A countertop bottleless water cooler is a compact appliance that sits on a kitchen counter and dispenses water without the use of the storage bottle typically associated with water coolers. These appliances are sometimes referred to as plumbed-in, point-of-use, inline, or tankless water dispensers. Whether at home or in the office, a countertop bottleless water cooler is an ideal solution for providing pure, on-demand water for drinking, brewing coffee or tea, making instant food, or more.
How does a countertop bottleless water cooler work?
It is plumbed directly into a cold water line, freeing the unit from the need to have a storage bottle for the water it dispenses. Once the cooler is connected to the water source and plugged into a power source, it can be used to dispense fresh, drinkable water.
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Why use a countertop bottleless water cooler?
Conventional water coolers require the use of cumbersome jugs of between 3 and 10 gallons, which can weigh up to 84 pounds. These storage jugs typically need to be lifted, turned upside down, and placed on top of the water dispenser. Bottleless water coolers do not have jugs and so are free from this burdensome labor and the risk of spilling, as well as from the potential of chemical or bacterial contamination that those bottles can present. They also do not require you to set aside dedicated storage space for full and empty bottles or be tied down to a contract with a water bottle delivery company. And because they draw their water directly from your building’s water line, they will never run out of water.
Most water coolers incorporate into their design some kind of filtration system—such as carbon filters, sediment filters, ultraviolet radiation, or reverse osmosis—to remove particulates and contaminants from the water before it is dispensed.
These water coolers are equipped with two reservoirs, one for cold water and one for hot water. These reservoirs allow the machine to dispense water at the desired temperature right away, without having to wait for the water to cool down or heat up. As these reservoirs drop, the machine automatically draws more water in from the water main to refill them.
With no bottles and no delivery trucks, a bottleless water cooler is also better for the environment, reducing your carbon footprint and keeping millions of pounds of plastic waste out of our landfills.
Countertop bottleless water coolers, unlike free standing dispensers, are compact and ideal for places where space is at a premium and only a single cup or personal water bottle needs to be filled at one time.
Perhaps most importantly, they cost much less to use than traditional bottled water coolers. Water from a jug typically costs $0.79 per gallon, but water from a bottleless cooler—after factoring in the cost of the unit and water price—costs only around $0.02 per gallon. In other words, the savings from using a bottleless cooler is around 97% per year.
What are the key factors to consider when choosing a countertop bottleless water cooler?
Countertop bottleless water coolers are available in a variety of makes and models, in many different styles, and with many different features. When selecting the product that is right for you, be sure to consider factors such as:
- fill rate (16oz per eight seconds is a good rate; look for an automatic shutoff)
- capacity (the cold water and hot water reservoirs should be around 3 to 5 liters)
- filter options and life (the very best models have filters that will last up to 1700 gallons or one year before needing replacement)
- display (digital or analog, ease of operation, ADA compliance)
- temperature ranges (hot, cold, room temperature)
- materials (plastic, stainless steel, glass)
- colors or finishes (black, white, gray)
- energy use (look for products with the Energy Star label for lower utility costs)
- filling access (some are spacious enough for water bottles)
- cost (most models range from $200 to $700)
With so many variables and features to consider, choosing the right make and model might be a challenge. To make your choice easier, here are descriptions of five of the most popular countertop bottleless water coolers, along with their technical specs and reviews.
1. Avalon A8CT
The Avalon A8CT is equipped with two easy-pour, paddle-operated spouts, one for hot water and one for cold (room temperature or ambient temperature water is not available from this product). The hot water dispenser is protected by a child safety lock, to avoid scalding. In addition, it has a nightlight to keep the spouts visible in the dark and a convenient filter replacement indicator light when it is time to swap out the filter (it comes with one NSF-certified 6 month or 1500 gallon A5 sediment filter an one 6 month or 1500 gallon A4 carbon block filter).
In addition, the Avalon A8CT has an integrate self-cleaning feature that dispenses ozone through the water reservoirs and pipes, purifying and sanitizing the appliance and eliminating harmful germs and bacteria. The built-in leak detector monitors the water flow into the machine and alerts the user if a leak is present.
Overall, the Avalon A8CT is a reliable countertop bottleless water dispenser that has most of the essential features and options. Other models provide a more aesthetically pleasing package and offer additional features, including room temperature water and more advanced filtering. The Avalon A8CT, however, has most of what you really need, and in a fairly compact size.
