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Shopping for a commercial beverage dispenser?
You have come to the right place.
Who Needs a Commercial Beverage Dispenser?
Being a small business owner in the food and beverage industry means constantly looking for ways to boost your sales.
This already difficult task can become even more complicated if you don’t have the right equipment to deliver top service on every order.
To keep your drinks flowing and customer service optimized, you may want to consider purchasing a commercial beverage dispenser.
Whether as a business owner, a server, or a customer, we have all experienced the never-ending, irksome wait for a drink on a busy day.
These machines let you to mix, store, and serve various types of drinks from the same machine at the same time.
Say goodbye to long queues of customers with the right beverage dispenser for your business.
What’s in This Buying Guide
In this buying guide, we review and compare some of the best commercial beverage dispensers available today.
Our top picks and reviews are followed by a thorough discussion of beverage dispensers, covering everything you need to know – from the features to look for to how to clean and maintain these machines.
Towards the end, we also answer frequently asked questions about beverage dispensers.
So let’s dive in – with a list of our top picks for the most common needs and situations:
Best Commercial Beverage Dispensers
- Best Overall: Service Ideas CBDRT3SS Beverage Dispenser
- Best Twin Dispenser: Style Setter 210266-GB
- Best Rectangular Design: Service Ideas CBDT3SS Cold Beverage Dispenser
- Best Budget Buy: CreativeWare Sculptured Beverage Dispenser
- Best for Hot Drinks: Carlisle XT500003 Cateraide Insulated Beverage Dispenser
- Best for Parties: Buddeez Unbreakable Beverage Dispenser
- Best for Large Volume: VEVOR Commercial Juice Dispenser
Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com
|Service Ideas CBDRT3SS
|22.00 x 12.00 x 11.00 inches
|Stainless Steel and Plastic
|Style Setter 210266-GB
|16.2 x 8.2 x 16.8 inches
|Glass and Metal
|Service Ideas CBDT3SS Cold Beverage Dispenser
|20.00 x 17.50 x 8.25 inches
|Stainless Steel and Plastic
|11 x 11 x 19 inches
|25.75 x 26.25 x 17.00 inches
|Buddeez Unbreakable Beverage Dispenser
|10.5 x 11.34 x 19 inches
|VEVOR Commercial Juice Dispenser
|20.5 x 17.7 x 30 inches
|Stainless Steel and Plastic
1. Best Overall: Service Ideas CBDRT3SS Beverage Dispenser
The CBDRT3SS beverage dispenser is an excellent option for anyone who needs a premium beverage dispenser built for heavy duty use.
The dispenser has a sleek plastic and stainless-steel body with a 3-gallon capacity. The unit is also lightweight at only 8 pounds. This makes it perfect for office parties, small cafes, and juice bars where portability may be a concern.
A built-in infuser lets you add more flavors to your drinks.
The spigot is fitted to ensure that there are no leaks, while the stainless-steel base lends strength to the machine.
This unit is compact enough to fit onto any counter space. Since it does not require an electricity or water connection, you are not restricted in terms of choice of placement.
The CBDRT3SS also has a wide mouth opening that makes refilling and washing a piece of cake.
This drink dispenser is dishwasher-safe, too. Just pop it in the dishwasher at the end of the day, and your job is done.
All in all, this stylish and simple beverage dispenser by Service Ideas is a great purchase – as long as you are willing to pay for premium quality.
2. Best Twin Dispenser: Style Setter 210266-GB
Are you having trouble choosing between two drinks to serve?
A twin-bowl commercial beverage dispenser will remove the guesswork and let you offer both choices at the same time.
This gorgeous pair of glass beverage dispensers holds 1.5 gallons of beverage each, giving you a total of 3 gallons of product space.
Once filled, the two dispensers go into a beautifully made metal rack that helps leverage the dispenser taps for easy access and also keeps condensation off the surfaces.
Moreover, the metal detailing coupled with the clean glass lines reminds us of dainty French patisseries. A glass of juice out of this dispenser will surely be an experience worth its while.
