Best Party Water Dispensers Reviewed and Rated
You can work up a sweat at a good party, especially during the summertime. Nothing kills the good times like , and nothing relaxes guests like a cool, refreshing drink. Keeping a reliable beverage dispenser on hand is a vital part of being a good host.
Water dispensers come in all shapes and sizes. The ones you’re probably most familiar with are the ice-stuffed barrels that sit by a stack of cups on the sidelines of every televised sporting event. When they aren’t being upended over winning coaches, however, these simple products keep teams hydrated and functioning. The demands on a party beverage dispenser are a lot easier. They trade volume for convenience and style. However, their essential purpose remains unchanged. Like the orange barrels with taps that athletes use, party drink dispensers need to keep drinks cool and easily accessible.
Finding one that keeps drinks cool without leaking or serving as an eyesore can be a little tricky. They come in glass, plastic, metal, and even ceramic. Basing your choice on materials alone isn’t a sure win, either. Some dispensers emphasize looks, offer multiple drink reservoirs, or include clever cooling features. Picking out something that won’t let you down when the party is in full gear demands a lot more than basic window shopping.
Our Top 3 Picks
10 Best Party Water Dispensers
1. Buddeez 3 ½ Gallon
Size: 12.1” x 12.1” x 19”
Volume: 3.5 gal.
Weight: 5 lbs.
Primary Material: Plastic
The best part of this beverage dispenser is its ease of use. While many other manufacturers put their chilling trays under the primary drink tank, this makes it difficult to change out during an event. The Unbreakable’s ice cone is a removable piece that slides from the top into the center of the beverage tank itself. This gives a more even chill, and it’s vastly easier to remove. Like the chilling reservoir, the dispenser’s base is also designed for convenience. It is an entirely separate piece that snaps into place for use.
A no-drip faucet allows easy use. It’s made of Tomlinson, so buyers can rest assured that it’s BPA-free. The rest of the product is made from stain-free Tritan, which is also BPA-free. The entire product is
This isn’t the biggest beverage dispenser you’ll find on the market, but its value is in its clever design. The removable base is a fairly common adaptation, especially in plastic dispensers, but it’s the Ice-Cone that makes this a worthwhile purchase. Provided the product does not have any manufacturing flaws, it allows hosts to enjoy a party with less effort than many comparably priced options. Still, since it’s plastic, it isn’t suitable for all occasions.
The dispenser’s one major flaw comes from leaks and cracks. Most of these occur during shipping, and returns are fairly straightforward, but if the leak isn’t discovered until a party is in full swing, it can ruin a great day. These flaws are fairly rare, however.
- Ice-Cone for easy chilling
- Removable base
- Dishwasher safe
- Not glass
- Only holds 3 gal. with ice
- Frequent shipping damage
2. Creativeware Unbreakable
Size: 11” x 11” x 19”
Volume: 3 gal.
Weight: 4.5 lbs.
Primary Material: Acrylic
This hardy little dispenser is lightweight and easy to take apart. The removable base includes a separate chamber for ice, cooling the dispenser’s contents from the bottom up. The lid’s handle makes it easy to manage the primary reservoir’s contents.
All materials are BPA-free. However, the manufacturer does not recommend putting this product in the dishwasher. It’s unclear whether the heat and soap could release dangerous chemicals, or if they will simply warp the plastic. Either way, it’s designed with wide access points to ease cleaning.
If you want a casual party dispenser for something like water or tea, this product may fit the bill. It stands up to a lot of use, and it isn’t terribly expensive. Unfortunately, if you plan to use it for alcoholic cocktails, you’ll only be able to use it once. There have been repeated issues with this dispenser’s ability to safely hold alcohol. It may be a chemical issue with the acrylic. It warps and suffers strange stains, even if cleaned promptly. As affordable as this product is, it isn’t cheap enough to allow a new purchase for every party.
- Tough material
- Removable base
- Ice reservoir
- Not glass
- Hand Washing Recommended
- Ice reservoir cannot be easily refilled when dispenser is in use
- Has trouble with alcohol
3. Circleware Yorkshire
Size: 11.7” x 11” x 9.2”
Volume: 2 gal.
Weight: 5. 7
Primary Material: Glass
Although it’s smaller than comparably priced options, this dispenser is a much more attractive option. It would fit well into an industrial, country, or shabby chic setting. The thick glass is made to be durable, and it’s entirely lead-free. Still, it may not be dishwasher safe. Another small shortcoming is
the fact that the tap is plastic.
