Gathering around the office water cooler is sort of an everyday working mans tradition. But more importantly, it is a vital part of keeping your employees or anyone in the building properly hydrated. Every office should provide access to cold, refreshing drinking water throughout the day, and a quality water cooler for the office is just the way to do it!
There are a lot of options when it comes to water coolers for your office, so we’ll explore some of the different features on offer, then take a close look at a few specific models we’ve selected as some top choices for the office!
Finding the Best Water Cooler for Your Office Needs
Water coolers can be as simple as a reservoir to hold and chill some water, all the way up to complex units which incorporate filtration technology, provide reservoirs for bottle-less options, hook up to your plumbing, dispense hot or cold water, or even make coffee for you! The demands of your particular office environment will mandate which of these features you want or need.
Water Cooler Features
Probably the first thing to consider is how many people will be using the cooler, and how much water you will need to supply them. The simplest options for water coolers typically rely on classic 5 gallon water jugs as their reservoir. This can be convenient, or problematic, depending on if you are worried about changing the admittedly rather bulky jug every time it runs dry. If you don’t mind dealing with the jugs, this can be a super versatile way to make sure you always have plenty of water on hand.
For those concerned with the bulk of the jugs, some bottom-loading units can make it simpler to handle them. But if you want to dispense with the jugs entirely, there are systems available which can be connected directly to the plumbing, like the Aquaverse Bottleless Water Cooler, which we’ll talk more about below. These units not only save you the hassle of handling jugs, but act to ensure that you should more or less always have clean, cold water available to drink. Many such units contain a large reservoir, so even if the plumbing fails you have a reserve tank on hand. Pretty nifty!
If you have a fairly small office, simple coolers with 5 gallon jugs are probably more than enough to suffice. If you have a large office with lots of people, or you’re also looking to serve water to customers or the public through your water cooler, you’ll probably want something hooked up to the plumbing for simplicity and best results.
Best Bottle Reservoir Office Water Cooler Picks
If you’ve opted to go for the jugs and skip the plumbing, there are some impressive options available. Lets have a closer look.
This offering from Honeywell is a top-loading water cooler which takes 3 or 5 gallon water jugs. Capable of cooling water to 50 degrees at a rate of 2 liters per hour or heating water up to 194 degrees at a rate of 5 liters per hour. Since you might not want your water that hot, the Honeywell has an easily adjustable temperature setting thanks to its compressor heating system which is highly variable.
The Honeywell HWB1033W doesn’t offer a lot of bells and whistles, but it is an efficient and simple system which gets the job done right. It is ideal for providing a small to medium sized office with plenty of refreshing cold drinking water all day long, or even giving some hot water for a nice cup of tea or a quick midday snack.
The Viva is another water cooler system which makes use of 5 gallon jugs, but unlike the Honeywell we mentioned above, the Viva has a bottom-loading system which means changing the jug on the Viva is a lot less strenuous than handling the jug on a top-loading cooler.
But this handy little perk of user-friendliness is only the tip of the ice berg for what the Viva offers. As the name implies, the Viva is a full blown coffee maker, in addition to a top of the line water cooler. If your office sucks down the coffee (as so many do,) this can be quite a handy addition to usurp the coffee pot or just help out an over worked comrade. Brewing coffee at a steady 201 degrees Fahrenheit, the Viva offers 6, 8, and 10 ounce cups of coffee. It can brew 4 cups back-to-back with zero downtime, and can make a fresh 8oz cup in just 37 seconds. It is also capable of using the K-Cup system to make various K-Cup beverages and snacks.
As far as the heating and cooling systems go, Viva has clearly taken a lot of effort to make sure this unit maintains a steady temperature for both cold and hot water. Instead of many water cooler systems which tend to fluctuate, the Viva is quite effective at keeping its cold water supply at 40 degrees F and the hot water at 194 degrees F.
Rounding off the package and making the Viva a particularly good selection for everyday office use is the incorporation of self-cleaning technology which uses oxygen to kill bacteria which accumulate in the unit. This is combined with a process called FeatherHeat which gently heats water to reduce scale build up, minimizing the amount of maintenance required to keep the Viva fresh, clean and fully functional.
Best Bottle-LESS Office Water Cooler Picks
If you don’t want the hassle of a jug system and don’t mind having a bit of plumbing work done, the bottle-less route is an excellent way to always have your hydration or hot water needs met around the office.
