5 Gallon Water Cooler
How to Buy the Right Type of 5 Gallon Water Dispensers

Before you head up to local store or order online, read this 5 gallon water cooler buying guide to help you find the best water dispenser for the money.

5-gallon-water-coolerThe first step to buying the right type of water cooler dispenser for your hydration needs is to know exactly how you will be using it. For example, do you truly need a cooler that can keep drinks or water cold and hot? Or just a dispenser unit, like a 5 gallon water jug?

Most 5 gal. size containers come in very similar price range, but have subtle differences. To avoid any frustrations down the road for buying wrong types, especially when you are planning for a long trip and can't get back to purchase another one, it's a good idea to know upfront what you can expect from certain types of bottled water cooler containers.

Now let's drill down and compare the differences between various types of 5 gallon water bottle dispensers for variety of applications, when is best to use which type and whether your main purpose of using a 5 gallon water dispenser fits in well within a particular category.

Outdoor - Sports Water Cooler

rubbermaid-5-gal-water-cooler

Do you need fresh purified water or sports beverage drinks to stay cool or cold for long hours while kept outdoors? For occasions such as sport events, on the soccer field, on golf course, weekend group running or bbq parties; you want a beverage cooler that is portable, compact, easy to carry and is well insulated.

Also keep an eye for the lid and make sure the screw-top cap can seal tightly, doesn't leak or splash liquid, because you will be taking to cooler on frequent on-the-go basis.

A 5-gallon insulated water cooler such as one of the Rubbermaid with improved recessed spigot is an inexpensive and great value for the money product.

igloo-5-gallon-water-dispenser

For better insulation and to keep crushed ice or juicy beverages freezing cold for days, you may want more rigid quality and build, such as one of the Igloo MaxCold 5-gal. Beverage Cooler.

Travel - Camping Water Cooler

Do you often take your family or friends on camping trips? For frequent travels or RV living off the grid, sturdiness and durable construction is of more importance then having it light and portable, because you won' be able to buy new one or quickly replace it if the cooler breaks.

Ask yourself - Do you simply want a cheap 5 gallon water container without necessarily keeping the drinks cold? Then you might find something as basic as the Coleman Water Carrier to be a great saving, because you won't have to pay for any frills and fluffs that you don't really need.

coleman-5-gallon-beverage-coolerColeman is actually a well known brand in the outdoor camping supplies market. Instead of usual rounded design, Coleman camping 5 gallon water coolers are made squared!

The square container design makes it much more space efficient, easier to store and keep on the back of your car without wobbling when you drive.

A perfect example of squared 5 gallon water dispensers that sells at a very reasonable price, comes with free shipping (in US only) is the Coleman Beverage Cooler in blue finish. People love how this camping cooler can keep frozen ice for days... even when exposed to direct heat from sunlight; and the same time, does extremely well at preserving heat for a mash lauter tun for home brewing... even under cold nights.

Office - Home Water Cooler

For domestic kitchen use, you would want the home or office 5 gallon water dispenser to be able to pour both hot and cold water whenever you wish. And because it will be standing still or fixed in some position of your room, portability and weight won’t matter as much as robustness, ability to provide clean filtered water itself and how easy it is to change the 5 gal water bottles on daily basis.

Note: some office water dispensers will not automatically heat or cool water, unless you switch it on, in order to save energy and keep water fresh inside original bottle.

For this size, you will find countertop 5 gallon water coolers or freestanding units.

Countertop or tabletop designs are usually supported by a ceramic crock water dispenser which acts as a holder and dispensing mechanism. You will need to buy 5 gallon water cooler bottles separately if it’s not already included in original package.

Freestanding dispensers on the other hand, are more robust when you need that instant hot cup of coffee or thirst soothing cool glass of tea. They will almost instantly pour out hot and cold drinking water on demand, but can be cumbersome and will need some room for placement. Freestanding coolers usually can feet many sizes of water bottles, ranging from 3 gallon and up to 10 gallons.

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Water Cooler Sizes
Updated October 10, 2010