- Product Weight: 30 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 inches x 12 inches x 19 inches
- Dispensing Area: 10 inches x 2.5 inches x 9.5 inches, with 7.5 inches below the spouts
- Capacity: 3.6 liters
- Form: Standalone
- Material: Black plastic
- Voltage: 115 volts
- Connector Type: Water line
- Certification: Energy Star, UL
- Heating capacity fill: 4 L/H
2. Brio CLCTPOU520UVF2
Straight out of the box, the Brio CLCTPOU520UVF2 comes with an easy-to-use installation kit that includes pre-assembled tubing and a simple to connect push-on adapter and shut-off valve. But easy set-up is just the start of the conveniences provided by this particular product.
When you order the Brio CLCTPOU520UVF2, it comes with a year of filtration worth $180. The appliance’s two-stage filtration system uses a 5-micron pre-carbon and sediment filter that lasts for 1500 gallons and removes dust, rust, contaminants, and unwanted flavors and odors from the water. In addition, the ultraviolet light technology eliminates bacteria and biofilm, keeping the water pure and fresh at all times. And swapping out filters is easily done from the accessible filter cabin right in the cooler. The machine itself is also equipped with a self-cleaning function that uses ozone to sanitize the water tank and lines, which minimizes maintenance and makes keeping the unit in proper working order a real breeze.
Like many of the other top water dispensers, the Brio CLCTPOU520UVF2 is programmed to provide cold, hot, or room temperature water. This unit, however, uses three separate dispensing nozzles—one for each temperature—in order to avoid the need to press buttons or flip switches in order to get the temperature water that you want. And the entire dispensing area is wide and spacious, allowing for the easy filling of water bottles, and illuminated by a bright night light to minimize accidental spills.
One of the main downsides to the Brio CLCTPOU520UVF2 is its size: the same capaciousness that allows for easy filling of water bottles and that allows for three dispensing nozzles makes the unit a bit larger than most comparable models, and thus might make it difficult to slide under the standard installed kitchen cabinet.
- Materials: Sleek, high-quality 304 stainless steel.
- Safety: Hot water dispenser protected with dual-step child safety lock.
- Controls: Push-button.
- Self-Cleaning: UV-Care and ozone disbursal.
- Certification: UL-*SA44418, NSF-*C0300792-01
- Product Dimensions: 30 inches x 18.5 inches x 18 inches
- Product Weight: 35.2 pounds
3. Kenmore KM1000
The Kenmore KM1000 serves as both a three-temperature water dispenser and a water purifier. With its three temperature modes (room temperature, hot, and cold), it provides water at the temperature that you need. In addition, it comes equipped with a top-of-the-line, long-lasting ULTRA+3 internal filtration system that filters over 6,000 half-liter bottles worth of water per single filter set. The filters are easily swapped out and replaced using the magnetic access panel.
The five-stage filtration system of the Kenmore KM1000 is worth expanding on because it is really what sets this product apart from most of its competitors. First, the particle filter uses a nanofiber filter to reduce contaminants like metals and rust, and to extend the life of the proceeding filters. Then the water passes through the chemical filter, which reduces THMs, organic contaminants, industrial pollutants, and pesticides. Next up is the ULTRA filter, which uses submicron membranes to reduce suspended solids, bacteria, colloidal silica, pyrogens, and large organic molecules. The water is then cleaned by the polishing filter, in which an activated carbon block is used to reduce undesirable taste, odor, and color, and improve the safety of the drinking water. Finally, the UltraVi sterilizer uses a cold-cathode ultraviolet lamp to target bacteria and inhibiting growth.
On top of all that, not only is the Kenmore KM1000 Energy Star Certified, it is programmed with an environmentally aware eco-mode that can sense when the lights in the room are turned off and will correspondingly lower the temperature in the hot water recirculating system in order to save on energy.
For input from your water main, the Kenmore KM1000’s water optimizer is designed for easy installation and comes with a 3-way sink adapter valve and a hose that allows it to be tied directly into your faucet or ice-maker. And for output, the ice and coffee connector port on the dispenser allows you to directly connect it to two additional appliances, such as an ice maker or coffee maker, so you can have purified filter water from those sources as well.
