The Avalon A5 is a high-performance water cooler well-suited for an office environment. It flawlessly dispensed enough cold water every hour to support up to 20 people. Reheating times and the back-to-back hot water serving capacity, on the other hand, are average at best. The water nozzles and buttons are especially well-designed for sanitary upkeep and an ozone function cleans the water lines. Best of all, we loved how easy it was to set up the filtration system.
Things We Like
- Stainless steel panel
- Easy filter installation
- Cold water performance capacity
- Hot water temperature
- Flow rate
- Ozone sanitation
- Sanitary nozzle design
Things We Don’t Like
- Drip tray attached to door
- Cold water tank cleaning
The Avalon A5 is just one of Avalon’s point-of-use (POU) water cooler dispensers. POU’s, otherwise known as bottleless water cooler dispensers, use a water filtration system connected to a direct water source. This free-standing model has buttons for dispensing while the similar A7 uses levers.
Where to Buy? Price at publication $249.99
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The Avalon A5 is a bottleless water cooler dispenser that can perfectly meet the demands of a busy office. The cold water temperature and capacity are as good as it gets or 202 fl. oz. (6 L) per hour, which can serve up to 20 people. The hot water temperature also meets the upper range limit of 198 ℉ (92.2℃) and the flow rate is quite ideal too. It also consistently produced enough hot water for at least three cups of 7.4 fl. oz. (220 ml) each or 23 fl.oz. (680 ml). The added bonus is its ozone cleansing function.
9.0Hot Water Test
This Avalon A5 performed particularly well in the optimal temperature range and flow rate portions of our hot water tests. Its larger tank means longer waiting times between reheats, but it dispenses enough water for two to three back-to-back drinks.
Heating Time a Basic Average (8.4 / 35%)
Compared to other Avalon machines, this A5 model’s reheating times are midrange. The time to heat 8.5 fl. oz. (250 ml) of water is around 2 min 55 sec and 7 min 40 sec to reheat a refilled tank. This is, however, slightly faster than the bottom loading Avalon A4, while the bottless and smaller similar machine, the Avalon A8 is one of the best machines for hot water.
Temperature a Top Average (10 / 45%)
For the hot water temperature, we measured the uppermost constant temperature that the unit could maintain within a 3℃ window. The Avalon A5 was able to maintain a temperature of 198 ℉ (92.2 ℃). This is the top standard for machines in its class and the highest temperature that can be expected from a water cooler dispenser
Serving Capacity a High Average
On average, the Avalon A5 dispensed 22 fl.oz. (650 ml) of water within this optimal temperature range. The single draw serving capacity to when the heating indicator switches back on was a little more—around 23 fl.oz. or 680 ml.
That’s enough for two large hot drinks or three small disposable cups (220 ml) which is a fairly reasonable amount. Within an hour, the machines can dispense around 180 fl. oz. (5.3 L) of hot water.
Flow Rate Near Perfect (9.5 / 20%)
We measured flow rate from the point of the hot water light switching off (water ready) to when the light came on again for recalibration. The measured flow rate was 1.1 fl.oz. (33 ml) / sec —slightly faster than that advertised by the manufacturer (0.5 gal/min or 31.5 ml/sec). Our benchmark for optimal flow rate is 1.15 fl.oz. (34 ml) / sec, so the flow rate of the Avalon A5 is close to ideal.
10Cold Water Test
The Avalon A5 scored a perfect 10 in our cold water test. This ranks it as one of the best performing machines we have tested and an ideal office water cooler dispenser
Serving Capacity Up To 20 People an Hour
We calculate serving capacity according to the volume of water dispensed per hour at a base-line temperature of 50‒54℉ (10‒12°C). We measured the temperature every 3 minutes throughout the test.
The Avalon A5 can dispense 200 fl. oz. (6 L) of perfectly chilled water every hour. In other words, it puts out enough cold water to give 20 people the equivalent of a 300 ml glass of water every hour. This meets a high standard for an office water cooler dispenser and an optimal ‘span of control’.
This Avalon A5 has many design features that also appear on their other machines. However, we particularly liked the stainless steel panel, the nozzle design, the drip tray float, and the filter attachment setup. One thing we did not like is the fact that the drip tray is attached to the door — take care when opening it.
In the Box
- 1 Carbon filter
- 1 Sediment filter
- Filter rinsing head
- 2 Water line adaptors
- PE (polyethylene) tubing
- Detachable drip tray
- User manual & pamphlets
The Avalon A5 came neatly packaged with all loose parts wrapped in protective plastic. The user manual was well-produced and contains sufficient information. Included was a warranty card, customer support leaflets, a magnetic customer support info disk, and an optional sticker with maintenance instructions.
There was also a booklet detailing extras you can purchase separately such as a base stand to increase the height, a mountable cup dispenser, and a cleaning and descaling kit.
A few things stand out in terms of high build quality: the stainless steel panel, the metal sheeted sides, the nozzle design, the buttons, and the filter assembly unit. The drip tray material is of good quality, but we’re not fond of the fact that it’s attached to the door. Additionally, there is no convenient pocket handle on the side, so the best way to open the door is from the bottom.