Possibly the dispenser’s best feature is its money back guarantee. Users who are not satisfied with the product for any reason at all can rest assured that their investment is safe. The manufacturer promises a full refund to anyone who is unsatisfied, which speaks volumes about their perception of their product’s value.
This is another great choice for a formal occasion. It’s still relatively heavy, but it’s lighter than some of the other glass options on our list. Since it’s made of glass, it’s safe for a greater range of drinks. The style is genuinely appealing, too, and it would enhance any gathering. Again, however, there are some practical design flaws. If you want your drinks chilled, you’ll have to dilute them with ice in the primary reservoir. Since there is no base to keep the cold region away from the table, slickness from sweating can be an issue. This dispenser is smaller than comparable options, too. If you plan to host many guests, you’ll probably need more than one dispenser.
- Very attractive design
- Money back guarantee
- Relatively small
- Plastic spout
4. New Wave Enviro
Size: 9” x 9” x 9.5”
Volume: 2.2 gal.
Weight: 2.8 lbs.
Primary Material: Stainless steel
If you’re looking for something different that doesn’t stand out, this is an excellent choice. Stainless steel looks great with everything, cleans easily, and is much harder to break than plastic or glass. It doesn’t show off its contents like a clear dispenser, but it’s a great option for both party and day-to-day use. It’s designed to effectively transform into a water cooler, although the bottled water must be purchased separately. This fact should reassure users that it won’t leak, since it’s meant to be used constantly rather than every once and a while for a party. The plastic nozzle is BPA-free, even though it isn’t metal.
Thanks to its primary material, this dispenser is resistant to not only cracks, breaks, and leaks, but also stains and corrosion. The biggest problem is that the lid is sold separately.
First of all, understand that the lid represents an additional cost. If you want this dispenser to serve at a party, you will need that lid. Balancing something on top is an invitation for an accident. That said, this is probably the most reliable item on our list. It’s far sturdier than anything else we’ve looked at, and with proper care it will outlast any glass or plastic option. Even with the lid, it isn’t horribly expensive, although it does cost a bit more than the average. Still, this is a great example of getting what you pay for. Rather than paying for a cute design and frills, however, you’re paying for quality materials and construction.
- Extremely sturdy
- Stainless steel construction
- Designed for constant use
- Not transparent
- Lid sold separately
5. Jumbl Stackable
Size: 10.3” x 10.7” x 20.4”
Volume: 3 gal.
Weight: 5.4 lbs.
Primary Material: Acrylic
This tiered system features three single gallon reservoirs, each with its own spout, along with a base. An ice reservoir nestles in the base, and a lid tops off the uppermost reservoir. Each level can offer a completely different drink, allowing guests a range of options. If you don’t need to give your guests three options, you can fill them all with the same drink or simply remove one or two levels. They are independently stackable. A cooling shaft helps keep everything a nice, even temperature, no matter which level it lands in. Everything, however, is made from BPA-free plastic. The system is shatter-proof and dishwasher safe.
If you want to serve multiple drinks, but don’t want to pay for multiple dispensers, this is an economical option. It’s also a great conversation starter, and it will keep picky party guests happy. The biggest issues are common problems with plastic beverage dispensers, and those are the spouts. They may come loose, especially after rough use, but they seem to go back into place just fine. The fact that the entire system includes cooling shafts and an ice reservoir in the base add to the overall value. It may not do for a formal event, but the quality and features match the price tag reasonably well. If things go wrong, and one tier stops working, you still have two more.
- Adjustable tiers
- Dishwasher safe
- Separate base
- Ice reservoir
- Nozzles may come loose
- Difficult to refill
6. Home Essentials Heritage
Size: 21.1” x 18.9” x 11”
Volume: 3 gal.
Weight: 10 lbs.
Primary Material: Glass
Despite appearances, the nozzle is not, in fact, metal. It’s simply painted plastic. While this does detract from the overall value of the dispenser, the reservoir itself is really glass. If properly cared for, glass lasts longer than plastic without generating harmful byproducts. It’s also considered a more
elegant option for formal affairs.
There is no base for this product. You won’t find an ice reservoir, either. The primary drink reservoir takes up the entire product. This maximizes space, and since the dispenser is made of glass, it would be too heavy to be practical if it was much larger.
This is a pricier drink dispenser, and most of that investment has gone into aesthetics. There are a number of practical flaws with the product, such as extreme sweating, which makes the bottom very slick since there’s no separate base. There’s no ice reservoir, either, so ice cubes must be added regularly. This will eventually dilute the drink. Packaging is another major concern. Since the product is glass, it breaks easily. Chances are high buyers will need to return damaged goods at least once before a functional version arrives.
