Finding the Perfect Water Cooler: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Best Water Cooler Dispenser
When it comes to keeping your CPU running smoothly, a top-notch cooler is essential. In this article, we'll explore the best water coolers on the market, as well as other CPU coolers we put to the test. Whether you're a gamer, a professional, or simply someone who wants to keep their system running efficiently, finding the right water cooler is crucial. But with so many options available, how do you choose? That's where our comprehensive buyer's guide comes in, as we walk you through our selection process and highlight what to look for in a water cooler dispenser. From understanding the different types of water dispensers to tips on cleaning and maintenance, we've got you covered. So, let's dive in and find the perfect water cooler for you!
Best CPU Coolers For You
Why you can trust Tom's Hardware
Our team of expert reviewers dedicates extensive time and effort to thoroughly test and compare various CPU coolers and their performance, allowing you to make an informed decision and select the best option for your specific needs. If you'd like to learn more about our testing process, you can find detailed information here.
If you're uncertain whether to choose air cooling (large metal heatsink with fans) or a liquid-cooled AIO (pump attached to a radiator and fans), there are a few factors to consider. Air coolers tend to occupy more internal space in your PC case or require additional vertical clearance from your motherboard, potentially limiting your case options. They may also generate more noise and be less efficient at dissipating heat from your CPU and case. However, modern advancements have introduced fanless air cooling alternatives such as Noctua's Colossal NH-P1, which provides effective and completely silent cooling while necessitating the installation of case fans to expel the heated air.
Air coolers generally offer a more budget-friendly option, with options like the Amazon Basics CPU cooler available for under $30. On the other hand, AIO coolers are becoming increasingly affordable (but can also be more expensive), while top-tier air coolers can reach prices above $100. For those seeking extreme air cooling, options like the Ice Giant Prosiphon Elite compete with large AIO coolers and come with an MSRP of $170. However, it's worth noting that proficient air coolers are also available at a more affordable price point, such as those costing less than $30.
If your priority is silent operation and low temperatures, you might want to consider a custom cooling loop. To gain insights into their performance and aesthetics, you can explore our Blue Shift build feature. It's essential to bear in mind that custom loops tend to be significantly more expensive than other cooling alternatives and can complicate future component upgrades.
Below, you'll find our recommended air and liquid cooling options. However, before diving into the list, let's go over some quick shopping tips to help you choose the ideal CPU cooler for your specific requirements.
Factors to consider when selecting the best CPU cooler:
- Own a recent Ryzen CPU? You may not need to purchase a cooler, dependant on the model. Most Ryzen 2000 and 3000-series processors, as well as some older models, come with stock coolers that can handle moderate overclocking. However, Ryzen 5000 CPUs in the Ryzen 7/9 range do not include coolers. Although previous-generation AMD coolers are compatible, for optimal CPU clock speed, an aftermarket cooler is generally recommended. Nevertheless, for Ryzen owners who do not intend to push their silicon to the limits, the free cooler packaged with the CPU or one from a previous build might suffice.
- If you opt for a large air cooler, ensure you check for space clearances before making a purchase. Bulkier coolers and low-profile models can interfere with taller RAM modules and VRM heatsinks. Moreover, taller coolers may cause clearance issues with your case door or window. It's crucial to review the dimensions and advertised clearances of any cooler you are considering, as well as your case's specifications.
- Keep in mind that, all else being equal, more fans equate to better cooling but increased noise. Coolers that excel in efficiently expelling warm air from your CPU and case tend to generate more noise. If fan noise is of concern, it's advisable to find a cooler that strikes a balance between noise and cooling performance. Additionally, adjusting your cooler's fan speeds based on temperature readings from your motherboard's BIOS can help alleviate the issue.
For an in-depth guide on selecting the appropriate cooler type, refer to our comprehensive 2022 CPU cooler buying guide.
