Best Countertop Water Dispensers of 2021

best countertop water dispenser

The average person spends over $100 per year on bottled water. Collectively, we spend more than $31 billion annually in the US on throwaway, single-use water bottles. It’s unsurprising, given the financial and environmental burden of bottled water, that so many of us are now seeking alternative ways to access clean drinking water.

If you’re looking for an affordable, environmentally-friendly means of filtering your own drinking water at home, you’ve probably come across countertop water dispensers. But how can you choose just one, when there are so many dispensers on the market – all offered by manufacturers that say their product is the best?

I’m here to help you make a smart buying decision. At WaterFilterGuru, I share blog posts, reviews and guides like this one, helping my readers to make informed purchases backed by all the information they need.

In this guide, I’ve focused on the top 6 countertop water dispensers, ranking them by performance, contaminants removed, durability, customer satisfaction, and more.

I’ve been able to test some of these systems myself. I’ve also scoured the internet for information and reviews, helping me to get a clear picture of how each water dispenser lives up to customer expectations.

In this guide, I’ve shared:

  • The best countertop water dispensers of 2021
  • Important things to consider before buying a countertop water dispenser
  • Answers to the questions you might have about this type of filter

πŸ₯‡ Best Countertop Water Dispensers

  • Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
  • Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
  • AquaTru
  • RKIN Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
  • NU Aqua 8 Stage Alkaline Mineral Countertop Water Filter
  • Avalon A9 Countertop Bottleless Cooler Water Dispenser
DispenserDetails 
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
Filter type: Gravity water filter
Capacity: 8 liters
Filter lifespan: 150 gallons
Contaminants removed: 200+

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Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
Filter type: Gravity water filter
Capacity: 2.25 gallons
Filter lifespan: 6,000 galloons
Contaminants removed: 200+
AquaTru
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
Filter type: Reverse osmosis
Capacity: 3 quarts
Filter lifespan: Pre-filter (stages 1&2): 600 gallons; RO membrane (stage 3): 1200 gallons; & VOC filter (stage 4): 600 gallons
Contaminants removed: 99% of all impurities
RKIN Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
Filter type: Reverse osmosis
Capacity: 75 gallons per day
Filter lifespan: 12 months
Contaminants removed: 99% of all impurities
NU Aqua 8 Stage Alkaline Mineral Countertop Water Filter
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
Filter type: Reverse osmosis & remineralization
Filter lifespan: 700 filtration cycles
Contaminants removed: 230+
Avalon A9 Countertop Bottleless Cooler Water Dispenser
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
Filter type: Electric filter
Capacity: 1500 Gallons
Filter lifespan: 6 months
Contaminants removed: Chlorine, lead, cysts, particulates and more

⭐ Reviews – Best Tabletop Water Dispenser 2021

Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser

Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser

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The Epic Pure is a traditional water dispenser that sits on the edge of a countertop or refrigerator shelf to deliver room temperature or cold water whenever you need it. This easy-to-use filter requires virtually no setup and is a great size for transportation and storage.

Why It’s My Top Pick

  • You can store this filter in your refrigerator, giving you filtered cold water.
  • It has been third-party tested and deemed to exceed several of NSF/ANSI Standards: 42, 53, 401, & P473, for removing lead, chlorine, and more.
  • The filter comes with a lifetime warranty. If you’re not satisfied at any point, at any reason, you can return it for a full refund.
  • You can get at least three months out of each filter, and there’s a countdown timer so you don’t forget to replace them.

This System’s Unique Features

The Epic Pure might not come with all the fancy add-ons of some of the filters on this list, but it’s highly effective at the job it’s intended to do: countertop filtration.

This gravity filter can remove more than 200 contaminants from water, including chlorine (98.4%), lead (99.4%), fluoride (97.8%), mercury (91.8%), and PFOA (99.6%).

Each filter has a 3-4 month lifespan, so you won’t need to remember to replace them all too often. There’s a filter-life timer, which takes the guesswork away from filter changes.

