Judith is a fairy in the world of writing: she manages to turn any topic (far not only a kitchen-related) into an entertaining text that is so easy and educating to read. Fond of gardening, reading, and cooking, of course.
Emily has over 10 years of professional experience using, testing and comparing kitchen appliances. Her knowledge helps to easily and naturally solve everyday problems. She is also the owner of the lifestyle blog emilyreviews.com
Last updated: August 24, 2021
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Not all top-rated water coolers are as good as they are described. There are many models on the market, and it can be hard to wade through them and find the real diamonds in the rough. Thankfully, we did the hard work for you and have come up with seven of the best water cooler options.
These water coolers really run the gamut of features. Some are more traditional, where you have to flip a 5-gallon water bottle over and place it at the top of the structure. Others are more innovative and are actually bottleless, instead of hooking up directly to a home water line. There are some water coolers perfect for the home, and some better suited for the office. There’s even a tabletop version that can be used anywhere, including RV camping. The best water coolers will have all the functions you need for your daily life. If you regularly fill up large sports bottles of water, or want an innovative device that also brews coffee, we have a choice for you. Above all else, the seven water coolers we found work well. They have safety locks to keep your children safe and are easy to setup. So for those looking for a more affordable way to have fresh, filtered water, take a look at our picks for the best water coolers.
The Avalon A5 might seem like it’s straight out of science fiction, but that’s why we picked it for our Editor’s Choice. This is a bottleless version, meaning you don’t have to worry about buying new bottles and hauling them around to change them.
With three temperatures, including piping hot, cool, and cold, you can make all manner of drinks instantly. With your purchase you will receive two filters. They include a carbon block filter and a sediment filter. Both will last for about 6 months of use.
Another nice feature is the self-cleaning capability. The Avalon A5 can actually sanitize and purify the dispenser, so you don’t have to worry about germs.
The Avalon A5 does take a bit of effort to install, but all the pipes and parts you need are included in the purchase.
What makes it special? The Avalon A5 was built with the whole family in mind. There is even a child lock on the hot waterspout to prevent any little ones from burning themselves. For those that like a midnight drink of water, there is a nightlight feature, so you don’t have to stumble in the dark. The light also indicates when the filter needs to be replaced.
What cons did we find? Unfortunately, it can take quite a few days before the plastic taste is removed from the water. This is quite annoying because it just results in a lot of wasted water. Furthermore, the need for filters means you will have to spend more every six months, on top of an initial high price tag.
There comes a time when you’re tired of all the appliances taking up space in your kitchen. If you can’t deal with the clutter anymore, then the Primo hTRiO is for you. The Primo hTRiO doubles as both a water cooler and a K-cup coffee brewer. No more having to fight for space in your kitchen!
The Primo hTRiO has three spouts. One for ice-cold water, one for piping-hot water, and one for delicious coffee. You can choose to use K-pods or even regular coffee grounds. You can make 6, 8, or 10-ounce cups.
The water bottle is kept at the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about any heavy lifting. It is compatible with both 3 and 5-gallon bottles. As a bonus, the drip tray is removable and dishwasher safe.
What makes it special? Versatility is key with the Primo hTRiO. Not many water coolers have extra features like the ability to brew coffee, so this is a real plus.
The Primo hTRiO looks stylish. It is made with stainless steel that is very easy to clean. All of its parts are hidden in the bottom compartment, for a sleek, sophisticated look.
When you’re filling up water bottles with cold water, there is even an option for fast-fill. This is perfect for large containers.
What could be better: Unfortunately, there have been some issues with the indicator light. This is supposed to flash red when the water bottle is almost empty. However, it sometimes flashes when there is still plenty of water left.
Amazon’s pick for best self-cleaning water cooler is also our Premium Pick. The Avalon A3BLK is a state of the art cooler that will add sophistication and convenience to your kitchen. This watercooler has a glossy black finish to it. It does use a bottle, but the bottle area is hidden by a bottom compartment.
The Avalon A3BLK has as a self-cleaning feature which allows you to save time and have peace of mind that there are no unwanted germs and bacteria lurking around.
There are three water temperatures, including piping hot, cool, and cold. The hot spout has a child lock, so you don’t have to worry about any accidental burns. There is also a nightlight so you can find your way to cold water all hours of the day.
What are our favorite features? The Avalon A3BLK features a bottom loading bottle. For those who aren’t able to lift the heavy water bottles, this is a much needed feature. The self-cleaning ability is also a real plus for everyone.
