Avalon A4 Bottom Loading Specifications
The Avalon A4 is a quality and reliable water cooler dispenser. In our tests, it ranked top in two categories and reasonably well in others. It had a perfect flow rate score and also one of the highest hot water temperatures.
For hot water, heating times are slightly longer than other machines but the single draw capacity (dispensing of all hot water) was good. On the other hand, the cold water capacity was slightly less than best.. Whereas top performing machines like the Frigidaire EFWC519 can produce 200 fl.oz. (6 L) per hour or enough for 20 people, the Avalon A4 puts out around 183 fl. oz. (5.4 L) or enough for 18 people.
Design wise, we thought the drip tray attached to the cabinet door was not so good. However, the red water float is a useful feature. The button traction is similarly good to other Avalon models and the water spouts are easy to clean.
Things We Like
- Hot water temperature
- Perfect flow rate score
- Night light
- Sanitary nozzle design
- Drip tray level float
Things We Don’t Like
- Drip tray attached to door
- Cold water tank cleaning
The Avalon A4 is a bottom loading water cooler dispenser. It has similar features to other Avalon machines such as the button and spout design and its proprietary bacteria resistant plastic film. This basic bottom loader doesn’t come with premium sanitary features such as ozone or UV, but it does have a night light.
Avalon A4 Water Cooler Dispenser Performance
The Avalon A4 bottom loading water dispenser hit the top of the charts in a number of tests we ran. For hot water, it measured one of the highest constant flow temperatures, and also had a perfect flow rate score. On the downside, the hot water heating took longer than average, but the single draw capacity was enough for three cups.
In comparison, the cold water performance was good, but fell a little short scoring 9/10. It produced 183 fl. oz. (5.4 L) per hour of chilled water taken at regular intervals which is good enough for a work group of 18 people.
Whether the Avalon A4 is the best water cooler dispenser for an office depends on the cold water capacity. That, and whether you feel a machine with a self cleaning ozone feature would be better.
8.7Hot Water Test
For the Avalon A4 bottom loading water dispenser, the hot water test scores were a mixed bag. We were very happy with the overall results, but you will need to decide if it’s the right machine for you.
Heating Time Longer Than Average (6.5 / 35%)
The Avalon A4 took 3 min 06 sec to heat 8.5 fl.oz. or 250 ml of water. This was 10 seconds longer than the similar Avalon A5 with a POU filter. The difference is not that much, but at the same time it’s still 30 to 40 seconds slower than other brands we tested. However, the temperature was slightly above the top benchmark for which it was also penalized.
Ample Capacity for Back-to-Back Drinks
The Avalon A4 dispenses 27.3 fl.oz. (807 ml) in a single draw before the tank refills and reheats. That’s enough water for three decent-sized hot drinks. The machine took 9 min 19 sec on average to refill and reheat between back-to-back draws.
In one hour, it can produce up to 162 fl. oz. (4.8 L) of hot water taken back-to-back or in a single draw. Considering the longer than average heating time, this is not as good as other Avalon machines.
Temperature Higher Than Most (9.75 / 45%)
For our temperature test, we record the highest constant flow temperature until a drop of 3℃ in temperature. With almost no fluctuation, the Avalon produced a steady stream measuring 199 ℉ (92.8℃).
This temperature pushed the limit of 200 ℉, above which is not the safest for the enclosed tank design. Our benchmark is 198 ℉ (92.2℃)—which is the best standard— so we penalized this Avalon slightly on the higher (by 1℉) temperature.
Flow Rate a Perfect Hit (10 / 20%)
The Avalon A4 also clocked a perfect flow rate of 1.15 fl. oz. (34 ml) / sec in our flow rate test. Water dispenses speedily and efficiently which makes it a really nice machine for heavy use. If you’re upgrading from an older or lower performing machine, it’s best to take care with the hot water until you get accustomed to the flow rate.