The dispenser is constructed from clear, BPA-free plastic, allowing you to see the water inside and know when a top-up is needed.

With its basic, two-chamber design, the Epic Pure takes seconds to set up, and is easy to clean between uses.

Who It’s Best For

The Epic Pure dispenser is an incredibly good value for money, considering just how effective the filter is. If you have a smaller budget or you just like to spend less when you can, you’ll love the Epic Pure dispenser.

πŸ‘ What I Like

  • Great for small budgets
  • Removes over 200 contaminants
  • Can be stored in the fridge for cold water

πŸ‘Ž What I Don’t Like

  • Isn’t actually NSF certified
  • Plastic design may be less durable

Read the Full Review: Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser Review 2021


Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter

Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter review

The Big Berkey is a gravity-fed filter that sends water through a set of two filters, known as Black Berkey elements, removing 203 contaminants from tap water. This dispenser has a 2.25-gallon capacity and a stainless steel outer casing.

Why It’s a Top Pick

  • The Black Berkey elements have a really impressive lifespan of up to 6,000 gallons – this is one of the best filter lifespans on the market.
  • All Berkey models come with an exclusive lifetime warranty, so you’re covered for any unexpected faults throughout the unit’s lifespan.
  • Though the Big Berkey is bigger than many dispensers, it’s easily portable, so you can take it with you on your travels.
  • The unit is designed using stainless steel, not plastic, so you can rest assured that the system is BPA-free.

System Features & Benefits

The Berkey is easy to set up and use: just fill the top reservoir with water and wait for it to filter into the bottom chamber.

With a 2.25-gallon filter capacity, the Berkey is bigger than a standard dispenser, and can hold more water at once (it’s suitable for families of up to 4 people).

The Berkey Purification Elements last up to 6,000 gallons before they need replacing. This is a really decent lifespan, and you can add another pair of filters to double that again.

As a gravity filter, the Berkey doesn’t offer instant access to purified water. It takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to filter an entire batch of water – but you don’t have to wait for the water to fully filter before you dispense some from the bottom chamber, of course.

Who It’s Best For

The Big Berkey is ideal for people who don’t want the fuss of replacing filters every few months. As this unit is too large to store in the fridge, it’s best for you if you’re not fussed about drinking refrigerated clean water.

πŸ‘ What I Like

  • Filters have an impressive 6,000-gallon lifespan
  • Can remove more than 203 contaminants
  • Large 2.25-gallon holding capacity

πŸ‘Ž What I Don’t Like

  • Slow filtration
  • Doesn’t fit in a fridge
  • No NSF certification

Read the Full Review: Berkey Water Filter Review 2021


AquaTru

aquatru

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The AquaTru Countertop Water Purifier is a four-stage reverse osmosis filter dispenser that’s been tested to remove chlorine, fluoride, toxins, hormones, carcinogens, and more – up to 83 impurities in total – from drinking water.

Why It’s a Top Pick

  • The unit’s sleek, attractive design makes it ideal for installing in a modern kitchen.
  • For a water dispenser, the AquaTru is pretty quick, producing one gallon of water in 12 to 15 minutes.
  • As a reverse osmosis system, the AquaTru can remove even the most difficult-to-remove impurities, like fluoride.
  • The AquaTru is space-saving and compact, so you don’t need lots of side space to house it.

System Features & Benefits

The AquaTru can be used to filter water at home and on your travels. You can set it up in a matter of minutes, and have access to purified water instantly.

Because the AquaTru is a reverse osmosis system, it offers a filtration performance that no standard filter can live up to. The system can remove up to 99.9% of all total dissolved solids, and has been tested to NSF standards to remove more than 80 impurities.

A handy feature of the AquaTru is its digital display, which tells you when you need to change the unit’s filters. The clean water tank can hold up to 3 quarts of purified water at a time.

Compared to other RO systems, the AquaTru wastes less water, with a pure- to wastewater ratio of 4:1.

