Hot and cold water dispensers, otherwise known as water cooler dispensers are incredibly versatile and useful appliances to have.
A while back they were a preserve of offices and schools alone. These days though they are finding their way into many homes as more and more people realize the convenience and pleasure that comes with owning a personal water cooler dispenser.
This write-up is all about hot and cold water dispensers – how they actually work and the different types available in the market.
We will also lay out our list of the best hot and cold water dispensers so that you have a clear idea of what to expect if you are looking to purchase your very own unit. Have a look at them below.
Avalon is popular for its line of stylish water coolers and this A4BLWTRCLR model clearly demonstrates that. However, it doesn’t just look good. It has several nice features and works very well. It’s a unit that offers value for the price.
The first thing to like about this Avalon dispenser is that you get three functions. You can draw hot, cold, or room-temperature water which is convenient as it takes care of all your water needs.
The hot water is quite hot at approximately 180oF suitable for making a cup of tea or coffee. The same applies to cold water. It’s pretty cold at around 47oF. You can drink it without adding ice cubes.
The unit automatically pumps the water into the cold and water reservoirs, and directly into the room-temp water tap. Since the water is pumped directly from the bottle, the room-temp spout tends to dispense water slowly compared to cold and hot water spouts.
The unit is relatively quiet at first, but after some time, it starts to make some noise every time you dispense water. Several users also noted that it sorts of rattles when dispensing water and this is because it has a compressor, so you can expect some vibration during its life.
The Avalon A4BLWTRCLR uses push buttons to draw water from the given spout. They are much more convenient to use. There’s a built-in night light too that makes the water spouts visible at night or in the dark which is a useful bonus feature.
You have to slide, press, and hold the hot water button to dispense the hot water. This is because it has a child safety lock which is an essential feature especially if you have kids around the house. It can help prevent accidental burns from extremely hot water.
You can turn off the hot or cold water if you don’t need them or never plan on using them. There are two switches on the back of the unit that lets you do this. There’s also a third one that shuts off the night light if you want to conserve energy.
The dispensing area is 9 inches high from the bottom of the spouts to the drip tray. That’s large enough to accommodate small to moderately tall containers or cups. The drip tray is also wide and can accommodate a big cup without requiring you to hold it while filling.
Loading the Water Bottle
Loading a water bottle onto this unit is straightforward. You simply remove the bottle cap and securely fit the pump adapter then slide it inside the cabinet and close the door. From there you just plug it into the power supply and you are done.
The cabinet can accommodate a 3 or 5-gallon bottle. You can use almost any 5 or 3-gallon bottle. The pump works well and sucks up more than 99% of the water in a 5-gallon bottle.
There’s a low water indicator on the unit that lights up to alert you when the bottle should be replaced which is another convenient feature to have on any bottom load dispenser since the water bottle is hidden inside the cabinet.
The hot tank can hold up to 1 liter of water while the cold one can hold 3.6 liters. Therefore, even if you are unable to replace an empty water bottle immediately, you will still have some amount of water left in the tanks for use.
You can drain out the cold water tank too as there is a drain hole in the back of the unit for this purpose which is convenient when it comes to cleaning the tank.
Overall, this Avalon A4BLWTRCLR is a very well-built and reliable water cooler dispenser.
There have been some complaints about defects later on but Avalon offers excellent customer service and they have been able to address most of the complaints including providing an entirely brand new cooler that works fine in the event they couldn’t fix a problem. So, it’s an option that’s worth the money.
- Can dispense cold, room-temp and hot water
- Heats water up to 180oF and cools it down to 47oF
- Easy-to-use push buttons for dispensing water
- LED night light to make spouts visible at night
- Has child safety lock on the hot water button
- You can turn off the hot or cold water
- Can accommodate any 3 or 5-gallon water bottle
- Comes with a 1-year limited warranty
- The room-temp spout dispenses water slowly
- The unit starts to make noise and rattle after some time
- No self-cleaning feature
The Avalon A6 is a more basic bottom-load water cooler compared to the Avalon A4 dispenser but we were pleased with its overall good performance plus it has many of the features found in the A4 model above.
The Avalon A6 has only two functions – hot and cold water dispensing. The hot water is sufficiently hot to prepare a cup of coffee but it’s not steaming hot for those who prefer their tea or coffee hotter. As for the cold water, it’s properly chilled like from a fridge.
