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Our Top Choice...
There’s nothing like a cool beverage on a hot day, especially if you’ve been working. The same goes for parties and social functions; everything just feels awkward unless everyone has a glass of something in their hand.
But individually pouring drinks can only get you so far when the gathering gets large enough. It’s all well and good to fix a group of three or four friends a drink while you’re hanging around and chatting, but it’s another when everyone at a wedding reception or family reunion needs something to soothe their parched throats.
Enter the beverage dispenser, which lets you take a more hands off approach. Fill it with your favorite drinks, or those of your guests, provide cups and your job is done!
We’re going to take a look at what exactly you should look for in a beverage dispenser, as well as a few of what I think are the best currently on the market. There should be something for everyone, so let’s jump into it.
Here are the best beverage dispensers you can buy:
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
9 Best Beverage Dispensers (2020 Reviews)
This is a very nice, rustic looking beverage dispenser perfect for all sorts of outdoor gatherings of friends and family. It has a solid 2.5 gallon capacity, with a convenient spigot on the front for dispensing.
The top has a wide mouth for easy pouring as well, with a sealed top and an easy to carry design with the comfortable handle/
The materials it’s made of are top notch, a solid, thick glass for the primary dispenser portion that helps insulate the interior and keep everything nice and cold for long periods on those hot springs and summer days.
The bucket stand is made of a sturdy galvanized aluminum that holds the weight of the dispenser well. Despite appearance it’s not attached, so can also be used separately as an ice bucket on its own. The spigot rounds things out with a complete stainless steel construction that is easy to turn and can stand up to a lot of abuse.
If you like the design aesthetic of this beverage dispenser, the quality likewise won’t let you down, and neither will the price.
Great for outdoor functions in warm weather
Comfortable handle makes it easy to carry
Galvanized aluminum bucket stand is multipurpose.
Excellent overall construction
Wide mouth top for easy filling
Aesthetics may not be to everyone’s taste
Looks out of place indoors
Elegant is a good word for this beverage dispenser, and it makes a great indoor contrast to our winner. This looks very nice in most formal or semi-formal occasions, from a wedding reception to a church function to just general entertaining purposes in your home.
The construction is quite good, a reasonably thick glass beverage container with a nice lid. The mouth is wide enough to easily pour, though a bit smaller than some of the other options on this list.
The spigot is well made of steel and easy to flick back and forth for dispensing. Really the only weakness is the stand, which looks a bit threadbare for the beverage dispenser it’s holding. It’s sturdy enough, but could stand to be a lot better than it is, and I’d be more comfortable if the legs were braced better. On the bright side, the very nice beverage dispenser still fits well enough on a table, hanging over the edge. It’s not ideal, but is a potential option if you really don’t like the stand.
Looks appropriate for formal occasions
Easy to fill and dispense
Less than stellar stand
This cheap, simplistic beverage dispenser is perfect for casual home use. The extra wide mouth capacity makes it easy to fill, and the simple, one piece construction gives it a good amount of sturdiness.
This dispenser is perfect for leaving some kind of drink that works at room temperature with some ice (like sweet tea or lemonade) out for people to snag as they come and go. Great for busy days with a lot of yard work that needs to be done.
The construction is very thick and sturdy. I wouldn’t go purposefully dropping it off of stuff, but it can survive a bit of punishment in a pinch, which is what you like to see in a product like this which is designed to sit fairly close to the edge of a table or countertop.
Note that the overall construction is acrylic, not glass, so particularly acidic beverages may etch the inside of this model. Keep that in mind when using it, and trend toward less harsh drinks.
Overall it’s not the most impressive beverage dispenser on the market, but for the price you pay (a bit more than a quarter of what our winner costs) it gets the job done admirably. Well worth picking up if you just want something that works, rather than looks particularly nice.
Wide mouth top for easy filling
Acrylic construction doesn’t hold up well to acidic or otherwise harsh liquids
If we were going by the drink pictured, this would be by far my favorite beverage dispenser on hand, but sadly we’re not. As is, it’s still quite nice, but falls short of the better options here. The simplistic mason jar-esque appearance is a nice throwback look, and fits well in a lot of settings, from outdoor picnic tables to more casual indoor settings.