One further advantage of the Avalon A3BLK is that is very quiet. Nobody wants to have their sleep interrupted by a noise water cooler. Instead, you won’t even notice this unit.
What could be better? Unfortunately, the Avalon A3BLK is quite pricey. While you get a lot of amazing features, you do have to pay for them. Ultimately, your water needs and frequency of use will determine if this is a solid investment of not.
It used to be that the only option for water coolers was lugging around a large water bottle and hoisting it up to the top. Now there are options like the Olympia BottleLess Water Cooler. Instead of having to constantly refill your water cooler, you can simply attach this device to a water source and have instant, purified water.
The Olympia BottleLess Water Cooler is quite large, as it measures 43 inches tall. This is in its favor as there is no awkward bending over to reach the taps. And, speaking of taps, those don’t actually exist. Instead, you can press the red button for piping hot water or the blue button for cold water. Position your cup under the waterspout and have instant access to fresh water.
Why did it make our list? The Olympia BottleLess Water Cooler is extremely stylish. It is also incredibly thin. You can place this almost anywhere in your kitchen and it will blend right in. It also looks great at the office.
Because the Olympia BottleLess Water Cooler comes with a filter and installation kit with your purchase, you can easily hook everything up. The instructions are easy to follow.
What is not ideal about it? While the Olympia BottleLess Water Cooler works great for adults, it might not be a big hit with kids. Because it is so tall, most younger kids won’t be able to reach it. Instead, parents will have to get water for their kids which can be quite the inconvenience. Otherwise you might have to include a step stool, which can take up unwanted space in the kitchen.
Your home needs a water cooler, but they don’t always have a lot of space. The Avalon A1CTWTRCLRBLK is actually a tabletop variety. It can be stored on any counter, meaning you won’t have to shift any furniture around to accommodate it.
The Avalon A1CTWTRCLRBLK has two water options, including piping hot and cold. It can be used with 3 and 5-gallon bottle. What’s really nice is that the bottle area is spill-proof, so you don’t need to worry about making a mess in front of all your co-workers.
Why is it special? The Avalon A1CTWTRCLRBLK is meant to sit on a tabletop. It doesn’t require a large footprint and can be setup just about anywhere. This is also a nice option if you want to go camping with your RV and want the luxury of always having hot or cold water.
The bottom part of the Avalon A1CTWTRCLRBLK has a matte black finish. This is quite stylish, and again, makes it fit in just about anywhere.
As for the water bottle, it is easy to insert. Because the whole device sits on a table, it makes it easier to lift the bottle up and insert it. Plus, it has a no-spill function, which is always appreciated.
What are the flaws? Unfortunately, the hot water isn’t as hot as some would like. This means you can’t replace your kettle just yet.
When looking for the best water cooler for your office you want a combination of form and function. The Brio CLTL520 is exactly that. It works great and allows you to choose from piping hot, cold, and cool water. It can be used with either 3 or 5-gallon bottles.
However, in addition to being quite utilitarian, the Brio CLTL520 also looks good. It has stainless steel elements that are both stylish and easy to clean. The drip tray is removable so you can easily clean it. There are also water temperature controls, so you can enjoy your water exactly how you want to.
Why are we impressed? The Brio CLTL520 is incredibly modern. It will look good anywhere, especially in an updated kitchen. Most kitchens nowadays have stainless steel appliances, so having a plastic water cooler can really stick out. The stainless steel is also thumbprint-resistant, which means a lot less cleaning.
Furthermore, the Brio CLTL520 has water temperature controls. You can customize your water, so it comes out exactly how you want it to. The hot water is actually hot, so you can quickly make hot drinks without having to worry about waiting for the kettle.
What negatives must you be aware of? The Brio CLTL520 is a bit on the shorter side. If you are a taller person, you may have to stoop to work the controls and access the water. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it is something to consider, especially if you are quite tall.
There’s nothing wrong with just wanting a basic water cooler. The COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler is just that. It’s reminiscent of the classic water cooler design, with the water bottle at the top. This is a great option if you want clean water but don’t need other bells and whistles with it.
The COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler gives you the choice of piping hot water or cold water. It also is compatible with either 3 or 5-gallon bottles. The faucets are easy to use, and the hot water option has a child lock to prevent any burns.
What makes it stand out? It’s important to find the best budget water cooler, and the COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler is it. This is a machine that works well and provides clean-tasting water. It doesn’t take long to setup, and it is very easy to use. The body of the COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler is made from ABS plastic, so you can quickly wipe it down if it becomes dirty.