For the most part, the unit is perfectly silent but immediately after the compressor kicks in to suck up the water from the bottle for cooling or heating, you will hear a low hum. Even then, it’s not that loud and only lasts about a minute or two.
The A6 comes with a paddle where you have to press your cup against it for the water to flow out of either spout. It’s simple to use. For the cold water paddle, you just have to press the cup against it and hold it for the cold water to come out.
For hot water to flow out, the hot water paddle has a red button on top of it that you have to press and hold while at the same pressing your cup against the paddle itself.
It’s a two-hand operation but you only need to press and hold the child safety button for a few seconds not the whole time. The cup must press against the red paddle through for the hot water to continue flowing.
While the inclusion of a child safety button is a great idea, it’s at an easy reaching distance for a child to access and you simply have to press it while pushing on the paddle to trigger the hot water which defeats its purpose.
That’s something a child can do easily by just watching you. It’s not childproof as described and you may have to disable the hot water from the back of the unit if you will be using it and have toddlers around the house.
The unit has a built-in night light too like the A4 that helps make the spouts visible at night. The distance between the spouts and the drip tray is a bit short though and you have to tilt a larger glass or cup when filling. The tray itself is small, it can’t hold a bigger cup.
Loading the Water Bottle
It is easy to set up this Avalon A6 model and the cabinet can fit almost any 3 or 5-gallon water bottle. There’s a light on the front that flashes to let you know when the bottle is empty so you can replace it immediately.
To simplify maintenance, Avalon has included a self-cleaning feature on this A6 dispenser which lacks in the A4 model. There’s a button on the back that lets you manually initiate this process.
Once you press it, the system releases ozone into the cooler which helps to sanitize and disinfect the reservoirs and the entire system as well. The cycle runs for about 45 minutes and you have to do it at least once a week.
It’s an essential feature that will help eliminate any bacterial contamination and mineral build-up within the tanks and the cooler itself.
Avalon offers two color options for this unit. You can go with a white one or pick a purely black-colored unit. This is the white version but the dispensing section is black which gives it a nice contrast and an overall pleasant look.
If you want a simple, two-function water cooler dispenser that does its work as expected, then this Avalon A6 unit may be a suitable option.
You get a 1-year limited warranty which can be extended for an additional 6 months if you register the dispenser online within the first 30 days. Avalon does honor their warranties, so that’s a good thing.
- Hot water is really hot at 180oF
- Cold water is chilled down to 47oF
- Easy to operate with pedals for dispensing water
- Effective self-cleaning feature to sanitize the system
- You can either the cold or hot water off if you wish so
- 1-year limited warranty with excellent customer service
- The safety feature is not childproof as such
- Not enough height in the fill area and the drip tray is small
hOmeLabs is well known for producing a wide range of household appliances. It isn’t a top manufacturer of water coolers but it’s a trusted brand with regard to the quality and value of its products.
Their bottom-loading water dispenser compares admirably with most of the top brands in the industry such as Avalon, Brio, and Primo. It has the right features you’d want in any quality water cooler and does its job effectively.
With this hOmeLabs water cooler unit, you get three water dispensing options – hot, cold, and room temp water. However, unlike the other two units above, all three water options are dispensed through the same spout which makes it a little more convenient in terms of usage.
The cold water is decently cold (49oF) while the hot water comes out hot enough for making a nice cup of tea or coffee. The room temp water is just tepid water – slightly warmer than tap water which is expected.
The unit manages to maintain a fairly steady flow rate on both cold and room temperature modes. It’s not as fast as the running water from the tap, but it’s fast enough to fill an 8 oz cup in less than 10 seconds.
The flow rate of the hot water is somewhat slow though. It may take a bit longer to fill a cup with hot water compared to cold or room temp water. There’s a low humming noise when it’s cooling water which is to be expected but it’s not that annoying at all.
However, some users have noted some taste issues. They’ve reported that the water tends to have a metallic or plastic taste just after installation. A vast majority of users didn’t experience that though and according to hOmeLabs, running a few gallons through can help clear out the taste.
This hOmeLabs dispenser is simple to use. The push-buttons for the three functions are clearly marked and placed on the top of the unit which children can’t reach easily. They are sturdy, however, and can become somehow difficult to push down over time.
