Adding a water dispenser to your list of kitchen appliances gives you more than just chilled water on-tap (although, chilled water alone can be pretty great). With many of today’s dispensers offering instant heating, as well as filtering for increased flavor, these devices have a range of uses cases—from herbal teas and coffee alternatives, to helping end troublesome soda habits.

Here are the results of our in-depth review into the best water dispensers available to buy right now. We surveyed the most popular and most recommended water dispenser models on the market, to help you choose your next water-conditioning device.

Sale
Avalon A5 Self Cleaning Bottleless Water Cooler Dispenser, UL/NSF/Energy star, Stainless Steel, full size
  • INSTALLATION KIT: Full installation kit consisting of 20' of 1/4" tubing, 3 way plastic 1/4" push connect adapter, under sink 3/8" adapter with shut off valve, filter flushing adapter, and detailed instructions with illustrations.
  • 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
  • SELF CLEANING FEATURE: The self cleaning ozone feature sanitizes & purifies the dispenser, which prevents the accumulation of harmful germs & bacteria for your safety.
Sale
Brio Limited Edition Top Loading Water Cooler Dispenser - Hot & Cold Water, Child Safety Lock, Holds 3 or 5 Gallon Bottles - UL/Energy Star Approved
  • HOT, COLD & ROOM-TEMPERATURE WATER: 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 beverage, satisfying all your hydration needs.
  • INNOVATIVE & STYLISH: Brio Essential has a sleek stainless-steel cabinet that makes this water cooler fit right into your home, kitchen or office. Enjoy the modern cooler that provides you with all that you need and more.
  • TOP-LOADING FEATURE: Brio water cooler features a top-loading water system, which allows you to see if the dispenser is running low. This is suitable for 3-5-gallon water bottles and creates a tight seat to prevent any contaminants from entering your water supply.
  • SAFETY FEATURES: Never worry about accidental pouring of hot water again with the two-step dispensing on the hot-water spout. Simply release the lock located above the dispense button and enjoy soothing hot water at your fingertips. Always have visibility due to the nightlight that illuminates the dispense point, so pour fro Rest assured that the safety of you and your loved ones are in the hands of Brio Water Engineers.
  • UL/ENERGY STAR CERTIFIED: Don’t take our word for it! Our products have been independently tested and meets the applicable published standard. Trust the brand that exceeds all standards and delivers quality coolers in every box, trust Brio Water.
Avalon A12 Countertop Bottleless Water Dispenser, 3 Temperatures, Self Cleaning, Stainless Steel
  • INSTALLATION KIT: Full installation kit consisting of 20' of 1/4" tubing, 3 way plastic 1/4" push connect adapter, under sink 3/8" adapter with shut off valve, filter flushing adapter, and detailed instructions with illustrations
  • 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
  • THREE TEMPERATURES: Three temperature settings allow you to customize your drinking experience. This dispenser features a crisp cold, cool, or piping hot output
  • 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.Cooling Capacity: 2.5 L/H
  • CHILD SAFE: This product 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!
Sale
Avalon Premium Hot/Cold Top Loading Countertop Water Cooler Dispenser With Child Safety Lock. UL/Energy Star Approved- White - A1CTWTRCLRWHT
  • 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.
  • TIME SAVING: Our top loading water cooler dispenser saves time when you need to make a quick cup of tea, hot cocoa, or instant soup! You never have to wait for a pot or kettle to boil.
  • TOP LOADING DISPENSER: This water cooler dispenser loads from the top & allows you to spot if the dispenser is running out of water, which is a great feature for office settings.
ZeroWater (ZBD-040-1) 40 Cup Ready-Pour Glass Dispenser, BPA-Free, with Free Water Quality Meter, NSF Certified to Reduce Lead and Other Heavy Metals
  • 40 CUP READY-POUR: With an elegant glass tank and no-drip spigot, ZeroWater's 40 cup ready-pour filtered water dispenser is great for gatherings, offices, or home use. Pour a glass of filtered, clean tasting water while the reservoir continues to filter.
  • FIVE STAGE WATER FILTRATION: Unlike many water filters & pitchers, ZeroWater filters use 5 stages of filtration, to bring you cleaner, better tasting water. Instead of carbon filtering only, our filters use Ion Exchange Technology to reduce contaminants.
  • NOT AN ORDINARY WATER FILTER: ZeroWater filters filter water in 5 stages, are NSF certified to reduce lead and other heavy metals. Zerowater removes 99.6% of total dissolved solids, 2X more than the leading brand (tested by independent lab).
  • GET MORE OUT OF YOUR WATER: Remove more impurities from your water with ZeroWater's unique, 5 stage filter system. With a variety of options, you can have cleaner water anywhere, from pitchers, bottle filtration systems, or portable on-the-go cup filters.
  • GET THE LEAD OUT: ZeroWater filters are the only pour-through filters NSF Certified to remove chromium & lead. Our pitchers, tumblers, & dispensers remove virtually all solids for the purest tasting water.