Other CPU Coolers We Tested
We extensively tested numerous CPU coolers, including large air coolers, compact options for small form factor systems, and various AIO and open-loop setups. While many of these coolers delivered satisfactory cooling performance, silent operation, or visually appealing RGB lighting, not all of them made it onto our list of the best CPU coolers.
Below, we present some recently tested air coolers and AIOs that didn't quite make the cut. However, they may still be worthwhile options for certain users. Do bear in mind that the superior choices for most individuals can be found in the list of best air coolers above or on the Best AIO Coolers page.
Cooler Master PL360 Flux (9/11/2022)
The Cooler Master PL360 Flux stands out for its exceptional quietness and effective cooling performance when tested with our Alder Lake Core i9 CPU, capable of handling up to 200W. It also features ARGB lights and a software suite for adjusting fan speeds and RGB lighting. Additionally, its relatively thin radiator design enables compatibility with a wider range of cases. However, its higher price poses a challenge, considering the competitive landscape of 360mm AIO coolers.
To read more about the Cooler Master PL360 Flux, you can explore our in-depth Cooler Master PL360 Flux review.
Corsair H100i Elite (9/9/2022)
The Corsair H100i Elite impresses with its remarkably quiet operation and includes the iCue suite, enabling adjustments to RGB lighting, fan speeds, and system monitoring. During testing, it efficiently cooled our Alder Lake Core i9 CPU up to 200W. However, priced around $140, it faces fierce competition from alternatives like DeepCool's LS520, which costs approximately $20 less while providing superior cooling performance.
For more information on the Corsair H100i Elite, read our comprehensive Corsair H100i Elite review.
Cougar Forza 85 (8/28/2022)
The Cougar Forza 85 is an excellent tower air cooler, boasting effective cooling capabilities and minimal noise. It adeptly cooled our Alder Lake Core i9 CPU up to 200W. Additionally, it comes with a fan splitter and clips for the option to add a second fan for enhanced performance. Priced around , it would be a strong contender for our Best Coolers list were it not for the existence of DeepCool's AK500, which offers better performance for approximately $10 less.
To delve deeper into the Cougar Forza 85, consult our detailed Cougar Forza 85 review.
13 Best Water Coolers
1. Best Self-Cleaning: Avalon Bottom Loading Water Cooler
Price at the time of publication: $199.99
Featuring a stylish and sleek design, the Avalon Bottom Loading Water Cooler is the perfect addition to any kitchen or office. This water cooler offers the convenience of dispensing water at three different temperatures, and each temperature can be controlled with a single switch. For a detailed review of the product, check out this YouTuber’s video.
- Bottom loading water dispenser with a hidden cabinet
- Child safety switch on the piping hot water tap
- One switch to run a self-clean function
- Built-in nightlights near water spouts
- Empty bottle indicator
- Switches may be hard to push
- The motor could be too loud.
2. Best Storage: Giantex Top Loading Water Cooler
Price at the time of publication: $139.99
The Giantex Top Loading Water Cooler is a great choice for home or office use. It can accommodate a five-gallon water bottle and dispense both cold and warm water. Additionally, it has a storage cabinet at the bottom. For more information, refer to this YouTuber’s review of the product.
- Security-lock for hot water dispensing tap
- Detachable and easy-to-assemble water barrel seat
- Hot and cold LED indicator lights
- Removable drip tray
- Short cup-to-shelf distance, may need to bend on knees to fill
- Small storage compartment
3. Best Convenient: Brio Self-Cleaning Water Cooler
Price at the time of publication: $269.99
The Brio Self-Cleaning Water Cooler offers the convenience of bottom loading, making it easier to lift heavy water bottles without straining your back. This energy star approved water dispenser has four switches on the back panel that regulate the hot, cold, night light, and internal cleaning features. For a complete understanding of the product, refer to this YouTube video.