The hot water button has a child safety lock that you have to slide and push down the button in order to dispense hot water. The unit is kinda tall and the fact that the hot water button is on top means that it’s not easy for kids to reach and play with.
There’s a handy LED night light to help you draw water during the night and like the other units above, you can turn off hot or cold water functions when you need to.
The area below the spout is relatively large to accommodate a large mug or water bottle provided it’s not so tall.
Loading the Water Bottle
Setting up this unit is easy too. You just need to insert the probe into your bottle and place it in the cabinet. The probe can fit any standard 3 or 5-gallon bottle and the cooler has a bottle refill indicator to inform you when it’s time to replace the water bottle.
One downside though as noted by several users is that the pump doesn’t drain the bottle completely empty. It leaves enough water to fill two large cups.
The overall quality, performance, and dispensing ability of this hOmeLabs bottom-loading water dispenser are great. It’s an efficient and easy-to-use unit despite the few gripes raised by some users.
The good thing is that hOmeLabs offer a 2-year warranty on this unit with a money-back guarantee. The company’s customer service is reliable and in most cases, they can send a replacement for free if you are still under warranty and the unit becomes defective.
- Three dispensing functions – hot, cold, and room temp water
- Hot water is decently hot while cold water is properly chilled
- A steady flow rate on both cold and room temp function
- Simple-to-use push buttons placed on top of the unit
- Tall unit with lock safety on hot water to deter kids from using it
- Has a 2-year warranty with a money-back guarantee
- Hot water flow rate is somewhat low
- Some users reported plastic after taste
- No self-cleaning feature compared to the other units
- The pump might not drain the bottle completely
Brio is amongst the top brands in the industry and many of their units are durable and do perform exceptionally well. The Brio CLB520SC water cooler dispenser does not disappoint either. It has virtually everything you would expect from a quality water cooler dispenser and works as specified with minimal glitches.
You can get hot, cold, and ambient water from this Brio water cooler dispenser. The hot water is boiling hot and the cold water is cooled to near ice-cold, ideal for those who prefer perfectly chilled water.
Those who like actual room-temperature water though may find it a little cool unless you turn off the cold water function. The unit’s flow of water on the three spouts is slow but this is the norm with most bottom-loading dispensers. It’s not too slow to keep you waiting for long.
No issues with the noise level. The compressor and heating element are mostly quiet while running. In the first few days, you may note an unusual taste with the water like several customers mentioned but it gets better and disappears after some time.
The dispensing mechanism involves easy-to-use buttons for the three water temperatures which are placed on the top part of the unit. They are large and easy to press.
Placing them on top of the unit also makes them less accessible to young children, particularly the hot water button. Besides that, the hot water button has a child safety lock that kids may find hard to use.
You can turn off the hot water heater like the rest using a switch on the rear. Same with the cooling function. Brio has as well made dispensing water in the night easier by including LED nightlights to offer visibility in dim or low light settings.
You get to see the spouts clearly and where the water is pouring hence preventing accidents and possible water spillage. There’s a switch at the back that allows you to turn off the light if you don’t want it running all the time.
The fill area is 9 inches tall from the spout bottom to the drip tray. It’s sufficient to fit small to big cups and bottles. You can even fit a 10-inch tall container in there when you tilt it past the spout before setting it on the drip tray.
Loading the Water Bottle
The Brio CLB520SC water cooler dispenser takes a 5-gallon or 3-gallon water bottle and the loading compartment is largely making it easy to move the bottle in and out.
There’s a useful bottle refill indicator light to notify you when the dispenser needs a water bottle replacement so that you are not caught off guard.
This unit also comes with a self-cleaning feature that is activated via a switch placed on the back. It’s a huge plus that will disinfect all the internal components including the water reservoirs.
You have to press and then hold the switch for about 5 seconds to activate the feature and you can use it anytime you want. However, once it’s running, you can’t dispense water for 30 minutes.
The Brio CLB520SC is tall but not bulky. The construction consists of quality materials and the unit is sturdy. It should work effectively for several years.
This is a very nice and appealing water cooler dispenser whose quality and performance are much the price. It’s a unit you will be happy with since it does its job as intended. On top of that, Brio’s customer service is wonderful in responding and providing solutions to customers’ queries.