The design is great, with a very sturdy, easy to use spigot and an overall dense design that can take a lot of punishment from not particularly gentle little customers. The top is wide mouthed and easy to pour stuff into, and it even comes with a great ice cylinder to keep your drinks cold without watering them down or getting in the way of the spigot by clogging it up while you’re trying to fill a glass.
The only issue here is the size, 1.5 gallons less than the average size for a beverage dispenser like this. It’s a little bit cheaper to compensate, which is great, but that doesn’t help a ton if you really need the extra capacity.
Easy to fill with a wide mouth
Included ice cylinder keeps drinks cool and undiluted
Smaller than the average size
This is not a beverage dispenser that I would call “charming” or any such term that compliments its aesthetics. It’s not ugly, per se, but is certainly utilitarian and not much else.
Still, if you value performance over all else, this is a nice one to start with. It’s very sturdily made, with a lot of stainless steel shrouding a lightweight acrylic body. The spigot, despite all appearances, is actually plastic. I’m not a fan of this, as little flappable levers like this made of plastic tend to deteriorate pretty fast over time.
Still, everything else is pretty nice, with not one but two ice containers. One is attached to the lid and helps cool things fast, while the second one is in the bottom, using a double walled thermal insulation chamber to keep things chilled for long periods of time.
The capacity is excellent, a 3 gallon tank that still remains compact with a small footprint, though its size does make it a bit top heavy; I’d set this far back from where it can be jostled easily.
Larger than average capacity
Great double ice canister design
Easy to fill with an extra wide mouth top
A bit top heavy; easy to knock over
Plastic spigots are likely to break down fast
This is a nice little acrylic beverage dispenser. While only 1.75 gallons, it’s also dirt cheap, and has a pretty useful design. You won’t be winning any awards for beautiful design, but it blends right in with your standard house party fare of plastic cups and plates, and I doubt anyone at a house party will be too interested in the design aesthetic of your beverage dispenser anyway.
The overall design is quite nice, with an ice canister to keep things cool, and a top that lets you put little snacks and the cups right in there to save space. If you get two of them, they can even be easily stacked on top of each other for two tier dispensing, which is quite handy.
Buddeez Party Top Beverage Dispenser is perfect as a dispenser you don’t use too much and only for informal occasions. In that context, it’s well worth picking up.
Included ice canister
Top can be used for storage
Stackable for extra space
A bit flimsy overall
This large commercially oriented beverage dispenser is not for everyone. It’s certainly overkill in a home, so you’ll really only want it for business purposes.
But in that context, it’s very good for what it is. You get two separate tanks, each with a capacity of 2.25 gallons, for a total of a whopping 4.5 gallon capacity. Each can be individually filled with different drinks, great for providing a small variety to customers. This size and arrangement is perfect for small businesses; shops that want to give samples, businesses with waiting rooms that want to provide beverages for people waiting, and so on.
The machine itself comes with refrigeration, keeping the drinks cold. Even better, it has a mixing function that keeps juices flowing so the sediment doesn’t settle, keeping the flavor of the juice uniform and preventing a gritty buildup at the bottom of the juice beverage.
The expense is the main issue here, costing over six times what our winner costs. This is fair enough, as it is significantly larger and possesses a variety of features none of the rest have, but it’s difficult to justify as a home model due to that price.
Easy to use
Refrigerated for constantly cool beverages
Mixing function to keep sediment from settling
Great for any kind of business purpose
Extremely expensive and difficult to justify for home use
This beverage dispenser is a three in one, with a trio of nice glass beverage dispensers all slotted into the same stand. Each dispenser is a solid 80 ounce container (2.5 quarts apiece) that add up to a total of 1.875 gallons.
This is a bit small for my taste, but the ability to have three different drinks going at once more than makes up for the lack of overall size. That versatility is well worth having in something like this, and is excellent for satisfying multiple picky guests, or just supplying enough choice to be fashionable.
The price is a bit high for the capacity, but good for the versatility, so I’m a bit torn. I’ll call it fair enough, but borderline.
The only issue I have is the stand. It’s a bit wiry and thin. It’s good enough to hold things up, but it makes me uncomfortable, and is likely to bend over time if not under the weight of the containers then just in storage between uses.
Three beverage containers for added versatility and variety
Easy to access spigots
Well shaped stand
Easy to fill, though smaller than other containers.