- Nice to look at
- Sweats a lot
- Plastic nozzle
7. Home Essentials & Beyond
Size: 20.9” x 17.3” x 10.6”
Volume: 1.5 gal.
Weight: 7 lbs.
Primary Material: Glass
The quality of the glass in question is evidenced by the product’s weight. Although they don’t hold as much as many other glass dispensers, the weight suggests they utilize a thicker, sturdier glass. They also have separate, metal stands. These give them a unique look while also serving a practical purpose. Of course, the main selling point is the attached chalk board. It’s cute, makes life easier for guests, and adds a bit more atmosphere to any event.
Unfortunately, the spout is plastic and may cause issues sooner rather than later. The other common issue came from the nozzle. Unfortunately the rubber seal rips fairly easily, leading to leaks.
While the body of the jug itself is as sturdy as the weight indicated, the lid’s glass is relatively flimsy and much easier to break. Breaks are to be expected with glass dispensers, of course, but there are bigger problems. Although the body of the dispenser is fairly high quality, the cheap nozzle does not fit well and often comes loose. This is a real shame, because the separate stand solved sweating, one of the main problems with glass dispensers. You pay for looks and thick glass, but you get leaks, too.
- Very pleasing to the eye
- Separate base
- No ice reservoir
- Plastic spout
- Some early wear and tear issues
8. LANSH Glass
Size: 15” x 8” x 8”
Volume: 2.3 gal.
Weight: 8.1 lbs.
Primary Material: Glass
This dispenser includes two plastic inserts that make hosting a breeze. One holds ice to keep your drinks properly chilled, and since it is inserted from the top, it’s easy to refill while the dispenser is in use. The second insert is a diffuser. It allows you to add fruit, herbs, or other tasty enhancers to your drinks without the risk of seeds clogging up the spout. It also keeps those slimy bits of lemon out of guests’ drinks.
The primary body and lid are both made of thick glass, and the dispenser is large enough that the glass makes it very heavy. Be careful where you set it before you fill it. The infusers and spout are both made of BPA-free plastic.
Sitting towards the top of our midrange options, this dispenser may be the best glass option on the list. Unlike many of the other glass dispensers, it does not sacrifice function for appearances. That said, it’s still pretty cute. It also has the innovative interior-cooling system that’s so important for hosts. The diffuser is a clever addition, too, and it would let hosts keep drinks fresh without going fishing for old fruit. Since it’s a glass product, it may arrive broken, but broken items are easy to return. If you have the patience to take care good care of it, this dispenser could last you through years of parties. Its big enough to be useful, and it doesn’t have a major leak problem, either.
- Appealing design
- Interior ice reservoir
- Interior diffuser
- Fairly large
- Plastic spout and inserts
9. ActionFly Machine
Size: 4.5” x 4.5” x 18.8”
Volume: .23 gal.
Weight: 1.6 lbs.
Primary Material: Plastic
As the size, material, and weight suggest, this little novelty dispenser is suited for smaller gatherings. It can hold anything from water to liquor, however, so it would do well as part of a mixed drink arrangement. The two channels, each of which is attached to a separate spout, allow you to provide two different beverages at any given time.
The lid does not lift off, which makes pouring tricky. It also makes cleaning a challenge. Since the entire product is so lightweight, however, it’s easy to move throughout the party, and this dispenser could conceivably be carried around to guests, rather than just having guests line up at a drinks table. It’s value is in its novelty, after all.
If this fun little dispenser cost less, it might be worth the money. Unfortunately, the manufacturer depends entirely on its charm and has invested very little into its construction. Every single part of the machine is plastic, and it isn’t even high quality plastic. Spigots often freeze up, which turns the whole thing into an extremely light paperweight. The design makes it difficult to take advantage of the two separate reservoirs, too, which is half the point. Overall, it simply doesn’t measure up to comparably priced glass and plastic dispensers.
- Fun design
- Double reservoir
- Very small
- Fairly expensive
10. RawyalCrafts Water Tank
Size: 13.2” x 12” x 9”
Volume: 1.7 gal.
Weight: 4.8 lbs.
Primary Material: Copper
This pure copper water tank is entirely made of metal. Unlike many other copper water tanks, it isn’t merely plated with copper, though. The primary reservoir is solid. According to some health professionals, water stored around eight hours in a copper container loses a great deal of water-borne bacteria. On top of what it kills, copper also gives the water some trace element benefits, which some say can help anemia.