- Heats and cools water as specified
- Mostly quiet while in operation
- Simple to use and to load bottle
- Hot water button has a child safety lock
- Self-cleaning feature to ease maintenance
- Strong construction that can last several years
- Has a 1-year limited warranty
- Room temperature water is a little cool
- Water may have an unpleasant taste in the first few days
This Whirlpool bottom load water cooler like the Brio CLB520SC model is a robust, quality unit that’s much suited for those who are keen on durability. Its performance and features are also within the standards of the best bottom load dispensers on the market.
The cooler has just hot and cold water options. No room-temp water function. Nonetheless, the compressor is powerful and chills the water well. It’s able to dispense cold water consistently and the water is a lot colder (41oF) than tap water.
Likewise, it heats the water to boiling temperature, so you get hot water that can make a properly brewed cup of tea or coffee.
The best part is that the water flows quickly from both spouts compared to other similar units. It’s amongst the fastest on the market which makes it even more convenient to use.
The compressor does make a humming noise when cooling water but the pump produces a bit more noise when filling up the reservoirs. It’s a soft noise though that’s not distracting.
However, similar to the Brio CLB520SC, some users said that the cold water has a plastic taste that disappears after dispensing a few gallons. This is because its reservoir is made of plastic (BPA-free plastic). There’s no bad taste for the hot water – the tank is stainless steel.
Operating this unit pose no difficulties since it uses buttons for dispensing hot and cold water, and they are placed on the top part.
The unit is safe if you have kids around the house. It would be hard for a child to get accidentally burned as the safety lock on the hot water button prevents them from attempting to dispense the hot water. It’s also high enough for a toddler’s reach.
Three switches have been included on the back for turning on/off both the hot and cold functions as well as the LED night lights.
Speaking of the night lights, they are a nice addition. The only issue is that they don’t illuminate the buttons which are black and likely to blend in with the top at night which is equally black.
The height of the fill area is about 8.5 inches while the drip tray is around 3.5 – inches in depth. Therefore, there’s plenty of room to fit different-sized containers except tall sports bottles.
Loading the Water Bottle
A small detail we liked about this Whirlpool water cooler is that the tube that goes into the bottle reaches all the way down to the bottom hence it’s able to drain 99% of the water in the bottle. Others often have short tubes that leave a considerable amount of water in the bottle.
The loading compartment itself is large and can accommodate either a 3 or 5-gallon bottle and the unit alerts you by LED indicator lights and sound when it’s time to replace the bottle.
The spouts are flush with the roof of the dispensing area which is something that a few users didn’t like because it makes it hard to re-fill water bottles. You have to learn where to exactly position the bottle so that water doesn’t spew over the edges of the bottle’s opening.
That said, the unit has a robust steel frame. It’s built to withstand heavy use for years which is the most impressive thing about it and it’s equipped with the ozone self-cleaning functionality too.
To sum it up, if durability is a top priority for you, this Whirlpool water cooler is a much better option to consider. It’s a high-quality unit and you will get your money’s worth.
- Cold water is properly chilled
- Hot water is near boiling temperature
- Fast water flow from both spouts
- Easy-to-press buttons for water dispensing
- Effective child safety lock on hot water button
- Pump drains 99% of the water in the bottle
- Plenty of room in the fill area
- Highly durable unit covered by a 1-year limited warranty
- Cold water may have a plastic taste in the beginning
- Spouts are flush with the roof of the filling area
- Night light does not illuminate the buttons
Hot and Cold Water Dispenser (Water Cooler Dispenser)?
A hot and cold water dispenser as the name suggests is an appliance that’s capable of heating and cooling water and dispensing it whenever you need it. There are also models with an additional option to dispense water at room temperature while some include ice makers.
What are the functions?
Overall, a water cooler dispenser can perform three main functions which are dispensing hot water, normal water at room temperature, and chilled water.
Once the dispenser is hooked to the water source, a certain amount of water is fed into the reservoir/tank inside it where it’s stored awaiting to be cooled or heated prior to dispensing.
Hot Water Function
To deliver hot water, a heating element is placed inside an alternate hot water reservoir where it heats the water inside it to near boiling point (201oF). The hot water is then held in the hot tank, ready for dispensation via the hot tap. You just release the hot water tap or press the hot water button on the dispenser and the heated water flows out right away.
