Not all of us are tea or coffee connoiseurs. We do not want to wait 5 to 15 minutes for water to boil before we can make our tea or coffee. We do not need freshly boiled water for our instant coffee or teabags - very hot water will do quite well. When time is a premium, having the use of hot water dispensers to give us hot water on demand is invaluable. There are two main types widely available in the market - those that connect to the water pipe and the electric airpot which you need to top up regularly.

InSinkErator Hot Water Dispenser

On the surface, the bestselling InSinkErator hot water dispenser would seem to be ideal for impatient tea and coffee drinkers. It has a large heated water tank that is connected to the water pipe. Any time you need hot water, just turn on the tap and you will receive a stream of 200F water, ready for you to make your coffee or tea. This water is even filtered beforehand, so that there is no unpleasant chlorine smell.

This hot water dispenser system would seem ideal for the home kitchen or the office pantry - just install the tank underneath the sink, hook up the water pipe to the unit's inlet valve, hook up the tap to the unit's outlet valve, plug into the electricity socket and it is all ready to go.

There is no doubt that hot water dispensers like the InSinkErator are really wonderful when they work. Unfortunately, while the product is a bestseller in many retail shops, both the quality control and the customer service are inferior, especially given the price one must pay for the entire system.

The water tank and heater are listed at $420. Unfortunately, it requires professional installation, so DIY-ers who install their own hot water dispensers will void the warranty. Even more unfortunately, InSinkErator does not provide any warnings regarding this matter. If anything should happen, for example let us say the thermostat fails during the warranty period, you need to be able to prove that your InSinkErator hot water dispenser was professionally installed by showing a receipt. On top of that, many customers have complained that their water tank becomes corroded and starts leaking within 2 to 5 years. This is pathetic considering that you paid $420 for it.

The tank is not the only problem with InSinkErator hot water dispensers. You cannot use your normal water taps, you need to buy special taps separately - they range from $100 to over $300. Unfortunately, the quality control for the taps are as bad as for the water tanks. They tend to fail very quickly. Even a leaky fitting or stuck valve requires the replacement of the entire tap. Apparently the company does not sell replacement parts.

Overall, the InSinkErator hot water dispenser is not worth the price tag and you should look for a different brand if you need the convenience of continuous hot water 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Zojirushi Electric Airpot

Zojirushi is a famous and well-regarded brand in Asia and it is making well-deserved inroads into America. Their electric airpots come in different sizes (commonly 2 liters up to 4 liters) and models with many features. Hot water dispensers of this type need to be topped up with water regularly since they do not hook up to a water pipe. On the other hand, this can be ideal for an office which does not have access to the building's plumbing system.

Once you fill an electric airpot with water, it will automatically boil the water. There is a thermostat which cuts off the power when the water reaches a certain temperature. This temperature depends on the individual model - high-end Zojirushi models let you choose between 140, 175, 195, and 208 degrees F. A 700-watt model takes about a half hour to boil 4 liters of water. The airpot is thickly insulated, so touching it when it contains hot water will not scald you.

Zojirushi brand of electric airpots are priced from $100 to $200 and can last a number of years. Using one of these as a hot water dispenser is really convenient - a 4 liter model can usually serve 2 to 4 persons in an office the whole day without needing to be topped up. You can just fill it up with bottled mineral water and never have to worry about your water quality.

Overall, large electric airpots like the Zojirushi work well as hot water dispensers for many homes and small offices. Unlike the InSinkErator, they do not need to be hooked up to the existing plumbing, so there are no unnecessary costs like paying for a plumber. When do not want to wait for your water to boil, they definitely beat using an unreliable branded cordless kettle.