Best Water Coolers of 2018 ~ Reviews, FAQ, and Buying Guide

We all know everyone loves hanging out by the water cooler while pretending to work (sorry boss). You can purchase a water cooler at home now too. Not so you can pretend to work. You would use it to fill up water bottle… the actual purpose of a water cooler.

Drinking water is good for you anyway 🙂

Now, choosing a good one can sometimes be difficult because of all the available options. This guide will review the top picks, give you a brief buying guide, and answer any questions that you may have about purchasing water cooler. Alright, time to begin with the reviews.

Reviews of The Best Water Coolers

RankBrand (View on Amazon)DimensionsDispenses
1Clover B14A12.70" x 12.30" x 37.90" Hot & Cold
2Whirlpool15" x 12.6" x 40.5"Hot & Cold
3NewAir12.2" x 13.6" x 41"Hot & Cold
4Avalon14.5" x 14.3" x 46.5"Hot & Cold
5Whirlpool11.3" x 10.8" x 36"Room Temp & Cold
6Avalon13" x 12" x 41"Hot & Cold

Top Pick: Clover B14A Water Dispenser

First on our list is the standard water cooler. You will find this one in every office building in America. Usually surrounded by bored office workers gossiping or discussing football.

clover b14a side by side

The cooling process isn’t done immediately. Instead the already cooled (or heated) water is stored in stainless steel containers. Stainless steel is good because it means that you do not have to worry about any plastic leaching into the water.

Apparently that can cause cancer or something.

This particular model is called the Clover B14A, which sounds pretty boring if you ask me. But it’s a water cooler, so that’s ok. Boring is good.

Anyway, we like this water cooler. You put the water container on the top of the dispenser. This makes monitoring the level of the water fairly easy. Literally just look at it and you know when it is out of water.

This cooler has a hot and cold water setting. The hot water is scalding HOT. 185 degrees hot to be exact. Don’t spill it on yourself. You adjust the hot water either (so sad). But you can turn it off.

Now, you can adjust the temperature of the cold water. It has an adjustable cold water thermostat. The range is 35 degrees to 53 degrees… Fahrenheit of course. Now, this is cooled by a convection cooled condenser, which is some fancy high tech. 35 degrees is practically freezing by the way. You literally have freezing cold water. Very good!

It also avoid that gross film that you tend to get on plastic water containers. Not something you want. It’s some bacteria that can make you sick.

Finally, this unit is Energy Star rated. This is good. I’m sure you’ve probably heard of the rating before. It basically means that the unit is very energy efficient and underwent testing to prove that energy efficiency. Now they get to stick a certification logo on their product and use it for marketing.

Anyway, you will save money on your electric bill each month. So that’s a win. Big win.

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Pros

  • Makes extremely hot water and freezing cold water.
  • Can adjust the cold water.
  • Energy Star rated. Save money on your electric bill.
  • Can turn the hot water off if you want.
  • Child Safety lock for the hot water.
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Cons

  • No room temperature water or water filtration.

Top Bottom Loader: Whirlpool 8LIECH – Bottom Loading Dispenser

Whirlpool 8LIECH Water Dispenser

Another bottom loading water cooler. We know you will like this one, we guarantee it. First, it’s a Whirlpool and they’re the best in the business. So that already gives you a little peace of mind right from the beginning.

Next, the stainless steel color looks great. It makes it look super modern. I mean, it is 2018, but it still looks modern. Not to mention you don’t have ugly plastic buttons. Instead you get beautiful LED lights. Don’t worry, LED lights use practically no energy. The amount of extra money it costs to maintain the lights is negligible. Especially considering how great this cooler looks.

Did I mention how great it was?

Seriously, this one looks amazing. Ok enough of that.

Anyway, this unit also has self-cleaning as well. Now, I’ve been in this industry longer than I care to mention, but I’ve never seen a self-cleaning water cooler. Normally we just get the intern to clean the water cooler. [Editor: Joe, we don’t have interns at WPH. -JW]. This unit uses unstable oxygen that attacks any viruses and bacteria in the water. That’s pretty good. Definitely a unique selling point.

