Nine Factors to Consider When Buying a Five-Gallon Water Dispenser

Five-gallon home dispensers are a perfect option for home water storage. Here’s what you should know before buying any 5-gallon water dispenser or cooler.

Darrell Smith
5-Gallon Water Dispensers
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Your faucet or connected fridge dispenser might seem like an unlimited source of drinking water if you have the resources to pay your bills. The truth is, though, that you never know when you could lose access.

For example, polluted drinking water is a possibility due to cities' crumbling infrastructure, and it can have serious negative effects on your health!

Buying 5-gallon water dispensers, coolers, or buckets for your home is a great way to guarantee you'll have water in case of an emergency.

Many families have turned to faucet-connected filters, small water-filter jugs, or even water bottles with filters to ensure their water is potable. If the taps turn off for whatever reason, though, those methods leave them without reserves.

Here are nine important factors to consider before buying a five-gallon water dispenser or cooler.

1. A Home Water Cooler or Dispenser?

You're probably familiar with small countertop filters, home water dispensers, and office water coolers. Let's look at the differences.

Not all coolers and dispensers have a filter, but many do, so make sure to look at the specifications.

Dispensers, as opposed to coolers, aren't typically electric and are not usually intended to cool (or heat) the water.

A true home water cooler, on the other hand, is technically a dispenser that you can access directly from a tap or another release mechanism, but it also has a way to keep the water cool. Hence the reason they're usually specifically called coolers. (Many also heat water as well.)

Often, home water coolers are electric, so here are a few important things to keep in mind when purchasing one:

  • In an emergency, does the cooler dispense water without electricity?
  • Can you disconnect the water supply from the cooler body and use it alone?
  • Are you prepared to deal with the noise from the electric cooling mechanism?
  • Are you aware of how running an electric home water cooler might affect your electric bill?

These aren't necessarily all the factors to consider, so you might make something like a pro/con list in order to decide what works best for your household. Don't rush into this purchase, particularly if you're looking at electric models!

2. Where Will You Put It?

Unlike the smaller options that are convenient on a day-to-day basis but not reliable in an emergency, the convenience and security of five-gallon home water coolers come with a unique challenge: their sheer size.

A five-gallon home water dispenser or cooler is no joke: Five gallons of water weighs over 40 pounds, and the reality is that the coolers can only be so small. If you have a place for it in mind while shopping, it will be easier for you to decide on your water cooler's dimensions.

3. What Can You Afford?

You want a quality home water cooler, but more expensive doesn't always mean better quality. Look for lists of the best home water coolers and reviews before making your decision. You might not need to spend as much as you expect!

Be careful, though, because the very cheapest plastic options are most likely to contaminate your water or break. Still, having them in your home is much better than having none at all.

Another thing to keep in mind is the needs of those around you. By working together and providing for those in need, whole communities can survive the direst of circumstances. If you're financially able, consider purchasing and distributing extra water dispensers for those who are less fortunate.

4. What Is It Made Of?

Many five-gallon home water coolers are made from plastic, but there are a number of ceramic models on the market as well.

Plastic is falling out of favor around the planet thanks in part to the global green movement. A ceramic water dispenser is not only more environmentally friendly, but it's also a way to naturally keep your water chilled.

Did you know that ceramic's natural cooling ability is so strong, in fact, that it can be used as a natural air-conditioning system? The same principle applies to keeping your water reserves nice and cold.

The downside to ceramic home water coolers is, of course, that they break easily. Many of them are ceramic bowls or jugs that rest on a base that's not securely connected or totally stable, so accidents are definitely possible.

If you can store them away from your family's activities, though, it's a great option!

5. Is It Safe for Children?

Is the water cooler you're eyeing too easy to use? Consider the practicality of water dispenser models in your family home.

Water coolers that put their taps in your toddler's reach are a recipe for disaster—soaking the floor at best. Judge how kid-proof and stable a home water dispenser is before you buy it.

What's worse, though, is the danger of child furniture accidents, so make sure to buy a water cooler your child can't pull down onto him or herself.

6. Can Pets Get Into It?

Maybe a toddler can't pull your five-gallon water dispenser down, but what happens when your Doberman runs headlong into it while going after a ball? What if your kitten scratches it a little too hard with needle-sharp claws, or your razor-toothed puppy bites it? Is it going to fall over, crack, shatter, break, leak, or burst?

If the answer is "Yes," and you have pets in your household, it's in everybody's best interest to find a more pet-friendly option.

7. Where and How Will You Refill It?

For some, refilling a five-gallon water cooler is no big deal. However, the reality is that lifting 40 pounds of water isn't easy for most of us!

It's important to know if you'll be able to fill it yourself, which is ideal because you may not always be able to access help.

If you live alone and would struggle to fill your dispenser, consider whether family or friends are nearby to help. Some water coolers can be filled from the top, which can be a better solution for people who live on their own.

8. Maintaining Your Five-Gallon Water Dispenser

Different models of home water coolers and dispensers have varying maintenance protocols.

Can you afford to store a backup stock of home water cooler filters? Can you lift and clean your water dispenser when it's empty? If not, it's wise to either find a water home delivery service that offers maintenance services, or make sure you have friends and/or family close by to help you out.

9. Preparing Backup Plans and Stock

You might have noticed that most of these tips have something to do with what can go wrong. This isn't to scare you—it's to prepare you for the worst case. After all, isn't that what having five-gallon dispensers of water is for?

Since there's always a chance of an accident, water dispenser failure, or being cut off from refills, it's best to have more than five gallons of water stored in your home. That way, you'll always be prepared for emergencies.

On top of that, this preparation could make all the difference for you and vulnerable members of your community if you're willing and able to share.

Stay Informed About All Things Water-Related

Do you have access to enough water? How about your neighbors? If not, you best buy a five-gallon water dispenser—or a few!

It's vital to know the details of your local water, and how safe it is to drink. Do you know about the contaminants that might be in your water, what that can mean for you, and how to filter them out?

All this information and more is available on our blog. We're passionate about keeping you, your family, and the world community safe and hydrated. It can be difficult to feel connected, but water is something common to all of us, so it's more important now than ever to be informed and spreading knowledge.

Browse our archive of water-related posts and use them to educate your community. It's never too late to learn!

In this post: 5 Gallon water dispenser, five gallon water dispensers

WaterZen

WaterZen exists to improve your family's health by making information about the water you drink more accessible, straightforward, and easy-to-understand. We do this by providing clear, simple water-quality information for your area based on data from your local water provider, unbiased comparisons, health standards, and expert opinions.

The way we see it, when you're informed about the quality of your water and then empowered to protect your family (and your community), you've achieved "water zen".