Key Points

  • A water dispenser is, in basic terms, a home version of the ubiquitous office water cooler. It’s a device that cools or heats up water for drinking.

  • Some home dispensers integrate with your plumbing, while others use a manual reservoir with gravity or vacuum system. This is similar to the classic upside-down gallon bottle used in coolers.

  • Dispensers come in many shapes, sizes, and build qualities. Premium devices are constructed from long-lasting materials that are easy on the eye—many with integrated water filter cartridges.

  • While an appropriate water filter should always be used for handling contaminants in drinking water, even non-filtering dispensers have their own specific benefits. These include increased refreshment on hot days, reduced plastic bottle usage, and an incentive to turn down sodas and juices.

Explainer: What’s the difference between a water dispenser and a water filter?

In theory, a water dispenser is intended to make hot or cold water more convenient and accessible. A water filter, on the other hand, is designed to remove a specific set of contaminants from a tap supply (depending on the filtering mechanism).

The reality, however, is that many dispensers will also filter water to some extent, while many filters can provide the convenience of a countertop dispenser. This makes it important to carefully check a dispenser’s specifications against your needs when shopping.

Those looking for a filtering dispenser should keep the numbers 42 and 53 in mind. These are the Standard Certification numbers for effective home filters attributed by the NSF—the leading water device safety board.

But don’t feel pressured into investing what may be some significant extra costs into a filtering device, if you’re really more interested in the idea of a simple home dispenser. The majority of us live in regions connected to city and regional water suppliers, whose water product is closely monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency for the main threats to water safety and tase.

In fact, all homeowners on a public water supply can check up on what exactly goes into their tap water through their annual Consumer Confidence Report, which suppliers are mandated to produce. This should let you know whether or not a filtering dispenser is a good idea.

If you do happen to be one of the thirteen or so million Americans who get their drinking water from a private well, then a water dispenser—filtering or not—should only ever be a secondary consideration, after you’ve ensured water safety.

FAQs

If your model of water dispenser is not designed to incorporate a replaceable filter cartridge, options for filtering are restricted to an inline filter, installed with your kitchen plumbing, or a whole-house filter at the water mains point of entry.

Both of these options provide extensive filtering for the kitchen or entire home—but they’re also accompanied by significant price tags. For water filtering on a budget, look to pitcher filters and faucet-mounted designs.

From the standard cooler, to the bottom-loading cooler, to several categories of countertop dispenser, there’s quite the range to choose from when it comes to this type of drinking water device.

Some dispensers will also integrate into your kitchen setup, either by attaching to a wall or through a dedicated faucet. The best way to narrow your water dispenser search is to decide on those features and designs that will work best for you. Ask yourself:

  • Do you need hot as well as chilled dispensing?
  • Do you need filtering?
  • Would you prefer a countertop model?
  • Does appearance matter?
  • Is it better to integrate the dispenser with your water line, or use a fillable reservoir?

A water cooler is a subset category of water dispensers. Most people use the term ‘water cooler’ to refer to budget or value water dispenser models, constructed from hard plastics and using disposable five-gallon reservoirs—great for watercooler moments at the office; not so great for a sleek, aesthetically pleasing kitchen.

The negative effects of sports drinks and sodas on a sedentary lifestyle are well documented and acknowledged. So much, that a soda addiction can effectively cancel out other good dietary and exercise choices. Having a purified water dispenser makes it easier to ditch sodas, juices, and other convenience drinks, building up more positive and beneficial routines around hydration. Cutting down on bottled drinks is also healthy for the environment and on your bank balance!

In addition, continuing research on microplastics is revealing possible concerns about particles from screwtop bottles entering the liquid inside, making levels of plastic fibers in popular bottled water brands up to twice as high as those found in tap water. Though studies are yet to confirm specific health risks, using a dispenser means you needn’t worry about any potential effects.

More generally speaking, a dispenser also makes it easier to drink more water on a daily basis. Instant access to hot or cold water encourages more water consumption through teas, lemon water, and other hydrating beverages, helping you get those eight glasses—or two to three liters—per day.