Who It’s Best For

The AquaTru is best for people looking for the most capable filter, using reverse osmosis to get clean water. If you have a modern kitchen, the AquaTru will blend right into your home.

πŸ‘ What I Like

  • Great produced to wastewater ratio
  • No invasive installation
  • Thorough RO filtration
  • Quick to set up fast filtration

πŸ‘Ž What I Don’t Like

  • Quite expensive
  • Isn’t actually NSF certified
  • Requires electricity to operate

Read the Full Review: AquaTru Review (Updated: 2021)


RKIN Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

RKIN Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

The RKIN is a countertop reverse osmosis filter that uses an NSF-certified RO membrane to filter 99.9% of all water contaminants, including fluoride, heavy metals, and chlorine.

Why It’s a Top Pick

  • This system is 100% BPA-free, so you can guarantee it won’t add anything dangerous to your water.
  • You can buy this unit in two models, one of which includes an alkaline remineralization filter.
  • The RO membrane is certified by the NSF, so you can trust its performance abilities.
  • The unit is backed by a 12-month money-back guarantee, and the warranty is included for this same period.

System Features & Benefits

The RKIN is relatively small and compact for a countertop dispenser. It holds half a gallon of clean water, and uses four stages of reverse osmosis to purify water.

What makes the RKIN unique is that you can buy it in two models: the OnliPure and the AlcaPure. While the OnliPure filter produces water with zero total dissolved solids, the AlcaPure increases water’s pH by reintroducing healthy minerals that are lost in the reverse osmosis process.

The RKIN sends water through a 5-micron sediment filter, a carbon filter, a semi-permeable membrane and a post-filter, ensuring thorough contaminant removal.

Like all RO systems, this unit wastes water while in operation. However, it is fairly efficient, and wastes only 1 gallon of water for 1 gallon produced.

Who It’s Best For

Having the option to buy the RKIN with a post-alkalizing filter is a big benefit for anyone looking for an RO countertop filter unit that provides clean, mineral-rich water. You’ll need to have quite a big budget for this system.

πŸ‘ What I Like

  • Optional alkalizing filter for mineral-rich water
  • RO membrane is NSF 58 certified
  • Removes up to 99% of all impurities

πŸ‘Ž What I Don’t Like

  • Quite expensive
  • Water storage capacity is fairly low

Read the Full Review: RKIN Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Review


NU Aqua 8 Stage Alkaline Mineral Countertop Water Filter

NU Aqua 8 Stage Alkaline Mineral Countertop Water Filter

The NU Aqua 8 Stage Alkaline Mineral Countertop Filter is a direct-connect filter that connects up to your kitchen sink faucet to deliver cool, clean drinking water.

Why It’s a Top Pick

  • You don’t just get RO water from the NU Aqua. There’s also a remineralization filter, which replenishes lost minerals and gives tap water an enjoyable alkaline taste.
  • This system is very affordable for a reverse osmosis filter, costing less than $100 upfront – including the initial filters.
  • There are a full eight stages of filtration in the NU Aqua, which really is impressive when you look at the size of the filter.
  • It’s really easy to install the NU Aqua – you just screw the included faucet adaptor onto your faucet and attach the water line.

System Features & Benefits

The NU Aqua is designed to connect up to your kitchen faucet to deliver clean tap water whenever you need it. Water flows through eight stages of RO filtration, and is virtually contaminant-free by the time it leaves the system.

The first stage of filtration is a nano-silver filter, which prevents bacteria and fungus. This is followed by a KDF filtration stage, which reduces heavy metals, chlorine, pesticides, microbiological impurities, and more. Next is an activated carbon filter, which targets chlorine and other chemicals, then an ORP ball reduces water imperfections.

The fifth filter stage is a bio-ceramic filter, which ionizes water. Then there’s a mineral stone filter that adds healthy minerals like calcium and magnesium back into water, followed by a final two mesh filter screens, which prevent larger particles from passing through.

All eight filter stages are combined in a single filter cartridge, which means you can keep costs low and maintenance minimal. The filter lasts between 4 and 8 months before you need to replace it.