9.0Panel & Indicators
The panel icons are comparatively standard-sized, although we feel they could be larger and spaced a little further apart. The cup icons indicating the dispensing locations are useful since it’s difficult to see the black nozzles themselves. Additional indicators are labeled appropriately as Self Cleaning and Filter.
When the ozone function is running, the Power indicator will flash. The Filter indicator will light up when the filter needs to be changed. Additionally, if the Heating, Cooling, and Filter indicators all blink together, there may be a water leak and the tanks will automatically switch off.
8.0Water Inlet Controls
The filtration system comes with the bracket and filter heads already installed. Once you have flushed the first filters with water, you insert them into their respective slots. At the rear of the machine, 8.5 cm from the ground, is the inlet for the water line. At 21 cm from the ground is a filter drainage port with a protective screw cap.
All parts and adaptors for the water line connection are included, but you need a few tools of your own to assemble them.
The area containing the cold water tank is somewhat cramped, making it difficult to clean inside the tank. However, the water baffle is well-made and easy to remove and reinsert.
The Avalon A5 has three color-coded output buttons mounted on the top of the machine. The buttons scored high in our Water Dispensing and Cleaning categories under Ease of Use. Other freestanding machines like the Avalon A4 have exactly the same button and drip tray designs.
We liked the build quality of the drip tray and especially the red float that lets you know when to empty it. You can also rest cups or mugs on the tray while dispensing water. The only thing we didn’t like is the fact that the tray is attached to the cabinet door rather than the tower itself. The fit is secure, but if you pull on the drip tray to open the cabinet door, the tray can easily slip out.
The tank switches are color-coded and labeled with their function. O indicates OFF while a single line indicates ON. All buttons are easy to operate with a single hand over the top of the machine. The nightlight is not automatic and remains on once you flip the switch. To run the ozone function, you hold the button down for 5 seconds or until the power indicator starts flashing.
Door and Cabinet
Since the drip tray is attached to the door, and there is no pocket handle on the side, the best way to open the cabinet is from the bottom. There’s a hook inside where you can hang any extra PE tubing. On the left side of the ceiling you’ll see the Filter Reset button. The filter bracket and attachments come fully installed. There’s a water collection pool on the bottom with an additional drainage plug, but we never experienced any leakage.
Cord & Plug
The plug and cable length is comparable to other Avalon machines. This machine requires a grounded connection using a three pronged plug.
8.3Ease of Use
The Avalon A5 is an all-round easy-to-use machine. Some people may feel uncertain, as we did, about installing a water filtration system. However, we were relieved by how easy and intuitive the machine was to set up.
Dispensing water was effortless and comfortable, as was cleaning. The Ozone function is also a top sell since you can keep the water lines and spouts well-sanitized and perfectly clean in between periodic descalings.
At first touch, we thought the buttons were a little loose, but they functioned well. The buttons were easy to press, well-sized, and didn’t make odd noises. We also liked how you can place a cup or tumbler on the drip tray while dispensing. The drip tray is spacious and water doesn’t splash when dispensing.
8.0Hot Water Safety
Poorly designed hot-water safety mechanisms can be deal breakers with water cooler dispensers. However, we like the Avalon lever design—you slide a lever mounted on the button and then push down. It was effective, easy to operate with one finger, and wasn’t uncomfortable to touch.
8.0Bottle / Filter Changing
Filters generally need to be changed every 6 months or after 1,500 gallons (5,678 L). The panel’s filter light will flash to remind you to do this.
Changing simply means inserting the new filters into the bracket heads and twisting to lock. Of course, the water inlet main should be turned off to do this. Then, after turning the water back on, you have to flush the filters by dispensing water through the nozzles for at least two minutes.
Alternatively, you can remove the water line at the back of the machine and insert it into the separate flush filter head once the new filter is attached. Then, you just clip the filters into place and flush for 30 seconds through the nozzles.
Before you close the door, you should press and hold the Filter Reset button until the alert light goes off.
In our opinion, the Avalon A5’s best-designed features are the water nozzles. They’re molded into the top of the panel overhead and are easy to wipe clean and disinfect. The buttons are likewise well-spaced and the area around them is easy to clean.
The addition of an ozone function means you can maintain a perfect sanitation standard. Ozone injection is not automatic and you should manually run it once a week. Do not dispense water for 90 minutes afterwards.
The Avalon A5’s smart-looking stainless steel panel is a grade above the common plastic design. The stainless steel is also relatively fingerprint-proof, so it’s easy to keep it looking clean.
The black-colored dispensing booth does pick up some fingerprints, but they’re easy to wipe off. Many Avalons, including this A5, use a Biogaurd™ bacteria-resistant film.
As for periodic descaling, the accessible interior is rather cramped and there’s not much space to reach inside the tank for cleaning. Just make a mental note of the setup before you proceed so you can reassemble it more easily.
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.