Most water filter dispensers provide anywhere from 1 gallon to about 8 gallons of filtered drinking water.
Any dispenser that holds less than a gallon is considered a water filter pitcher.
Unlike water coolers, which use purchased bottled water and normally do not filter water, the type of water systems we are reviewing on this page are the ones that use filtration media and other purification technology.
Water dispensers are portable and can be used with most tap water, well water, and potable water. Thus, they can be also used for camping and RVs.
In general, these systems do not filter as well as other drinking water filters, such as faucet mounted filters, countertop filters, and under sink water filters.
However, we have found some water dispensers that are exceptional in their degree of filtration and ease of use comparable to the other drinking water filters used in the home.
In addition, the Berkey filters offer exceptional advantages over the other drinking water filters because they can purify contaminated water and thus provide a source of emergency drinking water for your family in the event of a natural disaster or crisis.
Prices for these systems range anywhere from about $25 to $300, depending on their size and degree of filtration.
Current retail prices are listed, but our online discounts are often up to 25% off, so be sure to click the link to check current sale price.
All of the water filter dispensers we recommend are either stainless steel or BPA-free plastic and are either NSF certified or are at least tested against NSF/ANSI standards and have excellent customer reviews.
Berkey Water Filters
The Berkey water filter systems are in a class of their own in terms of filtration, purification and reliability.
These water systems are used worldwide since they not only filter water, but they are also classified as water purifiers.
This means that owning one of these filters will give you the ability to use almost any natural water source to produce purified, great tasting water, without the use of chemicals or electricity.
The portable, Travel Berkey filter can be used to even filter non-potable water in places or conditions where water pressure and electricity are not available.
As far as we are concerned, this is one area where the Berkey systems outshine the drinking water systems since it means the travel Berkey can also be used as an emergency water purification system.
In addition to the water purification benefits, the Berkey filters reduce toxic heavy metals such as lead and mercury without removing the beneficial minerals that are essential for proper hydration, as well as for a healthy mind and body.
The Big Berkey is the most popular Berkey model and is used around the world by many international relief organizations to provide emergency drinking water to people during natural disasters or crisis situations.
There are currently 6 different Berkey water filter systems that offer water storage from 1.5 gallons (the Travel Berkey) to 6 gallons (the Crown Berkey).
Most of the dispensers are made of stainless steel with the exception of the Berkey Light, which is a BPA-free, food-grade, co-polyester container.
Each Berkey system comes with 2 purifier filters which will produce approximately 6000 gallons of drinking water before needing to be replaced.
These filters far exceed the filtering life of other water filter dispensers.
Retail price: $220 to $325.
Zen Water Filters
The Zen water filter dispenser uses an 8-stage filtration system that is highly effective and produces water that is designed to mimic mountain fresh spring water.
What is uncommon about this filtering dispenser is that the system not only filters and purifies water, but it mineralizes, alkalinizes and magnetizes the water.
The Zen system has a micro-ceramic filter which removes up to 99% bacteria and parasites, as well as reducing the amount of toxic chemicals, including herbicides, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.
It has a 5-stage mineral filter with activated carbon that eliminates any remaining bad taste or odor.
The system also uses far-infrared balls, which help to ionize and activate water molecules so that they water becomes much more absorptive in living things. Natural spring water and glacial melt water also have this activated water quality.
The mineralization comes from silica sand in the filtration which neutralizes water acidity, and silica is also known to aid in strengthening connective tissues in the body such as ligaments, arteries and tendons. It also helps to strengthen hair and nails.
Natural zeolite captures particulates down to 4 microns in size and has a negative charge, which gives it the ability to adsorb heavy metals and radioactive elements.
The Zen water filter dispenser is BPA-free and requires no plumbing or electricity. The system is lightweight and portable but is not recommended for use with un-potable water.
The top holding tank is 1.5 gallon and the bottom storage tank is 2.5 gallons.
The 5-stage filter is good for 500 gallons or about 6 months and the ceramic filter is good for 1,000 gallons or about 1 year, depending on usage.
Retail: $95 to $120
Zen Water Filters - 4, 6, and 8 gallon dispensers
Aquasana Powered Water Dispenser
The Aquasana powered water pitcher is unique in the water dispenser category!
It only filters 1 gallon at a time, but unlike other water pitchers, it filters water fast—literally, within seconds.
The filtration quality of this dispenser is also much higher than any other small dispenser on the market. It is the only small dispenser on the market than removes 96% of chlorine and chloramines!
In addition, independent tests have proven this filtration system also reduces (1) heavy metals like mercury and lead (2) chlorine resistant cysts like cryptosporidium and giardia, as well as (3) organic chemicals like pesticides, herbicides and Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC's).
The system comes with either a 1 gallon (16 cup) dispenser or a half-gallon (8 cup) pitcher.
Retail at: $129
This water dispenser system comes in either white or black with an added bonus of 2 FREE glass water bottles. The dispenser base comes with a power cord to plug into an electrical outlet.
Aquasana Powered Water Dispenser - 1 gallon dispenser