Stand is a bit flimsy and is likely to bend over time
This final offering is another “all business” beverage dispenser. It doesn’t look pretty, but everything about it is solid.
The construction is sturdy, with a Tritan plastic container and stainless steel base (plus lid). It has an excellent 3 gallon capacity and keeps everything chill with a similar design to the Bird Rock beverage dispenser above with an ice container and ice well at the bottom. It also has a nice little infuser tube you can slot in to make some infused water and dispense it as you like.
The issue with this Service Ideas Beverage Dispenser is how expensive it is. It’s more expensive than the aforementioned Bird Rock dispenser, and is pretty much identical to it in the grand scheme of things. It has a better, clickier spigot but that’s really the only difference, and it’s not worth the price hike in the slightest.
In essence the problem with this dispenser is that it’s poor value and has no real niche. It’s slightly too expensive, and doesn’t bring anything unique to the table; it’s not bigger, nicer looking, or in any other way better than the other options on this list. While it’s fairly good in absolute terms, it’s just hard to recommend it in comparison to the other great options available.
Excellent 3 gallon capacity
Included ice container and infuser tube
Ice well in base
Great plastic spigot
Wide mouth for easy filling
No unique niche is filled by this product that makes it stand out among the rest of the options
A bit overpriced for what it provides
All of these dispensers are nice in their own way. Even the Service Ideas 3 gallon container is worth buying on a sale, even though it’s usually a more expensive version of another option on this list.
The Lunanice and Redfern offerings remain my favorite overall, with the best combination of price, size, and looks to set them head and shoulder above the rest of the competition. You can even prepare a refreshing cold coffee drink.
Everything else is varying levels of good, and I can see them being purchased for a variety of purposes; they all are something that someone will want for some specific usage case.
How Do I Choose the Perfect One?
There are a few simple factors that go into selecting the best beverage dispenser. Take note that this buying guide is for general beverages but for alcoholic drinks its advisable to use a leak-proof dispenser that’ll keep your beer and wine fresh.
The first and most important is the capacity. At the smallest end, you’re looking at a gallon’s worth of container. This is fine for some purposes, but fairly small. If you set up a 1 gallon beverage dispenser you need to be prepared to fill it up a few times over the course of a party.
Larger is usually better then, with the average size being somewhere between 2.5 and 3 gallons. This is a more comfortable size, and lets you set up a single container of punch that is more likely to last the whole night, or day. Whenever the event takes place.
Having a beverage dispenser with multiple containers is also a nice extra. It’s pretty much never the case that everyone is going to like or want the same drink, so having the option to mix it up with multiple kinds of drink is always welcome. It also lets you cycle things out when you need to refill drinks, making it easy to refill things over the course of an event without completely disrupting the flow of people milling around the refreshments table.
After that’s settled, look at the construction. Glass and steel are always preferable materials to anything else. Your beverage dispenser should at least be partially constructed of one of these options. Glass especially is a real deal maker, with a glass container and steel spigot (and/or base). Glass containers are in every way better to acrylic or plastic ones. They are thicker and usually more durable, unless you try to smash them on the ground or something.
Glass containers also usually have a lot better insulation, keeping drinks colder for much longer. It also, rankly, looks a lot nicer than plastic, and lasts longer. Some types of drinks (particularly alcoholic drinks or citrusy ones) will melt or etch plastic containers over time. This won’t happen with a glass beverage dispenser.
Steel is just an all around good material to have in most products. It’s sturdy and doesn’t wear down over time, so is great for use as the stand or spigot construction material. Plastic spigots especially are undesirable; any kind of plastic device that has moving parts breaks down far too quickly for my taste.
Speaking of spigot, one last thing: the spigot should be replaceable. If it breaks down, you always want the option to get a new one and slot it in.
After all that, or perhaps before, look at the appearance. Think about what you’ll usually be using this for, because certain beverage dispensers look a lot better in different settings. A more elegant dispenser is needed for more formal or semi-formal settings like wedding receptions or business meetings, while a more rustic look might be great for family reunions or general backyard barbeques and other gatherings. A cheaper looking one might even be better for casual gatherings like house parties; stuff that looks too expensive or nice tends to make people subtly uncomfortable in a setting like that.
Finally, price. The average beverage dispenser is going to run you about $40, and cheaper ones maybe as low as $15. There’s not a whole ton or price variation.