- Can dispense water with three different temperatures
- Self-cleaning ozone technology
- Nightlight for visibility of the water spout
- Removable drip tray
- Child-safety lock for hot water sprout
- It is noisy
- No storage unit
4. Best Easy-To-Clean: Amay Desktop Water Cooler And Dispenser
The Amay Desktop Water Cooler And Dispenser features a stylish design and utilizes electronic cooling technology to keep your water cool and fresh during the summer. This dispenser can hold three to five gallons of water and also has a heating system for the winter.
- Hot water temperature of 194-203°F
- Cold water temperature of 50-59°F
- Removable water bottle holder
- Super easy to clean
- Comes with a child safety lock
- Might have a slow pouring rate
5. Best High-Capacity: Honeywell Commercial Grade Water Dispenser
Price at the time of publication: $104.13
If you have a large family or need a water cooler with a high capacity, the Honeywell Commercial Grade Water Dispenser is an excellent choice. This liquid cooler can heat four liters of water per hour and cool two liters per hour.
- Energy star certified
- Mechanical push-in faucets
- Removable drip-tray
- Back handle for ease of movement
- Child-lock for the hot water faucet
- Storage cabinet at the bottom
6. Best Digital Display: Kenmore Water Cooler
Price at the time of publication: $251.44
The Kenmore Water Cooler is a countertop water dispenser featuring a digital display. It is a bottle-free water cooler that needs to be connected directly to a water source. The dispenser is equipped with an ultra 3 filter that can filter up to 6000 water bottles.
- No need to change water bottles
- Three temperature modes
- Can supply water to two additional appliances
- Has sensors and powers down automatically when the lights are turned off
- Energy star certified
- Installation could be difficult.
7. Best Noise-Free: Aquawell Water Dispenser
With a capacity to hold 3-5 gallon water bottles, the Aquawell Water Dispenser is ideal for home or office use. This top load water cooler operates smoothly and quietly, making it a great choice. It also comes with clear usage instructions.
- Child-lock safety for the hot water spout
- Separate on/off switches for hot and cold water
- Assembly not needed
- Storage cabinet
- Side handles for easy movement.
- Storage cabinet is not refrigerated
- Some may find the dispenser too short
8. Best Energy Saving: LeMuna Water Dispenser
Price at the time of publication: $224.99
The LeMuna Water Dispenser is a bottom loading water cooler, which means you don't have to lift the water bottle to refill it. This dispenser can support 3-4 gallon water bottles and has dimensions of 40.9 x 14.2 x 12.2in.
- Convenient bottom loading
- Three temperature settings
- Child-safety lock for the hot water spout
- Energy-saving separate on/off switches for hot and cold water
- Energy star approved
- No storage cabinet
- May have durability issues.
9. Best Compact: 4-Ever Countertop Water Dispenser
Price at the time of publication: .99
The 4-Ever Countertop Water Dispenser is designed to be compact and fit in any space. It has a simple design with ergonomic hot and cold indicator lights. The dispenser can provide hot water at 42.7?- 95? and cold water at 10?-15?.
- Compact and simple design
- Child-lock for the hot water spout
- Easy-to-clean water barrel seat
- Can support 2.4-5 gallon water bottles
- Separate on/off switches for hot and cold water
- Can dispense only two cups of hot and cold water continuously
- Initially, the water might taste like plastic.
10. Best Spill-Proof: Primo Water Cooler Dispenser
Price at the time of publication: $164.93
Featuring stainless steel accents and water reservoirs, the Primo Water Cooler Dispenser is a stylish and sleek top-loading water dispenser. It can accommodate three to five-gallon water bottles and dispenses hot and cold water.
- Spill-proof bottle holder
- Energy star rated
- Child safety lock for the hot water spout
- Does not make much noise
- Removable steel drip tray
The distance between the switch and the spouts is more, so filling could be a hassle.
11. Best With Child Safety Lock: Artist Hand Water Cooler
Price at the time of publication: $109.99
The Artist Hand Water Cooler is a top-loading water cooler suitable for both filtered and bottled water. It operates quietly and is easy to disassemble and clean. The on/off switches for hot and cold water help prevent excessive cooling and heating.
