Which Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your Office

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You probably know that 60-70 percent of your body is water, but did you know that 75 percent of your brain is water as well? It’s why brain function and employee performance suffer to dramatically when people become dehydrated. As your body loses water, your brain shrinks, impairing its ability to function. Dehydrated employees have more difficulty concentrating on their work and have a harder time responding positively to setback and new challenges. Their energy levels drop, and they become lethargic. If you worried about moral and performance levels in your office, one of the easiest remedies is a hot and cold water dispenser. Easy access to cold water makes workers more refreshed and encourages them to stay hydrated. Modern dispensers provide hot water as well, and are a great way to make coffee, tea, or cocoa. Some of the most popular water dispensers are made by NewAir, Whirlpool, Glacier, and Primo. We examined each one’s strength using a set of four criteria: cooling power, ease of use, operational features, and price. How cold or hot is the water they dispense? How easy are they to install? How easy are they to load when they run dry? What extra features do they come with? How much will they cost you? Answering those questions will tell you which water dispenser you should have in your office.

The Good The Bad The Bottom Line
Which Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your Office

NewAir WAT40 Pure Spring Water Dispenser

Delivers Piping Hot & Icy Cold Water More Expensive Than Average Water Cooler A Reliable Dispenser for Hot & Cold Water
Which Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your Office

Whirlpool Self Cleaning, Bottom Loading Commerical Water Cooler

Automatically Cleans Water Tanks with Unstable Oxygen Molecules Expensive A Well-Designed Water Cooler that Works as Advertised
Which Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your Office

Glacier Bay VWD5446BLS Hot, Room, & Cold Water Dispenser

Inexpensive Complaints About Unreliable Performance A Good Water Cooler for Offices on a Budget
Which Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your Office

Primo 900130 Bottom Load Water Dispenser

Dispenses Water Twice as Fast as Traditional Water Coolers Vibrates Noisily When Cooling Water A Good, All-Around Water Cooler

Cooling Power

Which Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your OfficeNewAir WAT40 Pure Spring Water Dispenser
The NewAir WAT40 Pure Spring Bottom Loading Water Dispenser is pretty powerful. It can cool water down to a refreshing 39°F and heat it up to 185-195°F, the perfect temperature for coffee and tea. You can even use it to make instant soup or noodles, if you’re hungry. The cold water tank holds almost a full gallon (0.95 gal.) of water, while the hot water tank hold about a quarter gallon (0.26 gal.).

Whirlpool Self Cleaning, Bottom Loading Commercial Water Cooler
The Whirlpool Water Cooler uses two technologies to heat and cool water: HotBoost and Glacial Chill. Most water dispensers heat water in the same tank it dispenses it from, but HotBoost heats water in a separate tank and then injects it into the hot water tank in order to maintain an above average temperature. The cold water tank uses Whirlpool’s Glacial Chill technology. It creates a chunk of ice that cools the water. This keeps the water temperature stable at around 40°F. It’s not as cold as what some other water dispensers are capable of, but it eliminates the temperature swings found in other models. The Whirlpool Water Cooler has very large water tanks: 1.4 gallons of cold water and an impressive 1.6 gallons of hot water.

Glacier Bay VWD5446BLS Hot, Room, & Cold Water Dispenser
The Glacier Bay Water Dispenser has 75 watts of cooling power and 1150 watts of heating power, which allows it to chill cold water to 35-51°F, and heat the hot water to 194°F and above – a little colder and a little hotter than what most water coolers can provide. The hot water tank only holds 0.2 gallons, but can dispense up to 1.2 gallons of hot water every hour. The cold water tank holds 0.8 gallons, but because the cooling system is a bit weaker, it can only dispense half a gallon of water every hour. The hot water system in Glacier system is unusual.  Instead of continuously heating water, so it’s always ready on demand, it uses a “Kettle Feature” that only heats hot water when you need it. This significantly reduces the amount of electricity the unit requires, but means that you’ll have to wait a few minutes each time for hot water.

Primo 900130 Bottom Load Water Dispenser
There is no reliable information on the water temperatures for the Primo 900130 Water Dispenser. Primo states in its promotional material that the cold water is icy-cold and that the hot water is “near-boiling.”