Although the spout is also metal, it isn’t necessarily made of copper. Everything else, however, definitely is. The manufacturer offers 24/7 customer support along with a satisfaction guarantee. Unfortunately, keeping anything but water in this dispenser could easily damage it.
Copper is not a cheap material, especially when it it’s turned into a handcrafted product. This is by far the most expensive option on our list. It also holds a very small volume. If you want a small party, especially one for yoga enthusiasts, this could make you the talk of your social circle. If you’re looking for something to hold enough sangria for twenty people, you should keep looking. Unless you are into niche fitness, even though this is a very well constructed product with quality materials, it isn’t worth the price.
- Pure copper
- Potential health benefits
- Metal spout
- Can only hold water
- Holds small volume
Criteria for Evaluation
In order to choose the products on our list, we had to examine options by a set of standard criteria. Although these involved everything from materials used to spout integrity, the fit into four basic categories. Each is discussed in more detail below.
- Quality of Construction
- Ease of Use
- Core Performance
Quality of Construction
The primary reservoirs earned more recognition for being sturdy and holding their shape than for their materials. Although a couple products had uniquely tough and durable bodies, almost all party drink dispensers are made of plastic or glass. Plastic, as we mentioned earlier, tends to warp and bend over time. Glass is, of course, very fragile. Each material has drawbacks, so we didn’t score products based on the manufacturer’s choice in this regard. We did, however, consider the value of glass and plastic when examining value vs. price.
Although shipping isn’t strictly a construction issue, it’s a process that still depends on the seller. For this reason, we included shipping considerations in this category. Products that arrived broken did not score as well as those that arrived in one piece. Manufacturer warranties, return policies, and customer service played a role in the score, too. After all, accidents happen to everyone, and shipping glass has never been an easy process.
Ease of Use
For guests a drink dispenser is always pretty easy to use. Unless there is a flaw in the spout, which falls under our construction criteria, getting a drink out of dispenser is pretty easy. Putting a drink inside a dispenser is a bit trickier, so our ease of use criteria consider the host’s needs more than the guest’s. Essentially every product we examined used the same kind of spout, so construction standards aside, they were not part of our considerations.
Ease of use is all about party prep and how hard a host has to work to keep the party going. Although ice reservoirs in general earn more points, which we’ll discuss in core performance, their placement was a key concern for this category. After all, even if guests have completely drained a dispenser, replacing the ice in the stand is a time consuming ordeal. The host has to lift off the top and try to keep it steady while simultaneously feeding in new ice. It’s inconvenient, and there’s rarely room for this procedure on a cramped party buffet table. This is why top-access chilling features are so valuable. They’re easy to access, easy to replace, and it doesn’t matter how much fluid is still left in the dispenser.
Ease of use also takes into consideration extra features, like the blackboard tags or the top-access diffuser some of the products touted. The blackboard labels make life easier for hosts. No one wants to spend the evening answering every guest who wants to know what’s on tap. The diffuser also allows the host to change out flavors quickly, adjust for taste, and keep stray produce particles from landing in a guest’s cup. The fewer potential headaches the host would face, the better the beverage dispenser scored.
This criteria examines exactly how well a drink dispenser dispenses drinks. Does it keep them cool? How even is the temperature? Does it hold enough fluid volume to be useful? How versatile is it? Anything that could impact the product’s ability to keep drinks cool and get them into cups without leaking came under this consideration.
One of the major points of core performance in the case of beverage dispensers is temperature. We didn’t look into any dispensers capable of offering hot drinks, because they deserve their own moment in the spotlight. All of the products in this article should keep drinks cool. None have a power source, so the only way they can do that is by adding ice. Ice reservoirs are crucial for maintaining temperature. Even ice chambers in the stands won consideration. Most of the glass dispensers, unfortunately, wound up on a comparable level to their plastic competitors because they lacked any separate chambers for ice. Throwing ice directly into the drink itself just leads to water drinks, and no one wants flavorless punch. Still, the bottom-oriented ice chambers could not keep the temperature of the entire dispenser even. They may chill the bottom, but the top could be warm. Interior ice inserts won the highest consideration. Even if the dispenser had other problems, if they included an interior ice channel or insert, they rose in our consideration.
You don’t have to do much to keep a dispenser in working order besides washing it. This is why cleanup became the focus of this criterion. If a product could go in the dishwasher, it swept the category. If it needed hand washing, it did not score so well. If the manufacturer failed to confirm that a product could go in the dishwasher, the product scored as if it could not, because cautious users would wash it by hand.
Ease of storage fell under maintenance, too. Glass dispensers require a lot of tender, loving care. They can break by falling over in the cabinet just as easily as they can break by falling over at a party. Plastic and metal options proved much more durable.