Finally, there is a storage cabinet at the bottom. Kitchens always need more storage, so having this feature is quite the bonus.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? Unfortunately, the hot water option isn’t very hot. It’s more of a warm temperature. While this is ok, it’s a shame you can’t use it to make tea or instant soup.
The fact that you have to lift the water bottles to the top is also a con, as not everyone is capable of performing this feat.
Things to Consider
Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. If this sounds familiar, then you definitely need to invest in a water cooler. They provide you with fresh, clean water that is at a nice, cool temperature. The thing with water coolers is that there are many different types. To help you navigate through these products, we put together a buying guide that will allow you to find exactly what you need.
Features to consider when choosing a water cooler
Before you purchase your new water cooler, it’s important to think about who will be using it and how. Office situations mean lots of people drinking, so a bottleless model may be better. Whereas if you have small children at home, you need to think about the convenience of a water cooler as well as any safety issues. All the important features of a water cooler are included here.
There are two main types of water coolers: bottles and bottleless. And within these categories are more specific models.
Standard water coolers used to always have the water bottle at the top. You would need to lift it up, turn it upside down, and position it directly on the spout. Some of the options on our list are just like this. They include the COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler, and the Brio CLTL520.
While the Avalon A1CTWTRCLRBLK also falls into a top loading model but it is a table top design. It does have a base, but it is much smaller and therefore can’t stand alone on the floor.
Also in the bottle category are models that allow you to hook up the bottle at the bottom. Both the Primo hTRiO and the Avalon A3BLK fall into this category. While you will still need to purchase water bottles, you don’t have to worry about lifting them over your head and gently placing them down.
In contrast to water coolers that use water bottles are those that are hooked up directly to your home’s water line. They demand a bit more work on installation. However, they save you a lot of time and effort because you don’t have to worry about constantly filling up your water bottles. On our list, the Avalon A5 and the Olympia BottleLess Water Cooler fall into this category.
Not having a bottle also means the water cooler can have a much smaller footprint. 5-gallon bottles, which are standard require a lot more room.
Standard water coolers have to water temperature options. These include hot and cold. However, there are now more models with a third option, of a cool temperature. This is a bit colder than room temperature, but definitely not ice cold.
Whether you want two or three temperature options is entirely up to personal preference. If you decide that you want three temperature options, Brio CLTL520, Primo hTRiO, Avalon A5, and the Avalon A3BLK are models to consider.
By far one of the biggest let downs with water coolers is with just how hot the hot water option is. Many models describe their temperature as “piping hot.” However, this label can be up for debate once you test it out. Ultimately, it’s best to go in with low expectations for your hot water tap. Don’t expect boiling water and anticipate that you will still need to heat it up if need be.
If you find that your water temperatures change overtime, it’s best not to ignore this issue. The problem could be with the filtration system, so always check if your filter needs to be replaced. Alternately, there may be an issue with the machine overall. If your cold water is becoming simple cool and your hot water is merely tepid, try calling a maintenance person in. Better yet, check to see if you have any time left on your warranty. There may be an issue that is easy to fix, allowing you to again have the water you deserve.
Which bottles it’s compatible with
The standard size of water bottles for a water cooler is 5 gallons. However, it can be quite challenging for a lot of people to lift that size. That’s why 3-gallon bottles are also popular. The problem is that not all water coolers are compatible with both sizes.
Children are curious. They see something their parents are doing and instantly want to do the same thing. Unfortunately, in the case of hot water, this can be quite dangerous. While water coolers aren’t able to produce boiling water, they do produce water that in most cases is labeled as “piping hot.” For children, this can mean first or even second-degree burns.
If you have small children in your home, you will want to look for a child safety lock on the hot water dispenser of your water cooler. This safety lock means an extra step is needed to work the tab, one that small fingers aren’t able to perform.
Thankfully, a child safety lock is not standard in most water coolers. To name but a few, the Avalon A5 and the Avalon A3BLK both have locks. If a product doesn’t explicitly state that there is a child safety lock on it, be sure to contact the manufacturer first, in order to avoid any accidents.
Water coolers come in all different shapes and sizes. This is both a good and a bat thing. It’s good because you can find the right water cooler for your kitchen. It’s bad because with more choice comes more work.
The first measurements to look at are the footprint, or the width x depth. 12 inches by 12 inches is fairly standard. The Olympia BottleLess Water Cooler is on the wider side, measuring 15.5 inches in width. The Brio CLTL520 has the largest footprint, measuring 17.4 x 16.2 inches. Be sure to think about the area you will be placing your water cooler. They can take up a lot of room, and you want to be able to have it seamlessly fit into your space. Be sure to open up cabinets and pull out chairs so you know if these objects will bang into your water cooler.
