Three best hot water dispensers
Waiting for the kettle to boil always seems to take forever. Wouldn't it be great if instead you could just go to the faucet and piping hot water came out straight away? That's what a hot water dispenser does--it allows you to make your favorite hot drinks in an instant. You can also make instant rice and noodles or heat baby bottles. All those jobs that have you drumming your fingers on the kitchen counter can be done in seconds with a hot water dispenser.
With some remarkably affordable models on the market, these appliances are no longer the luxury they once were. We've put together this guide to help you find the best hot water dispenser for your kitchen, including our picks for the three best products available.
Considerations when choosing hot water dispensers
There are two types of hot water dispensers: an under-sink tank supplying a faucet or a standalone unit that sits on your counter.
Under-sink hot water dispensers are permanently installed. Tank sizes vary from 1/2 to 2/3 of a gallon. That gives you a capacity of around 60 to 100 cups of hot water per hour. Prices range from around $130 to over $500, depending on the features.
Standalone units shouldn't be confused with electric kettles. These hot water dispensers hold three or four liters of water (3/4 to one gallon) at a constant temperature set by the user. On the one hand, you can position these hot water dispensers wherever you want since they don't require a faucet. However, if you're short on space, a standalone unit can get in the way. Prices range from around $60 to $150.
Very few hot water dispensers actually boil water. Keeping water at 212°F in a sealed container is fraught with difficulties. Temperatures generally range from 160°F to 200°F (a few go higher). This is an important consideration when choosing a hot water dispenser.
On under-sink units, the temperature is set using a simple dial on the tank, though actual degrees are not usually shown. Standalone hot water dispensers generally have three or four preset temperatures, rather than a variable scale.
Under-sink hot water dispensers use a faucet to dispense hot water. Faucets can be single or twin. Twin faucets can replace your standard faucet, which is often more convenient than drilling a new hole for a single hot water faucet.
Unlike a normal faucet, on most units, hot water is only dispensed when pressure is applied to a lever or button. This reduces the chances of inquisitive young hands getting scalded. Some faucets have safety locks to prevent this entirely.
When a hot water dispenser is first turned on there can be a considerable delay until high-temperature water is available. This is because the main job of hot water dispensers is maintaining heat, rather than building it quickly. Hot water dispensers are less powerful than kettles but much more economical.
The dispenser's rating in watts gives a good indication of heating speed. A 750-watt dispenser will heat considerably slower than a 1,300-watt model. In theory, more power means higher running costs. In practice, most of these devices cost less to run than a 100-watt light bulb.
Hot water dispensers come with various safety features. Some prevent overheating. Some vent hot water if it does overheat. Some stop the heating element from burning out if there's no water in the tank.
High-end hot water dispensers may also filter your water, removing many impurities.
Q. Can I install an under-sink hot water dispenser myself?
A. It depends on your DIY skills. The tank needs to be mounted under your sink, connected to the main water supply (which may require extra fittings), and provided with power. Your sink may need a new hole for the faucet. Many owners do fit hot water dispensers themselves, but if you're not comfortable with any part of the process, it's best to call a qualified plumber.
Q. Can I connect a hot water dispenser to an ordinary faucet?
A. It depends on the unit but normally no. Standard faucets aren't designed to constantly handle water at such high temperatures. Also, the faucet supplied with the under-sink tank usually forms part of the safety system. It can vent hot water if there's a problem.
Hot water dispensers we recommend
Best of the best: Ready Hot RH-200-F560-CH Hot Water Dispenser System
Our take: This hot water dispenser's high-performance tank and twin faucet offer a convenient all-in-one solution.
What we like: This system offers plentiful low-cost hot water, and the cold supply allows for a complete replacement of your standard faucet. It has a burnout prevention circuit.
What we dislike: Not much, though some owners might prefer a max temperature higher than 190°F.
Best bang for your buck: Waste King H711-U-SN Quick & Hot Water Dispenser
Our take: With this hot water dispenser, you'll get rapid delivery of near-boiling water for a budget price.
What we like: It warms up fast yet is energy-efficient. It has a good capacity and includes a nice-looking faucet and a safety venting system.
What we dislike: The safety feature can make the faucet drip.
Our take: A convenient, high-quality hot water dispenser from a leading kitchen appliance brand.
What we like: This standalone unit needs no permanent installation. It offers multiple heat settings that are very accurate. The dispense lock prevents accidents.
What we dislike: It's slow to heat up.
Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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