Skip to Content

What do you put in a glass water dispenser?

A glass water dispenser, also known as a water cooler, is a convenient way to provide clean, cold drinking water in homes or offices. But what exactly should you put in these water dispensers to keep the water fresh and tasty? There are a few key considerations when selecting the right water for your glass water cooler.

Purified or Filtered Water

The most important factor is using purified or filtered water. Tap water contains minerals and contaminants that can build up in a water dispenser over time. These impurities can also negatively impact the taste of the water. Using purified water that has been through a multi-stage filtration process helps remove chemicals, heavy metals, and microorganisms, providing cleaner, better-tasting water.

There are a few options for getting purified water:

  • Purchasing distilled or purified water jugs from the grocery store, like those from brands such as Nestle Pure Life or Aquafina. Be sure to read the label to confirm the water has been purified.
  • Investing in a water filtration system for your home if you want to filter tap water yourself before pouring it into the dispenser. Look for a system that uses methods like reverse osmosis, activated carbon, and ion exchange for optimal contaminant removal.
  • Subscribing to a water delivery service that will deliver premium bottled water from brands like Mountain Valley Spring Water or Fiji Water right to your home or office.

Avoid using untreated tap water, as the minerals and chemicals can negatively affect the taste over time and potentially clog internal components. Distilled, purified, or filtered water is the best choice for great taste and reducing mineral buildup.

Cold Water

For the most refreshing drinking experience, you’ll want to keep the water in your dispenser cold. The ideal temperature is between 35°F-45°F. Here are some tips for keeping your dispensed water chilled:

  • Ensure your water cooler has properly functioning refrigeration. There should be a refrigerant coil inside that keeps water cool. If it stops functioning, you may need a repair.
  • Keep the dispenser out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources like ovens that could warm the water.
  • Only add cold water to the dispenser reservoir – never hot or warm water.
  • Change the water frequently. The fresher the water in the tank, the colder it will be.
  • Add ice to the reservoir if needed to help lower water temperature on hot days.
  • Consider getting an auxiliary fan to blow cold air and improve the cooling system’s efficiency.

Drinking icy cold water on a hot summer day is one of the best parts about having a water cooler. Be sure to keep temperatures cool for optimal refreshment.

Bottled or Refillable?

You have two main options when it comes to how to add water to your glass water dispenser:

  1. Bottled water – This involves purchasing large 3-5 gallon bottled water jugs from brands like Primo, Sparkletts, or Crystal Springs. The full jugs lock into place on top of the dispenser. Once empty, you replace them with full bottles.
  2. Refillable dispenser – These have a large reservoir you manually fill with your own filtered or purified water. Some have a spigot for easily refilling, while others require you to remove a top cap.

Here is an overview of the pros and cons of each approach:

Bottled Water Refillable Dispenser
  • Convenient delivery
  • Consistent purity
  • No filtering required
  • More expensive per gallon
  • Recurring delivery or pickup
  • Lower cost per gallon
  • Less waste from bottles
  • Requires own filtering
  • Refilling heavy bottles
  • Monitoring purity

If convenience is your top priority, having bottled water delivered is a simple solution. But for more savings and sustainability, a refillable tank may be the better long-term choice.

Flavorings or Mineral Additions

If you want to jazz up your dispensed water, you can add flavorings or minerals for extra taste. Some options include:

  • Fruit infusions – Add sliced citrus fruits or berries to a pitcher of water in the fridge. Allow to infuse overnight before pouring into your dispenser for subtle fruity flavor.
  • Herbs and botanicals – Try additions like sliced cucumbers, mint leaves, sliced ginger, or rosemary sprigs for light aromatic flavors.
  • Flavored liquid concentrates – A few drops of liquids like lemon, lime, or other fruit essences can provide a hint of flavor.
  • Mineral drops – Add trace minerals like magnesium or electrolytes to enhance the water’s taste and health benefits.
  • Sparkling water – Consider combining still purified water with some bubbly seltzer or club soda for some light effervescence.

When adding any flavorings, be sure to strain out solid ingredients like fruit slices or herbs to avoid clogging the dispenser. And only use small amounts of concentrates for subtle flavor. Overdoing additives can make water taste artificial or chemical.

How Often to Change?

For the best tasting water, you’ll need to periodically drain, clean, and refill your dispenser reservoir. Here are some general guidelines on frequency:

  • Bottled water dispensers – Change bottles as soon as they are empty. Leaving empty bottles connected can contaminate water.
  • Refillable dispensers – Change water every 1-2 weeks. Change more often in warmer weather when water warms faster.
  • Clean reservoir – Scrub reservoir with hot water and white vinegar every 1-2 months to prevent biofilm buildup.
  • Replace filters – If your dispenser has integrated filtration, replace filter cartridges per manufacturer instructions, usually every 2-6 months.

Changing water regularly optimizes taste and minimizes off-flavors. Be sure to also fully dry the reservoir after cleaning before refilling to prevent mold growth.

Is It Safe?

When properly maintained, glass water dispensers provide safe, contaminant-free drinking water. Here are some tips for ensuring water safety:

  • Use purified or filtered water to remove potential bacteria and chemicals.
  • Change water frequently, at least every 1-2 weeks.
  • Clean and disinfect the reservoir regularly.
  • If using a filtration system, replace filters per manufacturer instructions.
  • Keep the faucet and spout clean and free of dirt buildup.
  • Never allow the reservoir to sit empty for prolonged periods.
  • If water smells or tastes unusual, drain reservoir and refill with fresh water.

With the right precautions, glass water coolers offer an easy way to access clean hydration. Just be diligent about proper maintenance and water changing schedules to keep it fresh and prevent contamination.

Top Brands

Some of the leading brands for high-quality glass bottled water dispensers include:

  • Primo – Offers freestanding and countertop models designed for both home and office use. Bottled dispensers feature a self-sanitizing ozone feature.
  • Clover – Manufactures bottleless water coolers with advanced filtration using ultraviolet light and carbon block filters to purify tap water.
  • Avalon – Makes freestanding hot, cold, and room temperature water coolers with child safety locks and energy saving sleep modes.
  • GE – Known for reliable dispensers with crisp, clean water and innovative features like a built-in night light.
  • Igloo – Offers affordable countertop water dispensers in compact sizes perfect for small kitchens or break rooms.

No matter which brand you choose, look for certifications from organizations like the NSF to ensure the materials and filtration meet safety and quality standards.


Filling your glass water dispenser with clean, great-tasting water is easy when you follow a few guidelines. Always start with purified water, either bottled or filtered yourself. Keep water chilled at 35°-45°F and change it out frequently. Consider flavor additions like fruit or minerals for extra taste. And don’t forget regular cleanings to prevent contamination. With the right setup and maintenance, a water cooler provides safe, refreshing hydration at your fingertips.