The Avalon A1 top loading water cooler dispenser is an all-round pleaser in terms of design and cold water performance. Cold water output is consistently good and can service up to 19 people per hour or 193 fl. oz. (5.7 L). The hot water may suit offices that prefer less than piping hot water and a lower demand for hot water. Its clean white body sets off the dark gray dispensing booth with large red and blue lever dispensers. Read more to find out if the Avalon A1 is the best water cooler dispenser for you.
Things We Like
- Cold water performance
- One-hand cold water dispensing
- Color design
- Hot water safety mechanism
Things We Don’t Like
- Stiff water guard
- Fixed nozzle design
The Avalon A1 is a top loading water cooler dispenser with a distinctively colorful and eye-catching design. It’s one of a number of Avalon machines, including countertop water coolers, that use large and bold colored levers that suit one-hand dispensing for cold water.
Where to Buy? Price at publication $149.00
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In our tests, the Avalon A1’s performance and capacity clearly favored cold water over hot water. The cold water results were close to being one of the top performing machines. On the other hand, the hot water temperature was comparatively low as was the back-to-back dispensing capacity. This may, however, actually favor some office setups.
8.1Hot Water Test
Our hot water test results for the Avalon A1 set it apart from the other top ranking machines we tested. In short, the hot water heating time, capacity, and temperature may or may not be what you are looking for. These test results highlight the fact that hot water performance deserves more consideration when choosing the right kind of water cooler dispenser for your home or office.
Heating Time Pretty Fast (9 / 35%)
For easy explanation, we calculate the average time it takes to heat 250 ml or 8.5 fl.oz. of water, or, in other words an average-sized cup. For the Avalon A1, the time was 2 minutes 20 seconds—one of the fastest heating machines and the fastest Avalon machine we have tested. It takes about five and a half minutes to reheat a full tank.
Hot Water Capacity Somewhat Limited
In terms of capacity however, the machine only dispenses around 15 fl. oz. or 450 ml in a single draw which means enough hot water for just two average-sized cups. The Avalon A1, therefore, is not a machine that meets high demand for hot water especially at peak office hours. Overall, it can output around 183 fl. oz. ( 5.4 L) of hot water per hour.
Temperature Lower Than Most (7 / 45%)
Another important consideration with the Avalon A1 is that the hot water temperature is considerably lower than average. The maximum continuous draw temperature we measured was only 192 ℉ (88.8 ℃). For many other machines, including our other office favorite the Frigidaire EFWC519, the top temperature is typically 198 ℉ (92.2 ℃).
While this scored low against our upper benchmark, it’s not necessarily a disadvantage. In an office, or public space, such a lower temperature may be preferred for safety reasons. As noted in our hot water test methodology, this temperature is good enough for instant coffee and most kinds of teas.
Flow Rate Good For Design (9 / 20%)
We found the flow rate of the Avalon A1 to be very agreeable. We measured it at 1.1 fl. oz. / sec (32 ml), or just two points below our top benchmark of 34 ml. For a lever-type dispenser this is very good and a stand-out feature that adds to the top performance of the hot water test. It is typically only button operated machines such as the Avalon A4 that match a 34 ml /sec standard.
9.5Cold Water Test
The Avalon A1 is in our top ranks for cold water performance. Coupled with the hot water performance, it’s one of the best water cooler dispensers for an office.
In our cold water test, we dispensed 300 ml of cold water approximately every 3 minutes. The Avalon A1 was able to produce 193 fl.oz. (5.7 L) of cold—chilled to 50‒54 ℉ (10‒12℃)—within an hour taken at measured intervals. This capacity was a close match to the hot water performance despite the latter’s lower temperature.
This capacity means that the Avalon can provide enough chilled water for up to 19 people. That’s just a little short of the benchmark maximum of 20 people or the optimal ‘span of control’ as detailed in our testing methodology report.
The Avalon A1 top loading water cooler dispenser excels in performance as well as design. The clean white color contrasts nicely against the black dispensing booth. Additionally, the large and bright-colored levers and dual colored drip tray are all quite eye-catching. The build quality also measures up to its cool design and top performance.
In the Box
- Detachable drip tray
- User manual & pamphlets
- Start guide sticker
- Magnetic support info. disk
The manual is detailed and informative and comes in English, Spanish, and French. Included is a warranty card, customer support leaflets, a magnetic customer support info disk, and a sticker with ‘start guide’ instructions.
For office use, you can purchase a 10-inch base extender to raise the height and a mountable cup dispenser. For cleaning, Avalon sells an all inclusive kit with 220 g citric acid, a mini screwdriver, disinfectant wipes, a stirrer, gloves, and a scrubbing sponge.
