Bottom Loading Water Dispenser VS. Top Loading: What’s the Difference?

As the head of the household, you shouldn’t take your family’s safety lightly. Sure, you give them enough healthy food, but how sure are you about the water they drink? Here is where water dispensers come in.

What we like about water dispensers is the fact that they don’t just dispense water; some units also cool, heat, and even filter water. They also eliminate the need to buy small water bottles, as you can just refill your tumbler whenever you need hydration.

You’ll find many types of water dispensers available today, making it rather challenging to make a choice. If you’re torn between a bottom loading water dispenser vs top loading, we’ve got your back.

What Is Top Loading Water Dispenser?

What Is Top Loading Water Dispenser

As the name suggests, this is the type of water dispenser where the water bottle sits on top of the unit. It’s the OG of water dispensers, which you often find in many situations both in homes and offices.

  • Assembly and Installation

Top-loading water dispensers are lightweight and easy to carry. Most are made of highly durable plastic and don’t weigh more than 40 pounds. A regular wall outlet is all you will need to get them ready to work.

Remember to pick a spot in your kitchen with a higher head space, as the water jug on top will easily add a foot or two to its overall height.

  • Convenience and Ease of Use

The main advantage of having a top-loading unit is that you can easily tell when the water is nearing empty. In this way, you can just as easily replace the gallon on top of it.

  • Risk of Spills and Back Strain

The problem, however, is lifting a three- or five-gallon bottle filled with water is not something everyone can do. Many times over, it has caused back strain and spills. To address those issues, manufacturers developed bottom loading water dispensers.

  • Costs

Because they don’t use a pump, top-loading water dispensers are more affordable than their counterpart. Also, they will consume less energy than the other.

What Is Bottom Loading Water Dispenser?

What Is Bottom Loading Water Dispenser

As opposed to a top-loading unit, this water dispenser hides the water bottle in a cabinet on the bottom part of the machine. It then uses a pump to allow the water to flow into the tank, get heated up or cooled down, and then dispensed from the spouts.

  • Assembly and Installation

Like its counterpart, this appliance is often made of lightweight materials. Nevertheless, you can trust that these are heavy-duty and food-grade. You also only need an electrical outlet to power this machine.

More than anything, many prefer bottom-loading water dispensers over the other because it provides a neat look to the room where it is placed at. The water jug doesn’t need to be an eyesore in your kitchen with a bottom-loading unit.

  • Convenience and Ease of Use

Often, this type of water dispenser features a LED indicator light that informs you when it’s time to replace the bottle. Thanks to this, you won’t have to constantly open the cabinet to check if there is still water left.

  • Risk of Spills and Back Strain

Because the water bottle stays on the bottom, it eliminates the need to lift such a heavy item. It also gets rid of any risk of spills.

  • Costs

The only possible setback would be the fact that they can be more expensive than top-loading water dispensers. Why?

One simple reason is the addition of the pump. This added component means bottom-loading units are more prone to damage and might need repairs in the future. Even so, many find it worth it because of the convenience that bottom-loading dispensers bring.

Bottom Load VS Top Load Water Dispenser Comparison

Now you know how one differs from the other. The next step would be determining which is the better option that will match your needs. Choosing between a bottom loading vs top loading units require you to look at what each one offers. In addition, you should also consider the disadvantages that come with using them.

To help you decide wisely, here is a quick comparison chart:

Bottom Loading Water DispenserTop Loading Water Dispenser
– Easy to load
– Won’t cause back pains
– Doesn’t require filters
– Less chances of spills
– Looks more modern
– Water jug is hidden
– Generally cheaper
– Lower energy consumption
– No filters required
– More expensive
– Consumes more energy
– Extra components to keep clean/replace/repair
– Hard to load
– Higher risks of spills
– Can cause back strains
– Exposed water jug
– Requires bigger headspace

Which Is the Better Choice?

Given the advantages and disadvantages of using each, which do you think is the better choice for your home? If there is one thing we know about running a household, it is that convenience is the name of the game. As such, we would always prefer a bottom-loading water dispenser over a top-loading unit.

We would rather pay the extra cash than risk straining our backs trying to lift a heavy water bottle every few days or so. Besides, we like that bottom-loading water dispensers hide this ugly, blue bottle in its cabinet anyway. In turn, we get a tidier-looking kitchen.

If you are concerned about the costs, though, you might be better off going with a top-loading unit. You just have to figure out how you can lift the water jug up a few times a week without breaking your back.


In the end, the choice between a bottom loading water dispenser vs top loading rests on you and what your family needs. Either way, you will be providing them with access to clean drinking water whenever they want to.

If you think both of these units are rather bulky and will take up too big of a space in your kitchen, you can always check out countertop point-of-use water dispensers instead.

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