The unit is backed by a warranty of 5 years, and comes with a 120-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out at no major commitment.

Who It’s Best For

If you’re on the hunt for a countertop filter that offers purification and remineralization benefits without breaking the bank, the NU Aqua is a good choice to consider.

πŸ‘ What I Like

  • Adds healthy minerals to water
  • 8 thorough stages of filtration
  • Great for smaller budgets

πŸ‘Ž What I Don’t Like

  • Not as attractive as other countertop filters
  • No NSF certification

Avalon A9 Countertop Bottleless Cooler Water Dispenser

Avalon A9 Electric Touch Countertop Bottleless Cooler Water Dispenser

The Avalon A9 is an electric countertop cooler dispenser that delivers hot, cold and room temperature water at the touch of a button.

Why It’s a Top Pick

  • This filter delivers water in three temperatures: hot, cold, and normal room temperature, so you can use clean water for all occasions.
  • The carbon filter in this dispenser is NSF certified for both lead and chlorine removal, so you know for certain that it filters your water just as effectively as advertised.
  • If you hate cleaning, you’ll love that this countertop filter system has a UV self-cleaning feature that does the job for you.
  • With a 6-month or 1,500-gallon lifespan, the filter in this model doesn’t need to be replaced too frequently.

System Features & Benefits

With two stages of filtration – an NSF-certified carbon filter and a sediment pre-filter – the Avalon A9 is designed to remove a selection of common impurities from your drinking water.

The big selling point of this model is that it can deliver cold and hot water, as well as room temperature water. Whether you need piping hot water for hot drinks, or you prefer to drink from a water cooler, you can enjoy these benefits with the Avalon – and your water will be clean and filtered.

As well as being certified to remove chlorine and lead, the Avalon A9 can also remove cysts, particulates, smell and taste, and visible objects from tap water.

You can ditch the water bottles with this system, and you don’t have to boil water or put it in your fridge to get it cold or piping hot – the Avalon A9 will do it for you.

Who It’s Best For

If you love the sound of filtered hot water and cold water, and you hate cleaning, the Avalon A9 is a great fit for you.

πŸ‘ What I Like

  • UV self-cleaning feature reduces maintenance
  • Delivers water in three temperatures
  • NSF certified carbon filter

πŸ‘Ž What I Don’t Like

  • Can’t select exact water temperature
  • Some customers experienced leaking issues

🧾 Countertop Filtered Water Dispenser Buyer’s Guide

You’ll find it much easier to choose the best countertop water dispenser for you when you know exactly what to go for. In the below buyer’s guide, I’ve covered everything you’ll want to know about buying a countertop dispenser, including factors to consider, the pros and cons of this type of filter system, and answers to your frequently asked questions.

πŸ’­ Important Considerations When Selecting a Countertop Water Dispenser

When choosing a countertop water dispenser, consider the following things:

Water Source

Where do you currently get your drinking water from? Do you use a private well, or are you supplied by a public water facility? Your answer will help you decide on a countertop dispenser for you.

well water

Some countertop dispensing systems can filter both city water and well water, as they can remove common impurities that are found in both water sources. But some are designed to treat one water source or the other.

It’s especially important to look for a filter that can treat well water if that’s where you get your water from. While public drinking water isn’t typically dangerous (unless there has been unknown contamination), well water can contain dangerous impurities and pathogens that can make you sick.

Contaminant Removal Capability

If you don’t currently know what your water contains, that’s a good place to start. I recommend testing your water, either with an at-home testing kit or through a certified laboratory, to find out which contaminants are most prominent.

Maybe you can taste a specific contaminant, like chlorine or iron. But some impurities, like lead, are tasteless – meaning there’s no way to tell whether they’re polluting your water or not.

Once you know what’s in your water, you’ll be better equipped to choose the best countertop water dispenser to remove your problem impurities. Most countertop dispensers can remove chlorine, lead, pesticides, herbicides, PFOS, PFOAs, and more. Some can even remove microbiological contaminants and tricky-to-remove contaminants like fluoride.