Cooled Water Function
In this function, the cooling method involves the use of a refrigerant or thermoelectricity. Most coolers use a refrigerant which is basically a cooling medium (fluid-like Freon) that’s capable of absorbing heat.
These coolers utilize a compressor that works with the refrigerant which is circulated in coils. The refrigerant is compressed as it passes through the compressor causing it to evaporate into a gas thereby raising its pressure and temperature.
The gaseous refrigerant is forced through a condenser that consists of narrow circuitous tubes, converting the gas into a high-pressure liquid. The liquid is then drained through a throttle valve to reduce its pressure.
From there, the low-pressure liquid enters the expansion chamber (evaporator) where it evaporates turning back into a gas. During this process, heat-exchanging occurs which is what leads to the cooling effect where the water within the reservoir is cooled and becomes readily available for dispensing.
For units that employ the thermoelectric cooling method, the chilling effect is achieved through the use of a thermoelectric device which acts as a heat pump.
The device works according to the Peltier effect where heat is transferred from one junction of the device to the other. As the heat is sucked to one end, cooling occurs on the other side which is connected to the water reservoir hence making the water inside it cooler.
Room Temp Water Function
This function works much like that of any ordinary water dispenser. Gravity and vacuum pressure are employed here to fill a glass when you press the normal water button.
When this happens, the cooler allows air into the bottle which in turn causes the water to escape into your glass. The water that comes out of the dispenser is at room temperature.
What are the benefits?
Saves More Time
The main benefit of owning a hot and cold water dispenser is that you will have hot or cold water ready every time you need it which can save you a lot of time.
You don’t have to wait long for you to get hot water like when heating water on the stove or the microwave. A water cooler dispenser can have it prepared for you almost in an instant.
You don’t have also to fill all the pitchers and bottles in your home. You can get both ambient water at room temperature as well as cold water right from the dispenser itself.
Great Alternative to Water Bottles
Many people often turn to bottled water when they want to consume more water but as we mentioned above, having to constantly buy more water bottles is time-consuming plus it can also get very expensive in the long run, especially in an office, hospital, or school setting.
That’s not even considering how bad single-use plastic bottles are for the environment. A water cooler offers a bit safer and more convenient alternative to purchasing and carrying smaller water bottles every time. It’s a great solution if you usually opt for bottled water over tap water.
Can Provide Cleaner Water
More and more manufacturers are incorporating filters in their hot and cold water dispensers.
These units (we’ve included some below) can provide you with much cleaner water because the filters will help remove chemicals and other common contaminants that may be present in your tap water.
Encourages More Water Intake
A water cooler dispenser at home or in the office can encourage everyone to drink more water. It provides cool, refreshing water throughout the day which can’t be beaten when it comes to quenching your thirst on a hot day.
Another good reason is that it’s simple to use. No need of having to constantly fill up bottles of water and put them in the refrigerator to chill. You just press a button or push a lever and you get the cool water you need.
Saves More Space
A water cooler dispenser can help declutter your refrigerator as you don’t have to stock up on pitchers or bottles of water which only consume the space inside and crowd your refrigerator. The water cooler dispenser will give you cold water whenever you want.
Types of Water Cooler Dispensers & Reviews
Before we dive into the reviews, water cooler dispensers are divided into two main types, bottled and bottleless dispensers. Both types require electricity and have similar functionalities, but receive water from different sources which is what sets them apart.
Bottled water cooler dispensers use a standard two-to-five gallons water bottle to deliver water. They are either top or bottom-loaded.
As for the bottleless water coolers, these connect to your main water supply, much like a commercial coffee maker or an ice maker. Some include an in-built filtration system while some don’t.
We are going to look at all these options and give you a few insights about them to help you decide which unit fits your needs the most.
Whether you need it for office, school, or home use, a water cooler dispenser is a convenient and versatile appliance that can address all your hydration needs.
The units we have discussed above provide a good combination of reliability, durability, and ease of operation. Some models may have several downsides but overall, they are okay and worth a look.
Evaluating all the features and details that matter to you is the best way to making a great choice, especially because these units only have subtle differences. We’ve tried to break down everything in this article and hopefully, you are now more informed enough.
However, no matter the type of unit you end up choosing, the most important thing you should focus on is getting the right water cooler dispenser based on your exact needs.