A Guide to Buying a Water Dispenser in Singapore

If you are looking to get a water dispenser for your home, chances are you aren’t looking for a machine that just dispenses hot and cold water. You are most probably looking for a device that can also filter out contaminants from the water or better yet, a gadget that can give you supposed additional health benefits.

Design: Mr Designer Studio

Water dispensers with filters do give some of you peace of mind, so we aren’t here to see if their purported benefits hold true or not. This guide instead will look at some of the considerations you should take when buying one. We will also explore a few products and brands available in Singapore so you can get a better idea of where to shop.

Filter types/technologies

Sediment: When looking out for water dispensers, one of the very first things you want to check out are the filters they have. Most are equipped with a variety of filters that serve different functions. The most basic of which is a filter, made from materials like ceramic or polypropylene, that removes suspended particles, rust and other sediments.

Carbon/activated carbon: There are water dispensers that come with carbon and activated carbon filters that remove odours, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as chemicals like chlorine through absorption.

Ultrafiltration: This filter removes particles as small as 0.01 micron. It eliminates viruses, bacteria and suspended solids.

Reverse osmosis: Water dispensers with reverse osmosis (RO) filters allow only water molecules to pass through it. They remove contaminants like lead, arsenic, fluoride and nitrates, as well as viruses and bacteria to leave you with a clean, “soft” water. But the downside to RO is that it also removes important minerals along the way.

Nanofiltration: This filter type is similar to RO (although it has slightly larger pores) and can eliminate contaminants as small as 0.001 micron. What’s different is that it allows certain minerals such as calcium and magnesium considered beneficial to us to pass through. It also softens the water like RO.

Alkaline: Water dispensers with alkaline water options claim to balance out the pH levels in your body. Alkaline water typically has a pH of about 8 or 9, which is believed to neutralise the acid waste build-up in our bodies.

The science of this, alas, isn’t definite, and the counter claim is that acid is necessary in our bodies because it helps to aid in digestion, but there are lot of people who do see and feel the benefits of drinking alkaline water, so you will have to decide if it’s something you want in your water dispenser.

Deionisation: Some water dispensers will also provide deionised water that is usually used with a number of other filters. The deionisation process is a chemical purification process to remove ions in the water. It uses ion exchange resins to replace minerals and contaminants such as calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, chloride, sulfates and nitrates with hydrogen and hydroxide ions that recombine to form water. The result of deionisation is a purer, “softer” form of water with no minerals and salts. As a side note: PUB categorises our water as only “moderately soft”.

UV filter: A UV filter exposes harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses as well as other living organisms to UV light, killing them. However they do not get filtered out, which is why a water dispenser with a UV filter needs to work with other filters.

For reverse osmosis and alkaline water: Coral Pure Premium 9

There are nine filters in Coral Pure’s Premium 9 water dispenser. These include a reverse osmosis and alkaline filter. To work around the loss of minerals, the dispenser is also able to generate back 72 types of natural minerals including calcium, magnesium and zinc.

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Good minerals retained: Livingcare Jewel

Besides the fact that it comes in an array of very pretty colours, including this powder blue, this water dispenser also does a pretty decent job of purifying water. It comes with a carbon block filter that removes chlorine as well as a nano positive filter that eliminates germs, heavy metals, moss all while preserving the good minerals.

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Tank or Tank-less?

When buying a water dispenser, consider how much space you would like to set aside on your countertop for it. For smaller homes, new and trendy tank-less options take up significantly less space. In lieu of tanks, they have cooling and heating pipes that provide instant hot and cold water. This does mean that they will need direct piping to a water supply. Tank-less dispensers have less chance of contamination since there isn’t any stagnant body of water for bacteria to grow.

Small, yet stylish: Wells The One

This tank-less, eye-catching water dispenser comes in three hues, white, red and black, and features an ultra-slim design with an 8.8cm diameter so that it doesn’t take up a lot of space on your kitchen countertop. The normal filters remove heavy metals and microorganisms but you can opt for an alkaline filter for alkaline water.

