Bottled vs. Bottleless Coolers

Bottled vs. Bottleless Coolers

And what’s the difference between them anyway besides the obvious? What follows is easy-to-digest information describing both types of coolers, along with their advantages and disadvantages, followed by key takeaways that will help you decide which dispenser type is best for you and your lifestyle.

What Is a Bottled Water Cooler?

As the name implies, it’s a cooler that supplies you with water via a bottle connected to the cooler.

The biggest advantage of a bottled water cooler is that it can be placed pretty much anywhere because it doesn’t require a plumbing hookup. That makes a bottled cooler a logical choice for use in places like home offices, dorm rooms, lobbies, and gyms. It’s also a great option for renters, as no permission from a landlord is required to own or use one.

Bottled water coolers fall into two different categories: top-load and bottom-load.

Top-Load Bottled Coolers

Top-load coolers are the easier of the two to set up and maintain. It’s just a matter of flipping a 3- or 5-gallon bottle of water on top, letting the reservoir tanks fill, plugging the cooler in, and turning on the temperature switches. After that, you’re pretty much good to go. And because the bottle sits on top, you immediately know how much water you have on hand.

Plus, because the water is gravity fed, top-load units only require electricity to heat or chill water, not to dispense it, so they can be used even if the power is out.

Brio top-load coolers conveniently come in both standalone and countertop styles. Standalone units occupy space on a floor. Countertop units occupy space on a counter, desk, or work bench. Available space considerations aside, countertop units, in general, may work better for taller people as they sit higher up and, thus, are easier to dispense from. People of shorter than average stature or people who use wheelchairs may find dispensing water from a standalone unit easier because the dispense point is lower.

Bottom-Load Bottled Coolers

Although a little more work to set up, bottom-load coolers make it much easier to load a bottle. There’s no heavy lifting and awkward flipping. You just connect the bottle to the cooler, slide it into the bottom compartment, and shut the door. And because the water bottle is hidden, bottom-load coolers tend to have a sleeker, more modern look than top-load units.

However, because bottom-load coolers need to pump the water up from the bottle and into the reservoirs, they always require power to operate, so a nearby working outlet is mandatory. And because of where the bottle is stored, they only come in standalone models.

Brio offers high-quality bottom-load coolers with the same advanced technology as its bottleless models. For instance, you can enjoy features like adjustable hot and cold, a touch-sensitive interface, touchless dispensing for cold water, self-cleaning option, and child safety lock.

Bottled Coolers and Filtration

Bottled coolers can be the perfect option for many homes and offices as they can be placed just about anywhere. But their one drawback is that most do not include built-in filtration capabilities. In other words, if you want filtered water for your bottled cooler, you usually have to purchase it.

The good news is you can have a bottled cooler and filtration too. Brio offers a bottom-load unit with built-in 2-stage filtration. It includes two filters, sediment and carbon block, so you can refill your water bottle with sink water and still enjoy filtered water.

What Is a Bottleless Water Cooler?

Bottleless coolers, also known as point-of-use (POU) coolers or plumbed-in coolers, don’t use bottles. Instead, you connect them directly to a cold-water line. Therefore, they need to be located in a place with plumbing access, like a kitchen or laundry room. Connecting a bottleless cooler to a cold water line is very easy and usually requires just a wrench.

To connect a bottleless cooler that uses reverse osmosis filtration, however, you’ll need to drill a hole in a drainpipe, which is not nearly as scary as it sounds. Reverse osmosis filtration produces wastewater which is water containing the contaminants that have been filtered out of your drinking water. This wastewater or “brine” needs to be routed down a drain.

Like bottled coolers, bottleless coolers also come in both standalone and countertop styles, plus most are offered with tri-temperature dispensing.

Bottleless coolers, although a pricier option than bottled coolers, offer incredible hydration convenience because you can access refreshing, purified water 24/7. There’s no bottle that will need to be refilled or replaced. Brio also offers them with your choice of filtration levels: two, three, or four stages, including reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration.

Another big plus is that they can help you eliminate plastic from your hydration life all together. Invest in a bottleless water cooler and a reusable sports bottle or two, and you can say goodbye to single-use plastic bottles for good.

So Which Should You Buy?

Bottled coolers are great if you’re looking for:

  • A cost-effective water-dispensing solution
  • Multi-space capabilities beyond the kitchen, like home office, dorm room, lobby, or workshop
  • 2 or 3 dispensing temperatures
  • No or minimal filtration
  • Easy installation and maintenance

Bottleless coolers are great if you’re looking for:

  • Filtered water on-demand with no water-bottle replacement or delivery service necessary
  • A choice of 2-, 3-, or 4-stages of filtration, including reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration
  • 2 or 3 dispensing temperatures
  • Advanced technology options, like a total dissolved solids meter 
  • Reduced reliance on single-use plastics

Brio offers a wide range of premium bottled and bottleless coolers in a variety of styles, colors, and finishes that look great anywhere, and make clean, refreshing water easily accessible for everyone.


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