- Child-safety lock for the hot water spout
- Large storage cabinet
- Easy to clean
- Removable water barrel
- Cold and hot LED indicator lights
- Removable drip tray
- Some may find it too short
- No side handles for easy movement.
12. Best Easy-To-Operate: Aoxun Oneinmil Countertop Water Cooler
Price at the time of publication: .99
The Aoxun Oneinmil Countertop Water Cooler has an elegant and sleek look, making it the perfect addition to kitchen table counters or outdoor parties. It can hold two to five-gallon water bottles and is easy to operate.
- Dispenses hot, warm, and cool water
- Removable water barrel seat for easy cleaning
- Detachable drip tray
- Easy-to-operate water spouts
- Side handles for easy movement.
- No child safety lock for the hot water spouts
13. Best Top-Loading: Farberware FW29919 Water Cooler
The Farberware FW29919 Water Cooler is a top-loading water dispenser with a simple design and straightforward operation. It can hold a 3-5 gallon water bottle and dispense hot and cold water using the two switches located at the back of the cooler.
- Energy-saving thermo-electric cooling
- Low noise
- A storage cabinet at the bottom
- Top-loading water dispenser does not require an additional motor.
- The bottom cabinet is not refrigerated.
- Dispenses only two hot or cold cups at a time
How To Choose The Right Water Cooler
When choosing a water cooler, it is important to consider a few factors. Here are some points to keep in mind while purchasing a water cooler.
- Capacity: Determine the capacity of the water cooler based on your usage. Consider factors such as the size of water bottles it can support and the amount of hot/cold water it can dispense simultaneously.
- Size: Look for the dimensions of the water cooler and ensure it fits the designated space in your home or office. If space is limited, consider a compact countertop water cooler.
- Safety: Choose a water cooler with a safety lock for the hot water spout. Additionally, ensure the spouts are at a height that children cannot reach easily.
- Easy to clean: Opt for a water dispenser that can be easily disassembled for cleaning. Features such as a removable drip tray or self-cleaning technology can be beneficial.
🧾 Buyer’s Guide: How We Selected the Best Water Cooler Dispensers For This Guide
When choosing a water cooler dispenser for your home, it's important to consider various factors. These factors were taken into account when selecting the best water cooler dispensers for this list.
You should determine the appropriate water delivery capacity based on your family size and daily drinking water usage, which can be found at this resource. Most top-loading and bottom-loading home water dispensers can accommodate water bottles up to 5 gallons in size. On the other hand, bottleless drinking water dispensers are connected to your home's water line and have no maximum capacity.
Ease of Use
Using a water cooler is a straightforward process - you simply press the hot or cold water button depending on your preference. However, some cooler dispensers may require additional maintenance. If mobility is a concern for you, a top-loading cooler may be challenging as it requires lifting a heavy water bottle high up.
Most water coolers are constantly switched on, providing continuous access to hot and cold water. If you prioritize energy efficiency, look for a cooler with an Energy Star rating. This rating signifies that the cooler has been designed to conserve energy and minimize wastage while operational.
All water dispensers offer hot and cold temperature options. The hot temperature setting should be near-boiling, suitable for hot beverages and instant foods. The cold temperature is typically around 50°F, which is around 10 degrees cooler than room temperature. Some water coolers also include a room temperature water option.
If you plan on having your entire family use the water cooler, it's important to choose one with a safety lock on the hot water spout. Fortunately, this is a common feature in modern water dispenser coolers.
Water cooler dispensers can come with a plastic exterior, which may look more practical and clinical. Alternatively, more expensive models feature a chrome or stainless steel exterior, providing a sleek and attractive look, especially in modern kitchens. However, there isn't a significant difference in durability between these two options. To ensure that the inner components of a dispenser do not contaminate the water, look for materials labeled as "food-grade," "BPA-free," or "BPS-free."