Overall, for the average retail price, the Kenmore KM1000 is one of the finest countertop bottleless water coolers and dispensers on the market. Its filtration system alone puts it far ahead of most of its competitors.
- Operation: illuminated touch-button digital controls, including press-to-fill ConstantFill setting.
- Safety: hot water dispenser equipped with intuitive child safety lock.
- Cabinet: white or black poly and stainless steel.
- Product Dimensions: 17.1 inches x 10.2 inches x 16.7 inches
- Product Weight: 39.8 pounds
- Filter: ULTRA+3 internal filtration
4. Magic Mountain Aquarius
When it comes to design aesthetics, Magic Mountain’s Aquarius Tri-Temp dispenser is a particular standout among the competition. Fortunately, it matches high performance with its fine design.
The sleek, modern design of the Aquarius Tri-Temp measures 17 inches tall, allowing it to slide directly under most standard installed cabinets, but 11 inches of that height are for the extra high and wide dispenser area. This spacious opening allows users to easily fill a large water bottle or cooking container without spilling.
The tri-temp pressurized water system delivers hot, cold, or room temperature water from a single dispensing faucet nozzle, which is illuminated for ease of use and to minimize accidental spills. The temperature control system inside the Aquarius is commercial-grade, providing compressor-driven refrigeration and 420 watt hot water heating elements.
The appliance is made with a polymer shell that will not discolor or rust and which is gentle on any countertop surface. It comes with an impressive three-year limited warranty and is Energy Star Certified and UL Listed, which means it will not be a burden on your energy bills.
While the Aquarius itself does not come equipped with internal filtration, Magic Mountain sells separately compatible filtration kits.
- Materials: Black and grey plastic with type 300 stainless steel cold water and hot water reservoirs.
- Cold and Hot Reservoirs: 1 gallon, copper coil cold water reservoir and 1½ -quart hot water reservoir.
- Cold Water Capacity: Twenty standard serving six-ounce cups of cold water per hour.
- Hot Water Capacity: Forty-five standard serving six-ounce cups of hot water per hour.
- Controls: Intuitive, one touch, dual-option electronic controls allowing for selection from among three pre-measured cup sizes.
- Safety features: Two-step Hot Water Safety Faucet and Child-Safe Dispense button.
- Cleaning: Removable drip-tray that can safely be washed by hand or in the dishwasher.
- Warranty: 3-year limited warranty.
- Certification: Energy Star Rated; lead-free NSF/ANSI 372 rating; UL listed.
5. Clover D1
The Clover D1 is equipped with push faucets that make it easy to dispense either hot or cold water, and a hot water splash guard to avoid scalding from accidental splashing. It is designed with a very spacious filling area, making it possible to use it with large sports bottles or cooking containers, and it has a fast fill rate, at 16 fluid ounces in under eight seconds. The dual float emergency shut-off system prevents leakage or unintended overflows.
Built with a metal casing and heavy-duty hardware, the Clover D1 is a sturdy appliance that is extremely durable. That durability, however, does not mean that the Clover D1 is cumbersome: at just 17.2 inches tall, it will easily slide under most standard installed kitchen cabinets. Its high-volume, stainless steel tanks are 304 electro-polished and use internal heating coils and copper refrigerant lines that prevent metallic taste from getting into your water.
If you are looking for a strong, long-lasting dispenser that has all of the basic functions and comes in a sturdy cabinet that can stand up to frequent use, the Clover D1 may be the right one for you.
Perhaps the main downside to the Clover D1 is that it does not come equipped with an internal filtration system, though an external filter can be used with the product.
- Product Dimensions: 10.7 inches wide x 16.8 inches deep x 17.2 inches high
- Product Weight: 31 pounds
- Product Color: Black and Silver
- Electrical: 110v outlet
- Warranty: 1 year on parts and 3 years on the compressor
- Refrigerant Type: R134a
- Compressor Type: LG
- Certifications: UL, Energy Star
- Product Construction: ABS Plastic & pre-coated metal side panel
- Cold Water Rate (GPH): 0.6 gallons of 50 degree F/HR
- Hot Water Rate (GPH): 1.8 gallons of 185 degree F/HR
- Cleaning: removable Drip Tray Type, ABS plastic, removable and dishwasher safe