Ease of UseWhich Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your Office

NewAir WAT40 Pure Spring Water Dispenser
The NewAir WAT40 is a bottom loading water cooler. Instead of setting the water bottle on top of the unit and letting the water trickle down into the reservoir, the bottle is placed upright in the base of the unit and the water is pumped up into the hot and cold water reservoir. This eliminates the need to lift heavy water bottles in order to fill it and it’s a tremendous relief to employees who aren’t very strong or are suffering from back problems. (A 5-gallon water bottle weighs over 50 pounds.) It takes less than a minute to remove an empty bottle and slide in a new one. Since you can’t see the water bottle while it’s in the base, the WAT40 has an indicator light on the front panel that alerts you whenever the water runs out and the bottle needs to be changed. The large, brightly colored tabs and wide water nozzles make it easy to dispense water quickly.

Whirlpool Self Cleaning, Bottom Loading Commercial Water Cooler
Like the NewAir WAT40, the Whirlpool Water Cooler is a bottom loading. It’s also has an indicator on the front panel that lets you know when the bottle is empty. You operate it using three large buttons on top – one for cold water, one for hot water, and one for room temperature water – each clearly marked.

Glacier Bay VWD5446BLS Hot, Room, & Cold Water Dispenser
The Glacier Bay Water Dispenser is a top-loading water dispenser, which is a bit inconvenient as it requires you to lift 3-5 gallon water bottles whenever the unit runs out of water.

Primo 900130 Bottom Load Water Dispenser
The Primo 900130 Water Dispenser is bottom loading. A blinking light on the front lets you know when the water bottle needs to be replaced. Like all the other units on the list, it’s a “plug and play” unit, meaning you can plug it in and turn it on as soon as it arrives. No further set up required.

Operational Features

WAT40B-Pouring-WaterNewAir WAT40 Pure Spring Water Dispenser
The NewAir WAT40 comes with all the basic features needed to provide clean, crisp, and healthy water.

Its plastic components are BPA-free. BPA is a synthetic chemical compound used to manufacture certain types of plastic and it’s very dangerous if ingested. It causes a wide range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The WAT40’s water tanks are made from stainless steel, which keeps the water tasting fresh. Water in coolers that use plastic tanks often pick up an unpleasant taste due to a phenomenon known as “leaching,” which is when small plastic particles get released into your water. Stainless steel doesn’t “leach” particles, so taste isn’t affected at all. Water stored in stainless steel comes out taste pure and fresh every time.

The WAT40 also has a safety lock that prevents people from accidentally triggering the hot water faucet and scalding themselves. Most people think children are the only ones in danger of this, but accidents are more common than you’d think. All it takes is a single slip to cause a painful accident. The WAT40 eliminates this possibility.

The unit is ENERGY STAR approved, which means it provides the same level of comfort as other, comparable water dispensers, but consumes significantly less energy. The unit also has on/off switches on the hot and cold water tanks, which lets you disable them when they’re not in use, such as a long weekend or the Christmas holidays. This reduces energy costs and saves money. Disabling the hot water tank doesn’t prevent the unit from dispensing water, it just dispenses it at room temperature.

To prevent water from dripping onto the floor, the WAT40 has a drip tray 7 inches below the faucet, low enough to accommodate most glasses, cups, and water bottles. It’s removable and dishwasher safe, so if it ever becomes dirty, you can pop it off and clean it with the rest of your dirty dishes. Above it is a set of LEDs that light up when the unit is cooling or heating water.

The WAT40 is also the only water dispenser that comes in multiple colors – white or black – which lets you choose a style that fits your office.


Which Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your OfficeWhirlpool Self Cleaning, Bottom Loading Commercial Water Cooler

The most unique feature on the Whirlpool Water Cooler is the self-cleaning function. When activated, it releases a stream of unstable oxygen molecules into the water reservoir that kills off dangerous microbes and bacteria. Cleaning the water tanks in an ordinary water cooler isn’t difficult, but it can leave behind a residue that affects the water’s taste. This feature removes that danger.

Whirlpool also builds its coolers with rolled steel side panels, capable of supporting over 300 pounds of pressure, far more than an ordinary water cooler. They’re extremely durable and the nozzles have been reinforced so they’re nearly unbreakable.

