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The Best Water Delivery Services of 2020

By Joshua Stowers,
business.com writer
| Updated
Apr 01, 2020
Image Credit: LightFieldStudios / Getty Images
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Update: This page has been updated to include information on Quench's new flavored water machine..

As a prime location in any office, the company water cooler has become a symbol of workplace camaraderie and hydration. Topped by massive jugs of water, the water cooler has been cemented as a way for employees to leave their desks to chat without hurting productivity too much. While paper cups and "water cooler conversations" may be what comes to mind when thinking about water coolers, usually only office managers consider how those jugs of water get to the cooler in the first place. 

There are two types of service that provide a similar product, and the better one for your business depends on your needs. If the eco-friendly option of bulk water delivery speaks to your company's green initiatives, then bottled water delivery services are likely what you're looking for. If you want an option that limits water deliveries and filters water onsite, then an installed water filtration system may be right for you. 

To help you decide which water delivery service would be best for you and your business, we extensively researched the field to narrow it down to the best options for filtered water, bottled water and environmentally friendly services.

Best Picks

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Editor's note: Looking for the right water delivery service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Companies like Staples and Culligan offer a selection of bottled water delivery and water coolers for homes, small offices, and large businesses. Other companies, like Quench, offer water filtration systems that limit the number of water deliveries necessary to supply your employees with water. In 2020, these systems are sometimes more convenient, especially for small businesses.

Both water delivery and installing a water filtration system are viable options. For the sake of these reviews, we place an emphasis on water delivery services, but you can't discuss the industry without mentioning water filtration systems, and many water delivery services install these systems for businesses. We'll discuss those options, as well as traditional water delivery methods, throughout our reviews.

Bulk water delivery is not only convenient but reduces how much you spend on drinking water. It's also an eco-friendly choice, since the water is delivered in big 3- and 5-gallon jugs. This way, your home or office uses fewer plastic containers for water.

Our Reviews

Pricing

In this industry, pricing varies significantly depending on what you're getting. A one-time delivery of plastic water bottles will differ greatly in price from a one-year subscription to receive 3- and 5-gallon jugs on a regular basis. 

Another issue to be aware of is billing. Some companies receive poor reviews for auto-renewing a client's bill. When you talk to a company about its pricing, be sure to address the billing system and contract style. Learn whether the company automatically renews your contract.

Features

You can look at factors such as selection, delivery area and schedules, volume of water delivery, bottle type, and amenities to choose a supplier. With a variety of office water delivery services to choose from, it's important to consider how you want the water delivered, what makes the most sense in your area, delivery times, and options like water dispensers. 

The following features can help you choose a water delivery service. 

Water Selection 

To some, water is water, but others have preferences when it comes to taste, source or purification process. Many water delivery services offer you a considerable selection of water types or brands. 

You're likely to see choices of purified drinking water or distilled water, which is usually tap water that has undergone a rigorous cleansing process. Some prefer naturally sourced options from springs or artesian wells. Some companies also offer mineral, sparkling or even flavored water. 

Some businesses prefer to receive bottled water, while other companies want a water filtration system. If you're looking for a bottled water delivery service for standard-sized water bottles, you might want to use a company like Fiji instead of a more traditional water delivery service. 

Amenities 

Amenities such as water coolers and dispensers are important, especially if your preferred water delivery service offers bottles or jugs ranging from 1 to 5 gallons in size. 

Some water delivery companies provide water coolers and dispensers free with your contract, while others require you to rent or purchase them separately. Whether you want your own cooler or one the delivery company provides, you can find a company with the option you need. Some companies offer other breakroom supplies that you can bundle with your water delivery service, such as coffee delivery. 

Some water systems can heat the water. When you're looking to quickly make a cup of tea, a dispenser that gives you hot water on demand is an added benefit. Other businesses might only want refreshing drinking water, in which case the water heater is unnecessary. 

Bottle Size 

Water bottles come in multiple sizes, so you can choose one that suits your needs. Individual drinking bottles are even available from some water delivery companies. Common bottle sizes range from 2.5 ounces to 5 gallons, giving you plenty of options whether you have a water cooler or not. 

You may also want to consider a bottle-free water cooler, like the one from Culligan. These coolers cut down on plastic waste, so they can be more eco- and budget-friendly, and include water filtration.  

Delivery Schedule 

The frequency of water delivery may affect your use and how much you must order at once. Some delivery companies offer weekly deliveries; others deliver once per month, once every three months or even once every six months. Choosing the delivery schedule that fits your office's regular water consumption is important to ensure you have plenty of drinking water available. 

Subscription 

The available subscriptions can affect costs, how long you must commit to one company and how many payments you can bundle together. Most water delivery companies offer one-time deliveries as well as subscriptions for one, three, six or 12 months. Most providers also offer discounts for a longer subscription period but require you to commit to paying for that time. 

While the ability to deliver water in your area is the most important thing to consider in a water delivery company, you may also have preferences for the delivery schedule, the type of water bottle and amenities like dispensers. Knowing what you want before you look for a company can help you with your decision. 

Environmental Issues 

Many modern businesses embrace environmentally friendly policies. If a business opts to have individual plastic bottles delivered on a frequent basis, that could contribute to environmental harm by producing so much plastic waste. That's one reason why some businesses opt to use large water jugs, while others go a step further and purchase a water filtration system rather than bottles or jugs of pre-purified water. 