The most important question still remains.

Will this make my water colder?

a lot of ice cubes

Yes! This water cooler dispenses chilled water. Not literally ice cold because that would freeze the lines, but close enough. The hot water is hot too. Actually, it’s so hot that it can burn your skin. So this unit has a child safety lock to prevent that from happening.

Smart move Whirlpool.

Finally, this unit has a 1 year warranty. Not just a limited warranty. This is a full one year manufacturer warranty. Just make sure to buy it from Reil Machines (at time of writing) if you buy it on Amazon. They are the only official retailer on Amazon. The other sellers are grey market sellers. This means that you do not get a warranty. Very sad.

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Pros

  • Self-cleaning dispenser. You never have to worry about germs again.
  • LED lights look great.
  • Stainless steel.
  • Ice cold water and very hot water.
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Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than other units.

Bottom Loading Runner Up: NewAir WAT40B

NewAir WAT40B

Well, next up on our list is the NewAir WAT40B. This water dispenser probably looks a little different than the one you have in your office. That’s right, this is a bottom loading dispenser, which is a high quality alternative to a top loading dispenser.

This means that you load the water cooler into the bottom of the machine. This makes it that much easier to load up.

No having to do an awkward dance as you throw the water container to the top. You know what I’m talking about. Story time: One time I actually dropped the water jug and it exploded… not fun. [Editor: I’m dying of laughter just imagining you dropping a water cooler while putting it on the dispenser. ­–JW].

This unit gives you the usual hot and cold options. We don’t have an exact temperature. However, the water is extremely hot and the water is cold enough that you don’t need ice. Hey, sounds like the perfect temperature to me.

The hot and cold water are stored in plastic containers. Not something that we really like. However, the containers are BPA free and the water doesn’t taste like plastic. That’s a positive.

It has an Energy Star rating, so that means it is very energy efficient (obviously). Furthermore, this unit has an NSF Certification. That means that you get to enjoy filtered water. Great!

Finally, you get the usual child safety lock. This way you don’t have any accidents with your small children.

One last thing. A red indicator light will appear when the water needs to be filled up. You will never run out of water with this unit. Well, unless you get lazy and decide to not purchase a refill bottle. Don’t do that. It literally defeats the purpose of having one of these things in your office.

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Pros

  • Very hot and very cold water.
  • Child safety lock.
  • Energy Star certified. Save money on your electric bill.
  • NSF certified. Great for filtered water.
  • Bottom loading is so much easier than a top loading container.
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Cons

  • Plastic holding tank. It is BPA free though.
  • Might be loud.

Top Loading Runner Up: Avalon Dispenser

Avalon A1 Dispenser

The runner up in the top loading category is the Avalon Top Loader. This is the runner up, but don’t let that fool you. I know that word fools a lot of people.

This is still a great product.

It has the usual hot and cold water. Hot is, well, hot. Really hot. Hot enough to make tea, ramen noodles, or even soup. I mean, that is really all you ever use the hot water for anyway. Right?

Now, the cold water is cold.

How cold?

Cold enough.

What we really like about this unit though is the price. Yes, the price. In our opinion it has the best value of any of the units covered.

However, we don’t like the color. On Water Purification Hub we weight our rating heavily towards the appearance of a filtration unit. We’re fashion snobs here.

This one has an uninspiring white plastic exterior and a bland black water area. Just not that inspiring to us, which is why we rank it lower. Seriously. This stuff is important even for something as mundane as a water cooler.

Not going to lie you readers, I judge a company based off the water cooler they use.

An uninspiring white plastic water cooler from 1992 that hasn’t been cleaned since pets.com was a thing…

It has those weird brown dots on it that you can never seem to clean. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Yeah, I’ll take my business to the company with the Avalon self cleaning water cooler. Just saying.

Back to the review, the holding containers are plastic instead of stainless steel, which is another thing that we do not like. We can get over that though because of the great price and the plastic does not contain any BPA. So that makes it ok, I guess.

This unit also has a child safety lock. No more worrying about your young one accidentally pressing the hot water lever and releasing hot water all over the place.

