Delivering instant filtered hot and chilled water at the push of a button, Aqua Optima’s Aurora Dispenser aims to replace your kettle and fridge filter jug with a sleek three-in-one unit. It could even be an alternative to retro-fitting an instant hot water tap in your kitchen. Ideal for making hot and cold drinks on demand, as well as hot water for cooking, its generously-sized tank and easy operation makes it a great addition to busy homes.
- Easy to use
- Can be refilled in-situ
- Replaces your kettle
- Filter needs changing monthly
- Cup platform quite narrow
- TypeThis is an instant hot water and cool water dispenser.
- EnergyThis unit draws a maximum of 2100W to make hot water.
- Multiple temperaturesSelect from multiple hot and cold water temperatures to make perfect drinks every time.
Many of us regularly boil more than we need in our kettles, wasting energy on hot water that doesn’t get used. The Aqua Optima Aurora Dispenser aims to solve that problem by delivering exactly the right amount of hot water on demand, which is filtered too. This model also supplies instant chilled, filtered water, meaning that whether you’re making a round of tea or keeping thirsty kids hydrated, it’ll be in constant use all year round. Not sure if you’ll use all the Aurora’s functionality? It’s available in Hot Only and Chilled Only too.
Design and features
- Control panel lock
- Choice of temperature and volume
- Dispensing light
At first glance, Aqua Optima’s Aurora Dispenser resembles a bean-to-cup coffee machine. It’s boxy with a large 3.8-litre water tank at the back, complete with a lift-off lid, carry handle and integral filter section.
The front is a similar story, with a cup platform that can be positioned at three heights or not at all. Its platform itself is quite slim with small hooks and doesn’t attach securely to the front. While it can take the weight of a cup or glass, the platform sags when jugs or heavier containers are added. On the plus side, a light above is activated when dispensing so you can see the flow more easily.
Its control panel is straightforward, with the ability to toggle up and down between water volume and chosen temperature. Besides lights to alert when the filter needs changing, descale and refill, the other useful feature, is a control panel lock. This kicks in after 60 seconds, meaning there’s no need to worry about children accidentally scalding themselves. However, it’s a shame that the lock also prevents kids from dispensing their own chilled water.
- Dispenses up to 1 litre at a time
- Temperatures can vary
- Low level of noise when chilling
While it’s billed as an instant hot and chilled water dispenser, I found that the best results from the Aqua Optima Aurora Dispenser came from keeping it on all the time, rather than turning on when required. It’ll still generate hot water from being switched on, but the temperatures were slightly lower: boiling came out as 90ºC on our thermometer, 95ºC read as 88ºC and 90ºC read as 84ºC.
After being left on for hours, boiling came out as 96ºC and 95ºC as 93ºC, with only 90ºC actually reading as 90ºC. All measurements were taken directly in the flow of the water being dispensed. Similarly, when left on all the time, chilled water was dispensed at 9ºC – not quite fridge cold but pleasantly cool to drink. If not given enough time to chill additional water, it is still dispensed but at ambient room temperature. The internal chilled water tank is also only 800ml, so dispensing a litre of chilled water means the last 200ml won’t be chilled to the same temperature.
The filter in the water tank, while useful, takes up some space, and needs time to process additional water if you’ve just refilled the tank. This caused the refill light to come on a few times during periods of heavy use. I also found the hum of the machine while chilling to be a distraction, though you may get used to this. It’s not loud but it’s constant. On the plus side, the control pad beeps can be turned off.
Should you buy it?
If you make a lot of hot or cold drinks, or cook from scratch often, this is a convenient tool to get water when you need it.
If you’re unlikely to use it daily, this device needs fresh water every three days, which may be more effort than using a kettle.
Kept on standby, the Aqua Optima Aurora Dispenser fills in for your kettle and fridge filter jug, and if you overboil water frequently, could save you energy in the long run. However, its size and capacity makes it more suitable for families and busy households rather than couples or those who live on their own: in that case, one of the best kettles or an instant hot and chilled water tap, such as the InSinkErator 4N1 Touch, might be a better fit.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every hot water dispenser we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main hot water device for the review period
We measure the water temperature dispensed.
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No, you select the amount of water you want to dispense and the temperature, and then only the correct amount of water is heated.
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