Any business looking to help the environment should avoid plastic bottles as much as possible and look for other options.

State of the Industry

According to IBISWorld, the bottled water production industry, despite many advancements, experienced some decline as consumers began filtering their own water at home – which, no surprise, has impacted water delivery. 

Overall, growth of the industry has been up slightly over the past five years, but traditional water delivery is slowly being phased out as consumers and businesses try to use plastic less frequently. The number of water delivery businesses in the U.S. is declining, which isn't that shocking. It can be difficult for local water delivery companies to compete with national players when the national companies offer both plastic bottle delivery and bottle-less water dispensers. 

With more individuals and brands increasing their social responsibility, many new companies are emerging with the intentions to illuminate plastic waste. Bottle-less water delivery is an increasingly common trend in the industry. 

Many water delivery services now provide different filtration systems and machines that take up minimal space, offer numerous flavors, and don't require constant bottle delivery. This is a convenient way of getting water to your office without the need for an old-school water cooler. 

Water delivery services usually offer water dispensers attached directly to a water source within the office. While delivery of bottled water is still common, many businesses have turned to water dispensers. Water delivery services install these dispensers and perform regular maintenance on them for your business. 

The Importance of Local Delivery Services 

In addition to the many national companies we review, there are numerous local water delivery services that could be a good fit for your business. It's an industry that allows local players to make an impact by delivering tremendous customer service. 

One of the biggest concerns with using national brands is the inconsistency in customer service from region to region. Most national brands use regional water delivery employees, which means a major brand might have great service in the Northeast but subpar service in the Midwest. 

Most complaints about national brands mention poor customer service and problems with billing. It's often easier to reach a reliable customer service rep when working with a local water delivery service. Most local services don't offer the same assortment of waters, pricing options or bottle-less dispensers as national brands, but sometimes those trade-offs are worth the improved customer service. 

When seeking out a water delivery service, research your local options. At the very least, read online reviews to gauge the customer service of the national brand reps in your region. Water delivery should be a straightforward process, but when you've gone a month without receiving scheduled deliveries and a company still bills you, it can become a serious problem for cash-strapped small businesses. 

Some companies experience difficulties with water delivery, and it can become a financial issue. Other companies do their research and find the best vendors with the best customer service. Those businesses get water when they need it for a fair price. Whether it's a local brand or a national company, make sure you select a business that values your business and treats you well. 

One of the issues associated with local companies, however, is that many of them rely on delivering plastic water bottles. Consumers are less likely to purchase plastic bottles, which makes it more difficult for local water delivery services to succeed. National brands have embraced the trend of bottle-less water dispensers, coolers and filtration systems.

Our Methodology

When determining our best picks, we considered a variety of factors. We wanted to showcase companies that offered the best bottle-less water dispensers on the market, but we also wanted to share details on the top companies still delivered bottled water to businesses. We wanted to take a close look at the most important factors for these different services, including the following:

  • Pricing – How do these companies compare to their peers? Is the billing process reliable? Are there any hidden fees?
  • Features – Do these companies offer valuable features within their service?
  • Water assortment – Does the company offer an assortment of water?
  • Purity – How clean is the water?
  • Customer support – Does this company have a good customer relations team? What do the online reviews say?

For our review, we removed most of the local water delivery services. This allowed us to place our focus on the major national players. Again, local companies play a pivotal role in this industry, but it doesn't make much sense for us to review a company that might only deliver water to a small region across one or two states.

Once we narrowed down the list to mainly national companies, we tried to find a balance between traditional water delivery services and those offering bottle-less coolers with regularly scheduled maintenance. We placed a heavy emphasis on customer reviews and our experiences with the customer service teams. We valued price but didn't necessarily use that as a determining factor in most of our reviews. Few services were priced at anything unusual.

For the traditional delivery services, we really wanted to see a strong score for water assortment. If the company is using plastic bottles and only delivering traditional water, we consider that a negative.

The companies we reviewed all stood out for good customer service, a solid assortment of water and impressive features.

What to Expect in 2020

While water coolers may feel like an older piece of office equipment, they're seeing a similar comeback to that of faxing as businesses' need for water delivery services grows. According to a recent study, the global bottled water market is expected to grow by more than $72 billion, marking a 7.1% compounded growth. Some of that growth will take place overseas in the coming years, with Germany, China and Japan showing exceptionally large growth forecasts. 

As the market for bottled water grows, it's only a matter of time before major brands begin to throw their weight around in the bottled water delivery industry. As we noted in our DS Services review, brands like Fiji, Voss and LaCroix are becoming more common options for water delivery. In an industry where most bottled water delivery services provide their own branded waters, the inclusion of more nationally recognized brands not only widens the selection, but also means offices can cater to their employees' specific bottled water preferences.

Environmental Issues

Businesses embrace environmentally-friendly policies. If a business opts to have individual plastic bottles delivered on a frequent basis, that could become a harm to the environment by producing so much plastic waste. That's one reason why some businesses opt to use large water jugs, while others will go a step further and purchase a water filtration system.

Any business looking to help the environment should avoid plastic bottles as much as possible and look for other options.

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