The body of the Avalon A1 is made from a type of plastic, even though it has a metallic appearance. The front panel is made of a particularly thick, quality plastic. The white color and design is smooth and slick showing good workmanship.
The rear black metal grate is likewise smooth-edged with no sharp parts. The only thing lacking is a carry handle at the back for easier lifting. There are also two small ventilation holes on either side of the side panel.
We particularly liked the base of the machine which has a ventilated metal sheet whereas many water cooler dispensers simply use plastic. The four rubber stopper legs are well-made and are also detachable or replaceable.
7.8Panel & Indicators
The Avalon A1 has three unobtrusive indicators. The power indicator remains on when the machine is plugged in. When heating or cooling is in operation, the respective indicator will light up. There is no dual functionality for the indicators.
During our tests, the indicators worked flawlessly. With clearly visible color-coded dispensers, there are no additional icons on the machine.
8.3Water Inlet Controls
The Avalon A1 has quite a robust water guard which also adds to the machine's bold look. While most water guards simply unscrew, the guard on the Avalon A1 needs to be pried and pulled up by gripping the rear indentation. This is not made clear in the manual. It requires a little strength especially the first time you take it off.
The baffle, on the other hand, was very easy to remove and the two ‘eyes’ made it easy to align correctly. The water needle is a stubbier type of design with holes on the sides and pointed top so it drains the water bottle pretty well. A standard bottle had a bit of a loose fit, but not so that it would topple over.
The Avalon A1 has an attractive color scheme. The large red and blue push levers blend well with the grayish dispensing booth and silver-gray drip tray. The nozzles are plastic and do not detach, however, it is easy enough to clean around them. We evaluate the nozzles under ‘Ease of Use’.
The drip tray fits very snugly. You remove it by lifting it up and then pulling it straight out. It’s childproof and cannot easily be yanked out. The color scheme is refreshing, but the silver-colored plastic cover is rather flimsy. The grayish tray color makes the water visible, but not unsightly as with white colored drip trays.
There are two color coded switches at the rear on the top right. The red switch to the right is for hot water, and the green switch to the left is for cold water. The ‘O’ mark indicates the off position. The switches should be in this off position before plugging in the machine. The switches are not backlit, but power flow is indicated on the front panel.
Door and Cabinet
Cord and Plug
The plug and cable length of the Avalon A1 is comparable to other machines. Similarly, it requires a grounded connection using a three pronged plug.
7.6Ease of Use
The Avalon A1 is a very basic and easy-to-use water cooler dispenser. We like the one-hand-dispensing for cold water and how the hot water safety mechanism works. The types of materials used makes cleaning effortless and the color design is really attractive. The only thing we didn’t like was the fixed design of the water spouts and the tough-to-remove water guard.
The key attraction of push levers is one-hand dispensing, or close to ‘touchless’ dispensing for cold water. The levers have good tension so are steady while pushing back and don't spring forward. As per the lever design, it is not so feasible to rest a cup on the drip tray while dispensing.
9.0Hot Water Safety
To operate the hot water lever you have to first press the small button mounted on the front. We thought it may be possible to do this using a finger knuckle, but in reality you need two hands to dispense hot water. If you are using a weaker kind of paper cup, it is better to move the hot water lever back with your hand placed around the rear of the cup.
6.0Bottle / Filter Changing
We didn’t find loading the water bottle onto the Avalon A1 any different from a typical top loader. The design of the water needle is such that it drains most of the water from the bottle, which is always a plus. It’s quite okay if leftover water spills from the bottle into the water guard reservoir.
The plastic body of the Avalon A1 is not prone to fingerprinting and the white color further contributes to an ease-to-maintain clean look. Additionally, the gray tone of the drip tray makes it easy to see the water level without the water appearing unsightly.
It’s easy to wipe off or disinfect the levers, but essentially they operate with minimal to zero touching. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to detach the nozzles. The only way to clean them is during periodic descaling by flushing through a citric acid or bleach solution. However, you can use a cotton swab to clean a little inside.
On the downside, the water guard on the Avalon A1 is a little difficult to remove and you have to pry it up with some force by gripping the rear ‘handle’. The water baffle, however, is easy to remove and replace, and cleaning the cold water tank is straightforward.
To remove the water drainage plug at the rear of the machine, for periodic descaling, you’ll need a medium-sized star screwdriver.
Once water stops draining out the back, you still need to dispense any remaining water through both water spouts—something not mentioned in the manual. Try to flush as much citric acid water through the nozzles as possible when descaling.
About your guide
Roger Shitaki is a writer, author, and editor. His niches are household appliances, health & wellness, and travel. He’s a freelance contributor to a Tokyo lifestyle website and a leading ophthalmology magazine in Asia.
Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.