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My Review of the Primo Water Dispenser

Marlene relies on customer reviews to make informed decisions. When she discovers a valuable product or service, she shares her experience.

The Primo Water Dispenser dispenses cold and hot water instantly. Here it is, dispensing cold water.

The Primo Water Dispenser dispenses cold and hot water instantly. Here it is, dispensing cold water.

The Primo: A 3- or 5-Gallon Bottom-Load Water Dispenser

Soon after my husband and I moved to the country, I realized country living is the life for me. We live among peach orchards, walnut orchards, and rice fields to name the type of farmlands surrounding our modest home. I absolutely love it.

But, country living comes with some challenges. One challenge is our water supply. We receive our water from a well, which is great because our water supply is endless. The challenge is that well water is not necessarily the purest water to use for drinking.

Our well water is tested regularly, and each time I view the report, I see chemicals like arsenic and such. The report also rates the amount of chemicals in the water, determining whether or not the level is at an acceptable level for human consumption.

I don't know about you, but I am not comfortable allowing other people to decide how much arsenic is safe for me to consume. I understand that farmers use fertilizers and other chemicals in farming and that some of these chemicals are leached into the ground and into the water table. That is one of the expectations that come with living on or near farms. I get that, but also, I’m not one to knowingly ingest something that is harmful to my body, which is why I have a whole house purification system for bathing and such, but I purchased a water dispenser to assure further that the water I drink is safe.

I chose the Primo Water Dispenser for the low cost and for features such as instant hot water and instant cold water.

The Primo Water Dispenser: Door Open

The water bottle fits inside on the bottom and water is siphoned up to the top for dispensing.

The water bottle fits inside on the bottom and water is siphoned up to the top for dispensing.

Inside the Primo Water Dispenser

One of the greatest things about the Primo water dispenser is that I don’t have to lift the water bottles to place them on top of the unit. I’m retired, and that is just too much work. The unit uses a generic 3-gallon or 5-gallon water bottle, which sits in the bottom of the unit. A tube is placed inside the water bottle and then siphoned up into a reservoir where the water is held until it is needed.

I purchased the first couple of water bottles from Primo, but I have discovered that I can refill the water bottles at my local grocery store for a little bit less of the cost of Primo water. The generic water tastes great. I have had the generic water tested by the local home improvement store, and I have found that there is no arsenic in the water dispensed from the local refill station at the supermarket. That is good news since it provides me with safe and affordable drinking water.

The bottom loading door swings open easily. All I have to do is remove the tube from the emptied water bottle and push the bottle away before scooting the full water bottle in position to put the tube inside of it. I push the prepared water bottle into the lower chamber, close the door, and now I am ready to dispense more water.

Outside the Primo Water Dispenser

The controls are easy to operate. The symbols are easily recognizable for hot, room temperature, and cold water. There is a safety feature on the hot water button, which I like because it keeps small children safe. Instead of just pushing down on the button to dispense hot water, you have to push the red button up first and simultaneously push down on the dispenser button to get hot water.

The dynamics of the hot, room temperature, and cold water is amazing. When the water is siphoned up from the water bottle, the water goes inside the holding chambers. Inside the holding chambers, the water is kept hot for hot water dispensing and cold for cold water dispensing.

Maintenance of the Primo Water Dispenser

If you start to notice a bad taste, then it is probably time to drain the dispenser completely, clean it with a weak bleach solution, and then rinse the system three to four times to make sure you don’t leave a bleach residue. The maintenance guide suggests doing this every three months so that you don’t develop a build-up of minerals in the water reservoirs and water lines.

The spill tray is very easy to clean. You can clean it by hand or place it in the top rack of your dishwasher.

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Read More From Dengarden

Cost Comparison of Primo Water and Other Brands

My average consumption of 5-gallon water bottles is 12 bottles per month. The minimum quantity that can be ordered from a delivery service is three 5-gallon water bottles per month. As you can see by the chart, bottled water can be quite costly with a delivery service.

You can reuse the bottled water containers by going to a store location that has self-serve water refill stations. Usually, the refill stations are found outside or directly inside the front of the store.

Primo Water and Other Brands

The cost of Alhambra and Sparkletts is identical; therefore
the two are included in the same heading.

 Local StorePrimoAlhambra/SparklettsArrowhead

Type of Service



Home Delivery

Home Delivery

Type of Water




Mountain Spring

Cost of Dispenser Unit


$179.00 Stainless Steel Bottom Loading

$17.99 Stainless Steel Overhead Dispenser

$4.00 White Overhead Dispenser

Cost Per 5-Gallon Bottle





Special Features

  • You don’t have to maintain any filters. I like not having to worry about replacing or maintaining filters.
  • The dispenser unit can use both the 3-gallon and 5-gallon water bottles, so I have a choice.
  • The dispenser unit has been given an ENERGY STAR rating, so it saves on utility usage.
  • It is a beautiful, modern-looking style, probably the best-looking appliance in my kitchen.


