More than just a meeting place to swap gossip and discuss current events at the office, water coolers have entered homes everywhere, providing easy access to cold, refreshing and often water purification. The right choice in a water cooler can leave you satisfied not only with the convenience but also with the quality.
With a water cooler, you can save space in the refrigerator that would otherwise be taken up by various jugs using pitcher water filters, but if you don't have extra space elsewhere in the home, it might not be worth it. On the other hand, the almost constant availability of cold water is a major draw for consumers who are always on the go and don't want the hassle of taking apart and filling a fridge unit every day.
What to choose
There are several water cooler types on the market, each with its own benefits. You'll have to decide how much work you want to put into maintaining the cooler, including heavy lifting, and whether you're willing to pay more for increased service. A range of filters and treatment methods - including carbon, ultraviolet light and reverse osmosis - are available on some models.
Decide whether you want the water delivered right to your door by companies like Culligan, or whether you'd rather bring home the bottles yourself or even fill up right from the tap. Hot-water taps are extras on some coolers, but they add a lot to the operating cost, as do small attached fridges.
Water coolers may look pretty innocent, but they can be responsible for a lot of power consumption. Choosing a model based on efficiency can help you find a water cooler that's both well-priced initially and won't cost you an arm and a leg down the road.
You might be questioning whether bottled water is safe considering recent evidence about individual-serving plastic water bottles leaching chemicals. Safety's a definite consideration when buying a water cooler. If the station isn't kept clean at all times, quality can decline.
Depending on how much you want to get out of it, a water cooler can be purchased for a relatively low price and maintained with minimal effort. If your expectations are more than the bare minimum, look around for the features you don't want to skimp on.