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The 8 Best Water Coolers of 2023, by Food & Wine

May 26, 2023

Our list includes picks with touchless dispensers, built-in filtration systems, and even pet bowl attachments.

Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé is a passionate and voraciously hungry home cook and eater. She's been writing about food in all its forms since 2014 and is a big believer that anyone can and should love to cook.

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Food & Wine / Alli Waataja

Whether you’re working from your home office or meal-prepping in the kitchen, it’s important to stay hydrated. If you thought water coolers were only meant for the office, think again. A water cooler provides clean, fresh drinking water for your household, and many options can filter your tap water. The best water coolers can heat and cool water, which saves time brewing coffee and tea. Water coolers also help you stay motivated to drink plenty of water from your favorite insulated bottle.

If your home setup doesn’t have space for a bulky standalone water dispenser, fret not. We’ve found a few compact countertop models and portable jugs ideal for camping trips or lounging by the pool. We even found a genius water cooler that keeps your pet's water bowl fresh and full. Read on for the best water coolers to stay hydrated at home.


With three temperatures to choose from and a convenient bottom-loading design, this water cooler is super user-friendly.

The hot water setting takes about twenty minutes to heat up.

For offices or families, the Avalon Bottom Loading Water Cooler is a well-designed water dispenser with plenty of features to make loading and dispensing water seamless. The three temperature settings dispense cold, hot, and room temperature water, and the hot water spigot features a child-safety lock, which protects children from spills and accidental burns.

The bottom-loading design makes refilling the cooler easy, avoiding the need to pick up and flip a heavy water jug. Switches on the back of the cooler allow you to turn on the hot and cold water settings as necessary, and a self-cleaning cycle keeps build-up and bacteria from getting in your water. Thanks to its ease of use, this gets our vote as the best overall pick.

Price at time of publish: $173


The small footprint and affordable price point of this water dispenser make it a great option for a variety of settings.

Top-loading water coolers like this one can be cumbersome to refill.

At $150, the Igloo Top Loading Hot and Cold Water Cooler is a more affordable option for small spaces and budgets. The top-loading design makes for a smaller footprint, allowing this cooler to fit easily into tight kitchen or office spaces. This dispenser has two temperature settings, hot and cold, and the hot water spigot includes a child-safe button.

As an additional safety and energy-saving feature, there are switches on the back of the cooler that turn temperature control settings on and off. Plus, a handy removable drip tray prevents messes or puddles.

Price at time of publish: $150


This bottle-less water dispenser connects directly to a water source for uninterrupted use. It's also touchless.

The setup for this unit is more involved than some of our other picks.

If you never want to deal with another heavy plastic water jug again, the Brio Moderna Water Dispenser might be the solution. This unit connects directly to under-sink pipes to create an uninterrupted flow of water. The dispenser includes a three-part filter, cleaning sediment and filtering for great-tasting water. The hot and cold settings on the dispenser are customizable to your temperature preferences, and the LED buttons on the front are easy to use and highly responsive.

This unit also has a self-cleaning setting to prevent any build-up. The included installation kit, while slightly more complicated than a typical water bottle-style dispenser, is quite user-friendly.

Price at time of publish: $480


This highly insulated water dispensing cooler is perfect for outdoor settings away from a power source.

Once filled, this cooler is a bit heavy and is better suited for car camping or glamping setups.

For camping, poolside hangs, and other outdoor settings where a plug-in water dispenser won’t work, the Yeti Silo keeps water cold and easily dispenses from a spigot at the bottom of the cooler. At sixteen pounds before it’s filled with water, this cooler is heavy, which makes it better for car camping trips where it won’t be constantly moved around.

The spigot on this unit is durable and pours quickly, but can also be blocked off while in transit or if you want to use the Silo as a regular cooler.

Price at time of publish: $300


The water spigot on this dispenser are paddle-style, which allows users to fill bottles and cups with just one hand.

The filling area on this dispenser is small, which limits ease of use for larger bottles and cups.

Another top-loading option, the Avalon A1 Top Loading Water Cooler has a small footprint and straightforward heating and cooling options. This unit does not feature a filtration system, but the dispensing system, which uses paddles instead of spigots, allows users to simply press and fill their drinking glasses and water bottles. This handy feature is good for families, especially those with young children.