You can check a dispenser’s performance data before you buy the filter to ensure that it removes the impurities your water contains.

Holding Tank Capacity

Countertop water dispensers come in all sizes and capacities. The holding capacity of a unit tells you how much filtered water can be held at a time.

The bigger the holding capacity, the fewer times you’ll have to fill up the filter chamber when it runs low. For this reason, if you have a large family of three or four people, you’re best choosing a countertop water dispenser that can hold at least 1.5-2 gallons of water.

Keep in mind, however, that the larger the holding capacity, the bigger the model will be, and the more room it will require. If you’d rather save space and fill your dispenser more frequently, it may be worth buying a unit with a smaller holding capacity of 1 gallon or less.

Filter Longevity

There are some really impressive filters on the countertop water dispenser market when it comes to lifespan.

On average, you can expect to replace a dispenser filter once every 4 to 12 months – this can vary greatly from one product to the next.

filter lifespan

I recommend researching filter lifespan, and the cost of replacement filters, before you buy a countertop water dispenser. This will mean you’re prepared for replacing the filters when you have to, and there’ll be no nasty surprises.

You may also have multiple filters to change at different times. For instance, if you’re dealing with a traditional gravity filter, it will typically only have one or two filters to change at the same time. Reverse osmosis countertop dispensers, on the other hand, have multiple filters that should be replaced every few months.

Material

The material of both the filter and dispenser can differ depending on the type of water dispenser you buy.

Some water dispensers, such as the Big Berkey, are made from stainless steel. Others are made from plastic, and some are made from a combination of several materials.

If you’re considering a countertop water dispenser that’s made from plastic, make sure the plastic is BPA- and BPS-free.

There are several types of filter material that may be used in a filter dispenser, too. Most commonly, a type of carbon material, such as charcoal carbon, will be used. Multi-stage filters may use a number of filter materials; for instance, reverse osmosis filters also use a semi-permeable membrane.

coconut shell carbon

Installation & Maintenance

Installing a countertop water dispenser is usually easy regardless of what type of unit you buy.

Most systems come in several pre-installed pieces that simply need to be slotted together.

Some units, like a countertop water cooler, a reverse osmosis unit, or a unit that can dispense hot and cold water, may have to be plugged into a power outlet to operate.

You may have to flush your system’s filter before you can start using it. Your user manual should have plenty of information on how to flush the filter if this is something you have to do.

Water Temperature Control

Not all countertop water dispensers offer hot and cold water, but this is definitely a bonus if you’re aiming to filter water for hot beverages as well as cold drinks.

Temperature control lets you choose the temperature that your water is dispensed at. Typically, the filter will treat the water while it’s cold, and you can then choose between hot and cold water for drinking.

dispenser with temperature control

The big advantage of water temperature control is that you don’t have to heat or refrigerate your water before you use it, as it’ll already be hot or cold when it’s dispensed.

If you do want access to hot and cold filtered water, I recommend choosing a countertop water dispenser that gives you these options. You shouldn’t add booking water to a standard dispenser, as the water will likely damage the filter’s pores and prevent it from filtering your water at all.

Size & Space Available

I mentioned size when discussing holding capacity earlier in this guide. If you’re short on space, I recommend measuring your available space carefully and comparing it to the height and diameter of your chosen water dispenser.

If you only have a small area to work with, or you just don’t want to clutter your kitchen with a large dispenser, it’s worth considering a countertop water pitcher instead.

Certifications

The majority of the countertop tap water dispensers on this list are NSF certified, or tested to NSF certifications.

If a unit has an NSF certification, it means it has been tested by an accredited third party and deemed capable of living up to the manufacturer’s performance claims.

NSF 42 (chlorine, tastes and odors) and NSF 53 (lead) are two popular Standards for countertop water dispenser units. There are also certifications for reverse osmosis units, lead-free design, and more.

