Yes, This Water Dispenser Costs $1,500—Here's Why It's Worth It

The Kül Spark water system is a big investment, but one that has already paid for itself in full.

As someone connected to cooking on both a personal and professional level for decades, rarely does a gadget, tool, or appliance come along that definitively changes my life for the better. Most are just fancy limited-use items that look cool in the kitchen. But every now and then a kitchen product turns me into an unabashed evangelist. And the Kül Spark water system is one of them.

Most of my favorite culinary game changers are easily acquired impulse buys, but some are unquestionably investment pieces. These are the "buy once, use forever" items that might require some serious upfront financing, but will ultimately be worth that cost in the long run. For instance, some pots and pans cost a fraction of Le Creuset or Hestan Culinary, but they will not withstand heavy use the way those legacy brands will. You can get a blender that is not a Vitamix, but in a couple of years you will probably need to buy another one.

I've had my Thermomix for 14 years, and it is still going strong week after week. Did it cost more than my monthly rent back then? It did. Have I used it at least a few times a week for almost a decade and a half? Yep. It has never needed repair, never failed, shows no sign of stopping. I've had affordably priced gadgets die within a year of purchase. I'd always rather pay for quality and durability.

So, yes, I am going to tell you about a water filtration and dispensing system that cost $1,500. And I am also going to tell you that it was worth every single cent.

I've had my Kül Spark unit for three years of flawless daily use—I've fully put it through its paces and tested it in real life. That "real life" includes two adults who both work from home full-time, prefer to drink mostly water as our primary beverage, entertain a lot, and host a lot of out-of-town guests. We have always gone through bottled water, canned water, and sparkling water at a staggering pace. And while Chicago has pretty great tap water (from both a taste and health perspective), it's not what we like to serve at dinner parties, and I can't use it for my sourdough. We relied, for a long time, on a pour-over style filtration system, and it felt like a full-time job to keep the carafes full in the fridge.

Enter the Kül water system. The Kül filters and then dispenses water in four formats:

  • Cold: This is a no-ice-needed, fully chilled level of cold.
  • Hot: Not boiling, but just over 200 degrees, which is perfect for tea, hot cocoa, chai, or a quick stock made with bouillon cubes, powders, or pastes.
  • Ambient: Ideal for my bread baking, or for anyone who prefers their water not quite so chilled.
  • Sparkling: You can adjust the fizz level and add your own flavorings if you like.
  • The "sparkling" setting is the one that put Kül over the top for me. Being able to ditch the cases of large bottles of San Pellegrino for dinner parties and the endless cans of flavored sparkling water and/or bottles of still water has been a wonderful improvement on so many levels.

    Even when you buy your bottled water, canned water, and/or bottled fizzy water on sale or at a big box store, you will still be spending at least on average around $.55-.75 per unit, and we won't even discuss the ecological implications of all of all that aluminum and plastic. Storage of all those flats and cases is annoying and bulky, both in your pantry and in your fridge.

    The Kül system takes up some counter space, and it can be used either with a sidekick gallon reservoir which you fill yourself (this is how we use ours), or it can be plumbed right into your home water system. It is easy to set up and operate with a touchscreen; we went from box to glass in under 10 minutes. The filters last a very long time, as do the carbonation canisters—again, we use it daily. And it will tell you on the touchscreen how many 16-ounce bottles we have "saved." For us, so far, it has been nearly 3,000. Even at Costco prices for prepackaged water, the machine paid for itself in under two years, and we feel so much better about our carbon footprint. We now give houseguests refillable glass bottles for their stay.

    Aside from its ability to alleviate waste in your home, the water dispensed by the Kül is absolutely delicious. I find some filtered waters from pitchers and dispensers to taste a bit flat or occasionally tinny, but not so with the Kül. I was having a girl's weekend recently, and my friend had an announcement to make after filling her water bottle for the third time.

    "This is magic water," she said. "This water tastes like it has come from a fresh clear mountain stream. I am going home to buy this water machine!" All weekend, everyone kept referring to it as "magic water." Which it sort of is, if it can convince someone in the span of three bottles to spend $1,500.

    If you and your household drink a lot of water, especially if you live somewhere with less than satisfactory tap water—or you just want to save on schlepping cases of water around and be a bit more ecologically conscious—this is a machine that justifies its admittedly eyebrow-raising price tag. Everyone deserves magic water.