Consider designating one dispenser for layered alcoholic beverages for those who are in to enjoy the night and the other for a colorful mocktail or lemonade. Each tank is made of clear glass to display your drinks in all their glory.
With a base only 16-inches wide, this unit does not ask for much space. You can comfortably place the pair of dispensers on any smooth surface. The pair weighs 12.5 pounds combined, so even though it is not the lightest model on the market; it’s still lightweight enough to be carried by one person.
Finally, the materials used are durable but need to be hand-washed.
3. Best Rectangular Design: Service Ideas CBDT3SS Cold Beverage Dispenser
Another great product by Service Ideas, this beverage dispenser has a premium-quality plastic tank placed atop a stainless-steel base that makes it sturdy and unbreakable.
The durable, clear plastic top contains an infuser that you can add sliced fruits and vegetables into and add flavor and nutrients to your drink. There is also an ice tube to keep your drinks chilled for long.
The tank has a wide opening that makes cleaning fuss-free. While we are on the topic of cleaning, we must also mention another star feature of this dispenser: It is dishwasher-safe.
The dispenser has a capacity of 3 gallons. Despite the considerable storage volume, the machine weighs a mere 6 pounds and is easy to carry. Storing the machine is also very convenient: The pieces can be disassembled and nested in the drink tank.
A hefty price tag accompanies the premium construction, sleek design, and high quality, but the features ultimately justify the price.
4. Best Budget Buy: CreativeWare Sculptured Beverage Dispenser
The model is one of the most budget-friendly yet functional commercial beverage dispensers.
It comes in a stylish sculptured design made out of high-quality, durable acrylic. This makes it an ideal choice for open-air cafeterias and casual snack bars. The transparent tank also lets you display your drinks to add a pop of color to the settings.
The dispenser’s no-drip spigot ensures that your product is securely stored and doesn’t leak. The tank can house 3 gallons of product, making it suitable to serve as many as 48 cups in one fill.
Thanks to the removable and handle-fitted lid and the wide opening of the tank, this model is extremely easy to clean. The top lid also makes refilling quick and simple.
This unit offers unbeatable quality with an eye-catching design and provides excellent value for the money.
5. Best for Hot Drinks: Carlisle XT500003 Cateraide Insulated Beverage Dispenser
Whether your hot beverage of choice is tea or coffee, this beverage dispenser is designed to keep your pick warm for hours without even requiring an electricity connection.
There’s thick insulation in place to make sure the temperature stays put, but if you do need an extra punch of heat to keep your product warm for a longer time, this beverage dispenser comes with a fuel holder as well.
You can purchase the fuel separately, add it to the fuel holder, and burn it to warm your drinks. This feature makes the Carlisle XT500003 a great companion for road trips, treks, and picnics.
With its spacious tank that can store 3 gallons of product, this is an excellent back-of-house model for small cafes serving coffees on the go. This unit can even be used at home for buffet-style breakfasts, wedding dinners, or winter parties where warm beverages are in demand.
Beating your average coffee container when it comes to design, this chrome-plated beverage dispenser is made out of stainless steel. It has a beautiful, retro-inspired gold detailing on the body. Gold accents on the handles, lid, and legs of the container add a touch of glam to this functional piece.
The metal is further finished with a rust-free, leak-proof, and corrosion-free coating to increase the life and durability of the product.
Plus, you can use the press-down handle on the base of the tank to pour your cup, making operations easy and quick.
6. Best for Parties: Buddeez Unbreakable Beverage Dispenser
This beverage dispenser by Buddeez should be your first choice for festive celebrations at your small cafe or even a small to medium-scale party at your house.
Aside from its massive capacity of 3.5 gallons, this beverage dispenser has a clean yet attractive design that shows off your drink to bring a pop of color to your drinks table.
This piece is made out of plastic, but it is so clear, thick, and high-quality that customers often mistake it for glass.
However, while it serves you the look of glass, it also beats the one primary drawback glass has: Breakability.