πŸ”  Countertop Water Dispenser Variations

Gravity Fed Filters

Gravity filters are the most popular variations of countertop water dispensers. As the name suggests, these filters use gravity to filter water from a top chamber into a bottom chamber.

While gravity filters are affordable and very effective, they don’t offer instant access to filtered water. It can take a few minutes up to a few hours for a gravity filter to fill its bottom chamber, depending on the unit’s capacity.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse osmosis is another popular countertop water dispenser variation. In the RO process, water flows through a pre-filter, a carbon filter, and a reverse osmosis membrane, which can remove more than 99.9% of total dissolved solids.

The advantage of reverse osmosis is that it really does remove everything, including the hardest-to-remove contaminants – but this can also be a disadvantage. RO countertop dispensers also remove healthy minerals from water, which can affect your water’s taste.

reverse osmosis filter

Direct Connect Filters

Direct connect filters are hooked up to your water supply at your faucet. These filters filter water on-demand, providing you with instant drinking water whenever you require it.

If you like the convenience of water on demand but don’t want to cut into your water line to install an under-sink filter, direct connect filters are a good alternative. However, these filters aren’t quite as easy or convenient to install as a standard water dispenser.

5-Gallon Jug Dispensers

5-gallon jug dispensers are large versions of water filter pitchers. These dispensers give you access to more drinking water in a single batch, and typically use gravity filtration to treat your water.

This type of water dispenser tends to be cheap, so it’s great for smaller budgets. However, the quality of build is unlikely to be on par with more expensive filters made from more durable components.

Distillers

Distillation is the process of boiling water until it evaporates, then condensing it into a clean container. The contaminants that are unable to evaporate with water are left behind in the boiling chamber.

Like reverse osmosis, distillers remove an impressive range of contaminants. They don’t just filter your water -they purify it. Of course, this brings up the same issue with flat-tasting water, and you may have to remineralize your water before you drink it.

water distillation

πŸ‘ Advantages of Countertop Water Dispensers

  • Easy to prepare – these systems require virtually no installation and take just minutes to put together.
  • Portable filtration – you don’t have to cut into your water line to install this type of water dispenser, so you can take it with you on the go.
  • An option for all budgets – you can spend between $50 and $500 on a water dispenser for your countertop, depending on its features.
  • Options for hot and cold water – if you don’t like room-temperature water, there are countertop cooler models, and dispensers that can heat water up for hot beverages.
  • Economical and environmentally friendly – saves money on bottled water and reduces plastic waste.

πŸ‘Ž Disadvantages of Tabletop Water Dispensers

  • Can take a while to filter your water, especially the gravity filters.
  • Most countertop filters can only deliver room temperature drinking water – no option for hot water or cold water dispensing.
  • Some aren’t as durable as others – opt for stainless steel rather than plastic if you want your filter to last a long time.
  • Take up quite a bit of counter space – I recommend considering pitcher filters if space is an issue.

πŸ™‹ Frequently Asked Questions

Can countertop dispensers filter hot water?

No. It’s not a given that a countertop dispenser will filter hot water. It depends on what type of unit you buy. For instance, a countertop water cooler can deliver cold and room temperature water, and some can deliver hot water, too. A standard dispenser, however, won’t be able to dispense hot, cold and room temperature water – it’ll just be designed for room temperature tap water.

Which is better: an independent countertop filter or one that connects to your water line?

It depends on what you’re looking for in terms of portability and convenience. Independent gravity filter dispensers are more portable, and you can store them anywhere in your home, while you’ll need to ensure that a direct-connect countertop filter is always connected to your faucet when you want to use it. However, the advantage of these systems is that they deliver clean water almost immediately, while independent water filtration systems usually take at least a few minutes.

How long does a countertop filtration dispenser last?

Most water filtration dispensers have a lifespan of at least 5 years. The filters themselves will require replacing before that, though; usually every few months. Check the warranty of the model you plan to buy, as this will give you an idea of how long the manufacturer expects it to last.