Different Types of Water Dispensers that Are There

Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Claire

It’s safe to assume that by now you probably know what water dispensers are, and the numerous benefits they provide when it comes to giving you instant access to clean drinkable water at home. We also have different types of water dispensers. Whether you want instant access to warm water to make your coffee or cold water on a hot day, the bottom line is a water dispenser is an invaluable appliance.

There are different models of water dispensers depending on size and features, and each model is specifically designed to suit a particular need.

Types of water dispensers

Types of water dispensers

Before choosing a water dispenser, it’s extremely vital to know the difference between the various types in order to find the one which suits your needs and requirements the most.

Here they are:

  1. Bottleless or Point of use (POU) dispensers
  2. Countertop water dispensers
  3. Bottom and top load bottle water dispensers
  4. Top load water dispensers
  5. Bottom load water dispensers
  6. Free standing water dispensers
  7. Wall-mounted or recessed water dispensers
  8. Water and ice dispensers

1. Bottleless or Point of use (POU) dispensers

These are the most effective and easy to maintain water dispensers. Bottleless or Point of use (POU) dispensers use the water line provided by your water supply to dispense clean and filtered water.

Some of these water dispensers also include certain features to make the most of your water supply source.

2. Countertop water dispensers

These dispensers have a similar principle of operation to point of use dispensers, yet they are known for their smaller footprint and space saving features, and also the ability to dispense cold, hot, and warm water on request.

As their name implies, they are usually placed on a counter, and attached to either a pipe or a funneled container. This makes them ideal for locations such as offices, waiting rooms, and the like that require only a small quantity of water.

3. Bottom and top load bottle water dispensers

This is the most common type of water dispenser. They are quite easy to work with and possess a lot of features.

But a major downside is they require an enormous amount of manual labor to feed in and remove the huge and heavy water bottles needed for them to work.

4. Top load water dispensers

Also known as “gallon dispensers” or “top loading dispensers”, this dispenser requires a huge plastic water bottle placed at the top of the dispenser.

5. Bottom load water dispensers:

Unlike other dispensers that have the water supply container mounted at the top, bottom load water dispensers have the water container mounted at the bottom to make loading easier.

Some of these dispensers are fully automated and extremely convenient to use; the hassles of lifting heavy water bottles are reduced to minimal levels.

Here’s how they work- the dispenser comes with a cap and hose that fits over the top of the bottle and extends down to the bottom, which connects to the bottled water jug and will pump up the necessary water to fill the tanks once you press down the tap.

The automated refilling models control both the bottle and dispenser, and by using proprietary technology, they can observe when the tanks are running low and then proceed to refill them automatically.

6. Free standing water dispensers

Free standing dispensers are designed to have water bottles placed into them spout-down. These dispensers use air pumps to push water into the cooling chamber and then use thermoelectric heat pumps otherwise known as Peltier devices to chill the water.

Free standing water dispensers are extremely common and use readily-available five-liter water bottles as their water source.

7. Wall-mounted or recessed water dispensers

Also known as “water fountain” or “drinking fountain”, wall-mounted dispensers are commonly used in hospitals, schools, offices, and other locations.

Wall-mounted dispensers are connected to the water supply and electrical system of a building for continuous power to supply water, cool water (by way of a refrigerating unit), and dispose of unused water.

They require expert installation and come in various designs from contoured basins to traditional rounded square designs, all the way to bi-level designs and more.

8. Water and ice dispensers

Water and ice dispensers aren’t as common or invaluable as others on this list, but they’re a necessity for most businesses (especially those in the hospitality sector) when it comes to providing water and ice for their clientele.

These dispensers are also available in various designs and setups.

Meanwhile, there is no reason to think that bottled water is safer than tap water, per the Minnesota Department of Health. “Tap water and bottled water generally have the same quality,” they added.

Factors to consider when choosing a water dispenser

Here are a few factors you need to keep in mind when choosing a dispenser in order to pick what would suit your needs best.

  1. Where it will be used

The location where the water dispenser will be used and how it will be used often determines the type of water dispenser to go for.

These requirements vary by location; if in the office you need something big and multi-functional if at hospitals you need something that can be integrated into the building’s water source and the like.

  1. Water source

The type of water source you will be utilizing is also another important factor to consider.

Need constant and regular water supply with no need to change water bottles? A wall-mounted dispenser is your best bet!, Don’t mind the hassle of changing water bottles? Free-standing dispensers are an obvious choice.

  1. High water capacity or level

This is important for commercial use rather than domestic use.

Water dispensers that use larger-sized water containers can dispense more water as opposed to those that can only use five-liter water bottles as their water source.

  1. Space

The smaller the water dispenser is, the cheaper it is to run and maintain. Small-sized water dispensers are a great option for locations where space is at a premium or extremely limited.

Putting a big water dispenser in a small office space isn’t a great choice

  1. Price

The price of a water dispenser is determined by factors such as size, features and options list, water source or capacity, and the number of users it’s going to serve.

You need to choose a water dispenser that fits your budget and suits a greater percentage of your needs and preferences.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between water cooler and water dispenser?

A water cooler dispenses cool water by way of an in-built electrical unit, while a water dispenser simply stores and dispenses water at room temperature.

Which water dispenser is best?

Each type of water dispenser has its pros and cons, there isn’t an overall best. The best water dispenser is one that fits your budget and caters to all your needs and preferences.

How long do water dispensers last?

Water dispensers have a lifespan of about 8 years on average. However, this depends on how much they are used, and how well they are cleaned and maintained.


When it comes to instant access to clean water at your home, office, or anywhere, water dispensers are worth their weight in gold.

There are six types of water dispensers available in the market, and each has its pros and cons. So it’s worth considering your circumstances before deciding on which one to go for.

There isn’t an overall best. This is because the best water dispenser is one that fits your budget and caters to a great percentage of your needs and preferences. Always remember, access to pure and drinkable water is a basic necessity of life.