9.0Cold Water Test
While the hot water test results had some pros and cons, the cold water scored slightly below our top ranking machines. The Avalon A4 scored 9/10 meaning its serving capacity is below the optimal of 200 fl. oz. (6 L) per hour serving only 183 fl.oz. (5.4 L). This is good enough though for a working group of around 18 people.
During our tests, the Avalon never dropped below the benchmark temperature of 50‒54 ℉ (10‒12℃) maintaining performance levels under pressure. This matched to a perfect flow rate score, comfortable traction of the dispensing buttons, and ample room on the drip tray.
Avalon A4 Bottom Loading Design
If you like the all-black look, the additional design features of the Avalon A4 will also hit the spot. The build quality and materials used are a high standard throughout. The dispensing positions are clearly labeled with white cup icons and the buttons are color-coded.
For those below the height of the machine, such as in a wheelchair, you have to go by the positioning of the working indicators to know that hot water is on the left. This is a minor issue since all water cooler dispensers will have hot water to the left and cold to the right.
The only design feature we did not like, is how the drip tray is attached to the door and not the body, and there is no pocket handle on the side.
Avalon A4 Bottom Loading Water Cooler In the Box
- Attached bottle probe
- User manual & pamphlets
The machine came boxed with the drip tray unattached and wrapped in plastic. The bottle cap with a water straw was attached to the pump and wrapped in protective plastic. There is no water bottle included.
The manual is in English, Spanish, and French . There are clear and detailed instructions. Included are toll-free support (1-800), email support, livechat, and homepage address. Troubleshooting and safety instructions are included.
There are various information cards such as warranty, product registration, and a large ‘Quick Start Guide’ sticker. Accessories you can purchase include a 10-inch base extender to raise the height, and an all inclusive cleaning kit with 220 g citric acid, mini screwdriver, disinfectant wipes, stirrer, gloves, and scrubbing sponge.
The sides of the machine are black colored metal sheeting with ventilation slits on the side. Other surfaces are all a type of plastic or PVC including the front panel, the door, and the base. The back of the machine has a metal grate with smooth and rounded edges.
We did, however, feel the shiny black color of the plastic gives the machine a more ‘budget look’. The plastic tends to scratch easily and fingerprints are prone to stick. The cabinet door plastic lacks a quality feel despite the silver coloring.
9.0Panel and Indicators
The white icons indicating dispensing points are easy to see set against the dark black panel. This is a nice feature for younger children or the visually impaired.
The power indicator displays amber color when the machine is on, and the hot and cold water indicators only light up when the heating or cooling are taking place. When the bottle light is red, it indicates the pump is working or the water bottle needs replacing.
During our tests, the indicators all worked perfectly. You should, however, wait for the red bottle light to go off before you switch on either the hot or cold water tanks.
8.0Water Inlet Controls
Since the Avalon A4 is a bottom loading water cooler dispenser, it comes with a bottle cap and water straw or bottle probe. The cap is an expandable plastic clip design with a silicone elastic band so it fits a variety of bottle neck designs.
The cap diameter is 2.6 in. (6.5 cm) and the water probe is triple bent stainless steel some 17.3 in. (44 cm) in length. The probe can be adjusted to small 3-gallon bottles and is designed to reach the edges of the bottle.
The water tubing and joinings are well-made and secure. It’s fairly generic and similar to other machines, except that the water pump is attached to a rubber bracket (not plastic) for reduced wear and tear from vibrations.
The Avalon A4 dispenses room temperature water in addition to hot and cold. There are three buttons mounted on the top of the machine. The hot button has a clearly visible red safety mechanism.
The three nozzles are molded in the ceiling of the dispensing panel. They are difficult to see, but clearly marked with the white cup icons.
They are black with color-coded lines — red for hot, aqua-blue for room temperature water, and dark-blue for cold with additional print labeling behind each.
The drip tray is made from a thick plastic and the cover is likewise unbendable. The most appreciated feature is the red level float that alerts you to empty the tray. The red contrasts to the dark black color which makes unsightly water difficult to see.