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Water dispensers with tanks come with hot and cold water tanks that store water. These are bulkier, but they are also higher capacity and they dispense water at a faster rate compared to tank-less models. Some are installation-free and portable without needing to be connected to a water supply, so you can place them anywhere in the home. The downside to them is that they are constantly using power since the water in the tanks need to be constantly heated to stay hot.

Installation-free: Novita’s Instant Hot Water Dispenser W11

Don’t like the hassle of installation? Consider Novita’s W11, which needs zero installation. It comes up with a 4.6-litre tank and has five temperature settings. Water also gets dispensed really quickly—just one sec for a cup of 90 deg C hot water. It features a 5-stage filtration system, including one that removes heavy metal ions.

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Temperature and water volume settings

Like having your tea at a specific temperature? Want to ensure your baby formula is at a safe enough temperature for your baby? Need to down a chilled drink after your workout? You will want to go for a water dispenser that has different temperature settings to suit different needs. The more, the merrier, obviously, but you should make sure they have at least hot water, warm water, room temperature water and cold water settings.

Water volume settings are also another bonus feature to look out for. No need to lug out the measuring jugs when you know precisely how much water it dispenses each time depending on the button you press. Convenient if you are making instant teas and coffees or for following recipes.

Clean interface: Purikool’s Puri Jiksoo ODT-004DU Metal Grey

It may not have fancy bells and whistles, but this tank-less water dispenser does the job with four temperature settings (warm, cold, room temperature, hot) and four volume settings (120ml, 250ml, 550ml and infinity). It comes with a 4-stage filter system that removes ultra-small micropores of 0.01 microns.

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Ice-maker: Ruhens Ice

There are five different temperature controls for this Ruhens water dispenser, including one for making baby formula, one for sterilising kitchen utensils and another for cold-brew teas. What’s really unique about this machine though is that it also has an ice-making feature that makes ice from the filtered water.

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Maintenance

Consider also the amount of maintenance needed and whether that will be at a level you are comfortable with. Some will require regular servicing, which will incur a charge at your end. What’s more popular nowadays are those with self-cleaning, sterilising functions, so these machines basically clean themselves.

Most will require you to change the filters regularly. How long before you need to change the filters will depend on usage. On average, it’s about six to 12 months. Filter replacement is usually DIY, but you will need to pay for the new filters.

Easy to maintain: Cosmo Quantum

This water dispenser comes with an automatic self-cleaning function that sanitises the machine regularly. Filters are also really easy to replace. All you have to do is pull out the front facade, twist and turn out the old filters, lock in the new ones and place back the cover. This comes with a 6-stage filter system, and you get the choice of opting for an alkaline filter.

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Complete sterilisation: Chromium Grey Sterra Water Purifier

The nozzles at water dispensers can get icky after a while, which is why Sterra’s water UV-C LED nozzle steriliser that automatically cleans the outlet means there isn’t a need to clean it yourself. Plus, it also has an electric steriliser module that regularly sterilisers the internal water flow path so it’s pretty much hands off for you.

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Other features to look out for

Child-safety lock: A must if you have young children at home or you are planning to locate your dispenser at an accessible location. You don’t want them fiddling around with the buttons on your water dispenser and accidentally scalding themselves with the hot water.

Price of filters: Besides looking at the price of the machine, you will want to account for the prices of the filters since you are likely replacing them once every 6 months or so.

Energy saving: Water dispensers with tanks tend to continually use power even when you are not using it since they will need to keep the hot water tank warm and ready for use. So it’s best to pay attention to the power usage and whether there is an eco mode.

Tank-less options aren’t as big an issue since they don’t use power when not in use.

Adjustable or removable drip tray: This is not only useful for cleaning, it is also a good-to-have if you want to fill up taller containers or water bottles.

 

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