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Water Fountains vs Bottled Water Dispensers: Which One Is Better for the Office?

Hydration in the workplace is paramount for productivity and overall well-being. So, to provide access to clean drinking water, offices often deliberate between two primary options: water fountains and bottled water dispensers.

We will present a comparison between water fountains and bottled water dispensers to determine which option is best for office environments.

What is the Difference Between a Water Fountain and a Bottled Water Dispenser?

A water fountain may describe a number of different water dispensers. More often than not, it describes a plumbed-in water cooler in which the source of water is from your mains water. The fountain may be filtered or cooled by the device and can instantly produce drinking water.

On the other hand, a bottled water dispenser is not connected to the mains water supply. It is a freestanding device with a large, 13-litre or 19-litre bottle of spring water. They may have hot or cold water dispensers and may need to be plugged in to cool or heat the bottled water.


When considering the financial aspect, one must weigh the initial investment required for both water fountains and bottled water. There are two aspects to consider for the cost-effectiveness of each type of water dispenser:

  • Installation costs
  • Ongoing costs


While water fountain installation may incur upfront costs for plumbing and equipment, it tends to offer a more economical long-term solution compared to continuously purchasing bottled water for your dispenser.

A bottled water dispenser can be as simple as purchasing it, and then plugging the dispenser in when it arrives. Whereas a water fountain will need to be plumbed into your mains water supply. Therefore, you will require a specialist to plumb in your fountain. You may even be restricted on where you can install the fountain otherwise the cost of installing water pipes could increase.


Both a bottled water dispenser and a water fountain require regular servicing and maintenance to keep your water clean and fresh. However, with bottled water, you may need to sign up for an ongoing water delivery service.

If your office does not require a permanent water fountain, you can sign up to rent a water dispenser. This service would add to your ongoing costs.

The Environmental Impact

The environmental implications of the chosen water provision method are significant. Bottled water contributes to plastic pollution, with millions of tons of plastic bottles ending up in landfills or oceans annually. Additionally, the carbon footprint associated with the manufacturing, transportation, and disposal of bottled water is considerably higher compared to the minimal energy consumption of water fountains.

At Drinkworks we are well aware of the environmental impact of plastic on the world. So, any business that uses our bottled water delivery service in London, will get every bottle cleaned and reused up to 20 times before it is recycled. This way, businesses will ensure their environmental goals whilst getting fresh, clean spring water.

Health Considerations

Water quality is a crucial aspect to consider, especially concerning the health and well-being of employees.

Water fountains are typically connected to a main water supply, and subject to regular testing and regulation, ensuring consistent quality. However, if your main water supply is hard or soft water, the filtration system on the fountain may need to be serviced more regularly, or replaced.

On the other hand, the quality of bottled water is often from the same water source, if you use the same provider. Spring water is better tasting and is not heavily treated before being consumed by workers.

Overall, consuming water from either a bottled or mains source will have benefits for hydration, health and vitality.

Workplace Culture and Convenience

Accessibility plays a pivotal role in promoting hydration among employees. Water fountains offer a convenient and readily available water source, encouraging regular intake throughout the workday.

A water fountain may not be able to be placed anywhere in the office, therefore, it could be installed in an inconvenient location for some employees. Whereas, a bottled water dispenser can be placed anywhere with a power supply.

However, there is no legal requirement to conveniently place a drinking water supply for employees in the UK. It only has to be accessible.

Workplace UK Legal Requirements

In compliance with United Kingdom legal requirements, employers must ensure the provision of drinking water for their employees, adhering to specific guidelines to safeguard health and safety in the workplace. According to welfare provisions outlined by the Health and Safety Executive, employers must ensure that:

  1. The drinking water provided is free from contamination and preferably sourced from the public water supply, although bottled water dispensers are deemed acceptable as a secondary supply.
  2. Drinking water is easily accessible to all employees, promoting hydration throughout the workday.
  3. Adequate supplies of drinking water are available, taking into account factors such as the temperature of the working environment and the nature of work activities.
  4. Cups or a drinking fountain are provided to facilitate the consumption of water during work hours.

It’s worth noting that marking drinking water is not mandatory unless there is a significant risk of confusion with non-drinking water sources. By adhering to these guidelines, employers can ensure the welfare and well-being of their workforce, promoting a safe and conducive working environment.

Maintenance Requirements

Both water fountains and bottled water dispensers require maintenance that encompasses cleaning, sanitation, and occasional repairs or replacements.

Any water dispenser should be serviced every three months. Daily cleaning will also prolong the lifetime of your dispenser.

Install a Water Dispenser for Your Office

When it comes to providing access to clean and refreshing water, there are two main options available: bottled water coolers and mains-fed water coolers. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one for your needs depends on your specific requirements.

At Drinkworks, we offer both types of water coolers, as well as a variety of water bottle sizes to suit your needs.

Speak to our friendly customer service team to discuss your requirements and discover how Drinkworks is your office hydration solution!