elkay Bottle Filling Station provides you with a multifaceted water dispensing option that’s built to last while saving you plenty of energy and cash along the way.


Also Consider

Frigidaire Water Cooler

A simple yet totally efficient water cooler that perfects the basic approach with sturdy construction and a solid visual design.

Pros: Here’s another standard yet dependable water cooler coated in a stainless steel frame with looks as solid as its construction. It features a hot and cold water faucet, with the latter benefitting from a continuously cooled compressor. Like most coolers on the market, this option can support water jugs between 3 and 5 gallons while notifying you if it’s in a cooling or heating phase, thanks to its indicator lights.

Cons: Of course, basic functions can be less than accommodating at times. This water cooler’s top-load process is less than ideal for older users and those who would prefer not to do the heavy lifting. Some users have reported that the console makes a humming noise whenever it’s in its cooling phase, which can annoy those who prefer a bit more tranquility in their kitchen or workspace.

Bottom Line: Moderately priced for the average consumer and featuring a fine combination of durable yet sleek material construction, this Frigidaire Water Cooler embraces the basics, right down to easy placement on your end.

Final Thoughts

The fact of the matter is that this unit will need to support you and yours over the course of several years, so why not buy with quality in mind? Our top picks for water coolers should work great for your needs.

Camryn Lang Camryn Lang
Camryn Lang is a freelance writer and copyeditor that has produced a wide variety of content, from breaking news and memorial tributes to web content and fiction novels. While working on her bachelor's degree in English at Texas A&M University, Camryn led writers and editors at the nationally recognized university newspaper, The Battalion. During her free time, she enjoys reading thrillers and fantasy novels and eating desserts. Read Full Bio »
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