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Pros

  • Great price.
  • Child safety lock.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Really hot water and really cold water.
  • Looks great in the office.
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Cons

  • No certifications.
  • White plastic.

Best Budget Pick: Whirlpool 217 LIECK

Whirlpool water cooler commercial

Another Whirlpool makes the list. This one makes it for the best choice for a small business.

Ideally a business that has just enough employees to need something like a water cooler, (eg. not Water Purification Hub).

This is the choice for that business. It also works well for a home too.

The reason we say this is a small business choice is that this unit does not have any option for the scalding hot water like the other units. Now sure, some businesses have a need for hot water. Let’s be real though, does anyone even use the piping hot water at the office water cooler?

Didn’t think so.

I could see being used as a workplace liability to be quite honest. Like, I could picture the insurance adjuster increasing your liability insurance for having easy access to 185 degree water.

This is why this unit makes the list for the best option for a small business. Seriously.

Don’t let the small business designation fool you though. This unit still works well for home as long as you don’t have a need for hot water. What we like the most about this unit is that it uses a piece of ice to cool the water. Old school, I know.

It’s like some Stone Age stuff [Editor: Joe, refrigeration was invented in the early 1900’s. -JW]

Sound strange?

It actually is much more efficient than the cooling methods that the other units use. This saves you energy and also makes the water much colder. You won’t find ice cube cooling on any water cooler because that is a Whirlpool proprietary method to cool water. Pretty cool stuff.

You can always count on Whirlpool to have cool space age products like this.

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Pros

  • Good price.
  • Has room temperature option.
  • Literally ice cold water.
  • Ice cube cooling makes this much more efficient.
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Cons

  • No hot water.
  • Room temperature will still be a little cold.

Best Bottleless Water Cooler: Avalon Self Cleaning Bottleless Water Cooler

Avalon Self Cleaning Bottleless Water Cooler dispenser

Do you want a water cooler that does not require any bottles?

You just found your next cooler.

No more having to constantly reorder those massive water bottles every month, week, or year.

You also don’t need to store any bottles… somewhere.

This fact alone makes this unit especially useful for an office setting or for those of you that just don’t want the hassle.

Now, the filter is a 1500 gallon filter (sediment and carbon block). So you will have to change that every six months…

That’s a lot less work than replacing a water bottle every week.

There’s more to it though. This unit also cleans itself. Well, it cleans the dispenser. This means that you do not have to worry about gross germs getting on the dispenser and making you sick.

Finally, this unit has the usual child safety lock to prevent young ones from burning themselves.

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Pros

  • No water bottles. Hook this unit up directly to your water line.
  • Self-cleaning dispenser… enough said.
  • It’s really hot and very cold.
  • Looks good with the stainless steel.
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Cons

  • Most expensive unit on the list.

Things to Consider Before Purchase

question mark

These are a big enough purchase that you do want to ask some questions before you just purchase one. A water dispenser definitely is not an impulse purchase. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I have enough space for a water dispenser?

Systems like the ones listed are rather large. If you have a tiny apartment, then you probably won’t be able to fit them.

You also probably won’t need one in a tiny apartment, but that’s none of my business…

So you definitely have to think about where to put it before you purchase one.

Just do the usual technique people have used for literally thousands of years. Measure out a spot in an area where you think it will fit.

  • Will the design match the rest of my office/house?

This one is important if you want your interior area to look good. As we’ve mentioned before, Water Purification Hub is a very fashion forward company. We take this stuff seriously.

If you don’t care, then you can skip it. Generally, stainless steel is considered fancier than white plastic. A higher end office building will want to avoid having a white plastic water cooler as that looks bad.

Whereas a warehouse or non-descript office will be perfectly fine with a normal white plastic dispenser. I mean, no one really cares if the warehouse water dispenser looks bad. In fact, I kind of expect it. Quite frankly, if I go to a warehouse and see a nice water dispenser, then I’m perplexed. Why would management spend so much money on a a water dispenser for a warehouse?

Though it does make me want to see the water cooler in the main office.