To remove the tray you tug it forward since there’s a clip design on the sides. Although it fits securely and is unlikely to fall out, it can be tugged loose by a young child or if you open the cabinet door by pulling on the trip tray.
The size of the drip tray is quite accommodating to larger mugs and flasks.
There are three switches at the back of the machine. They are color-coded with white rims, and On / Off markers making them easy to read. There’s an additional sticker with print labeling for each switch. The switches don’t have any back light when on.
Door and Cabinet
As mentioned, one should avoid opening the cabinet door by pulling on the attached drip tray. There is no side pocket handle to open the door, but we found the best way is to open it from the bottom, hooking your fingers into the space below.
The press switch worked fine and the pump switched off everytime the door was opened. The hook on the cabinet door is also very handy for hanging the bottle cap and water probe while you switch bottles.
Avalon A4 Bottom Loading Water Cooler Cord and Plug
Like quite a number of water cooler dispensers, the cord protrudes on the right about two thirds of the length up. It’s a suitable height for both a wall power point and a ground powerpoint near the ground if not too far away.
Avalon A4 Bottom Load Water Cooler Ease of Use
The Avalon A4 is smooth to operate from the ease of dispensing water, to the design of the dispensing buttons, the hot water safety mechanism, and fast bottle changing.
Daily sanitation is quite simple whereas periodic descaling, like any water cooler dispenser, takes a little effort. In particular, we liked how easy it was to clean between the buttons and the hygienic design of the water spouts.
This machine doesn’t run UV or Ozone, but we provide some tips on how to keep the spouts clean in between periodic descalings.
In our tests, the Avalon A4 had a perfect score for hot water flow rate. We did find, however, the flow rate for normal or room temperature water is considerably slower than both hot and cold.
Regardless, the buttons have good traction and are well-sized. They do make a bit of a sound when pushed and released, but it’s not at all clunky.
We liked how a standard cup or larger flask can easily fit on the drip tray, and the water does not splash.
8.0Hot Water Safety
The hot water safety mechanism works by sliding a lever mounted on the hot water button and then pushing down. It was easy to operate with one finger and the touch to the skin was not uncomfortable.
If you were accustomed to a different water cooler dispenser before purchasing this Avalon A4, we would urge caution with the hot water. The flow rate is not an issue, nor does the water splash, but your cup may fill comparatively faster.
7.0Bottle / Filter Changing
Most bottom loading water cooler dispensers will have an empty bottle alert to let you know the water has run out. For this, the indicator on the Avalon A4 worked fine.
Changing the bottle on a bottom loader simply entails removing the bottle probe, shifting the new bottle into place, reinserting the probe, and closing the door. There’s a press switch that automatically switches off the pump when the door opens.
This worked flawlessly with the Avalon A4, but there were a couple of things to note. The drip tray is part of the door and not attached to the main body and you should not open the door by pulling on the drip tray. You have to grip the lower part of the door and open it that way.
We appreciated the three-bended and more efficient design of the water probe. The bottle cap is a somewhat flexible plastic seen with most dispensers, however, silicone is a better material for fitting all bottle sizes.
This Avalon A4, like similar Avalon machines, utilizes a ‘bacteria resistant’ plastic coating (Bioguard ™) for the front panel and the dispensing booth. The front panel is prone to catching fingerprints but the sides and door not so much.
It’s enough to wipe the panel once a day to maintain a clean look. Additionally, the drip tray has a red level float that alerts you to clean out the water if you happen to forget.
The best sanitary design feature is the water spouts. Each spout is molded firmly into the panel ceiling and it’s extremely easy to wipe around.
Unlike the Avalon A5 and also the Avalon A8, this machine does not have an ozone cleansing feature. The water spouts and lines should therefore be sanitized every four to six months during periodic descaling. One trick is to use a cotton Q-tip to clean around and a little inside the spouts.
When opening up to the top of the machine to access the cold water tank, you should take careful note of the assembled tank parts. There’s a kind of adapter to channel water into the baffle separator, and you should align this correctly after cleaning the tank. The manual provides clear and detailed instructions for cleaning.
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.