The Aquaverse 5PH brings to the table just about everything an office could need in a water cooler. Installing directly into a water line as part of your existing plumbing, once the Aquaverse 5PH is hooked up it becomes virtually maintenance free. The only thing required after installation is swapping out the filter (a very simple process,) which only needs to be done every 750 gallons, or when the installed sensor mechanism tells you its time for a change of filter.
And that filter is quite something: making use of a NSF Certified charcoal filter, the Aquaverse pumps out some delicious, clean, clear water. No flavor is imparted from the unit itself, and the powerful filtration is enough to get rid of most funky tastes from the water supply.
Equipped with adjustable thermostats for both the hot and cold water, the Aquaverse is quite variable, letting you get water cooled between 32 and 50 degrees F, or heated up to 185 degrees F. The thermostat is simple to adjust and you can fine-tune it to get just right. The 5PH is capable of producing up to 2 gallons of hot water per hour, or 0.9 gallons of cold water.
An ideal unit for the office, the Aquaverse will likely become a welcome member of the work force and be a long-lasting investment. The durable construction and low-maintenance enables the Aquaverse to function well for years on end of daily office usage.
This BottleLess water cooler is seriously no-nonsense. There is not much to it but a sturdy stainless steel container and two dispensing spouts for hot and cold water. But really, what more do you need? Built to last and stand up to the abuses of an office environment, the BottleLess has a rugged construction and minimalist design which creates an almost zero-maintenance system.
The BottleLess water cooler is extremely easy to hook up to your existing plumbing – something that could become a DIY job if you have some time to spare, or something a professional can knock out in no time flat. Once installed, a replacement filter is required every 1,200 gallons. Replacing the filter is super easy, just twist the old one out of place, insert the replacement and twist to seal.
Designed as a unit for commercial use, the manufacturer mentions this unit being perfect for offices of around 30 or so people. With the 1-Micron filtration, water comes through the BottleLess tasting pure and clean. The filter is ideal for removing lead, chlorine, cysts, common water contaminants, as well as treating bad taste and odor.
We’ve selected the BottleLess as our number one pick for office use because it is super easy to install and use, maintenance is almost nonexistent, the water tastes great and is comfortably hot and refreshingly chilled. The zero frills, straight-to-the-point design gives you everything you need and nothing you don’t in a water cooler.
Alternative Water Cooler Ideas
The Elkay EZS8L probably isn’t what most people think of when they imagine a water cooler. In fact, many may even refer to the Elkay as a water fountain, which is more or less accurate. We’re not here to debate terminology, but the Elkay is technically a water cooler since it is marvelously effective at getting water nice and cold. It can also be a great addition to the office.
The design of the Elkay encourages people to get a drink whenever they please, whether they have a container with them or not. Having water fountains available is great for larger office environments, or areas that may also be open to customers or the public. Connecting directly to the water supply, the Elkay has cold water available at any time with a simple press of a button. Chills up to 8 gallons per hour.
Designed for ease of use, the Elkay produces a long, consistent stream which makes it easy to drink without bending over too close to the fountain.
The Elkay is designed to be fully compliant to the Americans with Disabilities (ADA.) When installed to ADA specifications, the Elkay is easily accessible by disabled persons, which makes it a great addition to any office which needs to accommodate disabled employees or customers.
Okay, so this technically isn’t a water cooler at all, but it is an alternative which can still keep your staff well-hydrated with easy to dispense water. Combine this metal water stand with a water dispenser valve (~$10 on Amazon) and voila, you have a functional water dispenser. It won’t help you heat or cool your water, nor will it provide any sort of filtration, but in a pinch this simple solution can keep everyone properly hydrated.
If you’re on a serious budget, this might be the way to go, but don’t underestimate the benefit of having hot and cold water from a high quality water cooler available throughout the day. You may well find it to have a positive effect on productivity!
Even More Alternatives
Every office is different, and every set of employees will have different hydration needs and water concerns. If nothing on this list quite suits you, perhaps some other products we’ve highlighted here at Hydration Anywhere could help you along the way. Gravity Counter-Top Water Filters can act as dispensing units and provide extremely well-filtered, fresh and clean tasting water. Ideal for acting as a counter-top dispensing unit to give the office easy access to filtered water throughout the day.
If the main concern in your office is filtration and not necessarily cooling or heating water, maybe you don’t need a water cooler at all. A gravity counter-top water filter as mentioned above could do the trick, or you could attach a high quality filter directly to your tap. Check out our review of the Amway eSpring for a look at a great water filter which can be placed above or below the counter and purifies water straight from the tap with no extra steps.
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We examine the best available options for finding the best water cooler to service your office's needs.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.