Party Drink Tips
When your dispenser is ready, it’s time to break out the recipe book and look up your favorite punch recipe. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut, though. There are some simple ways to add some fun flavor and excitement to your drinks, whether they’re teetotal or alcoholic in nature.
Look for a fresh touch. In pretty much every add for dispensers, there’s fresh fruit floating at the top. Adding lemons is a simple way to give lemonade or iced tea a punch, but don’t be afraid to get creative. There are lots of other fruits in the world. Do you have an herb garden? Try adding fresh thyme, basil, or rosemary to your drinks instead of relying solely on mint. Edible flowers will make a fantastic and memorable addition, too.
If you want to cut calories, lower costs, or just reduce the speed of inebriation, break out the sparkling water. It’s a cocktail favorite for a reason. Everyone loves the bubbles, and this simple beverage goes great with essentially anything. It can liven up a cocktail mix just as easily as it can add interest to your traditional family punch recipe.
Q: Will My Drink Dispenser Get Moldy?
Three factors determine if anything that occasionally holds liquids will get moldy. First, you have to make sure you wash and dry it well after each and every use. Sugary drink residue will encourage mold and bacteria to grow. Left over water will also bring mold and mildew, especially to plastic. The spout is always a big concern, and it’s the most likely part of your dispenser to get a mold problem. Wash it by running water through it a number of times during the wash, and give it plenty of time to air dry before you put it away. You can wipe down the outside, but the interior will still be damp if you put it away directly after washing.
The second factor is storage. Where do you keep your dispenser between parties? If you don’t use it very often, you’ll probably stick it somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of your cabinet. That isn’t necessarily wrong, but you need to make sure your cabinet has dry air and periodic sunlight. Mold loves stuffy corners in closets and cabinets. Nearby pipes, especially around cabinets, make the air very damp. It’s best to store your drink dispenser somewhere bright and dry, that way all your careful washing won’t go to waste.
The third consideration is material and construction. No matter how well you wash them, some spouts will get that nasty black mildew after a few uses. This is a matter of construction. If the interior can’t even air dry, then it’s just building a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
If you wash your drink dispenser after every use, however, you really shouldn’t have to face a mold problem. Mold rarely grows on clean dishes, after all. Just take the time to clean up thoroughly, and you can protect your investment.
Q: Are Plastic Dispensers Safe to Use Long-Term?
This depends on who you ask. The more doctors learn about plastic, the more concerned they seem to be. There are already strict laws governing which types of plastics are appropriate for short-term and long-term use with food and drinks. If that’s enough to put your mind at ease, then you can buy with confidence. There are lots of issues with plastic, including the flavor it can give your drinks. Keep in mind that flavor is a sign of trace elements and chemicals.
That said, the plastic used in a beverage dispenser is incredibly different from the plastic in a disposable bottle of water. They are not as similar as they may look, and that’s a very good thing. Disposable plastics contain BPA, which is very harmful to humans. You’ll note that a lot of the products listed above explicitly say that they are BPA-free. Those that do not make this statement still fall under manufacturing laws that ban BPA-prone plastics from reusable products. We still don’t know the side effects of all plastics, but you can rest assured that the worst is being kept out of your drinks.
Q: Why Can’t I Fit Three Gallons in a Three Gallon Dispenser?
Chances are, you’ve already put in some ice. The ice counts as part of the three gallons, and it takes up a lot of space. You still have three gallons in your dispenser; it’s just that the three gallons are not purely punch, alcohol, etc. The same applies to ice cones and channels that cool from the inside. This is why some users still prefer ice reservoirs in the base of their dispensers. They leave the most room for actual beverage.
Q: Are Plastic Beverage Dispensers Considered Tacky?
This is a matter of opinion, and a lot of that opinion is shaped by previous experiences. Like we’ve said several times, plastic is not the most rigid material. It likes to change shape, and it bows to pressure too easily. A plastic spout in a plastic tank has the greatest risk of leaks. A metal spout in a glass, metal, or ceramic dispenser is the least likely to leak. Construction standards go into this, too, of course, because people pay more for non-plastic products, and they expect them to work better for a longer time.
If you find a good beverage dispenser, it shouldn’t matter what it’s made out of. Appearances are important, but a lot of the glass dispensers designed to attract brides-to-be and other formal party hosts aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. After all, a number of the dispensers we looked at were simply adorable glass designs, but they leaked more than many comparably priced plastic alternatives. If you have a budget to keep to, remember that leaks are always worse than plastic.