Whirlpool also has a safety lock on the hot water faucet and an on/off switch on the hot water tank and indicator lights on the front that let you know when the unit is heating and cooling water, as well as when the self-cleaning function is active.

Glacier Bay VWD5446BLS Hot, Room, & Cold Water Dispenser
The big extra feature on the Glacier Bay Water Dispenser is the adjustable cold water thermostat. This isn’t a standard feature on most water coolers, and allows you to not only to alter the water temperature to your liking, but also cut your power costs. Turning the thermostat up a few degrees significantly reduces the dispenser’s power requirements.The dispenser also has a sensor in the hot water tank that prevents it from activating when the tank is empty, in order to prevent damage and extend the unit’s lifespan.

Which Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your OfficeTo prevent leaks, the unit has a special bottle support system designed to keep the water safely sealed inside and prevent it from leaking onto your floor. How well this works is a matter of some dispute. Several customers have complains that the unit leaks despite this, forcing them to wipe up water puddles on their floor.

The Glacier Bay Water Dispenser comes with stainless steel water tanks and an LED night light. The light shines down on the drip tray, so you know exactly where to place your glass when you go to get a drink of water during the night. It’s a feature designed for home use, not office use.

The unit also has a safety lock on the hot water faucet.

Primo 900130 Bottom Load Water Dispenser
The Primo 900130 Water Dispenser has easy-to use push button controls, a hot-water safety lock, and dispenses water twice as fast as ordinary water coolers. It’s ENERGY STAR approved and consumes 25 percent less power than traditional dispensers. There are also on/off switches on the hot and cold water tanks, to help conserve more energy.

Like Glacier, it has an LED night light. There are also indicator lights that let you know when it’s cooling or heating water.

It can be used with 3, 4, 5, and 5.2 gallon water bottles.

There’s a bottle support that helps you align your bottles correctly when dispensing water and the drip tray is dishwasher safe.

CostWhich Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your Office

NewAir WAT40 Pure Spring Water Dispenser
The Wat40 currently sells for $249.99, which places it on the higher end of the price range.

Whirlpool Self Cleaning, Bottom Loading Commercial Water Cooler
The Whirlpool Water Cooler is one of the the most expensive dispensers on the market. Price is $275. It’s also not widely available.

Glacier Bay VWD5446BLS Hot, Room, & Cold Water Dispenser
The Glacier Bay Water Dispenser was the least expensive unit we looked at. Average price is $180-$200, but there were some websites offering it for as low as $148.

Primo 900130 Bottom Load Water Dispenser
The Primo 900130 Water Dispenser is moderately priced. Expect to pay $180-$205 when you purchase it.

The Bottom Line

WAT40B-Open-DoorThe best water dispensers are reliable and convenient. They should be able to provide hot and cold water when you want it without breaking down. For this reason, it’s difficult to recommend the Glacier Bay Hot, Room, & Cold Water Dispenser. Though some users are very happy with it, it’s received too much negative feedback to be considered trustworthy (leaks are the most common complaint). Primo has also received some complaints about the noise it makes. Though generally reliable, some users have complained that the compressor is loud and distracting, which might make it a bad fit for a small office. Otherwise, the Primo 900130 Bottom Load Water Dispenser is a water dispenser you can count on for fresh water.

If your budget is a bit higher, the NewAir WAT40 provides dependable service without any noisy distractions. It doesn’t leak and its compressor is whisper-quiet. It’s not as durable as the Whirlpool Self Cleaning, Bottom Loading Commercial Water Cooler, but it’s easy to load and has all the basic features required to provide you with clean, healthy water.

The Whirlpool Water Dispenser is extremely well-built and a great fit for offices where you expect your unit to get a lot of wear and tear. Ordinary offices probably won’t be able to take advantage of the metal sides as water coolers are rarely used in busy, high-traffic areas. The self-cleaning function reduces maintenance time and the large water tanks means a single unit can serve a larger staff than any of the other coolers. Frankly, the biggest downside is its lack of availability. We were only able to find the dispenser on one website and only two units were available.

Which Water Dispenser Should You Have in Your Office

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