  • What temperature water do we need?

These units listed above offer cold and hot water with the exception of one unit that only offers cold and room temperature.

Most offices and homes will need hot and cold water. Generally, hot water dispensers are needed in areas that are far away from the breakroom where the microwave is located.

This obviously varies depending on the company. It is just something to keep in mind before purchasing for your office.

Different types of Water Dispensers

There are two different types of water dispensers available on the market. One is much better than the other. We’ll still review both types of dispensers.

Top Loading Dispenser

This is probably the kind that you will recognize. It is the standard water cooler. The 3 or 5 gallon bottle attaches to the top and you get water at the bottom.

You see these in almost every office in the United States. They really are that common.

Most companies prefer these because they are somewhat inexpensive compared to the other options. They also offer a great way to make sure that employees stay hydrated. Overall, these will be your best choice for most situations.

Just avoid white ones.

Bottom Loading Dispenser

These ones are slightly newer to the market compared to their top loading brethren. However, the technology is not quite new. Anyway, these ones work great because they allow you to put the water on the bottom.

Obviously some big brained people thought of this idea. Genius.brain inside a lightbulb genius

This means you don’t have to put a bottle on the top. Yes, that can be difficult and I have dropped the bottle before. It’s not fun. I have refused to use a top loading dispenser after that incident.

Anyway, these units will cost slightly more than the top loading dispenser. They also have an indicator light of some sort to tell you when the water is getting low. You don’t have to constantly check it to make sure it still has water. That is ridiculous.

Some of these also have self-cleaning features that kill bacteria on the dispenser.

All in all, these ones look better and are much easier to use. Save yourself the trouble and just purchase a bottom loading dispenser. Trust me it’s so much easier.

Water Cooler Maintenance & Cleaning

Look for filter

Cleaning the water cooler. This is the worst job at smaller companies because it’s usually the responsibility of the owner… depends on the size of the company.

If you have one of these in your home, then you will have to clean it.

This short and sweet guide will lay out the exact steps to clean your water dispenser. Trust me, it isn’t hard. Just have the intern do it. [Editor: Joe, we don’t have an intern! Stop saying that. –JW].

Anyway, just do this once a month and you should be fine. You should clean the dispenser more often though. Once a week is good for that. The more the better though.

  1. Unplug the unit

Well, you don’t want to shock yourself do you?

Unplug the unit. Water and electricity don’t mix, so just unplug it.

Seriously. I’m not joking. Unplug the unit. Yes, it’s kind of annoying to unplug these things.

  1. Take the bottle off.

Easy. Just take the bottle of the top. This isn’t that hard.

  1. Drain the water from the cold tank.
  2. Remove the water guard. This is the piece of plastic that the water bottle sits on.
  3. Get some soap and a sponge and lightly scrub the cold water tank.
  4. Get a damp cloth and clean any dust off the coils on the back.
  5. Remove the dispensers and wash them in your sink. Reattach when you finish cleaning.
  6. Fill the cold water container with hot water.
  7. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Empty the water using the dispenser.
  9. Reattach the bottle to the top.

That’s it. It really is not that difficult to clean these things. The main thing to clean is the dispenser and the cooling coils on the back. However, cleaning the container is still important. Just do it every month.

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

Well, that about covers everything you need to know about owning a water dispenser. These devices are really quite convenient and an absolute necessity in any office space. They also work well in a home too.

You get clean filtered delivered to your home and do not have to worry about cooling the water down.

It’s like having a water fountain in your home. Super nice. It will also save you time when making tea, ramen noodles, and hot chocolate (yum).

You can even fill it with tea or hot chocolate like Willy Wonka. I’m just joking, you can’t. I’ve tried. It gets clogged and messy.

Now, we recommend the Whirlpool 8LIECH. It’s a bottom loader, so it’s super easy to use. Plus, it has the self-cleaning, which is convenient. You should still do plenty of cleaning yourself though.

The self-cleaning does work, but who knows how effective it is.

You can check out our other guides to countertop water filters or water faucet filters if you want something that works a little different.

 

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