The only negative thing I found about the Primo Water Dispenser is that when the compressor is on, the unit can be a little noisy. But, I usually don’t notice it except when someone goes to get a glass of water at night. When the water reservoir is being replenished, the compressor comes on, which isn’t overly annoying, but I can hear it working for about thirty seconds or so.

Final Thoughts About the Primo Water Dispenser

I'm enjoying my Primo Water Dispenser a lot. Probably, the most enjoyable thing about having a water dispenser is that I know I am drinking water that is a little less harmful because it has fewer chemicals than the well water I would be otherwise drinking.

The second most enjoyable thing about having a water dispenser is the hot water feature so I can make a hot cup of tea in an instant.

I think, for the cost and for the fact that it loads from the bottom, saving you from possible back pain, you would find considerable value in the Primo Water Dispenser.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: The water from my Primo water dispenser has started tasting funny. How do I get rid of that taste?

Answer: It might be time to clean the tank. Here is what the Primo manual states: "For best taste, performance and hygiene, clean the cold tank at least every three months and your cabinet, controls, probe and spout each time you change your water bottle. Empty and clean drip tray as needed. To minimize mineral deposits, use only high quality purified bottled water such as Primo."

Question: Can you use other brands of 5-gallon water bottles with the Primo water dispenser, or does the system only work with bottles provided by Primo?

Answer: Yes. You can use other brands of 5-gallon water bottles with the Primo Water Dispenser. I actually use a generic 5-gallon water bottle that I purchased from a grocery store.

Question: Have you discovered that your Primo water dispenser is costing you over $2.00 per day in electricity? I can send you a screenshot of my hydro consumption on a day with the dispenser on with cold and hot activated and a day when only room temperature water is being dispensed. It will shock you as it consumes a lot of electricity.

Answer: If I calculate correctly, then at $2.00 per day, what you are saying is that your electricity consumption for using the Primo water dispenser costs approximately $60.00 per month.

My total electric bill for the month costs between $80.00 to $90.00 and I have other electrical devices operating in my house. When I purchased my Primo water dispenser I did not see an increase in my electric bill. I cannot say why your electric bill is so high for using the water dispenser. It is certainly something worth exploring.

Question: My dispenser is not giving cold water. How do you fix this issue?

Answer: The cold water switch must be activated before the unit will dispense cold water. To activate, push the top side of the green switch in - to start cooling water.

Question: The cold water is not cool from my Primo Water Dispenser. How do I get the water to be cold?

Answer: The cold water switch must be activated before the unit will dispense cold water. To activate, push the top side of the green switch in - to start cooling water.

Question: How long should the Primo Water Dispenser compressor run when cooling water? Mine runs for 20 mins. then off for 3 hours. Is this normal?

Answer: I believe 15 to 20 minutes of run time is fairly normal. If you find that your compressor is noisy, try adjusting the feet to make sure the unit is level.

Question: My compressor is running for almost an hour. I don't think it should take that long to cool a half gallon of water. Should I take it back?

Answer: I agree that an hour is a long time to cool water. The Primo manual said that it might take up to an hour to cool water or heat water the first time. After that, then normal times would be 15 to 20 minutes. I am not a Primo representative, so to get the best answer to your question, I would say contact the Primo customer service department and ask a service representative what should be done.

Question: Can I place the Primo water dispenser on a carpet?

Answer: Yes. The dispenser will work if you place it on the carpet. But, I suggest it is best to place the dispenser on a sturdy surface to keep it from wobbling.

Question: The plastic insert that connects to the Primo water bottle is broken. How do I get a replacement?

Answer: The part that you are looking for is called a probe. You can order the part directly from Primo. Call them at 866-429-7566. They are open from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M (ET). Give them the model number for your water dispenser, and they can ship it to you. The price for the probe ranges from $2.99 to $4.99, depending on which model you have.

Question: Is Primo spring water and are Primo bottles BPA free?

Answer: No. Primo water is not spring water. Primo uses a 9-step purification process starting with water obtained from a municipal water source.

Yes. Primo water bottles are BPA-free.

Question: How long does water last in a Primo jug?

Answer: I cannot answer scientifically. I presume, as long as the lid is on the jug, the water should last forever without evaporation.

Question: I have water bottles with screw-on lids, can I buy lids like that for my Primo water dispenser?

Answer: Yes. I saw online that Primo does have screw-on lids for water bottles.

Question: Water from my new Primo dispenser tastes bad. What do I need to do for it to taste better?