Power light lets you know when water is being heated or cooled, and users say this unit is quiet and unobtrusive. Switches on the back of the unit allow you to control the hot and cold settings.

Price at time of publish: $138


This dispenser gets the hottest of our picks, with a top temperature of 188°F.

There’s no self-cleaning cycle on this unit.

For a bottom-loading dispenser without extra bells and whistles, the Primo Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser is our top pick. This unit feeds water into tanks in the upper part of the dispenser, heating and cooling it to the specified temperature, then dispensing it at the touch of a button. The cold water tank is 3 liters, a sizable tank that rarely runs out of water.

The hot water tank is smaller, at just a single liter, but the water gets to 188°F, the hottest of all our picks. This makes it super convenient for making a quick morning cup of coffee or tea. The hot water side does include a safety lock that prevents children from spilling on themselves.

Price at time of publish: $356


This countertop unit has all the features of larger floor dispensers without a larger footprint.

This unit isn’t compatible with larger 5-gallon coolers.

If your home or office lacks the space for a standalone water cooler, this countertop unit fits into smaller corners and atop tables. It’s designed to accommodate a 3-gallon water jug, which makes it a great choice for individuals and couples who don’t go through quite as much water. It offers hot, cold, and room-temperature water options for all kinds of beverages, as well as child safety locks.

Though it lacks the heating and cooling capabilities of some of our larger choices, the stainless steel body looks sleek on your countertop, plus the drip tray keeps things tidy.

Price at time of publish: $190


Keep your pets’ water fresh and clean with the built-in pet bowl at the base of this unit.

There’s no self-cleaning feature on this water cooler.

For homes and offices with pets, the Primo Top-Loading Cold and Hot Water Cooler is the best option with a built-in pet bowl. A button at the top of the unit sends fresh, filtered water into the pet bowl at the base of the unit, which can be attached at the front or on either side of the cooler to seamlessly fit into your space.

The cooling system on this dispenser can go as low as 35°F, while the heating unit can get as high as 188°F. The child-safety lock, LED night light, and drip tray make this unit easy to use and safe for all kinds of settings.

Price at time of publish: $179

The ideal capacity for a water cooler depends on how many people will be drinking out of it and how frequently it will be used. For a one or two-person home, a 3-gallon jug can be enough for a week or two of water. For offices, bigger families, or other settings where the cooler will need to serve more water, a cooler that’s compatible with a 5-gallon jug or even that attaches to a direct water source may be better.

Top-loading water coolers are generally the most common option because they rely on gravity to force water into the pouring mechanism. They’re harder to reload, however, because large water jugs are heavy and can be difficult to move around. Bottom-loading coolers are easier to load but generally a bit more expensive.

Some people use water coolers to access filtered water, while others want chilled or heated water for drinking and making tea and coffee. If you plan to use the hot water dispenser regularly and for a specific use, make note of the highest temperature available from the unit of your choice, since different water dispensers can differ significantly in their highest temperatures.

While all water coolers have the same general capabilities, some have special features like a safety lock to prevent children from spilling hot water all over themselves, LED lights for easy use in the middle of the night, built-in pet stations, and customizable heating and cooling settings.

Some water coolers have pre-programmed self-cleaning settings which should be used according to manufacturer instructions. Water coolers without self-cleaning mechanisms should be regularly flushed with a mixture of hot water and vinegar to prevent build-up.

In general, it’s best to consume the water in your cooler within 30 days of installing a new bottle. If you’re not going through that much water, you'll want to consider a smaller-sized water jug.

Water coolers that feed from a jug generally do not filter the water, as water jugs come prefiltered. Coolers that attach to an external water system typically filter that water.

Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé is an experienced professional home cook. She has worked in restaurant kitchens, professional test kitchens, and also on farms and at farmer's markets. She's an expert at translating techniques, recipes, equipment, and ingredient information for all skill levels. She's dedicated to making the home cooking experience more enjoyable and is always on the lookout for the next great tip or trick to pass along to readers.

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