Water Cooler Features
Consider your needs
When deciding which features to add to your water cooler, think carefully about what you need and what you're willing to pay for. Some things to consider are:
- Water temperature - A water cooler with a hot-water tap will cost extra to run. If you don't plan to use hot water, don't bother paying extra to run a heating system. You can find two-tap models with cold and room temperature options. Hot taps are only necessary if steaming beverages are frequently your drink of choice.
- Frequency of use - Some water cooler manufacturers pride themselves on quick access to cold water. If that's a priority, look to one that promises fast cooling. Some can provide almost 6 gallons of cold water per hour, while most offer about .8 gallons. Don't bother with a quick-cooling unit if it's not needed.
- Size of dispensing area - If you don't use drinking glasses, carrying sports bottles or large travel mugs instead, or you just like to fill pitchers for entertaining, you'll want a water cooler that will accommodate these preferences. Make sure the dispensing area will be large enough to meet your needs. There's no point paying for the convenience of a water cooler if you can't use the containers you want. Dispensing areas that accommodate larger receptacles are about 8 to 14 inches tall.
- Looks - If you're not happy with the water cooler's looks, you could end up regretting the purchase. It's easy to buy the first one you see, but look at the purchase as you would when adding furniture to your home.
- Placement - Where you'll be putting the cooler might decide what type you want. Bottleless water coolers can often be placed up to a few hundred feet from a water source thanks to professional installation.
- Independent certification - Choosing a tested and certified water cooler will ensure it performs well. WQA Gold Seal and NSF International certification are two such programs.
- Removable reservoirs - In order to keep the water cooler sanitary and avoid health concerns, the reservoir should be easily accessible and simple to clean.
- Filter monitor - Instead of guessing when the water cooler filters need to be changed, look for a model that will let you know exactly when the current ones are past their prime. Some models offer continuous indicators to let you know well in advance.
- Hot-water safety lock - Essential if you have kids, but a good idea for anyone, a safety lock will help ensure there are no unfortunate accidents.
- Heating / cooling indicator lights - These let you know when water is in the process of being heated up or cooled down.
- Sanitizing - Ultraviolet, carbon, reverse osmosis…the possibilities for water purification are endless. Even with bottled water, some sort of sanitizer will help keeps things clean.
- Removable drip tray - Easy-to-clean drip trays are great, especially if they're dishwasher safe.
- Sleep mode - This feature sends the cooler into energy-saving mode when the room is dark.