Quench Your Thirst: A Guide to Choosing the Best Drinking Fountains and Accessories

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Having readily available clean drinking water is a must for any home, office, school or public space. Investing in a high-quality drinking fountain ensures you and others can conveniently quench thirst on demand. With so many drinking fountain options on the market, how do you pick the right one?

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know when choosing drinking fountains and accessories, including:

  • Reviews of the top-rated drinking fountain models
  • Key buying considerations when selecting a fountain
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about drinking fountains

Let’s start by looking at some of the best drinking fountain units available across different categories and needs.

The Best Drinking Fountains for Any Setting

After thorough research and review, these drinking fountains stand out for their reliable performance, quality of construction, innovative features and overall value.

Elkay EZH2O Bottle Filling Station

This combination bottle filler and drinking fountain from Elkay is perfect for installing in schools and offices to promote hydration. The EZH2O features touchless sensor activation on both the upper drinking fountain and lower bottle filler spout.

The bottle filler accommodates any size reusable container up to 10 inches tall. It provides a rapid 1.1 gpm fill rate. The antimicrobial surface prevents microbial growth. A built-in filter removes particulates and improves water taste. And the stainless steel construction is highly durable. This unit delivers the ultimate in hands-free hydration convenience.


  • Sensor-activated bottle filler and drinking fountain
  • Fast 1.1 gpm fill flow rate
  • Antimicrobial surface resists germs
  • Durable stainless steel construction


  • Expensive upfront cost
  • Occasional sensor malfunctions

Halsey Taylor HTHB-HAC8BL Bi-Level ADA Cooler

This bi-level wall-mounted cooler from Halsey Taylor provides separate ADA-accessible drinking fountains at standing height and lower wheelchair-accessible height. The durably constructed unit features a barrier-free front approach and vandal-resistant bubbler heads.

Galvanized steel cold water reservoirs keep the stored water supply chilled. The porcelain enamel exterior is easy to clean and maintain. Halsey Taylor has an excellent reputation for commercial water fountains. This ADA dual fountain has a classic utilitarian look perfect for public spaces.


  • Provides both ADA and standing height fountains
  • Durable steel construction
  • Galvanized cold water reservoirs
  • Easy-clean porcelain enamel exterior


  • Plain utilitarian style
  • Only available in gray

Oasis VersaCooler II with VersaFiller

This combination bottle filler and cooler from Oasis provides four user heights to accommodate children, wheelchairs and standing adults. The VersaFiller features a hands-free sensor with 20 second shutoff timer. It can fill bottles up to 10 inches high.

The Oasis VersaCooler II includes a lead-free waterway andintegral corrosion resistant strainer. The stainless steel cabinet holds chill water in the reservoir while remaining durable. Oasis drinking fountains are ADA compliant and come with a 3-year limited warranty. This model is ideal for settings like schools needing versatile accessible hydration.


  • Accommodates 4 heights for accessibility
  • Sensor-activated bottle filler station
  • Stainless steel corrosion-resistant construction
  • 3-year limited warranty


  • Boxier utilitarian styling
  • Lower bubblers prone to splashing

Haws 3140 One Level ADA Cooler

This economical ADA-compliant wall-mounted cooler from Haws dispenses chilled drinking water at an accessible height for wheelchair users. The durable heavy duty gauge steel frame with powder coated finish resists corrosion and stands up to high traffic use.

It connects to standard plumbing lines for easy installation. The push bar activation requires no electricity. Haws drinking fountains come with a 5 year limited warranty on the cooling system. For a simple ADA fountain with no-frills operation, this model is a great choice.


  • Simple mechanical push bar operation
  • Durable powder coated steel construction
  • No electricity required
  • Affordable price point


  • Only offers 1 accessible height
  • Basic utilitarian styling

Now that you know top drinking fountain options, let’s go over what to look for when selecting a unit.

Key Buying Considerations for Drinking Fountains

Keep the following criteria in mind when choosing an ideal drinking fountain:

Type of Drinking Fountain

Consider the setting and application:

  • Bottle filler stations – Great for promoting use of reusable bottles in offices and schools. Look for rapid fill rates.
  • Wall-mounted – Conserve floor space especially in high traffic areas. Ensure adequate mounting area.
  • Freestanding – Provide access anywhere needed like lobbies or cafeterias without mounting.
  • Children’s fountain – Accommodate younger kids with appropriate height options.

Number of Drinking Stations

The number of water stations needed depends on traffic and usage at location. For public spaces, allow:

  • Light use: 1 station per 100-200 people
  • Medium use: 1 station per 50-100 people
  • Heavy use: 1 station per 25-50 people

More stations reduce wait times during high traffic periods.

Filtration System

An integral filter improves water taste by removing sediments and chlorine. Look for certified lead removal and blocks bacteria/protozoan cysts. Replace filters 6-12 months.

Sensor-Activated or Manual

Touchless sensor fountains are more hygienic and accommodate disabled access. Manual push bar models work anywhere without electricity.

Construction Material

Stainless steel resists corrosion, vandalism, and abrasion best making it ideal for high traffic locations. Avoid plastic models.

ADA Compliant Design

Choose fountains that meet ADA standards for accessible design including appropriate spout height, knee clearance, and approach space.

Ease of Maintenance

Seek fountains with easily cleaned surfaces, replaceable filters, and accessibility to internal parts needing periodic servicing. Quick shutoffs simplify changing filters.

Special Features

  • Bottle filler station for reusable containers
  • Chilling reservoir to keep water cold
  • Programmable bottle fill timers
  • Customizable filter options
  • Water usage counters
  • Multiple user heights

Brand Reputation

Select drinking fountain models from reputable brands known for durability, quality construction, and support like Halsey Taylor, Elkay, Haws, Oasis, etc.


Look for at least 1-3 years limited warranty. Longer warranties signify greater expected longevity.

Now let’s answer some common drinking fountain questions.

Frequently Asked Drinking Fountain Questions

What should I look for in a water filter?

See the filter is NSF certified to remove contaminants like lead and cysts. Change filters at least every 6-12 months.

How many drinking stations do I need?

The rule of thumb is 1 station per 100-200 people for light use buildings, or 1 per 25-50 people for heavy traffic settings.

What locations work best to install fountains?

Place centrally near heavy foot traffic corridors, waiting areas, cafeterias, lobbies, etc. Ensure they are conveniently accessible but don’t obstruct pathways.

How difficult is maintenance and cleaning?

Most quality fountains have surfaces and reservoirs designed for easy cleaning. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for any periodic maintenance.

How can I prevent mold and bacteria buildup?

  • Sanitize and flush water lines regularly
  • Change filters per schedule
  • Ensure there are no leaks
  • Clean reservoir and bubbler head regularly

Should I choose sensor-activated or manual?

Sensor fountains are easier for disabled access and more hygienic. Manual fountains work anywhere without electrical.

What temperature water should fountains dispense?

Ideal chilled drinking water temperature is 50 to 60°F for proper sanitation and refreshing taste.

How much do drinking fountains cost?

$400 – $3000 typically, depending on type, size, materials, included filters, accessories, and features.

How long should drinking fountains last?

With proper maintenance, drinking fountains typically last 8-15 years. Choose commercial grade units for maximum durability.

What are signs a fountain needs repair?

  • Leaking or damaged pipes
  • Weak or uneven water flow
  • Cloudy, discolored or bad tasting water
  • No longer chilling properly
  • Sensor malfunctions
  • Rust or corrosion present

Address any issues promptly to keep water clean and prevent damage.

Investing in a quality drinking fountain ensures convenient access to cool, refreshing water. Use this guide to pick the model that best fits your needs and budget!

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