The other important measurement refers to height. Again, this can vary greatly although 40 inches is the average. On the shorter end of the spectrum, the COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler measures just 32 inches in height. The tallest water cooler on our list is the Primo hTRiO, standing at 43.2 inches.
The Avalon A1CTWTRCLRBLK is a bit of an anomaly. While it only measures 19 inches, it is meant to be placed on a tabletop. In this case, be sure to measure the table or counter first, so you know exactly what the total height will be.
Bottless water coolers are now available. This means you can hook your water cooler up directly to your waterline. However, if you want to have purified water from this source, you also need a good filtration system.
While you won’t have to worry about changing your water bottle, you will need to worry about changing your water filter. It’s recommended to change a filter every 6 months, or more often if you go though more water.
The Avalon A5 has a dual water filtration system. It has a sediment filter that removed any dirt or debris from your water. It also has a carbon block filter. This removed odor and tastes from your water. Both last for 6 months or 1500 gallons of water.
Because water coolers have working parts in them, there are specific certifications they can receive. The first to look for is an EnergyStar rating. This means that your water cooler has been built to use at least 30% less energy than basic models. Not only is this better for your wallet, but it is also much better for the environment.
Another certification that water coolers often have is UL Listed. This refers to a safety certification. Water coolers require electricity, so the more rigorous testing they have gone through, the safer they will be inside your home. The Avalon A3BLK and the Primo hTRiO are both UL Listed.
The final certification you might see is NSF certified. This means a product has met strict guidelines and public safety measures. On our list, the Avalon A5 qualifies for this certification.
As with anything, if you’re willing to pay more, there are an abundance of options to choose from. The same is with water coolers. One of the more unique features we’ve come across is the ability to brew coffee. The Primo hTRiO allows you to brew both ground coffee and K-cup coffee pods. This feature is truly innovative. It allows you to rid your cluttered countertop of a coffee machine and move that function into the water cooler. This is pretty impressive.
Another feature you should look for is in how easy your water cooler is to clean. For example, the Brio CLTL520 has a surface that is actually thumbprint resistance. Those with children know just how quickly surfaces need to be cleaned after little fingers come into contact with them. Having a drip tray that is removable and dishwasher safe, like the Primo hTRiO is also beneficial. Anything that can make your life easier is worth investing in.
Which container you decide on filling up with water can actually determine which model you ultimately pick. For example, if you plan on regularly filling up large water bottles, then you want a device that can accommodate this space. The Olympia BottleLess Water Cooler has a much larger space than other water coolers. It allows for the biggest of water bottles to be filled up. There’s no need to angle your bottle or worry about spillage because of this extra space.
Storage is yet again another nice feature of a water cooler that many people aren’t familiar with. So often the water cooler is all parts. There’s no extra space. However, with the COSTWAY Top Loading Water Cooler, you actually get a bonus storage space at the bottom. You can put anything you want inside it. This is a really nice feature if you live in a small space or have a small kitchen.
Every 6 months, you should do a deep-clean of your water cooler. You can do it yourself if you’re willing to take the time. You will need to dismantle all the parts and be quite thorough. If you’d rather not perform the task, you can call in a professional to clean it for you.
If you primarily use your water cooler for cold water, then it is not very energy-consuming. However, if you regularly use the hot water function, then yes, it will be an added amount to your electrical bill. To save money, look for energy-star certified units, which naturally use less electricity. Furthermore, if you are going away on vacation, unplug your water cooler to save electricity and money.
Because bottleless models rely on a water connection with your existing pipes, they need a filter to ensure clean water. You should change that filter about every 6 months. Furthermore, most models will have an indicator light that will start flashing or change color to alert you when the filter needs to be changed.
Fresh, clean water is just a purchase away. If you’re looking for an all-around impressive water cooler, try our Editor’s Choice, Avalon A5. Not only is it bottleless, but it is easy to setup and works extremely well. If you want a water cooler with a bit of pizzazz, try the Primo hTRiO. In addition to dispersing hot and cold water, it also has the ability to make coffee. You can use both regular coffee grounds and K-cup pods. Finally, you can clear up some counterspace! For those that truly want the best water cooler, then our Premium Pick is for you. The Avalon A3BLK has impressive features such as three water temperatures and even a nightlight to brighten up the dark. You need to drink water every day. Why not make sure its pure, filtered water at exactly the right temperature?