Answer: If the water from the water bottle that you purchased does not taste good, I would suggest purchasing your water from a different water distributor.

Question: My zip code is 92562, where can I find a service center?

Answer: The best resource to find a service center in your area is to go directly to Primo. The phone number is 866-429-7566. They are open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM (ET).

© 2012 Marlene Bertrand


Destiny on August 13, 2020:

I cant get the drip tray to remove to clean it. I have tried pulling forward but i feel like i'm going to break it.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 29, 2020:

Hi Lori! I found these numbers on the Primo website:

U.S. 844-23PRIMO

Canada 877-830-0653

The customer service page for Primo is:

You can chat online with them if you prefer.

Joyce Jones on July 23, 2020:

I have had my primo dispenservabout 3 years and now I have to keep unplugging it to reset it or it will not siphin the water.

Lori on July 16, 2020:

Hello got a water dispener and its broke they will not refund my money anyone have the number to the company

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 15, 2020:

Bilal, I am so sorry to hear about your Primo Dispenser. Perhaps, you could call the service department to take a look at it.

Bilal on June 13, 2020:

My cokd water is not dispensing and the red light is flashing constantly though the bottle is half filled .

Linda on December 30, 2018:

Can the primo be hooked up to my reverse osmosis

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 05, 2018:

Dear "Unknown" I understand your frustration and I am also very sorry to hear that Walmart would not replace or allow you to return the water dispenser. It seems like a bad store policy. Have you tried contacting the Manufacturer? See what they can do about it.

Unknown on June 01, 2018:

Bought a primo water dispenser top loading from Walmart and haven't had it but 2 1/2 months and it leaks. They won't replace or anything so I am out 110.00 which is a lot to me but I won't shop there again.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 16, 2018:

Hello Marsha Y Francis. You would have to refer to the owner's manual for cleaning instructions. I hesitate to give instructions about cleaning it because my instructions may be incorrect for your particular model water dispenser.

Marsha Y Francis on February 16, 2018:

Hi thank you for the report on the Primo dispenser. I would love some more information on how to clean mines. Do I use the genetic bleach and sit it in the dispenser and let it suck it up or do I use the bleach with water and let it go up through the dispenser? Then refill with plain water and drain 3 to 4 times.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on January 25, 2018:

Hi Pamela. I am so sorry to hear about your trouble with the Primo water dispenser. I purchased my dispenser soon after moving to the country over five years ago and have never experienced any difficulty. I am very happy with it. I hope you are able to resolve your issues with customer service.

Pamela on January 25, 2018:

After 2 years, the hot water quit working.

I tried calling C/S BUT their ststem is down for 2 hours, got a recording..

This is our 2 nd unit, we returned the first one when it wasn’t working correctly either..

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 12, 2017:

Hi Mani. I am sorry that your water dispenser is not giving you hot water now. If it is still under warranty, perhaps you could call the customer service number for help in solving the problem.

Mani on November 12, 2017:

I bought water despenser last year its not giving hot water now

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on September 11, 2017:

Billyjoe RayBob, I am so sorry to hear of your troubles with the Primo Water Dispenser. I have not had any problems with the dispenser that I purchased. Perhaps, if you contact a consumer protection agency they might be able to give you some ideas on where to get help with your faulty water dispenser. I wish you much luck and success on getting the problem resolved.

Billyjoe RayBob on August 30, 2017:

I bought one in January. It started dripping the first week. I called Primo and explained my floor is wet... Primo does not have a service department, Primo does not service our products, here's a couple of utube videos, fix it yourself. I explained neither video fixed the problem, and decided to say Primo is not a serious company. Now three quarters of the year later, I get a half gallon of water on the floor every twelve hours.

Shame on Primo

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on August 05, 2013:

Hello Rajan. Thank you for your feedback. I get a lot of use out of my water dispenser. It is so convenient and easy to use.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 05, 2013:

This a useful review of the Primo water dispenser. I like it for the bottom loading and hot water child safety features.

Voted up, useful and interesting.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 15, 2012:

Hello alocsin, thank you for your comment. I absolutely love my water dispenser.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on November 15, 2012:

Sounds like a good deal if you want to be guaranteed some good water. Voting this Up and Useful.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on August 25, 2012:

Hi Brett.Tesol. I'm glad to have the bottom loading dispenser. Those water bottles are only five pounds, but having to lift it up to attach it to a dispenser would wear me out for sure. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing.

Brett C from Asia on August 25, 2012:

Definitely a better design. Something I may have to consider when settled over this side of the world, as the water supple is not the purest.

Pinned, up, useful and shared with followers.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on August 23, 2012:

Thank you, Mhatter99. Your positive feedback means a lot.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on August 23, 2012:

Good review. Thank you

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