The plastic used on this beverage dispenser is highly durable and is designed to withstand rough wear and tear. These are unique features of Tritan, the material used to manufacture this dispenser.
The drinks bowl also features a removable ice cone that you can fill with ice to keep your drinks as cold as you want without watering them down.
Once the ice in the ice cone melts, simply remove and empty the cone and refill it with a fresh batch of ice.
Moreover, the Tomlinson faucet is non-drip, making sure your surfaces remain clean and safe from spills and leaks.
Another feature further convincing us in favor of the Buddeez unbreakable plastic beverage dispenser is that it is dishwasher-friendly. This feature makes cleaning and maintenance a dream.
However, if you don’t want to use a dishwasher, you can easily remove the tank from the base, take apart the tap, and wash the tank just as easily.
Since we crowned this dispenser the best choice for parties, it’s best that we justify the title. The bottom of this unit is empty and lets you display decorative items underneath it.
Add fake or fresh fruits, flowers, pearls – anything that goes with the theme of your setting and add a little pizzazz.
7. Best for Large Volume: VEVOR Commercial Juice Dispenser
This juice dispenser by VEVOR is one of the best choices for large-scale use, thanks to its generous capacity of 4.8 gallons. This translates to an impressive 78 cups at a time.
What makes this model so great for larger volumes of drinks is its thermostat-controlled function. The base of this dispenser has a built-in refrigerator.
The high-quality condenser and compressor by VEVOR work together to quickly chill your drinks to any pre-set temperature of your choice within a range of 45 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once you feel your drinks are chilled enough, or when the system is not being used and needs to be powered off, simply use the switch on the back to turn the machine off. There are two buttons, one to control cooling and one to control operation.
Since the tank can be refrigerated, unlike most other beverage dispensers, this one can safely store your drinks overnight as well.
This durable machine is constructed using the best-quality stainless for the base and sturdy food-grade polymers for the tank.
Along with durability, this combination of materials also allows for easy cleaning and a scratch-resistant body.
Owing to its capacity, looks, and refrigeration system, this model can be a great fit for hotel chains, recreation centers, and food courts.
Commercial Beverage Dispenser Buying Guide
To get the most suitable commercial beverage dispenser for your requirements, reviews alone are not enough. It is also important to understand how the machine works, what it can do for you, and what sort of upkeep and maintenance it requires.
What is a Commercial Beverage Dispenser and How Does it Work
A beverage dispenser is essentially any tank, bowl, or container that holds liquid and comes with a tap to ensure easy pouring.
Add to this the term “commercial” and you have yourself a myriad of products, each designed for a different customer need.
Typically, countertop machines and commercial beverage dispensers allow businesses to keep large volumes of ready-to-be-served hot and cold drinks premixed at specific temperatures.
Some beverage dispensers are insulated to keep hot drinks hot; some have inbuilt refrigeration systems to keep cold drinks chilled, while some have neither.
Beverage dispensers come in various kinds, but some features are common to all. There are four fundamental components of every dispenser that help it do its job: The bowl, agitator, base, and handle.
The bowl, also called the hopper, is the main structure of a dispenser and is the one that houses your beverage.
No matter what type of dispenser you have, it has to have a bowl for it to be a dispenser. Some models feature multiple bowls and can offer a variety of drinks.
The agitator is situated at the base of the bowl. Agitators feature a stir rod that keeps mixing your drink to make sure sediment is evenly distributed.
Some models of beverage dispensers come without an agitator. These are usually small-capacity, decorative units for small-scale use.
Without an agitator, your beverages can separate or get too thick if left in the dispenser for long, which will ruin the flavor and consistency of the drink.
The base is beneath the bowl and houses the refrigeration system in refrigerated beverage dispensers. This is the part you need to thank for keeping your drinks chilled at all times.
Some dispensers also have their refrigeration systems encased in plastic and wrapped around the bowl, while some dispensers have no refrigerator at all.
The handle is used to dispense, or pour, the drinks. Handles are typically placed right beneath the base and can be either push or pull. However, this placement of the handle is a design feature and varies from model to model.