For larger families, it may be worth investing in a countertop water dispenser that connects directly to your plumbing system. Top-loading or bottom-loading water coolers are better suited for small households as they require the water bottles to be refilled or replaced when empty.
The average water dispenser typically measures around 10-12 inches wide and 10-12 inches deep. Depending on available space, you can place the dispenser in your kitchen, study, or dining room. If floor space is limited, a countertop water dispenser is a suitable alternative.
Regardless of the type of water dispenser cooler you choose, regular maintenance is crucial. This includes draining and cleaning the system's interior, as well as cleaning the drip trays and replacing or refilling the water bottle if necessary. Dispensers with filters usually require filter replacements approximately every six months.
When purchasing a water dispenser, it's important to consider the associated costs. These may include the cost of replacing water bottles, which typically range from $5 to $15 per bottle. Additionally, filter replacements can cost between and $150 per year. As the unit ages, there may also be expenses for cleaning products and repairs.
🚰 What Is a Water Cooler Dispenser?
A water cooler dispenser is a device that provides chilled drinking water at the touch of a button or lever. Most water dispensers also offer hot water. These dispensers are suitable for individuals who desire clean, filtered water without the need for an expensive whole house filtration system. They serve as an alternative to other filtered water solutions such as refrigerator water filters or countertop filtration systems.
📝 Types of Water Dispensers
There are three popular types of water dispensers:
Top-loading water dispensers feature an upside-down water bottle that connects to the cooler from the top. The bottle is equipped with a cap and a hose that connects to the water cooler when inserted.
Bottom-loading water dispensers have an opening at the bottom where water bottles are placed upright on the base. A water probe is inserted into the bottle top to connect it to the system.
Bottleless Water Cooler
Bottleless water coolers are connected to the kitchen sink's cold water line. These coolers typically incorporate filters and provide filtered cold and hot water.
🛠️ Water Dispenser Cleaning And Maintenance
Regularly cleaning your water dispenser is essential to prevent the accumulation of harmful microbes in the water tank. It is recommended to clean the unit as frequently as specified by the manufacturer.
How to Clean a Water Cooler system (step by step)
To clean your drinking water dispenser, follow these steps:
- Remove the hoses from your dispenser.
- Prepare a bowl of white distilled vinegar.
- Submerge the hoses in the vinegar for 10 minutes.
- Remove the hoses from the vinegar and reattach them to your cooler.
- Combine 15 ml of 5% unscented bleach with 5 liters of warm, clean water.
- Unplug the cooler and remove the empty water bottle. Open the spigot to drain any remaining water.
- Set aside the baffle and drip tray.
- Pour the cleaning solution into the water reservoir and use a long-handled brush with soft bristles to scrub the inside walls and base.
- Partially drain the cleaning solution from the spigot and let it sit for 2 minutes. Then, drain the rest of the solution into a bucket and dispose of it properly.
- Rinse the reservoir three times with clean tap or bottled water, draining the water through the spigot each time.
- Wash and replace the components you removed, and add a new water bottle to the unit.
- Prepare a mixture of 5 parts water and 1 part dish soap.
- Turn off or unplug your cooler.
- Moisten a cloth with the cleaning solution and wipe the outside of the dispenser, including the water spouts and buttons.
- Dry the cooler with a clean, dry rag or paper towel.
- Plug in and switch on your cooler.
In conclusion, when it comes to finding the best water cooler for your needs, it's essential to consider factors like the size, design, and convenience features that will fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. After rigorous testing, we have compiled a list of the 13 best water coolers that are sure to quench your thirst and provide you with refreshing hydration all year round. Remember to consult our comprehensive buyer's guide to understand how we selected these top contenders. With proper cleaning and maintenance, your water cooler dispenser will continue to serve you and your family crisp, chilled water for years to come. Stay hydrated, stay refreshed!
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