The Igloo bottled water cooler dispenser is a small countertop machine. It’s able to serve around 15 people per hour with perfectly chilled cold water (52‒54℉). The hot water capacity is reasonably good compared to even larger machines. It’s lower temperature of 185℉ is sometimes preferred to the upper standard of 198℉.
The main disappointment, however, was the slow flow rate. Additionally, the buttons are not the best design nor quality.
For these reasons, the Igloo may or may not be a good fit for a small office water cooler dispenser. It is, however, not a bad choice for a personal water cooler dispenser, especially for a studio apartment or a dorm room.
Things We Like
- Heating time
- Simple panel design
- Adjustable feet
Things We Don’t Like
- Slow flow rate
- Hot water safety
- Water baffle
- Drip tray
- No pocket handles
Igloo has been a name in home refrigerators since 1947. Their products range from compact to full-sized refrigerators, wine coolers, water coolers, and ice makers. They have a number of water cooler dispensers but this countertop model stands out among their mostly larger freestanding dispensers.
Where to Buy? Price at publication $124.73
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The Igloo produced quite mixed results with its hot water performance. It scored zero for the slow flow rate, but this is hardly the top consideration for a budget-class machine. Its working temperature is a lower 185 ℉ rather than the upper 198 ℉. The heating time was fast, partly due to the lower temperature, and the capacity was pretty decent.
5.8Hot Water Test
In our hot water test, the Igloo didn’t fail to impress in at least one way—the heating time was one of the fastest. However, the temperature was also one of the lowest we recorded. The capacity was fairly good, but the flow rate was slow. As such, this budget machine is likely to only satisfy basic needs.
Heating Time Pretty Fast (10 / 35%)
The Igloo took roughly 1 min 57 sec to heat 250 ml of water, but at the same time, the temperature only reached 185 ℉ (85℃). It certainly kept us on our toes while testing, but the overall test results were comparatively poor.
Temperature Lower Average (5 / 45%)
As mentioned, the Igloo’s maximum hot water temperature is only 185 ℉ (85℃) and similar to the Euhomy dispenser. This temperature is good enough for instant coffee, hot chocolate, and delicate teas. It’s not such a suitable temperature for pour-over coffee bags or regular English tea. If you don’t need piping hot water, and all other things considered, this budget machine may or may not be the one for you.
Serving Capacity Quite Good
On the upside, the Igloo did manage to produce 21.5 fl. oz. (635 ml) in our single draw tests which measured the complete water draw until the tank light switched on. That’s a good amount of water all considered. Basically, you can get around 210 fl. oz. or 6.2 L per hour. Once again, a good number excluding the temperature, and the slow flow rate!
Flow Rate Rather Dismal (0 / 20%)
Although the Igloo impressed with its ready-to-go status, it disappointed with the press of a button. The flow rate of 12 ml/sec was about the slowest we recorded. Dispensing hot water, therefore, requires some patience.
Since this is a budget machine, we didn’t expect an all-round perfect performance. However, the flow rate was unable to notch up even one point on our scoring scale. Other budget machines, like the top loading Cosway, have a similar low flow rate.
4.5Cold Water Test
Although we encountered some build quality issues, for the price and quality, the cold water test performance was quite acceptable.
Cooling times are a little slow and we found it took around 35 minutes to recalibrate the machine to its low of 46 ℉—or the green cooling light to switch off. Basically, you can get a nice chilled glass (8.5 fl.oz.) of water every 8 minutes. That works out to around 78 fl. oz. (2.3 L) per hour or enough for 15 people.
This countertop Igloo is a worthwhile budget choice for a small personal water cooler dispenser. Since it doesn’t have a power status light, it may suit a dorm room or a studio apartment.
The Igloo hot and cold water dispenser is quite an eye-catching machine. Its pure white color and neat push buttons stand out. On closer inspection, a number of features such as the buttons, drip tray, and drainage plug show their flaws.
We liked the clean panel design and the nice buttons at the rear. Also, this is one of the few water cooler dispensers we found to have adjustable legs. The overall quality and performance, while acceptable for the price, were not outstanding.
In the Box
- Machine unit
- Detachable drip tray
- User manual
The Igloo bottled water cooler dispenser came nicely boxed and the box also illustrated the product. Included was also the user manual in English, Spanish, and French. The drip tray was separate and wrapped in protective plastic.
The sides of the Igloo bottled water cooler dispenser are metal plated with ventilation slats. However, the plastic front panel and roof are comparatively lower quality. Also, on this machine, the joining between the side panels and the front panel was not perfect.