You add premixed drinks or a combination of sediment and liquid into the bowl of the dispenser. Then, if your beverage dispenser has an agitator, you will power the dispenser to turn on the agitator. When applicable, the agitator will mix the drink and also help it froth.
Again, if your model has a built-in refrigerator, powering the dispenser will also turn the refrigeration on, which will chill the drink.
When the drink is mixed and chilled, place a glass in the cup clearance, press on the handle, and pour yourself a chiller to beat the heat.
Why Buy a Commercial Beverage Dispenser
If beverages are a significant component of your business, a commercial beverage dispenser will make for a beneficial purchase.
You can use a commercial beverage dispenser to mix and hold several types of hot and cold drinks and dispense them simultaneously.
This eliminates the need to manually mix drinks on the spot and then pour them by hand. It also allows you to prepare and sell a wider variety of drinks using the same amount of space and other resources.
The quicker service and more expansive menu will boost the productivity of the business and in turn; its revenues.
Their compact sizes mean that dispensers can be conveniently placed on any countertop or table. The straightforward designs make sure that the machines are readily accessible and straightforward to use for staff and customers alike.
Some commercial beverage dispensers also come with insulation. These are great for drinks like coffee and tea that must be served at a specific temperature,. Therefore, often, they have to be prepared fresh.
The use of an insulated beverage dispenser will keep your drinks hot for a long time, without you needing to steam milk every single time you need a cuppa.
What to Look for in a Commercial Beverage Dispenser
Commercial beverage dispensers are not all the same. In other words, one size does not fit all.
Here is a list of features to consider while buying one for yourself, so you only get the best beverage dispenser that meets your needs:
Beverage dispensers come in a range of sizes. From small, decorative units with a capacity of 1 gallon to industrial-sized models large enough to hold 5.4 gallons; the market has it all. It is crucial to estimate your requirements for drinks and then buy a dispenser accordingly.
We know it is tempting but don’t purchase a smaller unit just because it costs much less and seems like a steal.
If it’s too small to store a sufficient number of beverages for your home or business, you will have to keep refilling it throughout the day. Soon, what had to be a helpful bar tool will become a nuisance.
Similarly, it’s not advisable to buy too big a dispenser just to play safe. Bigger units are pricier, take up more space, and also consume more energy in the case of electronic models. Over time, the costs will accumulate and outweigh the benefits from the dispenser.
Choose the right size of dispenser based on the volume of beverage you require. Estimate the volume sold on your busiest day of the month.
Now, consider the manpower you have available at hand and how frequently you can afford to refill the dispenser.
The volume of drinks required on the busiest day divided by the desired number of refills per day will give you the dispenser capacity you need.
Number of Drink Bowls
Next, see how many drink bowls you want in your beverage dispenser. Most models have one drink bowl, while some even have 4 to allow you to serve a wider variety of beverages.
However, note that the number of drink bowls will increase the base width of the dispenser. Make sure that your dispenser is only as big as the counter space you have allocated for it. Depending on the number and capacity of drink bowls, dispensers range from 7 to 30-inches wide.
Another consideration in terms of size is the height of the dispenser’s cup clearance. Cup clearance refers to the area between the drip tray and the pouring valve. This is the spot where you place your cup as you fill it.
If the cup clearance is too small for a cup, you will struggle to properly fill the cup, if it can be filled at all.
Commercial beverage dispensers have cup clearances ranging from 7 to 11-inches high, depending on the overall size and price of the model. Make sure that the largest cup used at your property comfortably fits in the cup clearance.
Type of Bowl:
The choice of bowl depends on your personal preference for design, the type of drinks that the dispenser will hold, and the setting in which the dispenser is to be placed.
Most beverage dispensers sold today are made using clear polycarbonate and are typically used for chilled drinks.
Many of these dispensers are also electricity-powered and have a refrigeration system incorporated into the machine.
If the refrigerator is at the base of the bowl, the bowl will be transparent. This allows you to see the beverage from all sides of the bowl.
