Water Cooler vs Water Filter vs Tap Water — Comparing Workplace Hydration Solutions

tap water v bottled water v water filter

Drinking enough water each day is essential to keep our minds and bodies functioning properly. Considering the human body is made up of roughly 60% water while the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, per the United States Geological Survey, it’s clear why hydration has such a considerable impact on our everyday lives — and the workplace is no exception. 

Because of this, organizations are continuously in search of drinking water solutions that can adequately support the hydration and health of their employees, guests, and customers while ensuring their time and resources are being spent wisely. But, with the variety of hydration options available to workplaces today, it can be daunting to determine the option that’s the best fit for your organization’s unique needs. 

Read on to learn more about the top drinking water solutions to consider and how your workplace can introduce a water system that will drive hydration, health, and productivity moving forward. 

The Importance of a High-Quality Workplace Water Supply

Before evaluating the different water options, it’s essential for employers and organizations to understand just how integral their water supply can be. Forbes reports 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration, meaning the majority of individuals across the country aren’t consuming a sufficient amount of water on a daily basis. More than this, research from Quench shows that only 23% of workers are drinking enough water throughout the workday. Individuals cite their main barriers to hydration at work as:

  • Lacking enough time to get water (36%)
  • Having to pay for water at work (24%)
  • Disliking the taste of water at work (22%)

Why does this matter? Dehydration, even at small hydration deficits, has negative impacts on your workforce — and as a result, your productivity, efficiency, and bottom line. According to Workplace Testing, dehydration on the job leads to:

  • Headaches
  • Decreased blood volume and its associated problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Decreased physical performance
  • Lower levels of productivity

Overall, helping employees drink enough water at work will be a linchpin in supporting their health and improving their daily performance, which will be fundamental to driving business results long term. With this in mind, we’re taking a closer look at hydration solutions that can help take your workplace water quality and, as a result, hydration to the next level while putting the least strain on your team members and business along the way. 

The Main Differences Between Tap Water, Bottled Water, and Bottleless Filtered Water Solutions

Tap Water Solutions

Tap water is water supplied through a tap, also known as a water dispenser valve, and comes primarily from 3 sources — lakes, rivers, and groundwater. This municipal water source is then treated to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Standards so individuals across the country have access to clean water when needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that public drinking water systems use different water treatment methods to achieve this, leveraging a series of treatment steps including:

  • Coagulation
  • Flocculation
  • Sedimentation
  • Filtration
  • Disinfection


Image Courtesy of EPA

At first glance, providing filtered tap water can seem like a tempting option for workplaces as this is a cost-effective choice. However, water treatment and distribution systems aren’t perfect, meaning while tap water is generally safe to drink, it might not be as clean as you would assume. In fact, the New York Times reports that about one-quarter of U.S. residents receive their drinking water from sources that violate the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Standards (most are in low-income, rural areas). Even if water is considered safe for consumption after leaving a treatment plant, pipes in aging distribution systems can contaminate it. 

Bottled Water Coolers

A bottled water cooler, on the other hand, is likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an “office water cooler.” This hydration solution involves the frequent water delivery of hefty gallon jugs to make sure your employees, guests, and customers can maintain hydration throughout the day. While this traditional water cooler option has served as a sufficient way to offer water at work over the years, workplaces can experience several issues in the process. 

When it comes to 5-gallon water jugs and bottled water delivery, the top challenges to consider include:

  • Delivery management: Team members are needed to arrange and supervise bottled water delivery, distracting them from valuable tasks and projects for your business.
  • Frequent cleaning needs: The dispenser hosting your plastic bottle requires frequent cleaning to help employees avoid coming into contact with harmful contaminants and avoid cross-contamination. 
  • Workplace safety risks: Large gallon jugs necessitate continuous heavy lifting, which can pose significant safety risks. 
  • The loss of valuable space: A bottled water cooler typically leads to the inefficient use of space as organizations try to find a suitable place for those heavy water bottles. 
  • Environmental ramifications: Plastic water jugs inevitably result in considerable environmental repercussions from bulk water deliveries — including plastic waste and high carbon emissions.

Bottleless Coolers and Water Filtration 

An increasingly popular option for workplaces in pursuit of a great-tasting and highly-supportive water supply is a bottleless water cooler with a filtration system. A bottleless, point-of-use (POU) dispenser is plumbed into your building’s existing water supply to offer drinking water on demand. And, when combined with a powerful water filtration system, organizations can rest assured that they not only have access to an endless supply of water as needed, but also purified water that they can trust. 

As the water is pulled into the system, it passes through several stages of filtration — often including reverse osmosis and/or carbon filtration to achieve the best results. Once the water is clean of harmful contaminants, users can then enjoy freshly-filtered, great-tasting water. This drinking water solution is also significantly more beneficial for the environment. Organizations that make the switch are responsible for the emission of 95% fewer tons of CO2 and keep 7,000 plastic bottles or 150 5-gallon water jugs out of the environment every year. 

Overall, a bottleless water cooler can offer your organization:

  • Enhanced safety and convenience
  • Self-cleaning capabilities
  • Touchless options
  • Space-efficiency
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Improved sustainability

The Winner? Clean, Great-tasting, and Sustainable Drinking Water

With the features, advantages, and disadvantages of the different drinking water solutions in mind, the winner is clear — bottleless water dispensers take the cake! These workplace water coolers are ultimately designed to help organizations avoid the challenges associated with tap water and bottled water solutions while providing a cleaner, tastier, and more eco-friendly result. 

Working with a reliable water service provider like Quench makes this option even more appealing with:

  • Access to quenchWATER+: quenchWATER+ is our Quench-branded, mineral-infused, and electrolyte-enhanced alkaline water. It’s produced using cutting-edge filtration technology to remove sediments, contaminants, and bad tastes while adding minerals and electrolytes to create alkaline water for optimum hydration.
  • Added sanitization features: A majority of our bottleless coolers also offer added peace of mind for customers in the form of UV technology and built-in antimicrobial protection. 
  • Various cooler options to consider: With Quench, your organization has a host of beverage options to choose from. Our range of bottleless coolers includes options that offer hot and cold water along with ambient choices. Moreover, your organization can consider sparkling water units or machines with ice-making capabilities. 

By taking your water supply to the next level, your business can enjoy:

  • Improved hydration across your workforce
  • Healthier and happier employees long term
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increased energy levels in your teams
  • Enhanced cognitive performance
  • Greater operational efficiency and productivity 

Find the Bottleless Dispenser That Suits Your Business Needs With Quench

Not only are your organization’s workplace water needs unique, but these requirements also vary by industry and region. While this can make it seem difficult to find the ideal bottleless dispenser for your business, Quench is here to help you get it right. 

How can we help?

Quench Water Experts, with in-depth knowledge of water conditions across the country, are here to analyze your local drinking water and customize a filtration solution to ensure your office drinking water is clean and great tasting. They also consider your workplace size, and the number of anticipated users, to select an option that fits your needs. Moreover, one of our expert technicians will meet with you to determine the perfect location for your new Quench machine — promptly installing your system without disrupting your business or workplace decor.

Explore our range of bottleless water coolers, including countertop and freestanding options, and try our product finder to discover the beverage machine that suits your requirements. If your workplace is ready to make the switch to a bottleless hydration solution, get a free quote today.