The rear has a double-plied metal grate to ensure space for cooling. As mentioned, it’s rather sharp at the bottom so you should lift the machine from the sides.
On a high note, the Igloo has adjustable feet stabilizing on an uneven surface. This is something we have not encountered so often on other water cooler dispenser designs. We also like that the bottom of the machine is a solid metal plate and not plastic.
Overall, the build quality of the body is not too bad for the price. It’s more that the button design, slow flow rate, and dispensing area could be better.
7.2Panel & Indicators
The panel design is quite basic and we liked that it avoids the generic look. There are clear elongated vertical indicators directly over the hot and cold dispensing points. The additional cup icons are an original design and easy to understand.
There is no indicator for the position of normal water except for the middle area of the drip tray. Some people may like this minimalist design. Additionally, with no power indicator to light up the night, this machine is a good fit for a dorm room or studio apartment.
6.5Water Inlet Controls
The water guard appears to be a generic part as we have encountered an identical design on similar low-priced water cooler dispensers. The water guard comes off easily and is well-made. The baffle, however, is a bit shoddy and also difficult to remove and replace. The Igloo bottled water cooler dispenser overall tends to cut corners where quality really matters.
The buttons are a good size but they are a little stiff and also somewhat noisy when pressing down. While the flush design looks neat, we found cleaning in between can be a hassle. The nozzles, although a basic plastic design, are good enough for the price of the machine. We discuss these more in ‘Ease of Use’.
The drip tray is a durable and hard plastic. It’s completely childproof and can only be removed by lifting up and pulling forward.
The tray is quite narrow which is not uncommon for countertop machines, especially ones with paddle levers. However, for a more spacious button design, there’s not much room for resting a mug cup on the drip tray.
The openness and white color of the cover make the water easy to see, but at the same time somewhat unsightly. Although functional and unlikely to break, the drip tray quality matches the price of the machine.
The switches are good quality and color-coded red and green. They are not the usual generic design and add a little distinction to the machine. The switches illuminate when on and the labeling is clear.
Door and Cabinet
Cord and Plug
The cord is relatively long for the size of the machine and it is about 2 inches well above the drainage port. The plug is also standard for a water cooler dispenser.
6.1Ease of Use
Although the Igloo bottled water cooler dispenser is a budget choice for a countertop machine, the only thing that measured up to easy use was changing the bottle.
The stiffness of the buttons, the poor design of the hot water safety mechanism, and the slow flow rate made dispensing with ease below par.
While day-to-day cleaning was easy with minimal fingerprinting, periodic descaling had its challenges. The main being the poor design of the water baffle, difficulty in moving the machine, and the drainage port design.
There were a number of features that detracted from easy and comfortable dispensing. The first was the slow flow rate which made dispensing water a little tedious.
Added to this, the hot water safety mechanism was cumbersome and felt rough and uncomfortable to touch. The buttons were also relatively noisy to operate and the traction was a little stiff.
A minor factor was the small drip tray and narrow dispensing space. This is not so uncommon for smaller countertop designs. For a roomier push-button machine, resting a cup or tumbler on the tray while dispensing requires caution.
6.0Hot Water Safety
The design of the hot water safety mechanism appears standard for a button dispensing machine. However, the red lever was difficult to slide across unless you pushed from behind. Furthermore, the button pressed down at an uneven angle and the stiff traction didn’t help either. The design, at least, is functional.
7.5Bottle / Filter Changing
Changing the bottle on the Igloo is much the same as any other top-loading water cooler dispenser. The only thing that made it easier is that a countertop dispenser is at a more comfortable height. A five-liter bottle fitted quite securely since the machine itself is comparatively a little larger and heavier compared to other countertop models.
Nozzle cleaning is a bonus with any button-type dispenser, including this Igloo. They are easy to wipe around and you can clean inside with a cotton Q-tip. However, the buttons have a flush design so it was not so easy to clean in between them.
A major drawback was the difficulty in moving the machine. There are no side pockets so you have to grip and lift by sliding your fingers under the base. The bottom of the rear metal grate is somewhat sharp. Therefore, you should move the machine lifting from the side if moving to a sink edge for drainage.
The drainage plug does have a rubber stopper, so as soon as it is released even a little, water will start coming out. The material quality and design are equally poor. A significant amount of water still remains after draining, so you should flush this out of the spouts before cleaning.
Although a minor concern, we felt the water guard came off a little too easily. The water baffle is also cheaply made, difficult to remove, and rather troublesome to fit back into place.
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.