Such bowls often have visible markings, making it easy to track the volume sold and identify the time for a refill.
Some units have their refrigeration components housed in a plastic casing that wraps around the bowl on three sides.
This allows the beverage to be cooled quickly and is more energy-efficient. It also leaves blank panels that you can custom-design with merchandising graphics.
The second common type of drink bowls in commercial beverage dispensers is insulated ones. These bowls have thick rubber insulation all around them, which is then encased in a stainless-steel body. These are best suited to hot drinks like coffee and tea.
Compared to juice dispensers made out of polycarbonate; stainless steel units are easier to clean.
Given how very versatile commercial beverage dispensers are, you can use them to serve a wide variety of drinks.
Be it dairy beverages like coffee, carbonated drinks, slushies and juices, or alcoholic beverages; there is a dispenser to mix and serve every kind of drink.
Based on the mixing method employed, dispensers can be broadly categorized into two types: The bubbler and the agitator.
Dispensers that mix drinks through a bubbler make use of a spray mechanism to move liquid from the bottom of the tank to the top.
This creates a mini fountain inside the tank. Such dispensers often have a clear drink bowl and are front-of-house models because one purpose of the dynamic display is to attract customers.
The variant using a bubbler also helps to chill the drink evenly. This is done by constantly moving the product around.
Such beverage dispensers are best used for non-foaming drinks such as pulp-less juices and powder or syrup-based mixed drinks.
The other type of beverage dispenser uses spinning agitators and impellers in the bottom of the tank to mix the beverages.
Compared to dispensers using the bubble method, these are better at mixing sediment into liquid. This makes them ideal for mixing and serving high-sediment drinks such as fresh, pulpy juices and heavy dairy-based drinks like shakes.
Beverages that produce froth when quickly stirred also do great in these dispensers; the agitators help make the drink frothy, ready to be enjoyed.
Some models come with adjustable agitator speeds, so you can choose exactly what speed you want your drinks mixed at.
Getting a machine with the right voltage is important because voltage influences the machine’s output.
This is because higher voltage offers faster recovery time. For example, in the same amount of time, a 240V dispenser will have a higher yield compared to a 120V dispenser.
However, output also depends on the machine’s construction and the type of drink being made. Thicker drinks that are dairy-based or contain alcohol take longer to be mixed and chilled, while you can prepare runnier beverages like iced teas in no time at all.
We recommend taking a look at the specifications of a model shared by the manufacturer before you purchase one.
Pros and Cons
If you too are wondering whether buying a commercial beverage dispenser is worth the money, here’s a quick pros and cons list to help make your decision easier.
Your Drinks Will Always Be the Right Consistency At the Right Temperature.
Ask any coffee connoisseur about the importance of a cup at just the right temperature, and you will know what we mean.
Too hot, and you cannot finish it in time for work. Not hot enough, and you will begin wondering what you did to deserve such a start to the day.
Commercial beverage dispensers not only make sure your drink is at the right temperature, but they will also guarantee that the temperature is the same across every sip. But that’s not all.
The spinner or agitator in a commercial beverage dispenser also produces drinks with uniform consistency. If it’s a milk-based beverage, the milk fat will be evenly distributed with foam on the top.
If it’s a powder or syrup-based mixed drink, the agitator will properly mix the sediment into the liquid to bring out the best possible flavor.
Dispensers are Quick and Handy
Convenience and swiftness are the key selling points of commercial beverage dispensers. The machine gives you a drink the minute you order it without requiring any hands-on preparation.
As if the eliminated waiting and preparation time isn’t convincing enough, the drink is also chilled (or warmed) to perfection. No more going back for another scoop of ice!
For businesses, this is especially useful on busy days or days when the staff is short. Anyone can operate beverage dispensers, no matter how untrained since all it requires is filling a glass with the drink.
Imagine going to your favorite cafe for your favorite iced latte on a busy Monday morning. The server is preparing order after order, but there’s only so much a pair of hands can do – so the queue never seems to end.
You end up having to wait so long for your cup; you can either forget about the coffee or forget to reach work on time. We rest our case.
Commercial Beverage Dispensers can be expensive.
Commercial beverage dispensers can be expensive. On top of the initial investment, which can be anywhere from $50 to $1500, maintenance costs and electricity bills also accumulate with time. These costs will add up and can amount to quite a substantial total.
However like any good investment, commercial beverage dispensers prove worth the money. As long as you picked the right machine for your business and are making good use of it, these costs are justified.
It is just a matter of time until the boosted sales from the dispenser make up for these expenses.
Cleaning and Maintenance can Take a Lot of Time
The last thing you want is to be serving contaminated beverages to your family or customers. Like all commercial appliances, commercial beverage dispensers also come with strict cleaning and maintenance requirements to comply with FDA standards and extend the service life of your machine.
Daily cleaning requires time and also certain costs. Make sure you have enough manpower and budget to dedicate to a beverage dispenser.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Regular cleaning of all commercial equipment is extremely important to make sure that the edibles produced are fit for public consumption.
Strict cleaning routines guarantee the hygiene of the products and keep your machine in good shape to boost its performance, efficiency, and life expectancy.
Cleaning commercial beverage dispensers is a fairly straightforward process. We have compiled a list of good cleaning practices that are easy to follow on a daily basis and will keep your dispenser clean and fresh:
- When you are done with the day, empty the tank of the dispenser and transfer the juice into an alternative container for the night. Then, wash and sanitize the tank. Make sure the tank is dry and free of all residue before it is put back on to be refilled.
- Remove the taps and diffusers and soak them in warm, soapy water.
- Soak a clean microfiber cloth in soapy water and use it to wipe the nozzles clean. Also, wipe all exterior surfaces to remove any build-up. Make sure to not use any harsh chemicals or cleaners with a high chlorine content since this can cause stainless steel units to rust.
- Empty and rinse the drip tray. Follow up with mild soap and water.
- Clean the vents using a microfiber cloth or a handheld vacuum cleaner to remove any dust or debris.
- After cleaning, it is time to put the dispenser together for the next day. Make sure all the seals are fitted tightly. If a seal is even slightly misplaced, the dispenser will leak.
Apart from daily cleaning, some deep-clean practices can further improve the functioning of your machine:
- Wash and sanitize ice chutes and beverage chutes monthly.
- Clean the “O” rings monthly, and also use a food-grade lubricant to lubricate them when needed.
- Get the valves professionally inspected and unclogged at least once a year.
This compilation makes for a healthy daily cleaning routine. However, note that this is not an exhaustive list as different models may have different needs.
So, it is important that you refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the cleaning and maintenance of a unit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Sizes of a Beverage Dispenser?
The size of the beverage dispenser you need depends on the volume of drinks you require on your busiest day.
You might want to keep your budget restricted and buy a model that is just big enough to meet your average daily need for hot or cold drinks.
However, a smart business practice is to think of the long-term and prepare for busier days with a growing business, increasing demand, and larger volumes.
To strike the right balance between price and capacity, note the highest volume of drinks sold in a week. Then, increase that by 5-15% depending on your budget, and there you have the volume stored by your ideal beverage dispenser.
Between the Front-of-House and Back-of-House Model, what is the Difference?
Front-of-house machines are placed such that guests and customers can see the machine, and in some cases, even use them.
Beverage dispensers found at self-service restaurants or on the counter of a bar are FOH models.
Naturally, these models are designed to be more visually appealing, user-friendly, and in line with the property’s ambience.
In contrast, back-of-house models go in staff kitchens, away from the eyes of customers. These machines have a purely industrial appearance and are designed to offer functionality over aesthetics. BOH models are often much larger and more powerful than FOH models.
Final Verdict: Which is the Best Commercial Beverage Dispenser and Why
The CBDRT3SS stainless steel and plastic round beverage dispenser by Service Ideas is the best commercial dispenser.
Its unmatched quality promising tens of years of smooth service, a clean and modern design, large capacity, and dishwasher-safe construction offers an experience that no competitor can beat.